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    John Adams Autograph Letter Signed "J. Adams." Two pages, with integral address sheet, 7" x 8.75", Quincy, Massachusetts; February 6, 1805. A letter from Adams to his good friend, the Philadelphia physician Benjamin Rush, renewing a correspondence between the two men that was suspended for several years due to a misunderstanding.

    "Dear Sir

    It seemeth unto me that you and I ought not to die without saying good bye or bidding each other Adieu. Pray how do you do? How does that excellent Lady Mrs R. How are the young Ladies? Where is my Surgeon and Lt? How fares the Lawyer?

    Two Learned & famous Physicians, Sydenham and Rush, have taught Us, that the Plague and the Yellow Fever and all other epidemic Diseases, when they prevail in a City, convert all other Disorders into Plague. I cannot help thinking that Democracy is a Distemper of this kind and when it is once Set in motion and obtains a Majority it converts every Thing good bad and indifferent into the dominant Epidemic. Here is our good old New England, almost as far gone as the united Irish men in Pennsylvania, as Some People think and say, I am not however of that opinion yet.

    In good Sooth, my old Friend, are Pennsylvania and New York, at present, in the System of their true Interests? Has our old Friend McKean, assisted in conjuring up a spirit from the vasty Deep that he is unable to lay? Let me put a few Questions to your Conscience, for I know you have one. Is the present State of the Nation Republican enough? Is Virtue the Principle of our Government? Is honour? or is Ambition and Avarice, Adulation, Baseness, Covetousness, the thirst of Riches, indifference concerning the Means of rising and enriching, the contempt of Principle, the Spirit of Party and of Faction, the Motive and the Principle that governs? These are Serious and dangerous Questions: but Serious Men ought not to flinch from dangerous questions.

    My Thomas and I have been reading together the Impeachments in the State Trials, and We find that all Nations are too much alike.

    My Family unite with me in presenting respects and assurance of old regard to you and yours.

    J. Adams"

    This letter written by the former president of the United States to fellow signer of the Declaration of Independence, Dr. Benjamin Rush, is one of many the two founders wrote to each other. But during the 1800 presidential election, which Adams lost to Thomas Jefferson, Rush allegedly claimed that Adams favored monarchy over democracy, a charge which Rush denied. Adams took great offense at what Rush was supposed to have said and stopped their correspondence. Thus, it was with unexpected surprise that Rush received this letter from Adams, which renewed their friendship and correspondence. In this letter, Adams asks how Rush is doing and asks about his wife and two of his sons, John and Richard. Adams then refers to Rush's controversial idea that, in an epidemic, all other diseases turn into one plague, adding that democracy "is a distemper of this kind." Since Adams, a Federalist, had lost the election to the Republican Jefferson, he was distressed about his legacy and the future of the country under Republican rule, which may explain the questions to Rush he raised in his letter. Adams and Jefferson, former friends who had become enemies, were both friends with Rush, and it was Rush who eventually convinced both men to renew their friendship and correspondence.

    A fascinating letter in which Adams solicits Rush's views on the state of the nation in 1805.

    Condition: The letter has the usual folds, with uneven toning and discoloration. With a bit of paper loss where the seal has been torn open. A few pencil annotations on verso.


    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    November, 2020
    12th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 6
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