Entry  About  Search  Log In  help (navigation)
Publication
     
     
     
printable version
 

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

10 Jun. 1796

My Dear Son Quincy June 10. 1796

Your Letter of March 20, No. 18 came to hand the day before Yesterday and I thank you For the Newspapers and Pamphlet.

We have had a very tedious Session of Congress. The Party against The Treaty consisting of an Allyance of three Parties. 1. The Debtors to Britain. 2. The Antifeds. 3. The French Enthusiasts, whose Characters and composition you well know, formed so formidable a Combination in the H. of Reps. and kept us in Suspense the whole Winter and most of the Spring. The People at last interposed by Petition. You will See the Thread of our Affairs in the Newspapers, and Observe how ridiculous a Thing Diplomatic Negotiation is when managed in Town Meetings and discussed in Newspapers.

I am now at home, on my farm and at my Ease. Our Elections come on next fall—I hope We shall have a better House of R. next year. The Changes in the Senate may be for the Worse and they may be for the better. The Senate of last Year and this, is by far the most unanimous and firm that We have ever had since the Constitution was put in operation.

Mr King and Mr Gore will be in England, Humphreys in Spain—With these you may correspond in safety and with Confidence. Mr Otis & Mr Cooper your Boston Friends are in the Mass. H. of R. where their fame will Spread faster than yours. A Mission abroad is but an Ostracism. However if you like it enjoy it.—

In your Peregrinations from Country to Country can you find any Thing worth sending to our \American/ Academy of Arts and Sciences? or to Harvard Colledge?

Is our Friend Professor Luzac engaged in any great Literary Work? He talks in more than one Letter of an Intention to pay some Public Compliment to me. But I dont understand him.

I have read your Dispatches from London and believe they have given Satisfaction at Head Quarters. I always knew that you would be at St. James’s no more of a favourite than your Father had been. I should have been much allarmed if it had been otherwise. I knew you to have too much Judgment, too much Honesty, and too much Independence to be Suitable Game for those Gamblers or Poachers. Yet too much of all these not to be dreaded and respected. They can not hurt you but by their Friendship and Smiles.

I know not how it is, but Kings and Princes will be Kings and Princes, in Spight of Experience and Demagogues will be Demagogues and People will be People. Experience which as Gibbon says, may sometimes correct the Errors of an Individual as he advances in Life is seldom of much Utility to the successive Generations of Men.

G. B. may play away the E. & W. Indies at as idle a Game as his father played away N. America and Lewis the 19th may build another Pallace like Bellevue Bellevue for another like Pompadour or another Lucienne for the Barry. Vices are not more than Diseases I think used by Experience—And Mankind are condemned to such a state of Humiliation that the best they can do is to set one Fool, Knave and Madman to watch and bind another Fool, Knave & Madman.

I have heard Conversations between a Duke of Queensbury and a Count D’Adhemar as good Samples as could be chosen of two Courts—I mention this among many other Examples of what I have heard and seen, which renders all that happens in Europe quite natural to be expected without bringing the smallest hope of Amelioration

Oh my Son: Your Virtue your Independence is worth all the Wealth and all the Power of Europe and more.

I am most affectionately Yours,

John Adams

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
This early access document should not be cited in formal research.
Please report any errors or problems you notice in documents.