IF moral analysis
be not the purpose of historical writing ...
Ezra Pound quoting John Adams, Canto LXII
The work of John Adams is to be committed to in his own time, ‘planting and ruling and ordering’, in Massachusetts primarily, then increasingly for all the colonies. He is shown first arguing in a Boston case that the law, properly understood and applied, should be subject to reason and so should take account of human nature, of our emotions and passions; and yet, at the same time it must be dispassionate, ‘not bent to wanton imagination and temper of individuals’. Next he is arguing for the natural rights and liberties of the colonists against the unlawful oppressions and tyrannies of the British parliament. ‘Are we mere slaves of other people?’, he demands, as he makes the case against the colony’s judges being in the King’s pay; and Pound comments, ‘These are the stones of foundation [...] These stones we built on.’ From 1774 until Lexington, the first battle in the war for independence, he guides the public mind in the formation of self-governing state constitutions, and is recognized as the ‘clearest head in the Congress’ as it moves reluctantly towards its declaration of independence and prepares for the war that will follow.
David Moody, Ezra Pound Poet II: 286.
CANTO XXXI – [Adams and Jefferson in Paris]
CANTO XXXII – [the revolution was in the minds of the people]
CANTO XXXIII – Adams’s political principles
- Next >>