Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Adams, John (1735-1826) to Caesar Augustus Rodney

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00922 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Quincy Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 26 September 1818 Pagination: 1 p. ; 26 x 20 cm.

re: revolutions in South America, mentions memories of James Otis. Rodney had just returned from South America

Quincy Sept. 26 1818
Dear Sir
I thank you for Permission to publish your former Letter.
In that Letter you allude to original Letters from Mr. Otis which
you have Seen, and which do him honour.
I dare not ask for those Original Letters, because If I possessed them myself, I would not part with them,
But if you will favour me with Copies you will greatly oblige me. I would hesitate at no Price for them.
I can never recollect the Character and History of Mr. Otis, Without a tenderness of Sentiment, that all my Stoical Phylosphy cannot conquer. One must have lived with him to have known him.
I wish, Sir, that I lived near you and that I could converse with you every day. You have lately travelled in the Country the most interesting as far as I know, in the World. I gaze with Awe and reverence on South America. And I have gazed for forty years. That all America will be torn from the Domination of Europe I have never doubted: but what will be the Effects and Consequences? Aye! theres the Rub. My Maxim in all Such Cases of incomprehensible difficulty, has always been "Stand Still and See, the Salvation of the Lord"!
A free Government in South America would produce Revolutions in Religion and Government over the whole Globe: But what an hundred Despotisms would produce who can foresee? I am Sir your much obliged Friend.
John Adams
C. A. Rodney Esq.

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources