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among us, especially if any of them are admitted. our Papers will by the Instructions to Representatives from several Towns, give you an Idea of the Temper and Sense of the People on this head. the only one that both sides agree in Excepting to and wishing Obliterated. but let it remain. it is best we should not have every thing we wish for, and it is a Trifle in Comparison of those great Acquisitions we have secured. if we could have foreseen this period and this state of things it would have made us happy ten years ago. it would certainly have saved you and I many an anxious day and night. but flattering as our present prospect is, I agree with you it is to be ascribed to the Providence of God, and that we have much yet before us. if we do not improve our present Advantages they may not make us happy. but how are we to guard against "the Contagion of European Manners, and that Excessive Influx of Commerce, Luxury and Inhabitants from abroad which will soon Embarrass us." Commerce will flow with an irresistable Tide. Manners and Luxury will follow of course, and Inhabitants from abroad wanted in some proportion. it will be difficult to draw the Line where to stop. you must come and help us do the Great work. we want a Chief Magistrate of abilities. you must be the Man. my wish is to see it and you will be if you come. you can hardly conceive the Inconveniences we suffer from the Imbecillity of Administration in this State, and yet the Inchantment is too strong to be broken, without you. the necessity of a Rotation provided for in the Constitution never appeared more evident. but even the Constitution is not observed with that sacred regard it should be. it is violated upon any Occasion to serve a purpose. Judge Sn1 was chosen a Representative for the Town of Boston after being an Inhabitant only about six Months, and the House have declared the Election Valid. what security is there for the remaining parts of the Constitution. Ways and Means to pay our Debts, etc., are the principal Objects of Congress, and their Legislatures. Among these Imposts and Excises hold the first place, and are pursued with Enthusiasm. I wish they may not be to the ruin of Commerce, and Liberty. I have too much to say to you on this subject for the remaining part 1 James Sullivan (1744–1808).
of this Letter, and too much on the dangers I apprehend from the Influence and Views of some Men at and about Congress, and the trusting that or any Body of Men with a standing revenue out of the reach of our own Controul. The principal and Interest of our Debts must be paid. I cant say what is the best method but I think it would be best to assign to each State its proper proportion, and let them do it in their own way. this mode is not without Objections but I think it the safest.
Mr. Gerry goes to Congress this week. if you ask why I dont go, I will tell you because I have been Sick the whole Spring, and dare not Venture to go at this Season. Mrs. Adams and Nabby are on a Visit at Heverhill. you may suppose they are well, and will doubtless have it under their hands by this Opportunity. Mrs. Warren joins in Wishes for your Health and prosperity. our Good wishes extend to Mr. Thaxter, Mr. Storer and your Son. will you make my respectful regards to your Friend Mr. Jay. I love him for his Friendship for you, I honour him for his Probity and Patriotism in the Execution of his Important Commissions. I am Sir Your Friend with Great Esteem,
ARTHUR LEE TO JAMES WARREN
IN CONGRESS, PRINCETON, Augt. 13, 1783
DEAR SIR, I had the honor of writing to Mrs. Warren relative to Your Son's object.1 I have now to add that it is not probable any question on the subject will come on 'till the new delegation takes place of the present; therefore it woud be prudent to impress them before they leave your State, in his favor.
Our removal to Philadelphia, tho much urgd, has not yet been effected; but such is the influence of art and cultivation over right and judgment that I cannot promise a vote will not at length be obtaind for that pernicious measure.
Will you have the goodness to inform me, whether any thing has been done relative to the land voted to me; and how the paperI Winslow Warren had applied, July 2, 1783, to be appointed consul.
money, of which I troubled you with a parcell to receive the interest, is now circumstancd. Whether it is funded, has depreciated or appretiated?
We have not a word from any Minister in Europe relative to the definitive treaty, which is not a little surprising. Mr. Dana was well at Petersburg in April, when he informd us that the Empress would not receive him 'till the ratification of the definitive treaty, and a new Letter of credence is sent dated posterior to the acknowlegment of our Independence by the british Crown. This seems to be an over-delicacy. Please to present my best respects to Mrs. Warren, Mrs. J. Adams, Mr. Bodwoine, and Mr. S. Adams. Farewell.
