It’s a Great Day…More from J. Adams

It’s a great day to share some thoughts from Founder John Adams.

Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.

–John Adams, Defense of the Constitutions, 1787

The-first-prayer-in-congress-september-1774

THE FIRST PRAYER IN CONGRESS, SEPTEMBER,1774.

 But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations…This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.

–John Adams, letter to H. Niles, February 13, 1818

The History of our Revolution will be one continued Lye from one end to the other. The essence of the whole will be that Dr. Franklins electrical Rod, smote the Earth and out sprung General Washington. That Franklin electrified him with his rod – and thence forward these two conducted all the Policy, Negotiations, Legislatures and War.

–John Adams to Benjamin Rush April 4, 1790

I have long thought the Philosophers of the eighteenth Century and almost all the Men of Science and Letters, crack. In my youth I was much amused with the Idea that this Globe of Earth was the (insane asylum) of the Universe. If I were now to judge it by the Conduct and Writings of the Men of Science, I should be more disposed than ever to believe that the Sun, Moon and Stars send all their Lunaticks here for confinement…

–John Adams to Benjamin Rush December 22, 1806

 

Thank you, John Adams. Happy Independence Day!

On July 2, 1776, the Second Continental Congress held a meeting at the Pennsylvania State House in Philadelphia and passed a formal resolution declaring, “these United Colonies are, and of right ought to be Free and Independent States.” That was it!

The following day John Adams wrote to his beloved wife, Abigail:

“July 3, 1776 

“Had a Declaration of Independency been made seven Months ago, it would have been attended with many great and glorious Effects . . . .

“But the Day is past. The Second Day of July 1776, will be the most memorable Epocha, in the History of America.

“I am apt to believe that it will be celebrated, by succeeding Generations, as the great anniversary Festival. It ought to be commemorated, as the Day of Deliverance by solemn Acts of Devotion to God Almighty. It ought to 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.

“You will think me transported with Enthusiasm but I am not. — I am well aware of the Toil and Blood and Treasure, that it will cost Us to maintain this Declaration, and support and defend these States. — Yet through all the Gloom I can see the Rays of ravishing Light and Glory. I can see that the End is more than worth all the Means. And that Posterity will tryumph in that Days Transaction, even altho We should rue it, which I trust in God We shall not.”

Letter from John Adams to Abigail Adams, 3 July 1776, “Had a Declaration…” [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/

John Adams Copley.jpeg

Detail of John Adams by John Singleton Copley, ca. 1784.

The following year, after much more blood had been shed, Adams made the following comment in his letter to Abigail of April 26th:

 “Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it! If you do not, I shall repent it in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it!”  

If Adams were alive in 2017, I believe he would be disappointed that Americans have strayed so far from the principles of their founding.

Hortensius

 

 

 

John Adams on the Feudal and Canon Law

“I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder– as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth.”    — John Adams

Detail of John Adams by John Singleton Copley, ca. 1784.

Detail of John Adams by John Singleton Copley, ca. 1784.

John Adams of Braintree, Massachusetts was an American Revolutionary War leader and one of our greatest and most learned Founding Fathers. In 1765, at the age of 29 he wrote an amazing essay, which later came to be called “A Disserta- tion on Canon and Feudal Law,” and which was subsequently published in the Boston Gazette as well as the London Chronicle. It contains one of the great tributes to our Pilgrim and Puritan forefathers. Later in life Adams said of the piece that “It might have been called an Essay upon Forefathers Rock,” referring to the famous rock where the Pilgrims first came ashore.

I am working on a history of the Pilgrims , which I had hoped to have had done by Thanksgiving. It is proving to be far more complicated and time consuming than I first thought. In the meantime, I offer this essay by Adams.

I apologize if Adams’ essay offends anyone. I do not publish it here as an attack on anyone’s faith. Adams certainly was rough in his views towards the Catholic structure here, but a fair view of history reveals many horrible abuses by the Church of Rome. Adams had no love for the Episcopal Church of England either, which in many ways replaced the old abuses from Rome with its own. The bloody history of Canon Law and religion in Europe is the reason we Americans treasure our first Amendment to our Constitution, which says, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof.” By the way, in case any of you were wondering, I was raised in the Catholic faith.

