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The pleasure I received from Mrs. Adams' visit with her excellent daughter is delightful on reflection. Since which have been much gratified by a visit from the surviving partner of my dear Mrs. Smith and his daughter. You inform me your family were pleased with their visit, which leads me to anticipate another in some future day.
I thank you for your candor and the interest you profess for each member of my family, and particularly for your expressions of approbation and esteem of my Mercy Otis Warren.
It is impossible, Sir, for you and myself to correspond without recollecting past time, when my father, my husband, my brother and yourself were united in effort to emancipate their country from the yoke of foreign domination. I can easily conceive, had you not mentioned them, how pleasant it would be to you to converse with those departed worthies in this day of present difficulty and distress which seems to have pervaded the whole habitable globe. But all the wisdom and virtues of your former associates in the great struggle which we have witnessed might not be able to extricate from present evils, though with unparalleled wisdom and success, the patriots of the Revolution finished it with dignity to themselves and with the hope of universal benefit to mankind.
May I ask what is the present prospect and what may be the termination and final result of existing commotions, as they relate both to Europe and America? You have wisely and seriously observed in your last that "no understanding below that Providence which superintends and directs it, can comprehend the mighty efforts of nature which are in operation." Yet it may not be improper or impious for us to converse on the adorable goodness that has protected in one age, and the immense power and wisdom that permits in another miseries of every kind to overspread the ungrateful nations which have not duly regarded the hand of the supreme Governor of the Universe in all his dispensations.
I am pleased with the dialogue sent me. It evinces at once your veneration for the memory of your former friend and is a just tribute to the memory of a man who suffered so much as did Mr. Otis in the service of his country. The great characters which
your imagination has grouped together in the regions of the dead are, I think, correctly portrayed. They, as you observe, with regard to ourselves, have acted their parts: when the curtain is drawn may we all find favor before the Judge of all the Earth, who will do right.
As a ship from Gottenberg arrived in the harbor of Plymouth yesterday, my son, the Postmaster, had the pleasure this day to forward to your hand a Letter which we presume was from your absent Son. Your correspondence with him is among the rich treasures you enjoy in the downhill of life. I subscribe, respected Sir, your aged Friend and Humble Servant 1
MERCY WARREN TO JOHN ADAMS
I doubt not, Sir, you will be pleased when I tell you that the Evening of my Life is smoothed by the intercourse with a number of sensible, pious, elegant correspondents. Younger than myself, indeed they are; but there are yet a few left who stand near the grade of old age as well as myself, though not so far advanced. It is truly a satisfaction to me to receive letters from a Gentleman with whom I have corresponded for near half a century, and to find therein the same flow of esteem, friendship and confidence, which used to drop profusely from his pen. That confidence is strongly exhibited in the inclosure of yours of the 24th Inst. It is, indeed, a very important Letter. The communication, however, is safe in the bosom of my family.
While I congratulate my Country that she has such an Envoy at this important crisis at the Court of Petersburgh, I must again give you joy that you have a Son so capable of transacting the great affairs of Nations and of the World. He developes the intrigues of European Courts with ease, and traces their Machiavelian Politicians with accuracy. He writes like a Patriot, a Politi
I Not even the signature is hers. Letters of John Adams to Mrs. Warren, February 2, and March 24, 1814, is in 5 Collections, IV. 505, 508.
cian, and a Christian; but it is not possible for the wisest of them all to calculate on the mighty Revolutions and astonishing changes that our Children may see. While we are rapidly passing beyond the vale, what a consolation is it to reflect that infinite goodness, as well as wisdom and power sits at the helm of Creation, where this world would appear as a pebble to them, had mankind the intellect and the permission to take a view of it from the third heaven.
The balm of sympathy tendered in your last letter was gratefully received by both myself and my children. They offer, tho' with a tearful eye, their high consideration of respect and regard to yourself and Mrs. Adams, who have felt that the stricken deer must have time to weep. You have learnt by lessons of severity as well as mercy the wisdom and peace of a resigned frame of spirit. They also adore the hand that smites them, and I trust will meet with becoming resignation the resumption of the choicest comforts that have been loaned them for a time, by the beneficent being who gives all things in just measure.
