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Observations which are Designed for your perusal Reach the Gardens of Passy, you would be willing to unbend a Little, by indulging to the familiar style of Female Composition. But as most of them have been Lost through fear, Misfortune, accident or Treachery, I imagine the Avidity is still kept up, and that you open Every paquet with Expectation and desire to Investigate the Plans of statsmen and survey the Martial opperations of the Heros of a Country whose Honour and Happiness you have so much at Heart.
And though no one is better qualified to penetrate the Arcana of American politics than yourself, yet I think you must be surprised at the inconsistency of Character which appears in some and at a Loss, if not for the stimulus that provoked, yet for the Influence which carried into Execution certain Resolves which have been painful to the best, and a Rich Repast to the Worst Men that Disgrace your Native Land.
How much longer shall we be Embarassed and Distressed by the selfish insiduous arts of Gamblers, Courtiers, and Stock Jobbers among ourselves, while a Mercyless Foe is laying waste our Borders, Burning our Defenceless Cities, and Murdering the Innocent of all ages and Ranks.
The spirit of party has entered into all our Departments, the Deanites, that is to say the Votaries of pleasure or the Men of Taste and Refinement, make no inconsiderable Figure. Some Deify the phantom Fashion, whether she appears in a French, a British, or American Dress: while others Worship only at the shrine of plutus. yet the old Republicans, (a solitary few) with decent solemnity and confidence still persevere, their Hands unstained by Bribes, though poverty stares them in the face, their hearts unshaken by the Levity, the Luxury, the Caprice or Whim, the Folly or ingratitude of the times. when we survey the picture we cannot but sigh with a late celebrated writer, "Alas for poor Human Nature.'
On my way from Boston I lodged a week since at the foot of Pens Hill. the Family there are well, and as happy as possible in the absence of a Tender Husband, and a Fond Father. More perticuler accounts you will doubtless have by this conveyance
from the Mistress of the Mansion. There I had the pleasure of seeing your signature to several short Letters which lead us to hope our Calamities will be shortened, or Rather not increased.
As from a long Friendship with him, and a perticular Intimacy with his Lady, I feel myself sensibly touched by the Death of Dr. Winthrop, I cannot but mingle a simpathetic tear on this occasion with you, and his philosophic Friend at Passy. Both of whom so highly esteemed, and were so intimately acquainted with his Virtues, in his literary, patriotic, and Christian Character. I fear it will be long before Harvard sees a successor that will fill the Chair of the professor with Equal Honour and Ability.1
Let me assure you sir, when I begun this I designed but one page but you are so well acquainted with the Loquacity of the sex that you will easily believe I check my own inclinations when at the Bottom of the Third I subscribe the Name of your sincere Friend and Humble Servant
PLIMOUTH, July 29, 1779.
MERCY WARREN TO ABIGAIL ADAMS
MY DEAR FRIEND,
And are you sure the News is true,
Beneath the shady Forrest of Ele River, while my Best Friend has walked towards the fertile plain, to survey the Reapers, or perhaps ascends the Rugged Hills to view the sportive Flocks, I take up my pen to congratulate you, most sincerely to congratulate you on the safe Return of yours, from the busy and wearisome scenes of politics, pleasure, and politeness, to the still Delights of Domestic Felicity, where the Gladned Mother can scarcely suppress the tear of Rapture, to listen and smile alternately at the Narrations of her young traveler, and the simple tale, with which
I Prof. John Winthrop died May 3, 1779. Mrs. Warren composed some verses addressed to the widow which are printed in her Poems, 235
the two younger Masters (emulous for papahs Attention) strive to entertain him, while the observing Daughter silently watches every accent, and treasures up every article of Inteligence for her future improvement. the Father thanks his Negligent Countrymen for suffering him so soon to Indulge in the Highest Joys of Life. But the Patriot must secretly chide the want of Decission, that Inattention to the Interests of the States, that has permited him thus early to leave Europe, when by a longer stay he might have rendered them such essential service.1
When I participate the Family Happiness, and take a part in the Felicity of my Friend, I flatter myself it is an Emenation of Benevolence.
But there is not a spark of patriotism in the Cordial Gratulation in the larger scale which is the Measure of patriotic Merit, what are the little streams of social affection, the Heart felt pleasure of the Wife, the parent and the Friend, who would not sacrifice without a sigh these smaller Considerations when pro bono publico requires, always assured of the Gratitude and applause of the unchanging Multitude.
