Berlin 27. May 1799
I received some time ago your kind favour of 1. December of the last year, and should have answered it sooner, but have been waiting untill I could have the pleasure of communicating to you better intelligence than of my dear wife’s illness: your letter arrived just at a moment when she was again taken ill, as she had already been twice before, and she can scarcely be said even now to be perfectly restored to health; though as nearly so, as can possibly be expected after her unfortunate accident; before it happened, she had enjoyed eight or nine months of better health, than for many years before, and I still hope she will soon gain strength enough to overcome all the consequences which might permanently injure her constitution.
I hear with much pleasure that you had got your affairs into such a train as leads you to expect a settlement of them satisfactory to yourself. I have understood by letters from Mrs. Johnson to Louisa, that the letter which I wrote you from London enclosing a copy of one from Mr. Delius to me, gave you pain in a manner altogether contrary to my intention—Mr. Delius had thought proper to write a complaining and even a threatening letter to me, upon a subject of which, untill the moment when I received his letter I had never heard a syllable—His threats I could indeed set at defiance, but I was utterly incapable from ignorance of every circumstance relative to the business, to answer his complaints, which appeared however to me to be of a nature requiring an answer. The gentlemen with whom you had left in London the transaction of your business, were equally uninformed in this case, with myself, and I therefore thought myself obliged to transmit to you a copy of Mr. Delius’s letter, and to express at the same time to you my sense of the importance of its contents—It was very far from my design either to wound your feelings by unjust suspicions, or even to express a belief that the complaints of Mr. Delius were substantially founded—It is impossible for anyone to wish more cordially and warmly than I do that the termination of your affairs may prove altogether conformable to your wishes; from my thorough confidence in the character and abilities of my kinsman Mr. Cranch, I am sure he will do them all possible justice in the management of them.
We received at the same time with your letter, others from Mrs. Johnson of so late a date as the first of February, by which we learn with extreme satisfaction that the health of your son was entirely restored. We hope and pray that his illness may have been the final test of his constitution, and that henceforward he may enjoy many many years of uninterrupted health.
You will, before this can reach you, be informed that the war between Austria and France has broken out again, if possible with greater violence than ever; and that the Emperor of Russia is now taking a very active part in it—The french having commenced hostilities before making any declaration, at first obtained some advantages in Switzerland, but for two months past have suffered a constant series of defeats, there, as well as in Italy and in Germany—Their greatest losses have been in Italy, where in the course of a month they have been driven from the gates of Verona to those of Turin, with an unquestionable loss of more than thirty thousand men.—The Congress of Rastadt is broken up, and terminated in an unfortunate catastrophe by the murder of two of the french ministers, committed by a party of Austrian hussars. The Archduke commanding the Austrian army has expressed his utter abhorrence of the act, put under arrest the men who committed it, and appointed persons to examine thoroughly into the transaction and its causes. The french Directory accuse the Austrian government and the archduke himself with having ordered it.
A fleet of 25 Ships of the line and ten frigates sailed a month ago from Brest, and it is not yet known where they are gone.—The french privateers are chiefly called in—The new commission from America will probably be received as it ought, and in a very different manner than its predecessors were.
I am, with the sincerest regard & affection, Dear Sir, your’s,
John Q. Adams
MHi: Adams Family Papers, Letterbooks.