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´╗┐Title: Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams - Sixth President of the Unied States
Author: Seward, William Henry, 1801-1872
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Life and Public Services of John Quincy Adams - Sixth President of the Unied States" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.




[Transcriber's Notes:]
This text is an accurate reproduction of the original book with the
following exceptions. Obvious misspellings and typos have been corrected
but contemporary usage is unchanged, e.g. "centre". Sentences spanning
pages have been joined to facilitate searches and analysis.

I encourage you to forgive the verbose style that suggests authors were
paid by the word. The gems of character description and contemporary
viewpoints are worth the effort.

The book supports the observation "The news never changes, just the
names." I am  encouraged that the tone of politics is not much different
today than it was at Adams' time. Things are no worse. In spite of
continual bickering, a few persons with good will, careful planning, hard
work and a thick skin can achieve wonderful results.

The following glossary contains unfamiliar (to me) terms.

  Renounce under oath; forswear. Recant solemnly; repudiate. Give up.
  Abstain from.

  Eating and drinking in moderation. Sparingly used. Restricted to bare

  A place with dreadful associations.

  Strong criticism.

  Sanction officially; authorize.

  Arbitrating; arbitration. Judgment of an arbitrator or arbiter.

  Persistent application or diligence; unflagging effort. Constant
  personal attention.

  (Not) abounding with thyme; fragrant.

  Four-wheeled carriage with a collapsible top, two double seats inside
  opposite each other, and a box seat outside in front for the driver.

  Sailing ship with three to five square-rigged  masts, except the after
  mast, which is fore-and-aft rigged. Small vessel propelled by oars or

  Blessing; a benediction.

  Pause in a line of verse dictated by sense or natural speech rhythm
  rather than by metrics. Pause in conversation.

  Wreath or garland for the head.

Circean (Circe)
  A Greek goddess who turned Odysseus's men temporarily into swine but
  later gave him directions for their journey home.

  Originating or existing during the same period; lasting through the same
  era. One of the same era or period; a contemporary.

  Deserved; adequate.

  Viewed with contempt; despised.

  Rudeness or contempt arising from arrogance. Insolent or arrogant
  remarks or acts.

  Train of attendants of a distinguished person; a retinue. Ceremonial
  procession. Funeral procession.

  Detention of a cargo conveyance during loading or unloading beyond the
  scheduled time of departure. Compensation paid for such detention.

  Appoint or authorize as a representative. Assign (authority or duties)
  to another; delegate.

  Ornamental melody or counterpoint sung or played above a theme. Highest
  part sung in part music. Discussion or discourse on a theme.

  Catch sight of (something difficult to discern). Discover by careful
  observation or scrutiny; detect:

  Intended to instruct. Morally instructive.

  Intended to delay. Tending to postpone or delay.

  Make uneasy or perplexed; disconcert. Thwart plans; frustrate.

  Formal discourse, often in writing.

  Dutch coin, worth about half a farthing. A thing of small value.

  Brilliant radiance.

  Mourning for that which is irrecoverably past.

  Payment for an office or employment; compensation.

  Warm, glowing praise. Formal expression of praise; a tribute.

  Weaken or destroy strength or vitality.

  Lasting for a brief time. Living or lasting only for a day, as some
  plants or insects.

  Church governed by a bishop.

  Term to characterize a person or thing or as a descriptive substitute
  for the name or title of a person. Abusive or contemptuous word or

  Deep, extensive learning.

  Shield-shaped emblem bearing a coat of arms. Plate inscribed with a
  ship's name.

  Make eternal. Protract for an indefinite period. Make perpetually
  famous; immortalize.

  Formal eulogy.

  Vanishing or likely to vanish like vapor.

  The act of cursing. A curse. Something cursed or loathed.

  Requiring much effort or immediate action. Pressing or urgent situation.

  Pull up by the roots. Destroy totally; exterminate. Remove by surgery.

  Happily; gladly.

  Garnish; embellishment.

  To congratulate.

green withes
  Cords or bowstrings used to bind Samson; Judges 16:8.

  Special dress or garb associated with an occasion or office.

  Large-scale sacrifice; sacrifice to the ancient Greek and Roman gods of
  100 oxen.

  Importunate request; an insistent or pressing demand.

  Cannot be annulled or made void.

  Incapable of being expressed; indescribable, unutterable, unspeakable,

  Lacking in cunning, guile, or worldliness; artless. Openly
  straightforward or frank; candid.

  Troublesomely urgent or persistent in requesting.

  Administrative official serving a French, Spanish, or Portuguese

  Radical or extreme leftist. Radical republican during the French

  Fitting recompense. Merited gift or wage.

  Process of measuring. Measurement of geometric quantities.

  Massive stone wall constructed in the sea as a breakwater to protect an
  anchorage or a harbor. Anchorage or harbor enclosed by a mole.

  Liberal in giving; generous. Showing great generosity.

  Hero celebrated as an elderly and wise counselor to the Greeks at Troy

  Funeral rites or ceremonies.

  Page size, from 5 by 8 inches to 6 by 9-1/2 inches, of a book composed
  of printer's sheets folded into eight leaves. A book composed of octavo

  Strong dislike, contempt, or aversion. State of disgrace resulting from
  hateful or detestable conduct.

  Formal public compliment. Elaborate praise.

  Unusual or excessive frugality; extreme economy or stinginess.

  Derived from the name of one's father or a paternal ancestor.

  Persistent determination.

  Diplomatic agent, such as an ambassador, fully authorized to represent
  his government.

  Church governed by elected elders.

  Complete and confirmed integrity; uprightness.

  Provincial governor of consular rank in the Roman Empire.


  One of the Roman Catholics in England who incurred legal and social
  penalties in the 16th century and afterward for refusing to attend
  services of the Church of England. Dissenter; a nonconformist.

Sabine (River)
  River flowing into the Gulf of Mexico just East of Houston, Texas.

  Discerning, sound in judgment, farsighted; wisdom.

  Region of central Europe in southwest Poland and northern Czech

  Position or office that requires little work but provides a salary.

  Despoiling or plundering. Seizure of neutral vessels at sea by a
  belligerent power in time of war.

  Nickel coin used in the Netherlands and worth 1/20 of a guilder (about
  0.4 Euros in 2006). Something of small value.

  Head of the Army.

thrall   (thraldom)
  Held in bondage; servitude; intellectually or morally enslaved.

  Small diacritic mark, such as an accent, vowel mark, or dot over an i.
  Tiniest bit; an iota.

  Offense; resentment. Something that affords shade or shade itself.
  Vague indication; hint.

  Anointing as part of a religious, ceremonial, or healing ritual.
  Ointment or oil. Something that serves to soothe; a balm.  Affected or
  exaggerated earnestness, especially in choice and use of language.

  Believes in the oneness of God as opposed to the Trinity. Historic
  Unitarians believed in the moral authority, but not the deity, of Jesus.
  Free thinkers and dissenters, evolving their beliefs by rationalism and

  Usurping, especially the wrongful seizure of royal sovereignty. Wrongful
  seizure or exercise of authority. Encroachment.

  Change or variation.

  Abusive censure. Sustained, harshly abusive language.

  Persons bound by vows to live a life of religious worship or service.
  Devout adherents of a cult or religion. Persons fervently devoted to a
  leader or ideal; faithful followers. Persons filled with enthusiasm, as
  for a pursuit or hobby; enthusiasts.

[End of Transcriber's notes]

[Illustration: Portrait of John Quincy Adams.]

Engraved from a Painting by A.B. Durand.

John Quincy Adams






Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1849, by
                DERBY, MILLER & COMPANY,
In the Clerk's Office for the Northern District of New York.






This Volume



The Publishers apologize for the delay in issuing this volume, which was
announced by them as in press, more than one year since, shortly after the
decease of its illustrious subject. Gov. Seward, in undertaking its
preparation, was well aware of the engrossing attention which his
professional duties required, but looked constantly for relaxation from
his multiplied business engagements, in the hope that he might be able to
complete the work commenced by him. It however became necessary for its
timely completion, to obtain the literary assistance of an able writer,
who has, under his auspices, completed the work. The Publishers
confidently believe, that it will in all respects, be received as a
faithful and impartial history of the Life of the "Old Man Eloquent," and
worthy a place in the library of every friend of liberty and humanity.
  AUBURN, April, 1849.


The claims of this volume are humble. For more than half a century JOHN
QUINCY ADAMS had occupied a prominent position before the American people,
and filled a large space in his country's history. His career was
protracted to extreme old age. He outlived political enmity and party
rancor. His purity of life--his elevated and patriotic principles of
action--his love of country, and devotion to its interests--his advocacy
of human freedom, and the rights of man--brought all to honor and love
him. Admiring legislators hung with rapture on the lips of "the Old Man
Eloquent," and millions eagerly perused the sentiments he uttered, as they
were scattered by the press in every town and hamlet of the Western
Continent. At his decease, there was a general desire expressed for a
history of his life and times. A work of this description was understood
to be in preparation by his family. It was not probable, however, that
this could appear under several years, and when published, would
undoubtedly be placed, by its size and cost, beyond the reach of the great
mass of readers. In view of these circumstances, there was an evident want
of a volume of more limited compass--a book which would come within the
means of the people generally,--and adapted not only for libraries, and
the higher classes of society, but would find its way into the midst of
those moving in the humbler walks of life. To supply this want, the
present work has been prepared. The endeavor has been made to compress
within a brief compass, the principal events of the life of Mr. Adams, and
the scenes in which he participated; and to portray the leading traits of
character which distinguished him from his contemporaries. It has been the
aim to present such an aspect of the history and principles of this
wonderful man, as shall do justice to his memory, and afford an example
which the youth of America may profitably imitate in seeking for a model
by which to shape their course through life. How far this end has been
attained, an intelligent and candid public must determine.



The Ancestry, Birth, and Childhood of John Quincy Adams.


John Quincy Adams studies Law--His Practice--Engages in Public Life
--Appointed Minister to the Hague.


Mr. Adams transferred to Berlin--His Marriage--Literary Pursuits--
Travels in Silesia--Negotiates Treaties with Sweden and Prussia--
Recalled to the United States.


Mr. Adams' Return to the United States--Elected to the Massachusetts
Senate--Appointed U. S. Senator--Supports Mr. Jefferson--Professor of
Rhetoric and Belles Lettres--Appointed Minister to Russia.


Mr. Adams' arrival at St. Petersburg--His Letters to his Son on the Bible--
His Religious Opinions--Russia offers Mediation between Great Britain
and the United States--Proceeds to Ghent to negotiate for Peace--
Visits Paris--Appointed Minister at St. James-Arrives in London.


Mr. Adams appointed Secretary of State--Arrives in the United States--
Public Dinners in New York and Boston--Takes up his Residence in
Washington--Defends Gen. Jackson in the Florida Invasion--Recognition of
South American Independence--Greek Revolution.


Mr. Adams' nomination to the Presidency--Spirited Presidential
Campaign--No choice by the People--Election goes to the House of
Representatives--Mr. Adams elected President--His Inauguration--Forms his


Charges of Corruption against Mr. Clay and Mr. Adams--Mr. Adams enters
upon his duties as President--Visit of La Fayette--Tour through the United
Slates--Mr. Adams delivers him a Farewell Address--Departs from the
United States.


John Adams and Thomas Jefferson--Their Correspondence--Their Death--Mr.
Webster's Eulogy--John Q. Adams visits Quincy--His Speech at the Public
School Dinner in Faneuil Hall.


Mr. Adams' Administration--Refuses to remove political opposers from
office--Urges the importance of Internal Improvements--Appoints
Commissioners to the Congress of Panama--His policy toward the Indian
Tribes--His Speech on breaking ground for the Chesapeake and Ohio
Canal--Bitter opposition to his Administration--Fails of re-election to
the Presidency--Retires from office.


Mr. Adams' multiplied attainments--Visited by Southern Gentlemen--His
Report on Weights and Measures--His Poetry--Erects a Monument to the
memory of his Parents--Elected Member of Congress--Letter to the Bible
Society--Delivers Eulogy on Death of ex-President Monroe.


Mr. Adams takes his seat in Congress--His Position and Habits as a Member--
His Independence of Party--His Eulogy on the Death of ex-President James
Madison--His advocacy of the Right of Petition, and Opposition to Slavery--
Insurrection in Texas--Mr. Adams makes known its ulterior object.


Mr. Adams presents Petitions for the Abolishment of Slavery--Opposition of
Southern Members--Exciting Scenes in the House of Representatives--Marks
of confidence in Mr. Adams.


Mr. Adams' firmness in discharge of duty--His exertions in behalf of the
Amistad Slaves--His connection with the Smithsonian Bequest--Tour
through Canada and New York--His reception at Buffalo--Visits Niagara
Falls--Attends worship with the Tuscarora Indians--His reception at
Rochester--at Auburn--at Albany--at Pittsfield--Visits Cincinnati--
Assists in laying the Corner Stone of an Observatory.


Mr. Adams' Last Appearance in Public at Boston--His Health--Lectures on his
Journey to Washington--Remote Cause of his Decease--Struck with
Paralysis--Leaves Quincy for Washington for the last time--His final
Sickness in the House of Representatives--His Death--The Funeral at
Washington--Removal of the Body to Quincy--Its Interment.





The Puritan Pilgrims of the May-Flower landed on Plymouth Rock, and
founded the Colony of Massachusetts, on the 21st day of December, 1620.

HENRY ADAMS, the founder of the Adams family in America, fled from
ecclesiastical oppression in England, and joined the Colony at a very
early period, but at what precise time is not recorded. He erected his
humble dwelling at a place within the present town of QUINCY, then known
as MOUNT WOLLASTON, and is believed to have been an inhabitant when the
first Christian Church was gathered there in 1630. On the organization of
the town of Braintree, which comprised the place of his residence, he was
elected Clerk of the Town. He died on the eighth day of October, 1646. His
memory is preserved by a plain granite monument, erected in the
burial-ground at Quincy, by JOHN ADAMS, President of the United States,
and bearing this inscription:--

                  In Memory
                 HENRY ADAMS,
Who took his flight from the Dragon Persecution in Devonshire, in
  England, and alighted with eight sons, near Mount Wollaston.
   One of the sons returned to England, and after taking time
     to explore the country, four removed to Medfield and
       the neighboring towns; two to Chelmsford. One
       only, Joseph, who lies here at his left hand,
        remained here, who was an original pro-
         prietor in the Township of Braintree,
           incorporated in the year 1639.

This stone, and several others, have been placed in this yard, by a
great-great-grandson, from a veneration of the piety, humility,
simplicity, prudence, patience, temperance; frugality, industry, and
perseverance of his ancestors, in hopes of recommending an imitation of
their virtues to their posterity.

Joseph Adams, the son of Henry Adams mentioned in the above inscription,
died on the sixth of December, 1694, aged sixty-eight years. Joseph, the
next in succession, died February 12th, 1736, at the age of eighty-four
years. His son John Adams, was a Deacon of the Church at Quincy, and died
May 25th, 1761, aged seventy years. This John Adams was the father of him
who was destined to give not only undying fame to his ancient family, but
a new and powerful impulse to the cause of Human Freedom throughout the

JOHN ADAMS, son of John Adams and Susannah Boylston Adams, was born at
Quincy on the nineteenth day of October (old style), 1735. He received the
honors of Harvard University in 1755, and then, in pursuance of a good old
New England custom, which made those who had enjoyed the benefits of a
public education, in turn impart those benefits to the public, he was
occupied for a time in teaching.

It ought to encourage all young men in straitened circumstances, desirous
of obtaining a profession and of rising to eminence, to know that John
Adams, who became so illustrious by talents and achievement as to lend
renown to the office of President of the United States, pursued the study
of the law under the inconveniences resulting from his occupation as an
instructor in a Grammar School.

John Adams was an eminent and successful lawyer, but it was not the design
of his existence that his talents should be wasted in the contentions of
the courts.

The British Parliament, as soon as the Colonies had attracted their
notice, commenced a system of legislation known as the Colonial System,
the object of which was to secure to the mother country a monopoly of
their trade, and to prevent their rising to a condition of strength and
independence. The effect of this system was to prevent all manufactures in
the Colonies, and all trade with foreign countries, and even with the
adjacent plantations.

The Colonies remonstrated in vain against this policy, but owing to
popular dissatisfaction, the regulations were not rigidly enforced. At
length an Order in Council was passed, which directed the officers of the
customs in Massachusetts Bay, to execute the acts of trade. A question
arose in the Supreme Court of that province in 1761, upon the
constitutional right of the British Parliament to bind the Colonies. The
trial produced great excitement. The cause was argued for the Crown by the
King's Attorney-General, and against the laws by James Otis.

It will be seen that the question thus involved was the very one that was
finally submitted to the arbitrament of arms in the American Revolution.
The speech of Otis on the occasion, was an effort of surpassing ability.
John Adams was a witness, and he recorded his opinion of it, and his
opinion of the magnitude of the question, thus:

"Otis was a flame of fire! With a promptitude of classical allusion, a
depth of research, a rapid summary of historical events and dates, a
profusion of legal authorities, a prophetic glance of his eyes into
futurity, a rapid torrent of impetuous eloquence, he hurried away all
before him. AMERICAN INDEPENDENCE was then and there born. Every man of an
unusually crowded audience, appeared to me to go away ready to take up
arms against Writs of Assistance."

Speaking on the same subject, on another occasion, John Adams said that
"James Otis there and there breathed into this nation the breath of life."

From that day John Adams was an enthusiast for the independence of his

In 1764 he married Abigail, daughter of the Reverend William Smith, of
Weymouth. The mother of John Quincy Adams was a woman of great beauty and
high intellectual endowments, and she combined, with the proper
accomplishments of her sex, a sweetness of disposition, and a generous
sympathy with the patriotic devotion of her illustrious husband.

In 1765, the British Parliament, in contempt of the discontent of the
Colonies, presumptuously passed the Stamp Act; a law which directed taxed
stamped paper to be used in all legal instruments in the Colonies. The
validity of the law was denied; and while Patrick Henry was denouncing it
in Virginia, James Otis and John Adams argued against it before the
Governor and Council of Massachusetts.

The occasion called forth from John Adams a "Dissertation on the Canon and
Feudal Laws,"--a work, which although it was of a general character in
regard to government, yet manifested democratic sentiments unusual in
those times, and indicated that republican institutions were the proper
institutions for the American People.

The resistance to the stamp act throughout the Colonies procured its
repeal in 1766. But the British Government accompanied the repeal with an
ungracious declaratory act, by which they asserted "that the Parliament
had, and of right ought to have, power to bind the Colonies, in all cases
whatsoever." In the next year a law was passed, which imposed duties in
the Colonies, on glass, paper, paints, and tea. The spirit of
insubordination manifested itself throughout the Colonies, and, inasmuch
as it radiated from Boston, British ships of war were stationed in its
harbor, and two regiments of British troops were thrown in the town, to
compel obedience. John Adams had now become known as the most intrepid,
zealous, and indefatigable opposer of British usurpation. The Crown tried
upon him in vain the royal arts so successful on the other side of the
Atlantic. The Governor and Council offered him the place of Advocate
General in the Court of Admiralty, an office of great value; he declined
it, "decidedly, peremptorily, but respectfully."

At this interesting crisis, JOHN QUINCY ADAMS was born, at Quincy, on the
11th of July, 1767. A lesson, full of instruction concerning the mingled
influences of piety and patriotism in New England, at that time, is
furnished to us by the education of the younger Adams. Nor can we fail to
notice that each of those virtues retained its relative power over him,
throughout his long and eventful life. He was brought into the church and
baptized on the day after that on which he was born.

John Quincy Adams, in one of his letters, thus mentions the circumstances
of his baptism:

"The house at Mount Wollaston has a peculiar interest to me, as the
dwelling of my great-grandfather, whose name I bear. 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 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."

It cannot be doubted that the character of the person from whom, in such
affecting circumstances, he derived an honorable patronymic, was an object
of emulation. John Quincy was a gentleman of wealth, education, and
influence. He was for a long time Speaker of the House of Representatives
in Massachusetts, and during many years one of His Majesty's Provincial
Council. He was a faithful representative, and throughout his public
services, a vigorous defender of the rights and liberties of the Colony.
Exemplary in private life, and earnest in piety, he enjoyed the public
confidence, through a civil career of forty years' duration.

The American Revolution was rapidly hurrying on during the infancy of John
Quincy Adams. In 1769, the citizens of Boston held a meeting in which they
instructed their representatives in the Provincial Legislature to resist
the usurpations of the British Government. John Adams was chairman of the
committee that prepared these instructions, and his associates were
Richard Dana and Joseph Warren, the same distinguished patriot who gave up
his life as one of the earliest sacrifices to freedom, in the battle of
Bunker Hill.

Those instructions were expressed in the bold and decided tone of John
Adams, and they increased the public excitement in the province, by the
earnestness with which they insisted on the removal of the British troops
from Boston.

The popular irritation increased, until on the 5th of March, 1770, a
collision occurred between the troops and some of the inhabitants of
Boston, in which five citizens were killed, and many wounded. This was
called the Bloody Massacre. The exasperated inhabitants were with
difficulty restrained from retaliating this severity by an extermination
of all the British troops. A public meeting was held, and a committee, of
which SAMUEL ADAMS was chairman, was appointed to address the Governor
(Gage), and demand that the troops should be withdrawn. John Adams
described the excitement, on a later occasion, in these words:

"Not only the immense assemblies of the people from day to day, but
military arrangements from night to night, were necessary to keep the
people and the soldiers from getting together by the ears. The life of a
red-coat would not have been safe in any street or corner of the town. Nor
would the lives of the inhabitants have been much more secure. The whole
militia of the city was in requisition, and military watches and guards
were everywhere placed. We were all upon a level. No man was exempted: our
military officers were our only superiors. I had the honor to be summoned
in my turn, and attended at the State House with my musket and bayonet, my
broadsword and cartridge-box, under the command of the famous Paddock."

The Governor withdrew the troops and sent them to the castle: the
commanding officer and some of the soldiers were arrested, and brought to
trial for murder.

John Adams, the advocate and leader of the exasperated people, was
solicited by the Government to act as counsel for the accused. The people,
in the heat of passion, would naturally identify the lawyer with his
clients, and both with the odious cause in which they served. John Adams
did not hesitate. His principle was fidelity to duty in all the relations
of life. Adams, together with Josiah Quincy, defended the accused with
ability and firmness, and the result crowned not only the advocates, but
the jury and the people of Boston with honor. Distinguishing between the
Government, upon whom the responsibility rested, and the troops who were
its agents, the jury acquitted the accused. The people sustained the
verdict; affording to Great Britain and to the world a noble proof, that
they had been well prepared by education for the trust of self-government.

The controversy between the Province of Massachusetts and the British
Government continued, and the exasperation of the Colonies became more
intense, until the destruction of the imported tea in the harbor, in
December, 1773, incensed the Ministry so highly, that they procured an act
closing the port of Boston. This act was followed by the convention of the
first American Congress at Philadelphia, on the 5th of September, 1774. As
John Adams had been the master spirit in the agitation in Massachusetts,
he was appointed one of the Delegates to the General Congress. After his
election, his friend Sewall, the King's Attorney General, labored
earnestly to dissuade him from accepting the appointment.

The Attorney General told the delegate that Great Britain was determined
on her system, that her power was irresistible, and that he, and those
with him who should persist in their designs of resistance, would be
involved in ruin.

John Adams replied, "I know Great Britain has determined on her system,
and that very determination determines me on mine. You know I have been
constant and uniform in opposition to her measures. The die is now cast. I
have passed the Rubicon. Sink or swim, live or die, survive or perish
with my country is my unalterable determination."

It was these energetic and resolute expressions which Daniel Webster
wrought into so magnificent an imaginary speech, in his glowing Eulogy on
John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

John Adams continued in Congress throughout the sessions of 1775 and 1776,
and on all occasions was an intrepid and earnest advocate for
Independence. On his motion, George Washington was appointed Commander in
Chief of the Army.

John Adams was the mover of Independence in the Congress. On the 6th of
May, 1776, he brought the subject before that body, by a resolution
expressed as follows:--

"Whereas it appears perfectly irreconcilable to reason and good
conscience, for the people of these Colonies now to take the oaths and
affirmations necessary for the support of any government under the crown
of Great Britain, and it is necessary that the exercise of every kind of
authority under the said crown should be totally suppressed, and all the
powers of government exerted under the authority of the people of the
Colonies for the preservation of internal peace, virtue, and good order,
as well as for the defence of their lives, liberties, and properties,
against the hostile invasion, and cruel depredations of their
enemies:--Therefore, it is recommended to the Colonies to adopt such a
government as will, in the opinion of the representatives of the people,
best conduce to the happiness and safety of their constituents, and of

This resolution was adopted, and was followed by the appointment of a
committee, on the motion of Richard Henry Lee, seconded by John Adams, to
prepare a Declaration. This committee consisted of Thomas Jefferson, John
Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Roger Sherman, and Robert R. Livingston.
Jefferson and Adams were a sub-committee, and the former prepared the
Declaration, at the urgent request of the latter.

Jefferson bore this testimony to the ability and power of John
Adams.--"The great pillar of support to the Declaration of Independence,
and its ablest advocate and champion on the floor of the House, was John

On the day after the Declaration of Independence was adopted, he wrote the
memorable letter in which he said with prophetic unction,--"Yesterday the
greatest question was decided that ever was debated in America; and
greater, perhaps, never was or will be decided among men. A resolution was
passed without one dissenting Colony, 'That the United States are, and of
right ought to be, free and independent States.' The day is passed. The
fourth day of July, 1776, will be a memorable epoch in the history of
America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding
generations as a great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated
as the day of deliverance, by solemn acts of devotion to Almighty God. It
ought to be solemnized with pomps, shows, games, sports, guns, bells,
bonfires, and illuminations, from one end of the continent to the other,
from this time forward, forever. You may think me transported with
enthusiasm, but I am not. I am well aware of the toil, and blood, and
treasure, that it will cost to maintain this Declaration, and support and
defend these States: yet through all the gloom, I can see that the end is
worth all the means; and that posterity will triumph, although you and I
may rue, which I hope we shall not."

From this time, until November 1777, John Adams was incessantly employed
in public duties in Congress, during the session of that body; and during
its recess, as a member of the State Council in Massachusetts. During this
period, John Quincy was instructed at home, by her who, in long after
years, he was accustomed to call his almost adored mother, who was aided
by a law-student in the office of his father. EDWARD EVERETT, in his
Eulogy upon John Quincy Adams, made the very striking and just remark,
that there seemed to be in his life no such stage as that of boyhood.
While yet but nine years old, he wrote to his father the following letter:

                                                Braintree, June 2nd, 1777.
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 bird's eggs, play and trifles, till I get
vexed with myself. Mamma has a troublesome task to keep me a studying. I
own I am ashamed of myself. I have but just entered the third volume of
Rollin's History, but designed to have got half through it by this time.
I am determined this week to be more diligent. Mr. Thaxter is absent at
Court. I have set myself a stint this week, to read the third volume half
out. If I can but keep my resolution, I may again at the end of the week
give a better account of myself. I wish, sir, you would give me in
writing, some instructions with regard to the use of my time, and advise
me how to proportion my studies and play, and I will keep them by me, and
endeavor to follow them.

With the present determination of growing better, I am, dear sir, your son,
                                                       JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

P. S. Sir--If you will be so good as to favor me with a blank book, I will
transcribe the most remarkable passages I meet with in my reading, which
will serve to fix them upon my mind.

After making all just allowance for precocity of genius, we cannot but see
that the early maturity of the younger Adams proves the great advantage of
pure and intellectual associations in childhood.

The time soon arrived when John Quincy Adams was to enjoy advantages of
education such as were never afforded to any other American youth. Among
the earliest acts of the American Congress, was the appointment of
Benjamin Franklin, Silas Dean, and Arthur Lee, as Commissioners to France;
they were charged to solicit aid from France, and to negotiate a treaty,
by which the Independence of the United States should be acknowledged by
Louis Sixteenth, then at the height of his popularity. Silas Dean was
recalled in 1776, and John Adams was appointed to fill his place. He
embarked on this mission the 13th of February, 1778, in the frigate
Boston, commanded by Captain Tucker. John Adams had gone down to Quincy,
and the frigate called there to receive him on board. On the eve of
embarkation he wrote the following simple and touching letter to Mrs.

            "Uncle Quincy's,--half after 11 o'clock, 13 February, 1778.
"I had not been twenty minutes in this house, before I had the happiness
to see Captain Tucker and a midshipman coming for me. We will be soon on
board, and may God prosper our voyage in every stage of it as much as at
the beginning, and send to you, my dear children, and all my friends, the
choicest blessings!

"So wishes and prays yours, with an ardor that neither absence, nor any
other event can abate,
                                                          "JOHN ADAMS.
"P. S. Johnny sends his duty to his mamma, and his love to his sisters and
brothers. He behaves like a man."

"He behaves like a man!"--Words which gave presage of the future character
of John Quincy Adams. His education had now commenced: an education in the
principles of heroic action, by John Adams, the colossus of the American
Revolution. How devoted he was to this important charge, and with what
true philosophy he conducted it, may be seen by the following letter
written about that time by him, to Mrs. Adams:

"Human nature, with all its infirmities and depravation, is still capable
of great things. It is capable of attaining to degrees of wisdom and of
goodness which we have reason to believe appear respectable in the
estimation of superior intelligences. Education makes a greater
difference between man and man, than nature has made between man and
brute. The virtues and powers to which men may be trained, by early
education and constant discipline, are truly sublime and astonishing.

"Newton and Locke are examples of the deep sagacity which may be acquired
by long habits of thinking and study. Nay, your common mechanics and
artisans are proofs of the wonderful dexterity acquired by use; a
watchmaker, finishing his wheels and springs, a pin or needle-maker, &c. I
think there is a particular occupation in Europe, which is called paper
staining, or linen staining, A man who has long been habituated to it,
shall sit for a whole day, and draw upon paper various figures, to be
imprinted upon the paper for rooms, as fast as his eye can roll and his
fingers move, and no two of his draughts shall be alike. The Saracens, the
Knights of Malta, the army and navy in the service of the English
Republic, among many others, are instances to show to what an exalted
height, valor or bravery or courage may be raised, by artificial means.

"It should be your care therefore, and mine, to elevate the minds of our
children, and exalt their courage, to accelerate and animate their
industry and activity, to excite in them an habitual contempt of meanness,
abhorrence of injustice and inhumanity, and an ambition to excel in every
capacity, faculty, and virtue. If we suffer their minds to grovel and
creep in infancy, they will grovel and creep all their lives.

"But their bodies must be hardened, as well as their souls exalted.
Without strength, and activity and vigor of body, the brightest mental
excellencies will be eclipsed and obscured.
                                                        "JOHN ADAMS."

No one can read this extraordinary letter, and compare it with the actual
character of John Quincy Adams as ultimately developed, without regarding
that character as a fulfilment, in all respects, of the prayers and
purposes of his illustrious parent.

The voyage of the American Minister was made in a time of great peril. The
naval supremacy of Great Britain was already established. Her armed ships
traversed the ocean in all directions. Captain Tucker saw a large English
ship showing a row of guns, and with the consent of the Minister, engaged
her. When hailed, she answered with a broadside. John Adams had been
requested to retire to the cockpit, but when the engagement had begun, he
was found among the marines, with a musket in his hands.

The desired treaty with France had been consummated by Dr. Franklin,
before the arrival of John Adams. After that event, Congress decided to
have but one minister in that country, and Dr. Franklin having deservedly
received the appointment, John Adams asked and obtained leave to return
home, after an absence of a year and a half. During that period the
younger Adams attended a public school in Paris, while his leisure hours
were filled with the instructions casually derived from the conversation
of John Adams, and Dr. Franklin, and other eminent intellectual persons,
by whom his father was surrounded. The improvement of the son during his
sojourn abroad is thus mentioned by John Adams, just before his
embarkation on his return to America.

"My son has had a great opportunity to see this country, but this has
unavoidably retarded his education in some other things. He has enjoyed
perfect health from first to last, and is respected wherever he goes, for
his vigor and vivacity both of mind and body; for his constant good humor,
and for his rapid progress in French, as well as in general knowledge,
which, for his age, is uncommon."

John Adams now regarded his public life as closed. He wrote to Mrs. Adams:

"The Congress, I presume, expect that I should come home, and I shall come
accordingly. As they have no business for me in Europe, I must contrive to
get some for myself at home. Prepare yourself for removing to Boston, into
the old house, for there you shall go, and I will draw writs and deeds,
and harangue juries, and be happy."

This calculation was signally erroneous, as all calculations upon personal
ease and peace by great and good men always are. He remained at home only
three months, and during that time he had other and higher occupations
than drawing writs and deeds. He was elected Delegate to the Convention
charged with the responsible and novel duty of forming a written
constitution for Massachusetts. In that body he labored with untiring
assiduity, as in Congress; the constitution thus produced was in a great
measure prepared by himself, and it is due to his memory to record the
fact, that it was among the most democratic of all the constitutions which
were adopted by the new States. The younger Adams having returned to
America with his father, had thus the advantage of seeing republican
theories brought into successful, practical application.

About this time Congress resolved on sending a Minister Plenipotentiary to
Great Britain, to negotiate, if possible, a treaty of peace. John Adams
and John Jay received each an equal number of votes. The result was the
appointment of M. Jay as Minster to Spain, and of John Adams as Minister
to the Court of St. James. He was instructed to insist on the independence
of the United States.

The younger Adams again attended the Diplomatist. They embarked in the
French frigate La Sensible, on the 17th of November, 1779.

The frigate sprang a leak, and was obliged to put into the port nearest at
hand, which proved to be Ferrol in Spain. They disembarked on the 11th of
December, and traversed the intervening distance to Paris over land, a
journey of a thousand miles. This journey was performed through the
mountains on mules. Spain, as well as France, was then in alliance with
America, and the minister was everywhere received with respect and
kindness. The French officers at Ferrol wore cockades in honor of the
Triple Alliance, combining a white ribbon for the French, a red one for
the Spanish, and a black one for the Americans.

The United Powers proposed demands which were ominous of disappointment to
the Minister.--On the 12th of December he wrote:--"It is said that England
is as reluctant to acknowledge the independence of America, as to cede
Gibraltar, the last of which is insisted upon, as well as the first."

The travellers reached Paris about the middle of February, 1780. John
Adams mentioned a singular coincidence in his letter announcing their
arrival. "I have the honor to be lodged here with no less a personage than
the Prince of Hesse-Cassel, who is here upon a visit. We occupy different
apartments in the same house, and have no intercourse with each other, to
be sure; but some wags are of opinion, that if I were authorised to open
a negotiation with him, I might obtain from him as many troops to fight on
our side of the question, as he has already hired to the English against

The American Revolution has wrought wonderful changes since that day. No
German Prince could now send a man, or a musket, to war against its

John Adams soon discovered that there was no prospect of success for his
mission to England. He remained at Paris until August, 1780, and during
the interval his son was kept at an academy in that city.

At the expiration of that period the Minister repaired to Holland, and
there received instructions to negotiate a loan, and then a treaty of
amity and commerce with the states of that country. The younger Adams
while in Holland was placed at school, first at Amsterdam, and afterwards
in the University of Leyden.

A letter of the father, dated at Amsterdam, 18th December, 1780, gives us
a glimpse of the system of instruction approved by him, and a pleasant
view of the principles which he deemed it important to be inculcated.

"I have this morning sent Mr. Thaxter with my two sons to Leyden, there
to take up their residence for some time, and there to pursue their
studies of Latin and Greek under the excellent masters, and there to
attend lectures of the celebrated professors in that University. It is
much cheaper there than here. The air is infinitely purer, and the company
and conversation are better. It is perhaps as learned a University as any
in Europe.

"I should not wish to have children educated in the common schools of this
country, where a littleness of soul is notorious. The masters are mean
spirited wretches, pinching, kicking, and boxing the children upon every
turn. There is, besides, a general littleness, arising from the incessant
contemplation of stivers and doits, which pervades the whole people.

"Frugality and industry are virtues everywhere, but avarice and stinginess
are not frugality. The Dutch say, that without a habit of thinking of
every doit before you spend it, no man can be a good merchant, or conduct
trade with success.

"This, I believe, is a just maxim in general; but I would never wish to
see a son of mine govern himself by it. It is the sure and certain way for
an industrious man to be rich. It is the only possible way for a merchant
to become the first merchant, or the richest man in the place. But this is
an object that I hope none of my children will ever aim at. It is indeed
true everywhere, that those who attend to small expenses are always rich.

"I would have my children attend to doits and farthings as devoutly as
the merest Dutchman upon earth, if such attention was necessary to support
their independence. A man who discovers a disposition and a design to be
independent, seldom succeeds. A jealousy arises against him. The tyrants
are alarmed on the one side, lest he should oppose them: the slaves are
alarmed on the other, lest he should expose their servility. The cry from
all quarters is, 'He is the proudest man in the world: He cannot bear to
be under obligation.'

"I never in my life observed anyone endeavoring to lay me under particular
obligation to him, but I suspected he had a design to make me his
dependent, and to have claims upon my gratitude. This I should have no
objection to, because gratitude is always in one's power. But the danger
is, that men will expect and require more of us than honor, and innocence,
and rectitude will permit us to perform.

"In our country, however, any man, with common industry and prudence, may
be independent."