Below is the actual draft of Adams’ essay, the one found in his diary, courtesy of: http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/archive/doc?id=D10

Frotho

“A Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law” by John Adams

The Desire of Power, Dominion, that encroaching, grasping, restless, and ungovernable Principle in human Nature, that Principle which has made so much Havock and Desolation, among the Works of God, in all the Variety of systems, that have been invented, for its Gratification, was never so successfull, as in the Invention and Establishment of the Cannon and the Feudal Law. — By the former the most refined, sublime, extensive, and astonishing Constitution of Policy, that was ever conceived by the Human Mind, was framed, by the Romish Clergy, for the Aggrandisement of their own order. This Constitution will be allowed to deserve all the Epithets I have given it, when it is considered, that they found Ways to make the World believe that God had entrusted them with Keys of Heaven whose Gates they might open and shut at Pleasure, and with the Power of Dispensation over all the Rules and Types of Morality, the Power of licensing all sorts both of sins and Crimes, with the Power of Deposing Princes, and absolving all their subjects from their Subj Allegiance, with the Power of Procuring or withholding the Rain of Heaven, and the Beams of the Sun, with the Power of Earthquakes, Plagues, Pestilence, Famine; nay with the Power of creating Blood Nay the Blood of God out of Wine, and Flesh the Flesh of God out of Bread. Thus was human Nature held for Ages, fast Bound in servitude, in a cruel, shameful, deplorable Bondage to him and his subordinate Tyrants who it was fortold in the Apocalypse, would exalt himself above all that is called God and that is worshiped.

By the latter another system was formed similar to the former in some Respects, and altho it was originally contrived perhaps for the necessary Defence of a barbarous Nation People against the Inroads and Invasions of her neighbouring Nations; yet it was soon adopted by almost all the Princes in Europe, and wrought into the Constitution of their Governments for the same Purposes of Tyranny, Cruelty and Lust. This Constitution was originally a Code of Laws for a vast Army, in a perpetual Encampment. The General was invested with the Property of all the Land within [sentence unfinished]

Illustration from John Foxe's Book of Martyrs, first published in 1563; Simson was a Protestant Minister tortured for heresy during the reign of Queen Mary I (1553-58); later he was burnt at Smithfield.

Illustration from John Foxe’s Book of Martyrs, first published in 1563; Simson was a Protestant Minister tortured for heresy during the reign of Queen Mary I (1553-58); later he was burnt at Smithfield.

It was a Resolution formed by a sensible People almost in despair. [The Puritans’ decision to leave England and settle in America.] (The) Puritans had become intelligent in general, and some of them learned but they had been galled, and fretted, and whipped and cropped, and hanged and burned. In short they had been so worried by Plagues and Tortures in every Shape, and they utterly despaired of Deliverance from these Miseries in their own Country, that they at last resolved to fly to the Wilderness, for Refuge from the temporal and spiritual Principalities and Powers, and Plagues and scourges of their Native Country.

After their Arrival here, they began their settlements and pursued their Plan both of Ecclesiastical and Civil Government in direct Opposition to the Cannon And the feudal systems.

The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, December 1620

The Landing of the Pilgrims at Plymouth, December 1620. Published by Currier & Ives, 1876.

Their first Concern was to preserve and propagate Knowledge. The leading Men among the first Settlers of America, were Men of sense and Learning. And the Clergymen, who came over first, were familiar with the Historians, Orators, Poets and Phylosophers of Greece and Rome, and many of them have left behind them Libraries which are still in Being consisting chiefly of Books, whose Character their great Grand sons can scarcely read.

I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder– as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth.

their great grand sons, tho educated at European Universities, can scarcely read. Archbishop King him self, (I think it was, for I say this upon Memory) observed of the Puritans in General, that they were much more intelligent, and better read than the Members of the Church whom he reproaches, and censures very warmly for that Reason.

Provision was early made by Law, that every Town should be accommodated with a grammar school-under a severe Penalty– so that even Negligence of Learning was made a Crime, a Stretch of Wisdom in Policy that was never equalled before nor since unless by the ancient Egyptians who made the Want of Generosity and Humanity a Capital Crime.

But besides the Obligation laid on every Town to provide the means of Learning, a Colledge nay a Number of Colledges were formed very early, and a very early Attention to them from the Legislature, exempted from Military Duties– exemptions from Taxes, and many other Encouragements have taken Place. And in fine We their Posterity, have seen the Fruits and Consequences of the Wisdom and Goodness of our Forefathers. All Ranks and orders of our People, are intelligent, are accomplished– a Native of America, especially of New England, who cannot read and wright is as rare a Phenomenon as a Comet.

