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be sought in my life ; if that has been honest and dutiful to society, the religion which has regulated it cannot be a bad one." Affectionately adieu.
TO WILLIAM LEE, ESQ.
MONTICELLO, January 16, 1817. DEAR SIR, I received, three days ago, a letter from M. Martin, 2d Vice President, and M. Parmantier, Secretary of “ the French Agricultural and Manufacturing Society,” dated at Philadelphia the 5th instant. It covered resolutions proposing to apply to Congress for a grant of two hundred and fifty thousand acres of land on the Tombigbee, and stating some of the general principles on which the society was to be founded ; and their letter requested me to trace for them the basis of a social pact for the local regulations of their society, and to address the answer to yourself, their 1st Vice President at Washington. No one can be more sensible than I am of the honor of their confidence in me, so flatteringly manifested in this resolution; and certainly no one can feel stronger dispositions than myself to be useful to them, as well in return for this great mark of their respect, as from feelings for the situation of strangers, forced by the misfortunes of their native country to seek another by adoption, so distant and so different from that in all its circumstances. I commiserate the hardships they have to encounter, and equally applaud the resolution with which they meet them, as well as the principles proposed for their government. That their emigration may be for the happiness of their descendants, I can believe ; but from the knowledge I have of the country they have left, and its state of social intercourse and comfort, their own personal happiness will undergo severe trial here. The laws, however, which must effect this must flow from their own habits, their own feelings, and the resources of their own minds. No stranger to these could possibly propose regulations adapted to them. Every people have their own particular habits, ways of thinking, manners, &c., which have grown up with them from
their infancy are become a part of their nature, and to which the regulations which are to make them happy must be accommodated. No member of a foreign country can have a sufficient sympathy with these. The institutions of Lycurgus, for example, would pot have suited Athens, nor those of Solon, Lacedæmon. The organizations of Locke were impracticable for Carolina, and those of Rousseau and Mably for Poland. Turning inwardly on myself from these eminent illustrations of the truth of my observation, I feel all the presumption it would manifest, should I undertake to do what this respectable society is alone qualified to do suitably for itself. There are some preliminary questions, too, which are particularly for their own consideration. Is it proposed that this shall be a separate State ? or a county of a State ? or a mere voluntary association, as those of the Quakers, Dunkars, Menonists? A separate State it cannot be, because from the tract it asks it would not be more than twenty miles square; and in establishing new States, regard is had to a certain degree of equality in size. If it is to be a county of a State, it cannot be governed by its own laws, but must be subject to those of the State of which it is a part. If merely a voluntary association, the submission of its members will be merely voluntary also ; as no act of coercion would be permitted by the general law. These considerations must control the society, and themselves alone can modify their own intentions and wishes to them. With this apology for declining a task to which I am so unequal, I pray them to be assured of my sincere wishes for their success and happiness, and yourself particularly of my high consideration and esteem.
TO DOCTOR THOMAS HUMPHREYS.
MONTICELLO, February 8, 1817. DEAR SIR,—Your favor of January 2d did not come to my hands until the 5th instant. I concur entirely in your leading principles of gradual emancipation, of establishment on the coast
of Africa, and the patronage of our nation until the emigrants shall be able to protect themselves. The subordinate details might be easily arranged. But the bare proposition of purchase by the United States generally, would excite infinite indignation in all the States north of Maryland. The sacrifice must fall on the States alone which hold them ; and the difficult question will be how to lessen this so as to reconcile our fellow citizens to it. Personally I am ready and desirous to make any sacrifice which shall ensure their gradual but complete retirement from the State, and effectually, at the same time, establish them elsewhere in freedom and safety. But I have not perceived the growth of this disposition in the rising generation, of which I once had sanguine hopes. No symptoms inform me that it will take place in my day. I leave it, therefore, to time, and not at all without hope that the day will come, equally desirable and welcome to us as to them. Perhaps the proposition now on the carpet at Washington to provide an establishment on the coast of Africa for voluntary emigrations of people of color, may be the cornei stone of this future edifice. Praying for its completion as early as may most promote the good of all, I salute you with great esteem and respect.