One cannot turn over a page of the domestic history of John Adams, without
finding a precept or example, the influence of which is manifested in the
character of his illustrious son. Thus he writes to Mrs. Adams, touching
certain calumnies which had been propagated against him:--


"Do n't distress yourself about any malicious attempts to injure me in
the estimation of my countrymen. Let them take their course, and go the
length of their tether. They will never hurt your husband, whose character
is fortified with a shield of innocence and honor, ten thousand-fold
stronger than brass or iron. The contemptible essays, made by you know
whom, will only tend to their own confusion. My letters have shown them
their own ignorance, a sight they could not bear. Say as little about it
as I do. I laugh, and will laugh before all posterity, at their impotent
rage and envy."

In July, 1781, Francis Dana, who had attended John Adams as Secretary of
Legation, was appointed Minister to Russia. John Quincy Adams, then
fourteen years old, was appointed Private Secretary of this mission. He
remained at that post fourteen months, performing its duties with entire
satisfaction to the minister. The singular ripeness of the youthful
secretary was shown in his travelling alone, on his return from St.
Petersburgh, by a journey leisurely made, and filled with observations of
Sweden, Denmark, Hamburgh, and Bremen. On arriving in Holland, he resumed
his studies at the Hague.

John Adams, having completed his mission in Holland, was soon charged,
together with Dr. Franklin and Thomas Jefferson, with the duty of
negotiating a definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain. The treaty
was executed at Paris on the 30th of November, 1783, and was ratified
January 14th, 1784. The younger Adams enjoyed the satisfaction of being
present at the conclusion of the treaty; and while it was under process of
negotiation, he was constantly favored with opportunities of listening to
the instructive conversation of Franklin and Jefferson.

The negotiation of the treaty was dilatory in the extreme. It was
embarrassed with French intrigues, great carelessness at home, and greater
reluctance on the part of England. The wearied Minister wrote to Mrs.
Adams on the 30th of May, 1783: "Our son is at the Hague, pursuing his
studies with great ardor. They give him a good character wherever he has
been, and I hope he will make a good man." On the 9th of June he wrote in
these homely, but manly words:  "I am weary, worn, and disgusted to death.
I had rather chop wood, dig ditches, and make fence upon my poor little
farm. Alas, poor farm! and poorer family! what have you lost that your
country might be free! and that others might catch fish and hunt deer and
bears at their ease!

"There will be as few of the tears of gratitude, or the smiles of
admiration, or the sighs of pity for us, as for the army. But all this
should not hinder me from going over the same scenes again, upon the same
occasions--scenes which I would not encounter for all the wealth, pomp,
and power of the world. Boys! if you ever say one word, or utter one
complaint, I will disinherit you. Work! you rogues, and be free.  You will
never have so hard work to do as papa has had. Daughter! get you an honest
man for a husband, and keep him honest. No matter whether he is rich,
provided he be independent. Regard the honor and the moral character of
the man, more than all circumstances. Think of no other greatness but that
of the soul, no other riches but those of the heart."

After concluding the treaty of peace, John Adams, together with Franklin
and Jay, was charged with the duty of negotiating a treaty of commerce
with Great Britain, and John Adams, taking his son John Quincy with him,
proceeded to London, and took up his residence at the British Court. Mrs.
Adams embarked in June, 1781, to join her husband.

John Adams was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to the same Court in
1785, and thus he, who ten years before, when a subject, in the province
of Massachusetts, had said, "I know that Great Britain has determined upon
her system, and that very determination determines me on mine,"--was the
first Representative of his independent country admitted to an audience by
the discomfited majesty of the Imperial States. The occasion was adapted
to excite profound emotions, though of different kinds, in each party.
John Adams addressed the King thus:--

"The United States of America have appointed me their Minister
Plenipotentiary to your Majesty, and have directed me to deliver to your
Majesty this letter, which contains the evidence of it.  It is in
obedience to their express commands, that I have the honor to assure your
Majesty of their unanimous disposition and desire to cultivate the most
liberal and friendly intercourse between your Majesty's subjects and their
citizens; and of their best wishes for your Majesty's health and
happiness, and for that of your royal family.

"The appointment of a Minister from the United States to your Majesty's
Court, will form an epoch in the history of England and of America. I
think myself more fortunate than all my fellow citizens, in having the
distinguished honor to be the first to stand in your Majesty's royal
presence, in a diplomatic character; and I shall esteem myself the
happiest of men, if  I can be instrumental in recommending my Country more
and more, to your Majesty's royal benevolence, and of restoring an entire
esteem, confidence and affection, or in better words, 'the old good
nature, and the old good harmony,' between people, who, though separated
by an ocean, and under different governments, have the same language, a
similar religion, and kindred blood. I beg your Majesty's permission to
add, that although I have sometimes before been intrusted by my country,
it was never, in my whole life, in a manner so agreeable to myself."

George III. replied with dignity, but not without some manifestations of

"The circumstances of this audience are so extraordinary, the language you
have now held is so extremely proper, and the feelings you have discovered
so justly adapted to the occasion, that I must say that I not only receive
with pleasure the assurances of the friendly disposition of the People of
the United States, but I am very glad the choice has fallen upon you to be
their Minister. I wish you, sir, to believe, and that it may be understood
in America, that I have done nothing in the late contest, but what I
thought myself indispensably bound to do, by the duty which I owed my
people. I will be frank with you--I was the last to conform to the
separation, but the separation having been made, and having become
inevitable, I have always said, as I say now, that I would be the first to
meet the friendship of the United States, as an independent power.

"The moment I see such sentiments and language as yours prevail, and a
disposition to give this country the preference, that moment I shall say,
let the circumstances of language, religion and blood have their natural
and full effect."

The kindly feelings expressed by the King, were, however, comparatively,
only the language of ceremony, for the British Ministry, and the British
people, did not regard the new republic with favor. But they could not
withhold the exhibition of reluctant respect.

It was at such a time as this, and in such circumstances, that John Quincy
Adams surveyed, from a new position, the colossal structure of British
power, and the workings of its combined systems of conservative
aristocracy, and progressive democracy. It was here that he imbibed new
veneration for Russell, Sidney, Hampden, and Milton, its republican
patriots; for Shakspeare, Dryden, and Pope, its immortal poets; and for
Addison and Johnson, its moralists; here he learned from Wilberforce the
principles of political philanthropy, as well as the patience and
perseverance to defend them, and studied eloquence by the living models of
Pitt, Fox, Erskine, Burke, and Sheridan.

This, indeed, was a fitting conclusion to a precocious education by the
patriots and philosophers of his own country, with practical observations
in the courts of Spain and the Netherlands, of the weak but amiable Louis
XVI., and the accomplished, but depraved, Catharine II.

John Quincy Adams now became fearful that the duties of manhood would
devolve upon him without his having completed the necessary academic
studies. He therefore obtained leave to return home in 1785, at the age of
eighteen years, and entered Cambridge University, at an advanced standing,
in 1786. He graduated in 1788 with deserved honors.



After leaving the University, young Adams entered the office of
Theophilus Parsons, who was then in the practice of law at Newburyport,
and who afterwards for so many years filled with dignity and ability the
office of Chief Justice of Massachusetts.

Adams completed the usual term of professional study, and then commenced
the practice of the law in Boston. It may encourage some who are oppressed
by the difficulties attending initiation in the profession, to know, that
during the first and only four years of John Quincy Adams' practice, he
had occasion for despondency.

"I had long and lingering anxieties, (he afterwards said,) in looking
forward, doubtful even of my prospects of comfortable subsistence, but
acquiring more and more the means of it, till in the last of the four
years, the business of my profession yielded me an income more than equal
to my expenditures."

But the country and the age had claims on John Quincy Adams, as well as on
his father, for higher duties than "making writs," and "haranguing
juries," and "being happy."

The American Revolution, which had been brought to a successful close, had
inspired, throughout Europe, a desire to renovate the institutions of
government. The officers and citizens of France who had mingled in the
contest, had carried home the seeds of freedom, and had scattered them
abroad upon soil quick to receive them. The flame of Liberty, kindled on
the shores of the Western Continent, was reflected back upon the Old
World. France beheld its beams, and hailed them as a beacon-light, which
should lead the nations out from the bondage of ages. Inspirited by the
success attending the struggle in the British colonies, the French people,
long crushed beneath a grinding despotism, resolved to burst their
shackles and strike for Freedom. It was a noble resolution, but
consummated, alas amid devastation and the wildest anarchy. The French
Revolution filled the world with horror. It was the work of a blind giant,
urged to fury by the remembrance of wrongs endured for generations. The
Altar of Liberty was reared amid seas of blood, and stained with the gore
of innocent victims.

The measurable failure of this struggle in France, teaches the necessity
of due preparation before a people can advance to the permanent possession
and enjoyment of their rights. The American colonists had been trained to
rational conceptions of freedom, by lessons of wisdom and sagacity read
them by their Puritan fathers, and by the experience in self-government,
afforded during a century and a half of enjoyment of a large share of
political privileges, granted by the mother country. They were thus
prepared to lay deep and strong the foundations of an enlightened
government, which, equally removed from the extremes of despotism on the
one hand, and anarchy on the other, and granting its subjects the exercise
of their right to "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," shall
endure through ages to come. But the people of France, shut up in darkness
during centuries of misrule, passed at a step from abject servitude to
unlimited freedom. They were unprepared for this violent transition. Their
conceptions of liberty were of the most extravagant description. What
wonder that they became dizzy at their sudden elevation! What wonder that
blood flowed in rivers!--that dissension and faction rent them asunder--
that a fearful anarchy soon reigned triumphant--or that the confused and
troubled drama closed in the iron rule of a military conqueror--the Man of
Destiny! Let not this lesson be lost upon the world. Let a people who
would enjoy freedom, learn to merit the boon by the study of its
principles and a preparation to exercise its privileges, under those
salutary restraints which man can never throw off and be happy!

The odium excited throughout Europe by the excesses of the French
Revolution, was heaped without measure upon the American people. They were
charged with the origin of the misrule which convulsed France, and filled
the eastern hemisphere with alarm: and were tauntingly pointed to the
crude theories promulgated by French democracy, and the failure of their
phrenzied efforts to establish an enlightened and permanent Republic, as
conclusive evidence that self-government, among any people, was a mere
Utopian dream, which could never be realized.

The establishment of a republican government in America, had not been
relished by the monarchies of Europe. They looked upon it with distrust,
as a precedent dangerous to them in the highest degree. The succor which
Louis XVI. had rendered the revolting colonists, was not from a love of
democratic institutions: it was his hope to cripple Great Britain, his
ancient enemy, and to find some opportunity, perhaps, to win back his
Canadian provinces, which had so recently been rent from his possession.
When the pent-up flames of revolution burst forth at the very doors of the
governments of the old world--when the French throne had been robbed of
its king, and that king of his life--when a Republic had been proclaimed
in their midst, and signal-notes of freedom were ringing in their
borders--they became seriously alarmed. The growing evil must be checked
immediately. Led on by England, the continental powers combined to
exterminate at a blow, if possible, every vestige of Republicanism in
France. Then commenced the long series of bloody wars, which, with little
intermission, convulsed Europe for nearly a quarter of a century, and
ceased only when the rock of St. Helena received its lonely exile.

In the meantime affairs at home had attained to a critical juncture. The
Constitution had been adopted. The new government had been set in
operation under the supervision of Washington, as the first President of
the Republic. The people, influenced by certain "elective affinities," had
become sundered into two great political parties--Conservative and
Progressive, or Federal and Democratic. Both were distrustful of the
Constitution. The former believed it too weak to consolidate a government
capable of protecting its subjects in the peaceful enjoyment of their
rights, from discord within, and attacks from without. The latter
apprehended that it might easily be transformed, by some ambitious
Napoleon, into an instrument of oppression, more fearful even than the
limited monarchy from which they had but recently escaped, at an expense
of so much blood and treasure. Each of these parties are entitled to the
credit of equal sincerity and honesty of purpose.

Washington, with a loftiness of purpose truly characteristic of a great
and good mind, refused to identify himself with either party. In forming
his first cabinet, moved with a desire to heal the dissensions which
distracted the country, he selected its members equally from the adverse
factions. Hamilton and Knox represented the Federal party, and Jefferson
and Randolph the opposite. During his entire administration, "the Father
of his country" steadily aimed to keep himself clear from all party
entanglements. He was emphatically the President of the whole people, and
not of a faction. His magnanimous spirit would not stoop to party
favoritism, nor allow him to exercise the power entrusted him, to promote
the interests of any political clique. In all his measures his great
object was to advance the welfare of the nation, without regard to their
influence on conflicting parties. In these things he left behind him a
pure and noble example, richly worthy the imitation of his successors in
that high station.

The Revolution in France, and the measures adopted by the Allied
Sovereigns to arrest its progress, excited the liveliest interest among
the people of the United States. But their sympathies ran in different
channels, and very naturally took the hue of their party predilections.
The Democrats, believing the French Revolution to be the up-springing of
the same principles which had triumphed here--a lawful attempt of an
oppressed people to secure the exercise of inalienable rights--although
shuddering at the excesses which had been perpetrated, still felt it to be
our own cause, and insisted that we were in honor and duty bound to render
all the assistance in our power, even to a resort to arms, if need be. The
Federalists, on the other hand, were alarmed at the anarchical tendencies
in France. They were fearful that law, order, government, and society
itself, would be utterly and speedily swept away, unless the revolutionary
movement was arrested. Cherishing these apprehensions, they were disposed
to favor the views of Great Britain and other European powers, and were
anxious that the government of the United States should adopt some active
measures to assist in checking what they could not but view as rapid
strides to political and social anarchy. However the two parties differed
as to the measures proper to be adopted in this crisis, they were united
in the conviction that our government should take some part as a
belligerant, in these European struggles; and exerted each its influence
to bring about such an interference as would be in accordance with their
conflicting views of duty and expediency.

There was residing, at this period, in Boston, a young and nearly
briefless lawyer, whose views on these important matters differed
materially from those entertained by both parties. It was John Quincy
Adams. While he could not countenance the attempts of the Allied Powers to
destroy the French Republic, and re-establish a monarchy, he was equally
far from favoring the turn which affairs were clearly taking in that
unhappy country. He evidently foresaw the French Revolution would prove a
failure; and that it was engendering an influence which, unchecked, would
be deeply injurious to American liberty and order. To counteract this
tendency, he published in the Boston Centinel, in 1791, a series of
articles, signed "Publicola," in which he discussed with great ability,
the wild vagaries engendered among political writers in France, and which
had been caught up by many in our own country. These articles attracted
much attention, both at home and abroad. They were re-published in
England, as an answer to several points in Paine's "Rights of Man." So
profound was the political sagacity they displayed, and so great the
familiarity with public affairs, that they were, by general consent,
attributed to the elder Adams. On this subject, John Adams writes his wife
as follows, from Philadelphia, on the 5th December, 1793:--

"The Viscount Noailles called on me. * * * * He seemed very critical in
his inquiries concerning the letters printed as mine in England. I told
him candidly that I did not write them, and as frankly, in confidence, who
did. He says they made a great impression upon the people of England; that
he heard Mr. Windham and Mr. Fox speak of them as the best thing that had
been written, and as one of the best pieces of reasoning and style they
had ever read."

The younger Adams, in surveying the condition of the country at this
critical period, became convinced it would be a fatal step for the new
government to take sides with either of the great parties in Europe, who
were engaged in the settlement of their difficulties by the arbitrement
of arms. However strongly our sympathies were elicited in behalf of the
French Republic--however we may have been bound in gratitude for the
assistance rendered us during our Revolutionary struggle, to co-operate
with France in her defence of popular institutions--still,
self-preservation is the first law of nature. Mr. Adams saw, that to throw
ourselves into the melee of European conflicts, would prostrate the
interests of the country, and peril the very existence of the government.

These views he embodied in a series of articles, which he published in the
Boston Centinel, in 1793, under the signature of "Marcellus." He
insisted it was alike the dictate of duty and policy, that the United
States should remain strictly neutral between France and her enemies.
These papers attracted general attention throughout the Union, and made a
marked impression on the public mind. They were read by Washington, with
expressions of the highest satisfaction; and he made particular inquiries
respecting the author.

The position of Mr. Adams on neutrality was new, and in opposition to the
opinions of the great mass of the country. To him, it is believed, belongs
the honor of first publicly advocating this line of policy, which
afterwards became a settled principle of the American government.
Non-interference with foreign affairs is a principle to which the Union
has rigidly adhered to the present hour. In these articles too, Mr. Adams
developed the political creed which governed him through life in regard to
two great principles--union at home and independence of all foreign
alliances or entanglements--independence not only politically, but in
manufactures and in commerce.

On the 25th of April, 1793, Washington issued a proclamation, announcing
the neutrality of the United States between the belligerent nations of
Europe. This proclamation was not issued until after Mr. Adams's articles
urging this course had been before the public for some time. It is an
honorable testimony to the sagacity of his views, that Washington, and the
eminent men composing his cabinet, adopted a policy which coincided so
perfectly with opinions he had formed purely from the strength of his own
convictions. The proclamation pleased neither of the belligerent nations
in Europe. It aroused the enmity of both; and laid open our commerce to
the depredations of all parties, on the plea that the American government
was inimical to their interests.

While in the practice of law in Boston, Mr. Adams was not well satisfied
with his condition or prospects. That he was laudably ambitious to arise
to distinction in some honorable line is quite certain. But, singular as
it may appear at this day, in view of his early life, and his acknowledged
talents, he was not looking for, nor expecting, political preferment.
These facts appear in the following passages from his diary, written at
that time; and which, moreover, will be found to contain certain rules of
action for life, which the young men of our country should studiously seek
to imitate.

"Wednesday, May 16th, 1792. I am not satisfied with the manner in which I
employ my time. It is calculated to keep me forever fixed in that state of
useless and disgraceful insignificancy, which has been my lot for some
years past. At an age bearing close upon twenty-five, when many of the
characters who were born for the benefit of their fellow-creatures have
rendered themselves conspicuous among their cotemporaries, and founded a
reputation upon which their memory remains, and will continue to the
latest posterity--at that period, I still find myself as obscure, as
unknown to the world, as the most indolent, or the most stupid of human
beings. In the walks of active life I have done nothing. Fortune, indeed,
who claims to herself a large proportion of the merit which exhibits to
public view the talents of professional men, at an early period of their
lives, has not hitherto been peculiarly indulgent to me. But if to my own
mind I inquire whether I should, at this time, be qualified to receive and
derive any benefit from an opportunity which it may be in her power to
procure for me, my own mind would shrink from the investigation. My heart
is not conscious of an unworthy ambition; nor of a desire to establish
either fame, honor, or fortune upon any other foundation than that of
desert. But it is conscious, and the consideration is equally painful and
humiliating, it is conscious that the ambition is constant and unceasing,
while the exertions to acquire the talents which ought alone to secure the
reward of ambition, are feeble, indolent, frequently interrupted, and
never pursued with an ardor equivalent to its purposes. My future fortunes
in life are, therefore, the objects of my present speculation, and it may
be proper for me to reflect further upon the same subject, and if
possible, to adopt some resolutions which may enable me, as uncle Toby
Shandy said of his miniature sieges, to answer the great ends of my

"First, then, I begin with establishing as a fundamental principle upon
which all my subsequent pursuits and regulations are to be established,
that the acquisition, at least, of a respectable reputation is (subject to
the overruling power and wisdom of Providence,) within my own power; and
that on my part nothing is wanting, but a constant and persevering
determination to tread in the steps which naturally lead to honor. And, at
the same time, I am equally convinced, that I never shall attain that
credit in the world, which my nature directs me to wish, without such a
steady, patient, and persevering pursuit of the means adapted to the end I
have in view, as has often been the subject of my speculation, but never
of my practice.

 'Labor and toil stand stern before the throne,
  And guard--so Jove commands--the sacred place.'

"The mode of life adopted almost universally by my cotemporaries and
equals is by no means calculated to secure the object of my ambition. My
emulation is seldom stimulated by observing the industry and application
of those whom my situation in life gives me for companions. The pernicious
and childish opinion that extraordinary genius cannot brook the slavery of
plodding over the rubbish of antiquity (a cant so common among the
heedless votaries of indolence), dulls the edge of all industry, and is
one of the most powerful ingredients in the Circean potion which
transforms many of the most promising young men into the beastly forms
which, in sluggish idleness, feed upon the labors of others. The
degenerate sentiment, I hope, will never obtain admission in my mind; and,
if my mind should be loitered away in stupid laziness, it will be under
the full conviction of my conscience that I am basely bartering the
greatest benefits with which human beings can be indulged, for the
miserable gratifications which are hardly worthy of contributing to the
enjoyments of the brute creation.

"And as I have grounded myself upon the principle, that my character is,
under the smiles of heaven, to be the work of my own hands, it becomes
necessary for me to determine upon what part of active or of speculative
life I mean to rest my pretensions to eminence. My own situation and that
of my country equally prohibit me from seeking to derive any present
expectations from a public career. My disposition is not military; and,
happily, the warlike talents are not those which open the most pleasing or
the most reputable avenue to fame. I have had some transient thoughts of
undertaking some useful literary performance, but the pursuit would
militate too much at present with that of the profession upon which I am
to depend, not only for my reputation, but for my subsistence.

"I have, therefore, concluded that the most proper object of my present
attention is that profession itself. And in acquiring the faculty to
discharge the duties of it, in a manner suitable to my own wishes and the
expectations of my friends, I find ample room for close and attentive
application; for frequent and considerate observation; and for such
benefits of practical experience as occasional opportunities may throw in
the way."

The following letter from John Adams, at this time Vice President of the
United States, written to his wife at Quincy, will be interesting, as
showing, among other things, his anxiety that his sons should make some
start in life, which would give promise of future usefulness. He was far
from believing that sons should repose in idleness on the reputation or
wealth of parents.

                                            "Philadelphia, 2 March, 1793.
"My Dear,
"Your letter from your sick chamber, if not from your sick bed, has made
me so uneasy, that I must get away as soon as possible. Monday morning, at
six, I am to set off in the stage; but how many days it will take to get
home, will depend on the roads or the winds. I don't believe Abby [his
daughter,] will go with me. Her husband [Col. William S. Smith,] is so
proud of his wealth, that he would not let her go, I suppose, without a
coach-and-four; and such monarchical trumpery I will in future have
nothing to do with. I will never travel but by stage, nor live at the seat
of government but at lodgings, while they give me so despicable an
allowance. Shiver my jib and start my planks if I do!

"I will stay but one night in New York. Smith says that my books are upon
the table of every member of the Committee for framing a constitution of
government for France, except Tom Paine, and he is so conceited as to
disdain to have anything to do with books. Although I abused Smith a
little above, he is very clever and agreeable; but I have been obliged to
caution him against his disposition to boasting. Tell not of your
prosperity, because it will make two men mad to one glad; nor of your
adversity, for it will make two men glad to one sad. He boasts too much of
having made his fortune, and placed himself at ease, above all favors of
government. This is a weakness, and betrays too little knowledge of the
world; too little penetration; too little discretion. I wish, however,
that my boys had a little more of his activity. I must soon treat them as
the pigeons treat their squabs--push them off the limb, and make them put
out their wings or fall. Young pigeons will never fly till this is done.
Smith has acquired the confidence of the French ministry, and the better
sort of the members of the National Convention. But the Executive is too
changeable in that country to be depended on, without the utmost caution.
                                    "Adieu, adieu, tendrement,   J. A."

One of the sons of the noble patriot, soon "put out his wings," and
soared, ultimately, to a pinnacle of honor and renown attained by few
among men. In the winter of 1793 and 1794, the public mind had become
highly excited from the inflammatory appeals in behalf of France, by
Citizen Genet, the French Minister to the United States. A large portion
of the anti-Federal party took sides with Mr. Genet, against the neutral
position of our Government, and seemed determined to plunge the Union into
the European contest, in aid of the French Republic. Some idea may be
obtained of the excitement which prevailed at this time, and of the
perilous condition of the country, by an extract or two from letters of
Vice-President John Adams. In a letter dated Philadelphia, Dec. 5, 1793,
he writes as follows:--

"It will require all the address, all the temper, and all the firmness of
Congress and the States, to keep this people out of the war; or rather, to
avoid a declaration of war against us, from some mischievous power or
other. It is but little that I can do, either by the functions which the
Constitution has entrusted to me, or by my personal influence; but that
little shall be industriously employed, until it is put beyond a doubt
that it will be fruitless; and then, I shall be as ready to meet
unavoidable calamities, as any other citizen."

Under date of Jan. 9, 1794, he says:--

"The prospects of this country are gloomy, but the situation of all Europe
is calamitous beyond all former examples. At what time, and in what
manner, and by what means, the disasters which are come, and seem to be
coming on mankind, may be averted, I know not. Our own people have been
imprudent, as I think, and are now smarting under the effects of their
indiscretion; but this, instead of a consolation, is an aggravation of our
misfortune. Mr. Genet has been abusive on the President [Washington] and
all his ministers, beyond all measure of decency or obligations of truth,
and in other respects, not yet publicly investigated, his conduct has been
such as to make it difficult to know what to do with him. * * * * * The
news of this evening is, that the Queen of France is no more.
[Footnote: Marie Antoinette was beheaded in Paris, on the 16th of October,
When will savages be satiated with blood? No prospect of peace in Europe,
and therefore none of internal harmony in America. We cannot well be in a
more disagreeable situation than we are with all Europe, with all Indians,
and with all Barbary rovers. Nearly one half of the Continent is in
constant opposition to the other, and the President's situation, which is
highly responsible, is very distressing."

It taxed the wisdom and skill of Mr. Jefferson, then Secretary of State,
to counteract the influence of the French Minister, and prevent citizens
of the United States from committing overt acts against the Allied
Sovereigns, and embroiling the Union in a foreign war. In this endeavor he
was greatly assisted by the pen of Mr. J. Q. Adams. This gentleman wrote a
series of essays for the public prints, under the signature of "Columbus,"
reviewing the course of Mr. Genet. In these articles, he pointed out, with
great clearness, the principles of the law of nations applicable to the
situation of the country in the neutral line of policy which had been
wisely adopted.

In reference to this topic, John Adams writes his wife, as follows, under
date of Dec. 19, 1793:--

"The President has considered the conduct of Genet very nearly in the same
light with 'Columbus,' and has given him a bolt of thunder. We shall see
how this is supported by the two Houses. There are who gnash their teeth
with rage which they dare not own as yet. We shall soon see whether we
have any government or not in this country."

The political writings of the younger Adams had now brought him
prominently before the public. They attracted the especial attention of
Mr. Jefferson, who saw in them a vastness of comprehension, a maturity of
judgment and critical discrimination, which gave large promise of future
usefulness and eminence. Before his retirement from the State Department,
he commended the youthful statesman to the favorable regard of President
Washington, as one pre-eminently fitted for public service.

General Washington, although a soldier by profession, was a lover of
peace. His policy during his administration of the government, was
pre-eminently pacific. Convinced that, in the infant state of the Union,
war with a foreign nation could result only in evil and ruin, he was
anxious to cultivate the most friendly relations with foreign governments,
and to carry out, both in letter and spirit, the strict neutrality he had
proclaimed. To declare and maintain these principles abroad, and to form
political and commercial relations with European powers, Washington looked
anxiously around for one fitted for a mission so important. His attention
soon became fixed on John Quincy Adams. He saw in him qualities not only
of deep political sagacity, and views of policy at unity with his own, but
a familiarity with the languages and customs of foreign courts, which
marked him as one every way calculated to represent our government with
credit in the old world. He accordingly, in May, 1794, appointed Mr. Adams
Minister of the United States at the Hague.

That this prominent appointment was as flattering to Mr. Adams as it was
unexpected, is naturally true. It was the more to his credit in
consideration of the fact, that in those days elevation to offices of this
importance was the award of merit and talent, and not the result of
importunity, or the payment of party services. Mr. Adams was at this time
in the twenty-seventh year of his age--a younger man, undoubtedly, than
has since ever been selected by our Government to fulfil a trust so
important. But the ability and discretion of the young diplomatist, and
the success which attended his negotiations in Europe, so creditable to
himself and his country, fully justified the wisdom of Washington in
selecting him for this important duty.

Although the father of Mr. Adams was then Vice President of the United
States, yet it is well known his appointment on a foreign mission was
obtained without the influence or even the request of his parent. It is
not strictly correct, however, as stated by several biographers, that he
was selected for the mission to Holland without any previous intimation of
the President's intentions to his father. This is made evident by the
following extract of a letter from John Adams to his wife, dated
Philadelphia, 27th May, 1794, conveying intelligence which must have made
a mother's heart swell with honest pride and satisfaction:--

"It is proper that I should apprize you, that the President has it in
contemplation to send your son to Holland, that you may recollect yourself
and prepare for the event. I make this communication to you in confidence,
at the desire of the President, communicated to me yesterday by the
Secretary of State. You must keep it an entire secret until it shall be
announced to the public in the journal of the Senate. But our son must
hold himself in readiness to come to Philadelphia, to converse with the
President, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, &c., and receive
his commissions and instructions, without loss of time. He will go to
Providence in the stage, and thence to New York by water, and thence to
Philadelphia in the stage. He will not set out, however, until he is
informed of his appointment."

"Your son!" is the phrase by which the father meant to convey his own
sense of how large a part the mother had in training that son; and to
enhance the compliment, it is communicated to her at the desire of
President Washington.



Mr. Adams presented himself at the Hague, as Minister Plenipotentiary of
the United States, in the summer or fall of 1794. Ten years before, he was
there with his father--a lad, attending school--at which time the father
wrote: "They give him a good character wherever he has been, and I hope he
will make a good man." How abundantly that hope was likely to be
fulfilled, the elevated and responsible position occupied by the son at
the expiration of the first ten years after it was expressed, gave a
promising and true indication.

On his arrival in Holland, Mr. Adams found the affairs of that country in
great confusion, in consequence of the French invasion. So difficult was
it to prosecute any permanent measures for the benefit of the United
States, owing to the existing wars and the unsettled state of things in
Europe, that after a few months he thought seriously of returning home. A
report of this nature having reached President Washington, drew from him a
letter to Vice President John Adams, dated Aug. 20, 1795, in which the
following language occurs:--

"Your son must not think of retiring from the path he is now in. His
prospects, if he pursues it, are fair; and I shall be much mistaken if, in
as short a time as can well be expected, he is not found at the head of
the Diplomatic Corps, be the government administered by whomsoever the
people may choose."

This approbation of his proceedings thus far, and encouragement as to
future success, from so high a source, undoubtedly induced the younger
Adams to forego his inclination to withdraw from the field of diplomacy.
He continued in Holland until near the close of Washington's
administration. That he was not an inattentive observer of the momentous
events then transpiring in Europe, but was watchful and faithful in all
that pertained to the welfare of his country, is abundantly proved by his
official correspondence with the government at home. His communications
were esteemed by Washington, as of the highest value, affording him, as
they did, a luminous description of the movement of continental affairs,
upon which he could place the most implicit reliance.

The following extract of a letter from John Adams, will show the interest
he naturally took in the welfare of his son while abroad, and also afford
a brief glance at the political movements of that day. It is dated
Philadelphia, Jan. 23, 1796:--

"We have been very unfortunate in the delays which have attended the
dispatches of our ambassadors. Very lucky, Mr. John Quincy Adams, that you
are not liable to criticism on this occasion! This demurrage would have
been charged doubly, both to your account and that of your father. It
would have been a scheme, a trick, a design, a contrivance, from hatred to
France, attachment to England, monarchical manoeuvres, and aristocratical
cunning! Oh! how eloquent they would have been!

"The southern gentry are playing, at present, a very artful game, which I
may develope to you in confidence hereafter, under the seal of secrecy.
Both in conversation and in letters, they are representing the
Vice-President [John Adams,] as a man of moderation. Although rather
inclined to limited monarchy, and somewhat attached to the English, he is
much less so than Jay or Hamilton. For their part, for the sake of
conciliation, they should be very willing he should be continued as
Vice-President, provided the northern gentlemen would consent that
Jefferson should be President. I most humbly thank you for your kind
condescension, Messieurs Transchesapeakes.
                 "Witness my hand,
                                                        "JOHN ADAMS."

Another allusion to his son while abroad, is made by the elder Adams, in a
letter dated Philadelphia, March 25,1796.

"The President told me he had that day received three or four letters from
his new Minister in London, one of them as late as the 29th of December.
Mr. Pickering informs me that Mr. Adams [Footnote: John Quincy Adams]
modestly declined a presentation at court, but it was insisted on by Lord
Grenville; and, accordingly, he was presented to the King, and I think
the Queen, and made his harangues and received his answers. By the papers
I find that Mr. Pinckney appeared at court on the 28th of January, after
which, I presume, Mr. Adams had nothing to do but return to Holland."

During his residence as Minister at the Hague, Mr. Adams had occasion to
visit London, to exchange the ratifications of the treaty recently formed
with Great Britain, and to take measures for carrying its provisions into
effect. (Alluded to in the above letter from John Adams.) It was at this
time that he formed an acquaintance with Miss Louisa Catharine Johnson,
daughter of Joshua Johnson, Esq., of Maryland, Consular Agent of the
United States at London, and niece of Governor Johnson of Maryland, a
Judge of the Supreme Court of the United States, and a signer of the
Declaration of Independence. The friendship they formed for each other,
soon ripened into a mutual attachment and an engagement. They were married
on the 26th of July, 1797. It was a happy union. For more than half a
century they shared each other's joys and sorrows. The venerable matron
who for this long period accompanied him in all the vicissitudes of his
eventful life, still survives, to deplore the loss of him who had ever
proved a faithful protector and the kindest of husbands.

In the meantime, the elder Adams had been elected President of the United
States, in 1796. The curious reader may have a desire to know something of
the views, feelings and anticipations of those elevated to places of the
highest distinction, and of the amount of enjoyment they reap from the
honors conferred upon them. A glance behind the scenes is furnished in the
following correspondence between John Adams and his wife, which took place
at his election to the Presidency. [Footnote: Letters of John Adams, v.
ii. pp. 242,243. Mrs. Adams' Letters, p. 373.]

                                       "Philadelphia, 4th of Feb., 1797.
"My Dearest Friend,

"I hope you will not communicate to anybody the hints I give you about our
prospects; but they appear every day worse and worse. House rent at
twenty-seven hundred dollars a year, fifteen hundred dollars for a
carriage, one thousand for one pair of horses, all the glasses, ornaments,
kitchen furniture, the best chairs, settees, plateaus, &c., all to
purchase; all the china, delph or wedgewood, glass and crockery of every
sort to purchase, and not a farthing probably will the House of
Representatives allow, though the Senate have voted a small addition. All
the linen besides. I shall not pretend to keep more than one pair of
horses for a carriage, and one for a saddle. Secretaries, servants, wood,
charities, which are demanded as rights, and the million dittoes, present
such a prospect as is enough to disgust anyone. Yet not one word must we
say. We cannot go back. We must stand our ground as long as we can.
Dispose of our places with the help of our friend Dr. Tufts, as well as
you can. We are impatient for news, but that is always so at this season.
                                             I am tenderly your   J. A."


                                            "Philadelphia, 9th Feb., 1797.
"My Dearest Friend,

"The die is cast,[Footnote: Mr. Adams had, the day previous, been
announced President elect of the United States.] and you must prepare
yourself for honorable trials. I must wait to know whether Congress will
do anything or not to furnish my house. If they do not, I will have no
house before next fall, and then a very moderate one, with very moderate
furniture. The prisoners from Algiers [Footnote: American citizens who had
long been in captivity among the Algerines.] arrived yesterday in this
City, in good health, and looking very well. Captain Stevens is among
them. One woman rushed into the crowd and picked out her husband, whom she
had not seen for fourteen years.

              "I am, and ever shall be, yours, and no other's,   J. A."


                                       "Quincy, 8th Feb., 1797.
             "'The sun is dressed in brightest beams,
             To give thy honors to the day.'

"And may it prove an auspicious prelude to each ensuing season. You have
this day to declare yourself head of a nation. 'And now, O Lord, my God,
thou hast made thy servant ruler over the people. Give unto him an
understanding heart, that he may know how to go out and come in before
this great people; that he may discern between good and bad. For who is
able to judge this thy so great a people?' were the words of a royal
sovereign; and not less applicable to him who is invested with the Chief
Magistracy of a nation, though he wear not a crown, nor the robes of

"My thoughts and my meditations are with you, though personally absent;
and my petitions to Heaven are, that 'the things which make for peace may
not be hidden from your eyes.' My feelings are not those of pride or
ostentation, upon the occasion. They are solemnized by a sense of the
obligations, the important trusts, and numerous duties connected with it.
That, you may be enabled to discharge them with honor to yourself, with
justice and impartiality to your country, and with satisfaction to this
great people, shall be the daily prayer of your                  A. A."


                                      "Philadelphia, 5th March, 1797.
"My Dearest Friend,

"Your dearest friend never had a more trying day than yesterday.[Footnote:
The day of his inauguration as President.]  A solemn scene it was indeed;
and it was made more affecting to me by the presence of the General,
[Washington,] whose countenance was as serene and unclouded as the day. He
seemed to me to enjoy a triumph over me. Methought I heard him say, 'Ay!
I am fairly out, and you fairly in! See which of us will be happiest.'
When the ceremony was over, he came and made me a visit, and cordially
congratulated me, and wished my administration might be happy, successful,
and honorable.

