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friends as they delight in, which I have sanguine hopes I shall, after a few years, enjoy in peace.
I am, with inexpressible affection,
Passy, 25 April, 1778.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
MONSIEUR CHAUMONT has just informed me of a vessel bound to Boston, but I am reduced to such a moment of time, that I can only inform you that I am well, and enclose a few lines from Johnny to let you know that he is so. I have ordered the things you desired to be sent you, but I will not yet say by what conveyance, for fear of accidents.
If human nature could be made happy by any thing that can please the eye, the ear, the taste, or any other sense, or passion, or fancy, this country would be the region for happiness. But if my country were at peace, I should be happier among the rocks and shades of Penn's hill; and would cheerfully exchange all the elegance, magnificence, and sublimity of Europe, for the simplicity of Braintree and Weymouth.
To tell you the truth, I admire the ladies here. Don't be jealous. They are handsome, and very
well educated. Their accomplishments are exceedingly brilliant, and their knowledge of letters and arts exceeds that of the English ladies, I believe.
Tell Mrs. Warren that I shall write her a letter, as she desired, and let her know some of my reflections in this country. My venerable colleague' enjoys a privilege here, that is much to be envied. Being seventy years of age, the ladies not only allow him to embrace them as often as he pleases, but they are perpetually embracing him. I told him, yesterday, I would write this to America.
Passy, 3 June, 1778.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
ON the 13th of February I left you. It is now the 3d of June, and I have not received a line, nor heard a word, directly nor indirectly, concerning you, since my departure. This is a situation of mind in which I never was before, and I assure you, I feel a great deal of anxiety at it; yet I do not wonder at it, because I suppose few vessels have sailed from Boston since ours. I have shipped for you the articles you requested, and the black cloth for your father, to whom
present my most affectionate and dutiful respects. Captain Tucker, if he should not be unlucky, will give you an account of your things.
It would be endless to attempt a description of this country. It is one great garden. Nature and art have conspired to render every thing here delightful. Religion and government, you will say, ought to be excepted. With all my heart. But these are no
afflictions to me, because I have well fixed it in my mind as a principle, that every nation has a right to that religion and government, which it chooses, and as long as any people please themselves in these great points, I am determined they shall not displease
There is so much danger that my letter may fall into malicious hands, that I should not choose to be too free in my observations upon the customs and manners of this people. But thus much I may say with truth and without offence, that there is no people in the world who take so much pains to please, nor any whose endeavors in this way have more success. Their arts and manners, taste and language, are more respected in Europe than those of any other nation. Luxury, dissipation and effeminacy are pretty nearly of the same degree of excess here, and in every other part of Europe. The great cardinal virtue of temperance, however, I believe, flourishes here more than in any other part of Europe.
My dear countrymen! how shall I persuade you to avoid the plague of Europe! Luxury has as many and as bewitching charms on your side of the ocean
as on this; and luxury, wherever she goes, effaces from human nature the image of the Divinity. If I had power I would forever banish and exclude from America all gold, silver, precious stones, alabaster, marble, silk, velvet and lace.
O, the tyrant! the American ladies would say. What! Ay, my dear girls, these passions of yours which are so easily alarmed, and others of my own sex which are exactly like them, have done, and will do the work of tyrants in all ages. Tyrants different from me, whose power has banished, not gold indeed, but other things of greater value, wisdom, virtue and liberty. My son and servant are well. I am, with an ardor that words have not power to express.
Passy, 16 June, 1778.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
SINCE my last, I have had the inexpressible pleasure of yours of the 25th of March by the way of Holland, which is the first and the last letter as yet received from you. This will be delivered to you by a young gentleman of the name of Archer, who is going to America to serve in our army as a volunteer. He is
a promising youth, and will tell you all the news both in England and France. Germany seems at the eve of war. The Emperor and King of Prussia are at the head of armies, and on tiptoe to strike the blow. England seems to be lost in a stupor. Byron's fleet is not yet sailed. D'Estaing's passed the straits of Gibraltar the 16th of May.
We long to hear from America the ratification of the treaty with France, the captivity of General Clinton's army, and of Lord Howe's fleet. John is very well at school. Stevens' is also well and behaves well. My love to all my little ones.
I want a few pamphlets here; "The thoughts on Government,' "The New York Constitution,' 99 66 An essay of a constitution of government for Pennsylvania," said to have been written by Mr. Dickinson. Look them up and send them.
I cannot learn that any reinforcement is to be sent to America this summer. They can spare none.
They are in a panic from an apprehension of an invasion. Ireland is grown tumultuous, is concerting a non-importation agreement, and gives symptoms of an insurrection.
1 A domestic who accompanied Mr. Adams.