New York, September 25, 1789
The duplicate, via Charleston, of your letter of the thirtieth of August, never reached my hand till a day or two before the nomination took place to the office of judge of the district of Georgia. As I had the pleasure and advantage of a particular acquaintance with yourself, and the misfortune to know nothing at all, but by a very distant and general reputation, of the gentleman nominated, I should have been ill qualified to make an impartial decision between the candidates. I feel upon all occasions, I own, a particular pleasure in the appointment to office of gentlemen who are now well affected to the national constitution, who had some experience in life before the revolution, and took an active part in the course and conduct of it.
Union, peace, and liberty to North America, are the objects to which I have devoted my life, and I believe them to be as dear to you as to me. I reckon among my friends all who are in the communion of such sentiments, though they may differ in their opinion of the means of obtaining those ends. I will not say that an energetic government is the only means; but I will hazard an opinion, that a well-ordered, a well-balanced, a judiciously-limited government, is indispensably necessary to the preservation of all or either of those blessings. If the poor are to domineer over the rich, or the rich over the poor, we shall never enjoy the happiness of good government; and without an intermediate power, sufficiently elevated and independent to control each of the contending parties in its excesses, one or the other will forever tyrannize. Gentlemen who had some experience before the revolution, and recollect the general fabric of the government under which they were born and educated, and who are not too much carried away by temporary popular politics, are generally of this opinion. But whether prejudice will not prevail over reason, passion over judgment, and declamation over sober inquiry, is yet to be determined.
I am, &c.
Labels: Works of John Adams