John Adams to Abigail Adams
Philadelphia January 2. 1793
My dearest Friend
Our Antifœderal Scribblers are so fond of Rotations that they Seem disposed to remove their Abuses from me to the President. Baches Paper which is nearly as bad as Freneaux’s begins to join in concert with it, to maul the President for his Drawing Rooms, Levees, declining to accept of Invitations to Dinners and Tea Parties, his Birth day Odes, Visits, Compliments &c—1 I may be expected to be an Advocate for a Rotation of Objects of Abuse, and for Equality in this particular. I have held the office, of Libellee General long enough: The Burthen of it ought to be participated and Equallized, according to modern republican Principles.
The News from France, so glorious for the French Army, is celebrated in loud Peals of Festivity and elevates the Spirits of the Ennemies of Government among Us more than it ought: for it will not answer their Ends. We shall now see the Form of the French Republick. Their Conventions will have many Tryals to make before they will come at any thing permanent. The Calamities of France are not over.
I shall claim the Merit of Some little Accuracy of foresight when I see General Lincoln, who you remember was inclined to think the Duke of Brunswicks march to Paris certain, while I was very apprehensive that the numerous fortified Towns in his Way would waste his army and consume the Campain.
We Shall Soon See the Operation in France of Elections to first Magistracies.2 My Attention is fixed to this Object. I have no doubt of its Effects: but it is a curious Question how long they can last. We have lately Seen how they have Suceeded in New York and what Effect that Election has had upon the Votes for President. Cabal, Intrigue, Manœuvre, as bad as any Species of Corruption We have already seen in our Elections. and when and where will they Stop?
RC (Adams Papers). Filmed at 2 Jan. .
1. Benjamin Franklin Bache’s General Advertiser, 2 Jan. 1793, included a piece, “To the Noblesse and Courtiers of the United States,” ostensibly advertising for a poet laureate for the United States and explaining the duties of the position and the nature of the poetry to be written: “To give a more perfect accommodation to this almost new appointment, certain monarchical prettinesses must be highly extolled, such as Levies, Drawing Rooms, Stately Nods Instead of Shaking Hands, Titles of Office, Seclusion from the People, &c. &c. It may be needless to mention certain other trifling collateral duties, but that the poet may be acquainted with the whole circle of requisites, it may not be amiss to hint, that occasional strokes of ridicule at equality; the absurdity that the vulgar, namely the people, should presume to think and judge for themselves; the great benefit of rank and distinction; the abomination of supposing that the officers of government ought to level themselves with the people by visiting them, inviting them to their tables, &c. may be introduced by way of episode to the Poem.”
2. The National Convention required new elections to all local and municipal administrative bodies after the establishment of the republic. Most of these took place in late 1792 and early 1793 (Malcolm Crook, Elections in the French Revolution: An Apprenticeship in Democracy, 1789–1799, N.Y., 1996, p. 98–101).