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same time that she has the best title of any English woman I have seen to the rank of a divinity, I would not have it forgotten that her father is an American, and, as he was remarkably handsome, no doubt she owes a large share of her beauty to him.
I dread to hear from my dear aunt, lest melancholy tidings should reach me with respect to her. She is at the same critical period of life which proved fatal to Mrs. B. I will, however, hope that she may yet be spared to her friends. Though her health would never permit her to engage in the active business of her family, she was attentive to the interest and welfare of every individual of it. Like Sarah, she was always to be found in her tent. A more benevolent heart never inhabited a human breast. It was well-matched and seconded in a partner equally benevolent and humane, who has shared with us our former griefs, and will find us equally sympathetic towards himself, should so great a misfortune attend him as I fear. Indeed, I know not how to take my pen to write to him. I do not wonder that your heart was affected, or your spirits low, under the apprehension of losing one so deservedly dear to us all. Should this ornament be broken from the original building, it will be another memento to us of the frailty of the whole, and that duration depends not upon age. Yet who would desire to stand, the last naked pillar of the whole ? I believe our social affections strengthen by age ; as those objects and amusements which gratified our youthful years lose their relish, the social converse and society of friends becomes more necessary.
“Needful auxiliars are our friends, to give
To social man true relish of himself.” But I must close, as I am going to dine to-day with my friend Mrs. Rogers, where I have given myself an invitation, the occasion of which I will reserve for the subject of another letter, and subscribe myself affectionately yours,
TO MRS. CRANCH.
London, 1 October, 1785. MY DEAR SISTER, I TOLD you
my last, that I was going to dine with my friend Mrs. Rogers. You must know that yesterday the whole diplomatic corps dined here ; that is, his Lordship the Marquis of Carmarthen, and all the foreign ministers, fifteen in all, and to-day the newspapers proclaim it. I believe they have as many spies here as the police of France. Upon these occasions, no ladies are admitted ; so I wrote a card and begged a dinner for myself and daughter of Mrs. Rogers, where I know I am always welcome.
It is customary to send out cards of invitation ten days beforehand. Our cards were gone out, and, good luck would have it, Captain Hay returned from the West Indies, and presented us with a noble turtle, weighing a hundred and fourteen pounds, which
this occasion. Though it gave us a good deal of pain to receive so valuable a present from them, yet we could not refuse it without af. fronting them, and it certainly happened at a most fortunate time. On Tuesday, they and a number of our American friends, and some of our English friends, for I assure you we have a chosen few of that number, are to dine with us.
This afternoon I have had a visit from Madame Pinto, the lady of the Portuguese minister. They have all visited now, and I have returned their visits; but this is the only lady that I have seen. She speaks English tolerably, and appears an agreeable
She has lately returned to this country, from whence she has been five years absent. The Chevalier de Pinto has been minister here for many years. Some years hence it may be a pleasure to reside here in the character of American minister; but, with the present salary and the present temper of the English, no one need envy the embassy. There would soon be fine work, if any notice was taken of their billingsgate and abuse ; but all their arrows rebound, and fall harmless to the ground. Amidst all their falsehoods, they have never insinuated a lisp against the private character of the American minister, nor in his public line charged him with either want of abilities, honor, or integrity. The whole venom has been levelled against poor America ; and every effort to make her appear ridiculous in the eyes of the nation. How would
they exult, if they could lay hold of any circumstance, in either of our characters, to make us ap
I received a letter to-day from Mr. Jefferson, who writes me that he had just received a parcel of English newspapers, they teem,” says
he," with every horror of which nature is capable; assassination, suicide, thefts, robberies, and, what is worse than thefts, murder, and robbery, the blackest slanders! Indeed, the man must be of rock who can stand all this. To Mr. Adams it will be but one victory the more. It would illy suit me.
I do not love difficulties. I am fond of quiet; willing to do my duty ; but irritable by slander, and apt to be forced by it to abandon my post. I fancy,” says he,“ it must be the quantity of animal food eaten by the English, which renders their character unsusceptible of civilization. I suspect that it is in their kitchens, and not in their churches, that their reformation must be worked, and that missionaries from hence would avail more than those who should endeavour to tame them by precepts of religion or philosophy.”
But he adds, 66 What do the foolish printers of America mean by retailing all this stuff in our papers, as if it was not enough to be slandered by one's enemies, without circulating the slanders amongst one's friends too ! "
I could tell Mr. Jefferson that I doubt not there are persons in America equally gratified with them as the English, and that from a spirit of envy. But these open attacks are nothing to the secret and subtile enemies Mr. Adams has had heretofore to encounter. In Mr. Jefferson he has a firm and faithful friend, with whom he can consult and advise ; and, as each of them has no object but the good of their country in view, they have an unlimited confidence in each other; and they have only to lament that the Channel divides their more frequent intercourse.
You ask me whether I must tarry out three years. Heaven only knows what may be the result of one. If any probability appears
of accomplishing any thing, 't is likely we may tarry. I am sure that it will be a labor, if not of love, yet of much perplexity and difficulty. The immense debt, due from the mercantile part of America to this country, sours this people beyond measure, and greatly distresses thousands, who never were nor ever will be politicians, the manufacturers, who supplied the merchants, and depend upon them for remittances. Indeed, I pity their situation. At the same time, I think our countrymen greatly to blame for getting a credit, that many of them have taken no pains to preserve, but have thoughtlessly rioted upon the property of others.
And this, among other things, makes our situation very disagreeable, and the path very difficult for negotiation. Adieu. Yours affectionately,