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salute at times my old friends, were it only to say and to know that “all's well.” Our hobby has been politics; but all here is so quiet, and with you so desperate, that little matter is furnished us for active attention. With you too, it has long been forbidden ground, and therefore imprudent for a foreign friend to tread, in writing to you. But although our speculations might be intrusive, our prayers cannot but be acceptable, and mine are sincerely offered for the well-being of France. What government she can bear, depends not on the state of science, however exalted, in a select band of enlightened men, but on the condition of the general mind. That, I am sure, is advanced and will advance; and the last change of government was fortunate, inasmuch as the new will be less obstructive to the effects of that advancement. For I consider your foreign military oppressions as an ephemeral obstacle only.
Here all is quiet. The British war has left us in debt; but that is a cheap price for the good it has done us. The establishment of the necessary manufactures among ourselves, the proof that our government is solid, can stand the shock of war, and is superior even to civil schism, are precious facts for us; and of these the strongest proofs were furnished, when, with four eastern States tied to us, as dead to living bodies, all doubt was removed as to the achievements of the war, had it continued. But its best effect has been the complete suppression of party. The federalists who were truly American, and their great mass was so, have separated from their brethren who were mere Anglomen, and are received with cordiality into the republican ranks. Even Connecticut, as a State, and the last one expected to yield its steady habits (which were essentially bigoted in politics as well as religion), has chosen a republican governor, and republican legislature. Massachusetts indeed still lags; because most deeply involved in the parricide crimes and treasons of the war. But her gangrene is contracting, the sound flesh advancing on it, and all there will be well. I mentioned Connecticut as the most hopeless of our States. Little Delaware had escaped my attention. That is essentially a Quaker State, the fragment of a re
ligious sect which, there, in the other States, in England, are a homogeneous mass, acting with one mind, and that directed by the mother society in England. Dispersed, as the Jews, they still form, as those do, one nation, foreign to the land they live in. They are Protestant Jesuits, implicitly devoted to the will of their superior, and forgetting all duties to their country in the execution of the policy of their order. When war is proposed with England, they have religious scruples; but when with France, these are laid by, and they become clamorous for it. They are, however, silent, passive, and give no other trouble than of whipping them along. Nor is the election of Monroe an inefficient circumstance in our felicities. Four and twenty years, which he will accomplish, of administration in republican forms and principles, will so consecrate them in the eyes of the people as to secure them against the danger of change. The evanition of party dissensions has harmonized intercourse, and sweetened society beyond imagination. The war then has done us all this good, and the further one of assuring the world, that although attached to peace from a sense of its blessings, we will meet war when it is made necessary.
I wish I could give better hopes of our southern brethren. The achievement of their independence of Spain is no longer a question. But it is a very serious one, what will then become of them? Ignorance and bigotry, like other insanities, are incapable of self-government. They will fall under military des potism, and become the murderous tools of the ambition of their respective Bonapartes; and whether this will be for their greater happiness, the rule of one only has taught you to judge. No one, I hope, can doubt my wish to see them and all mankind exercising self-government, and capable of exercising it. But the question is not what we wish, but what is practicable? As their sincere friend and brother then, I do believe the best thing for them, would be for themselves to come to an accord with Spain, under the guarantee of France, Russia, Holland, and the United States, allowing to Spain a nominal supremacy, with authority only to keep the peace among them, leaving them otherwise all the powers of self-goverment, until their experience in them, their emancipation from their priests, and advancement in information, shall prepare them for complete independence. I exclude England. from this confederacy, because her selfish principles render her incapable of honorable patronage or disinterested cooperation ; unless, indeed, what seems now probable, a revolution should restore to her an honest government, one which will permit the world to live in peace. Portugal grasping at an extension of her dominion in the south, has lost her great northern province of Pernambuco, and I shall not wonder if Brazil should revolt in mass, and send their royal family back to Portugal. Brazil is more populous, more wealthy, more energetic, and as wise as Portugal. I have been insensibly led, my dear friend, while writing to you, to indulge in that line of sentiment in which we have been always associated, forgetting that these are matters not belonging to my time. Not so with you, who have still many years to be a spectator of these events. That these years may indeed be many and happy, is the sincere prayer of your affectionate friend.
