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more than a year since, I received but yesterday, and as usual opened. I rather wonder, when it containd such [cut] kers, that they were good enough to forwa[rd cut] the account of the Characters which are [cut] for any political information which it contains. What favorable issue can we expect to negotiation with a ministry formed of such Characters? May not British faith bear a parallel with Galic?
I am extreemly grieved at the party violence which prevails, and which leads to such disgracefull outrages as that committed upon your Son. I hope the injury not so great as you at first feard. pray let me hear how he is. There is yet Law and I hope justice, to [punish] such offenders, and to bind them to good behaviour. the scripture calls for an eye, for an eye, yet even that will not restore lost sight.
Since I received your Letter in which you so kindly interest yourself for my Dear Daughter Smith, I have received a Letter from my Grandson John A. Smith, who writes to me, that it is his Mother's most earnest wish to be brought to Quincy, and that altho for six weeks she has not been able to get across her Room, yet he thinks she has gained some strength; and in compliance with her desire he has undertaken to journey with her by slow degrees, and if possible get her here, which will relieve my mind of that constant anxiety which I daily have to know how she is. her son gives me but a melancholy account of her health. I hope the journey and change of air, society of her family and Friends, will have a favorable effect.
"God tempers the wind to the shorn Lamb," Sterne tell us, and all our troubles in this Life are no doubt designed for salutary purposes. with them is blended goodness and mercy — and with Jobe, I would say, altho he slay me, I will trust in him. with an affectionate remembrance to all your family I subscribe yours as
ABIGAIL ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
QUINCY, Sep'br 5th, 1813
MY DEAR MADAM, Your kind and sympathetic Letter demands my thanks, and receives my gratitude. My own loss is not to be estimated by words, and can only be alleviated by the consoling belief that my dear Daughter is partakeing of that Life and immortality brought to light by him, who endured the cross, and is gone before to prepare a place; for those who Love him, and keep his commandments.1
Her patience submission, and Resignation have been a lesson to me, neither to murmur or complain, but cheerfully to resign her into the Hands of that Being, who gave her to me, and who certainly had the best right to remand her, gratefull to him, that her sufferings were so soon terminated.
She has left me a treasure, whose conduct upon this trying occasion, exemplifies her faith in the Religion of which she has been early in Life a public professor, and the precepts of which, its promisses and rewards, are the sources to which she resorts for comfort, deprived thus early in Life of a parent who was devoted to her, and to whom she was attached by the strongest ties of fillial Love duty and gratitude.
The president thanks you for your sympathy with him. the precepts of phylosophy may teach us to endure what the laws of the universe make necessary, it may infuse stubborness but Religion alone can teach submission and patience, as Johnson remarks.
My dear Caroline has exprest a wish in unison with your own, and gratefully accepts your kind invitation to visit the Ancient Friend of her Mother, and of her Grandparents, and to manifest to you the Respect and Veneration in which from her earliest years she has been instructed to hold the partial Friend of her Mother. It would give me pleasure to accompany her, but I feel more wedded to home than ever, and could not leave the Bereaved Father a prey to solitude.
I beg leave to substitute in my Room an other Granddaughter, 1 Abigail (Adams) Smith died August 15, 1813.
a good girl lively and affectionate. She is very desirious of paying her respects to, and being noticed by a Lady so highly and so justly respected as the venerated Friend of many years, the long tried and Ancient Friend of her Grandparents. She is the Eldest Daughter of my son Charles well known to you in early Life.1
I regret that Mrs. Adams, my son Thomas's wife, cannot have the long anticipated pleasure of visiting you with them, as she was prepared to do, when yesterday she was summond to Boston to attend the funeral of her sisters child an Infant of a year old, suddenly taken out of Life, by the disease of the season.
In that warfare there is no distinction.
I have not, dear Madam, received any late Letters from my son in Russia. when any arrive which I can communicate, it will be a double pleasure to know that my Friend will share it with me.
Col. Smith the respected partner of my late dear Daughter accompanies the Ladies, and will do himself the pleasure of waiting upon you.
be assured that I am what I ever have been, and ever shall be your affectionate Friend,
MERCY WARREN TO JOHN Adams ADAMS MSS.
