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written, I found enough to satisfy me, that his Lordship with all his elegance and graces, was a Hypocritical polished Libertine, a mere Lovelace, but with this difference, that Lovelace was the most generous Man of the two, since he had justice sufficient to acknowledge the merrit he was destroying, and died penitently warning others, whilst his Lordship not content, himself with practiseing; but is in an advanced age, inculcateing the most immoral pernicious and Libertine principals into the mind of a youth whose natural Guardian he was, and at the same time calling upon him to wear the outward garb of virtue knowing that if that was cast aside, he would not be so well able to succeed in his persuits.
I could prove to his Lordship were he living that there was one woman in the world who could act consequentially more than 24 hours, since I shall dispise to the end of my days that part of his character, yet I am not so blinded by his abuse upon our sex, as not to allow his Lordship the merrit of an elegant pen, a knowledge of Mankind and a compiler of many excellent maxims and rules for the conduct of youth, but they are so poisoned with a mixture of Libertinism that I believe they will do much more injury than benifit to Mankind. I wish, my dear Madam, you would favour me with a coppy of the Letter said to be in your power..
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WArren
PARIS, HOTEL de Valois,
RUE DE RICHELIEU, March 16th, 1780
Your Letter of the 13th of June last, is not answered, not received 'till my Arrival here. You will be so overloaded with News about the Time this will reach You, that I will not add to the Heap. We have none from America a long Time — none since Christmas. You say I was envied perhaps so: but they would not have envied me in the Gulph Stream, nor when chased forty eight Hours by three British Frigates, nor when sailing in a Ship, leaking seven Feet of Water in an Hour, in a
Gale of Wind that blowed the poor Courier de L'Europe, our fellow Voyager, to the Bottom with all her People, nor when devoured by Vermin in Company with Mules, Hogs, and Poultry, on the Mountains of Gallicia. They would not envy Mr. Jay in the dismasted Confederacy, etc. They would not envy Us here, at least they ought not, for it is not an enviable Situation: to see things go wrong for want of adopting the simplest and most obvious plans in the World. However, I have seen enough of Envy to know, that it will have its perfect Work. Let it. It is a Distemper, that I hope will never seize me. I had rather of the two have another, which is sometimes they say contracted here by an Acquaintance with the elegant Nymphs of the Boulevards. But enough of this.
The People of England have done me the Honor to talk lately a great deal about me. They have pleased themselves with the Tales that the Ministry propagated, that I was coming to London. Lord North said he wished I had come in the Cartel Ship. I believe him. But they have no Thoughts of Peace upon my Terms, i.e. upon American Terms. Ireland however will make herself independent before ours will be acknowledged: and England will have a Congress very soon. Ireland and England have learned our Policy, and are treading in our Steps. Holland is very angry, and will not always bear. Yet England cannot learn Wisdom. She will fall like the strong Man. I should be very glad She would come to her Reason: but she will not a long Time. Your's
JOHN ADAMS TO JAMES WARREN
PARIS, March 18th, 1780
MY DEAR SIR, Monsieur Jean Baptiste Petry, Secretary to the Comte de Chatelet, a Marshal of the Camps and Armies of the King of France, is, as he says, going to America, and as he is connected with some Gentlemen to whom I am much obliged, I cannot but comply with his Desire and give him a few Letters of Introduction. He is represented to be a worthy, sensible and agreeable Man.
The Marquis de la Fayette sailed about 10th March from Rochelle and will be in Boston, as we hope, by the 10th of April. He will explain to Congress and to General Washington what I cannot explain to you. The Bearer will give you further Commentaries. This Court will by little and little be convinced of the true System, after which I hope they will be less unfortunate; in all human Probability they must be, if they do not neglect it too long.
Rodney's Fleet seems to have been the favorite of Fortune, but you know she is a great changeling, and frowns upon one, sometimes in half an hour after having lavished upon him her Smiles and Favors. We are anxious to know the fate of Charlestown, which we hope was saved by a Storm.
