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and ruin. Where these things will end I know not. In perfect secrecy between you and me, I must tell you that I now believe the President will retire. The consequence to me is very serious, and I am not able, as yet, to see what my duty will demand of me. I shall take my resolutions with cool deliberation. I shall watch the course of events with more critical attention than I have done for some time, and what Providence shall point out to be my duty, I shall pursue with patience and decision. It is no light thing to resolve upon retirement. My country has claims, my children have claims, and my own character has claims upon me; but all these claims forbid me to serve the public in disgrace. Whatever any one may think, I love my country too well to shrink from danger in her service, provided I have a reasonable prospect of being able to serve her to her honor and advantage. But if I have reason to think that I have either a want of abilities or of public confidence to such a degree as to be unable to support the government in a higher station, I ought to decline it. But in that case, I ought not to serve in my present place under another, especially if that other should entertain sentiments so opposite to mine as to endanger the peace of the nation. It will be a dangerous crisis in public affairs if the President and Vice President should be in opposite boxes.

These lucubrations must be confined to your own bosom. But I think, upon the whole, the probability is strong that I shall make a voluntary retreat, and spend the rest of my days, in a very humble style,

with you. Of one thing I am very sure it would be to me the happiest portion of my whole life.

I am, with unabatable affection,



J. A.


Philadelphia, 20 January, 1796.

THIS is one of my red letter days. It is the anniversary of the signature of the declaration of an armistice between the United States and Great Britain in 1783. There are several of these days in my calendar, which I recollect as they pass in review, but which nobody else remembers. And, indeed, it is no otherwise worth my while to remember them than to render an ejaculation of gratitude to Providence for the blessing.

We are wasting our time in the most insipid manner, waiting for the treaty. Nothing, of any consequence, will be done till that arrives and is mauled and abused, and then acquiesced in. For the antis must be more numerous than I believe them, and made of sterner stuff than I conceive, if they dare hazard the surrender of the posts and the payment for spoliations, by any resolution of the House

that shall render precarious the execution of the treaty on our part.

I am, as you say, quite a favorite. I am to dine to-day again. I am heir apparent, you know, and a succession is soon to take place. But, whatever may be the wish or the judgment of the present occupant, the French and the demagogues intend, I presume, to set aside the descent. All these hints must be secrets. It is not a subject of conversation as yet. I have a pious and a philosophical resignation to the voice of the people in this case, which is the voice of God. I have no very ardent desire to be the butt of party malevolence. Having tasted of that cup, I find it bitter, nauseous, and unwholesome.

I hope Copeland will find his six loads to complete the meadow, and take the first opportunity to cart or sled the manure from the yard at home up to the top of Stonyfield hill. The first season that happens fit for ploughing, should be employed in cross ploughing the ground at home over the way. The news of my mother's arm growing better has given me great pleasure. Of the four barrels of flour I have shipped to you, present one of them to my mother from me, with my duty and affection. Tell my brother I hope he has seen his error, and become a better friend of peace and good government than he has been somewhat inclined to be since the promulgation of the treaty.

I am, with affections, as ever, your

J. A.



Philadelphia, 23 January, 1796.

THE House of Representatives will do no business, with any spirit, before the treaty arrives. The disaffected are intriguing, but accounts from all quarters are very discouraging to them. We have been very unfortunate in the delays which have attended the despatches of our ambassadors. Very lucky, Mr. John Quincy Adams, that you are not liable to criticism upon this occasion! This demurrage would have been charged doubly, both to your account and that of your father. It would have been a scheme, a trick, a design, a contrivance, from hatred to France, attachment to England, monarchical manœuvres, and aristocratical cunning! Oh! how eloquent they would have been!

The southern gentry are playing, at present, a very artful game, which I may develope to you in confidence hereafter, under the seal of secrecy. Both in conversation and in letters they are representing the Vice President as a man of moderation. Although rather inclined to limited monarchy, and somewhat attached to the English, he is much less so than Jay or Hamilton. For their part, for the sake of conciliation, they should be very willing he should be continued as Vice President, provided the northern gentlemen

would consent that Jefferson should be President. I most humbly thank you for your kind condescension, Messieurs Transchesapeakes.

Witness my hand,



Philadelphia, 26 January, 1796.


YESTERDAY I came to the Senate, as usual on a Monday morning pleasing my imagination and my heart with the hope and expectation of a letter from— my dearest friend. No letter for the Vice President! says Matthew.

All day in bad humor. Dirty weather ing-nothing good — nothing right. The poor post offices did not escape. blunder some carelessness of theirs

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Or perhaps mam is sick Oh dear! Rheumatisms Oh dear! Fever and ague! Thus peevishly, fretfully, and unphilosophically, was yesterday passed. Yet, to divert it, I read a number of books in Cowper's Homer and smoked I know not how many cigars.

I have had the agreeable society of Josiah Quincy

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