FFQF: Liberty and Virtue

Favorite Founding Father's Quote Day

Is it not Strange and Sad that Simple Integrity should have so many Ennemies? that a Man should have to undergo so many Evils merely because he will not betray his Trust?…

I have found by Experience, that in this Age of the World that Man has an awfull Lot, who “dares to love his Country and be poor.”

Liberty and Virtue! When! oh When will your Ennemies cease to exist and or to persecute!

Our Country will be envied, our Liberty will be envied, our Virtues will be envied. Deep and subtle systems of Corruption hard to prove, impossible to detect, will be practised to sap and undermine Us and the few who penetrate them will be called suspicious, envious, restless turbulent ambitious — will be hated unpopular and unhappy…

John Adams to Abigail Adams, April 16, 1783

From the Adams Electronic Archive

During this time, while Adams was serving as an ambassador to France with Benjamin Franklin, he got involved in some political intrigues. He thought that the French were plotting against America and that Franklin and others were plotting against him. Franklin knew of this and disparaged Adams’ fears in a letter to Robert R. Livingston, ending the letter as follows:

I am persuaded, however, that he means well for his Country, is always an honest Man, often a wise one, but sometimes, and in some things, absolutely out of his senses.

July 22, 1783, from The Founders on the Founders (2008), ed.  Kaminski

In his letter, Adams quotes from a poem by Alexander Pope, called “On the Grotto at Twick’nam,” which was published three times from 1741 to 1743. In one version of the poem, Pope describes a kind of patriotic shrine and how it reminds him of various heroes, then he ends with these lines:

Let such, such only, tread this Poets Floor,
Who dare to Love their Country, & be Poor.

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