Thus accomplished were the first Settlers of these Colonies– and as has been said, Tyranny in every shape, was their Disdain and Abhorrence. No Kind of Fear of Punishment not even of Death itself, in exquisite Torture had been sufficient to conquer that steady, manly, pertinacious Spirit, with which they opposed the Tyrants of those Days in Church and state. And their greatest Concern seems to have been to establish a Government of the Church, more consistent with the scriptures, and a Government of the state more agreable to the Dignity of human Nature, than they had ever seen in Europe. For this purpose They knew that beautiful were the feet &c. But They saw clearly, that of all the ridiculous Nonsense, Delusion, and Frenzy that had ever passed thro the Mind of Man, none had ever been more glaring and extravagant than the Notions of the Cannon Law, of the indellible Character, the perpetual succession, the virtuous and sanctified Effluvia from Episcopal Fingers, and all the rest of that dark Ribaldry which had thrown such a Glare of Mistery, Sanctity, Reverence and Right Reverence, Eminence and Holiness around the Idea of a Priest [sentence unfinished]

Pendulum: The Will of the People?

Here is a letter that I sent off to a high profile Republican Senator after the 2014 midterm election:

Dear Senator:

Congratulations, you are now part of the majority party in Congress. Thank God. The pendulum has swung back your way. The question is, how long until the pendulum swings back in favor of Democrats. You must be thinking about that.

Why is it that modern Washington politics acts like a pendulum in the first place? I maintain it is because “the people” are confused. They are human beings, who are flawed and easily manipulated for good or ill.

“The very media, founded on communications and automata, especially television, can communicate illusion as well as reality, and that is all right as long as we know the difference.”Dr. William O. Baker, patriot genius and one time leader of Bell Labs.

 All too often the people do not know the difference.

I watched you last night and you invoked the “voice of the people” several times. Stop with that nonsense! The same people you speak of twice elected the disaster we have in the White House.

In 1787, one of our greatest Americans, John Adams wrote that “Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” I maintain the people are like children. They do not understand freedom. Many of the founding fathers were skeptical of pure democracy. Rightly so. It is possible for citizens in a democracy to vote themselves into servitude. To some extent we have already done so in America. It’s time our leaders reverse this trend. That is your job now. Your ideas are mostly right. You must find a way to bring “the people” along.

The end is good government. Good government can only be achieved when there is piety, virtue. Good government only exists where there is frugality and the rule of law and where justice is applied equally regardless of stature. You must constantly remind the people of this. The revolution at hand, if that’s what it is, will hopefully result in a return to these principles. That would be something. Or is it only a matter of time until the pendulum swings back? Then where will we be?

Sincerely,

Frotho Canutus

John Adams by Copley

John Adams by Copley

“If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?” –John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

“Human government is more or less perfect as it approaches nearer or diverges farther from the imitation of this perfect plan of divine and moral government.” –John Adams, draft of a Newspaper Communication, 1770

“Human nature itself is evermore an advocate for liberty. There is also in human nature a resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong. A love of truth and a veneration of virtue. These amiable passions, are the “latent spark”… If the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply than to the sense of this difference?” –John Adams, the Novanglus, 1775

“Children should be educated and instructed in the principles of freedom.” –John Adams, Defense of the Constitutions, 1787

“Each individual of the society has a right to be protected by it in the enjoyment of his life, liberty, and property, according to standing laws. He is obliged, consequently, to contribute his share to the expense of this protection; and to give his personal service, or an equivalent, when necessary. But no part of the property of any individual can, with justice, be taken from him, or applied to public uses, without his own consent, or that of the representative body of the people. In fine, the people of this commonwealth are not controllable by any other laws than those to which their constitutional representative body have given their consent.” –John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

“Fear is the foundation of most governments; but it is so sordid and brutal a passion, and renders men in whose breasts it predominates so stupid and miserable, that Americans will not be likely to approve of any political institution which is founded on it.” –John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.” –John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

“I have accepted a seat in the [Massachusetts] House of Representatives, and thereby have consented to my own ruin, to your ruin, and the ruin of our children. I give you this warning, that you may prepare your mind for your fate.” –John Adams, to Abigail Adams, May 1770

“I must study politics and war that my sons may have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy. My sons ought to study mathematics and philosophy, geography, natural history and naval architecture, navigation, commerce and agriculture, in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry, music, architecture, statuary, tapestry, and porcelain.” –John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, 1780

