MacPherson, Christopher: Petition, Richmond City
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196 THE ADAMS-JEFFERSON LETTERS Gerry, Paine, and J. Adams, R. R. Livingston, [superscript 45] B. Rush and George Clymer and yourself, are all that I can recollect, of the Subscribers to Independence who remain. Gerry is acting a decided and a splendid Part. So daring and so hazardous a Part; but at the same time so able and upright, that I say: "God save the Governor:" and "prosper long our noble Governor." I walk every fair day, sometimes 3 or 4 miles. Ride now and then but very rarely more than ten or fifteen Miles. But I have a Complaint that Nothing but the Ground can cure, that is the Palsy; a kind of Paralytic Affection of the Nerves, which makes my hands tremble, and renders it difficult to write at all and impossible to write well. I have the Start of you in Age by at least ten Years; but you are advanced to the Rank of a Great Grandfather before me. Of 13 Grand Children I have two, William and John Smith, and three Girls, Caroline Smith, Susanna and Abigail Adams, who might have made me Great Grand Children enough. But they are not likely to employ their Talents very soon. They are all good Boys and Girls however, and are the solace of my Age. I cordially reciprocate your Professions of Esteem and Respect. Madam joins and sends her kind Regards to your Daughter and your Grand Children as well as to yourself. JOHN ADAMS P.S. I forgot to remark your Preference to Savage over civilized life. I have Something to say upon that Subject. If I am in an Error, you can set me Right, but by all I know of one or the other I would rather be the poorest Man in France or England, with sound health of Body and Mind, than the proudest King, Sachem or Warriour of any Tribe of Savages in America.
Adams to Jefferson Quincy Feb. 10 1812 DEAR SIR I have received with great pleasure your favour of the 23 of January. I suspected that the Sample was left at the Post Office and that you would soon have it. I regret the shabby Condition in which you found it; but it [subscript] 45. Robert R. Livingston was a member of the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence, but the New York delegation in Congress, for lack of instructions, was excused from voting on its adoption and he was absent when it was signed. Robert C. Hayes, "Livingston, Robert R.," DAB, XI, 321.
POSTERITY MUST JUDGE 297 was the only Copy I had, and I thought it scarcely worth while to wait till I could get a Sett properly bound. The Dissertation on the State of real homespun was a feast to me, who delight in every Information of that kind. In a moral economical and political point of View, it ought to be considered by every American Man Woman and child as a most precious Improvement in the Condition and prosperity of our Country. Although you and I are weary of Politicks, You may be surprised to find me making a Transition to such a Subject as Prophecies. I find that Virginia produces Prophets, as well as the Indiana Territory. There have been lately sent me from Richmond two Volumes, one written by Nimrod Hewes and the other by Christopher Macpherson; both, upon Prophecies, and neither, ill written,. I should apprehend that two such Mulattoes might raise the Devil among the Negroes in that Vicinity; for though they are evidently cracked, they are not much more irrational than Dr. Towers who wrote two ponderous Vollumes, near twenty years ago to prove that The French Revolution was the Commencement of the Millenium, and the decapitation of The King of France but the beginning of a Series, immediately to follow, by which all The Monarchies were to be destroyed and succeeded by universal Republicanism over all Europe; nor than Dr. Priestly who told me soberly, cooly and deliberately that though he knew of Nothing in human Nature or in the History of Mankind to justify the Opinion, Yet he fully believed upon the Authority of Prophecy that the French Nation would establish a free Government and that the King of France who had been executed, was the first of the Ten Horns of the great Beast, and that all the other Nine Monarks were soon to fall off after him; nor than The Reverend Mr. Faber who has lately written a very elegant and learned Volume to prove that Napoleon is Antichrist; nor than our worthy Friend Mr. Joseph Wharton of Philadelphia, who in consequence of great Reading and profound Study has long since settled his opinion, that the City of London is or is to be the Head Quarters of Antichrist; Nor than the Prophet of the Wabash [Tenskwatawa], of whom I want to know more than I do, because I learn that the Indians the Sons of the Forrest are as Superstitious as any of the great learned Men aforesaid, and as firm believers in Witchcraft as all Europe and America were in the Seventeenth Century and as frequently punish Witches by splitting their Sculls with the Tomahawk, after a solemn Tryal and Adjudication by the Sachems and Warriours in Council. The Crusades were commenced by the Prophets and every Age since, when ever any great Turmoil happens in the World, has produced fresh Prophets. The Continual Refutation of all their Prognostications by Time and Experience has no Effect in extinguishing or damping their Ardor.
[along the right edge:] Lester J. Cappon, ed. The Adams-Jefferson Letters, Vol. II (Chapel Hill, 1959)