"It is now settled that I am to go into his house. It is whispered that he
intends to take French leave to-morrow. I shall write you as fast as we
proceed. My chariot is finished, and I made my first appearance in it
yesterday. It is simple, but elegant enough. My horses are young, but

"In the chamber of the House of Representatives, was a multitude as great
as the space could contain, and I believe scarcely a dry eye but
Washington's. The sight of the sun setting full orbed, and another rising,
though less splendid, was a novelty. Chief Justice Ellsworth administered
the oath, and with great energy. Judges Cushing, Wilson, and Iredell,
were present. Many ladies. I had not slept well the night before, and did
not sleep well the night after. I was unwell, and did not know whether I
should get through or not. I did, however. How the business was received,
I know not; only I have been told that Mason, the treaty publisher, said
we should lose nothing by the change, for he never heard such a speech in
public in his life.

"All agree that, taken altogether, it was the sublimest thing ever
exhibited in America.

"I am, my dearest friend, most affectionately and kindly yours,
                                                  "JOHN ADAMS."

On entering upon the duties of the Presidency, John Adams was greatly
embarrassed in regard to the line he should adopt toward his son. True,
the younger Adams had been entrusted by Washington with an important
embassy abroad, and had acquitted himself with great credit in his
responsible station; but the father, with a delicacy highly honorable,
hesitated continuing him in office, lest he might be charged with unworthy
favoritism, and a disposition to promote the interest of his family at the
expense of public good. In this exigency, not daring to trust his own
judgment, lest its decisions might be warped by parental solicitude, he
resorted to the wisdom and experience of Washington. Writing him for
advice on this subject, he received the following reply:--

                                              "Monday, Feb. 20, 1797.
"Dear Sir,

"I thank you for giving me a perusal of the enclosed. The sentiments do
honor to the head and the heart of the writer; and if my wishes would be
of any avail, they should go to you in a strong hope, that you will not
withhold merited promotion from John Q. Adams, because he is your son. For
without intending to compliment the father or the mother, or to censure
any others, I give it as my decided opinion, that Mr. Adams is the most
valuable public character we have abroad; and that there remains no doubt
in my mind, that he will prove himself to be the ablest of all our
diplomatic corps. If he was now to be brought into that line, or into any
other public walk, I could not, upon the principle which has regulated my
own conduct, disapprove of the caution which is hinted at in the letter.
But he is already entered; the public, more and more, as he is known, are
appreciating his talents and worth; and his country would sustain a loss,
if these were to be checked by over delicacy on your part.

"With sincere esteem, and affectionate regard,
                             "I am ever yours,
                                 "GEORGE WASHINGTON."

This letter is characteristic of the discernment and nobleness of
Washington. Appreciating at a glance the perplexed position of Mr. Adams,
and wisely discriminating between the bringing forward of his son for the
first time into public service, and the continuing him where he had
already been placed by others, and shown himself worthy of all trust and
confidence, he frankly advised him to overcome his scruples, and permit
his son to remain in a career so full of promise to himself and his
country. President Adams, in agreement with this counsel, determined to
allow his son to continue in Europe in the public capacity to which he had
been promoted by Washington.

Shortly previous to the close of Washington's administration, he
transferred the younger Adams from the Hague, by an appointment as
Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal, but before proceeding to Lisbon, his
father, in the meantime having become President, changed his destination
to Berlin. He arrived in that city in the autumn of 1797, and immediately
entered upon the discharge of his duties as Minister of the United States.
In 1798, while retaining his office at Berlin, he was commissioned to form
a commercial treaty with Sweden.

During his residence at Berlin, Mr. Adams, while attending with unsleeping
diligence to his public duties, did not forego the more congenial pursuits
of literature. He cultivated the acquaintance of many eminent German
scholars and poets, and manifested a friendly sympathy in their pursuits.
In a letter to the late Dr. Follen writes of that day as follows:--

"At this time, Wieland was there the most popular of the German poets.
And although there was in his genius neither the originality nor the deep
pathos of Goethe, Klopstock, or Schiller there was something in the
playfulness of his imagination, in the tenderness of his sensibility, in
the sunny cheerfulness of his philosophy, and in the harmony of his
versification, which delighted me."

To perfect his knowledge of the German language, Mr. Adams made a metrical
translation of Wieland's Oberon into the English language. The
publication of this work, which at one time was designed, was superseded
by the appearance of a similar translation by Sotheby.

In the summer of 1800, Mr. Adams made a tour through Silesia. He was
charmed with the inhabitants of that region, their condition and habits.
In many respects he found them bearing a great similarity to the people of
his own native New England. He communicated his impressions during this
excursion, in a series of letters to a younger brother in Philadelphia.
These letters were interesting, and were considered of great value at that
time, in consequence of many important facts they contained in regard to
the manufacturing establishments of Silesia. They were published, without
Mr. Adams's knowledge, in the Port Folio, a weekly paper edited by Joseph
Dennie, at Philadelphia. The series was afterwards collected and
published in a volume, in London, and has been translated into German and
French, and extensively circulated on the continent.

Among other labors while at Berlin, Mr. Adams succeeded in forming a
treaty of amity and commerce with the Prussian government. The protracted
correspondence with the Prussian commissioners, which resulted in this
treaty, involving as it did the rights of neutral commerce, was conducted
with consummate ability on the part of Mr. Adams, and received the fullest
sanction of the government at home.

Mr. Adams' missions at the Hague and at Berlin, constituted his first step
in the intricate paths of diplomacy. They were accomplished amid the
momentous events which convulsed all Europe, at the close of the
eighteenth century. Republican France, exasperated at the machinations of
the Allied Sovereigns to destroy its liberties, so recently obtained, was
pushing its armies abroad, determined, in self-defence, to kindle the
flames of revolution in every kingdom on the Continent. Great Britain,
combined with Austria and other European powers, was using every effort to
crush the French democracy, and remove from before the eyes of
down-trodden millions an example so dangerous to monarchical institutions.
The star of Napoleon had commenced its ascent, with a suddenness and
brightness which startled the imbecile occupants of old thrones. His
legions had rushed down from the Alps upon the sunny plains of Italy, and
with the swoop of an eagle, had demolished towns, cities, kingdoms.

Amid this conflict of nations, the commerce and navigation of the United
States, a neutral power, were made common object of prey to all. Great
Britain and France especially, did not hesitate to make depredations, at
once the most injurious and irritating. Our ships were captured, our
rights disregarded. In the midst of these scenes, surrounded by
difficulties and embarrassments on every hand, the youthful ambassador was
compelled to come into collision with the veteran and wily politicians of
the old world. How well he maintained the dignity and honor of his
government--how sleepless the vigilance with which he watched the
movements on the vast field of political strife--how prompt to protest
against all encroachments--how skilful in conducting negotiations--and how
active to promote the interests of the Union, wherever his influence could
be felt--the  archives of our country will abundantly testify. It was a
fitting and promising commencement of a long public career which has been
full of usefulness and of honor.

The administration of John Adams, as President of the United States, was
characterized by great prudence and moderation, considering the excited
state of the times. There cannot be a doubt he was anxious to copy the
worthy example of his illustrious predecessor, in administering the
government on principles of strict impartiality, for the good of the whole
people, without respect to conflicting parties. Immediately on his
inauguration, he had an interview with Mr. Jefferson, then Vice-
President, and proposed the adoption of steps that would have a tendency
to quell the spirit of faction which pervaded the country. That Mr.
Jefferson, on his part, cherished a profound respect for Mr. Adams, his
old co-laborer in the cause of American freedom, is evident from his
letters and speeches of that day. In his speech on taking the chair of the
Senate, as Vice-President, he expressed himself in the following terms:--

"I might here proceed, and with the greatest truth, to declare my zealous
attachment to the Constitution of the United States; that I consider the
union of these States as the first of blessings; and as the first of
duties the preservation of that Constitution which secures it; but I
suppose these declarations not pertinent to the occasion of entering into
an office, whose primary business is merely to preside over the forms of
this House; and no one more sincerely prays that no accident may call me
to the higher and more important functions, which the Constitution
eventually devolves on this office. These have been justly confided to the
eminent character which has preceded me here, whose talents and integrity
have been known and revered by me, through a long course of years; have
been the foundation of a cordial and uninterrupted friendship between us;
and I devoutly pray he may be long preserved for the government, the
happiness and the prosperity of our common country."

The sincere attempts of President Adams to produce harmony of political
action among the American people, were unavailing. The extraordinary
events transpiring in Europe, exerted an influence on domestic politics,
which could not be neutralized. "The enemies of France"--"the friends of
England," or vice versa, were cries which convulsed the nation to its
centre. The entire population was sundered into contending parties.

John Adams was a true republican. His political opponents charged him with
monarchical tendencies and aspirations, but charged him most falsely. His
life, devoted unreservedly to the service of his country through all its
dark and perilous journey to the achievement of its independence--his
public speeches and documents--his private letters, written to his bosom
companion, with no expectation that the eye of any other would ever rest
upon them--all testify his ardent devotion to the principles of
republicanism. At the breaking out of the French Revolution, he yielded it
his hearty support, and did not withdraw his countenance, until compelled,
by the scenes of anarchy and of carnage which soon ensued, to turn away
with horror and raise his voice against proceedings of savage ferocity.
But while condemning the excesses of the French revolutionists, he was no
friend of Great Britain. This is made evident by a multitude of facts.
Read, for instance, the following extract from a letter, not written for
public effect, addressed to his wife, dated Philadelphia, April 9, 1796:--

"I have read 'the minister's' dispatches from London. The King could not
help discovering his old ill humor. The mad idiot will never recover.
Blunderer by nature, accidents are all against him. Every measure of his
reign has been wrong. It seems they don't like Pinckney. They think he is
no friend to that country, and too much of a French Jacobin. They wanted
to work up some idea or other of introducing another in his place, but our
young politician [Footnote: J. Q. Adams.] saw into them too deeply to be
duped. At his last visit to Court, the King passed him without speaking to
him, which, you know, will be remarked by courtiers of all nations. I am
glad of it; for I would not have my son go so far as Mr. Jay, and affirm
the friendly disposition of that country to this. I know better. I know
their jealousy, envy, hatred, and revenge, covered under pretended

While President Adams cherished no partialities for Great Britain, and had
no desire to promote her especial interest, he was compelled by the force
of circumstances, during his administration to assume a hostile attitude
towards France. The French Directory, chagrined at the failure of all
attempts to induce the government of the United States to abandon its
neutrality and take up arms in their behalf against the Allied Sovereigns,
and deeply incensed at the treaty recently concluded between England and
the United States, resorted to retaliatory measures. They adopted
commercial regulations designed to cripple and destroy our foreign trade.
They passed an ordinance authorizing, in certain cases, the seizure and
confiscation of American vessels and cargoes. They refused to receive Mr.
Pinckney, the American minister, and ordered him peremptorily to leave

Mr. Adams convened Congress, by proclamation, on the 15th of June, 1797,
and in his message laid before that body a lucid statement of the
aggressions of the French Directory. Congress made advances, with a view
to a reconciliation with France. But failing in this attempt, immediate
and vigorous measures were adopted to place the country in a condition for
war. A small standing army was authorized. The command was tendered to
Gen. Washington, who accepted of it with alacrity, sanctioning as he did
these defensive measures of the government. Steps were taken for a naval
armament, and the capture of French vessels   authorized. These energetic
demonstrations produced their desired effect. The war proceeded no farther
than a few collisions at sea. The French Directory became alarmed, and
made overtures of peace.

Washington did not survive to witness the restoration of amicable
relations with France. On the 14th of December, 1799, after a brief
illness, he departed this life, at Mount Vernon, aged sixty-eight years.
On receiving this mournful intelligence, Congress, then in session at
Philadelphia, passed the following resolution:--

"Resolved, That the Speaker's chair should be shrouded in black; that the
members should wear black during the session, and that a joint committee,
from the Senate and the House, be appointed to devise the most suitable
manner of paying honor to the memory of the Man, first in war, first in
peace, and first in the hearts of his countrymen."

Testimonials of sorrow were exhibited, and funeral orations and eulogies
were delivered, throughout the United States. The Father of his Country
slept in death, and an entire people mourned his departure!

On assuming the duties of the Presidency, the elder Adams found the
finances of the country in a condition of the most deplorable prostration.
To sustain the government in this department, it was deemed indispensable
to establish a system of direct taxation, by internal duties. This
produced great dissatisfaction throughout the Union. An "alien law" was
passed, which empowered the President to banish from the United States,
any foreigner whom he should consider dangerous to the peace and safety of
the country. And a "sedition law," imposing fine and imprisonment for "any
false, scandalous, and malicious writing against the government of the
United States, or either house of Congress, or the President."

These measures are not justly chargeable to John Adams. They were not
recommended nor desired by him; but were brought forward and urged by Gen.
Hamilton and his friends. Nevertheless upon Mr. Adams was heaped the odium
they excited. The leading measures of his administration--the
demonstration against France; the standing army; the direct taxation; the
alien and sedition laws--all tended to injure his popularity with the mass
of the people, and to destroy his prospects of a re-election to the
presidency. The perplexities he was compelled to encounter during his
administration, may be conceived on perusal of his language in a letter
dated March 17, 1797:--

"From the situation where I now am, I see a scene of ambition beyond all
my former suspicions or imaginations; an emulation which will turn our
government topsy-turvy. Jealousies and rivalries have been my theme, and
checks and balances as their antidotes, till I am ashamed to repeat the
words; but they never stared me in the face in such horrid forms as at
present. I see how the thing is going. At the next election England will
set up Jay or Hamilton, and France Jefferson, and all the corruption of
Poland will be introduced; unless the American spirit should rise and say,
we will have neither John Bull nor Louis Baboon."

In 1800, the seat of government was removed to Washington. In taking
possession of the President's house, Mr. Adams bestowed a benediction on
it, which must ever meet with a response from all American hearts--"
Before I end my letter, I pray heaven to bestow the best of blessings on
this house, and on all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but
honest and wise men ever rule under this roof!" A description of the house
and the city, at that time, is furnished in a letter from Mrs. Adams to
her daughter, written in November, 1800:--

"I arrived here on Sunday last, and without meeting any accident worth
noticing, except losing ourselves when we left Baltimore, and going eight
or nine miles on the Frederick road, by which means we were obliged to go
the other eight through the woods, where we wandered two hours without
finding a guide or the path. Fortunately, a straggling black came up with
us, and we engaged him as a guide to extricate us out of our difficulty;
but woods are all you see, from Baltimore, until you reach the city, which
is only so in name. Here and there is a small cot, without a glass window,
interspersed among the forests, through which you travel miles without
seeing any human being. * * * * * * * * * The house is made habitable, but
there is not a single apartment finished, and all withinside, except the
plastering, has been done since Briesier came. We have not the least
fence, yard, or other convenience without, and the great unfinished
audience-room I make a drying-room of, to hang up the clothes in. The
principal stairs are not up, and will not be this winter. Six chambers are
made comfortable; two are occupied by the President and Mr. Shaw; two
lower rooms, one for a common parlor, and one for a levee room. Up stairs
there is the oval room, which is designed for the drawing-room, and has
the crimson furniture in it. It is a very handsome room now; but when
completed, it will be beautiful."

The presidential contest in 1800, was urged with a warmth and bitterness,
by both parties, which has not been equalled in any election since that
period. It was the first time two candidates ever presented themselves to
the people as rival aspirants for the highest honor in their gift. Both
were good men and true--both were worthy of the confidence of the country.
But Mr. Adams, weighed down by the unpopularity of acts adopted during his
administration, and suffering under the charge of being an enemy to
revolutionary France, and a friend of monarchical England, was distanced
and defeated by his competitor. Mr. Jefferson was elected the third
President of the Republic, and was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1801.
One of the last acts of John Adams, before retiring from the Presidency,
was to recall his son from Berlin, that Mr. Jefferson might have no
embarrassment in that direction.



John Quincy Adams returned to the United States from his first foreign
embassy, in 1801. During the stormy period of his father's administration,
and the ensuing presidential canvass, he was fortunately absent from the
country. Had he been at home, his situation would have been one of great
delicacy. It can hardly be supposed he would have opposed his father's
measures, or his reelection. Yet to have thrown his influence in their
behalf, would have subjected him to the imputation of being moved by
filial attachment rather than the convictions of duty. From this painful
dilemma, he was saved by his foreign residence. He came home uncommitted
to party measures, untrammelled by party tactics or predilections; and
thus stood before the people, as he could wish to stand, perfectly
unshackled, and ready to act as duty and conscience should direct.

Arriving in the United States with distinguished honors gained by
successful foreign diplomacy, Mr. Adams was not allowed to remain long in
inactivity. In 1802 be was elected to the Senate of Massachusetts, from
the Boston district. During his services in that body, he gave an
indication of that independence, as a politician, which characterized him
through life, by his opposition to a powerful combination of banking
interests, which was effected among his immediate constituents. Although
his opposition was unavailing, yet it clearly showed that the integrity of
the man was superior to the policy of the mere politician. But higher
honors awaited him.

In 1803, he was elected to the Senate of the United States, by the
Legislature of Massachusetts. Thus at the early age of thirty-six years,
he had attained to the highest legislative body of the Union. Young in
years, but mature in talent and experience, he took his seat amid the
conscript fathers of the country, to act a part which soon drew upon him
the eyes of the nation, both in admiration and in censure.

The period of Mr. Adams' service in the United States Senate, was one in
which the position and the interests of the country were surrounded by
embarrassments and perils of the most threatening character. The party
which had supported his father had become divided and defeated. Mr.
Jefferson, elevated to the Presidency after a heated and angry contest,
was an object of the dislike and suspicion of the Federalists, The
conflicts of the belligerent nations in Europe, and the measures of
foreign policy they severally adopted, not only affected the interests of
the United States, but were added elements to inflame the party contests
at home.

In 1804, Bonaparte stepped from the Consul chamber to the throne of the
French Empire. All Europe was bending to his giant rule. Great Britain
alone, with characteristic and inherent stubbornness, had set itself as a
rock against his ambitious aspirations, and prosecuted with unabated vigor
its determined hostility to all his measures of trade and of conquest. In
November, 1807, the British Government issued the celebrated "Orders in
Council," forbidding all trade with France and her allies. This measure
was met by Napoleon, in December, with his "Milan Decree," prohibiting
every description of commerce with England or her colonies. Between these
checks and counterchecks of European nations, the commerce of the United
States was in peril of being swept entirely from the ocean.

During most of this perplexed and trying period, Mr. J. Q. Adams retained
his seat in the United States Senate. Although sent there by the suffrages
of the Federal party, in the Massachusetts Legislature, yet he did not,
and would not, act simply as a partisan. This in fact was a prominent
characteristic in Mr. Adams throughout his entire life, and is the key
which explains many of his acts otherwise inexplicable. His noble and
patriotic spirit arose above the shackles of party. He loved the interests
of his country, the happiness of Man, more than the success of a mere
party. So far as the party with which he acted advocated measures which he
conceived to be wise and healthful, he yielded his hearty and vigorous
co-operation. But whenever it swerved from this line of integrity, his
influence was thrown into the opposite scale. This was the rule of his
long career. No persuasions or emoluments, no threats, no intimidations,
could turn him from it, to the breadth of a hair. It was in consequence of
this characteristic, that it has so frequently been said of Mr. Adams,
that he was not a reliable party man. This was to a degree true. He was
not reliable for any policy adopted simply to promote party interests, and
secure party ends. But in regard to all measures which in his judgment
would advance the welfare of the people, secure the rights of man, and
elevate the race, no politician, no statesman the world has produced,
could be more perfectly relied upon.

This disposition to act right, whether with or against his party, was
developed by the first vote he ever gave in a legislative body. While in
the Massachusetts Senate, the Federalists were the dominant party. It was
the custom in that State, to choose the whole of the Governor's Council
from the party which had the majority in the Legislature. In May, 1802,
Mr. Adams was desirous that a rule should be adopted more regardful of the
rights of the minority. He accordingly proposed that several
anti-Federalists should have seats in the Council of Gov. Strong, and gave
his first vote to that measure.

On a certain occasion, Mr. Adams was asked, "What are the recognized
principles of politics?" He replied, that there were no principles in
politics--there were recognized precepts, but they were bad ones. But,
continued the inquirer, is not this a good one--"To seek the greatest
good of the greatest number?" No, said he, that is the worst of all, for
it looks specious, while it is ruinous. What shall become of the minority,
in that case?  This is the only principle to seek--"the greatest good of
all." [Footnote: Massachusetts Quarterly, June, 1849.]

A few months after Mr. Adams' entrance into the Senate of the United
States, a law was passed by Congress, at the suggestion of Mr. Jefferson,
authorizing the purchase of Louisiana. Mr. Adams deemed this measure an
encroachment on the Constitution of the United States, and opposed it on
the ground of its unconstitutionality. He was one of six senators who
voted against it. Yet when the measure had been legally consummated, he
yielded it his support. In passing laws for the government of the
territory thus obtained, the right of trial by jury was granted only in
capital cases. Mr. Adams labored to have it extended to all criminal
offences. Before the territory had a representative in Congress, the
government proposed to levy a tax on the people for purposes of revenue.
This attempt met the decided opposition of Mr. Adams. He insisted it would
be an exercise of government, without the consent of the governed, which,
to all intents, is a despotism.

In 1805, he labored to have Congress pass a law levying a duty on the
importation of slaves. This was the first public indication of his views
on the subject of slavery. It was a premonition of the bold, unflinching,
noble warfare against that institution, and of the advocacy of human
freedom and human rights in the widest sense, which characterized the
closing scenes of his remarkable career, and which will perpetuate his
fame, when other acts of his life shall have passed from the remembrance
of men. Although at that early day but little was said in regard to
slavery, yet the young senator saw it was fraught with danger to the
Union--conferring political power and influence on slaveholders, on
principles false and pernicious, and calculated ultimately to distract the
harmony of the country, and endanger the permanency of our free
institutions. He labored, therefore, to check the increase of slave power,
by the only means which, probably, appeared feasible at that time.

But a crisis in his senatorial career at length arrived. The commerce of
the United States had suffered greatly by "Orders in Council," and "Milan
Decrees." Our ships were seized, conducted into foreign ports and
confiscated, with their cargoes. American seamen were impressed by British
cruisers, and compelled to serve in a foreign navy. The American frigate
Philadelphia, while near the coast of the United States, on refusing to
give up four men claimed to be British subjects, was fired into by the
English man-of-war Leopard, and several of her crew killed and wounded.
These events caused the greatest excitement in the United States.
Petitions, memorials, remonstrances, were poured in upon Congress from
every part of the Union. Mr. Jefferson endeavored by embassies,
negotiations, and the exertion of every influence in his power, to arrest
these destructive proceedings, and obtain a redress of grievances. But all
was in vain. At length he determined on an embargo, as the only means of
securing our commerce from the grasp of the unscrupulous mistress of the
seas. An act to that effect was passed in Dec., 1807. This effectually
prostrated what little foreign commerce had been left to the United

In these proceedings Mr. Jefferson was stoutly opposed by the Federal
party. Massachusetts, then the chief commercial State in the Union,
resisted with its utmost influence the Embargo Act, as pre-eminently
destructive to its welfare, and looked to its Senators and Representatives
in Congress to urge an opposition to the extreme. What course should Mr.
Adams adopt? On the one hand, personal friendship, the party which elected
him to the Senate, the immediate interests of his constituents, called
upon him to oppose the measures of the administration. On the other hand,
more enlarged considerations presented themselves. The interest, the
honor, the ultimate prosperity of the whole country--its reputation and
influence in the eyes of the world--demanded that the Government should be
supported in its efforts to check the aggressions of foreign nations, and
establish the rights of American citizens. In such an alternative John
Quincy Adams could not hesitate. Turning from all other considerations but
a desire to promote the dignity and welfare of the Union, he threw
himself, without reserve, into the ranks of the administration party, and
labored zealously to second the measures of Mr. Jefferson.

This act subjected Mr. Adams to the severest censure. He was charged with
basely forsaking his party--with the most corrupt venality--with the low
motive of seeking to promote ambitious longings and selfish ends. But
those who made these charges in sincerity labored under an entire
misapprehension of his character and principles of action. At this day,
aided by the instructive history of his life, and by a perfect knowledge
of his patriotism and devotion to truth and principle, as developed in his
long and spotless career, it is clearly seen that in the event under
consideration he but acted up to the high rule he had adopted, of making
party and sectional considerations secondary to the honor and interest of
the nation--an example which no pure and high-minded statesman can
hesitate to follow.

The Legislature of Massachusetts disapproved the course of Mr. Adams. By a
small majority of Federal votes, it elected another person to take his
place in the Senate at the expiration of his term, and passed resolutions
instructing its Senators in Congress to oppose the measures of Mr.
Jefferson. Mr. Adams could not, consistently with his views of duty, obey
these instructions; and having no disposition to represent a body whose
confidence he did not retain, he resigned his seat in the Senate, in
March, 1808.

Although Mr. Adams gave most of his days to the service of his country,
yet he was fond of literary pursuits, and acquired, during his hours of
relaxation from sterner duties, a vast fund of classic lore and useful
learning. At an early day, he had become distinguished as a ripe scholar,
and an impressive, dignified, and eloquent public speaker. His reputation
for literary and scholastic attainments quite equalled his fame as a
politician and statesman.

In 1804, on the death of President Willard, Mr. Adams was urged by several
influential individuals, to be a candidate for the presidency of Cambridge
University. He declined the proffered honor. During the following year,
however, he was appointed Professor of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, in
that institution. He accepted the office, on condition that he should be
allowed to discharge its duties at such times as his services in Congress
would permit. His inaugural address, on entering the professorship, was
delivered on the 12th of June, 1806. His lectures on rhetoric and oratory
were very popular. They were attended by large crowds from Boston and the
surrounding towns, in addition to the collegiate classes--a compliment
which few of the professors since his day have received.

Mr. Adams continued his connection with the University, delivering
lectures and conducting exercises in declamation, until July, 1809. "It
was at this time, and as a member of one of the younger classes at
college, that I first saw Mr. Adams, and listened to his well-remembered
voice from the chair of instruction; little anticipating, that after the
lapse of forty years, my own humble voice would be heard, in the
performance of this mournful office. Some who now hear me will recollect
the deep interest with which these lectures were listened to, not merely
by the youthful audience for which they were prepared, but by numerous
voluntary hearers from the neighborhood. They formed an era in the
University; and were, I believe, the first successful attempt, in this
country, at this form of instruction in any department of literature. They
were collected and published in two volumes, completing the theoretical
part of the subject. I think it may be fairly said, that they will bear a
favorable comparison with any treatise on the subject, at that time extant
in our language. The standard of excellence, in every branch of critical
learning, has greatly advanced in the last forty years, but these lectures
may still be read with pleasure and instruction. Considered as a
systematic and academical treatise upon a subject which constituted the
chief part of the intellectual education of the Greeks and Romans, these
lectures, rapidly composed as they were delivered, and not revised by the
author before publication, are not to be regarded in the light of a
standard performance. But let any statesman or jurist, even of the present
day, in America or Europe--whose life, like Mr. Adams's, has been actively
passed in professional and political engagements, at home and
abroad--attempt, in the leisure of two or three summers--his mind filled
with all the great political topics of the day--to prepare a full course
of lectures on any branch of literature, to be delivered to a difficult
and scrutinizing, though in part a youthful audience, and then trust them
to the ordeal of the press, and he will be prepared to estimate the task
which was performed by Mr. Adams." [Footnote: Edward Everett's Eulogy on
the Life and Character of John Quincy Adams.]

Mr. Adams's devotion to literary pursuits was destined to an early
termination. On the 4th of March, 1809, Mr. Madison was inducted into the
office of President of the United Slates. It was at that time far from
being an enviable position. At home the country was rent into contending
factions. Our foreign affairs were in a condition of the utmost
perplexity, and evidently approaching a dangerous crisis. The murky clouds
of war, which had for years overshadowed Europe, seemed rolling
hitherward, filling the most sanguine and hopeful minds with deep
apprehension. Russia, under its youthful Emperor Alexander, was rising to
a prominent and influential position among the nations of Europe. Mr.
Madison deemed it of great importance that the United States should be
represented at that court by some individual eminent alike for talents,
experience, and influence. John Quincy Adams was selected for the mission.
In March, 1809, he was appointed Minister to Russia, and the summer
following, sailed for St. Petersburgh.

In the meantime, our relations with Great Britain became every day more
dubious. While striving, in every honorable manner, to come to terms of
reconciliation, President Madison was making rapid preparations for war.
The people of the United States, deprived by the non-intercourse act of
the cheap productions of England, began to turn their attention and
capital to domestic manufactures. At length the American Government
demanded peremptorily, that the restrictions of Great Britain and France
on our commerce should be abrogated; war being the alternative of a
refusal. The French emperor gave satisfactory assurances that the Berlin
decree should be withdrawn. The English government hesitated, equivocated,
and showed evident disinclination to take any decided step.

"In this doubtful state of connexion between America and England, an
accidental collision took place between vessels of the respective
countries, tending much to inflame and widen the existing differences. An
English sloop-of-war, the Little Belt, commanded by Capt. Bingham,
descried a ship off the American coast, and made sail to come up with it;
but finding it a frigate, and dubious of its nation, he retired. The
other, which proved to be American, the President, under Capt. Rogers,
pursued in turn. Both captains hailed nearly together; and both, instead
of replying, hailed again; and from words, as it were, came to blows,
without explanation. Capt. Bingham lost upwards of thirty men, and his
ship suffered severely. A Court of Inquiry was ordered on the conduct of
Capt. Rogers, which decided that it had been satisfactorily proved to the
court, that Capt. Rogers hailed the Little Belt first, that his hail was
not satisfactorily answered, that the Little Belt fired the first gun, and
that it was without previous provocation or justifiable cause." [Footnote:
Lives of the Presidents.]

Several attempts were made after this, to preserve the peace of the two
countries, but in vain. England, it is true, withdrew her obnoxious Orders
in Council. It was, however, too late. Before intelligence of this repeal
reached the shores of the United States, war was declared by Congress, on
the 18th of June, 1812.

It was a popular war. Although strenuously opposed by portions of the
Eastern States, as destructive to their commerce, yet with the mass of the
people throughout the Union, it was deemed justifiable and indispensible.
A long series of insults and injuries on the part of Great Britain--the
seizure and confiscation of our ships and cargoes; the impressing of our
seamen, under circumstances of the most irritating description; and the
adoption of numerous measures to the injury of our interests--had fully
prepared the public mind in the United States, with the exception of a
small minority, to enter upon this war with zeal and enthusiasm.

With occasional reverses, general success attended our arms in every
direction. On land and on sea, the American eagle led to victory. The
combatants were worthy of each other. Of the same original stock--of the
same stern, unyielding material--their contests were bloody and
destructive in the extreme. But the younger nation, inspirited by a sense
of wrongs endured, and of the justness of its cause, bore away the palm,
and plucked from the brow of its more aged competitor many a laurel yet
green from the ensanguined fields of Europe. In scores of hotly-contested
battles, the British lion, unused as it was to cower before a foe, was
compelled to "lick the dust" in defeat. At York, at Chippewa, at Fort
Erie, at Lundy's Lane, at New Orleans, on Lake Champlain, on Lake Erie,
on the broad ocean, Great Britain and the world were taught lessons of
American valor, skill, and energy, which ages will not obliterate.

This war, though prosecuted at the expense of many valuable lives, and of
a vast public debt, was, unquestionably, highly beneficial to the United
States. It convinced all doubters that our government was abundantly able
to resent aggressions, and to maintain its rights against the assaults of
any nation on earth. This reputation has been of great service in
protecting our commerce, and commanding respect for our flag, throughout
the world. But the chief benefit of the war was the development of our
internal resources, which, after all, form the great fountain of the
wealth, strength, and permanence of a nation. Deprived by the embargo, the
non-intercourse act, and the ensuing hostilities, of all foreign
importation of goods, the American people were compelled to supply
themselves by their own industry and ingenuity, with those articles for
which they had always before been dependent on their transatlantic
neighbors. Thus was laid the foundation of that system of domestic
manufactures which is destined to make the United States the greatest
productive mart among men, and to bring into its lap the wealth of the



Mr. Adams arrived at St. Petersburg, as Minister Plenipotentiary from the
United States, in the autumn of 1809. Twenty-eight years before, while a
lad of fourteen, he was at the same place, as private secretary to Mr.
Dana, the American Minister. The promising boy returned to the northern
capital a mature man, ripe in experience, wisdom, patriotism, and prepared
to serve his country in the highest walks of diplomacy. So truly had the
far-seeing Washington prophesied in 1795:--"I shall be much mistaken if,
in as short a time as can well be expected, he is not found at the head of
the diplomatic corps, be the government administered by whomsoever the
people may choose!"

The United Slates, though but little known in Russia at that period, was
still looked upon with favor, as a nation destined, in due time, to exert
a great influence upon the affairs of the world. Mr. Adams was received
with marked respect at the Court of St. Petersburg. His familiarity with
the French and German languages--the former the diplomatic language of
Europe--his literary acquirements, his perfect knowledge of the political
relations of the civilized world, his plain appearance, and republican
simplicity of manners, in the midst of the gorgeous embassies of other
nations, enabled him to make a striking and favorable impression on the
Emperor Alexander and his Court. The Emperor, charmed by his varied
qualities, admitted him to terms of personal intimacy seldom granted to
the most favored individuals.

During his residence in Russia, the death of Judge Cushing caused a
vacancy on the bench of the Supreme Court of the United States. President
Madison nominated Mr. Adams to the distinguished office. The nomination
was confirmed by the Senate, but he declined its acceptance.

A circumstance occurred at this time, which attracted the attention of Mr.
Adams. The Russian Minister of the Interior, then advanced in years,
having received many valuable presents while in office, became troubled
with scruples of conscience, in regard to the disposal he should make of
them. He at length calculated the value of all his gifts, and paid the sum
into the imperial treasury. This transaction made a deep impression on Mr.
Adams, and probably led him to the resolution of never accepting gifts. In
order to act with that freedom of bias which he deemed indispensable to
the faithful discharge of public duty, he endeavored to avoid, as far as
possible, laying himself under obligations to any man. When a certain
bookseller once sent him an elegant copy of the Scriptures, he kept the
book, but returned its full equivalent in money.

While sojourning at St. Petersburg, Mr. Adams wrote a series of letters to
a son at school in Massachusetts, on the value of the Bible, and the
importance of its daily perusal. Since his decease they have been
published in a volume, entitled "Letters of John Quincy Adams to his son,
on the Bible and its teachings." "Their purpose is the inculcation of a
love and reverence for the Holy Scriptures, and a delight in their perusal
and study. Throughout his long life, Mr. Adams was himself a daily and
devout reader of the Scriptures, and delighted in comparing and
considering them in the various languages with which he was familiar,
hoping thereby to acquire a nicer and clearer appreciation of their
meaning. The Bible was emphatically his counsel and monitor through life,
and the fruits of its guidance are seen in the unsullied character which
he bore, through the turbid waters of political contention, to his final
earthly rest. Though long and fiercely opposed and contemned in life he
left no man behind him who would wish to fix a stain on the name he has
inscribed so high on the roll of his country's most gifted and illustrious
sons. The intrinsic value of these letters, their familiar and lucid
style, their profound and comprehensive views, their candid and reverent
spirit, must win for them a large measure of the public attention and
esteem. But, apart from even this, the testimony so unconsciously borne by
their pure-minded and profoundly learned author, to the truth and
excellence of the Christian faith and records, will not be lightly
regarded. It is no slight testimonial to the verity and worth of
Christianity, that in all ages since its promulgation, the great mass of
those who have risen to eminence by their profound wisdom, integrity, and
philanthropy, have recognized and reverenced, in Jesus of Nazareth, the
Son of the living God. To the names of Augustine, Xavier, Fenelon,
Milton, Newton, Locke, Lavater, Howard, Chateaubriand, and their
thousands of compeers in Christian faith, among the world's wisest and
noblest, it is not without pride that the American may add, from among his
countrymen, those of such men as WASHINGTON, JAY, PATRICK HENRY, and JOHN
QUINCY ADAMS." [Footnote: Preface to "Letters of John Quincy Adams to his
Son, on the Bible and its Teachings."]

Mr. Adams was a practical Christian. This is proved by his spotless life,
his strict honesty and integrity, his devotion to duty, his faithful
obedience to the dictates of conscience, at whatever sacrifice, his
reverence of God, of Christ, his respect for religion and its
institutions, and recognition of its claims and responsibilities. Although
a Unitarian [Footnote: Mr. Adams was a member of the Unitarian Church in
Quincy, Mass., at his death.] in his belief of doctrines, yet he was no
sectarian. In religion, as in politics, he was independent of parties. He
would become linked to no sect in such manner as to prevent him from
granting his countenance and assistance wherever he thought proper. He was
a frequent attendant at Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches, and was
liberal in his contributions to these and other denominations; it being
his great desire to aid in building up Christianity, and not a sect.

The influence which Mr. Adams had obtained at St. Petersburg, with the
Emperor and his Court, was turned to the best account. It laid the
foundation of those amicable relations which have ever characterized the
intercourse of that government with the United States. To this source,
also, is unquestionably to be attributed the offer, by the Emperor
Alexander, of mediation between Great Britain and the United States. This
offer was accepted by the American Government, and Mr. Adams, in
connection with Messrs. Gallatin and Bayard, was appointed by the
President to take charge of the negotiation. The latter gentlemen joined
Mr. Adams at St. Petersburg, in July, 1813. Conferences were held by the
Commissioners with Count Romanzoff, the Chancellor of the Russian Empire,
with a view to open negotiations. The British Government, however, refused
to treat under the mediation of Russia; but proposed at the same time to
meet American Commissioners either at London or Gottenburg. Messrs.
Gallatin and Bayard withdrew from St. Petersburg in January, 1814,
leaving Mr. Adams in the discharge of his duties as resident Minister.