“If men through fear, fraud or mistake, should in terms renounce and give up any essential natural right, the eternal law of reason and the great end of society, would absolutely vacate such renunciation; the right to freedom being the gift of God Almighty, it is not in the power of Man to alienate this gift, and voluntarily become a slave.” –John Adams, Rights of the Colonists, 1772

“I have long thought the Philosophers of the eighteenth Century and almost all the Men of Science and Letters, crack. In my youth I was much amused with the Idea that this Globe of Earth was the Bedlam* of the Universe. If I were now to judge it by the Conduct and Writings of the Men of Science, I should be more disposed than ever to believe that the Sun, Moon and Stars send all their Lunaticks here for confinement, as they used to send them from Paris to Bicetre.”

*insane asylum

“But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations…This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.” –John Adams, letter to H. Niles, February 13, 1818

“As long as Property exists, it will accumulate in Individuals and Families. As long as Marriage exists, Knowledge, Property and Influence will accumulate in Families.” –John Adams, letter to Thomas Jefferson, July 16, 1814

“But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.” –John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, July 17, 1775

“Posterity! You will never know how much it cost the present generation to preserve your freedom! I hope you will make good use of it! If you do not, I shall repent it in Heaven that I ever took half the pains to preserve it!” – John Adams to Abigail Adams, April 26, 1777

Be Happy! You Were Lied to for Your Own Good!

“If there is a form of government, then, whose principle and foundation is virtue, will not every sober man acknowledge it better calculated to promote the general happiness than any other form?” –John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

Recently, LZ Granderson, a commentator and writer for CNN News said this during a TV debate about Americans’ distrust of  President Obama vis-a-vis Obamacare:

The question is, which lies can you live with? And, time and time again, Americans have said we can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us because we believe in his heart, he has the best interest for the American people. Every president is going to lie to you. Every politician is going to lie to you. The question is, which lies can you live with?

So there you have it, America. A peek into the dark, twisted world of “progressive” logic.

Dear hard-working, patriotic Americans: LZ Granderson says he is speaking for you. He has anointed himself to be your spokesperson, partly because he claims to know what you all are thinking, but more importantly because he thinks he knows what is best for you. Yet Mr. Granderson does note cite his sources. How does he know all this? Did Gallup run a national poll that included a question like:

“If you agree that President Obama has your best interests at heart do you believe it is okay for him to lie to you about the most important issues that affect your health and well-being?”

No, there have not been any national polls that have posed a question like that and even if there were none would support Granderson’s false claim that “Americans have said we can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us.” If there was such supporting evidence Granderson would have certainly produced it by now.

I have a question for Mr. Granderson. If progressive, liberal policies are clearly so good for America in the minds of liberals like Mr. Granderson, then why would President Obama and the Democrats have to lie to the American people about the policies they want to impose on us? For instance, why did they tell us we could keep our doctor and our health plan when they knew it was not true? Why did they tell us that the new healthcare law would make health care more affordable when it will actually drive up most insurance premiums and add to our national debt? If their vision of America is clearly so superior, why doesn’t it sell itself. Why are the lies and deception necessary?

The answer must surely be that the liberal elite think that regular, hard-working Americans are clearly too stupid to recognize what is in their own best interest. That is in effect what LZ Granderson is saying. If he is correct, that Americans are too dumb to figure out what is in their own best interest, then surely the current batch of elected miscreants in Washington is the product of that stupidity. When I contemplate who populates Congress and the White House, I wonder if they are not absolute proof of the collective stupidity that Granderson alludes to. Sometimes it’s difficult to think otherwise.

What it really comes down to is this, if we live in a culture where lies are tolerable, even desirable, as in Mr. Granderson’s world, then how can citizens hope to make informed decisions about politics and policies that directly impact their lives? The problem is, they cannot. If we are continually deceived by politicians and their cheerleaders in the media, who claim to have our best interests at heart (and we would be foolish to believe their claim that they do), then we will more often than not elect people who create far more problems than they solve. Liars, cheats, and power-hungry fortune seekers are surely not attracted to Washington by the lure of solving America’s problems. They are there for much less honorable reasons.

