Cover

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Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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Contents

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pp. vii-xxii

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Preface

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pp. xxiii-xxx

No CORRESPONDENCE in American history is more quotable or more readily recognized for its historical significance than that of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson. Yet, only now, a century and a third after their deaths in 1826, is their exchange of letters presented in full. Publication was first anticipated in their lifetime but never encouraged by them. During the political controversies which cast a long shadow over their...

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Introduction

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pp. xxxi-xlviii

FANEUIL HALL, the "Cradle of Liberty," attracted a large crowd Bostonians on August 2, 1826. The City Council had invited Daniel Webster, well known for his oratory, to deliver the address. It was a day of commemoration rather than of mourning, in recognition of the recent deaths of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on July 4. The fiftieth anniversary...

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1. "The great Work of Confederation, draggs heavily on"

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pp. 52-62

JOHN ADAMS and Thomas Jefferson first met in Philadelphia during the summer of 1775 as delegates to the Continental Congress. Adams was thirty-nine, Jefferson thirty-two. Both were lawyers and each had to his credit several years' experience in the lower house of his provincial legislature. The elder, who had represented Massachusetts in the Congress of 1774, quickly...

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2. "The Subject of a Treaty of Commerce"

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pp. 63-122

EVEN BEFORE the Declaration of Independence, a major objective of the Continental Congress was the negotiation of treaties of amity and commerce with foreign nations. During the summer of 1776, Congress approved a plan embracing the most-favored-nation principle and the protection of private property from devastation and confiscation in time...

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3. "As We are poor We ought to be {Economists"

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pp. 123-175

THE MOST critical diplomatic question confronting Adams and Jefferson was that of trade relations. In a report to Foreign Secretary Jay on October n, 1785, Jefferson summarized the situation with respect to commercial treaties negotiated by the American commissioners. The treaty with Prussia had been concluded in July; discussions with other nations..

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4. "Abate the ardor of those pyrates against us"

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pp. 176-213

IN MARCH 1786 at the request of John Adams, Jefferson visited England on a mission which proved to be fruitless and frustrating diplomatically, though pleasant enough otherwise. The two friends made a tour of English gardens, Jefferson with Thomas Whately's Observations on Modern Gardeningin hand, Adams with an eye to historic sites and the ostentatious luxury of country estates.1 Jefferson must also have enjoyed...

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5. "The first principle of a good government"

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pp. 214-255

LIFE AND HISTORY are full of political lessons, too often disregarded, Adams wrote Jefferson in October I7871 On both sides of the Atlantic the world was stirring with great events. The anden regime of France was tottering on the brink of revolution. Vergennes, vigilant defender of the Bourbon monarchy, who at times lent a sympathetic though enigmatic ear to American interests, had died in February. Thus a strategic...

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6. "On ... Guard against the immeasurable avarice of Amsterdam"

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pp. 256-289

IN THE HISTORY of the American Republic as well as in the careers of its two ministers to the courts of western Europe, the years 1788-89 marked the end of an era. This was, in fact, the end of an era in the Western world. In February 1787 Jefferson learned that Adams had requested Congress to relieve him of his office so that he might return home.1 To Jefferson this was most unwelcome news, for he relied on Adams for advice...

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7. "The Age of Experiments in Government"

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pp. 290-315

THE CORRESPONDENCE between Adams and Jefferson during the 1790's provides something less than even a bare outline of their participation in the political events which profoundly affected the development of the United States. The paucity of correspondence may be accounted for during the early years of the decade by their close personal contact in public affairs which made letters unnecessary, during the later...

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8. "Faithfull are the wounds of a Friend"

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pp. 316-333

ON APRIL 17, 1804, Mary Jefferson Eppes died at Monticello at the age of twenty-five. Pressing presidential duties, made heavier by the session of Congress extending through March, required Jefferson's presence in Washington, but he arrived home before his daughter's death.1 With unaccustomed lack of restraint, he poured forth his grief to the friend of his...

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9. "Whether you or I 'were right Posterity must judge"

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pp. 334-391

DURING THE SUMMER of 1811 Edward Coles, secretary to President Madison, and his brother John were traveling through the northern states, armed with letters of introduction from the President to various statesmen they hoped to meet. John Adams was of course on their list. Cordially received by Mr. and Mrs. Adams, the Coles brothers found their host in...

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10. "Belief ...the assent of the mind to an intelligible proposition"

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pp. 392-464

I HAVE GIVEN UP NEWSPAPERS," Jefferson informed Adams on the resumption of their correspondence in 1812, "in exchange for Tactitus and Thucydides, for Newton and Euclid." Adams, with his New England background, found most pleasure in "Theological and Ecclesiastical Instructors." 1 The major interest of Jefferson in historical and scientific questions, of...

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11. "The Eighteenth Century ... most honourable to human Nature"

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pp. 465-525

As PHILOSOPHICAL CITIZENS of the eighteenth century, Adams and Jefferson witnessed the rude shaking and shattering of their world by the Napoleonic Wars. With Europe in turmoil and reactionary forces in the ascendant during the opening decades of the new century, the two American statesmen weighed their own era and found the balance in its...

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12. "The advantages of education ...on the broad scale"

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pp. 526-602

DURING THE EARLY YEARS of reconciliation between Adams and Jefferson, the latter's correspondence with Mrs. Adams was resumed, but it was sparse and restrained and without any regularity. She had terminated their exchange of 1804 and it was proper that she make the first gesture for renewal of their friendship. At the urging of her husband, she...

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13. "Calms succeeding the storm which our Argosy ... so stoutly weathered"

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pp. 603-665

ADAMs AND JEFFERSON grew old gracefully, exemplifying some of the better qualities that Cicero commended in his essay on the subject, De Senectute, familiar to a generation steeped in the classics. At least three reasons may be suggested for the contentment reflected in their letters. Retirement, which came in their sixties, resulted from desire, not compulsion. Adams...

Index

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pp. 666-689