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cheering influence, in the Bosom of a Friend, that those only who are deprived of it, can truly estimate its worth.
The most Forlorn and Dismal of all States is that of widowhood, how often does my Heart bleed at thinking how nearly my own Situation is allied to that, nor can I sometimes refrain from wishing that the wisdom of the continent had made choice of some person whose seperation from his partner would have been little or no pain, or mortification — many such might have been found I dare say Heaven can witness for me that I judge not by my own feelings, but from the conduct of too many of my sex.
Two Letters I have had the pleasure of receiving since I saw you, the latest date 27 of August.
Never says the writer was the Spirit of a Nation higher than the French, never Nation had more cause for dejection than England, persons from England say that the general opinion is that Independance will be agree'd to, but be not deceived, it is time enough to believe it when it is fact. he adds do not be anxious about Spain, nor any thing else. Let us sing, o be joyfull! I fancy the writer has imbibed some of the Spirit of the Nation from the climate, he appears to be in high Spirits.
This Letter was wrote more than ten days ago, but my finger was so bad that I could not finish it.
I now propose sending it by my Daughter who earnestly hopes to see plimouth tomorrow. I commit her to the care of a Friend who I hope will advise admonish and direct her, with the same freedom she would one of her own tho large in Stature, she is young in years. My best regards to our worthy suffering Friend Mrs. Lothrope. I never see her but she brings to my mind Shakespears "patience on a Monument smiling at grief."
Love attend Master Henery with his smiling countanance & Master George with his grave senatorial face.
You will be so good as to write often to me. I shall endeavour to fullfill my promise whenever any thing offers worth communicating from your Sincere Friend,
MERCY WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS
PLIMOUTH, December 15th, 1778
SIR, I cannot but think myself a sufferer by the Many Captures on American Navigation, for as you are undoubtedly a Gentleman of the strictest Veracity, I must suppose the Watery Damsels that Attend the ouzy Board of the Grey Headed Neptune, are much more Fortunate than the Woodland Dames of America. Otherways Notwithstanding the Bussy and important scenes in which you are ingaged a Folio from the Court of France Must have Reached Braintree, and an octavo sheet at Least would have found its way to Plimouth before this.
But if by thus Frequently seting down the Most Weighty secrets of state, as well as the social Communications of the Friendly Heart, the Dark Counsels of the Deities Below do not Gain an influence sufficient to Embarass your Negotiations, we can better forgive this peculation of the Nereides, or we may suppose the Females beneath, have some Curiosity as well as those who walk upon the surface of a World, where knowledge is circumscribed within such Narrow Limits, and the sex too often forbidden to taste the Golden Fruit.
But perhaps you May have forgot through the Multiplicity of your Avocations, and the Magnitude of the objects, and say surely I Never promissed to write to more than one Lady, on the Western side the Atlantic, but that Lady has furnished me with a written testimony signed by yourself, that the first safe Conveyance should Forward some observations, and Remarks, to Mrs. Wn, which if Collected by Mr. Adams must surely be a
And I have still a Further Demand upon you. You May Recollect six years ago, at a certain fire side, where many Political plans were Laid, Discussed, and Digested, you said it was your Opinion, the Contest Between Britain and America would not be setled till your sons and my sons were able to Visit, and Negotiate at the Different Courts of Europe. A Lady Replied (though perhaps not from prescience, presentiment, or anything but presumption), that you Must do this Work yourselves, and that she Expected
from you a pleasing Naration of the Different Customs, Manners, Genius, and Taste of Nations with whom we were little acquainted. You have been absent almost a year, and None are yet arrived. You Must Remember sir, that when we are Descending a precipice the Velocity is much more Rapid than when we Mount, though Expectation points us to the summit, and hope spreads her Wings to accelerate our Motion. And if you postpone your Communications by the year, I Cannot Expect to Receive many, for if no premature stroke precipitates the Moment, the sun will not Revolve Many times round this Inconsiderable Globe before I hope to tread the starry pavement, and look down with pity on the Regalia of princes, the Empires of a Day, the pomp of Royalty, and even the pride of Republican or Aristocratic Grandeur.
I Wrote you a Long Letter Dated October 15th, which went in a packet forwarded by the Count De Estaign. It was Void of poetick Imagery, or any Flights of Fancy, but Contained many solemn Truths, which if that packet arrived safe, were doubtless Corroborated by better Hands.
