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Adams, John (1735-1826) to Charles Storer

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC08080 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Philadelphia, Pennsylvania Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 16 March 1791 Pagination: 2p. : address : free frank ; 25.2 x 19.5 cm.

Recalling the Boston Massacre, also his defense of Constitution: "Equal laws cannot be preserved without there independent orders forming a mutual balance."

Philadelphia March 16. 1791
Sir
The Letter to your Council at Boston, inclosed is yours of the 5th. of March is gone [text loss] Post. your Reflections on the day of the date of your Letter are natural and just. It is a day that I myself have more reason to remember than any one of my Life. It is a day that occasioned me more obloquy and slander than any other or all the other Days I have beheld. It is a Day which brought me into the most critical of Circumstances in which I now stood, and in which, (I will rejoice and glory in it to all Eternity) I did my duty, with the most unequivocal and unshaken Intrepidity.
The Action of that night and the Tryals that were weakened by it, opened the Eyes of the common People. It brought them acquainted with the Laws relative to Mobs, Riots and Seditions, of which they were before very ignorant. it convinced them that they only exposed their Lives to destruction by such irregular and ungenerous Attacks upon the soldiers: that they only endangered the Union of the Province and the Colonies, by venturing on such mad [struck: night] midnight Enterprizes: and that their only ultimate Resource must be in a formal [inserted: and regular] Resistance by Arms. Accordingly from that time, you saw them meeting not only in Britain but in all the neighbouring Towns and exercising themselves in Arms.
A Lawyer [inserted: who is] my Friend, has suit in a Plea in Abatement against The Defence of the American Constitutions. He says the Title is a Misnomer, And if the Title is understood to mean a Defence of the whole and all the Parts of those Constitutions I should agree with him. But it is only a [2] Defence of them against one assailant Mr Turgot and on one Point the Equilibrium of orders. The whole of the three Volumes is calculated to shew that [inserted: equal] Laws cannot be performed without three independent orders forming a mutual Ballance in the Legislature and balances the Legislative [&] Executive Power. I know of no Book in any Language in which some Information is to be found upon the subject. The English have made but dull work of describing and defending their own Constitution. If I am not most miserably deceived by my own [text loss]nity. there are more Arguments in those Volumes in favour of their own Constitution, than their whole Language contains. Before, in short if there is not Evidence enough in them to settle Point forever, I shall despair of ever seeing any political quell decided. - You talk to me of "Gratitude to him who has taught them this important secret. Gratitude is [struck: not] a Delicacy too exquisite for me ever To receive or hope for." [text loss] of Gratitude I have received nothing but Abuse and Insolence for their worth, from the ignorant and the Profligate, and the wise and virtuous look on and are silent at least if they do not smile and applaud.
In short my Dear Sir a Man who is concerned [text loss] a Revolution is greatly to be pitied. He must surrender his Judgment and his Integrity into the hands of the Mob, or he must run the Gauntlet. so says the Experience
of your Friend - if you'l allow me the Priviledge
and humble servant
John Adams
Charles Storer Esqr

[address leaf]
Charles Storer Esqr
Albany

[free frank]
Free
John Adams

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