The proposition of the British Ministry to negotiate for peace, at London
or Gottenburg was accepted by the United States. Mr. Adams and Messrs.
Bayard, Clay, Russell, and Gallatin, were appointed Commissioners, and
directed to proceed to Gottenburg for that purpose. Mr. Adams received
his instructions in April, 1814; and as soon as preparations for departure
could be made, took passage for Stockholm. After repeated delays, on
account of the difficulties of navigation at that early season in the
northern seas, he arrived at that city on the 25th of May. Learning there
that the place for the meeting of the Commissioners had been changed to
Ghent, in Belgium, Mr. Adams proceeded to Gottenburg. From thence he
embarked on board an American sloop-of-war, which had conveyed Messrs.
Clay and Russell from the United States, and landing at Texel, proceeded
immediately to Ghent, where he arrived on the 24th of June.

In the ensuing negotiation, Mr. Adams was placed at the head of the
American Commissioners. They were men of unsurpassed talents and skill, in
whose hands neither the welfare nor the honor of the United States could
suffer. In conducting this negotiation, they exhibited an ability, a tact,
an understanding of international law, and a knowledge of the best
interests of their country, which attracted the favorable attention both
of Europe and America. Their "Notes" with the British Commissioners,
exhibited a dignified firmness and manly moderation, with a power of
argument, and force of reasoning, which highly elevated their reputation,
and that of their country, in the estimation of European statesmen. The
Marquis of Wellesley declared in the British House of Lords, that, "in
his opinion the American Commissioners had shown the most astonishing
superiority over the British, during the whole of the correspondence."
Their despatches to the Government at home, describing and explaining the
progress of the negotiation in its several stages, gave the highest
satisfaction to the people of the United States. It was declared in the
public prints, that they sustained the honor of the Union as ably at
Ghent as the patriotism and bravery of its defenders had been established
by its seamen on the ocean, and its troops in their battles with
"Wellington's Invincibles." A good share of these encomiums of right
belongs to Mr. Adams, who, from his knowledge of foreign affairs, and
experience in diplomacy, as well as acknowledged talents, took a leading
part in the negotiations.

The American commissioners were treated with marks of highest respect, by
the citizens of Ghent, and the public authorities of that town. On the
anniversary of the Academy of Sciences and Fine Arts, at Ghent, they were
unanimously elected members of the institution, and were invited to attend
and unite in the exercises of the occasion. An oration on the objects of
the institution was delivered. In the evening, a sumptuous banquet was
served up to a numerous company. After the removal of the cloth, among the
toasts given, was the following, by the Intendant of Ghent:--

"Our distinguished guests and fellow-members, the American Ministers: May
they succeed in making an honorable peace, to secure the liberty and
independence of their country."

This sentiment was received with immense applause. The band struck up
"Hail Columbia," and the company was filled with enthusiasm. It was some
minutes before the tumult sufficiently subsided to admit of a response.
Mr. Adams then arose, and, in behalf of the American Legation, returned
thanks for the very flattering manner in which they had been treated by
the municipality of Ghent, and particularly for the unexpected honor
conferred upon them by the Academy. After making some pertinent remarks on
the importance and usefulness of the Fine Arts, he concluded by offering
as a toast--"The Intendant of the city of Ghent."

The British Commissioners were Lord Gambier, Henry Goulburn, and Wm.
Adams. The negotiations opened dubiously. The demands of the British
Ministers were at first of such a character, that it was impossible to
comply with them, with any regard to the honor or welfare of the United
States. They insisted that the line separating the United States from the
Canadas, should run on the southern borders of all the lakes from Ontario
to Superior--that the American Government should keep no armed force on
these lakes, nor maintain any military posts on their borders, while the
British should have the privilege of establishing such posts wherever they
thought proper, on the southern shores of the lakes and connecting rivers,
and maintaining a navy on their waters--that a large part of the district
of Maine should be relinquished and ceded to England, to permit a direct
route of communication between Halifax and Quebec--that the right of
search should be granted to British ships-of-war--together with many
other terms equally unacceptable.

The letters of the American Commissioners to the Government at home, in
the early stages of the proceedings, were couched in desponding tones.
They gave it as their opinion that no terms of peace could be agreed upon.
But the demands of the English Plenipotentiaries were met in a manner so
decided, and reasons were offered for non-compliance so cogent and
incontrovertible, that they were compelled to recede, and come to terms of
a more reasonable description. Moreover the British nation was heartily
sick of foreign wars, which plunged the Government into debt, sacrificed
the lives of its subjects, crippled their manufactories, and secured them,
in fact, nothing! At length, after a protracted negotiation of six months,
articles of peace were signed by the British and American Commissioners,
on the 24th of December, 1814.

The announcement of this event, at Ghent, was in a manner somewhat
peculiar. Mr. Todd, one of the Secretaries of the American Commissioners,
and son-in-law of President Madison, had invited several gentlemen,
Americans and others, to take refreshments with him on the 24th of
December. At noon, after having spent some time in pleasant conversation,
the refreshments entered, and Mr. Todd said,--"It is 12 o'clock. Well,
gentlemen, I announce to you that peace has been made and signed between
America and England." In a few moments, Messrs. Gallatin, Clay, Carroll
and Hughes entered, and confirmed the annunciation. This intelligence was
received with a burst of joy by all present. The news soon spread through
the town, and gave general satisfaction to the citizens.

At Paris, the intelligence was hailed with acclamations. In the evening
the theatres resounded with cries of "God save the Americans."

In the United States the news of peace spread with the speed of the wind.
Everywhere it excited the most lively emotions of joy. Processions,
orations, bonfires, illuminations, attested the gratification of the
people, and showed that, notwithstanding the general success which had
attended our arms, they viewed peace as one of the highest blessings a
nation can enjoy.

Recognizing in this important event the hand of a wise and gracious
overruling Providence, the hearts of a great Christian nation turned in
gratitude toward God. President Madison issued the following proclamation
for a day of thanksgiving:--

"The Senate and House of Representatives of the United States have, by a
joint resolution, signified their desire that a day may be recommended, to
be observed by the people of the United States with religious solemnity,
as a day of thanksgiving and of devout acknowledgments to Almighty God,
for his great goodness, manifested in restoring to them the blessings of

"No people ought to feel greater obligations to celebrate the goodness of
the Great Disposer of events, and of the destiny of nations, than the
people of the United Slates. His kind providence originally conducted them
to one of the best portions of the dwelling place allowed for the great
family of the human race. He protected and cherished them under all the
difficulties and trials to which they were exposed in their early days.
Under his fostering care, their habits, their sentiments and their
pursuits prepared them for a transition in due time to a state of
independence and self-government. In the arduous struggle by which it was
attained, they were distinguished by multiplied tokens of his benign
interposition. During the interval which succeeded, he reared them into
the strength, and endowed them with the resources, which have enabled them
to assert their national rights, and to enhance their national character,
in another arduous conflict, which is now happily terminated by a peace
and reconciliation with those who have been our enemies. And to the same
Divine Author of every good and perfect gift we are indebted for all those
privileges and advantages, religious as well as civil, which are so richly
enjoyed in this favored land.

"It is for blessings such as these, and more especially for the
restoration of the blessings of peace, that I now recommend that the
second Thursday in April next, be set apart as a day on which the people
of every religious denomination may in their solemn assemblies unite their
hearts and their voices, in a free-will offering, to their Heavenly
Benefactor, of their homage of thanksgiving and their songs of praise."

Before leaving Ghent, the American Commissioners gave a public dinner to
the British Ambassadors, at which the Intendant of Ghent, and numerous
staff officers of the Hanoverian service, were present. Everything
indicated that the most perfect reconciliation had taken place between the
two nations. Lord Gambier had arisen to give, as the first toast, "The
United States of North America," but he was prevented by the courtesy of
Mr. Adams, who gave "His Majesty, the King of England"--on which the music
struck up "God save the King." Lord Gambier gave as the second toast,
"The United States of North America," and the music played "Hail Columbia."
Count H. Von Sheinhuyer presented as a toast--"The Pacificators of the
States--May their union contribute to the happiness of the Department
which is confided to my government; and may their Excellencies communicate
to their Governments the lively interest which those under me take in
their reconciliation." Mr. Adams and Lord Gambier both begged the
Intendant to certify to the city of Ghent the gratitude of the
Ministers, for the attention which the inhabitants had shown them during
their residence in their midst.

Having concluded their labors at Ghent by signing the treaty of peace,
Mr. Adams, together with Messrs. Albert Gallatin and Henry Clay, was
directed to proceed to London, for the purpose of entering into
negotiations for a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. Before leaving
the continent, Mr. Adams visited Paris, where he witnessed the return of
Napoleon from Elbe, and his meteoric career during the Hundred Days. Here
he was joined in March, 1815, by his family, after a long and perilous
journey from St. Petersburg.

On the 25th of May, Mr. Adams arrived in London and joined Messrs.
Gallatin and Clay, who had already entered upon the preliminaries of the
proposed commercial convention with Great Britain. In the mean time, Mr.
Adams had received official notice of his appointment as Minister to the
Court of St. James. On the 3d of July, 1815, the convention for regulating
the commercial intercourse between the United States and Great Britain was
concluded, and duly signed. It was afterwards ratified by both
Governments, and has formed the basis of commerce and trade between the
two countries, to the present time. At the conclusion of these
negotiations, Messrs. Gallatin and Clay returned to the United States, and
Mr. Adams remained in London, in his capacity as resident Minister.

Thus had the prediction of Washington been fulfilled. In "as short a time
as could well be expected," John Quincy Adams, as the well-merited reward
of faithful services, had attained to the head of the Diplomatic Corps of
the United States. His career had been singularly successful; and his
elevation to the highest foreign stations received the general approbation
of his countrymen. His simple habits, his plain appearance, his untiring
industry, his richly stored mind, his unbending integrity, his general
intercourse and correspondence with foreign courts and diplomatists of the
greatest distinction, all tended to elevate, in a high degree, the
American character, in the estimation of European nations.

The impression he made in the most eminent circles during his residence in
London, as a statesman of unsurpassed general information, and critical
knowledge of the politics of the world, was retained for years afterwards.
Mr. Rush, who was subsequently Minister to Great Britain, in an account of
a dinner party at Lord Castlereagh's, notes a corroborating incident: "At
table, I had on my left the Saxon Minister, Baron Just. * * * * * * He
inquired of me for Mr. Adams, whom he had known well, and of whom he spoke
highly. He said that he knew the politics of all Europe." [Footnote:
Rush's Residence at the Court of London.]

"It was while Mr. Adams was Minister of the United States in London, that
it was my personal good fortune to be admitted to his intimacy and
friendship. Being then in London on private business, and having some
previous acquaintance with Mr. Adams, I found in his house an ever kind
welcome, and in his intercourse and conversation unfailing attraction and
improvement. Accustomed as he had been from earliest youth to the society
of the most eminent persons in Europe, alike in station and in ability,
Mr. Adams never lost the entire simplicity of his own habits and
character. Under an exterior of, at times, almost repulsive coldness,
dwelt a heart as warm, sympathies as quick, and affections as overflowing,
as ever animated any bosom. His tastes, too, were all refined. Literature
and art were familiar and dear to him, and hence it was that his society
was at once so agreeable and so improving. At his hospitable board, I have
listened to disquisitions from his lips on poetry, especially the dramas
of Shakspeare, music, painting, sculpture--of rare excellence, and
untiring interest. The extent of his knowledge, indeed, and its accuracy,
in all branches, were not less remarkable than the complete command which
he appeared to possess over all his varied stores of learning and
information. A critical scholar, alike in the dead languages, in French,
in German, in Italian, not less than in English--he could draw at will
from the wealth of all these tongues to illustrate any particular topic,
or to explain any apparent difficulty. There was no literary work of merit
in any of these languages, of which he could not render a satisfactory
account; there was no fine painting or statue, of which he did not know
the details and the history; there was not even an opera, or a celebrated
musical composer, of which or of whom he could not point out the
distinguishing merits and the chief compositions. Yet he was a
hard-working, assiduous man of business, in his particular vocation, and a
more regular, punctual, comprehensive, voluminous diplomatic
correspondence than his no country can probably boast of; and it is
thought the more necessary to note this fact, because sometimes an opinion
prevails that graver pursuits must necessarily exclude attention to what
used to be called the "humanities" of education--those ornamental and
graceful acquirements, which, as Mr. Adams well proved, not only are not
inconsistent with, but greatly adorn, the weightier matters of the law and
of diplomacy. I could dwell with much satisfaction upon the memory and
incidents of the days to which I am now adverting, but am admonished, by
the length to which these remarks have already extended, that I may not
loiter." [Footnote: Eulogy on John Quincy Adams, by Charles King.]



James Madison, after serving his country eight years as President, in a
most perilous period of its history, retired to private life, followed by
the respect and gratitude of the people of the United States. He was
succeeded by James Monroe, who was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1817.

Mr. Monroe was a politician of great moderation.  It was his desire, on
entering the presidency, to heal the unhappy dissensions which had
distracted the country from the commencement of its government, and
conciliate and unite the conflicting political parties. In forming his
cabinet, he consulted eminent individuals of different parties, in various
sections of the Union, expressing these views. Among others, he addressed
Gen. Jackson, who, on account of his successful military career, was then
rising rapidly into public notice. In his reply the general remarked:--

"Everything depends on the selection of your ministry. In every selection,
party and party feeling should be avoided. Now is the time to exterminate
that monster, called party spirit. By selecting characters most
conspicuous for their probity, virtue, capacity, and firmness, without any
regard to party, you will go far, if not entirely, to eradicate those
feelings, which on former occasions, threw so many obstacles in the way of
government, and, perhaps, have the pleasure and honor of uniting a people
heretofore politically divided. The Chief Magistrate of a great and
powerful nation, should never indulge in party feelings."

Admirable advice! Sentiments worthy an exalted American statesman! The
President of a vast Republic, should indeed know nothing of the interest
of party in contradistinction to the interest of the whole people; and
should exercise his power, his patronage, and his influence, not to
strengthen factions, and promote the designs of political demagogues, but
to develop and nourish internal resources, the only sinews of national
prosperity, and diffuse abroad sentiments of true patriotism, liberality,
and philanthropy. No suggestions more admirable could have been made by
Gen. Jackson, and none could have been more worthy the consideration of
Mr. Monroe and his successors in the presidential chair.

In carrying out his plans of conciliation, President Monroe selected John
Quincy Adams for the responsible post of Secretary of State. Mr. Adams had
never been an active partizan. In his career as Senator, both in
Massachusetts and in Washington, during Mr. Jefferson's administration, he
had satisfactorily demonstrated his ability to rise above party
considerations, in the discharge of great and important duties. And his
long absence from the country had kept him free from personal, party, and
sectional bias, and peculiarly fitted him to take the first station in the
cabinet of a President aiming to unite his countrymen in fraternal bonds
of political amity.

Referring to this appointment, Mr. Monroe wrote Gen. Jackson as follows,
under date of March 1, 1817:--"I shall take a person for the Department of
State from the eastward; and Mr. Adams, by long service in our diplomatic
concerns appearing to be entitled to the preference, supported by his
acknowledged abilities and integrity, his nomination will go to the
Senate." Gen. Jackson, in his reply, remarks:--"I have no hesitation in
saying you have made the best selection to fill the Department of State
that could be made. Mr. Adams, in the hour of difficulty, will be an able
helpmate, and I am convinced his appointment will afford general
satisfaction." This prediction was well founded. The consummate ability
exhibited by Mr. Adams in foreign negotiations had elevated him to a high
position in the estimation of his countrymen. His selection for the State
Department was received with very general satisfaction throughout the

On receiving notice of his appointment to this responsible office, Mr.
Adams, with his family, embarked for the United States, on board the
packet-ship Washington, and landed in New York on the 6th of August, 1817.

A few days after his arrival, a public dinner was given Mr. Adams, in
Tammany Hall, New York. The room was elegantly decorated. In the centre
was a handsome circle of oak leaves, roses, and flags--the whole
representing, with much effect, our happy Union--and from the centre of
which, as from her native woods, appeared our eagle, bearing in her beak
this impressive scroll:--

  "Columbia, great Republic, thou art blest,
  While Empires droop, and Monarchs sink to rest."

Gov. De Witt Clinton, the Mayor of New York, and about two hundred
citizens of the highest respectability, sat down to the table. Among other
speeches made on the occasion, was the following from an English
gentleman, a Mr. Fearon, of London:--

"As several gentlemen have volunteered songs, I would beg leave to offer a
sentiment, which I am sure will meet the hearty concurrence of all
present. But, previous to which, I desire to express the high satisfaction
which this day's entertainment has afforded me. Though a native of Great
Britain, and but a few days in the United States, I am for the first time
in my life in a free country, surrounded by free men; and when I look at
the inscription which decorates your eagle, I rejoice that I have been
destined to see this day.  A great number of the enlightened portion of my
countrymen advocate your cause--admire your principles. And though we
have, unfortunately, been engaged in a war, I trust the result has taught
wisdom to both parties. In your political institutions you have set a
noble example, which, if followed throughout the world, will rescue
mankind from the dominion of those tyrants who jeer at the destruction
which they produce--

  'Like the moonbeams on the blasted heath,
  Mocking its desolation.'

"Gentlemen, in conclusion, I beg to express the delight which I feel, and
propose to you as a toast--May the United States be an example to the
world; and may civil and religious liberty cover the earth, as the waters
do the channels of the deep."

A public dinner was also given Mr. Adams on his arrival in Boston. Mr.
Gray presided, and Messrs. Otis, Blake, and Mason, acted as Vice
Presidents. His father, the venerable ex-President John Adams, was present
as a guest. Among other toasts given on the occasion, were the

"The United States.--May our public officers, abroad and at home, continue
to be distinguished for integrity, talents, and patriotism."

"The Commissioners at Ghent.--The negotiations for peace have been
declared, in the British House of Lords, to wear the stamp of American

"American Manufactures.--A sure and necessary object for the security of
American independence."

This occasion must have been one of great interest to the patriarch John
Adams, then more than four-score years of age. Nearly forty years before,
he had said of his son:--"He behaves like a man!" That son, in the prime
of his days, had recently been called from foreign service, where he had
obtained accumulated honors, to fill the highest station in the gift of
the Executive of his country. The people of two continents would now unite
with the venerable sage, in repeating the declaration--"He behaves like a
man!" The patriarch stood upon the verge of the grave. But as the sun of
his existence was gently and calmly sinking beneath the horizon, lo! its
beams were reflected in their pristine brightness by another orb, born
from its bosom, which was steadily ascending to the zenith of earthly

John Quincy Adams took up his residence at Washington, and entered upon
his duties as Secretary of State, in September, 1817.

During the eight years of President Monroe's administration, Mr. Adams
discharged the duties of the state department, with a fidelity and success
which received not only the unqualified approbation of the President, but
of the whole country. To him that office was no sinecure. His labors were
incessant. He spared no pains to qualify himself to discuss, with
consummate skill, whatever topics legitimately claimed his attention. The
President, the cabinet, the people, imposed implicit trust in his ability
to promote the interests of the nation in all matters of diplomacy, and
confided unreservedly in his pure American feelings and love of country.
Perfectly familiar as he was with the political condition of the world,
Mr. Monroe entrusted him, without hesitation, with the management of the
foreign policy of the Government, during his administration.

In the autumn of 1817, the Seminole and a portion of the Creek Indians
commenced depredations on the frontiers of Georgia and Alabama. Troops
were sent to reduce them, under Gen. Gaines. His force being too weak to
bring them to subjection, Gen. Jackson was ordered to take the field with
a more numerous army, with which he overran the Indian country. Believing
it necessary to enter Florida, then a Spanish territory, for the more
effectual subjugation of the Indians, he did not hesitate to pursue them
thither. The Spanish authorities protested against the invasion of their
domains, and offered some opposition. Gen. Jackson persisted, and in the
result, took possession of St. Marks and Pensacola, and sent the Spanish
authorities and troops to Havana.

Among the prisoners taken in this expedition, were a Scotchman and an
Englishman, named Arbuthnot and Ambrister. They were British subjects,
but were charged with supplying the Indians with arms and munitions of
war; stirring them up against the whites, and acting as spies. On these
charges they were tried by a court martial, of which Gen. Gaines was
President--found guilty--condemned to death, and executed on the 27th of
April, 1818.

These transactions of Gen. Jackson caused great excitement throughout the
United States, and subjected him to no little blame. The subject excited
much debate in Congress. A resolution censuring him for his summary
proceedings was introduced, but voted down by a large majority. In Mr.
Monroe's cabinet, there was a strong feeling against Gen. Jackson. The
President, and all the members, with a single exception, were disposed to
hold him responsible for having transcended his orders. Hon. Wm. H.
Crawford, who was in Mr. Monroe's cabinet at that time, in a letter to
Mr. Forsyth, says:--"Mr. Calhoun's proposition in the cabinet was, that
Gen. Jackson should be punished in some form, or reprimanded in some

Mr. Adams alone vindicated Gen. Jackson. He insisted that inasmuch as the
Government had ordered him to pursue the enemy into Florida, if necessary,
they were responsible for the acts of the American general, in the
exercise of the discretionary power with which he had been clothed.
Several cabinet meetings were held on the subject, in July, 1818, in which
the whole matter was thoroughly discussed. Mr. Adams succeeded at length
in bringing the President into the adoption of his views, which Mr. Monroe
substantially embodied in his next annual message to Congress.

The intelligence of the execution of Arbuthnot and Ambrister, excited
the highest indignation in England. The people viewed it as a violation of
the rights of British subjects, and an insult to their nation, and were
ready to rush to war.  Lord Castlereagh declared to Mr. Rush, the
American Minister, that had the English cabinet but held up a finger, war
would have been declared against the United States. But so able and
convincing were the arguments which Mr. Adams directed Mr. Rush to lay
before the British Ministers, in defence of the proceedings of Gen.
Jackson, that they became convinced there was no just cause of war between
the two countries, and exerted their influence against any movement in
that direction.

On the 22nd of February, 1819, a treaty was concluded at Washington,
between the United States and Spain, by which East and West Florida, with
the adjacent islands, were ceded to the Union. The negotiations which
resulted in the consummation of the treaty, were conducted by Mr. Adams
and Luis de Onis the Spanish Ambassador. This treaty was very
advantageous to the United States. It brought to a close a controversy
with Spain, of many years' standing, which had defied all the exertions of
former administrations to adjust, and placed our relations with that
country on the most amicable footing. In effecting this reconciliation,
Mr. Adams deserved and received a high share of credit.

The recognition of the independence of the Spanish South American
Provinces, by the Government of the United States, took place during Mr.
Adams's administration of the State Department. The honor of first
proposing this recognition, in the Congress of the United States, and of
advocating it with unsurpassed eloquence and zeal, belongs to the
patriotic Henry Clay. Mainly by his influence, the House of
Representatives, in 1820, passed the following resolutions:--

"Resolved, That the House of Representatives participate with the people
of the United States, in the deep interest which they feel for the success
of the Spanish Provinces of South America, which are struggling to
establish their liberty and independence.

"Resolved, That this House will give its constitutional support to the
President of the United States, whenever he may deem it expedient to
recognize the sovereignty and independence of any of said Provinces."

Mr. Adams at first hesitated on this subject. Not that he was opposed to
the diffusion of the blessings of freedom to the oppressed. No man was a
more ardent lover of liberty, or was more anxious that its institutions
should be established throughout the earth, at the earliest practicable
moment. But he had many and serious doubts whether the people of the South
American Provinces were capable of originating and maintaining an
enlightened self-government.  There was a lack of general intelligence
among the people--a want of an enlarged and enlightened understanding of
the principles of rational freedom--which led him to apprehend that their
attempts at self-government would for a long season, at least, result in
the reign of faction and anarchy, rather than true republican principles.
The subsequent history of these countries--the divisions and contentions,
the revolutions and counter-revolutions, which have rent them asunder, and
deluged them in blood--clearly show that Mr. Adams but exercised a
far-seeing intelligence in entertaining these doubts. Nevertheless, as
they had succeeded in throwing off the Spanish yoke, and had, in fact,
achieved their independence, Mr. Adams would not throw any impediment in
their way. Trusting that his fears as to their ability for self-government
might be groundless, he gave his influence to the recognizing of their
independence by the United States.

In 1821 the Greek revolution broke out. The people of that classic land,
after enduring ages of the most brutal and humiliating oppression from the
Turks, nobly resolved to break the chains of the Ottoman power, or perish
in the attempt. The war was long, and sanguinary, but finally resulted in
the emancipation of Greece, and the establishment of its independence as a

The inhabitants of the United States could not witness such a struggle
with indifference. A spirit of sympathy ran like electricity throughout
the land. Public meetings were held in nearly every populous town in the
Union, in which resolutions, encouraging the Greeks in their struggle,
were passed, and contributions taken up to aid them. Money, clothing,
provisions, arms, were collected in immense quantities and shipped to
Greece. In churches, colleges, academies and schools--at the theatres,
museums, and other places of amusement and public resort--aid was freely
and generously given in behalf of the struggling patriots. Many citizens
of the United States, when the first blast of the trumpet of liberty rang
along the Ionian seas, and through the Peloponnesus, sped across the
ocean, and, throwing themselves into the midst of the Grecian hosts,
contended heroically for their emancipation. Among these volunteers, was
Col. J. P. Miller, of Vermont, who not only gallantly fought in the
battles of Greece, but was greatly serviceable in conveying supplies from
the United States to that struggling people.

The deep sympathy which prevailed in every section of the Union, was soon
felt in Congress. Many public men were anxious that the Government should
take some important and decisive step, even to hostilities, in behalf of
Greece. Eloquent speeches were delivered in the House of Representatives
on the exciting topic. Mr. Clay electrified the country with his stirring
appeals in behalf of the land in which was established the first republic
on earth. Mr. Webster submitted the following resolution to the House of

"Resolved, That provision ought to be made by law, for defraying the
expense incident to the appointment of an Agent, or Commissioner, to
Greece, whenever the President shall deem it expedient to make such

In support of this resolution, Mr. Webster made a most eloquent speech, of
which the following is the conclusion:--

"Mr. Chairman--There are some things which, to be well done, must be
promptly done. If we even determine to do the thing that is now proposed,
we may do it too late Sir, I am not of those who are for withholding aid
when it is most urgently needed, and when the stress is past, and the aid
no longer necessary, overwhelming the sufferers with caresses. I will not
stand by and see my fellow-man drowning, without stretching out a hand to
help him, till he has, by his own efforts and presence of mind, reached
the shore in safety, and then encumber him with aid. With suffering
Greece, now is the crisis of her fate--her great, it may be her last
struggle. Sir, while we sit here deliberating, her destiny may be decided.
The Greeks, contending with ruthless oppressors, turn their eyes to us,
and invoke us, by their ancestors, by their slaughtered wives and
children, by their own blood poured out like water, by the hecatombs of
dead they have heaped up, as it were, to heaven; they invoke, they implore
from us some cheering sound, some look of sympathy, some token of
compassionate regard. They look to us as the great Republic of the
earth--and they ask us, by our common faith, whether we can forget that
they are struggling, as we once struggled, for what we now so happily
enjoy? I cannot say, sir, they will succeed; that rests with heaven. But,
for myself, sir, if I should to-morrow hear that they have failed--that
their last phalanx had sunk beneath the Turkish cimetar, that the flames
of their last city had sunk in its ashes, and that nought remained but
the wide, melancholy waste where Greece once was--I should still reflect,
with the most heartfelt satisfaction, that I have asked you, in the name
of seven millions of freemen, that you would give them, at least, the
cheering of one friendly voice."

The committee having in charge the raising of a fund for the assistance of
the Greeks, in New York, addressed a circular to the venerable
ex-President John Adams, to which they received the following reply:--

                                               "Quincy, Dec. 29, 1823.
"GENTLEMEN:--I have received your circular of the 12th inst., and I thank
you for the honor you have done me in addressing it to me. Be assured my
heart beats in unison with yours, and with those of your constituents, and
I presume with all the really civilized part of mankind, in sympathy with
the Greeks, suffering, as they are, in the great cause of liberty and
humanity. The gentlemen of Boston have taken measures to procure a general
subscription in their favor, through the State, and I shall contribute my
mite with great pleasure. In the meantime I wish you, and all other
gentlemen engaged in the virtuous work, all the success you or they can
wish; for I believe no effort in favor of virtue will be ultimately lost.

"I have the honor to be, Gentlemen, your very humble Servant,
                                                 "JOHN ADAMS."

The sympathies of John Quincy Adams were ardently enlisted in behalf of
the Greek Revolution. But with a prudence and wisdom which characterized
all his acts, he threw his influence against any direct interference on
the part of the Government of the United States. It would have been a
departure from that neutral policy, in regard to European conflicts, on
which the country had acted from the commencement of our national
existence, alike injurious and dangerous. He knew if we once entered into
these wars, on any pretext whatever, a door would be opened for foreign
entanglements and endless conflicts, which would result in standing
armies, immense national debts, and the long trail of evils of which they
are the prolific source.

When an application was made to Mr. Adams, as Secretary of State, through
Mr. Rush, our Minister at London, by an Agent of Greece, for aid from the
United States, he was compelled, on principles above stated, to withhold
the required assistance. The correspondence which grew out of this
application is sufficiently interesting to find a place in these pages:--

"Andreas Luriottis, Envoy of the Provisional Government of Greece, to the
Hon. John Quincy Adams, Secretary of State to the United States of

SIR:--I feel no slight emotion, while, in behalf of Greece, my country,
struggling for independence and liberty, I address myself to the United
States of America.

"The independence for which we combat, you have achieved. The liberty to
which we look, with anxious solicitude, you have obtained, and
consolidated in peace and in glory.

"Yet Greece, old Greece, the seat of early civilization and freedom,
stretches out her hands, imploringly, to a land which sprung into being,
as it were, ages after her own lustre had been extinguished! and
ventures to hope that the youngest and most vigorous sons of liberty, will
regard, with no common sympathy, the efforts of the descendants of the
heir and the elder born, whose precepts and whose example have
served--though insufficient, hitherto, for our complete regeneration--to
regenerate half a world.

"I know, Sir, that the sympathies of the generous people of the United
States have been extensively directed towards us; and since I have reached
this country, an interview with their Minister, Mr. Rush, has served to
convince me more strongly, how great their claim is on our gratitude and
our affection. May I hope that some means may be found to communicate
these our feelings, of which I am so proud to be the organ? We will still
venture to rely on their friendship. We would look to their individual, if
not to their national, co-operation. Every, the slightest, assistance
under present circumstances, will aid the progress of the great work of
liberty; and if, standing, as we have stood, alone and unsupported, with
everything opposed to us, and nothing to encourage us but patriotism,
enthusiasm, and sometimes even despair: if thus we have gone forward,
liberating our provinces, one after another, and subduing every force
which has been directed against us, what may we not do with the assistance
for which we venture to appeal to the generous and the free?

"Precipitated by circumstances into that struggle for independence, which,
ever since the domination of our cruel and reckless tyrants, had never
ceased to be the object of our vows and prayers, we have, by the blessing
of God, freed a considerable part of Greece from the ruthless invaders.
The Peloponnesus, Etolia, Carmania, Attica, Phocida, Boetia, and the
Islands of the Archipelago and Candia, are nearly free. The armies and
the fleets which have been sent against us, have been subdued by the valor
of our troops and our marine. Meanwhile we have organized a government,
founded upon popular suffrages: and you will probably have seen how
closely our organic law assimilates to that constitution under which your
nation so happily and so securely lives.

"I have been sent hither by the government of Greece, to obtain assistance
in our determined enterprize, on which we, like you, have staked our
lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor: and I believe my journey has
not been wholly without success. I should have been wanting to my duty had
I not addressed you, supplicating the earliest display of your amiable
purposes; entreating that diplomatic relations may be established between
us; communicating the most earnest desire of my government that we may be
allowed to call you allies as well as friends; and stating that we shall
rejoice to enter upon discussions which may lead to immediate and
advantageous treaties, and to receive diplomatic agents without delay.
Both at Madrid and at Lisbon, I have been received with great kindness by
the American Representative, and am pleased to record the expression of my

"Though, fortunately, you are so far removed, and raised so much above the
narrow politics of Europe as to be little influenced by their
vicissitudes, I venture to believe that Mr. Rush will explain to you the
changes which have taken place, and are still in action around us, in our
favor. And I conclude, rejoicing in the hope that North America and Greece
may be united in the bonds of long-enduring, and unbroken concord: and
have the honor to be, with every sentiment of respect, your obedient
humble servant.
                                                    "AND. LURIOTTIS.
  'London, February 20, 1823."


                                     "Department of State,
                                      Washington, 18th August, 1823.
"SIR:--I have the honor of inclosing, herewith, an answer to the letter
from Mr. Luriottis, the Agent of the Greeks addressed to me, and a copy
of which was transmitted with your dispatch No. 295.

"If, upon the receipt of this letter, Mr. Luriottis should still be in
London, it will be desirable that you should deliver it to him in person,
accompanied with such remarks and explanations as may satisfy him, and
those whom he represents, that, in declining the proposal of giving active
aid to the cause of Grecian emancipation, the Executive Government of the
United States has been governed not by its inclinations, or a sentiment of
indifference to the cause, but by its constitutional duties, clear and

"The United States could give assistance to the Greeks, only by the
application of some portion of their public forces or of their public
revenue in their favor, which would constitute them in a state of war with
the Ottoman Porte, and perhaps with all the Barbary powers. To make this
disposal either of force or of treasure, you are aware is, by our
constitution, not within the competency of the Executive. It could be
determined only by an act of Congress, which would assuredly not be
adopted, should it even be recommended by the Executive.

"The policy of the United States, with reference to foreign nations, has
always been founded upon the moral principle of natural law--Peace with
all mankind. From whatever cause war between other nations, whether
foreign or domestic, has arisen, the unvarying law of the United States
has been peace with both belligerents. From the first war of the French
Revolution, to the recent invasion of Spain, there has been a succession
of wars, national and civil, in almost everyone of which one of the
parties was contending for liberty or independence. In the first French
revolutionary war, a strong impulse of feeling urged the people of the
United States to take side with the party which, at its commencement, was
contending, apparently, at least, for both. Had the policy of the United
States not been essentially pacific, a stronger case to claim their
interference could scarcely have been presented. They nevertheless
declared themselves neutral, and the principle, then deliberately settled,
has been invariably adhered to ever since.

"With regard to the recognition of sovereign States, and the establishment
with them of a diplomatic intercourse, the experience of the last thirty
years has served also to ascertain the limits proper for the application
of principles in which every nation must exercise some latitude of
discretion. Precluded by their neutral position from interfering in the
question of right, the United States have recognized the fact of foreign
sovereignty only when it was undisputed, or disputed without any rational
prospect of success. In this manner the successive changes of government
in many of the European states, and the revolutionary governments of South
America, have been acknowledged. The condition of the Greeks is not yet
such as will admit of their recognition, upon these principles.

"Yet, as we cherish the most friendly feelings towards them, and are
sincerely disposed to render them any service which may be compatible with
our neutrality, it will give us pleasure to learn, from time to time, the
actual state of their cause, political and military. Should Mr. Luriottis
be enabled and disposed to furnish this information, it may always be
communicated through you, and will be received with satisfaction here. The
public accounts from that quarter have been of late very scanty, and we
shall be glad to obtain any authentic particulars, which may come to your
knowledge from this, or through any other channel.

"I am with great respect, Sir, your very humble and obedient servant,
                                                   JOHN QUINCY ADAMS."


                                    "Department of State,
                                     Washington, 18th August, 1823.
"Sir: A copy of the letter which you did me the honor of addressing to me,
on the 20th of February last, has been transmitted to me by the Minister
of the United States at London, and has received the deliberate
consideration of the President of the United States.

"The sentiments with which he has witnessed the struggles of your
countrymen for their national emancipation and independence, had been made
manifest to the world in a public message to the Congress of the United
States. They are cordially felt by the people of this Union; who,
sympathizing with the cause of freedom and independence wherever its
standard is unfurled, behold with peculiar interest the display of Grecian
energy in defence of Grecian liberties, and the association of heroic
exertions, at the present time, with the proudest glories of former ages,
in the land of Epaminondas and Philopoemon.

"But while cheering with their best wishes the cause of the Greeks, the
United States are forbidden, by the duties of their situation, from taking
part in the war, to which their relation is that of neutrality. At peace
themselves with all the world, their established policy, and the
obligations of the laws of nations, preclude them from becoming voluntary
auxiliaries to a cause which would involve them in war.

"If in the progress of events the Greeks should be enabled to establish
and organize themselves as an independent nation, the United States will
be among the first to welcome them, in that capacity, into the general
family; to establish diplomatic and commercial relations with them, suited
to the mutual interests of the two countries; and to recognize, with
special satisfaction, their constituted state in the character of a sister

"I have the honor to be, with distinguished consideration, Sir, your very
humble and obedient servant,
                                                   "JOHN QUINCY ADAMS."

