John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 27 October 1799

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Trenton, 27 October, 1799.

MY DEAREST FRIEND,

I HAVE received yours of 24th, and thank you for your relation of our little domestic affairs at Quincy. Briesler did not arrive last night, as you calculated. His children may detain him longer than you expected. Some of the public offices are about re moving to Philadelphia this week. I can send James with my horses and chariot to meet you at Hoboken ferry or Elizabethtown, or any other place you may appoint, and at any time you will appoint, if you can be sure of your plans and measures.

I have been, forenoon and afternoon, to church to hear Parson Waddell, who gave us two discourses good and wholesome for soul, body, and estate. He is a good picture of " stalled theology," and is said to have a good estate. Last Sunday I went to the Presbyterian church and heard Mr. Grant, an ingenious young gentleman. There is something more cheerful and comfortable in an Episcopalian than in a Presbyterian church. I admire a great part of the Divine service at church very much. It is very humane and benevolent, and sometimes pathetic and affecting, but rarely gloomy, if ever. Their creeds I could dispense with very well, because the Scriptures being before us contain the creed the most certainly orthodox. But you know I never write nor talk upon divinity. I have had more than I could do of humanity. Benevolence and beneficence, indus try, equity and humanity, resignation and submission, repentance and reformation, are the essence of my religion. Alas ! how weakly and imperfectly have I fulfilled the duties of my own religion ! I look back upon a long life very poorly spent in my own estimation. Busy as it has appeared to some, to me it ap pears to have been very much too idle, inactive, slothful, and sluggish. I fear it is too late to amend. My forces are far spent, and by too much exertion I. should soon exhaust them all. I am not in the vapors, but in very good spirits, notwithstanding this penitent confession of my faults.

Write me every day.

J. A.

Author:
John Adams

Source:
Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841