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Thomas Boylston Adams to William Smith Shaw, 1 March 1799

Thomas Boylston Adams to William Smith Shaw

[1 March 1799]1

Dear William

I am now and then regaled with a few words from your store house, spread over as many lines, which brings to my mind very forcibly the words of Pope. “The weighty bullion” &ca: you know the rest.2 As yet however I have nothing directly from your hand. I have been playing truant ever since I arrived, and begin to think it high time to attend my office more punctually.

We have had Balls and dinners &ca: in honor of Genl Washington’s birth day. I was one of the singing dancing, eating, drinking, smoaking & toasting multitude on the occasion, and filled my character, I hope, with becoming zeal. You have doubtless somewhat of a similar history to give of the proceedings at Philadelphia—other proceedings of an opposite complexion are not wanting among you to fill the Chronicle of variety or scandal.

I am amused with Peter’s strictures upon the Report of a nomination to France—3 Mr: Pitt may dislike the measure as much, though his practice has been very similar to it.

Our situation has been for a length of time, neither peace or war with France—so long as this continued, milk & water must have have remained the complexion of all our proceedings— The Reptiles would not declare war as they ought, and the President in consequence has declared peace, if it can be made. Some of us say, the Senate will non-concur— I say they will concur.

I am with best remembrance to friends / your’s


RC (MHi:Misc. Bound Coll.); addressed: “W. Shaw / Secretarie du President”; internal address: “W. Shaw”; endorsed: “T B. Adams / rec 9th March / 1799.”

1The dating of this letter is based on TBA’s Diary entry of the same date, in which he noted writing to both his father and Shaw.

2Joseph Warton, An Essay on the Genius and Writings of Pope, 4th edn., 2 vols., London, 1782, 2:353.

3See JA to AA, 22 Feb., note 3, above.

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