The sentiments, in regard to the foreign policy of our Government, which
Mr. Adams embodies in this correspondence, he had previously expressed in
an oration delivered in the city of Washington, on the 4th of July, 1821,
of which the following is an extract:--

"America, in the assembly of nations, since her admission among them, has
invariably, though often fruitlessly, held forth to them the hand of
honest friendship, of equal freedom, of generous reciprocity; she has
uniformly spoken among them, though often to heedless, and often to
disdainful ears, the language of equal liberty, of equal justice, and
equal rights; she has, in the lapse of nearly half a century, without a
single exception, respected the independence of other nations while
asserting and maintaining her own; she has abstained from interference in
the concerns of others, even when the conflict has been for principles to
which she clings as to the last vital drop that visits the heart. She has
seen that probably for centuries to come all the contests of that
Aceldama, the European world, will be contests of inveterate power and
emerging right. Wherever the standard of freedom and independence has been
or shall be unfurled, there will her heart, her benedictions, and her
prayers be. But she goes not abroad in search of monsters to destroy. She
is the well-wisher to the freedom and independence of all--she is the
champion and vindicator only of her own. She will recommend the general
cause, by the countenance of her voice, and the benignant sympathy of her
example:--she well knows that by once enlisting under other banners than
her own, were they even the banners of foreign independence, she would
involve herself beyond the power of extrication, in all the wars of
interest and intrigue, of individual avarice, envy and ambition, which
assume the colors, and usurp the standard of freedom. The fundamental
maxims of her policy would insensibly change from liberty to force; the
frontlet on her brow would no longer beam with the ineffable splendor of
freedom and independence; but in its stead would soon be substituted an
imperial diadem, flashing in false and tarnished lustre, the murky
radiance of dominion and power. She might become the dictatress of the
world: she would be no longer the ruler of her own spirit."

During Mr. Adams's occupancy of the state department, efforts were made by
the American Government to abolish the African slave trade, and procure
its denunciation as piracy, by the civilized world. On the 28th of Feb.,
1823, the following resolution was adopted by the House of
Representatives, at Washington, by a vote of 131 to 9:--

"Resolved, That the President of the United States be requested to enter
upon and to prosecute, from time to time, such negotiations with the
several maratime powers of Europe and America, as he may deem expedient
for the effectual abolition of the African slave trade, and its ultimate
denunciation as piracy, under the law of nations, by the consent of the
civilized world."

In compliance with this resolution, Mr. Adams, as Secretary of State,
issued directions to the American Ministers in Spain, Russia, the
Netherlands, Colombia, and Buenos Ayres, to enter into negotiations with
the Governments of these countries on this subject. Mr. Adams also
maintained an able correspondence with the Hon. Stratford Canning, the
British Minister at Washington, in relation to the basis on which a treaty
should be formed with Great Britain for the suppression of the foreign
slave trade.

Mr. Rush, the American Minister at the Court of St. James, was directed to
enter upon negotiations in London, to this end. His instructions were
written by Mr. Adams, with his usual sound judgment and enlarged views of
national policy, and the claims of humanity. The convention was in due
time completed, and signed by the Plenipotentiaries of both nations, on
the 13th of March. 1824, and was sent by Mr. Rush to Washington for
ratification. Mr. Monroe and Mr. Adams were ready to give it their
sanction; but the Senate insisted on striking out a provision in the first
article. The article commenced as follows:--

"The commanders and commissioned officers of each of the two high
contracting parties, duly authorized, under the regulations and
instructions of their respective Governments, to cruise on the coasts of
Africa, of America, and of the West Indies, for the suppression of the
slave trade, shall be empowered, under the conditions, limitations, and
restrictions hereinafter specified," &c.

The Senate struck out the words "of America." This amendment the British
Government would not assent to. Thus the negotiation on the slave trade,
so near a consummation, fell to the ground.

Mr. Monroe's administration closed on the 3rd of March, 1825. It was a
period of uninterrupted prosperity to the country. Our foreign commerce,
recovering from the paralysis caused by the embargo, the non-intercourse
act, and the war, spread forth its wings and whitened every sea and ocean
on the globe. The domestic condition of the Union was thriving beyond the
precedent of many former years. Improvements in agriculture were
developed; domestic manufactures received a fair protection and
encouragement; internal improvements, gaining more and more the attention
and confidence of the people, had been prosecuted to the evident benefit
of all branches of business and enterprize.

Another characteristic of the administration of Mr. Monroe is worthy of
note. So judiciously and patriotically had he exercised the powers
entrusted to him, that he disarmed opposition. Divisions, jealousies and
contentions were destroyed, and a thorough fusion of all political parties
took place. At his re-election for the second term of the presidency,
there was no opposing candidate. There was but one party, and that was the
great party of the American people. His election was unanimous.

In all these measures, Mr. Adams was the coadjutor and confidential
adviser of Mr. Monroe. It is no derogation from the well-merited
reputation of the latter to say, that many of the most striking and
praiseworthy features of his administration were enstamped upon it by the
labor and influence of the former. His success in maturing and carrying
into execution his most popular measures must be attributed, in no small
extent, to the ability and faithfulness of his eminent Secretary of State.
And the historian may truly record that to John Quincy Adams, in an
eminent degree, belongs a portion of the honor and credit which have been
so generally accorded to the administration of James Monroe.



James Monroe was the last of the illustrious line of Presidents whose
claims to that eminent station dated back to the revolution. A grateful
people had conferred the highest honors in their gift upon the most
conspicuous of those patriots who had faithfully served them in that
perilous struggle, and aided in constructing and consolidating the union
of these States. This debt punctually and honorably discharged, they
looked to another generation, possessing claims of a different
description, for servants to elevate to the dignity of the presidential

In the midst of a large class of public men who had in the mean time
become conspicuous for talents and services of various descriptions, it is
no matter of surprise that the people of the United States should
entertain a diversity of opinions in regard to the most suitable
individual to fill a station which had hitherto been occupied by men whose
virtues and whose patriotism had shed the brightest lustre on the
American name and character throughout the world. Candidates for the
presidency were nominated in various sections of the Union. The eastern
States turned their eyes instinctively towards JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, as one,
among all the eminent competitors, the most fitted, by character and
services, for the office of President of the United States. The members of
the Legislature of Maine resolved--

"That the splendid talents and incorruptible integrity of JOHN QUINCY
ADAMS, his republican habits and principles, distinguished public
services, and extensive knowledge of, and devoted attachment to, the vital
interests of the country, justly entitle him to the first honors in the
gift of an enlightened and grateful people."

The republican members of the Massachusetts Legislature adopted the
following resolutions:--

"Resolved, That the ability, experience, integrity and patriotism of JOHN
QUINCY ADAMS; his manly efforts to defend the principles of that
government under which, in God's providence, we hope to die; his unshaken
fortitude and resolution in all political exigencies; his long, faithful,
and valuable services, under the patronage of all the Presidents of the
United States, present him to the people of this nation, as a man
eminently qualified to subserve the best interests of his country, and as
a statesman without reproach.

"Resolved, That a man who has given such continued and indubitable pledges
of his patriotism and capacity, may be safely placed at the head of this
nation. Every impulse of his heart, and every dictate of his mind, must
unite promptly in the support of the interests, the honor, and the liberty
of his country.

"Resolved, That JOHN QUINCY ADAMS is hereby recommended by us to the
people of the United States, as the most suitable candidate for the office
of President, at the approaching election."

A meeting of the citizens of Rhode Island passed the following among other

"Resolved, That, although we duly acknowledge the talents and public
services of all the candidates for the presidency, we have the fullest
confidence in the acknowledged ability, integrity and experience of JOHN
QUINCY ADAMS, the accomplished scholar, the true republican, the
enlightened statesman, and the honest man; and we are desirous that his
merits should be rewarded with the first office in the gift of the people
of the United States--that his future services may continue unto us those
blessings which, under the present administration of the General
Government, we have so abundantly enjoyed."

These were high encomiums. But who among the American people, now that the
patriot has departed from earth, can survey his life, his character, and
his services, and not acknowledge they were justly and richly deserved?
Similar resolutions were passed in all the eastern and many of the
northern States.

The west brought forward HENRY CLAY, one of the most popular orators and
eminent statesman of the day. GEN. JACKSON, who had earned a splendid
military reputation, was nominated in the southwest, and WM. H. CRAWFORD
was selected as the candidate representing the southern portion of the
confederacy. These were all men of eminence and of acknowledged talents.
They were worthy competitors for the highest honors of the Republic.

The friends of Mr. Adams rested his claims for the presidency on no
factitious qualities. They urged that his characteristics were such as to
commend him to the confidence of every true republican and well-wisher of
his country. While his attainments were not of the showy and popular cast
possessed by many public men, they yet were of that solid, practical and
valuable description which must ever receive the sanction of intelligent
and reflecting minds.

The qualifications on which his supporters depended, and to which they
called the attention of the American people, as reasons for elevating him
to the head of the General Government, may be summarily enumerated as
follows:--1. The purity of his private character--the simplicity of his
personal habits--his unbending integrity and uprightness, even beyond
suspicion. 2. His commanding talents, and his acquirements both as a
scholar and a statesman. 3. His love of country--his truly American
feelings, in all that concerned the welfare and honor of the United
States. 4. His long experience in public affairs, especially his
familiarity with our foreign relations, and his perfect knowledge of the
institutions, the internal condition and policy of European nations. 5.
His advocacy of protection to domestic manufactures, and of a judicious
system of internal improvements.

In regard to internal improvements by the General Government, there was a
difference of opinion between Mr. Adams and President Monroe. The latter
was strongly impressed with the beneficial tendency of a well-digested
system of internal improvements; but he believed the constitution
conferred no power on Congress to make appropriations for such a purpose.
It was in this view of the subject that he vetoed a bill which assumed the
right to adopt and execute such a system, passed by Congress during the
session of 1820-21. But anxious that internal improvements, confined to
great national purposes, and with proper limitations, should be
prosecuted, he suggested that an amendment of the constitution to that
effect should be recommended to the several States.

Mr. Adams, however, had no doubts that Congress already possessed a
constitutional power to prosecute such internal improvements as were of a
national character, and calculated to benefit the Union, and to levy
duties for the protection of domestic manufactures. During his entire
political career he had deemed these to be two great points toward which
the American Government and people should turn their especial attention;
and he ever gave them his faithful advocacy and support. With consummate
wisdom, he foresaw that the more completely our internal resources were
developed, and the less dependent we were on foreign powers, the greater
would be our public and private prosperity. He insisted that by an
adequate protection of domestic manufactures, there would be an increased
demand for our raw materials at home, and thus the several productive and
manufacturing sections of the Republic would realize the benefits of a
dependence on each other, and the Union would be consolidated and
perpetuated for ages to come.

While a candidate for the presidency, Mr. Adams received a letter
inquiring his views on the subject of internal improvement. The following
is an extract from his reply:--

"On the 23rd of Feb., 1807, I offered, in the Senate of the United States,
of which I was then a member, the first resolution, as I believe, that
ever was presented to Congress, contemplating a general system of internal
improvement. I thought that Congress possessed the power of appropriating
money to such improvement, and of authorizing the works necessary for
making it--subject always to the territorial rights of the several States
in or through which the improvement is to be made, to be secured by the
consent of their Legislatures, and to proprietary rights of individuals,
to be purchased or indemnified. I still hold the same opinions; and,
although highly respecting the purity of intention of those who object, on
constitutional grounds, to the exercise of this power, it is with
heartfelt satisfaction that I perceive those objections gradually yielding
to the paramount influence of the general welfare. Already have
appropriations of money to great objects of internal improvement been
freely made; and I hope we shall both live to see the day, when the only
question of our statesmen and patriots, concerning the authority of
Congress to improve, by public works essentially beneficent, and beyond
the means of less than national resources, the condition of our common
country, will be how it ever could have been doubted."

On another occasion, Mr. Adams expressed himself on the subject of
internal improvements in the following manner:--

"The question of the power of Congress to authorize the making of internal
improvements, is, in other words, a question whether the people of this
Union, in forming their common social compact, as avowedly for the purpose
of promoting their general welfare, have performed their work in a manner
so ineffably stupid as to deny themselves the means of bettering their own
condition. I have too much respect for the intellect of my country to
believe it. The first object of human association is the improvement of
the condition of the associated. Roads and canals are among the most
essential means of improving the condition of nations. And a people which
should deliberately, by the organization of its authorized power, deprive
itself of the faculty of multiplying its own blessings, would be as wise
as a creator who should undertake to constitute a human being without a

In addition to other claims, the friends of Mr. Adams urged his elevation
to the presidency on the ground of locality. During the thirty-six years
which had passed since the adoption of the constitution, the General
Government had been administered but four years by a northern President.
It was insisted with much force that the southern portion of the Republic
had thus far exerted a disproportionate influence in the executive
department of the nation. While the north, although far the most populous,
and contributing much the largest portion of the means for defraying the
national expenditures, would not claim to monopolize an undue degree of
power in controlling the measures of administration, yet it could justly
insist that its demands for an equitable share of influence should be
heeded. These suggestions unquestionably possessed a weight in the minds
of the people, favorable to the prospects of Mr. Adams.

The Presidential campaign of 1824, was more spirited and exciting than any
that had taken place since the first election of Mr. Jefferson. It was
novel in the number of candidates presented for the suffrages of the
people, and was conducted with great zeal and vigor by the friends of the
different aspirants. Strictly speaking, it could not be called a party
contest. Mr. Monroe's wise and prudent administration had obliterated
party lines, and left a very general unanimity of sentiment on political
principles and measures, throughout the Union. The various candidates--
Adams, Jackson, Clay, Crawford--all subscribed, substantially, to the same
political creed, and entertained similar views as to the principles on
which the General Government should be administered. The struggle was a
personal and sectional one, more than of a party nature.

It had long been foreseen that a choice of President would not be effected
by the people. The result verified this prediction. Of two hundred and
sixty-one electoral votes, Gen. Jackson received ninety-nine, Mr. Adams
eighty-four, Mr. Crawford forty-one, and Mr. Clay thirty-seven. Neither of
the candidates having received a majority in the electoral colleges, the
election devolved on the House of Representatives. This took place on the
9th of Feb., 1825.

On the morning of that day, the House met at an earlier hour than usual.
The galleries, the lobbies, and the adjacent apartments, were filled to
overflowing--with spectators from every part of the Union to witness the
momentous event. It was a scene the most sublime that could be witnessed
on earth. The Representatives of the People, in the exercise of the
highest right of freemen, were about to select a citizen to administer the
Government of a great Republic.

All the members of the House were present, with the exception of one, who
was confined by indisposition. The Speaker (Henry Clay) took his chair,
and the ordinary business of the morning was attended to in the usual
manner. At 12 o'clock, precisely, the members of the Senate entered the
hall, preceded by their Sergeant-at-arms, and having the President of the
Senate at their head, who was invited to a seat on the right hand of the
Speaker. The Senators were assigned seats in front of the Speaker's chair.

The President of the Senate (Mr. Gaillard) then rose, and stated that the
certificates forwarded by the electors from each State would be delivered
to the Tellers. Mr. Tazewell of the Senate, and Messrs. John W. Taylor
and Philip P. Barbour on the part of the House, took their places, as
Tellers, at the Clerk's table. The President of the Senate then opened two
packets, one received by messenger and the other by mail, containing the
certificates of the votes of the State of New Hampshire. One of these
certificates was then read by Mr. Tazewell, while the other was compared
with it by Messrs. Taylor and Barbour. The whole having been read, and
the votes of New Hampshire declared, they were set down by the Clerks of
the Senate and of the House of Representatives, seated at different
tables. Thus the certificates from all the States were gone through with.
At the conclusion, the Tellers left the Clerk's tables, and, presenting
themselves in front of the Speaker, Mr. Tazewell delivered their report
of the votes given.

The President of the Senate then rose, and declared that no person had
received a majority of the votes given for President of the United States:
that Andrew Jackson, John Quincy Adams, and William H. Crawford, were the
three persons who had received the highest number of votes; and that the
remaining duties in the choice of a President now devolved on the House of
Representatives. He further declared, that John C. Calhoun of South
Carolina, having received 182 votes, was duly elected Vice President of
the United States, to serve four years from the 4th of March next. The
members of the Senate then retired.

The Speaker directed the roll of the House to be called by States, and the
members of the respective delegations to take their seats in the order in
which the States should be called, beginning at the right hand of the
Speaker. The delegations took their seats accordingly. Ballot-boxes were
distributed to each delegation, by the Sergeant-at-arms, and the Speaker
directed that the balloting should, proceed. The ballots having all been
deposited in the boxes, Tellers were named by the respective delegations,
being one from each State, who took their seats at two tables.

Mr. Webster of Massachusetts was appointed by those Tellers who sat at one
table, and Mr. Randolph of Virginia by those at the other, to announce the
result. After the ballots were counted out, Mr. Webster rose, and said:--

"Mr. Speaker: The Tellers of the votes at this table have proceeded to
count the ballots contained in the boxes set before them. The result they
find to be, that there are for John Quincy Adams, of Massachusetts,
thirteen votes; for Andrew Jackson, of Tennessee, seven votes; for William
H. Crawford, of Georgia, four votes."

Mr. Randolph, from the other table, made a statement corresponding with
that of Mr. Webster.

The Speaker then stated this result to the House, and announced that JOHN
QUINCY ADAMS, having a majority of the votes of these United States, was
duly elected President of the same, for four years, commencing on the 4th
day of March, 1825.

A committee was appointed to wait upon Mr. Adams, and announce to him the
result of the election, of which Mr. Webster was chairman. On performing
this duty, they received from Mr. Adams the following reply:--

GENTLEMEN:--In receiving this testimonial from the Representatives of the
People and States of this Union, I am deeply sensible of the circumstances
under which it has been given. All my predecessors have been honored with
majorities of the electoral voices, in the primary colleges. It has been
my fortune to be placed, by the divisions of sentiment prevailing among
our countrymen on this occasion, in competition, friendly and honorable,
with three of my fellow-citizens, all justly enjoying, in eminent degrees,
the public favor; and of whose worth, talents and services no one
entertains a higher and more respectful sense than myself. The names of
two of them were, in the fulfilment of the provisions of the
constitution, presented to the selection of the House of Representatives
in concurrence with my own,--names closely associated with the glory of
the nation, and one of them farther recommended by a larger majority of
the primary electoral suffrages than mine.

In this state of things, 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
determination. But the constitution itself has not so disposed of the
contingency which would arise in the event of my refusal. I shall,
therefore, repair to the post assigned me by the call of my country,
signified through her constitutional organs; oppressed with the magnitude
of the task before me, but cheered with the hope of that generous support
from my fellow-citizens, which, in the vicissitudes of a life devoted to
their service, has never failed to sustain me--confident in the trust,
that the wisdom of the legislative councils will guide and direct me in
the path of my official duty; and relying, above all, upon the
superintending providence of that Being "in whose hands our breath is, and
whose are all our ways."

"Gentlemen, I pray you to make acceptable to the House, the assurance of
my profound gratitude for their confidence, and to accept yourselves my
thanks for the friendly terms in which you have communicated to me their

The diffidence manifested by Mr. Adams in accepting the office of
President, under the peculiar circumstances of his election, and his wish,
if it were possible, to submit his claims again to the people, were
unquestionably uttered with great sincerity of heart. He was the choice of
but a minority, as expressed in the electoral vote; and in accordance with
his republican principles and feelings, he would have preferred another
expression of public opinion.  But the constitution made no provision for
such an arbitrament. He must either serve or resign. In the latter case,
the Vice President would have discharged the duties of President during
the term. Mr. Adams had no alternative, therefore, but to accept the
office, agreeably to the terms of the constitution. Had either of his
competitors been elected by the House of Representatives, they would have
been, as he was, a minority President. Notwithstanding Gen. Jackson
received fifteen more electoral votes than Mr. Adams, yet it is believed
that in the primary assemblies the latter obtained a greater number of the
actual votes of the people than the former.

"Although Gen. Jackson had a plurality in the nominal returns from the
electoral colleges, the question is, whether he had a plurality in the
popular votes of the States. In North Carolina, the Crawford men had a
great plurality over either of the Jackson and Adams sections; but the two
latter joining their forces, gave the electoral vote of the State, it
being fifteen, to Gen. Jackson. Deduct this from Gen. Jackson's
plurality--as it should be, if the principle of plurality is to
govern--and it leaves him eighty-four, the same as the vote of Mr. Adams.
But Mr. Adams had a great plurality of the popular vote of New York, and
on this principle should be credited the entire thirty-six votes of that
State, whereas, he received only twenty-six. This adjustment would carry
Mr. Adams up to ninety-four, and leave Gen. Jackson with eighty-four.
Besides, the popular majorities for Mr. Adams in the six New England
States were greatly in excess of the Jackson majorities in the eight
States which gave their vote for him; which largely augments Mr. Adams'
aggregate plurality in the Union over Gen. Jackson's. Then deduct the
constitutional allowance for the slave vote in the slave States, as given
by their masters. It will not be pretended that this is a popular vote,
though constitutional. Gen. Jackson obtained fifty-five electoral votes,
more than half his entire vote, and Mr. Adams only six from slave States.
It will therefore be seen, that on the principle of a popular plurality,
carried out, and carried through, (it ought not to stop for the advantage
of one party,) Mr. Adams, in the election of 1824, was FAR AHEAD of Gen.
Jackson." [Footnote: Colton's Life and Times of Henry Clay.]

On the 4th of March, 1825, John Quincy Adams was inaugurated as President
of the United States, and took the executive chair, which had been entered
twenty-eight years before by his venerated father. The declaration of that
father in reference to the son, when a lad--"He behaves like a man!"--had
gathered strength and meaning in the lapse of years. The people of the
American republic, taught by a long series of faithful and eminent
services, in the fulfilment of the prophetic words, placed him in a
position the most elevated and honorable, the most worthy the aim of a
pure and patriotic ambition, that earth can afford!

The scene at the inauguration was splendid and imposing. At an early hour
of the day the avenues leading to the capitol presented an animated
spectacle. Crowds of citizens on foot, in carriages, and on horseback,
were hastening to the great centre of attraction. Strains of martial
music, and the movements of the various military corps, heightened the

At 12 o'clock, the military escort, consisting of general and staff
officers, and several volunteer companies, received the President elect at
his residence, together with President Monroe, and several officers of
government. The procession, led by the cavalry, and accompanied by an
immense concourse of citizens, proceeded to the capitol, where it was
received, with military honors, by the U. S. Marine Corps under Col.

Meanwhile the hall of the House of Representatives presented a brilliant
spectacle. The galleries and the lobbies were crowded with spectators. The
sofas between the columns, the bar, the promenade in the rear of the
Speaker's chair, and the three outer rows of the members' seats, were
occupied by a splendid array of beauty and fashion. On the left, the
Diplomatic Corps, in the costume of their respective Courts, occupied the
place assigned them, immediately before the steps which lead to the chair.
The officers of the army and navy were scattered in groups throughout the
hall. In front of the Clerk's table chairs were placed for the Judges of
the Supreme Court.

At twenty minutes past 12 o'clock, the marshals, in blue scarfs, made
their appearance in the hall, at the head of the august procession. First
came the officers of both Houses of Congress. Then appeared the President
elect, followed by the venerable ex-president Monroe, with his family. To
these succeeded the Judges of the Supreme Court, in their robes of office,
the members of the Senate, preceded by the Vice-President, with a number
of the members of the House of Representatives.

Mr. Adams, in a plain suit of black, made entirely of American
manufactures, ascended to the Speaker's chair, and took his seat. The
Chief Justice was placed in front of the Clerk's table, having before him
another table on the floor of the hall, on the opposite side of which sat
the remaining Judges, with their faces towards the chair. The doors having
been closed, and silence proclaimed, Mr. Adams arose, and, in a distinct
and firm tone of voice, read his inaugural address.

At the conclusion of the address, a general plaudit burst forth from the
vast assemblage, which continued some minutes. Mr. Adams then descended
from the chair, and, proceeding to the Judges' table, received from the
Chief Justice a volume of the Laws of the United States, from which he
read, with a loud voice, the oath of office. The plaudits and cheers of
the multitude were at this juncture repeated, accompanied by salutes of
artillery from without.

The congratulations which then poured in from every side occupied the
hands, and could not but reach the heart, of President Adams. The meeting
between him and his venerated predecessor, had in it something peculiarly
affecting. General Jackson was among the earliest of those who took the
hand of the President; and their looks and deportment towards each other
were a rebuke to that littleness of party spirit which can see no merit
in a rival, and feel no joy in the honor of a competitor.

Shortly after 1 o'clock, the procession commenced leaving the hall. The
President was escorted back as he came. On his arrival at his residence,
he received the compliments and respects of a great number of ladies and
gentlemen, who called on him to tender their congratulations. The
proceedings of the day were closed by an "inaugural ball" in the evening.
Among the guests present, were the President and Vice-President.
Ex-President Monroe, a number of foreign ministers, with many civil,
military, and naval officers.[Footnote: National Intelligencer.]

Mr. Adams's Inaugural Address is as follows:--

"In compliance with an usage coeval with the existence of our federal
constitution, and sanctioned by the example of my predecessors in the
career upon which I am about to enter, I appear, my fellow-citizens, in
your presence, and in that of heaven, to bind myself, by the solemnities
of a religious obligation, to the faithful performance of the duties
allotted to me, in the station to which I have been called.

"In unfolding to my countrymen the principles by which I shall be
governed, in the fulfilment of those duties, my first resort will be to
that constitution which I shall swear, to the best of my ability, to
preserve, protect, and defend. That revered instrument enumerates the
powers and prescribes the duties of the Executive Magistrate, and in its
first words, declares the purposes to which these, and the whole action of
the Government instituted by it, should be invariably and sacredly
devoted--to form a more perfect union, establish justice, ensure domestic
tranquillity, provide for the common defence, promote the general
welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to the people of this Union,
in their successive generations. Since the adoption of this social
compact, one of these generations has passed away. It is the work of our
forefathers. Administered by some of the most eminent men, who contributed
to its formation, through a most eventful period in the annals of the
world, and through all the vicissitudes of peace and war, incidental to
the condition of associated man, it has not disappointed the hopes and
aspirations of those illustrious benefactors of their age and nation. It
has promoted the lasting welfare of that country so dear to us all; it
has, to an extent far beyond the ordinary lot of humanity, secured the
freedom and happiness of this people. We now receive it as a precious
inheritance from those to whom we are indebted for its establishment,
doubly bound by the examples which they have left us, and by the blessings
which we have enjoyed, as the fruits of their labors, to transmit the
same, unimpaired, to the succeeding generation.

"In the compass of thirty-six years, since this great national covenant
was instituted, a body of laws enacted under its authority, and in
conformity with its provisions, has unfolded its powers, and carried into
practical operation its effective energies. Subordinate departments have
distributed the executive functions in their various relations to foreign
affairs, to the revenue and expenditures, and to the military force of the
Union, by land and sea. A co-ordinate department of the judiciary has
expounded the constitution and the laws; settling, in harmonious
coincidence with the legislative will, numerous weighty questions of
construction, which the imperfection of human language had rendered
unavoidable. The year of jubilee since the first formation of our Union,
has just elapsed; that of the Declaration of our Independence is at hand.
The consummation of both was effected by this constitution. Since that
period, a population of four millions has multiplied to twelve. A
territory bounded by the Mississippi has been extended from sea to sea.
New States have been admitted to the Union, in numbers nearly equal to
those of the first confederation. Treaties of pence, amity, and commerce,
have been concluded with the principal dominions of the earth. The people
of other nations, inhabitants of regions acquired, not by conquests, but
by compact, have been united with us in the participation of our rights
and duties, of our burdens and blessings. The forest has fallen by the axe
of our woodsmen--the soil has been made to teem by the tillage of our
farmers; our commerce has whitened every ocean. The dominion of man over
physical nature has been extended by the invention of our artists. Liberty
and law have marched hand in hand. All the purposes of human association
have been accomplished as effectually as under any other Government on
the globe, and at a cost little exceeding, in a whole generation, the
expenditures of other nations in a single year.

"Such is the unexaggerated picture of our condition under a constitution
founded upon the republican principle of equal rights. To admit that this
picture has its shades, is but to say, that it is still the condition of
men upon earth. From evil--physical, moral, and political--it is not our
claim to be exempt. We have suffered, sometimes by the visitation of
Heaven through disease, often by the wrongs and injustice of other
nations, even to the extremities of war; and lastly, by dissentions among
ourselves--dissentions, perhaps, inseparable from the enjoyment of
freedom, but which have more than once appeared to threaten the
dissolution of the Union, and, with it, the overthrow of all the
enjoyments of our present lot, and all our earthly hopes of the future.
The causes of these dissensions have been various, founded upon
differences of speculation in the theory of republican government, upon
conflicting views of policy in our relations with foreign nations; upon
jealousies of partial and sectional interests, aggravated by prejudices
and prepossessions, which strangers to each other are ever apt to

"It is a source of gratification and of encouragement to me, to observe
that the great result of this experiment upon the theory of human rights,
has, at the close of that generation by which it was formed, been crowned
with success equal to the most sanguine expectations of its founders.
Union, justice, tranquillity, the common defence, the general welfare,
and the blessings of liberty--all have been promoted by the Government
under which we have lived. Standing at this point of time, looking back to
that generation which has gone by, and forward to that which is advancing,
we may at once indulge in grateful exultation and in cheering hope. From
the experience of the past, we derive instructive lessons for the future.

"Of the two great political parties which have divided the opinions and
feelings of our country, the candid and the just will now admit, that both
have contributed splendid talents, spotless integrity, ardent patriotism,
and disinterested sacrifices, to the formation and administration of the
Government, and that both have required a liberal indulgence for a portion
of human infirmity and error. The revolutionary wars of Europe, commencing
precisely at the moment when the Government of the United States first
went into operation under the constitution, excited collisions of
sentiments and of sympathies, which kindled all the passions and
embittered the conflict of parties, till the nation was involved in war,
and the Union was shaken to its centre. This time of trial embraced a
period of five and twenty years, during which the policy of the Union in
its relations with Europe constituted the principal basis of our own
political divisions, and the most arduous part of the action of the
Federal Government. With the catastrophe in which the wars of the French
Revolution terminated, and our own subsequent peace with Great Britain,
this baneful weed of party strife was uprooted. From that time no
difference of principle, connected with the theory of government, or with
our intercourse with foreign nations, has existed or been called forth in
force sufficient to sustain a continued combination of parties, or given
more than wholesome animation to public sentiment or legislative debate.
Our political creed, without a dissenting voice that can be heard, is,
that the will of the people is the source, and the happiness of the people
is the end, of all legitimate government upon earth: that the best
security for the beneficence, and the best guaranty against the abuse of
power, consists in the freedom, the purity, and the frequency of popular
elections: that the General Government of the Union, and the separate
Governments of the States, are all sovereignties of legitimate powers,
fellow-servants of the same masters--uncontrolled within their respective
spheres, uncontrollable by encroachments on each other. If there have been
those who doubted whether a confederated representative democracy was a
Government competent to the wise and orderly management of the common
concerns of a mighty nation, those doubts have been dispelled. If there
have been projects of partial confederacies to be erected upon the ruins
of the Union, they have been scattered to the winds. If there have been
dangerous attachments to one foreign nation, and antipathies against
another, they have been extinguished. Ten years of peace at home and
abroad have assuaged the animosities of political contention, and blended
into harmony the most discordant elements of public opinion. There still
remains one effort of magnanimity, one sacrifice of prejudice and passion,
to be made by the individuals throughout the nation who have heretofore
followed the standards of political party. It is that of discarding every
remnant of rancor against each other, of embracing, as countrymen and
friends, and of yielding to talents and virtue alone that confidence
which, in times of contention for principle, was bestowed only upon those
who bore the badge of party communion.

"The collisions of party spirit, which originate in speculative opinions,
or in different views of administrative policy, are in their nature
transitory. Those which are founded on geographical divisions, adverse
interests of soil, climate, and modes of domestic life, are more
permanent, and therefore, perhaps, more dangerous. It is this which gives
inestimable value to the character of our Government, at once federal and
national. It holds out to us a perpetual admonition to preserve, alike,
and with equal anxiety, the rights of each individual State in its own
Government, and the rights of the whole nation in that of the Union.
Whatever is of domestic concernment, unconnected with the other members
of the Union, or with foreign lands, belongs exclusively to the
administration of the State Governments. Whatsoever directly involves the
rights and interests of the federative fraternity, or of foreign powers,
is, of the resort of this General Government. The duties of both are
obvious in the general principle, though sometimes perplexed with
difficulties in the detail. To respect the rights of the State Governments
is the inviolable duty of that of the Union: the Government of every State
will feel its own obligation to respect and preserve the rights of the
whole. The prejudices everywhere too commonly entertained against distant
strangers are worn away, and the jealousies of jarring interests are
allayed, by the composition and functions of the great national councils,
annually assembled, from all quarters of the Union, at this place. Here
the distinguished men from every section of our country, while meeting to
deliberate upon the great interests of those by whom they are deputed,
learn to estimate the talents, and do justice to the virtues, of each
other. The harmony of the nation is promoted, and the whole Union is knit
together by the sentiments of mutual respect, the habits of social
intercourse, and the ties of personal friendship, formed between the
representatives of its several parts in the performance of their service
at this metropolis.

"Passing from this general review of the purposes and injunctions of the
Federal constitution and their results, as indicating the first traces of
the path of duty in the discharge of my public trust, I turn to the
administration of my immediate predecessor, as the second. It has passed
away in a period of profound peace: how much to the satisfaction of our
country, and to the honor of our country's name, is known to you all. The
great features of its policy, in general concurrence with the will of the
Legislature, have been--To cherish peace while preparing for defensive war
to yield exact justice to other nations, and maintain the rights of our
own--to cherish the principles of freedom and equal rights, wherever they
were proclaimed--to discharge, with all possible promptitude, the national
debt--to reduce within the narrowest limits of efficiency the military
force--to improve the organization and discipline of the army--to provide
and sustain a school of military science--to extend equal protection to
all the great interests of the nation--to promote the civilization of the
Indian tribes; and to proceed to the great system of internal
improvements, within the limits of the constitutional power of the Union.
Under the pledge of these promises, made by that eminent citizen at the
time of his first induction to this office, in his career of eight years
the internal taxes have been repealed; sixty millions of the public debt
have been discharged; provision has been made for the comfort and relief
of the aged and indigent among the surviving warriors of the Revolution;
the regular armed force has been reduced, and its constitution revised and
perfected; the accountability for the expenditures of public monies has
been more effective; the Floridas have been peaceably acquired, and our
boundary has been extended to the Pacific Ocean; the independence of the
southern nations of this hemisphere has been recognized, and recommended
by example and by counsel to the potentates of Europe; progress has been
made in the defence of the country, by fortifications and the increase of
the navy--towards the effectual suppression of the African traffic in
slaves--in alluring the aboriginal hunters of our land to the cultivation
of the soil and of the mind--in exploring the interior regions of the
Union, and in preparing, by scientific researches and surveys, for the
further application of our national resources to the internal improvement
of our country.

"In this brief outline of the promise and performance of my immediate
predecessor, the line of duty, for his successor, is clearly delineated.
To pursue to their consummation those purposes of improvement in our
common condition instituted or recommended by him, will embrace the whole
sphere of my obligation. To the topic of internal improvement,
emphatically urged by him at his inauguration, I recur with peculiar
satisfaction. It is that from which I am convinced that the unborn
millions of our posterity, who are in future ages to people this
continent, will derive their most fervent gratitude to the founders of the
Union--that in which the beneficent action of its Government will be most
deeply felt and acknowledged. The magnificence and splendor of their
public works are among the imperishable glories of the ancient republics.
The roads and aqueducts of Rome have been the admiration of all after
ages, and have survived thousands of years after all her conquests have
been swallowed up in despotism, or become the spoil of barbarians. Some
diversity of opinion has prevailed with regard to the powers of Congress
for legislation upon objects of this nature. The most respectful deference
is due to doubts, originating in pure patriotism, and sustained by
venerated authority. But nearly twenty years have passed since the
construction of the first national road was commenced. The authority for
its construction was then unquestioned. To how many thousands of our
countrymen has it proved a benefit? To what single individual has it ever
proved an injury? Repeated, liberal and candid discussions in the
Legislature have conciliated the sentiments, and approximated the opinions
of enlightened minds, upon the question of constitutional power. I cannot
but hope that, by the same process of friendly, patient, and persevering
deliberation, all constitutional objections will ultimately be removed.
The extent and limitation of the powers of the General Government, in
relation to this transcendently important interest, will be settled and
acknowledged to the common satisfaction of all; and every speculative
scruple will be solved by a practical public blessing.

"Fellow-citizens, you are acquainted with the peculiar circumstances of
the recent election, which have resulted in affording me the opportunity
of addressing you at this time. You have heard the exposition of the
principles which will direct me in the fulfilment of the high and solemn
trust imposed upon me in this station. Less possessed of your confidence,
in advance, than any of my predecessors, I am deeply conscious of the
prospect that I shall stand more and oftener in need of your indulgence.
Intentions upright and pure, a heart devoted to the welfare of our
country, and the unceasing application of the faculties allotted to me to
her service, are all the pledges that I can give for the faithful
performance of the arduous duties I am to undertake. To the guidance of
the legislative councils; to the assistance of the executive and
subordinate departments; to the friendly co-operation of the respective
State Governments; to the candid and liberal support of the people, so far
as it may be deserved by honest industry and zeal; I shall look for
whatever success may attend my public service: and knowing that 'except
the Lord keep the city, the watchman waketh but in vain,' with fervent
supplications for His favor, to His overruling providence I commit, with
humble but fearless confidence, my own fate, and the future destinies of
my country."

In entering upon the discharge of his duties as President, Mr. Adams
proceeded to form his cabinet by nominating Henry Clay, of Kentucky,
Secretary of State; Richard Rush, of Pennsylvania, Secretary of the
Treasury; James Barbour, of Virginia,   Secretary of War; Samuel L.
Southard, Secretary of the Navy, and Wm. Wirt, Attorney General. These
were all men of superior talents, of tried integrity and faithfulness, and
well worthy the elevated positions to which they were called.



