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John Adams to Margaret Stephens Smith

16 Mar. 1797

Madam Philadelphia March 16th. 1797

I received this morning your Letter with that of Mrs. Clarkson of the 10th of this month

The is no higher pleasure in this life than that of releiving and providing for a Virtuous family who are objects of commiseration, But I know of no office of any Kind that is Vacant. If I did I am so totally a Stranger to Mth Clarkson and his Talents Faculties Qualifications and Merit as to be wholly unable to determine whether he Could be appointed

The power of nomination to office is a Sacred Trust to be Executed wholly and only according to Merit and for No public good without regard to private Connections, If however any Vacancy Should happen Mr Clarksons pretensions will be weighed and considerd in Common with all others, and as that is All I can Say I am Sorry that you & Mrs Clarkson can Excuse so little Encouragement from Madam

Your most Obedient

John Adams—

LbC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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