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people in the United States were as much oppressed by taxes as they were in Europe. This being so wholly groundless, it roused the quick feelings of Mr. Adams, who replied, a little warmly, “Give me leave to tell you, Sir, that people who hold this language, betray a total ignorance of the subject. Name the article in this country, even to the light of heaven, the air you breathe, and the water you drink, which is not taxed. Loaded down with accumulated burdens is this free people, yet the whole is not sufficient to pay even the interest of the national debt, and the charges of government. Mr. Pitt's surplus is a vision, and new methods of taxation must be devised. Pray, are our farmers perishing in the midst of plenty, as in Ireland ? Are our fishermen starving? Cannot the laborer find a subsistence? Or has the price of labor fallen to sixpence, and subsistence risen to a shilling? Or is it only trade that languishes ? Thank God, that necessity, then, will oblige those who have lived luxuriously at the expense of others, and upon property which was not their own, to do so no longer. There is not a merchant in England, France, or Holland, with a capital which could buy fifty of our most opulent merchants, that lives at half the ex. pense which I have been informed many of ours have run into during the war, and since.” By this time I had
letter, which informed me that Mr. Shad been unfor. tunate in business. I knew Mr. Adams was a perfect
stranger to this, and could design nothing against the gentleman ; but still I felt pained for him, as I presumed he had never had such a lesson before. He drew in his horns, and was more upon his guard the remainder of the time. We asked him to dine with us the next day, but he was engaged. Mr. Adams will return his visit, and then we shall send him a card of invitation. In his manners and ad. dress he appears much of a gentleman.
The accounts you gave me of the singing of your birds, and the prattle of your children, entertained me much. Do you know that European birds have not half the melody of ours ? Tor is their fruit half so sweet, nor their flowers half so fragrant, nor their manners half so pure, nor their people half so virtuous; but keep this to yourself, or I shall be thought more than half deficient in understanding and taste. I will not dispute what every person must assent to ; that the fine arts, manufactures, and agriculture have arrived at a greater degree of maturity and perfection. But what is their age? What their individual riches, when compared with Far removed from
may the national prejudice be, of conceiving all that is good and excellent comprised within the narrow compass of the United States. The Universal Parent has dispensed his blessings throughout all creation, and, though to some he hath given a more goodly heritage than to others, we have reason to believe that a general order and harmony are maintained by
apportioning to each his proper station. Though seas, mountains, and rivers are geographical boundaries, they contract not the benevolence and good will of the liberal mind, which can extend itself beyond the limits of country and kindred, and claim fellowship with Christian, Jew, or Turk. What a lesson did the great Author of our religion give to mankind by the parable of the Jew and the Samaritan; but how little has it been regarded! To the glory of the present age, they are shaking off that narrow, tracted spirit of priestcraft and usurpation, which has for so many ages tyrannized over the minds of mankind, and deluged the world in blood. They consider religion not as a state stalking-horse, to raise men to temporal power and dignity ; but as a wise and benevolent system, calculated to still the boisterous passions, to restrain the malevolent ones, to curb the ambitious, and to harmonize mankind to the temper of its great Author, who came to make peace, and not to destroy. The late act of toleration, passed by Virginia, is esteemed here as an example to the world.
We are now really in the gloomy month of November, such as I have heard it described, but did not last year experience. Now we have it, all smoke, fog, and darkness; and the general mourning for the Princess Amelia adds to the gloom of the scene. I was yesterday at the drawing-room, for the first time since her death ; and, though I cannot say all faces gathered blackness, all bodies appeared
As she had given her fortune to her German nephews, it would have been absurd to have shown any appearance of grief. Poor John Bull is vastly angry and mortified. Had it been given to the Prince of Wales, his liberal hand would soon have poured forth the golden shower; and, as his aunt acquired it all in this nation, here it ought to have remained, says John ; but he cannot alter it, so he vents himself, as usual, in abuse and bellowing. Adieu.
TO MRS. CRANCH.
London, 20 January, 1787. MY DEAR SISTER, I will now give you some account of my late tour to Bath, that seat of fashionable resort, where, like the rest of the world, I spent a fortnight in amusement and dissipation, but returned, I assure you, with double pleasure to my own fireside, where only, thank Heaven, my substantial happiness subsists. Here I find that satisfaction, which neither satiates by enjoyment, nor palls upon reflection ; for, though I like sometimes to mix in the gay world, and view the manners as they rise, I have much reason to be grateful to my parents, that my early education gave me not an habitual taste for what is termed fashionable life. The Eastern monarch, after having partaken of every gratification and sensual pleasure, which power, wealth, and dignity could bestow, pronounced it all vanity and vexation of spirit; and I have too great a respect for his wisdom to doubt his authority. I, however, passed through the routine, and attended three balls, two concerts, one play, and two private parties, besides dining and breakfasting abroad. We made up a party of Americans ; Mr. and Mrs. Smith, Mr. and Mrs. Rucker, and Miss Ramsay, Mr. Shippen, Mr. Harrison, Mr. Murray, Mr. Paradise, Mr. Bridgen, and a Count Zenobia, a Venetian nobleman. These, with our domestics, made a considerable train, and when w went to the rooms, we at least had a party to speak to. As I had but one acquaintance at Bath, and did not seek for letters of introduction, I had no reason to expect half the civility I experienced. I was, however, very politely treated by Mr. Fairfax and his lady, who had been in America, and own an estate in Virginia, and by a sister of Mr. Hartley's, who, though herself a cripple, was every way attentive and polite to us.
Mr. John Boylston, whom I dare say you recollect, was the acquaintance I mentioned. He visited us immediately upon our arrival, and during our stay made it his whole study to show us every civility in his power. We breakfasted with him, and he dined with us. He has very handsome apartments, though he lives at lodg. ings. We drank tea and spent an evening with him, in a style of great elegance ; for he is one of the nicest bachelors in the world, and bears his age