MacPherson, Christopher: Petition, Richmond City
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304 THE ADAMS-JEFFERSON LETTERS
it is not already, that I and my Sons and all my Friends will be hated throughout New England worse than Burr ever was or Bonaparte. If these measures are persisted in, there will be a Convulsion as certainly as there is a Sky over our heads. My better half charges me to present you her ancient respect and regards with those of your old friend JOHN ADAMS
Adams to Jefferson Quincy May 21. 1812 DEAR SIR Samuel B. Malcom Esqr. is not wholly a stranger to you. He was three Years in my family in the Character of my private Secretary, and I believe his conduct appeared to you, as it invariably did to me, ingenious, candid faithful and industrious. His Friends in New York were among the most respectable; his Education was public and his Studies in the Law and introduction to the Bar regular. Congress has erected a new district of which Utica the place of his residence is the centre, and Mr. Malcom aspires to be the Judge. I believe there is no Objection to his morals, politicks, or legal qualifications. If you could find it consistent to intimate any thing in his favour to Mr. Monroe, or Mr. Madison you would oblige him and me. [superscript 52] He possesses a landed Estate, but I suppose, like all other landed Estates that I know, [it] is productive of a very small revenue, after the labour and taxes are paid. The Embargo and the Vote against any Augmentation of the Navy, more than the Taxes and the Threats or prospect of War, have raised a Storm in Massachusetts and New York which has hurled Gerry out of his Chair and electrified and revolutionised all the subsequent Elections. How far the Hurricane or the Earthquake will extend I know not: but if it should not essentially hazard Mr. Madisons Election I fear it will embarass if not parrallyze his Aministration. Though Mr. Gerry is not too old for the most arduous Service, he is one of the earliest and oldest Legislators in the Revolution and has devoted himself his fortune and his family in the Service of his Country. I
52. TJ forwarded Malcom's application to President Madison, stating "I barely remember such a person as the secretary of Mr. Adams" and calling him "a strong federalist." TJ to Madison, May 30, 1812, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, ed., Memoir, Correspondence, and Miscellanies, from the Papers of Thomas Jefferson (Charlottesville, Va., 1829), IV, 175.
POSTERITY MUST JUDGE 305 feel for his Situation; and if he is not in some Way or other supported the strongest Pillar of the present best System will fall and great will be the fall of it. The strongest Pillar I mean on this side of Pensilvania. His failure will dishearten and discourage the cause in this quarter of the Union and do incalculable Injury to the Nation. In one of your letters you mentioned the confused traditions of Indian Antiquities. Is there any Book that pretends to give any Account of these Traditions, or how can one acquire any idea of them? Have they any order of Priesthood among them, like the Druids, Bards or Minstrells of the Celtic nations etc.? If I had not lived through the War of 1745, the War of 1755 and the war of 1775, I believe I should be now too anxious for a determined Philosopher on Account of the State of the Nation. But in all dangers and in all Vicissitudes I believe I shall never cease, as I have never ceased to be your Friend JOHN ADAMS
Jefferson to Adams Monticello June 11. 1812. DEAR SIR By our post preceding that which brought your letter of May 21, I had received one from Mr. Malcolm on the same subject with yours, and by the return of the post had stated to the President my recollections of him. But both of your letters were probably too late; as the appointment had been already made, if we may credit the newspapers. You ask if there is any book that pretends to give any account of the traditions of the Indians, or how one can acquire an idea of them? Some scanty accounts of their traditions, but fuller of their customs and characters are given us by most of the early travellers among them. These you know were chiefly French. Lafitau, among them, and Adair an Englishman, have written on this subject; the former two volumes, the latter one, all in 4to [quarto]. But unluckily Lafitau had in his head a preconcieved theory on the mythology, manners, institutions and government of the antient nations of Europe, Asia, and Africa, and seems to have entered on those of America only to fit them into the same frame, and to draw from them a confirmation of his general theory. He keeps up a perpetual parallel, in all those articles, between the Indians of America, and the antients of the other quarters of the globe. He selects therefore all the facts, and adopts all the falsehoods which favor his theory, and very gravely retails such
[tab along right edge: Lester J. Cappon, ed. The Adams-Jefferson Letters, Vol. II (Chapel Hill, 1959)