JOHN ADAMS TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
QUINCY, April 19, 1817. DEAR SIR,-My loving and beloved friend Pickering, has been pleased to inform the world that I have “ few friends.” I want. ed to whip the rogue, and I had it in my power, if it had been in my will to do it, till the blood came. But all my real friends, as I thought then, with Dexter and Gray at their head, insisted “that I should not say a word ; that nothing that such a person could write would do me the least injury; that it would betray the constitution and the government, if a President, out or in, should enter into a newspaper controversy with one of his ministers, whom he had removed from his office, in justification of himself for that removal, or anything else;" and they talked a great deal about the DIGNITY of the office of President, which I do not find that any other person, public or private regards very much.
Nevertheless, I fear that Mr. Pickering's information is too true. It is impossible that any man should run such a gauntlet as I have been driven through, and have many friends at last. This " all who know me know," though I cannot say ; who love me, tell.
I have, however, either friends who wish to amuse and solace my old age, or enemies who mean to heap coals of fire on my head, and kill me with kindness; for they overwhelm me with books from all quarters, enough to obfuscate all eyes, and smother and stifle all human understanding. Chateaubriand, Grimm, Tucker, Dupuis, La Harpe, Sismondi, Eustace, a new translation of Herodotus, by Bedloe, with more notes than text. What should I do with all this lumber? I make my “woman-kind," as the antiquary expresses it, read to me all the English, but as they will not read the French, I am obliged to excruciate my eyes to read it myself; and all to what purpose ? I verily believe I was as wise and good, seventy years ago, as I am now. At that period Lemuel Bryant was my parish priest, and Joseph Cleverly my Latin schoolmaster. Lemuel was a jolly, jocular, , and liberal scholar and divine. Joseph a scholar and a gentleman ; but a bigoted Episcopalian, of the school of Bishop Saunders, and Dr. Hicks,-a downright conscientious, passive obedience man, in Church and State. The parson and the pedagogue lived much together, but were eternally disputing about government and religion. One day, when the schoolmaster had been more than commonly fanatical, and declared "if he were a monarch, he would have but one religion in his dominions ;" the parson coolly replied, “ Cleverly! you would be the best man in the world if you had no religion.”
Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, “ This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it !!!" But in this exclamation I should have been as fanatical as Bryant or Cleverly. Without religion this world would be something not fit to be mentioned in polite society, I mean hell. So far from believing in the total and universal depravity of human nature, I believe there is no individual totally depraved. The most abandoned scoundrel that ever existed, never yet wholly extinguished his conscience, and while conscience remains there is some religion. Popes, Jesuits, and Sorbonists, and Inquisitors, have some conscience and some religion. So had Marius and Sylla, Cæsar, Catiline and Antony; and Augustus had not much more, let Virgil and Horace say what they will.
What shall we think of Virgil and Horace, Sallust, Quintilian, Pliny, and even Tacitus ? and even Cicero, Brutus and Seneca ? Pompey I leave out of the question, as a mere politician and soldier. Every one of the great creatures has left indelible marks of conscience, and consequently of religion, though every one of them has left abundant proofs of profligate violations of their consciences by their little and great passions and paltry interests.
The vast prospect of mankind, which these books have passed in review before me, from the most ancient records, histories, traditions and fables, that remain to us to the present day, has sickened my very soul, and almost reconciled me to Swift's travels among the Yahoos; yet I never can be a misanthrope—Homo
I must hate myself before I can hate my fellow men ; and that I cannot, and will not do. No ! I will not hate any of them, base, brutal, and devilish as some of them have been to me.
From the bottom of my soul, I pity my fellow men. Fears and terrors appear to have produced an universal credulity. Fears of calamities in life, and punishments after death, seem to have possessed the souls of all men. But fear of pain and death, here, do not seem to have been so unconquerable, as fear of what is to come hereafter. Priests, Hierophants, Popes, Despots, Emperors, Kings, Princes, Nobles, have been as credulous as shoeblacks, boots and kitchen scullions. The former seem to have believed in their divine rights as sincerely as the latter.