Adams Papers

From Thomas Boylston Adams to Abigail Smith Adams, 20 January 1801

Philadelphia 20th: January 1801.

My dear Mother

I have received your favor of the 15th: instt: with a curious statement respecting treaties, which I shall preserve. I knew very well you would not like Manlius, as indeed there are not many who do—but the young man, who wrote under that signature has few readers & no opposers, so that his vanity receives very little adulation from public notice. He is a Sensible, and worthy youth, for whom I have a friendship; and I even read to him the letter, before I sent it to my father, which enclosed his essays. He objected to the word open-mouthed which I had used to characterize his opposition to the mission to France, and I altered it in consequence though he does not know that I did. I decline giving his name.

From the general Silence, which prevails respecting the Convention, I draw the inference, that the Country is in favor of it—We should have heard more from the merchants, on the Subject, if they were against it. I am persuaded also, that much better terms of intercourse were not looked for, and if the Senate reject or ratify only conditionally, there will be great disappointment among every description of people. Our Senators will do as they please I suppose, and leave the Country to take care of itself. I wish the question could come before the house of Representatives on the score of appropriations. I am curious to know from which side the call for instructions would come.

I Subscribed, in my father’s name for the Port-folio, as the postage will be no more than 2 Cents per week—I do not expect the Representatives of the Nation who can vote $200,000 to raise a pile of stones to the memory of a dead man, will have the generosity to frank the letters or newspapers of an ex-President.—Why should they? He has no more title to the exemption than one of the ex-members of their own body—I would lay a wager, that little Jacky Randolph would make this identical objection should a motion be made on the subject.

I thank you for the extract of the letter, you sent me, and wish I were at liberty to publish the substance of it—but a foreign Minister’s communication to his government is a sacred thing & not to be violated lightly.

I have written to JQA—to be prepared for his recall—I think he will anticipate the measure, by demanding it himself—To serve under Beelzebub, with a legion of devils as fellow laborers, can be no honor to a Saint.

With best love & duty, I am dear Mother / your Son

T B Adams.

MHi: Adams Papers.

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