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TO THOMAS McKEAN. - John Adams, The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes) 
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. 10.
Part of: The Works of John Adams, 10 vols.
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TO THOMAS McKEAN.
Quincy, 30 July, 1815.
Who shall write the history of the American Revolution? Who can write it? Who will ever be able to write it? The most essential documents, the debates and deliberations in Congress, from 1774 to 1783, were all in secret, and are now lost forever. Mr. Dickinson printed a speech, which he said he made in Congress against the declaration of independence; but it appeared to me very different from that which you and I heard. Dr. Witherspoon has published speeches, which he wrote beforehand, and delivered memoriter, as he did his sermons. But these, I believe, are the only speeches ever committed to writing. The orations, while I was in Congress, from 1774 to 1778, appeared to me very universally extemporaneous, and I have never heard of any committed to writing, before or after delivery.
These questions have been suggested to me by a review in the Analectic Magazine for May, 1815, published in Philadelphia, p. 385, of the Chevalier Botta’s “Storia della guerra Americana.” The reviewers inform us, that it is the best history of the revolution that has ever been written. This Italian classic has followed the example of the Greek and Roman historians, by composing speeches for his generals and orators. The reviewers have translated one of Mr. R. H. Lee, in favor of the declaration of independence. A splendid morsel of oratory it is; how faithful, you can judge.
I wish to know your sentiments and opinions of this publication. Some future Miss Porter may hereafter make as shining a romance of what passed in Congress, while in conclave, as her Scottish Chiefs.
Your friend, durante vitâ.