Entry  About  Search  Log In  help (navigation)
printable version

Francis Adrian van der Kemp to John Adams

21 Sept. 1813

My Dear and respected Sir! Olden barneveld 21 Sept. 1813.

Never shall be obliterated the few days, which I enjoy’d at Quincy—I fostered allways indeed a faint hope—to see you once more, and know, that I should meet with a cordial reception—but never my ardent imagination did reach to that which I received—From you I expected all the warmth of an old friend—but—even if I was more presumtuous—I could lay no claim whatever on the numerous civilities, which your Lady was pleased to bestow on your friend. It is Something on which I pride myself, that She deemed me deserving her attention—that she favoured me with her regard—that she condescended to honour me with the marks of kindness—why could I not linger Stay? but so it is—we are never Satisfied—we grasp at a more remote bliss—happy enough—if we do not embitter by our irregular loungings our presant folicity. Though Charles Situation filled often my bosom with anguish, yet I dare batled—during a month—inexpressible pleasures—more than enough to dispell the momentary gloom, which now and then obscures my mind—and can not entirely be conquered.

I have Seen you now in your domestic circle—I found you the Same John Adams, and Loved and esteemed your higher yet I have known you as a Statesman—a Scientific man, but did not guess, that our minds were So much in unison in religious principles—why Should anyone hate another for that which ought to be their band of union—if it was not lust of dominion? and this would be taken up by the root, at least it would be bereft of its firmest Support, were all the outworks of Christianity demolished, and its heavenly doctrine reduced to its primitive Simplicity. But this event Shall not happen in our days—if ever—although I believe that the purty of its morals Shall be once, as unquestionable, be generally admitted—as well as the certainty of a future State—in which the wise and good Shall know another and meet together—

On my return home I received many civilities at Springfield from mr Dwights—at Stockbridge from the family of late Judge Sedgwick—at Pittsfield from Dr. Childs—and mr Watson, and the Rev. Allen—Son in Law of an old acquaintance President Wheelock—

We canvassed and reviewed in that Short interval of time—many interesting topics—but there would have remained untouched many—upon which I Should have wished to converse, had the time been ten times prolonged—I feared now and then, that I robbed others, by appropriating to myself Such a large Share in the conversation—But a hungry man devours his crust of bread—and I have been \Since 16/ years nearly Secluded from Society.

I intended to have rectified a mistake in your last Letter—occasioned I presume by my incorrect phraseology—or punctuation—my intention was not, that I was preparing the negotiations of John Adams—I meant it—as Suggested by you—in your Letter—I am preparing &c—no Living man, except John Adams—or his Son Quincÿ can accomplish this arduous task—and you can not do me the injustice that I would lay unhallowed hands to this Sacred ark—but I Should blame Father and Son—if this treasure was buried by the later—and He can be fully trusted with the care of your fame.

With regard to Machiavels works—besides the Belpheger—in prose in your Edition—mine Italian edition contains the following

Dell’Asino D’oro—cap. viii

Dell’occasione—della Fortuna—Dell’ingratitudene—Dell’Amblione cap—IV.

Duoi Decenneli—cirè, compendio delle core falte in ventio anni in Italia.

La Mandrogola—comedia agutessima

La Clitia—comedia facetissima.

Although the distinction—I met with at Boston—have pleased me—and—if Sincerely bestowed—humbled me in my own opinion, fully convinced—that I could not have deserved it—yet—your observation added new Strenght to my own reflections at that time, and lessened the value—when I Suspected—that I was cajoled as “Monstrum Novi Quid” from the western wilderness—but, this I hope was not the case with all—at least not with Eliot’s and J. Quincey’s family—

During my stay at Boston I was introduced by the Chief-Justice and was honoured with three visits—two I was at home—he is a man of great learning—

In my next I Shall Send you the promised contents of Shozes yer Tables—according Goethe—your Divines may explain how our present Moral precepts are hawked about as its genuine Engravings—If Spurious—the fiction must have originated—when the church intended to lure the Jews within its pale and represent the Jewish Law in a more moral dress.

I no longer beg you to remember me—as fully persuaded that I am in possession of your friendship, and as I flatter myself mrs Adams—good opinion, but I request you to give my best respects to the Members of your family while I enjoy the Satisfaction of assuring you, that I remain with high respect

Your affectionate and obliged / friend

Fr. Adr. van der Kemp

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.