Charles Adams to John Adams
New York March 9 1794
My dear Father
I had the following conversation with a gentleman on thursday last How comes it that you vary so much in your political opinions from Col Smith and your father? I do not know that I differ in sentiment with My father but there are many principles which Col Smith has lately adopted that by no means accord with my ideas. This is strange it has been given out that Your father and Col Smith coincided in opinion and that he was put upon the Committee as far as possible to unite interests. You may be assured Sir that my father would never countenance such improper interferences with our Government and that it is merely a bait thrown out to allure some who have a veneration for his opinions
This report has never before come to my ears but you may be assured it is without foundation. It was spoken of last evening at the Coffee house. Well Sir I shall take the liberty of denying it wherever I hear it. I leave you my dear Sir to make comments. We have a poem entitled Democracy in which the motives of the Resolving party are exposed. It is circulated with so much caution that I cannot procure one or I would send it1 if I should be able I will forward it sometime next week I shall tomorrow write you the result of my researches upon the subject of the Samaneens2
Your affectionate son
RC (Adams Papers); notation: “New York March.”
1. Attributed to Brockholst Livingston, “Democracy: An Epic Poem, by Aquiline Nimble-Chops, Democrat” was published in New York on 6 March. The poem is a lengthy, mocking attack on the activities of the Democrats in the recent New York City town meeting. Ostensibly the first canto of what would be a longer piece, a later portion has not been found; the poem concludes with the establishment of the committee to prepare resolutions: “‘I hope that our Committee will take care / A long account, for Congress, to prepare, / Of all the michiefs by the British done, / And brand the devils every mother’s son.’ / ‘Huzza! huzza!’ thro’ all the streets resounds; / ‘Huzza! huzza!’ from every wall rebounds; / The distant lanes reverberate the roar, / And echoes break on either River’s shore” (Evans, description begins Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols. description ends No. 28979; New York Daily Advertiser, 5 March).
A newspaper squib printed the same day reported, “The Public are informed, that the Booksellers of this city, overawed or influenced by Democratic threats, have declined vending the Poem entitled DEMOCRACY: it will, however, be printed and circulated for the benefit of those whose principles and views it was intended to expose” (New York Daily Gazette, 6 March).