I came across a little item that reminded me of how fences can be mended and estranged friends can sometimes move on and even reestablish their friendship. It was on this day in 1813, that former President Thomas Jefferson wrote to former President John Adams to let him know that a mutual friend, Dr. Benjamin Rush, has died. Rush’s passing allowed Jefferson to consider the loss of many in the Revolutionary generation.
Jefferson wrote, “We too must go; and that ere long. I believe we are under half a dozen at present; (meaning those who signed the Declaration of Independence.
Jefferson and Adams had become political enemies by 1800, when Jefferson narrowly defeated Adams. They had been allies and companions during the revolutionary days but the next twelve years created and icy silence and animosity between them because of their disagreement over the role of the federal government. The two old friends managed to reestablish the communication of their revolutionary years in Philadelphia and then in Paris, where they served together as ambassadors to France. It was Benjamin Rush, who initiated a renewed correspondence and reconciliation between his two friends. This correspondence would continue until both Adams and Jefferson died on the same day, July 4, 1826. Interestingly it was the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence which all three friends had signed in 1776.
It gives hope that even the greatest adversaries can forge new ways of communicating and leave a legacy of decency and comaraderie that God would indeed look favorably upon. Consider what kind of peacemaker you may be.
Vol 4 #49