Adams Papers

From Thomas Boylston Adams to Joseph Pitcairn, 16 October 1800

Philadelphia 16th: October 1800

Dear Sir

Since my last to you I have received none of your favors; but a fair opportunity presenting, I shall address you a few lines rather for the sake of preserving the habit of writing by every opportunity, than for any thing interesting to communicate.

Our annual election was held in this State two days ago; Members of Congress were to be chosen, as well as for the State Legislature. The democratic candidates have succeeded, almost universally— Even the City of Philadelphia is to be represented by a Jacobin, in the place of a federalist. The ticket was carried against us by a majority of 14 votes.

The game is up, in my opinion, between the people & the government of their choice— The same hands will not administer the Constitution, who have done it heretofore. New York—Pennsylvania & Virginia, three of the most populous & wealthy States in the Union have combined to bring about a change of men & measures; they can & will effect it. I have given you seasonable notice of this prospect, and you will doubtless be prepared to meet the event.

In Maryland, the Legislature, which has just been chosen, has a majority of members who will vote for a popular district election for Electors of President; which will give a majority to the Democratic Candidate. The Governor of this State will probably convene the Legislature for the purpose of chusing Electors, provided the complexion of the late returns should be more favorable than the last. New England will vote very much as heretofore, but all to no purpose.

Thus you see, I have marked out a complete triumph of what is called the Republican party, among us. I call it the party of Jacobins & Anti-federalists— What sort of work they will make of governing this Country, I know not; be the sin of confusion, foreign or domestic convulsions at their own doors—when they get us deep enough in the mire, the sovereign people will then call again upon those whom they now contemptuously dissmiss from their service, to help us out.

I do not write this under the influence of a mortified pride or humiliated spirit. My expectations, so far as they are of a selfish nature, are exactly equal in either turn of the die. My anxiety for my Country’s welfare is quite independent of a kindred feeling; and in the humble obscure & lowly walk of an Attorney at Law I look upon my stake in these mainly, as of more importance to myself than the completest triumph of any political party in the Country. Nevertheless, when I witness the rise of a faction, which is built upon the ruins of that class of rulers, who have been hitherto the choice of the people; when I reflect upon the meansby which the public confidence has been diverted from some characters & totally alienated from others—I can not, under the impressions, which a knowledge of these things leaves upon my mind, be reconciled to an opinion, that all may yet go on smoothly & prosperously. I am no optimist; for such an one, can have no religious creed—

Congress meet the 2d: week in the next month at the City of Washington. Their accommodations will be slender for the first season and such of the gentlemen who liked very well to pass the winter in a great City; but had not calculated upon making a sacrifice of their ease, will be very apt to shorten the session as much as possible. A very considerable number have declined serving again; every one of whom were federalists, who in three instances out of four will be superceded by Jacobins— Like master like man, will be a correct description of the next Congress—

I am dear Sir / with much esteem / Your very hble Servt

T. B. A.

OCHP: Pitcairn Papers.

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