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Adams, John (1735-1826) to Benjamin Rush

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC09107 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: s.l. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 12 November 1811 Pagination: 4 p.

Summary of Content: Lengthy discussion of virtue and politics, reflecting on "slander" from his opponents. Tacitus' adage: "Posterity gives to every man his true honor," " has some Truth in it... but it is by no means an universal Aphorism; nor do I believe it to be generally true. You seem to think that Integrity is less envied than Talents... To be sure, honest Men have been satyrized, ridiculed, calumniated, belied. Sometimes the Lies have stuck, sometimes not... Who has destroyed these villainous effusions of alarmed Ambition? Not the Friends of Liberty surely; they never had the Power... That Cicero was born and bred amidst the scourings of old Cloaths, and the Filth of Dung hills; that he was Master of no liberal science, nor ever did a single Thing in his Life worthy of a great Man, or an Orator; that he prostituted his wife; trained up his son in drunkenness; committed Incest with his Daughter; lived in Adultery with Cerellia, whom he owns at the same time to be Twenty years old. What more beautiful calumny against me can you find in Ned Church, Phillip Freneau, Andrew Brown, Peter Markoe, Calendar, Duane, Cheatham, Hamilton, or the Boston Chronicle, Repertory, Gazette, or Centinel?... it is not a pleasant Thing to be told every day in a Newspaper that one is a Rascal...What good has Washington's [Farewell] Address done? Both Parties quote it as an oracle. But neither Party cares one farthing about it... In all my public writings for more than forty years I have sufficiently explained my sentiment and sufficiently warned my Country men against the dangers of American Liberty, long enough before the pretty Prattlers Ames wrote his Jeremiads... In my opinion, every Thing depends on the form of government. Without this you may declaim on Religion Morality Union Constitution to all Eternity to no Purpose...the present depreciated state of the value of Bank Bills, the most fraudulent Engines that ever were invented by private Avarice to violate the Tenth Commandment... Oh, that We had a Dear Swift, or even a Thomas Hutchinson!" Lower third of the second leaf lost, including text.

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

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentReligionPrisoner of WarCorruption and ScandalPoliticsJournalismEconomicsFinanceUS ConstitutionLiterature and Language ArtsPresidential Speeches and ProclamationsVice President

Sub Era: The Age of Jefferson & Madison

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