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Connected with their general Conversion will be the mighty Revolution in papal Christendom, and the fall of the Turkish Empire.
These Things seem to be rapidly approaching; yet, they are not very near, unless some Errors have been committed by Commentators in their Calculations.
Tho I do not believe the present state of France to be particularly designated in any Prophesy, yet I doubt not, but her Conduct will under providential superintendence, be made to promote beneficent Plans of Infinite Wisdom.
When I recollect, how amazingly the Roman Conquest facilitated the propagation of the Religion of our Blessed Saviour, I cannot forbear applying to him the Expressions used by the poet with an other Meaning
For him the self-devoted Decii dyed,
Again When that Empire having attained its utmost Grandeur, as all things human how ever magnificent tend to Decay, was dissolving, to how many barbarous Nations "walking in Darkness," did its expiring Agonies convey the Light of the Gospel!
Coming nearer to our own Days we may observe, that when the Christian Verity was deeply corrupted, the Abomination of the Court of Rome and the inordinate passions of Princes, became subservient to a wholesome Reformation.
In this Retrospection it is found, first, that the Effects produced, were directly contrary to the Intentions of the Agents: and secondly, that the Agents were generally bad Men.
Such Instances of over-ruling Government, seem to hold for Encouragement in these convulsive seasons. "The Lord reigneth, let the Earth rejoice."
Limited as our Capacities are, We are favored so far as to perceive, that the Sovereign of the Universe can deduce Good out of Evil; and that he is inclined so to do: But our sentiments on this Head must be mingled with pure Humility, for "who hath known the Mind of the Lord? or, who hath been his Councellor?"
That every happiness may attend the Sister of the Man I loved, herself worthy to be loved, is the Prayer of thy sincere Friend JOHN DICKINSON
WILMINGTON, the 22d of the 12 Month, 1806.
I received from Matthew Carey of Philadelphia on the 4th of the last ninth Month, the two setts of thy valuable History for which I had subscribed, and paid him for them twelve Dollars.
JAMES WINTHROP TO MERCY WARREN
CAMBRIDGE, 4 Feb., 1807
MADAM, I cannot avoid writing to express the pleasure I derived from reading your history of the revolution. It is a well digested and polished narrative, and gave great satisfaction. But I am afraid you will not believe my praise unless qualified with some remarks to shew that I gave it a critical reading. To say that we are pleased with a book, that we have read so carelessly, as hardly to know what is in it, is hardly giving any praise at all. It is only saying that we met with nothing offensive, and that is hardly to be deemed praise. I must therefore give you proof that I have read it.
In Vol 1. It is said that Mr. Bernard retired with a title and a pension of a thousand pounds sterling a year. Of the pension I have nothing to remark, but the proof of royal favor in granting him a title was a considerable time before he left the government. I have heard Mr. Otis fill up a Chasm in his public speech, with Mr. Bernard's titles at full length "His excellency Sir Francis Bernard of Nettleham, Baronet, Governor and Commander in chief of his Majesty's province of the Massachusetts in New England, and vice Admiral of the same." To a man of the Governor's disposition, pleased with those little exterior circumstances, the ridicule was well applied and the hearers generally understood it.1
1 In April, 1769, Bernard was created a baronet as of Nettleham in the county of Lincoln.
In the last Volume I suspect an anachronism, as respecting one of the attacks on the island of Jersey. The first expedition was some time in the summer, I believe before Cornwallis had got into difficulty in Virginia. Yet the Commodore is charged with blame in not hastening to America where he might be wanted. I do not know how it would stand on a strict comparison of dates. This was merely the impression made on me in reading.
