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[TO Charles Adams]
That a dissolution of the union would be the consequence of a war with Great Britain, I think very probable ; but the dissolution of the union is perhaps rather a subject of hope than of fear, to those who are hurrying the nation to its disgrace and calamity. If there be a Frenchman who governs and conducts the party that now commands a majority, you may rest assured that neither he, nor those from whom he receives his impulse, have dispositions at all favorable to the American union.
My sentiments, I confess, are widely different. All my hopes of national felicity and glory have invariably been founded upon the continuance of the union. I have cherished these hopes with so much fondness, they have so long been incorporated into my ideas of public concern, that I cannot abandon them without a pang, as keen as that of a dissolving soul and body. Much as I must disapprove of the general tenor of southern politics I would rather even yield to their unreasonable pretensions and suffer much for their wrongs, than break the chain that binds us together. For there is no one article of my political creed more clearly demonstrated to my mind than this, that we shall proceed with gigantic strides to honor and consideration, and national greatness, if the union is preserved ; but that if it is once broken, we shall soon divide into a parcel of petty tribes at perpetual war with one another, swayed by rival European powers, whose policy will agree perfectly in the system of keeping us at variance with one another, and who will at the same time govern and despise the party they may respectively protect.
- John Quincy Adams