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MERCY WARREN TO ABIGAIL ADAMS ADAMS MSS.
MY DEAR FRIEND, - Great Advantages are often Attended with Great Inconveniences, and Great Minds Called to severe tryals. If your Dearest Friend had not Abilities to Render such important services to his Country, he would not be Called to the self Denying task of Leaving for a time His Beloved Wife and Little pratling Brood. Therefore while I Weep with my Friend the painful absence, I Congratulate her that she is so Nearly Connected with a Gentleman whose Learning, patriotism and prudence qualify Him to Negotiate at Foreign Courts the affairs of America at this Very Critical period.
I think I know your public spirit and Fortitude to be such that you will Throw no Impediment in his way. Why should you? You are yet young, and may sit down together many years in peace after He has finished the Work to his own Honor to the satisfaction of his Constituents and to the Approbation of his Conscience. You cannot, my Dear, avoid anticipating the Advantages that will probably Redound from this Honorable Embassy to your self to your Children and your Country. But while I wish to say some what to support your Resolution and spirits Methinks something Wispers me within that you will justly say that we are very Ready to Give advice when we but Illy practice upon the principles we lay down. True but we may profit by the advice though we despise the Weakness of the Adviser. Yet I have not so Ill an opinion of myself as to think were I just in your situation I should not strive for the Exertion of a Little Heroism upon such an occasion.
I was in hopes we should have had the pleasure of seeing Mr. Adams at Plimouth before he left America. I should be very happy to see you together by my fire side if it was but for one day before he Crosses the Atlantic; but if that cannot be my best Wishes await him. Assure him that my Fervant prayer is that he May Experience the peculiar protection of providence through Every stage of his useful Life.
But I think before we part I Must desire him to Look into a Letter from Marcia Dated March, 1776 (if he has not Destroyed it), which will Remind him of a Certain Bargain which I Expect he will fulfill. His Excuse was once that he should Never be Called to the Different Courts of Europe. But I have seen Events so precipitated, and the Wheels of Revolution so Rapidly Move on, that I have Expected it for several years. And if I am Notwithstanding His Vast Avocations Gratifyed with one Letter from the Court of France, however high I May Esteem the Indulgence, I shall not be More pleased with the Honour done me by the Embassadour of America than obliged by this Mark of Friendship from Mr. Adams.
One thing More I Must beg you to assure him that if it is possible for me or mine to do anything to Lessen the Inconvenience or pain of absence that His portia or Her Children May suffer, He may Depend upon the Ready aid of His and your very Affectionate Friend
ADAMS MSS. Jan. 8th, 1778
MERCY WARREN TO Abigail AdamS
In your late hasty lines you ask three questions, Viz., what I think of a Certain appointment, what you ought to do, and what I would do. To the first I answer I think the Appointment most Judicious, and though we want his services hear I think the Stat Holder the best qualifyed of any man on the Continent to Represent the united states of America. By his penetrating Genius he May see through and Defeat the tricks of old statesmen and
Courtiers, at the same time He Guards against the Imbecility and Wickedness of more Modern politicians.
To the second I reply you must be too sensible of the path that duty points out and the part you ought to act to stand in Need of the premonitions of Friendship. To your 3d question, I have too Great a Regard to my own Character to [say] Frankly No, yet am too suspicious of my own Heart positively to say yes. Therefore must Leave it a little problematical till further Examination and tryal.
I had some secret hopes that a Certain Embarkation would have been made from plimouth, but if there is a better place Layed you will with my best Regards bid your Friend Adieu in my Name, and suffer me to accompany your Every Good wish for his safety, success and happy Return.
I am sorry I cannot supply you with the little Articles you wrote for, but I lend out of my own store oz. of different threads, just to keep you at Work till Either you or myself can get a larger supply.
My son has no Cambrick. But there is a Frenchman here with whom I should have traded for you, but he cannot yet Give me his price, and I dare not purchase at a Venture, as he seems fully acquainted with the spirit of the Country, and knows no bounds to his Demands. If you will limit me I will follow your Directions and purchase whatever you want. He has a Great Variety of those Luxuries we have been Fond off.
This European Commerce is attended with some Inconveniencies, for though we want their Cloathing, Warlike stores, etc., etc., they throw in upon us such an Innundation, useless Baubles that the Wealthy may purchase and the poorer Will, that I fear their will be little of that Frugality and Oeconomy so Necessary to support the Increasing public Burdens.
12 Jan. Since the Above was wrote I have been trying to trade with Monsieur, but find it will not do for Either of us. I cannot Get a bit of Cambrick fit for your use under £9 per yd. Threads he has in plenty at 1/ per scain. I therefore send 10 scains of a sort from my little stock till you can do better. With Great sincerity subscribe your Friend MARCIA WARREN