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Title: John Quincy Adams - American Statesmen Series
Author: Morse, John T. (John Torrey), 1840-1937
Language: English
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[Illustration: John Quincy Adams]

                              American Statesmen

                           STANDARD LIBRARY EDITION

[Illustration: The Home of John Quincy Adams]

                            HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

                              American Statesmen

                              JOHN QUINCY ADAMS


                              JOHN T. MORSE, JR.

                              BOSTON AND NEW YORK
                         HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN AND COMPANY
                         The Riverside Press, Cambridge

                           Copyright, 1882 and 1898,
                             By JOHN T. MORSE, JR.

                                Copyright, 1898,
                           By HOUGHTON, MIFFLIN & CO.

                            _All rights reserved._

PREFACE                                                              (p. v)

Nearly sixteen years have elapsed since this book was written. In that
time sundry inaccuracies have been called to my attention, and have
been corrected, and it may be fairly hoped that after the lapse of so
long a period all errors in matters of fact have been eliminated. I am
not aware that any fresh material has been made public, or that any
new views have been presented which would properly lead to alterations
in the substance of what is herein said. If I were now writing the
book for the first time, I should do what so many of the later
contributors to the series have very wisely and advantageously done: I
should demand more space. But this was the first volume published, and
at a time when the enterprise was still an experiment insistence upon
such a point, especially on the part of the editor, would have been
unreasonable. Thus it happens that, though Mr. Adams was appointed
minister resident at the Hague in 1794, and thereafter continued in
public life, almost without interruption, until his death in        (p. vi)
February, 1848, the narrative of his career is compressed within
little more than three hundred pages. The proper function of a work
upon this scale is to draw a picture of the man.

With the picture which I have drawn of Mr. Adams, I still remain
moderately contented--by which remark I mean nothing more egotistical
than that I believe it to be a correct picture, and done with whatever
measure of skill I may happen to possess in portraiture. I should like
to change it only in one particular, viz.: by infusing throughout the
volume somewhat more of admiration. Adams has never received the
praise which was his due, and probably he never will receive it. In
order that justice should be done him by the public, his biographer
ought to speak somewhat better of him than his real deserts would
require. He presents one of those cases where exaggeration is the
servant of truth; for this moderate excess of appreciation would only
offset that discount from an accurate estimate which his personal
unpopularity always has caused, and probably always will cause, to be
made. He was a good instance of the rule that the world will for the
most part treat the individual as the individual treats the world.
Adams was censorious, not to say uncharitable in the extreme,      (p. vii)
always in an attitude of antagonism, always unsparing and denunciatory.
The measure which he meted has been by others in their turn meted to
him. This habit of ungracious criticism was his great fault; perhaps
it was almost his only very serious fault; it cost him dear in his
life, and has continued to cost his memory dear since his death.
Sometimes we are not sorry to see men get the punishments which they
have brought on themselves; yet we ought to be sorry for Mr. Adams.
After all, his fault-finding was in part the result of his respect for
virtue and his hatred of all that was ignoble and unworthy. If he
despised a low standard, at least he held his own standard high, and
himself lived by the rules by which he measured others. Men with
vastly greater defects have been much more kindly served both by
contemporaries and by posterity. There can be no question that Adams
deserved all the esteem which ought to be accorded to the highest
moral qualities, to very high, if a little short of the highest,
intellectual endowment, and to immense acquirements. His political
integrity was of a grade rarely seen; and, in unison with his
extraordinary courage and independence, it seemed to the average
politician actually irritating and offensive. He was in the same
difficulty in which Aristides the Just found himself. But neither (p. viii)
assaults nor political solitude daunted or discouraged him. His career
in the House of Representatives is a tale which has not a rival in
congressional history. I regret that it could not be told here at
greater length. Stubbornly fighting for freedom of speech and against
the slaveholders, fierce and unwearied in old age, falling literally
out of the midst of the conflict into his grave, Mr. Adams, during the
closing years of his life, is one of the most striking figures of
modern times. I beg the reader of this volume to put into its pages
more warmth of praise than he will find therein, and so do a more
correct justice to an honest statesman and a gallant friend of the
oppressed. Doing this, he will improve my book in the particular
wherein I think that it chiefly needs improvement.
                                                  JOHN T. MORSE, JR.
  July, 1898.


  Youth and Diplomacy                             1


  Secretary of State and President              101


  In the House of Representatives               225

Index                                           309


John Quincy Adams                            Frontispiece

     From the original painting by John Singleton
     Copley, in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

     Autograph from the Chamberlain collection,
     Boston Public Library.

     The vignette of Mr. Adams's home in Quincy
     is from a photograph.
William H. Crawford                                   107

     From the painting by Henry Ulke, in the
     Treasury Department at Washington.

     Autograph from the Chamberlain collection,
     Boston Public Library.

Stratford Canning                                     149

     After a drawing (1853) by George Richmond.
     Autograph from "Life of Stratford Canning."

Henry A. Wise                                         291

     From a photograph by Brady, in the Library
     of the State Department at Washington.

     Autograph from the Chamberlain collection,
     Boston Public Library.

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS                                                  (p. 001)



On July 11, 1767, in the North Parish of Braintree, since set off as
the town of Quincy, in Massachusetts, was born John Quincy Adams. Two
streams of as good blood as flowed in the colony mingled in the veins
of the infant. If heredity counts for anything he began life with an
excellent chance of becoming famous--_non sine dîs animosus infans_.
He was called after his great-grandfather on the mother's side, John
Quincy, a man of local note who had borne in his day a distinguished
part in provincial affairs. Such a naming was a simple and natural
occurrence enough, but Mr. Adams afterward moralized upon it in his
characteristic way:--

     "The incident which gave rise to this circumstance is not without
     its moral to my heart. He was dying when I was baptized; and his
     daughter, my grandmother, present at my birth, requested that I
     might receive his name. The fact, recorded by my father at    (p. 002)
     the time, has connected with that portion of my name a charm
     of mingled sensibility and devotion. It was filial tenderness
     that gave the name. It was the name of one passing from earth to
     immortality. These have been among the strongest links of my
     attachment to the name of Quincy, and have been to me through
     life a perpetual admonition to do nothing unworthy of it."

Fate, which had made such good preparation for him before his birth, was
not less kind in arranging the circumstances of his early training and
development. His father was deeply engaged in the patriot cause, and
the first matters borne in upon his opening intelligence concerned the
public discontent and resistance to tyranny. He was but seven years
old when he clambered with his mother to the top of one of the high
hills in the neighborhood of his home to listen to the sounds of conflict
upon Bunker's Hill, and to watch the flaming ruin of Charlestown.
Profound was the impression made upon him by the spectacle, and it was
intensified by many an hour spent afterward upon the same spot during
the siege and bombardment of Boston. Then John Adams went as a
delegate to the Continental Congress at Philadelphia, and his wife and
children were left for twelve months, as John Quincy Adams says,--it
is to be hoped with a little exaggeration of the barbarity of      (p. 003)
British troops toward women and babes,--"liable every hour of the day
and of the night to be butchered in cold blood, or taken and carried
into Boston as hostages, by any foraging or marauding detachment."
Later, when the British had evacuated Boston, the boy, barely nine
years old, became "post-rider" between the city and the farm, a
distance of eleven miles each way, in order to bring all the latest
news to his mother.

Not much regular schooling was to be got amid such surroundings of
times and events, but the lad had a natural aptitude or affinity for
knowledge which stood him in better stead than could any dame of a
village school. The following letter to his father is worth

                                   BRAINTREE, _June the 2d, 1777_.

     DEAR SIR,--I love to receive letters very well, much better than
     I love to write them. I make but a poor figure at composition, my
     head is much too fickle, my thoughts are running after birds'
     eggs, play and trifles till I get vexed with myself. I have but
     just entered the 3d volume of Smollett, tho' I had designed to
     have got it half through by this time. I have determined this
     week to be more diligent, as Mr. Thaxter will be absent at Court
     and I Cannot pursue my other Studies. I have Set myself a Stent
     and determine to read the 3d volume Half out. If I can but    (p. 004)
     keep my resolution I will write again at the end of the week
     and give a better account of myself. I wish, Sir, you would give
     me some instructions with regard to my time, and advise me how to
     proportion my Studies and my Play, in writing, and I will keep
     them by me and endeavor to follow them. I am, dear Sir, with a
     present determination of growing better. Yours.

     P.S. Sir, if you will be so good as to favor me with a Blank
     book, I will transcribe the most remarkable occurrences I met
     with in my reading, which will serve to fix them upon my mind.

Not long after the writing of this model epistle, the simple village
life was interrupted by an unexpected change. John Adams was sent on a
diplomatic journey to Paris, and on February 13, 1778, embarked in the
frigate Boston. John Quincy Adams, then eleven years old, accompanied
his father and thus made his first acquaintance with the foreign lands
where so many of his coming years were to be passed. This initial
visit, however, was brief; and he was hardly well established at
school when events caused his father to start for home. Unfortunately
this return trip was a needless loss of time, since within three
months of their setting foot upon American shores the two travellers
were again on their stormy way back across the Atlantic in a leaky
ship, which had to land them at the nearest port in Spain. One     (p. 005)
more quotation must be given from a letter written just after the
first arrival in France:--

                                   PASSY, _September the 27th, 1778_.

     HONORED MAMMA,--My Pappa enjoins it upon me to keep a Journal, or
     a Diary of the Events that happen to me, and of objects that I
     see, and of Characters that I converse with from day to day; and
     altho' I am Convinced of the utility, importance and necessity of
     this Exercise, yet I have not patience and perseverance enough to
     do it so Constantly as I ought. My Pappa, who takes a great deal
     of pains to put me in the right way, has also advised me to
     Preserve Copies of all my letters, and has given me a Convenient
     Blank Book for this end; and altho' I shall have the
     mortification a few years hence to read a great deal of my
     Childish nonsense, yet I shall have the Pleasure and advantage of
     Remarking the several steps by which I shall have advanced in
     taste, judgment and knowledge. A Journal Book and a letter Book
     of a Lad of Eleven years old Can not be expected to Contain much
     of Science, Literature, arts, wisdom, or wit, yet it may serve to
     perpetuate many observations that I may make, and may hereafter
     help me to recollect both persons and things that would other
     ways escape my memory.

He continues with resolutions "to be more thoughtful and industrious
for the future," and reflects with pleasure upon the prospect that
his scheme "will be a sure means of improvement to myself, and     (p. 006)
enable me to be more entertaining to you." What gratification must
this letter from one who was quite justified in signing himself her
"dutiful and affectionate son" have brought to the Puritan bosom of
the good mother at home! If the plan for the diary was not pursued
during the first short flitting abroad, it can hardly be laid at the
door of the "lad of eleven years" as a serious fault. He did in fact
begin it when setting out on the aforementioned second trip to Europe,
calling it

                         A JOURNAL BY J. Q. A.,

                       _From America to Spain._

                               Vol. I.

                  Begun Friday, 12 of November, 1779.

The spark of life in the great undertaking flickered in a somewhat
feeble and irregular way for many years thereafter, but apparently
gained strength by degrees until in 1795, as Mr. C. F. Adams tells us,
"what may be denominated the diary proper begins," a very vigorous
work in more senses than one. Continued with astonishing persistency
and faithfulness until within a few days of the writer's death, the
latest entry is of the 4th of January, 1848. Mr. Adams achieved many
successes during his life as the result of conscious effort, but   (p. 007)
the greatest success of all he achieved altogether unconsciously. He
left a portrait of himself more full, correct, vivid, and picturesque
than has ever been bequeathed to posterity by any other personage of
the past ages. Any mistakes which may be made in estimating his mental
or moral attributes must be charged to the dulness or prejudice of the
judge, who could certainly not ask for better or more abundant
evidence. Few of us know our most intimate friends better than any of
us may know Mr. Adams, if we will but take the trouble. Even the brief
extracts already given from his correspondence show us the boy; it
only concerns us to get them into the proper light for seeing them
accurately. If a lad of seven, nine, or eleven years of age should
write such solemn little effusions amid the surroundings and
influences of the present day, he would probably be set down justly
enough as either an offensive young prig or a prematurely developed
hypocrite. But the precocious Adams had only a little of the prig and
nothing of the hypocrite in his nature. Being the outcome of many
generations of simple, devout, intelligent Puritan ancestors, living
in a community which loved virtue and sought knowledge, all inherited
and all present influences combined to make him, as it may be put  (p. 008)
in a single word, sensible. He had inevitably a mental boyhood and
youth, but morally he was never either a child or a lad; all his
leading traits of character were as strongly marked when he was seven
as when he was seventy, and at an age when most young people simply
win love or cause annoyance, he was preferring wisdom to mischief, and
actually in his earliest years was attracting a certain respect.

These few but bold and striking touches which paint the boy are
changed for an infinitely more elaborate and complex presentation from
the time when the Diary begins. Even as abridged in the printing, this
immense work ranks among the half-dozen longest diaries to be found in
any library, and it is unquestionably by far the most valuable.
Henceforth we are to travel along its broad route to the end; we shall
see in it both the great and the small among public men halting onward
in a way very different from that in which they march along the
stately pages of the historian, and we shall find many side-lights, by
no means colorless, thrown upon the persons and events of the
procession. The persistence, fulness, and faithfulness with which it
was kept throughout so busy a life are marvellous, but are also highly
characteristic of the most persevering and industrious of men.     (p. 009)
That it has been preserved is cause not only for thankfulness but
for some surprise also. For if its contents had been known, it is
certain that all the public men of nearly two generations who figure
in it would have combined into one vast and irresistible conspiracy to
obtain and destroy it. There was always a superfluity of gall in the
diarist's ink. Sooner or later every man of any note in the United
States was mentioned in his pages, and there is scarcely one of them,
who, if he could have read what was said of him, would not have
preferred the ignominy of omission. As one turns the leaves he feels
as though he were walking through a graveyard of slaughtered
reputations wherein not many headstones show a few words of measured
commendation. It is only the greatness and goodness of Mr. Adams
himself which relieve the universal atmosphere of sadness far more
depressing than the melancholy which pervades the novels of George
Eliot. The reader who wishes to retain any comfortable degree of
belief in his fellow men will turn to the wall all the portraits in
the gallery except only the inimitable one of the writer himself. For
it would be altogether too discouraging to think that so wide an
experience of men as Mr. Adams enjoyed through his long, varied, and
active life must lead to such an unpleasant array of human faces   (p. 010)
as those which are scattered along these twelve big octavos.
Fortunately at present we have to do with only one of these
likenesses, and that one we are able to admire while knowing also that
it is beyond question accurate. One after another every trait of Mr.
Adams comes out; we shall see that he was a man of a very high and
noble character veined with some very notable and disagreeable
blemishes; his aspirations were honorable, even the lowest of them
being more than simply respectable; he had an avowed ambition, but it
was of that pure kind which led him to render true and distinguished
services to his countrymen; he was not only a zealous patriot, but a
profound believer in the sound and practicable tenets of the liberal
political creed of the United States; he had one of the most honest
and independent natures that was ever given to man; personal integrity
of course goes without saying, but he had the rarer gift of an
elevated and rigid political honesty such as has been unfrequently
seen in any age or any nation; in times of severe trial this quality
was even cruelly tested, but we shall never see it fail; he was as
courageous as if he had been a fanatic; indeed, for a long part of his
life to maintain a single-handed fight in support of a despised or
unpopular opinion seemed his natural function and almost exclusive
calling; he was thoroughly conscientious and never knowingly did   (p. 011)
wrong, nor even sought to persuade himself that wrong was right;
well read in literature and of wide and varied information in nearly
all matters of knowledge, he was more especially remarkable for his
acquirements in the domain of politics, where indeed they were vast
and ever growing; he had a clear and generally a cool head, and was
nearly always able to do full justice to himself and to his cause; he
had an indomitable will, unconquerable persistence, and infinite
laboriousness. Such were the qualities which made him a great
statesman; but unfortunately we must behold a hardly less striking
reverse to the picture, in the faults and shortcomings which made him
so unpopular in his lifetime that posterity is only just beginning to
forget the prejudices of his contemporaries and to render concerning
him the judgment which he deserves. Never did a man of pure life and
just purposes have fewer friends or more enemies than John Quincy
Adams. His nature, said to have been very affectionate in his family
relations, was in its aspect outside of that small circle singularly
cold and repellent. If he could ever have gathered even a small
personal following his character and abilities would have insured him
a brilliant and prolonged success; but, for a man of his calibre   (p. 012)
and influence, we shall see him as one of the most lonely and desolate
of the great men of history; instinct led the public men of his time
to range themselves against him rather than with him, and we shall
find them fighting beside him only when irresistibly compelled to do
so by policy or strong convictions. As he had little sympathy with
those with whom he was brought in contact, so he was very uncharitable
in his judgment of them; and thus having really a low opinion of so
many of them he could indulge his vindictive rancor without stint; his
invective, always powerful, will sometimes startle us by its venom,
and we shall be pained to see him apt to make enemies for a good cause
by making them for himself.

This has been, perhaps, too long a lingering upon the threshold. But
Mr. Adams's career in public life stretched over so long a period that
to write a full historical memoir of him within the limited space of
this volume is impossible. All that can be attempted is to present a
sketch of the man with a few of his more prominent surroundings
against a very meagre and insufficient background of the history of
the times. So it may be permissible to begin with a general outline of
his figure, to be filled in, shaded, and colored as we proceed. At
best our task is much more difficult of satisfactory achievement   (p. 013)
than an historical biography of the customary elaborate order.

During his second visit to Europe, our mature youngster--if the word
may be used of Mr. Adams even in his earliest years--began to see a
good deal of the world and to mingle in very distinguished society.
For a brief period he got a little schooling, first at Paris, next at
Amsterdam, and then at Leyden; altogether the amount was
insignificant, since he was not quite fourteen years old when he
actually found himself engaged in a diplomatic career. Francis Dana,
afterward Chief Justice of Massachusetts, was then accredited as an
envoy to Russia from the United States, and he took Mr. Adams with him
as his private secretary. Not much came of the mission, but it was a
valuable experience for a lad of his years. Upon his return he spent
six months in travel and then he rejoined his father in Paris, where
that gentleman was engaged with Franklin and John Jay in negotiating
the final treaty of peace between the revolted colonies and the mother
country. The boy "was at once enlisted in the service as an additional
secretary, and gave his help to the preparation of the papers
necessary to the completion of that instrument which dispersed all
possible doubt of the Independence of his Country."

On April 26, 1785, arrived the packet-ship Le Courier de L'Orient, (p. 014)
bringing a letter from Mr. Gerry containing news of the appointment of
John Adams as Minister to St. James's. This unforeseen occurrence made
it necessary for the younger Adams to determine his own career, which
apparently he was left to do for himself. He was indeed a singular
young man, not unworthy of such confidence! The glimpses which we get
of him during this stay abroad show him as the associate upon terms of
equality with grown men of marked ability and exercising important
functions. He preferred diplomacy to dissipation, statesmen to
mistresses, and in the midst of all the temptations of the gayest
capital in the world, the chariness with which he sprinkled his wild
oats amid the alluring gardens chiefly devoted to the culture of those
cereals might well have brought a blush to the cheeks of some among
his elders, at least if the tongue of slander wags not with gross
untruth concerning the colleagues of John Adams. But he was not in
Europe to amuse himself, though at an age when amusement is natural
and a tinge of sinfulness is so often pardoned; he was there with the
definite and persistent purpose of steady improvement and acquisition.
At his age most young men play the cards which a kind fortune puts
into their hands, with the reckless intent only of immediate gain, (p. 015)
but from the earliest moment when he began the game of life Adams
coolly and wisely husbanded every card which came into his hand, with
a steady view to probable future contingencies, and with the resolve
to win in the long run. So now the resolution which he took in the
present question illustrated the clearness of his mind and the
strength of his character. To go with his father to England would be
to enjoy a life precisely fitted to his natural and acquired tastes,
to mingle with the men who were making history, to be cognizant of the
weightiest of public affairs, to profit by all that the grandest city
in the world had to show. It was easy to be not only allured by the
prospect but also to be deceived by its apparent advantages. Adams,
however, had the sense and courage to turn his back on it, and to go
home to the meagre shores and small society of New England, there to
become a boy again, to enter Harvard College, and come under all its
at that time rigid and petty regulations. It almost seems a mistake,
but it was not. Already he was too ripe and too wise to blunder. He
himself gives us his characteristic and sufficient reasons:--

     "Were I now to go with my father probably my immediate
     satisfaction might be greater than it will be in returning    (p. 016)
     to America. After having been travelling for these seven years
     almost and all over Europe, and having been in the world and among
     company for three; to return to spend one or two years in the
     pale of a college, subjected to all the rules which I have so long
     been freed from; and afterwards not expect (however good an opinion
     I may have of myself) to bring myself into notice under three or
     four years more, if ever! It is really a prospect somewhat
     discouraging for a youth of my ambition, (for I have ambition
     though I hope its object is laudable). But still

                    'Oh! how wretched
          Is that poor man, that hangs on Princes' favors,'

     or on those of any body else. I am determined that so long as I
     shall be able to get my own living in an honorable manner, I will
     depend upon no one. My father has been so much taken up all his
     lifetime with the interests of the public, that his own fortune
     has suffered by it: so that his children will have to provide for
     themselves, which I shall never be able to do if I loiter away my
     precious time in Europe and shun going home until I am forced to
     it. With an ordinary share of common sense, which I hope I enjoy,
     at least in America I can live _independent_ and _free_; and
     rather than live otherwise I would wish to die before the time
     when I shall be left at my own discretion. I have before me a
     striking example of the distressing and humiliating situation a
     person is reduced to by adopting a different line of conduct, and
     I am determined not to fall into the same error."

It is needless to comment upon such spirit and sense, or upon      (p. 017)
such just appreciation of what was feasible, wise, and right for him,
as a New Englander whose surroundings and prospects were widely
different from those of the society about him. He must have been
strongly imbued by nature with the instincts of his birthplace to
have formed, after a seven years' absence at his impressible age, so
correct a judgment of the necessities and possibilities of his own
career in relationship to the people and ideas of his own country.

Home accordingly he came, and by assiduity prepared himself in a very
short time to enter the junior class at Harvard College, whence he was
graduated in high standing in 1787. From there he went to Newburyport,
then a thriving and active seaport enriched by the noble trade of
privateering in addition to more regular maritime business, and entered
as a law student the office of Theophilus Parsons, afterwards the
Chief Justice of Massachusetts. On July 15, 1790, being twenty-three
years old, he was admitted to practice. Immediately afterward he
established himself in Boston, where for a time he felt strangely
solitary. Clients of course did not besiege his doors in the first
year, and he appears to have waited rather stubbornly than cheerfully
for more active days. These came in good time, and during the      (p. 018)
second, third, and fourth years, his business grew apace to encouraging

He was, however, doing other work than that of the law, and much more
important in its bearing upon his future career. He could not keep his
thoughts, nor indeed his hands, from public affairs. When, in 1791,
Thomas Paine produced the "Rights of Man," Thomas Jefferson acting as
midwife to usher the bantling before the people of the United States,
Adams's indignation was fired, and he published anonymously a series
of refuting papers over the signature of Publicola. These attracted
much attention, not only at home but also abroad, and were by many
attributed to John Adams. Two years later, during the excitement
aroused by the reception and subsequent outrageous behavior here of
the French minister, Genet, Mr. Adams again published in the Boston
"Centinel" some papers over the signature of Marcellus, discussing
with much ability the then new and perplexing question of the
neutrality which should be observed by this country in European wars.
These were followed by more, over the signature of Columbus, and
afterward by still more in the name of Barnevelt, all strongly
reprobating the course of the crazy-headed foreigner. The writer was
not permitted to remain long unknown. It is not certain, but it    (p. 019)
is highly probable, that to these articles was due the nomination
which Mr. Adams received shortly afterward from President Washington,
as Minister Resident at the Hague. This nomination was sent in to the
Senate, May 29, 1794, and was unanimously confirmed on the following
day. It may be imagined that the change from the moderate practice of
his Boston law office to a European court, of which he so well knew
the charms, was not distasteful to him. There are passages in his
Diary which indicate that he had been chafing with irrepressible
impatience "in that state of useless and disgraceful insignificancy,"
to which, as it seemed to him, he was relegated, so that at the age of
twenty-five, when "many of the characters who were born for the
benefit of their fellow creatures, have rendered themselves conspicuous
among their contemporaries, ... I still find myself as obscure, as
unknown to the world, as the most indolent or the most stupid of human
beings." Entertaining such a restless ambition, he of course accepted
the proffered office, though not without some expression of unexplained
doubt. October 31, 1794, found him at the Hague, after a voyage of
considerable peril in a leaky ship, commanded by a blundering captain.
He was a young diplomat, indeed; it was on his twenty-seventh      (p. 020)
birthday that he received his commission.

The minister made his advent upon a tumultuous scene. All Europe was
getting under arms in the long and desperate struggle with France.
Scarcely had he presented his credentials to the Stadtholder ere that
dignitary was obliged to flee before the conquering standards of the
French. Pichegru marched into the capital city of the Low Countries,
hung out the tri-color, and established the "Batavian Republic" as the
ally of France. The diplomatic representatives of most of the European
powers forthwith left, and Mr. Adams was strongly moved to do the same,
though for reasons different from those which actuated his compeers.
He was not, like them, placed in an unpleasant position by the new
condition of affairs, but on the contrary he was very cordially
treated by the French and their Dutch partisans, and was obliged to
fall back upon his native prudence to resist their compromising
overtures and dangerous friendship. Without giving offence he yet kept
clear of entanglements, and showed a degree of wisdom and skill which
many older and more experienced Americans failed to evince, either
abroad or at home, during these exciting years. But he appeared to be
left without occupation in the altered condition of affairs, and   (p. 021)
therefore was considering the propriety of returning, when advices
from home induced him to stay. Washington especially wrote that he
must not think of retiring, and prophesied that he would soon be
"found at the head of the diplomatic corps, be the government
administered by whomsoever the people may choose." He remained,
therefore, at the Hague, a shrewd and close observer of the exciting
events occurring around him, industriously pursuing an extensive
course of study and reading, making useful acquaintances, acquiring
familiarity with foreign languages, with the usages of diplomacy and
the habits of distinguished society. He had little public business to
transact, it is true; but at least his time was well spent for his own

An episode in his life at the Hague was his visit to England, where he
was directed to exchange ratifications of the treaty lately negotiated
by Mr. Jay. But a series of vexatious delays, apparently maliciously
contrived, detained him so long that upon his arrival he found this
specific task already accomplished by Mr. Deas. He was probably not
disappointed that his name thus escaped connection with engagements so
odious to a large part of the nation. He had, however, some further
business of an informal character to transact with Lord Grenville, (p. 022)
and in endeavoring to conduct it found himself rather awkwardly placed.
He was not minister to the Court of St. James, having been only
vaguely authorized to discuss certain arrangements in a tentative way,
without the power to enter into any definitive agreement. But the
English Cabinet strongly disliking Mr. Deas, who in the absence of Mr.
Pinckney represented for the time the United States, and much
preferring to negotiate with Mr. Adams, sought by many indirect and
artful subterfuges to thrust upon him the character of a regularly
accredited minister. He had much ado to avoid, without offence, the
assumption of functions to which he had no title, but which were with
designing courtesy forced upon him. His cool and moderate temper,
however, carried him successfully through the whole business, alike in
its social and its diplomatic aspect.

Another negotiation, of a private nature also, he brought to a
successful issue during these few months in London. He made the
acquaintance of Miss Louisa Catherine Johnson, daughter of Joshua
Johnson, then American Consul at London, and niece of that Governor
Johnson, of Maryland, who had signed the Declaration of Independence
and was afterwards placed on the bench of the Supreme Court of     (p. 023)
the United States. To this lady he became engaged; and returning
not long afterward he was married to her on July 26, 1797. It was a
thoroughly happy and, for him, a life-long union.

President Washington, toward the close of his second term, transferred
Mr. Adams to the Court of Portugal. But before his departure thither
his destination was changed. Some degree of embarrassment was felt
about this time concerning his further continuance in public office,
by reason of his father's accession to the Presidency. He wrote to his
mother a manly and spirited letter, rebuking her for carelessly
dropping an expression indicative of a fear that he might look for
some favor at his father's hands. He could neither solicit nor expect
anything, he justly said, and he was pained that his mother should not
know him better than to entertain any apprehension of his feeling
otherwise. It was a perplexing position in which the two were placed.
It would be a great hardship to cut short the son's career because of
the success of the father, yet the reproach of nepotism could not be
lightly encountered, even with the backing of clear consciences.
Washington came kindly to the aid of his doubting successor, and in a
letter highly complimentary to Mr. John Quincy Adams strongly urged
that well-merited promotion ought not to be kept from him,         (p. 024)
foretelling for him a distinguished future in the diplomatic service.
These representations prevailed; and the President's only action as
concerned his son consisted in changing his destination from Portugal
to Prussia, both missions being at that time of the same grade, though
that to Prussia was then established for the first time by the making
and confirming of this nomination.

To Berlin, accordingly, Mr. Adams proceeded in November, 1797, and had
the somewhat cruel experience of being "questioned at the gates by a
dapper lieutenant, who did not know, until one of his private soldiers
explained to him, who the United States of America were." Overcoming
this unusual obstacle to a ministerial advent, and succeeding, after
many months, in getting through all the introductory formalities, he
found not much more to be done at Berlin than there had been at the
Hague. But such useful work as was open to him he accomplished in the
shape of a treaty of amity and commerce between Prussia and the United
States. This having been duly ratified by both the powers, his further
stay seemed so useless that he wrote home suggesting his readiness to
return; and while awaiting a reply he travelled through some portions
of Europe which he had not before seen. His recall was one of the  (p. 025)
last acts of his father's administration, made, says Mr. Seward,
"that Mr. Jefferson might have no embarrassment in that direction,"
but quite as probably dictated by a vindictive desire to show how wide
was the gulf of animosity which had opened between the family of the
disappointed ex-President and his triumphant rival.

Mr. Adams, immediately upon his arrival at home, prepared to return to
the practice of his profession. It was not altogether an agreeable
transition from an embassy at the courts of Europe to a law office in
Boston, with the necessity of furbishing up long disused knowledge,
and a second time patiently awaiting the influx of clients. But he
faced it with his stubborn temper and practical sense. The slender
promise which he was able to discern in the political outlook could
not fail to disappoint him, since his native predilections were
unquestionably and strongly in favor of a public career. During his
absence party animosities had been developing rapidly. The first great
party victory since the organization of the government had just been
won, after a very bitter struggle, by the Republicans or Democrats, as
they were then indifferently called, whose exuberant delight found its
full counterpart in the angry despondency of the Federalists. That
irascible old gentleman, the elder Adams, having experienced a     (p. 026)
very Waterloo defeat in the contest for the Presidency, had ridden
away from the capital, actually in a wild rage, on the night of the 3d
of March, 1801, to avoid the humiliating pageant of Mr. Jefferson's
inauguration. Yet far more fierce than this natural party warfare was
the internal dissension which rent the Federal party in twain. Those
cracks upon the surface and subterraneous rumblings, which the
experienced observer could for some time have noted, had opened with
terrible uproar into a gaping chasm, when John Adams, still in the
Presidency, suddenly announced his determination to send a mission to
France at a crisis when nearly all his party were looking for war.
Perhaps this step was, as his admirers claim, an act of pure and
disinterested statesmanship. Certainly its result was fortunate for
the country at large. But for John Adams it was ruinous. At the moment
when he made the bold move, he doubtless expected to be followed by
his party. Extreme was his disappointment and boundless his wrath,
when he found that he had at his back only a fraction, not improbably
less than half, of that party. He learned with infinite chagrin that
he had only a divided empire with a private individual; that it was
not safe for him, the President of the United States, to originate
any important measure without first consulting a lawyer quietly    (p. 027)
engaged in the practice of his profession in New York; that, in short,
at least a moiety, in which were to be found the most intelligent
members, of the great Federal party, when in search of guidance,
turned their faces toward Alexander Hamilton rather than toward John
Adams. These Hamiltonians by no means relished the French mission, so
that from this time forth a schism of intense bitterness kept the
Federal party asunder, and John Adams hated Alexander Hamilton with a
vigor not surpassed in the annals of human antipathies. His rage was
not assuaged by the conduct of this dreaded foe in the presidential
campaign; and the defeated candidate always preferred to charge his
failure to Hamilton's machinations rather than to the real will of the
people. This, however, was unfair; it was perfectly obvious that a
majority of the nation had embraced Jeffersonian tenets, and that
Federalism was moribund.

To this condition of affairs John Quincy Adams returned. Fortunately
he had been compelled to bear no part in the embroilments of the past,
and his sagacity must have led him, while listening with filial
sympathy to the interpretations placed upon events by his incensed
parent, yet to make liberal allowance for the distorting effects   (p. 028)
of the old gentleman's rage. Still it was in the main only natural for
him to regard himself as a Federalist of the Adams faction. His
proclivities had always been with that party. In Massachusetts the
educated and well-to-do classes were almost unanimously of that way of
thinking. The select coterie of gentlemen in the State, who in those
times bore an active and influential part in politics, were nearly all
Hamiltonians, but the adherents of President Adams were numerically
strong. Nor was the younger Adams himself long left without his
private grievance against Mr. Jefferson, who promptly used the
authority vested in him by a new statute to remove Mr. Adams from the
position of commissioner in bankruptcy, to which, at the time of his
resuming business, he had been appointed by the judge of the district
court. Long afterward Jefferson sought to escape the odium of this
apparently malicious and, for those days, unusual action, by a very
Jeffersonian explanation, tolerably satisfactory to those persons who
believed it.

On April 5, 1802, Mr. Adams was chosen by the Federalists of Boston to
represent them in the State Senate. The office was at that time still
sought by men of the best ability and position, and though it was
hardly a step upward on the political ladder for one who had
represented the nation in foreign parts for eight years, yet       (p. 029)
Mr. Adams was well content to accept it. At least it reopened the door
of political life, and moreover one of his steadfast maxims was never
to refuse any function which the people sought to impose upon him. It
is worth noting, for its bearing upon controversies soon to be
encountered in this narrative, that forty-eight hours had not elapsed
after Mr. Adams had taken his seat before he ventured upon a display
of independence which caused much irritation to his Federalist
associates. He had the hardihood to propose that the Federalist
majority in the legislature should permit the Republican minority to
enjoy a proportional representation in the council. "It was the first
act of my legislative life," he wrote many years afterward, "and it
marked the principle by which my whole public life has been governed
from that day to this. My proposal was unsuccessful, and perhaps it
forfeited whatever confidence might have been otherwise bestowed upon
me as a party follower." Indeed, all his life long Mr. Adams was never
submissive to the party whip, but voted upon every question precisely
according to his opinion of its merits, without the slightest regard
to the political company in which for the time being he might find
himself. A compeer of his in the United States Senate once said    (p. 030)
of him, that he regarded every public measure which came up as he
would a proposition in Euclid, abstracted from any party considerations.
These frequent derelictions of his were at first forgiven with a
magnanimity really very creditable, so long as it lasted, especially
to the Hamiltonians in the Federal party; and so liberal was this
forbearance that when in February, 1803, the legislature had to elect
a Senator to the United States Senate, he was chosen upon the fourth
ballot by 86 votes out of 171. This was the more gratifying to him and
the more handsome on the part of the anti-Adams men in the party,
because the place was eagerly sought by Timothy Pickering, an old man
who had strong claims growing out of an almost life-long and very
efficient service in their ranks, and who was moreover a most stanch
adherent of General Hamilton.

So in October, 1803, we find Mr. Adams on his way to Washington, the
raw and unattractive village which then constituted the national
capital, wherein there was not, as the pious New Englander instantly
noted, a church of any denomination; but those who were religiously
disposed were obliged to attend services "usually performed on Sundays
at the Treasury Office and at the Capitol." With what anticipations
Mr. Adams's mind was filled during his journey to this embryotic   (p. 031)
city his Diary does not tell; but if they were in any degree cheerful
or sanguine they were destined to cruel disappointment. He was now
probably to appreciate for the first time the fierce vigor of the
hostility which his father had excited. In Massachusetts social
connections and friendships probably mitigated the open display of
rancor to which in Washington full sway was given. It was not only the
Republican majority who showed feelings which in them were at least
fair if they were strong, but the Federal minority were maliciously
pleased to find in the son of the ill-starred John Adams a victim on
whom to vent that spleen and abuse which were so provokingly
ineffective against the solid working majority of their opponents in
Congress. The Republicans trampled upon the Federalists, and the
Federalists trampled on John Quincy Adams. He spoke seldom, and
certainly did not weary the Senators, yet whenever he rose to his feet
he was sure of a cold, too often almost an insulting, reception. By no
chance or possibility could anything which he said or suggested please
his prejudiced auditors. The worst augury for any measure was his
support; any motion which he made was sure to be voted down, though
not unfrequently substantially the same matter being afterward moved
by somebody else would be readily carried. That cordiality,        (p. 032)
assistance, and sense of fellowship which Senators from the same State
customarily expect and obtain from each other could not be enjoyed by
him. For shortly after his arrival in Washington, Mr. Pickering had
been chosen to fill a vacancy in the other Massachusetts senatorship,
and appeared upon the scene as a most unwelcome colleague. For a time,
indeed, an outward semblance of political comradeship was maintained
between them, but it would have been folly for an Adams to put faith
in a Pickering, and perhaps _vice versa_. This position of his, as the
unpopular member of an unpopular minority, could not be misunderstood,
and many allusions to it occur in his Diary. One day he notes a motion
rejected; another day, that he has "nothing to do but to make
fruitless opposition;" he constantly recites that he has voted with a
small minority, and at least once he himself composed the whole of
that minority; soon after his arrival he says that an amendment
proposed by him "will certainly not pass; and, indeed, I have already
seen enough to ascertain that no amendments of my proposing will
obtain in the Senate as now filled;" again, "I presented my three
resolutions, which raised a storm as violent as I expected;" and on
the same day he writes, "I have no doubt of incurring much censure
and obloquy for this measure;" a day or two later he speaks of     (p. 033)
certain persons "who hate me rather more than they love any
principle;" when he expressed an opinion in favor of ratifying a
treaty with the Creeks, he remarks quite philosophically, that he
believes it "surprised almost every member of the Senate, and
dissatisfied almost all;" when he wanted a committee raised he did not
move it himself, but suggested the idea to another Senator, for "I
knew that if I moved it a spirit of jealousy would immediately be
raised against doing anything." Writing once of some resolutions which
he intended to propose, he says that they are "another feather against
a whirlwind. A desperate and fearful cause in which I have embarked,
but I must pursue it or feel myself either a coward or a traitor."
Another time we find a committee, of which he was a member, making its
report when he had not even been notified of its meeting.

It would be idle to suppose that any man could be sufficiently callous
not to feel keenly such treatment. Mr. Adams was far from callous and
he felt it deeply. But he was not crushed or discouraged by it, as
weaker spirits would have been, nor betrayed into any acts of foolish
anger which must have recoiled upon himself. In him warm feelings were
found in singular combination with a cool head. An unyielding      (p. 034)
temper and an obstinate courage, an invincible confidence in his own
judgment, and a stern conscientiousness carried him through these
earlier years of severe trial as they had afterwards to carry him
through many more. "The qualities of mind most peculiarly called for,"
he reflects in the Diary, "are firmness, perseverance, patience,
coolness, and forbearance. The prospect is not promising; yet the part
to act may be as honorably performed as if success could attend it."
He understood the situation perfectly and met it with a better skill
than that of the veteran politician. By a long and tedious but sure
process he forced his way to steadily increasing influence, and by the
close of his fourth year we find him taking a part in the business of
the Senate which may be fairly called prominent and important. He was
conquering success.

But if Mr. Adams's unpopularity was partly due to the fact that he was
the son of his father, it was also largely attributable not only to
his unconciliatory manners but to more substantial habits of mind and
character. It is probably impossible for any public man, really
independent in his political action, to lead a very comfortable life
amid the struggles of party. Under the disadvantages involved in this
habit Mr. Adams labored to a remarkable degree. Since parties      (p. 035)
were first organized in this Republic no American statesman has ever
approached him in persistent freedom of thought, speech, and action.
He was regarded as a Federalist, but his Federalism was subject to
many modifications; the members of that party never were sure of his
adherence, and felt bound to him by no very strong ties of political
fellowship. Towards the close of his senatorial term he recorded, in
reminiscence, that he had more often voted with the administration
than with the opposition.

The first matter of importance concerning which he was obliged to act
was the acquisition of Louisiana and its admission as a state of the
Union. The Federalists were bitterly opposed to this measure,
regarding it as an undue strengthening of the South and of the slavery
influence, to the destruction of the fair balance of power between the
two great sections of the country. It was not then the moral aspect of
the slavery element which stirred the northern temper, but only the
antagonism of interests between the commercial cities of the North and
the agricultural communities of the South. In the discussions and
votes which took place in this business Mr. Adams was in favor of the
purchase, but denied with much emphasis the constitutionality of the
process by which the purchased territory was brought into the      (p. 036)
fellowship of States. This imperfect allegiance to the party gave more
offence than satisfaction, and he found himself soundly berated in
leading Federalist newspapers in New England, and angrily threatened
with expulsion from the party. But in the famous impeachment of Judge
Chase, which aroused very strong feelings, Mr. Adams was fortunately
able to vote for acquittal. He regarded this measure, as well as the
impeachment of Judge Pickering at the preceding session, as parts of
an elaborate scheme on the part of the President for degrading the
national judiciary and rendering it subservient to the legislative
branch of the government. So many, however, even of Mr. Jefferson's
stanch adherents revolted against his requisitions on this occasion,
and he himself so far lost heart before the final vote was taken, that
several Republicans voted with the Federalists, and Mr. Adams could
hardly claim much credit with his party for standing by them in this

It takes a long while for such a man to secure respect, and great
ability for him ever to achieve influence. In time, however, Mr. Adams
saw gratifying indications that he was acquiring both, and in
February, 1806, we find him writing:--

     "This is the third session I have sat in Congress. I came in  (p. 037)
     as a member of a very small minority, and during the two former
     sessions almost uniformly avoided to take a lead; any other course
     would have been dishonest or ridiculous. On the very few and
     unimportant objects which I did undertake, I met at first with
     universal opposition. The last session my influence rose a little,
     at the present it has hitherto been apparently rising."

He was so far a cool and clear-headed judge, even in his own case,
that this encouraging estimate may be accepted as correct upon his
sole authority without other evidence. But the fair prospect was
overcast almost in its dawning, and a period of supreme trial and of
apparently irretrievable ruin was at hand.

Topics were coming forward for discussion concerning which no American
could be indifferent, and no man of Mr. Adams's spirit could be silent.
The policy of Great Britain towards this country, and the manner in
which it was to be met, stirred profound feelings and opened such
fierce dissensions as it is now difficult to appreciate. For a brief
time Mr. Adams was to be a prominent actor before the people. It is
fortunately needless to repeat, as it must ever be painful to remember,
the familiar and too humiliating tale of the part which France and
England were permitted for so many years to play in our national
politics, when our parties were not divided upon American          (p. 038)
questions, but wholly by their sympathies with one or other of these
contending European powers. Under Washington the English party had,
with infinite difficulty, been able to prevent their adversaries from
fairly enlisting the United States as active partisans of France, in
spite of the fact that most insulting treatment was received from that
country. Under John Adams the same so-called British faction had been
baulked in their hope of precipitating a war with the French. Now in
Mr. Jefferson's second administration, the French party having won the
ascendant, the new phase of the same long struggle presented the
question, whether or not we should be drawn into a war with Great
Britain. Grave as must have been the disasters of such a war in 1806,
grave as they were when the war actually came six years later, yet it
is impossible to recall the provocations which were inflicted upon us
without almost regretting that prudence was not cast to the winds and
any woes encountered in preference to unresisting submission to such
insolent outrages. Our gorge rises at the narration three quarters of
a century after the acts were done.

Mr. Adams took his position early and boldly. In February, 1806, he
introduced into the Senate certain resolutions strongly condemnatory
of the right, claimed and vigorously exercised by the British,     (p. 039)
of seizing neutral vessels employed in conducting with the enemies of
Great Britain any trade which had been customarily prohibited by that
enemy in time of peace. This doctrine was designed to shut out
American merchants from certain privileges in trading with French
colonies, which had been accorded only since France had become
involved in war with Great Britain. The principle was utterly illegal
and extremely injurious. Mr. Adams, in his first resolution,
stigmatized it "as an unprovoked aggression upon the property of the
citizens of these United States, a violation of their neutral rights,
and an encroachment upon their national independence." By his second
resolution, the President was requested to demand and insist upon the
restoration of property seized under this pretext, and upon
indemnification for property already confiscated. By a rare good
fortune, Mr. Adams had the pleasure of seeing his propositions
carried, only slightly modified by the omission of the words "to
insist." But they were carried, of course, by Republican votes, and
they by no means advanced their mover in the favor of the Federalist
party. Strange as it may seem, that party, of which many of the
foremost supporters were engaged in the very commerce which Great
Britain aimed to suppress and destroy, seemed not to be so much    (p. 040)
incensed against her as against their own government. The theory
of the party was, substantially, that England had been driven into
these measures by the friendly tone of our government towards France,
and by her own stringent and overruling necessities. The cure was not
to be sought in resistance, not even in indignation and remonstrance
addressed to that power, but rather in cementing an alliance with her,
and even, if need should be, in taking active part in her holy cause.
The feeling seemed to be that we merited the chastisement because we
had not allied ourselves with the chastiser. These singular notions of
the Federalists, however, were by no means the notions of Mr. John
Quincy Adams, as we shall soon see.

On April 18, 1806, the Non-importation Act received the approval of
the President. It was the first measure indicative of resentment or
retaliation which was taken by our government. When it was upon its
passage it encountered the vigorous resistance of the Federalists, but
received the support of Mr. Adams. On May 16, 1806, the British
government made another long stride in the course of lawless oppression
of neutrals, which phrase, as commerce then was, signified little else
than Americans. A proclamation was issued declaring the whole      (p. 041)
coast of the European continent, from Brest to the mouth of the Elbe,
to be under blockade. In fact, of course, the coast was not blockaded,
and the proclamation was a falsehood, an unjustifiable effort to make
words do the work of war-ships. The doctrine which it was thus
endeavored to establish had never been admitted into international
law, has ever since been repudiated by universal consent of all nations,
and is intrinsically preposterous. The British, however, designed to
make it effective, and set to work in earnest to confiscate all
vessels and cargoes captured on their way from any neutral nation to
any port within the proscribed district. On November 21, next following,
Napoleon retaliated by the Berlin decree, so called, declaring the
entire British Isles to be under blockade, and forbidding any vessel
which had been in any English port after publication of his decree to
enter any port in the dominions under his control. In January, 1807,
England made the next move by an order, likewise in contravention of
international law, forbidding to neutrals all commerce between ports
of the enemies of Great Britain. On November 11, 1807, the famous
British Order in Council was issued, declaring neutral vessels and
cargoes bound to any port or colony of any country with which      (p. 042)
England was then at war, and which was closed to English ships, to be
liable to capture and confiscation. A few days later, November 25,
1807, another Order established a rate of duties to be paid in England
upon all neutral merchandise which should be permitted to be carried
in neutral bottoms to countries at war with that power. December 17,
1807, Napoleon retorted by the Milan decree, which declared
denationalized and subject to capture and condemnation every vessel,
to whatsoever nation belonging, which should have submitted to search
by an English ship, or should be on a voyage to England, or should
have paid any tax to the English government. All these regulations,
though purporting to be aimed at neutrals generally, in fact bore
almost exclusively upon the United States, who alone were undertaking
to conduct any neutral commerce worthy of mention. As Mr. Adams
afterwards remarked, the effect of these illegal proclamations and
unjustifiable novel doctrines "placed the commerce and shipping of the
United States, with regard to all Europe and European colonies (Sweden
alone excepted), in nearly the same state as it would have been, if,
on that same 11th of November, England and France had both declared
war against the United States." The merchants of this country might as
well have burned their ships as have submitted to these decrees.   (p. 043)

All this while the impressment of American seamen by British ships of
war was being vigorously prosecuted. This is one of those outrages so
long ago laid away among the mouldering tombs in the historical
graveyard that few persons now appreciate its enormity, or the extent
to which it was carried. Those who will be at the pains to ascertain
the truth in the matter will feel that the bloodiest, most costly, and
most disastrous war would have been better than tame endurance of
treatment so brutal and unjustifiable that it finds no parallel even
in the long and dark list of wrongs which Great Britain has been wont
to inflict upon all the weaker or the uncivilized peoples with whom
she has been brought or has gratuitously forced herself into unwelcome
contact. It was not an occasional act of high-handed arrogance that
was done; there were not only a few unfortunate victims, of whom a
large proportion might be of unascertained nationality. It was an
organized system worked upon a very large scale. Every American seaman
felt it necessary to have a certificate of citizenship, accompanied by
a description of his features and of all the marks upon his person, as
Mr. Adams said, "like the advertisement for a runaway negro slave."
Nor was even this protection by any means sure to be always        (p. 044)
efficient. The number of undoubted American citizens who were seized
rose in a few years actually to many thousands. They were often taken
without so much as a false pretence to right; but with the acknowledgment
that they were Americans, they were seized upon the plea of a necessity
for their services in the British ship. Some American vessels were
left so denuded of seamen that they were lost at sea for want of hands
to man them; the destruction of lives as well as property,
unquestionably thus caused, was immense. When after the lapse of a
long time and of infinite negotiation the American citizenship of some
individual was clearly shown, still the chances of his return were
small; some false and ignoble subterfuge was resorted to; he was not
to be found; the name did not occur on the rolls of the navy; he had
died, or been discharged, or had deserted, or had been shot. The more
illegal the act committed by any British officer the more sure he was
of reward, till it seemed that the impressment of American citizens
was an even surer road to promotion than valor in an engagement with
the enemy. Such were the substantial wrongs inflicted by Great
Britain; nor were any pains taken to cloak their character; on the
contrary, they were done with more than British insolence and
offensiveness, and were accompanied with insults which alone       (p. 045)
constituted sufficient provocation to war. To all this, for a long
time, nothing but empty and utterly futile protests were opposed by
this country. The affair of the Chesapeake, indeed, threatened for a
brief moment to bring things to a crisis. That vessel, an American
frigate, commanded by Commodore Barron, sailed on June 22, 1807, from
Hampton Roads. The Leopard, a British fifty-gun ship, followed her,
and before she was out of sight of land, hailed her and demanded the
delivery of four men, of whom three at least were surely native
Americans. Barron refused the demand, though his ship was wholly
unprepared for action. Thereupon the Englishman opened his broadsides,
killed three men and wounded sixteen, boarded the Chesapeake and took
off the four sailors. They were carried to Halifax and tried by
court-martial for desertion: one of them was hanged; one died in
confinement, and five years elapsed before the other two were returned
to the Chesapeake in Boston harbor. This wound was sufficiently deep
to arouse a real spirit of resentment and revenge, and England went so
far as to dispatch Mr. Rose to this country upon a pretended mission
of peace, though the fraudulent character of his errand was sufficiently
indicated by the fact that within a few hours after his departure the
first of the above named Orders in Council was issued but had not  (p. 046)
been communicated to him. As Mr. Adams indignantly said, "the same
penful of ink which signed his instructions might have been used also
to sign these illegal orders." Admiral Berkeley, the commander of the
Leopard, received the punishment which he might justly have expected
if precedent was to count for anything in the naval service of Great
Britain,--he was promoted.

