John Adams



Year:
2008
1,527 Views

John Dickinson:
One colony cannot be allowed to take its sister colonies headlong into the maelstrom of war. Parliament will be eager to call a halt to hostilities, as are we. They will seek conciliation. We must offer them an olive branch. I move this assembly consider a humble and dutiful petition be dispatched to his Majesty, one that includes a plain statement that the colony desires immediate negotiation and accommodation of these unhappy disputes, and that we are willing to enter into measures to achieve that reconciliation.

John Adams:
The time for negotiation is past. The actions of the British army at Lexington and Concord speak plainly enough. If we wish to regain our natural-born rights as Englishmen then we must fight for them.

John Dickinson:
I have looked for our rights in the laws of nature and can find them only in the laws of political society. I have looked for our rights in the constitution of the English government and found them there! Our rights have been violated, Mr. Adams, that is beyond dispute. We must provide a plan to convince Parliament to restore those rights! Do we wish to become aliens to the mother country? No, gentlemen, we must come to terms with the mother country. No doubt the same ship which carries forth our list of grievances will bring back their redress.

John Adams:
Mr. Dickinson. My wife and young children live on the main road to Boston, fewer than five miles from the full might of the british Empire. Should they sit and wait for Gage and his savages to rob them of their home, their possessions, their very lives? No, sir! Powder and artillery are the surest and most infallible conciliatory measures we can adopt!

John Dickinson:
If you explode the possibility of peace, Mr. Adams, and I tell you now, you will have blood on your hands!

John Adams:
And I tell you, Mr. Dickinson, that to hold out an olive branch to Britain is a measure of gross imbecility.

John Dickinson:
If you New England men continue to oppose our measures of reconciliation, you will leave us no choice but to break off from you entirely and carry on the opposition in our own way.

John Adams:
I sit in judgment of no man's religion, Mr. Dickinson, but your quaker sensibilities do us a gross disservice, sir. It is one thing to turn the other cheek, but to lie down in the ground like a snake and crawl toward the seat of power in abject surrender, well, that is quite another thing, sir. And I have no stomach for it, sir! No stomach at all!

John Dickinson:
We will exhaust all peaceful approaches, Mr. Adams. And we will do it with or without the approbation of you and your Boston insurrectionists!

John Adams:
General Warren is fallen at Bunker Hill. Shot through the head. Bayoneted and stripped of his clothes. I knew him, gentlemen. He was my physician. The full measure of british atrocity is too terrible to relate. "400 patriots dead." Not professional soldiers, ordinary citizens of Massachusetts who willingly gave their lives to defend what was rightfully theirs. Their liberty. But they took with them more than 1,000 british soldiers and 100 of their officers. If this congress does not support the Massachusetts militia, it could very well dissolve, gentlemen! Should that happen... Should that happen, we will be left defenseless, gentlemen. I move that the congress adopt the Massachusetts militia immediately!

John Dickinson:
You are asking us to form an army, Mr. Adams. A force acting not for a single colony, but all 13! Now there's not a man here present who does not mourn the loss of the brave men of Massachusetts. But it is at such times that caution must prevail. It may be weeks before our last petion reaches the King, many weeks more before we may hope for a reply. While we await answer, we must avoid any escalation of the hostilities between us.

John Adams:
The situation is perilous! What is required now is one able man to build and to lead this new continental army.

Edward Rutledge:
And who do you propose of the Massachusetts delegates should lead this force?

John Dickinson:
Gentlemen, we move too quickly. We have not yet resolved the question of any continental army, much less who is to lead it.

John Adams:
I have but one gentleman in mind, known to all of us. Mr. President, I propose as commander in chief our most honorable and esteemed delegate... The good gentleman from Virginia, Colonel George Washington.

Abigail Adams:
[reading The Federalist Papers] "The reign of Mr. Adams has hitherto been one continued tempest of malignant passions. As president, he has never opened his lips without threatening or scolding. He is a repulsive pedant, a gross hypocrite, one of the most egregious fools upon the continent, a hideous, hermaphroditical character which has neither the force and firmness of a man, nor the gentleness and sensibility of a woman."

John Adams:
It is beneath the President of the United States to take any notice of insinuations.

Abigail Adams:
In any other country, such filth would have been silenced long ago.

John Adams:
Mr. Hamilton takes equal pains to ensure that he Federalist Paper are filled with scurrilous attacks on Thomas Jefferson and his party.

Abigail Adams:
Think of all the vile falsehoods written about you-continue to be written about you. You may have patiently borne all the slanders, but I have not. "Before it is too late to retrieve our deranged affairs-"

John Adams:
For goodness sake.

Abigail Adams:
"-the people must demand the immediate resignation of old, querulous, bald, blind, crippled, toothless Adams."

[long pause]

John Adams:
I'm not crippled.

Abigail Adams:
I find no amusement in this. Waste of paper and ink.

John Adams:
Waste of time reading it, Abigail. Put it down.

Abigail Adams:
They would not say such a thing about Washington. They would not call George Washington hermaphroditical!

John Adams:
They could call him toothless, though. [John and Abigail laugh]

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