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TO WILLIAM THOMAS. - 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 WILLIAM THOMAS.
Quincy, 10 August, 1822.
The grounds and principles on which the third article of the treaty of 1783 was contended for on our part, and finally yielded on the part of the British, were these.
1. That the Americans, and the adventurers to America, were the first discoverers and the first practisers of the fisheries.
2. That New England, and especially Massachusetts, had done more in defence of them than all the rest of the British empire. That the various projected expeditions to Canada, in which they were defeated by British negligence, the conquest of Louisburg, in 1745, and the subsequent conquest of Nova Scotia, in which New England had expended more blood and treasure than all the rest of the British empire, were principally effected with a special view to the security and protection of the fisheries.
3. That the inhabitants of the United States had as clear a right to every branch of those fisheries, and to cure fish on land, as the inhabitants of Canada or Nova Scotia; that the citizens of Boston, New York, or Philadelphia had as clear a right to those fisheries, as the citizens of London, Liverpool, Bristol, Glasgow, or Dublin.
4. That third article was demanded as an ultimatum, and it was declared that no treaty of peace should ever be made without it; and when the British ministers found that peace could not be made without that article, they consented; for Britain wanted peace, if possible, more than we did.
5. We asked no pardon, we requested no grant, and would accept none. We demanded it as a right, and we demanded an explicit acknowledgment of that as an indispensable condition of peace; and the word right was in the article as agreed to by the British ministers, but they afterwards requested that the word liberty might be substituted instead of right. They said it amounted to the same thing, for liberty was right and privilege was right; but the word right might be more unpleasing to the people of England than liberty; and we did not think it necessary to contend for a word. To detail the conferences and conversations which took place for six weeks on this subject, would require volumes, if they could now be remembered. Mr. Jay is the only person now living, who was officially concerned in that negotiation, and I am not afraid to appeal to his memory for the truth of these facts. Lord St. Helens, then Mr. Fitzherbert, though not officially concerned in the negotiation, was instructed by the British minister to assist at our conferences, and he was freely and candidly admitted by us. I dare appeal to his lordship’s memory for the truth of these facts. There is another excellent character still living, Mr. Benjamin Vaughan, of Kennebec, who was then a confidential friend of Lord Shelburne, and an intimate friend of the British negotiators, and I dare appeal to his recollection of the representations made to him of the conferences concerning the fisheries, by Mr. Oswald, Mr. Fitzherbert, and Mr. Whitefoord.
6. We considered that treaty as a division of the empire. Our independence, our rights to territory and to the fisheries, as practised before the Revolution, were no more a grant from Britain to us, than the treaty was a grant from us of Canada, Nova Scotia, England, Scotland, and Ireland to the Britons. The treaty was nothing more than mutual acknowledgment of antecedent rights.
If there is any other question that you wish me to answer, I shall be happy to do it, so long as my strength may last. I had omitted what follows.
7. We urged upon the British ministers that it was the interest of England herself that we should hold fast forever all the rights contained in that article, because all the profits we made by those fisheries went regularly to Great Britain in gold and silver, to purchase and pay for their manufactures; that if it were in her power, which it was not, to exclude us from or abridge these rights, they would be the dupes of their weak policy.
8. That if we should consent to an exclusion, the stipulation would not be regarded; our bold and hardy seamen would trespass; they must keep a standing naval force on the coast to prevent them; our people would fight and complain, and this would be speedily and infallibly the source of another war between the two nations.
TO THOMAS JEFFERSON.
Quincy, 9 March, 1823.
The sight of your well-known handwriting in your favor of February 25th last, gave me great pleasure, as it proved your arm to be restored, and your pen still manageable. May it continue till you shall become as perfect a Calvinist as I am, in one particular. Poor Calvin’s infirmities, his rheumatism, his gout, and sciatica, made him frequently cry out, “Mon dieu! jusqu’à quand?” “Lord! how long?” Pratt, once Chief Justice of New York, always tormented with infirmities, dreamed that he was situated on a single rock in the midst of the Atlantic ocean. He heard a voice,
The ladies’ visit to Monticello has put my readers in requisition to read to me “Simond’s Travels in Switzerland.” I thought I had some knowledge of that country before, but I find I had no idea of it. How degenerated are the Swiss! They might defend their country against France, Austria, and Russia, neither of whom ought to be suffered to march armies over their mountains. Those powers have practised as much tyranny and immorality, as ever the Emperor Napoleon did, over them, or over the roitelets of Germany or Italy. Neither France, Austria, or Spain, ought to have one foot of land in Italy.
All conquerors are alike. Every one of them, “jura negat sibi lata, nihil non arrogat armis.” We have nothing but fables concerning Theseus, Bacchus, and Hercules, and even Sesostris, but I dare say that every one of them was as tyrannical and immoral as Napoleon. Nebuchadnezzar is the first great conqueror of whom we have any thing like history, and he was as great as any of them. Alexander and Cæsar were more immoral than Napoleon. Genghis Khan was as great a conqueror as any of them, and destroyed as many millions of lives, and thought he had a right to the whole globe, if he could subdue it. What are we to think of the crusades, in which three millions of lives, at least, were probably sacrificed. And what right had St. Louis and Richard Cœur de Lion to Palestine and Syria, more than Alexander to India, or Napoleon to Egypt and Italy? Right and justice have hard fare in this world, but there is a Power above who is capable and willing to put all things right in the end, “et pour mettre chacun à sa place dans l’univers;” and I doubt not he will.
Mr. English, a Bostonian, has published a volume of his expedition with Ismael Pasha up the river Nile. He advanced above the third cataract, and opens a prospect of a resurrection from the dead of those vast and ancient countries of Abyssinia and Ethiopia; a free communication with India, and the river Niger, and the city of Timbuctoo. This, however, is conjecture and speculation rather than certainty; but a free communication by land between Europe and India will ere long be opened. A few American steamboats and our Quincy stone-cutters would soon make the Nile as navigable as our Hudson, Potomac, or Mississippi.
You see, as my reason and intellect fail, my imagination grows more wild and ungovernable, but my friendship remains the same. Adieu.