It is hardly worth while to endeavor to measure the comparative
wrongfulness of the conduct of England and of France. The behavior of
each was utterly unjustifiable; though England by committing the first
extreme breach of international law gave to France the excuse of
retaliation. There was, however, vast difference in the practical
effect of the British and French decrees. The former wrought serious
injury, falling little short of total destruction, to American
shipping and commerce; the latter were only in a much less degree
hurtful. The immense naval power of England and the channels in which
our trade naturally flowed combined to make her destructive capacity
as towards us very great. It was the outrages inflicted by her which
brought the merchants of the United States face to face with ruin;
they suffered not very greatly at the hands of Napoleon. Neither could
the villainous process of impressment be conducted by Frenchmen.   (p. 047)
France gave us cause for war, but England seemed resolved to drive us
into it.

As British aggressions grew steadily and rapidly more intolerable, Mr.
Adams found himself straining farther and farther away from those
Federalist moorings at which, it must be confessed, he had long swung
very precariously. The constituency which he represented was indeed in
a quandary so embarrassing as hardly to be capable of maintaining any
consistent policy. The New England of that day was a trading
community, of which the industry and capital were almost exclusively
centred in ship-owning and commerce. The merchants, almost to a man,
had long been the most Anglican of Federalists in their political
sympathies. Now they found themselves suffering utterly ruinous
treatment at the hands of those whom they had loved overmuch. They
were being ruthlessly destroyed by their friends, to whom they had
been, so to speak, almost disloyally loyal. They saw their business
annihilated, their property seized, and yet could not give utterance
to resentment, or counsel resistance, without such a humiliating
devouring of all their own principles and sentiments as they could by
no possibility bring themselves to endure. There was but one road open
to them, and that was the ignoble one of casting themselves wholly (p. 048)
into the arms of England, of rewarding her blows with caresses, of
submitting to be fairly scourged into a servile alliance with her. It
is not surprising that the independent temper of Mr. Adams revolted at
the position which his party seemed not reluctant to assume at this
juncture. Yet not very much better seemed for a time the policy of the
administration. Jefferson was far from being a man for troubled
seasons, which called for high spirit and executive energy. His
flotillas of gunboats and like idle and silly fantasies only excited
Mr. Adams's disgust. In fact, there was upon all sides a strong dread
of a war with England, not always openly expressed, but now perfectly
visible, arising with some from regard for that country, in others
prompted by fear of her power. Alone among public men Mr. Adams, while
earnestly hoping to escape war, was not willing to seek that escape by
unlimited weakness and unbounded submission to lawless injury.

On November 17, 1807, Mr. Adams, who never in his life allowed fear to
become a motive, wrote, with obvious contempt and indignation: "I
observe among the members great embarrassment, alarm, anxiety, and
confusion of mind, but no preparation for any measure of vigor, and an
obvious strong disposition to yield all that Great Britain may     (p. 049)
require, to preserve peace, under a thin external show of dignity and
bravery." This tame and vacillating spirit roused his ire, and as it
was chiefly manifested by his own party it alienated him from them
farther than ever. Yet his wrath was so far held in reasonable check
by his discretion that he would still have liked to avoid the perilous
conclusion of arms, and though his impulse was to fight, yet he could
not but recognize that the sensible course was to be content, for the
time at least, with a manifestation of resentment, and the most vigorous
acts short of war which the government could be induced to undertake.
On this sentiment were based his introduction of the aforementioned
resolutions, his willingness to support the administration, and his
vote for the Non-importation Act in spite of a dislike for it as a
very imperfectly satisfactory measure. But it was not alone his
naturally independent temper which led him thus to feel so differently
from other members of his party. In Europe he had had opportunities of
forming a judgment more accurate than was possible for most Americans
concerning the sentiments and policy of England towards this country.
Not only had he been present at the negotiations resulting in the
treaty of peace, but he had also afterwards been for several months
engaged in the personal discussion of commercial questions with    (p. 050)
the British minister of foreign affairs. From all that he had thus
seen and heard he had reached the conviction, unquestionably correct,
that the British were not only resolved to adopt a selfish course
towards the United States, which might have been expected, but that
they were consistently pursuing the further distinct design of crippling
and destroying American commerce, to the utmost degree which their own
extensive trade and great naval authority and power rendered possible.
So long as he held this firm belief, it was inevitable that he should
be at issue with the Federalists in all matters concerning our policy
towards Great Britain. The ill-will naturally engendered in him by
this conviction was increased to profound indignation when illiberal
measures were succeeded by insults, by substantial wrongs in direct
contravention of law, and by acts properly to be described as of real
hostility. For Mr. Adams was by nature not only independent, but
resentful and combative. When, soon after the attack of the Leopard
upon the Chesapeake, he heard the transaction "openly justified at
noon-day," by a prominent Federalist,[1] "in a public insurance office
upon the exchange at Boston," his temper rose. "This," he afterward
wrote, "this was the cause ... which alienated me from that day    (p. 051)
and forever from the councils of the Federal party." When the news
of that outrage reached Boston, Mr. Adams was there, and desired that
the leading Federalists in the city should at once "take the lead in
promoting a strong and clear expression of the sentiments of the
people, and in an open and free-hearted manner, setting aside all
party feelings, declare their determination at that crisis to support
the government of their country." But unfortunately these gentlemen
were by no means prepared for any such action, and foolishly left it
for the friends of the administration to give the first utterance to a
feeling which it is hard to excuse any American for not entertaining
beneath such provocation. It was the Jeffersonians, accordingly, who
convened "an informal meeting of the citizens of Boston and the
neighboring towns," at which Mr. Adams was present, and by which he
was put upon a committee to draw and report resolutions. These
resolutions pledged a cheerful coöperation "in any measures, however
serious," which the government might deem necessary and a support of
the same with "lives and fortunes." The Federalists, learning too late
that their backwardness at this crisis was a blunder, caused a town
meeting to be called at Faneuil Hall a few days later. This also   (p. 052)
Mr. Adams attended, and again was put on the committee to draft
resolutions, which were only a little less strong than those of the
earlier assemblage. But though many of the Federalists thus tardily
and reluctantly fell in with the popular sentiment, they were for the
most part heartily incensed against Mr. Adams. They threatened him
that he should "have his head taken off for apostasy," and gave him to
understand that he "should no longer be considered as having any
communion with the party." If he had not already quite left them, they
now turned him out from their community. But such abusive treatment
was ill adapted to influence a man of his temper. Martyrdom, which in
time he came to relish, had not now any terrors for him; and he would
have lost as many heads as ever grew on Hydra, ere he would have
yielded on a point of principle.

                   [Footnote 1: Mr. John Lowell.]

His spirit was soon to be demonstrated. Congress was convened in extra
session on October 26, 1807. The administration brought forward the
bill establishing an embargo. The measure may now be pronounced a
blunder, and its proposal created a howl of rage and anguish from the
commercial states, who saw in it only their utter ruin. Already a
strong sectional feeling had been developed between the planters   (p. 053)
of the South and the merchants of the North and East, and the latter
now united in the cry that their quarter was to be ruined by the
ignorant policy of this Virginian President. Terrible then was their
wrath, when they actually saw a Massachusetts Senator boldly give his
vote for what they deemed the most odious and wicked bill which had
ever been presented in the halls of Congress. Nay, more, they learned
with horror that Mr. Adams had even been a member of the committee
which reported the bill, and that he had joined in the report.
Henceforth the Federal party was to be like a hive of enraged hornets
about the devoted renegade. No abuse which they could heap upon him
seemed nearly adequate to the occasion. They despised him; they
loathed him; they said and believed that he was false, selfish,
designing, a traitor, an apostate, that he had run away from a failing
cause, that he had sold himself. The language of contumely was
exhausted in vain efforts to describe his baseness. Not even yet has
the echo of the hard names which he was called quite died away in the
land; and there are still families in New England with whom his
dishonest tergiversation remains a traditional belief.

Never was any man more unjustly aspersed. It is impossible to view all
the evidence dispassionately without not only acquitting Mr.       (p. 054)
Adams but greatly admiring his courage, his constancy, his independence.
Whether the embargo was a wise and efficient or a futile and useless
measure has little to do with the question of his conduct. The emergency
called for strong action. The Federalists suggested only a temporizing
submission, or that we should avert the terrible wrath of England by
crawling beneath her lashes into political and commercial servitude.
Mr. Jefferson thought the embargo would do, that it would aid him in
his negotiations with England sufficiently to enable him to bring her
to terms; he had before thought the same of the Non-importation Act.
Mr. Adams felt, properly enough, concerning both these schemes, that
they were insufficient and in many respects objectionable; but that to
give the administration hearty support in the most vigorous measures
which it was willing to undertake, was better than to aid an opposition
utterly nerveless and servile and altogether devoid of so much as the
desire for efficient action. It was no time to stay with the party of
weakness; it was right to strengthen rather than to hamper a man so
pacific and spiritless as Mr. Jefferson; to show a readiness to
forward even his imperfect expedients; to display a united and
indignant, if not quite a hostile front to Great Britain, rather   (p. 055)
than to exhibit a tame and friendly feeling towards her. It was for
these reasons, which had already controlled his action concerning the
non-importation bill, that Mr. Adams joined in reporting the embargo
bill and voted for it. He never pretended that he himself had any
especial fancy for either of these measures, or that he regarded them
as the best that could be devised under the circumstances. On the
contrary, he hoped that the passage of the embargo would allow of the
repeal of its predecessor. That he expected some good from it, and
that it did some little good, cannot be denied. It did save a great
deal of American property, both shipping and merchandise, from seizure
and condemnation; and if it cut off the income it at least saved much
of the principal of our merchants. If only the bill had been promptly
repealed so soon as this protective purpose had been achieved, without
awaiting further and altogether impossible benefits to accrue from it
as an offensive measure, it might perhaps have left a better memory
behind it. Unfortunately no one can deny that it was continued much
too long. Mr. Adams saw this error and dreaded the consequences. After
he had left Congress and had gone back to private life, he exerted all
the influence which he had with the Republican members of Congress to
secure its repeal and the substitution of the Non-intercourse      (p. 056)
Act, an exchange which was in time accomplished, though much too tardily.
Nay, much more than this, Mr. Adams stands forth almost alone as the
advocate of threatening if not of actually belligerent measures. He
expressed his belief that "our internal resources [were] competent to
the establishment and maintenance of a naval force, public and
private, if not fully adequate to the protection and defence of our
commerce, at least sufficient to induce a retreat from hostilities,
and to deter from a renewal of them by either of the warring parties;"
and he insisted that "a system to that effect might be formed,
ultimately far more economical, and certainly more energetic," than
the embargo. But his "resolution met no encouragement." He found that
it was the embargo or nothing, and he thought the embargo was a little
better than nothing, as probably it was.

All the arguments which Mr. Adams advanced were far from satisfying
his constituents in those days of wild political excitement, and they
quickly found the means of intimating their unappeasable displeasure
in a way certainly not open to misapprehension. Mr. Adams's term of
service in the Senate was to expire on March 3, 1809. On June 2 and 3,
1808, anticipating by many months the customary time for filling   (p. 057)
the coming vacancy, the legislature of Massachusetts proceeded to
choose James Lloyd, junior, his successor. The votes were, in the
Senate 21 for Mr. Lloyd, 17 for Mr. Adams; in the House 248 for Mr.
Lloyd, and 213 for Mr. Adams. A more insulting method of administering
a rebuke could not have been devised. At the same time, in further
expression of disapprobation, resolutions strongly condemnatory of the
embargo were passed. Mr. Adams was not the man to stay where he was
not wanted, and on June 8 he sent in his letter of resignation. On the
next day Mr. Lloyd was chosen to serve for the balance of his term.

Thus John Quincy Adams changed sides. The son of John Adams lost the
senatorship for persistently supporting the administration of Thomas
Jefferson. It was indeed a singular spectacle! In 1803 he had been
sent to the Senate of the United States by Federalists as a Federalist;
in 1808 he had abjured them and they had repudiated him; in 1809, as
we are soon to see, he received a foreign appointment from the
Republican President Madison, and was confirmed by a Republican
Senate. Many of Mr. Adams's acts, many of his traits, have been
harshly criticised, but for no act that he ever did or ever was
charged with doing has he been so harshly assailed as for this     (p. 058)
journey from one camp to the other. The gentlemen of wealth, position,
and influence in Eastern Massachusetts, almost to a man, turned
against him with virulence; many of their descendants still cherish
the ancestral prejudice; and it may yet be a long while before the
last mutterings of this deep-rooted antipathy die away. But that they
will die away in time cannot be doubted. Praise will succeed to blame.
Truth must prevail in a case where such abundant evidence is
accessible; and the truth is that Mr. Adams's conduct was not ignoble,
mean, and traitorous, but honorable, courageous, and disinterested.
Those who singled him out for assault, though deaf to his arguments,
might even then have reflected that within a few years a large
proportion of the whole nation had changed in their opinions as he had
now at last changed in his, so that the party which under Washington
hardly had an existence and under John Adams was not, until the last
moment, seriously feared, now showed an enormous majority throughout
the whole country. Even in Massachusetts, the intrenched camp of the
Federalists, one half of the population were now Republicans. But that
change of political sentiment which in the individual voter is often
admired as evidence of independent thought is stigmatized in       (p. 059)
those more prominent in politics as tergiversation and apostasy.

It may be admitted that there are sound reasons for holding party
leaders to a more rigid allegiance to party policy than is expected of
the rank and file; yet certainly, at those periods when substantially
new measures and new doctrines come to the front, the old party names
lose whatever sacredness may at other times be in them, and the
political fellowships of the past may properly be reformed. Novel
problems cannot always find old comrades still united in opinions.
Precisely such was the case with John Quincy Adams and the Federalists.
The earlier Federalist creed related to one set of issues, the later
Federalist creed to quite another set; the earlier creed was sound and
deserving of support; the later creed was not so. It is easy to see,
as one looks backward upon history, that every great and successful
party has its mission, that it wins its success through the substantial
righteousness of that mission, and that it owes its downfall to
assuming an erroneous attitude towards some subsequent matter which
becomes in turn of predominating importance. Sometimes, though rarely,
a party remains on the right side through two or even more successive
issues of profound consequence to the nation. The Federalist mission
was to establish the Constitution of the United States as a        (p. 060)
vigorous, efficient, and practical system of government, to prove its
soundness, safety, and efficacy, and to defend it from the undermining
assaults of those who distrusted it and would have reduced it to
imbecility. Supplementary and cognate to this was the further task of
giving the young nation and the new system a chance to get fairly
started in life before being subjected to the strain of war and
European entanglements. To this end it was necessary to hold in check
the Jeffersonian or French party, who sought to embroil us in a
foreign quarrel. These two functions of the Federalist party were
quite in accord; they involved the organizing and domestic instinct
against the disorganizing and meddlesome; the strengthening against
the enfeebling process; practical thinking against fanciful theories.
Fortunately the able men had been generally of the sound persuasion,
and by powerful exertions had carried the day and accomplished their
allotted tasks so thoroughly that all subsequent generations of
Americans have been reaping the benefit of their labors. But by the
time that John Adams had concluded his administration the great
Federalist work had been sufficiently done. Those who still believe
that there is an overruling Providence in the affairs of men and
nations may well point to the history of this period in support    (p. 061)
of their theory. Republicanism was not able to triumph till Federalism
had fulfilled all its proper duty and was on the point of going wrong.

During this earlier period John Quincy Adams had been a Federalist by
conviction as well as by education. Nor was there any obvious reason
for him to change his political faith with the change of party
success, brought about as that was before its necessity was apparent
but by the sure and inscrutable wisdom so marvellously enclosed in the
great popular instinct. It was not patent, when Mr. Jefferson
succeeded Mr. Adams, that Federalism was soon to become an unsound
political creed--unsound, not because it had been defeated, but
because it had done its work, and in the new emergency was destined to
blunder. During Mr. Jefferson's first administration no questions of
novel import arose. But they were not far distant, and soon were
presented by the British aggressions. A grave crisis was created by
this system of organized destruction of property and wholesale
stealing of citizens, now suddenly practised with such terrible
energy. What was to be done? What had the two great parties to advise
concerning the policy of the country in this hour of peril?
Unfortunately for the Federalists old predilections were allowed   (p. 062)
now to govern their present action. Excusably Anglican in the bygone
days of Genet's mission, they now remained still Anglican, when to be
Anglican was to be emphatically un-American. As one reads the history
of 1807 and 1808 it is impossible not to feel almost a sense of
personal gratitude to John Quincy Adams that he dared to step out from
his meek-spirited party and do all that circumstances rendered
possible to promote resistance to insults and wrongs intolerable. In
truth, he was always a man of high temper, and eminently a patriotic
citizen of the United States. Unlike too many even of the best among
his countrymen in those early years of the Republic, he had no foreign
sympathies whatsoever; he was neither French nor English, but wholly,
exclusively, and warmly American. He had no second love; the United
States filled his public heart and monopolized his political
affections. When he was abroad he established neither affiliations nor
antipathies, and when he was at home he drifted with no party whose
course was governed by foreign magnets. It needs only that this
characteristic should be fully understood in order that his conduct in
1808 should be not alone vindicated but greatly admired.

At that time it was said, and it has been since repeated, that he  (p. 063)
was allured by the loaves and fishes which the Republicans could
distribute, while the Federalists could cast to him only meagre and
uncertain crusts. Circumstances gave to the accusation such a
superficial plausibility that it was believed by many honest men under
the influence of political prejudice. But such a charge, alleged
concerning a single act in a long public career, is to be scanned with
suspicion. Disproof by demonstration is impossible; but it is fair to
seek for the character of the act in a study of the character of the
actor, as illustrated by the rest of his career. Thus seeking we shall
see that, if any traits can be surely predicated of any man,
independence, courage, and honesty may be predicated of Mr. Adams. His
long public life had many periods of trial, yet this is the sole
occasion when it is so much as possible seriously to question the
purity of his motives--for the story of his intrigue with Mr. Clay to
secure the Presidency was never really believed by any one except
General Jackson, and the beliefs of General Jackson are of little
consequence. From the earliest to the latest day of his public life,
he was never a party man. He is entitled to the justification to be
derived from this life-long habit, when, in 1807-8, he voted against
the wishes of those who had hoped to hold him in the bonds of      (p. 064)
partisan alliance. In point of fact, so far from these acts being a
yielding to selfish and calculating temptation, they called for great
courage and strength of mind; instead of being tergiversation, they
were a triumph in a severe ordeal. Mr. Adams was not so dull as to
underrate, nor so void of good feeling as to be careless of, the storm
of obloquy which he had to encounter, not only in such shape as is
customary in like instances of a change of sides in politics, but, in
his present case, of a peculiarly painful kind. He was to seem
unfaithful, not only to a party, but to the bitter feud of a father
whom he dearly loved and greatly respected; he was to be reviled by
the neighbors and friends who constituted his natural social circle in
Boston; he was to alienate himself from the rich, the cultivated, the
influential gentlemen of his neighborhood, his comrades, who would
almost universally condemn his conduct. He was to lose his position as
Senator, and probably to destroy all hopes of further political
success so far as it depended upon the good will of the people of his
own State. In this he was at least giving up a certainty in exchange
for what even his enemies must admit to have been only an expectation.

But in fact it is now evident that there was not upon his part even an
expectation. At the first signs of the views which he was likely   (p. 065)
to hold, that contemptible but influential Republican, Giles, of
Virginia, also one or two others of the same party, sought to approach
him with insinuating suggestions. But Mr. Adams met these advances in
a manner frigid and repellent even beyond his wont, and far from
seeking to conciliate these emissaries, and to make a bargain, or even
establish a tacit understanding for his own benefit, he held them far
aloof, and simply stated that he wished and expected nothing from the
administration. His mind was made up, his opinion was formed; no bribe
was needed to secure his vote. Not thus do men sell themselves in
politics. The Republicans were fairly notified that he was going to do
just as he chose; and Mr. Jefferson, the arch-enemy of all Adamses,
had no occasion to forego his feud to win this recruit from that

Mr. Adams's Diary shows unmistakably that he was acting rigidly upon
principle, that he believed himself to be injuring or even destroying
his political prospects, and that in so doing he taxed his moral
courage severely. The whole tone of the Diary, apart from those few
distinct statements which hostile critics might view with distrust, is
despondent, often bitter, but defiant and stubborn. If in later life
he ever anticipated the possible publication of these private      (p. 066)
pages, yet he could hardly have done so at this early day. Among
certain general reflections at the close of the year 1808, he writes:
"On most of the great national questions now under discussion, my
sense of duty leads me to support the Administration, and I find
myself, of course, in opposition to the Federalists in general. But I
have no communication with the President, other than that in the
regular order of business in the Senate. In this state of things my
situation calls in a peculiar manner for prudence; my political
prospects are declining, and, as my term of service draws near its
close, I am constantly approaching to the certainty of being restored
to the situation of a private citizen. For this event, however, I hope
to have my mind sufficiently prepared."

In July, 1808, the Republicans of the Congressional District wished to
send him to the House of Representatives, but to the gentleman who
waited upon him with this proposal he returned a decided negative.
Other considerations apart, he would not interfere with the reëlection
of his friend, Mr. Quincy.

Certain remarks, written when his senatorial term was far advanced,
when he had lost the confidence of the Federalists without obtaining
that of the Republicans, may be of interest at this point. He wrote,
October 30, 1807: "I employed the whole evening in looking over    (p. 067)
the Journal of the Senate, since I have been one of its members. Of
the very little business which I have commenced during the four
sessions, at least three fourths has failed, with circumstances of
peculiar mortification. The very few instances in which I have
succeeded, have been always after an opposition of great obstinacy,
often ludicrously contrasting with the insignificance of the object in
pursuit. More than one instance has occurred where the same thing
which I have assiduously labored in vain to effect has been afterwards
accomplished by others, without the least resistance; more than once,
where the pleasure of disappointing me has seemed to be the prominent
principle of decision. Of the preparatory business, matured in
committees, I have had a share, gradually increasing through the four
sessions, but always as a subordinate member. The merely laborious
duties have been readily assigned to me, and as readily undertaken and
discharged. My success has been more frequent in opposition than in
carrying any proposition of my own, and I hope I have been
instrumental in arresting many unadvised purposes and projects. Though
as to the general policy of the country I have been uniformly in a
small, and constantly deceasing minority; my opinions and votes have
been much oftener in unison with the Administration than with      (p. 068)
their opponents; I have met with at least as much opposition from
my party friends as from their adversaries,--I believe more. I know
not that I have made any personal enemies now in Senate, nor can I
flatter myself with having acquired any personal friends. There have
been hitherto two, Mr. Tracey and Mr. Plumer, upon whom I could rely,
but it has pleased Providence to remove one by death, and the changes
of political party have removed the other." This is a striking
paragraph, certainly not written by a man in a very cheerful or
sanguine frame of mind, not by one who congratulates himself on having
skilfully taken the initial steps in a brilliant political career;
but, it is fair to say, by one who has at least tried to do his duty,
and who has not knowingly permitted himself to be warped either by
passion, prejudice, party alliances, or selfish considerations.

As early as November, 1805, Mr. Adams, being still what may be
described as an independent Federalist, was approached by Dr. Rush
with tentative suggestions concerning a foreign mission. Mr. Madison,
then Secretary of State, and even President Jefferson were apparently
not disinclined to give him such employment, provided he would be
willing to accept it at their hands. Mr. Adams simply replied,     (p. 069)
that he would not refuse a nomination merely because it came from Mr.
Jefferson, though there was no office in the President's gift for
which he had any wish. Perhaps because of the unconciliatory coolness
of this response, or perhaps for some better reason, the nomination
did not follow at that time. No sooner, however, had Mr. Madison
fairly taken the oath of office as President than he bethought him of
Mr. Adams, now no longer a Federalist, but, concerning the present
issues, of the Republican persuasion. On March 6, 1809, Mr. Adams was
notified by the President personally of the intention to nominate him
as Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia. It was a new mission, the first
minister ever nominated to Russia having been only a short time before
rejected by the Senate. But the Emperor had often expressed his wish
to exchange ministers, and Mr. Madison was anxious to comply with the
courteous request. Mr. Adams's name was accordingly at once sent to
the Senate. But on the following day, March 7, that body resolved that
"it is inexpedient at this time to appoint a minister from the United
States to the Court of Russia." The vote was seventeen to fifteen, and
among the seventeen was Mr. Adams's old colleague, Timothy Pickering,
who probably never in his life cast a vote which gave him so much  (p. 070)
pleasure. Mr. Madison, however, did not readily desist from his
purpose, and a few months later, June 26, he sent a message to the
Senate, stating that the considerations previously leading him to
nominate a minister to Russia had since been strengthened, and again
naming Mr. Adams for the post. This time the nomination was confirmed
with readiness, by a vote of nineteen to seven, Mr. Pickering, of
course, being one of the still hostile minority.

At noon on August 5, 1809, records Mr. Adams, "I left my house at the
corner of Boylston and Nassau streets, in Boston," again to make the
tedious and uncomfortable voyage across the Atlantic. A miserable and
a dangerous time he had of it ere, on October 23, he reached St.
Petersburg. Concerning the four years and a half which he is now to
spend in Russia very little need be said. His active duties were of
the simplest character, amounting to little more than rendering
occasional assistance to American shipmasters suffering beneath the
severities so often illegally inflicted by the contesting powers of
Europe. But apart from the slender practical service to be done, the
period must have been interesting and agreeable for him personally,
for he was received and treated throughout his stay by the Emperor
and his courtiers with distinguished kindness. The Emperor, who    (p. 071)
often met him walking, used to stop and chat with him, while Count
Romanzoff, the minister of foreign affairs, was cordial beyond the
ordinary civility of diplomacy. The Diary records a series of court
presentations, balls, fêtes, dinners, diplomatic and other, launches,
displays of fireworks, birthday festivities, parades, baptisms, plays,
state funerals, illuminations, and Te Deums for victories; in short,
every species of social gayety and public pageant. At all these Mr.
Adams was always a bidden and apparently a welcome guest. It must be
admitted, even by his detractors, that he was an admirable
representative of the United States abroad. Having already seen much
of the distinguished society of European courts, but retaining a
republican simplicity, which was wholly genuine and a natural part of
his character and therefore was never affected or offensive in its
manifestations, he really represented the best element in the politics
and society of the United States. Winning respect for himself he won
it also for the country which he represented. Thus he was able to
render an indirect but essential service in cementing the kindly
feeling which the Russian Empire entertained for the American Republic.
Russia could then do us little good and almost no harm, yet the    (p. 072)
friendship of a great European power had a certain moral value in
those days of our national infancy. That friendship, so cordially
offered, Mr. Adams was fortunately well fitted to conciliate, showing
in his foreign callings a tact which did not mark him in other public
relations. He was perhaps less liked by his travelling fellow
countrymen than by the Russians. The paltry ambition of a certain
class of Americans for introduction to high society disgusted him
greatly, and he was not found an efficient ally by these would-be
comrades of the Russian aristocracy. "The ambition of young Americans
to crowd themselves upon European courts and into the company of
nobility is a very ridiculous and not a very proud feature of their
character," he wrote; "there is nothing, in my estimate of things,
meaner than courting society where, if admitted, it is only to be
despised." He himself happily combined extensive acquirements,
excellent ability, diplomatic and courtly experience, and natural
independence of character without ill-bred self-assertion, and never
failed to create a good impression in the many circles into which his
foreign career introduced him.

The ambassadors and ministers from European powers at St. Petersburg
were constantly wrangling about precedence and like petty matters of
court etiquette. "In all these controversies," writes Mr. Adams,   (p. 073)
"I have endeavored to consider it as an affair in which I, as an
_American_ minister, had no concern; and that my only principle is to
dispute upon precedence with nobody." A good-natured contempt for
European follies may be read between the lines of this remark; wherein
it may be said that the Monroe Doctrine is applied to court etiquette.

He always made it a point to live within the meagre income which the
United States allowed him, but seems to have suffered no diminution of
consideration for this reason. One morning, walking on the Fontanka,
he met the Emperor, who said: "Mons. Adams, il y a cent ans que je ne
vous ai vu;" and then continuing the conversation, "asked me whether I
intended to take a house in the country this summer. I said, No....
'And why so?' said he. I was hesitating upon an answer when he
relieved me from embarrassment by saying, 'Peut-être sont-ce des
considerations de finance?' As he said it with perfect good humor and
with a smile, I replied in the same manner: 'Mais Sire, elles y sont
pour une bonne part.'"[2]

                   [Footnote 2: An interesting sketch of his household
                   and its expenses is to be found in ii. Diary, 193.]

The volume of the journal which records this residence in St. Petersburg
is very interesting as a picture of Russian life and manners in high
society. Few travellers write anything nearly so vivid, so         (p. 074)
thorough, or so trustworthy as these entries. Moreover, during the
whole period of his stay the great wars of Napoleon were constantly
increasing the astonishment of mankind, and created intense excitement
at the Court of Russia. These feelings waxed stronger as it grew daily
more likely that the Emperor would have to take his turn also as a
party defendant in the great conflict. Then at last came the fact of
war, the invasion of Russia, the burning of Moscow, the disastrous
retreat of the invaders ending in ignominious flight, the advance of
the allies, finally the capture of Paris. All this while Mr. Adams at
St. Petersburg witnessed first the alarm and then the exultation of
the court and the people as the rumors now of defeat, anon of victory,
were brought by the couriers at tantalizing intervals; and he saw the
rejoicings and illuminations which rendered the Russian capital so
brilliant and glorious during the last portion of his residence. It
was an experience well worth having, and which is pleasantly depicted
in the Diary.

In September, 1812, Count Romanzoff suggested to Mr. Adams the
readiness of the Emperor to act as mediator in bringing about peace
between the United States and England. The suggestion was promptly
acted upon, but with no directly fortunate results. The American   (p. 075)
government acceded at once to the proposition, and at the risk of an
impolitic display of readiness dispatched Messrs. Gallatin and Bayard
to act as Commissioners jointly with Mr. Adams in the negotiations.
These gentlemen, however, arrived in St. Petersburg only to find
themselves in a very awkward position. Their official character might
not properly be considered as attaching unless England should accept
the offer of mediation. But England had refused, in the first
instance, to do this, and she now again reiterated her refusal without
regard for the manifestation of willingness on the part of the United
States. Further, Mr. Gallatin's nomination was rejected by the Senate
after his departure, on the ground that his retention of the post of
Secretary of the Treasury was incompatible, under the Constitution,
with this diplomatic function. So the United States appeared in a very
annoying attitude, her Commissioners were uncomfortable and somewhat
humiliated; Russia felt a certain measure of vexation at the brusque
and positive rejection of her friendly proposition on the part of
Great Britain; and that country alone came out of the affair with any

But by the time when all hopes of peace through the friendly offices
of Russia were at an end, that stage of the conflict had been      (p. 076)
reached at which both parties were quite ready to desist. The United
States, though triumphing in some brilliant naval victories, had been
having a sorry experience on land, where, as the Russian minister
remarked, "England did as she pleased." A large portion of the people
were extremely dissatisfied, and it was impossible to ignore that the
outlook did not promise better fortunes in the future than had been
encountered in the past. On the other hand, England had nothing
substantial to expect from a continuance of the struggle, except heavy
additional expenditure which it was not then the fashion to compel the
worsted party to recoup. She accordingly intimated her readiness to
send Commissioners to Göttingen, for which place Ghent was afterwards
substituted, to meet American Commissioners and settle terms of
pacification. The United States renewed the powers of Messrs. Adams,
Bayard, and Gallatin, a new Secretary of the Treasury having in the
meantime been appointed, and added Jonathan Russell, then Minister to
Sweden, and Henry Clay. England deputed Lord Gambier, an admiral, Dr.
Adams, a publicist, and Mr. Goulburn, a member of Parliament and Under
Secretary of State. These eight gentlemen accordingly met in Ghent on
August 7, 1814.

It was upwards of four months before an agreement was reached.     (p. 077)
During this period Mr. Adams kept his Diary with much more even than
his wonted faithfulness, and it undoubtedly presents the most vivid
picture in existence of the labors of treaty-making diplomatists. The
eight were certainly an odd assemblage of peacemakers. The ill-blood
and wranglings between the opposing Commissions were bad enough, yet
hardly equalled the intestine dissensions between the American
Commissioners themselves. That the spirit of peace should ever have
emanated from such an universal embroilment is almost sufficiently
surprising to be regarded as a miracle. At the very beginning, or even
before fairly beginning, the British party roused the jealous ire of
the Americans by proposing that they all should meet, for exchanging
their full powers, at the lodgings of the Englishmen. The Americans
took fire at this "offensive pretension to superiority" which was "the
usage from Ambassadors to Ministers of an inferior order." Mr. Adams
cited Martens, and Mr. Bayard read a case from Ward's "Law of Nations."
Mr. Adams suggested sending a pointed reply, agreeing to meet the
British Commissioners "at any place other than their own lodgings;"
but Mr. Gallatin, whose valuable function was destined to be the
keeping of the peace among his fractious colleagues, as well as    (p. 078)
betwixt them and the Englishmen, substituted the milder phrase, "at
any place which may be mutually agreed upon." The first meeting
accordingly took place at the Hôtel des Pays Bas, where it was
arranged that the subsequent conferences should be held alternately at
the quarters of the two Commissions. Then followed expressions,
conventional and proper but wholly untrue, of mutual sentiments of
esteem and good will.

No sooner did the gentlemen begin to get seriously at the work before
them than the most discouraging prospects were developed. The British
first presented their demands, as follows: 1. That the United States
should conclude a peace with the Indian allies of Great Britain, and
that a species of neutral belt of Indian territory should be
established between the dominions of the United States and Great
Britain, so that these dominions should be nowhere conterminous, upon
which belt or barrier neither power should be permitted to encroach
even by purchase, and the boundaries of which should be settled in
this treaty. 2. That the United States should keep no naval force upon
the Great Lakes, and should neither maintain their existing forts nor
build new ones upon their northern frontier; it was even required that
the boundary line should run along the southern shore of the       (p. 079)
lakes; while no corresponding restriction was imposed upon Great
Britain, because she was stated to have no projects of conquest as
against her neighbor. 3. That a piece of the province of Maine should
be ceded, in order to give the English a road from Halifax to Quebec.
4. That the stipulation of the treaty of 1783, conferring on English
subjects the right of navigating the Mississippi, should be now
formally renewed.

The Americans were astounded; it seemed to them hardly worth while to
have come so far to listen to such propositions. Concerning the
proposed Indian pacification they had not even any powers, the United
States being already busied in negotiating a treaty with the tribes as
independent powers. The establishment of the neutral Indian belt was
manifestly contrary to the established policy and obvious destiny of
the nation. Neither was the answer agreeable, which was returned by
Dr. Adams to the inquiry as to what was to be done with those citizens
of the United States who had already settled in those parts of
Michigan, Illinois, and Ohio, included within the territory which it
was now proposed to make inalienably Indian. He said that these
people, amounting perhaps to one hundred thousand, "must shift for
themselves." The one-sided disarmament upon the lakes and along the
frontier was, by the understanding of all nations, such an         (p. 080)
humiliation as is inflicted only on a crushed adversary. No return was
offered for the road between Halifax and Quebec; nor for the right of
navigating the Mississippi. The treaty of peace of 1783, made in
ignorance of the topography of the unexplored northern country, had
established an impossible boundary line running from the Lake of the
Woods westward along the forty-ninth parallel to the Mississippi; and
as appurtenant to the British territory, thus supposed to touch the
river, a right of navigation upon it was given. It had since been
discovered that a line on that parallel would never touch the
Mississippi. The same treaty had also secured for the United States
certain rights concerning the Northeastern fisheries. The English now
insisted upon a re-affirmance of the privilege given to them, without
a re-affirmance of the privilege given to the United States; ignoring
the fact that the recent acquisition of Louisiana, making the
Mississippi wholly American, materially altered the propriety of a
British right of navigation upon it.

Apart from the intolerable character of these demands, the personal
bearing of the English Commissioners did not tend to mitigate the
chagrin of the Americans. The formal civilities had counted with the
American Commissioners for more than they were worth, and had      (p. 081)
induced them, in preparing a long dispatch to the home government,
to insert "a paragraph complimentary to the personal deportment" of
the British. But before they sent off the document they revised it and
struck out these pleasant phrases. Not many days after the first
conference Mr. Adams notes that the tone of the English Commissioners
was even "more peremptory, and their language more overbearing, than
at the former conferences." A little farther on he remarks that "the
British note is overbearing and insulting in its tone, like the two
former ones." Again he says:--

     "The tone of all the British notes is arrogant, overbearing, and
     offensive. The tone of ours is neither so bold nor so spirited as
     I think it should be. It is too much on the defensive, and too
     excessive in the caution to say nothing irritating. I have seldom
     been able to prevail upon my colleagues to insert anything in the
     style of retort upon the harsh and reproachful matter which we

Many little passages-at-arms in the conferences are recited which
amply bear out these remarks as regards both parties. Perhaps,
however, it should be admitted that the Americans made up for the
self-restraint which they practised in conference by the disagreements
and bickerings in which they indulged when consulting among        (p. 082)
themselves. Mr. Gallatin's serene temper and cool head were hardly
taxed to keep the peace among his excited colleagues. Mr. Adams and
Mr. Clay were especially prone to suspicions and to outbursts of
anger. Mr. Adams often and candidly admits as much of himself,
apparently not without good reason. At first the onerous task of
drafting the numerous documents which the Commission had to present
devolved upon him, a labor for which he was well fitted in all
respects save, perhaps, a tendency to prolixity. He did not, however,
succeed in satisfying his comrades, and the criticisms to which they
subjected his composition galled his self-esteem severely, so much so
that erelong he altogether relinquished this function, which was
thereafter performed chiefly by Mr. Gallatin. As early as August 21,
Mr. Adams says, not without evident bitterness, that though they all
were agreed on the general view of the subject, yet in his "exposition
of it, one objects to the form, another to the substance, of almost
every paragraph." Mr. Gallatin would strike out everything possibly
offensive to the Englishmen; Mr. Clay would draw his pen through every
figurative expression; Mr. Russell, not content with agreeing to all
the objections of both the others, would further amend the construction
of every sentence; and finally Mr. Bayard would insist upon        (p. 083)
writing all over again in his own language. All this nettled Mr. Adams
exceedingly. On September 24 he again writes that it was agreed to
adopt an article which he had drawn, "though with objections to almost
every word" which he had used. "This," he says, "is a severity with
which I alone am treated in our discussions by all my colleagues.
Almost everything written by any of the rest is rejected, or agreed to
with very little criticism, verbal or substantial. But every line that
I write passes a gauntlet of objections by every one of my colleagues,
which finally issues, for the most part, in the rejection of it all."
He reflects, with a somewhat forced air of self-discipline, that this
must indicate some faultiness in his composition which he must try to
correct; but in fact it is sufficiently evident that he was seldom
persuaded that his papers were improved. Amid all this we see in the
Diary many exhibitions of vexation. One day he acknowledges, "I cannot
always restrain the irritability of my temper;" another day he
informed his colleagues, "with too much warmth, that they might be
assured I was as determined as they were;" again he reflects, "I, too,
must not forget to keep a constant guard upon my temper, for the time
is evidently approaching when it will be wanted." Mr. Gallatin alone
seems not to have exasperated him; Mr. Clay and he were constantly (p. 084)
in discussion, and often pretty hotly. Instead of coming nearer
together, as time went on, these two fell farther apart. What Mr. Clay
thought of Mr. Adams may probably be inferred from what we know that
Mr. Adams thought of Mr. Clay. "Mr. Clay is losing his temper, and
growing peevish and fractious," he writes on October 31; and constantly
he repeats the like complaint. The truth is, that the precise New
Englander and the impetuous Westerner were kept asunder not only by
local interests but by habits and modes of thought utterly dissimilar.
Some amusing glimpses of their private life illustrate this
difference. Mr. Adams worked hard and diligently, allowing himself
little leisure for pleasure; but Mr. Clay, without actually neglecting
his duties, yet managed to find ample time for enjoyment. More than
once Mr. Adams notes that, as he rose about five o'clock in the
morning to light his own fire and begin the labors of the day by
candle-light, he heard the parties breaking up and leaving Mr. Clay's
rooms across the entry, where they had been playing cards all night
long. In these little touches one sees the distinctive characters of
the men well portrayed.

The very extravagance of the British demands at least saved the    (p. 085)
Americans from perplexity. Mr. Clay, indeed, cherished an "inconceivable
idea" that the Englishmen would "finish by receding from the ground
they had taken;" but meantime there could be no difference of opinion
concerning the impossibility of meeting them upon that ground. Mr.
Adams, never lacking in courage, actually wished to argue with them
that it would be for the interests of Great Britain not less than of
the United States if Canada should be ceded to the latter power.
Unfortunately his colleagues would not support him in this audacious
policy, the humor of which is delicious. It would have been infinitely
droll to see how the British Commissioners would have hailed such a
proposition, by way of appropriate termination of a conflict in which
the forces of their nation had captured and ransacked the capital city
of the Americans!

On August 21 the Englishmen invited the Americans to dinner on the
following Saturday. "The chance is," wrote Mr. Adams, "that before
that time the whole negotiation will be at an end." The banquet,
however, did come off, and a few more succeeded it; feasts not marked
by any great geniality or warmth, except perhaps occasionally warmth
of discussion. So sure were the Americans that they were about to
break off the negotiations that Mr. Adams began to consider by     (p. 086)
what route he should return to St. Petersburg; and they declined to
renew the tenure of their quarters for more than a few days longer.
Like alarms were of frequent occurrence, even almost to the very day
of agreement. On September 15, at a dinner given by the American
Commissioners, Lord Gambier asked Mr. Adams whether he would return
immediately to St. Petersburg. "Yes," replied Mr. Adams, "that is, if
you send us away." His lordship "replied with assurances how deeply he
lamented it, and with a hope that we should one day be friends again."
On the same occasion Mr. Goulburn said that probably the last note of
the Americans would "terminate the business," and that they "must
fight it out." Fighting it out was a much less painful prospect for
Great Britain just at that juncture than for the United States, as the
Americans realized with profound anxiety. "We so fondly cling to the
vain hope of peace, that every new proof of its impossibility operates
upon us as a disappointment," wrote Mr. Adams. No amount of pride
could altogether conceal the fact that the American Commissioners
represented the worsted party, and though they never openly said so
even among themselves, yet indirectly they were obliged to recognize
the truth. On November 10 we find Mr. Adams proposing to make      (p. 087)
concessions not permitted by their instructions, because, as he said:--

     "I felt so sure that [the home government] would now gladly take
     the state before the war as the general basis of the peace, that
     I was prepared to take on me the responsibility of trespassing
     upon their instructions thus far. Not only so, but I would at
     this moment cheerfully give my life for a peace on this basis. If
     peace was possible, it would be on no other. I had indeed no hope
     that the proposal would be accepted."

Mr. Clay thought that the British would laugh at this: "They would say,
Ay, ay! pretty fellows you, to think of getting out of the war as well
as you got into it." This was not consoling for the representatives of
that side which had declared war for the purpose of curing grievances
and vindicating alleged rights. But that Mr. Adams correctly read the
wishes of the government was proved within a very few days by the
receipt of express authority from home "to conclude the peace on the
basis of the _status ante bellum_." Three days afterwards, on November
27, three and a half months after the vexatious haggling had been
begun, we encounter in the Diary the first real gleam of hope of a
successful termination: "All the difficulties to the conclusion of a
peace appear to be now so nearly removed, that my colleagues all   (p. 088)
consider it as certain. I myself think it probable."

There were, however, some three weeks more of negotiation to be gone
through before the consummation was actually achieved, and the ill
blood seemed to increase as the end was approached. The differences
between the American Commissioners waxed especially serious concerning
the fisheries and the navigation of the Mississippi. Mr. Adams
insisted that if the treaty of peace had been so far abrogated by the
war as to render necessary a re-affirmance of the British right of
navigating the Mississippi, then a re-affirmance of the American
rights in the Northeastern fisheries was equally necessary. This the
English Commissioners denied. Mr. Adams said it was only an exchange
of privileges presumably equivalent. Mr. Clay, however, was firmly
resolved to prevent all stipulations admitting such a right of
navigation, and the better to do so he was quite willing to let the
fisheries go. The navigation privilege he considered "much too
important to be conceded for the mere liberty of drying fish upon a
desert," as he was pleased to describe a right for which the United
States has often been ready to go to war and may yet some time do so.
"Mr. Clay lost his temper," writes Mr. Adams a day or two later,   (p. 089)
"as he generally does whenever this right of the British to navigate
the Mississippi is discussed. He was utterly averse to admitting it as
an equivalent for a stipulation securing the contested part of the
fisheries. He said the more he heard of this [the right of fishing],
the more convinced he was that it was of little or no value. He should
be glad to get it if he could, but he was sure the British would not
ultimately grant it. That the navigation of the Mississippi, on the
other hand, was an object of immense importance, and he could see no
sort of reason for granting it as an equivalent for the fisheries."
Thus spoke the representative of the West. The New Englander--the son
of the man whose exertions had been chiefly instrumental in originally
obtaining the grant of the Northeastern fishery privileges--naturally
went to the other extreme. He thought "the British right of navigating
the Mississippi to be as nothing, considered as a grant from us. It
was secured to them by the peace of 1783, they had enjoyed it at the
commencement of the war, it had never been injurious in the slightest
degree to our own people, and it appeared to [him] that the British
claim to it was just and equitable." Further he "believed the right to
this navigation to be a very useless thing to the British.... But
their national pride and honor were interested in it; the          (p. 090)
government could not make a peace which would abandon it." The
fisheries, however, Mr. Adams regarded as one of the most inestimable
and inalienable of American rights. It is evident that the United
States could ill have spared either Mr. Adams or Mr. Clay from the
negotiation, and the joinder of the two, however fraught with
discomfort to themselves, well served substantial American interests.

Mr. Adams thought the British perfidious, and suspected them of not
entertaining any honest intention of concluding a peace. On December
12, after an exceedingly quarrelsome conference, he records his belief
that the British have "insidiously kept open" two points, "for the
sake of finally breaking off the negotiations and making all their
other concessions proofs of their extreme moderation, to put upon us
the blame of the rupture."