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WARREN
PARIS, Septr. 10, 1783
MY DEAR FRIEND, -I received with great Pleasure yours of 24. June. The Approbation of my Countrymen is a great Pleasure and Support to me but that Approbation does not extend I fancy so far as you and several others seem to imagine. if it does I am unfit for their Purposes, having neither Health nor Patience, for the arduous and trying Duties of their first Magistrate, an honor too high and a situation too delicate for me.
A Residence in the Massachusetts is the desire of my Soul, and the only one where I can enjoy Life. I still hope to pass my Evening, hastening on apace, in that Country: But Congress have tied me again to Europe by a new Commission so honourable to me, as to have really touched my heart.2 Upon a very long Letter of mine they have founded this Commission and have owned it, in their Journals. Whoever shall compare the Letter and Commission together, will own that it does me infinite honour, and ought to silence forever every Complaint on my part for what is past. I am now indifferent who goes to England, but still think the public Good requires that some one should go.
I Journals of the Continental Congress, XXIV. 348,
2 May 1, 1783, Congress had appointed Adams, Franklin and Jay, to negotiate a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. Journals of the Continental Congress, XXIV. 320.
We shall do our Utmost Endeavour to secure to Massachusetts and N. Hampshire a Way to Market for their ships through the West India Islands. But N. Hampshire and Rhode Island too, should support in Congress, those Men to whom if to any body they must be indebted, for this Benefit, and not sacrifice them to the Vanity of another, who will take little Pains about it, who is afraid to think in the day, for fear he should not sleep at night, whose whole Time and thoughts s[eem] to be taken up, with little clandestine Projects to gratify his private vanity and secure to himself, and his Name exclusive Reputation, at the Expence even of others who do real Business for the Benefit of the public and who think and act wholly for its good.
our Navigation will be materially affected, by our Treaties with Denmark and Portugal, which Dr. Franklin has been secretly contriving to get the exclusive Management of, as he did that of Sweeden. N. H. and R. Island shd be upon their Guard, and join others in this Business who think a little about it.
Mr. Dana will soon be with you. He can give you very entertaining and instructive Histories not of Voyages and Travels alone, but of Negotiations. His defeat comes from the same source, very secret and cunning, but very malicious to every Man and every Project, calculated for the public Good. This one Man seems to have a positive Spight against every public service, that he does not exclusively perform himself. He opposes it and persecutes the Agent in it with a Malice and Rancour that is astonishing. I could have formed no Idea, that Jealousy Envy and Vanity could have gone such Lengths.
I think our Country should form Treaties with the Two Empires, as well as Denmark and Portugal. to these should be added, Morocco, Algiers, Tunis and Tripoli, perhaps too the Kings of Sardinia, and Naples. one Commission, may be enough for all these Purposes, in order to save Expence. But this Commission ought not to be given to one alone at Paris, when three are obliged to reside there on another Negotiation. We should be all joined in it, and when We have completed the Business We may all go home.
My best Respects and kindest Regards to your Family. My
Friend Mr. Otis, seems to have been permitted to see the Building finished which he framed, and then taken away in a manner equally happy and distinguished.1 He was a favourite of Nature in his Genius and in his Death. The History of our Country I hope will do Justice to this great Character. With great Esteem, your Frd. and Sert.
JOHN ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
PARIS, Septr. 10, 1783
MADAM, It is but a very few days, since I received your Letter of the 4. of May, which afforded me, as your Letters always do, a delicious Entertainment. Your friendly Congratulations, on the Success of my feeble Efforts, are very agreable to me, and very obliging.
You say that I shall never retire, till weary Nature diminishes my Capacity of acting in dignified difficulty. Give me leave to say, that the Period is already arrived. Nature is weary, the Capacity is diminished but what is more agreable to Think of, the dignified difficulties are all at an End. I always had a Knack at a Difficulty. My Country Clients used to tell me, Mr. Adams is excellent at a difficult Case, and having a reputation for this I was always vexed with them. Few of the Race of Adam have had more Difficulties fall to his share. But I consider them as all at an End in a manner.
Probity, Madam, would be not only the surest, but the only Road to honour if Mankind were not deceived. But there are so many Ways of cheating and imposing upon the most enlightened People, that it is almost impossible to keep Steady their Approbation of the Just, their Contempt of the Vile, or their Abhorrence of the Wicked.
I believe I have never failed to Answer a Letter from Marcia, if I have I was very much to blame, and very inattentive to my own Interest, for I prize very highly her Letters, both for the Pleasure and Instruction I derive from them.
I The "Patriot." He was killed by lightning May 23, 1783, at Andover.