“When the great Body of the People are determined not to be imposed upon by a false Glare of Virtues held before their Eyes, but, making up their own Minds, shall impartially give in their Suffrages, after their best Enquiries into the Characters of Candidates, for those whom they judge to be the fittest Persons, there will be no Danger that the generous Enthusiasm of Freedom, so characteristic of the People of Massachusetts, will ever sink into the Violence and Rage of Party, which has often proved fatal to free Republicks.”
1 Endorsed by Adams: “The foregoing was sent to Mr Edes by the Post March 13, 1781.”
TO CALEB DAVIS1
[Ms., Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library.]
Philade April 3 1781
Dear sir /
I have just receivd your favor of the 17th Ulto by Mr Dugan. The Request he proposes to make to Congress for Liberty to bring his Effects from Ireland, cannot be complied with consistently with the inclosd ordinance, which strictly forbids all Intercourse between the Citizens of the United States & the Subjects of Great Britain. There have been so many undue Advantages taken from Indulgences of this Kind, as to render the Continuance of them unsafe to us and disgustful to our Ally. I shall always pay a due Regard to your Recommendations, and should have been particularly desirous of rendering Service to your Friend Mr Dugan whom I personally know & of whose Integrity I have no Reason to doubt.
Your Letter of the 23d of Feby never came to hand; and I regret it the more, because you tell me, you then wrote fully of the State of Affairs in Boston which I should have been glad to have receivd. Let me observe to you as a private Friend, the Delegates of Massachusetts are by no means duly informd of what is done in their own State; & when they receive any kind of Information, it is not in a Manner adapted to give them Weight. I do not mention this on my own Account; for I intend very soon to take Leave of Congress & get myself excusd from any future Attendance. I will then explain the Hint I have now given you, more fully than I chuse to do in a Letter by the Post. You mention a certain Juncture when you wish me to return. I think I can discover your Motive and your old Partiality for me. I do assure you, I am not at all sollicitous about any thing of the Kind which your Letter seems to intimate. I have always endeavord to confine my Desires in this Life within moderate Bounds, and it is time for me to reduce them to a narrower Compass. You speak of “Neglect,” “Ingratitude” &c. But let us entertain just Sentiments. A Citizen owes everything to the Commonwealth. And after he has made his utmost Exertions for its Prosperity, has he done more than his Duty? When Time enfeebles his Powers & renders him unfit for further Service, his Country, to preserve its own Vigour will wisely call upon others; and if he decently retreats to make Room for them he will show that he has not yet totally lost his Understanding. Besides, there is a Period in Life when a Man should covet the exalted Pleasure of Reflection in Retirement.