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uneasy. I write you as often and as much as I ought. If I had a heart at ease, and leisure enough, I could write you several sheets a day, of the curiosities of this country. But it is as much impossible for me to think of such subjects as to work miracles. Let me entreat you to consider, if some of your letters had by any accident been taken, what a figure would they have made in a newspaper, to be read by the whole world ? Some of them, it is true, would have done honor to the most virtuous and most accomplished Roman matron; but others of them would have made you and me very ridiculous. In one of yours you hint that I am to go to Holland. But I think you must be misinformed. By all that I can learn, some gentlemen intend to vote for me to Holland vs. Mr. D.; others to Spain vs. Mr. Lee. Neither, I think, will succeed; and therefore I think I have but one course to steer, and that is, homewards. But I can determine nothing absolutely. I must govern myself according to the intelligence which may hereafter arise, the orders of Congress and the best judgment I can form of my own duty and the public good.
I am advised to take a ride to Geneva, or to Amsterdam; and I have been so confined from exercise, having never been further from Paris than Versailles since arrival here, that some such excursion seems necesfor my health; yet I cannot well bear the thought of putting the public to an expense merely for the sake of my pleasure, health or convenience. Yet my situation here is painful. I never was in such a situation before as I am now, and my present feelings are new
to me. If I should return, and in my absence any orders should arrive here for me to execute, in that case nobody would be here to execute them, and they might possibly fail of success for want of somebody with power to perform them; at least, this may be suspected and said and believed. However, upon the whole, as Congress have said nothing to me good or bad, I have no right to presume that they mean to say anything, and therefore, on the whole, it is my duty to return by the first opportunity, unless I should receive counter orders before that occurs. If ever the time should arrive, when I could have a little leisure and a quiet mind, I could entertain you with accounts of things which would amuse you and your children. There are an infinity of curiosities here, but so far from having leisure to describe them, I have found none even to see them, except a very few.
The climate here is charming. The weather is every day pleasant as the month of May; soft, mild air; some foggy days, and about ten or twelve days in January were cold and icy. But we have had scarce three inches of snow the whole winter. The climate is more favorable to my constitution than The cookery and manner of living here, which you know Americans were taught by their former absurd masters to dislike, is more agreeable to me than you can imagine. The manners of the people have an affection in them that is very amiable. There is such a choice of elegant entertainments in the theatric way, of good company, and excellent books, that nothing would be wanting to me in this country
but my family and peace to my country, to make me
one of the happiest of men.
John Bull would growl
and bellow at this description. will, for he is but a brute.
Let him bellow if he
Passy, 27 February, 1779.
THE weather continuing fine, I went to Saint Denis, a little village about eight miles from this place, where are the tombs of all the kings and queens. The statues of all lie in state in marble. The church is called the royal Church of Saint Denis, is magnificent, and there is an apartment in a chamber, where the crowns and many other curiosities are preserved. It is curious to see such a collection of gold, ivory and precious stones; as there is every species, I suppose, that is mentioned in the Revelation. The diamonds and rubbies glitter. But I confess I have so much of the savage sachem in me, that these things make no great impression upon me. There are several little crucifixes here, which the ecclesiastic, who showed them, told us, were made of bits of the true cross. This may be, for any thing that I know.
In my return, I took a circuit round by Montmartre, and dined at home with the Dr., who has a fit of the gout, but is getting better.
The situation in which my masters have left me puzzles me very much. They have said nothing to But one set of gentlemen write that I am to go to Spain, another to Holland, a third to Vienna; but, upon the whole, I believe they don't intend to send me to either, but leave me to stay here in a ridiculous situation, or return home if I can get there. I shall return unless I should receive, before the time arrives for the vessel to sail, orders which I can execute with honor, and with a prospect of rendering some service to the public. But of these two last points, I will judge for myself.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
L'Orient, 14 May, 1779.
WHEN I left Paris, the 8th of March, I expected to have been at home before this day, and have done my utmost to get to sea, but the embarrassments and disappointments I have met with have been many, very many. I have, however, in the course of them, had a fine opportunity of seeing Nantes, L'Orient and Brest, as well as the intermediate country.
By the gracious invitation of the King, I am now to take passage in his frigate, the Sensible, with his new Ambassador to America, the Chevalier de la
Luzerne. I hope to see you in six or seven weeks. Never was any man in such a state of uncertainty and suspense as I have been from last October, entirely uninformed of the intentions of Congress concerning me. This would not have been very painful to me if I could have got home. Your conversation is a compensation to me for all other things.
My son has had a great opportunity to see this country; but this has unavoidably retarded his education in some other things. He has enjoyed perfect health, from first to last, and is respected wherever he goes, for his vigor and vivacity both of mind and body, for his constant good humor, and for his rapid progress in French as well as his general knowledge, which, for his age, is uncommon. I long to see his
sister and brothers. I need not add ·
Boston, 13 November, 1779.
MY DEAREST FRIEND,
I HAVE just sent Mr. Thaxter, Johnny and Stevens with the things on board. I shall go with Charles' at four o'clock. It is now three. I have seen the captain and the navy board, etc. It is proposed to sail tomorrow; perhaps, however, it may not be till next
1 Mr. Adams's second son.