« AnteriorContinuar »
public Tranquility during their recess, but dosed themselves into an unusual Adjournment for six or seven months. They have been called to meet on the present Occasion sooner than the Time adjourned to; have set near a Month without any Appearance of that Wisdom and Address necessary to redress the unhappy Situation we are fallen into. I do not say that they are Incompetent to the Business before them, or that the State of things is Incapable of redress; but it is possible (at least) that they should set till next Election without devising the mode of doing it. The Papers will Inform you that the Three upper Counties (and Bristol is not much better) have refused submission to the Government established by the Constitution and Obedience to the Laws made under it; that is, they have violated their Compact and are in a State of Rebellion, while the three Eastern Counties are petitioning to be separated from us and formed into a new Government of their own Construction. These are very singular Events, which must have been produced by some singular Causes; if they are the natural Consequences of that state of things I described in my last, you will not think my picture more horrible than the reality. I have long been mortified by the Imbecility and Inattention with which our public Affairs have been Conducted. it is probable that when I wrote that Letter I felt also some Indignation. I claim a right to express it to you. my small Efforts were Joined with yours and others for many Years in raising a Glorious Fabrick on Foundations that should have been as permanent as Time, but suffered to fall into ruin in less than half the Time it took to build it. I feel for the Character of the Country. I am mortified at the Triumphs of our Enemies. I am sorry for you, who must from your situation be peculiarly exposed to them. I wish everything may be so Conducted as to restore Order and submission to Government; but I fear it will be some time first. The Scarcity of Money is a great Obstacle and the folly and Extravagance that made it scarce in a great degree remains. I am acquainted with Coll. Smith's Character, tho' I have not the pleasure of knowing his Person. I am glad you have given your Daughter to a man of so much Merit. Please to give her my Blessing and good Wishes. Mrs. Warren desires her regards to be Joined with mine to Mr.
and Mrs. Adams and Mr. and Mrs. Smith. I am with great Esteem and regard your most obedt. Humble Servt.
26th. I have just heard that the Supream Court are setting at Taunton, supported by 450 of the Militia which proved a stronger Body than the Mob mustered to prevent it.
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WARren
Grosvenor SQUARE, Jan. 9, 1787
DEAR SIR, I have received, your Favour of October the 22d and am sorry to find you so true a Prophet. Yet I am happy to perceive that Government arrouses itself with some degree of Dignity, and is likely to prevail. It is apparent however that Discontents, and a restless Temper, have taken a deep root and will require much Prudence as well as firmness, to guard against their Tendency. When We find ourselves disposed to think there is a total Change of manners and Principles We should recollect, what the manners and Principles were before the War. if you recollect the War of 1755, or even the War of 1745, you must remember, very Signal Proofs of a disposition in our People, to run eagerly after foreign manners and Fashions. if you begin at 1760, and recollect, how many Persons satt out with Us, on the same side of the political question, and were warned off, some by little Marks of distinction, some by little offices and some by great ones, some by their avarice, others by their ambition, some by their vanity, others by their fears, some by envy and others by Revenge, how much difficulty there was to keep the People steady, but especially those who flattered themselves they were Leaders, You will be very sensible that our Countrymen have never merited the Character of very exalted Virtue. it is not to be expected that they should have grown much better! I find myself very much averse to believe that they are grown much worse. Yet this is very possible and your Situation affords you opportunities to know, which I have not. if it is indeed true, that there is a general De
generacy, it is an allarming Consideration. The great Question is what can be done to check its further Growth, or to restore Things to their former State? When at home in 1779 I remarked a general Caution, and I thought timidity among the leading Characters, which made me apprehensive of disagreable Consequences. If the People are upon the Watch, and are laying hold of every unpopular Idea or Expression, to propagate it, to exagerate it and to misrepresent it, this will naturally make Men afraid to pursue their own Judgments. Symptoms of this I thought appeared. and I should not wonder if the best Men became unpopular. There is no Remedy, but a general Conviction of the danger, and a general Agreement against it. My own Sentiments differ very widely from many of the best Characters, even from Mr. Adams and General Warren. think the first Magistrate must be sett up very high in real Power as well as in the opinion of the People, without this we may lament Disorders but never cure them The Appearance of County Conventions and their Resolutions, set me upon throwing together some Disquisitions concerning our Governments, which are now printed. I will send you a Copy of it.1 Popularity was never my Mistress, nor was I ever, or shall I ever be a popular Man. (This Book will make me unpopular. But one Thing I know a Man must be sensible of the Errors of the People, and upon his Guard against them, and must run the risque of their Displeasure sometimes, or he will never do them any good in the long run. I deliver the Book up, to the Mercy of a World, that will never show me much Mercy, as my Confession of political Faith. Unpopular as it may be at present, the time will come, after I am dead, when the System of it in general must be adopted, with bitter repentance that it was not heeded sooner. It is much easier to pull down a Government, in such a Conjuncture of affairs as We have seen, than to build up, at such a Season as the present. if the Massachusetts can be governed without a total Seperation of the Executive Power from the Senate, the House and the People, I am altogether ignorant of the Character of that People, and have not made one Sound Observation upon the
I Defense of the Constitutions of Government of the United States, published in London, 1787.
