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And when you speak of Democracy, the Government of the People, whom do you mean by the People? Every village, every town, every city, every county, every State of this Union has its People. In the word People do you include the women and children? In the word People, applied South of Mason and Dicksons line do you include the slaves ? do you include the coloured free? I heard Mr. Calhoun once give as a toast, universal education and I had it on my lips to ask him to add, SKIN DEEP, but I thought he would not understand me, nor be likely to relish my explanation, if he should call for it. So I said nothing but mused upon the probable consequences of universal education extended to the People of South Carolina.

Let us come closer home. Your address is in the name of the Convention of Democratic Young Men of this our native Commonwealth.

It is a profession of principles by a party recommending four individuals for the two highest offices of the Union, and of the State. It is an electioneering argument. If Democracy be, as in one of your definitions, the government of public opinion, and public opinion that of the majority of members I apprehend the Democracy of Massachusetts is not with you at this time. You say your offences are great, Democracy in this Commonwealth. But though to them your sins be as scarlet, let but the Sceptre depart from them for an hour and they will proclaim you White as Snow.

That the Sceptre will depart from them I hold to be infallible, but whether within one two, three or four years I cannot distinctly foresee. Their fall is certain, because they have no honest common principle to keep them together. For divulging this truth I have been put to the ban of their tottering empire. It is nevertheless Truth, and portends their inevitable doom.

If the union of the Anti Masons, and of the party friendly to the National administration, could be effected throughout the Commonwealth, even now, the knell of this unprincipaled and motly compound would toll. That it will be effected to a considerable extent appears by concurrent nominations of the two parties for the office of Lieut. Governor and for Senators in Several Counties which have already been made. The principles of your Address, and the Resolution of the democratic Convention adverse to Secret Associations, go very far to conciliate the Anti Masons, but I hope your democratic friends will not ultimately stop there.

The deep damnation of Freemasonry is not its secrecy, but its atrocious Oaths. The secrecy is but aggravation. The utter perversion of moral and religious principle in its hideous obligations and execrable penalties, is the gangrene of that Institution which nothing can purify but death.

I am very glad that you have undertaken to prepare an outline of parties from the origin of this Union, and shall be highly gratified to peruse it when completed. I think you will find that division of the party holding Government to be founded upon persons, and the party holding Government to be founded on property, running through the whole of our history almost in parallel lines. You will find these two parties alternately prevailing from the day of the Declaration of Independence to this hour, and I hope you will see cause to conclude that the true Theory of Government is that which provides alike for the protection and Security both of persons and property.

In considering the causes of hostility which has pursued me throughout my political life, you will find much of it hereditary hatred of a tory progeny against my father, partly to be traced up to the time of the stamp act, and the Dissertation upon Canon and Feudal Law. Thence descending to the Essex Junto, and the funding System federalists of Alexander Hamilton. To this you will add the influence of personal individual rivalry commencing while I was at the Universitys, the rancorous malignity of the federal junto against me from the time I declared my approbation of the Louisiana purchase, wound up to a pitch of fury, by my support of Mr. Jefferson's administration upon the affair of the Leopard and the Chesapeake, soon after succeeded by the Embargo, and in the case of Burrs treasonable projects. To all this must be added the Quintessence of wormwood distilled through all the channels of Freemasonry for the last eight years and must I say the gratuitous and ill requiting enmity of President Jackson? If after a review of this Combination of opposition against me, you need a supply of errors, infirmities or indiscretions of my own to account for the mass of obloquy under which I am staggering through the last Stage of Life, you may perhaps find it by your Sagacity, but it has never been disclosed by my own consciousness to myself

Hic murus aheneus esto; Nil conscire mihi—nulla pallescere culpa. The Island of Virginia, was discovered by some British Statesman in a Parliamentry debate, but I recollect neither who it was, or when it happened, nor my authority for the anecdote, which I read or heard of in my boyhood, and during the War of the Revolution. I have hardly left myself room to assure you of my high respect and regard



GEORGE BANCROFT Esqr. Collector of the Customs, Boston


If Mr. Cunningham is competent to perform the duties of his office, and has faithfully performed them, I intreat you to retain him as earnestly as I could, were he the warmest of my friends. I hold no resentment against him, even for the wrongs of his conduct to my father. Certainly none for any that he may have done to myself. I pray you to retain him in his office and as I have no more desire to humiliate than to injure him I ask of you the further favour not to let him know that he is in any manner indebted to me for this intercession.

With regard to the remainder of your Letter, I receive it in the kindness of Spirit with which it was written, and will answer it in the same spirit of courtesy and candour.

