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John Quincy Adams to Louisa Catherine Johnson

13 Dec. 1796

The Hague December 13. 1796.

Yes, my amiable friend, the theory of fortitude is much easier than its practice, and the disappointment which I have experienced in being detained here so much longer than I had every reason to expect affects me more than I can express.—From the general practice which I observe, of giving nothing as positive while any uncertainty remains on it whatever, I had in my former Letter to you mentioned that I should be detained here perhaps till the Winter or Spring, although my Letters from America then assured me that I might probably be enabled to remove early in the fall. I had so strongly indulged the hope of meeting you in London, as to recommend as you mention your preparation for a sudden departure, in case my orders should require it. Nor did I then imagine that my orders instead of a sudden departure, would direct me to remain here so many months longer.—At present there is not the least prospect that I shall be released from hence these five or six months. If instead of the last Autumn, it should prove to be the next before I quit this Country, it will not be much surprizing to me. Every letter which I now receive seems to lengthen rather than shorten the time of my continuance here. It is to me a severe affliction, and I am much more fit to receive than to give lessons of consolation and acquiescence.

Yet the recollection that it is one of those evils which we suffer in common with so many others, that it cannot be avoided, and that our own advantage may finally result from it, gives a degree of practice to the theory of fortitude, and above all the Resolution which I have long since formed and intend to maintain through life of checking and controuling every weakness unworthy of an energetic mind helps me to support and even to urge motives of fortitude, to you.—Be assured of this, my best friend; that though Alps rise between us and whole Ocean’s roll, my affection will be not the less steady, firm and constant. I believe the same of yours; that confidence which in one of my late Letters I so warmly recommended to you, I most fully place it in you, and am sure that it is safely placed—Our final meeting, as I hope to part no more in this life will be in my native Country: that Country which is my pride and glory; which I have always cherished as comprehending every affection of my heart, but which will if possible become dearer to me than ever, when it shall become your’s by residence in it.

My last Letter to you was written from Amsterdam. Or rather began there and finished here. I have since then been there again, and returned here yesterday. This day I am going to attend a public festival celebrated on the occasion of a decree by the National Assembly for the Indivisibility of the Batavian Republic. Perhaps you will ask what is a festival of indivisibility?—or rather perhaps you will not ask but say you care as little as you know what it is. If however you should be more curious than I imagine, I can tell you that I know not what it is, and that those who make the celebration know I believe as little.—Upon the whole I think it may be called a thing to put in the Newspapers, and there it will accordingly be put.

I have not this long time received any Letters from my friend Hall. Is he still in London?—I believe he is for I think if he were any where else I should hear more frequently from him.

Farewell, my best friend, and remember me affectionately to all the family: and believe me to be most faithfully your’s.


RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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