Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO WILLIAM BENTLEY. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
The Online Library of Liberty
A project of Liberty Fund, Inc.
Search this Title:
TO WILLIAM BENTLEY. - 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.
About Liberty Fund:
Liberty Fund, Inc. is a private, educational foundation established to encourage the study of the ideal of a society of free and responsible individuals.
The text is in the public domain.
Fair use statement:
This material is put online to further the educational goals of Liberty Fund, Inc. Unless otherwise stated in the Copyright Information section above, this material may be used freely for educational and academic purposes. It may not be used in any way for profit.
TO WILLIAM BENTLEY.
Quincy, 21 August, 1819.
I thank you for the Raleigh Register and National Intelligencer. The plot thickens.
The name of the Cato of North Carolina, the honest, hoary-headed, stern, determined republican, Macon, strikes me with great force. But here is an accumulation of miracles.
1. The resolutions are such as every county in the thirteen colonies ought to have taken at that moment.
2. The Suffolk resolves, taken about the same time, were sufficiently famous, and adopted by Congress.
3. I was on social, friendly terms with Caswell, Hooper, and Hewes, every moment of their existence in Congress; with Hooper, a Bostonian, and a son of Harvard, intimate and familiar. Yet, from neither of the three did the slightest hint of these Mecklenburg resolutions ever escape.
4. Is it possible that such resolutions should have escaped the vigilant attention of the scrutinizing, penetrating minds of Patrick Henry, R. H. Lee, Mr. Jefferson, Mr. Gadsden, Mr. Rutledge, Mr. Jay, Mr. Sherman, Mr. Samuel Adams? Haud credo. I cannot believe that they were known to one member of Congress on the fourth of July, 1776.
5. Either these resolutions are a plagiarism from Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence, or Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration of Independence is a plagiarism from those resolutions. I could as soon believe that the dozen flowers of the Hydrangea, now before my eyes, were the work of chance, as that the Mecklenburg resolutions and Mr. Jefferson’s Declaration were not derived the one from the other.
6. The declaration of one of the most respectable of the inhabitants of this city, Raleigh, ought to be produced.
7. The papers of Dr. Hugh Williamson ought to be searched for the copy sent to him, and the copy sent to General W. R. Davie. The Declaration of Independence made by Congress on the fourth of July, 1776, is a document, an instrument, a record that ought not to be disgraced or trifled with.
8. That this fiction is ancient and not modern, seems to be ascertained. It is of so much more importance that it should be thoroughly investigated.1
I know not whether I have written the tenth part of the reflections that have occurred to me; but I have written more than my eyes and nerves can well bear.
[1 ] This subject has been since very formally investigated by a committee of the General Assembly of North Carolina. Their report made in 1830-31, is printed in Force’s American Archives, fourth series, vol. ii. c. 855, note. A copy of the paper has also been found in the archives of the British government. No historical fact is better established.