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A. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 1 (Life of the Author) 
The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, Notes and Illustrations, by his Grandson Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Little, Brown and Co., 1856). 10 volumes. Vol. 1.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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The following copy of Dr. Franklin’s letter to Thomas Cushing was probably taken by Mr. Adams, whilst the papers that accompanied it, one of which he also copied, were in his possession, during the month of April, 1773. It is given exactly as it was found. The discrepancy between it and the printed form is curious, though not so extensive as often occurs in letters written by the active men of the Revolution. It may easily be accounted for by the practice, not uncommon at that time, of preserving only the first draft, without being careful to insert the amendments and additions introduced into the perfect copy. In this way, many of Mr. Adams’s earlier letters have been found to vary from the forms which he was in the habit of writing first in a book. The same practice probably gave occasion to the questions lately made of the authenticity of some of Washington’s letters. Indeed, the various readings of the revolutionary manuscripts bid fair, in time, to form a body of literature, as large as those of the ancient classics.
But these diversities may not be all owing to the authors. Some of them will doubtless be traced to the printer. In one material instance, this is certainly the case here; an instance, it may be observed, in which the error has been already rectified by Mr. Bancroft in his history; the substitution of the word work for wrath.
London, [ ] 177[Editor: missing number]
I embrace this opportunity to acquaint you that there is lately fallen into my hands part of a correspondence, that I have reason to believe laid the foundation of most, if not all, our present grievances. I am not at liberty to tell through what channel I received it; and I have engaged that it shall not be printed, nor copies taken of it, or any part of it; but I am allowed [and desired1 ] to let it be seen by some men of worth in the Province, for their satisfaction only. In confidence of your preserving inviolably my engagements, I send you inclosed the original letters, to obviate every pretence of unfairness in copying, interpolation, or omission. The hands of the gentlemen will be well known. Possibly, they may not like such an exposal of their conduct, however tenderly and privately it may be managed. But if they are good men,1 and agree that all good men wish a good understanding and harmony to subsist between the Colonies and their mother country, they ought the less to regret that, at the small expense of their reputation for sincerity and public spirit among their compatriots, so desirable an event may in some degree be forwarded.
For my own part, I cannot but acknowledge that my resentment against this country, for its arbitrary measures in governing us, conducted by the late minister, has, since my conviction by these papers that those measures were projected, advised, and called for by men of character among ourselves, and whose advice must, therefore, be attended with all the weight that was proper to mislead, and which would therefore scarce fail of misleading;—my own resentment, I say, has by this means been considerably2 abated. [I therefore wish I was3 ] at liberty to make the letters public; [but as I am not,] I can4 allow them to be seen by yourself,5 by Messrs. Bowdoin and Pitts, of the council, and Dr. Chauncy, Cooper, and Winthrop, with a few such other gentlemen as you may think it fit to show them to. After being some months in your possession, you are requested to return them to me.
As to the writers, I can easily as well as charitably conceive it possible that [a man,6 ] educated in prepossession of the unbounded authority of parliament, &c., may think unjustifiable every opposition even to its unconstitutional exactions, and imagine it their duty to suppress, as much as in them lies, such oppositions. But, when I find them bartering away the liberties of their native country for posts, and negotiating for salaries and pensions, [for which the money is to be squeezed7 ] from the people; and conscious of the odium these might be attended with, calling for troops to protect and secure the enjoyment of them; when I see them exciting jealousies in the Crown, and provoking it to wrath against [a great part of its8 ] faithful subjects; creating enmities between the different countries of which the empire consists; occasioning a great expense to the new country for the payment of needless gratifications to useless officers and enemies; and to the old for suppressing or preventing imaginary rebellions in the new: I cannot but doubt their sincerity even in the political principles they profess; and deem them mere time-servers, seeking their own private emolument, through any quantity of public mischief; betrayers of the interest, not of their native country only, but of the government they pretend to serve, and of the whole English empire.
With the greatest esteem and respect,