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the extremes of want and the insolence of more fortunate adventurers in life, who once thought themselves honoured by the notice of persons now in peculiar distress.
Col. Walker has been dead three or four months. You will see by her letter the situation of his wife. If you think it consistent with justice, doubtless you will attend to her application when it comes in your way. She is a Friendless Widow, a sensible well bred woman, once possessed of Fortune and consequently courted and respected by the World. And all the alleviation that I know of in her present reversed situation is that she has no children for whom her heart might be daily wrung, and that the suffering of her Husband and herself were in consequence of principles that urged them to risque everything to obtain liberty, independence and happiness to others. Many a similar victim to public Virtue we have and shall see on a survey of the convulsions and Revolutions of our own day.
I thank you, sir, for a letter received by my son, a son who has suffered too severely from the malice of his Contemporaries; but perhaps not so much from any impropriety in his own Conduct, as from the determined system of political enmity that has ransacked the lower Regions for calumnies to ruin his Father-your Friend and a man you know, or ought to know, has never deviated from the line of probity in public or in private life: notwithstanding the efforts to destroy his influence in the public walks, and to cut him off from the pleasures of private Friendship by the basest and most Groundless insinuations.
I most sincerely wish you every Happiness in the elevated situation you are about to occupy, nor do I think there is much danger of the difficulties you mention. I cannot, sir, entirely agree with you in the observation that the people of America will be remarkably averse to yield obedience to the authority they have instituted. I am persuaded the new Government will operate very quietly unless the reins are held too taught, which may Gall some restive spirits for a while; but mankind are much more prone to servile compliance to the will of power than to a sober and Rational attention to that Freedom and independence which is the just claim of nature, and is by no means incompatible with
the necessary subordination which must subsist to maintain a just and regular Government.
You will make my best regards to Mrs. Adams and to your Children, and believe me, with the highest esteem and respect, your assured friend and Humble servant.
MERCY WARREN TO JOHN Adams
PLIMOUTH, May 7, 1789
SIR, - Presuming on the Confidential and unremitting friendship that has long subsisted between us, grounded on the close connection commenced with Mr. Warren in the early part of your life, I again address you without waiting an answer to my last which, according to your usual politeness and punctuality, I doubt not will be noticed as soon as the particular engagements that have lately occupied your attention, the etiquette of the entrée public and the consequent ceremonies, are a little over.
I do not mean to flatter the most virtuous and the most elevated Characters, but I must assure you, sir, I have too high an opinion of yours, to imagine it will ever suffer a diminution in my mind from any failure in friendship which I always thought formed on the purest principles, strengthened by mutual confidence and exertion in every patriotic measure, and increased by a thousand circumstances of fiery tryal through the arduous struggle for the liberties of America.
You, my Dear sir, have successfully surmounted all: you have baffled the intrigues of your foes: have reached the acme of applause, and are placed in a situation to do eminent service to your country, to establish your family and to assist most essentially your friends. Gen. Warren has unfortunately been the butt of party malice, headed by a man (I know you very justly and heartily despise), who by his machinations has destroyed his public influence and aided by some others for very obvious designs have most injuriously traduced his character, and wish to ruin his Family; But Mr. Adams is the last man in the united
states, who I should suppose would listen to the misrepresentations, or be impressed by the calumnies of open or disguised Enemies to the prejudice of an old and a tryed Friend — a friend whose zeal and exertions in the public cause you are acquainted with and whose integrity you never could suspect. Perhaps no other person has for so many years possessed so great a share of his esteem and confidence as yourself: of consequence, it must be supposed that you know his undisguised temper and sentiments much better than any one of the several descriptions of men who have stuck at no falsehoods or even fosgeries to prostrate his political Character.
