John Adams

John Adams

John Adams

“This spirit, however, without knowledge, would be little better than a brutal rage.  Let us tenderly and kindly cherish, therefore, the means of knowledge.  Let us DARE TO READ, THINK, SPEAK, and WRITE.  Let every order and degree among the people rouse their attention and animate their resolution.  Let them all become attentive to the grounds and principles of government, ecclesiastical and civil.  Let us study the law of nature; search into the spirit of the British constitution; read the histories of ancient ages; contemplate the great examples of Greece and Rome; set for us the inherent rights of mankind against foreign and domestic tyrants and usurpers, against arbitrary kings and cruel priests, in short, against the gates of earth and hell.  Let us read and recollect and impress upon our souls the views and ends of our own more immediate forefathers, in exchanging their native country for a dreary, inhospitable wilderness.  Let us examine into the nature of that power, and the cruelty of that oppression, which drove them from their homes.  Recollect their amazing fortitude, their bitter sufferings–the hunger, the nakedness, the cold which they patiently endured–the severe labors of clearing their grounds, building their houses, raising their provisions, amidst dangers from wild beasts and savage men, before they had time or money or materials for commerce.  Recollect the civil and RELIGIOUS PRINCIPLES and hopes and expectations which constantly supported and carried them through all hardships with patience and resignation.  Let us recollect it was LIBERTY, the hope of liberty for themselves and us and ours, which conquered all discouragements, dangers, and trials.  In such researches as these, let us all in our several departments cheerfully engage–but especially the proper patrons and supporters of law, learning, and religion!
Let the pulpit resound with the doctrines and sentiments of religious liberty.  Let us hear the danger of thraldom to our consciences from ignorance, extreme poverty, and dependence, in short, from civil and political slavery.   Let us see delineated before us the true map of man.  Let us hear the dignity of his nature, and the noble rank he holds among the works of God–that consenting to slavery is a sacrilegious breach of trust, as offensive in the sight of God as it is derogatory from our own honor or interest or happiness–and that God Almighty has promulgated from heaven liberty, peace, and good-will to man!