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To the horror-struck censors of the publisher I would say, You think only of the once high standing of Mr. Adams; you see him venerable in years; you read his name associated with some of the most interesting periods of our history, and at length honoured with the highest office our national institutions will admit. All these recollections rush upon the mind, and you are unwilling to loosen the hold they have on your heart. If it were possible, you would shut your eyes against the atrocious calumnies flowing through his pen, and so deeply derogating from the character you have been accustomed to contemplate with delight, and to which you have rendered the grateful homage of your hearts. You are shocked with this new view of his character; but, at the same time, mortified and vexed at the discovery, you pass by the real offender, and pour all your resentment, and expressions of accumulated horror, on the head of the person who has published, a little prematurely, the monstrous calumnies which the venerarable author had himself prepared for the press. It will be seen, by the note hereto subjoined, that these letters were in truth intended as the posthumous work of President Adams; and the publisher has done no more than to anticipate, by perhaps a year or two, its publication; thereby giving me, what the writer intended to prevent, the opportunity of defending myself during the joint lives of us both.*
I have now brought to a close my Review of the CORRESPONDENCE between Mr. Adams and his relative and friend William Cunningham. In my own defence I have been constrained to examine freely his communications. If faults of a deep die appear, let it be considered, that I only write their history; and, upon the
* Mr. Adams commenced his reproaches against me in his letter of Oct. 15, 1808, but enjoined secrecy, in these words: “What I have said is to remain “in your own breast. I have no disposition to enter into newspaper contro“ versies with Pickering, or his friends or editors." In his next letter, Nov. 7, he qualifies his injunction : “I shall insist that whatever I write to you up“on the subject shall be confidential as long as I live.” Mr. Adams then proceeds to give full scope to his malevolence, and continues to vent his calumnies until the 7th of June, 1809-a period of seven months ; certainly with the expectation and design, that after his death they should be made publice to illustrate his own character-and to doom mine to perpetual infamy.
strictest scrutiny of what I have written, I have discerned no errors. Should any be discovered, I shall readily acknowledge and retract them. Some persons may regret this exhibition of the character of Mr. Ad
Such kind hearts should rather wish that he had not himself created the occasion, and rendered it an imperious duty to myself and children, to my friends and to truth, to vindicate my reputation so wantonly assailed. In performing this just act of self defence, it was impossible to avoid the exhibition I have made of the character of the accuser. If I thus expose his faults to the world, I at the same time expose them to himself; in which view, it may be a work of real usefulness. It may excite just reflections: he may become sensible that he has too long given the reins to his unhallowed passions. With such a temper, and so indulged, will he, on this exposure, have no compunctious feelings? Whatever censure may rest on the publisher of the Correspondence, a heavier censure must fall on him who furnished the matter for the publication. It is, as I have remarked, this matter, black with every evil passion, which has excited horror. It is the author, rioting on the characters of the men whom he sacrificed to those passions, that ought to be the real source of horror. Should he be shocked, by this exhibition of his own work, it may produce humility and contrition-Christian virtues, and the indispensable conditions of forgiveness at that Tribunal where the specious but emelty pardon of any fellow mortal will be of no avail. For myself, wronged as I have been by Mr, Adams, I ask nothing at his hands. I am now alike indifferent to his praise and his reproach. To me, he is an object not of resentment, but of pity.
Extracts from the pamphlet called " The Prospect Before Us,” exhibit
ing some of the calumnies against Presidents Washington and Adams, by James Thompson Callender ; referred to in 66 I now return to the tremor of 1787, by which the government
your own choice, the federal constitution, was crammed down the gullet of America.99*
By his own account, therefore, Mr. Washington has been twice a traitor. He first renounced the king of England, and thereafter the old confederation."
“The extravagant popularity possessed by this citizen f reflects the utmost ridicule on the discernment of America. He approved of the funding system, the assumption, the national bank; and, in contradiction to his own solemn promise, he authorized the robbery and ruin of the remnants of his own army.”
“ Under the old confederation, matters never were, nor could have been, conducted so wretchedly as they actually are and have been under the successive monarchs of Braintree and Mount Vernon.”I
“ Mr. Washington was president of this federal convention : of course he could not plead ignorance of its intention against the erection of a national bank. He swore to support the constitution. Directly after, he ratified the bank law, which drove the ploughshare of paper jobbing through the very midst of his double oath, as a federal citizen, and as president."
- For all this confusion and iniquity, we must thank Mr. Washington."
6 If Mr. Washington wanted to corrupt the American judges, he could not have taken a more decisive step, than by the appointment of Mr. Jay.” “ The proclamation of neutrality does not, therefore, deserve that
It was a proclamation of ignorance and pusillanimity." “ Adams and Washington have since been shaping a series of these paper-jobbers into judges and ambassadors. As their whole courage lies in want of shame, these poltroons, without risking a manly and intelligible defence of their own measures, raise an affected yelp against the corruption of the French directory; as if any corruption could be more venal, more notorious, more execrated, than their own. For years together, the United States resounded with curses against them, while the grand lama of federal adoration, the immaculate divinity of Mount Vernon, approved of and subscribed every one of their blackest measures.
