« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
your wood. I hope you have hoarded enough to last
is a fine woman, and her two sisters are equally so. One of them is married to George Washington, one of the two nephews of the President who were sometimes at our house. Mr. Washington came and civilly inquired after your health. These ladies, whose name was Payne, are of a Quaker family, once of North Carolina.
The treaty with Spain is arrived, and is according to our wishes. The Algerine treaty is horridly costly. It is worse than the British, but will not be so fiercely opposed.
There is no vessel here for Boston. I cannot yet send any seeds.
The great affair is as it was. I hear frequent reflections which indicate that Jefferson, although in good hands, he might do very well; yet, in such hands as will hold him, he would endanger too much. Some persons of high consequence have spoken to
me confidentially, but in general there is great delicacy on that head, and I hold an entire reserve. question with me is between entire ease and entire disquietude. I will not fly from the latter, nor will I court it. I can live as happily without a carriage as Hamilton.
Two great political questions have been agitated in the Supreme Court, one about Virginia debts paid into the treasury, the other, the constitutionality of the carriage tax. Hamilton argued this last with his usual splendor of talents and eloquence, as they say. In the course of his argument he said no man was obliged to pay the tax. This he knew by experiment; for after having enjoyed the pleasure of riding in his carriage for six years, he had been obliged to lay it down again and was happy.
There is no hope of getting away till June. The House never went so slowly on.
Philadelphia, 1 March, 1796.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
YESTERDAY the President sent his carriage for me to go with the family to the theatre. The Rage and the Spoiled Child were the two pieces. It rained
and the house was not full. I thought I perceived a little mortification. Mr. George Washington and his fair lady were with us.
Yours of the 21st gives me a satisfactory account of farming. I think I would engage Billings if I could. I must leave it to you to give him what you think fit. There is no vessel up for Boston, and seeds are very scarce and uncommonly dear.
As to the subject of yours of the 20th, I am quite at my ease. I never felt less anxiety when any considerable change lay before me. Aut transit aut finit. I transmigrate or come to an end. The question is between living at Philadelphia or at Quincy; between great cares and small cares. I have looked into myself and see no meanness nor dishonesty there. I see weakness enough, but no timidity. I have no concern on your account but for your health. A woman can be silent, when she will.
After all, persuasion may overcome the inclination of the chief to retire. But, if it should, it will shorten his days, I am convinced. His heart is set upon it, and the turpitude of the Jacobins touches him more nearly than he owns in words. All the studied efforts of the federalists to counterbalance abuse by compliment don't answer the end.
I suspect, but don't know, that Patrick Henry, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Jay, and Mr. Hamilton, will all be voted for. I ask no questions; but questions are forced upon me. I have had some conversations purposely sought, in order, as I believe, indeed as I know, to convince me that the federalists had no thoughts of
overleaping the succession. The only question that labors in my mind is, whether I shall retire with my file-leader? I hate to live in Philadelphia in summer, and I hate still more to relinquish my farm. I hate speeches, messages, addresses and answers, proclamations, and such affected, studied, constrained things. I hate levees and drawing rooms. I hate to speak to a thousand people to whom I have nothing to say. Yet all this I can do. But I am too old to continue more than one, or at most more than two heats, and that is scarcely time enough to form, con
duct and complete any very useful system.
Electioneering enough we shall have. The enclosed scraps will shew specimens.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
Philadelphia, 12 March, 1796.
I DINED yesterday with Mr. Burr, who lives here in style. A number of members of the House, the Speaker Mr. Dayton, among the rest. It seems to be the general opinion that the House will express some opinions unfavorable to the treaty; but finally carry it into effect. There is a good deal of apprehension expressed for the Union in conversation. Some think and say it cannot last. Such is the repugnance between the east and the west.
The death of my aunt H., for by that name it is most natural for me to call her, is an event that was every day to be expected, and as her days of usefulness and satisfaction were past, can be no cause of rational grief to her nearest relations. It has not, however, failed to revive the remembrance of the scenes of my youth, of my father, my uncles, my aunts, and my cousins, many of whom were gone before her, and to affect me with many tender sentiments and serious reflections. Alas! she was little more than thirty years older than myself. I shall never see her years. But why should I regret such a prospect as that? Although I am convinced that human life is a happy and agreeable scene, a charming, delightful state, upon the whole, and although my share of it has been chequered with perplexities, difficulties, dangers and distresses, which fall to the lot of but few, yet it has been sweet and happy on the whole, and calls for gratitude to my Maker and Preserver. Yet every year, according to my opinions and persuasions and expectations, brings me nearer to a state of superior excellence and more unmixed enjoyment, where I hope to meet all my relations and other friends who may have done their duty in this. There, my dearest friend, may we meet, and never be again separated by any necessities to go to Europe, or Philadelphia, or elsewhere.
My duty to my mother, and congratulate her on the recovery of her arm. I hope to see her again in June. But the House of Representatives will keep me here as long as possible.