Adams Papers

From John Adams to Mercy Otis Warren, 29 May 1789

New York May 29th 1789—


A little before my departure from Braintree I received your favour inclosing a letter from Mrs. Walker. Last night I received <your > that of the 7th May. There was no necessity of any apology for writing to me after so long a correspondence. There has never been on my past any failure of friendship to Mr. Warren or your self—you are very much mistaken in your opinion of my situation. <[. . .]> <him> I have neither reached the [arena] of Applause nor am I [. . .] a situation to establish my family or assist my friends. I am and have been extremely mortified from my first arrival in America, to hear from all Quarters of the unpopularity of my Friend Warren and his family—whom I was formerly accustomed to hear spoken of with affection and Respect by all. It is not my fault to have listened to the uninterrupted Ebulitions of the public Wrath. for I must have been wholly out of Society not to have heard them, and they hurt my heart much too intimately not to make a deep impression. No doubt there have been many and great exaggerations and misrepresentations. But one thing is indubitable that G. Warren did differ for a time from all his Friends, and did countenance measures that appear to me as they did to those Friends extremely pernicious. You are pleased to say Madam that you are sure of my Patronage for certain purposes. In the first place I have no patronage in the next neither your Children nor my own would be sure of it if I had it. beyond my own clear Conviction of the public Good I should bely the whole cour[s]e of my public and private Conduct and all the maxims of my Life if I should ever consider public Authority entrusted to me to be made subservient to my private Views or those of my Family or Friends. The Friendship between Genl. Warren and me began and has continued in different principles—

No man knows better than I do that time will make curious disclosures. I should not be astonished to find Incendiaries who fomented the discontent among the Insurgents of Massachusetts in a Class the least suspected by the World—From my earliest youth I have been perfectly aware that the popular Voice is fluctuating & that human affairs are full of Vicissitudes—I have long contemplated in many very solemn honors the Injustice—Ingratitude and Abuse experienced by myself and it would be no surprise to me if my latter end should be as melancholly instance of popular mutability as the annals of anarchy ever exhibited to the World if this should happen to me or to others it will wholly be owing to the ignorance of the great <Rulers> leaders in the Revolution of the nature of Government and their Obstinacy in refusing to learn it. But enough and too much of this. You have not informed me madam what particular View you have for Mr. Warren or your Son’s. The Candidates are very numerous and equally importunant. I must say to you as to every one else I am not the Person to apply to The Constitution has wisely made the President the Judge in the first instance of the pretensions of all. Every application must be made to him and it ought to be made in writing—With my Sincere respects to Mr. Warren—

I am Madam Yr. Friend and humble Servant

J Adams—

MHi: Adams Family Papers, Letterbooks.

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