O, FOR HISTORY: The affection between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson

Author Jon Meacham wrote in his Pulitzer Prize winning THOMAS JEFFERSON, THE ART OF POWER, that the Adams and Jefferson friendship had been a victim of the passions of the 1790s

Mutual friend and fellow founding father, Benjamin Rush, desired their friendship to be restored and wrote to Jefferson, “many are the evils of a political life, but none So great as the dissolution of friendships, and the implacable hatreds which too Often take their place.”

From Benjamin Rush to Thomas Jefferson.

“Philadelphia Feb: 1st 1811.

Dear Sir,

I was much gratified in reading the confidential Communication made to me in your letter. After reading the Correspondence which accompanied it, I acquit you, in your refusal to renew it, of the least impropriety of temper, or Conduct. On the Contrary, I was delighted with the kindness, benevolence, and even friendship discovered in your Answers to Mrs Adams letter. I beleive they were the genuine effusions of your heart, for they exactly accord with the expressions of regard, and the opinion of the integrity of Mr Adams which I have heard you utter a hundred times in our familiar intercourse with each Other during the four last Winters you passed in Philadelphia.

I was induced to make the proposal to you of reviving a farewell intercourse with Mr Adams before you meet in Another world, in consequence of his having reverted back to the Opinio[ns] and feelings of his early life upon several interesting Subjects of Government, and of his having in one of his letters expressed favourable Sentiments towards you, and a decided Approbation of one of the unpopular Acts of your Administration.”

John Adams, who began softening his harsh tone against his former friend wrote to Rush of Jefferson, “I always loved Jefferson and still love him.”

That was all that was needed to re-spark Jefferson’s passion for his former co-revolutionary and the correspondence resumed with great fervor.

“1812, January 21: Jefferson to Adams_____________
A letter from you calls up recollections very dear to my mind. It carries me back to the times when, beset with difficulties and dangers, we were fellow laborers in the same cause, struggling for what is most valuable to man, his right of self-government. Laboring always at the same oar, with some wave ever ahead threatening to overwhelm us and yet passing harmless under our bark, we knew not how, we rode through the storm with heart and hand, and made a happy port…”

329 letters passed between John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; 158 were written and shared between 1812-1826.

Fifty years following the announcement of The Declaration of Independence, on July Fourth, the two fellow revolutionaries met in that other world.

About Wright Flyer Guy

Darin is a single adoptive father, a teacher, playwright, and musical theatre director from Kettering, Ohio.
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