Adams Papers

John Adams to Abigail Adams, 5 January 1795

John Adams to Abigail Adams

Philadelphia January 5th. 1795

My Dearest Friend

By this Days Post I have your Letter of the 26. Ult. I believe that some incomprehensible sympathy or other, made me low Spirited all the time you were Sick, tho I neither knew nor suspected it. I rejoice to be inform’d of your Recovery.

If I were not afraid of every Change in your Situation, that might endanger your health, I would plan a Project for next Winter: but I must leave that for a Tête a Tête.

To a heart that loves Praise so well and receives so little of it your Letter is like Laudanum which Mr Henry The senator Says is the Divinity itself.1

The French Convention has passed a Number of Resolutions for the Regulation of Jacobinical Clubbs or Self Created societies, founded in eternal Reason, perpetual Policy, and perfect Justice, which every other Nation must adopt, or be overthrown.2 I wish Mr Osgood and every other Minister would preach a sermon once a Quarter expressly on that Text.

Affiliations Combinations, Correspondences, Corporate Acts of such societies must be prohibited. A Snake with one head at each End, crawling Opposite Ways must Split the snake in two unless one head is so much stronger than the other as to draw drag3 it along, over thorns and stones till it looses it headship. so the King of Frances Constitution Acted.— A Man drawn between two Horses is a neat image of a Nation drawn between its Government, and self Created societies Acting as Corporations and combining together

Hay for the Horses I know you must purchase and I always expected it—buy the best and enough of it.

The Weather is here this Day as fine as you describe the day before Christmas when our Friends were so good as to visit you. bright clear mild—farmers ploughing every Where. Letters from Connecticut say the Cankerworm Millers & Sluggs are going up the Appletrees. Tar our Trees in the Garden and see if you catch any.

There is an unusual calm and dearth of News at present. Most important Events are expected to be imported by the first Vessells. I am myself much inclined to doubt whether the French will get to Amsterdam. There are Obstacles in their Way very serious, and which may be made invincible. Amsterdam may be defended by an Inundation. Even without an Inundation it is capable of a good defence—a strong Wall—a Wide deep Ditch—a numerous Artillery—and I am not willing to believe that the People are asleep or will be idle. I am, with / the tenderest of all sentiments / ever yours

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Janry 5th / 1795.”

1John Henry (1750–1798), Princeton 1769, was a lawyer and Maryland politician, having served as a delegate to the Continental Congress and then as a state senator. He was elected to the U.S. Senate in 1788 (DAB description begins Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ).

2On 3. Jan. 1795 the Philadelphia Gazette of the United States printed news from Paris, dated Oct. 1794, in which the French National Convention set out eight articles identifying self-governing societies as subversive and undemocratic. The decree outlawed popular societies, prohibited collective petitions, and required that both the leaders and the members of existing groups be identified to authorities. These actions followed in the wake of the Jacobin collapse in July and the subsequent rise to power by the Thermidorian regime (Bosher, French Rev., description begins J. F. Bosher, The French Revolution, New York, 1988. description ends p. 202–203).

3JA interlined “drag” immediately above but failed to cancel the word “draw.”

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