John Adams Essay

John Adams Essay-32
Thou art Either an hireling Scribbler, and prostitutest thine Head, thine Heart and thy fingers to blacken every Feature of one Party, however fair some of them may be, and to whiten every feature of the other, how foul or swarthy soever of them may be, or else thou art a silly, undistinguishing Jack Tar, on board the ship, who never lookest into the Right and the Wrong the True or the false, but eer fightest valiantly, whenever the Master gives a dram and pointeth out an Antagonist. Such senseless, such pittyful Stuff and Trash, I did not expect from thee friend Jonathan.

Thou art Either an hireling Scribbler, and prostitutest thine Head, thine Heart and thy fingers to blacken every Feature of one Party, however fair some of them may be, and to whiten every feature of the other, how foul or swarthy soever of them may be, or else thou art a silly, undistinguishing Jack Tar, on board the ship, who never lookest into the Right and the Wrong the True or the false, but eer fightest valiantly, whenever the Master gives a dram and pointeth out an Antagonist. Such senseless, such pittyful Stuff and Trash, I did not expect from thee friend Jonathan.

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In this period Adams was an exemplar of the Anglo-American tradition that considered blind factionalism detrimental to the public good.

Thus sometime in the spring of 1763, but most likely after Adams' first newspaper article appeared, he wrote an outraged and outrageous letter to his friend, identified only as Jonathan, which he broke off abruptly and apparently never copied and sent (No. The writing of it vented his spleen; keeping the letter prevented, for the time being at least, what would probably have been an irreparable breach in their friendship.

It was a day “of 'treats' and feasts as well as sermons and politics” (A. Plumstead, ed., For so I must call you, tho your late Behaviour, in Point of Ill Nature, and Jealousy, has savoured too much of the Instigations of the Devil.

Jonathan, thou art1 become, an Artful Designing fellow.—Cunning, left handed, crooked Wisdom, is the highest Excellence thou canst Thou Fool, To praise, as thou dost, one side of the Question, in political Disputes, and to execrate as thou dost the other. Poor, virtuous, modest, Pious Phylosophical England, allways attentive to the Interests of human Nature, the Rights and Liberties of Mankind but especially of Christians is from these Considerations purely, not at all from Avarice, Ambition or self Love, excited to controul and destroy the of France and all other Powers, and to Monopolize, all the Trade, Wealth, Business and Power of the Universe.

This practice was followed even if the pseudonym was used at long intervals over a period of years (Roger B.

Berry, “John Adams: Two Further Contributions to the .” Actually Adams' intention was more complicated than he remembered, for he sought to serve several purposes, not all of them related to “J.” The Humphrey Ploughjogger letters are in an American tradition of humor that arises from illiterate phonetic spelling and rustic dialect, and that is meant to cover an undertone of serious purpose. The quarrel had its origin in the Governor's naming Hutchinson to the post of chief justice, despite his not being a lawyer and despite the promise made by a Bernard predecessor to name Otis Sr. Young Otis saw an insult to his family and, more important, the gathering in Hutchinson's hands of a multiplicity of offices, some of which would lead to a conflict of interests.Shortly after the last of Sewall's “J” pieces appeared in print, Humphrey Ploughjogger came back after a three-month absence, still complaining about newspaper quarrels but directing his energies now to a call for agricultural diversification, particularly the cultivation of hemp. John Murray, representative from Rutland, got into a scuffle outside the Town House on 8 June when Murray demanded an apology for a slighting remark he claimed Brattle had made some time before.His postscript suggests he was driven to take up his pen once more by the outbreak of fisticuffs between two members of the legislature. When Brattle denied the accusation, Murray called him a liar and attacked him. His authorship of the 1763 Ploughjogger pieces is attested to in his own words, written long after the fact and inaccurate in detail, but convincing nonetheless. He was to use the pseudonym several more times—twice that summer, once in 1765, and twice in 1767.The sheriff separated the two men, but when they met again the same afternoon another scuffle broke out.Although Murray apologized for his conduct the next day before the Council and was pardoned by the governor and the councilors, Brattle was not satisfied.Although “U” began by posing as a learned gentleman who would satisfy Ploughjogger's desire to turn men's minds away from factional strife and toward the practical and needful matter of agricultural diversification, Adams was deflected from his purpose after the first letter by the Brattle-Murray imbroglio and by Sewall's dedication to one side in the political clash between the Otis and Bernard-Hutchinson factions.Subsequent “U” letters bemoan the writer's failure to get back to agricultural reform; only two, one of them unpublished, are addressed directly to “J” (Nos. Adams' lengthy treatment of the immorality of private revenge grew out of deep personal conviction, but he may have sought also to sway public opinion to his side as the plaintiff's attorney in Brattle's suit against Murray, who had sought directly to defend his honor.One thinks, for example, of James Russell Lowell's Hosea Biglow. Within a month or two of his appointment, Hutchinson participated in the famous writs of assistance case that Otis pleaded unsuccessfully before the Superior Court (JA, tinuing campaign of harassment against the Lieutenant Governor.In his first Ploughjogger letter, Adams sought to ridicule “grate men dus nothin but quaril with one anuther and put peces in the nues paper” and to poke fun at bugbears of the day—a standing army, popery, and the Pretender. The immediate spark setting off fresh controversy was Otis' criticism of the Governor for spending money on a gunboat in the fall of 1762, in Otis' eyes a threat to legislative prerogative.

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