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as to pretend that no connextion but of the platonick kind has ever subsisted between them, he a mere Scipio and she a vestal. what a prospect for this Country! what a prostration of Honour and virtue! the Heir Apparant, frequenting the Haunts of intemperance and vice, his greatest intimates sycophants and knaves, appearing in company so disguised as to lose himself, and commit the greatest rudeness, which was the case not a Month since, yet when sober really possessing the outward appearance of a well bred Gentleman. by some he is held up as a Man of Learning and abilities, but of this I cannot learn any Specimens; not even a refinement in his vices, since he is branded with a taste, for the lowest and most vulgar.
but I will quit him, since I shall never owe him; either honour or Allegence, and will turn my attention to my own Country, which tho not terrified with the prospect of a proffligate prince to govern it, appears to be in an untranquilized state, embarressed in its Finances, distrest in its commerce and unbalanced in its Governments, but I have Faith that will remove Mountains, and as distress and difficulties in private life, are frequently spurs to dilligence, so have we seen publick industry excited in the same manner, during the late War. Success crowned our efforts and gave us Independance. our misfortune is that there we became indolent and intoxicated; Luxury with ten thousand evils in her train, exiled the humble virtues, Industry and frugality, were swallowed up in dissipation.
"but it is not upon Record," says a late writer, "that any state was ever yet so exhausted, but that whilst it enjoyed Liberty it might draw new resources from its own vitals, Though the tree is lopped, yet so long as the root remains unhurt, it will through out a greater Luxuriancy of Branches, produce fruits of better flavour and derive fresh vigor from the ax."
Why, my Dear Madam, may we not console ourselves with Ideas of this kind, instead of giving way to despondency? I was very happy to learn that my young Friend Harry distinguishd himself with the ardour of a patriot, and the zeal of a good Citizen in accompanying General Lincoln in his late expedition. had Pericles lived in the present day, he could not have made the
boast, which he does in his funeral oration over the Athenians, saying that they were the only people, who thought those who did not lend their assistance in State affairs, not indolent, but good for Nothing. it is indeed a pleasing presage of future good, when the most promising youth, shrink not from danger, through a fondness for those delights, which a peaceful affluent Life bestows "but bare their bold breast, and pour their generous Blood" esteeming it a dishonour that their Country should stand in need of any thing which their valour can acchive.
I long, my dear Madam, to return to my native land. My little Cottage encompassed with my Friends has more charms for me than the Drawing Room of St. James, where studied civility, and disguised coldness cover malignant Hearts.
I will not close this letter without informing you that I am a grand-o no! that would be confesing myself old, which would be quite unfashionable and vulgar; but true it is, I have a fine grandson.1 I regret a little that it was not a Daughter, for then I would have claimd the little one for the great one. Mrs. Smith desires me to present her respectfull compliments to you, with thanks for your kind and Friendly Letter, which she will notice as soon as she is able. be so good as to present my regards to the Genll, and all your worthy family. I must acquit myself of a promise made to a Young Gentleman, who requested me when I wrote to you, to lay him respectfully at your feet, by which I presume he meant that I should express, the high esteem and profound veneration, which he always professes towards you, and I knew not how to do it better: than by giving you his own words. I dare say you will be at no loss to recollect this Gentleman by the Name of Shipping; who is as genteel well Bred a Youth as any one from our Country, and who is quite at home with us as well as his companion Mr. Cutting, who I think will make a figure in Life, as he has both abilities and application.
I know not what to say for my companion that he has not written a single Letter by this opportunity, but that he is so much engaged in travelling through the Itallian Republicks that I cannot draw of his attention, except only to official Letters.
I William Steuben Smith.