I write this in a Solitary Hour. Mr. Warren yet at the Navy Board, Exerting all the powers of a Good Head and an Excellent Heart to put the affairs of the American Marine on a Reputable Footing, as far as falls within His Department. We have hitherto been unfortunate by sea, the Causes shall leave for others to Investigate.
Mrs. Adams will Doubtless write you by this Conveyance. She has lately made me an agreable Visit, and I often see her on my way to the Capital: whither I Repair when I Can Leave my Little Family, which now Consists of only my two younger sons in the parlour, the three Elder being at an age that makes it proper they should Leave the parental Roof. probably you do not Remember any of them. But I shall in a few days have a young person with me whom you will Never forget, one Miss Naby Adams, who I expect will spend the Winter at Plimouth.
There are Certain Moments in the Lives of the Greatest philosophers and politicians, when the Mind is Relieved, and Gathers fresh Vigour, from some trivial interruption accidentally thrown in the way. This Reflection quiets the Bussy Monitor within, who
sometimes Wispers, why do you Break in (by Recounting the uninteresting occurrances that fall in your way) on the important Moments of a Gentleman whose time is not his own.
And I wish the same Reflection would have an influence on Him, so far as to unbend his Mind Enough to write a person very Avaritious of the Notices of the Worthy, and of Every Attainable Means of improvement in this scanty portion of Existence.
This Goes by Capt. Landais of the Alliance with whom I have a son. I took up my pen Intending only a few Lines to Let you know Notwithstanding the Convulsions of Nations, the Fluctuation of Events and the Vicissitudes of time, there are yet a few, a very few, of your acquaintance whom you most Esteemed in the Days of Tranquility who Remain Invariably the same. Nor Can I Lay it down till I have told you that both you and your Country have lost a Friend in the Death of Coll. Otis: who after long and patiently waiting to be called from his post, Bid Adieu to Mortality the 9th of Nov., 1778, when He paid this Last Debt to Nature. Both public and private Virtue Might justly Mourn the Deceased patron, while a Large tribute of Gratitude Mingled with tears, is Due to the Memory of an Excellent Father. From your unfeigned Friend and Humble Servant
JAMES WARREN TO SAMUEL ADAMS 2
BOSTON, Decr. 16th, 1778
MY DEAR SIR, -I am at the Close of a very Busy Day to tell you that all things here remain much in the Situation they were, no new thing haveing lately taken place. Folly and Wickedness stalk abroad with the same shameless rapidity and Confidence they ever have done and find Numbers to keep them in Countenance. Assemblies, Gameing, and the fashionable Amusements Engage the Genteel People, or those who cant be so without
I A letter from John Adams to Mercy Warren, December 18 [misdated in printing 15], 1778, is in Writings of John Adams, 1x. 474.
2 From the Samuel Adams Papers in the New York Public Library.
them, while more Laudable Entertainments Engage others of a different Turn of Mind. As the Seasons of the Year revolve the 22d of December returns next week and again brings us to the Celebration of our Anniversary. I wish I could have your Company again at Plymouth on that Occasion. it would certainly be an additional pleasure. The Papers furnish us with Lists of Delegates Chosen for several States. pray why is Mr. Carroll left out in Maryland. and you perhaps will ask why are some others Chose in another State.
The Inclosed Letter I beg your Care off. it is from Mrs. Warren to a Lady of her Acquaintance sent to Mr. Mathews. I can add no more but that I am assuredly yours, etc.
JAMES WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS
PLYMOUTH, N. E., Jany. 1, 1779
MY DEAR SIR,- I keep no Copies of Letters and therefor am unable to refer to the dates or the Contents. I know I have wrote you many and some of them very Lengthy. the Contents may be of no great Consequence, whether they are lost or received. how many you have wrote me, you can best tell. only one has yet reached me. I have been now ten days from the Capital, and therefore unable to give you such Intelligence as I might if there. however I believe you will not get much from there at this Time, nothing very Remarkable having taken place the last three weeks I was at Boston. The Papers that will be sent by the Navy Board by this Good Oppertunity and your Friend, the Marquis Fayette, will give you every thing you can wish to know from here. The principal Subject of Conversation seems to be a Letter lately published by Mr. Deane, attacking with great Freedom the Character and Conduct of Doctor Lee and, indeed, that of his whole Family.1 this Letter is neither Elegant or Nervous, is calculated to command the Attention and fix the prejudices of the
I Probably Deane's "Address" printed in the Pennsylvania Packet, December 5, 1778, and widely copied.