ADAMS, John, President. Autograph letter signed (''John Adams'') to his nephew William Smith Shaw, Montezillo, 20 June 1825. 3 full pages, 4to, integral autograph address leaf, repair to torn seal affecting one letter text, otherwise in excellent condition.
ADAMS, John, President. Autograph letter signed ("John Adams") to his nephew William Smith Shaw, Montezillo, 20 June 1825. 3 full pages, 4to, integral autograph address leaf, repair to torn seal affecting one letter text, otherwise in excellent condition.
ADAMS ON THE NEGLECTED STUDY OF THE RELIGION OF THE AFRICANS: "WE HAVE THOUSANDS IF NOT MILLIONS OF THEM DOMESTICATED WITH US"
A very long, thoughtful letter, written by the elderly Adams only a year before his death. In his eighty-ninth year, writing to a nephew, Adams regrets the dearth of information on the religion of Africans and African-Americans: "Dr. Jarvis with great truth and propriety asserts that the Religion of the Indians has not been scrutinized as it should be. Nor has the Religion of any other nation, from Torah and Chaldea to the Kingdoms of Whidoh and Ashantee been sufficiently investigated. Who knows any thing of the religion of the wild negroes in Africa, but the informal cruelty of their sarcifices? It is probable that the Religion of the Universe for many thousands of years was astrological...Dr. Jarvis has assigned some good causes of the too general inattention to the religion of the Indians. But those causes do not apply to the negroes. We have thousands if not millions of them domesticated with us. We might examine them. But who asks them a question? Or who studies their languages? They have probably as great a variety of tongues as the indians. Nations who have neither records nor histories nor letters have fables and traditions and dogmas which have meanings or Allusions worth searching if they can be found. Why are not Bibles translated into negro and sent to the gold coast? My learned ingenious eloquent and amiable friend...Dr Samuel Cooper, had a negro fellow named Glasgow, who seemd as harmless and almost as mindless as an idiot. Nevertheless his master endeavoured to instruct him in the Christian religion. He began by reading and explaining the history in Genesis of the fall of man. Glasgow listened with great attention and astonishment for a long time: but at last he broke Silence. 'Master! We have a different account of this matter in my country.' Aye indeed what is that account? 'We say that in the beginning, the lot of the World was put upon a race between a dog and a toad. If the dog came out first, the World was to be good and happy. If the toad, all was to be wicked and sorrowfull. Every body rejoiced. Surely the dog would win. But when they started the dog had ran a great way before the toad had hopped a rod. But about half way the evil spirit threw a bone before the dog who turned aside to gnaw it, while the toad hopped on and got out first.'...Is not this the history of the loss of Paradise translated into Negro! There is the same...ruin to the World though ascribed to chance not to fault. The same personification of Evil in the temptor. It is as rational an attempt to account for the origin of Evil as that of the great Frederick, Soames Jennings or Dr. Edwards. Secret things belong not to Us. I doubt not that many curious things might be pumped out of the Negroes if any pains were taken."