There are several passages in the course of the work which mark the goodness of the Author's mind, and probably if her system of kind treatment could be applied to a state of war, the condition of mankind would be ameliorated. But I have serious doubts whether the maxims of friendly intercourse can be applied to such a state. It seems to me that the nature of war requires the parties to do all the hurt they can. The mildest, that has been supposed to [be] a true maxim, is that the conquerors succeede to all the rights of government, possessed by their immediate predecessors. In some cases this may be true, where an extensive country is obliged to submit, the Victor wants the revenue, and of course must preserve things as free from change as possible, not indeed from any sense of duty to the vanquished, but from a regard to his own interest. This does not go so far as to justify a state of war, but merely to define the rights resulting from that state. War is a state that I believe is always to be deprecated, when it does not arise from inevitable necessity. But when one nation, depending on its strength and not on the justice of its cause, makes war upon another, the necessity of war is inevitable on the part of the invaded State. The two nations are to be considered as two individuals in a state of nature. The invader will do all he can to enforce submission or to destroy his antagonist; the invaded has acquired a right to do all he can to repel or even to destroy the invader. In the quarrel of two individuals, it ends with the life of one of them, when carried to the utmost length of war. In such a case between nations it ends with the submission or conquest of one of the parties. This is the political death of one of the nations. Private citizens are only to be considered as members of the body politic, and in a dispute between two governments, their subjects immediately are exposed to annoyance, as
members of the same body with the government. It will not do for the citizen to say because I am not concerned in directing national affairs I am in no degree answerable for the public proceedings. All being members of the same body, and joined in the same social compact, must stand or fall together. A Government making war without its subjects is as bad a supposition as a man's head quarrelling with a neighbor without the support of hands or feet.
As to the right of retaliation for all unnecessary cruelty it appears to me as strict a right as that of defence in any other form. No principles of morals oblige us to take all the disadvantage of our principles, and leave all the advantage of them to the adversary. When the enemy admits a good principle in common with us, we are bound to allow him as much benefit from it, as we derive from it ourselves. But if the enemy denies or resists the rule of good conduct, he ceases to be a christian, and becomes in our view an heathen and a subject of coërcion. Don't set me down as an heretic, tho' this is my construction of the good book.
My respects to the General. Mrs. Hilliard joins in good wishes to you and your family. I am, Madam, with much respect Your obedient Servant
ABIGAIL ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
QUINCY, March 9th, 1807
MY DEAR MRS. WARREN,- To your kind and friendly Letter I fully designed an immediate replie, but a severe attack of a Rheumatick complaint in my Head has confined me to my Chamber for several weeks and renderd me unable to hold a pen. tho recovering from it, my head still feels craked: shatterd I am sure it is. you will therefore pardon any inaccuracy I may commit. my Health which you so kindly inquire after, has been better for two years past, than for many of those which preceeded them. I am frequently reminded that here I have no abiding place. I bend to the blast. it passes over for the present and I rise again.
your Letter, my dear Madam, written so much in the stile of Mrs. Warren's ancient Friendship, renewed all those sensations which formerly gave me pleasure, and from which I have derived sincere and durable gratification, and I anticipate a still closer and more cordial union in the world of spirits to which we are hastening, when these earthly tabernacles shall be moulderd into Dust.
If we were to count our years by the revolutions we have witnessed, we might number them with the Antediluvians, so rapid have been the changes: that the mind tho fleet in its progress, has been outstripped by them, and we are left like statues gaping at what we can neither fathom, or comprehend.
you inquire what does mr. Adams think of Napolean? If you had asked Mrs. Adams, she would have replied to you in the words of Pope,
If plagues and earthquakes brake not heavens design
I am Authorized to replie to your question, What does mr. Adams think Napoleon was made for? "My answer shall be as prompt and frank as her question. Napoleon's Maker alone can tell all he was made for. in general Napoleon was, I will not say made, but permitted for a cat-o'nine-tails, to inflict ten thousand lashes upon the back of Europe as divine vengeance for the Atheism, Infidelity, Fornications, Adulteries, Incests, and Sodomies, as well as Briberies, Robberies, Murders, Thefts, Intrigues, and fraudelent speculations of her inhabitants, and if we are far enough advanced in the career, and certainly we have progressd very rapidly, to whip us for the same crimes, and after he has answerd the end he was made, or permitted for, to be thrown into the fire. now I think I have meritted the answer from Mrs. Warren which she has promised me to the Question, what was Napoleon made for?"
May I ask Mrs. Warren in my turn, what was Col. Burr made for? and what can you make of him or his projects? enveloped in as many Mystery as Mrs. Ratcliff's castle of udolphus? how he mounted to power we know, and a faithfull historic page ought to record, and after he had answered the end for which he was