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stream of enjoyment. What Language is this to a Man of the World, to a Minister of State, immersed in the Deep Systems of Political Refinement among the Nations, improved by Arts, Erudition and Experience, caressed in the Courts of Princes amidst the splendor of Greatness, the Glass of Pomp and all the Pageantry of Ambition, unshackled by a want of power for the Zenith of indulgence. But when I address the Embassadeur I do not forget that I write to the Philosopher, to one who can contrast the Rational simplicity and the quiet Delight of his own little Villa at the foot of Pens Hill with the Briliancy of the Birth night or the parade of office, and find the latter sink in the comparison when tryed by the Feelings of the Man, not by the Rivalry of Pride. Sure I am that were you to behold the Variegated Beauties which the summit of Milton this Day exhibits to the Eye of Reason and Gratitude, you would heave one sigh for the tranquil hour of Contemplation in some Delightful Recess
Where the free soul looks down and pities Kings.
Mr. Warren intends writing. if anything prevents yet be assured he is the same Friend to his Country, to Virtue, to all Honest Men, consequently invariably yours, that he was when you Laboured together, planted, hastened and matured the seed of a most Glorious Revolution. few, very few, of the first capital hands Remain with us. Death, Desertion, indifference or Foreign Employments, have left him almost alone. But the Recollection and Feeling of Conscious Rectitude is the best Companion of declining years.
Though I expect much communication from my Friend, Mrs. Adams, yet from your Punctuality and long experienced Friendship I hope my Pleasure will be enhanced by a Line from yourself to yours Respectfully and affectionately
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WARREN
THE HAGUE, June 30, 1784
DEAR SIR, — Your amiable Son, has done me the favour of his Company, here, for a Day or two, and this Morning goes to Amsterdam, intending to return to England at the End of the Week. From London He embarks soon for Lisbon. My Son1 returned with him from London where I sent him to meet his Mother and Sister. But he was dissapointed as well as I. I still expect Mrs. Adams every day: but her last Letters, (those by your Son) leave me still room to doubt-in short, every Thing public and private, in which I have been concerned has been so much in doubt, and suspence, ever since the Peace, that if I have not learned to reconcile myself to any Thing, it is because I am not a Philosopher. I now repent having written for my Family, and that I had not gone home. Yet I ought not to repent because, it was Bono publico, that induced me to resolve to stay in Europe, to try, if I could execute a Commission which Congress promised to me, F[ranklin] and J[ay], and have not performed, “une Perfidie très permise dans un Grand Roi," as Voltaire says of the King of Prussia.
Jay is minister of foreign Affairs. This is a great Point gained in favour of our Country. Wisdom and Virtue have tryumphed, for once. And I hope and believe, he will give an entire new Cast, to the Complexion of our foreign Affairs, and you may depend upon it, that for some time to come as for a long time past, the Character and the System of our Country has been entirely decided by our foreign affairs.
If I had not been very sensible of this, you would never have heard of me a second time across the Atlantic. if I had not been very sensible of this, you would have seen me at Milton again or heard of me in a British Dungeon four years ago. My kind Respects to Mrs. Warren and all your Family. Your Friend,
I John Quincy Adams.
ARTHUR LEE TO JAMES WArren
NEW-YORK, Augt 8th, 1784
DEAR SIR, I have long hoped for the pleasure of hearing from you, if it were only to inform me that your family and our friends are well. The political Sea appears to be perfectly calm with you, and indeed so it is every where. Repose, after such scenes of turbulence and agitation as were experienced for some years, seems to be the general wish. Had not the Cincinnati agitated us a little, we shoud have been sound asleep.
Give me leave to introduce to you and to Mrs. Warren, Mr. Blake, Mr. Middleton,1 Mr. Kean 2 and Mr. Heyward, gentlemen of consideration from South Carolina, who travel to see their sister States in the East. I wish there was more intercourse of this kind, to remove prejudices and cultivate harmony among us. Mr. H. Laurens arrivd here two days ago. He is in good health and spirits after all his sufferings. He brings some pamphlets in which the anti-american reveries of Dean and Galloway, publishd by Ld. Sheffeild are fully reported. The King of England and Mr. Pitt, he thinks, are well disposd towards a commercial treaty with America. I am persuaded, that, with the downfal of the Coalition, these incendiaries will be extinguished.
