John Adams

To Benjamin Rush       Quincy May 14. 1810.


The Independence  of South America will produce Greater Convulsions and Revolutions than that of North America!!


Dear Sir What can I Say to my Friend in return for his Letter of 26 April?  My Grief for the melancholy Fate of my Friend John is only equaled by My Sympathy with his amiable Family. In the midst of Grief remember Mercy.  Richard remains to you as well as another Son and Several Daughters who do honor to their Parents and their Country.

Oh that John had imitated the Example of his Father, and answered "I am not afraid to die but I fear God."

Dr. Rush and his Son have exhibited to Mankind two examples, which ought to discredit Dueling more than any I have ever heard or read.  The one by pleading Principle against the barbarous Custom:  and the other by the terrible Remorse and fatal Consequences of violating that Principle.  I Still pray and will hope that he will be recovered and restored and remonstrate to the End of his Life against a practice which is not only against the Laws of God and Man; but is peculiarly detestable in this Country because I believe it to be totally incompatible with a really free Republican Government. It is as despotic a Tyranny over the freedom of thinking, Speaking and writing as the Bastille, the Inquisition or the Police of the Bourbon or Napoleons.

How can I turn my Thoughts from this Sublime and pathetic Subject in which Morality, Religion, Laws, Liberty and Government are so deeply interested to that Gossamer that idles in the Wanton Summer Air John Randolph.'  The Character of him in the Aurora is well drawn and in some respects Just, but makes too much of him.  You have expressed in two or three Lines the Truth the whole truth and nothing but the Truth.  A Boy with a mischievous syringe in his hand full of dirty Water.  The only good or great thing he ever did in his Life, that I knew of, was his refusal of Williamsons Challenge. His Example and that of Harper, whatever were their motives ought to be set up for Imitation.

This Letter will be full of Sentiment, Sympathy and Feeling.  The day before Yesterday I went to Hingham to convey to the Tomb my ancient, my invariable and inestimable Friend

Lincoln.  …  or walking shadows, among whom I was one, were the Paul Holders.  Mr. Millville and Lieut. Gardner Cole, Mr Frank and Dr. Tuft, one 84, the other 80, Judge Paine at 80 and John Adams at 74 were the Men.

A cold unanimated and ignorant Sketch of his Life and Character was pronounced by his own Parson in a funeral Sermon.  A long Train to be Sure of Relatives and Neighbors walked in Procession  No Arms; No Militia, no Regulars, a few, very few Gentlemen from Boston, Governor Gore & his Sister, attended. Recollect the Mock Funerals of Washington, Hamilton and Ames, (Benjamin) Lincoln's Education, his Reading, his general knowledge, his Talent at Composition was Superior to Washingtons:  his Services more arduous, dangerous and difficult than Washington’s.

How long will fraud prevail over Honesty?  Hypocrisy over Sincerity in this Sublunary Chaos? But my Friend there is a Subject that hangs with more Weight upon my Mind than all these, at present.

South America is an Object of immense Magnitude.  Its Independence will for what I know produce greater Convulsions and Revolutions upon this Globe than that of North America.

It is a question which will now force itself on the Consideration of our Nation.  It is of vast Importance that we shall form correct Ideas and obtain accurate Information on this Subject.  The human Universe is asleep:  but it must awake.  How will the Independence of S. America affect the Destiny of the U.S.?  How will it affect all the Powers of Europe?  How will it affect the whole of Asia and Africa? The Whole Globe, the whole human Race is interested, deeply interested in it. Let Us be cool and sober, if We can.  It is a more difficult question than our own Independence.

I could write to you a volume upon this Subject, if I had Eyes and fingers.  But I must Soon follow my Friend Lincoln  and leave to young Men, who Seem to me to have no Ideas nor any desire to acquire any, but for getting Money and writing in a pretty Style.  Such at this moment is the Temper of your old Friend.

John Adams

Have you Seen Bristeds broad Hints?  If you ever See or hear of the Boston Patriot, you will See Something in that of Last Saturday and not Wednesday you will See Something relative to him and South America.  I should be glad to See The Aurora Speculations upon it, if any, and to know the Small Talk of the Philadelphia Politicians.  Does S.A. take any great Figure in Mr. Whartons System of Prophecies?