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[TO Charles Adams]
The state of this country is in general tolerably quiet and peaceable, excepting every now and then a little irregular usurpation of sovereignty by clubs and popular assemblages ; hitherto they have not been followed by any tragical event. The dissolution of the confederation, and the consolidation of all the provinces into a sing e republic, by the convocation of a National Assembly, has been for many months an object of great solicitude, more especially because a difference of opinion has arisen in the different provinces, upon the propriety of the proposed alteration. The province of Holland almost unanimously, and the popular societies and clubs in all the others, have pursued very tenaciously the point upon which they think the permanency of their revolution will turn ; but the majority of the people in most of the smaller provinces, are strenuously averse to the change, and adhere tenaciously to their federal system. The parties have at length proceeded so far, that the provincial assembly of Holland has taken a formal resolution, that in case the other provinces do not unanimously agree to call the National Assembly by the 25th of this month, this province will take the step alone, or together with those that will agree to join it, without waiting any longer for the assent of the remaining members.
I have been amused but not surprized, to observe with what zeal the most ardent patriots here connect in argument, provincial sovereignty and aristocracy, after having seen so many patriots no less ardent in America, labouring with the same industry, to make the essence of Republicanism consist in State Sovereignty. I knew before this that the arguments of a party are generally urged more for their operation than for their weight. . . .
- John Quincy Adams