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long, and will save me much labour in copying. I hope he will be so indulgent as to consider it as an answer to that part of his letter, and will give me his further thoughts on it.
Shall I send you so much of the Encyclopedia as is already published or reserve it here till you come ? It is about 40 vols. which probably is about half the work. Give yourself no uneasiness about the money. Perhaps I may find it convenient to ask you to pay trifles occasionally for me in America. I sincerely wish you may find it convenient to come here. The pleasure of the trip will be less than you expect but the utility greater. It will make you adore your own country, it's soil, it's climate, it's equality, liberty, laws, people & manners. My God ! how little do my country men know what precious blessings they are in possession of, and which no other people on earth enjoy. I confess I had no idea of it myself. While we shall see multiplied instances of Europeans going to live in America, I will venture to say no man now living will ever see an instance of an American removing to settle in Europe & continuing there. Come then & see the proofs of this, and on your return add your testimony to that of every thinking American, in order to satisfy our countrymen how much it is their interest to preserve uninfected by contagion those peculiarities in their government & manners to which they are indebted for these blessings. Adieu, my dear friend. Present me affectionately to your collegues. If any of them think me worth writing to, they may be assured that in the epistolary account I will keep the debit side against them. Once more adieu.
June 19. Since writing the above we receive the following account. Mons. Pilatre de Rosiere, who has been waiting some months at Boulogne for a fair wind to cross the channel, at length took his ascent with a companion. The wind changed after a while & brought him back on the French coast. Being at a height of about 6000 f. some accident happened to his baloon of inflammable air. It burst, they fell from that height & were crushed to atoms. There was a Montgolfier combined with the baloon of inflammable air. It is suspected the heat of the Montgolfier rarified too much the inflammable air of the other & occasioned it to burst. The Montgolfier came down in good order.
TO MRS. JOHN (ABIGAIL) ADAMS.
J. MSS. Paris, June 21 (1785).
DEAR MADAM,— I have received duly the honour of your letter and am now to return you thanks for your condescension in having taken the first steps for settling a correspondence which I so much desired ; for I now consider it as settled and proceed accordingly. I have always found it best to remove obstacles first. I will do so therefore in the present case by telling you that I consider your boasts of the splendour of your city and of it's superb hackney coaches as a flout, and declaring that I would not give the polite, self-denying, feeling, hospitable, good
humoured people of this country & their amability in every point of view, (tho' it must be confessed our streets are somewhat dirty, & our fiacres rather indifferent) for ten such races of rich, proud hectoring, swearing, squibbing, carnivorous animals as those among whom you are ; and that I do love this people with all my heart, and think that with a better religion, a better form of Government and their present governors their condition & Country would be most enviable. I pray you to observe that I have used the term people and that this is a noun of the masculine as well as feminine gender. I must add too that we are about reforming our fiacres, and that I expect soon an ordnance that all their drivers shall wear breeches unless any difficulty should arise whether this is a subject for the police or for the general legislation of the country to take care of.
We have lately had an incident of some consequence, as it shews a spirit of treason, and audaciousness which was hardly thought to exist in this Country. Some eight or ten years ago a Chevalr. was sent on a message of state to the princess ofof- of (before I proceed an inch further I must confess my profound stupidity. For tho' I have heard this story told fifty times in all it's circumstances, I declare I am unable to recollect the name of the Ambassador, the name of the Princess & the nation he was sent to; I must therefore proceed to tell you the naked story, shorn of all those precious circumstances) some chevalier or other was sent on some business or other to some princess or other. Not
succeeding in his negociation, he wrote on his return the following song :
Ennivré du brillant poste
Princesse, le roi mon maitre
Avec une joue enflie,
La princesse à son pupitre
This song run thro all companies and was known to everybody. A book was afterwards printed with a regular license, called “ Les quatres saisons litteraires,” which being a collection of little things, contained this also, and all the world bought it or might buy it if they would, the Government taking no notice of it; it being the office of the Journal de Paris to give an account and criticism of new publications, this book came in turn to be criticised by the redacteur, and he happened to select and print in his Journal this song as a specimen of what the collection contained. He was seized in his bed that night and has been never since heard of. Our excellent Journal de Paris then is suppressed and this bold traitor has been in jail now three weeks, and for ought any body knows will end his days there.
Thus you see,
madam, the value of energy in Government; our feeble republic would in such a case have probably been wrapt in the flames of war & desolation for want of a power lodged in a single hand to punish summarily those who write songs. The fate of poor Pilatre de Rosiere will have reached you before this does, and with more certainty than we yet know it. This will damp for a while the ardor of the Phaetons of our race who are endeavoring to learn us the way to heaven on wings of our own. I took a trip yesterday to Saunois and commenced an acquaintance with the old Countess d' Hocquetout. I received much pleasure from it and hope it has opened a door of admission for me to the circle of literati with which she is environed. I heard there the nightingale in all its perfection : and I do not hesitate to pronounce that in America it would be deemed a bird of the third rank only, our mocking bird, & fox-coloured thrush being unquestionably superior to it.-- The squibs against Mr. Adams are such as I expected from the polished, mild tempered, truth-speaking people he is sent to. It would be ill policy to attempt to answer or refute them, but counter-squibs I think would be good policy. Be pleased to tell him that as I had before ordered his Madeira Frontignac to be forwarded, and had asked his orders to Mr. Garvey as to the residue, which I doubt not he has given, I was afraid to send another order about the Bourdeaux lest it should produce confusion.
In stating my accounts with the United States, I am at a loss whether to charge house rent or not.
It has always been allowed to Dr. Franklin. Does Mr. Adams