Description

    Adams on Hamilton: "Can talents atone for such turpitude? Can wisdom reside with such Gullibility?"

    President John Adams Autograph Letter Signed. Two-pages, 8" x 9.75", Quincy, Massachusetts; September 17, 1797. A letter to Samuel B. Malcom concerning Malcom's recent letter informing the president of the recent death of the U.S. Consul to Aux Cayes (Haiti) and of recommendations regarding possible successors, including George Sanderson, from Lancaster, Pennsylvania, who was at the time a merchant in Aux Cayes. In his letter to Adams, Malcom also referred to the gubernatorial election in New York, pitting Federalist John Jay against Republican Robert Livingston, and a recent publication by Adams' enemy, former Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, probably his Observation on Certain Documents in "The History of the United States for the Year 1796," in which Hamilton confessed to an adulterous relationship. As one can read, Adams had some harsh comments concerning Hamilton.
    Adams writes:

    I thank you for your favour of the 12th. Will you be so good, as to write to Col Pickering the Secretary of State at Trenton, the substance of what you have written me, concerning Mr George Sanderson of Lancaster in Pensylvania [sic] and other candidates for the consulship at aux Cayes that he may be able to lay before me in one view all the applications.

    Your electioneering campaign will be an easy one, unless you have adopted the French proverb Dans le Royaulme des aveugles les Borgnes sont des Roys. I dont know whether I have the original exact-so I will translate it. In the kingdom of the blind the purblind are kings.

    I thank you for the pamphlet. I had read it before. Is not there a phrase-Digito compesce labellum? Your observations on this miserable Business do honour to your head and heart. Can talents atone for such turpitude? Can wisdom reside with such Gullibility? Mr Locke says the world has all sorts of men. All degrees of human wisdom are mixed with all degrees of human Folly. To me, and I believe, to you, this world would be a Region of Torment, if such a Recollection existed in our memories. This must be, entre nous. What are the Speculations about the place of convening Congress?

    Signed, "John Adams."

    Samuel Bayard Malcom (1776-1815) served John Adams as private secretary for about three years before and during Adams's presidency. He established a law practice in New York City by 1799, became a notary public in 1801, and was admitted the following year as a counsellor at law in New York State's Supreme Court. Malcom married Catharine Van Rensselaer Schuyler in 1803. A wonderful letter from Adams as president of the United States.

    Condition: With flattened folds, several stains, and small losses along the right and left edges, without affecting the text. Otherwise, very good.




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    October, 2016
    19th Wednesday
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