(1735-1826) 2nd President of the United States (1797-1801). Letter signed, 2 pages (recto/verso), 8 x 10 in., Quincy, 30 April 1819. To an unidentified correspondent, with some of the finest John Adams content extant.
"Dear Sir, Of republicks the varieties are infinite, or at least as numerous as the tunes and changes that can be rung upon a complete sett of Bells. Of all the variety's, a Democracy is the most natural - the most ancient - and the most fundamental and essential of all others….In some writing or other of mine I happened currente caloma to drop the phrase 'the word Republic as it is used may signify - any-thing - every-thing - or nothing.' For this escape I have been pelted for twenty or thirty years - with as many stones as even were throw'n at St Steven - when St Paul held the clothes of the stoners - but the aphorism is literal, strict, solemn truth - to speak technically, or scientifically, if you will.
There are Monarchical Aristocratical and Democratical Republicks - the government of Great Britain - and that of Poland - are as strictly republicks - as that of Rhode-Island or Connecticut under their old charters. If mankind have a right to the voice of experience - they ought to furnish that experience with Pen, ink and paper to write it - and an amanuensis to copy it.
I should have been extremely obliged to you if you had favoured me with Mr. Jeffersons sentiments upon the subject - as I see you have an inquiring mind. I sincerely wish you much pleasure Profit, and success in your investigations. I have had some pleasure in them - but no Profit - and very little, if any success.
In one of your Letters you say that my defence has become none - this is strange - Mr. Dilly Published an Edition of it [Adams' 1787 pamphlet A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America], was published in Boston -- another in New-York - another in Philadelphia --before the Adoption of the present Constitution of the National Government - and before one line of the Federalist was printed - since that Mr. Cobbet, alias Porcupine printed a large Edition of the whole work in Philadelphia - and Mr. Stockdale of Picca-dilly has published another large Edition in London - it has been Translated into the French and German Languages - and what has become of all these Copies. I am Sir, with much Esteem your humble servant, John Adams." Adams' signature shows his age; in six months, he would be 84 years old.
Estimated Value $20,000-UP