JOHN ADAMS TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Quincy, May 18, 1817. DEAR SIR-Lyman was mortified that he could not visit Monticello. He is gone to Europe a second time. I regret that he did not see you, he would have executed any commission for you in the literary line, at any pain or any expense. I have many apprehensions for his health, which is very delicate and precarious, but he is seized with the mania of all our young clerical spirits for foreign travel ; I fear they will lose more than they acquire, they will lose that unadulterated enthusiasm for their native country, which has produced the greatest characters among
Oh! Lord! Do you think that Protestant Popedom is annihilated in America ? Do you recollect, or have you ever attended
to the ecclesiastical strifes in Maryland, Pennsylvania, New York, and every part of New England ? What a mercy it is that these people cannot whip, and crop, and pillory, and roast, as yet in the United States! If they could, they would. Do you know the General of the Jesuits, and consequently all his host, have their eyes on this country? Do you know that the Church of England is employing more means and more art, to propagate their demi-popery among us, than ever? Quakers, Anabaptists, Moravians, Swedenborgians, Methodists, Unitarians, Nothingarians in all Europe are employing underhand means to propagate their sectarian system in these States.
The multitude and diversity of them, you will say, is our security against them all. God grant it. But if we consider that the Presbyterians and Methodists are far the most numerous and the most likely to unite, let a George Whitefield arise, with a military cast, like Mahomet or Loyola, and what will become of all the other sects who can never unite ?
My friends or enemies continue to overwhelm me with books. Whatever may be their intention, charitable or otherwise, they certainly contribute to continue me to vegetate, much as I have done for the sixteen years last past.
Sir John Malcolm's history of Persia, and Sir William Jones' works, are now poured out upon me, and a little cargo is coming from Europe. What can I do with all this learned lumber? Is it necessary to salvation to investigate all these Cosmogonies and Mythologies ? Are Bryant, Gebelin, Dupuis, or Sir William Jones, right? What a frown upon mankind was the premature death of Sir William Jones! Why could not Jones and Dupuis have conversed or corresponded with each other? Had Jones read Dupuis, or Dupuis Jones, the works of both would be immensely improved, though each would probably have adhered to his system.
I should admire to see a counsel composed of Gebelin, Bryant, Jones and Dupuis. Let them live together and compare notes. The human race ought to contribute to furnish them with all the books in the Universe, and the means of subsistence.
I am not expert enough in Italian to read Botta, and I know not that he has been translated. Indeed, I have been so little satisfied with histories of the American revolution, that I have long since ceased to read them. The truth is lost, in adulatory panegyrics, and in vituperary insolence. I wish you, Mr. Madison, and Mr. Monroe, success in your collegiate institution. And I wish that superstition in religion, exciting superstition in politics, and both united in directing military force, alias glory, may never blow up all your benevolent and philanthropic lucubrations. But the history of all ages is against you.
It is said that no effort in favor of virtue is ever lost. I doubt whether it was ever true ; whether it is now true ; but hope it will be true. In the moral government of the world, no doubt it was, is, and ever will be true; but it has not yet appeared to be true on this earth.
I am, Sir, sincerely your friend.
P. S. Have you seen the Philosophy of Human Nature, and the History of the War in the western States, from Kentucky? How vigorously science and literature spring up, as well as patriotism and heroism, in transalleganian regions? Have you seen Wilkinson's history ? &c., &c.
JOHN ADAMS TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Quincy, May 26, 1817. DEAR SIR,—Mr. Leslie Combes of Kentucky has sent me a history of the late war, in the western country, by Mr. Robert B. M Siffee, and the Philosophy of Human Nature, by Joseph Buchanan. The history I am glad to see, because it will preserve facts to the honor and immortal glory of the western people. Indeed, I am not sorry that the Philosophy has been published, because it has been a maxim with me for sixty years at least, never to be afraid of a book.
Nevertheless, I cannot foresee much utility in reviewing, in