Jul 30, 2020 - Sale 2543

Sale 2543 - Lot 37

Price Realized: $ 10,000
?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 8,000 - $ 12,000
HIS AMBITIONS LIE ABOVE "THE PLACE OF A SENATOR IN THE NEW GOVERNMENT" ADAMS, JOHN. Letter Signed, to Theophilus Parsons, requesting that he not be selected as candidate for Senator so as to avoid the unpopularity of having to decline, adding that after long deliberation he could not accept the duties of a Senator. 1 1/2 pages, 4to, with integral address leaf; hole from seal tear touching signature (without loss) but with minor loss to one letter of text, minor scattered foxing affecting few letters of signature, folds. "Braintree" [Quincy], 2 November 1788

Additional Details

"From the Conversation that passed between you and me, when I had the pleasure to See you for a few moments at this place, I am apprehensive that you may think of me for a Senator, as I find that Some other gentlemen have done and continue to do.
"You know very well how ungracious and odious the non acceptance of an appointment by Election is, and therefore let me beg of you, not to expose me to the necessity of incurring the censure of the publick, and the obloquy of individuals by so unpopular a measure.
"I have long revolved in an anxious mind, the Duties of the Man and the Citizen, and without entering into Details at present, the result of all my reflections on the place of a Senator in the New Government is an unchangeable Determination to refuse it."
Published in Charles Francis Adams's The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, vol. 8 (Boston: Little, Brown & Co., 1853), 483.
According to the U.S. Constitution approved in 1787, it was up to the various state legislatures to elect federal senators. When Massachusetts ratified the Constitution in early 1788, a number of candidates for federal senators were considered, including Adams, who declined, evidently having had ambitions for higher office. That Adams did not intend to decline any offer of office in the new government can be seen in the letter he wrote to Thomas Jefferson on January 2nd, five weeks after writing the letter in this lot: "The new Government has my best Wishes . . . but whether I shall have any Thing more to do with it, besides praying for it, depends on the future Suffrages of Freemen." In April, later that year, freemen elected Adams the first U.S. Vice-President.