Quote for Today

“There is in human nature a resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong, a love of truth and a veneration of virtue … if the people are capable of understanding, seeing and feeling the differences between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice…”

John Adams (1775) wrote in a letter to the Massachusetts’s Bay Readers

The full letter is here:

To the Inhabitants of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay,

MY FRIENDS,…

“There is a latent spark in the breasts of the people capable of being kindled into a flame, and to do this has always been the employment of the disaffected.” – What is this “latent spark”?….The love of Liberty? A Deo, hominis est indiia natura. Human nature itself is evermore an advocate for liberty.  There is also in human nature, a resentment of injury, and indignation against wrong.  A love of truth and a veneration for virtue.

These amiable passions, are the “latent spark” to which those whom this writer calls the “disaffected” apply. – If the people are capable of understanding feeling and feeling the difference between true and false, right and wrong, virtue and vice, to what better principle can the friends of mankind apply, than to the sense of this difference.

It is better to apply as, this writer & his friends do, to the basest passions in the human breast to their fear, their vanity, their avarice, ambition, and every kind of corruption?  I appeal to all experience, and to universal history, if it has ever been in the power of popular leaders, uninvested with other authority than what is conferred by the popular suffrage, to persuade a large people, for any length of time together, to think themselves wronged, injured, and oppressed, unless they really were, and saw and felt it to be so.

“They,” the popular leaders, “Begin by reminding the people of the elevated rank they hold in the universe as men; that all men by nature are equal; that kings are but the ministers of the people; that their authority is delegated to them by the people for their good, and they have a right to resume it, and place it in others hands, or keep it themselves, whenever it is made use of to oppress them.  Doubtless there have been instances, when these principles have been inculcated to obtain a redress of real grievances, but they have been much oftener perverted to the worst of purposes.”

These are what are called revolution principles.  They are the principles of Aristotle and Plato, of Livy and Cicero, of Sydney, Harrington & Locke – The principles on which the whole government over us, now stands.  It is therefore astonishing, if any thing can be so, that writers, who call themselves friends of government, should in this age & country be so inconsistent with themselves, so indiscreet, so immodest, as to insinuate a doubt concerning them.

NOVANGLUS

“A wise man’s heart inclines him toward the right, but a fool’s heart toward the left. Even when the fool walks on the road, he lacks sense, and he says to every one that he is a fool.”Ecclesiastes 10:2-3

 

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