But to be serious both you and I wish well to our Country, and will hope that some Good may result even from the Mistakes of her Rulers.
It is strongly impressed on my mind that the Return of a Gentleman rather unexpectedly to his American Friends, may give a New turn to the state of parties, and eventually be productive of Happy Consequences. But my design is to say little of public affairs. The full Heart enwrapt (after the Anxieties and impatience of a long absence) in the tender scenes of Mutual affection has no Room at pres[ent for] Foreign Cares, yet hope your own Happiness will not prevent the Recollection, nor his Avocations. the Completion of a promise you made when we parted to come to Plimouth soon after Mr. Adams came home. you little thought then I should have a Demand upon you so soon. However I shall not relinquish it. I will not admit even the Indolence of Felicity as an Excuse. And though it has been observed by some that Indolence is characteristic of Genius, I think Generosity 1 John Adams returned from France August 2, 1779.
indicates a Greatness of soul that will supply the Defects of Genius, but when we seen them united in their Exertions to Bestow Happiness, we then see the perfection of Human Nature. And with my Friendly and Respectful Compliments to Mr. Adams you will tell him this Visit shall be placed on the List of Charities. But if he is a Believer in the Doctrine of supererogation, he will have more to do, for more will certainly be required. Mean time I shall hear from you both if you wish to Gratify your assured and affectionate Friend
My Regards to Monsieur Francy [?], and to the sister of the young Frenchman.
JAMES LOVELL TO JAMES Warren
Aug. 13th, 1779
DEAR SIR,— Tho', on the one hand, I may be perfectly right in supposing that it is almost immaterial to which individual, of a select number of Patriots in Boston who honor me with their Correspondence, I, from time to time, make direct confidential Communications, immaterial I mean so far as relates to the meer matter of Information, yet, surely it must appear odd, at least, if not ungrateful, that I should send Scrawl after Scrawl to one who replys in the Ratio of two to seven while I suffer a long very entertaining Letter, from another, of July 19th to lay by me unacknowledged ten days.
Apprized as you must have been by Mr. S. A[dams] of the Principles, Views and Conduct of most political Men here, you may notwithstanding have been unacquainted even till now with the exact Contents of a Paper which is handed about in a particular Circle in your Neighbourhood so as to influence the minds of some good men as well as to strengthen the Plots of some bad ones. I wish you to see it. Mr. Ellis Gray a worthy Man,1 will
I He had been chairman of the Boston Committee of Correspondence, Inspection and Safety in 1776.
put you in the Train of having it, I doubt not: it is too much for me to copy at this Time, and perhaps needless. For if Mr. Gray cannot furnish you with it Mr. Thos. Cushing can. The latter also can, if he will, tell by whose extraordinary Care it was sent to Boston. I own I have much Curiosity to know.
Sir, you may see the low arts that have been used to prejudice. the Minds of Congress so far as to make them destroy the good Man's prospect of the best Reward in Republics - the approbation of the People. You may see it by the Use that has been made of the following Scrap laid on the Table by Mr. G. Morris May 3d, 1779. Tis the Extract of a Letter from Paris dated the 7th of Decr., 1778, and said to be written by a confidential Friend of the Minister of the Marine. Mr. Holker furnished it, so that it was probably to him.
"Mr. J Adams, le Deputé ne réussit pas ici que de Raison: il paraît etre entièrement livré au Sr. Lee, lequel comme vous le scavez est une espèce de fol."
Mr. J. Adams the Deputy does not succeed here further than is reasonable: He appears to be intirely devoted to Mr. Lee, who, as you know, is a sort of mad-man.
The rest of the paper relates to an appointment of a Monsr. D'Obré1 who is Son in Law of Mr. Schweighauser at Nantes, insinuating that he betrays our Vessels to the People of Jersey because he is Son of the Mair of that Place. The Maliciousness of which I have many Vouchers by me that prove. The Paper concludes with an assertion that if Doctr. Franklin is not sole Deputy in France Things will go on but lamely or in his own Phrase with "but one wing.'
I hope Mr. Adams will in a few days be with you: he was left off the western Isles on the 29th of June by a Vessel which arrived at Virginia Aug. 1st. I hope he will come soon on to Congress. And, as C[u]sh[in]g says, "People here" are of opinion that he ought not to come as a Delegate, but in his present Character, and with a proper Dignity, as if he was fit to deal with a gallant Nation. "People here," are my Circle. If Mr. A[dams] is resolutely determined not to negotiate a Peace for us upon being