An admonitory sentence from one who has parted with the most amiable of Children, and has seen other comforts withering around him, will even be advantageous to those who are seeking after improvement in that wisdom which is from above.
I anticipate the pleasure of Mrs. Adam's letter, not only on account of the promise you made relative to her anecdotes of Madam de Staël, but for the many pleasant things I always find in her letters, which are always fraught with hints for moral and religious improvement, that the feeble mind of mortals stands in need of. The polite compliment from the Baron in the French stile was perhaps no more than was due to your Lady, but the bloom of an Angel when applied to your daughter would have diminished in his eye, had he been acquainted with the intellectual charms of my lovely friend.
A Gentleman may be indulged in a little vanity as well as gaiety, when contemplating the blessings of his own house, more especially when writing to one truly attached to each member thereof.
I return your son's letter with the spirit of those who still cry
more, more, however much good they receive. To the sweet Girls of your family name affectionately your Friend 1
ABIGAIL ADAMS TO MERCY WARREN
QUINCY, May the 5th, 1814
DEAR MADAM, - I most sincerely sympathize with you and the Bereved distrest Family at Washington, in the dispensation of heaven which has broken assunder the last paternal ligament; and left you the only surviving pillar, of the once numerous edifice.2
To us, who in the course of nature expect, and hope to join the spirits of the just; are consolations, which to the bereved Widow; and Children, are more distant and remote; for they may survive, to feel all the anguish, of a long seperation; and to lament the loss, of a tender, affectionate, attentive, Husband, and doating Father.
He died at his post, probably a sacrifice to over exertion, and too great a weight, and press of Business; for his years. he died, with the Love, respect, and esteem of his Country, having for twenty-five years, exhibited, a strikeing example of attention and punctuality worthy imitation. If we live to old Age, "string after string is severed from the heart" untill, as one expresses it, we have scarcly anything left to resign, but Breath.
To a mind elevated and endowed like your own, full of confidence and hope, you can look through nature to Natures God and trust the Ruler of the skies, sure that all events are permitted and contrould, by infinite wisdom, justice, and Benevolence.
The circumstance of loosing a Friend distant from home, must add to the pain of my dear Relative, and her return to her own habitation, be solitary indeed. Mr. Otis was a most pleasant companion, both at home, and abroad.
when at Philadelphia, I lived in constant habits of intimacy, and Friendly intercourse with the Family, and was witness to the cheerfulness and urbanity of his manners, which in public Life I Only the signature is hers. 2 Samuel Alleyne Otis, died April 22, 1814.
secured him against the shafts of malice. he was always moderate, and never imposed his own opinions upon those who dissented from him upon political Questions. he was firm in his own, and decided, but left others the same Liberty. accordingly for twentyfive years that he acted as Secretary to the Senate of the United States, amidst all the conflicts of party, he retaind, the Love and Esteem of that Body.
I need not say to you, who so well know his Character, that he adorned the Doctrine which he professed, as a christian Liberal, candid, and Charitable.
His uniform habits of temperance and sobriety and uninterrupted Health, gave him a vigor, which promised a much longer duration, and made him dear to his Family and Friends, few of the infirmities of Age were discoverable in him. his loss will be most heavily felt, by his partner and his dear daughters.
I know, my dear Madam, you will offer to them, all the sympathy, and consolation which your own experience can suggest, and which supported you through a similar trying scene.
That you may still enjoy the consolations and support of the most High, and finally be received to the Mansions of the blest, is ardently hoped for By your affectionate Friend,
JOHN ADAMS TO ELBRIDGE GERRY
QUINCY, July 4, 1814
MY DEAR FRIEND, I have received your kind letter of the 30th of June with emotions, which it would be in vain for me to attempt to describe. My Attendance at Lexington is out of all question: the State of my health renders it both morally and physically impossible.
I dare not express even to you, in a confidential private Letter, my recollections, my reflections, my feelings or Opinions, on this day and these times.
Five and forty years ago, when any terrible News arrived from England of their hostile designs against our Liberties, when the