On December 11 we find Mr. Clay ready "for a war three years longer,"
and anxious "to begin to play at _brag_" with the Englishmen. His
colleagues, more complaisant or having less confidence in their own
skill in that game, found it difficult to placate him; he "stalked to
and fro across the chamber, repeating five or six times, 'I will never
sign a treaty upon the _status ante bellum_ with the Indian article.
So help me God!'" The next day there was an angry controversy      (p. 091)
with the Englishmen. The British troops had taken and held Moose
Island in Passamaquoddy Bay, the rightful ownership of which was in
dispute. The title was to be settled by arbitrators. But the question,
whether the British should restore possession of the island pending
the arbitration, aroused bitter discussion. "Mr. Goulburn and Dr.
Adams (the Englishman) immediately took fire, and Goulburn lost all
control of his temper. He has always in such cases," says the Diary,
"a sort of convulsive agitation about him, and the tone in which he
speaks is more insulting than the language which he uses." Mr. Bayard
referred to the case of the Falkland Islands. "'Why' (in a transport
of rage), said Goulburn, 'in that case we sent a fleet and troops and
drove the fellows off; and that is what we ought to have done in this
case.'" Mr. J. Q. Adams, whose extensive and accurate information more
than once annoyed his adversaries, stated that, as he remembered it,
"the Spaniards in that case had driven the British off,"--and Lord
Gambier helped his blundering colleague out of the difficulty by
suggesting a new subject, much as the defeated heroes of the Iliad
used to find happy refuge from death in a god-sent cloud of dust. It
is amusing to read that in the midst of such scenes as these the   (p. 092)
show of courtesy was still maintained; and on December 13 the
Americans "all dined with the British Plenipotentiaries," though "the
party was more than usually dull, stiff, and reserved." It was
certainly forcing the spirit of good fellowship. The next day Mr. Clay
notified his colleagues that they were going "to make a damned bad
treaty, and he did not know whether he would sign it or not;" and Mr.
Adams also said that he saw that the rest had made up their minds "at
last to yield the fishery point," in which case he also could not sign
the treaty. On the following day, however, the Americans were
surprised by receiving a note from the British Commissioners, wherein
they made the substantial concession of omitting from the treaty all
reference to the fisheries and the navigation of the Mississippi. But
Mr. Clay, on reading the note, "manifested some chagrin," and "still
talked of breaking off the negotiation," even asking Mr. Adams to join
him in so doing, which request, however, Mr. Adams very reasonably
refused. Mr. Clay had also been anxious to stand out for a distinct
abandonment of the alleged right of impressment; but upon this point
he found none of his colleagues ready to back him, and he was compelled
perforce to yield. Agreement was therefore now substantially       (p. 093)
reached; a few minor matters were settled, and on December 24, 1814,
the treaty was signed by all the eight negotiators.

It was an astonishing as well as a happy result. Never, probably, in
the history of diplomacy has concord been produced from such discordant
elements as had been brought together in Ghent. Dissension seemed to
have become the mother of amity; and antipathies were mere
preliminaries to a good understanding; in diplomacy as in marriage it
had worked well to begin with a little aversion. But, in truth, this
consummation was largely due to what had been going on in the English
Cabinet. At the outset Lord Castlereagh had been very unwilling to
conclude peace, and his disposition had found expression in the
original intolerable terms prepared by the British Commissioners. But
Lord Liverpool had been equally solicitous on the other side, and was
said even to have tendered his resignation to the Prince Regent, if an
accommodation should not be effected. His endeavors were fortunately
aided by events in Europe. Pending the negotiations Lord Castlereagh
went on a diplomatic errand to Vienna, and there fell into such
threatening discussions with the Emperor of Russia and the King of
Prussia, that he thought it prudent to have done with the American (p. 094)
war, and wrote home pacific advices. Hence, at last, came such
concessions as satisfied the Americans.

The treaty established "a firm and universal peace between his
Britannic Majesty and the United States." Each party was to restore
all captured territory, except that the islands of which the title was
in dispute were to remain in the occupation of the party holding them
at the time of ratification until that title should be settled by
commissioners; provision was made also for the determination of all
the open questions of boundary by sundry boards of commissioners; each
party was to make peace with the Indian allies of the other. Such
were, in substance, the only points touched upon by this document. Of
the many subjects mooted between the negotiators scarcely any had
survived the fierce contests which had been waged concerning them. The
whole matter of the navigation of the Mississippi, access to that
river, and a road through American territory, had been dropped by the
British; while the Americans had been well content to say nothing of
the Northeastern fisheries, which they regarded as still their own.
The disarmament on the lakes and along the Canadian border, and the
neutralization of a strip of Indian territory, were yielded by the (p. 095)
English. The Americans were content to have nothing said about
impressment; nor was any one of the many illegal rights exercised by
England formally abandoned. The Americans satisfied themselves with
the reflection that circumstances had rendered these points now only
matters of abstract principle, since the pacification of Europe had
removed all opportunities and temptations for England to persist in
her previous objectionable courses. For the future it was hardly to be
feared that she would again undertake to pursue a policy against which
it was evident that the United States were willing to conduct a
serious war. There was, however, no provision for indemnification.

Upon a fair consideration, it must be admitted that though the treaty
was silent upon all the points which the United States had made war
for the purpose of enforcing, yet the country had every reason to be
gratified with the result of the negotiation. The five Commissioners
had done themselves ample credit. They had succeeded in agreeing with
each other; they had avoided any fracture of a negotiation which, up
to the very end, seemed almost daily on the verge of being broken off
in anger; they had managed really to lose nothing, in spite of the
fact that their side had had decidedly the worst of the struggle.  (p. 096)
They had negotiated much more successfully than the armies of their
countrymen had fought. The Marquis of Wellesley said, in the House of
Lords, that "in his opinion the American Commissioners had shown a
most astonishing superiority over the British during the whole of the
correspondence." One cannot help wishing that the battle of New Orleans
had taken place a little earlier, or that the negotiation had fallen a
little later, so that news of that brilliant event could have reached
the ears of the insolent Englishmen at Ghent, who had for three months
been enjoying the malicious pleasure of lending to the Americans
English newspapers containing accounts of American misfortunes. But
that fortunate battle was not fought until a few days after the eight
Commissioners had signed their compact. It is an interesting
illustration of the slowness of communication which our forefathers
had to endure, that the treaty crossed the Atlantic in a sailing ship
in time to travel through much of the country simultaneously with the
report of this farewell victory. Two such good pieces of news coming
together set the people wild with delight. Even on the dry pages of
Niles's "Weekly Register" occurs the triumphant paragraph: "Who would
not be an American? Long live the Republic! All hail! last asylum  (p. 097)
of oppressed humanity! Peace is signed in the arms of victory!" It was
natural that most of the ecstasy should be manifested concerning the
military triumph, and that the mass of the people should find more
pleasure in glorifying General Jackson than in exalting the Commissioners.
The value of their work, however, was well proved by the voice of
Great Britain. In the London "Times" of December 30 appeared a most
angry tirade against the treaty, with bitter sneers at those who
called the peace an "honorable" one. England, it was said, "had
attempted to force her principles on America, and had failed." Foreign
powers would say that the English "had retired from the combat with
the stripes yet bleeding on their backs,--with the recent defeats at
Plattsburgh and on Lake Champlain unavenged." The most gloomy
prognostications of further wars with America when her naval power
should have waxed much greater were indulged. The loss of prestige in
Europe, "the probable loss of our trans-Atlantic provinces," were
among the results to be anticipated from this treaty into which the
English Commissioners had been beguiled by the Americans. These latter
were reviled with an abuse which was really the highest compliment. The
family name of Mr. Adams gained no small access of distinction in  (p. 098)
England from this business.

After the conclusion of the treaty Mr. Adams went to Paris, and
remained there until the middle of May, 1815, thus having the good
fortune to witness the return of Napoleon and a great part of the
events of the famous "hundred days." On May 26 he arrived in London,
where there awaited him, in the hands of the Barings, his commission
as Envoy Extraordinary and Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain.
His first duty was, in connection with Mr. Clay and Mr. Gallatin, to
negotiate a treaty of commerce, in which business he again met the
same three British Commissioners by whom the negotiations at Ghent had
been conducted, of whose abilities the government appeared to
entertain a better opinion than the Marquis of Wellesley had
expressed. This negotiation had been brought so far towards conclusion
by his colleagues before his own arrival that Mr. Adams had little to
do in assisting them to complete it. This little having been done,
they departed and left him as Minister at the Court of St. James. Thus
he fulfilled Washington's prophecy, by reaching the highest rank in
the American diplomatic service.

Of his stay in Great Britain little need be said. He had few duties of
importance to perform. The fisheries, the right of impressment,    (p. 099)
and the taking away and selling of slaves by British naval officers
during the late war, formed the subjects of many interviews between
him and Lord Castlereagh, without, however, any definite results being
reached. But he succeeded in obtaining, towards the close of his stay,
some slight remission of the severe restrictions placed by England
upon our trade with her West Indian colonies. His relations with a
cabinet in which the principles of Castlereagh and Canning
predominated could hardly be cordial, yet he seems to have been
treated with perfect civility. Indeed, he was not a man whom it was
easy even for an Englishman to insult. He remarks of Castlereagh,
after one of his first interviews with that nobleman: "His deportment
is sufficiently graceful, and his person is handsome. His manner was
cold, but not absolutely repulsive." Before he left he had the
pleasure of having Mr. Canning specially seek acquaintance with him.
He met, of course, many distinguished and many agreeable persons
during his residence, and partook of many festivities, especially of
numerous civic banquets at which toasts were formally given in the
dullest English fashion and he was obliged to display his capacity for
"table-cloth oratory," as he called it, more than was agreeable to
him. He was greatly bored by these solemn and pompous feedings.    (p. 100)
Partly in order to escape them he took a house at Ealing, and lived
there during the greater part of his stay in England. "One of the
strongest reasons for my remaining out of town," he writes, "is to
escape the frequency of invitations at late hours, which consume so
much precious time, and with the perpetually mortifying consciousness
of inability to return the civility in the same manner." The
republican simplicity, not to say poverty, forced upon American
representatives abroad, was a very different matter in the censorious
and unfriendly society of London from what it had been at the kindly
disposed Court of St. Petersburg. The relationship between the mother
country and the quondam colonies, especially at that juncture, was
such as to render social life intolerably trying to an under-paid
American minister.

Mr. Adams remained in England until June 15, 1817, when he sailed from
Cowes, closing forever his long and honorable diplomatic career, and
bidding his last farewell to Europe. He returned home to take the post
of Secretary of State in the cabinet of James Monroe, then lately
inaugurated as President of the United States.

CHAPTER II                                                         (p. 101)


From the capitals of Russia and Great Britain to the capital of the
United States was a striking change. Washington, in its early struggle
for existence, was so unattractive a spot, that foreigners must have
been at a loss to discover the principle which had governed the
selection. It combined all the ugliness with all the discomfort of an
unprosperous frontier settlement on an ill-chosen site. What must
European diplomats have thought of a capital city where snakes two
feet long invaded gentlemen's drawing-rooms, and a carriage, bringing
home the guests from a ball, could be upset by the impenetrable depth
of quagmire at the very door of a foreign minister's residence. A
description of the city given by Mr. Mills, a Representative from
Massachusetts, in 1815, is pathetic in its unutterable horror:--

     "It is impossible [he writes] for me to describe to you my
     feelings on entering this miserable desert, this scene of
     desolation and horror.... My anticipations were almost        (p. 102)
     infinitely short of the reality, and I can truly say that the
     first appearance of this seat of the national government has
     produced in me nothing but absolute loathing and disgust."

If the place wore such a dreadful aspect to the simple denizen of a
New England country town, what must it have seemed to those who were
familiar with London and Paris? To them the social life must have been
scarcely less dreary than the rest of the surroundings. Accordingly,
with this change of scene, the Diary, so long a record of festivities
sometimes dull and formal, but generally collecting interesting and
distinguished persons, ceases almost wholly to refer to topics of
society. Yet, of course, even the foul streets could not prevent
people from occasionally meeting together. There were simple
tea-drinkings, stupid weekly dinners at the President's, infrequent
receptions by Mrs. Monroe, card-parties and conversation-parties,
which at the British minister's were very "elegant," and at the French
minister's were more gay. Mons. de Neuville, at his dinners, used to
puzzle and astound the plain-living Yankees by serving dishes of
"turkeys without bones, and puddings in the form of fowls, fresh cod
disguised like a salad, and celery like oysters;" further, he
scandalized some and demoralized others by having dancing on       (p. 103)
Saturday evenings, which the New England ladies had been "educated to
consider as holy time." Mr. and Mrs. Adams used to give weekly parties
on Tuesday evenings, and apparently many persons stood not a little in
awe of these entertainments and of the givers of them, by reason of
their superior familiarity with the manners and customs of the best
society of Europe. Mrs. Adams was, "on the whole, a very pleasant and
agreeable woman; but the Secretary [had] no talent to entertain a
mixed company, either by conversation or manners;" thus writes this
same Mr. Mills, whose sentiments towards Mr. Adams were those of
respect rather than of personal liking. The favorite dissipation then
consisted in card-playing, and the stakes were too often out of all
just proportion to the assets of the gamesters. At one time Mr. Clay
was reputed to have lost $8,000, an amount so considerable for him as
to weigh upon his mind to the manifest detriment of his public
functions. But sometimes the gentlemen resident in the capital met for
purposes less innocent than Saturday evening cotillons, or even than
extravagant betting at the card-table, and stirred the dulness of
society by a duel. Mr. Adams tells of one affair of this sort, fought
between ex-Senator Mason, of Virginia, and his cousin, wherein the
weapons used were muskets, and the distance was only six paces.    (p. 104)
Mason was killed; his cousin was wounded, and only by a lucky
accident escaped with his life. Mr. Adams had little time and less
taste for either the amusements or the dangers thus offered to him; he
preferred to go to bed in good season, to get up often long before
daybreak, and to labor assiduously the livelong day. His favorite
exercise was swimming in the Potomac, where he accomplished feats
which would have been extraordinary for a young and athletic man.

The most important, perplexing, and time-consuming duties then called
for by the condition of public affairs happened to fall within Mr.
Adams's department. Monroe's administration has been christened the
"era of good feeling;" and, so far as political divisions among the
people at large were concerned, this description is correct enough.
There were no great questions of public policy dividing the nation.
There could hardly be said to be two political parties. With the close
of the war the malcontent Federalists had lost the only substantial
principle upon which they had been able vigorously to oppose the
administration, and as a natural consequence the party rapidly shrank
to insignificant proportions, and became of hardly more importance
than were the Jacobites in England after their last hopes had      (p. 105)
been quenched by the failure of the Rebellion of '45. The Federalist
faith, like Jacobitism, lingered in a few neighborhoods, and was
maintained by a few old families, who managed to associate it with a
sense of their own pride and dignity; but as an effective opposition
or influential party organization it was effete, and no successor was
rising out of its ruins. In a broad way, therefore, there was
political harmony to a very remarkable degree.

But among individuals there was by no means a prevailing good feeling.
Not held together by the pressure exerted by the antagonism of a
strong hostile force, the prominent men of the Cabinet and in Congress
were busily employed in promoting their own individual interests.
Having no great issues with which to identify themselves, and upon
which they could openly and honorably contend for the approval of the
nation, their only means for securing their respective private ends
lay in secretly overreaching and supplanting each other. Infinite
skill was exerted by each to inveigle his rival into an unpopular
position or a compromising light. By a series of precedents Mr. Adams,
as Secretary of State, appeared most prominent as a candidate for the
succession to the Presidency. But Mr. Crawford, in the Treasury
Department, had been very near obtaining the nomination instead    (p. 106)
of Monroe, and he was firmly resolved to secure it so soon as Mr.
Monroe's eight years should have elapsed. He, therefore, finding much
leisure left upon his hands by the not very exacting business of his
office, devoted his ingenuity to devising schemes for injuring the
prestige of Mr. Adams. Mr. Clay also had been greatly disappointed
that he had not been summoned to be Secretary of State, and so made
heir apparent. His personal enmity was naturally towards Mr. Monroe;
his political enmity necessarily also included Mr. Adams, whose
appointment he had privately sought to prevent. He therefore at once
set himself assiduously to oppose and thwart the administration, and
to make it unsuccessful and unpopular. That Clay was in the main and
upon all weighty questions an honest statesman and a real patriot must
be admitted, but just at this period no national crisis called his
nobler qualities into action, and his course was largely influenced by
selfish considerations. It was not long before Mr. Calhoun also
entered the lists, though in a manner less discreditable to himself,
personally, than were the resources of Crawford and Clay. The daily
narrations and comments of Mr. Adams display and explain in a manner
highly instructive, if not altogether agreeable, the ambitions     (p. 107)
and the manoeuvres, the hollow alliances and unworthy intrigues, not
only of these three, but also of many other estimable gentlemen then
in political life. The difference between those days and our own seems
not so great as the _laudatores temporis acti_ are wont to proclaim
it. The elaborate machinery which has since been constructed was then
unknown; rivals relied chiefly upon their own astuteness and the aid
of a few personal friends and adherents for carrying on contests and
attaining ends which are now sought by vastly more complex methods.
What the stage-coach of that period was to the railroads of to-day, or
what the hand-loom was to our great cotton mills, such also was the
political intriguing of cabinet ministers, senators, and
representatives to our present party machinery. But the temper was no
better, honor was no keener, the sense of public duty was little more
disinterested then than now. One finds no serious traces of vulgar
financial dishonesty recorded in these pages, in which Mr. Adams has
handed down the political life of the second and third decades of our
century with a photographic accuracy. But one does not see a much
higher level of faithfulness to ideal standards in political life than
now exists.

[Illustration: Wm. H. Crawford.]

As has been said, it so happened that in Mr. Monroe's              (p. 108)
administration the heaviest burden of labor and responsibility rested
upon Mr. Adams; the most important and most perplexing questions fell
within his department. Domestic breaches had been healed, but foreign
breaches gaped with threatening jaws. War with Spain seemed imminent.
Her South American colonies were then waging their contest for
independence, and naturally looked to the late successful rebels of
the northern continent for acts of neighborly sympathy and good
fellowship. Their efforts to obtain official recognition and the
exchange of ministers with the United States were eager and persistent.
Privateers fitted out at Baltimore gave the State Department scarcely
less cause for anxiety than the shipbuilders of Liverpool gave to the
English Cabinet in 1863-64. These perplexities, as is well known,
caused the passage of the first "Neutrality Act," which first
formulated and has since served to establish the principle of
international obligation in such matters, and has been the basis of
all subsequent legislation upon the subject not only in this country
but also in Great Britain.

The European powers, impelled by a natural distaste for rebellion by
colonists, and also believing that Spain would in time prevail over
the insurgents, turned a deaf ear to South American agents. But in the
United States it was different. Here it was anticipated that the   (p. 109)
revolted communities were destined to win; Mr. Adams records this as
his own opinion; besides which there was also a natural sympathy felt
by our people in such a conflict in their own quarter of the globe.
Nevertheless, in many anxious cabinet discussions, the President and
the Secretary of State established the policy of reserve and caution.
Rebels against an established government are like plaintiffs in
litigation; the burden of proof is upon them, and the neutral nations
who are a sort of quasi-jurors must not commit themselves to a
decision prematurely. The grave and inevitable difficulties besetting
the administration in this matter were seriously enhanced by the
conduct of Mr. Clay. Seeking nothing so eagerly as an opportunity to
harass the government, he could have found none more to his taste than
this question of South American recognition. His enthusiastic and
rhetorical temperament rejoiced in such a topic for his luxuriant
oratory, and he lauded freedom and abused the administration with a
force of expression far from gratifying to the responsible heads of
government in their troublesome task.

Apart from these matters the United States had direct disputes of a
threatening character pending with Spain concerning the boundaries of
Louisiana. Naturally enough boundary lines in the half explored    (p. 110)
wilderness of this vast continent were not then marked with that
indisputable accuracy which many generations and much bloodshed had
achieved in Europe; and of all uncertain boundaries that of Louisiana
was the most so. Area enough to make two or three States, more or
less, might or might not be included therein. Such doubts had proved a
ready source of quarrel, which could hardly be assuaged by General
Jackson marching about in unquestionable Spanish territory, seizing
towns and hanging people after his lawless, ignorant, energetic
fashion. Mr. Adams's chief labor, therefore, was by no means of a
promising character, being nothing less difficult than to conclude a
treaty between enraged Spain and the rapacious United States, where
there was so much wrong and so much right on both sides, and such a
wide obscure realm of doubt between the two that an amicable agreement
might well seem not only beyond expectation but beyond hope.

Many and various also were the incidental obstacles in Mr. Adams's
way. Not the least lay in the ability of Don Onis, the Spanish
Minister, an ambassador well selected for his important task and whom
the American thus described:--

     "Cold, calculating, wily, always commanding his own temper,   (p. 111)
     proud because he is a Spaniard, but supple and cunning,
     accommodating the tone of his pretensions precisely to the degree
     of endurance of his opponent, bold and overbearing to the utmost
     extent to which it is tolerated, careless of what he asserts or
     how grossly it is proved to be unfounded, his morality appears to
     be that of the Jesuits as exposed by Pascal. He is laborious,
     vigilant, and ever attentive to his duties; a man of business and
     of the world."

Fortunately this so dangerous negotiator was hardly less anxious than
Mr. Adams to conclude a treaty. Yet he, too, had his grave difficulties
to encounter. Spanish arrogance had not declined with the decline of
Spanish strength, and the concessions demanded from that ancient
monarchy by the upstart republic seemed at once exasperating and
humiliating. The career of Jackson in Florida, while it exposed the
weakness of Spain, also sorely wounded her pride. Nor could the
grandees, three thousand miles away, form so accurate an opinion of
the true condition and prospects of affairs as could Don Onis upon
this side of the water. One day, begging Mr. Adams to meet him upon a
question of boundary, "he insisted much upon the infinite pains he had
taken to prevail upon his government to come to terms of accommodation,"
and pathetically declared that "the King's Council was composed    (p. 112)
of such ignorant and stupid _nigauds_, grandees of Spain, and priests,"
that Mr. Adams "could have no conception of their obstinacy and

Other difficulties in Mr. Adams's way were such as ought not to have
been encountered. The only substantial concession which he was willing
to make was in accepting the Sabine instead of the Rio del Norte as
the southwestern boundary of Louisiana. But no sooner did rumors of
this possible yielding get abroad than he was notified that Mr. Clay
"would take ground against" any treaty embodying it. From Mr. Crawford
a more dangerous and insidious policy was to be feared. Presumably he
would be well pleased either to see Mr. Adams fail altogether in the
negotiation, or to see him conclude a treaty which would be in some
essential feature odious to the people.

     "That all his conduct [wrote Mr. Adams] is governed by his views
     to the Presidency, as the ultimate successor to Mr. Monroe, and
     that his hopes depend upon a result unfavorable to the success or
     at least to the popularity of the Administration, is perfectly
     clear.... His talent is intrigue. And as it is in the foreign
     affairs that the success or failure of the Administration will be
     most conspicuous, and as their success would promote the
     reputation and influence, and their failure would lead to     (p. 113)
     the disgrace of the Secretary of State, Crawford's personal
     views centre in the ill-success of the Administration in its
     foreign relations; and, perhaps unconscious of his own motives,
     he will always be impelled to throw obstacles in its way, and to
     bring upon the Department of State especially any feeling of
     public dissatisfaction that he can, ... and although himself a
     member of the Administration, he perceives every day more clearly
     that his only prospect of success hereafter depends upon the
     failure of the Administration by measures of which he must take
     care to make known his disapprobation."

President Monroe was profoundly anxious for the consummation of the
treaty, and though for a time he was in perfect accord with Mr. Adams,
yet as the Spanish minister gradually drew nearer and nearer to a full
compliance with the American demands, Monroe began to fear that the
Secretary would carry his unyielding habit too far, and by insistence
upon extreme points which might well enough be given up, would allow
the country to drift into war.

Fortunately, as it turned out, Mr. Adams was not afraid to take the
whole responsibility of success or failure upon his own shoulders,
showing indeed a high and admirable courage and constancy amid such
grave perplexities, in which it seemed that all his future political
fortunes were involved. He caused the proffered mediation of       (p. 114)
Great Britain to be rejected. He availed himself of no aid save only
the services of Mons. de Neuville, the French minister, who took a
warm interest in the negotiation, expostulated and argued constantly
with Don Onis and sometimes with Mr. Adams, served as a channel of
communication and carried messages, propositions, and denials, which
could better come filtered through a neutral go-between than pass
direct from principal to principal. In fact, Mr. Adams needed no other
kind of aid except just this which was so readily furnished by the
civil and obliging Frenchman. As if he had been a mathematician
solving a problem in dynamics, he seemed to have measured the precise
line to which the severe pressure of Spanish difficulties would compel
Don Onis to advance. This line he drew sharply, and taking his stand
upon it in the beginning he made no important alterations in it to the
end. Day by day the Spaniard would reluctantly approach toward him at
one point or another, solemnly protesting that he could not make
another move, by argument and entreaty urging, almost imploring, Mr.
Adams in turn to advance and meet him. But Mr. Adams stood rigidly
still, sometimes not a little vexed by the other's lingering manoeuvres,
and actually once saying to the courtly Spaniard that he "was so   (p. 115)
wearied out with the discussion that it had become nauseous;" and,
again, that he "really could discuss no longer, and had given it up in
despair." Yet all the while he was never wholly free from anxiety
concerning the accuracy of his calculations as to how soon the Don
might on his side also come to a final stand. Many a tedious and
alarming pause there was, but after each halt progress was in time
renewed. At last the consummation was reached, and except in the
aforementioned matter of the Sabine boundary no concession even in
details had been made by Mr. Adams. The United States was to receive
Florida, and in return only agreed to settle the disputed claims of
certain of her citizens against Spain to an amount not to exceed five
million dollars; while the claims of Spanish subjects against the
United States were wholly expunged. The western boundary was so
established as to secure for this country the much-coveted outlet to
the shores of the "South Sea," as the Pacific Ocean was called, south
of the Columbia River; the line also was run along the southern banks
of the Red and Arkansas rivers, leaving all the islands to the United
States and precluding Spain from the right of navigation. Mr. Adams
had achieved a great triumph.

On February 22, 1819, the two negotiators signed and sealed the    (p. 116)
counterparts of the treaty. Mr. Adams notes that it is "perhaps
the most important day of my life," and justly called it "a great
epoch in our history." Yet on the next day the "Washington City
Gazette" came out with a strong condemnation of the Sabine concession,
and expressed the hope that the Senate would not agree to it. "This
paragraph," said Mr. Adams, "comes directly or indirectly from Mr.
Clay." But the paragraph did no harm, for on the following day the
treaty was confirmed by an unanimous vote of the Senate.

It was not long, however, before the pleasure justly derivable from
the completion of this great labor was cruelly dashed. It appeared
that certain enormous grants of land, made by the Spanish king to
three of his nobles, and which were supposed to be annulled by the
treaty, so that the territory covered by them would become the public
property of the United States, bore date earlier than had been
understood, and for this reason would, by the terms of the treaty, be
left in full force. This was a serious matter, and such steps as were
still possible to set it right were promptly taken. Mr. Adams appealed
to Don Onis to state in writing that he himself had understood that
these grants were to be annulled, and that such had been the intention
of the treaty. The Spaniard replied in a shape imperfectly         (p. 117)
satisfactory. He shuffled, evaded, and laid himself open to suspicion
of unfair dealing, though the charge could not be regarded as fully
proved against him. Mr. Adams, while blaming himself for carelessness
in not having more closely examined original documents, yet felt
"scarce a doubt" that Onis "did intend by artifice to cover the grants
while we were under the undoubting impression they were annulled;" and
he said to M. de Neuville, concerning this dark transaction, that "it
was not the ingenious device of a public minister, but '_une fourberie
de Scapin_.'" Before long the rumor got abroad in the public prints in
the natural shape of a "malignant distortion," and Mr. Adams was
compelled to see with chagrin his supposed brilliant success
threatening to turn actually to his grave discredit by reason of this
unfortunate oversight.

What might have been the result had the treaty been ratified by Spain
can only be surmised. But it so befell--happily enough for the United
States and for Mr. Adams, as it afterwards turned out--that the
Spanish government refused to ratify. The news was, however, that they
would forthwith dispatch a new minister to explain this refusal and to
renew negotiations.

For his own private part Mr. Adams strove to endure this buffet    (p. 118)
of unkindly fortune with that unflinching and stubborn temper,
slightly dashed with bitterness, which stood him in good stead in many
a political trial during his hard-fighting career. But in his official
capacity he had also to consider and advise what it behooved the
administration to do under the circumstances. The feeling was
widespread that the United States ought to possess Florida, and that
Spain had paltered with us long enough. More than once in cabinet
meetings during the negotiation the Secretary of State, who was always
prone to strong measures, had expressed a wish for an act of Congress
authorizing the Executive to take forcible possession of Florida and
of Galveston in the event of Spain refusing to satisfy the reasonable
demands made upon her. Now, stimulated by indignant feeling, his
prepossession in favor of vigorous action was greatly strengthened,
and his counsel was that the United States should prepare at once to
take and hold the disputed territory, and indeed some undisputed
Spanish territory also. But Mr. Monroe and the rest of the Cabinet
preferred a milder course; and France and Great Britain ventured to
express to this country a hope that no violent action would be
precipitately taken. So the matter lay by for a while, awaiting the
coming of the promised envoy from Spain.

At this time the great question of the admission of Missouri into  (p. 119)
the Union of States began to agitate Congress and the nation. Mr.
Adams, deeply absorbed in the perplexing affairs of his department,
into which this domestic problem did not enter, was at first careless
of it. His ideas concerning the matter, he wrote, were a "chaos;" but
it was a "chaos" into which his interest in public questions soon
compelled him to bring order. In so doing he for the first time fairly
exposes his intense repulsion for slavery, his full appreciation of
the irrepressible character of the conflict between the slave and the
free populations, and the sure tendency of that conflict to a
dissolution of the Union. Few men at that day read the future so
clearly. While dissolution was generally regarded as a threat not
really intended to be carried out, and compromises were supposed to be
amply sufficient to control the successive emergencies, the underlying
moral force of the anti-slavery movement acting against the
encroaching necessities of the slave-holding communities constituted
an element and involved possibilities which Mr. Adams, from his
position of observation outside the immediate controversy, noted with
foreseeing accuracy. He discerned in passing events the "title-page to
a great tragic volume;" and he predicted that the more or less distant
but sure end must be an attempt to dissolve the Union. His own     (p. 120)
position was distinctly defined from the outset, and his strong
feelings were vigorously expressed. He beheld with profound regret the
superiority of the slave-holding party in ability; he remarked sadly
how greatly they excelled in debating power their lukewarm opponents;
he was filled with indignation against the Northern men of Southern
principles. "Slavery," he wrote, "is the great and foul stain upon the
North American Union, and it is a contemplation worthy of the most
exalted soul whether its total abolition is or is not practicable." "A
life devoted to" the emancipation problem "would be nobly spent or
sacrificed." He talks with much acerbity of expression about the
"slave-drivers," and the "flagrant image of human inconsistency"
presented by men who had "the Declaration of Independence on their
lips and the merciless scourge of slavery in their hands." "Never," he
says, "since human sentiments and human conduct were influenced by
human speech was there a theme for eloquence like the free side of
this question.... Oh, if but one man could arise with a genius capable
of comprehending, and an utterance capable of communicating those
eternal truths that belong to this question, to lay bare in all its
nakedness that outrage upon the goodness of God, human slavery;    (p. 121)
now is the time and this is the occasion, upon which such a man would
perform the duties of an angel upon earth." Before the Abolitionists
had begun to preach their great crusade this was strong and ardent
language for a statesman's pen. Nor were these exceptional passages;
there is much more of the same sort at least equally forcible. Mr.
Adams notes an interesting remark made to him by Calhoun at this time.
The great Southern chief, less prescient than Mr. Adams, declared that
he did not think that the slavery question "would produce a
dissolution of the Union; but if it should, the South would be from
necessity compelled to form an alliance offensive and defensive with
Great Britain."

Concerning a suggestion that civil war might be preferable to the
extension of slavery beyond the Mississippi, Adams said: "This is a
question between the rights of human nature and the Constitution of
the United States"--a form of stating the case which leaves no doubt
concerning his ideas of the intrinsic right and wrong in the matter.
His own notion was that slavery could not be got rid of within the
Union, but that the only method would be dissolution, after which he
trusted that the course of events would in time surely lead to
reorganization upon the basis of universal freedom for all. He     (p. 122)
was not a disunionist in any sense, yet it is evident that his strong
tendency and inclination were to regard emancipation as a weight in
the scales heavier than union, if it should ever come to the point of
an option between the two.

Strangely enough the notion of a forcible retention of the slave
States within the Union does not seem to have been at this time a
substantial element of consideration. Mr. Adams acknowledged that
there was no way at once of preserving the Union and escaping from the
present emergency save through the door of compromise. He maintained
strenuously the power of Congress to prohibit slavery in the
Territories, and denied that either Congress or a state government
could establish slavery as a new institution in any State in which it
was not already existing and recognized by law.

This agitation of the slavery question made itself felt in a way
personally interesting to Mr. Adams, by the influence it was exerting
upon men's feelings concerning the still pending and dubious treaty
with Spain. The South became anxious to lay hands upon the Floridas
and upon as far-reaching an area as possible in the direction of
Mexico, in order to carve it up into more slave States; the North, on
the other hand, no longer cared very eagerly for an extension of the
Union upon its southern side. Sectional interests were getting to  (p. 123)
be more considered than national. Mr. Adams could not but recognize
that in the great race for the Presidency, in which he could hardly
help being a competitor, the chief advantage which he seemed to have
won when the Senate unanimously ratified the Spanish treaty, had
almost wholly vanished since that treaty had been repudiated by Spain
and was now no longer desired by a large proportion of his own

Matters stood thus when the new Spanish envoy, Vivês, arrived. Other
elements, which there is not space to enumerate here, besides those
referred to, now entering newly into the state of affairs, further
reduced the improbability of agreement almost to hopelessness. Mr.
Adams, despairing of any other solution than a forcible seizure of
Florida, to which he had long been far from averse, now visibly
relaxed his efforts to meet the Spanish negotiator. Perhaps no other
course could have been more effectual in securing success than this
obvious indifference to it. In the prevalent condition of public
feeling and of his own sentiments Mr. Adams easily assumed towards
General Vivês a decisive bluntness, not altogether consonant to the
habits of diplomacy, and manifested an unchangeable stubbornness which
left no room for discussion. His position was simply that Spain might
make such a treaty as the United States demanded, or might take    (p. 124)
the consequences of her refusal. His dogged will wore out the
Spaniard's pride, and after a fruitless delay the King and Cortes
ratified the treaty in its original shape, with the important addition
of an explicit annulment of the land grants. It was again sent in to
the Senate, and in spite of the "continued, systematic, and laborious
effort" of "Mr. Clay and his partisans to make it unpopular," it was
ratified by a handsome majority, there being against it "only four
votes--Brown, of Louisiana, who married a sister of Clay's wife;
Richard M. Johnson, of Kentucky, against his own better judgment, from
mere political subserviency to Clay; Williams, of Tennessee, from
party impulses connected with hatred of General Jackson; and Trimble,
of Ohio, from some maggot of the brain." Two years had elapsed since
the former ratification, and no little patience had been required to
await so long the final achievement of a success so ardently longed
for, once apparently gained, and anon so cruelly thwarted. But the
triumph was rather enhanced than diminished by all this difficulty and
delay. A long and checkered history, wherein appeared infinite labor,
many a severe trial of temper and hard test of moral courage, bitter
disappointment, ignoble artifices of opponents, ungenerous         (p. 125)
opposition growing out of unworthy personal motives at home, was now
at last closed by a chapter which appeared only the more gratifying by
contrast with what had gone before. Mr. Adams recorded, with less of
exultation than might have been pardonable, the utter discomfiture of
"all the calculators of my downfall by the Spanish negotiation," and
reflected cheerfully that he had been left with "credit rather augmented
than impaired by the result,"--credit not in excess of his deserts.
Many years afterwards, in changed circumstances, an outcry was raised
against the agreement which was arrived at concerning the southwestern
boundary of Louisiana. Most unjustly it was declared that Mr. Adams
had sacrificed a portion of the territory of the United States. But
political motives were too plainly to be discerned in these tardy
criticisms; and though General Jackson saw fit, for personal reasons,
to animadvert severely upon the clause establishing this boundary
line, yet there was abundant evidence to show not only that he, like
almost everybody else, had been greatly pleased with it at the time,
but even that he had then upon consultation expressed a deliberate and
special approval.

The same day, February 22, 1821, closed, says Mr. Adams, "two of the
most memorable transactions of my life." That he should speak thus (p. 126)
of the exchange of ratifications of the Spanish treaty is natural; but
the other so "memorable transaction" may not appear of equal magnitude.
It was the sending in to Congress of his report upon weights and
measures. This was one of those vast labors, involving tenfold more
toil than all the negotiations with Onis and Vivês, but bringing no
proportionate fame, however well it might be performed. The subject
was one which had "occupied for the last sixty years many of the
ablest men in Europe, and to which all the power and all the
philosophical and mathematical learning and ingenuity of France and of
Great Britain" had during that period been incessantly directed. It
was fairly enough described as a "fearful and oppressive task." Upon
its dry and uncongenial difficulties Mr. Adams had been employed with
his wonted industry for upwards of four years; he now spoke of the
result modestly as "a hurried and imperfect work." But others, who
have had to deal with the subject, have found this report a solid and
magnificent monument of research and reflection, which has not even
yet been superseded by later treatises. Mr. Adams was honest in labor
as in everything, and was never careless at points where inaccuracy or
lack of thoroughness might be expected to escape detection.        (p. 127)
Hence his success in a task upon which it is difficult to imagine other
statesmen of that day--Clay, Webster, or Calhoun, for example--so much
as making an effort. The topic is not one concerning which readers
would tolerate much lingering. Suffice it then to say that the
document illustrated the ability and the character of the man, and so
with this brief mention to dismiss in a paragraph an achievement
which, had it been accomplished in any more showy department, would
alone have rendered Mr. Adams famous.

It is highly gratifying now to look back upon the high spirit and
independent temper uniformly displayed by Mr. Adams abroad and at home
in all dealings with foreign powers. Never in any instance did he
display the least tinge of that rodomontade and boastful extravagance
which have given an underbred air to so many of our diplomats, and
which inevitably cause the basis for such self-laudation to appear of
dubious sufficiency. But he had the happy gift of a native pride which
enabled him to support in the most effective manner the dignity of the
people for whom he spoke. For example, in treaties between the United
States and European powers the latter were for a time wont to name
themselves first throughout the instruments, contrary to the custom of
alternation practised in treaties between themselves. With some    (p. 128)
difficulty, partly interposed, it must be confessed, by his own
American coadjutors, Mr. Adams succeeded in putting a stop to this
usage. It was a matter of insignificant detail, in one point of view;
but in diplomacy insignificant details often symbolize important
facts, and there is no question that this habit had been construed as
a tacit but intentional arrogance of superiority on the part of the

For a long period after the birth of the country there was a strong
tendency, not yet so eradicated as to be altogether undiscoverable, on
the part of American statesmen to keep one eye turned covertly askance
upon the trans-Atlantic courts, and to consider, not without a certain
anxious deference, what appearance the new United States might be
presenting to the critical eyes of foreign countries and diplomats.
Mr. Adams was never guilty of such indirect admissions of an inferiority
which apparently he never felt. In the matter of the acquisition of
Florida, Crawford suggested that England and France regarded the
people of the United States as ambitious and encroaching; wherefore he
advised a moderate policy in order to remove this impression. Mr.
Adams on the other side declared that he was not in favor of our
giving ourselves any concern whatever about the opinions of any    (p. 129)
foreign power. "If the world do not hold us for Romans," he said,
"they will take us for Jews, and of the two vices I would rather be
charged with that which has greatness mingled in its composition." His
views were broad and grand. He was quite ready to have the world
become "familiarized with the idea of considering our proper dominion
to be the continent of North America." This extension he declared to
be a "law of nature." To suppose that Spain and England could, through
the long lapse of time, retain their possessions on this side of the
Atlantic seemed to him a "physical, moral, and political absurdity."

The doctrine which has been christened with the name of President
Monroe seems likely to win for him the permanent glory of having
originated the wise policy which that familiar phrase now signifies.
It might, however, be shown that by right of true paternity the
bantling should have borne a different patronymic. Not only is the
"Monroe Doctrine," as that phrase is customarily construed in our day,
much more comprehensive than the simple theory first expressed by
Monroe and now included in the modern doctrine as a part in the whole,
but a principle more fully identical with the imperial one of to-day
had been conceived and shaped by Mr. Adams before the delivery of  (p. 130)
Monroe's famous message. As has just been remarked, he looked forward
to the possession of the whole North American continent by the United
States as a sure destiny, and for his own part, whenever opportunity
offered, he was never backward to promote this glorious ultimate
consummation. He was in favor of the acquisition of Louisiana, whatever
fault he might find with the scheme of Mr. Jefferson for making it a
state; he was ready in 1815 to ask the British plenipotentiaries to
cede Canada simply as a matter of common sense and mutual convenience,
and as the comfortable result of a war in which the United States had
been worsted; he never labored harder than in negotiating for the
Floridas, and in pushing our western boundaries to the Pacific; in
April, 1823, he wrote to the American minister at Madrid the significant
remark: "It is scarcely possible to resist the conviction that the
annexation of Cuba to our Federal Republic will be indispensable to
the continuance and integrity of the Union." Encroachments never
seemed distasteful to him, and he was always forward to stretch a
point in order to advocate or defend a seizure of disputed North
American territory, as in the cases of Amelia Island, Pensacola, and
Galveston. When discussion arose with Russia concerning her        (p. 131)
possessions on the northwest coast of this continent, Mr. Adams
audaciously told the Russian minister, Baron Tuyl, July 17, 1823,
"that we should contest the rights of Russia to _any_ territorial
establishment on this continent, and that we should assume distinctly
the principle that the American continents are no longer subjects for
any new European colonial establishments." "This," says Mr. Charles
Francis Adams in a footnote to the passage in the Diary, "is the first
hint of the policy so well known afterwards as the Monroe Doctrine."
Nearly five months later, referring to the same matter in his message
to Congress, December 2, 1823, President Monroe said: "The occasion
has been judged proper for asserting, as a principle in which the
rights and interests of the United States are involved, that the
American continents, by the free and independent condition which they
have assumed and maintain, are henceforth not to be considered as
subjects for future colonization by any European powers."

It will be observed that both Mr. Adams and President Monroe used the
phrase "continents," including thereby South as well as North America.
A momentous question was imminent, which fortunately never called for
a determination by action, but which in this latter part of 1823
threatened to do so at any moment. Cautious and moderate as the    (p. 132)
United States had been, under Mr. Adams's guidance, in recognizing
the freedom and autonomy of the South American states, yet in time the
recognition was made of one after another, and the emancipation of
South America had come, while Mr. Adams was yet Secretary, to be
regarded as an established fact. But now, in 1823-24, came mutterings
from across the Atlantic indicating a strong probability that the
members of the Holy Alliance would interfere in behalf of monarchical
and anti-revolutionary principles, and would assist in the resubjugation
of the successful insurgents. That each one of the powers who should
contribute to this huge crusade would expect and receive territorial
reward could not be doubted. Mr. Adams, in unison with most of his
countrymen, contemplated with profound distrust and repulsion the
possibility of such an European inroad. Stimulated by the prospect of
so unwelcome neighbors, he prepared some dispatches, "drawn to
correspond exactly" with the sentiments of Mr. Monroe's message, in
which he appears to have taken a very high and defiant position. These
documents, coming before the Cabinet for consideration, caused some
flutter among his associates. In the possible event of the Holy
Alliance actually intermeddling in South American affairs, it was  (p. 133)
said, the principles enunciated by the Secretary of State would
involve this country in war with a very formidable confederation. Mr.
Adams acknowledged this, but courageously declared that in such a
crisis he felt quite ready to take even this spirited stand. His
audacious spirit went far in advance of the cautious temper of the
Monroe administration; possibly it went too far in advance of the
dictates of a wise prudence, though fortunately the course of events
never brought this question to trial; and it is at least gratifying to
contemplate such a manifestation of daring temper.

But though so bold and independent, Mr. Adams was not habitually
reckless nor prone to excite animosity by needless arrogance in action
or extravagance in principle. In any less perilous extremity than was
presented by this menaced intrusion of combined Europe he followed
rigidly the wise rule of non-interference. For many years before this
stage was reached he had been holding in difficult check the
enthusiasts who, under the lead of Mr. Clay, would have embroiled us
with Spain and Portugal. Once he was made the recipient of a very
amusing proposition from the Portuguese minister, that the United
States and Portugal, as "the two great powers of the western hemisphere,"
should concert together a grand American system. The drollery pf   (p. 134)
this notion was of a kind that Mr. Adams could appreciate, though
to most manifestations of humor he was utterly impervious. But after
giving vent to some contemptuous merriment he adds, with a just and
serious pride: "As to an American system, we have it; we constitute
the whole of it; there is no community of interests or of principles
between North and South America." This sound doctrine was put forth in
1820; and it was only modified in the manner that we have seen during
a brief period in 1823, in face of the alarming vision not only of
Spain and Portugal restored to authority, but of Russia in possession
of California and more, France in possession of Mexico, and perhaps
Great Britain becoming mistress of Cuba.

So far as European affairs were concerned, Mr. Adams always and
consistently refused to become entangled in them, even in the slightest
and most indirect manner. When the cause of Greek liberty aroused the
usual throng of noisy advocates for active interference, he contented
himself with expressions of cordial sympathy, accompanied by perfectly
distinct and explicit statements that under no circumstances could any
aid in the way of money or auxiliary forces be expected from this
country. Neutrals we were and would remain in any and all          (p. 135)
European quarrels. When Stratford Canning urged, with the uttermost
measure of persistence of which even he was capable, that for the
suppression of the slave trade some such arrangement might be made as
that of mixed tribunals for the trial of slave-trading vessels, and
alleged that divers European powers were uniting for this purpose, Mr.
Adams suggested, as an insuperable obstacle, "the general extra-European
policy of the United States--a policy which they had always pursued as
best suited to their own interests, and best adapted to harmonize with
those of Europe. This policy had also been that of Europe, which had
never considered the United States as belonging to her system.... It
was best for both parties that they should continue to do so." In any
European combinations, said Mr. Adams, in which the United States
should become a member, she must soon become an important power, and
must always be, in many respects, an uncongenial one. It was best that
she should keep wholly out of European politics, even of such leagues
as one for the suppression of the slave trade. He added, that he did
not wish his language to be construed as importing "an unsocial and
sulky spirit on the part of the United States;" for no such temper
existed; it had simply been the policy of Europe to consider       (p. 136)
this country as standing aloof from all European federations, and in
this treatment "we had acquiesced, because it fell in with our own

In a word, Mr. Adams, by his language and actions, established and
developed precisely that doctrine which has since been adopted by this
country under the doubly incorrect name of the "Monroe Doctrine,"--a
name doubly incorrect, because even the real "Monroe Doctrine" was not
an original idea of Mr. Monroe, and because the doctrine which now
goes by that name is not identical with the doctrine which Monroe did
once declare. Mr. Adams's principle was simply that the United States
would take no part whatsoever in foreign politics, not even in those
of South America, save in the extreme event, eliminated from among
things possible in this generation, of such an interference as was
contemplated by the Holy Alliance; and that, on the other hand, she
would permit no European power to gain any new foothold upon this
continent. Time and experience have not enabled us to improve upon the
principles which Mr. Adams worked out for us.

Mr. Adams had some pretty stormy times with Mr. Stratford Canning--the
same gentleman who in his later life is familiar to the readers of (p. 137)
Kinglake's "History of the Crimean War" as Lord Stratford de
Redclyffe, or Eltchi. That minister's overbearing and dictatorial
deportment was afterwards not out of place when he was representing
the protecting power of Great Britain in the court of the "sick man."
But when he began to display his arrogance in the face of Mr. Adams he
found that he was bearding one who was at least his equal in pride and
temper. The naïve surprise which he manifested on making this
discovery is very amusing, and the accounts of the interviews between
the two are among the most pleasing episodes in the history of our
foreign relations. Nor are they less interesting as a sort of
confidential peep at the asperities of diplomacy. It appears that
besides the composed and formal dignity of phrase which alone the
public knows in published state papers and official correspondence,
there is also an official language of wrath and retort not at all
artificial or stilted, but quite homelike and human in its sound.