“The trust of the innocent is the liar’s most useful tool.” — Stephen King

It is frightening to contemplate, but think about it – by the logical extension of his belief that Americans need to be lied to for their own good because they are clueless, Mr. Granderson and other progressives could argue that there really is no need to have any elections at all. If the masses are too ignorant to know what is in their best interest, then what is the purpose of letting the ignorant vote? In the liberal, progressive mind our representative form of democracy is just a big show, an expensive waste of time and money. Perhaps Mr. Granderson thinks we should just scrap our Constitution and just let the “intellectual elite”[1] run the country. Or perhaps, on the other hand, the progressive liberals think the electoral process is a necessary show, one that gives the illusion that the people are the masters and the politicians their representatives. Either way, the fact that a man with views like Mr. Granderson is given a platform on a major news network to air his anti-American sophistry is clear evidence that our Constitutional Republic is under attack from within.

No, LZ Granderson’s vision for America will only lead to our ruin. We must not accept it. The best thing we can do at election time is to support only those who are the wisest, most honorable and virtuous amongst us. If we can manage to do that collectively, most of our current and future problems will be solved. But it requires a different mindset, one that truly looks at the long term and insists on doing the greatest good for the most people, not just preferred groups. Hopefully, we are a little more advanced than just a bunch of wild, uncivilized scavengers fighting over the remaining spoils of another’s successful hunt, tearing at each other for our turn at someone else’s discarded carcass. Wouldn’t it be better to focus our attention not on what we can steal or scavenge from our fellow men, but rather on being excellent at something that other men and women value and will pay us handsomely for. That has a far better chance of leading to a general happiness in the United States and is far preferable to “Life, Slavery and the Pursuit of Carcass.”

Frotho Canutus

“Human government is more or less perfect as it approaches nearer or diverges farther from the imitation of this perfect plan of divine and moral government.”
–John Adams, draft of a Newspaper Communication, Circa August 1770

“Human nature itself is evermore an advocate for liberty. There is also in human nature a resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong. A love of truth and a veneration of virtue. These amiable passions, are the “latent spark”… If the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply than to the sense of this difference?”  –John Adams, Novanglus, 1775

“I Pray Heaven to Bestow The Best of Blessing on THIS HOUSE, and on ALL that shall hereafter Inhabit it. May none but Honest and Wise Men ever rule under This Roof!”  –John Adams, letter to Abigail Adams, November 2, 1800

 “All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.”  –Sir Winston Churchill

“Time and time again, Americans have said we can deal with the lies that President Obama tells us…” — LZ Granderson

Link to video of Granderson speaking on CNN here: MRC LINK


[1] Progressive liberals.

Huzzah! Philly’s Historic City Tavern Re-opens Despite Continuing Government Shutdown

city tavern sign  Finally, someone in the Obama administration has come to their senses – Philadelphia’s historic City Tavern is once again open for business! (See previous story here.)

If you live near Philadelphia, go enjoy a meal at the City Tavern. October is a great time to soak in the colonial atmosphere and warm up with a bowl of Chef Walter Staib’s West Indian Pepperpot Soup accompanied by a loaf cornmeal and molasses bread. Taste one of the ales made from the recipes used by Thomas Jefferson or George Washington. You won’t be disappointed!

City Tavern employees lost 10 days of work because we have a federal administration that thinks the people exist to serve it. Unlike federal employees, City Tavern employees will not get paid for not working. Make a reservation today and support the City Tavern!

Click here for City Tavern Menu

Punch City Tavern

“But what do we mean by the American Revolution? Do we mean the American war? The Revolution was effected before the war commenced. The Revolution was in the minds and hearts of the people; a change in their religious sentiments, of their duties and obligations…This radical change in the principles, opinions, sentiments, and affections of the people was the real American Revolution.”            — John Adams to Hezekiah Niles, February 13, 1818

Quotes Du Jour

John Adams,ca. 1821 by Gilbert Stuart. National Gallery of Art.

John Adams,ca. 1821 by Gilbert Stuart. National Gallery of Art.

“Government is instituted for the common good; for the protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness of the people; and not for profit, honor, or private interest of any one man, family, or class of men; therefore, the people alone have an incontestable, unalienable, and indefeasible right to institute government; and to reform, alter, or totally change the same, when their protection, safety, prosperity, and happiness require it.” — John Adams, Thoughts on Government, 1776

All great things are simple, and many can be expressed in single words: freedom, justice, honor, duty, mercy, hope.— Winston Churchill

This one immediately made me think of Mr. Hopey/Changey:

“A rough style with truth is preferable to eloquence without it.” — Cadwallader Colden