Front Page Titles (by Subject) TO CHARLES HOLT. - The Works of John Adams, vol. 10 (Letters 1811-1825, Indexes)
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TO CHARLES HOLT. - 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 CHARLES HOLT.
Quincy, 4 September, 1820.
The universal vanity of human nature must have obtruded itself on your observation, in the course of your experience, so forcibly, that you will easily imagine that your letter of August 27th has been received and read with much pleasure; besides, you know that the just always rejoiceth over every sinner that repenteth. Your letter,1 however, did not surprise me, because I had received many such testimonials from other persons. For example, Mr. Matthew Carey has, in letters to me, acknowledged the same error, and has lately repented to me, in person and in conversation, and, moreover, has repeatedly printed handsome encomiums on my Defence of the American Constitutions, which he had many years vilified, before he had read it. And, what is more agreeably surprising to me, Judge Cooper, the learned and ingenious friend of Dr. Priestley, has lately published, in the Portfolio, a very handsome eulogium of that work. And what, perhaps, will be considered more than all, the learned and scientific President Jefferson has, in letters to me, acknowledged that I was right, and that he was wrong.2
My plain writings have been misunderstood by many, misrepresented by more, and vilified and anathematized by multitudes who never read them. They have, indeed, nothing to recommend them but stubborn facts, simple principles, and irresistible inferences from both, without any recommendation from ambitious ornaments of style, or studied artifices of arrangement; notwithstanding all which, amidst all the calumnies they have occasioned, I have the consolation to know, and the injustice I have suffered ought to excuse me in saying, that they have been translated into the French, German, and Spanish languages; that they are now contributing to introduce representative governments into various nations of Europe, as they have before contributed to the introduction and establishment of our American Constitutions, both of the individual States and the nation at large; and that they are now employed, and have been, in assisting the South Americans in establishing their liberties, from the days of Miranda to this hour. I may say, with Lord Bacon, that I bequeathe my writings to foreign nations, and to my own country, after a few generations shall be overpast.
This letter has so much the appearance of vanity, that I pray you not to publish it in print; though calumny, with her hundred cat-o’-nine-tails, has lashed me so long, that my skin has become almost as hard and insensible as steel, and her severest strokes would scarcely be felt. After all, I sincerely thank you for your frank and candid letter, which does you much honor, and is a full atonement for all your errors in relation to me, who am, Sir, your sincere well-wisher and most humble servant.
[1 ] Mr. Holt, in 1800, was editor of the Bee, a partisan newspaper, published in Connecticut, and was imprisoned, under the sedition law, for a libel. In his letter he says: “I then wrote and published much against you, Sir, as an aristocrat in principle or royalist at heart, no friend to the “rights of man,” and hostile to the “republicanism” of the United States. I had not read your “Defence of the American Constitutions,” nor much of any political history, and but very little in the book of living experience. But, Sir, I have since, although publisher of a political gazette sixteen years after, seen and felt abundant cause for discarding the impressions I then entertained, and adopting opinions gathered from all observation and confirmed by all experience.”
[2 ] Perhaps this is too general a statement. The allusion is to the opposite opinions entertained of the probable results of the French Revolution.