One subject much discussed between Mr. Adams and Mr. Canning related
to the English propositions for joint efforts to suppress the slave
trade. Great Britain had engaged with much vigor and certainly with an
admirable humanity in this cause. Her scheme was that each power
should keep armed cruisers on the coast of Africa, that the        (p. 138)
war-ships of either nation might search the merchant vessels of the
other, and that mixed courts of joint commissioners should try all
cases of capture. This plan had been urged upon the several European
nations, but with imperfect success. Portugal, Spain, and the
Netherlands had assented to it; Russia, France, Austria, and Prussia
had rejected it. Mr. Adams's notion was that the ministry were, in
their secret hearts, rather lukewarm in the business, but that they
were so pressed by "the party of the saints in Parliament" that they
were obliged to make a parade of zeal. Whether this suspicion was
correct or not, it is certain that Mr. Stratford Canning was very
persistent in the presentation of his demands, and could not be
persuaded to take No for an answer. Had it been possible to give any
more favorable reply no one in the United States in that day would
have been better pleased than Mr. Adams to do so. But the obstacles
were insuperable. Besides the undesirability of departing from the
"extra-European policy," the mixed courts would have been
unconstitutional, and could not have been established even by act of
Congress, while the claims advanced by Great Britain to search our
ships for English-born seamen in time of war utterly precluded the
possibility of admitting any rights of search whatsoever upon her  (p. 139)
part, even in time of peace, for any purpose or in any shape. In vain
did the Englishman reiterate his appeal. Mr. Adams as often explained
that the insistence of England upon her outrageous claim had rendered
the United States so sensitive upon the entire subject of search that
no description of right of that kind could ever be tolerated. "All
concession of principle," he said, "tended to encourage encroachment,
and if naval officers were once habituated to search the vessels of
other nations in time of peace for one thing, they would be still more
encouraged to practise it for another thing in time of war." The only
way for Great Britain to achieve her purpose would be "to bind herself
by an article, as strong and explicit as language can make it, never
again in time of war to take a man from an American vessel." This of
course was an inadmissible proposition, and so Mr. Stratford Canning's
incessant urgency produced no substantial results. This discussion,
however, was generally harmonious. Once only, in its earlier stages,
Mr. Adams notes a remark of Mr. Canning, repeated for the second time,
and not altogether gratifying. He said, writes Mr. Adams, "that he
should always receive any observations that I may make to him with a
just deference to my advance of years--over him. This is one of    (p. 140)
those equivocal compliments which, according to Sterne, a Frenchman
always returns with a bow."

It was when they got upon the matter of the American settlement at the
mouth of the Columbia River, that the two struck fire. Possession of
this disputed spot had been taken by the Americans, but was broken up
by the British during the war of 1812. After the declaration of peace
upon the _status ante bellum_, a British government vessel had been
dispatched upon the special errand of making formal return of the port
to the Americans. In January, 1821, certain remarks made in debate in
the House of Representatives, followed soon afterward by publication
in the "National Intelligencer" of a paper signed by Senator Eaton,
led Mr. Canning to think that the Government entertained the design of
establishing a substantial settlement at the mouth of the river. On
January 26 he called upon Mr. Adams and inquired the intentions of the
Administration in regard to this. Mr. Adams replied that an increase
of the present settlement was not improbable. Thereupon Mr. Canning
dropping the air of "easy familiarity" which had previously marked the
intercourse between the two, and "assuming a tone more peremptory"
than Mr. Adams "was disposed to endure," expressed his great       (p. 141)
surprise. Mr. Adams "with a corresponding change of tone" expressed
equal surprise, "both at the form and substance of his address." Mr.
Canning said that "he conceived such a settlement would be a direct
violation of the article of the Convention of 20th October, 1818." Mr.
Adams took down a volume, read the article, and said, "Now, sir, if
you have any charge to make against the American Government for a
violation of this article, you will please to make the communication
in writing." Mr. Canning retorted, with great vehemence:--

     "'And do you suppose, sir, that I am to be dictated to as to the
     manner in which I may think proper to communicate with the
     American Government?' I answered, 'No, sir. We know very well
     what are the privileges of foreign ministers, and mean to respect
     them. But you will give us leave to determine what communications
     we will receive, and how we will receive them; and you may be
     assured we are as little disposed to submit to dictation as to
     exercise it.' He then, in a louder and more passionate tone of
     voice, said: 'And am I to understand that I am to be refused
     henceforth any conference with you upon the subject of my
     mission?' 'Not at all, sir,' said I, 'my request is, that if you
     have anything further to say to me _upon this subject_, you would
     say it in writing. And my motive is to avoid what, both from the
     nature of the subject and from the manner in which you        (p. 142)
     have thought proper to open it, I foresee will tend only to
     mutual irritation, and not to an amicable arrangement.' With some
     abatement of tone, but in the same peremptory manner, he said,
     'Am I to understand that you refuse any further conference with
     me on this subject?' I said, 'No. But you will understand that I
     am not pleased either with the grounds upon which you have sought
     this conference, nor with the questions which you have seen fit
     to put to me.'"

Mr. Adams then proceeded to expose the impropriety of a foreign
minister demanding from the Administration an explanation of words
uttered in debate in Congress, and also said that he supposed that the
British had no claim to the territory in question. Mr. Canning
rejoined, and referred to the sending out of the American ship of war
Ontario, in 1817, without any notice to the British minister[3] at

     "speaking in a very emphatic manner and as if there had been an
     intended secret expedition ... which had been detected only by
     the vigilance and penetration of the British minister. I
     answered, 'Why, Mr. Bagot did say something to me about it; but I
     certainly did not think him serious, and we had a good-humored
     laughing conversation on the occasion.' Canning, with great
     vehemence: 'You may rely upon it, sir, that it was no laughing
     matter to him; for I have seen his report to his government and
     know what his feelings concerning it were.' I replied,        (p. 143)
     'This is the first intimation I have ever received that Mr. Bagot
     took the slightest offence at what then passed between us, ...
     and you will give me leave to say that when he left this
     country'--Here I was going to add that the last words he said to
     me were words of thanks for the invariable urbanity and
     liberality of my conduct and the personal kindness which he had
     uniformly received from me. But I could not finish the sentence.
     Mr. Canning, in a paroxysm of extreme irritation, broke out: 'I
     stop you there. I will not endure a misrepresentation of what I
     say. I never said that Mr. Bagot took offence at anything that
     had passed between him and you; and nothing that I said imported
     any such thing.' Then ... added in the same passionate manner: 'I
     am treated like a school-boy.' I then resumed: 'Mr. Canning, I
     have a distinct recollection of the substance of the short
     conversation between Mr. Bagot and me at that time; and it was
     this'--'No doubt, sir,' said Canning, interrupting me again, 'no
     doubt, sir, Mr. Bagot answered you like a man of good breeding
     and good humor.'"

                   [Footnote 3: Then Mr. Bagot.]

Mr. Adams began again and succeeded in making, without further
interruption, a careful recital of his talk with Mr. Bagot. While he
was speaking Mr. Canning grew cooler, and expressed some surprise at
what he heard. But in a few moments the conversation again became warm
and personal. Mr. Adams remarked that heretofore he had thrown off (p. 144)
some of the "cautious reserve" which might have been "strictly
regular" between them, and that

     "'so long as his (Canning's) professions had been supported by
     his conduct'--Here Mr. Canning again stopped me by repeating with
     great vehemence, 'My conduct! I am responsible for my conduct
     only to my government!'"

Mr. Adams replied, substantially, that he could respect the rights of
Mr. Canning and maintain his own, and that he thought the best mode of
treating this topic in future would be by writing. Mr. Canning then
expressed himself as

     "'willing to forget all that had now passed.' I told him that I
     neither asked nor promised him to forget.... He asked again if he
     was to understand me as refusing to confer with him further on
     the subject. I said, 'No.' 'Would I appoint a time for that
     purpose?' I said, 'Now, if he pleased.... But as he appeared to
     be under some excitement, perhaps he might prefer some other
     time, in which case I would readily receive him to-morrow at one
     o'clock;' upon which he rose and took leave, saying he would come
     at that time."

The next day, accordingly, this genial pair again encountered. Mr.
Adams noted at first in Mr. Canning's manner "an effort at coolness,
but no appearance of cheerfulness or good humor. I saw there was   (p. 145)
no relaxation of the tone he had yesterday assumed, and felt that
none would on my part be suitable." They went over quietly enough some
of the ground traversed the day before, Mr. Adams again explaining the
impropriety of Mr. Canning questioning him concerning remarks made in
debate in Congress. It was, he said, as if Mr. Rush, hearing in the
House of Commons something said about sending troops to the Shetland
Islands, should proceed to question Lord Castlereagh about it.

     "'Have you,' said Mr. Canning, 'any claim to the Shetland
     Islands?' 'Have you any _claim_,' said I, 'to the mouth of
     Columbia River?' 'Why, do you not _know_,' replied he, 'that we
     have a claim?' 'I do not _know_,' said I, 'what you claim nor
     what you do not claim. You claim India; you claim Africa; you
     claim'--'Perhaps,' said he, 'a piece of the moon.' 'No,' said I,
     'I have not heard that you claim exclusively any part of the
     moon; but there is not a spot on _this_ habitable globe that I
     could affirm you do not claim!'"

The conversation continued with alternations of lull and storm, Mr.
Canning at times becoming warm and incensed and interrupting Mr.
Adams, who retorted with a dogged asperity which must have been
extremely irritating. Mr. Adams said that he did "not expect to be (p. 146)
plied with captious questions" to obtain indirectly that which
had been directly denied. Mr. Canning, "exceedingly irritated,"
complained of the word "captious." Mr. Adams retaliated by reciting
offensive language used by Mr. Canning, who in turn replied that he
had been speaking only in self-defence. Mr. Canning found occasion to
make again his peculiarly rasping remark that he should always strive
to show towards Mr. Adams the deference due to his "more advanced
years." After another very uncomfortable passage, Mr. Adams said that
the behavior of Mr. Canning in making the observations of members of
Congress a basis of official interrogations was a pretension the more
necessary to be resisted because this

     "'was not the first time it had been raised by a British minister
     here.' He asked, with great emotion, who that minister was. I
     answered, 'Mr. Jackson.' 'And you got rid of him!' said Mr.
     Canning, in a tone of violent passion--'and you got rid of
     him!--and you got rid of him!' This repetition of the same words,
     always in the same tone, was with pauses of a few seconds between
     each of them, as if for a reply. I said: 'Sir, my reference to
     the pretension of Mr. Jackson was not'--Here Mr. Canning
     interrupted me by saying: 'If you think that by reference to Mr.
     Jackson I am to be intimidated from the performance of my     (p. 147)
     duty you will find yourself greatly mistaken.' 'I had not,
     sir,' said I, 'the most distant intention of intimidating you
     from the performance of your duty; nor was it with the intention
     of alluding to any subsequent occurrences of his mission;
     but'--Mr. Canning interrupted me again by saying, still in a tone
     of high exasperation,--'Let me tell you, sir, that your reference
     to the case of Mr. Jackson is _exceedingly offensive_.' 'I do not
     know,' said I, 'whether I shall be able to finish what I intended
     to say, under such continual interruptions.'"

Mr. Canning thereupon intimated by a bow his willingness to listen,
and Mr. Adams reiterated what in a more fragmentary way he had already
said. Mr. Canning then made a formal speech, mentioning his desire "to
cultivate harmony and smooth down all remnants of asperity between the
two countries," again gracefully referred to the deference which he
should at all times pay to Mr. Adams's age, and closed by declaring,
with a significant emphasis, that he would "never forget the respect
due from him _to the American Government_." Mr. Adams bowed in silence
and the stormy interview ended. A day or two afterward the disputants
met by accident, and Mr. Canning showed such signs of resentment that
there passed between them a "bare salutation."

In the condition of our relations with Great Britain at the time   (p. 148)
of these interviews any needless ill-feeling was strongly to be
deprecated. But Mr. Adams's temperament was such that he always saw
the greater chance of success in strong and spirited conduct; nor
could he endure that the dignity of the Republic, any more than its
safety, should take detriment in his hands. Moreover he understood
Englishmen better perhaps than they have ever been understood by any
other of the public men of the United States, and he handled and
subdued them with a temper and skill highly agreeable to contemplate.
The President supported him fully throughout the matter, and the
discomfiture and wrath of Mr. Canning never became even indirectly a
cause of regret to the country.

As the years allotted to Monroe passed on, the manoeuvring among the
candidates for the succession to the Presidency grew in activity.
There were several possible presidents in the field, and during the
"era of good feeling" many an aspiring politician had his brief period
of mild expectancy followed in most cases only too surely by a hopeless
relegation to obscurity. There were, however, four whose anticipations
rested upon a substantial basis. William H. Crawford, Secretary of the
Treasury, had been the rival of Monroe for nomination by the
Congressional caucus, and had then developed sufficient strength   (p. 149)
to make him justly sanguine that he might stand next to Monroe in the
succession as he apparently did in the esteem of their common party.
Mr. Clay, Speaker of the House of Representatives, had such
expectations as might fairly grow out of his brilliant reputation,
powerful influence in Congress, and great personal popularity. Mr.
Adams was pointed out not only by his deserts but also by his position
in the Cabinet, it having been the custom heretofore to promote the
Secretary of State to the Presidency. It was not until the time of
election was near at hand that the strength of General Jackson,
founded of course upon the effect of his military prestige upon the
masses of the people, began to appear to the other competitors a
formidable element in the great rivalry. For a while Mr. Calhoun might
have been regarded as a fifth, since he had already become the great
chief of the South; but this cause of his strength was likewise his
weakness, since it was felt that the North was fairly entitled to
present the next candidate. The others, who at one time and another
had aspirations, like De Witt Clinton and Tompkins, were never really
formidable, and may be disregarded as insignificant threads in the
complex political snarl which must be unravelled.

[Illustration: Stratford Canning]

As a study of the dark side of political society during this       (p. 150)
period Mr. Adams's Diary is profoundly interesting. He writes with a
charming absence of reserve. If he thinks there is rascality at work,
he sets down the names of the knaves and expounds their various
villainies of act and motive with delightfully outspoken frankness.
All his life he was somewhat prone, it must be confessed, to
depreciate the moral characters of others, and to suspect unworthy
designs in the methods or ends of those who crossed his path. It was
the not unnatural result of his own rigid resolve to be honest.
Refraining with the stern conscientiousness, which was in the
composition of his Puritan blood, from every act, whether in public or
in private life, which seemed to him in the least degree tinged with
immorality, he found a sort of compensation for the restraints and
discomforts of his own austerity in judging severely the less
punctilious world around him. Whatever other faults he had, it is
unquestionable that his uprightness was as consistent and unvarying as
can be reached by human nature. Yet his temptations were made the
greater and the more cruel by the beliefs constantly borne in upon him
that his rivals did not accept for their own governance in the contest
the same rules by which he was pledged to himself to abide. Jealousy
enhanced suspicion, and suspicion in turn pricked jealousy. It is  (p. 151)
necessary, therefore, to be somewhat upon our guard in accepting
his estimates of men and acts at this period; though the broad general
impression to be gathered from his treatment of his rivals, even in
these confidential pages, is favorable at least to his justice of
disposition and honesty of intention.

At the outset Mr. Clay excited Mr. Adams's most lively resentment. The
policy which seemed most promising to that gentleman lay in antagonism
to the Administration, whereas, in the absence of substantial party
issues, there seemed, at least to members of that Administration, to
be no proper grounds for such antagonism. When, therefore, Mr. Clay
found or devised such grounds, the President and his Cabinet, vexed
and harassed by the opposition of so influential a man, not
unnaturally attributed his tactics to selfish and, in a political
sense, corrupt motives. Thus Mr. Adams stigmatized his opposition to
the Florida treaty as prompted by no just objection to its
stipulations, but by a malicious wish to bring discredit upon the
negotiator. Probably the charge was true, and Mr. Clay's honesty in
opposing an admirable treaty can only be vindicated at the expense of
his understanding,--an explanation certainly not to be accepted. But
when Mr. Adams attributed to the same motive of embarrassing the   (p. 152)
Administration Mr. Clay's energetic endeavors to force a recognition
of the insurgent states of South America, he exaggerated the inimical
element in his rival's motives. It was the business of the President
and Cabinet, and preëminently of the Secretary of State, to see to it
that the country should not move too fast in this very nice and
perilous matter of recognizing the independence of rebels. Mr. Adams
was the responsible minister, and had to hold the reins; Mr. Clay,
outside the official vehicle, cracked the lash probably a little more
loudly than he would have done had he been on the coach-box. It may be
assumed that in advocating his various motions looking to the
appointment of ministers to the new states and to other acts of
recognition, he felt his eloquence rather fired than dampened by the
thought of how much trouble he was making for Mr. Adams; but that he
was at the same time espousing the cause to which he sincerely wished
well is probably true. His ardent temper was stirred by this struggle
for independence, and his rhetorical nature could not resist the
opportunities for fervid and brilliant oratory presented by this
struggle for freedom against mediæval despotism. Real convictions were
sometimes diluted with rodomontade, and a true feeling was to some
extent stimulated by the desire to embarrass a rival.

Entire freedom from prejudice would have been too much to expect   (p. 153)
from Mr. Adams; but his criticisms of Clay are seldom marked by
any serious accusations or really bitter explosions of ill-temper.
Early in his term of office he writes that Mr. Clay has "already
mounted his South American great horse," and that his "project is that
in which John Randolph failed, to control or overthrow the Executive
by swaying the House of Representatives." Again he says that "Clay is
as rancorously benevolent as John Randolph." The sting of these
remarks lay rather in the comparison with Randolph than in their
direct allegations. In January, 1819, Adams notes that Clay has
"redoubled his rancor against me," and gives himself "free swing to
assault me ... both in his public speeches and by secret machinations,
without scruple or delicacy." The diarist gloomily adds, that "all
public business in Congress now connects itself with intrigues, and
there is great danger that the whole Government will degenerate into a
struggle of cabals." He was rather inclined to such pessimistic
vaticinations; but it must be confessed that he spoke with too much
reason on this occasion. In the absence of a sufficient supply of
important public questions to absorb the energies of the men in public
life, the petty game of personal politics was playing with unusual
zeal. As time went on, however, and the South American questions   (p. 154)
were removed from the arena, Adams's ill-feeling towards Clay became
greatly mitigated. Clay's assaults and opposition also gradually
dwindled away; go-betweens carried to and fro disclaimers, made by the
principals, of personal ill-will towards each other; and before the
time of election was actually imminent something as near the _entente
cordiale_ was established as could be reasonably expected to exist
between competitors very unlike both in moral and mental

                   [Footnote 4: For a deliberate estimate of Clay's
                   character see Mr. Adams's Diary, v. 325.]

Mr. Adams's unbounded indignation and profound contempt were reserved
for Mr. Crawford, partly, it may be suspected by the cynically minded,
because Crawford for a long time seemed to be by far the most
formidable rival, but partly also because Crawford was in fact unable
to resist the temptation to use ignoble means for attaining an end
which he coveted too keenly for his own honor. It was only by degrees
that Adams began to suspect the underhand methods and malicious
practices of Crawford; but as conviction was gradually brought home to
him his native tendency towards suspicion was enhanced to an extreme
degree. He then came to recognize in Crawford a wholly selfish     (p. 155)
and scheming politician, who had the baseness to retain his seat in
Mr. Monroe's Cabinet with the secret persistent object of giving the
most fatal advice in his power. From that time forth he saw in every
suggestion made by the Secretary of the Treasury only an insidious
intent to lead the Administration, and especially the Department of
State, into difficulty, failure, and disrepute. He notes, evidently
with perfect belief, that for this purpose Crawford was even covertly
busy with the Spanish ambassador to prevent an accommodation of our
differences with Spain. "Oh, the windings of the human heart!" he
exclaims; "possibly Crawford is not himself conscious of his real
motives for this conduct." Even the slender measure of charity
involved in this last sentence rapidly evaporated from the poisoned
atmosphere of his mind. He mentions that Crawford has killed a man in
a duel; that he leaves unanswered a pamphlet "supported by documents"
exhibiting him "in the most odious light, as sacrificing every
principle to his ambition." Because Calhoun would not support him for
the Presidency, Crawford stimulated a series of attacks upon the War
Department. He was the "instigator and animating spirit of the whole
movement both in Congress and at Richmond against Jackson and the
Administration." He was "a worm preying upon the vitals of the     (p. 156)
Administration in its own body." He "solemnly deposed in a court
of justice that which is not true," for the purpose of bringing
discredit upon the testimony given by Mr. Adams in the same cause. But
Mr. Adams says of this that he cannot bring himself to believe that
Crawford has been guilty of wilful falsehood, though convicted of
inaccuracy by his own words; for "ambition debauches memory itself." A
little later he would have been less merciful. In some vexatious and
difficult commercial negotiations which Mr. Adams was conducting with
France, Crawford is "afraid of [the result] being too favorable."

To form a just opinion of the man thus unpleasantly sketched is
difficult. For nearly eight years Mr. Adams was brought into close and
constant relations with him, and as a result formed a very low opinion
of his character and by no means a high estimate of his abilities.
Even after making a liberal allowance for the prejudice naturally
supervening from their rivalry there is left a residuum of condemnation
abundantly sufficient to ruin a more vigorous reputation than Crawford
has left behind him. Apparently Mr. Calhoun, though a fellow
Southerner, thought no better of the ambitious Georgian than did Mr.
Adams, to whom one day he remarked that Crawford was "a very       (p. 157)
singular instance of a man of such character rising to the eminence he
now occupies; that there has not been in the history of the Union
another man with abilities so ordinary, with services so slender, and
so thoroughly corrupt, who had contrived to make himself a candidate
for the Presidency." Nor was this a solitary expression of the
feelings of the distinguished South Carolinian.

Mr. E. H. Mills, Senator from Massachusetts, and a dispassionate
observer, speaks of Crawford with scant favor as "coarse, rough,
uneducated, of a pretty strong mind, a great intriguer, and determined
to make himself President." He adds: "Adams, Jackson, and Calhoun all
think well of each other, and are united at least in one thing,--to
wit, a most thorough dread and abhorrence of Crawford."

Yet Crawford was for many years not only never without eager
expectations of his own, which narrowly missed realization and might
not have missed it had not his health broken down a few months too
soon, but he had a large following, strong friends, and an extensive
influence. But if he really had great ability he had not the good
fortune of an opportunity to show it; and he lives in history rather
as a man from whom much was expected than as a man who achieved    (p. 158)
much. One faculty, however, not of the best, but serviceable, he had
in a rare degree: he thoroughly understood all the artifices of
politics; he knew how to interest and organize partisans, to obtain
newspaper support, and generally to extend and direct his following
after that fashion which soon afterward began to be fully developed by
the younger school of our public men. He was the _avant courier_ of a
bad system, of which the first crude manifestations were received with
well-merited disrelish by the worthier among his contemporaries.

It is the more easy to believe that Adams's distrust of Crawford was a
sincere conviction, when we consider his behavior towards another
dangerous rival, General Jackson. In view of the new phase which the
relationship between these two men was soon to take on, Adams's hearty
championship of Jackson for several years prior to 1825 deserves
mention. The Secretary stood gallantly by the General at a crisis in
Jackson's life when he greatly needed such strong official backing,
and in an hour of extreme need Adams alone in the Cabinet of Monroe
lent an assistance which Jackson afterwards too readily forgot. Seldom
has a government been brought by the undue zeal of its servants into a
quandary more perplexing than that into which the reckless military
hero brought the Administration of President Monroe. Turned loose  (p. 159)
in the regions of Florida, checked only by an uncertain and disputed
boundary line running through half-explored forests, confronted by a
hated foe whose strength he could well afford to despise, General
Jackson, in a war properly waged only against Indians, ran a wild and
lawless, but very vigorous and effective, career in Spanish
possessions. He hung a couple of British subjects with as scant trial
and meagre shrift as if he had been a mediæval free-lance; he marched
upon Spanish towns and peremptorily forced the blue-blooded commanders
to capitulate in the most humiliating manner; afterwards, when the
Spanish territory had become American, in his civil capacity as
Governor, he flung the Spanish Commissioner into jail. He treated
instructions, laws, and established usages as teasing cobwebs which
any spirited public servant was in duty bound to break; then he
quietly stated his willingness to let the country take the benefit of
his irregular proceedings and make him the scapegoat or martyr if such
should be needed. How to treat this too successful chieftain was no
simple problem. He had done what he ought not to have done, yet
everybody in the country was heartily glad that he had done it. He
ought not to have hung Arbuthnot and Ambrister, nor to have seized (p. 160)
Pensacola, nor later on to have imprisoned Callava; yet the general
efficiency of his procedure fully accorded with the secret disposition
of the country. It was, however, not easy to establish the propriety
of his trenchant doings upon any acknowledged principles of law, and
during the long period through which these disturbing feats extended,
Jackson was left in painful solitude by those who felt obliged to
judge his actions by rule rather than by sympathy. The President was
concerned lest his Administration should be brought into indefensible
embarrassment; Calhoun was personally displeased because the
instructions issued from his department had been exceeded; Crawford
eagerly sought to make the most of such admirable opportunities for
destroying the prestige of one who might grow into a dangerous rival;
Clay, who hated a military hero, indulged in a series of fierce
denunciations in the House of Representatives; Mr. Adams alone stood
gallantly by the man who had dared to take vigorous measures upon his
own sole responsibility. His career touched a kindred chord in Adams's
own independent and courageous character, and perhaps for the only
time in his life the Secretary of State became almost sophistical in
the arguments by which he endeavored to sustain the impetuous warrior
against an adverse Cabinet. The authority given to Jackson to      (p. 161)
cross the Spanish frontier in pursuit of the Indian enemy was
justified as being only defensive warfare; then "all the rest," argued
Adams, "even to the order for taking the Fort of Barrancas by storm,
was incidental, deriving its character from the object, which was not
hostility to Spain, but the termination of the Indian war." Through
long and anxious sessions Adams stood fast in opposing "the unanimous
opinions" of the President, Crawford, Calhoun, and Wirt. Their policy
seemed to him a little ignoble and wholly blundering, because, he
said, "it is weakness and a confession of weakness. The disclaimer of
power in the Executive is of dangerous example and of evil
consequences. There is injustice to the officer in disavowing him,
when in principle he is strictly justifiable." This behavior upon Mr.
Adams's part was the more generous and disinterested because the
earlier among these doings of Jackson incensed Don Onis extremely and
were near bringing about the entire disruption of that important
negotiation with Spain upon which Mr. Adams had so much at stake. But
few civilians have had a stronger dash of the fighting element than
had Mr. Adams, and this impelled him irresistibly to stand shoulder to
shoulder with Jackson in such an emergency, regardless of possible
consequences to himself. He preferred to insist that the hanging   (p. 162)
of Arbuthnot and Ambrister was according to the laws of war and to
maintain that position in the teeth of Stratford Canning rather than
to disavow it and render apology and reparation. So three years later
when Jackson was again in trouble by reason of his arrest of Callava,
he still found a stanch advocate in Adams, who, having made an argument
for the defence which would have done credit to a subtle-minded
barrister, concluded by adopting the sentiment of Hume concerning the
execution of Don Pantaleon de Sa by Oliver Cromwell,--if the laws of
nations had been violated, "it was by a signal act of justice
deserving universal approbation." Later still, on January 8, 1824,
being the anniversary of the victory of New Orleans, as if to make a
conspicuous declaration of his opinions in favor of Jackson, Mr. Adams
gave a great ball in his honor, "at which about one thousand persons

                   [Footnote 5: Senator Mills says of this grand ball:
                   "Eight large rooms were open and literally filled
                   to overflowing. There must have been at least a
                   thousand people there; and so far as Mr. Adams was
                   concerned it certainly evinced a great deal of
                   taste, elegance, and good sense.... Many stayed
                   till twelve and one.... It is the universal opinion
                   that nothing has ever equalled this party here
                   either in brilliancy of preparation or elegance of
                   the company."]

He was in favor of offering to the General the position of         (p. 163)
minister to Mexico; and before Jackson had developed into a rival of
himself for the Presidency, he exerted himself to secure the
Vice-Presidency for him. Thus by argument and by influence in the
Cabinet, in many a private interview, and in the world of society,
also by wise counsel when occasion offered, Mr. Adams for many years
made himself the noteworthy and indeed the only powerful friend of
General Jackson. Nor up to the last moment, and when Jackson had
become his most dangerous competitor, is there any derogatory passage
concerning him in the Diary.

As the period of election drew nigh, interest in it absorbed
everything else; indeed during the last year of Monroe's
Administration public affairs were so quiescent and the public
business so seldom transcended the simplest routine, that there was
little else than the next Presidency to be thought or talked of. The
rivalship for this, as has been said, was based not upon conflicting
theories concerning public affairs, but solely upon individual
preference for one or another of four men no one of whom at that
moment represented any great principle in antagonism to any of the
others. Under no circumstances could the temptation to petty intrigue
and malicious tale-bearing be greater than when votes were         (p. 164)
to be gained or lost solely by personal predilection. In such a
contest Adams was severely handicapped as against the showy prestige
of the victorious soldier, the popularity of the brilliant orator, and
the artfulness of the most dexterous political manager then in public
life. Long prior to this stage Adams had established his rule of
conduct in the campaign. So early as March, 1818, he was asked one day
by Mr. Everett whether he was "determined to do nothing with a view to
promote his future election to the Presidency as the successor of Mr.
Monroe," and he had replied that he "should do absolutely nothing." To
this resolution he sturdily adhered. Not a breach of it was ever
brought home to him, or indeed--save in one instance soon to be
noticed--seriously charged against him. There is not in the Diary the
faintest trace of any act which might be so much as questionable or
susceptible of defence only by casuistry. That he should have
perpetuated evidence of any flagrant misdoing certainly could not be
expected; but in a record kept with the fulness and frankness of this
Diary we should read between the lines and detect as it were in its
general flavor any taint of disingenuousness or concealment; we should
discern moral unwholesomeness in its atmosphere. A thoughtless
sentence would slip from the pen, a sophistical argument would be  (p. 165)
formulated for self-comfort, some acquaintance, interview, or
arrangement would slide upon some unguarded page indicative of
undisclosed matters. But there is absolutely nothing of this sort.
There is no tinge of bad color; all is clear as crystal. Not an
editor, nor a member of Congress, nor a local politician, not even a
private individual, was intimidated or conciliated. On the contrary it
often happened that those who made advances, at least sometimes
stimulated by honest friendship, got rebuffs instead of encouragement.
Even after the contest was known to have been transferred to the House
of Representatives, when Washington was actually buzzing with the
ceaseless whisperings of many secret conclaves, when the air was thick
with rumors of what this one had said and that one had done, when, as
Webster said, there were those who pretended to foretell how a
representative would vote from the way in which he put on his hat,
when of course stories of intrigue and corruption poisoned the honest
breeze, and when the streets seemed traversed only by the busy tread
of the go-betweens, the influential friends, the wire-pullers of the
various contestants,--still amid all this noisy excitement and extreme
temptation Mr. Adams held himself almost wholly aloof, wrapped in the
cloak of his rigid integrity. His proud honesty was only not quite (p. 166)
repellent; he sometimes allowed himself to answer questions
courteously, and for a brief period held in check his strong natural
propensity to give offence and make enemies. This was the uttermost
length that he could go towards political corruption. He became for a
few weeks tolerably civil of speech, which after all was much for him
to do and doubtless cost him no insignificant effort. Since the days
of Washington he alone presents the singular spectacle of a candidate
for the Presidency deliberately taking the position, and in a long
campaign really never flinching from it: "that, if the people wish me
to be President I shall not refuse the office; but I ask nothing from
any man or from any body of men."

Yet though he declined to be a courtier of popular favor he did not
conceal from himself or from others the chagrin which he would feel if
there should be a manifestation of popular disfavor. Before the
popular election he stated that if it should go against him he should
construe it as the verdict of the people that they were dissatisfied
with his services as a public man, and he should then retire to
private life, no longer expecting or accepting public functions. He
did not regard politics as a struggle in which, if he should now   (p. 167)
be beaten in one encounter, he would return to another in the hope
of better success in time. His notion was that the people had had
ample opportunity during his incumbency in appointive offices to
measure his ability and understand his character, and that the action
of the people in electing or not electing him to the Presidency would
be an indication that they were satisfied or dissatisfied with him. In
the latter event he had nothing more to seek. Politics did not
constitute a profession or career in which he felt entitled to persist
in seeking personal success as he might in the law or in business.
Neither did the circumstances of the time place him in the position of
an advocate of any great principle which he might feel it his duty to
represent and to fight for against any number of reverses. No such
element was present at this time in national affairs. He construed the
question before the people simply as concerning their opinion of him.
He was much too proud to solicit and much too honest to scheme for a
favorable expression. It was a singular and a lofty attitude even if a
trifle egotistical and not altogether unimpeachable by argument. It
could not diminish but rather it intensified his interest in a contest
which he chose to regard not simply as a struggle for a glittering (p. 168)
prize but as a judgment upon the services which he had been for a
lifetime rendering to his countrymen.

How profoundly his whole nature was moved by the position in which he
stood is evident, often almost painfully, in the Diary. Any attempt to
conceal his feeling would be idle, and he makes no such attempt. He
repeats all the rumors which come to his ears; he tells the stories
about Crawford's illness; he records his own temptations; he tries
hard to nerve himself to bear defeat philosophically by constantly
predicting it; indeed, he photographs his whole existence for many
weeks; and however eagerly any person may aspire to the Presidency of
the United States there is little in the picture to make one long for
the preliminary position of candidate for that honor. It is too much
like the stake and the flames through which the martyr passed to
eternal beatitude, with the difference as against the candidate that
he has by no means the martyr's certainty of reward.

In those days of slow communication it was not until December, 1824,
that it became everywhere known that there had been no election of a
president by the people. When the Electoral College met the result of
their ballots was as follows:--

  General Jackson led with   99 votes.                             (p. 169)
  Adams followed with        84   "
  Crawford had               41   "
  Clay had                   37   "
  Total                     261 votes.

Mr. Calhoun was elected Vice-President by the handsome number of 182

This condition of the election had been quite generally anticipated;
yet Mr. Adams's friends were not without some feeling of
disappointment. They had expected for him a fair support at the South,
whereas he in fact received seventy-seven out of his eighty-four votes
from New York and New England; Maryland gave him three, Louisiana gave
him two, Delaware and Illinois gave him one each.

When the electoral body was known to be reduced within the narrow
limits of the House of Representatives, intrigue was rather stimulated
than diminished by the definiteness which became possible for it. Mr.
Clay, who could not come before the House, found himself transmuted
from a candidate to a President-maker; for it was admitted by all that
his great personal influence in Congress would almost undoubtedly
confer success upon the aspirant whom he should favor. Apparently his
predilections were at least possibly in favor of Crawford; but     (p. 170)
Crawford's health had been for many months very bad; he had had a
severe paralytic stroke, and when acting as Secretary of the Treasury
he had been unable to sign his name, so that a stamp or die had been
used; his speech was scarcely intelligible; and when Mr. Clay visited
him in the retirement in which his friends now kept him, the fact
could not be concealed that he was for the time at least a wreck. Mr.
Clay therefore had to decide for himself, his followers, and the
country whether Mr. Adams or General Jackson should be the next
President of the United States. A cruel attempt was made in this
crisis either to destroy his influence by blackening his character, or
to intimidate him, through fear of losing his reputation for
integrity, into voting for Jackson. An anonymous letter charged that
the friends of Clay had hinted that, "like the Swiss, they would fight
for those who pay best;" that they had offered to elect Jackson if he
would agree to make Clay Secretary of State, and that upon his
indignant refusal to make such a bargain the same proposition had been
made to Mr. Adams, who was found less scrupulous and had promptly
formed the "unholy coalition." This wretched publication, made a few
days before the election in the House, was traced to a dull-witted
Pennsylvania Representative by the name of Kremer, who had         (p. 171)
obviously been used as a tool by cleverer men. It met, however, the
fate which seems happily always to attend such ignoble devices, and
failed utterly of any more important effect than the utter
annihilation of Kremer. In truth, General Jackson's fate had been
sealed from the instant when it had fallen into Mr. Clay's hands. Clay
had long since expressed his unfavorable opinion of the "military
hero," in terms too decisive to admit of explanation or retraction.
Without much real liking for Adams, Clay at least disliked him much
less than he did Jackson, and certainly his honest judgment favored
the civilian far more than the disorderly soldier whose lawless career
in Florida had been the topic of some of the great orator's fiercest
invective. The arguments founded on personal fitness were strongly
upon the side of Adams, and other arguments advanced by the Jacksonians
could hardly deceive Clay. They insisted that their candidate was the
choice of the people so far as a superiority of preference had been
indicated, and that therefore he ought to be also the choice of the
House of Representatives. It would be against the spirit of the
Constitution and a thwarting of the popular will, they said, to prefer
either of his competitors. The fallacy of this reasoning, if reasoning
it could be called, was glaring. If the spirit of the Constitution (p. 172)
required the House of Representatives not to _elect_ from three
candidates before it, but only to induct an individual into the
Presidency by a process which was in form voting but in fact only a
simple certification that he had received the highest number of
electoral votes, it would have been a plain and easy matter for the
letter of the Constitution to have expressed this spirit, or indeed to
have done away altogether with this machinery of a sham election. The
Jackson men had only to state their argument in order to expose its
hollowness; for they said substantially that the Constitution
established an election without an option; that the electors were to
vote for a person predestined by an earlier occurrence to receive
their ballots. But besides their unsoundness in argument, their
statistical position was far from being what they undertook to
represent it. The popular vote had been so light that it really looked
as though the people had cared very little which candidate should
succeed; and to talk about a manifestation of the _popular will_ was
absurd, for the only real manifestation had been of popular
indifference. For example, in 1823 Massachusetts had cast upwards of
66,000 votes in the state election, whereas in this national election
she cast only a trifle more than 37,000. Virginia distributed      (p. 173)
a total of less than 15,000 among all four candidates. Pluralities did
not signify much in such a condition of sentiment as was indicated by
these figures. Moreover, in six States, viz., Vermont, New York,
Delaware, South Carolina, Georgia, Louisiana, the electors were chosen
by the legislatures, not by the people; so that there was no correct
way of counting them at all in a discussion of pluralities. Guesses
and approximations favored Adams, and to an important degree; for
these six States gave to Adams thirty-six votes, to Jackson nineteen,
to Crawford six, to Clay four. In New York, Jackson had hardly an
appreciable following. Moreover, in other States many thousands of
votes which had been "cast for no candidate in particular, but in
opposition to the caucus ticket generally," were reckoned as if they
had been cast for Jackson or against Adams, as suited the especial
case. Undoubtedly Jackson did have a plurality, but undoubtedly it
fell very far short of the imposing figure, nearly 48,000, which his
supporters had the audacity to name.

The election took place in the House on February 9, 1825. Daniel
Webster and John Randolph were tellers, and they reported that there
were "for John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts, thirteen votes; for
Andrew Jackson, of Tennessee, seven votes; for William H. Crawford,
of Georgia, four votes." Thereupon the speaker announced Mr. Adams (p. 174)
to have been elected President of the United States.

This end of an unusually exciting contest thus left Mr. Adams in
possession of the field, Mr. Crawford the victim of an irretrievable
defeat, Mr. Clay still hopeful and aspiring for a future which had
only disappointment in store for him, General Jackson enraged and
revengeful. Not even Mr. Adams was fully satisfied. When the committee
waited upon him to inform him of the election, he referred in his
reply to the peculiar state of things and said, "could my refusal to
accept the trust thus delegated to me give an opportunity to the
people to form and to express with a nearer approach to unanimity the
object of their preference, I should not hesitate to decline the
acceptance of this eminent charge and to submit the decision of this
momentous question again to their decision." That this singular and
striking statement was made in good faith is highly probable. William
H. Seward says that it was "unquestionably uttered with great
sincerity of heart." The test of action of course could not be
applied, since the resignation of Mr. Adams would only have made Mr.
Calhoun President, and could not have been so arranged as to bring
about a new election. Otherwise the course of his argument would   (p. 175)
have been clear; the fact that such action involved an enormous
sacrifice would have been to his mind strong evidence that it was a
duty; and the temptation to perform a duty, always strong with him,
became ungovernable if the duty was exceptionally disagreeable. Under
the circumstances, however, the only logical conclusion lay in the
inauguration, which took place in the customary simple fashion on
March 4, 1825. Mr. Adams, we are told, was dressed in a black suit, of
which all the materials were wholly of American manufacture. Prominent
among those who after the ceremony hastened to greet him and to shake
hands with him appeared General Jackson. It was the last time that any
friendly courtesy is recorded as having passed between the two.

Many men eminent in public affairs have had their best years embittered
by their failure to secure the glittering prize of the Presidency. Mr.
Adams is perhaps the only person to whom the gaining of that proud
distinction has been in some measure a cause of chagrin. This strange
sentiment, which he undoubtedly felt, was due to the fact that what he
had wished was not the office in and for itself, but the office as a
symbol or token of the popular approval. He had held important and
responsible public positions during substantially his whole active (p. 176)
life; he was nearly sixty years old, and, as he said, he now for the
first time had an opportunity to find out in what esteem the people of
the country held him. What he wished was that the people should now
express their decided satisfaction with him. This he hardly could be
said to have obtained; though to be the choice of a plurality in the
nation and then to be selected by so intelligent a body of
constituents as the Representatives of the United States involved a
peculiar sanction, yet nothing else could fully take the place of that
national indorsement which he had coveted. When men publicly profess
modest depreciation of their successes they are seldom believed; but
in his private Diary Mr. Adams wrote, on December 31, 1825:--

     "The year has been the most momentous of those that have passed
     over my head, inasmuch as it has witnessed my elevation at the
     age of fifty-eight to the Chief Magistracy of my country, to the
     summit of laudable or at least blameless worldly ambition; not
     however in a manner satisfactory to pride or to just desire; not
     by the unequivocal suffrages of a majority of the people; with
     perhaps two thirds of the whole people adverse to the actual

No President since Washington had ever come into office so entirely
free from any manner of personal obligations or partisan           (p. 177)
entanglements, express or implied, as did Mr. Adams. Throughout the
campaign he had not himself, or by any agent, held out any manner of
tacit inducement to any person whomsoever, contingent upon his
election. He entered upon the Presidency under no indebtedness. He at
once nominated his Cabinet as follows: Henry Clay, Secretary of State;
Richard Rush, Secretary of the Treasury; James Barbour, Secretary of
War; Samuel L. Southard, Secretary of the Navy; William Wirt,
Attorney-General. The last two were renominations of the incumbents
under Monroe. The entire absence of chicanery or the use of influence
in the distribution of offices is well illustrated by the following
incident: On the afternoon following the day of inauguration President
Adams called upon Rufus King, whose term of service as Senator from
New York had just expired, and who was preparing to leave Washington
on the next day. In the course of a conversation concerning the
nominations which had been sent to the Senate that forenoon the
President said that he had nominated no minister to the English court,

     "asked Mr. King if he would accept that mission. His first and
     immediate impulse was to decline it. He said that his
     determination to retire from the public service had been      (p. 178)
     made up, and that this proposal was utterly unexpected to
     him. Of this I was aware; but I urged upon him a variety of
     considerations to induce his acceptance of it.... I dwelt with
     earnestness upon all these motives, and apparently not without
     effect. He admitted the force of them, and finally promised fully
     to consider of the proposal before giving me a definite answer."

The result was an acceptance by Mr. King, his nomination by the
President, and confirmation by the Senate. He was an old Federalist,
to whom Mr. Adams owed no favors. With such directness and simplicity
were the affairs of the Republic conducted. It is a quaint and
pleasing scene from the period of our forefathers: the President,
without discussion of "claims" to a distinguished and favorite post,
actually selects for it a member of a hostile political organization,
an old man retiring from public life; then quietly walks over to his
house, surprises him with the offer, and finding him reluctant
urgently presses upon him arguments to induce his acceptance. But the
whole business of office-seeking and office-distributing, now so
overshadowing, had no place under Mr. Adams. On March 5 he sent in
several nominations which were nearly all of previous incumbents.
"Efforts had been made," he writes, "by some of the senators to obtain
different nominations, and to introduce a principle of change or   (p. 179)
rotation in office at the expiration of these commissions, which would
make the Government a perpetual and unintermitting scramble for
office. A more pernicious expedient could scarcely have been
devised.... I determined to renominate every person against whom there
was no complaint which would have warranted his removal." A notable
instance was that of Sterret, naval officer at New Orleans, "a noisy
and clamorous reviler of the Administration," and lately busy in a
project for insulting a Louisiana Representative who had voted for Mr.
Adams. Secretary Clay was urgent for the removal of this man,
plausibly saying that in the cases of persons holding office at the
pleasure of the Administration the proper course was to avoid on the
one hand political persecution, and on the other any appearance of
pusillanimity. Mr. Adams replied that if Sterret had been actually
engaged in insulting a representative for the honest and independent
discharge of duty, he would make the removal at once. But the design
had not been consummated, and an _intention_ never carried into effect
would scarcely justify removal.

     "Besides [he added], should I remove this man for this cause it
     must be upon some fixed principle, which would apply to others as
     well as to him. And where was it possible to draw the line?   (p. 180)
     Of the custom-house officers throughout the Union, four fifths
     in all probability were opposed to my election. Crawford,
     Secretary of the Treasury, had distributed these positions among
     his own supporters. I had been urged very earnestly and from
     various quarters to sweep away my opponents and provide with
     their places for my friends. I can justify the refusal to adopt
     this policy only by the steadiness and consistency of my adhesion
     to my own. If I depart from this in one instance I shall be
     called upon by my friends to do the same in many. An invidious
     and inquisitorial scrutiny into the personal dispositions of
     public officers will creep through the whole Union, and the most
     selfish and sordid passions will be kindled into activity to
     distort the conduct and misrepresent the feelings of men whose
     places may become the prize of slander upon them."

Mr. Clay was silenced, and Sterret retained his position, constituting
thereafter only a somewhat striking instance among many to show that
nothing was to be lost by political opposition to Mr. Adams.

It was a cruel and discouraging fatality which brought about that a
man so suicidally upright in the matter of patronage should find that
the bitterest abuse which was heaped upon him was founded in an
allegation of corruption of precisely this nature. When before the
election the ignoble George Kremer anonymously charged that        (p. 181)
Mr. Clay had sold his friends in the House of Representatives to Mr.
Adams, "as the planter does his negroes or the farmer his team and
horses;" when Mr. Clay promptly published the unknown writer as "a
base and infamous calumniator, a dastard and a liar;" when next
Kremer, being unmasked, avowed that he would make good his charges,
but immediately afterward actually refused to appear or testify before
a Committee of the House instructed to investigate the matter, it was
supposed by all reasonable observers that the outrageous accusation
Was forever laid at rest. But this was by no means the case. The
author of the slander had been personally discredited; but the slander
itself had not been destroyed. So shrewdly had its devisers who saw
future usefulness in it managed the matter, that while Kremer slunk
away into obscurity, the story which he had told remained an assertion
denied, but not disproved, still open to be believed by suspicious or
willing friends. With Adams President and Clay Secretary of State and
General Jackson nominated, as he quickly was by the Tennessee
Legislature, as a candidate for the next Presidential term, the
accusation was too plausible and too tempting to be allowed to fall
forever into dusty death; rather it was speedily exhumed from its
shallow burial and galvanized into new life. The partisans of      (p. 182)
General Jackson sent it to and fro throughout the land. No denial,
no argument, could kill it. It began to gain that sort of half belief
which is certain to result from constant repetition; since many minds
are so constituted that truth may be actually, as it were,
manufactured for them by ceaseless iteration of statement, the many
hearings gaining the character of evidence.

It is long since all students of American history, no matter what are
their prejudices, or in whose interest their researches are
prosecuted, have branded this accusation as devoid of even the most
shadowy basis of probability, and it now gains no more credit than
would a story that Adams, Clay, and Jackson had conspired together to
get Crawford out of their way by assassination, and that his paralysis
was the result of the drugs and potions administered in performance of
this foul plot. But for a while the rumor stalked abroad among the
people, and many conspicuously bowed down before it because it served
their purpose, and too many others also, it must be confessed, did
likewise because they were deceived and really believed it. Even the
legislature of Tennessee were not ashamed to give formal countenance
to a calumny in support of which not a particle of evidence had ever
been adduced. In a preamble to certain resolutions passed by this  (p. 183)
body upon this subject in 1827, it was recited that: "Mr. Adams
desired the office of President; he went into the combination without
it, and came out with it. Mr. Clay desired that of Secretary of State;
he went into the combination without it, and came out with it." No
other charge could have wounded Mr. Adams so keenly; yet no course was
open to him for refuting the slander. Mr. Clay, beside himself with a
just rage, was better able to fight after the fashion of the day--if
indeed he could only find somebody to fight. This he did at last in
the person of John Randolph, of Roanoke, who adverted in one of his
rambling and vituperative harangues to "the coalition of Blifil and
Black George--the combination unheard of till then of the Puritan and
the black-leg." This language led naturally enough to a challenge from
Mr. Clay. The parties met[6] and exchanged shots without result. The
pistols were a second time loaded; Clay fired; Randolph fired into the
air, walked up to Clay and without a word gave him his hand, which
Clay had as it were perforce to take. There was no injury done save to
the skirts of Randolph's long flannel coat which were pierced by one
of the bullets.

