Respectfully Quoted: A Dictionary of Quotations. 1989.
John Adams (17351826)
You say that at the time of the Congress, in 1765, The great mass of the people were zealous in the cause of America. The great mass of the people is an expression that deserves analysis. New York and Pennsylvania were so nearly divided, if their propensity was not against us, that if New England on one side and Virginia on the other had not kept them in awe, they would have joined the British. Marshall, in his life of Washington, tells us, that the southern States were nearly equally divided. Look into the Journals of Congress, and you will see how seditious, how near rebellion were several counties of New York, and how much trouble we had to compose them. The last contest, in the town of Boston, in 1775, between whig and tory, was decided by five against two. Upon the whole, if we allow two thirds of the people to have been with us in the revolution, is not the allowance ample? Are not two thirds of the nation now with the administration? Divided we ever have been, and ever must be. Two thirds always had and will have more difficulty to struggle with the one third than with all our foreign enemies.
JOHN ADAMS, letter to Thomas McKean, August 31, 1813.The Works of John Adams, ed. Charles Francis Adams, vol. 10, p. 63 (1856).
He referred to a Congress held at New York, A.D. 1765, on the subject of the American stamp act (p. 62).