* If the reader will turn back to pages 33 and 34, he will see Mr. Jefferson's reproachful censures of the constitution, and of the eminent patriots who formed it.
† Washington. | Meaning Adams and Washington. The township of Quincy, the place of Mr. Adams's residence was formerly a part of the township of Braintree.
66 This speech has a charm that completely unmasks the scandalous hypocrisy of Washington.”
“Mr. Adams has only completed the scene of ignominy which Mr. Washington began.”
“Foremost in whatever is detestable, Mr. Adams feels anxiety to cuțb the frontier population.”
* This last presidential felony will be buried by Congress in the same criminal silence as its predecessors.”
4 In the two first years of his presidency, he has contrived pretences to double the annual expense of government, by useless fleets, armies, sinecures, and jobs of every possible description.” : By sending these ambassadors to Paris, Mr. Adams and his British faction designed to do nothing but mischief."
" It is happy for Mr. Adams himself, as well as for his country, that he asserted an untruth."
56 In the midst of such a scene of profligacy and of usury, the President has persisted, as long as he durst, in making his utmost efforts for provoking a French war."
“When a chief magistrate is, both in his speeches and in his newspapers, constantly reviling France, he can neither expect nor desire to live long in peace with her. Take your choice, then, between Adams, war and beggary, and Jefferson, peace and competency."
Such are some of the calumnies (the “ Prospect before Us” contains many more) written and published by James Thompson Callender, in 1800, when the election of a president was pending, Adams and Jefferson being the rival candidates; and such the character of the “ book Callender was about to publish,” which Mr. Jefferson said, would “inform the thinking part of the nation,” and enable these " to set the people to rights."
Letter from Mr. Jefferson to Lieutenant Governor Barry of Kentucky, sumption of our name, and apparenț accession to our objects, may strengthen or weaken the genuine principles of republicanism, may be a good or an evil, is yet to be seen. I consider the party division of whig and tory the most wholesome which can exist in any government, and well worthy of being nourished, to keep out those of a more dangerous character. We already see the power, installed for life, responsible to no authority (for impeachment is not even a scare-crow) advancing with a noiseless and steady pace to the great object of consolidation; the foundations are deeply laid, by their decisions, for the annihilation of constitutional state rights, and the removal of every check, every counterpoise, to the ingulfing power of which themselves are to make a sovereign part. If ever this vast country is brought under a single government, it will be one of the most extensive corruption, indifferent to, and incapable of a wholesome care over so wide a spread of surface. This will not be borne, and you will have to choose between reformation and revolution. If I know the spirit of this country, the one or the other is inevitable. Before the canker is become inveterate, before its venom has reached so much of the body politic as to get beyond controul, remedy should be applied. Let the future appointments of judges be for four or six years, and renewable by the President and Senate. This will bring their conduct, at regular periods, under revision and probation, and may keep them in equipoise between the general and special governments. We have erred in this point by copying England, where certainly it is a good thing to have the judges independent of the king ; but we have omitted to copy their caution also, which makes a judge removable on the address of both legislative houses. That there should be public functionaries independent of the nation, whatever may be their merit, is a solecism in a republic, of the first order of absurdity and inconsistence. TH. JEFFERSON.”
on the Judiciary. Page 16.
“ MONTICELLO, JULY 2, 1822. " SIR-Your favour of the 15th June is received, and I am very thankful for the kindness of its expressions respecting myself; but it ascribes to me merits which I do not claim. I was one only of a band devoted to the cause of independence, all of whom exerted equally their best endeavours for its success, and have a common right to the merits of its aoquisition. So also in the civil revolution of 1801, very many and very meritorious were the worthy patriots who assisted in bringing back our government to its republican track. To preserve it in that, will require’unremitting vigilance. Whether the surrender of our opponents, their reception into our camp, their age
Note B. PAGE 24. It is, forty years since Mr. Jefferson wrote his “ Notes on Virginia." In that small volume, (I believe his only work, unless his manual of parliamentary usages be viewed as another) besides answering various questions of a foreigner of distinction, about facts concerning that State, and which Mr. Jefferson's local knowledge and public employments in the district of country which gave him birth, enabled him to answer, he exhibited other facts, to detect the gross errors of some European philosophers, who, for want of due inquiry, had stated, that the various races of animals, and man himself, in the New World, compared with those of the Old World, were greatly inferior in size; and man also in intellect; or, to use Mr. Jefferson's own word, were “ belittled.” To overthrow this unfounded opinion, and triumphantly, was surely not a difficult task. The various tribes of untutored Indians, with whom the English colonists had frequent intercourse, had given decisive proofs of eminent intellectual powers,