History of Nations. My Situation here is mournfull and unpleasant enough, and it would not be more gay, anywhere else. You and I have not had an easy task in Life hitherto, and I at least have no Cause to hope that mine will become easier. But I will be as cheerful and contented under it, as I can, let it be what it will.
My Family joins me, in affectionate Respects to yours, and I remain with unalterable Esteem, your friend and humble Servant JOHN ADAMS
inclosed is a Letter of Mr. Hartley's. it contains Knowledge of Iron, that may be useful in America.
JAMES WINTHROP TO MERCY WARREN
MADAM, I have just been honored with a very short visit. from General Warren. He reminded me of my duty with respect to the manuscript, which you was pleased to intrust me with. I should have returned it with my own hand, in order at the same time to have expressed the pleasure which the perusal of it gave me, but one of my hands has been so lame owing to its being frozen in the march of the third instant, that it has been exceedingly inconvenient to me to ride. Harry stood the fatigue exceedingly well and was not frozen at all.
I acknowledge that I was in some measure prevented from the full enjoyment of your history, by a cause which you mentioned when you delivered the book to me. But notwithstanding that difficulty, it appears to me that the stile is nervous and perspicuous and flowing. The facts are justly and methodically narrated. The characters, which indeed form the most difficult part of history, appear to be accurately defined, and so far as I have had opportunity to be acquainted with them to be perfectly just. But you must not charge me with trimming when I start the following query. The Royalists constantly attributed to Mr. Hutchinson a character for great abilities. Though we cannot form a very high
opinion of the political talents of a man who has made the establishment of a particular system the pursuit of his whole life, and is disappointed in the attainment of his object: yet would it not be better to give him, on the credit of his own party, a little undeserved praise, to procure their judgment in favor of the work? You know already my opinion of the former Governor, and that it is not mine alone. These are the only things which occurred to me as rendering a revision expedient. I cannot suppose that mere slips of the pen were included in your injunctions. The remarks now made are not grounded on any acquaintance I had with Mr. H[utchinson.] The dispute ran so high before I was able to judge of the controversy, that every man had taken his side, and of course I was acquainted with only the leaders on one side. The friendship which has long subsisted between our families and which may properly be considered as hereditary, will when considered by your good sense and a very small share of your candor, be my apology for the freedom of the present remarks. I have the honor to be, Madam, with much esteem Your most Obedt. Servant,
CATHERINE MACAULAY GRAHAM TO MERCY WARREN
I thank you, dear Madam, for the favor of your letter of the sixth of January. The having seen and conversed in person with the Author gave an additional pleasure to the renewal of our old correspondence.
We have indeed been much alarmed for the safety of the infant Governments of America and I sincerely hope that this attempt. to disturb the public tranquility will like most others of the same Nature when they fail only serve to give it a more permanent establishment. I have heard that things are grown better in many ways since I left America, the high price of provision be lowered and I hope the tast for the Luxuries of Europe decreased. indeed I always flattered myself that the mortifications you have sustained on the article of commerce and the disappointment of Land not taking a great rise after the Revolution from the incoming of