To Sarah Savage Thatcher

    Philadelphia        17 April 1798

    My dear—

    for the three or four days past we have had very unusually cold weather for this place and season—On sunday & yesterday I wore my cloak & was only comfortable—This morning the streets & tops of houses are all covered with snow; It is clear and cold, a high north wind blows—Last night about twelve oClock I was waked by the cry of fire; I got up & looked out of my winder—the whole horizen was illuminated, & the fire I discovered about the distance of three quarters of a mile to the south part of the city; but it was so light that I could distinctly tell what oClock it was by my watch. I returned to bed, & hear this morning there were several stores, some small houses with a considerable quantity of Lumber & tar consumed—No lives lost—Take care of your fires—In the spring high winds & drying should increase every ones attention to this matter.

    Your last Letter contained many very pleasing items about the children—I hope they will continue to justify the account you have given of them—I long to see them & take them all into my arms—and really hope to do it in a month or six weeks at the farthest—

    We are now actually making preparation to meet war should it come to us—But we have not, by any means, a thought of going to war—My opinion still continues to be what it always has been—that we shall not have war1—yet the conduct of France is such as to make it the most indispensable Duty of Congress to be, in some respects, ready to meet it if it should be made against us by France—

    since the dispatches from our Envoys at Paris were published there is a much greater agreement among all classes of people, in approving the conduct of the President and of Government generally, than before—

    I sent you a five dollar Bill on saturday which I hope will come safe—I have had no Letter from Brother [Prentiss] Mellen for many weeks, I hope they are all well—Friend [Jeremiah] Hill writes me a chapter of Revelations now & then—I suspect he is in [a] vision on the Isle of Patmos, where Saint John wrote his Revelations—for he talks about the Beast—the Dragon—the whore of Babylon, & a number [of] mystical names to all which I want a key—

    Kiss all our dear children, & accept of my love & affection—

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    ALS, TFP. Addressed to Biddeford; franked; postmarked.