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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 8

This note contained in document ADMS-06-08-02-0161-0002
37. This sentence was deleted by the convention except for the celebrated last clause, which was transposed to end the revised Art. XXX that closed the Declaration of Rights. JA had first used this clause in his seventh Novanglus letter (6 March 1775, vol. 2:314 ), and would use it again, in somewhat different form, in his Defence of the Constitutions, vol. 1, letter 26, “Dr. Price” (JA, Works, 4:403–405). In both places he credits the passage to James Harrington's Commonwealth of Oceana, and points out that the principle received its first recognizable formulation from Aristotle. See L. H. Butterfield, “A government of laws and not of men,” Harvard Magazine, 77:19–20 (Nov. 1974).
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, 2014.