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ADAMS, JOHN, President. Autograph letter signed TO BENJAMIN RUSH, his close friend and fellow Signer, Quincy, 12 April 1807. 2 3/4 pages, 4to, 225 x 180mm. (9 x 7 in.), remnants of red seal obstructing a few words, integral address leaf. [With:] Autograph free frank ("J. Adams"), on address panel addressed in a secretarial hand.

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ADAMS, JOHN, President. Autograph letter signed TO BENJAMIN RUSH, his close friend and fellow Signer, Quincy, 12 April 1807. 2 3/4 pages, 4to, 225 x 180mm. (9 x 7 in.), remnants of red seal obstructing a few words, integral address leaf. [With:] Autograph free frank ("J. Adams"), on address panel addressed in a secretarial hand.

A FORMER PRESIDENT DENIGRATES FORMER VICE-PRESIDENT AARON BURR'S FAILED SCHEME FOR A WESTERN EMPIRE

A lengthy letter expressing Adams's intense dislike of Aaron Burr, Thomas Jefferson's former Vice-President, and complaining of the gross inconstancy of the population of Pennsylvania. Burr had been arrested in January 1807 and arraigned in March for treason for conspiring with General Wilkinson to seize lands acquired in the Louisiana Purchase from the United States in order to found and head his own independent nation. Adams is scornful: "...Th[i]s Creature...[Aaron Burr] ha[s] no Prudence. If a Man is once So Disarranged in his Intellect as to deliberate upon a Project of sending to the Seven Starrs, it is natural enough that he shall first attempt to seize the...Moon and make her his first stage. Burr's project of making himself V[ice] P[resident] of U.S. [in 1800] to a reasonable Man would have appeared an high degree of Extravagance, for there were ten thousand Men in the United States, who...had merit...for it by much greater...Sufferings and Sacrifices, yet in this he succeeded. Buoyed up by the flattery of the Presbyterians in Connecticut, New York, New Jersey, Pennsilvania and all the Southern States...till the Virginians conceived the Project of engaging him to corrupt the State of New York from the Federal Interest [Burr played an important role in electing an anti-Federalist government in New York.] In this They and he succeeded: but all the rest of his Projects have been chimerical and without success...Prudence is the first of Virtues and the root of all others. Without Prudence, there may be abstinences but not Temperance; there may be rashness but not Fortitude; There may be insensibility or obstinance, but not Patience..."

Adams relates an anecdote of Burr and others from "the time of Robespierre" to show that "Honesty is not the best Policy," then closes his letter with a discussion of Pennsylvania, its foreign-born inhabitants and the policies of Governor Thomas McKean, a powerful anti-Federalist: "Pennsylvania can fall down on one broadside and then roll over to the other Broadside, and then turn head upwards and then right her self up again. She is a Ship however so violently addicted to pitching and rolling that I should not wonder if she dismasted herself. To...speak plain English I have long thought that the first Serious civil war in America will commence in Pennsilvania. The two Nations of Irish and Germans who compose the principal Part of the People, are so entirely governed by their Passions, have so little reason and life knowledge that it will be impossible to make them steady in any just system of Policy..."
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