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Several affairs, more interesting to others than to me, have for some months past so pressed upon me, as, together with official business, to leave me little leisure to attend even to my own concerns. Hence I have been constrained into delays respecting my correspondents, which could not have been less agreeable to their feelings than to my own.
Accept my thanks for the several communications with which you have favoured me. The facts which you have given to the public relative to the conduct of France in our revolution, as well as your strictures on the designs and intrigues of the illumines, have, to a certain extent, been useful. They have made proper impressions on many sedate and candid men, but I suspect they have detached very few of the disciplined adherents of the party. As yet, there appears but little reason to believe that philosophism is losing ground in our country. There is indeed less said about it, but indications of immorality are neither less frequent, nor more odious and disgraceful in common estimation than heretofore. A moral epidemic seems to prevail in the world. What may be its duration, or the limits of its ravages, time only can ascertain.
The approaching general election in this State will be unusually animated. No arts or pains will be spared to obtain an anti-federal representation, in order to obtain an anti-federal president, &c. and through him divers other objects.
The late revolution in France does not appear to have dissipated the clouds which veiled from our view the fate of that and other countries. As yet, I see little reason to expect the restoration of the Bourbon family ; nor is it certain that great good would result from it. Of the issue of the present interesting campaign, no satisfactory conjectures can yet be formed; and nothing at present appears which presents a fair prospect of a speedy termination of the miseries of Europe. Your envoys in France will probably succeed; but whether that success would ultimately promote our tranquillity and happiness, is a point on which many judicious men differ in opinion.
We have lost much in General Washington, whose death you and others have made the subject of eloquent discourses. From the state of our parties and affairs, some are persuaded that he has been taken from evil to conic It may be so ; but I fear that such apprehensions are sometimes indulged too far, and that they often disqualify men from meeting either good or evil in a becoming manner. With great esteem and regard, I am, dear sir,
Your most obedient servant.
- John Jay
- The Life John Jay With Selections from His Correspondence and Miscellaneous Papers. by His Son, William Jay in Two Volumes. Vol. II., 1833.