he says his Friends must accept his printed letters. I will not
JAMES WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS
DEAR SIR, — I Thank you for your favour of Jany. 9th and for the very valuable Present which accompanied it. I have read your Book with great pleasure as well as Information. The Avidity of the rest of the Family to read it has prevented a second perusal, which I enjoy in prospect. I do not recollect a single Sentiment different from my own, except we might differ a little with respect to the first Magistrate, and perhaps not very essentially do not wish to see him surrounded with the Pomp, Parade and Magnificence of an European Prince; but I should be willing he should have an Addition of some real powers he is not now possessed of; but I think I should hardly agree that an Unqualified Negative upon the Law should be among them, because I think a Limited one like ours more agreable to reason and quite adequate to all the purposes of a Check and a Ballance. if I should say there are no faults to be found in your Book, you would consider it as flattery. if I say there are very few, and those not very Essential, you will think me honest. but at the same time that I make a Compliment to the whole performance, if I mention one of the greatest, you will Consider it as the dictate of Friendship. You say there are as yet no Appearances of Artificial Inequalities of Condition, etc. That may be true, because the Barefaced and Arrogant System of the Cincinnati Association is not fully matured, but it is rapidly progressing. The People, who have no Stability, who equally forget Benefits and Injuries, have almost forgot this Insolent Attempt at distinction and are Introducing the Members into the Legislature,
and the first Civil and Military Offices. is it not a fault that you have omitted on so fair an Occasion to mention this Attempt in the severe Terms it deserves? You are certainly mistaken, if popularity is not your Mistress. You enjoy it as much as any Man should do. it is enough to recommend anything here to say it is Mr. Adams' Opinion. I feel the Influence of it myself, and often see it with pleasure in others. I have just heard that you Intend to come Home this Summer. We will be glad to see you and will show you that you are mistaken; but I will not Insure you that it will last, but I think your Book will not make you Unpopular.
it is true that some Persons have proposed in County Conventions to annihilate the Senate. But this Sentiment (if adopted by any of them) does not seem to prevail. The Truth of the Matter is, the People resemble a Child, who feels hurt and uneasy, and quarrels with every thing about him. They have fallen upon this Branch of the Legislature indiscriminately with other parts of the Constitution as they occurred to their Minds. What I mean is, that there is no particular System among them. I will not however undertake to say that there will not be some fatal Change before long. Such is the Situation of things here that no Man can calculate the Events of the present Year.
It is very true that Government has been roused from profound Sleep, but they waked with that peevish disposition which is common to the Interruption of sweet Sleep and pleasing Dreams. Measures were taken accordingly. The People were Irritated, not softened and conciliated. The Rebels were dispersed, but not subdued, and for fear that Capt. Shays should destroy the Constitution they violated it themselves. After all the Apparatus of the Suspension of the Habeas Corpus, prosecutions of some miserable Scribblers, Declarations of Rebellion, Acts of disqualifications, etc., etc., it is said the Rebels are again mustering in force. it is certain a General discontent and disapprobation prevails in the Country, and has shewn itself in the late Elections. Mr. H[ancock] is undoubtedly chose the first Magistrate. I do not regret the change so much as I once should, tho' I am sorry for it. if I used to dispise the Administration of H., I am disappointed in
that of B[owdoin]. Every Phylosopher is not a Politician. The surrounding solid orb in the Heavens may restore the scattered rays of Light to the Sun and prevent the waste of that Body by an endless diffusion.But no Government can be supported but on its own Principles/
Mr. Cushing and General Lincoln were chiefly voted for as the second Magistrate, but I suppose neither of them Chose by the People. The Senators are generally Changed. even the good and Inoffensive Mr. Cranch is left out - I Imagine because he was of the Court of Common Pleas. our old Friend Mr. A[dams], however, is rechosen, tho' he seems to have forsaken all his old principles and professions and to have become the most arbitrary and despotic Man in the Commonwealth. There is an Appearance of as general a Change in the House. In this Universal Concussion, this rage of Innovation, the Town of Milton have honoured me with an Election to represent them. The dread of reviving the Clamour of refusing everything, joined with the Idea of its being the Duty of every Man to go upon Deck when called upon in a Storm, has Induced me to accept. to forsake the peaceful and retired walks of Agriculture and again embark on a Tumultuous Ocean of Politics, while I feel myself embarrassed at a loss what Measures should be adopted in our present Situation, and for the Peace of Jerusalem. I frequently recollect your Observation, that you and I have not had an easy Task in Life hitherto.
I am embarked, I must act. you know I have no Cunning or Time serving Talents. I shall satisfy my own Conscience and Judgment. I hope to satisfy all the reasonable Expectations of Good Men from my public Conduct, if any are formed, and leave the rest.
Mrs. Warren and the rest of my Family join me in very affectionate regards and respect for yours. I am with great Esteem your sincere Friend and Humble Servt.