Imaginary Friendship is the first in-depth study of the onset of the American Revolution through the prism of friendship, focusing on future US president John Adams and leading Loyalist Jonathan Sewall. The book is part biography, revealing how they shaped each other’s progress, and part political history, exploring their intriguing dangerous quest to clean up colonial politics. Literary history examines the personal dimension of discourse, resolving how Adams’s presumption of Sewall’s authorship of the Loyalist tracts Massachusettensis influenced his own magnum opus, Novanglus. The mystery is not why Adams presumed Sewall was his adversary in 1775 but why he was impelled to answer him.
Table of Contents
Prologue: History 1. Friendship 2. John and Jonathan 3. Politics 4. The King’s Law 5. Imagining Revolution 6. Massachusettensis and Novanglus 7. Debate 8. The British Question 9. Revolution. Epilogue: War and Reunion
Colin Nicolson is Lecturer in History at the University of Stirling.
Owen Dudley Edwards is an Irish historian and former Reader in Commonwealth and American History at the University of Edinburgh.