Charleston So Carolina 24th July 1787
My Worthy Friend
I am much obliged to You for your kind remembrance of me, & the very acceptable present You sent me, by Mr. Gibbes, Your Defense of our Constitutions, wch. I read, with the greatest Attention & as much pleasure, & am glad to hear by a Friend of mine at the Convention that it’s much read there, he sent me a Copy printed at Philada. but Yours came to hand a few days before. In another State I hope we shall be happy under a simple Governmt. directed by infinite Wisdom & Goodness, but in the present, while strugling with such various & contradictory passions, nothing less than the most artful playing them one against another. Wholesale & retail, (if I may use the expression) can insure any tollerable lasting Peace and security, wither publicly or privately, "All nature’s Difference keeps all Natures peace." according to your well-chosen Motto is as true a proposition as any in Euclid—I must own I was once fond of a simple Constitution of Governmt. as much so perhaps as Mr. Turgot, but have been some time convinced, however pleasing & entertaining it appeard in Idea that it was there only, & cou’d not, as Mankindare be Reduced to practice, the three distinct checks you mention in legislatures, seem to be indespenably necessary with one Executive. I think, We are so far happy in having all these as certain periods eligible by the people, but annual elections are rather too frequent in my opinion—Some of our Governor’s have not a Negative, this State’s particularly, which I am sorry for, tho’ at the early Time of framing our Constitution, or rather extraordinary Governmental Law, Inter[. . .], I confess I was then against it, but should there be a Convention to revise it, or rather make a real Constitution, I wish our governrs may be allowed a Negative—Unhappily, rather from inattention & inexperience than Designs our assemblies at Times have interfer’d too much in the judicial Department, Whereas theDeliberative, Judicial & Executive ought to be altgether separate, the permitting our judges to sit in the Assembly, is I think very improper & has a natural Tendency to introduce a Confusion of Departments—
This my Dear Sir I hope will be delivered you by the son of a late Worthy Freind, Mr. John Edwards, who was prisoner with me at Augustine, a Gentleman who by his Industry, had with great reputation acquired a very handsome provision for a large Family, but by lending great part of it to the public, and her common accidents of the late Times, his Fortune at his Death was much reduced. My youngest son married one of his Daughters, sister to this Young Gentleman, any Countinance you may shew him I shall be obliged to you for. I believe you’ll find him a very modest well inclin’d youth.
With regard to myself, having been as active as most Men in America for near thirty years, I have now taken a passive Turn, & indeed it is high Time, as I am pretty well advanced in Life. I am entirely the private Gentleman, endeavoring to repair, tho amassing damages done me during the late struggle, No Man in this state having suffer’d more in proportion to his Fortune—However I rejoice that Heaven has blss’d us with success, & only wish our American Friends may make a prosperous use of it—
I am Dr. Sir / With sincere Esteem / Yr. most obedt. hble Servt.
MHi: Adams Papers.