                   [Footnote 6: April 8, 1826.]

By way of revenge a duel may be effective if the wrong man does    (p. 184)
not happen to get shot; but as evidence for intelligent men a bloodier
ending than this would have been inconclusive. It so happened,
however, that Jackson, altogether contrary to his own purpose, brought
conclusive aid to President Adams and Secretary Clay. Whether the
General ever had any real faith in the charge can only be surmised.
Not improbably he did, for his mental workings were so peculiar in
their violence and prejudice that apparently he always sincerely
believed all persons who crossed his path to be knaves and villains of
the blackest dye. But certain it is that whether he credited the tale
or not he soon began to devote himself with all his wonted vigor and
pertinacity to its wide dissemination. Whether in so doing he was
stupidly believing a lie, or intentionally spreading a known slander,
is a problem upon which his friends and biographers have exhausted
much ingenuity without reaching any certain result. But sure it is
that early in the year 1827 he was so far carried beyond the bounds of
prudence as to declare before many persons that he had proof of the
corrupt bargain. The assertion was promptly sent to the newspapers by
a Mr. Carter Beverly, one of those who heard it made in the presence
of several guests at the Hermitage. The name of Mr. Beverly, at first
concealed, soon became known, and he was of course compelled to    (p. 185)
vouch in his principal. General Jackson never deserted his adherents,
whether their difficulties were noble or ignoble. He came gallantly to
the aid of Mr. Beverly, and in a letter of June 6 declared that early
in January, 1825, he had been visited by a "member of Congress of high
respectability," who had told him of "a great intrigue going on" of
which he ought to be informed. This gentleman had then proceeded to
explain that Mr. Clay's friends were afraid that if General Jackson
should be elected President, "Mr. Adams would be continued Secretary
of State (innuendo, there would be no room for Kentucky); that if I
would say, or permit any of my confidential friends to say, that in
case I were elected President, Mr. Adams should not be continued
Secretary of State, by a complete union of Mr. Clay and his friends
they would put an end to the Presidential contest in one hour. And he
was of opinion it was right to fight such intriguers with their own
weapons." This scarcely disguised suggestion of bargain and corruption
the General said that he repudiated indignantly. Clay at once publicly
challenged Jackson to produce some evidence--to name the "respectable"
member of Congress who appeared in the very unrespectable light of (p. 186)
advising a candidate for the Presidency to emulate the alleged
baseness of his opponents. Jackson thereupon uncovered James Buchanan,
of Pennsylvania. Mr. Buchanan was a friend of the General, and to what
point it may have been expected or hoped that his allegiance would
carry him in support of his chief in this dire hour of extremity is
matter only of inference. Fortunately, however, his fealty does not
appear to have led him any great distance from the truth. He yielded
to the prevailing desire to pass along the responsibility to some one
else so far as to try to bring in a Mr. Markley, who, however, never
became more than a dumb figure in the drama in which Buchanan was
obliged to remain as the last important character. With obvious
reluctance this gentleman then wrote that if General Jackson had
placed any such construction as the foregoing upon an interview which
had occurred between them, and which he recited at length, then the
General had totally misconstrued--as was evident enough--what he, Mr.
Buchanan, had said. Indeed, that Jackson could have supposed him to
entertain the sentiments imputed to him made Mr. Buchanan, as he said,
"exceedingly unhappy." In other words, there was no foundation
whatsoever for the charge thus traced back to an originator who denied
having originated it and said that it was all a mistake. General   (p. 187)
Jackson was left to be defended from the accusation of deliberate
falsehood only by the charitable suggestion that he had been unable to
understand a perfectly simple conversation. Apparently Mr. Adams and
Mr. Clay ought now to be abundantly satisfied, since not only were
they amply vindicated, but their chief vilifier seemed to have been
pierced by the point which he had sharpened for them. They had yet,
however, to learn what vitality there is in falsehood.

General Jackson and his friends had alone played any active part in
this matter. Of these friends Mr. Kremer had written a letter of
retraction and apology which he was with difficulty prevented from
publishing; Mr. Buchanan had denied all that he had been summoned to
prove; a few years later Mr. Beverly wrote and sent to Mr. Clay a
contrite letter of regret. General Jackson alone remained for the rest
of his life unsilenced, obstinately reiterating a charge disproved by
his own witnesses. But worse than all this, accumulations of evidence
long and laboriously sought in many quarters have established a
tolerably strong probability that advances of precisely the character
alleged against Mr. Adams's friends were made to Mr. Clay by the most
intimate personal associates of General Jackson. The discussion    (p. 188)
of this unpleasant suspicion would not, however, be an excusable
episode in this short volume. The reader who is curious to pursue the
matter further will find all the documentary evidence collected in its
original shape in the first volume of Colton's "Life of Clay,"
accompanied by an argument needlessly elaborate and surcharged with
feeling yet in the main sufficiently fair and exhaustive.

Mr. Benton says that "no President could have commenced his administration
under more unfavorable auspices, or with less expectation of a popular
career," than did Mr. Adams. From the first a strong minority in the
House of Representatives was hostile to him, and the next election
made this a majority. The first indication of the shape which the
opposition was to take became visible in the vote in the Senate upon
confirming Mr. Clay as Secretary of State. There were fourteen nays
against twenty-seven yeas, and an inspection of the list showed that
the South was beginning to consolidate more closely than heretofore as
a sectional force in politics. The formation of a Southern party
distinctly organized in the interests of slavery, already apparent in
the unanimity of the Southern Electoral Colleges against Mr. Adams,
thus received further illustration; and the skilled eye of the     (p. 189)
President noted "the rallying of the South and of Southern interests
and prejudices to the men of the South." It is possible now to see
plainly that Mr. Adams was really the first leader in the long crusade
against slavery; it was in opposition to him that the South became a
political unit; and a true instinct taught him the trend of Southern
politics long before the Northern statesmen apprehended it, perhaps
before even any Southern statesman had distinctly formulated it. This
new development in the politics of the country soon received further
illustration. The first message which Mr. Adams had occasion to send
to Congress gave another opportunity to his ill-wishers. Therein he
stated that the invitation which had been extended to the United
States to be represented at the Congress of Panama had been accepted,
and that he should commission ministers to attend the meeting. Neither
in matter nor in manner did this proposition contain any just element
of offence. It was customary for the Executive to initiate new
missions simply by the nomination of envoys to fill them; and in such
case the Senate, if it did not think the suggested mission desirable,
could simply decline to confirm the nomination upon that ground. An
example of this has been already seen in the two nominations of Mr.
Adams himself to the Court of Russia in the Presidency of Mr.      (p. 190)
Madison. But now vehement assaults were made upon the President,
alike in the Senate and in the House, on the utterly absurd ground
that he had transcended his powers. Incredible, too, as it may seem at
this day it was actually maintained that there was no occasion
whatsoever for the United States to desire representation at such a
gathering. Prolonged and bitter was the opposition which the
Administration was compelled to encounter in a measure to which there
so obviously ought to have been instant assent if considered solely
upon its intrinsic merits, but upon which nevertheless the discussion
actually overshadowed all other questions which arose during the
session. The President had the good fortune to find the powerful aid
of Mr. Webster enlisted in his behalf, and ultimately he prevailed;
but it was of ill augury at this early date to see that personal
hostility was so widespread and so rancorous that it could make such a
prolonged and desperate resistance with only the faintest pretext of
right as a basis for its action. Yet a great and fundamental cause of
the feeling manifested lay hidden away beneath the surface in the
instinctive antipathy of the slaveholders to Mr. Adams and all his
thoughts, his ways, and his doings. For into this question of      (p. 191)
countenancing the Panama Congress, slavery and "the South" entered and
imported into a portion of the opposition a certain element of
reasonableness and propriety in a political sense. When we see the
Southern statesmen banded against President Adams in these debates, as
we know the future which was hidden from them, it almost makes us
believe that their vindictiveness was justified by an instinctive
forecasting of his character and his mission in life, and that without
knowing it they already felt the influence of the acts which he was
yet to do against them. For the South, without present dread of an
abolition movement, yet hated this Panama Congress with a contemptuous
loathing not alone because the South American states had freed all
slaves within their limits, but because there was actually a fair
chance that Hayti would be admitted to representation at the sessions
as a sovereign state. That the President of the United States should
propose to send white citizens of that country to sit cheek by jowl on
terms of official equality with the revolted blacks of Hayti fired the
Southern heart with rage inexpressible. The proposition was a further
infusion of cement to aid in the Southern consolidation so rapidly
going forward, and was substantially the beginning of the sense of
personal alienation henceforth to grow steadily more bitter on     (p. 192)
the part of the slaveholders towards Mr. Adams. Without designing
it he had struck the first blow in a fight which was to absorb his
energies for the rest of his life.

Such evil forebodings as might too easily be drawn from the course of
this debate were soon and amply fulfilled. The opposition increased
rapidly until when Congress came together in December, 1827, it had
attained overshadowing proportions. Not only was a member of that
party elected Speaker of the House of Representatives, but a decided
majority of both Houses of Congress was arrayed against the
Administration--"a state of things which had never before occurred
under the Government of the United States." All the committees too
were composed of four opposition and only three Administration
members. With more exciting issues this relationship of the executive
and legislative departments might have resulted in dangerous collisions;
but in this season of political quietude it only made the position of
the President extremely uncomfortable. Mr. Van Buren soon became
recognized as the formidable leader and organizer of the Jackson
forces. His capacity as a political strategist was so far in advance
of that of any other man of those times that it might have secured
success even had he been encountered by tactics similar to his     (p. 193)
own. But since on the contrary he had only to meet straightforward
simplicity, it was soon apparent that he would have everything his own
way. It was disciplined troops against the militia of honest merchants
and farmers; and the result was not to be doubted. Mr. Adams and his
friends were fond of comparing Van Buren with Aaron Burr, though
predicting that he would be too shrewd to repeat Burr's blunders. From
the beginning they declined to meet with his own weapons a man whom
they so contemned. It was about this time that a new nomenclature of
parties was introduced into our politics. The administrationists
called themselves National Republicans, a name which in a few years
was changed for that of Whigs, while the opposition or Jacksonians
were known as Democrats, a title which has been ever since retained by
the same party.

The story of Mr. Adams's Administration will detain the historian, and
even the biographer, only a very short time. Not an event occurred
during those four years which appears of any especial moment. Our
foreign relations were all pacific; and no grave crisis or great issue
was developed in domestic affairs. It was a period of tranquillity, in
which the nation advanced rapidly in prosperity. For many years dulness
had reigned in business, but returning activity was encouraged by  (p. 194)
the policy of the new Government, and upon all sides various
industries became active and thriving. So far as the rule of Mr. Adams
was marked by any distinguishing characteristic, it was by a care for
the material welfare of the people. More commercial treaties were
negotiated during his Administration than in the thirty-six years
preceding his inauguration. He was a strenuous advocate of internal
improvements, and happily the condition of the national finances
enabled the Government to embark in enterprises of this kind. He
suggested many more than were undertaken, but not perhaps more than it
would have been quite possible to carry out. He was always chary of
making a show of himself before the people for the sake of gaining
popularity. When invited to attend the annual exhibition of the
Maryland Agricultural Society, shortly after his inauguration, he
declined, and wrote in his Diary: "To gratify this wish I must give
four days of my time, no trifle of expense, and set a precedent for
being claimed as an article of exhibition at all the cattle-shows
throughout the Union." Other gatherings would prefer equally
reasonable demands, in responding to which "some duty must be
neglected." But the opening of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal was an
event sufficiently momentous and national in its character to      (p. 195)
justify the President's attendance. He was requested in the presence
of a great concourse of people to dig the first shovelful of earth and
to make a brief address. The speech-making was easy; but when the
digging was to be done he encountered some unexpected obstacle and the
soil did not yield to his repeated efforts. Not to be defeated,
however, he stripped off his coat, went to work in earnest with the
spade and raised the earth successfully. Naturally such readiness was
hailed with loud applause and pleased the great crowd who saw it. But
in Mr. Adams's career it was an exceptional occurrence that enabled
him to conciliate a momentary popularity; it was seldom that he
enjoyed or used an opportunity of gaining the cheap admiration or
shallow friendship of the multitude.

At least one moral to be drawn from the story of Mr. Adams's
Presidency perhaps deserves rather to be called an _immoral_, and
certainly furnishes unwelcome support to those persons who believe
that conscientiousness is out of place in politics. It has been said
that no sooner was General Jackson fairly defeated than he was again
before the people as a candidate for the next election. An opposition
to the new Administration was in process of formation actually before
there had been time for that Administration to declare, much less  (p. 196)
to carry out, any policy or even any measure. The opposition was
therefore not one of principle; it was not dislike of anything done or
to be done; it did not pretend to have a purpose of saving the people
from blunders or of offering them greater advantages. It was simply an
opposition, or more properly an hostility, to the President and his
Cabinet, and was conducted by persons who wished in as short a time as
possible themselves to control and fill those positions. The sole
ground upon which these opponents stood was, that they would rather
have General Jackson at the head of affairs than Mr. Adams. The issue
was purely personal; it was so when the opposition first developed,
and it remained so until that opposition triumphed.

Under no circumstances can it be more excusable for an elective
magistrate to seek personal good will towards himself than when his
rival seeks to supplant him simply on the basis of enjoying a greater
measure of such good will. Had any important question of policy been
dividing the people, it would have been easy for a man of less moral
courage and independence than belonged to Mr. Adams to select the side
which he thought right, and to await the outcome at least with
constancy. But the only real question raised was this: will Mr. Adams
or General Jackson--two individuals representing as yet no         (p. 197)
antagonistic policies--be preferred by the greater number of voters in
1829? If, however, there was no great apparent issue open between
these two men, at least there was a very wide difference between their
characters, a point of some consequence in a wholly personal
competition. It is easy enough now to see how this gaping difference
displayed itself from the beginning, and how the advantage for winning
was throughout wholly on the side of Jackson. The course to be pursued
by Mr. Adams in order to insure victory was obvious enough; being
simply to secure the largest following and most efficient support
possible. The arts by which these objects were to be attained were not
obscure nor beyond his power. If he wished a second term, as beyond
question he did, two methods were of certain utility. He should make
the support of his Administration a source of profit to the
supporters; and he should conciliate good will by every means that
offered. To the former end what more efficient means could be devised
than a body of office-holders owing their positions to his appointment
and likely to have the same term of office as himself? His neglect to
create such a corps of stanch supporters cannot be explained on the
ground that so plain a scheme of perpetuating power had not then   (p. 198)
been devised in the Republic. Mr. Jefferson had practised it, to an
extent which now seems moderate, but which had been sufficiently
extensive to deprive any successor of the honor of novelty in originating
it. The times were ripe for it, and the nation would not have revolted
at it, as was made apparent when General Jackson, succeeding Mr.
Adams, at once carried out the system with a thoroughness that has
never been surpassed, and with a success in achieving results so great
that almost no politician has since failed to have recourse to the
same practice. Suggestions and temptations, neither of which were
wanting, were however alike thrown away upon Mr. Adams. Friendship or
hostility to the President were the only two matters which were sure
to have no effect whatsoever upon the fate of an incumbent or an
aspirant. Scarcely any removals were made during his Administration,
and every one of the few was based solely upon a proved unfitness of
the official. As a consequence very few new appointments were made,
and in every instance the appointee was, or was believed to be, the
fittest man without regard to his political bias. This entire
elimination of the question of party allegiance from every department
of the public service was not a specious protestation, but an
undeniable fact at which friends grumbled bitterly, and upon which (p. 199)
foes counted often with an ungenerous but always with an implicit
reliance. It was well known, for example, that in the Customs
Department there were many more avowed opponents than supporters of
the Administration. What was to be thought, the latter angrily asked,
of a president who refused to make any distinction between the sheep
and the goats? But while Mr. Adams, unmoved by argument, anger, or
entreaty, thus alienated many and discouraged all, every one was made
acquainted with the antipodal principles of his rival. The consequence
was inevitable; many abandoned Adams from sheer irritation; multitudes
became cool and indifferent concerning him; the great number of those
whose political faith was so weak as to be at the ready command of
their own interests, or the interests of a friend or relative, yielded
to a pressure against which no counteracting force was employed. In a
word, no one who had not a strong and independent personal conviction
in behalf of Mr. Adams found the slightest inducement to belong to his
party. It did not require much political sagacity to see that in quiet
times, with no great issue visibly at stake, a following thus composed
could not include a majority of the nation. It is true that in fact
there was opening an issue as great as has ever been presented to the
American people,--an issue between government conducted with a     (p. 200)
sole view to efficiency and honesty and government conducted very
largely, if not exclusively, with a view to individual and party
ascendency. The new system afterward inaugurated by General Jackson,
directly opposite to that of Mr. Adams and presenting a contrast to it
as wide as is to be found in history, makes this fact glaringly plain
to us. But during the years of Mr. Adams's Administration it was dimly
perceived only by a few. Only one side of the shield had then been
shown. The people did not appreciate that Adams and Jackson were
representatives of two conflicting principles of administration which
went to the very basis of our system of government. Had the issue been
as apparent and as well understood then as it is now, in retrospect,
the decision of the nation might have been different. But
unfortunately the voters only beheld two individuals pitted against
each other for the popular suffrage, of whom one, a brilliant soldier,
would stand by and reward his friends, and the other, an uninteresting
civilian, ignored all distinction between friend and foe.

It was not alone in the refusal to use patronage that Mr. Adams's
rigid conscientiousness showed itself. He was equally obstinate in
declining ever to stretch a point however slightly in order to     (p. 201)
win the favor of any body of the people whether large or small. He
was warned that his extensive schemes for internal improvement would
alienate especially the important State of Virginia. He could not of
course be expected to change his policy out of respect to Virginian
prejudices; but he was advised to mitigate his expression of that
policy, and to some extent it was open to him to do so. But he would
not; his utterances went the full length of his opinions, and he
persistently urged upon Congress many plans which he approved, but
which he could not have the faintest hopes of seeing adopted. The
consequence was that he displeased Virginia. He notes the fact in the
Diary in the tone of one who endures persecution for righteousness'
sake, and who means to be very stubborn in his righteousness. Again it
was suggested to him to embody in one of his messages "something
soothing for South Carolina." But there stood upon the statute books
of South Carolina an unconstitutional law which had greatly
embarrassed the national government, and which that rebellious little
State with characteristic contumaciousness would not repeal. Under
such circumstances, said Mr. Adams, I have no "soothing" words for
South Carolina.

It was not alone by what he did and by what he would not do that   (p. 202)
Mr. Adams toiled to insure the election of General Jackson far more
sedulously and efficiently than did the General himself or any of his
partisans. In most cases it was probably the manner quite as much as
the act which made Mr. Adams unpopular. In his anxiety to be upright
he was undoubtedly prone to be needlessly disagreeable. His
uncompromising temper put on an ungracious aspect. His conscientiousness
wore the appearance of offensiveness. The Puritanism in his character
was strongly tinged with that old New England notion that whatever is
disagreeable is probably right, and that a painful refusal would lose
half its merit in being expressed courteously; that a right action
should never be done in a pleasing way; not only that no pill should
be sugar-coated, but that the bitterest ingredient should be placed on
the outside. In repudiating attractive vices the Puritans had rejected
also those amenities which might have decently concealed or even
mildly decorated the forbidding angularities of a naked Virtue which
certainly did not imitate the form of any goddess who had ever before
attracted followers. Mr. Adams was a complete and thorough Puritan,
wonderfully little modified by times and circumstances. The ordinary
arts of propitiation would have appeared to him only a feeble and
diluted form of dishonesty; while suavity and graciousness of      (p. 203)
demeanor would have seemed as unbecoming to this rigid official as
love-making or wine-bibbing seem to a strait-laced parson. It was
inevitable, therefore, that he should never avert by his words any
ill-will naturally caused by his acts; that he should never soothe
disappointment, or attract calculating selfishness. He was an adept in
alienation, a novice in conciliation. His magnetism was negative. He
made few friends; and had no interested following whatsoever. No one
was enthusiastic on his behalf; no band worked for him with the ardor
of personal devotion. His party was composed of those who had
sufficient intelligence to appreciate his integrity and sufficient
honesty to admire it. These persons respected him, and when election
day came they would vote for him; but they did not canvass zealously
in his behalf, nor do such service for him as a very different kind of
feeling induced the Jackson men to do for their candidate.[7] The
fervid laborers in politics left Mr. Adams alone in his chilling   (p. 204)
respectability, and went over to a camp where all scruples were
consumed in the glowing heat of a campaign conducted upon the single
and simple principle of securing victory.

                   [Footnote 7: Mr. Mills, in writing of Mr. Adams's
                   inauguration, expressed well what many felt. "This
                   same President of ours is a man that I can never
                   court nor be on very familiar terms with. There is
                   a cold, repulsive atmosphere about him that is too
                   chilling for my respiration, and I shall certainly
                   keep at a distance from its influence. I wish him
                   God-speed in his Administration, and am heartily
                   disposed to lend him my feeble aid whenever he may
                   need it in a correct course; but he cannot expect
                   me to become his warm and devoted partisan." A like
                   sentiment was expressed also much more vigorously
                   by Ezekiel Webster to Daniel Webster, in a letter
                   of February 15, 1829. The writer there attributes
                   the defeat of Mr. Adams to personal dislike to him.
                   People, he said, "always supported his cause from a
                   cold sense of duty," and "we soon satisfy ourselves
                   that we have discharged our duty to the cause of
                   any man when we do not entertain for him one
                   personal kind feeling, nor cannot unless we
                   disembowel ourselves like a trussed turkey of all
                   that is human nature within us." With a candidate
                   "of popular character, like Mr. Clay," the result
                   would have been different. "The measures of his
                   [Adams's] Administration were just and wise and
                   every honest man should have supported them, but
                   many honest men did not for the reason I have
                   mentioned."--_Webster's Private Correspondence_,
                   vol. i. p. 469.]

       *       *       *       *       *

Mr. Adams's relations with the members of his Cabinet were friendly
throughout his term. Men of their character and ability, brought into
daily contact with him, could not fail to appreciate and admire the
purity of his motives and the patriotism of his conduct; nor was he
wanting in a measure of consideration and deference towards them
perhaps somewhat greater than might have been expected from him,
sometimes even carried to the point of yielding his opinion in     (p. 205)
matters of consequence. It was his wish that the unity of the body
should remain unbroken during his four years of office, and the wish
was very nearly realized. Unfortunately, however, in his last year it
became necessary for him to fill the mission to England, and Governor
Barbour was extremely anxious for the place. It was already apparent
that the coming election was likely to result in the succession of
Jackson, and Mr. Adams notes that Barbour's extreme desire to receive
the appointment was due to his wish to find a good harbor ere the
approaching storm should burst. The remark was made without anger, in
the tone of a man who had seen enough of the world not to expect too
much from any of his fellow men; and the appointment was made,
somewhat to the chagrin of Webster and Rush, either one of whom would
have gladly accepted it. The vacancy thus caused, the only one which
arose during his term, was filled by General Peter B. Porter, a
gentleman whom Mr. Adams selected not as his own choice, but out of
respect to the wishes of the Cabinet, and in order to "terminate the
Administration in harmony with itself." The only seriously unpleasant
occurrence was the treachery of Postmaster-General McLean, who saw fit
to profess extreme devotion to Mr. Adams while secretly aiding General
Jackson. His perfidy was not undetected, and great pressure was    (p. 206)
brought to bear on the President to remove him. Mr. Adams, however,
refused to do so, and McLean had the satisfaction of stepping from his
post under Mr. Adams into a judgeship conferred by General Jackson,
having shown his impartiality and judicial turn of mind, it is to be
supposed, by declaring his warm allegiance to each master in turn.

The picture of President Adams's daily life is striking in its
simplicity and its laboriousness. This chief magistrate of a great
nation was wont to rise before daybreak, often at four or five o'clock
even in winter, not unfrequently to build and light his own fire, and
to work hard for hours when most persons in busy life were still
comfortably slumbering. The forenoon and afternoon he devoted to
public affairs, and often he complains that the unbroken stream of
visitors gives him little opportunity for hard or continuous labor.
Such work he was compelled to do chiefly in the evening; and he did
not always make up for early hours of rising by a correspondingly
early bedtime; though sometimes in the summer we find him going to bed
between eight and nine o'clock, an hour which probably few Presidents
have kept since then. He strove to care for his health by daily
exercise. In the morning he swam in the Potomac, often for a long  (p. 207)
time; and more than once he encountered no small risk in this
pastime. During the latter part of his Presidential term he tried
riding on horseback. At times when the weather compelled him to walk,
and business was pressing, he used to get his daily modicum of fresh
air before the sun was up. A life of this kind with more of hardship
than of relaxation in it was ill fitted to sustain in robust health a
man sixty years of age, and it is not surprising that Mr. Adams often
complained of feeling ill, dejected, and weary. Yet he never spared
himself, nor apparently thought his habits too severe, and actually
toward the close of his term he spoke of his trying daily routine as
constituting a very agreeable life. He usually began the day by
reading "two or three chapters in the Bible with Scott's and Hewlett's
Commentaries," being always a profoundly religious man of the
old-fashioned school then prevalent in New England.

It could hardly have added to the meagre comforts of such a life to be
threatened with assassination. Yet this danger was thrust upon Mr.
Adams's attention upon one occasion at least under circumstances which
gave to it a very serious aspect. The tranquillity with which he went
through the affair showed that his physical courage was as imperturbable
as his moral. The risk was protracted throughout a considerable    (p. 208)
period, but he never let it disturb the even tenor of his daily
behavior or warp his actions in the slightest degree, save only that
when he was twice or thrice brought face to face with the intending
assassin he treated the fellow with somewhat more curt brusqueness
than was his wont. But when the danger was over he bore his would-be
murderer no malice, and long afterward actually did him a kindly

       *       *       *       *       *

Few men in public life have been subjected to trials of temper so
severe as vexed Mr. Adams during his Presidential term. To play an
intensely exciting game strictly in accordance with rigid moral rules
of the player's own arbitrary enforcement, and which are utterly
repudiated by a less scrupulous antagonist, can hardly tend to promote
contentment and amiability. Neither are slanders and falsehoods
mollifying applications to a statesman inspired with an upright and
noble ambition. Mr. Adams bore such assaults, ranging from the charge
of having corruptly bought the Presidency down to that of being a
Freemason with such grim stoicism as he could command. The
disappearance and probable assassination of Morgan at this time led to
a strong feeling throughout the country against Freemasonry, and   (p. 209)
the Jackson men at once proclaimed abroad that Adams was one of the
brotherhood, and offered, if he should deny it, to produce the records
of the lodge to which he belonged. The allegation was false; he was
not a Mason, and his friends urged him to say so publicly; but he
replied bitterly that his denial would probably at once be met by a
complete set of forged records of a fictitious lodge, and the people
would not know whom to believe. Next he was said to have bargained for
the support of Daniel Webster, by promising to distribute offices to
Federalists. This accusation was a cruel perversion of his very
virtues; for its only foundation lay in the fact that in the
venturesome but honorable attempt to be President of a nation rather
than of a party, he had in some instances given offices to old
Federalists, certainly with no hope or possibility of reconciling to
himself the almost useless wreck of that now powerless and shrunken
party, one of whose liveliest traditions was hatred of him. Stories
were even set afloat that some of his accounts, since he had been in
the public service, were incorrect. But the most extraordinary and
ridiculous tale of all was that during his residence in Russia he had
prostituted a beautiful American girl, whom he then had in his
service, in order "to seduce the passions of the Emperor Alexander (p. 210)
and sway him to political purposes."

These and other like provocations were not only discouraging but very
irritating, and Mr. Adams was not of that careless disposition which
is little affected by unjust accusation. On the contrary he was
greatly incensed by such treatment, and though he made the most stern
and persistent effort to endure an inevitable trial with a patience
born of philosophy, since indifference was not at his command, yet he
could not refrain from the expression of his sentiments in his secret
communings. Occasionally he allowed his wrath to explode with harmless
violence between the covers of the Diary, and doubtless he found
relief while he discharged his fierce diatribes on these private
sheets. His vituperative power was great, and some specimens of it may
not come amiss in a sketch of the man. The senators who did not call
upon him he regarded as of "rancorous spirit." He spoke of the
falsehoods and misrepresentations which "the skunks of party slander
... have been ... squirting round the House of Representatives, thence
to issue and perfume the atmosphere of the Union." His most intense
hatred and vehement denunciation were reserved for John Randolph, whom
he thought an abomination too odious and despicable to be described
in words, "the image and superscription of a great man stamped     (p. 211)
upon base metal." "The besotted violence" of Randolph, he said, has
deprived him of "all right to personal civility from me;" and
certainly this excommunication from courtesy was made complete and
effective. He speaks again of the same victim as a "frequenter of gin
lane and beer alley." He indignantly charges that Calhoun, as Speaker,
permitted Randolph "in speeches of ten hours long to drink himself
drunk with bottled porter, and in raving balderdash of the meridian of
Wapping to revile the absent and the present, the living and the
dead." This, he says, was "tolerated by Calhoun, because Randolph's
ribaldry was all pointed against the Administration, especially
against Mr. Clay and me." Again he writes of Randolph: "The rancor of
this man's soul against me is that which sustains his life: the agony
of [his] envy and hatred of me, and the hope of effecting my downfall,
are [his] chief remaining sources of vitality. The issue of the
Presidential election will kill [him] by the gratification of [his]
revenge." So it was also with W. B. Giles, of Virginia. But Giles's
abuse was easier to bear since it had been poured in torrents upon
every reputable man, from Washington downwards, who had been prominent
in public affairs since the adoption of the Constitution, so that  (p. 212)
Giles's memory is now preserved from oblivion solely by the connection
which he established with the great and honorable statesmen of the
Republic by a course of ceaseless attacks upon them. Some of the
foregoing expressions of Mr. Adams may be open to objection on the
score of good taste; but the provocation was extreme; public retaliation
he would not practise, and wrath must sometimes burst forth in
language which was not so unusual in that day as it is at present. It
is an unquestionable fact, of which the credit to Mr. Adams can hardly
be exaggerated, that he never in any single instance found an excuse
for an unworthy act on his own part in the fact that competitors or
adversaries were resorting to such expedients.

       *       *       *       *       *

The election of 1828 gave 178 votes for Jackson and only 83 for Adams.
Calhoun was continued as Vice-President by 171 votes, showing plainly
enough that even yet there were not two political parties, in any
customary or proper sense of the phrase. The victory of Jackson had
been foreseen by every one. What had been so generally anticipated
could not take Mr. Adams by surprise; yet it was idle for him to seek
to conceal his disappointment that an Administration which he      (p. 213)
had conducted with his best ability and with thorough conscientiousness
should not have seemed to the people worthy of continuance for another
term. Little suspecting what the future had in store for him, he felt
that his public career had culminated and probably had closed forever,
and that if it had not closed exactly in disgrace, yet at least it
could not be regarded as ending gloriously or even satisfactorily. But
he summoned all his philosophy and fortitude to his aid; he fell back
upon his clear conscience and comported himself with dignity, showing
all reasonable courtesy to his successor and only perhaps seeming a
little deficient in filial piety in presenting so striking a contrast
to the shameful conduct of his father in a like crucial hour. His
retirement brought to a close a list of Presidents who deserved to be
called statesmen in the highest sense of that term, honorable men,
pure patriots, and, with perhaps one exception, all of the first order
of ability in public affairs. It is necessary to come far down towards
this day before a worthy successor of those great men is met with in
the list. Dr. Von Holst, by far the ablest writer who has yet dealt
with American history, says: "In the person of Adams the last
statesman who was to occupy it for a long time left the White House."
General Jackson, the candidate of the populace and the             (p. 214)
representative hero of the ignorant masses, instituted a new system of
administering the Government in which personal interests became the
most important element, and that organization and strategy were
developed which have since become known and infamous under the name of
the "political machine."

While Mr. Adams bore his defeat like a philosopher, he felt secretly
very depressed and unhappy by reason of it. He speaks of it as leaving
his "character and reputation a wreck," and says that the "sun of his
political life sets in the deepest gloom." On January 1, 1829, he
writes: "The year begins in gloom. My wife had a sleepless and painful
night. The dawn was overcast, and as I began to write my shaded lamp
went out, self-extinguished. It was only for lack of oil, and the
notice of so trivial an incident may serve but to mark the present
temper of my mind." It is painful to behold a man of his vigor,
activity, and courage thus prostrated. Again he writes:--

     "Three days more and I shall be restored to private life, and
     left to an old age of retirement though certainly not of repose.
     I go into it with a combination of parties and public men against
     my character and reputation, such as I believe never before was
     exhibited against any man since this Union existed. Posterity
     will scarcely believe it, but so it is, that this combination
     against me has been formed and is now exulting in triumph     (p. 215)
     over me, for the devotion of my life and of all the faculties
     of my soul to the Union, and to the improvement, physical, moral,
     and intellectual of my country."

Melancholy words these to be written by an old man who had worked so
hard and been so honest, and whose ambition had been of the kind that
ennobles him who feels it! Could the curtain of the future have been
lifted but for a moment what relief would the glimpse have brought to
his crushed and wearied spirit. But though coming events may cast
shadows before them, they far less often send bright rays in advance.
So he now resolved "to go into the deepest retirement and withdraw
from all connection with public affairs." Yet it was with regret that
he foretold this fate, and he looked forward with solicitude to the
effect which such a mode of life, newly entered upon at his age, would
have upon his mind and character. He hopes rather than dares to
predict that he will be provided "with useful and profitable
occupation, engaging so much of his thoughts and feelings that his
mind may not be left to corrode itself."

His return to Quincy held out the less promise of comfort, because the
old chasm between him and the Federalist gentlemen of Boston had been
lately reopened. Certain malicious newspaper paragraphs, born of   (p. 216)
the mischievous spirit of the wretched Giles, had recently set afloat
some stories designed seriously to injure Mr. Adams. These were,
substantially, that in 1808-9 he had been convinced that some among
the leaders of the Federalist party in New England were entertaining a
project for separation from the Union, that he had feared that this
event would be promoted by the embargo, that he foresaw that the
seceding portion would inevitably be compelled into some sort of
alliance with Great Britain, that he suspected negotiations to this
end to have been already set on foot, that he thereupon gave privately
some more or less distinct intimations of these notions of his to
sundry prominent Republicans, and even to President Jefferson. These
tales, much distorted from the truth and exaggerated as usual, led to
the publication of an open letter, in November, 1828, addressed by
thirteen Federalists of note in Massachusetts to John Quincy Adams,
demanding names and specifications and the production of evidence. Mr.
Adams replied briefly, with dignity, and, considering the
circumstances, with good temper, stating fairly the substantial import
of what he had really said, declaring that he had never mentioned
names, and refusing, for good reasons given, either to do so now   (p. 217)
or to publish the grounds of such opinions as he had entertained.
It was sufficiently clear that he had said nothing secretly which he
had reason to regret; and that if he sought to shun the discussion
opened by his adversaries, he was influenced by wise forbearance, and
not at all by any fear of the consequences to himself. A dispassionate
observer could have seen that behind this moderate, rather deprecatory
letter there was an abundant reserve of controversial material held
for the moment in check. But his adversaries were not dispassionate;
on the contrary they were greatly excited and were honestly convinced
of the perfect goodness of their cause. They were men of the highest
character in public and private life, deservedly of the best repute in
the community, of unimpeachable integrity in motives and dealings,
influential and respected, men whom it was impossible in New England
to treat with neglect or indifference. For this reason it was only the
harder to remain silent beneath their published reproach when a
refutation was possible. Hating Mr. Adams with an animosity not
diminished by the lapse of years since his defection from their party,
strong in a consciousness of their own standing before their fellow
citizens, the thirteen notables responded with much acrimony to Mr.
Adams's unsatisfactory letter. Thus persistently challenged and    (p. 218)
assailed, at a time when his recent crushing political defeat made
an attack upon him seem a little ungenerous, Mr. Adams at last went
into the fight in earnest. He had the good fortune to be thoroughly
right, and also to have sufficient evidence to prove and justify at
least as much as he had ever said. All this evidence he brought
together in a vindicatory pamphlet, which, however, by the time he had
completed it he decided not to publish. But fortunately he did not
destroy it, and his grandson, in the exercise of a wise discretion,
has lately given it to the world. His foes never knew how deeply they
were indebted to the self-restraint which induced him to keep this
formidable missive harmless in his desk. Full of deep feeling, yet
free from ebullitions of temper, clear in statement, concise in style,
conclusive in facts, unanswerable in argument, unrelentingly severe in
dealing with opponents, it is as fine a specimen of political
controversy as exists in the language. Its historical value cannot be
exaggerated, but apart from this as a mere literary production it is
admirable. Happy were the thirteen that they one and all went down to
their graves complaisantly thinking that they had had the last word in
the quarrel, little suspecting how great was their obligation to Mr.
Adams for having granted them that privilege. One would think      (p. 219)
that they might have writhed beneath their moss-grown headstones
on the day when his last word at length found public utterance, albeit
that the controversy had then become one of the dusty tales of

                   [Footnote 8: It is with great reluctance that these
                   comments are made, since some persons may think
                   that they come with ill grace from one whose
                   grandfather was one of the thirteen and was
                   supposed to have drafted one or both of their
                   letters. But in spite of the prejudice naturally
                   growing out of this fact, a thorough study of the
                   whole subject has convinced me that Mr. Adams was
                   unquestionably and completely right, and I have no
                   escape from saying so. His adversaries had the
                   excuse of honesty in political error--an excuse
                   which the greatest and wisest men must often fall
                   back upon in times of hot party warfare.]

But this task of writing a demolishing pamphlet against the prominent
gentlemen of the neighborhood to which he was about to return for his
declining years could hardly have been a grateful task. The passage
from political disaster to social enmities could not but be painful;
and Mr. Adams was probably never more unhappy than at this period of
his life. The reward which virtue was tendering to him seemed unmixed

       *       *       *       *       *

Thus at the age of sixty-two years, Mr. Adams found himself that
melancholy product of the American governmental system--an ex-President.
At this stage it would seem that the fruit ought to drop from the  (p. 220)
bough, no further process of development being reasonably probable
for it. Yet Mr. Adams had by no means reached this measure of
ripeness; he still enjoyed abundant vigor of mind and body, and to
lapse into dignified decrepitude was not agreeable, indeed was hardly
possible for him. The prospect gave him profound anxiety; he dreaded
idleness, apathy, and decay with a keen terror which perhaps
constituted a sufficient guaranty against them. Yet what could he do?
It would be absurd for him now to furbish up the rusty weapons of the
law and enter again upon the tedious labor of collecting a clientage.
His property was barely sufficient to enable him to live respectably,
even according to the simple standard of the time, and could open to
him no occupation in the way of gratifying unremunerative tastes. In
March, 1828, he had been advised to use five thousand dollars in a way
to promote his reëlection. He refused at once, upon principle; but
further set forth "candidly, the state of his affairs:"--

     "All my real estate in Quincy and Boston is mortgaged for the
     payment of my debts; the income of my whole private estate is
     less than $6,000 a year, and I am paying at least two thousand of
     that for interest on my debt. Finally, upon going out of office
     in one year from this time, destitute of all means of         (p. 221)
     acquiring property, it will only be by the sacrifice of that
     which I now possess that I shall be able to support my family."

At first he plunged desperately into the Latin classics. He had a
strong taste for such reading, and he made a firm resolve to compel
this taste now to stand him in good stead in his hour of need. He
courageously demanded solace from a pursuit which had yielded him
pleasure enough in hours of relaxation, but which was altogether
inadequate to fill the huge vacuum now suddenly created in his time
and thoughts. There is much pathos in this spectacle of the old man
setting himself with ever so feeble a weapon, yet with stern
determination, to conquer the cruelty of circumstances. But he knew,
of course, that the Roman authors could only help him for a time, by
way of distraction, in carrying him through a transition period. He
soon set more cheerfully at work upon a memoir of his father, and had
also plans for writing a history of the United States. Literature had
always possessed strong charms for him, and he had cultivated it after
his usual studious and conscientious fashion. But his style was too
often prolix, sententious, and turgid--faults which marked nearly all
the writing done in this country in those days. The world has      (p. 222)
probably not lost much by reason of the non-completion of the
contemplated volumes. He could have made no other contribution to the
history of the country at all approaching in value or interest to the
Diary, of which a most important part was still to be written. For a
brief time just now this loses its historic character, but makes up
for the loss by depicting admirably some traits in the mental
constitution of the diarist. Tales of enchantment, he says, pleased
his boyhood, but "the humors of Falstaff hardly affected me at all.
Bardolph and Pistol and Nym were personages quite unintelligible to
me; and the lesson of Sir Hugh Evans to the boy Williams was quite too
serious an affair." In truth, no man can ever have been more utterly
void of a sense of humor or an appreciation of wit than was Mr. Adams.
Not a single instance of an approach to either is to be found
throughout the twelve volumes of his Diary. Not even in the simple
form of the "good story" could he find pleasure, and subtler delicacies
were wasted on his well-regulated mind as dainty French dishes would
be on the wholesome palate of a day-laborer. The books which bore the
stamp of well-established approval, the acknowledged classics of the
English, Latin, and French languages he read with a mingled sense of
duty and of pleasure, and evidently with cultivated appreciation,  (p. 223)
though whether he would have made an original discovery of their
merits may be doubted. Occasionally he failed to admire even those
volumes which deserved admiration, and then with characteristic
honesty he admitted the fact. He tried Paradise Lost ten times before
he could get through with it, and was nearly thirty years old when he
first succeeded in reading it to the end. Thereafter he became very
fond of it, but plainly by an acquired taste. He tried smoking and
Milton, he says, at the same time, in the hope of discovering the
"recondite charm" in them which so pleased his father. He was more
easily successful with the tobacco than with the poetry. Many another
has had the like experience, but the confession is not always so
frankly forthcoming.

Fate, however, had in store for Mr. Adams labors to which he was
better suited than those of literature, and tasks to be performed
which the nation could ill afford to exchange for an apotheosis of our
second President, or even for a respectable but probably not very
readable history. The most brilliant and glorious years of his career
were yet to be lived. He was to earn in his old age a noble fame and
distinction far transcending any achievement of his youth and middle
age, and was to attain the highest pinnacle of his fame after he   (p. 224)
had left the greatest office of the Government, and during a period
for which presumably nothing better had been allotted than that he
should tranquilly await the summons of death. It is a striking
circumstance that the fullness of greatness for one who had been
Senator, Minister to England, Secretary of State, and President,
remained to be won in the comparatively humble position of a
Representative in Congress.

CHAPTER III                                                        (p. 225)


In September, 1830, Mr. Adams notes in his Diary a suggestion made to
him that he might if he wished be elected to the national House of
Representatives from the Plymouth district. The gentleman who threw
out this tentative proposition remarked that in his opinion the
acceptance of this position by an ex-President "instead of degrading
the individual would elevate the representative character." Mr. Adams
replied, that he "had in that respect no scruple whatever. No person
could be degraded by serving the people as a Representative in
Congress. Nor in my opinion would an ex-President of the United States
be degraded by serving as a selectman of his town, if elected thereto
by the people." A few weeks later his election was accomplished by a
flattering vote, the poll showing for him 1817 votes out of 2565, with
only 373 for the next candidate. He continued thenceforth to represent
this district until his death, a period of about sixteen years. During
this time he was occasionally suggested as a candidate for the     (p. 226)
governorship of the State, but was always reluctant to stand. The
feeling between the Freemasons and the anti-Masons ran very high for
several years, and once he was prevailed upon to allow his name to be
used by the latter party. The result was that there was no election by
the people; and as he had been very loath to enter the contest in the
beginning, he insisted upon withdrawing from before the legislature.
We have now therefore only to pursue his career in the lower house of

Unfortunately, but of obvious necessity, it is possible to touch only
upon the more salient points of this which was really by far the most
striking and distinguished portion of his life. To do more than this
would involve an explanation of the politics of the country and the
measures before Congress much more elaborate than would be possible in
this volume. It will be necessary, therefore, to confine ourselves to
drawing a picture of him in his character as the great combatant of
Southern slavery. In the waging of this mighty conflict we shall see
both his mind and his character developing in strength even in these
years of his old age, and his traits standing forth in bolder relief
than ever before. In his place on the floor of the House of
Representatives he was destined to appear a more impressive figure
than in any of the higher positions which he had previously        (p. 227)
filled. There he was to do his greatest work and to win a peculiar and
distinctive glory which takes him out of the general throng even of
famous statesmen, and entitles his name to be remembered with an
especial reverence. Adequately to sketch his achievements, and so to
do his memory the honor which it deserves, would require a pen as
eloquent as has been wielded by any writer of our language. I can only
attempt a brief and insufficient narrative.

       *       *       *       *       *

In his conscientious way he was faithful and industrious to a rare
degree. He was never absent and seldom late; he bore unflinchingly the
burden of severe committee work, and shirked no toil on the plea of
age or infirmity. He attended closely to all the business of the
House; carefully formed his opinions on every question; never failed
to vote except for cause; and always had a sufficient reason
independent of party allegiance to sustain his vote. Living in the age
of oratory, he earned the name of "the old man eloquent." Yet he was
not an orator in the sense in which Webster, Clay, and Calhoun were
orators. He was not a rhetorician; he had neither grace of manner nor
a fine presence, neither an imposing delivery, nor even pleasing
tones. On the contrary, he was exceptionally lacking in all these  (p. 228)
qualities. He was short, rotund, and bald; about the time when he
entered Congress, complaints become frequent in his Diary of weak and
inflamed eyes, and soon these organs became so rheumy that the water
would trickle down his cheeks; a shaking of the hand grew upon him to
such an extent that in time he had to use artificial assistance to
steady it for writing; his voice was high, shrill, liable to break,
piercing enough to make itself heard, but not agreeable. This hardly
seems the picture of an orator; nor was it to any charm of elocution
that he owed his influence, but rather to the fact that men soon
learned that what he said was always well worth hearing. When he
entered Congress he had been for much more than a third of a century
zealously gathering knowledge in public affairs, and during his career
in that body every year swelled the already vast accumulation.
Moreover, listeners were always sure to get a bold and an honest
utterance and often pretty keen words from him, and he never spoke to
an inattentive audience or to a thin house. Whether pleased or
incensed by what he said, the Representatives at least always listened
to it. He was by nature a hard fighter, and by the circumstances of
his course in Congress this quality was stimulated to such a degree
that parliamentary history does not show his equal as a gladiator. (p. 229)
His power of invective was extraordinary, and he was untiring and
merciless in his use of it. Theoretically he disapproved of sarcasm,
but practically he could not refrain from it. Men winced and cowered
before his milder attacks, became sometimes dumb, sometimes furious
with mad rage before his fiercer assaults. Such struggles evidently
gave him pleasure, and there was scarce a back in Congress that did
not at one time or another feel the score of his cutting lash; though
it was the Southerners and the Northern allies of Southerners whom
chiefly he singled out for torture. He was irritable and quick to
wrath; he himself constantly speaks of the infirmity of his temper,
and in his many conflicts his principal concern was to keep it in
control. His enemies often referred to it and twitted him with it. Of
alliances he was careless, and friendships he had almost none. But in
the creation of enmities he was terribly successful. Not so much at
first, but increasingly as years went on, a state of ceaseless,
vigilant hostility became his normal condition. From the time when he
fairly entered upon the long struggle against slavery, he enjoyed few
peaceful days in the House. But he seemed to thrive upon the warfare,
and to be never so well pleased as when he was bandying hot words with
slave-holders and the Northern supporters of slave-holders. When   (p. 230)
the air of the House was thick with crimination and abuse he seemed to
suck in fresh vigor and spirit from the hate-laden atmosphere. When
invective fell around him in showers, he screamed back his retaliation
with untiring rapidity and marvellous dexterity of aim. No odds could
appall him. With his back set firm against a solid moral principle, it
was his joy to strike out at a multitude of foes. They lost their heads
as well as their tempers, but in the extremest moments of excitement
and anger Mr. Adams's brain seemed to work with machine-like coolness
and accuracy. With flushed face, streaming eyes, animated gesticulation,
and cracking voice, he always retained perfect mastery of all his
intellectual faculties. He thus became a terrible antagonist, whom all
feared, yet fearing could not refrain from attacking, so bitterly and
incessantly did he choose to exert his wonderful power of
exasperation. Few men could throw an opponent into wild blind fury
with such speed and certainty as he could; and he does not conceal the
malicious gratification which such feats brought to him. A leader of
such fighting capacity, so courageous, with such a magazine of
experience and information, and with a character so irreproachable,
could have won brilliant victories in public life at the head of   (p. 231)
even a small band of devoted followers. But Mr. Adams never had and
apparently never wanted followers. Other prominent public men were
brought not only into collision but into comparison with their
contemporaries. But Mr. Adams's individuality was so strong that he
can be compared with no one. It was not an individuality of genius nor
to any remarkable extent of mental qualities; but rather an
individuality of character. To this fact is probably to be attributed
his peculiar solitariness. Men touch each other for purposes of
attachment through their characters much more than through their
minds. But few men, even in agreeing with Mr. Adams, felt themselves
in sympathy with him. Occasionally conscience, or invincible logic, or
even policy and self-interest, might compel one or another politician
to stand beside him in debate or in voting; but no current of fellow
feeling ever passed between such temporary comrades and him. It was
the cold connection of duty or of business. The first instinct of
nearly every one was opposition towards him; coalition might be forced
by circumstances but never came by volition. For the purpose of
winning immediate successes this was of course a most unfortunate
condition of relationships. Yet it had some compensations: it left
such influence as Mr. Adams could exert by steadfastness and       (p. 232)
argument entirely unweakened by suspicion of hidden motives or
personal ends. He had the weight and enjoyed the respect which a
sincerity beyond distrust must always command in the long run. Of this
we shall see some striking instances.

