Adams Papers
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From John Adams to Thomas Brand Hollis, 28 October 1789

To Thomas Brand Hollis

Boston, October 28, 1789.

Dear Sir,

It was not till the last evening that I had the pleasure of your favor, with the pamphlets. They were sent to New-York, but had not arrived when I left it. Mrs. A. has sent the letter back to me.1 Accept of my thanks for the kindness.

This town has been wholly employed in civilities to the president for some days, and greater demonstrations of confidence and affection are not, cannot be given, in your quarter of the globe to their adored crowned heads.2

I wrote to you, my dear friend, a year ago, by a vessel which was lost at sea, and have been much mortified that I have not been able to write to you oftener.3 But we are men of business here, whether we will or no; and so many things that give us only troble crowd in upon us, that we have little time left for those which would afford us pleasure.

My country has assigned me a station, which requires constant attention and painful labor: but I shall go through it with cheerfulness, provided my health can be preserved in it. There is a satisfaction in living with our beloved chief, and so many of our venerable patriots, that no other country, and no other office in this country, could afford me.

What is your opinion of the struggle in France? Will it terminate happily? Will they be able to form a constitution? You know that in my political creed, the word liberty is not the thing; nor is resentment, revenge, and rage, a constitution, nor the means of obtaining one. Revolutions perhaps can never be effected without them: but men should always be careful to distinguish an unfortunate concomitant of the means from the means themselves: and especially not to mistake the means for the end.

My most cordial regards to all our friends, and believe me to be ever yours,

John Adams.

MS not found. Printed from Disney, Memoirs description begins John Disney, Memoirs of Thomas Brand-Hollis, Esq., London, 1808. description ends , p. 35–36; internal address: “Thomas Brand-Hollis, esq.”

1Hollis’ letter was of 6 June, above, which AA forwarded on 20 October. JA visited Braintree from 12 Oct. to late November, returning to New York by 1 Dec. (AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, Sara Martin, Hobson Woodward, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 8:427, 464; Washington, Diaries description begins The Diaries of George Washington, ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, Charlottesville, Va., 1976–1979; 6 vols. description ends , 5:503).

2George Washington’s intent was to tour New England and thereby “acquire knowledge of the face of the Country the growth and Agriculture there of and the temper and disposition of the Inhabitants towards the new government.” He left New York on 15 Oct. and reached Boston nine days later. A large procession—comprising Massachusetts officials, merchants, and clergy—greeted the president. Newpapers described in detail the banners, cheering, and singing that accompanied the city’s welcome reception for Washington. JA declined an invitation to travel with the president, but he joined Washington’s party in Boston, where they dined in a large company and visited Harvard College. JA reported that the “charming” Virginian enjoyed a “cordial and Splendid reception,” and that he believed the tour would “do much public good.” Pausing at Newburyport, Washington heard JQA’s 4 Nov. address, which hailed the president as “the friend, the benefactor, the father of his Country.”

Washington’s first public tour took in nearly sixty towns and stretched to Maine. Notably, he omitted Rhode Island, which had yet to join the union. In his diary, Washington recorded his impressions of people, agriculture, and manufacturing. Looking over the houses and farms that dotted Massachusetts, Mount Vernon’s owner observed that there was “a great equality in the People of this State—Few or no oppulent Men and no poor.” Suffering from a cold and an inflammation in his left eye, Washington moved quickly through New Hampshire and Maine, drawing his first excursion to New England to a close by early November. He turned south at Portsmouth, N.H., and headed for New York, reaching the city on 13 November. For a map of his tour, see Washington, Papers, Presidential Series description begins The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series, ed. W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Jack D. Warren, Mark A. Mastromarino, Robert F. Haggard, Christine S. Patrick, John C. Pinheiro, David R. Hoth, and others, Charlottesville, Va., 1987–. description ends , 4:200–201 (Washington, Diaries description begins The Diaries of George Washington, ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, Charlottesville, Va., 1976–1979; 6 vols. description ends , 5:453, 460–497; AFC description begins Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, Sara Martin, Hobson Woodward, and others, Cambridge, 1963–. description ends , 8:421, 425, 432, 445–446, 447; Boston Herald of Freedom, 27 Oct.; Newburyport Essex Journal, 4 Nov.; Washington, Papers, Presidential Series description begins The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series, ed. W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Jack D. Warren, Mark A. Mastromarino, Robert F. Haggard, Christine S. Patrick, John C. Pinheiro, David R. Hoth, and others, Charlottesville, Va., 1987–. description ends , 4:163).

3Not found.

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