We hear that Mrs. Hayley and Mrs. Graham," are with you. I beg the favor of you to present them my respects. No choice of Consuls has been yet made, nor can be till Congress meet again.
I am now, on my way to hold treaties with the Indian Nations, if troops can be raisd in time, to garrison the western posts, of which I despair very much. What is done with the Continental State paper issued by your State? Is its redemption provided for, and what credit is it in? I have heard nothing of the Land that was to be located for me, and begin to dispair of its ever taking effect. If any thing is, or is likely to be done, I shall be glad to be I Arthur Middleton (1742-1787).
2 John Kean (c. 1756-1795).
3 Thomas Heyward, Jr. (1746-1809).
4 John Baker Holroyd, Earl of Sheffield (1735-1821), whose Observations on the Commerce of the American States reached a sixth edition in a year.
Mary, widow of George Hayley, a merchant of London with American connections. Catherine Macaulay Graham (1731–1791).
informd of it. A letter for me enclosd to the Chairman of the Committee of Congress, Annapolis will be forwarded to me.
Please to present my best respects to Mrs. Warren, and remember me to your Son, Mr. Bowdoine and Mr. S. Adams. Farewell.1
ABIGAIL ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
AUTEUIL, near PARIS, September 5th, 1784
Although I have not yet written to you, be assured, Madam, you have been the subject of some of my most pleasing thoughts: the sweet communion we have often had together, and the pleasant Hours I have past both at Milton, and Braintree I have not realized in Europe; I visit, and am visited; but not being able to converse in the language of the Country, I can only silently observe Manners and Men. I have been here so little while that it would be improper for me to pass Sentence, or form judgments of a People from a converse of so short duration. this I may however say with truth that their Manners are totally different from those of our own Country. If you ask me what is the Business of Life here? I answer Pleasure. The Beau Monde you reply; ay, Madam, from the Throne to the footstool, it is the Science of every Being in Paris, and its environs. it is a matter of great Speculation to me, when these People labour. I am persuaded the greater part of these people who crowd the Streets, the publick walks, the Theatres, the Spectacles as they term them, must subsist upon Bread and Water. In London the Streets are also full of People, but their Dress, their Gait, every appearance indicates Business, except upon Sundays, when every Person devotes the Day, either at Church or in walking as is most agreeable to his fancy: but here from the gayety of the Dress, and the Places they frequent I judge Pleasure is the Business of Life. we have no days with us, or rather in our Country by which I can give you an Idea of the
I A letter from John Adams to James Warren, August 27, 1784, is in Writings of John Adams, IX. 524.
Sabbath here; except Commencement and Election; Paris upon that day pours forth all her Citizens into the environs for the purposes of recreation. we have a Beautiful wood, cut into walks, within a few rods of our dwelling, which upon this Day, resounds with Musick and Dancing, jollity and Mirth of every kind. In this Wood Booths are erected, where cake, fruit, and wine are sold. here Milliners repair with their gauzes, ribbons and many other articles in the pedling Stile, but for other purposes I imagine, than the mere sale of their Merchandize; but every thing here is a subject of merchandize.
I believe this Nation is the only one in the world who could make Pleasure the Business of Life, and yet retain such a relish for it, as never to complain of its being tasteless or insipid; the Parisians seem to have exhausted Nature, and Art in this Science; and to be triste is a complaint of a most serious Nature.
What Idea my dear Madam can you form of the Manners of a Nation one city of which furnishes (Blush o, my sex when I name it) 52,000 unmarried females so lost to a Sense of Honour, and Shame as publickly to enrole their Names in a Notary Office for the most abandoned purposes and to commit iniquity with impunity: thousands of these miserable wretches perish annually with Disease and Poverty, whilst the most sacred of institutions is prostituted to unite titles and Estates. In the family of Monsieur Grand who is a Protestant I have seen a Decorum and Decency of Manners, a conjugal and family affection, which are rarely found, where seperate apartments, seperate Pleasures and amusements shew the world that Nothing but the Name is united. But whilst absolutions are held in estimation and Pleasure can be bought and sold, what restraint have mankind upon their Appetites and Passions? there are few of them left in a Neighbouring Country amongst the Beau Monde, even where dispensations are not practised. which of the two Countries can you form the most favourable opinion of, and which is the least pernicious to the morals? that where vice is Licenced: or where it is suffered to walk at large soliciting the unwary, and unguarded as it is to a most astonishing height in the Streets of London and where virtuous females are frequently subject to insult. in Paris no