HAMILTON AND ADAMS
by Thomas Jefferson
HAMILTON wasindeeda singular character. Of acute understandinghonestand honorable in all private transactionsamiable in societyand duly valuingvirtue in private lifeyet so bewitched and perverted by the British exampleas to be under thorough conviction that corruption was essential to thegovernment of a nation. Mr. Adams had originally been a republican. The glare ofroyalty and nobilityduring his mission to Englandhad made him believe theirfascination a necessary ingredient in government; and Shay's rebellionnotsufficiently understood where he then wasseemed to prove that the absence ofwant and oppressionwas not a sufficient guarantee of order. His book on theAmerican constitutions having made known his political biashe was taken up bythe monarchical federalists in his absenceand on his return to the UnitedStateshe was by them made to believe that the general disposition of ourcitizens was favorable to monarchy. He here wrote his Davilaas a supplement toa former workand his election to the Presidency confirmed him in his errors.Innumerable addresses tooartfully and industriously poured in upon himdeceived him into a confidence that he was on the pinnacle of popularitywhenthe gulf was yawning at his feetwhich was to swallow up him and his deceivers.For when General Washington disinterested was withdrawnthese energumeni ofroyalismkept in check hitherto by the dread of his honestyhis firmnesshispatriotismand the authority of his namenow mounted on the car of State andfree from controllike Phaeton on that of the sundrove headlong and wildlooking neither to right nor leftnor regarding anything but the objects theywere driving at; untildisplaying these fullythe eyes of the nation wereopenedand a general disbandment of them from the public councils took place.
Mr. AdamsI am surehas been long since convinced of the treacheries withwhich he was surrounded during his administration. He has since thoroughly seenthat his constituents were devoted to republican governmentand whether hisjudgment is re-settled on its ancient basisor nothe is conformed as a goodcitizen to the will of the majorityand would nowI am persuadedmaintain itsrepublican structure with the zeal and fidelity belonging to his character. Foreven an enemy has said" he is always an honest manand often a greatone." But in the fervor of the fury and follies of those who made him theirstalking horseno man who did not witness it can form an idea of theirunbridled madnessand the terrorism with which they surrounded themselves.