Diary of John Adams, February 21, 1765

John Adams
February 21, 1765
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Found in his diary, this was a draft of a longer essay on cannon and feudal law.
It was a Resolution formed by a sensible People almost in despair. [The Puritans' decision to leave England and settle in America.] They Puritans had become intelligent in general, and some of them learned but they had been galled, and fretted, and whipped and cropped, and hanged and burned. In short they had been so worried by Plagues and Tortures in every Shape, and they utterly despaired of Deliverance from these Miseries in their own Country, that they at last resolved to fly to the Wilderness, for Refuge from the temporal and spiritual Principalities and Powers, and Plagues and scourges of their Native Country.

I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder-- as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth
After their Arrival here, they began their settlements and pursued their Plan both of Ecclesiastical and Civil Government in direct Opposition to the Cannon And the feudal systems.

Their first Concern was to preserve and propagate Knowledge. The leading Men among the first Settlers of America, were Men of sense and Learning. And the Clergymen, who came over first, were [illegible] familiar with the Historians, Orators, Poets and Phylosophers of Greece and Rome, and many of them have left behind them Libraries which are still in Being consisting chiefly of Books, whose Character their great Grand sons can scarcely read.

I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder-- as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth.


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