5 November, 1798.
My dear brother,
Without an extraordinary portion of incredulity, I might still dispute, the full confirmation of your news, as the whole of the Brest squadron, was not taken by Sir J. B Warren, and we are yet quite uncertain here what part of it really fell into his hands—But I had rather beleive in the official confirmation of the reports announcing the destruction of the transports at Alexandria, though it would be better to have even this account more directly than from St. Petersbourg.
The newspapers are full of the resistance against the conscription in Brabant, and I have heard directly from Lyons, that in that part of France, they are obliged to chain the young men whom they catch and send to the armies, under this new levy—These circumstances only prove that the system is seriously executing, and that it will raise a most formidable force—Partial opposition to the execution of the Law will be immediately quelled, and signifies nothing.
But in Switzerland and in Italy, the situation of the french is at this moment critical, and their naval power has suffered in their late defeats a loss, which it will not easily repair—the loss of its most valuable officers—The campaign has been the most glorious and unquestionably the most advantageous, to England, of any during the War. Ireland may be now considered as out of danger—Whether the conquest of Egypt will indemnify France for all this, time must discover—At least we see how ill those calculated who imagined Buonaparte and his Host would be swallowed up in the Red Sea—He himself and Berthier declare that all Egypt is subdued.
Present my best thanks to Mr Pitcairn for his very kind present of fish, which I received three days ago, and to the excellence of which I can bear testimony.
Once more, God bless you, and give you a prosperous and speedy passage—
Mrs Adams sends her love to you, as she always does when I write; though I often forget to tell you—
MHi: Adams Family Papers, Letterbooks.