Adams Papers

To John Adams from Benjamin Rush, 2 July 1788

Philadelphia July 2nd: 1788.

Dear Sir,

Permit an old friend to congratulate you upon your Safe Arrival in your native country. I rejoiced in reading, of the respectful manner in which you were received by your fellow Citizens. You serve a grateful & enlightened people. May you long continue to enjoy their confidence, & may they long - very long continue to enjoy the benefits of your patriotism & knowledge.

I have to thank you for many short letters during your absence from America, but I owe more than I can ever express to you, for your excellent Volumes upon government. They shall be the Alcoran of my boys upon the great Subject of political happiness.—You have laid the world & posterity under great obligations by your researches. I am not more satisfied of the truth of any one proposition in Euclid than I am of the truth of your leading propositions in government.—Go on my dear friend in removing the rubbish of ignorance & prejudice from the minds of your fellow citizens. We live in an important Era, and in a new Country. Much good may be done by individuals, & that too in a short time.

America has ever appeared to me to be the theatre on which human nature will receive its greatest civil & literary – and religious honors. Now is the time to sow the Seeds of each of them. Providence seems to have intended you to have a material hand in this business. Your labors for your country are only beginning. I hope – I expect – nay more – I am satisfied I shall see you in one of the first posts of the new government.

The citizens of Pennsylvania will joyfully concur in this measure, especially if the Southern & Eastern states should gratify them by pinning the seat of Congress on the Delaware. This must be the compensation for their placing a citizen of Virginia in the Presidents Chair, and a citizen of New England in the Chair of the Senate.

The new goverment will demolish our Balloon Constitution. If it had no other merit, this would be eno’ with me—But it has a thousand other things to recommend it. It makes us a Nation. It rescues us from anarchy – & Slavery. It revives agriculture & commerce. It checks moral & political iniquity. In a word, it makes a man both willing to live & to die.— To live, because it opens to him fair prospects of great public & private happiness. To die, because it ensures peace – order – safety – & prosperity to his children.

Your letters, enclosing one from the German Chaplain of the King of Britain came safe to hand. The packet of this day will carry and answer to Mr Milkoff enclosing Vouchers of the life &c of the German lady after whom he enquires.

My dear Mrs. Rush joins me in most respectful Compliments & congratulations to Mrs. Adams.— We count five living, out of eight children. Our eldest boy will act the part of a young Midshipman on board the ship Union which is to make a distinguished part of our procession in honor of the establishment of the new government.

With every possible mark of respect / and esteem, I am dear Dir your / Affectionate Old friend / & humble Servant,

Benjn. Rush

MHi: Adams Papers.

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