One important limitation, however, belongs to this statement of
solitariness. It was confined to his position in Congress. Outside of
the city of Washington great numbers of the people, especially in New
England, lent him a hearty support and regarded him with friendship
and admiration. These men had strong convictions and deep feelings,
and their adherence counted for much. Moreover, their numbers steadily
increased, and Mr. Adams saw that he was the leader in a cause which
engaged the sound sense and the best feeling of the intelligent people
of the country, and which was steadily gaining ground. Without such
encouragement it is doubtful whether even his persistence would have
held out through so long and extreme a trial. The sense of human
fellowship was needful to him; he could go without it in Congress, but
he could not have gone without it altogether.

Mr. Adams took his seat in the House as a member of the twenty-second
Congress in December, 1831. He had been elected by the National
Republican, afterward better known as the Whig party, but one of   (p. 233)
his first acts was to declare that he would be bound by no partisan
connection, but would in every matter act independently. This course
he regarded as a "duty imposed upon him by his peculiar position," in
that he "had spent the greatest portion of his life in the service of
the whole nation and had been honored with their highest trust." Many
persons had predicted that he would find himself subjected to
embarrassments and perhaps to humiliations by reason of his apparent
descent in the scale of political dignities. He notes, however, that
he encountered no annoyance on this score, but on the contrary he was
rather treated with an especial respect. He was made chairman of the
Committee on Manufactures, a laborious as well as an important and
honorable position at all times, and especially so at this juncture
when the rebellious mutterings of South Carolina against the
protective tariff were already to be heard rolling and swelling like
portentous thunder from the fiery Southern regions. He would have
preferred to exchange this post for a place upon the Committee on
Foreign Affairs, for whose business he felt more fitted. But he was
told that in the impending crisis his ability, authority, and prestige
were all likely to be needed in the place allotted to him to aid in
the salvation of the country.

The nullification chapter of our history cannot here be entered    (p. 234)
upon at length, and Mr. Adams's connection with it must be very
shortly stated. At the first meeting of his committee he remarks: "A
reduction of the duties upon many of the articles in the tariff was
understood by all to be the object to be effected;" and a little later
he said that he should be disposed to give such aid as he could to any
plan for this reduction which the Treasury Department should devise.
"He should certainly not consent to sacrifice the manufacturing
interest," he said, "but something of concession would be due from
that interest to appease the discontents of the South." He was in a
reasonable frame of mind; but unfortunately other people were rapidly
ceasing to be reasonable. When Jackson's message of December 4, 1832,
was promulgated, showing a disposition to do for South Carolina pretty
much all that she demanded, Mr. Adams was bitterly indignant. The
message, he said, "recommends a total change in the policy of the
Union with reference to the Bank, manufactures, internal improvement,
and the public lands. It goes to dissolve the Union into its original
elements, and is in substance a complete surrender to the nullifiers
of South Carolina." When, somewhat later on, the President lost his
temper and flamed out in his famous proclamation to meet the       (p. 235)
nullification ordinance, he spoke in tones more pleasing to Mr. Adams.
But the ultimate compromise which disposed of the temporary dissension
without permanently settling the fundamental question of the
constitutional right of nullification was extremely distasteful to
him. He was utterly opposed to the concessions which were made while
South Carolina still remained contumacious. He was for compelling her
to retire altogether from her rebellious position and to repeal her
unconstitutional enactments wholly and unconditionally, before one jot
should be abated from the obnoxious duties. When the bill for the
modification of the tariff was under debate, he moved to strike out
all but the enacting clause, and supported his motion in a long
speech, insisting that no tariff ought to pass until it was known
"whether there was any measure by which a State could defeat the laws
of the Union." In a minority report from his own committee he strongly
censured the policy of the Administration. He was for meeting,
fighting out, and determining at this crisis the whole doctrine of
state rights and secession. "One particle of compromise," he said,
with what truth events have since shown clearly enough, would
"directly lead to the final and irretrievable dissolution of the
Union." In his usual strong and thorough-going fashion he was for  (p. 236)
persisting in the vigorous and spirited measures, the mere brief
declaration of which, though so quickly receded from, won for Jackson
a measure of credit greater than he deserved. Jackson was thrown into
a great rage by the threats of South Carolina, and replied to them
with the same prompt wrath with which he had sometimes resented
insults from individuals. But in his cool inner mind he was in
sympathy with the demands which that State preferred, and though
undoubtedly he would have fought her, had the dispute been forced to
that pass, yet he was quite willing to make concessions, which were in
fact in consonance with his own views as well as with hers, in order
to avoid that sad conclusion. He was satisfied to have the instant
emergency pass over in a manner rendered superficially creditable to
himself by his outburst of temper, under cover of which he sacrificed
the substantial matter of principle without a qualm. He shook his fist
and shouted defiance in the face of the nullifiers, while Mr. Clay
smuggled a comfortable concession into their pockets. Jackson,
notwithstanding his belligerent attitude, did all he could to help
Clay and was well pleased with the result. Mr. Adams was not. He
watched the disingenuous game with disgust. It is certain that if he
had still been in the White House, the matter would have had a     (p. 237)
very different ending, bloodier, it may be, and more painful, but
much more conclusive.

For the most part Mr. Adams found himself in opposition to President
Jackson's Administration. This was not attributable to any sense of
personal hostility towards a successful rival, but to an inevitable
antipathy towards the measures, methods, and ways adopted by the
General so unfortunately transferred to civil life. Few intelligent
persons, and none having the statesman habit of mind, befriended the
reckless, violent, eminently unstatesmanlike President. His ultimate
weakness in the nullification matter, his opposition to internal
improvements, his policy of sacrificing the public lands to individual
speculators, his warfare against the Bank of the United States
conducted by methods the most unjustifiable, the transaction of the
removal of the deposits so disreputable and injurious in all its
details, the importation of Mrs. Eaton's visiting-list into the
politics and government of the country, the dismissal of the oldest
and best public servants as a part of the nefarious system of using
public offices as rewards for political aid and personal adherence,
the formation from base ingredients of the ignoble "Kitchen
Cabinet,"--all these doings, together with much more of the like   (p. 238)
sort, constituted a career which could only seem blundering,
undignified, and dishonorable in the eyes of a man like Mr. Adams, who
regarded statesmanship with the reverence due to the noblest of human

Right as Mr. Adams was generally in his opposition to Jackson, yet
once he deserves credit for the contrary course. This was in the
matter of our relations with France. The treaty of 1831 secured to
this country an indemnity of $5,000,000, which, however, it had never
been possible to collect. This procrastination raised Jackson's ever
ready ire, and casting to the winds any further dunning, he resolved
either to have the money or to fight for it. He sent a message to
Congress, recommending that if France should not promptly settle the
account, letters of marque and reprisal against her commerce should be
issued. He ordered Edward Livingston, minister at Paris, to demand his
passports and cross over to London. These eminently proper and
ultimately effectual measures alarmed the large party of the timid;
and the General found himself in danger of extensive desertions even
on the part of his usual supporters. But as once before in a season of
his dire extremity his courage and vigor had brought the potent aid of
Mr. Adams to his side, so now again he came under a heavy debt of  (p. 239)
gratitude to the same champion. Mr. Adams stood by him with generous
gallantry, and by a telling speech in the House probably saved him
from serious humiliation and even disaster. The President's style of
dealing had roused Mr. Adams's spirit, and he spoke with a fire and
vehemence which accomplished the unusual feat of changing the
predisposed minds of men too familiar with speech-making to be often
much influenced by it in the practical matter of voting. He thought at
the time that the success of this speech, brilliant as it appeared,
was not unlikely to result in his political ruin. Jackson would
befriend and reward his thorough-going partisans at any cost to his
own conscience or the public welfare; but the exceptional aid,
tendered not from a sense of personal fealty to himself, but simply
from the motive of aiding the right cause happening in the especial
instance to have been espoused by him, never won from him any token of
regard. In November, 1837, Mr. Adams, speaking of his personal
relations with the President, said:--

     "Though I had served him more than any other living man ever did,
     and though I supported his Administration at the hazard of my own
     political destruction, and effected for him at a moment when his
     own friends were deserting him what no other member of Congress
     ever accomplished for him--an unanimous vote of the House of  (p. 240)
     Representatives to support him in his quarrel with France; though
     I supported him in other very critical periods of his Administration,
     my return from him was insult, indignity, and slander."

Antipathy had at last become the definitive condition of these two
men--antipathy both political and personal. At one time a singular
effort to reconcile them--probably though not certainly undertaken
with the knowledge of Jackson--was made by Richard M. Johnson. This
occurred shortly before the inauguration of the war conducted by the
President against the Bank of the United States; and judging by the
rest of Jackson's behavior at this period, there was probably at least
as much of calculation in his motives, if in fact he was cognizant of
Johnson's approaches, as there was of any real desire to reëstablish
the bygone relation of honorable friendship. To the advances thus made
Mr. Adams replied a little coldly, not quite repellently, that Jackson,
having been responsible for the suspension of personal intercourse,
must now be undisguisedly the active party in renewing it. At the same
time he professed himself "willing to receive in a spirit of
conciliation any advance which in that spirit General Jackson might
make." But nothing came of this intrinsically hopeless attempt. On
the contrary the two drew rapidly and more widely apart, and       (p. 241)
entertained concerning each other opinions which grew steadily more
unfavorable, and upon Adams's part more contemptuous, as time went on.

Fifteen months later General Jackson made his visit to Boston, and it
was proposed that Harvard College should confer upon him the degree of
Doctor of Laws. The absurdity of the act, considered simply in itself,
was admitted by all. But the argument in its favor was based upon the
established usage of the College as towards all other Presidents, so
that its omission in this case might seem a personal slight. Mr. Adams,
being at the time a member of the Board of Overseers, strongly opposed
the proposition, but of course in vain. All that he could do was, for
his own individual part, to refuse to be present at the conferring of
the degree, giving as the minor reason for his absence, that he could
hold no friendly intercourse with the President, but for the major
reason that "independent of that, as myself an affectionate child of
our Alma Mater, I would not be present to witness her disgrace in
conferring her highest literary honors upon a barbarian who could not
write a sentence of grammar and hardly could spell his own name." "A
Doctorate of Laws," he said, "for which an apology was necessary, was
a cheap honor and ... a sycophantic compliment." After the deed    (p. 242)
was done, he used to amuse himself by speaking of "Doctor Andrew
Jackson." This same eastern tour of Jackson's called forth many other
expressions of bitter sarcasm from Adams. The President was ill and
unable to carry out the programme of entertainment and exhibition
prepared for him: whereupon Mr. Adams remarks:--

     "I believe much of his debility is politic.... He is one of our
     tribe of great men who turn disease to commodity, like John
     Randolph, who for forty years was always dying. Jackson, ever
     since he became a mark of public attention, has been doing the
     same thing.... He is now alternately giving out his chronic
     diarrhoea and making Warren bleed him for a pleurisy, and
     posting to Cambridge for a doctorate of laws; mounting the
     monument of Bunker's Hill to hear a fulsome address and receive
     two cannon balls from Edward Everett," etc. "Four fifths of his
     sickness is trickery, and the other fifth mere fatigue."

This sounds, it must be confessed, a trifle rancorous; but Adams had
great excuse for nourishing rancor towards Jackson.

It is time, however, to return to the House of Representatives. It was
not by bearing his share in the ordinary work of that body, important
or exciting as that might at one time or another happen to be, that
Mr. Adams was to win in Congress that reputation which has been    (p. 243)
already described as far overshadowing all his previous career. A
special task and a peculiar mission were before him. It was a part of
his destiny to become the champion of the anti-slavery cause in the
national legislature. Almost the first thing which he did after he had
taken his seat in Congress was to present "fifteen petitions signed
numerously by citizens of Pennsylvania, praying for the abolition of
slavery and the slave-trade in the District of Columbia." He simply
moved their reference to the Committee on the District of Columbia,
declaring that he should not support that part of the petition which
prayed for abolition in the District. The time had not yet come when
the South felt much anxiety at such manifestations, and these first
stones were dropped into the pool without stirring a ripple on the
surface. For about four years more we hear little in the Diary
concerning slavery. It was not until 1835, when the annexation of
Texas began to be mooted, that the North fairly took the alarm, and
the irrepressible conflict began to develop. Then at once we find Mr.
Adams at the front. That he had always cherished an abhorrence of
slavery and a bitter antipathy to slave-holders as a class is
sufficiently indicated by many chance remarks scattered through his
Diary from early years. Now that a great question, vitally         (p. 244)
affecting the slave power, divided the country into parties and
inaugurated the struggle which never again slept until it was settled
forever by the result of the civil war, Mr. Adams at once assumed the
function of leader. His position should be clearly understood; for in
the vast labor which lay before the abolition party different tasks
fell to different men. Mr. Adams assumed to be neither an agitator nor
a reformer; by necessity of character, training, fitness, and official
position, he was a legislator and statesman. The task which accident
or destiny allotted to him was neither to preach among the people a
crusade against slavery, nor to devise and keep in action the thousand
resources which busy men throughout the country were constantly
multiplying for the purpose of spreading and increasing a popular
hostility towards the great "institution." Every great cause has need
of its fanatics, its vanguard to keep far in advance of what is for
the time reasonable and possible; it has not less need of the wiser
and cooler heads to discipline and control the great mass which is set
in motion by the reckless forerunners, to see to the accomplishment of
that which the present circumstances and development of the movement
allow to be accomplished. It fell to Mr. Adams to direct the       (p. 245)
assault against the outworks which were then vulnerable, and to see
that the force then possessed by the movement was put to such uses as
would insure definite results instead of being wasted in endeavors
which as yet were impossible of achievement. Drawing his duty from his
situation and surroundings, he left to others, to younger men and more
rhetorical natures, outside the walls of Congress, the business of
firing the people and stirring popular opinion and sympathy. He was
set to do that portion of the work of abolition which was to be done
in Congress, to encounter the mighty efforts which were made to stifle
the great humanitarian cry in the halls of the national legislature.
This was quite as much as one man was equal to; in fact, it is certain
that no one then in public life except Mr. Adams could have done it
effectually. So obvious is this that one cannot help wondering what
would have befallen the cause, had he not been just where he was to
forward it in just the way that he did. It is only another among the
many instances of the need surely finding the man. His qualifications
were unique; his ability, his knowledge, his prestige and authority,
his high personal character, his persistence and courage, his
combativeness stimulated by an acrimonious temper but checked by a
sound judgment, his merciless power of invective, his independence (p. 246)
and carelessness of applause or vilification, friendship or enmity,
constituted him an opponent fully equal to the enormous odds which the
slave-holding interest arrayed against him. A like moral and mental
fitness was to be found in no one else. Numbers could not overawe him,
nor loneliness dispirit him. He was probably the most formidable
fighter in debate of whom parliamentary records preserve the memory.
The hostility which he encountered beggars description; the English
language was deficient in adequate words of virulence and contempt to
express the feelings which were entertained towards him. At home he
had not the countenance of that class in society to which he naturally
belonged. A second time he found the chief part of the gentlemen of
Boston and its vicinity, the leading lawyers, the rich merchants, the
successful manufacturers, not only opposed to him, but entertaining
towards him sentiments of personal dislike and even vindictiveness.
This stratum of the community, having a natural distaste for disquieting
agitation and influenced by class feeling,--the gentlemen of the North
sympathizing with the "aristocracy" of the South,--could not make
common cause with anti-slavery people. Fortunately, however, Mr. Adams
was returned by a country district where the old Puritan instincts (p. 247)
were still strong. The intelligence and free spirit of New England
were at his back, and were fairly represented by him; in spite of
high-bred disfavor they carried him gallantly through the long
struggle. The people of the Plymouth district sent him back to the
House every two years from the time of his first election to the year
of his death, and the disgust of the gentlemen of Boston was after all
of trifling consequence to him and of no serious influence upon the
course of history. The old New England instinct was in him as it was
in the mass of the people; that instinct made him the real exponent of
New England thought, belief, and feeling, and that same instinct made
the great body of voters stand by him with unswerving constancy. When
his fellow Representatives, almost to a man, deserted him, he was
sustained by many a token of sympathy and admiration coming from among
the people at large. Time and the history of the United States have
been his potent vindicators. The conservative, conscienceless
respectability of wealth was, as is usually the case with it in the
annals of the Anglo-Saxon race, quite in the wrong and predestined to
well-merited defeat. It adds to the honor due to Mr. Adams that his
sense of right was true enough, and that his vision was clear enough,
to lead him out of that strong thraldom which class feelings,      (p. 248)
traditions, and comradeship are wont to exercise.

But it is time to resume the narrative and to let Mr. Adams's acts--of
which after all it is possible to give only the briefest sketch,
selecting a few of the more striking incidents--tell the tale of his
Congressional life.

On February 14, 1835, Mr. Adams again presented two petitions for the
abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia, but without giving
rise to much excitement. The fusillade was, however, getting too thick
and fast to be endured longer with indifference by the impatient
Southerners. At the next session of Congress they concluded to try to
stop it, and their ingenious scheme was to make Congress shot-proof,
so to speak, against such missiles. On January 4, 1836, Mr. Adams
presented an abolition petition couched in the usual form, and moved
that it be laid on the table, as others like it had lately been. But
in a moment Mr. Glascock, of Georgia, moved that the petition be not
received. Debate sprang up on a point of order, and two days later,
before the question of reception was determined, a resolution was
offered by Mr. Jarvis, of Maine, declaring that the House would not
entertain any petitions for the abolition of slavery in the District
of Columbia. This resolution was supported on the ground that      (p. 249)
Congress had no constitutional power in the premises. Some days
later, January 18, 1836, before any final action had been reached upon
this proposition, Mr. Adams presented some more abolition petitions,
one of them signed by "one hundred and forty-eight ladies, citizens of
the Commonwealth of Massachusetts; for, I said, I had not yet brought
myself to doubt whether females were citizens." The usual motion not
to receive was made, and then a new device was resorted to in the
shape of a motion that the motion not to receive be laid on the table.

On February 8, 1836, this novel scheme for shutting off petitions
against slavery immediately upon their presentation was referred to a
select committee of which Mr. Pinckney was chairman. On May 18 this
committee reported in substance: 1. That Congress had no power to
interfere with slavery in any State; 2. That Congress ought not to
interfere with slavery in the District of Columbia; 3. That whereas
the agitation of the subject was disquieting and objectionable, "all
petitions, memorials, resolutions or papers, relating in any way or to
any extent whatsoever to the subject of slavery or the abolition of
slavery, shall, without being either printed or referred, be laid upon
the table, and that no further action whatever shall be had        (p. 250)
thereon." When it came to taking a vote upon this report a division of
the question was called for, and the yeas and nays were ordered. The
first resolution was then read, whereupon Mr. Adams at once rose and
pledged himself, if the House would allow him five minutes' time, to
prove it to be false. But cries of "order" resounded; he was compelled
to take his seat and the resolution was adopted by 182 to 9. Upon the
second resolution he asked to be excused from voting, and his name was
passed in the call. The third resolution with its preamble was then
read, and Mr. Adams, so soon as his name was called, rose and said: "I
hold the resolution to be a direct violation of the Constitution of
the United States, the rules of this House, and the rights of my
constituents." He was interrupted by shrieks of "order" resounding on
every side; but he only spoke the louder and obstinately finished his
sentence before resuming his seat. The resolution was of course agreed
to, the vote standing 117 to 68. Such was the beginning of the famous
"gag" which became and long remained--afterward in a worse shape--a
standing rule of the House. Regularly in each new Congress when the
adoption of rules came up, Mr. Adams moved to rescind the "gag;" but
for many years his motions continued to be voted down, as a        (p. 251)
matter of course. Its imposition was clearly a mistake on the part of
the slave-holding party; free debate would almost surely have hurt
them less than this interference with the freedom of petition. They
had assumed an untenable position. Henceforth, as the persistent
advocate of the right of petition, Mr. Adams had a support among the
people at large vastly greater than he could have enjoyed as the
opponent of slavery. As his adversaries had shaped the issue he was
predestined to victory in a free country.

A similar scene was enacted on December 21 and 22, 1837. A "gag" or
"speech-smothering" resolution being then again before the House, Mr.
Adams, when his name was called in the taking of the vote, cried out
"amidst a perfect war-whoop of 'order:' 'I hold the resolution to be a
violation of the Constitution, of the right of petition of my
constituents and of the people of the United States, and of my right
to freedom of speech as a member of this House.'" Afterward, in
reading over the names of members who had voted, the clerk omitted
that of Mr. Adams, this utterance of his not having constituted a
vote. Mr. Adams called attention to the omission. The clerk, by
direction of the Speaker, thereupon called his name. His only reply
was by a motion that his answer as already made should be entered  (p. 252)
on the Journal. The Speaker said that this motion was not in order.
Mr. Adams, resolute to get upon the record, requested that his motion
with the Speaker's decision that it was not in order might be entered
on the Journal. The next day, finding that this entry had not been
made in proper shape, he brought up the matter again. One of his
opponents made a false step, and Mr. Adams "bantered him" upon it
until the other was provoked into saying that, "if the question ever
came to the issue of war, the Southern people would march into New
England and conquer it." Mr. Adams replied that no doubt they would if
they could; that he entered his resolution upon the Journal because he
was resolved that his opponent's "name should go down to posterity
damned to everlasting fame." No one ever gained much in a war of words
with this ever-ready and merciless tongue.

Mr. Adams, having soon become known to all the nation as the
indomitable presenter of anti-slavery petitions, quickly found that
great numbers of people were ready to keep him busy in this trying
task. For a long while it was almost as much as he could accomplish to
receive, sort, schedule, and present the infinite number of petitions
and memorials which came to him praying for the abolition of slavery
and of the slave-trade in the District of Columbia, and opposing   (p. 253)
the annexation of Texas. It was an occupation not altogether devoid
even of physical danger, and calling for an amount of moral courage
greater than it is now easy to appreciate. It is the incipient stage
of such a conflict that tests the mettle of the little band of
innovators. When it grows into a great party question much less
courage is demanded. The mere presentation of an odious petition may
seem in itself to be a simple task; but to find himself in a constant
state of antagonism to a powerful, active, and vindictive majority in
a debating body, constituted of such material as then made up the
House of Representatives, wore hardly even upon the iron temper and
inflexible disposition of Mr. Adams. "The most insignificant error of
conduct in me at this time," he writes in April, 1837, "would be my
irredeemable ruin in this world; and both the ruling political parties
are watching with intense anxiety for some overt act by me to set the
whole pack of their hireling presses upon me." But amid the host of
foes, and aware that he could count upon the aid of scarcely a single
hearty and daring friend, he labored only the more earnestly. The
severe pressure against him begat only the more severe counter
pressure upon his part.

Besides these natural and legitimate difficulties, Mr. Adams was   (p. 254)
further in the embarrassing position of one who has to fear as much
from the imprudence of allies as from open hostility of antagonists,
and he was often compelled to guard against a peculiar risk coming
from his very coadjutors in the great cause. The extremists who had
cast aside all regard for what was practicable, and who utterly
scorned to consider the feasibility or the consequences of measures
which seemed to them to be correct as abstract propositions of
morality, were constantly urging him to action which would only have
destroyed him forever in political life, would have stripped him of
his influence, exiled him from that position in Congress where he
could render the most efficient service that was in him, and left him
naked of all usefulness and utterly helpless to continue that
essential portion of the labor which could be conducted by no one
else. "The abolitionists generally," he said, "are constantly urging
me to indiscreet movements, which would ruin me, and weaken and not
strengthen their cause." His family, on the other hand, sought to
restrain him from all connection with these dangerous partisans.
"Between these adverse impulses," he writes, "my mind is agitated
almost to distraction.... I walk on the edge of a precipice almost
every step that I take." In the midst of all this anxiety,         (p. 255)
however, he was fortunately supported by the strong commendation of
his constituents which they once loyally declared by formal and
unanimous votes in a convention summoned for the express purpose of
manifesting their support. His feelings appear by an entry in his
Diary in October, 1837:--

     "I have gone [he said] as far upon this article, the abolition of
     slavery, as the public opinion of the free portion of the Union
     will bear, and so far that scarcely a slave-holding member of the
     House dares to vote with me upon any question. I have as yet been
     thoroughly sustained by my own State, but one step further and I
     hazard my own standing and influence there, my own final
     overthrow, and the cause of liberty itself for an indefinite
     time, certainly for more than my remnant of life. Were there in
     the House one member capable of taking the lead in this cause of
     universal emancipation, which is moving onward in the world and
     in this country, I would withdraw from the contest which will
     rage with increasing fury as it draws to its crisis, but for the
     management of which my age, infirmities, and approaching end
     totally disqualify me. There is no such man in the House."

September 15, 1837, he says: "I have been for some time occupied day
and night, when at home, in assorting and recording the petitions and
remonstrances against the annexation of Texas, and other           (p. 256)
anti-slavery petitions, which flow upon me in torrents." The next day
he presented the singular petition of one Sherlock S. Gregory, who had
conceived the eccentric notion of asking Congress to declare him "an
alien or stranger in the land so long as slavery exists and the wrongs
of the Indians are unrequited and unrepented of." September 28 he
presented a batch of his usual petitions, and also asked leave to
offer a resolution calling for a report concerning the coasting trade
in slaves. "There was what Napoleon would have called a superb NO!
returned to my request from the servile side of the House." The next
day he presented fifty-one more like documents, and notes having
previously presented one hundred and fifty more.

In December, 1837, still at this same work, he made a hard but
fruitless effort to have the Texan remonstrances and petitions sent to
a select committee instead of to that on foreign affairs which was
constituted in the Southern interest. On December 29 he "presented
several bundles of abolition and anti-slavery petitions," and said
that, having declared his opinion that the gag-rule was unconstitutional,
null, and void, he should "submit to it only as to physical force."
January 3, 1838, he presented "about a hundred petitions,          (p. 257)
memorials, and remonstrances,--all laid on the table." January 15 he
presented fifty more. January 28 he received thirty-one petitions, and
spent that day and the next in assorting and filing these and others
which he previously had, amounting in all to one hundred and twenty.
February 14, in the same year, was a field-day in the petition campaign:
he presented then no less than three hundred and fifty petitions, all
but three or four of which bore more or less directly upon the slavery
question. Among these petitions was one

     "praying that Congress would take measures to protect citizens
     from the North going to the South from danger to their lives.
     When the motion to lay that on the table was made, I said that,
     'In another part of the Capitol it had been threatened that if a
     Northern abolitionist should go to North Carolina, and utter a
     principle of the Declaration of Independence'--Here a loud cry of
     'order! order!' burst forth, in which the Speaker yelled the
     loudest. I waited till it subsided, and then resumed, 'that if
     they could catch him they would hang him!' I said this so as to
     be distinctly heard throughout the hall, the renewed deafening
     shout of 'order! order!' notwithstanding. The Speaker then said,
     'The gentleman from Massachusetts will take his seat;' which I
     did and immediately rose again and presented another petition. He
     did not dare tell me that I could not proceed without         (p. 258)
     permission of the House, and I proceeded. The threat to hang
     Northern abolitionists was uttered by Preston of the Senate
     within the last fortnight."

On March 12, of the same year, he presented ninety-six petitions,
nearly all of an anti-slavery character, one of them for "expunging
the Declaration of Independence from the Journals."

On December 14, 1838, Mr. Wise, of Virginia, objected to the reception
of certain anti-slavery petitions. The Speaker ruled his objection out
of order, and from this ruling Wise appealed. The question on the
appeal was taken by yeas and nays. When Mr. Adams's name was called,
he relates:--

     "I rose and said, 'Mr. Speaker, considering all the resolutions
     introduced by the gentleman from New Hampshire as'--The Speaker
     roared out, 'The gentleman from Massachusetts must answer Aye or
     No, and nothing else. Order!' With a reinforced voice--'I refuse
     to answer, because I consider all the proceedings of the House as
     unconstitutional'--While in a firm and swelling voice I pronounced
     distinctly these words, the Speaker and about two thirds of the
     House cried, 'order! order! order!' till it became a perfect
     yell. I paused a moment for it to cease and then said, 'a direct
     violation of the Constitution of the United States.' While
     speaking these words with loud, distinct, and slow            (p. 259)
     articulation, the bawl of 'order! order!' resounded again from
     two thirds of the House. The Speaker, with agonizing lungs,
     screamed, 'I call upon the House to support me in the execution
     of my duty!' I then coolly resumed my seat. Waddy Thompson, of
     South Carolina, advancing into one of the aisles with a sarcastic
     smile and silvery tone of voice, said, 'What aid from the House
     would the Speaker desire?' The Speaker snarled back, 'The
     gentleman from South Carolina is out of order!' and a peal of
     laughter burst forth from all sides of the House."

So that little skirmish ended, much more cheerfully than was often the

December 20, 1838, he presented fifty anti-slavery petitions, among
which were three praying for the recognition of the Republic of Hayti.
Petitions of this latter kind he strenuously insisted should be
referred to a select committee, or else to the Committee on Foreign
Affairs, accompanied in the latter case with explicit instructions
that a report thereon should be brought in. He audaciously stated that
he asked for these instructions because so many petitions of a like
tenor had been sent to the Foreign Affairs Committee, and had found it
a limbo from which they never again emerged, and the chairman had said
that this would continue to be the case. The chairman, sitting two
rows behind Mr. Adams, said, "that insinuation should not be       (p. 260)
made against a gentleman!" "I shall make," retorted Mr. Adams, "what
insinuation I please. This is not an insinuation, but a direct,
positive assertion."

January 7, 1839, he cheerfully records that he presented ninety-five
petitions, bearing "directly or indirectly upon the slavery topics,"
and some of them very exasperating in their language. March 30, 1840,
he handed in no less than five hundred and eleven petitions, many of
which were not receivable under the "gag" rule adopted on January 28
of that year, which had actually gone the length of refusing so much
as a reception to abolition petitions. April 13, 1840, he presented a
petition for the repeal of the laws in the District of Columbia, which
authorized the whipping of women. Besides this he had a multitude of
others, and he only got through the presentation of them "just as the
morning hour expired." On January 21, 1841, he found much amusement in
puzzling his Southern adversaries by presenting some petitions in
which, besides the usual anti-slavery prayers, there was a prayer to
refuse to admit to the Union any new State whose constitution should
tolerate slavery. The Speaker said that only the latter prayer could
be _received_ under the "gag" rule. Connor, of North Carolina,     (p. 261)
moved to lay on the table so much of the petition as could be
received. Mr. Adams tauntingly suggested that in order to do this it
would be necessary to mutilate the document by cutting it into two
pieces; whereat there was great wrath and confusion, "the House got
into a snarl, the Speaker knew not what to do." The Southerners raved
and fumed for a while, and finally resorted to their usual expedient,
and dropped altogether a matter which so sorely burned their fingers.

A fact, very striking in view of the subsequent course of events,
concerning Mr. Adams's relation with the slavery question, seems
hitherto to have escaped the attention of those who have dealt with
his career. It may as well find a place here as elsewhere in a
narrative which it is difficult to make strictly chronological.
Apparently he was the first to declare the doctrine, that the
abolition of slavery could be lawfully accomplished by the exercise of
the war powers of the Government. The earliest expression of this
principle is found in a speech made by him in May, 1836, concerning
the distribution of rations to fugitives from Indian hostilities in
Alabama and Georgia. He then said:--

     "From the instant that your slave-holding States become the
     theatre of war, civil, servile, or foreign, from that instant (p. 262)
     the war powers of the Constitution extend to interference with
     the institution of slavery in every way in which it can be
     interfered with, from a claim of indemnity for slaves taken or
     destroyed, to a cession of the State burdened with slavery to a
     foreign power."

In June, 1841, he made a speech of which no report exists, but the
contents of which may be in part learned from the replies and
references to it which are on record. Therein he appears to have
declared that slavery could be abolished in the exercise of the
treaty-making power, having reference doubtless to a treaty concluding
a war.

These views were of course mere abstract expressions of opinion as to
the constitutionality of measures the real occurrence of which was
anticipated by nobody. But, as the first suggestions of a doctrine in
itself most obnoxious to the Southern theory and fundamentally
destructive of the great Southern "institution" under perfectly
possible circumstances, this enunciation by Mr. Adams gave rise to
much indignation. Instead of allowing the imperfectly formulated
principle to lose its danger in oblivion, the Southerners assailed it
with vehemence. They taunted Mr. Adams with the opinion, as if merely
to say that he held it was to damn him to everlasting infamy. The only
result was that they induced him to consider the matter more       (p. 263)
fully, and to express his belief more deliberately. In January, 1842,
Mr. Wise attacked him upon this ground, and a month later Marshall
followed in the same strain. These assaults were perhaps the direct
incentive to what was said soon after by Mr. Adams, on April 14, 1842,
in a speech concerning war with England and with Mexico, of which
there was then some talk. Giddings, among other resolutions, had
introduced one to the effect that the slave States had the exclusive
right to be consulted on the subject of slavery. Mr. Adams said that
he could not give his assent to this. One of the laws of war, he said,

     "that when a country is invaded, and two hostile armies are set
     in martial array, the commanders of both armies have power to
     emancipate all the slaves in the invaded territory."

He cited some precedents from South American history, and continued:--

     "Whether the war be servile, civil, or foreign, I lay this down
     as the law of nations. I say that the military authority takes
     for the time the place of all municipal institutions, slavery
     among the rest. Under that state of things, so far from its being
     true that the States where slavery exists have the exclusive
     management of the subject, not only the President of the United
     States but the commander of the army has power to order       (p. 264)
     the universal emancipation of the slaves."

This declaration of constitutional doctrine was made with much
positiveness and emphasis. There for many years the matter rested. The
principle had been clearly asserted by Mr. Adams, angrily repudiated
by the South, and in the absence of the occasion of war there was
nothing more to be done in the matter. But when the exigency at last
came, and the government of the United States was brought face to face
with by far the gravest constitutional problem presented by the great
rebellion, then no other solution presented itself save that which had
been suggested twenty years earlier in the days of peace by Mr. Adams.
It was in pursuance of the doctrine to which he thus gave the first
utterance that slavery was forever abolished in the United States.
Extracts from the last-quoted speech long stood as the motto of the
"Liberator;" and at the time of the Emancipation Proclamation Mr.
Adams was regarded as the chief and sufficient authority for an act so
momentous in its effect, so infinitely useful in a matter of national
extremity. But it was evidently a theory which had taken strong hold
upon him. Besides the foregoing speeches there is an explicit
statement of it in a letter which he wrote from Washington April 4,
1836, to Hon. Solomon Lincoln, of Hingham, a friend and            (p. 265)
constituent. After touching upon other topics he says:--

     "The new pretensions of the slave representation in Congress of a
     right to refuse to receive petitions, and that Congress have no
     constitutional power to abolish slavery or the slave-trade in the
     District of Columbia, forced upon me so much of the discussion as
     I did take upon me, but in which you are well aware I did not and
     could not speak a tenth part of my mind. I did not, for example,
     start the question whether by the law of God and of nature man
     can hold _property_, HEREDITARY property, in man. I did not start
     the question whether in the event of a servile insurrection and
     war, Congress would not have complete unlimited control over the
     whole subject of slavery, even to the emancipation of all the
     slaves in the State where such insurrection should break out, and
     for the suppression of which the freemen of Plymouth and Norfolk
     counties, Massachusetts, should be called by Acts of Congress to
     pour out their treasures and to shed their blood. Had I spoken my
     mind on these two points, the sturdiest of the abolitionists
     would have disavowed the sentiments of their champion."

The projected annexation of Texas, which became a battle-ground
whereon the tide of conflict swayed so long and so fiercely to and
fro, profoundly stirred Mr. Adams's indignation. It is, he said, "a
question of far deeper root and more overshadowing branches than   (p. 266)
any or all others that now agitate this country.... I had opened it by
my speech ... on the 25th May, 1836--by far the most noted speech that
I ever made." He based his opposition to the annexation upon
constitutional objections, and on September 18, 1837, offered a
resolution that "the power of annexing the people of any independent
State to this Union is a power not delegated by the Constitution of
the United States to their Congress or to any department of their
government, but reserved to the people." The Speaker refused to
receive the motion, or even allow it to be read, on the ground that it
was not in order. Mr. Adams repeated substantially the same motion in
June, 1838, then adding "that any attempt by act of Congress or by
treaty to annex the Republic of Texas to this Union would be an
usurpation of power which it would be the right and the duty of the
free people of the Union to resist and annul." The story of his
opposition to this measure is, however, so interwoven with his general
antagonism to slavery, that there is little occasion for treating them

                   [Footnote 9: In an address to his constituents in
                   September, 1842, Mr. Adams spoke of his course
                   concerning Texas. Having mentioned Mr. Van Buren's
                   reply, declining the formal proposition made in
                   1837 by the Republic of Texas for annexation to the
                   United States, he continued: "But the
                   slave-breeding passion for the annexation was not
                   to be so disconcerted. At the ensuing session of
                   Congress numerous petitions and memorials for and
                   against the annexation were presented to the House,
                   ... and were referred to the Committee of Foreign
                   Affairs, who, without ever taking them into
                   consideration, towards the close of the session
                   asked to be discharged from the consideration of
                   them all. It was on this report that the debate
                   arose, in which I disclosed the whole system of
                   duplicity and perfidy towards Mexico, which had
                   marked the Jackson Administration from its
                   commencement to its close. It silenced the clamors
                   for the annexation of Texas to this Union for three
                   years till the catastrophe of the Van Buren
                   Administration. The people of the free States were
                   lulled into the belief that the whole project was
                   abandoned, and that they should hear no more of
                   slave-trade cravings for the annexation of Texas.
                   Had Harrison lived they would have heard no more of
                   them to this day, but no sooner was John Tyler
                   installed in the President's House than
                   nullification and Texas and war with Mexico rose
                   again upon the surface, with eye steadily fixed
                   upon the Polar Star of Southern slave-dealing
                   supremacy in the government of the Union."]

People sometimes took advantage of his avowed principles           (p. 267)
concerning freedom of petition to put him in positions which they
thought would embarrass him or render him ridiculous. Not much
success, however, attended these foolish efforts of shallow wits. It
was not easy to disconcert him or to take him at disadvantage. July
28, 1841, he presented a paper of this character coming from sundry
Virginians and praying that all the free colored population should be
sold or expelled from the country. He simply stated as he handed in
the sheet that nothing could be more abhorrent to him than this    (p. 268)
prayer, and that his respect for the right of petition was his
only motive for presenting this. It was suspended under the "gag"
rule, and its promoters, unless very easily amused, must have been
sadly disappointed with the fate and effect of their joke. On March 5,
1838, he received from Rocky Mount in Virginia a letter and petition
praying that the House would arraign at its bar and forever expel John
Quincy Adams. He presented both documents, with a resolution asking
that they be referred to a committee for investigation and report. His
enemies in the House saw that he was sure to have the best of the
sport if the matter should be pursued, and succeeded in laying it on
the table. Waddy Thompson thoughtfully improved the opportunity to
mention to Mr. Adams that he also had received a petition, "numerously
signed," praying for Mr. Adams's expulsion, but had never presented
it. In the following May Mr. Adams presented another petition of like
tenor. Dromgoole said that he supposed it was a "quiz," and that he
would move to lay it on the table, "unless the gentleman from
Massachusetts wished to give it another direction." Mr. Adams said
that "the gentleman from Massachusetts cared very little about it,"
and it found the limbo of the "table."

To this same period belongs the memorable tale of Mr. Adams's      (p. 269)
attempt to present a petition from slaves. On February 6, 1837, he
brought in some two hundred abolition petitions. He closed with one
against the slave-trade in the District of Columbia purporting to be
signed by "nine ladies of Fredericksburg, Virginia," whom he declined
to name because, as he said, in the present disposition of the
country, "he did not know what might happen to them if he did name
them." Indeed, he added, he was not sure that the petition was
genuine; he had said, when he began to present his petitions, that
some among them were so peculiar that he was in doubt as to their
genuineness, and this fell within the description. Apparently he had
concluded and was about to take his seat, when he quickly caught up
another sheet, and said that he held in his hand a paper concerning
which he should wish to have the decision of the Speaker before
presenting it. It purported to be a petition from twenty-two slaves,
and he would like to know whether it came within the rule of the House
concerning petitions relating to slavery. The Speaker, in manifest
confusion, said that he could not answer the question until he knew
the contents of the document. Mr. Adams, remarking that "it was one of
those petitions which had occurred to his mind as not being what   (p. 270)
it purported to be," proposed to send it up to the Chair for
inspection. Objection was made to this, and the Speaker said that the
circumstances were so extraordinary that he would take the sense of
the House. That body, at first inattentive, now became interested, and
no sooner did a knowledge of what was going on spread among those
present than great excitement prevailed. Members were hastily brought
in from the lobbies; many tried to speak, and from parts of the hall
cries of "Expel him! Expel him!" were heard. For a brief interval no
one of the enraged Southerners was equal to the unforeseen emergency.
Mr. Haynes moved the rejection of the petition. Mr. Lewis deprecated
this motion, being of opinion that the House must inflict punishment
on the gentleman from Massachusetts. Mr. Haynes thereupon withdrew a
motion which was so obviously inadequate to the vindictive gravity of
the occasion. Mr. Grantland stood ready to second a motion to punish
Mr. Adams, and Mr. Lewis said that if punishment should not be meted
out it would "be better for the representatives from the slave-holding
States to go home at once." Mr. Alford said that so soon as the
petition should be presented he would move that it should "be taken
from the House and burned." At last Mr. Thompson got a resolution  (p. 271)
into shape as follows:--

     "That the Hon. John Quincy Adams, by the attempt just made by him
     to introduce a petition purporting on its face to be from slaves,
     has been guilty of a gross disrespect to this House, and that he
     be instantly brought to the bar to receive the severe censure of
     the Speaker."

In supporting this resolution he said that Mr. Adams's action was in
gross and wilful violation of the rules of the House and an insult to
its members. He even threatened criminal proceedings before the grand
jury of the District of Columbia, saying that if that body had the
"proper intelligence and spirit" people might "yet see an incendiary
brought to condign punishment." Mr. Haynes, not satisfied with Mr.
Thompson's resolution, proposed a substitute to the effect that Mr.
Adams had "rendered himself justly liable to the severest censure of
this House and is censured accordingly." Then there ensued a little
more excited speech-making and another resolution, that Mr. Adams,

     "by his attempt to introduce into this House a petition from
     slaves for the abolition of slavery in the District of Columbia,
     has committed an outrage on the feelings of the people of a large
     portion of this Union; a flagrant contempt on the dignity     (p. 272)
     of this House; and, by extending to slaves a privilege only
     belonging to freemen, directly incites the slave population
     to insurrection; and that the said member be forthwith called to
     the bar of the House and be censured by the Speaker."

Mr. Lewis remained of opinion that it might be best for the Southern
members to go home,--a proposition which afterwards drew forth a
flaming speech from Mr. Alford, who, far from inclining to go home,
was ready to stay "until this fair city is a field of Waterloo and
this beautiful Potomac a river of blood." Mr. Patton, of Virginia, was
the first to speak a few words to bring members to their senses,
pertinently asking whether Mr. Adams had "attempted to offer" this
petition, and whether it did indeed pray for the abolition of slavery.
It might be well, he suggested, for his friends to be sure of their
facts before going further. Then at last Mr. Adams, who had not at all
lost his head in the general hurly-burly, rose and said, that amid
these numerous resolutions charging him with "high crimes and
misdemeanors" and calling him to the bar of the House to answer for
the same, he had thought it proper to remain silent until the House
should take some action; that he did not suppose that, if he should be
brought to the bar of the House, he should be "struck mute by the  (p. 273)
previous question" before he should have been given an opportunity to
"say a word or two" in his own defence. As to the facts: "I did not
present the petition," he said, "and I appeal to the Speaker to say
that I did not.... I intended to take the decision of the Speaker
before I went one step towards presenting or offering to present that
petition." The contents of the petition, should the House ever choose
to read it, he continued, would render necessary some amendments at
least in the last resolution, since the prayer was that slavery should
_not_ be abolished!" The gentleman from Alabama may perchance find,
that the object of this petition is precisely what he desires to
accomplish; and that these slaves who have sent this paper to me are
his auxiliaries instead of being his opponents."

These remarks caused some discomfiture among the Southern members, who
were glad to have time for deliberation given them by a maundering
speech from Mr. Mann, of New York, who talked about "the deplorable
spectacle shown off every petition day by the honorable member from
Massachusetts in presenting the abolition petitions of his infatuated
friends and constituents," charged Mr. Adams with running counter to
the sense of the whole country with a "violence paralleled only    (p. 274)
by the revolutionary madness of desperation," and twitted him with his
political friendlessness, with his age, and with the insinuation of
waning faculties and judgment. This little phial having been emptied,
Mr. Thompson arose and angrily assailed Mr. Adams for contemptuously
trifling with the House, which charge he based upon the entirely
unproved assumption that the petition was not a genuine document. He
concluded by presenting new resolutions better adapted to the recent
development of the case:--

     "1. That the Hon. John Quincy Adams, by an effort to present a
     petition from slaves, has committed a gross contempt of this

     "2. That the member from Massachusetts above-named, by creating
     the impression and leaving the House under such impression, that
     the said petition was for the abolition of slavery, when he knew
     that it was not, has trifled with the House.

     "3. That the Hon. John Quincy Adams receive the censure of the
     House for his conduct referred to in the preceding resolutions."

Mr. Pinckney said that the avowal by Mr. Adams that he had in his
possession the petition of slaves was an admission of communication
with slaves, and so was evidence of collusion with them; and that Mr.
Adams had thus rendered himself indictable for aiding and abetting (p. 275)
insurrection. A _fortiori_, then, was he not amenable to the censure
of the House? Mr. Haynes, of Georgia, forgetting that the petition had
not been presented, announced his intention of moving that it should
be rejected subject only to a permission for its withdrawal; another
member suggested that, if the petition should be disposed of by
burning, it would be well to commit to the same combustion the
gentleman who presented it.

On the next day some more resolutions were ready, prepared by
Dromgoole, who in his sober hours was regarded as the best
parliamentarian in the Southern party. These were, that Mr. Adams

     "by stating in his place that he had in his possession a paper
     purporting to be a petition from slaves, and inquiring if it came
     within the meaning of a resolution heretofore adopted (as
     preliminary to its presentation), has given color to the idea
     that slaves have the right of petition and of his readiness to be
     their organ; and that for the same he deserves the censure of the

     "That the aforesaid John Quincy Adams receive a censure from the
     Speaker in the presence of the House of Representatives."

