Charles Adams to John Adams
New York March 12th 1794
My dear Father
The Samaneens were a sect of Philosophers of India They embraced the doctrine of Butta or Budda whom the Indians have placed among their Gods and beleive him born of a Virgin One peculiar difference between this sect and that of the Brachmans was that originally the Brachmans were all of one tribe or Cast The Samaneens did not exclude any class from their body The were much respected and venerated. It appears by the history given of them in the Encyclopedie that they suffered persecution on account of their principles and were expelled from many parts of India “Il n’en reste plus de traces sur les côtes de Malabar et de Coromandel Le culte des brachmes â succédé a celui des Samaneens; ceuxci selon le temoignage des Brachmes ont été detruits par le Dieu Vischnou parce qu’ils blasphemoient ouvertment contre sa religion; regardoient tous les hommes comme egaux n’admettoient aucune difference entre les diverses tribus ou Castes, detestoient les livres theologiques des Brachmes et vouloient que tout le monde fût soumis a leur loi.[”]1 This article is interesting I have made an abridgment for you, as you desired me. I could wish neither to speak or hear of Col Smith his flights are too sublime for my comprehension In his late capacity of Committee man he has gained the honor of putting much more milk and water into the Resolutions than would have been mingled had he not been there. I have received your favors of the eighth and tenth inst In answer to the Question Whether all connection had ceased between me and The family of Smith I shall say that it was my wish to have concealed in my own bosom every chagrine I never go there I have not even seen my Sister more than once in three months and that by accident Why should I be called upon to say anything further I know not. How to answer the other question? Should I use deceit towards my father and tell him that I am perfectly convinced of [my] weakness and error? Were I to say so, it would be far from the truth. Were I to declare that I did not entertain the same opinion of Sally Smith that I ever did, I should declare a falshood If you have questioned too closely it is not my fault I have obeyed2
With every affection I am your son
RC (Adams Papers). Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. No traces remain on the coasts of Malabar and Coromandel. The cult of the Brahmins succeeded that of the Samaneens; the latter, according to the testimony of the Brahmins, were struck down by the god Vishnu because they openly blasphemed against their religion, viewed all men as equal, did not recognize any differences among the various tribes or castes, abhorred the theological books of the Brahmins, and wanted the world to submit to their law.
CA quotes from the article on the Samanéens in the Encyclopédie méthodique, ou par ordre de matieres: Histoire, 5 vols. in 6, Paris, 1784–1791, a revised edition of Denis Diderot’s Encyclopédie. JA’s letter requesting this information has not been found.
2. JA wrote to CA on 8 March and a second letter on 10 March (both MHi:Seymour Coll.) outlining his thoughts on William Laurence Brown’s Essay on the Natural Equality of Man, Phila., 1793, 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. 25234. In the 8 March letter, JA summarized the contents of the three major sections of the essay, nothing that “This little Essay has I think placed this important Subject in a true Light and Shewn the golden Rule of Equality, to be equally hostile to Despotism and to Anarchy, equally friendly to Rights and to subordination.” His letter of the 10th carried on his “Sketch” of the book, outlining in greater detail its first chapter.
No letter from JA to CA around this time questioning CA’s relationship with SSA has been found. The Adamses had had reservations about their romance, for which see AA to TBA, 10 Jan. 1795, and note 2, below.