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and Martin Lincoln to assist in consoling me a little

of late.

There is absolutely nothing to write, public or private, but such as the above.



J. A.


Philadelphia, 8 February, 1796.

Ir is Monday, the time to expect the eastern mail. Other men have letters, I have none. Humiliated and mortified, and, at the same time, irritated, I feel sometimes a disposition to abuse the post offices, sometimes to make a rash vow never to spend another winter separated from my small family that remains to me, but never once harbor a suspicion that madame may have omitted to write.

Upon the whole, however, my health and spirits have been better this winter than at any time since I had the ague, a blessing which I attribute to the free use of my horse the last summer. Health, and spirits, and leisure, have revived my old passion for reading to such a degree as, diverting me from my usual exercise of walking when I cannot ride, alarms me for the continuance of my health. A gloomy prospect,

moreover, of four months' longer attendance upon Congress, aggravated by the recollection that a few days later than this the last year, on the 19th of February, I got my release and liberty, makes a great defalcation from my philosophical serenity. While we are informed that you have plenty of snow and fine sledding and sleighing, we have weather as mild as April, and streets as dirty as March.

No further news of the treaty, or any thing else, from Europe. Business in Congress as languid, as gaping and yawning as if Morpheus had poured out all his soporifics upon the two houses. The voice of faction, even, is scarcely heard. I suppose, however, when the treaty comes, he will lift up his notes like a trumpet. General Wayne has returned and enjoyed his triumph. Judge Chase is here with the rest. Mr. Lee, the Attorney General, a brother of our friend the late member of the House and the late Governor of Virginia, married to a daughter of Richard Henry Lee, is arrived with his family. So is Mr. McHenry, the Secretary at War. The offices are once more full. But how differently filled than when Jefferson, Hamilton, Jay, &c., were here! The present incumbents not being much thought of, or at least talked of, for President, Vice President, or substitute for both, the public may be less disposed to fight for them or against them. The first situation is the great object of contention, the centre and main source of all emulation, as the learned Dr. Adams teaches in all his writings, and every body believes him, though nobody will own it.

My letters to you must never be seen by any body else. And I ought here to caution you to be very careful and reserved in showing our son's letters, for thousands are watching for his halting, as well as mine and yours. Mrs. Green, with her two daughters, is here, and mourns, in pathetic accents, that her friend, Mrs. Adams, is not here, and so does

J. A.



Philadelphia, 10 February, 1796.

MR. NECKER, in his essay on the true principles of executive power in great states, chapter xii., says

"C'est après avoir été quelques années au centre des affaires publiques, c'est après avoir été, pour ainsi dire, un des axes autour duquel tous les intérêts personnels se mettent en mouvement, que l'on est instruit, par soi-même, de l'activité de ces intérêts, et qu'on apprend en même-tems comment les hommes sont tour-à-tour animés, adoucis et toujours enchainés par l'espérance. Souvent ils pensent à eux au milieu de toutes les négligences qu'ils affectent, et au milieu même des sacrifices, auxquels ils sont conduits par les circonstances. Ils ont, pour les jours de parade, les sentimens les plus magnifiques; mais, dans leurs habitudes journaliêres, et dans leur confidences


secretes, on voit qu'ils sont préoccupés, les uns de leur fortune, et les autres des distinctions auxquels ils peuvent prétendre. Ainsi, n'en doutons point, plus on réduit le cercle des encouragemens et des récompenses dont le monarque doit avoir la disposition, et plus on affoiblit entre ses mains l'action du pouvoir exécutif."

A man who, like myself, has been, many more years than Mr. Necker ever was, in the centre of public affairs, and that in a young country which has ever boasted of its simplicity, frugality, integrity, public spirit, public virtue, disinterestedness, &c., can judge from his own experience of the activity of private interest, and perceive in what manner the human heart is influenced, irritated and soothed by hope. Neglects and sacrifices of personal interests are oftener boasted than practised. The parade and pomp, and ostentation, and hypocrisy, have been as common in America as in France. When I hear these pretensions set up, I am very apt to say to myself, this man deceives himself, or is attempting to deceive me.

The various elections of the United States will soon call forth these personal interests in all their vigor, and all the arts of dissimulation to conceal them. I am weary of the game, yet I don't know how I could live out of it. I don't love slight, neglect, contempt, disgrace, nor insult, more than Yet I believe I have firmness of mind enough to bear it like a man, a hero, and a philosopher. I might groan like Achilles, and roll from


side to side abed sometimes, at the ignorance, folly, injustice and ingratitude of the world, but I should be resigned, and become more easy and cheerful, and enjoy myself and my friend better than ever I did.

Charles came upon me by surprise last evening, by express from New York, with the Algerine treaty and presents, among which is the sword with a golden scabbard. Colonel John Smith, in a vessel from Lisbon, is arrived at New York with this precious deposit, and Charles came on to bring it. He left all well. I wish the English and Spanish treaties would arrive, that we might have all under one view.

I am


J. A.


Philadelphia, 13 February, 1796.

I HAVE only time to inform you that Monday and Thursday have passed away without bringing me a letter from you. It is the first week that has failed me in the whole, though sometimes the letters have not arrived on the proper day.

There is a Dr. somebody here from Connecticut, who pretends, with an instrument made of some kind of metal or composition of metals, by a sort of mes

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