Mr. Alford, in advocating these resolutions, talked about "this awful
crisis of our beloved country." Mr. Robertson, though opposing     (p. 276)
the resolutions, took pains "strongly to condemn ... the conduct of
the gentleman from Massachusetts." Mr. Adams's colleague, Mr. Lincoln,
spoke in his behalf, so also did Mr. Evans, of Maine; and Caleb
Cushing made a powerful speech upon his side. Otherwise than this Mr.
Adams was left to carry on the contest single-handed against the
numerous array of assailants, all incensed and many fairly savage. Yet
it is a striking proof of the dread in which even the united body of
hot-blooded Southerners stood of this hard fighter from the North,
that as the debate was drawing to a close, after they had all said
their say and just before his opportunity came for making his
elaborate speech of defence, they suddenly and opportunely became
ready to content themselves with a mild resolution, which condemned
generally the presentation of petitions from slaves, and, for the
disposal of this particular case, recited that Mr. Adams had "solemnly
disclaimed all design of doing anything disrespectful to the House,"
and had "avowed his intention not to offer to present" to the House
the petition of this kind held by him; that "therefore all further
proceedings in regard to his conduct do now cease." A sneaking effort
by Mr. Vanderpoel to close Mr. Adams's mouth by moving the         (p. 277)
previous question involved too much cowardice to be carried; and so on
February 9 the sorely bated man was at last able to begin his final
speech. He conducted his defence with singular spirit and ability, but
at too great length to admit of even a sketch of what he said. He
claimed the right of petition for slaves, and established it so far as
argument can establish anything. He alleged that all he had done was
to ask a question of the Speaker, and if he was to be censured for so
doing, then how much more, he asked, was the Speaker deserving of
censure who had even put the same question to the House, and given as
his reason for so doing that it was not only of novel but of difficult
import! He repudiated the idea that any member of the House could be
held by a grand jury to respond for words spoken in debate, and
recommended the gentlemen who had indulged in such preposterous
threats "to study a little the first principles of civil liberty,"
excoriating them until they actually arose and tried to explain away
their own language. He cast infinite ridicule upon the unhappy
expression of Dromgoole, "giving color to an idea." Referring to the
difficulty which he encountered by reason of the variety and disorder
of the resolutions and charges against him with which "gentlemen from
the South had pounced down upon him like so many eagles upon a     (p. 278)
dove,"--there was an exquisite sarcasm in the simile!--he said:
"When I take up one idea, before I can give color to the idea, it has
already changed its form and presents itself for consideration under
other colors.... What defence can be made against this new crime of
giving color to ideas?" As for trifling with the House by presenting a
petition which in the course of debate had become pretty well known
and acknowledged to be a hoax designed to lead Mr. Adams into a
position of embarrassment and danger, he disclaimed any such motive,
reminding members that he had given warning, when beginning to present
his petitions, that he was suspicious that some among them might not
be genuine.[10] But while denying all intention of trifling with the
House, he rejected the mercy extended to him in the last of the    (p. 279)
long series of resolutions before that body. "I disclaim not," he
said, "any particle of what I have done, not a single word of what I
have said do I unsay; nay, I am ready to do and to say the same
to-morrow." He had no notion of aiding in making a loophole through
which his blundering enemies might escape, even though he himself
should be accorded the privilege of crawling through it with them. At
times during his speech "there was great agitation in the House," but
when he closed no one seemed ambitious to reply. His enemies had
learned anew a lesson, often taught to them before and often to be
impressed upon them again, that it was perilous to come to close
quarters with Mr. Adams. They gave up all idea of censuring him, and
were content to apply a very mild emollient to their own smarting
wounds in the shape of a resolution, to the effect that slaves did not
possess the right of petition secured by the Constitution to the
people of the United States.

                   [Footnote 10: Mr. Adams afterward said: "I believed
                   the petition signed by female names to be
                   genuine.... I had suspicions that the other,
                   purporting to be from slaves, came really from the
                   hand of a master who had prevailed on his slaves to
                   sign it, that they might have the appearance of
                   imploring the members from the North to cease
                   offering petitions for their emancipation, which
                   could have no other tendency than to aggravate
                   their servitude, and of being so impatient under
                   the operation of petitions in their favor as to
                   pray that the Northern members who should persist
                   in presenting them should be expelled." It was a
                   part of the prayer of the petition that Mr. Adams
                   should be expelled if he should continue to present
                   abolition petitions.]

In the winter of 1842-43 the questions arising out of the affair of
the Creole rendered the position then held by Mr. Adams at the head of
the House Committee on Foreign Affairs exceedingly distasteful to the
slave-holders. On January 21, 1842, a somewhat singular            (p. 280)
manifestation of this feeling was made when Mr. Adams himself
presented a petition from Georgia praying for his removal from this
Chairmanship. Upon this he requested to be heard in his own behalf.
The Southern party, not sanguine of any advantage from debating the
matter, tried to lay it on the table. The petition was alleged by
Habersham, of Georgia, to be undoubtedly another hoax. But Mr. Adams,
loath to lose a good opportunity, still claimed to be heard on the
charges made against him by the "infamous slave-holders." Mr. Smith,
of Virginia, said that the House had lately given Mr. Adams leave to
defend himself against the charge of monomania, and asked whether he
was doing so. Some members cried "Yes! Yes!"; others shouted "No! he
is establishing the fact." The wrangling was at last brought to an end
by the Speaker's declaration, that the petition must lie over for the
present. But the scene had been only the prelude to one much longer,
fiercer, and more exciting. No sooner was the document thus
temporarily disposed of than Mr. Adams rose and presented the petition
of forty-five citizens of Haverhill, Massachusetts, praying the House
"immediately to adopt measures peaceably to dissolve the union of
these States," for the alleged cause of the incompatibility        (p. 281)
between free and slave-holding communities. He moved "its reference to
a select committee, with instructions to report an answer to the
petitioners showing the reasons why the prayer of it ought not to be

In a moment the House was aflame with excitement. The numerous members
who hated Mr. Adams thought that at last he was experiencing the
divinely sent madness which foreruns destruction. Those who sought his
political annihilation felt that the appointed and glorious hour of
extinction had come; those who had writhed beneath the castigation of
his invective exulted in the near revenge. While one said that the
petition should never have been brought within the walls of the House,
and another wished to burn it in the presence of the members, Mr.
Gilmer, of Virginia, offered a resolution, that in presenting the
petition Mr. Adams "had justly incurred the censure of the House."
Some objection was made to this resolution as not being in order; but
Mr. Adams said that he hoped that it would be received and debated and
that an opportunity would be given him to speak in his own defence;
"especially as the gentleman from Virginia had thought proper to play
second fiddle to his colleague[11] from Accomac." Mr. Gilmer retorted
that he "played second fiddle to no man. He was no fiddler, but    (p. 282)
was endeavoring to prevent the music of him who,

  'In the space of one revolving moon,
  Was statesman, poet, fiddler, and buffoon.'"

The resolution was then laid on the table. The House rose, and Mr.
Adams went home and noted in his Diary, "evening in meditation," for
which indeed he had abundant cause. On the following day Thomas F.
Marshall, of Kentucky, offered a substitute for Gilmer's resolution.
This new fulmination had been prepared in a caucus of forty members of
the slave-holding party, and was long and carefully framed. Its
preamble recited, in substance, that a petition to dissolve the Union,
proposing to Congress to destroy that which the several members had
solemnly and officially sworn to support, was a "high breach of
privilege, a contempt offered to this House, a direct proposition to
the Legislature and each member of it to commit perjury, and involving
necessarily in its execution and its consequences the destruction of
our country and the crime of high treason:" wherefore it was to be
resolved that Mr. Adams, in presenting a petition for dissolution, had
"offered the deepest indignity to the House" and "an insult to the
people;" that if "this outrage" should be "permitted to pass unrebuked
and unpunished" he would have "disgraced his country ... in the    (p. 283)
eyes of the whole world;" that for this insult and this "wound at
the Constitution and existence of his country, the peace, the security
and liberty of the people of these States" he "might well be held to
merit expulsion from the national councils;" and that "the House deem
it an act of grace and mercy when they only inflict upon him their
severest censure;" that so much they must do "for the maintenance of
their own purity and dignity; for the rest they turned him over to his
own conscience and the indignation of all true American citizens."

                   [Footnote 11: Henry A. Wise.]

These resolutions were then advocated by Mr. Marshall at great length
and with extreme bitterness. Mr. Adams replied shortly, stating that
he should wish to make his full defence at a later stage of the
debate. Mr. Wise followed in a personal and acrimonious harangue; Mr.
Everett[12] gave some little assistance to Mr. Adams, and the House
again adjourned. The following day Wise continued his speech, very
elaborately. When he closed, Mr. Adams, who had "determined not to
interrupt him till he had discharged his full cargo of filthy invective,"
rose to "make a preliminary point." He questioned the right of the
House to entertain Marshall's resolutions since the preamble assumed
him to be guilty of the crimes of subornation of perjury and       (p. 284)
treason, and the resolutions themselves censured him as if he had been
found guilty; whereas in fact he had not been tried upon these charges
and of course had not been convicted. If he was to be brought to trial
upon them he asserted his right to have the proceedings conducted
before a jury of his peers, and that the House was not a tribunal
having this authority. But if he was to be tried for contempt, for
which alone he could lawfully be tried by the House, still there were
an hundred members sitting on its benches who were morally
disqualified to judge him, who could not give him an impartial trial,
because they were prejudiced and the question was one "on which their
personal, pecuniary, and most sordid interests were at stake." Such
considerations, he said, ought to prevent many gentlemen from voting,
as Mr. Wise had avowed that they would prevent him. Here Wise
interrupted to disavow that he was influenced by any such reasons, but
rather, he said, by the "personal loathing, dread, and contempt I feel
for the man." Mr. Adams, continuing after this pleasant interjection,
admitted that he was in the power of the majority, who might try him
against law and condemn him against right if they would.

                   [Footnote 12: Horace Everett, of Vermont.]

     "If they say they will try me, they must try me. If they      (p. 285)
     say they will punish me, they must punish me. But if they say
     that in peace and mercy they will spare me expulsion, I disdain
     and cast away their mercy; and I ask them if they will come to
     such a trial and expel me. I defy them. I have constituents to go
     to who will have something to say if this House expels me. Nor
     will it be long before the gentlemen will see me here again."

Such was the fierce temper and indomitable courage of this inflexible
old man! He flung contempt in the face of those who had him wholly in
their power, and in the same breath in which he acknowledged that
power he dared them to use it. He charged Wise with the guilt of
innocent blood, in connection with certain transactions in a duel, and
exasperated that gentleman into crying out that the "charge made by
the gentleman from Massachusetts was as base and black a lie as the
traitor was base and black who uttered it." When he was asked by the
Speaker to put his point of order in writing,--his own request to the
like effect in another case having been refused shortly before,--he
tauntingly congratulated that gentleman "upon his discovery of the
expediency of having points of order reduced to writing--a favor which
he had repeatedly denied to me." When Mr. Wise was speaking, "I
interrupted him occasionally," says Mr. Adams, "sometimes to       (p. 286)
provoke him into absurdity." As usual he was left to fight out his
desperate battle substantially single-handed. Only Mr. Everett
occasionally helped him a very little; while one or two others who
spoke against the resolutions were careful to explain that they felt
no personal good will towards Mr. Adams. But he faced the odds
courageously. It was no new thing for him to be pitted alone against a
"solid South." Outside the walls of the House he had some sympathy and
some assistance tendered him by individuals, among others by Rufus
Choate then in the Senate, and by his own colleagues from
Massachusetts. This support aided and cheered him somewhat, but could
not prevent substantially the whole burden of the labor and brunt of
the contest from bearing upon him alone. Among the external
manifestations of feeling, those of hostility were naturally largely
in the ascendant. The newspapers of Washington--the "Globe" and the
"National Intelligencer"--which reported the debates, daily filled
their columns with all the abuse and invective which was poured forth
against him, while they gave the most meagre statements, or none at
all, of what he said in his own defence. Among other amenities he
received from North Carolina an anonymous letter threatening him with
assassination, having also an engraved portrait of him with the    (p. 287)
mark of a rifle-ball in the forehead, and the motto "to stop the
music of John Quincy Adams," etc., etc. This missive he read and
displayed in the House, but it was received with profound indifference
by men who would not have greatly objected to the execution of the
barbarous threat.

The prolonged struggle cost him deep anxiety and sleepless nights,
which in the declining years of a laborious life told hardly upon his
aged frame. But against all odds of numbers and under all
disadvantages of circumstances the past repeated itself, and Mr. Adams
alone won a victory over all the cohorts of the South. Several
attempts had been made during the debate to lay the whole subject on
the table. Mr. Adams said that he would consent to this simply because
his defence would be a very long affair, and he did not wish to have
the time of the House consumed and the business of the nation brought
to a stand solely for the consideration of his personal affairs. These
propositions failing, he began his speech and soon was making such
headway that even his adversaries were constrained to see that the
opportunity which they had conceived to be within their grasp was
eluding them, as had so often happened before. Accordingly on February
7 the motion to "lay the whole subject on the table forever" was   (p. 288)
renewed and carried by one hundred and six votes to ninety-three.
The House then took up the original petition and refused to receive it
by one hundred and sixty-six to forty. No sooner was this consummation
reached than the irrepressible champion rose to his feet and proceeded
with his budget of anti-slavery petitions, of which he "presented
nearly two hundred, till the House adjourned."

Within a very short time there came further and convincing proof that
Mr. Adams was victor. On February 26 he writes: "D. D. Barnard told me
he had received a petition from his District, signed by a small number
of very respectable persons, praying for a dissolution of the Union.
He said he did not know what to do with it. I dined with him." By
March 14 this dinner bore fruit. Mr. Barnard had made up his mind
"what to do with it." He presented it, with a motion that it be
referred to a select committee with instructions to report adversely
to its prayer. The well-schooled House now took the presentation
without a ripple of excitement, and was content with simply voting not
to receive the petition.

In the midst of the toil and anxiety imposed upon Mr. Adams by this
effort to censure and disgrace him, the scheme, already referred to,
for displacing him from the chairmanship of the Committee on       (p. 289)
Foreign Affairs had been actively prosecuted. He was notified that the
Southern members had formed a cabal for removing him and putting Caleb
Cushing in his place. The plan was, however, temporarily checked, and
so soon as Mr. Adams had triumphed in the House the four Southern
members of the committee sent to the House a paper begging to be
excused from further services on the committee, "because from recent
occurrences it was doubtful whether the House would remove the
chairman, and they were unwilling to serve with one in whom they had
no confidence." The fugitives were granted, "by a shout of
acclamation," the excuse which they sought for so welcome a reason,
and the same was also done for a fifth member. Three more of the same
party, nominated to fill these vacancies, likewise asked to be
excused, and were so. Their letters preferring this request were "so
insulting personally" to Mr. Adams as to constitute "gross breaches of
privilege." "The Speaker would have refused to receive or present them
had they referred to any other man in the House." They were published,
but Mr. Adams, after some hesitation, determined not to give them the
importance which would result from any public notice in the House upon
his part. He could afford to keep silence, and judged wisely in doing

Amid all the animosity and rancor entertained towards Mr. Adams,   (p. 290)
there yet lurked a degree of respect for his courage, honesty, and
ability which showed itself upon occasion, doubtless not a little to
the surprise of the members themselves who were hardly conscious that
they entertained such sentiments until startled into a manifestation
of them. An eminent instance of this is to be found in the story of
the troubled days preceding the organization of the twenty-sixth
Congress. On December 2, 1839, the members elect of that body came
together in Washington, with the knowledge that the seats of five
gentlemen from New Jersey, who brought with them the regular
gubernatorial certificate of their election, would be contested by
five other claimants. According to custom Garland, clerk of the last
House, called the assemblage to order and began the roll-call. When he
came to New Jersey he called the name of one member from that State,
and then said that there were five other seats which were contested,
and that not feeling authorized to decide the dispute he would pass
over the names of the New Jersey members and proceed with the roll
till the House should be formed, when the question could be decided.
Plausible as appeared this abstention from an exercise of authority in
so grave a dispute, it was nevertheless really an assumption and   (p. 291)
not a deprecation of power, and as such was altogether unjustifiable.
The clerk's sole business was to call the names of those persons who
presented the usual formal credentials; he had no right to take
cognizance that the seats of any such persons might be the subject of
a contest, which could properly be instituted, conducted, and
determined only before and by the House itself when organized. But his
course was not innocent of a purpose. So evenly was the House divided
that the admission or exclusion of these five members in the first
instance would determine the political complexion of the body. The
members holding the certificates were Whigs; if the clerk could keep
them out until the organization of the House should be completed, then
the Democrats would control that organization, would elect their
Speaker, and through him would make up the committees.

[Illustration: Henry A. Wise]

Naturally enough this arrogation of power by the clerk, the motives
and consequences of which were abundantly obvious, raised a terrible
storm. The debate continued till four o'clock in the afternoon, when a
motion was made to adjourn. The clerk said that he could put no
question, not even of adjournment, till the House should be formed.
But there was a general cry to adjourn, and the clerk declared the
House adjourned. Mr. Adams went home and wrote in his Diary that   (p. 292)
the clerk's "two decisions form together an insurmountable objection
to the transaction of any business, and an impossibility of organizing
the House.... The most curious part of the case is, that his own
election as clerk depends upon the exclusion of the New Jersey
members." The next day was consumed in a fierce debate as to whether
the clerk should be allowed to read an explanatory statement. Again
the clerk refused to put the question of adjournment, but, "upon
inspection," declared an adjournment. Some called out "a count! a
count!" while most rushed out of the hall, and Wise cried loudly, "Now
we are a mob!" The next day there was more violent debating, but no
progress towards a decision. Various party leaders offered
resolutions, none of which accomplished anything. The condition was
ridiculous, disgraceful, and not without serious possibilities of
danger. Neither did any light of encouragement break in any quarter.
In the crisis there seemed, by sudden consent of all, to be a turning
towards Mr. Adams. Prominent men of both parties came to him and
begged him to interfere. He was reluctant to plunge into the
embroilment; but the great urgency and the abundant assurances of
support placed little less than actual compulsion upon him.
Accordingly on December 5 he rose to address the House. He was     (p. 293)
greeted as a _Deus ex machina_. Not speaking to the clerk, but turning
directly to the assembled members, he began: "Fellow citizens! Members
elect of the twenty-sixth Congress!" He could not resist the temptation
of administering a brief but severe and righteous castigation to
Garland; and then, ignoring that functionary altogether, proceeded to
beg the House to _organize itself_. To this end he said that he would
offer a resolution "ordering the clerk to call the members from New
Jersey possessing the credentials from the Governor of that State."
There had been already no lack of resolutions, but the difficulty lay
in the clerk's obstinate refusal to put the question upon them. So now
the puzzled cry went up: "How shall the question be put?" "I intend to
put the question myself," said the dauntless old man, wholly equal to
the emergency. A tumult of applause resounded upon all sides. Rhett,
of South Carolina, sprang up and offered a resolution, that Williams,
of North Carolina, the oldest member of the House, be appointed
chairman of the meeting; but upon objection by Williams, he
substituted the name of Mr. Adams, and put the question. He was
"answered by an almost universal shout in the affirmative." Whereupon
Rhett and Williams conducted the old man to the chair. It was a    (p. 294)
proud moment. Wise, of Virginia, afterward said, addressing a
complimentary speech to Mr. Adams, "and if, when you shall be gathered
to your fathers, I were asked to select the words which in my judgment
are calculated to give at once the best character of the man, I would
inscribe upon your tomb this sentence, 'I will put the question
myself!'" Doubtless Wise and a good many more would have been glad
enough to put almost any epitaph on a tombstone for Mr. Adams.[13] It
must, however, be acknowledged that the impetuous Southerners behaved
very handsomely by their arch foe on this occasion, and were for once
as chivalrous in fact as they always were in profession.

                   [Footnote 13: Not quite two years later, pending a
                   motion to reprimand Mr. Wise for fighting with a
                   member on the floor of the House, that gentleman
                   took pains insultingly to say, "that there was but
                   one man in the House whose judgment he was
                   unwilling to abide by," and that man was Mr.

Smooth water had by no means been reached when Mr. Adams was placed at
the helm; on the contrary, the buffeting became only the more severe
when the members were no longer restrained by a lurking dread of grave
disaster if not of utter shipwreck. Between two bitterly incensed and
evenly divided parties engaged in a struggle for an important prize,
Mr. Adams, having no strictly lawful authority pertaining to       (p. 295)
his singular and anomalous position, was hard taxed to perform his
functions. It is impossible to follow the intricate and acrimonious
quarrels of the eleven days which succeeded until on December 16, upon
the eleventh ballot, R. M. T. Hunter, of Virginia, was elected Speaker,
and Mr. Adams was relieved from the most arduous duty imposed upon him
during his life. In the course of the debates there had been "much
vituperation and much equally unacceptable compliment" lavished upon
him. After the organization of the House, there was some talk of
moving a vote of thanks, but he entreated that it should not be done.
"In the rancorous and bitter temper of the Administration party,
exasperated by their disappointment in losing their Speaker, the
resolution of thanks," he said, "would have been lost if it had been
offered." However this might have been, history has determined this
occurrence to have been one of the most brilliant episodes in a life
which had many distinctions.

A few incidents indicative of respect must have been welcome enough in
the solitary fight-laden career of Mr. Adams. He needed some
occasional encouragement to keep him from sinking into despondency;
for though he was of so unyielding and belligerent a disposition, of
such ungracious demeanor, so uncompromising with friend and foe,   (p. 296)
yet he was a man of deep and strong feelings, and in a way even
very sensitive though a proud reserve kept the secret of this quality
so close that few suspected it. His Diary during his Congressional
life shows a man doing his duty sternly rather than cheerfully,
treading resolutely a painful path, having the reward which attends
upon a clear conscience, but neither light-hearted nor often even
happy. Especially he was frequently disappointed at the returns which
he received from others, and considered himself "ill-treated by every
public man whom circumstances had brought into competition with him;"
they had returned his "acts of kindness and services" with "gross
injustice." The reflection did not induce him to deflect his course in
the least, but it was made with much bitterness of spirit. Toward the
close of 1835 he writes:--

     "Among the dark spots in human nature which in the course of my
     life I have observed, the devices of rivals to ruin me have been
     sorry pictures of the heart of man.... H. G. Otis, Theophilus
     Parsons, Timothy Pickering, James A. Bayard, Henry Clay, Jonathan
     Russell, William H. Crawford, John C. Calhoun, Andrew Jackson,
     Daniel Webster, and John Davis, W. B. Giles, and John Randolph,
     have used up their faculties in base and dirty tricks to thwart
     my progress in life and destroy my character."

Truly a long and exhaustive list of enmities! One can but suspect  (p. 297)
that a man of so many quarrels must have been quarrelsome. Certain it
is, however, that in nearly every difference which Mr. Adams had in
his life a question of right and wrong, of moral or political
principle, had presented itself to him. His intention was always good,
though his manner was so habitually irritating. He himself says that
to nearly all these men--Russell alone specifically excepted--he had
"returned good for evil," that he had "never wronged any one of them,"
and had even "neglected too much his self-defence against them." In
October, 1833, he said: "I subject myself to so much toil and so much
enmity, with so very little apparent fruit, that I sometimes ask
myself whether I do not mistake my own motives. The best actions of my
life make me nothing but enemies." In February, 1841, he made a
powerful speech in castigation of Henry A. Wise, who had been
upholding in Southern fashion slavery, duelling, and nullification. He
received afterward some messages of praise and sympathy, but noted
with pain that his colleagues thought it one of his "eccentric, wild,
extravagant freaks of passion;" and with a pathetic sense of
loneliness he adds: "All around me is cold and discouraging and my own
feelings are wound up to a pitch that my reason can scarcely       (p. 298)
endure." A few days later he had the pleasure of hearing one of the
members say, in a speech, that there was an opinion among many that
Mr. Adams was insane and did not know what he said. While a fight was
going on such incidents only fired his blood, but afterwards the
reminiscence affected his spirits cruelly.

In August, 1840, he writes that he has been twelve years submitting in
silence to the "foulest and basest aspersions," to which it would have
been waste of time to make reply, since the public ear had not been
open to him. "Is the time arriving," he asks, "for me to speak? or
must I go down to the grave and leave posterity to do justice to my
father and to me?"

He has had at least the advantage of saying his say to posterity in a
very effective and convincing shape in that Diary, which so discomfited
and enraged General Jackson. There is plain enough speaking in its
pages, which were a safety valve whereby much wrath escaped. Mr. Adams
had the faculty of forcible expression when he chose to employ it, as
may be seen from a few specimen sentences. On March 28, 1840, he
remarks that Atherton "this day emitted half an hour of his rotten
breath against" a pending bill. Atherton was infamous as the mover of
the "gag" resolution, and Mr. Adams abhorred him accordingly.      (p. 299)
Duncan, of Cincinnati, mentioned as "delivering a dose of balderdash,"
is described as "the prime bully of the Kinderhook Democracy," without
"perception of any moral distinction between truth and falsehood, ...
a thorough-going hack-demagogue, coarse, vulgar, and impudent, with a
vein of low humor exactly suited to the rabble of a popular city and
equally so to the taste of the present House of Representatives."
Other similar bits of that pessimism and belief in the deterioration
of the times, so common in old men, occasionally appear. In August,
1835, he thinks that "the signs of the times are portentous. All the
tendencies of legislation are to the removal of restrictions from the
vicious and the guilty, and to the exercise of all the powers of
government, legislative, judicial, and executive, by lawless
assemblages of individuals." December 27, 1838, he looks upon the
Senate and the House, "the cream of the land, the culled darlings of
fifteen millions," and observes that "the remarkable phenomenon that
they present is the level of intellect and of morals upon which they
stand; and this universal mediocrity is the basis upon which the
liberties of this nation repose." In July, 1840, he thinks that

     "parties are falling into profligate factions. I have seen this
     before; but the worst symptom now is the change in the        (p. 300)
     manners of the people. The continuance of the present Administration
     ... will open wide all the flood-gates of corruption. Will a change
     produce reform? Pause and ponder! Slavery, the Indians, the public
     lands, the collection and disbursement of public money, the tariff,
     and foreign affairs:--what is to become of them?"

On January 29, 1841, Henry A. Wise uttered "a motley compound of
eloquence and folly, of braggart impudence and childish vanity, of
self-laudation and Virginian narrow-mindedness." After him Hubbard, of
Alabama, "began grunting against the tariff." Three days later Black,
of Georgia, "poured forth his black bile" for an hour and a half. The
next week we find Clifford, of Maine, "muddily bothering his trickster
invention" to get over a rule of the House, and "snapping like a
mackerel at a red rag" at the suggestion of a way to do so. In July,
1841, we again hear of Atherton as a "cross-grained numskull ...
snarling against the loan bill." With such peppery passages in great
abundance the Diary is thickly and piquantly besprinkled. They are not
always pleasant, perhaps not even always amusing, but they display the
marked element of censoriousness in Mr. Adams's character, which it is
necessary to appreciate in order to understand some parts of his

If Mr. Adams never had the cheerful support of popularity, so      (p. 301)
neither did he often have the encouragement of success. He said that
he was paying in his declining years for the good luck which had
attended the earlier portion of his life. On December 14, 1833, he
calculates that he has three fourths of the people of Massachusetts
against him, and by estranging the anti-Masons he is about to become
obnoxious to the whole. "My public life will terminate by the
alienation from me of all mankind.... It is the experience of all ages
that the people grow weary of old men. I cannot flatter myself that I
shall escape the common law of our nature." Yet he acknowledges that
he is unable to "abstract himself from the great questions which
agitate the country." Soon after he again writes in the same vein: "To
be forsaken by all mankind seems to be the destiny that awaits my last
days." August 6, 1835, he gives as his reason for not accepting an
invitation to deliver a discourse, that "instead of having any
beneficial influence upon the public mind, it would be turned as an
instrument of obloquy against myself." So it had been, as he enumerates,
with his exertions against Freemasonry, his labors for internal
improvement, for the manufacturing interest, for domestic industry,
for free labor, for the disinterested aid then lately brought      (p. 302)
by him to Jackson in the dispute with France; "so it will be to the
end of my political life."

When to unpopularity and reiterated disappointment we add the physical
ills of old age, it no longer surprises us to find Mr. Adams at times
harsh and bitter beyond the excuse of the occasion. That he was a man
of strong physique and of extraordinary powers of endurance, often
surpassing those of young and vigorous men, is evident. For example,
one day in March, 1840, he notes incidentally: "I walked home and
found my family at dinner. From my breakfast yesterday morning until
one this afternoon, twenty-eight hours, I had fasted." Many a time he
showed like, if not quite equal vigor. But he had been a hard worker
all his life, and testing the powers of one's constitution does not
tend to their preservation; he was by no means free from the woes of
the flesh or from the depression which comes with years and the dread
of decrepitude. Already as early as October 7, 1833, he fears that his
health is "irretrievable;" he gets but five hours a night of
"disturbed unquiet sleep--full of tossings." February 17, 1834, his
"voice was so hoarse and feeble that it broke repeatedly, and he could
scarcely articulate. It is gone forever," he very mistakenly but
despondingly adds, "and it is in vain for me to contend against    (p. 303)
the decay of time and nature." His enemies found little truth in this
foreboding for many sessions thereafter. Only a year after he had
performed his feat of fasting for twenty-eight hours of business, he
received a letter from a stranger advising him to retire. He admits
that perhaps he ought to do so, but says that more than sixty years of
public life have made activity necessary to him; it is the "weakness
of his nature" which he has "intellect enough left to perceive but not
energy to control," so that "the world will retire from me before I
shall retire from the world."

The brief sketch which can be given in a volume of this size of so
long and so busy a life does not suffice even to indicate all its many
industries. The anti-slavery labors of Mr. Adams during his Congressional
career were alone an abundant occupation for a man in the prime of
life; but to these he added a wonderful list of other toils and
interests. He was not only an incessant student in history, politics,
and literature, but he also constantly invaded the domain of science.
He was Chairman of the Congressional Committee on the Smithsonian
bequest, and for several years he gave much time and attention to it,
striving to give the fund a direction in favor of science; he      (p. 304)
hoped to make it subservient to a plan which he had long cherished for
the building of a noble national observatory. He had much committee
work; he received many visitors; he secured hours of leisure for his
favorite pursuit of composing poetry; he delivered an enormous number
of addresses and speeches upon all sorts of occasions; he conducted an
extensive correspondence; he was a very devout man, regularly going to
church and reading three chapters in his Bible every day; and he kept
up faithfully his colossal Diary. For several months in the midst of
Congressional duties he devoted great labor, thought, and anxiety to
the famous cause of the slaves of the Amistad, in which he was induced
to act as counsel before the Supreme Court. Such were the labors of
his declining age. To men of ordinary calibre the multiplicity of his
acquirements and achievements is confounding and incredible. He worked
his brain and his body as unsparingly as if they had been machines
insensible to the pleasure or necessity of rest. Surprisingly did they
submit to his exacting treatment, lasting in good order and condition
far beyond what was then the average of life and vigorous faculties
among his contemporaries engaged in public affairs.

In August, 1842, while he was still tarrying in the unwholesome    (p. 305)
heats of Washington, he had some symptoms which he thought premonitory,
and he speaks of the next session of Congress as probably the last
which he should ever attend. March 25, 1844, he gives a painful sketch
of himself. Physical disability, he says, must soon put a stop to his
Diary. That morning he had risen "at four, and with smarting,
bloodshot eyes and shivering hand, still sat down and wrote to fill up
the chasm of the closing days of last week." If his remaining days
were to be few he was at least resolved to make them long for purposes
of unremitted labor.

But he had one great joy and distinguished triumph still in store for
him. From the time when the "gag" rule had been first established, Mr.
Adams had kept up an unbroken series of attacks upon it at all times
and by all means. At the beginning of the several sessions, when the
rules were established by the House, he always moved to strike out
this one. Year after year his motion was voted down, but year after
year he renewed it with invincible perseverance. The majorities
against him began to dwindle till they became almost imperceptible; in
1842 it was a majority of four; in 1843, of three; in 1844 the
struggle was protracted for weeks, and Mr. Adams all but carried the
day. It was evident that victory was not far off, and a kind fate  (p. 306)
had destined him to live not only to see but himself to win it.
On December 3, 1844, he made his usual motion and called for the yeas
and nays; a motion was made to lay his motion on the table, and upon
that also the question was taken by yeas and nays--eighty-one yeas,
one hundred and four nays, and his motion was _not_ laid on the table.
The question was then put upon it, and it was carried by the handsome
vote of one hundred and eight to eighty. In that moment the "gag" rule
became a thing of the past, and Mr. Adams had conquered in his last
fight. "Blessed, forever blessed, be the name of God!" he writes in
recording the event. A week afterwards some anti-slavery petitions
were received and actually referred to the Committee on the District
of Columbia. This glorious consummation having been achieved, this
advanced stage in the long conflict having been reached, Mr. Adams
could not hope for life to see another goal passed. His work was
nearly done; he had grown aged, and had worn himself out faithfully
toiling in the struggle which must hereafter be fought through its
coming phases and to its final success by others, younger men than he,
though none of them certainly having over him any other militant
advantage save only the accident of youth.

His mental powers were not less than at any time in the past when, (p. 307)
on November 19, 1846, he was struck by paralysis in the street
in Boston. He recovered from the attack, however, sufficiently to
resume his duties in Washington some three months later. His
reappearance in the House was marked by a pleasing incident: all the
members rose together; business was for the moment suspended; his old
accustomed seat was at once surrendered to him by the gentleman to
whom it had fallen in the allotment, and he was formally conducted to
it by two members. After this, though punctual in attendance, he only
once took part in debate. On February 21, 1848, he appeared in his
seat as usual. At half past one in the afternoon the Speaker was
rising to put a question, when he was suddenly interrupted by cries of
"Stop! Stop!--Mr. Adams!" Some gentlemen near Mr. Adams had thought
that he was striving to rise to address the Speaker, when in an
instant he fell over insensible. The members thronged around him in
great confusion. The House hastily adjourned. He was placed on a sofa
and removed first to the hall of the rotunda and then to the Speaker's
room. Medical men were in attendance but could be of no service in the
presence of death. The stern old fighter lay dying almost on the very
field of so many battles and in the very tracks in which he had    (p. 308)
so often stood erect and unconquerable, taking and dealing so many
mighty blows. Late in the afternoon some inarticulate mutterings were
construed into the words, "Thank the officers of the House." Soon
again he said intelligibly, "This is the last of earth! I am content!"
It was his extreme utterance. He lay thereafter unconscious till the
evening of the 23d, when he passed quietly away.

He lies buried "under the portal of the church at Quincy" beside his
wife, who survived him four years, his father and his mother. The
memorial tablet inside the church bears upon it the words "Alteri
Sæculo,"--surely never more justly or appropriately applied to any man
than to John Quincy Adams, hardly abused and cruelly misappreciated in
his own day but whom subsequent generations already begin to honor as
one of the greatest of American statesmen, not only preëminent in
ability and acquirements, but even more to be honored for profound,
immutable honesty of purpose and broad, noble humanity of aims.

INDEX                                                              (p. 311)

ABOLITIONISTS, their part in anti-slavery movement, 244, 245;
  urge Adams to extreme actions, 254.

Adams, Abigail, shows battle of Bunker Hill to her son, 2;
  life near Boston during siege, 2, 3;
  letter of J. Q. Adams to, on keeping journal, 5;
  warns him against asking office from his father as President, 23;
  his spirited reply, 23.

Adams, C. F., on beginning of Adams's diary, 6;
  on Adams's statement of Monroe doctrine, 131.

Adams, John, influence of his career in Revolution upon his son, 2;
  leaves family near Boston while attending Continental Congress, 2, 3;
  letter of his son to, on reading, 3;
  first mission to France, 4;
  second one, 4;
  advises his son to keep a diary and copies of letters, 5;
  makes treaty of peace, 13;
  appointed Minister to England, 14;
  elected President, 23;
  at Washington's suggestion, appoints J. Q. Adams Minister to Prussia, 24;
  recalls him, 25;
  his rage at defeat by Jefferson, 25, 26;
  disrupts Federalist party by French mission, 26;
  his rivalry with and hatred for Hamilton, 26, 27;
  charges defeat to Hamilton, 27;
  qualified sympathy of J. Q. Adams with, 27, 28;
  his enemies and adherents in Massachusetts, 28;
  his unpopularity hampers J. Q. Adams in Senate, 31, 34.

Adams, John Quincy, birth, 1;
  ancestry, 1;
  named for his great-grandfather, 1;
  describes incident connected with his naming, 1, 2;
  early involved in outbreak of Revolution, 2;
  life near Boston during the siege, 2, 3;
  scanty schooling, 3;
  describes his reading in letter to John Adams, 3, 4;
  accompanies his father to France in 1778, 4;
  and again to Spain, 4, 5;
  tells his mother of intention to keep diary while abroad, 5, 6;
  begins it in 1779, its subsequent success, 6;
  its revelation of his character, 7, 10;
  unchangeableness of his traits, 7, 8;
  describes contemporaries bitterly in diary, 9, 10;
  shows his own high character, 10;
  also his disagreeable traits, 11, 12;
  difficulty of condensing his career, 12;
  his schooling in Europe, 13;
  at fourteen acts as private secretary to Dana on mission to Russia, 13;
  assists father in peace negotiations, 13;
  his early gravity, maturity, and coolness, 14, 15;
  decides not to accompany father to England, but return home, 15;
  gives his reason for decision, 15, 16;
  studies at Harvard, 17;
  studies law with Parsons at Newburyport, 17;
  begins practice in Boston in 1790, 17;
  writes Publicola papers against Paine's "Rights of Man," 18;
  writes in papers against Genet, 18;
  his restlessness and ambition, 19.

  _Foreign Minister._ Appointed Minister to the Hague, 19;
    his voyage, 19;
    in Holland at time of its capture by French, 20;
    cordially received by French, 20;
    his skill in avoiding entanglement, 20;
    persuaded by Washington to remain, although without occupation, 21;
    prevented from participating in Jay's negotiations over the treaty, 21;
    has dealings with Grenville, 22;
    marriage with Miss Johnson, 22, 23;
    transferred to Portugal, 23;
    question as to propriety of remaining minister after his father's
      election, 23;
    persuaded by Washington to remain, 23, 24;
    appointed minister to Prussia, 24;
    ratifies treaty of commerce, 24;
    travels in Europe, 24;
    recalled by his father, 25;
    resumes practice of law, 25;
    not involved in Federalist quarrels, 27, 28;
    removed by Jefferson from commissionership in bankruptcy, 28;
    elected to State Senate, 28;
    irritates Federalists by proposing to allow Democrats a place in
      council, 29;
    his entire independence, 29, 30;
    elected to United States Senate over Pickering, 30.

  _United States Senator._ His journey to Washington, 30, 31;
    unfriendly greeting from his father's enemies, 31;
    isolation in the Senate, 32, 33;
    unfriendly relations with Pickering, 32;
    refuses to yield to unpopularity, 33, 34;
    estranges Federalists by his absence of partisanship, 34, 35;
    votes in favor of Louisiana purchase, although calling it
      unconstitutional, 35, 36;
    condemned by New England, 36;
    votes for acquittal of Chase, 36;
    realizes that he is conquering respect, 36, 37;
    introduces resolutions condemning British seizures of neutrals, 38, 39;
    and requesting President to insist on reparation, 39;
    his measure carried by Democrats, 39;
    comments on Orders in Council and Napoleon's decrees, 42, 46;
    refuses to follow New England Federalists in advocating
      submission, 47, 48;
    disgusted at Jefferson's peace policy, 48;
    but supports Non-importation Act, 49;
    believes in hostile purpose of England, 49, 50;
    urges Boston Federalists to promise support to government during
      Chesapeake affair, 51;
    attends Democratic and Federalist meetings to this effect, 51, 52;
    read out of party by Federalists, 52;
    votes for and supports embargo, 53;
    execrated in New England, 53;
    his patriotic conduct, 53-55;
    his opinion of embargo, 55;
    regrets its too long continuance, 55, 56;
    advocates in vain military and naval preparations, 56;
    refused reëlection by Massachusetts legislature, 56, 57;
    resigns before expiration of term, 57;
    harshly criticised then and since for leaving Federalists, 57, 58;
    propriety and justice of his action, 58, 59;
    led to do so by his American feeling, 61, 62;
    absurdity of charge of office-seeking, 63;
    disproved by his whole character and career, 63, 64;
    his courage tested by necessity of abandoning friends, 64;
    repels advances from Giles, 65;
    statement of his feelings in his diary, 65, 66;
    refuses election to Congress from Democrats, 66;
    sums up barrenness of his career in Senate, 66-68;
    approached by Madison in 1805 with suggestion of foreign mission, 68;
    his cool reply, 69;
    nominated Minister to Russia by Madison, 69;
    appointment refused, then confirmed, 69, 70.

  _Minister to Russia._ Peace of Ghent. His voyage, 70;
    his life at St. Petersburg, 70, 71;
    his success as foreign representative, 71, 72;
    disgusted by snobbery of American travelers, 72;
    declines to take part in squabbles for precedence, 72, 73;
    hampered by meagre salary, 73;
    describes Russia during Napoleonic wars, 74;
    nominated to act as peace commissioner with England, 75, 76;
    describes negotiations in his diary, 77;
    suggests refusing to meet British commissioners at their lodgings, 77;
    remarks on arrogance of British, 81;
    vents irritation upon colleagues, 82, 83;
    begins drafting communications, but abandons duty to Gallatin, 82;
    nettled at criticisms of colleagues on his drafts, 82, 83;
    quarrels with all but Gallatin, 84;
    incompatible with Clay, 84;
    urges strong counter-claims, 85;
    thinks negotiations certain to fail, 86;
    obliged to work for peace as defeated party, 86, 87;
    willing to return to status quo, 87;
    disagrees with Clay over fisheries and Mississippi navigation, 88;
    determined to insist on fisheries, 89, 90, 92;
    suspects British intend to prevent peace, 90;
    controverts Goulburn, 91;
    signs treaty, 93;
    at Paris during Napoleon's "hundred days," 98;
    appointed Minister to England, 98;
    with Clay and Gallatin, makes treaty of commerce with England, 98;
    his slight duties as minister, 98, 99;
    bored by English dinners, 99, 100;
    sensitive to small income, 100.

  _Secretary of State._ Appointed, 100;
    describes dullness of Washington in diary, 102;
    as host, 103;
    his habits of life, 104;
    prominent candidate for succession to Monroe, 105;
    intrigued against by Crawford, 106;
    and by Clay and Calhoun, 106, 107;
    expects Spanish colonies to gain independence, 109;
    but maintains cautious public attitude, 109;
    describes Spanish ambassador, 111;
    negotiates concerning boundaries of Louisiana, 111, 112;
    his position, 112;
    fears opposition from Clay and Crawford, 112;
    urged by Monroe not to claim too much, 113;
    rejects English mediation, 114;
    uses French Minister as go-between, 114;
    succeeds in reaching a conclusion, 114, 115;
    a triumph for his diplomacy, 115;
    chagrined at discovery of Spanish land grants, 116, 117;
    and at refusal of Spanish government to ratify treaty, 118;
    urges the seizure of disputed territory, 118;
    at first indifferent to Missouri question, 119;
    soon appreciates the slavery issue, 119;
    predicts an attempt to dissolve the Union, 119, 120;
    sharp comments on slavery, slaveholders, and Northern weakness, 120;
    notes Calhoun's threat of alliance of slave States with England, 121;
    thinks abolition impossible without disunion, 121, 122;
    maintains power of Congress over slavery in Territories, 122;
    realizes that failure of treaty damages his chance for presidency, 123;
    refuses to reopen question with new Spanish envoy, 123;
    forces ratification of treaty with annulment of land grants, 124;
    his satisfaction with outcome of negotiations, 125, 126;
    prepares report on weights and measures, 126;
    its thoroughness, 127;
    his pride of country without boastfulness in negotiations, 127, 128;
    declines to consider what European courts may think, 128, 129;
    considers it destiny of United States to occupy North America, 129;
    considers annexation of Cuba probable, 130;
    always willing to encroach within America, 130, 131;
    tells Russia American continents are no longer open for colonies, 131;
    fears possibility of European attack on Spain's colonies, 132;
    willing to go to war against such an attack, 133;
    but, in default of any, advocates non-interference, 133, 134;
    refuses to interfere in European politics, 134;
    unwilling to enter league to suppress slave trade, 135;
    the real author of Monroe doctrine, 136;
    dealings with Stratford Canning, 136;
    his reasons for refusing to join international league to put down
      slave trade, 138, 139;
    discusses with him the Astoria question, 140-148;
    insists on Canning's making communications on question in writing, 141;
    stormy interviews with him, 142-147;
    refuses to discuss remarks uttered in debate in Congress, 142, 145;
    angry breach of Canning with, 147, 148;
    success of his treatment of Canning, 148;
    description in his diary of presidential intrigues, 150 ff.;
    his censorious frankness, 150;
    his judgments of men not to be followed too closely, 151;
    accuses Clay of selfishness in opposition to Florida treaty, and in
      urging recognition of Spanish colonies, 151, 152;
    compares him to John Randolph, 153;
    later becomes on better terms, 154;
    his deep contempt for Crawford, 154;
    gradually suspects him of malicious practices, 154, 155;
    and of sacrificing everything to his ambition, 155, 156;
    sustained by Calhoun in this estimate, 157;
    supports Jackson in Cabinet, 158, 160;
    strains his conscience to uphold Jackson's actions, 160, 161;
    defends him against Canning, 162;
    gives a ball in his honor, 162;
    wishes to offer him position of Minister to Mexico, 163;
    favors Jackson for Vice-President, 163;
    determines to do nothing in his own behalf as candidate, 164;
    no trace of any self-seeking in his diary, 164, 165;
    holds aloof at all stages, 165;
    manages to be polite to all, 166;
    yet prepares to be keenly hurt at failure, 166;
    considers election a test of his career, 167;
    and of his personal character in the eyes of the people, 167;
    picture of his anxiety in his diary, 168;
    receives second largest number of electoral votes, 169;
    preferred by Clay to Jackson, 171;
    elected by the House of Representatives, 173;
    dissatisfied with the result, 174;
    would have preferred a new election if possible, 174;
    congratulated by Jackson at his inauguration, 175;
    wishes office as a token of popular approval, 175;
    realizes that this election does not signify that, 176.

  _President._ Freedom from political indebtedness, 177;
    his cabinet, 177;
    asks Rufus King to accept English mission, 177, 178;
    renominates officials, 178;
    refuses to consider any rotation in office, 179;
    refuses to punish officials for opposing his election, 179, 180;
    charged with bargaining for Clay's support, 181-183;
    unable to disprove it, 183;
    story spread by Jackson, 184;
    after disproof of story, continues to be accused by Jackson, 187;
    meets strong opposition in Congress, 188;
    notes combination of Southern members against him, 189;
    sends message concerning Panama Congress, 189;
    accused in Senate and House of having transcended his powers, 160;
    aided by Webster, 190;
    reasons for Southern opposition to, 191;
    confronted by a hostile majority in both Houses, 192;
    lack of events in his administration, 193;
    advocates internal improvements, 194;
    declines to make a show before people, 194;
    his digging at opening of Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, 194, 195;
    formation of personal opposition to his reëlection by Jackson,
      195, 196;
    his only chance of success to secure a personal following, 197;
    refuses to remove officials for political reasons, 198;
    fails to induce any one except independent men to desire his
      reëlection, 199;
    his position as representative of good government not understood, 200;
    refuses to modify utterances on internal improvements, to appease
      Virginia, 201;
    refuses to "soothe" South Carolina, 201;
    alienates people by personal stiffness and Puritanism, 202, 203;
    fails to secure personal friends, 203;
    friendly relations with Cabinet, 204, 205;
    nominates Barbour Minister to England, 205;
    fills vacancy with P. B. Porter at Cabinet's suggestion, 205;
    refuses to remove McLean for double-dealing, 206;
    his laboriousness, 206;
    daily exercise, 206, 207;
    threatened with assassination, 207, 208;
    stoicism under slanders, 208;
    refuses to deny accusation of being a Mason, 209;
    accused of trying to buy support of Webster, 209;
    other slanders, 209;
    shows his wrath in his diary, 210;
    hatred of Randolph, 210, 211;
    of Giles, 211;
    defeated in election of 1828, 212;
    feels disgraced, 213, 214;
    significance of his retirement, 213;
    the last statesman in presidency, 213;
    his depression, 214, 215;
    looks forward gloomily to retirement, 215.

  _In Retirement._ Returns to Quincy, 216;
    followed by slanders of Giles, 216;
    declines to enter into controversy with Federalists over disunion
      movement of 1808, 216, 217;
    attacked by the Federalists for his refusal, 217, 218;
    prepares a crushing reply which he does not publish, 218;
    dreads idleness, 220;
    unable to resume law practice, 220;
    his slight property, 221;
    reads Latin classics, 221;
    plans biographical and historical work, 221;
    writes in diary concerning his reading, 222;
    does not appreciate humor, 222;
    has difficulty in reading Paradise Lost, 223;
    learns to like Milton and tobacco, 223;
    asked if willing to be elected to Congress, 225;
    replies that he is ready to accept the office, 225;
    elected in 1830, 225;
    as candidate for governor, withdraws name in case of choice by
      legislature, 226.

