I am, dear sir, with much Esteem, and respect, Your affectionate friend,
1 The body of this letter, like several in the later years, was not in the autograph of Adams.
[Ms., Adams Papers, Quincy; a draft is in the Samuel Adams Papers, Lenox Library; the text is in John Adams, Works, vol. vi., pp. 412-414, W. V. Wells, Life of Samuel Adams, vol. iii., pp. 300-302; cf. Department of State, Bureau of Rolls and Library, Bulletin No. 8, p. 15.]
Boston Octr 4th 1790
With pleasure I received your Letter of Septr 12th; and as our good friend, to whom I dictated our last is yet in Town, I have requested of him a second favour.
You ask what the World is about to become? and, Is the Millenium commencing? I have not studied the Prophesies, and cannot even conjecture. The Golden Age so finely pictured by Poets, I believe has never yet existed; but in their own imaginations. In the earliest periods, when for the honor of human nature, one should have thought, that man had not learnt to be cruel; what Scenes of horror have been exhibited in families of some of the best instructors in Piety and morals! Even the heart of our first father was grievously wounded at the sight of the murder of one of his Sons, perpetrated by the hand of the other. Has Mankind since seen the happy Age? No, my friend. The same Tragedys have been acted on the Theatre of the World, the same Arts of tormenting have been studied, and practiced to this day; and true religion, and reason united have never succeeded to establish the permanent foundations of political freedom, and happiness in the most enlightened Countries on the Earth. After a compliment to Boston Town meetings, and our Harvard College as having “set the universe in Motion”; you tell me Every Thing will be pulled down; I think with you, “So much seems certain,” but what say you, will be built up? Hay, wood and stubble, may probably be the materials, till Men shall be yet more enlightened, and more friendly to each other. “Are there any Principles of Political Architecture?” Undoubtedly. “What are they?” Philosophers ancient, and modern, have laid down different plans, and all have thought themselves, masters of the true Principles. Their Disciples have followed them, probably with a blind prejudice, which is always an Enemy to truth, and have thereby added fresh fuel to the fire of Contention, and increased the political disorder. Kings have been deposed by aspiring Nobles, whose pride could not brook restraint. These have waged everlasting War, against the common rights of Men. The Love of Liberty is interwoven in the soul of Man, and can never be totally extinguished; and there are certain periods when human patience can no longer endure indignity, and oppression. The spark of liberty then kindles into a flame; when