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John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

19 Sep. 1795

My dear son Thomas Quincy Septr. 19. 1795

Yesterday brought me the Pleasure of your Letter of July the 13th.—Every new Letter from You, as well as your Brother brings me a greater Pleasure and excites a more affecting Tenderness than the former—It convinces me of your continual Improvement, in Information, in Taste in Reflection and Discernment.

You were not mistaken in your Prediction that the new Constitution in France would be cried up by a particular Class. Indeed all Classes have reason to rejoice that they have adopted three Branches. But the essential Ingredient of Independence is wanting. The Executive must have an Independence of the Legislature and there must be a Ballance between them. The French Executive would be blasted by a Single Vote of Censure from the Legislature. The Legislature too must contain a Ballance within itself. But I am not about to write Commentaries. Samuel was intentionally used instead of John I doubt not. I have experienced in France a thousand Similar Affronts under the old Monarchy. They delight to insult some People in this manner.

As The Defence is translated into French and is becoming at least a less \un/fashionable Book than it has been both in France and England, I begin to hope that in a Course of Ages it may do some good: and to this End I wish The Discourses on Davila were collected and printed as a fourth Volume, for they are in reality a Key to the whole. That Emulation in the human heart which is universal, and is not a Love of Equality but a desire of Superiority, is there develloped as the eternal & universal Cause of Parties and Factions, which renders the double Ballance indispensible in every \free/ Republican Government. By the double Ballance I mean 1. the Ballance of the Executive against the Legislative. and 2. The Ballance of the Council of Ancients against the Council of 500 or in other Words of The Senate against the House, in the Legislature.

The World will soon see other Proofs in Addition to the Proclamation of Merlin of the ambition of Republicans. National Pride is no where so impetuous, grasping and over bearing as in Republican Minds.

I am afraid that the Merits of Constitutions of Government will never be freely and fairly discussed. The Prejudices Passions & Interests of Nations and Parties are so immediately affected by them that I fear Reason will never have fair Play.

I am my Dear Child your affectionate / Father

John Adams

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
This early access document should not be cited in formal research.
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