Adams Papers

London July 16, 1786. Sunday.

London July 16, 1786. Sunday.

At Hackney, heard a Nephew of Dr. Price, who is settled at Yarmouth.

It may be of Use to minute miscellaneous Thoughts like Selden, Swift &c.

It is an Observation of one of the profoundest Inquirers into human Affairs, that a Revolution of Government, successfully conducted and compleated, is the strongest Proof, that can be given, by a People of their Virtue and good Sense. An Interprize of so much difficulty can never be planned and carried on without Abilities, and a People without Principle cannot have confidence enough in each other.

Mr. Langbourne of Virginia, who dined with Us on Fryday at Col. Smiths, dined here Yesterday. This Gentleman who is rich, has taken the Whim of walking all over Europe, after having walked over most of America. His Observations are sensible and judicious. He walks forty five or fifty miles a day. He says he has seen nothing superiour to the Country from N. York to Boston. He is in Love with N. England, admires the Country and its Inhabitants. He kept Company with the King of Frances Retinue, in his late Journey to Cherbourg. He says the Virginians have learned much in Agriculture as well as in Humanity to their Slaves, in the late War.1

1William Langborn (d. 1814), of King William co., Va., who had served as aide-de-camp to Lafayette in America and was in 1783 breveted lieutenant colonel. According to family tradition he wandered for many years on his walking tours. He had just arrived in England from France, where on 15 June Jefferson had issued him a passport. See Heitman, Register Continental Army description begins Francis B. Heitman, comp., Historical Register of Officers of the Continental Army during the War of the Revolution, new edn., Washington, 1914. description ends ; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd and others, Princeton, 1950– . description ends , 5:637–638; 9:643–644; WMQ description begins William and Mary Quarterly. description ends , 1st ser., 4:184 (Jan. 1896); 11:257–260 (April 1903); also entry of 21 July and note, below.

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