« SebelumnyaLanjutkan »
don't talk much," because I know she thinks and feels the more. I hope the Boston has arrived. She carried many things for you.
Last night a friend from England brought me the King's speech. Their delirium continues, and they go on with the war, but the speech betrays a manifest expectation that Spain will join against them, and the debates betray a dread of Holland. They have reason for both. They have not and cannot get an ally. They cannot send any considerable reinforcement to America.
Your reflections upon the rewards of the virtuous friends of the public are very just. But if virtue was to be rewarded with wealth, it would not be virtue. If virtue was to be rewarded with fame, it would not be virtue of the sublimest kind. Who would not rather be Fabricius than Cæsar? Who would not rather be Aristides than even William the Third? Who! Nobody would be of this mind but Aristides and Fabricius. These characters are very rare, but the more precious. Nature has made more insects than birds, more butterflies than eagles, more foxes than lions, more pebbles than diamonds. The most excellent of her productions both in the physical, intellectual and moral world, are the most rare. I would not be a butterfly because children run after them, nor because dull philosophers boast of them in their cabinets.
Have you ever read J. J. Rousseau? If not, read him. Your cousin Smith has him. What a difference between him and Chesterfield and even Voltaire? But
he was too virtuous for the age and for Europe. I wish I could not say for another country.
I am much disappointed in not receiving despatches from Congress by this opportunity. We expect alterations in the plan here. What will be done with me I can't conjecture. If I am recalled, I will endeavor to get a safe opportunity home. I will watch the proper season, and look out for a good vessel. And if I can get safe to Penn's hill, shall never repent of my voyage to Europe, because I have gained an insight into several things that I never should have understood without it.
I pray you to remember me with every sentiment of tenderness, duty and affection to your father and my mother, your and my brothers and sisters, uncles, aunts, cousins, and every body else that you know deserves it. What shall I say too of my dear young friends by your fireside? May God Almighty bless them and make them wise!
Passy, 18 December, 1778.
THIS moment I had, what shall I say? the pleasure
1 This was probably written after reading “ Emile,” and before Rousseau's personal history became known to the public, through the medium of his confessions.
As a let
or the pain of your letter of 25th October. ter from my dearest friend it gave me a pleasure that it would be in vain to attempt to describe; but the complaints in it gave me more pain than I can express. This is the third letter I have received in this complaining style. The former two I have not answered. I had endeavored to answer them. I have written several answers; but upon a review, they appeared to be such as I could not send. One was angry, another was full of grief, and the third with melancholy, so that I burnt them all. If you write me in this style, I shall leave off writing entirely. It kills me. Can profession of esteem be wanting from me to you? Can protestation of affection be necessary? Can tokens of remembrance be desired? The very idea of this sickens me. Am I not wretched enough in this banishment without this? What course shall I take, to convince you that my heart is warm? You doubt, it seems. Shall I declare it? Shall I swear to it? Would you doubt it the less? and is it possible you should doubt it? I know it is not. If I could once believe it possible, I should not answer for the consequences. But I beg you would never more write to me in such a strain, for it really makes me unhappy. Be assured, that no time nor place can change my heart; but that I think so often and so much of the blessings from which I am separated, as to be too unmindful of those who accompany me; and that I write to you as often as my duty will permit.
1 Letters of Mrs. Adams, Vol. I. p. 132.
I am extremely obliged to the Comte d'Estaing and his officers for their politeness to you, and am very glad you have had an opportunity of seeing so much of the French nation. The accounts from all hands agree, that there was an agreeable intercourse and happy harmony, upon the whole, between the inhabitants and the fleets. The more this nation is known, and the more their language is understood, the more will narrow prejudices wear away. British fleets and armies are very different from their's. In point of temperance and politeness, there is no comparison.
This is not a correct copy, but you will pardon it, because it is done by a hand1 as dear to you as to
Passy, 27 December, 1778.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
MR. GREENLEAF is about to set off towards Nantes, and from thence to Boston.
Last night I walked to Paris and saw the illumination for the birth of the princess Maria Theresa Charlotte, Fille du Roi. Splendid indeed! My little friend, who was with me, will write you a description of it.
1 His son's.
2 His son, J. Q. Adams, then eleven years old.
The military schools, the hospital of invalids and the palace of Bourbon were beautiful and sublime indeed; as much so as an illumination can be. I could scarcely have conceived that an illumination could have such
an effect. I suppose the expense of this is a million of livres. As much as I respect this country, particularly the King and royal family, I could not help reflecting how many families in another country would this tallow make happy for life; how many privateers would this tallow fit out for chasing away the Jerseymen and making reprisals on Messieurs les Anglois. But taste will have its way in this country.
The Queen and her illustrious infant are very well, and this nation is very happy to have discovered a way by which a dauphin may come to them next year or the year after. The King and Queen are greatly beloved here. Every day shows fresh proofs of it. On the other side the channel there is a King, who is in a fair way to be the object of opposite sentiments to a nation, if he is not at present. If Keppel should be destroyed in life or reputation, I shall expect to hear that all restraints are taken off, and passions allowed to sport themselves without reserve. Keppel told the King he would not fight against America; an unpardonable offence. He will be ruined if possible. However, I think that Keppel was wrong even to accept a command against the French. If Britain is wrong in this war against America, she is wrong in that against the French, for France and America have the same object in view and no other. France is right if America is right, because France only assisted the Ameri