You, sir, will be sensible on a short recollection whence these Reflections have arisen. I yet consider the free and explicit manner of some late conversations as a mark of your sincerity and friendship; and though none of my Family are soliciting, at least I am persuaded you will not forget them at a time when you have it so much in your power to oblige without injustice to yourself, your Family, or your Country: but, on the contrary, may indulge the feelings of a Friend and the Patriot by an attention to the interest of a Gentleman who has an equal claim from his Country with any man that is of a uniform attachment thereto, and an indefatigable industry to support its welfare joined with the strictest probity can justify that claim
But the vindictive spirit of his enemies, not sufficiently Gratified by their too successful Efforts against him, have endeavoured to wound in a still more tender part by levelling their envenomed shafts at the reputation of a son. was there a propriety in calling your attention at this time to private objects, I could give you a curious detail of fact, relative to this matter. Yet I do not think it by any means necessary in order to secure your patronage. I am sure of it whenever an opportunity offers to serve any one of a family personally attached from infancy to you and yours.
This is a very free letter; but when I have been used to write and converse with the simplicity of truth and the unreserve of confidential Esteem, neither rank nor station, nor distance or time, will check the disposition to "throw open the Volume of the soul." Especially when candor has heretofore beheld its contents
with the most favorable eye. I shall only lock myself up in reserve when convinced there is no stability in human Friendships by Mr. Adams' forgetfulness of, or indifference toward, such an invariable Friend as I know he has from his first entrance on life possessed in Mr. Warren. But though ill treated, maligned and persecuted in a most unjust and singular manner, he yet bears and has borne the unprovoked abuse with the Dignity of conscious rectitude and that Philippic calmness which is never the companion of insurgency, Anarchy or Fraud. I always have thought those Ideas when applied to a person of his established and uniform character were too ridiculous to require a serious refutation; till by a strange combination of parties (invidious to each other, and who have only united when it would aid the depression of a man of too much independence of mind to subserve their designs) they have in some instances been so successful as to injure him in the opinion of some he highly esteems.
But time will make curious disclosures, when you, sir, may be astonished to find the incendiaries who fomented the discontents among the ignorant and miserable insurgents of the Massachusetts in a class least suspected by the world; by persons who to screen their own Guilt fabricated and secretly caused the vague and malignant rumour to light on one of the most cherished friends to the Constitution and to his Country; a gentleman whose services have been distinguished; whose patriotism has been unshaken and his Virtue incorruptible; whose fortune has been impaired and whose Family have personally suffered in the public cause. Yet neither himself nor any one of a family of young Gentlemen of promising expectations have sustained any office of honour or emolument since the commencement of the Constitution of Massachusetts.
I only mention these things from a sense of justice, from that justice which I would wish to exercise toward any one, however disconnected, were I equally sure of their merit and their mal
You, sir, will excuse my detaining you thus long when I tell you the sensibility of my feeling heart has been awakened on many trying occasions; nor is it totally an uninteresting subject to
yourself. For so fluctuating is the popular voice, and so replete with vicissitude are all human affairs, that those whose commanding good fortune augurs no change for the worse may yet contemplate in a more solemn hour the injustice, the ingratitude and abuse experienced by themselves, which has been felt before by some of their Friends.
I will swell this long Epistle with only one truth more, which I dare say I may ever subjoin to my correspondence with you, that I am, respected sir, with great esteem your sincere well-wisher, assured Friend and very Humble servant
JOHN ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
NEW YORK, May 29th, 1789
MADAM, — A little before my departure from Braintree I received your favor inclosing a letter from Mrs. Walker. Last night I received that of the 7th May. There was no necessity of any apology for writing to me after so long a correspondence. There has never been on my part any failure of friendship to Mr. Warren or yourself. You are very much mistaken in your opinion of my situation. I have neither reached the acme of applause nor am I in a situation to establish my Family or assist my Friends. I am and have been extremely mortified from my first arrival in America to hear from all quarters the unpopularity of my Friend Warren and his family, whom I was formerly accustomed to hear spoken of with affection and respect by all. It is not my fault to have listened to the uninterrupted Ebulitions of the public wrath. For I must have been wholly out of society not to have heard them, and they hurt my heart most too intimately not to make a deep impression. (No doubt there have been many and great exaggerations and misrepresentations. But one thing is indubitable, that G[eneral] Warren did differ for a time from all his Friends and did countenance measures that appear to me, as they did to those Friends, extremely pernicious.
You are pleased to say, Madam, that you are sure of our Patron