Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 12 December 1816

From John Adams

Quincy Decr 12 1816

Dear Sir

I return the Analysis of Dupuis with my thanks for the loan of it. It is but a faint1 Miniature of the original.

I have read that original in twelve Volumes, besides a 13th of plates.

I have been a Lover and a Reader of Romances all my Life. From Don Quixotte and Gill Blas to the Scottish Chiefs and an hundred others.

For the last year or two I have devoted myself to this kind of Study: and have read 15 Volumes of Grim, Seven Volumes of Tuckers Neddy Search and 12 Volumes of Dupuis besides a 13th of plates And Traceys Analysis, and 4. Volumes of Jesuitical History! Romances all! I have learned nothing of importance to me, for they have made no Change in my moral or religious Creed, which has for 50 or 60 years been contained in four Short Words “Be just and good.” In this result they all agree with me.

I must acknowledge however, that I have found in Dupuis more Ideas that were new to me, than in all the others.

My Conclusion from all of them is Universal Tolleration.

Is there any Work extant So well calculated to discredit Corruptions and Impostures in Religion as Dupuis.

I am Sir, with Friendship, as of old

John Adams

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “President Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 25 Dec. 1816 and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in MHi: Adams Papers). Enclosure: enclosure to TJ to Adams, 14 Oct. 1816.

The volume of plates was Charles François Dupuis, Planches de L’Origine de Tous les Cultes (Paris, year III [1794/95]). gill blas: Alain René Le Sage, Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (Paris, 1715–35, and later French and English eds.; Sowerby, description begins E. Millicent Sowerby, comp., Catalogue of the Library of Thomas Jefferson, 1952–59, 5 vols. description ends no. 4346). tuckers neddy search: under the pseudonym of Edward Search, the English philosopher Abraham Tucker published The Light of Nature Pursued, 3 vols. in 9 (London, 1768–77).

1RC: “feignt.” FC: “faint.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; letters from search
  • Adams, John; on religion search
  • Adams, John; reading habits of search
  • Adams, John; works sent to search
  • Analyse Raisonnée de l’Origine de Tous les Cultes, ou Religion Universelle (Destutt de Tracy) search
  • books; novels search
  • books; on ethics search
  • Cervantes, Miguel de; Don Quixote search
  • Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique (F. M. Grimm) search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; Analyse Raisonnée de l’Origine de Tous les Cultes, ou Religion Universelle search
  • Don Quixote (M. de Cervantes); J. Adams on search
  • Dupuis, Charles François; Origine de Tous les Cultes: ou, Religion Universelle search
  • ethics; books on search
  • Grimm, Friedrich Melchior, Baron von; Correspondance littéraire, philosophique et critique search
  • Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane (A. R. Le Sage) search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; loans books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; works sent to search
  • Jesuits; history of search
  • Le Sage, Alain René; Histoire de Gil Blas de Santillane search
  • Light of Nature Pursued (A. Tucker) search
  • Origine de Tous les Cultes: ou, Religion Universelle (C. Dupuis) search
  • religion; freedom of search
  • religion; J. Adams on search
  • religion; Jesuits search
  • religion; works on search
  • Tucker, Abraham; Light of Nature Pursued search