Adams Papers

From John Adams to Abigail Smith Adams, 1 February 1799

Phil. Feb. 1. 1799

My dearest Friend

On Tuesday Mr T. B. Adams left Us at Eleven in the stage for New York & Boston and consequently Quincy.—I should have been glad to have held him till I could carry him with me: but I thought it my Duty to comply with his desire, both for his sake and yours.—He Seems determined to settle in Phyladelphia.—He would have a happier Life, and be a more important Man in Quincy: But I must do & say as My Father did to me: leave him to his own Inclination and acquiesce in it as a dispensation of Providence. You will find him very agreable and pleasant.

By the time he returns, I expect the Plague will drive him out, again.—It is undoubtedly here lurking about the City all this Winter. Tarewell did not die of it: but I suppose of an Appoplexie tho they call it a Pleurisie.

We had Yesterday a large Company: C. J. McKean and the Judges & Lawyers of Pensylvania with some Members of Congress: all very agreable. I am reading the K. of Prussias Correspondence with Voltaire D’Alembert &c He is forever talking of his Age, Infirmities, Decline & Decay. His Memory is going. His Imagination is gone—His Teeth fail. His Limbs are stiff & goutty—He is broken—He is old—&c &c &c—Yet at last When he was really old and broken he could not bear to hear of it.

His Phylosophy was bad enough: tho not so bad is that of others then & since. His Wit is to me a little dull—His humour heavy—There is an Affectation of Gaiety, which however does not make the Reader very gay.—Frank waits for my Letter.


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