James Madison Papers

To James Madison from John Adams, 29 October 1814

From John Adams

Quincy October. 29. 1814

Dear Sir

I hope you will not think me a Fanatic, because I introduce Clergymen to you. The Truth is that none but Clergymen here have much Litterature or Science, I cannot say that reading and writing is the exclusive Priviledge of Clergy, as it once was in the World; but we bare too near a resemblance to that dark Age. The Gentleman who will have the honour to present this Letter1 has given proofs to the World of talents and virtues which deserves the countenance and patronage of every great Man—though he wants none—excuse my Freedom—and believe me your Friend

John Adams.

Letterbook copy (MHi: Adams Papers).

1This letter evidently introduced Edward Everett, for whom Adams wrote introductory letters of 28 and 29 Oct. 1814 to Thomas Jefferson and Richard Rush, among others (MHi: Adams Papers). Everett (1794–1865), an 1811 graduate of Harvard College, also received a master’s degree in divinity there in 1814. He became pastor of Boston’s largest Unitarian church the same year but soon began studies at the University of Göttingen in Germany, where in 1817 he received the first doctorate awarded to an American. He served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1825 to 1835, during which time he and JM carried on an extensive and significant correspondence. Everett was governor of Massachusetts, 1836–40, U.S. minister to England, 1841–45, secretary of state under President Millard Fillmore, 1852–53, and a U.S. Senator, 1853–54 (Sobel and Raimo, Biographical Directory of the Governors, 2:701–2; PJM-RS, description begins David B. Mattern et al., eds., The Papers of James Madison: Retirement Series (2 vols. to date; Charlottesville, Va., 2009–). description ends 2:199–200 n. 3).

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