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John Quincy Adams to Thomas Welsh

4 Aug. 1796

Dear Sir. The Hague August 4. 1796.

I now enclose my lottery ticket which I brought with me from America, and left behind me here, when I went to England. If any difficulty should be made with respect to the payment, I know not that I have any right to insist upon it, and I must attribute the loss to my own carelessness.

I expect that my brother Charles will remit to you about 130 dollars in the course of the next month on my account. He will probably have occasion to make you other similar remittances in future. They will serve to discharge the payments for my shares in the canal, or any others which you are so good as to make for me. If at any time it should place in your hands a sum for which you think there will be no particular employment I shall be glad to have it applied to purchase stocks or \in/ any other manner which in your opinion will make them most profitable.

As to Ripley, I expect to lose the money I lent him. My only inducement was to preserve him from a prison, and enable him to go home. He is a nephew of President Wheelock, and assured me very possitively that he would discharge the note for him without the least hesitation. But I never placed much dependance upon that assertion, and I may now consider it unequivocally as having been made only upon the spur of the occasion.

While I am thus troubling you with my concerns, I cannot forgive myself for having lost the strip of sattin and thereby the opportunity to execute the Commission for Mrs. Welsh, which I received in England. I hope you will give me occasion to prove that I am not always so inattentive or so unlucky.

I have now been more than two months here since my return from England. I came just in time to be close at hand to one of the most active seats of the War. The french armies have been irresistably successful in Italy, and not much less upon the Rhine. To all appearance this will be the last campaign at least of the continental War. It is even very confidently said at present that there are negotiations going forward between the British and french Governments. They both preserve indeed a very high tone, as the former derive as much confidence from the command of the Sea, as the latter do by their victories and conquests on the Land. The issue of the present War will be very different from what any of the parties professed at its commencement or from what the partizans on either side imagined. It will be a War of territorial conquest to France, and of maritime Conquest to Britain: what the benefit of either event will be to the cause of liberty or of humanity, must yet remain a problem for the solution of Time.—France indeed as far as she has footing upon dry land commences a brilliant career as a conquering Republic, but her finances are in a state of ruin, and almost of annihilation; she scarce exists from day to day but upon the spoils of her enemies, and she does not always find convenient means of doing Justice to her friends. She has already been reduced to the necessity of sanctioning the depreciation of a second paper currency, and her Government is obliged to seek for every pretext good or bad, that can be discovered, to delay or refuse the payment of their own debts.—Some of our own Countrymen find at this time occasion to regret the confidence they have placed in their means and in their punctuality. A very extensive conspiracy has been formed against the present Government and Constitution; its object was the complete restoration of what is called the mountain system, and the Constitution of 1793. Drouet a member of the Legislative body, and who had lately returned from an Austrian Prison, is now upon trial for being concerned in it.—The annual renewal of one third of the two Legislative councils is to take place in the course of a few days.

In this Country the National Assembly is still sitting for the purpose of preparing a Constitution for the Batavian Republic. The People suffer much from the suspension of almost all their trade and from the heavy burdens that are accumulating upon them for the support of a War, of which the only question as it respects them will be, how much they are to lose in its issue.—I hope that a general Peace will soon give them all the relief they can yet expect; and above all I hope that our own Country will persevere in the pacific system, which has made us almost the only prosperous nation on the civilized Earth.

With my kindest regards to Mrs: Welsh, and your young family, I remain / Dear Sir, your sincere friend & hble. Servt:

John Q. Adams.

(MHi: Adams-Welsh Collection).
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