Thomas Jefferson Papers
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John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 22 June 1819

From John Adams

Quincy June 22d 1819—

my dear Sir.

May I inclose you one of the greatest curiositys and one of the deepest Mysterys that ever occoured to me—It is in the Essex Register of June the 5th 1819.—it is entitled from the Raleigh Register Declaration of Independence—How is it possible that this paper should have been concealed from me to this day—had it been communicated to me in the time of it—I know, if you do not know, that it would have been printed in every Whig News-paper upon this Continent—you know if I had possessed it—I would have made the Hall of Congress Echo—and re-echo, with it fifteen months1 before your Declaration of Independence—

What a poor ignorant, malicious, short-sighted, Crapulous Mass, is Tom Pains Common Sense; in comparison2 with this paper—had I known it I would have commented upon it—from the day you entered Congress till the fourth of July 1776.—

The Genuine sense of America at that3 moment was never so well expressed before nor since.—Richard Caswell, William Hooper, and Joseph Hughs4 the then Representatives of North Carolina in Congress you knew as well as I do5—and you know that the Unanimity of the States finally depended on the Vote of Joseph Hughes6—and was finally determined by him—and yet History is to ascribe the American Revolution to Thomas Pain—Sat verbum sapienti7

I am my dear Sir your invariable friend—

John Adams

RC (DLC); in Louisa C. Smith’s hand, signed by Adams; at foot of text: “President Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 2 July 1819 and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in MHi: Adams Papers). Tr (ViU: TJP); subjoined to Tr of enclosure.

sat verbum sapienti: “a word to the wise.”

1RC and FC: “mongths.” Tr: “months.”

2RC: “comparision.” FC and Tr: “comparison.”

3Here “time” is canceled.

4FC: “Hews.” Tr: “Hewes.”

5Word not in FC or Tr.

6FC: “Hews.” Tr: “Hewes.”

7RC: “Sat ver bum sapient.” FC: “Sat ver bum sapienti.” Tr: “Sat verbum sapienti.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; and Mecklenburg Co., N.C., “Declaration of Independence” search
  • Adams, John; as member of Continental Congress search
  • Adams, John; letters from search
  • Adams, John; on T. Paine search
  • Adams, John; sends works to TJ search
  • American Revolution; and Mecklenburg Co., N.C., “Declaration of Independence” search
  • American Revolution; J. Adams on search
  • Caswell, Richard; as member of Continental Congress search
  • Common Sense (T. Paine) search
  • Continental Congress, U.S.; and Declaration of Independence search
  • Continental Congress, U.S.; TJ as member of search
  • Declaration of Independence; and Mecklenburg Co., N.C., “Declaration of Independence” search
  • Declaration of Independence; TJ as author of search
  • Essex Register (Salem, Mass., newspaper) search
  • Hewes, Joseph; as member of Continental Congress search
  • Hooper, William (1742–90); as member of Continental Congress search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books and Library; works sent to search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Public Service; in Continental Congress search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Declaration of Independence search
  • Mecklenburg County, N.C.; alleged “Declaration of Independence” of search
  • newspapers; Raleigh Register search
  • newspapers; Salem, Mass.,Essex Register search
  • North Carolina; and American Revolution search
  • North Carolina; and Mecklenburg Co., N.C., “Declaration of Independence” search
  • Paine, Thomas; Common Sense search
  • Paine, Thomas; J. Adams on search
  • Raleigh Register (newspaper) search
  • Smith, Louisa Catharine (John Adams’s niece); as J. Adams’s amanuensis search