  _Member of House of Representatives._
    His principal task the struggle with Southern slaveholders, 226;
    gains greater honor in this way than hitherto, 226, 227;
    his diligence and independent action in the House, 227;
    called "old man eloquent," 227;
    not in reality a pleasing or impressive speaker, 227, 228;
    but effective and well-informed, 228;
    his excessive pugnacity, 229;
    his enemies, 229, 230;
    success as debater, 230;
    absence of friends or followers, 231;
    supported by people in New England, 232;
    declares intention to be independent, 233;
    greeted with respect, 233;
    on Committee on Manufactures, 233;
    willing to reduce duties to please South, 234;
    condemns apparent surrender of Jackson to South Carolina, 234;
    pleased with Jackson's nullification proclamation, 235;
    wishes to coerce South Carolina before making concessions, 235;
    insists on a decision of question of nullification, 235;
    dissatisfied with Jackson's failure to push matters, 236;
    in opposition to Jackson, 237, 238;
    supports proposal of Jackson to take determined attitude toward
      France, 239;
    wins no gratitude from Jackson, 240;
    receives attempt at reconciliation coolly, 240;
    opposes granting of Doctorate of Laws to Jackson by Harvard, 241, 242;
    considers Jackson's illness a sham, 242;
    presents abolition petitions from beginning of term, 243;
    does not favor abolition in District of Columbia, 243;
    always disliked slavery and slaveholders, 243;
    not an agitator or reformer, 244;
    his qualifications to oppose slave power in Congress, 245, 246;
    hostility in Congress and coldness in Boston, 246;
    his support in his district, 247;
    and among people of North, 247;
    continues to present petitions, 248;
    presents one signed by women, 249;
    opposes assertion that Congress has no power to interfere with
      slavery in a State, 250;
    opposes gag rule, 250;
    advocates right of petition, 251;
    tries to get his protest entered on journal, 251, 252;
    savage reply to an assailant, 252;
    receives and presents floods of petitions, 252, 253;
    single-handed in task, 253;
    urged to rash movements by abolitionists, 254;
    his conduct approved by constituents, 255;
    resolves to continue, although alone, 255;
    description in his diary of presentation of petitions, 255-261;
    continues to protest against "gag" rule as unconstitutional, 256;
    scores Preston for threatening to hang abolitionists, 257, 258;
    defies the House and says his say, 258, 259;
    wishes petitions referred to a select committee, 259;
    passage at arms with chairman of Foreign Affairs Committee, 259, 260;
    taunts Connor with folly of "gag" rule, 261;
    holds that Congress, under war power, may abolish slavery, 261-263;
    attacked by Southerners, 262, 263;
    cites precedents, 263;
    his theory followed by Lincoln, 264;
    refers to the theory in letter, 265;
    opposes annexation of Texas, 265, 266;
    his reasons, 266 n.;
    presents absurd petitions, 266;
    presents petitions asking for his own expulsion, 268;
    allows matter to drop, 268;
    presents petition from slaves and asks opinion of speaker, 269;
    fury of slaveholders against, 270;
    resolutions of censure against, 271;
    disconcerts opponents by his cool reply, 272, 273;
    but receives new attacks and resolutions of censure, 274, 275;
    defended by a few New Englanders, 276;
    reluctance of Southerners to allow him to reply, 276;
    his speech, 277-279;
    sarcasms upon his enemies, 277, 278;
    presents petition asking for his own removal from chairmanship of
      Committee on Foreign Affairs, 280;
    prevented from defending himself, 280;
    presents petition for dissolution of Union while disapproving it,
      280, 281;
    resolutions of censure against, 281, 282;
    attacked by Marshall and Wise, 283;
    objects to injustice of preamble, 284;
    defies his enemies and scorns mercy, 285;
    bitter remarks on his opponents, 285;
    helped by Everett, 286;
    slight outside sympathy for, 286;
    abused in newspapers, 286;
    threatened with assassination, 286, 287;
    willing to have matter laid on table, 287;
    his triumph in the affair, 288;
    attempt to drive him from Foreign Affairs Committee, 289;
    refusal of Southerners to serve with, 289;
    refuses to notice them, 289;
    retains respect of House for his honesty, 290;
    appealed to, to help organize House in 1839, 292;
    his bold and successful action, 293-295;
    praised by Wise, 294;
    succeeds in presiding eleven days until organization, 294, 295;
    deprecates a resolution of thanks, 295;
    his occasional despondency and loneliness, 295, 296;
    describes his enemies, 296;
    tries to act justly to all of them, 297;
    castigates Wise for dueling, 297;
    called insane, 297, 298;
    his bitter language on opponents in the Diary, 298-300;
    low opinion of Congress, 299;
    on partisanship, 299, 300;
    describes his unpopularity, 301;
    describes all his acts as turned to his discredit, 301;
    his ill-health, 302, 303, 305;
    chairman of committee on Smithsonian bequest, 303;
    his religious and social activity, 304;
    in Amistad case, 304;
    continues attack upon gag rule, 305;
    his final victory and exultation, 306;
    struck by paralysis, 307;
    greeted on return to House, 307;
    his death in Capitol, 307, 308;
    estimate of character and services, 308.

  _Characteristics._ General view, 10-12, 308;
    ambition, 16, 19, 25, 164-167;
    censoriousness, 9, 12, 112, 150, 242;
    conscientiousness, 66, 200, 277, 296;
    coldness, 11, 34, 37, 165, 230, 240;
    courage, 10, 15, 33, 54, 58, 64, 113, 208, 252, 253, 293;
    dignity, 71, 99, 127, 213, 216;
    diplomatic ability, 20, 22, 72, 114, 123, 137-148;
    exercise, love of, 206, 207;
    honor, 10, 22, 58, 63, 166;
    ill-health, 302, 305;
    independence, 10, 16, 29, 30, 48, 59, 127, 133, 246;
    industry, 8, 11, 126, 206, 227;
    invective, 12, 229, 230, 246, 252, 277-279, 281, 283-285, 298-300;
    irritability, 83, 154, 210, 211, 302;
    knowledge of politics, 11, 91, 228, 245;
    legal ability, 18;
    literary interests, 221-223;
    melancholy, 214;
    observation, power of, 74, 77, 111;
    oratorical ability, 227, 228;
    patriotism, 62, 127, 148;
    persistence, 11, 25, 34, 114, 123, 143, 245;
    personal appearance, 228;
    pessimism, 19, 33, 67, 153, 272, 296, 299;
    precocity, 17;
    pride, 166, 167, 201;
    prolixity, 82, 277;
    pugnacity, 49, 50, 52, 81, 133, 141, 160, 228-236, 245, 246, 285;
    Puritanism, 7, 30, 66, 150, 164, 202;
    religious views, 30, 207, 304;
    sensitiveness, 33, 83, 208, 298;
    sobriety, 8, 14, 118;
    social habits, 103, 202, 203;
    suspiciousness, 82, 112, 138, 151, 296;
    unpopularity, 195, 202-204, 231, 246, 253, 295, 301, 307.

  _Political Opinions._ Appointments to office, 178-180, 197-200, 206;
    cabinet relations with, 204, 205;
    candidate, attitude of, 164-167, 197-206;
    Chase, impeachment of, 36;
    Chesapeake affair, 51;
    Congress, powers over slavery, 122, 250, 261-265;
    court etiquette, 73;
    Cuba, annexation of, 130;
    disunion, 119, 122, 281;
    election of 1824, 174-176;
    emancipation, 121;
    embargo, 53, 56;
    England, 47, 50, 51, 90, 145, 148;
    English society, 100;
    Federalist party, 28, 48, 50, 57, 61;
    fisheries, 88, 90;
    Florida, 115, 118, 123, 130;
    France, policy towards, 239;
    "gag" rule, 250, 251, 256, 257, 305, 306;
    Genet, 118;
    gunboat scheme, 48;
    internal improvements, 194, 201;
    Jackson's administration, 237;
    Jackson's Florida career, 160, 163;
    Louisiana, 35, 130;
    Louisiana boundary, 112, 115;
    manifest destiny, 130, 160;
    Mississippi navigation, 88, 89;
    Missouri Compromise, 121;
    Monroe doctrine, 130, 131, 134-136;
    non-importation, 40, 49, 55;
    nullification, 234, 235;
    Oregon, 140-143;
    Panama Congress, 189;
    party fidelity, 29, 30, 54, 59, 62, 233;
    Republican party, 36, 65;
    right of search, 38, 139;
    slaveholders, 243, 257, 260;
    slavery, 120, 121, 243, 255, 304;
    slave trade, 135, 138;
    Smithsonian bequest, 303;
    Spanish-American republics, 109, 131-133;
    Texas, annexation of, 265, 266;
    treaty of Ghent, 77-98;
    weights and measures, 126, 127.

Adams, Dr. William, on English peace commission, 76;
  suggests abandonment by United States of its citizens in proposed
    Indian Territory, 79;
  irritated at proposal that English restore possession of Moose Island
    pending arbitration, 91;
  negotiates treaty of commerce, 98.

Alexander, Emperor of Russia, desires to exchange ministers with United
    States, 69;
  his courtesy to Adams, 70, 71;
  anecdote of Adams's conversation with, 73;
  attempts to mediate between England and United States, 74, 75;
  discussions with Castlereagh, 93;
  slander concerning relations with Adams, 209, 210.

Alford, Julius C., wishes to burn Adams's petition from slaves, 270;
  threatens war, 272, 275.

Ambrister. See Arbuthnot.

Amistad case, share of Adams in, 304.

Anti-Mason movement, used by Jacksonians against Adams, 208, 209;
  connection of Adams within Massachusetts, 226, 301.

Arbuthnot and Ambrister, hanged by Jackson, 160;
  execution of, defended by Adams, 162.

Atherton, Charles G., bitter remarks of Adams on, 298, 300.

Austria, rejects England's plan for suppression of slave trade, 138.

Bagot, Sir Charles, question of his opinion on Oregon question, discussed
  by Canning and Adams, 142, 143.

Bank, Jackson's attack on, 240.

Barbour, James, appointed Secretary of War, 177;
  desires mission to England, 205.

Barings, give Adams his commission, 98.

Barnard, D. D., by Adams's advice, presents petition for dissolution of
  Union, 288.

Barrou, James, commands Chesapeake when attacked by Leopard, 45.

Bayard, James A., appointed peace commissioner, 75, 76;
  resents proposal to meet at lodgings of English commissioners, 77;
  criticises Adams's drafts of documents, 83;
  enrages Goulburn, 91;
  accused by Adams of trying to injure him, 296.

Benton, T. H., on unfavorable beginning to Adams's administration, 188.

Berkeley, Admiral G. C., commands Leopard, and is promoted for attacking
  Chesapeake, 46.

Berlin decree, 41.

Beverly, Carter, reports that Jackson has proof of Clay and Adams
    bargain, 184;
  upheld by Jackson, 185;
  apologizes to Clay, 187.

Black, Edward J., of Georgia, comment of Adams on, 300.

Bonaparte, Napoleon, issues Berlin and Milan decrees, 41, 42;
  seen during "hundred days" by Adams, 98.

Brown, James, votes against Spanish treaty through Clay's influence, 124.

Buchanan, James, refuses to substantiate Jackson's story of corrupt offer
  from Clay in election of 1824, 186, 187.

Burr, Aaron, compared by Adams to Van Buren, 193.

Cabinet, relations of Adams to, 204, 205;
  treachery of McLean, 205, 206.

Calhoun, J. C., candidate for succession to Monroe, 106;
  on Southern alliance with England in case of dissolution of Union, 121;
  candidacy damaged by Southern origin, 149;
  his opinion of Crawford, 156;
  displeased at Jackson's disregard of instructions, 160;
  elected Vice-President, 169;
  irritation of Adams at his failure to suppress Randolph, 211;
  reëlected Vice-President, 212;
  accused by Adams of plotting to injure him, 296.

Canada, desire of Adams for annexation of, 85, 130.

Canning, George, seeks acquaintance with Adams, 99.

Canning, Stratford, urges American submission to mixed tribunals to
    suppress slave trade, 135;
  his arrogance met by Adams, 136, 137;
  discusses with Adams the suppression of slave trade, 137-139;
  on Adams's superior years, 139;
  high words with Adams over question of an American settlement at mouth
    of Columbia, 140-147;
  loses temper at request to put objections in writing, 141;
  and at persistence of Adams in repeating words of previous English
    minister, 142, 143;
  his offer to forget subject declined by Adams, 144;
  complains of Adams's language, 145, 146;
  resents reference to Jackson's recall, 146, 147;
  his anger shown later, 147;
  this does not affect relations between countries, 148.

Castlereagh, Lord, unwilling at first to conclude peace, 93;
  influenced by attitude of Prussia and Russia, advises concessions, 94;
  dealings with Adams, 99;
  described by Adams, 99.

Cavalla, ----, imprisoned by Jackson, 159, 160;
  seizure defended by Adams, 162.

Chase, Judge Samuel, his acquittal voted for by J. Q. Adams, 36.

Chesapeake attacked by Leopard, 45;
  effect upon Adams and Federalists, 50, 51.

Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, incident of Adams's opening of, 195.

Choate, Rufus, sympathizes with Adams when attacked by resolutions of
  censure, 286.

Civil service, appointments to, under Adams, 178-180, 196, 198, 199,
    206, 209;
  under Jackson, 198.

Clay, Henry, on peace commission, 76;
  his irascibility, 82, 84;
  criticises Adams's figurative style in documents, 82;
  irritates Adams, 84;
  his conviviality, 84;
  thinks English will recede, 85;
  then thinks English will refuse to accept _status ante bellum_, 87;
  willing to sacrifice fisheries to prevent English Mississippi
    navigation, 88, 89;
  thinks fisheries of little value, 89;
  willing to meet English with defiance, 90;
  threatens not to sign treaty, 90, 92;
  abandoned by colleagues on point of impressment, 92;
  negotiates treaty of commerce, 98;
  his gambling habits, 103;
  jealous of Adams's appointment as Secretary of State, 106;
  leads opposition to administration, 108;
  wishes to recognize independence of Spanish colonies, 109;
  threatens to oppose treaty accepting Sabine as Louisiana boundary, 112;
  opposes treaty with Spain, 116;
  fails to prevent ratification, 124;
  ambitious for presidency, 149;
  low motives for opposition to administration as signed by Adams, 151;
  his honesty in advocating recognition of South American republics, 152;
  compared by Adams to Randolph, 153;
  becomes reconciled with Adams before election, 154;
  denounces Jackson, 160;
  vote for, in 1824, 169;
  able to decide choice of President by influence in Congress, 169;
  at first prefers Crawford, 169, 170;
  charged with having offered to support either Jackson or Adams, 170;
  his preference for Adams over Jackson, 171;
  appointed Secretary of State, 177;
  urges removal of Sterret for proposing an insult to Adams, 179;
  calls author of bargain slander a liar, 181;
  charge against, repeated by Tennessee legislature, 183;
  duel with Randolph, 183;
  challenges Jackson to produce evidence, 185;
  exonerated by Buchanan, 187;
  and by Kremer and Beverly, 187;
  actually receives advances from Jackson's friends, 187, 188;
  opposition to his nomination as Secretary of State, 188;
  abused by Randolph, 211;
  engineers compromise with South Carolina, 236;
  accused by Adams of trying to injure him, 296.

Clifford, Nathan, of Maine, contemptuously described by Adams, 300.

Clinton, De Witt, his candidacy for President in 1824, 149.

Congress, in election of 1824, 165, 169-172;
  influence of Clay in, 169;
  elects Adams President, 172, 173;
  investigates bargain story, 181;
  opposition in, to Adams, from the beginning, 188;
  attacks Adams's intention to send delegates to Panama Congress, 190;
  opposes Adams throughout administration, 192;
  resolutions denying its power to interfere with slavery debated in
    House, 249, 250;
  position of Adams with regard to its power to abolish slavery in the
    States, 250, 261-265;
  its degeneracy lamented by Adams, 299.

Connor, John C., taunted by Adams in Congress, 261.

Constitution of United States, in relation to Louisiana purchase, 35;
  prohibits submission of United States to mixed foreign tribunals
    for suppressing slave trade, 138;
  in connection with election of 1824, 172;
  held by Adams to forbid "gag" rule, 250, 256, 258;
  held by Adams to justify abolition of slavery under war power, 261-265;
  in relation to Texas annexation, 266.

Crawford, W. H., his ambitions for the presidency, 105, 106, 148;
  intrigues against Adams, 106, 154;
  his action described by Adams, 112, 113;
  advises moderate policy to remove foreign prejudices against United
    States, 128;
  contempt of Adams for, 154;
  accused by Adams of all kinds of falsity and ambition, 155, 156, 296;
  his real character, 156, 157;
  Calhoun's opinion of, 156;
  described by Mills, 157;
  a party politician, 158;
  eager to ruin Jackson, 160;
  vote for, in 1824, 169;
  his illness causes abandonment by Clay. 170;
  receives four votes in House of Representatives, 173;
  fills custom-houses with supporters, 180.

Creeks, treaty with, discussed in Senate, 33.

Creole affair, 279.

Cuba, its annexation expected by Adams, 130.

Cushing, Caleb, defends Adams against resolutions of censure, 276;
  movement to put him in Adams's place on Committee on Foreign Affairs,

Dana, Francis, takes Adams as private secretary to Russia, 13.

Davis, John, accused by Adams of trying to injure him, 296.

Deas, Mr., exchanges ratifications of Jay treaty, 21;
  disliked by English cabinet, 22.

Democratic party, organized as opposition to Adams, 192;
  managed by Van Buren, 192, 193, 195;
  not based on principle, but on personal feeling, 196;
  its attacks upon Adams, 208-210;
  its methods condemned by Adams, 237.

Diary, suggested by John Adams, 5;
  begun, 6;
  its nature and content, 7, 8;
  its bitterness, 9, 10;
  picture of the author, 10, 11;
  quotations from, in Boston, 19;
  during career in Senate, 32, 34;
  on damaging party, 66;
  during peace negotiations, 77, 82, 83, 89, 90;
  during election of 1824, 150, 151, 164, 168;
  in election of 1828, 201, 210, 211;
  during anti-slavery career, 255, 292, 296, 298-300;
  in last years, 301-303, 305, 306.

Diplomatic history, mission of Dana to Russia, 13;
  mission of Adams to Holland, 19-21;
  to Prussia, 24;
  Rose's mission to United States, 45, 46;
  mission of Adams to Russia, 70-74;
  offer of Russia to mediate in war of 1812, 74, 75;
  refusal by England, 75;
  peace negotiations, 76-98 (see treaty of Ghent);
  commercial negotiations with England, 98;
  mission of Adams to England, 98-100;
  negotiations of Adams with Spain, 110-118, 123-125;
  question of Sabine River boundary, 112, 116;
  final agreement, details of treaty, acquisition of Florida, 115;
  and Western outlet to Pacific, 115;
  dispute over Spanish land grants, 116, 117;
  rejection of treaty by Spain, 117;
  renewed mission of Vivês, 123;
  ratification of treaty, 124;
  independent attitude of United States under Adams, 127, 128;
  Monroe doctrine, 129-136;
  dealings with Russia over Alaska, 130, 131;
  proposal of Portugal for an alliance, 133;
  dealings of Adams with Greek revolt, 134;
  dealings of Adams with Stratford Canning over slave trade, 135, 137;
  high words over Columbia River settlement, 140-147;
  refusal of Adams to explain words uttered in Congress, 142, 145-147;
  commercial treaties in Adams's administration, 194.

"Doughfaces," attacks of Adams upon, 120, 229.

Dromgoole, George C., remark on petition to expel Adams, 268;
  introduces resolutions of censure on Adams, 275;
  ridiculed by Adams, 277, 278.

Duncan, Alexander, bitterly described by Adams, 299.

Eaton, Senator J. H., leads Canning to suspect American plan to colonize
    Oregon, 140.

Eaton, Mrs., her influence in Jackson's administration, 237.

Election of 1824, candidates, 148, 149;
  Adams's opinion of them, 151-163;
  choice simply between persons, not principles, 163;
  Adams refuses to canvass for himself, 164, 165;
  electoral college votes for four candidates, 168, 169;
  influence of Clay in House proves decisive factor, 169, 170;
  Crawford discarded, 170;
  the Clay-Adams bargain story started, 170;
  claims of Jackson men, 171;
  difficulty of discovering popular vote, 172, 173;
  choice of Adams, 173, 174;
  subsequent history of bargain story, 180-188.

Election of 1828, question of principle veiled by personality of
    candidates, 196, 197, 200;
  choice of Jackson, 212;
  its significance, 213, 214.

Embargo, proposed by Jefferson, 52;
  supported by Adams, 53;
  opposed by Federalists, 53;
  preferred by Adams to submission, 54, 55;
  its effects, 55;
  its repeal urged by Adams, 55, 56.

England, ratifies Jay treaty, 21;
  tries to induce Adams to negotiate instead of Deas, 22;
  its commercial policy toward United States, 37, 38;
  its right of search protested against by Adams, 39;
  Non-importation Act adopted against, 40;
  proclaims blockade, 41;
  issues Orders in Council, 41, 42;
  its policy of impressment, 43, 44;
  refuses compensation for Chesapeake affair and promotes Berkeley, 45;
  its policy understood by Adams, 49, 50;
  embargo against, 51-55;
  refuses Russia's offer to mediate in war of 1812, 75;
  wins victories, 76;
  willing to treat directly, 76;
  appoints commissioners, 76;
  demands great concessions, 78, 79;
  ready, if necessary, to continue war, 86;
  alters policy and concludes treaty, 93, 94;
  dissatisfied with treaty, 97;
  commercial treaty with, 98;
  mission of Adams to, 98-100;
  social life of Adams in, 99, 100;
  its offer to mediate between United States and Spain rejected, 114;
  hopes no violent action will be taken against Spain, 118;
  endeavors to induce United States to join in suppressing slave
    trade, 135, 137;
  its sincerity suspected by Adams, 138;
  its claim to right of search causes refusal of request, 138, 139;
  its claims to Oregon discussed by Canning and Adams, 140, 142, 143, 145;
  Adams's opinion of its territorial claims, 145.

Era of good feeling, 104;
  characterized by personal rivalries, 105;
  question of presidential succession, 105, 106;
  intrigues, 106, 107, 148.

Evans, George, defends Adams from resolutions of censure, 270.

Everett, Edward, his address to Jackson condemned as fulsome by Adams, 242.

Everett, Horace, defends Adams against resolutions of censure, 283, 286.

Everett, Mr., told by Adams of determination to do nothing to secure
    election, 164.

Federalist party, defeated by Jefferson, 25, 26;
  dissensions in, between John Adams and Hamilton, 26, 27;
  J. Q. Adams a member of, 28;
  elects Adams to State Senate, 28;
  irritated by his independence, 29;
  elects him United States senator, 30;
  antipathy of, in Senate, toward son of John Adams, 31;
  opposes Louisiana purchase, 35;
  condemns Adams for favoring Louisiana, 36;
  supports English policy, 38;
  angered against Jefferson for not submitting to English aggression,
    39, 40, 53;
  opposes Non-importation Act, 40;
  urged by Adams to resent Chesapeake affair, 51;
  does so, but condemns Adams for participating in Republican meeting, 52;
  its outburst of fury at Adams for supporting embargo, 53, 54;
  refuses to reëlect him, 57;
  discussion of its part in United States history, 59-62;
  its success in organization, 59, 60;
  supported by Adams as long as it remains sound, 61;
  takes false position after 1807, 62;
  disappears, 104, 105;
  thirteen members demand evidence of Adams's statement concerning plans
    for disunion, 216;
  their rejoinder to his reply, 217, 218;
  proved to have planned disunion by Adams's unpublished pamphlet, 218,

Fisheries, intention of English to ignore, in treaty of Ghent, 80, 88;
  disputes over, between Adams and Clay, 88-90;
  finally omitted from treaty, 92, 94;
  later negotiations over, 99.

Florida, question of its acquisition, 110, 111;
  acquired by treaty, 115;
  its seizure advocated by Adams against Monroe, 118, 123;
  treaty concerning, opposed by Clay, 151;
  illegal actions of Jackson in, 159.

Foreign Affairs, Committee on, petition for Adams's removal from, 280;
  refusal of Southern members to serve on, with Adams, 289.

France, conquers Holland, 20;
  attitude of John Adams toward, 26;
  replies to English blockade by Berlin and Milan decrees, 41, 42;
  unable to damage American shipping as much as England, 46, 47;
  war with Russia, 74;
  hopes no violent action will be taken against Spain, 118;
  rejects England's plan for suppression of slave trade, 138;
  its slowness in paying debt causes Jackson to break off diplomatic
    relations, 238.

Franklin, Benjamin, negotiates treaty of peace, 13.

"Gag" rule, adopted over Adams's protest, 250, 251;
  effort of Adams to get his protest on journal, 251, 252;
  further protests of Adams against, 256, 258, 305;
  difficulties in enforcing, 260;
  dwindling majorities for, 305;
  repealed on Adams's motion, 306.

Gallatin, Albert, appointed peace commissioner, 75;
  his appointment rejected by Senate, 75;
  reappointed, 76;
  moderates resentment of colleagues at English pretensions, 77, 82;
  acts as peacemaker in conference, 82;
  supplants Adams in drafting documents, 82;
  on good terms with Adams, 84;
  negotiates treaty of commerce, 98.

Gambier, Lord, on English peace commission, 76;
  laments Adams's intention to return to St. Petersburg, 86;
  interposes to calm a quarrel, 91;
  negotiates treaty of commerce, 98.

Garland, Hugh A., attempts to secure organization of House of
    Representatives without taking in contested seats, 290;
  intends to give House to Democrats, 291;
  refuses to put any question until House is organized, 291, 292;
  prevents organization, 292;
  pushed aside by Adams, 293.

Garrison, William Lloyd, adopts Adams's theory of power of Congress over
    slavery, 264.

Genet, E. C., his course attacked by Adams in papers, 18.

Gerry, Elbridge, notifies John Adams of appointment as Minister to
    England, 14.

Giddings, Joshua R., his position on power of Congress over slavery not
    indorsed by Adams, 263.

Giles, W. B., attempts to win Adams to support Jefferson, 65;
  abuses Adams, 211, 296;
  his memory preserved solely by his slanders, 212;
  circulates slanders in New England against Adams, 216.

Gilmer, Thomas W., offers resolution of censure on Adams for presenting
    petition to dissolve the Union, 281;
  denies Adams's charge of imitating Wise, 281, 282.

Glascock, Thomas, moves that anti-slavery petition be not received, 248.

Goulburn, Henry, on English peace commission, 76;
  thinks war must continue, 86;
  loses temper with Bayard and Adams, 91;
  negotiates treaty of commerce, 98.

Grantland, Seaton, wishes to punish Adams for presenting petition from
    slaves, 270.

Greece, revolt of, refusal of Adams to commit United States to
    interference, 134.

Gregory, Sherlock S., his eccentric anti-slavery petition, 256.

Grenville, Lord, dealings of Adams with, in 1795, 22.

Gunboat scheme, despised by Adams, 48.

Habersham, Richard W., alleges petition for removal of Adams to be a
    hoax, 280.

Hamilton, Alexander, real leader of Federalist party during John Adams's
    administration, 27;
  his feud with Adams, 27;
  his influence in Massachusetts, 28, 30.

Harvard College, studies of John Quincy Adams in, 17;
  its proposal to confer degree upon Jackson opposed by Adams, 241;
  confers the degree, 241, 242.

Haynes, Charles E., moves rejection of Adams's petition from slaves,
    270, 275;
  moves to make censure of Adams severe, 271.

Hayti, its possible representation at Panama Congress causes South to
    advocate refusal to send delegates, 191;
  petitions for recognition of, 259.

Holland, mission of Adams to, 20;
  conquered by France, 20;
  made into "Batavian Republic," 20;
  agrees to suppress slave trade, 138.

Holy Alliance, fear of its attempting to reconquer Spanish colonies,
    132, 134, 136.

House of Representatives, Adams's career in, 225-308;
  election of Adams to, 225;
  his labors in committee and other work of, 227;
  solitariness of Adams in, 231;
  his position in, with regard to tariff of 1833, 235;
  debate in, over Jackson's policy to France, 239;
  anti-slavery petitions presented in, at first without remark, 243, 248;
  debates plans to prevent their reception, 248-250;
  adopts "gag" rule against Adams's protest, 251;
  attempts of Adams to infringe its rule, 257, 258;
  debates power to abolish slavery, 262;
  debates proposed censure of Adams for presenting a petition from
    slaves, 269-279;
  resolves that slaves do not possess right of petition, 279;
  Adams's speech in reply, 277-279;
  attempts to censure Adams for presenting petition for dissolution of
    Union, 280-288;
  lays subject on table, 288;
  does not resent a second disunion petition, 288;
  refusal of Garland to organize according to custom, in 1839, 290-292;
  appeals to Adams, 292; organized by his leadership, 293-295;
  pays compliment to Adams on his return after illness, 307;
  death of Adams in, 307, 308.

Hubbard, David, comment of Adams on, 300.

Hunter, R. M. T., elected Speaker of House, 295.

Impressment, description of its exercise by England and effects upon
    United States, 43-45;
  difficulty of reclaiming impressed Americans, 44, 45;
  the Chesapeake affair, 45, 46;
  not mentioned in treaty of Ghent, 92, 95;
  later negotiations over, 99.

Indians, propositions concerning, in peace negotiations, 78;
  dissensions over, between American commissioners, 90;
  article concerning, 94.

Internal improvements, Adams's advocacy of, 194, 201.

Jackson, Andrew, his view of Adams's office-seeking, 63;
  wins battle of New Orleans, 96, 97;
  his outrages in Spanish territory, 110;
  enrages Spain, 111;
  approves Adams's Spanish treaty, later condemns it, 125;
  becomes candidate for presidency in 1824, 149;
  his Indian wars in Florida, 158, 159;
  hangs Arbuthnot and Ambrister, 159;
  captures Pensacola, 159;
  difficulty of praising or blaming him, 159, 160;
  condemned by President and Cabinet, 160;
  and by Clay, 160;
  defended by Adams, 160-162;
  ball in his honor given by Adams, 162;
  supported for Minister to Mexico and for Vice-President by Adams. 163;
  on good terms with Adams up to election, 163;
  receives largest electoral vote in 1824, 169;
  said to have refused offer of Clay to bargain for support, 170;
  impossibility of Clay's supporting him, 171;
  popular argument for his choice, 171, 172;
  absurdity of claim of popular will in favor of, 172, 173;
  vote for, in House of Representatives, 174;
  enraged at defeat, 174;
  yet greets Adams at inauguration, 175;
  nominated for President by Tennessee legislature, 181;
  spreads tale of Clay and Adams's bargain, 184;
  declares he has proof, 184, 185;
  tells story of offer from Clay, 185;
  calls upon Buchanan for testimony, 186;
  his statements disavowed by Buchanan, 186, 187;
  continues to repeat story, 187;
  his candidacy for 1828 purely on personal grounds, 195-197, 200;
  advantages all on his side, 197;
  originator of spoils system, 198;
  his position as advocate of unsound government not understood in 1828,
  secretly aided by McLean, 205, 206;
  rewards him by a judgeship, 206;
  elected President in 1828, 212;
  begins a new era, 213, 214;
  his message of 1832 condemned by Adams, 234;
  his proclamation against nullification upheld by Adams, 235;
  ultimately yields to South Carolina, 236;
  his administration condemned by Adams, 237;
  its character, 237;
  recommends vigorous action against France, 238;
  supported by Adams in House, 239;
  continues to hate Adams, 239, 240;
  futile attempt of Johnson to reconcile him with Adams, 240, 241;
  granted degree of Doctor of Laws by Harvard, 241, 242;
  suspected by Adams of feigning illness for effect, 242.

Jackson, F. J., his recall referred to in conversation between Canning
    and Adams, 146.

Jarvis, Leonard, introduces resolution that House will not entertain
    abolition petitions, 248.

Jay treaty, ratified, 21.

Jefferson, Thomas, negotiates treaties of commerce, 13;
  republishes Paine's "Rights of Man," 18;
  his inauguration avoided by John Adams, 26;
  removes J. Q. Adams from position of commissioner in bankruptcy, 28;
  attempts to explain apparent malice, 28;
  Adams's view of his attacks on Pickering and Chase, 36;
  approves Non-importation Act, 40;
  inefficient in war-time, 48, 54;
  advocates embargo, 54;
  not reconciled with J. Q. Adams in spite of latter's support, 65;
  unconciliatory reply of Adams to, when offered a mission, 69;
  his desire to make Louisiana a State opposed by Adams, 130;
  begins political use of offices to secure reëlection, 198;
  said to have been warned by Adams of Federalist disunion plots, 216.

Johnson, Joshua, father-in-law of Adams, 22.

Johnson, Louisa Catherine, marries Adams, 22, 23;
  in Washington society, 103.

Johnson, Richard M., led by Clay to oppose Spanish treaty, 124;
  endeavors to reconcile Adams and Jackson, 240;
  his probable motives, 240.

Johnson, Thomas, Governor, connected by marriage with Adams, 22.

King, Rufus, description of Adams's offer of English mission to, 177, 178.

Kremer, George, originates bargain slander against Clay and Adams,
    171, 180;
  refuses to testify before House Committee, 181;
  writes a retraction and apology, 187.

Leopard. See Chesapeake.

Lewis, Dixon H., urges punishing Adams for offering petition from
    slaves, 270;
  wishes Southern members to go home, 272.

Lincoln, Solomon, letter of Adams to, on power of Congress over
    slavery, 265.

Lincoln, Levi, defends Adams against resolution of censure, 276.

Liverpool, Lord, his anxiety to conclude peace, 93.

Livingston, Edward, ordered by Jackson to demand passports from
    France, 238.

Lloyd, James, Jr., chosen Senator in Adams's place, 57.

Louisiana, acquisition opposed by Federalist party, 35;
  supported by Adams, although, in his eyes, unconstitutional, 35;
  negotiations with Spain concerning its boundary, 110, 112, 114-116;
  proposed boundary at Sabine opposed by Clay, 112, 116;
  boundaries agreed upon in treaty, 115;
  dispute over Spanish land grants in, 116, 117, 124;
  the boundary later attacked, but, at the time of treaty, approved, 125.

Lowell, John, justifies action of Leopard in attacking Chesapeake, 50.

McLean, J. T., professes devotion to Adams and aids Jackson, 205, 206;
  rewarded by Jackson with a judgeship, 206.

Madison, James, as Secretary of State, favors giving Adams a foreign
    mission, 68;
  as President, appoints him Minister to Russia, 69, 70.

Manifest destiny, upheld by Adams, 130.

Mann, Abijah, Jr., of New York, attacks Adams in Congress, 273, 274.

"Marcellus" papers, 18.

Manufactures, Committee on, Adams a member of, 233.

Marshall, Thomas F., attacks Adams for advocating power of Congress
    over slavery, 263;
  offers resolution of censure on Adams for presenting disunion
    petition, 282, 283.

Markley, Philip S., mentioned by Buchanan in Clay-Adams bargain story, 186.

Mason, S. T., killed in a duel, 103, 104.

Massachusetts, upper classes in, belong to Federalist party, 28;
  legislature of, sends Adams to United States Senate, 30;
  refuses to reëlect him, 56, 57;
  condemns embargo, 57;
  lasting bitterness in, against Adams, for his change of party,
    58, 216-218;
  anti-Mason movement in, 226, 301;
  educated society in, disapproves of Adams's anti-slavery position, 246;
  farmers support him, 247, 255.

Milan decree issued, 42.

Mills, E. H., describes Washington city, 101;
  describes Mr. and Mrs. Adams, 103;
  describes Crawford, 157;
  describes Adams's ball in honor of Jackson, 162;
  on reasons for Adams's personal unpopularity, 203 n.

Milton, Adams's opinion of, 223.

Mississippi navigation, demand of English for, in treaty of Ghent, 80, 88;
  disputes over, between Clay and Adams, 88;
  finally omitted from treaty, 92, 94.

Missouri, admission of, 119.

Monroe, James, appoints Adams Secretary of State, 100;
  social life of, 102;
  character of his administration, 104, 133;
  enmity of Clay toward, 106;
  anxious for treaty with Spain, dreads Adams's obstinacy, 113;
  refuses to seize Florida, 118;
  his connection with "Monroe doctrine," 129, 131;
  anticipated by Adams, 131;
  not the originator of modern idea of non-interference, 136;
  alarmed at Jackson's conduct in Florida, 160.

Monroe doctrine, enlarged by modern interpretation, 129;
  outlined by Adams in reply to Russia, 131;
  stated by Monroe, 131;
  its principles followed out by Adams, 132-148.

Morgan, William, his alleged assassination by Masons, 208.

Neutrality Act, passed to prevent privateering against Spain, 108.

Neuville, Hyde de, social doings of, in Washington, 102, 103;
  aids Adams in Spanish treaty, 114;
  remark of Adams to, on Onis's policy, 117.

New England, policy of merchants of, in advocating submission to
    England, 47, 48;
  condemns embargo, 52;
  supports Adams for President in 1824, 169;
  applauds his anti-slavery course, 232.

New Jersey, disputed election in, prevents organization of House of
    Representatives, 290-292.

New Orleans, battle of, 96;
  celebrations over, 96, 97.

New York, supports Adams in 1824, 169;
  chooses electors by legislature, 173.

Niles's "Weekly Register," celebrates battle of New Orleans, 96, 97.

Non-importation, act for, passed, 40;
  opposed by Federalists, supported by Adams, 40, 49;
  its substitution for embargo urged by Adams, 56.

Nullification, opinion of Adams on, 235, 236.

Observatory, National, desire of Adams to found, 304.

Onis, Don, Spanish Minister, his character described by Adams, 111;
  complains to Adams of folly of home government, 111, 112;
  expostulations of De Neuville with, 114;
  forced to yield to Adams's terms, 114, 115;
  tries to evade explanation of royal land grants, 116, 117;
  angered at Jackson's doings, 161.

Orders in Council, 41, 42.

Oregon question, debated between Adams and Canning, 140-145.

Otis, Harrison Gray, accused by Adams of trying to injure him, 296.

Paine, Thomas, his "Rights of Man" attacked by Adams, 18.

Panama Congress, recommendation of Adams to send commissioners to, 189;
  question debated in Congress, 189, 190;
  reasons why South objected, 191.

Parsons, Theophilus, studies of J. Q. Adams in his law office, 17;
  accused by Adams of trying to injure him, 296.

Patton, John Mercer, urges Southern members to be cautious in matter of
    censuring Adams, 272.

Petitions, anti-slavery, presented in House by Adams, 243, 248, 249,
    252, 256-258, 260, 288;
  others presented, 267, 269;
  for dissolution of Union, 281, 288 (see "Gag" rule).

Pichegru, Charles, French General, conquers Netherlands, 20.

Pickering, Timothy, defeated by J. Q. Adams for Senator, 30;
  his relations with Adams in Senate, 32;
  votes against Adams's appointment as Minister to Russia, 69, 70;
  accused by Adams of trying to injure him, 296.

Pickering, John, Adams's view of his impeachment, 36.

Pinckney, Thomas, Minister to England, 22.

Pinckney, Henry Laurens, reports on powers of Congress with regard to
    slavery, 249;
  attacks Adams for presenting petition from slaves, 274.

Plumer, William, supports Adams in Senate, 68.

Porter, Peter B., appointed Secretary of War at desire of Cabinet, 205.

Portugal, proposed mission of Adams to, 23, 24;
  proposes an alliance with United States, 133, 134;
  agrees to suppress slave trade, 138.

Preston, William C., threatens to hang abolitionists, 258.

Privateers in Monroe's administration, 108.

Prussia, mission of Adams to, 24;
  treaty of commerce with, 24;
  rejects English plan for suppression of slave trade, 138.

"Publicola" papers, 18.

Puritan traits in Adams, 7, 30;
  in Adams's constituents, 247.

Quincy, John, great-grandfather of Adams, anecdote as to how Adams was
    named after him, 1, 2.

Quincy, Josiah, refusal of Adams to run against for Congress, 66.

Randolph, John, his enmity compared by Adams to that of Clay, 153;
  teller in election of 1824, 173;
  on "Blifil and Black George," 183;
  duel with Clay, 183;
  hatred of Adams for, 210, 211;
  his abuse of Adams, 211, 296.

Republican party, elects Jefferson, 25;
  fair-minded proposal of Adams concerning its representation on council
    in Massachusetts, 29;
  thought by Adams to be planning attack on judiciary, 36;
  favors France, 38;
  anticipates Federalists of Boston in condemning Chesapeake affair, 51;
  endeavors to win over Adams, 65, 68;
  wishes to send him to Congress, 66.

Rhett, Robert Barnwell, offers resolution that Williams be chairman,
    substitutes name of Adams, 293;
  conducts him to chair, 293.

Robertson, John, opposes resolutions of censure, but condemns Adams, 276.

Romanzoff, Count, his friendliness with Adams, 71;
  suggests Russian mediation in war of 1812, 74.

Rose, G. H., his fruitless mission to America after Chesapeake affair, 45.

Rush, Dr. Benjamin, approaches Adams on subject of foreign mission, 68.

Rush, Richard, appointed Secretary of Treasury, 177;
  wishes appointment as minister to England, 205.

Russell, Jonathan, on peace commission, 76;
  criticises Adams's drafts of documents, 82;
  accused by Adams of trying to injure him, 296;
  attitude of Adams toward, 297.

Russia, mission of Dana to, 13;
  mission of Adams to, 70-74;
  life in, 71, 73, 74;
  its friendship for United States, 72;
  war with France, 74;
  offers to mediate between England and United States, 74;
  its offer declined, 75;
  dispute with, over Alaska, 130;
  statement of Adams to, on Monroe doctrine, 131;
  rejects English plan for suppression of slave trade, 138.

Sectionalism, in Louisiana purchase, 35;
  in connection with embargo, 52, 53;
  in connection with Missouri question, 122, 123;
  appears in parties during Adams's administration, 188, 189;
  growth of, during debate over Texas annexation, 243.

Senate of the United States, election of Adams to, 30;
  unpopularity of Adams in, 31-33;
  rejects all his proposals, 31, 32;
  debates acquisition of Louisiana, 35;
  impeaches Chase, 36;
  increased influence of Adams in, 36, 37;
  adopts Adams's resolutions demanding indemnity for British seizures, 39;
  his career in, reviewed by Adams, 66-68;
  refuses, then accepts, Adams's nomination as Minister to Russia, 69, 70;
  rejects Gallatin's nomination as peace commissioner, 75.

Seward, W. H., on John Adams's recall of J. Q. Adams before end of
  term, 25;
  on Adams's dissatisfaction with election of 1824, 174.

Shakespeare, Adams's opinion of, 222.

Slaveholders in Congress, their hatred of Adams, 229, 246;
  attacked by Adams, 258, 259;
  outwitted by Adams, 261, 273;
  condemn Adams for arguing possibility of abolition under war power,
    262, 264;
  enraged at Adams's having a petition from slaves, 269, 270;
  move to censure him, 271;
  discomfited by discovery of nature of petition, 273;
  renew attempt to censure, 274, 275;
  abandon it, 276, 279;
  bitterly attacked by Adams in his defense, 277-279;
  try to censure Adams for presenting disunion petition, 281-283;
  defied by Adams, 283-285;
  threaten Adams with assassination, 286, 287;
  abandon attempt, 287, 288;
  refuse to serve on committee with Adams, 289;
  respect his courage, 290;
  applaud his energy in carrying out organization of House, 293, 294.

Slavery, strengthened by Louisiana purchase, 35;
  made a political issue by Missouri question, 119;
  opinions of Adams concerning, 119-121;
  extension of, opposed by Adams, 121;
  formation of a party devoted to, 188-192;
  attack upon, hastened by Texas question, 243;
  Adams's part in war against, 244-248;
  right of Congress to abolish, under war power, 250, 261-265.

Slaves, English seizures of, during war of 1812, negotiations
    concerning, 99.

Slave trade, refusal of Adams to submit United States to mixed tribunals
    for its repression, 135-137;
  English proposal for combined effort, 137, 138.

Smith, William, accuses Adams of monomania, 280.

Smithsonian bequest, connection of Adams with, 303.

South, the, Calhoun its leader in 1824, 149;
  does not support Adams for President, 169, 188;
  begins to form a new slavery party in Adams's administration, 188, 189;
  opposes Panama Congress because of Hayti's share in it, 191.

Southard, Samuel L., reappointed Secretary of Navy, 177.

South Carolina, refusal of Adams to placate, in 1828, 201;
  protests against tariff, 233;
  its punishment for nullification desired by Adams, 234-237;
  Jackson's vacillation toward, condemned by Adams, 234-236;
  gains its point from Clay, 236.

Spain, danger of war with, in Monroe's administration, 108;
  question of revolted colonies, 108, 109;
  disputes over Louisiana boundary and Florida, 109, 110;
  sends Onis to negotiate, 111;
  its policy hampers Onis, 111, 112;
  negotiations, 113-116;
  repudiates Onis's treaty, 117;
  accepts original treaty, 124;
  agrees to suppress slave trade, 138;
  angered at Jackson's excesses in Florida, 161.

Spanish-American republics, wish aid from United States, 108;
  frowned down by European countries, 108;
  sympathy for, in United States, 108, 109;
  recognition urged by Clay, 109, 152;
  recognized gradually, 132;
  danger of attempt to reconquer by Holy Alliance, 132, 133;
  protected by Monroe doctrine, 131-134.

Sterret, ----, his removal urged by Clay for planning an insult to
    Adams, 179;
  not removed by Adams, 180.

Tariff, Adams's views upon, 234;
  compromise tariff of 1833, considered by Adams a surrender, 235.

Tennessee, renominates Jackson for President, 181;
  repeats bargain story, 183.

Texas, proposal to annex, arouses Northern opposition to slavery, 243;
  indignation of Adams at, 265, 266;
  held by Adams to be unconstitutional, 266.

Thaxter, ----, teacher of Adams, 3.

Thompson, Waddy, sarcastic remark of, 259;
  neglects to present petition for Adams's expulsion, 268;
  introduces resolution of censure upon Adams, 271;
  threatens Adams with criminal proceedings, 271;
  presents new resolutions, 274;
  scored by Adams, 277.

Tompkins, Daniel D., candidate for President in 1824, 149.

Times, London, condemns treaty of Ghent, 97.

Tracy, Uriah, supports Adams in Senate, 68.

Treaty of Ghent, meeting of commissioners, 76;
  irritation during negotiations, 77;
  preliminary conflict as to place of meeting, 77, 78;
  large demands of England for cession of territory and other
    advantages, 78, 79;
  discussion over proposed belt of neutral Indian territory, 79;
  and of demand for Mississippi navigation, 80;
  complaints by Americans of manners of English, 80-82;
  bickerings among Americans, 81-84;
  difficulties in drafting documents, 82, 83;
  social intercourse between commissioners, 85, 92;
  expected failure of negotiations, 86;
  _status ante bellum_ proposed by Adams, 87;
  sanctioned by United States, 87;
  dissensions among commissioners over Mississippi navigation and
    fisheries, 88-90;
  over Moose Island, 91;
  English offer to omit fisheries and Mississippi, 92;
  abandonment of impressment article by Americans, 92;
  peculiarities of negotiation, 93;
  alteration of English policy, 93;
  terms of treaty, 94;
  a success for Americans, 95, 96;
  rejoicings over, in America, 96;
  condemned in England, 97.

Trimble, Cary A., of Ohio, opposes Spanish treaty, 124.

Tuyl, Baron, discussion of Adams with, concerning Alaska, 131.

Van Buren, Martin, becomes manager of Jackson's followers, 192;
  compared by Adams to Burr, 193.

Vanderpoel, Aaron, tries to prevent Adams from replying to resolutions
    of censure by previous question, 270.

Virginia, refusal of Adams to placate, in election of 1828, 201.

Vivês, General, supplants Onis, 123;
  Adams's stubborn attitude toward, 123, 124;
  forced to yield, 124.

Von Holst, H. C., calls Adams last of the statesmen to be President, 213.

War of 1812, a defeat for United States, 76, 86.

War power of Congress, held by Adams to justify emancipation of
    slaves, 261-265.

Washington, George, appoints Adams Minister to Holland, 19;
  urges him to remain in diplomacy, 21;
  transfers him to Portugal, 23;
  urges John Adams not to hesitate to promote him, 23, 24.

Washington city, absence of church in, 30;
  described in 1815, 101, 102;
  society in, 102, 103.

Webster, Daniel, describes intriguing in presidential election of 1824,
  teller in election of 1824, 173;
  supports Adams in matter of Panama Congress, 190;
  desires appointment as Minister to England, 205;
  Adams said to have bargained for his support, 209;
  accused by Adams of plotting to injure him, 296.

Webster, Ezekiel, ascribes Adams's defeat to unpopularity of his manners,

Weights and measures, report of Adams upon, 126, 127;
  its character and ability, 126, 127.

Wellesley, Marquis of, on superiority of American diplomacy in treaty of
    Ghent, 96, 98.

Whig party, begins in defense of Adams's administration, 193;
  lacks personal interest in him, 199;
  chilled by Adams's manner, 202-204;
  Adams a member of, 232, 233.

Williams, Joseph L., of Tennessee, opposes Spanish treaty, 124.

Williams, Lewis, proposes Adams for chairman of House, 293.

Wise, Henry A., objects to reception of anti-slavery petitions, 258;
  attacks Adams for holding that Congress may interfere with slavery
    in the States, 263;
  again attacks him, 283;
  expresses his loathing, 284;
  taunted with murder by Adams, his bitter reply, 285;
  compliments Adams on organizing House, 294;
  later, when reprimanded for fighting, insults Adams, 294;
  castigated by Adams for dueling and Southern views, 297, 300.

Wirt, William, reappointed Attorney-General, 177.

The Riverside Press


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can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.