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The Jeffersonian cyclopedia;

a comprehensive collection of the views of Thomas Jefferson classified and arranged in alphabetical order under nine thousand titles relating to government, politics, law, education, political economy, finance, science, art, literature, religious freedom, morals, etc.;

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69. ADAMS (John), Friendship of Jefferson for.—[continued].
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69. ADAMS (John), Friendship of Jefferson for.—[continued].

I write you this letter as due to a friendship coeval with our government,
and now attempted to be poisoned, when too late
in life to be replaced by new affections. I had
for some time observed in the public papers,
dark hints and mysterious innuendoes of a correspondence
of yours with a friend, to whom
you had opened your bosom without reserve, and
which was to be made public by that friend or


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his representative. And now it is said to be
actually published. It has not yet reached us,
but extracts have been given, and such as
seemed most likely to draw a curtain of separation
between you and myself. Were there no
other motive than that of indignation against
the author of this outrage on private confidence,
whose shaft seems to have been aimed at
yourself more particularly, this would make it
the duty of every honorable mind to disappoint
that aim, by opposing to its impression a sevenfold
shield of apathy and insensibility. With
me, however, no such armor is needed. The circumstances
of the times in which we have happened
to live, and the partiality of our friends
at a particular period, placed us in a state of
apparent opposition, which some might suppose
to be personal also; and there might not be
wanting those who wished to make it so, by
filling our ears with malignant falsehoods, by
dressing up hideous phantoms of their own
creation, presenting them to you under my
name, to me under yours, and endeavoring to
instil into our minds things concerning each
other the most destitute of truth. And if there
had been, at any time, a moment when we were
off our guard, and in a temper to let the whispers
of these people make us forget what we
had known of each other for so many years, and
years of so much trial, yet all men who have
attended to the workings of the human mind,
who have seen the false colors under which
passion sometimes dresses the actions and motives
of others, have seen also those passions
subsiding with time and reflection, dissipating
like mists before the rising sun, and restoring
to us the sight of all things in their true shape
and colors. It would be strange, indeed, if,
at our years, we were to go back an age to
hunt up imaginary or forgotten facts, to disturb
the repose of affections so sweetening to
the evening of our lives. Be assured, my
dear sir, that I am incapable of receiving the
slightest impression from the effort now made
to plant thorns on the pillow of age, worth and
wisdom, and to sow tares between friends who
have been such for near half a century. Beseeching
you, then, not to suffer your mind to
be disquieted by this wicked attempt to poison
its peace, and praying you to throw it by
among the things which have never happened,
I add sincere assurances of my unabated and
constant attachment, friendship and respect.—
To John Adams. Washington ed. vii, 314. Ford ed., x, 273.
(M. 1823)