I was graduated at Harvard University in July 1787. I had already traversed the Atlantic Ocean four times, three of them in the midst of the American revolutionary War, had travelled over a great part of Europe, and had served the public in the not altogether irresponsible capacity of Secretary and interpreter to the mission of the United States to the Empress Catherine of Russia, and afterwards at the Negotiation of the Treaty of Peace and Independence at Paris in 1783, at that of the Treaty with Prussia, at the Hague in 1784, and under the Commission of my father, Dr. Franklin and Mr. Jefferson at Paris in 1785. I had served my father as his private Secretary. I had thus served a practical apprenticeship of seven years, to the trade and mystery of American Politics before I entered the walls of Harvard as a student. My public life began, as it were, with the Declaration of Independence.

When I took my first degree at Cambridge, the federal Convention which formed the present Constitution of the United States, were in Session at Philadelphia. In September of that year, the Constitution was presented to the People for their acceptance. My father was then in England. I was reading Law in the office of Theophilus Parsons at Newbury-Port. In March 1789, the Government of the Union was organized under the new Constitution. My father was the first Vice President of the United States. In July 1790 I was admitted to the Bar at the Court of Common Pleas, in the Counties of Essex and Suffolk and opened an Attorneys office in Boston.

Precisely at that time the French Revolution was opening upon the World. in all its grandeur and all its horrors. It came in the form and with the language of Democracy. In that shape you will excuse me for saying that Democracy commended herself neither to my reasons nor to my affections.

There is one form of Democracy, in which I am an humble but firm believer, and that is the democracy of Jesus and his Apostles. The Democracy of the Sermon on the Mount, of the 12th Chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, of the 13th 14th and 15th Chapters of the first Epistle to the Corinthians. By which I mean a democracy of duties always correlative to the democracy of rights. I can trust no democracy not unbedded in a profound sense of moral and religious obligation. The antient democracies of Athens and Rome therefore delight not me. As little do I admire the democracies of Thomas Paine, Marat, and Robespierre. Paine was a blaspheming infidel, Marat an atheist, Robespierre a deist whose God was a political machine, neither of the three was a Christian. The democracy of them all was a Government for wild beasts and not for men. The distaste for the democracy of these worthies, formed by an attentive observation of its results, has in my judgments and feelings never been worn away, nor has it been purged of its feculent matter in later days by its intermarriage with Slavery—the forms in which I confess at this very day it meets my vision more distinctly than in that of the Christian philosophical, humanized democracy, which you assure me is rising fast in New England, and a mere glance, at which, if I could discern it, would come over me like enchantment.

My first entry upon the field of Controversy was in opposition to Thomas Paine's rights of man. Paine was the very Dagon of Democracy and with Democracy my conflict accordingly was. I never noticed his “Age of Reason," nor his letter to Washington, nor his prophesy that in 1794 the British funding System was in the last twenty years of its existence. But I canvass'd his “Rights of Man," when Jefferson proclaimed them correctives to political heresies, when the Democracy worship'd them as a new Bible, and when the federalists disclaimed all community of opinion with me, and vented their malevolence not upon me, but upon my father by imputing to him my heretical doctrines. I learnt then a lesson now confirmed by the experience of a long life, that whatever part I was to perform on the theatre of the world, neither Federalism nor Democracy must be my prompter. That my destiny throughout life, must be to stand upon my own feet, or to fall

My next service as a Political Volunteer, was in defence of Washingtons Administration against Genet's French Democracy for which I received the honour of having my name placarded upon the main mast of a French Frigate in Boston harbour, as one of the Aristocrats of Boston. My Sentiments then happened to fall in with those of the federalists, and I was accordingly numbered with them. Washington, not by recommendation from them, but of his own motion sent me in 1794 to Europe, whence I returned in 1801, the first year of the reign in this land of Democracy and of Jefferson Administration.

I cannot pursue the narrative. But my whole life would present the same spectacle. I have never been as a partizan either Federalist or Democrat. I have acted alternately with both parties, and as I might naturally expect, I have received the favours, and have felt the resentments of both. He who will not be the Slave of party cannot expect that party should support or spare him.

As to the Divorce of Bank and State, I believe it impractible. The very name of Divorce is odious to me, as indicating the severance of the dearest and tenderest of human ties. Applied to the positions between political and monetary power, it appears to me as absurd, and as mischevious as if you should attempt, by one general Law, to Divorce every husband in the Union from his wife. The whole system, to my judgment is Utopian. It begins in discord; it would end in desolation.

But I do not attach the importance to this subject which it has assumed in the movements of parties. The Public Lands, the Indians, Slavery, the Northeastern boundary, Mexico and Texas, are every one of them concerns infinitely transcending in my judgment, the party question how the Public revenues shall be collected, kept, and expended. There is in this last question no conflict of principles to contend about. It is all pushpin play, about fire proof vaults and safes, and legal currency, and gold, and silver, and Treasury rags, when after all, bankruptcy cannot pay its debts, and after all credit must and will regulate itself. I am sorry to be obliged thus abruptly to conclude, but am with great respect, Dear Sir Your friend and Servt.

J. Q. Adams




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