The Best of Friends

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But a Constitution of Government once changed from Freedom, can never be restored. Liberty, once lost, is lost forever.”   John Adams, 2nd President of the United States

I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”  Thomas Jefferson, 3rd President of the United States

A Pathway

John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were the best of friends, even though their ideas and political viewpoints were not in sync.  From their first meeting at the 1775 Continental Congress in Philadelphia, they formed a strong affinity, respect and liking for each other.  In 1776, they worked together on the committee to draft the Declaration of Independence. Eight years later, they were both in France on diplomatic service.  Throughout their long friendship they continued a lively dialogue through letters.  They had a falling out during the transition of presidency in 1801, when John Adams made some last-minute political appointments that displeased Thomas Jefferson.   The letters stopped for a time and then resumed in 1811 after a welcomed reconciliation.

John Adam’s last words were, “Thomas Jefferson still survives,” unaware that his dear friend had died only a few hours before.  They were friends until the last, both dying on July 4th, 1826, on the fiftieth anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence.

This is the letter, dated November 13, 1818, from Thomas Jefferson to John Adams, upon hearing of the death of Abigail Adams:

MONTICELLO, November 13, 1818.

The public papers, my dear friend, announce the fatal event of which your letter of October the 20th had given me ominous foreboding. Tried myself in the school of affliction, by the loss of every form of connection which can rive the human heart, I know well, and feel what you have lost, what you have suffered, are suffering, and have yet to endure. The same trials have taught me that for ills so immeasurable, time and silence are the only medi­cine. I will not, therefore, by useless condolences, open afresh the sluices of your grief, nor, although mingling sincerely my tears with yours, will I say a word more where words are vain, but that it is of some comfort to us both, that the term is not very distant, at which we are to deposit in the same cerement, our sorrows and suffering bodies, and to ascend in essence to an ecstatic meeting with the friends we have loved and lost, and whom we shall still love and never lose again. God bless you and support you under your heavy affliction.

Thomas Jefferson

A Queen & A President’s Wife

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Love in Action

“We are not interested in the possibilities of defeat.  They do not exist.”

Queen Victoria

Love is an action verb that has the energy and means to influence the course of our personal histories.  And from time to time it has changed the world.

Alexandrina Victoria, Queen Victoria fell deeply in love with her distant cousin, Prince Albert.  They met in 1839 and married in 1840.  She bore him nine children over the course of 18 years. He became her adviser, confidante and best friend.  His opinion was the one she respected above all others.   They were inseparable. When Prince Albert died in 1861 of typhoid fever, Queen Victoria withdrew from public view.  She carried out her constitutional duties, but she never recovered from the death of her much-loved prince.

Abigail and her husband John Adams, the second President of the United States, were well matched in intellect, audacity and perseverance.  Married in 1764, their love affair lasted more than 50 years during a time of great upheaval and war. Their mutual respect was strong and weathered long periods of separation. When Abigail joined her husband in state duties, he considered her a valued partner and trusted counsellor.  When John finished his presidency in 1801, they spent their remaining 17 years together at their farm in Quincy, Massachusetts.

“If we mean to have Heroes, Statesmen and Philosophers, we should have learned women. The world perhaps would laugh at me, and accuse me of vanity, but you I know have a mind too enlarged and liberal to disregard the Sentiment. If much depends as is allowed upon the early Education of youth and the first principals which are instill’d take the deepest root, great benefit must arise from literary accomplishments in women. ”

Abigail Adams, The Letters of John and Abigail Adams