Thomas Jefferson Papers

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 8 December 1818

From John Adams

Quincy Dec 8, 18

Dear Sir

Your Letter of Nov. 13 gave me1 great delight not only by the divine Consolation it afforded me under my great Affliction: but as it gave me full Proof of your restoration to Health.

While you live, I Seem to have a Bank at Montecello on which I can draw for a Letter of Friendship and entertainment when I please.

I know not how to prove physically that We Shall meet and know each other in a future State; Nor does Revelation, as I can find give Us any possitive Assurance of Such a felicity. My reasons for believing, it, as I do, most undoubtingly, are all moral and divine.

I believe in God and in his Wisdom and Benevolence:2 and I cannot conceive that Such a Being could make Such a Species as the human merely to live and die on this Earth. If I did not believe a future State I Should believe in no God. This Universe;3 this all; this το παν; would appear with all its Swelling Pomp, a boyish Fire Work.

And if there be a future State Why Should the Almighty dissolve forever all the tender Ties which unite Us So delightfully in this World and forbid Us to See each other in the next?

Trumbull with a band of Associates drew me by the Cords of old Friendships4 to See his Picture on Saturday where I got a great Cold. The Air of Ph[a]neuil Hall is changed. I have not been Used to catch Cold there.

Sick or Well the friendship5 is the Same of your old Acquaintance

John Adams

RC (DLC); hole in manuscript; endorsed by TJ as received 17 Dec. 1818 and so recorded in SJL. RC (DLC); address cover only; with PoC of TJ to Robert Walsh, 11 Apr. 1819, on verso; addressed in an unidentified hand: “Thomas Jefferson late President of the U.S—Monticello”; franked; postmarked Quincy, 9 Dec. FC (Lb in MHi: Adams Papers).

το παν: “totality.” Adams had been to see John Trumbull’s painting of The Declaration of Independence at Faneuil (phaneuil) Hall in Boston. The regular admission fee was twenty-five-cents (Boston Intelligencer & Evening Gazette, 5 Dec. 1818).

1Word not in FC.

2Preceding fifteen words not in FC.

3RC: “Unverse.” FC: “Universe.”

4RC: “Frienships.” FC: “Friendship.”

5RC: “frienship.” FC: “friendship.”

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; andThe Declaration of Independence (J. Trumbull) search
  • Adams, John; health of search
  • Adams, John; letters from search
  • Adams, John; on death and dying search
  • Adams, John; on God search
  • health; colds search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Family & Friends; friendship with J. Adams search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; good health of search
  • paintings; by J. Trumbull search
  • religion; J. Adams on search
  • The Declaration of Independence (J. Trumbull) search
  • Trumbull, John (artist); The Declaration of Independence search