Adams Papers

From Abigail Smith Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams, 25 January 1801

Washington Janry. 25 1801—

Dear Thomas.

I received yours of the 20th Instant. You will see how matters have gone in Senate respecting the Convention. Dean Swift in verses upon his own death, says of those who had predicted his death

“They’d rather that the Dean should dye

than there predictions prove a lie”

So the party had rather the whole convention should be negatived and every thing put again at the mercy of France, than assent to an accommodation with them; yet pretend that they are fearfull of mr. Jeffersons prediliction in favour of France. they see and know now, what is before them; with the present Government of France They cannot expect to obtain better terms; for pay they cannot, and to have promised it, would not have been so sincere as to have waved it—the jealousy of G. Britain would be more excited by a mission to France by the new President, and the Country in general would have less confidence in obtaining terms favorable to it—yet a blind Spirit of party appear[s] willing to risk all. I think they ought to take the Name of the Risk alls, for that desperate Game they have play’d untill they have brought the Country into a State of Jeopardy; that there are dareing projects on foot I as fully believe as the Gentleman who told me so, and with the present views and temper which prevails, I cannot but think the President will find himself fortunate in his release; he might have stoped there career a few Years longer—but he would have had the new faction to have contended against; I have inclosed you a curious conversation, which tho at table was not heard by any one but ourselves, as we spoke low. It is a little too much in the Tench Cox Stile to commit it to writing, but it is only for your amusement; you will draw this inference from it, that there are certain persons, who carry everything they hear, and I dare say many things they make, to the Ear of Mr J[efferso]n if only what is said by the party be told; his prospect is not a Summer Sea. If Burr should be Elected, which I do not believe, it will not be from any superiour confidence either party can place in him—his private Character will not bear the Scrutiny which mr Jeffersons will. I believe he would become a Buonaparty if he could, he is bold, dareing, nothing to lose of property or Reputation, ambitious, insinuating, a voluptuary in practise, and as to Religion—I do not think he feels any restraints from it, I think him a much more dangerous Man than mr Jefferson; Mr. J[efferson] will be too lax, too wild and levelling, the other will draw as tight as he dare;—

after all it is a Scylla & Charibdis buisness.

It is laughable to hear the offices which even the federilist are for placing the President in. one wants to make him Ambassador, an other Chief Justice—and an other Goveneur—comforting things besure. Farmer Adams—if Farmer he could be upon his own System, would be enviable to any thing in the power of the Country to give or grant. no more elective offices for me—I think too highly of the Rank and Station in which I have been placed ever to give my consent to a secondary and subordinate Station; looking upon myself in this sense, one and indivissible to degrade ourselves, to descend voluntarily, and by choice, from the highest to a lower Rank, to quit the care of a Nation, for that of a State—Those who will submit to it, must possess more of Humi[li]ty than falls to my Lot, yet can I in a private and retired life practise all the oeconomy to which I know I must be called, and feel no degradation or mortification but for my Country.

Inclosed is a curious Letter. is there any such craizy fellow—Return the Letter—

Next tuesday I propose quitting here. Do you know where I can get more private lodgings than at Frances’es. mrs. Bradford and Boudinot request me to put up with them. I do not propose staying more than a day or two, but I think I had better have lodgings. I shall feel more at my ease—

Adieu your ever / affectionate mother

A A—

MHi: Adams Papers.

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