The election of Mr. Adams to the presidency, was a severe disappointment
to the friends of Gen. Jackson. As the latter had received a majority of
fifteen electoral votes over Mr. Adams, it was confidently anticipated,
nay, virtually demanded, that he should be elected by the House of
Representatives. This claim, it was insisted, was in accordance with the
will of the people, as expressed in the electoral colleges, and to resist
it would be to violate the spirit of the constitution, and to set at
nought the fundamental principles of our republican Government. A
sufficient reply to these positions is found in the fact, that Gen.
Jackson did not receive a majority of the electoral votes, and hence a
majority of the people could not be considered as desiring his election.
The absolute truth, subsequently obtained on this point, was, that Mr.
Adams had received more of the primary votes of the people than Gen.
Jackson; and thus, according to all republican principles, was entitled to
be considered the first choice of the citizens of the United States.

The position of Mr. Clay, in this contest for the presidency, was one of
great delicacy and difficulty. He was precisely in that critical posture,
that, whatever course he might pursue, he would be subject to
misrepresentation and censure, and could not but raise up a host of
enemies. Originally one of the four candidates for the presidency, he
failed, by five electoral votes, in having a sufficient number to be one
of the three candidates returned to the House of Representatives, of which
he was then Speaker. In this posture of affairs, it was evident that upon
the course which should be pursued by Mr. Clay, and his friends in the
House, depended the question who should be elected President. As Mr.
Crawford, on account of the critical state of his health, was considered
out of the question, Mr. Clay was left to choose between Mr. Adams and
Gen. Jackson.

In this posture of affairs, Mr. Clay saw, that however patriotic the
principles on which he acted, and however pure the motives by which he
might be governed in making his selection, he must inevitably expose
himself to the severest animadversions from the defeated party. But he did
not hesitate, in the discharge of what he believed to be a solemn duty he
owed his country, to throw his influence in behalf of the man whom he
believed the best fitted to serve that country in the responsible office
of the presidency. Long before it had been foreseen such a contingency
would occur, he had expressed his want of confidence in the ability and
fitness of Gen. Jackson for the executive chair. But in Mr. Adams he saw a
man of the utmost purity and integrity of private character--a scholar of
the ripest abilities--a statesman, a diplomatist, a patriot of
unquestioned talents and of long experience,--one who had been entrusted
with most important public interests by Washington, Adams, Jefferson,
Madison and Monroe, and also had received from these illustrious men every
mark of confidence--whose familiarity with the internal condition and
foreign relations of the Union was unequalled by any public man! Between
men so dissimilar in their qualifications, how could Mr. Clay, with the
slightest regard to the welfare of the nation, the claims of patriotism,
or the dictates of his conscience, hesitate to choose? He did not
hesitate. With an intrepid determination to meet all consequences, he
threw his influence in behalf of Mr. Adams, and secured his election.

This decisive step, as had been clearly foreseen, drew upon the head of
Mr. Clay the severest censures of the supporters of Gen. Jackson. Motives
of the deepest political corruption were attributed to him. They charged
him with making a deliberate stipulation or "bargain" with Mr. Adams, to
give his influence, on the understanding that he was to receive, in
payment, the appointment to the state department. The undoubted object of
this charge was to ruin Mr. Clay's future prospects, and make capital to
the advantage of Gen. Jackson in the next presidential campaign. It
implicated Mr. Adams equally with Mr. Clay. If the latter had been so
corrupt as to offer his support on the promise of office, the former was
quite as guilty in accepting of terms so venal. There never was a more
base charge against American statesmen--there never was one more entirely
destitute of foundation, or even shadow of proof! It was at no time
considered entitled to the slightest particle of belief by those who were
at Washington during these transactions and had an opportunity of knowing
the true state of things at that time. But there were many, throughout the
country, too ready to receive such reports in regard to public men. Both
Mr. Adams and Mr. Clay were greatly prejudiced by this alleged
collusion--a prejudice which years did not efface.

This charge first appeared in a tangible form shortly previous to the
election by the House of Representatives, in an anonymous letter in the
"Columbian Observer," at Philadelphia. It was soon ascertained to have
been written by Mr. Kremer, a member of the House of Representatives from
Pennsylvania. Mr. Clay immediately published a card in the National
Intelligencer, denying, in unequivocal terms, the allegation, and
pronouncing the author "an infamous calumniator, a dastard, and a liar!"

A few days after this, Mr. Kremer acknowledged himself the author of the
letter in the "Columbian Observer," and professed himself ready to prove
the corruptions alleged: whereupon Mr. Clay demanded that the House raise
a committee to investigate the case. The committee was appointed; but Mr.
Kremer, on grounds of the most frivolous description, refused to appear
before the committee, or to furnish a particle of proof of the truth of
the grave assertions he had uttered--thus virtually acknowledging their
slanderous character.

Mr. Clay being in this manner denied the privilege of vindicating his
innocence, and showing the depravity of his accusers, the matter continued
in an unsettled state until the next presidential campaign, when it was
revived in a more tangible form, and brought to bear adversely to Mr.
Adams's administration and reelection. In 1827, Gen. Jackson, in a letter
to Mr. Carter Beverly, which soon appeared in public print, made the
following statement:--

"Early in January, 1825, a member of Congress of high respectability
visited me one morning, and observed that he had a communication he was
desirous to make to me; that he was informed there was a great intrigue
going on, and that it was right I should be informed of it. * * * * * * *
He said he had been informed by the friends of Mr. Clay, that the friends
of Mr. Adams had made overtures to them, saying, if Mr. Clay and his
friends would unite in aid of Mr. Adams's election, Mr. Clay should be
Secretary of State; that the friends of Mr. Adams were urging, as a reason
to induce the friends of Mr. Clay to accede to their proposition, that if
I were elected President, Mr. Adams would be continued Secretary of State;
that the friends of Mr. Clay stated the West did not wish to separate from
the West, and 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."

On a subsequent statement, Gen. Jackson asserted that the gentleman who
called upon him with these propositions was James Buchanan, of

This was the Kremer charge made definite in circumstances and
application; and if well grounded, was susceptible of plain proof. On the
appearance of this statement by Gen. Jackson, Mr. Clay came out with a
positive denial. He said:--

"I neither made, nor authorized, nor knew of any proposition whatever, to
either of the three candidates who were returned to the House of
Representatives, at the last presidential election, or to the friends of
either of them, for the purpose of influencing the result of the election,
or for any other purpose. And all allegations, intimations, and
inuendoes, that my vote on that occasion was offered to be given, or was
in fact given, in consideration of any stipulation or understanding,
express or implied, direct or indirect, written or verbal,--that I was, or
that any other person was not, to be appointed Secretary of State; or that
I was, or in any other manner to be, personally benefitted,--are devoid
of all truth, and destitute of any foundation whatever."

Here was a direct collision between Gen. Jackson and Mr. Clay. All now
rested with Mr. Buchanan. His testimony would either prostrate Mr. Clay,
or place him, in regard to this matter, beyond the reach of the foulest
tongue of calumny. In due time Mr. Buchanan made his statement, in which
he denied, in unequivocal language, having made any such proposition to
Gen. Jackson. In his explanation he says:--

"I called upon General Jackson solely as his friend, upon my individual
responsibility, and not as the agent of Mr. Clay, or any other person. I
never have been the political friend of Mr. Clay, since he became a
candidate for the office of President. Until I saw General Jackson's
letter to Mr. Beverly, of the 6th ult., and at the same time was informed,
by a letter from the editor of the United States Telegraph, that I was the
person to whom he alluded, the conception never once entered my head, that
he believed me to be the agent of Mr. Clay, or of his friends, or that I
had intended to propose to him terms of any kind from them, or that he
could have supposed me to be capable of expressing the opinion that 'it
was right to fight such intriguers with their own weapons.' Such a
supposition, had I entertained it, would have rendered me exceedingly
unhappy, as there is no man on earth whose good opinion I more valued than
that of General Jackson. * * * * * * * * * I owe it to my character to
make another observation. Had I ever known, or even suspected, that
General Jackson believed I had been sent to him by Mr. Clay or his
friends, I should immediately have corrected his erroneous impression, and
thus prevented the necessity for this most unpleasant explanation. * * * *
* * * I had no authority from Mr. Clay, or his friends, to propose any
terms to General Jackson in relation to their votes, nor did I ever make
any such proposition."

This statement fully and triumphantly exonerated Mr. Clay, Mr. Adams, and
their friends, from the charge of "bargain" and "corruption," which had
been so boldly made and widely disseminated. The only witness ever brought
upon the stand to support such an allegation, asserted, in a manner the
most positive and decisive, the entire innocence of the parties

That Mr. Clay, in throwing his influence in behalf of Mr. Adams, was but
following out a resolution formed long before he had any opportunity of
communication with Mr. Adams or his friends, on the subject, is proved by
the following extract of a letter from a gentleman in Lexington, Ky., to
the editors of the National Intelligencer, dated March 21, 1825:--

"At different times, before Mr. Clay left this place for Washington, last
fall, I had conversations with him on the subject of the choice of a
President by the House of Representatives. In all of them, he expressed
himself as having long before decided in favor of Mr. Adams, in case the
contest should lie between that gentleman and General Jackson. My last
interview with him was, I think, the day before his departure, when he was
still more explicit, as it was then certain that the election would be
transferred to that tribunal, and highly probable that he would not be
among the number returned. In the course of this conversation, I took
occasion to express my sentiments with respect to the delicate and
difficult circumstances under which he would be placed. He remarked that I
could not more fully apprehend them than he did himself; but that nothing
should deter him from the duty of giving his vote; and that no state of
things could arise that would justify him in preferring General Jackson to
Mr. Adams, or induce him to support the former. So decisive, indeed, were
his declarations on this subject, that had he voted otherwise than he did,
I should have been compelled to regard him as deserving that species of
censure which has been cast upon him for constantly adhering to an early
and deliberate resolution."

It was thought, by some of Mr. Clay's friends, that he erred in judgment
in accepting the office of Secretary of State, as it would tend to
strengthen his enemies in their efforts to fix upon him the charge of
corruption. Among those entertaining this opinion was Mr. Crawford,
himself one of the three presidential candidates returned to the House of
Representatives. In a letter to Mr. Clay he says:--

"I hope you know me too well to suppose that I have countenanced the
charge of corruption which has been reiterated against you. The truth is,
I approved of your vote when it was given, and should have voted as you
did between Jackson and Adams. But candor compells me to say, that I
disapproved of your accepting an office under him."

In replying to this letter Mr. Clay remarked:--

"I do, my dear sir, know you too well to suppose that you ever
countenanced the charge of corruption against me. No man of sense and
candor--at least none that know me--ever could or did countenance it. Your
frank admission that you would have voted as I did, between Mr. Adams and
Gen. Jackson, accords with the estimate I have ever made of your
intelligence, your independence, and your patriotism. Nor am I at all
surprised, or dissatisfied, with the expression of your opinion, that I
erred in accepting the place which I now hold. * * * * * * * The truth is,
as I have often said, my condition was one full of embarrassments,
whatever way I might act. My own judgment was rather opposed to my
acceptance of the department of state. But my friends--and let me add, two
of your best friends, Mr. McLane of Delaware and Mr. Forsyth--urged us
strongly not to decline it. It was represented by my friends, that I
should get no credit for the forbearance, but that, on the contrary, it
would be said that my forbearance was evidence of my having made a
bargain, though unwilling to execute it. * * * * * * * * These and other
similar arguments were pressed upon me; and after a week's deliberation, I
yielded to their force. It is quite possible that I may have erred * * * *
* * I shall, at least, have no cause of self-reproach."

In 1829, after Mr. Adams had retired from the Presidential chair, in reply
to a letter from a committee of gentlemen in New Jersey, who had addressed
him, he spoke of Mr. Clay as follows: "Upon him the foulest slanders have
been showered. Long known and appreciated, as successively a member of
both Houses of your national Legislature, as the unrivalled Speaker, and
at the same time most efficient leader of debates in one of them; as an
able and successful negotiator of your interests, in war and peace, with
foreign powers, and as a powerful candidate for the highest of your
trusts, the department of state itself was a station which by its bestowal
could confer neither profit nor honor upon him, but upon which he has shed
unfading honor, by the manner in which he has discharged its duties.
Prejudice and passion have charged him with obtaining that office by
bargain and corruption. Before you, my fellow-citizens, in the presence of
our country and heaven, I pronounce that charge totally unfounded. This
tribute of justice is due from me to him, and I seize with pleasure the
opportunity afforded me by your letter, of discharging the obligation. As
to my motives for tendering to him the department of state when I did, let
that man who questions them come forward; let him look around among
statesmen and legislators, of this nation, and of that day; let him then
select and name the man whom, by his pre-eminent talents, by his splendid
services, by his ardent patriotism, by his all-embracing public spirit, by
his fervid eloquence in behalf of the rights and liberties of mankind, and
by his long experience in the affairs of the Union, foreign and domestic,
a President of the United States, intent only upon the welfare and honor
of his country, ought to have preferred to HENRY CLAY. Let him name the
man, and then judge you, my fellow-citizens, of my motives."

When Mr. Adams was on a tour in the western States, in the fall of 1843,
in addressing the chairman of the committee of his reception, at
Maysville, Kentucky, he said: "I thank you, sir, for the opportunity you
have given me of speaking of the great statesman who was associated with
me in the administration of the General Government, at my earnest
solicitation; who belongs not to Kentucky alone, but to the whole Union;
and who is not only an honor to this State, and this nation, but to
mankind. The charges to which you refer, after my term of service had
expired, and it was proper for me to speak, I denied before the whole
country. And I here reiterate and re-affirm that denial; and as I expect
shortly to appear before my God, to answer for the conduct of my whole
life, should these charges have found their way to the throne of eternal
justice, I WILL in the presence of OMNIPOTENCE pronounce them FALSE."

Before the world Mr. Clay and Mr. Adams stand acquitted of the calumny
which their enemies endeavored, with an industry worthy a better cause, to
heap upon them. The history of their country will do them ample justice.
Their names shall stand upon its pages, illuminated by a well-earned fame
for patriotism and faithful devotion to public interests, when those of
their accusers will be lost in a merited oblivion.

Mr. Adams, having entered upon his duties as President of the United
States, prosecuted them with all that diligence and industrious
application which was one of the leading characteristics of his life.
Unawed by the opposition and the misrepresentations of his political
enemies, and uncorrupted by the power and influence at his control, he
pursued the even tenor of his way, having a single object in view, the
promotion of the welfare of the people over whom he had been called to

In the meantime, the heart of the nation was being stirred by old and
valued reminiscences. LA FAYETTE,--a hero of the revolution--the
companion of Washington--whose blood had enriched American soil in
defence of American freedom--had expressed a wish to re-visit once more,
before departing life, the scenes of his early struggles and well-earned
glories. This intimation was first given in the following letter to Col.
Willet, an old friend and fellow-soldier of La Fayette, who was then
still living in New-York.

                                                    "Paris, July 15, 1822.
"My DEAR SIR:--I avail myself of a good opportunity to remind you of your
old friend and fellow-soldier, in whose heart no time nor distance can
abate the patriotic remembrance and personal affections of our
revolutionary times. We remain but too few survivors of that glorious
epoch, in which the fate of two hemispheres has been decided. It is an
additional monitor to think more of the ties of brotherly friendship which
united us. May it be in my power, before I join our departed companions,
to visit such of them as are still inhabitants of the United States, and
to tell you personally, my dear Willet, how affectionately
                             "I am your sincere friend,   LA FAYETTE."

Intelligence of this desire to visit America having reached Congress,
resolutions were passed placing a Government ship at his disposal:--

"Whereas that distinguished champion of freedom, and hero of our
Revolution, the friend and associate of Washington, the Marquis de La
Fayette, a volunteer General Officer in our Revolutionary War, has
expressed an anxious desire to visit this country, the independence of
which his valor, blood, and treasure, were so instrumental in achieving:

"Be it Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United
States of America, in Congress assembled, That the President of the United
States be requested to communicate to the Marquis de La Fayette the
expression of those sentiments of profound respect, gratitude, and
affectionate attachment, which are cherished towards him by the Government
and people of this country; and to assure him that the execution of his
wish and intention to visit this country, will be hailed by the people and
Government with patriotic pride and joy.

"And be it further Resolved, That the President of the United States be
requested to ascertain from the Marquis de La Fayette, the time when it
will be most agreeable for him to perform his visit; and that he offer to
the Marquis a conveyance to this country in one of our national ships."

La Fayette modestly declined this offer of a public ship. He sailed from
Havre in the packet-ship Cadmus, accompanied by his son, George
Washington La Fayette, and arrived in New York on the 15th of August,

His reception at New York was sublime and brilliant in the extreme. The
meeting between La Fayette, Col. Willet, Gen. Van Cortland, Gen.
Clarkson, and other revolutionary worthies, was highly affecting. He knew
them all. After the ceremony of embracing and congratulations were over,
La Fayette sat down by the side of Col. Willet. "Do you remember," said
the colonel, "at the battle of Monmouth, I was a volunteer aid to Gen.
Scott? I saw you in the heat of battle, you were but a boy, but you were a
serious and sedate lad." "Aye, aye," returned La Fayette, "I remember
well. And on the Mohawk I sent you fifty Indians, and you wrote me that
they set up such a yell that they frightened the British horse, and they
ran one way, and the Indians another." Thus these veteran soldiers "fought
their battles o'er again."

From New York La Fayette proceeded on a tour throughout the United
States. Everywhere he was received and honored, as "THE NATION'S GUEST."
For more than a year, his journey was a complete ovation--a perpetual and
splendid pageant. The people appeared delirious with joy and with anxiety
to hail him, grasp him by the hand, and shower attentions and honors upon
him. The gratitude and love of all persons, of every age, sex, and
condition, seemed hardly to be restrained within bounds of propriety. As
he passed through the country, every city, village, and hamlet, poured out
its inhabitants en masse, to meet him. Celebrations, processions, dinners,
illuminations, bonfires, parties, balls, serenades, and rejoicings of
every description, attended his way, from the moment he set foot on the
American soil, until his embarkation to return to his native France.

The hearts of the people in the most distant parts of the Western
Hemisphere were warmed and touched with the honors paid him in the United
States. A letter written at that time from Buenos Ayres, says--"I have
just received newspapers from the United States, informing me of the
magnificent reception of Gen. La Fayette. I have never read newspapers
with such exquisite delight as these; and I firmly believe there never was
so interesting and glorious an event in the civilized world, in which all
classes of people participated in the general joy, as on this occasion.
There is an association of ideas connected with this event, that produces
in my soul emotions I cannot express, and fills my heart with such
grateful recollections as I cannot forget but with my existence. That ten
millions of souls, actuated by pure sentiments of gratitude and
friendship, should with one voice pronounce this individual the 'Guest of
the Nation,' and pay him the highest honors the citizens of a free nation
can offer, is an event which must excite the astonishment of Europe, and
show the inestimable value of liberty."

In June, 1825, La Fayette visited Boston, and on the 17th day of that
month, it being the anniversary of the battle of Bunker Hill, he
participated in the ceremony of laying the corner stone of the monument in
commemoration of that event, on Bunker Hill. During his tour at the east,
he visited the venerable ex-President John Adams, at Quincy.

But the time for his departure drew near. His journey had extended as far
south as New Orleans, west to St. Louis, north and east to Massachusetts.
He had passed through, or touched, New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania,
Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, North and South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama,
Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, Illinois, Indiana,
Ohio, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts.

A new frigate, the Brandywine, named in honor of the gallant exploits of
Gen. La Fayette at the battle of Brandywine, was provided by Congress to
convey him to France. It was deemed appropriate that he should take final
leave of the nation at the seat of government in Washington. President
Adams invited him to pass a few weeks in the presidential mansion. Mr.
Adams had been on intimate terms with La Fayette in his youth, with whom,
it is said, he was a marked favorite. During his sojourn at the capitol,
he visited ex-Presidents Jefferson, Madison, and Monroe, at their several
places of residence.

Having paid his respects to these venerated sages, "the Nation's Guest"
prepared to take his final departure from the midst of a grateful people.
The 7th of September, 1825, was the day appointed for taking leave.  About
12 o'clock, the officers of the General Government, civil, military, and
naval, together with the authorities of Washington, Georgetown, and
Alexandria, with multitudes of citizens and strangers, assembled in the
President's house. La Fayette entered the great hall in silence, leaning
on the Marshal of the District, and one of the sons of the President. Mr.
Adams then with evident emotion, but with much dignity and firmness,
addressed him in the following terms:--

"GENERAL LA FAYETTE: It has been the good fortune of many of my fellow-
citizens, during the course of the year now elapsed, upon your arrival at
their respective places of abode to greet you with the welcome of the
nation. The less pleasing task now devolves upon me, of bidding you, in
the name of the nation, ADIEU!

"It were no longer seasonable, and would be superfluous, to recapitulate
the remarkable incidents of your early life--incidents which associated
your name, fortunes, and reputation, in imperishable connection with the
independence and history of the North American Union.

"The part which you performed at that important juncture was marked with
characters so peculiar, that, realizing the fairest fable of antiquity,
its parallel could scarcely be found in the authentic records of human

"You deliberately and perseveringly preferred toil, danger, the endurance
of every hardship, and privation of every comfort, in defence of a holy
cause, to inglorious ease, and the allurements of rank, affluence, and
unrestrained youth, at the most splendid and fascinating court of Europe.

"That this choice was not less wise than magnanimous, the sanction of half
a century, and the gratulations of unnumbered voices, all unable to
express the gratitude of the heart, with which your visit to this
hemisphere has been welcomed, afford ample demonstration.

"When the contest of freedom, to which you had repaired as a voluntary
champion, had closed, by the complete triumph of her cause in this country
of your adoption, you returned to fulfil the duties of the philanthropist
and patriot, in the land of your nativity. There, in a consistent and
undeviating career of forty years, you have maintained, through every
vicissitude of alternate success and disappointment, the same glorious
cause to which the first years of your active life had been devoted, the
improvement of the moral and political condition of man.

"Throughout that long succession of time, the people of the United States,
for whom and with whom you have fought the battles of liberty, have been
living in the full possession of its fruits; one of the happiest among the
family of nations. Spreading in population; enlarging in territory; acting
and suffering according to the condition of their nature; and laying the
foundations of the greatest, and, we humbly hope, the most beneficent
power, that ever regulated the concerns of man upon earth.

"In that lapse of forty years, the generation of men with whom you
co-operated in the conflict of arms, has nearly passed away. Of the
general officers of the American army in that war, you alone survive. Of
the sages who guided our councils; of the warriors who met the foe in the
field, or upon the wave, with the exception of a few to whom unusual
length of days has been allotted by Heaven, all now sleep with their
fathers. A succeeding, and even a third generation, have arisen to take
their places; and their children's children, while rising up to call them
blessed, have been taught by them, as well as admonished by their own
constant enjoyment of freedom, to include in every benison upon their
fathers, the name of him, who came from afar, with them and in their cause
to conquer or to fall.

"The universal prevalence of these sentiments was signally manifested by a
resolution of Congress, representing the whole people, and all the States
of this Union, requesting the President of the United States to
communicate to you the assurances of the grateful and affectionate
attachment of this government and people, and desiring that a national
ship might be employed, at your convenience, for your passage to the
borders of our country.

"The invitation was transmitted to you by my venerable predecessor,
himself bound to you by the strongest ties of personal friendship; himself
one of those whom the highest honors of his country had rewarded for blood
early shed in her cause, and for a long life of devotion to her welfare.
By him the services of a national ship were placed at your disposal. Your
delicacy preferred a more private conveyance, and a full year has elapsed
since you landed upon our shores. It were scarcely an exaggeration to say
that it has been to the people of the Union a year of uninterrupted
festivity and enjoyment, inspired by your presence. You have traversed the
twenty-four States of this great confederacy--you have been received with
rapture by the survivors of your earliest companions in arms-you have been
hailed, as a long-absent parent, by their children, the men and women of
the present age; and a rising generation, the hope of future time, in
numbers surpassing the whole population of that day when you fought at the
head and by the side of their forefathers, have vied with the scanty
remnants of that hour of trial, in acclamations of joy, at beholding the
face of him whom they feel to be the common benefactor of all. You have
heard the mingled voices of the past, the present, and the future age,
joining in one universal chorus of delight at your approach; and the
shouts of unbidden thousands, which greeted your landing on the soil of
freedom, have followed every step of your way, and still resound like the
rushing of many waters, from every corner of our land.

"You are now about to return to the country of your birth--of your
ancestors--of your posterity. The executive Government of the Union,
stimulated by the same feeling which had prompted the Congress to the
designation of a national ship for your accommodation in coming hither,
has destined the first service of a frigate, recently launched at this
metropolis, to the less welcome, but equally distinguished trust, of
conveying you home. The name of the ship has added one more memorial to
distant regions and to future ages, of a stream already memorable at once
in the story of your sufferings and of our independence.

"The ship is now prepared for your reception, and equipped for sea. From
the moment of her departure, the prayers of millions will ascend to
heaven, that her passage may be prosperous, and your return to the bosom
of your family as propitious to your happiness as your visit to this scene
of your youthful glory has been to that of the American people.

"Go then, our beloved friend: return to the land of brilliant genius, of
generous sentiments, of heroic valor; to that beautiful France, the
nursing mother of the twelfth Louis, and the fourth Henry; to the native
soil of Bayard and Coligne, of Turenne and Catinat, of Fenelon and
D'Aguesseau! In that illustrious catalogue of names, which she claims as
of her children, and with honest pride holds up to the admiration of other
nations, the name of LA FAYETTE has already for centuries been enrolled.
And it shall henceforth burnish into brighter fame: for, if in after days,
a Frenchman shall be called to indicate the character of his nation by
that of one individual, during the age in which we live, the blood of
lofty patriotism shall mantle in his cheek, the fire of conscious virtue
shall sparkle in his eye, and he shall pronounce the name of LA FAYETTE.
Yet we, too, and our children in life, and after death, shall claim you
for our own. You are ours, by that more than patriotic self-devotion with
which you flew to the aid of our fathers at the crisis of their fate: ours
by that long series of years in which you have cherished us in your
regard: ours by that unshaken sentiment of gratitude for your services,
which is a precious portion of our inheritance: ours by that tie of love,
stronger then death, which has linked your name, for the endless ages of
time, with the name of WASHINGTON.

"At the painful moment of parting from you, we take comfort in the
thought, that wherever you may be, to the last pulsation of your heart,
our country will ever be present to your affections; and a cheering
consolation assures us that we are not called to sorrow, most of all, that
we shall see your face no more. We shall indulge the pleasing anticipation
of beholding our friend again. In the mean time, speaking in the name of
the whole people of the United States, and at a loss only for language to
give utterance to that feeling of attachment with which the heart of the
nation beats, as beats the heart of one man--I bid you a reluctant and
affectionate FAREWELL!!

At the conclusion of this address, Gen. La Fayette replied as follows:--

"Amidst all my obligations to the General Government, and particularly to
you, sir, its respected Chief Magistrate, I have most thankfully to
acknowledge the opportunity given me, at this solemn and painful moment,
to present the people of the United States with a parting tribute of
profound, inexpressible gratitude.

"To have been in the infant and critical days of these States adopted by
them as a favorite son; to have participated in the trials and perils of
our unspotted struggle for independence, freedom, and equal rights, and in
the foundation of the American era of a new social order, which has
already pervaded this, and must, for the dignity and happiness of mankind,
successively pervade every part of the other hemisphere; to have received,
at every stage of the revolution, and during forty years after that
period, from the people of the United State's and their Representatives at
home and abroad, continual marks of their confidence and kindness,--has
been the pride, the encouragement, the support of a long and eventful

"But how could I find words to acknowledge that series of welcomes, those
unbounded and universal displays of public affection, which have marked
each step, each hour, of a twelvemonth's progress through the twenty-four
States, and which, while they overwhelm my heart with grateful delight,
have most satisfactorily evinced the concurrence of the people in the kind
testimonies, in the immense favors bestowed on me by the several branches
of their Representatives, in every part and at the central seat of the

"Yet gratifications still higher awaited me. In the wonders of creation
and improvement that have met my enchanted eye, in the unparalleled and
self-felt happiness of the people, in their rapid prosperity and insured
security, public and private, in a practice of good order, the appendage
of true freedom, and a national good sense, the final arbiter of all
difficulties, I have had proudly to recognize a result of the republican
principles for which we have fought, and a glorious demonstration to the
most timid and prejudiced minds, of the superiority, over degrading
aristocracy or despotism, of popular institutions, founded on the plain
rights of man, and where the local rights of every section are preserved
under a constitutional bond of union. The cherishing of that union between
the States, as it has been the farewell entreaty of our great paternal
Washington, and will ever have the dying prayer of every American patriot,
so it has become the sacred pledge of the emancipation of the world; an
object in which I am happy to observe that the American people, while they
give the animating example of successful free institutions, in return for
an evil entailed upon them by Europe, and of which a liberal and
enlightened sense is everywhere more and more generally felt, show
themselves every day more anxiously interested.

"And now, sir, how can I do justice to my deep and lively feelings for the
assurances, most peculiarly valued, of your esteem and friendship; for
your so very kind references to old times--to my beloved associates--to
the vicissitudes of my life; for your affecting picture of the blessings
poured, by the several generations of the American people, on the
remaining days of a delighted veteran; for your affectionate remarks on
this sad hour of separation--on the country of my birth, full, I can say,
of American sympathies--on the hope, so necessary to me, of my seeing
again the country that has deigned, near a half a century ago, to call me
hers? I shall content myself, refraining from superfluous repetitions, at
once, before you, sir, and this respected circle, to proclaim my cordial
confirmation of everyone of the sentiments which I have had daily
opportunities publicly to utter, from the time when your venerable
predecessor, my old brother in arms and friend, transmitted to me the
honorable invitation of Congress, to this day, when you, my dear sir,
whose friendly connection with me dates from your earliest youth, are
going to consign me to the protection, across the Atlantic, of the heroic
national flag, on board the splendid ship, the name of which has been not
the least flattering and kind among the numberless favors conferred upon

"God bless you, sir, and all who surround us. God bless the American
people, each of their States, and the Federal Government. Accept this
patriotic farewell of an overflowing heart. Such will be its last throb
when it ceases to beat."

As the last sentence of the farewell was pronounced, La Fayette advanced
and took President Adams in his arms, while tears poured down his
venerable cheeks. Retiring a few paces, he was overcome by his feelings,
and again returned, and falling on the neck of Mr. Adams, exclaimed in
broken accents, "God bless you!" It was a scene at once solemn and moving,
as the sighs and tears of many who witnessed it bore testimony. Having
recovered his self-possession, the General stretched out his hands, and
was in a moment surrounded by the greetings of the whole assembly, who
pressed upon him, each eager to seize, perhaps for the last time, that
beloved hand which was opened so freely for our aid when aid was so
precious, and which grasped with firm and undeviating hold the steel which
so bravely helped to achieve our deliverance. The expression which now
beamed from the face of this exalted man was of the finest and most
touching kind. The hero was lost in the father and the friend. Dignity
melted into subdued affection, and the friend of Washington seemed to
linger with a mournful delight among the sons of his adopted country.

A considerable period was then occupied in conversing with various
individuals, while refreshments were presented to the company. The moment
of departure at length arrived; and having once more pressed the hand of
Mr. Adams, he entered the barouche, accompanied by the Secretaries of
State, of the Treasury, and of the Navy, and passed from the capital of
the Union. An immense procession accompanied him to the banks of the
Potomac, where the steamboat Mount Vernon awaited to convey him down the
river to the frigate Brandywine. The whole scene--the peals of artillery,
the sounds of numerous military bands, the presence of the vast concourse
of people, and the occasion that assembled them, produced emotions not
easily described, but which every American heart can readily conceive. As
the steamboat moved off, the deepest silence was observed by the whole
multitude that lined the shore. The feelings that pervaded them was that
of children bidding farewell to a venerated parent.

When the boat came opposite the tomb of Washington, at Mount Vernon, it
paused in its progress. La Fayette arose. The wonders which he had
performed, for a man of his age, in successfully accomplishing labors
enough to have tested his meridian vigor, whose animation rather resembled
the spring than the winter of life, now seemed unequal to the task he was
about to perform--to take a last look at "The tomb of Washington!" He
advanced to the effort. A silence the most impressive reigned around, till
the strains of sweet and plaintive music completed the grandeur and sacred
solemnity of the scene. All hearts beat in unison with the throbbings of
the veteran's bosom, as he looked, for the last time, on the sepulchre
which contained the ashes of the first of men! He spoke not, but appeared
absorbed in the mighty recollections which the place and the occasion

After this scene, the boat resumed its course, and the next morning
anchored in safety near the Brandywine. Here La Fayette took leave of
the Secretaries of State, the Treasury, and the Navy, and the guests who
had accompanied him from Washington, together with many military and naval
officers and eminent citizens who had assembled in various crafts near the
frigate to bid him farewell. The weather had been boisterous and rainy,
but just as the affecting scene had closed, the sun burst forth to cheer a
spectacle which will long be remembered, and formed a magnificent arch,
reaching from shore to shore--the barque which was to bear the venerable
chief being immediately in the centre. Propitious omen! Heaven smiles on
the good deeds of men! And if ever there was a sublime and virtuous action
to be blessed by heaven and admired by men, it is when a free and grateful
people unite to do honor to their friend and benefactor![Footnote:
National Intelligencer.]



The patriarchs John Adams and Thomas Jefferson still lingered on the
shores of time. The former had attained the good old age of 90 years, and
the latter 82. Mrs. Adams, the venerable companion of the ex-President,
died in Quincy, on the 28th of Oct., 1818, aged 74 years. Although, amid
the various political strifes through which they had passed during the
half century they had taken prominent parts in the affairs of their
country, Adams and Jefferson had frequently been arrayed in opposite
parties, and cherished many views quite dissimilar, yet their private
friendship and deep attachment had been unbroken. It continued to be
cherished with generous warmth to the end of their days. This pleasing
fact, together with the wonderful vigor of their minds in extreme old age,
is proved by the following interesting correspondence between them, which
took place four years before their decease:--


                                            "Monticello, June 1, 1822.
"It is very long, my dear sir, since I have written to you. My dislocated
wrist is now become so stiff, that I write slowly, and with pain; and
therefore write as little as I can. Yet it is due to mutual friendship, to
ask once in a while how we do? The papers tell us that General Starke is
off, at the age of ninety-three. ***** still lives at about the same age,
cheerful, slender as a grasshopper, and so much without memory, that he
scarcely recognizes the members of his household. An intimate friend of
his called on him, not long since. It was difficult to make him recollect
who he was, and sitting one hour, he told him the same story four times
over. Is this life?--with laboring step

  'To tread our former footsteps? pace the round
  Eternal?--to beat and beat
  The beaten track--to see what we have seen
  To taste the tasted--o'er our palates to decant
  Another vintage?'

"It is, at most, but the life of a cabbage, surely not worth a wish. When
all our faculties have left, or are leaving us, one by one, sight,
hearing, memory, every avenue of pleasing sensation is closed, and
athumy, debility, and malaise left in their places, when the friends of
our youth are all gone, and a generation is risen around us whom we know
not, is death an evil?

  'When one by one our ties are torn,
  And friend from friend is snatch'd forlorn;
  When man is left alone to mourn,
    Oh, then, how sweet it is to die!

  'When trembling limbs refuse their weight,
  And films slow gathering dim the sight;
  When clouds obscure the mental light,
  'Tis nature's kindest boon to die!'

"I really think so. I have ever dreaded a doting old age; and my health
has been generally so good, and is now so good, that I dread it still. The
rapid decline of my strength during the last winter, has made me hope
sometimes, that I see land. During summer, I enjoy its temperature, but I
shudder at the approach of winter, and wish I could sleep through it, with
the dormouse, and only wake with him in spring, if ever. They say that
Starke could walk about his room. I am told you walk well and firmly. I
can only reach my garden, and that with sensible fatigue. I ride, however,
daily; but reading is my delight. I should wish never to put pen to paper;
and the more because of the treacherous practice some people have, of
publishing one's letters without leave. Lord Mansfield declared it a
breach of trust, and punishable at law. I think it should be a
penitentiary felony; yet you will have seen that they have drawn me out
into the arena of the newspapers. Although I know it is too late for me to
buckle on the armor of youth, yet my indignation would not permit me
passively to receive the kick of an ass.

"To return to the news of the day, it seems that the cannibals of Europe
are going to eat one another again. A war between Russia and Turkey is
like the battle of the kite and snake; whichever destroys the other,
leaves a destroyer the less for the world. This pugnacious humor of
mankind seems to be the law of his nature; one of the obstacles to too
great multiplication, provided in the mechanism of the universe. The cocks
of the hen-yard kill one another; bears, bulls, rams, do the same, and the
horse in his wild state kills all the young males, until, worn down with
age and war, some vigorous youth kills him. * * * * * * I hope we shall
prove how much happier for man the Quaker policy is, and that the life of
the feeder is better than that of the fighter. And it is some consolation
that the desolation by these maniacs of one part of the earth is the means
of improving it in other parts. Let the latter be our office; and let us
milk the cow while the Russian holds her by the horns, and the Turk by the
tail. God bless you, and give you health, strength, good spirits, and as
much of life as you think worth having.
                                                    THOMAS JEFFERSON."

                                               "Quincy, June 11, 1822.
"DEAR SIR:--Half an hour ago I received, and this moment have heard read,
for the third or fourth time, the best letter that ever was written by an
octogenarian, dated June 1st.

