It is now become a Maxim with some, who are even Men of Merit, that the World esteems a Man in Proportion as he esteems himself, and are generally disposed to allow him, to be what he pretends to be.
John Adams, letter to James Warren, December 2, 1778
The following Question may be answered some time or other - viz. Where do we find a precept in the Gospell, requiring Ecclesiastical Synods, Convocations, Councils, Decrees, Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Subscriptions and whole Cartloads of other trumpery, that we find Religion incumbered with in these Days?
John Adams, from his diary, February 18, 1756
The Law of Nations is or ought to be founded on the Law of Reason.
John Adams, Second Reply of the Massachusetts House of Representatives to Governor Hutchinson, 1773
Reason, not religion.
But it is not the Part of Policy or Philosophy, to torment itself with Prospects into such distant Futurities, I don’t expect that America will turn the Earth into an Heaven or an Hell. This World will continue to be Earth and its Inhabitants Men, and Wars and Follies will abound as much as ever. We have full enough to do with those of the present Age. Don’t let Us distress ourselves about those which are to happen a thousand Years hence.
John Adams, letter to Edmund Jennings, February 27, 1781
Mobs are the trite Topick of Declamation and Invective, among all the ministerial People, far and near. They are grown universally learned in the Nature, Tendency and Consequences of them, and very eloquent and pathetic in descanting upon them. They are Sources of all kinds of Evils, Vices, and Crimes, they say. They give Rise to Prophaneness, Intemperance, Thefts, Robberies, Murders, and Treason. Cursing, Swearing, Drunkenness, Gluttony, Leudness, Trespasses, Maims, are necessarily involved in them and occasioned by them. Besides, they render the Populace, the Rabble, the scum of the Earth, insolent, and disorderly, impudent, and abusive. They give Rise to Lying, Hypocricy, Chicanery, and even Perjury among the People, who are driven to such Artifices, and Crimes, to conceal themselves and their Companions, from Prosecutions in Consequence of them.
John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 6, 1774
You can tell this was before Darwin, or the ministers would have blamed it on evolution.
I must Sing a little to the God of Love, let War and Politicks say what they will. Surely I may be allowed to hum a Tune to him, when I am not permitted to pay him any other Kind of Worship. This I may do without looking back, which I shall never do, whoever holds the Plough.
John Adams, letter to Edmund Jenings, May 22, 1779
As to all the Bustle and Bombast about Tea, it has been begun by about 1/2 doz. Hollands Tea Smugglers, who could not find so much Profit in their Trade, since the Nine Pence was taken off in England.
John Adams, from his diary, June 26, 1770
Most Tea Partiers probably don’t realize that the name aligns them with smugglers, and against the tax reducers. Smugglers found their product less competitive when tax was reduced on the legal stuff.
The Schools are in every Town. By an early Law of the Colony, every Town consisting of Sixty Families, is obliged, under a Penalty to maintain constantly a School House and a school Master, who teaches Reading, Writing Arithmetick and the Rudiments of Latin and Greek. To this public school the Children of all the Inhabitants poor as well as rich, have a Right to go. In these Schools are formed schollars for the Colleges at Cambridge New Haven, Warwick and Dartmouth, and in those Colledges are educated, Masters for the schools, Ministers for the Churches, Practitioners in Law and Physick, and Magistrates and officers for the Government of the Country.
John Adams, letter to the Abbe’ de Mably, January 15, 1783
The concept of public schools for all goes way back in this country. Religious conservatives sometimes push a different idea.
No sooner has one Party discovered or invented an Amelioration of the Condition of Man or the order of Society. than the opposite Party, belies it, misconstrues it, misrepresents it, ridicules it, insults it, and persecutes it. Records are destroyed. Histories are annihilated or interpolated, or prohibited sometimes by Popes, sometimes by Emperors, sometimes by Aristocratical and sometimes by democratical Assemblies and sometimes by Mobs. ……. If you ask my Opinion, who has committed all the havoc? I will answer you candidly; Ecclesiastical and Imperial Despotism has done it, to conceal their Frauds.
John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 9, 1813