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John Quincy Adams to Thomas Welsh

31 Jul. 1795

Dear Sir, The Hague July 31. 1795—

I enclose herewith a note of a young Gentleman who is returning to America by the same opportunity which conveys this Letter, and who has agreed to pay the money to you.

I seldom enjoy the pleasure of hearing directly from Boston. Not a single Vessel from thence has arrived in any port of this Country since I have been here, and of course I have not received one of Russell’s papers since my departure from America.

I have once in a while however a letter from Boston from which I collect generally the intelligence that is going forward. All the late letters seem to agree that the state of affairs is calm & prosperous; I have no doubt whatever but it will continue so if the rapacious insolence of the English does not disturb its tranquility.

The downfall of the french Jacobins appears to have made a considerable impression upon the public mind in America, and to have produced an alteration unfavorable to the political ambition of their imitators among us. The catastrophe of the Pedagogue who undertook a new and characteristic mode of scrutiny to ascertain your election in the School Committee, followed by that of Honestus, and the purification of the Boston seat in the Legislature, all are symptoms, that the Aristocracy of infamy has lost much of its influence, and that the public confidence is returning to its natural channels. It is a sinister omen to the happiness of a Nation, when such beings as those become the favorites of the People.

In this Country and in France, the trade of Constitution and king is going on as usual. The french national Convention have on a sudden discovered, that the Constitution made by them and accepted by the people in 1793. is nothing but an organized Anarchy. That it was meditated by ambition, drawn up by intrigue, dictated by Tyranny, and accepted by terror; that it was the odious work of tyrants and deserves no other fate than to be burned in the same tomb that devoured them.—These expressions are not mine: I have too much respect for the National Convention and for the french Nation to speak in such terms of a work, solemnly presented by the former, and as solemnly accepted by the latter. They are the proper words of Boissy d’Anglas in the name of a Committee of eleven appointed by the Convention to prepare organic laws for this same Constitution said to be so odious; instead of organic Laws, they have reported another Constitution of a construction altogether different, and it is in the discourse which accompanies the report, that Boissy applies these acid epithets to the system, which at the time when he spoke was, and still is the constitution of France. Not the Constitution which in the year 1792 the ingenious Mr. Pain assured the public was to last a thousand years, but the second in succession from that, and instead of which another still is now proposed to be substituted, that promises equally fair with all the others to attain a Millennial duration.

This Constitution the Convention are now debating as gravely and as pertinaciously as if they expected it would ever be carried into execution, and it is on the whole probable that it will be accepted.

It proposes a legislature in two branches, with unequal powers, and an executive power consisting of five members, who are to be invested with great splendor and great authority, and who are to possess every thing but the essential attributes of an Executive power. The character of this Constitution is highly aristocratic, and the article of the former declaration of rights, which prescribes insurrection to the people as a duty is removed. They find the principle not quite so wholesome in practice as they thought it was sublime in theory. At present they call it by way of derision la sainte Insurrection.

The rebellion in the Vendee assisted by a descent of emigrants from England, has again become formidable. The french armies in Spain are still victorious, but without advancing any further into the Country. That in Italy has been less successful hitherto during this Campaign. Those on the Rhine are centered at the Siege of Mentz.

In this Country there is to be a national Convention to form a Constitution. They intend to have a Republic one & indivisible instead of seven Provinces. The internal state of affairs is very quiet & peaceable and will continue unless it should be interrupted by the political Clubs, an institution which acquires the same character here as it does elsewhere.—An Article of the \proposed/ french Constitution, expressly prohibits all political Clubs from assuming the title of popular societies, and, from maintaining correspondence together. Alas! What will our Jacobins say?

With my best regards to Mrs.Welsh, and affectionate remembrance to your children, I remain, Dear Sir, your sincere & obliged friend.

LbC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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