  * * * * * * * * * *

"I have not sprained my wrist; but both my arms and hands are so
overstrained that I cannot write a line. Poor Starke remembered nothing,
and could talk of nothing but the battle of Bennington! ******** is not
quite so reduced. I cannot mount my horse, but I can walk three miles over
a rugged, rocky mountain, and have done it within a month; yet I feel,
when sitting in my chair, as if I could not rise out of it; and when
risen, as if I could not walk across the room. My sight is very dim,
hearing pretty good, memory poor enough.

"I answer your question,--Is death an evil? It is not an evil. It is a
blessing to the individual and to the world; yet we ought not to wish for
it, till life becomes insupportable. We must wait the pleasure and
convenience of the 'Great Teacher.' Winter is as terrible to me as to you.
I am almost reduced in it to the life of a bear or a torpid swallow. I
cannot read, but my delight is to hear others read; and I tax all my
friends most unmercifully and tyrannically against their consent.

"The ass has kicked in vain; all men say the dull animal has missed the

"This globe is a theatre of war; its inhabitants are all heroes. The
little eels in vinegar, and the animalcules in pepper-water, I believe,
are quarrelsome. The bees are as warlike as the Romans, Russians, Britons,
or Frenchmen. Ants, caterpillars, and canker-worms are the only tribes
among whom I have not seen battles; and Heaven itself, if we believe
Hindoos, Jews, Christians, and Mahometans, has not always been at peace.
We need not trouble ourselves about these things, nor fret ourselves
because of evil doers; but safely trust the 'Ruler with his skies.' Nor
need we dread the approach of dotage; let it come if it must. ******, it
seems, still delights in his four stories; and Starke remembered to the
last his Bennington, and exulted in his glory; the worst of the evil is,
that our friends will suffer more by our imbecility than we ourselves.
*  *  *  *  *  *  *  *  *
"In wishing for your health and happiness, I am very selfish; for I hope
for more letters. This is worth more than five hundred dollars to me; for
it has already given me, and will continue to give me, more pleasure than
a thousand. Mr. Jay, who is about your age, I am told, experiences more
decay than you do.
                            "I am your old friend,
                                                   "JOHN ADAMS."

This correspondence excited attention in Europe. The editor of the London
Morning Chronicle prefaces it with the following remarks:--

"What a contrast the following correspondence of the two rival Presidents
of the greatest Republic of the world, reflecting an old age dedicated to
virtue, temperance, and philosophy, presents to the heart-sickening
details, occasionally disclosed to us, of the miserable beings who fill
the thrones of the continent. There is not, perhaps, one sovereign of the
continent, who in any sense of the word can be said to honor our nature,
while many make us almost ashamed of it. The curtain is seldom drawn aside
without exhibiting to us beings worn out with vicious indulgence, diseased
in mind, if not in body, the creatures of caprice and insensibility. On
the other hand, since the foundation of the American Republic, the chair
has never been filled by a man, for whose life (to say the least,) any
American need once to blush. It must, therefore, be some compensation to
the Americans for the absence of pure monarchy, that when they look
upwards their eyes are not always met by vice, and meannesss, and often

John Adams joined his fellow-citizens of Quincy, Mass., in celebrating the
4th of July, 1823, at the age of 88 years. Being called upon for a toast,
he gave the following:--

"The excellent President, Governor, Ambassador, and Chief Justice, JOHN
JAY, whose name, by accident, was not subscribed on the DECLARATION OF
INDEPENDENCE, as it ought to have been, for he was one of its ablest and
faithfullest supporters.--A splendid star just setting below the
horizon." It would be difficult (said the Boston Patriot,) fully to
describe the delicate manner in which this toast was received and noticed
by the company. Instead of loud acclamations, which succeeded the other
toasts, it was followed by soft and interrupted interjections and
aspirations, as if each individual was casting up an ejaculatory prayer,
that the two illustrious sages might pass the remainder of their days in
tranquillity and ease, and finally be landed on the blissful shores of a
happy eternity.

In September, 1825, President Adams, with his family, left Washington, on
a visit to his venerable father, at Quincy. He travelled without
ostentation, and especially requested that no public display might be
manifested. At Philadelphia, Mrs. Adams was taken ill, and the President
was compelled to proceed without her. This visit was of short duration.
Called back to Washington by public affairs, he left Quincy on the 14th of
October. It was his last interview on earth with his venerated parent. The
aged patriarch had lived to see his country emancipated from foreign
thraldom, its independence acknowledged, its union consummated, its
prosperity and perpetuity resting on an immovable foundation, and his son
elevated to the highest office in its gift. It was enough! His work
accomplished--the book of his eventful life written and sealed for
immortality--he was ready to depart and be at peace.

The 4th of July, 1826, will long be memorable for one of the most
remarkable coincidences that has ever taken place in the history of
nations. It was the fiftieth anniversary--the "JUBILEE"--of American
independence! Preparations had been made throughout the Union, to
celebrate the day with unusual pomp and display.  John Adams and Thomas
Jefferson had both been invited to participate in the festivities of the
occasion, at their several places of abode. But a higher summons awaited
them! they were bidden to a "jubilee" above, which shall have no end! On
that half-century anniversary of American Independence, at nearly the same
hour of the day, the spirits of Adams and Jefferson took their departure
from earth!! Amid the rejoicings of the people, the peals of artillery,
the strains of music, the exultations of a great nation in the enjoyment
of freedom, peace, and happiness, they were released from the toils of
life, and allowed to enter on their rest.

The one virtually the mover, the other the framer, of the immortal
Declaration of Independence--they had together shared the dangers and the
honors of the revolution--had served their country in various important
and responsible capacities--had both received the highest honors in the
gift of their fellow-citizens--had lived to see the nation to which they
assisted in giving birth assume a proud stand among the nations of the
earth--her free institutions framed, consolidated, tried, and matured--her
commerce hovering over all seas--respected abroad, united, prosperous,
happy at home--what more had earth in store for them? Together they had
counselled--together they had dared the power of a proud and powerful
Government--together they had toiled to build up a great and prosperous
people--together they rejoiced in the success with which a wise and good
Providence had crowned their labors--and together, on their country's
natal day, amid the loud-swelling acclamations of the "national jubilee,"
their freed spirits soared to light and glory above!

The venerable ex-President Adams had been failing for several days before
the 4th of July. In reply to an invitation from a committee of the
citizens of Quincy, to unite with them in celebrating the fiftieth
anniversary of American independence, he had written a note, from which
the following is an extract:--

"The present feeble state of my health will not permit me to indulge the
hope of participating with more than my best wishes, in the joys, and
festivities, and the solemn services of that day on which will be
completed the fiftieth year from its birth, of the independence of the
United States: a memorable epoch in the annals of the human race, destined
in future history to form the brightest or the blackest page, according to
the use or the abuse of those political institutions by which they shall,
in time to come, be shaped by the human mind."

Being solicited for a toast, to accompany the letter, he
gave--"INDEPENDENCE FOREVER!!" He was asked if anything should be added to
it. Immediately he replied--"Not a word!" This toast was drank at the
celebration in Quincy, about fifty minutes before the departure of the
venerated statesman from earth.

On the morning of the 4th, which was ushered in by the ringing of bells
and firing of cannon, he was asked if he knew what day it was?--"O yes,"
he replied, "it is the glorious fourth of July--God bless it!--God bless
you all!!" In the course of the day he said, "It is a great and glorious
day." The last words he uttered were, "Jefferson survives!" But the spirit
of Jefferson had already left the body, and was hovering over the earth,
to accompany his to higher and brighter scenes of existence!!

Mr. Jefferson had been sensible for some days, that his last hour was at
hand. He conversed with his family and friends, with the utmost composure,
of his departure, and gave directions concerning his coffin and his
funeral. He was desirous that the latter should take place at Monticello,
and that it should be without any display or parade. On Monday he inquired
the day of the month? Being told it was the 3d of July, he expressed an
earnest desire that he might be allowed to behold the light of the next
day--the fiftieth anniversary of American independence. His prayer was
heard and answered. He beheld the rising of that sun on the morning of the
4th, which was to set on a nation mourning the loss of two of its noblest
benefactors, and its brightest ornaments. He was cheerful to the last. A
day or two previous, being in great pain, he said to his physician--"Well,
doctor, a few hours more, and the struggle will be over."

On the morning of the last day, as the physician entered his apartment, he
said, "You see, doctor, I am here yet." On a member of his family
expressing an opinion that he was better, he replied, with evident
impatience--"Do not imagine for a moment that I feel the smallest
solicitude as to the result." Some individual present uttering a hope that
he might recover, he asked with a smile--"Do you think I fear to die?"
Thus departed Thomas Jefferson. His last words were--"I resign my soul to
my God, and my daughter to my country!"

President J. Q. Adams receiving intelligence at Washington of the illness
of his father, started immediately for Quincy. Shortly before arriving at
Baltimore, tidings reached him that the patriarch had gone to his rest.
Mr. Adams pursued his journey, but did not arrive at Quincy in season to
be present at the funeral. This took place on the 7th of July. It was
attended by a large body of citizens, assembled from the surrounding
region. The funeral services took place at the Unitarian church in Quincy,
on which occasion an impressive discourse was delivered by the Pastor,
Rev. Mr. Whitney. The pall-bearers were Judge Davis, President Kirkland,
Gov. Lincoln, Hon. Mr. Greenleaf, Judge Story, and Lieut. Gov. Winthrop.
During the exercises and the moving of the procession, minute guns were
fired from Mount Wallaston, and from various eminences in the adjoining
towns, and every mark of respect was paid to the remains of one who filled
so high a place in the history of his country and the regard of his

On the 2d of August, Mr. Webster delivered a eulogy on the death of Adams
and Jefferson, before the city authorities of Boston, and a vast body of
people, in Faneuil Hall. President Adams was present. It was one of Mr.
Webster's most eloquent and successful attempts. He commenced as

"This is an unaccustomed spectacle. For the first time, fellow-citizens,
badges of mourning shroud the columns and overhang the arches of this
hall. These walls, which were consecrated, so long ago, to the cause of
American liberty, which witnessed her infant struggles and rung with the
shouts of her earliest victories, proclaim now, that distinguished friends
and champions of that great cause have fallen. It is right that it should
be thus. The tears which flow, and the honors that are paid, when the
Founders of the Republic die, give hope that the Republic itself may be
immortal. It is fit, that by public assembly and solemn observance, by
anthem and by eulogy, we commemorate the services of national benefactors,
extol their virtues, and render thanks to God for eminent blessings, early
given and long continued to our favored country.

"ADAMS and JEFFERSON are no more; and we are assembled, fellow-citizens,
the aged, the middle-aged and the young, by the spontaneous impulse of
all, under the authority of the municipal government, with the presence of
the chief magistrate of the commonwealth, and others of its official
representatives, the university, and the learned societies, to bear our
part in these manifestations of respect and gratitude, which universally
pervade the land. ADAMS and JEFFERSON are no more. On our fiftieth
anniversary, the great national jubilee, in the very hour of public
rejoicing, in the midst of echoing and re-echoing voices of thanksgiving,
while their own names were on all tongues, they took their flight together
to the world of spirits."

The conclusion of Mr. Webster's eulogy was equally impressive:

"Fellow-citizens: I will detain you no longer by this faint and feeble
tribute to the illustrious dead. Even in other hands, adequate justice
could not be performed, within the limits of this occasion. Their highest,
their best praise, is your deep conviction of their merits, your
affectionate gratitude for their labors and services. It is not my voice,
it is this cessation of ordinary pursuits, this arresting of all
attention, those solemn ceremonies, and this crowded house, which speak
their eulogy. Their fame, indeed, is safe. That is now treasured up,
beyond the reach of accident. Although no sculptured marble should rise to
their memory, nor engraved stone bear record to their deeds, yet will
their remembrance be as lasting as the land they honored. Marble columns
may, indeed, moulder into dust, time may erase all impress from the
crumbling stone, but their fame remains; for with American liberty it
rose, and with American liberty only can it perish. It was the last
swelling peal of yonder choir--'THEIR BODIES ARE BURIED IN PEACE, BUT
THEIR NAME LIVETH EVERMORE!' I catch that solemn song, I echo that lofty
strain of funeral triumph! 'Their name liveth evermore.'

* * * * * * * *

"It cannot be denied, but by those who would dispute against the sun, that
with America, and in America, a new era commences in human affairs. This
era is distinguished by free representative governments, by entire
religious liberty, by improved systems of national intercourse, by a
newly-awakened and an unconquerable spirit of free inquiry, and by a
diffusion of knowledge through the community, such as has been before
altogether unknown and unheard of. America, America, our country,
fellow-citizens, our own dear and native land, is inseparably connected,
fast bound up, in fortune and by fate, with these great interests. If they
fall, we fall with them; if they stand, it will be because we have
upholden them. Let us contemplate, then, this connection, which binds the
prosperity of others to our own; and let us manfully discharge all the
duties which it imposes. If we cherish the virtues and the principles of
our fathers, heaven will assist us to carry on the work of human liberty,
and human happiness. Auspicious omens cheer us: great examples are before
us: our own firmament now shines brightly upon our path: WASHINGTON is in
the clear upper sky. These other stars have now joined the American
constellation; they circle around their centre, and the heavens beam with
a new light. Beneath this illumination, let us walk the course of life,
and at its close devoutly commend our beloved country, the common parent
of us all, to the Divine Benignity."

During this visit at the East, at this time, President J. Q. Adams
attended the annual examination of the public schools in Boston, and was
present at the public dinner given in Faneuil Hall, to the school
committee, teachers, and most meritorious scholars. In reply to a
complimentary toast from the Mayor, Mr. Adams responded as follows:--

"MR. MAYOR, AND MY FELLOW-CITIZENS OF BOSTON:--A few days since, we were
assembled in this Hall, as the house of mourning--in commemoration of the
two last survivors of that day which had proclaimed at once our
independence and our existence as a nation. We are now assembled within
the same walls, at the house of feasting--at the festival of fathers
rejoicing in the progressive improvement of their children.

"We have been told by the wisest man of antiquity, that it is better to go
to the house of mourning, than to the house of feasting. How emphatically
true would that sentence be, if the house of mourning were always such as
this hall but so recently exhibited!--a mourning of gratitude--a mourning
of faithful affection--a mourning full of consolation and joy. And yet,
could the wisest of men now look down upon this happy meeting--of parents
partaking together of the bounties of Providence, in mutual gratulation
with each other at the advances of their offspring in moral and
intellectual cultivation--would he, could he, my friends, have said that
it is better to go to the house of mourning than to such a house of

"For is not the spirit of that solemnity, and of this, effectively the
same? If that was the commemoration of the good deeds of your forefathers,
may not this be called the commemoration of the future achievements of
your sons? If that day was dedicated to the blessed memory of the past, is
not this devoted to the no less blessed hope of the future? It was from
schools of public instruction, instituted by our forefathers, that the
light burst forth. It was in the primary schools; it was by the midnight
lamps of Harvard hall, that were conceived and matured, as it was within
these hallowed walls that were first resounded the accents of that
independence which is now canonized in the memory of those by whom it was

"Was it not there that were formed, to say nothing of him 'fit for the
praise of any tongue but mine,'--but was it not there that were formed,
and prepared for the conflicts of the mind, for the intellectual warfare
which distinguishes your Revolution from all the brutal butcheries of
vulgar war, your James Otis, your John Hancock, your Samuel Adams, your
Robert Treat Paine, your Elbridge Gerry, your James and your Joseph
Warren, and last, not least, your Josiah Quincy, so worthily represented
by your Chief Magistrate here at my side?

"Indulge me, fellow-citizens, with the remark, that I have been called to
answer to myself these questions, before I could enjoy the happiness, at
the very kind invitation of your Mayor and Aldermen, of presenting myself
among you this day.

"In conformity to my own inclinations, and to the usages of society, I
have deemed it proper, on the recent bereavement I have sustained, to
withdraw for a time from the festive intercourse of the world, and in
retirement, so far as may be consistent with the discharge of public
trusts, to prepare for and perform the additional duties devolving upon
me, as a son, and as a parent, from this visitation of heaven. To that
retirement I have hitherto been confined; and in departing from it for a
single day, I have needed an apology to myself, as I trust I shall need
one to you. Seek for it, my fellow-citizens in your own paternal hearts. I
have been unable to resist the invitation of the authorities of this my
own almost native city, to mingle with her inhabitants in the joyous
festivities of this occasion--and, after witnessing, in the visitation of
the schools, hundreds and thousands of the rising generation training 'up
in the way they should go;' to come here and behold the distinguished
proficients of the schools sharing at the social board the pleasures of
their fathers, and to congratulate the fathers on the growing virtues and
brightening talents of their children.

"But, fellow-citizens, I will no longer trespass upon your indulgence. I
thank you for the sentiment with which you have honored me. I thank you
for the many affecting testimonials of kindness and sympathy which I have
so often received at your hands; and will give you as a token of my good
wishes, not yourselves, but objects dearer to your hearts. Mr. Mayor, I
propose to you for a toast--

"The blooming youth of Boston--May the maturity of the fruit be equal to
the promise of the blossom."



In administering the Government of the United States, Mr. Adams adhered
with rigid fidelity to the principles embodied in his inaugural speech.
Believing that "the will of the people is the source, and the happiness of
the people the end, of all legitimate government on earth," it was his
constant aim to act up to this patriotic principle in the discharge of his
duties as chief magistrate. He was emphatically the President of the
entire people, and not of a section, or a party. His administration was
truly national in its scope, its objects, and its results. His views of
the sacred nature of the trust imposed upon him by his fellow-citizens
were too exalted to allow him to desecrate the power with which it clothed
him to the promotion of party or personal interests. Although not
unmindful of the party which elevated him to the presidency, nor forgetful
of the claims of those who yielded sympathy and support to the measures of
his administration, yet in all his doings in this respect, his primary aim
was the general good. Simply a friendship for him, or his measures,
without other and requisite qualifications, would not ensure from Mr.
Adams an appointment to office. Neither did an opposition to his
administration alone, except there was a marked practical unfitness for
office, ever induce him to remove an individual from a public station.

Looking back to the administration of Mr. Adams from the present day, and
comparing it with those which have succeeded it, or even those which
preceded it, the acknowledgment must be made by all candid minds, that it
will lose nothing in purity, patriotism, and fidelity, in the discharge of
all its trusts. He was utterly incapable of proscription for opinion's
sake. With a stern integrity worthy the highest admiration, and which the
people at that period were far too slow to acknowledge and appreciate, he
would not displace his most active political opponents from public
stations he found them occupying, provided they were competent to their
duty and faithful in the discharge of the same. "It was in my hearing
that, to a representation that a certain important and influential
functionary of the General Government in New York was using the power of
his office adversely to Mr. Adams's re-election, and that he ought to
desist or be removed, Mr. Adams made this reply:--'That gentleman is one
of the best officers in the public service. I have had occasion to know
his diligence, exactness, and punctuality. On public grounds, therefore,
there is no cause of complaint against him, and upon no other will I
remove him. If I cannot administer the Government on these principles, I
am content to go back to Quincy!'" [Footnote: King's Eulogy on John Quincy
Adams.] Being in Baltimore on a certain occasion, among those introduced
to him was a gentleman who accosted him thus--"Mr. President, though I
differ from you in opinion, I am glad to find you in good health." The
President gave him a hearty shake of the hand, and replied,--"Sir, in our
happy and free country, we can differ in opinion without being enemies."

These anecdotes illustrate the character and principles of Mr. Adams. He
knew nothing of the jealousy and bitterness which are gendered, in little
minds and hearts, by disparities of sentiment. Freedom of opinion he
considered the birthright of every American citizen, and he would in no
instance be the instrument of inflicting punishment upon the head of any
man on account of its exercise. High and pure in all his aims, he sought
to reach them by means of a corresponding character. If he could not
succeed in the use of such instruments, he was content to meet defeat. The
rule by which he was governed in the discharge of his official duties, is
beautifully expressed by the dramatic bard:--

                         "Be just and fear not.
Let all the ends thou aim'st at, be thy COUNTRY'S,
Thy GOD'S, and TRUTH'S. Then if thou fall'st, O Cromwell,
Thou fall'st a blessed martyr!"

In the truly republican position which Mr. Adams took in regard to
appointments to office, and which, it is humiliating to believe, was one
means of his subsequent defeat, he but faithfully imitated the example of
"the Father of his country." When Gen. Washington occupied the
presidential chair, application was made for the appointment of one of his
old and intimate friends to a lucrative office. At the same time a
petition was received asking the same station for a most determined
political opponent. The latter received the appointment. The friend was
greatly disappointed and hurt in his feelings at his defeat. Let the
explanation of Washington be noted and ever remembered:--"My friend," said
he, "I receive with cordial welcome. He is welcome to my house, and
welcome to my heart; but with all his good qualities he is not a man of
business. His opponent, with all his politics so hostile to me, is a man
of business. My private feelings have nothing to do in the case. I am not
George Washington, but President of the United States. As George
Washington, I would do this man any kindness in my power--as President of
the United States, I can do nothing."

The period of Mr. Adams's administration, was not one which admitted of
acts calculated to rivet the attention, or excite the admiration and
applause of the multitude. No crisis occurred in national affairs--no
imminent peril from without, or danger within, threatened the well-being
of the country! Quietness reigned throughout the world, and the nations
were allowed once more to cultivate the arts of peace, to enlarge the
operations of commerce, and to fix their attention on domestic
interests--the only true fountain of national prosperity. But though
lacking in some of the more striking elements of popularity, the
administration of Mr. Adams was preeminently useful in all its measures
and influences. During no Presidential term since the organization of the
Government, has more been done to consolidate the Union, and develop its
resources, and lay the foundations of national strength and prosperity.

The two great interests which, perhaps, received the largest share of
attention from Mr. Adams' administration, were internal improvements and
domestic manufactures. A special attention to these subjects was
recommended in his messages to Congress. And throughout his term, he
failed not to urge these vital matters upon the attention of the people,
and their representatives. He recommended the opening of national roads
and canals--the improvement of the navigation of rivers, and the safety of
harbors--the survey of our coasts, the erection of light houses, piers,
and breakwaters. Whatever tended to facilitate communication and
transportation between extreme portions of the Union--to bring the people
of distant sections into a more direct intercourse with each other, and
bind them together by ties of a business, social and friendly nature--to
promote enterprize, industry, and enlarged views of national and
individual prosperity--obtained his earnest sanction and recommendation.
To encourage home labor--to protect our infant manufactories from a fatal
competition with foreign pauper wages--to foster and build up in the bosom
of the country a system of domestic production, which should not only
supply home consumption, and afford a home market for raw materials and
provisions, the produce of our own soil, but enable us in due time to
compete with other nations in sending our manufactures to foreign
markets--he yielded all his influence to the levying of protective duties
on foreign articles, especially such as could be produced in our own
country. The wisdom of this policy, its direct tendency to promote
national wealth and strength, and to render the Union truly independent of
the fluctuations and vicissitudes of foreign countries, cannot be doubted,
it would seem, by those possessing clear minds and sound judgment, of all

Under the faithful supervision of one so vigilant as Mr. Adams, the
foreign relations of the Government could not have been neglected. The
intimate knowledge of the condition of foreign nations, their resources
and their wants, which was possessed by himself and by Mr. Clay, the
Secretary of State, afforded facilities in this department, from which the
country reaped the richest benefit. During the four years of his
administration, more treaties were negotiated at Washington than during
the entire thirty-six years through which the preceding administrations
had extended. New treaties of amity, navigation and commerce, were
concluded with Austria, Sweden, Denmark, the Hanseatic League, Prussia,
Colombia, and Central America. Commercial difficulties and various
arrangements of a satisfactory character, were settled with the
Netherlands, and other European Governments. The claims of our citizens
against Sweden, Denmark and Brazil, for spoilations of commerce, were
satisfactorily consummated.

"As time advances, the evidences are accumulating on all sides, that the
administration of John Quincy Adams was one of the most wise, patriotic,
pacific, just, and wealth-producing, in the history of the country; and no
small part of that benefit may justly be ascribed to the aid he received
from his Secretary of State. Mr. Adams himself was a great statesman, bred
in the school of statesmen, and all his life exercised in the business of
state, with recognized skill, and approved fidelity. The seven years
immediately preceding the administration of Mr. Adams, was a period of
great commercial embarrassment and distress; and the seven years
subsequent to his entrance on the duties of chief executive, was a period
of great public and private prosperity." [Footnote: Cotton's Life of

While Mr. Adams was thus seeking to foster and encourage the industrial
and monetary interests of the country, he was not forgetful of the
important claims of literature and science. President Washington, during
his administration, had repeatedly urged on Congress the importance of
establishing a national university at the capital; and he had located and
bequeathed a site for that purpose. But his appeals on this subject had
been in vain. In Mr. Adams's first message, he earnestly called on
Congress to carry into execution this recommendation of the Father of his
Country--insisting that "among the first, perhaps the very first
instrument for the improvement of the condition of men, is knowledge; and
to the acquisition of much of the knowledge adapted to the wants, the
comforts, and the enjoyments of human life, public institutions and
seminaries of learning are essential."

In the same message Mr. Adams recommended the establishment of a national
observatory. "Connected with the establishment of an university," he said
"or, separate from it, might be undertaken the erection of an astronomical
observatory, with provision for the support of an astronomer, to be in
constant attendance of observation upon the phenomena of the heavens, and
for the periodical publication of his observations. It is with no feeling
of pride, as an American, that the remark may be made, that, on the
comparatively small territorial surface of Europe, there are existing
upwards of one hundred and thirty of these light-houses in the skies;
while, throughout the whole American hemisphere, there is not one. If we
reflect a moment upon the discoveries which, in the last four centuries,
have been made in the physical constitution of the universe, by the means
of these buildings, and of observers stationed in them, shall we doubt of
their usefulness to every nation? And while scarcely a year passes over
our heads without bringing some new astronomical discovery to light, which
we must fain receive at second hand from Europe, are we not cutting
ourselves off from the means of returning light for light, while we have
neither observatory nor observer upon our half of the globe, and the earth
revolves in perpetual darkness to our unsearching eyes?"

It is humiliating to reflect that neither of these recommendations
received an encouraging response from Congress. The latter suggestion,
indeed, excited the ridicule of many of the opposers of Mr. Adams, and "a
light-house in the skies," became a term of reproach in their midst. In
this, however, it must be confessed, their ridicule was greatly at the
expense of their intelligence, their public spirit, and their devotion to
the highest interests of man. There are few reflections more mortifying to
an American citizen, than that while so large a portion of the resources
of the national Government have been exhausted in prosecuting party
measures, rewarding partisan services, and promoting sectional and
personal schemes, little or nothing has been devoted to the encouragement
of the arts and sciences, and the cultivation of those higher walks of
human attainment which exalt and refine a people, and fit them for the
purest and sweetest enjoyments of life.

It was during the first year of his administration, that the attention of
Mr. Adams was called to a proposed Congress of all the Republics on the
American Continent, to meet at Panama. The objects designed to be
accomplished by such a Congress have been variously stated. It has been
believed by some to have been called for the purpose of opposing a
supposed project, entertained by the Allied Powers of Europe, of combining
for the purpose of reducing the American Republics to their former
condition of European vassalage. Be this as it may, the Panama Congress,
among its objects, aimed at the cementing of the friendly relations of all
the independent States of America, and the forming of a kind of mutual
council, to act as an umpire to settle the differences which might arise
between them.

The United States was invited to send representatives to Panama. Mr.
Adams, as President, in view of the beneficial influences which in various
ways might flow from such a meeting, accepted the invitation, with the
understanding that the Government of the United States would take no part
that could conflict with its neutral position, in the wars which might
then be in existence between any of the South American Republics and other
powers. The acceptance of this invitation was announced by Mr. Adams in
his first message to Congress. This was immediately followed by the
nomination of Messrs. Richard C. Anderson and John Sargeant, as
commissioners to the Congress of Panama, and Wm. B. Rochester, of New
York, as secretary of the commission. These nominations were confirmed by
the Senate; and an appropriation was voted by the House of
Representatives, after strong opposition and much delay, to carry the
contemplated measure into effect.

But the United States Government was never represented in the Panama
Congress. The proceedings in the House of Representatives on this subject
had been so protracted, that it was found too late for Mr. Sargeant to
reach Panama in season for the meeting of the Congress, which took place
on the 22nd of June, 1826. Mr. Anderson, who was then minister at
Colombia, on receiving his instructions, commenced his journey to Panama;
but on reaching Carthagena he was seized with a malignant fever, which
terminated his existence.

During the second session of the nineteenth Congress, the subject of
commercial intercourse with the British West India Colonies was thoroughly
discussed. The British Parliament had laid restrictions so onerous on the
trade of the United States with these Colonies, that it could be pursued
to very little profit. Bills were introduced into both houses of Congress,
for the protection of the interests of American merchants, trading with
the British Colonies; but the Senate and House failing to agree on the
details of the proposed measures, nothing was done to effect the desired
object. Congress having adjourned without passing any law to meet the
restrictive measures of Great Britain, President Adams, on the 17th of
March, 1827, agreeably to a law passed three years before, issued a
proclamation closing the ports of the United States against vessels from
the British colonies, until the restrictive measures of the British
Government should be repealed.

The policy pursued by Mr. Adams toward the Indian tribes within the United
States, was pacific and humane. The position they held toward the General
Government was of an unsettled and embarrassing character. Enjoying a
species of independence, and subject to laws of their own enactment, they
were, nevertheless, dependent on the Government of the United States for
protection, and were, in fact, wholly at its disposal. Near the close of
Mr. Monroe's administration, in a message to Congress, on the 27th of
January, 1825, he proposed a plan to remove the tribes scattered through
the several States, to a tract of country west of the Mississippi, and to
unite them in one nation, with some plan for their government and
civilization. This proposition meeting with a decided opposition on the
part of many of the Indians, was modified during Mr. Adams's
administration. It finally resulted in a plan of removing west of the
Mississippi such individuals among the various tribes as would consent to
go under the inducements held out; and allowing the remainder to continue
in their old abode, occupying each a small tract of land. This policy has
since been pursued by the General Government, and has resulted in the
removal of most of the aborigines beyond the western shores of the

These removals, however, have been attended with no little difficulty, and
at times have led to collisions which have assumed a serious aspect. An
instance of this description occurred during the first year Mr. Adams
occupied the presidential chair. In 1802, a compact was formed between the
General Government and the State of Georgia, in which it was agreed, that
in consequence of the relinquishment, on the part of Georgia, of all her
claim to the land set off in the then new Mississippi Territory, the
General Government, at its own expense, should obtain a relinquishment,
from the Creek Indians, of all their lands within the State of Georgia,
"whenever it could be peaceably done upon reasonable terms."

In compliance with this agreement, the United States had extinguished the
Indian title to about fifteen millions of acres of land. At the close of
Mr. Monroe's administration, over nine millions of acres were still
retained by the Indians. The State authorities of Georgia became very
anxious to obtain possession of this also. At the solicitation of Gov.
Troup, President Madison sent two Commissioners to make a treaty with the
Creeks, for the purchase of their lands, and the removal of the Indians
beyond the Mississippi. But the Creeks, having begun to appreciate and
enjoy the comforts of civilization, and the advantages of the arts and
sciences, which had been introduced into their midst, refused to treat on
the subject, and passed a law in the General Council of their nation,
forbidding, on pain of death, the sale of any of their lands. After the
close of the council, a few of the Creeks, influenced by a chief named
M'Intosh, met the United States Commissioners, and formed a treaty on
their own responsibility, ceding to the General Government all the Creek
lands in Georgia and Alabama. When intelligence of this treaty was
circulated among the Indians, they were filled with indignation. Their
General Council met--resolved not to sanction a treaty obtained in a
manner so dishonorable and illegal--and despatched a party of Indians to
the residence of M'Intosh, who immediately shot him and another chief who
had signed the treaty with him.

This surreptitious treaty was transmitted to Washington, and under a
misapprehension of the manner in which it was secured, was ratified by the
Senate, on the 3d of March, 1825, the last day of Mr. Monroe's
administration. Gov. Troup, acting under this treaty, sent surveyors into
the Creek Territory, to lay out the land in lots, which were to be
distributed among the white inhabitants of Georgia, by lottery. The
Indians resisted this encroachment, and prepared to defend their rights by
physical force--at the same time sending to Washington for protection from
the General Government. The authorities of Georgia insisted upon a survey,
and ordered out a body of militia to enforce it.

On hearing of this state of affairs, President Adams despatched a special
agent to inquire into the facts of the case. After due investigation, the
agent reported that the treaty had been obtained by bad faith and
corruption, and that the Creeks were almost unanimously opposed to the
cession of their lands. On receiving this report, the President determined
to prevent the survey ordered by the Governor of Georgia, until the matter
could be submitted to Congress, and ordered Gen. Gaines to proceed to the
Creek country with a body of United States troops, to prevent collision
between the Indians and the Georgia forces.

On the 5th of February, Mr. Adams transmitted a message to Congress,
giving a statement of these transactions, and declaring his determination
to fulfil the duty of protection the nation owed the Creeks, as guaranteed
by treaty, by all the force at his command. "That the arm of military
force," he continued, "will be resorted to only in the event of the
failure of all other expedients provided by the laws, a pledge has been
given by the forbearance to employ it at this time. It is submitted to the
wisdom of Congress to determine whether any further acts of legislation
may be necessary or expedient to meet the emergency which these
transactions may produce."

The committee of the House of Representatives, to which this message was
referred, reported that it "is expedient to procure a cession of the
Indian lands in the State of Georgia, and that until such a cession is
procured, the law of the land, as set forth in the treaty at Washington,
ought to be maintained by all necessary, constitutional, and legal means."
The firmness and decision of President Adams undoubtedly prevented the
unhappy consequences of a collision between the people of Georgia and the
Creek Indians. A new negotiation was opened with the Indians, by direction
of the President, which resulted in declaring the M'Intosh treaty null and
void, and in obtaining, at length, a cession of all the lands of the
Creeks within the limits of Georgia, to the General Government.

As the friend and promoter of internal improvements, Mr. Adams was invited
to be present at the interesting ceremony of "breaking ground," on the
Chesapeake and Ohio canal, then about to be commenced, which took place on
the 4th of July, 1828. On the morning of that day, the President, the
Heads of Departments, the Foreign Ministers, the Corporations of
Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria, the President and Directors of the
Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, with a large concourse of citizens,
embarked on board of steamboats and ascended the Potomac, to the place
selected for the ceremony. On reaching the ground, a procession was
formed, which moved around it so as to leave a hollow space, in the midst
of a mass of people, in the centre of which was the spot marked out by
Judge Wright, the Engineer of the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal Company, for
the commencement of the work. A moment's pause here occurred, while the
spade, destined to commence the work, was selected by the committee of
arrangements, and the spot for breaking ground was precisely denoted.

At that moment the sun shone out from behind a cloud, giving an appearance
of the highest animation to the scene. Amidst an intense silence, the
Mayor of Georgetown handed to Gen. Mercer, the President of the Canal
Company, the consecrated instrument; which, having received, he stepped
forward from the resting column, and addressed as follows the listening

"Fellow-citizens: There are moments in the progress of time which are the
counters of whole ages. There are events, the monuments of which,
surviving every other memorial of human existence, eternize the nation to
whose history they belong, after all other vestiges of its glory have
disappeared from the globe. At such a moment have we now arrived. Such a
monument we are now to found."

Turning towards the President of the United States, who stood near him,
Mr. M. proceeded:--

"Mr. President: On a day hallowed by the fondest recollections, beneath
this cheering (may we not humbly trust auspicious) sky, surrounded by the
many thousand spectators who look on us with joyous anticipation; in the
presence of the representatives of the most polished nations of the old
and new worlds; on a spot where little more than a century ago the painted
savage held his nightly orgies; at the request of the three cities of the
District of Columbia, I present to the Chief Magistrate of the most
powerful Republic on earth, for the most noble purpose that was ever
conceived by man, this humble instrument of rural labor, a symbol of the
favorite occupation of our countrymen. May the use to which it is about to
be devoted prove the precursor, to our beloved country, of improved
agriculture, of multiplied and diversified arts, of extended commerce and
navigation. Combining its social and moral influence with the principles
of that happy constitution under which you have been called to preside
over the American people, may it become a safeguard of their liberty and
independence, and a bond of perpetual union!

"To the ardent wishes of this vast assembly I unite my fervent prayer to
that infinite and awful Being without whose favor all human power is but
vanity, that he will crown your labor with his blessing, and our work with

As soon as he had ended, the President of the United States, to whom Gen.
Mercer had presented the spade, stepped forward, and, with an animation of
manner and countenance which showed that his whole heart was in the thing,
thus addressed the assembly of his fellow-citizens:--

"Friends and Fellow-citizens: It is nearly a full century since Berkely,
bishop of Cloyne, turning towards this fair land which we now inhabit,
the eyes of a prophet, closed a few lines of poetical inspiration with
this memorable prediction--

    "Time's noblest empire is the last :"--

a prediction which, to those of us whose lot has been cast by Divine
Providence in these regions, contains not only a precious promise, but a
solemn injunction of duty, since upon our energies, and upon those of our
posterity, its fulfilment will depend. For with reference to what
principle could it be that Berkely proclaimed this, the last, to be the
noblest empire of time? It was, as he himself declares, on the
transplantation of learning and the arts to America. Of learning and the
arts. The four first acts--the empires of the old world, and of former
ages--the Assyrian, the Persian, the Grecian, the Roman empires--were
empires of conquest, dominions of man over man. The empire which his great
mind, piercing into the darkness of futurity, foretold in America, was the
empire of learning and the arts,--the dominion of man over himself, and
over physical nature--acquired by the inspirations of genius, and the
toils of industry; not watered with the tears of the widow and the orphan;
not cemented in the blood of human victims; founded not in discord, but in
harmony,--of which the only spoils are the imperfections of nature, and
the victory achieved is the improvement of the condition of all. Well may
this be termed nobler than the empire of conquest, in which man subdues
only his fellow-man.

