Monday, July 5, 2010

While I Breathe I Shall Be Your Friend

The conclusion of a letter from John Adams to Thomas Jefferson. These political opponents in early life, one from Massachusetts and the other from Virginia, both crafters of the Declaration of Independence and Constitution, became friends after their days in political life. They carried on an extensive correspondence until the year they died. One of the quirks of history is that their deaths occurred on the same day, which happened to be July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of signing of the Declaration of Independence. This letter was written February 25, 1825. It is a deep token of friendship but contains no word of hope or mercy in Christ.

I wish your health may continue to the last much better than mine. The little strength of mind and the considerable strength of body that I once possessed appear to be all gone, but while I breathe I shall be your friend. We shall meet again, so wishes and so believes your friend, but if we are disappointed we shall never know it.

The Adams-Jefferson Letters: The Complete Correspondence Between Thomas Jefferson & Abigail & John Adams, edited by Lester J. Cappon, The University of North Carolina Press, 1959, p. 610.

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