James Sullivan (1744–1808), Engraving by H. Wright Smith, after the Painting by Gilbert Stuart, 1807 209
Sullivan, who held a seat on the newly constituted Superior Court of Judicature along with Adams, initiated a correspondence in which he noted the great desire in Massachusetts for independence and raised the question of how the state ought to proceed in revising its government. He deplored the rising spirit of leveling and called for piece-by-piece reformation of governmental institutions. In a letter to Elbridge Gerry, Sullivan set forth his own reforming ideas at some length. Adams was shocked by the innovations proposed. In answering Sullivan's suggestions, he wrote one of his most revealing letters on the privilege of voting (to Sullivan, 26 May
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2007.