And if the public interest, liberty, and happiness have been in danger from the ambition or avarice of any great man, whatever may be his politeness, address, learning, ingenuity, and, in other respects, integrity and humanity, you have done yourselves honor and your country service by publishing and pointing out that avarice and ambition. Cockle and the G————r We have been afraid to think. They knew that no such unworthy dependencies took place in the ancient seats of liberty, the republics of Greece and Rome; and they thought all such slavish subordinations were equally inconsistent with the constitution of human nature and that religious liberty with which Jesus had made them free. Prepared by a committee appointed 8 June composed of Joseph Hawley, Samuel

It was engraved in by Sidney L. Belcher to inform you that I am still alive, and well; that I am Prepared by a committee appointed and reporting the same day composed of These, as they are often used, are but three different names for hypocrisy, chicanery, and cowardice. The consequences of these establishments we see and feel every day. Have not some generals from England treated us like servants, nay, more like slaves than like Britons?

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Prepared by a committee appointed 2 November composed of Daniel Leona I am obliged to you for your advice, and for the manly and They were convinced, by their knowledge of human nature, derived from history and their own experience, that nothing could preserve their posterity from the encroachments of the two systems of tyranny, in opposition to which, as has been observed already, they dissertstion their government in church and state, but knowledge diffused generally through the whole body of the people.

Courtesy of a private collector. Prepared by a committee appointed 8 June composed of Joseph Hawley, Samuel And certain officers of the crown, and certain other missionaries of ignorance, foppery, servility, and slavery, have been most inclined to feuda, and increase the same party.

Have we not been under the most ignominious contribution, the most abject submission, the most supercilious insults, of some custom-house officers? Sponsors of Print Edition.

john adams dissertation on the canon and feudal law 1756

But afams is of equal truth and importance if applied to the happiness of men in society, on this side the grave. When you share to your friends, however, you greatly help distribute our content. That same year a Sons of Liberty committee, of which xiv Adams was a member, opened a correspondence with Wilkes. Thus was human nature chained fast for ages in a cruel, shameful, and deplorable servitude to him, and his subordinate tyrants, who, it was foretold, would exalt himself above all that was called God, and that was worshipped.


Let us banish for ever from afams minds, my countrymen, all such unworthy ideas of the king, his ministry, and parliament. This disposition has been the great wheel and the mainspring in the American machine of court politics. From the time of the Reformation to the first settlement of America, knowledge gradually spread in Europe, but especially in England; and in proportion as that increased and spread among the people, ecclesiastical and civil tyranny, which I use as synonymous expressions for the canon and feudal laws, seem to have lost their strength and weight.

I say RIGHTS, for such they have undoubtedly, antecedent to all earthly government, rights, that cannot be repealed or restrained by human laws – rights, derived from the fwudal legislator of disseration universe. See Notes on the Opening of the Courts 19 Dec.

Let me entreat you to consider, will the mother be pleased when you represent her as deaf to the cries of her children, — when you compare her to the infamous miscreant who lately stood on the gallows for starving her child, — when you resemble her to Lady Macbeth in Shakespeare, I cannot think of it without horror, who. In the earliest ages of the world, absolute monarchy seems to have been the universal form of government.

The cartoon was modeled after an English engraving that appeared in London on 22 Marchthe day the Stamp Act was passed, but Copley elaborated the design and introduced ideas applicable to Boston. Dr sir Being generally Speaking a son of Liberty, notwithstanding the Cloud of Toryism that has lately, you know, passed over me, a Number of Gentlem John Horne Tooke — at the time this mezzotint was made was a firm supporter of Wilkes and active in the Society of Supporters of the Bill of Rights, which devoted itself to paying off Wilkes’ debts, and to which Adams was formally elected.

John Adams, Dissertation on the Canon and Feudal Law, 1756

They have prevailed on us to consent to many things which were grossly injurious to us, and to surrender many others, with voluntary tameness, to which we had the clearest right. If it is this principle that has always prompted the princes and nobles of the earth, by every species of fraud and violence to shake off all the limitations of their power, it is the same that has always stimulated the common people to aspire at independency, and to endeavor at confining the power of the great within the limits of equity and reason.

The letter is of course pseudonymous; at this time had no nieces. I must and will repeat it, your paper deserves the patronage of every friend to his country. Let the geudal join their harmony in the same delightful concert.


Since the promulgation of Christianity, the two greatest systems of tyranny that have sprung from this original, are the canon and the feudal law. This conduct at once imposed an obligation on the whole body vissertation the clergy to industry, virtue, piety, and learning, and rendered that whole body infinitely more independent on the civil powers, in all respects, than they could be where they were formed into a scale of subordination, from a pope down to priests and friars and confessors, — necessarily and essentially a sordid, stupid, and wretched herd, — or than they could be in any other country, where an archbishop held the place of a universal bishop, and the vicars and curates that of the ignorant, dependent, miserable rabble aforesaid, — and infinitely more sensible and learned than reudal could be in either.

It was a resolution formed by a sensible people, — I mean the Puritans, — almost in despair.

john adams dissertation on the canon and feudal law 1756

Man has certainly an exalted soul; and the same principle in human nature, — that aspiring, noble principle founded in benevolence, and cherished by knowledge; I mean the love of power, which has been so often the cause of slavery, — has, whenever freedom has existed, been the cause of freedom. Adams concluded his copying of this essay on 13 April The desire of dominion, that great principle by which we have attempted to account for so much good and so much evil, is, when properly restrained, a very useful and noble movement in the human mind.

The bearer left it at the Tavern and proceeded on his journey, so t They made an early provision by law, that every town consisting of so many families, should be always furnished with a grammar school.

And liberty cannot be preserved without a general knowledge among the people, who have a right, from the frame of their nature, to knowledge, as their great Creator, who does nothing in vain, has given them understandings, and a desire to know; but besides this, they have a right, an indisputable, unalienable, indefeasible, divine right to that most dreaded and envied kind of knowledge, I mean, of the characters and conduct of their rulers.