Faucitte1 vapours in a Leiden Gazette that he has obtained 40,000 of the Langrave of Hesse. This Soul selling Langrave, as they call him in Germany, has hardly 40,000 Men in his Dominions. This is the Fruit of the Cracovie. Now I must write more or you wont understand me. Craquer signifies, in a kind of familiar banting stile, to lie, and Craqueur is a Lyar. There is a Tree in the grand Alley of the Palais Royal at Paris which they call the Tree of Cracovie, from the name of a City in Poland and its similitude to the Word Craque, l'Arbre de Cracovie. The News Mongers of Paris assemble commonly under this Tree, so that it is become proverbial to call false News Les Nouvelles de l'arbre de Cracovie - News from the Tree of Cracovie. I have spent a Multitude of Words in Explanation of this Trifle, which does not deserve them.
Pray introduce Mr. Petry to Madam Warren, the most accomplished Lady in America, next to one whom I will not mention, but whose Prerogative of being the first I can never give up. Affectionately yours.
I Sir William Fawcett - Faucitt in the Army Lists from 1756–1785 - (1728–1804). 2 Littré, Dictionnaire, 1. 879, sub verbo Cracovie.
MERCY WARREN TO JAMES WARREN
SUNDAY, Apr. 2, 1780
It appears to me there are very Extraordinary doings among some of the servants of the public. I have Long been apprehensive that the Character of a Venerable old Man was in Danger of being tarnished both from his Connexions and his own aviritious spirit. I think I told you on the appearance of Dean's address that I trembled for Dr F[rankli]n, as I wished a Man of his abilities might Descend to the Grave unimpeached by an indulgence of the Various passions that must mark Every Name with Infamy. Poor Capt Landais. I pity him yet hope his Character and Rank may be Retrieved as at present I believe him Greatly injured; but whether Guilty or Innocent whether sacrificed or acquited I apprehend this affair in all its Circumstances when a Thorough investigation is made will open a Curious system of Villany. But you know my opinion where there is no Religious Principle there is no Check and the political and Moral Conduct is adapted as far as Circumstances will admit to the Narrow Interests of the individual. The philosopher is the Creature of Caprice and the Cool Reasoner the sport of passion. True this is Consistent Enough when there are no Views of a higher Existence and no Wishes but what are Circumscribed within the Limits of a Golden Hemisphere. But how amazingly different will be Their Ideas when the Grand Electric spark shall Wrap Creation in Flames and the Convulsion awake from their Earthey Lodgments the sceptical tribes of Every Denomination.
I have been Expecting Mr Lee's pamphlet 1 by Every opportunity. Did you forget it or is it in better hands? perhaps Winslow May bring it, who I Expect tomorrow as he assures me he shall then be at Plimouth with Mr Tillotson and Lady and others.
I hope they will keep the appointment as you know the Difficultyes of being prepared. at all times to Entertain strangers in
1 Extracts from a Letter written to the President of Congress, first printed at Williamsburg in 1779, and reprinted at Philadelphia, 1780.
such a Barren place. I have not been out this afternoon as am a Little unwell. It has been very Cold and for your sake I choose to take Good Care of your affectionate Wife
JOHN ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
June 23, 1780
MY DEAR PORTIA, We are very much affected with the Loss of Charlestown it seems the most disagreable affair, We have ever met with. I dont know that the Consequences, will be bad, but the Loss of so many Men Ships, and Artillery and Stores is heavy besides the Town. To maintain it, they must weaken themselves at N. York and elsewhere. We hope to hear of something to ballance it.
I inclose a Paper, giving an Account of the Troubles in London.1 What they will come to, in the End, I dont know, it seems hitherto a fanatical Business. Their civil Liberties, and most essential Interests are forgotten, while they are running mad for their own contracted notions. it is said, that the Catholic Bill will be repealed. the true motive for making that Law, with the Ministry and King was, to engage the Irish Catholicks, on their Side, and get them to inlist into the American Service.
In the midst of the dismay of these Mobs comes the News from Charlestown.
The Ways of Heaven are dark and intricate. it seems as if they were to be permitted to have success enough, to lead them on, untill they become the most striking Spectacle of Horror that ever
These Riots discover Symptoms of deep distress and misery, among the lower Classes of People. the particular Spight against the Prisons is one mark of it. The decided part they took against the Ministry, shews upon what Ground they stand. it is however a shocking Scene. the King, seems in a fair Way to the Summit of all his wishes, absolute Power. Martial Law is very agreable to
1. The Gordon riots, June 6-8.