Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams

By Joseph J. Ellis | Go to book overview

Prophecies: An Epilogue

Where can we look but into the heart of man and the
history of his heart? In the heart were found those appetities, pas-
sions, prejudices and selfish interests, which ought always to be
controlled by reason, conscience and social affections; but which are
never so perfectly controlled, even by any individual, still less by
nations and large bodies of men
. And less and less, as communities
grow larger and larger, more populous, more commercial, more
wealthy, and more luxurious
.

—Adams to John Taylor, April 1814

From the year 1761, now more than Fifty years, I
have constantly lived in an enemies Country
. And that without
having one Personal enemy in the World, that I know of
.

—Adams to Benjamin Rush, January 8,1812

WE ARE WHOLLY DESTITUTE of any direct evidence about the state of Adams's mind on the last morning of his life, as he sat alone in the upstairs study of the Adams homestead. It seems safe to presume that at least a portion of his mind was occupied with thoughts of Independence Day. Fifty years earlier, in what proved to be a prophetic letter to Abigail, he had predicted that the great day would be celebrated "by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival," and would be "solemnized with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more." 1

Characteristically, his prophetic powers had gotten the story cor

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Passionate Sage: The Character and Legacy of John Adams
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Passionate Sage - The Character and Legacy of John Adams *
  • Preface to the Second Edition *
  • Contents *
  • Illustrations *
  • Preface *
  • Memories: A Prologue *
  • 1 - The Education of John Adams *
  • 2 - History and Heroes *
  • 3 - Irreverencies and Oppositions *
  • 4 - The American Dialogue *
  • 5 - Erudite Effusions *
  • 6 - Intimacies *
  • 7 - Legacies *
  • Prophecies: An Epilogue *
  • Notes *
  • Index *
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