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Son of the late Wm. Cunningham, Esq.
DISTRICT OF MASSACHUSETTS, TO WIT:
District Clerk's Office.
num United States of America, Ephraim May Cunningham, of the said District, has deposited in this Office the title of a book, the right whereof he claims as Proprietor, in the words following, to wit :
“ Correspondence between the Hon. John Adams, late President of the United States and the late Wm. Cunningham, Esq. beginning in 1803 and ending in 1812.”
In conformity to the Act of the Congress of the United States, entitled “ An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the Copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies, during the times therein men. tioned :" and also to an Act entitled, “ An Act supplementary to an Act, entitled An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by securing the copies of Maps, Charts and Books, to the Authors and Proprietors of such copies during the times therein mentioned ; and extending the benefits thereof to the Arts of Designing, Engraving and Etching Historical, and other Prints."
JOHN W. DAVIS,
THIS correspondence is presented to the American people, with an exclusive view to their information and benefit. The seal of secrecy, which was imposed by the survivor, is broken by the triumph of death over his correspondent. It has now become the property of the public and of posterity. - The Editor is influenced by a deep solicitude for the welfare of our republic, and an anxious wish, that its institutions and liberties may be transmitted to an interminable futurity. He deems it an imperative obligation upon every citizen of this great and free nation to contribute, according to his means, to the preservation and glory of this invaluable inheritance.
The history of nations, is little else, thạn the history of individuals; and, the existence and prosperity of the one, depend upon the purity, patriotism and public spirit of the other. In all nations, which have risen, flourished and fallen, the causes of their decline and overthrow, may be traced to individuals and families. An inordinate and unprincipled thirst for power, on the part of the few, at the ex
many, has always been the inveterate bane of liberty-the semen dissolutionis of political communities.Men are, by nature, free and equal; but, there is, among them, a perpetual tendency to inequality. Society is constantly diverging into the extremes of affluence and power, on the one hand, and penury and weakness, on the other.
pense of the
The progress to these extremes, is accelerated, in direct proportion to the distance from the medium. An increase of strength, gives new energy, and every accumulation sharpens the appetite for more. On the other hand, defeat destroys confidence, and every failure paves the way to a repetition, till a great majority of mankind, sink into listlessness and indolence, and become the servile instruments of pampered power. The operation and extension of this principle, has created all those iron despotisms, wbich have humbled and crushed the human family.
It is the spirit and intention of our republican institutions, to correct this tendency to monopoly, and to restrain individual and family aggrandizement. In this, consists our preeminence, in freedom and happiness, over every other natian. It is the bulwark of our liberties. When this corrective power shall be yielded, we shall become a degraded people. It is the duty of freemen to guard it, with untiring vigilance. By a constant recurrence to first principles and an unceasing inspection and scrutiny into the conduct and characters of our distinguished men, we may hope to preserve our rights and perpetuate them to future generations. However elevated his rank-powerful bis conpexions—or, unlimited his hold upon the estimation and confidence of his countrymen, we should not shrink from summoning the delinquent to that tribunal, from which there is no appeal to the tribunal of public opinion.
In times of revolutionary excitement, it is easy for a man of a restless and daring spirit, to throw himself into the stream and roll on with the tide. By activity and address, he may mould the ingrédients of a community in commo. tion, to his own will and pleasure, and acquire power and influence with wonderful facility. The splendor of success, achieved by his associates, may throw a halo of glory round his name, and the enthusiasm of a nation, may assigo him ä
place among her worthies, which posterity will permit him te retain, if the mask be not removed by his subsequent
In the hurry of events, it is impossible to form a correct estimate of his acts, and to foresee the ultimate ob. jects of his ambition. It is only, when the storm is over, that his motives may be developed and his true character delineated.
It capnot be doubted, that the fame of Mr. Adams would have gone into future times, with a brighter train, if his public labours had ceased, with the termination of the revolution. By retirement, he might have preserved a rank in that luminous galaxy of heroes and statesmen, who achieved our independence. But, every act of his, since that epoch, has removed him farther from the proud elevation, to which a fortuitous concurrence of circumstances and the unsuspecting gratitude of an emancipated people, had raised him. It was not, however, till he became chief magistrate of the nation, that his real character and designs were known. It was now, that his aristocratical principles and selfish policy, appeared in all their hideousness. The people saw his rapid strides towards despotism, and, that he aimed to wrest from them the sovereignty and secure it to himself and family. It is unnecessary to recount the obnoxious acts of his administration ; for, they are fresh in the recollection of every citizen. It is in vain to attempt to charge the odium of this reign of terror upon his constitutional counsellors; for, the maxim, that "the king can do no wrong," is not recognised in our political creed. The Executive, possessed of the appointing power, and having a negative upon the legislature, is amenable to the nation, for the policy and practice of the government. The eyes of the people are directed to the Supreme Head; and, notwithstanding its immense patronage and influence, which are calculated to dazzle and blind the million, Mr. Adams,