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Adams, John (1735-1826) To: Richard Rush.

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC02518 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Quincy Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1814/01-02/23 Pagination: 2 p. +docket. 25 x 20 cm

Summary of Content: Written to the son of his close friend Dr. Benjamin Rush in January 1814 and finished February 23. An early portion of the letter is in a Sternian style (stream of consciousness) concerning dreams while ill. Adams concludes, slightly tongue-in-cheek by mentioning a 3 vol. work on him by a Mr. Taylor.

Full Transcript: Quincy Jan. 1814
Dear Rush
When I meet the beattified Spirit I shall Say to him, with our mutual frankness, "Sir you ought to have added two Chapters to your last ...Work; one upon Possessions and another upon Dreams." In the first, [struck: you inserted: you] should have examined all that has been written by the great Mr. Mead, by the little Doctor Mead, and by the learned Hugh Farmer, about Dæmons, Dæmoniacs, Dæmoniacal Possessions: and Should have confuted or confirmed their Hypothesis, by Showing Us, whether they were Simple diseases of the Mind, or any thing more Diabolical. In the second, you should have determined Dreams to be either mere Distempers, or Messages from Jove according to Homer. [struck: He inserted: Dr. Rush] was a great Master. No Man dreamed more Sublimely or beautifully, more phylosophically or instructively, more morally or religiously. He almost made a Dreamer of me, Son of Dulness as I was. I have taken Soporifics enough of late to make me drowsy. I have read Priestley's Comparison of the Institutions of Moses with those of the Hindoos: and his Doctrines of Heathen Phylosophers compared with Those of Revelation. (N.B. These two Books are the Growth of the Soil of Pensylvania, Northumberland, to Witt). I have read too the Curse of Kahama and its Notes: [inserted: and dipped into] Holwell and Dow and Asiatic Researches, and Universal History, and Calmets Dictionary, and Browns; and even Voltaire and our Boston English; and more than all, Tuckers Light of Nature pursued in Seven Volumes, and Searches Dream at the End of the Third. Hence all ye Poppies and Mandragoras of the Dunciad! Besides these Enfield's Abridgement of Brouiker, Timæus, Lucanus, Zaleucus Charondas and all the disciples of Pythagoras. All these together produced suh [sic.] a Mass of Confusion, that after long and confused Meditation I fixed on the Metempsichosis, and dropped to Sleep, as well I might, and dreamed.
Feb. 23rd. The above was written a month ago when I fell sick. My Dream was too impudent and extravagant to be Sent you at present. Hereafter if you wish it, and I am well and idle enough I may Send it. [2]
Mr Taylors great Work is now printed and Sold. He acknowledges, he has been Studying me these twenty years. It is a great pleasure to me to learn that my [inserted: 3] Volumes every Letter and Syllable of which were written and printed in fifteen months, have afforded amusement for 20 years to any Man especially to a Gentleman so respectable for his Rank Fortune [inserted: Experience] and Talents as Mr. Taylor. I hope Soon to procure the volume, neatly bound. I hope the Printer will make his fortune, and the Author a handsome Addition to his great Wealth by the Sale of it; for I wish it in the Library of every man who can read.
John Adams

Hon. Richard Rush Esq.
Attorney General of U.S.
See More

People: Adams, John, 1735-1826
Rush, Richard, 1780-1859
Rush, Benjamin, 1746-1813

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentHealth and MedicalMental HealthLiterature and Language ArtsReligionPhilosophyLibraryClassical World and Ancient CivilizationBook Selling

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

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