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are to stop. the distrest state of a city which seems devoted to Calamity, and the pestilence which still rages there, renders it dangerous to enter it at this Time, and the certain clamour which will be raised if Congress are convened at any other place, renders it difficult for the president to know what is best and most for the Good of the Country, and the Safety of its Members; without being much nearer, where a more accurate statement of Facts can be ascertained. The Philadelphians will complain and say there is no danger, tho at present their city is deserted of two thirds of its inhabitants.
I received a Letter from Mrs. Otis, a few days since. She with her Family are at Bristol about eighteen miles from the city, and were all well.
When I was at providence I took Tea at the late Govenour Bowen. they inquired kindly and particuliarly after you and your Family, and desired a particuliar remembrance to you.
The president joins me in an affectionate remembrance to his old Friend the Genll, and to Mrs. Warren both of whom it would have given him pleasure to have seen at Quincy. I am, dear Madam, with sentiments of Regard and esteem Your affectionate Friend
HARRISON GRAY OTIS TO MERCY WARREN
PHILA., March 15, 1798
MY DEAR MADAM, -It is a long time that I have been your Debtor for your affectionate enquiry after my health when I was in Boston. That journey naturally created an accumulation of business which pressed rather heavily upon my return; and my complaint made it desirable to avoid as much as possible, the occupation of writing. I am thank God, much better. My friends thought I was never very ill, and I doubt not that absence from home and a privation of my habitual domestic pleasures aggravated my indisposition. I was however harrassed by a hoarseness and pain in my breast which have not entirely left me. The pain
is changeable and fugitive; and as I retain strength and appetite and sleep well, I am not without hope that it is chiefly rheumatic.
You will perceive by the papers, all the news that we have lately received. The dispatches which accompanied the late letter from our Commissioners are not even now fully decyphered. It is however whispered but I know not on what ground, that they consist of the little details of their transactions and opinions, which will not aid a public investigation of the state of our affairs, and which might be injurious to our friends who remain in France. It is sufficiently evident that they are not to be received, and not less so, that a hostile and predatory conduct towards us, will continue on the part of our dear Allies. Our only chance of escaping from war, or from the calamities of war, inflicted under some other name, seems to consist in the prospect that the powers at war cannot long remain in their present high and constrained attitude. But whether Great Britain is doomed to yield to the arms and politicks of France, or whether the five Kings will squabble with each other, so that "honest men may come to their dues," are events shrouded from our foresight. I shall bear either of them with Christian Fortitude, if our own Country can be permitted to remain at peace. I write this at my desk in the Hall of Congress, so that if it does not discover either fancy or genius, I hope you will impute the deficiency in part, to a very heavy Speaker who now assails my ear with a very somniferous monotony.
I send you the substance of my speech on foreign intercourse; not on account of its merit but to satisfy you that my hoarseness is in some measure relieved.
With great respect and regard, and friendly remembrance to Uncle Warren and my Plimouth Connections, I am, Dear Madam, Your affect. Nephew,
H. G. OTIS
ABIGAIL ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
PHILADELPHIA, April 25, 1798
MY DEAR MADAM, I received your obliging favour of April 7th on the 18 of this month, for which accept my sincere thanks. To hear of the Health, and welfare, of old, and esteemed Friends, gives pleasure to her, who sincerely rejoices, that the decline of Life, of all those, whom she highly values; is renderd agreable by the enjoyment of Health, peace, and Competance. Blessing[s] at all periods valuable but more particularly so, when active Life, yealds to the more tranquil and contemplative Scenes of Age. A scene to which your Friends are as rapidly hastning, as time can carry them; and accelerated by the Burdens which are devolved upon them, when retirement from the "worlds mad stage would be more consonant to their feelings, particularly as they have weather'd one political storm, and enterd the Harbour with safety. it is hard to be calld again to engage in a Tempest, and with a power which defies all Laws, both humane and devine, whose Ambition knows no limits, and which seems to threaten universal domination, and like an other Alexander, weep for new worlds to conquer. "In proportion, (to use the words of a celebrated writer) as we have been attracted towards the focus of illegality, and irreligion all the venemous and blighting insects of our Country, have been awakened into life, and the promise of the years has been blasted."
The olive Branch, tendered to our Gallic Allies, by our Envoys; has been rejected with scorn. nor would the Military Despots, give to our Ambassadors, an opportunity of presenting those liberal generous and pacific terms, with which they were Charged, they seemed to think all negotiation useless, which possessd not the power of Midas. The haughtiness by which the proud repell us, has this of good in it; that in making us keep our distance, they must keep their distance too, having swallowd up all the Republicks with which they have contended, drained them of all their resources, they proceed from the same rapacious spirit, to imprison the Ambassador of a sovereign power: not as alledged, for offering a Bribe, but having exacted from his court one heavy
contribution, as the price of peace; and employd that very money in establishing their late military despotism, they refuse to sign the Treaty, which was a few days protracted, in order to obtain the consent of an Ally, against whom some articles militated with their former engagements. having obtained their consent, the Minister presented the Treaty for signature, and was refused, unless a new gift of a still more oppressive sum was given upon the refusal of his court to comply, the Minister; contrary to the Law of Nations is imprisoned, and portugal threatened with an invasion,
The dispatches from our Envoys which you have undoubtedly read; and which I now send you, will be prooff sufficient, to shew, what a pitch of venality, Rapacity and avarice, the present Rulers of France have arrived at. The confidence with which they boast of a powerfull party in this Country devoted to their views, is daily experienced. their emissaries are scatterd through all parts of this extensive union, sowing the seeds of vice, irreligion, corruption, and sedition. hence has grown up that spirit of party, and of faction within those walls, where wisdom and patriotism alone should preside; where you behold sophistry, substituted instead of argument, and personal Reflections giving place to National Dignity and Decorum. I wish however a veil to be thrown over the disgracefull business which occupied much too large a portion of the present session; and that it may sink into oblivion with the party views which supported it
The Nation appears to be rousing from the Lethargy, which has too long benumbed its powers, and rising to a Sence of its own Dignity, and consequence, with a firm resolution to repell the insults offerd her, too long a habit of humiliation, does not seem a very good preparative to manly and vigorous sentiments. but the reluctance which every American feels to engage in Hostilities with any Nation, and the desire they have to sacrifice all consideration to the preservation of peace, short of their Independance, and Security, has restrained them from expressing the full extent of their Indignation against a Nation, which they considerd as oppressed, and in the early stages of its Revolution, sincerely wished it success in obtaining and securing to itself equal Liberty and social Rights, but when we see them from
being oppressed, become themselves the greatest of all oppressors and usurpers, we can no longer wish them success.
If we become a united people, there is no doubt but we can withstand the storms which threatens us. united we stand, united we are formidable, and sufficient to ourselves, nor need we seek a Foreign Aid, or dread a Foreign Foe.
As Calumny, and abuse upon the Fairest Characters and the best Men in France, was one of the most powerfull engines, employed to overturn one set of Rulers and in sitting up others who in their turn shared the same fate, so have their emissaries adopted the same weapons in this Country and the Liberty of the press is become licentious beyond any former period. the Good sense of the American people in general directs them Right, where they can see and judge for themselves, but in distant and remote parts of the union, this continued abuse, deception, and falshood is productive of great mischief, and tends to destroy that confidence and Harmony which is the Life Health and Security of a Republick.
I write to you, my dear Madam, with the Freedom and confidence of an old Friend, who, I am sure, will unite with me in sincere, and ardent wishes, for the peace security and prosperity of our common Country.
The president desires me to present to Genll. Warren the Remembrance of an old Friend who would be much more at his ease, and happier in cultivating the usefull science of Agriculture with him, than, in the arduous, complicated, turbulant and difficult task assignd him. he will however do his utmost, that the fruits of the Husbandman, and the Commerce of the Merchant shall be protected and secured, and that the Liberty and Independance which we obtaind and secured from the Grasp of one Foreign Nation, shall not be unjustly wrested from us by any other power. if we are but just to ourselves, and in these endavours he hopes for the aid and countanance of all his fellow citizens.
When I return to Quincy, which I hope may be in the course of the summer, it will give me great pleasure to see and welcome you and Genll. Warren at Peace Field.