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The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams by Lester J. Cappon
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The Adams-Jefferson Letters Quotes Showing 1-13 of 13
“I almost shudder at the thought of alluding to the most fatal example of the abuses of grief which the history of mankind has preserved - the Cross. Consider what calamities that engine of grief has produced! With the rational respect that is due to it, knavish priests have added prostitutions of it, that fill or might fill the blackest and bloodiest pages of human history.

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, September 3, 1816]”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“...I say, that Power must never be trusted without a check.”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“We think ourselves possessed, or at least we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact. There exists, I believe, throughout the whole Christian world, a law which makes it blasphemy to deny, or to doubt the divine inspiration of all the books of the Old and New Testaments, from Genesis to Revelations. In most countries of Europe it is punished by fire at the stake, or the rack, or the wheel. In England itself, it is punished by boring through the tongue with a red-hot poker. In America it is not much better; even in our Massachusetts, which, I believe, upon the whole, is as temperate and moderate in religious zeal as most of the States, a law was made in the latter end of the last century, repealing the cruel punishments of the former laws, but substituting fine and imprisonment upon all those blasphemies upon any book of the Old Testament or New. Now, what free inquiry, when a writer must surely encounter the risk of fine or imprisonment for adducing any arguments for investigation into the divine authority of those books? Who would run the risk of translating Volney's Recherches Nouvelles? Who would run the risk of translating Dupuis? But I cannot enlarge upon this subject, though I have it much at heart. I think such laws a great embarrassment, great obstructions to the improvement of the human mind. Books that cannot bear examination, certainly ought not to be established as divine inspiration by penal laws... but as long as they continue in force as laws, the human mind must make an awkward and clumsy progress in its investigations. I wish they were repealed.

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, January 23, 1825}”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“...The Presidential election has given me less anxiety than I myself could have imagined. The next administration will be a troublesome one, to whomsoever it falls, and our John has been too much worn to contend much longer with conflicting factions. I call him our John, because, when you were at the Cul de sac at Paris, he appeared to me to be almost as much your boy as mine.

...As to the decision of your author, though I wish to see the book {Flourens’s Experiments on the functions of the nervous system in vertebrated animals}, I look upon it as a mere game at push-pin. Incision-knives will never discover the distinction between matter and spirit, or whether there is any or not. That there is an active principle of power in the universe, is apparent; but in what substance that active principle resides, is past our investigation. The faculties of our understanding are not adequate to penetrate the universe. Let us do our duty, which is to do as we would be done by; and that, one would think, could not be difficult, if we honestly aim at it.

Your university is a noble employment in your old age, and your ardor for its success does you honor; but I do not approve of your sending to Europe for tutors and professors. I do believe there are sufficient scholars in America, to fill your professorships and tutorships with more active ingenuity and independent minds than you can bring from Europe. The Europeans are all deeply tainted with prejudices, both ecclesiastical and temporal, which they can never get rid of. They are all infected with episcopal and presbyterian creeds, and confessions of faith. They all believe that great Principle which has produced this boundless universe, Newton’s universe and Herschel’s universe, came down to this little ball, to be spit upon by Jews. And until this awful blasphemy is got rid of, there never will be any liberal science in the world.

I salute your fireside with best wishes and best affections for their health, wealth and prosperity.

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, 22 January, 1825}”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“This society [Jesuits] has been a greater calamity to mankind than the French Revolution, or Napoleon's despotism or ideology. It has obstructed the progress of reformation and the improvement of the human mind in society much longer and more fatally.

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, November 4, 1816. Adams wrote an anonymous 4 volume work on the destructive history of the Jesuits}”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“Twenty times in the course of my late reading have I been on the point of breaking out, 'This would be the best of all possible worlds, if there were no religion in it!!!”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“Can a free government possibly exist with the Roman Catholic religion?

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, May 19, 1821}”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“We think ourselves possessed, or, at least, we boast that we are so, of liberty of conscience on all subjects, and of the right of free inquiry and private judgment in all cases, and yet how far are we from these exalted privileges in fact!”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“I am bold to Say that neither you nor I, will live to See the Course which 'the Wonders of the Times' will take. Many Years, and perhaps Centuries must pass, before the current will acquire a Settled direction... yet Platonic, Pythagoric, Hindoo, and cabalistic Christianity, which is Catholic Christianity, and which has prevailed for 1,500 years, has received a mortal wound, of which the monster must finally die. Yet so strong is his constitution, that he may endure for centuries before he expires.

{Letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 16 1814}”
John Adams, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“Bigotry is the disease of ignorance, of morbid minds; enthusiasm of the free and buoyant. Education and free discussion are the antidotes of both. We are destined to be a barrier against the returns of ignorance and barbarism. Old Europe will have to lean on our shoulders, and to hobble along by our side, under the monkish trammels of priests and kings, as she can. What a Colossus shall we be when the Southern continent comes up to our mark! What a stand will it secure as a ralliance for the reason & freedom of the globe! I like the dreams of the future better than the history of the past. So good night. I will dream on, always fancying that Mrs Adams and yourself are by my side marking the progress and the obliquities of ages and countries.”
Thomas Jefferson, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“The inquisition of public opinion overwhelms in practice the freedom asserted by the laws in theory.”
Thomas Jefferson, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“I steer my bark with Hope in the head, leaving Fear astern. My hopes, indeed, sometimes fail; but not oftener than the forebodings of the gloomy.”
Thomas Jefferson, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams
“Before this reaches you, you will have learned, the Circumstances of the Insurrections in England,13 which discover So deep and So general a discontent and distress, that no wonder the Nation Stands gazing at one another, in astonishment, and Horror. To what Extremities their Confusions will proceed, no Man can tell. They Seem unable to unite in any Principle and to have no Confidence in one another. Thus it is, when Truth and Virtue are lost: These Surely, are not the People who ought to have absolute authority over Us. In all Cases whatsoever, this is not the nation which is to bring Us to unconditional Submission.”
Lester J. Cappon, The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson and Abigail and John Adams