4
4
Adams, John, as first Vice-President
Estimate
25,00035,000
LOT SOLD. 16,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT
4
Adams, John, as first Vice-President
Estimate
25,00035,000
LOT SOLD. 16,250 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

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New York

Adams, John, as first Vice-President
Autograph letter signed ("John Adams"), 2 pages bifolium (10 x 8 in.; 254 x 203 mm), Philadelphia, 24 January 1795, to Winthrop Sargent, commenting on Native American artifacts and his general lack of interest in the subject; 2 small fold tears neatly repaired, remnants of a previous mount on second blank leaf. Blue cloth folding-case, teal morocco spine; spine faded.
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Catalogue Note

"If all Religion and Governments all arts and sciences are destroyed the Feud will grow up, Cities will moulder into common Earth, and a few human Beings may be left naked to chase the Wild Beast with Bows and arrows," Adams pessimistically prophesies to Winthrop Sargent, who had sent him drawings of Native American utensils and ornaments. Sargent was appointed by the Congress of the Confederation as the first Secretary of the Northwest Territory, a post second in importance only to the governor, Arthur St. Clair. When Adams became President, he appointed Sargent the first Governor of the Mississippi Territory, effective 7 May 1798–25 May 1801.

Adams admits to not sharing Sargent's anthropological interest in Native Americans.  "I am not enough in the habit of Antiquarian Speculations to hazard any Conjectures concerning them. I have never interested myself much in the Inquiries concerning the ancient Inhabitants of this country, or the Part of the World from which they first emigrated."

He then speculates that America was once, like Europe, a "Seat of Arts Sciences and Civilization." The Reign of Terror and unrelentless warring in Europe much concerns Adams: "Nor should I wonder if any one should prophecy that Europe, will cease to be what it is and become as Savage and barbarous as America was three hundred years ago. The Temper and Principles prevailing at present in that quarter of the World have a Tendency to as general and total a destruction as ever befel Tyre and Sidon Sodom and Gomorrah."

"Printing they say will prevent it—But it would be very consistent with the present professed principles to destroy every Type and Press as Engines of Aristocracy, and murder every Pen and Ink Man as aiming at superiority."  Adams concludes with the hope that "Religion and Learning will find an Asylum in America," although he holds little faith in his fellow Americans, like Jefferson, who supported the new French regime: "[T]oo many of our fellow Citizens are carried away in the dirty Torrent of dissolving Europe."

The JAMES S. COPLEY LIBRARY: MAGNIFICENT AMERICAN HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS: FIRST SELECTION

|
New York