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Francis Adriaan van der Kemp to John Adams

28 Dec. 1813

My Dear Sir! Olden barneveld 28 Dec. 1813.

Every mail I flattered myself to receive a Line from Mount Wallaston, till I received your favour of the 1st. and long before that day I Should have written had I not been prevented by that malignant demon, which haunts me from time to time, when I expected to have devoted a moment of leisure in writing to you. Besides, I had imposed upon me a task of correcting and copying my memoir on the use of copper by the Greeks for mr Quincy—which I now include, with request to forward it to Him with the adjoining Letter after you have glanced over it. Not that it containes any considerable improvements, which could make you an amend for reading it over again, but that I wished to draw your attention upon a note on the first page devoted to our late friend Luzac. If you and mrs Adams approve the balat paid to that excellent man—if it is the opinion of you Both, that I have been not extravagant—in Speaking so much of myself I shall have reason to boast of my exertions of my labour if . . .. I endeavoured in an ... to give a Succinct and faithful account of ... by which the reader is prepared to decide who . . . his request . . . both. As I have no prospect of seeing publishedthe Researches—this memoir shall be returned to . . . to be deposited with the Researches and the . . . on the life of Calvin . . .in Cambridge library. Had Charles . . . he would have corrected the Idiom and adorned them in so far that a book Seller might have been lured to run the risk of the publication without my participating in the expences. I do not complain, that this opportunity is lost.

But how could you, even in jest, how could you, who know So well, Suppose, that I could forget, much less Slight the man, who has returned So many favours upon me by his esteem, by his frienship during thirty years? there it is, Shall I Say your fault in recommending me So highly above my real deserves—and which your partial . . .ness can gloss over, if during my Stay in N. England I was honoured with the good opinion of Some of your distinguished Ladies. It is So, I glory indeed in this acquisition and it had always the chief aim of my exertions in b\e/tter days to gain their applause—and, had I been a Statesman or ... nary I would by preference have applied to gain the good will of the brothers and sisters and the Success of . . . would not have failed—but never—no, not even to whose the delight of my Soul, would I Sacrifice the friend of my heart at that altar—You know—I could not.

... at Quincy—Seeing you leaving your seat at the table ... \it/ next mine to honour me with this disticintion I hear with delight the chat of your female companions and listen to mrs Adams—as often She ... to amuse or instruct her Society—How many moments of exquisite pleasure we Spent together in those few days—... without restraint not caring—if prudence and discretion will put her Stamp on every expression—and God forbid that ever I Should Search to associate, where I ought to weigh every thought before it is uttered—my heart must keep the ... tongue and lips and a peccavi is the utmost that a good natured audience will require—and So I obtain a fresh licence of Sinning again.

What a loss that I did not ransack your Library—but what could I do in So few days—for which So many weeks would have been too Short—and your valuable library did fall Short to the conversation of mr. & mrs Adams How I regret, that I could not Stay—only a few weeks—What Subjects would have been canvassed in Politics in Theology and Philosophy—what whims and paradoxes protruded and defended with zeal: and what bickerings I might have excited—and been maintained with warmth—till a Significant look of your Lady—or a well directed Raillery would have placed us both Loos de combats—when the truth of amantium iræ would here received a fresh proof. It is pretty certain we Should not always have been in unison.—What defference and homage I paid to your judgment—as you know we are not the properest persons to be kept on Leading–Strings—and your Lady might deem the task too difficult—to take the care of two except—which for my own Sake I hope not, I was considered as an appendix only. Nevertheless I Should have been pleased to try the experiment, but as it must not be So, I thank God, in having been favoured—to Stay So long with you—to have obtained if possible a larger Share in your esteemed friendship, and having ... myself more or less in that of Mrs. Adams—... licat invidis and now, I Should not fear, that my bluntness—and absence of mind can injure me much, much less because one of her \ favour/ if I am permitted to return once again and—So unexpected my first visit was So may be a Second—Possæ—quia posse videnhin.

Accept my thanks for your detail of the consolato—Why did you but ... Monticello’s Syllabus?–Lett this consolat be renewed and Sworn by all Nations at some general durable peace is established! Amen! Good God! What a time!—Would you run a great risk in promising, to Send at that time your coach and have the glasses rinsed—and cork-screws in the bottles about that time?

What perjured fellows are these of the European Continent Parisians Romans—Parthians—Clametes and those of Mesopotamia! It does good—that our ardevant faithful Allies the goody children of John Bull—neither we, the most englightened and civilised part of the creation—had any deal in that compact, and must be thus considered in State nature, So that we may Still continue to Steal and pilfer, as much we can; It might nevertheless be adviseable, that Both—if it was only pro forma, entered that compact—to avoid to make our brethren envious of our Situation.

Had you lately tidings from Petersburg. The diplomatic address can not keep J. Q. unremittingly employ’d—What ...ment are perennius is he erecting for himself?

If you do ... to petulant I shall not require.—now to recommend to Mrs Adams—assure Her of my high and affectionate regard—and tell—that I ardently wished—that two young Ladies now my correspondents—could from herselves in her School—and Letter writting would be celebrated as an exquisite ornament of a Lady—even after She had taken her flight to regions of eternal bliss. When you ... I hope to see her again—if we do not smooth the path before her.

With affectionate esteem I remain / your obliged friend

Fr. Adr. van der Kemp

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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