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Adams, John (1735-1826) to Benjamin Rush re: economic policy, declaration of war

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07306 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Quincy Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1812/06/24-26 Pagination: 3 p. + FF 23.1 x 18.5 cm

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC07306 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Quincy Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 1812/06/24-26 Pagination: 3 p. + FF 23.1 x 18.5 cm

Summary of Content: "The prudence of an individual is the policy of a nation. Self preservation is the first law of nature to both...France, under Washington's administration, had in defiance of all laws human and divine, plundered our commerce in every sin in Europe and the West Indies...a plan was laid...which looked forward with a prudent foresight to the defence and preservation of the country...who destroyed this system? The Congress of the Nineteeth Century who by repealing the taxes, have emptied their treasury? Who by mud docking my navy have disarmed themselves at sea?...June 26. War! War! War! Sure enough, whose 'Profligacy' is this? Whose 'Mad Ambition?' An alien law will now be wanted..." Docketed by Rush.

Background Information:

Full Transcript: Quincy June 24. 1812
Dear Sir

The Decadency of government is obvious, through the World and is to be feared the cause of it the general Relaxation of family discipline. It becomes ...you and me seriously to consider whether we have not contributed our share to this general Evil. Within a few days, my Rib had the [illegible] to say to me "when you write to Dr Rush, you string together [illegible] and [illegible] and substantives, just as the Boys String their Robbins yours said of both of is, Ought not some measures to be taken to teach theses Lades were reverence for their lords?
This important Observation however was no the object I had view when I took up my Pen to interrupt you in your visits to your [illegible]

Some unknown one has sent me "An American View of "American Affairs" printed by Bronson. I wish to know the Writer. Some young Gentleman I presume whose pin has not ran long enough to glide with case.
The pamphlet is full of [illegible], to our infallible guide: but this is not so surprising as something he says about me; which whether intended as a compliment or a [illegible] required a degree of [illegible] very uncommon in this age. The decent Freedoms with Jefferson and Madison I know him to be a Federalist, but whether a Quaker or not, he is not an Englishman, at least if he has not put on a Mask. When I red my mane in a Newspaper or a Pamphlet, unattended with [illegible] of [illegible] or Malice, I esteem it an [struck] honour [sic] and receive it as a Compliment.
It is astonishing to see how little the Policy of this Union is understood and how totally forgotten or misremembered if its History. What does this Man mean by the strong features of my character, which I impressed on the Councils of my Country"?
The Prudence of an Individual is the Policy of a Nation, Self Preservation is the first Law of Nature to both. It is the first [illegible] of a statesman especially of the first Magistrate of a Nation to watch and provide for the Preservation and Safety of his Country in all her Interest; her Agriculture, her Commune her Navigation her Fisheries; a;; her Rights on the [illegible] and on the Land; [illegible] I will ass her. Morals her Religion, in some degree as others; her liberties; and as indispensable to the preservation of all and every one of these to preserve a National Consciousness of her own Right; a National Feeling of her own Power, a National [illegible] of National Wrongs and Injuries.
France, under Washington administration, had, in defiance of all laws humors and living plundered our Commerce in every Sin in Europe and the West Indies; She had insulted us to our [illegible] she had [illegible] your Delaware [illegible] and [illegible] our [illegible] there, she had [illegible] the harbour [sic] of Charleston S.C. and burned Ships with five hundred Tons of Sugar at Noon Day in Sight of the World. She had plundered our Ships and Cargoes to more than Twenty Millions of Dollars in Value. When these Injuries were felt; and Ambassador Sent by Washington to demonstrate against this. [Illegible], that Ambassadors was rejected with Contempt. When Washington [struck] Slipped his [illegible] out of the Collar and left me to inherit his contentions [insert: and his Ministering; and I fins a new [illegible] of three, [illegible] [illegible] and Marshall, these were rejected with Contempt, and worse than Contempt. Attempts were made to terrifying them as if they had been Children; demands were made of them of insufferable Instance, and wen [sic] Bribes were demanded of them to a very large Amount,
In this Circumstances what "Strong [illegible] of [illegible] were [illegible] Is there a dastard? Is there a Poltroon? Is there a Stock or a Stone in the United States, that did not feel? Measures were taken with the Utmost Goodness Moderation and Simplicity [insert: by the Congress of the Eighteen Century] to defend the Country and Demand Justice, not to take [illegible]. And a Plan was laid of Revenue Navy yards and Naval Power, and executed too, which looked forward with a [illegible] foresight, to the defense and Preservation of the Country in future [illegible], which from the [illegible] of Europe were [illegible] and which ought to have been of [struck] seen, not only by the wisest Men, but by the Simplest Men in the Nation.
Who destroyed this System? [struck] The Congress of the Nineteenth Century Who by repeating the Tares, have emptied their [illegible]? Who by need docking my Navy have [illegible] themselves at Sea ? Who by a shallow Superficial thoughtless Policy have [illegible] them [illegible] in Embarrassments, and distress enough to make them objects of Universal Pity?
The Prudence of the 18 century is called now in the 19th, "The Profligate Administration of John Adams" The mad ambition of John Adams" !!! &&& Is this the Reasoning, the veracity, the justice the gravity, the Dignity, the deliberation of legislature assembly? Or is it the [illegible] of your Patients in your Tranquilizing chairs?
June 26. War ! War ! War ! Sure enough. Whose "Profligacy" is this? Whose "mad ambition?" An Alien law will now be wanted? And to be executed too, Mine never was in a Single Instance. Or will they tolerate Spies and Fraitors with bribes in their hands to roam about, to haunt very tavern, to boyter in very corner, exciting Plotts, Sedition and Treasons.'
A Sedition Law will be wanted or with the Newspapers be tolerated in propagating the ingenious speculation of Henry and Carpenter? &&& in telling the World that our Rulers are "[illegible] and Fools?" "Enemies to this Country?" "Sold to France?" " that my land is our best Friend?" " France our worst Enemy but one that is our own Congress?"
Weak, Short Sighted, Shallow, Superficial Children! You ought to have foreseen all this fourteen years ago, as the madly ambitious, the profligate, the Strong featured John Adams, did, to his and his Countries cost.
So no more at present from your
Strong featured Friend John Adams

N. B. Hamilton, [illegible], and Rush have hinted some things about "[illegible]" Burst of [illegible]" be I have Something to say on this subject hereafter, when it shall be again a [illegible] time in Philadelphia.


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People: Rush, Benjamin
Adams, John, 1735-1826

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentPoliticsGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsMilitary HistoryWar of 1812FranceCommerceMerchants and TradeCaribbeanCongressTaxes or TaxationNavyVice President

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

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