The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations - Vol. 7

The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations - Vol. 7

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The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations - Vol. 7

The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: With a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations - Vol. 7

Read FREE!

Excerpt

The official papers of Mr. Adams are so voluminous as altogether to forbid the idea of embracing the whole within the limits of the present work. At the outset, it was supposed that the fact of the publication by government of a large portion of them, in a permanent form, would render the work of reproduction to any great extent superfluous. But a close investigation showed that a selection was absolutely necessary, in order to do justice to the career of the writer as a statesman. Ten critical years in the foreign relations of the country, in the course of which its position as an independent state was first recognized in Europe, could not but produce memorials essential to the history of those who acted any part in the scene. To Mr. Adams these are most important, as developing the substantial unity of his system of policy, from first to last, a feature which has not been hitherto pointed out so clearly as justice to him would seem to demand. The necessity of making a selection from these papers having for this reason been assumed, the next thing was to look for some principle of publication adapted to answer the purpose intended. After due reflection, it was, first of all, thought best to place the selected letters by themselves, not even connecting with them any private correspondence of the same date, that might lay open the secret springs of the movements described. This will find its proper place in the general collection relating to public events, which immediately follows these official papers. By the arrangement, in chronological series, reference can be made at pleasure by the curious reader to any period of time, without incurring the hazard of breaking the continuous record of the author’s public action. Secondly, the rule of publication was made to apply, first, to the magnitude of the events described; next, to the manner in which they are treated; thirdly, to the influence exercised upon them, directly or incidentally, by the writer; lastly, to the effect upon his own position. To one or other of these reasons the presence of each of the papers contained in this part of the work must be referred. Many letters have been admitted, signed by the members of the Commission to France . . .
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