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CORRESPONDENCE

AFTER

THE RETURN OF MR MORRIS FROM EUROPE,

ON

PRIVATE AND POLITICAL AFFAIRS

IN THE

UNITED STATES.

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I have received your excellent kind letter of the 30th of last October. Since my return to this place I have been very much occupied in getting my house, my books, and my papers into some little order. The first was leaky and looked ruinous; the second, of which there are some hundred volumes, had been so packed up at Paris, that an edition of half a dozen volumes was sometimes scattered through as many boxes. My papers could not be unpacked till the books were out of the way, and a fine scene of confusion I have had until yesterday, when I got tolerably through. With this also I have had company, and carpenters, and masons, and been obliged to look about me to see what is first to be done, of a thousand things which are more or less necessary.

In the midst of all this verwirrung, I received very sincere pleasure, and I may say delight, from yours of the 30th of October. I do not know but you are right in the idea, that I should provide myself with a helpmate, and the rather as I believe there is but little help to be found in the circle of one's

acquaintance. In sober seriousness, I should not hesitate, if I could light upon such a person as Mrs R. and light up in her bosom such a flame, as would on such an occasion warm my own. It is not good, say the Scriptures, for man to be alone, and when the winter of the year adds its frosts to the winter of life, I suspect that the long evenings may grow somewhat dull, and force me to town. But sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. I trust myself to the stream of time, and float as fate may order, fully convinced that the best pilots know very little of the matter.

It has been a cause of general rejoicing in this country, that the French have been so beaten at sea, and the general wish seems now to be, that misfortune may still pursue them, and humble a pride as intolerable as their tyranny is outrageous. An amazing change has been wrought in the minds of our cit izens. Abhorrence of everything French now pushes them far on the other side of what I think sound reason; and because the French are ostensibly levellers, they would fain give to government more vigor than is needful for good purposes. There is, however, a fund of good sense and a calmness of character here, which will, I think, avoid all dangerous excesses. We are free; we know it, and we know how to continue free.

Some of my friends have, as you may readily suppose, been talking to me of public life, but I turn a deaf ear to all that can be said of that sort, not meaning to embark again on the stormy ocean of politics, now that I have got safe into the port of private life, unless something should happen which I do not foresee to make it my duty. We are just now spending much more money than is necessary to put ourselves in a reputable posture of defence, but that is of no great consequence, for we are, thank God, arrived at a situation where a few millions more or less may be disregarded.

Remember me most affectionately to Mrs Parish, and my other friends, and believe me ever and truly yours, GOUVERNEUR MORRIS.

TO JOHN PARISH.

Morrisania, April 6th, 1799.

My Dear and Worthy Friend,

Since mine of the twenty-seventh of January, I am without any of your favors, and conclude that the winter has been as severe with you as with us. The present is a fine day, and the birds are singing merrily; but it froze smartly last night. I believe no country ever suffered so much for the want of laborers as this does. We are giving them at the rate of three marks a day, while you in Europe are killing them at sixpence a head. What a pity that Princes did not understand commerce; they would then send their live stock to a better market, than they have found for it these last half dozen years.

I see by our gazettes, that the Kings of Naples and of Sardinia are ousted of their possessions, by the arts and the arms of the French Republic. As one nail drives out another, so will the crimes of the French reform the vices of Italy. In the great revolutions of empire, only small arcs, or segments of the wheel, can be viewed by any one generation of men. It is in the pages of history, that we must look for instruction, and there we learn, that nations, sunk in luxury, are not long to last; that when public spirit is gone, the public body must perish; that pride is the distinctive mark of royalty, and as it were the life blood of Kings. The Monarch, therefore, who submits to insult, is effectively dethroned. He may strut awhile in the pageantry of a court, but his destruction cannot be long delayed. He is doomed to be miserable. and unpitied. To use a German expression, the staff is broken over the heads of those who are on high.' They are struck with terror. With hollow hearts they fawn upon their foes; and, sowing falsehood in the vain hope of reaping a respite of their fate, they find a full harvest of contempt.

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I see with concern, that you have a dispute with France.

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