PLYMOUTH, September 12, 1813
SIR, I was much gratified by seeing your signature affixed to a Letter addressed to Mm. Warren. I am also gratified and obliged by the marks of your attention manifest in the interesting inclosures in yours under date September 1st, one of which deeply affected me as a Sister. I have for many years known your
I Charles Adams (1770-1800) married in 1795, Sarah Smith (1769-1828). Their eldest daughter Susanna B. (1796–1846) married (1) Charles Thomas Clark (1793–1818) and (2) William R. H. Treadway (1795-1836).
2 Ann (Harod) Adams.
3 A letter from Governor McKean, August 20, 1813, in which he wrote: "In the Congress of 1765 there were several conspicuous characters: Mr. James Otis appeared to me to be the boldest and best speaker. I voted for him as our President, but Brigadier Ruggles succeeded by one vote, owing to the number of the Committee from New York, as we voted individually: when the business was finished our President would not sign the petitions, and peremptorily refused to assign any reasons, until I pressed him so hard that he
respect and regard for a brother so justly esteemed by his connections, his friends and his country. No American knew him better than the author of the dialogue, nor is any one more capable of portraying his character and handing it down to posterity than yourself.
The sketch in my hand in connection with some of the greatest actors who have exhibited their parts on this narrow stage of human action, is a proof of your correct knowledge of history and your capacity for comparing the ages of Charlemagne, Frederick the Great, Rousseau and Otis, though in times so remote from each other, and drawing the results of their sentiments and transactions and the operations thereof on the moral conduct of mankind in our own age and in that of Posterity.
I have, Sir, availed myself of the liberty you gave me of extracting or copying any part of your communications. Depend upon it. I shall make no improper use thereof, though I have copied the Dialogue and taken a few sentences from Govr. McKean's letter. I should as you enjoined have returned the Packet earlier, had not my own Optics been too weak and my other eyes so occupied, especially in the last six days, while so engaged and delighted by a visit from a part of your family. Lovely Girls! sent by Providence to support the pillow of age, while nightly recollecting the tomb that encloses the most amiable of daughters. I am, respected Sir, with all due regard your friend 1
at last said, 'it was against his conscience,' on which word I rung the change so loud, that a plain challenge was given by him and accepted, in the presence of the whole corps; but he departed the next morning before day without an adieu to any of his brethren. He seemed to accord with what was done during the session so fully and heartily, that Mr. Otis told me frequently it gave him surprise, as he confessed he suspected his sincerity."
A second enclosure was a "Dialogue of the Dead," apparently written by John Adams "of a musing moment of an evening at Richmond Hill when Congress sat at New York in 1789, immediately after the arrival of the news of Dr. Franklin's death." As Franklin died April 17, 1790, the year given by Mr. Adams was in error, but no copy of the Dialogue has been found.
I The body of the letter is by a son and only the signature, very infirm, is by Mrs. Warren.
JOHN ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
QUINCY, November 24, 1813
Governor McKean's notice of your brother I thought worth preserving in your family. The oddity of the Dialogue 1 and the particular moment of its composition, were the circumstances that made it rather an object of curiosity than use. I think, however, the Traits of Character are correct.
I know not, Madam, what your Father, your Husband, or your Brother, would think of these times. A mighty effort of nature is in operation that no understanding below that Providence which superintends and directs it can comprehend. An entire separation, in government at least, between America and Europe seems to be commencing, but what will be its course, when and how it will terminate, and what influence it will have upon Asia and Africa, no living man, I believe, will pretend to foresee. We have acted our parts. The curtain will soon be drawn upon us. We must leave the future to that Providence which has protected the Past. This sentiment of duty and interest, I doubt not, Madam, will be approved by you, as I hope it is realised with gratitude and entire confidence and submission by your old friend and respectful humble Servant,
MERCY WARREN TO JOHN Adams
SIR, -Your Letter of the 24th ult. ought to be early acknowledged by one who, through a long life, has not been insensible of the worth of friendship, or negligent whenever in her power to cherish the invaluable treasure. I am, therefore, delighted to see our young people strengthening each other in that disposition which may be a source of happiness to them as they tread over the stage of life so replete with trial and change.
I See page 387, supra. This letter is also printed in 5 Collections, Iv. 504.