"To the accomplishment of this prophecy, the first necessary step was the
acquisition of the right of self-government, by the people of the British
North American Colonies, achieved by the Declaration of Independence, and
its acknowledgment by the British nation. The second was the union of all
these colonies under one general confederated Government--a task more
arduous than that of the preceding separation, but at last effected by the
present constitution of the United States.

"The third step, more arduous still than either or both the others, was
that which we, fellow-citizens, may now congratulate ourselves, our
country, and the world of man, that it is taken. It is the adaptation of
the powers, physical, moral, and intellectual, of this whole Union, to the
improvement of its own condition: of its moral and political condition, by
wise and liberal institutions--by the cultivation of the understanding and
the heart--by academies, schools, and learned institutes--by the pursuit
and patronage of learning and the arts; of its physical condition, by
associated labor to improve the bounties, and to supply the deficiencies
of nature; to stem the torrent in its course; to level the mountain with
the plain; to disarm and fetter the raging surge of the ocean.
Undertakings of which the language I now hold is no exaggerated
description, have become happily familiar not only to the conceptions, but
to the enterprize of our countrymen. That for the commencement of which
we are here assembled is eminent among the number. The project
contemplates a conquest over physical nature, such as has never yet been
achieved by man. The wonders of the ancient world, the pyramids of Egypt,
the Colossus of Rhodes, the temple at Ephesus, the mausoleum of
Artemisia, the wall of China, sink into insignificance before
it:--insignificance in the mass and momentum of human labor required for
the execution--insignificance in comparison of the purposes to be
accomplished by the work when executed. It is, therefore, a pleasing
contemplation to those sanguine and patriotic spirits who have so long
looked with hope to the completion of this undertaking, that it unites the
moral power and resources--first, of numerous individuals--secondly, of
the corporate cities of Washington, Georgetown, and Alexandria--thirdly,
of the great and powerful States of Pennsylvania, Virginia, and
Maryland--and lastly, by the subscription authorized at the recent session
of Congress, of the whole Union.

"Friends and Fellow-laborers. We are informed by the holy oracles of
truth, that, at the creation of man, male and female, the Lord of the
universe, their Maker, blessed them, and said unto them, be fruitful, and
multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it. To subdue the earth was,
therefore, one of the first duties assigned to man at his creation; and
now, in his fallen condition, it remains among the most excellent of his
occupations. To subdue the earth is pre-eminently the purpose of the
undertaking, to the accomplishment of which the first stroke of the spade
is now to be struck. That it is to be struck by this hand, I invite you to
witness.--[Here the stroke of the spade.] [Footnote: Attending this action
was an incident which produced a greater sensation than, any other that
occurred during the day. The spade which the President held, struck a
root, which prevented its penetrating the, earth. Not deterred by trifling
obstacles from doing what he had deliberately resolved to perform, Mr.
Adams tried it again, with no better success. Thus foiled, he threw down
the spade, hastily stripped off and laid aside his coat, and went
seriously to work. The multitude around, and on the hills and trees, who
could not hear, because of their distance from the open space, but could
see and understand, observing this action, raised a loud and unanimous
cheering, which continued for some time after Mr. Adams had mastered the
difficulty.] And in performing this act, I call upon you to join me in
fervent supplication to Him from whom that primitive injunction came, that
he would follow with his blessing, this joint effort of our great
community, to perform his will in the subjugation of the earth for the
improvement of the condition of man--that he would make it one of his
chosen instruments for the preservation, prosperity, and perpetuity of our
Union--that he would have in his holy keeping all the workmen by whose
labors it is to be completed--that their lives and their health may be
precious in his sight; and that they may live to see the work of their
hands contribute to the comforts and enjoyments of millions of their

"Friends and brethren: Permit me further to say, that I deem the duty, now
performed at the request of the President and Directors of the Chesapeake
and Ohio Canal Company, and the Corporations of the District of Columbia,
one of the most fortunate incidents of my life. Though not among the
functions of my official station, I esteem it as a privilege conferred
upon me by my fellow-citizens of the District. Called, in the performance
of my service, heretofore as one of the representatives of my native
commonwealth in the Senate, and now as a member of the executive
department of the Government, my abode has been among the inhabitants of
the District longer than at any other spot upon earth. In availing myself
of this occasion to return to them my thanks for the numberless acts of
kindness that I have experienced at their hands, may I be allowed to
assign it as a motive, operating upon the heart, and superadded to my
official obligations, for taking a deeper interest in their welfare and
prosperity. Among the prospects of futurity which we may indulge the
rational hope of seeing realized by this junction of distant waters, that
of the auspicious influence which it will exercise over the fortunes of
every portion of this District is one upon which my mind dwells with
unqualified pleasure. It is my earnest prayer that they may not be

"It was observed that the first step towards the accomplishment of the
glorious destinies of our country was the Declaration of Independence.
That the second was the union of these States under our federative
Government. The third is irrevocably fixed by the act upon the
commencement of which we are now engaged. What time more suitable for this
operation could have been selected than the anniversary of our great
national festival? What place more appropriate from whence to proceed,
than that which bears the name of the citizen warrior who led our armies
in that eventful contest to the field, and who first presided as the Chief
Magistrate of our Union? You know that of this very undertaking he was one
of the first projectors; and if in the world of spirits the affections of
our mortal existence still retain their sway, may we not, without
presumption, imagine that he looks down with complacency and delight upon
the scene before and around us?

"But while indulging in a sentiment of joyous exultation at the benefits
to be derived from this labor of our friends and neighbors, let us not
forget that the spirit of internal improvement is catholic and liberal. We
hope and believe that its practical advantages will be extended to every
individual in our Union. In praying for the blessing of heaven upon our
task, we ask it with equal zeal and sincerity upon every other similar
work in this confederacy; and particularly upon that which, on this same
day, and perhaps at this very hour, is commencing from a neighboring city.
It is one of the happiest characteristics in the principle of internal
improvement, that the success of one great enterprise, instead of
counteracting, gives assistance to the execution of another. May they
increase and multiply, till, in the sublime language of inspiration, every
valley shall be exalted and every mountain and hill shall be made low; the
crooked straight, the rough places plain. Thus shall the prediction of the
bishop of Cloyne be converted from prophecy into history; and, in the
virtues and fortunes of our posterity, the last shall prove the noblest
empire of time."

The administration of Mr. Adams, from the first day of its existence, met
with an opposition more determined, bitter, and unscrupulous than any
which has ever assailed a President of the United States. It evidently was
not an opposition based on well-grounded objections to his principles or
his measures Before an opportunity had been given fairly and fully to
develop his policy as President, the opposition had taken its stand, and
boldly declared that his administration should be overthrown at every
hazard, whatever might be its policy, its integrity, or its success. A
favorite candidate, having certain elements of immense popularity with a
large class of people, and supported with enthusiasm by his immediate
friends, had been defeated in the previous presidential canvass, at a
moment when it was thought triumphant success had been secured. Under the
exasperation and excitement of this overthrow, it was determined that his
more fortunate rival should be displaced at the earliest moment, at
whatever cost, though his administration should prove unrivalled in
patriotism, and the successful promotion of the general welfare.

The opposition did not fail to seize upon certain points, which, in the
exercise of a due degree of adroitness, yielded an ample material for
popular declamation and censure. The fact that Mr. Adams had a less number
of electoral votes than Gen. Jackson was greatly dwelt upon as positive
evidence that the will of the people had been violated in the election of
the former to the presidency--although it has since been satisfactorily
ascertained that Mr. Adams had a larger number of the primary votes of the
people than his prominent opponent.

The charge of "bargain and corruption," alleged against Mr. Adams and Mr.
Clay, was also used as an effective weapon against the former, in the
suceeeding presidential canvass.  Notwithstanding the charge had been
promptly and emphatically denied by the parties implicated, and proof in
its support fearlessly challenged--notwithstanding every attempt at
evidence to fix it upon them had most signally failed, and involved those
engaged therein in utter confusion of face--yet so often and so boldly was
the charge repeated by designing men, so generally and continually was it
reiterated by a venal press from one end of the Union to the other, that a
majority of the people was driven into its belief, and the fate of Mr.
Adams's administration was sealed against him. Subsequent developments
have shown, that, in the annals of political warfare, there never was a
charge uttered against eminent public men, so thoroughly destitute of the
shadow of truth as this. But it answered the immediate ends of its
authors. Posterity will do ample justice to all the parties in this

Another event which operated seriously to the disadvantage of Mr. Adams,
was the amalgamation of the strong Crawford party with the supporters of
Gen. Jackson. This combination threw obstacles in the way of the
administration which were insurmountable. It enabled the opposition to
send a majority of members to the twentieth Congress, both in the Senate
and the House of Representatives. The test of the strength of parties in
the House took place on the election of Speaker. Andrew Stevenson, of
Virginia, was elected on the first ballot, by a majority of ten votes over
John W. Taylor, the administration candidate. Mr. Stevenson was a
supporter of Mr. Crawford in 1824. His election to the Speaker's chair
clearly indicated the union of the different sections of the opposition,
and foreshadowed too evidently the overthrow of the administration of Mr.

In this state of things, with a majority of Congress against him, the
President was deprived of the opportunity of carrying into execution many
important measures which were highly calculated to promote the permanent
benefit of the country, and which could not have failed to receive the
approbation of the people. A majority of all the committees of both Houses
were against him; and for the first time an administration was found
without adequate strength in Congress to support its measures. In several
instances the reports of committees partook of a strong partisan
character, in violation of all rules of propriety and correct legislation.

The first session of the twentieth Congress, which was held immediately
preceding the presidential campaign of 1828, was characterized by
proceedings, which, at this day, all will unite in deciding as highly
reprehensible. Instead of attending strictly to the legitimate business of
the session, much of the time was spent in discussions involving the
merits of the opposing candidates for the presidency, and designed to have
an express bearing on the election then near at hand. Of this character
was a resolution introduced into the House of Representatives, on the 8th
of January, 1828, by Mr. Hamilton, a supporter of Gen. Jackson, to inquire
into the expediency of having a historical picture of the battle of New
Orleans painted, and placed in the rotunda of the Capitol. This was
followed by a resolution, introduced by Mr. Sloane, an administration
member, requiring the Secretary of War to furnish the House with a copy of
the proceedings of a court-martial ordered by Gen. Jackson, in 1814, for
the trial of certain Tennessee militiamen, who were condemned and shot.

At this session of Congress may be dated the introduction of a practice
which has become an evil of the greatest magnitude in the present day.
Reference is had to the custom of making the halls of Congress a mere
arena, where, instead of attending to the legitimate business of
legislating for the benefit of the country at large, political gladiators
spend much of their time in wordy contests, designed solely for the
promotion of personal or party purposes, to the neglect of the interests
of their constituents. From this has grown the habit of speech-making by
the hour, on topics trivial in their nature, in which the people have not
the slightest interest, and which quite often, are totally foreign to the
subject ostensibly in debate. Valuable time and immense treasures are thus
squandered to no profitable purpose. Should not this evil be abated?

The stern integrity of Mr. Adams, and his unyielding devotion to
principle, were made to operate against him. Had he chosen to turn the
vast influence at his command to the promotion of personal ends--had he
unscrupulously ejected from office all political opposers, and supplied
their places with others who would have labored, with all the means at
their disposal, in his behalf--little doubt can be entertained that he
could have secured his re-election. But he utterly refused to resort to
such measures. Believing he was promoted to his high position not for his
individual benefit, but to advance the welfare of the entire country, his
view of duty was too elevated and pure to allow him to desecrate the trust
reposed in him to personal ends. Hence the influence derived from the
patronage of the General Government was turned against the administration
rather than in its behalf; and the singular spectacle was presented of men
exerting every nerve to overthrow Mr. Adams, who were dependent upon him
for the influence they wielded against him, and for their very means of

A hotly contested political campaign ensued in the fall of 1828. In view
of the peculiar combination of circumstances, and of the means resorted to
by the opposing parties to secure success, the result could be foreseen
with much certainty. Gen. Jackson was elected President of the United
States, and was inaugurated on the 4th of March, 1829.

Thus closed the administration of John Quincy Adams. At the call of his
country he entered upon the highest station in its gift. With a fidelity
and uprightness which have not been surpassed, he discharged his important
trust to the lasting benefit of all the vital interests which tend to
build up a great and prosperous people. And at the call of his country he
relinquished the honors of office, and willingly retired to the private
walks of life.

No man can doubt that Mr. Adams could look back upon his labors while
President with the utmost satisfaction. "During his administration new and
increased activity was imparted to those powers vested in the Federal
Government for the development of the resources of the country, and the
public revenue was liberally expended in prosecuting those liberal
measures, to which the sanction of Congress had been deliberately given,
as the settled policy of the Government.

"More than one million of dollars had been expended in enlarging and
maintaining the light-house establishment--half a million in completing
the public buildings--two millions in erecting arsenals, barracks, and
furnishing the national armories--nearly the same amount had been expended
in permanent additions to the naval establishment--upwards of three
millions had been devoted to fortifying the sea-coast--and more than four
millions expended in improving the internal communications between
different parts of the country, and in procuring information, by
scientific surveys, concerning its capacity for further improvement.
Indeed, more had been directly effected by the aid of Government in this
respect, during Mr. Adams' administration, than during the administrations
of all his predecessors. Other sums, exceeding a million, had been
appropriated for objects of a lasting character, and not belonging to the
annual expense of the Government; making in the whole nearly fourteen
millions of dollars expended for the permanent benefit of the country,
during this administration.

"At the same time the interest on the public debt was punctually paid, and
the debt itself was in a constant course of reduction, having been
diminished $30,373,188 during his administration, and leaving due on the
1st of January, 1829, $58,362,136. While these sums were devoted to
increasing the resources and improving the condition of the country, and
in discharging its pecuniary obligations, those claims which were derived
from what are termed the imperfect obligations of gratitude and humanity
were not forgotten.

"More than five millions of dollars were appropriated to solace the
declining years of the surviving officers of the Revolution; and a million
and a half expended in extinguishing the Indian title, and defraying the
expense of the removal beyond the Mississippi of such tribes as were
unqualified for a residence near civilized communities, and in promoting
the civilization of those who, relying on the faith of the United States,
preferred to remain on the lands which were the abodes of their fathers.

"In the condition which we have described--in peace with all the world,
with an increasing revenue, and with a surplus of $5,125,638 in the public
treasury,--the administration of the Government of the United States was
surrendered by Mr. Adams on the 3d of March, 1829." [Footnote: American
Annual Register.]

The "Georgia Constitutionalist" thus describes Mr. Adams' retirement from
office:--"Mr. Adams is said to be to good health and spirits. The manner
in which this gentleman retired from office is so replete with propriety
and dignity, that we are sure history will record it as a laudable example
to those who shall hereafter be required by the sovereign people to
descend from exalted stations. It was a great matter with the ancients to
die with decency, and there are some of our own day whose deaths are more
admirable than their lives. Mr. Adams' deportment in the Presidency was
lofty and proud; but the smile with which he throws aside the trappings of
power, and the graceful propriety with which he takes leave of patronage
and place, are truly commendable."



Few public men in any country have possessed attainments more varied than
were those of Mr. Adams. Every department of literature and science
received more or less of his attention--every path of human improvement
seems to have been explored by him. As a statesman, he was unrivalled in
the profundity of his knowledge. His state papers--given to the world
while Minister, Secretary of State, President, and Member of Congress--his
numerous addresses, orations, and speeches, are astonishing in number, and
in the learning they display. [Footnote: Aside from his state papers,
official correspondence, and speeches, which would make many volumes, the
Literary World gives the following list of the published writings of Mr.
"1. Oration at Boston, 1793; 2. Answer to Paine's Rights of Man, 1793; 3.
Address to the Members of the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society; 4.
Letters on Silesia; 5. Letters on Silesia, 1804; 6. Inaugural Oration
at Harvard College, 1806; 7. Letters to H. G. Otis, in reply to Timothy
Pickering, 1808; 8. Review of the Works of Fisher Ames, 1809; 9. Lectures
on Rhetoric and Oratory, two volumes, 1810; 10. Report on Weights and
Measures, 1821; 11. Oration at Washington, 1821; 12. Duplicate Letters;
the Fisheries and the Mississippi, 1822; 13. Oration to the citizens of
Quincy, 1831; 14. Oration on the Death of James Monroe, 1831; 15. Dermot
McMorrogh, or the Conquest of Ireland, 1832; 16. Letters to Edward
Livingston, on Free Masonry, 1833; 17. Letters to William L. Stone, on the
entered apprentice's oath, 1833; 18. Oration on the Life and Character of
Lafayette, l835; 19. Oration on the Life and Character of James Madison,
1836; 20. The Characters of Shakspeare, 1837; 21. Oration delivered at
Newburyport, 1837; 22. Letters to his Constituents of the Twelfth
Congressional District of Massachusetts, 1837; 23. The Jubilee of the
Constitution, 1839; 24. A Discourse on Education, delivered at Braintree,
1840; 25. An Address at the Observatory, Cincinnati, 1843.
Among the unpublished works of Mr. Adams, besides his Diary, which extends
over half a century, and would probably make some two dozen stout octavos,
are Memoirs of the earlier Public and Private Life of John Adams, second
President of the United States, in three volumes; Reports and Speeches on
Public Affairs; Poems including two new cantos of Dermot McMorrogh, a
Translation of Oberon and numerous Essays and Discourses."]

No man was more familiar with modern history, with diplomacy and
international law, and the politics of America and Europe for the last two
or three centuries.

In other departments he appeared equally at home. His acquaintance was
familiar with the classics, and several modern languages. In oratory,
rhetoric, and the various departments of belles lettres, his attainments
were of more than an ordinary character. His commentaries on Desdemona,
and others of Shakspeare's characters, show that he was no mean critic,
in the highest walks of literature, and in all that pertains to human

The following interesting account of an interview with ex-President Adams,
by a southern gentleman, in 1834, affords some just conceptions of the
versatility of his genius, and the profoundness of his erudition:--

"Yesterday, accompanied by my friend T., I paid a visit to the venerable
ex-President, at his residence in Quincy. A violent rain setting in as
soon as we arrived, gave us from five to nine o'clock to listen to the
learning of this man of books. His residence is a plain, very plain one:
the room into which we were ushered, (the drawing-room, I suppose,) was
furnished in true republican style. It is probably of ancient
construction, as I perceived two beams projecting from the low ceiling, in
the manner of the beams in a ship's cabin. Prints commemorative of
political events, and the old family portraits, hung about the room;
common straw matting covered the floor, and two candlesticks, bearing
sperm candles, ornamented the mantle-piece. The personal appearance of the
ex-President himself corresponds with the simplicity of his furniture. He
resembles rather a substantial, well-fed farmer, than one who has wielded
the destinies of this mighty Confederation, and been bred in the ceremony
and etiquette of an European Court. In fact, he appears to possess none
of that sternness of character which you would suppose to belong to one a
large part of whose life has been spent in political warfare, or, at any
rate, amidst scenes requiring a vast deal of nerve and inflexibility.

"Mrs. Adams is described in a word--a lady. She has all the warmth of
heart and ease of manner that mark the character of the southern ladies,
and from which it would be no easy matter to distinguish her.

"The ex-President was the chief talker. He spoke with infinite ease,
drawing upon his vast resources with the certainty of one who has his
lecture before him ready written. The whole of his conversation, which
steadily he maintained for nearly four hours, was a continued stream of
light. Well contented was I to be a listener. His subjects were the
architecture of the middle ages; the stained glass of that period;
sculpture, embracing monuments particularly. On this subject his opinion
of Mrs. Nightingale's monument in Westminster Abbey, differs from all
others that I have seen or heard. He places it above every other in the
Abbey, and observed in relation to it, that the spectator 'saw nothing
else.' Milton, Shakspeare, Shenstone, Pope, Byron, and Southey were in
turn remarked upon. He gave Pope a wonderfully high character, and
remarked that one of his chief beauties was the skill exhibited in varying
the cesural pause--quoting from various parts of his author to illustrate
his remarks more fully. He said very little on the politics of the
country. He spoke at considerable length of Sheridan and Burke, both of
whom he had heard, and could describe with the most graphic effect. He
also spoke of Junius; and it is remarkable that he should place him so
far above the best of his contemporaries. He spoke of him as a bad man;
but maintained, as a writer, that he had never been equalled.

"The conversation never flagged for a moment; and on the whole, I shall
remember my visit to Quincy, as amongst the most instructive and pleasant
I ever passed."

As a theologian, Mr. Adams was familiar with the tenets of the various
denominations which compose the great Christian family, and acquainted
with the principal arguments by which they support their peculiar views.
While entertaining decided opinions of his own, which he did not hesitate
to avow on all proper occasions, he was tolerant of the sentiments of all
who differed from him. He deemed it one of the most sacred rights of every
American citizen, and of every human being, to worship God according to
the dictates of his own conscience, without let or hindrance, our laws
equally tolerating, and equally protecting every sect.

In the most abstruse sciences he was equally at home. His report to
Congress, while Secretary of State, on Weights and Measures was very
elaborate, and evinced a deep and careful research into this important but
most difficult subject. That report was of the utmost value. Adopting the
philosophical and unchangeable basis of the modern French system of
mensuration, an arc of the meridian, it laid the foundation for the
accurate manipulations and scientific calculations of the late Professor
Hassler, which have furnished an unerring standard of Weights and
Measures to the people of this country. In a very learned notice of
"Measures, Weights, and Money," by Col. Pasley, Royal Engineer, F. R. S.,
published in London, in 1834, he pays the following well-merited
compliment to Mr. Adams:--

"I cannot pass over the labors of former writers, without acknowledging in
particular, the benefit which I have derived, whilst investigating the
historical part of my subject, from a book printed at Washington, in 1821,
as an official Report on Weights and Measures, made by a distinguished
American statesman, Mr. John Quincy Adams, to the Senate of the United
States, of which he was afterwards President. This author has thrown more
light into the history of our old English weights and measures, than all
former writers on the same subject. His views of historical facts, even
where occasionally in opposition to the reports of our own Parliamentary
Committees, appear to me to be the most correct. For my own part, I
confess that I do not think I could have seen my way into the history of
English weights and measures, in the feudal ages, without his guidance."

To his other accomplishments Mr. Adams added that of a poet. His
pretensions in this department were humble, yet many of his productions,
thrown off hastily, no doubt, during brief respites from severer labors,
possess no little merit. A few specimens will not be uninteresting to the


The following stanzas are from a hymn by Mr. Adams for the celebration of
the 4th of July, 1831, at Quincy, Mass.:--

  "Sing to the Lord a song of praise;
     Assemble, ye who love his name;
   Let congregated millions raise
     Triumphant glory's loud acclaim.
   From earth's remotest regions come;
     Come, greet your Maker, and your King;
   With harp, with timbrel, and with drum,
     His praise let hill and valley sing.

  *   *   *   *   *

  "Go forth in arms; Jehovah reigns;
     Their graves let foul oppressors find;
   Bind all their sceptred kings in chains;
     Their peers with iron fetters bind.
   Then to the Lord shall praise ascend;
     Then all mankind, with one accord,
   And freedom's voice, till time shall end,
     In pealing anthems, praise the Lord."

The lines which follow were inscribed to the sundial under the window of
the hall of the House of Representatives, at Washington:--

  "Thou silent herald of Time's silent flight!
     Say, couldst thou speak, what warning voice were thine?
     Shade, who canst only show how others shine!
   Dark, sullen witness of resplendent light
   In day's broad glare, and when the noontide bright
     Of laughing fortune sheds the ray divine,
     Thy ready favors cheer us--but decline
   The clouds of morning and the gloom of night.
   Yet are thy counsels faithful, just and wise;
     They bid seize the moments as they pass--

   Snatch the retrieveless sunbeam as it flies,
     Nor lose one sand of life's revolving glass--
   Aspiring still, with energy sublime,
     By virtuous deeds to give eternity to Time."

It is seldom that lines more pure and beautiful can be found, than the
following on the death of children:--

  "Sure, to the mansions of the blest
     When infant innocence ascends,
   Some angel brighter than the rest
     The spotless spirit's flight attends.

  "On wings of ecstacy they rise,
    Beyond where worlds material roll,
   Till some fair sister of the skies
     Receives the unpolluted soul.

  "There at the Almighty Father's hand,
     Nearest the throne of living light,
   The choirs of infant seraphs stand,
     And dazzling shine, where all are bright.

  "The inextinguishable beam,
     With dust united at our birth,
   Sheds a more dim, discolored gleam,
     The more it lingers upon earth:

  "Closed is the dark abode of clay,
     The stream of glory faintly burns,
   Nor unobscured the lucid ray
     To its own native fount returns:

  "But when the Lord of mortal breath
     Decrees his bounty to resume,
   And points the silent shaft of death,
     Which speeds an infant to the tomb,

  "No passion fierce, no low desire,
     Has quenched the radiance of the flame;
   Back to its God the living fire
     Returns, unsullied, as it came."

The heart which could turn aside from the stern conflicts of the political
world, and utter sentiments so chaste and tender, must have been the
residence of the   sweetest and noblest emotions of man.

Having taken final leave, as he believed, of the duties of public life,
and retired to the beloved shades of Quincy, it was the desire and
intention of Mr. Adams to devote the remainder of his days to the peaceful
pursuits of literature. It had long been his purpose, whenever opportunity
should offer, to write a history of the life and times of his venerated
father, "the elder Adams." His heart was fixed on this design, and some
introductory labors had been commenced. But an overruling Providence had a
widely different work in preparation for him.

If Mr. Adams had been permitted to follow the bent of his own feelings at
that time--if he had continued in the retirement he had so anxiously
sought as a rest from the toils of half a century--the brightest page of
his wonderful history would have remained forever unwritten. He would have
been remembered as a discreet and trusty diplomatist, an able statesman, a
successful politician, a capable President, and an honest and honorable
man! This would, indeed, have been a measure of renown with which most men
would have been content, and which few of the most fortunate sons of earth
can ever attain. He was abundantly satisfied with it. He asked for nothing
more--he expected nothing more this side the grave. But it was not enough!
Fame was wreathing brighter garlands, a more worthy chaplet, for his brow.
A higher, nobler task was before him, than any enterprize which had
claimed his attention. His long and distinguished career--his varied and
invaluable experience--had been but a preparation to enable him to enter
upon the real work of life for which he was raised up.

The world did not yet know John Quincy Adams. Long as he had been before
the public, the mass had thus far failed to read him aright. Hitherto
circumstances had placed him in collision with aspiring men. He stood in
their way to station and power. There was a motive to conceal his virtues
and magnify his faults. He had never received from his opposers the
smallest share of credit really due to him for patriotism, self-devotion,
and purity of purpose. Even his most devoted friends did not fully
appreciate these qualities in him. During his long public service, he had
ever been an object of hatred and vituperation to a class of minds utterly
incapable of estimating his talents or comprehending his high principles
of action. In the heat of political struggles, no abuse, no defamation,
were too great to heap upon him. Misrepresentation, duplicity, malignity,
did their worst. Did he utter a patriotic sentiment, it was charged to
hypocrisy and political cunning. Did he do a noble deed, worthy to be
recorded in letters of gold--sacrificing party predilections and
friendship to support the interest of his country, and uphold the
reputation and dignity of its Government--it was attributed to a wretched
pandering for the emoluments of office. Did he endeavor to exercise the
powers entrusted to him as President in such a manner as to preserve peace
at home and abroad, develop the internal resources of the nation, improve
facilities for transportation and travel, protect and encourage the
industry of the country, and in every department promote the permanent
prosperity and welfare of the people--it was allowed to be nothing more
than the arts of an intriguer, seeking a re-election to the Presidency.
Yea, it was declared in advance, that, "if his administration should be as
pure as the angels in heaven," it should be overthrown. Did he exhibit the
plain simplicity of a true republican in his dress and manners, and
economy in all his expenditures, it was attributed to parsimony and
meanness! A majority of his countrymen had been deceived as to his
principles and character, and sacrificed him politically on the altar of
prejudice and party spirit.

Throughout his life he had ever been a lover of man and of human
freedom--the best friend of his country--the most faithful among the
defenders of its institutions--a sincere republican, and a true man.  But
blinded by political prejudice, a large portion of his fellow-citizens
refused the boon of credit for these qualities. It remained for another
stage of his life, another field of display, to correct them of this
error, and to vindicate his character. It was requisite that he should
step down from his high position, disrobe himself of office, power and
patronage, place himself beyond the reach of the remotest suspicion of a
desire for political preferment and emolument, to satisfy the world that
John Quincy Adams had from the beginning, been a pure-hearted patriot, and
one of the noblest sons of the American Confederacy. His new career was to
furnish a luminous commentary on his past life, and to convince the most
sceptical, of the justice of his claim to rank among the highest and best
of American patriots. Placed beyond the reach of any gift of office from
the nation, with nothing to hope for, and nothing to fear in this respect,
he was to write his name in imperishable characters, so high on the
tablets of his country's history and fame, as to be beyond the utmost
reach of malignity or suspicion! The door which led to this closing act of
his dramatic life, was soon opened.

On returning to Quincy, one of the first things which received the
attention of Mr. Adams, was the discharge of a filial duty towards his
deceased parents, in the erection of a monument to their memory. The elder
Adams in his will, among other liberal bequests, had left a large legacy
to aid in the erection of a new Unitarian church in Quincy. The edifice
was completed, and ex-President J. Q. Adams caused the monument to his
father and mother to be erected within the walls. It was a plain and
simple design, consisting of a tablet, having recessed pilasters at the
sides, with a base moulding and cornice; the whole supported by trusses
at the base. The material of which it was made was Italian marble; and the
whole was surmounted by a fine bust of John Adams, from the chisel of
Greenough, the American artist, then at Rome. The inscription, one of the
most feeling, appropriate, and classical specimens extant, was as

 D. O. M.[Footnote: Deo, Optimo, Maximo--to God, the Best and Greatest.]
                           Beneath these Walls
                   Are deposited the Mortal Remains of
                               JOHN ADAMS,
               Son of John and Susanna (Boyalston) Adams,
                  Second President of the United States.
                        Born 19-30 October, 1735.
                       On the fourth of July, 1776,
              He pledged his Life, Fortune, and Sacred Honor
                   To the INDEPENDENCE OF HIS COUNTRY.
                     On the third of September, 1783,
     Be affixed his Seal to the definitive Treaty with Great Britain
                  Which acknowledged that Independence,
              And consummated the redemption of his pledge.
                       On the fourth of July, 1826,
                             He was summoned
                    To the Independence of Immortality
                     And to the JUDGEMENT OF HIS GOD
                This House will bear witness to his Piety.
             This Town, his Birth-place, to his Munificence:
                        History to his Patriotism;
             Posterity to the Depth and Compass of his Mind.
                               At his side
                    Sleeps till the Trump shall sound,
                        His beloved and only Wife,
            Daughter of William and Elizabeth (Quincy) Smith.
                   In every relation of Life, a pattern
            Of Filial, Conjugal, Maternal, and Social Virtue.
                        Born 11-22 November, 1744.
                        Deceased 28 October, 1818,
                                 Aged 74.
                        Married 25 October, 1764.
               During a union of more than half a century,
     They survived, in Harmony of Sentiment, Principle and Affection,
                     The Tempests of Civil Commotion;
                    Meeting undaunted, and surmounting
                The Terrors and Trials of that Revolution
               Which secured the Freedom of their Country;
                  Improved the Condition of their Times;
                 And brightened the Prospects of Futurity
                      To the Race of Man upon Earth.
        From lives thus spent thy earthly Duties learn;
        From Fancy's Dreams to active Virtue turn:
        Let Freedom, Friendship, Faith thy Soul engage,
        And serve, like them, thy Country and thy Age."

Mr. Adams had remained in the retirement of Quincy but little more than a
single year, when the following paragraph appeared in the public prints
throughout the country:--

"Mr. Adams, late President of the United States, is named as a candidate
for Congress, from the district of Massachusetts now represented by Mr.
Richardson, who declines a re-election."

It would be difficult to describe the surprise created by this
announcement, in every quarter of the Union. Speculation was at fault.
Would he accept or reject such a nomination? By a large class it was
deemed impossible that one who had occupied positions so elevated--who had
received the highest honors the nation could bestow upon him--would
consent to serve the people of a single district, in a capacity so humble,
comparatively, as a Representative in Congress. Such a thing was totally
unheard of. The people, however, of the Plymouth congressional district in
which he resided, met and duly nominated him for the proposed office. All
doubts as to his acceptance of the nomination were speedily dispelled by
the appearance of a letter from Mr. Adams, in the Columbian Sentinel,
Oct., 15, 1830, in which he says:--

"If my fellow-citizens of the district should think proper to call for
such services as it may be in my power to render them, by representing
them in the twenty-second Congress, I am not aware of any bound principle
which would justify me in withholding them. To the manifestations of
confidence on the part of those portions of the people who, at two several
meetings, have seen fit to present my name for the suffrages of the
district, I am duly and deeply sensible."

In due time the election was held, and Mr. Adams was returned to Congress,
by a vote nearly unanimous. From that time forward for seventeen years,
and to the hour of his death, he occupied the post of Representative in
Congress from the Plymouth district, in Massachusetts, with unswerving
fidelity, and distinguished honor. There can be no doubt that many of the
best friends of Mr. Adams seriously questioned the propriety of his
appearing as a Representative in the halls of Congress. It was a step
never before taken by an ex-President of the United States. They
apprehended it might be derogatory to his dignity, and injurious to his
reputation and fame, to enter into the strifes, and take part in the
litigations and contentions which characterize the national House of
Representatives. Moreover, they were fearful that in measuring himself, as
he necessarily must, in the decline of life, with younger men in the prime
of their days, who were urged by the promptings of ambition to tax every
capacity of their nature, he might injure his well-earned reputation for
strength of intellect, eloquence and statesmanship. But these misgivings
were groundless. In the House of Representatives, as in all places where
Mr. Adams was associated with others, he arose immediately to the head of
his compeers. So far from suffering in his reputation, it was immeasurably
advanced during his long congressional career. New powers were
developed--new traits of character were manifested--new and repeated
instances of devotion to principle and the rights of man were made
known--which added a brighter lustre to his already widely-extended fame.
He exhibited a fund of knowledge so vast and profound--a familiarity so
perfect with nearly every topic which claimed the attention of
Congress--he could bring forth from his well-replenished storehouse of
memory so vast an array of facts, shedding light upon subjects deeply
obscured to others--displayed such readiness and power in debate, pouring
out streams of purest eloquence, or launching forth the most scathing
denunciations when he deemed them called for--that his most bitter
opposers, while trembling before his sarcasm, and dreading his assaults,
could not but grant him the meed of their highest admiration. Well did he
deserve the title conferred upon him by general consent, of "the Old Man

Had Mr. Adams followed the bent of his own inclinations--had he consulted
simply his personal ease and comfort--he would probably never have
appeared again in public life. Having received the highest distinctions
his country could bestow upon him, blessed with an ample fortune, and
possessing all the elements of domestic comfort, he would have passed the
evening of his earthly sojourn in peaceful tranquillity, at the mansion of
his fathers in Quincy. But it was one of the sacred rules in this
distinguished statesman's life, to yield implicit obedience to the demands
of duty. His immediate neighbors and fellow-citizens called him to their
service in the national councils. He was conscious of the possession of
talents, knowledge, experience, and all the qualifications which would
enable him to become highly useful, not only in acting as the
representative of his direct constituents, but in promoting the welfare of
our common country. This conviction once becoming fixed in his mind,
decided his course. He felt he had no choice left but to comply
unhesitatingly with the demand which had been made upon his patriotism. In
adopting this resolution--in consenting, after having been once at the
head of the National Government, to assume again the labors of public life
in a subordinate station, wholly divested of power and patronage, urged by
no influence but the claims of duty, governed by no motive but a simple
desire to serve his country and promote the well-being of his
fellow-man--Mr. Adams presented a spectacle of moral sublimity unequalled
in the annals of nations!

For many years Mr. Adams was a member, and one of the Vice Presidents, of
the American Bible Society. In reply to an invitation to attend its
anniversary in 1830, he wrote the following letter:--

"Sir:--Your letter of the 22d of March was duly received; and while
regretting my inability to attend personally at the celebration of the
anniversary of the institution, on the 13th of next month, I pray you,
sir, to be assured of the gratification which I have experienced in
learning the success which has attended the benevolent exertions of the
American Bible Society.

"In the decease of Judge Washington, they have lost an able and valuable
associate, whose direct co-operation, not less than his laborious and
exemplary life, contributed to promote the cause of the Redeemer. Yet not
for him, nor for themselves by the loss of him, are they called to sorrow
as without hope; for lives like his shine but as purer and brighter lights
in the world, after the lamp which fed them is extinct, than before.

"The distribution of Bibles, if the simplest, is not the least efficacious
of the means of extending the blessings of the Gospel to the remotest
corners of the earth; for the Comforter is in the sacred volume: and among
the receivers of that million of copies distributed by the Society, who
shall number the multitudes awakened thereby, with good will to man in
their hearts, and with the song of the Lamb upon their lips"

"The hope of a Christian is inseparable from his faith. Whoever believes
in the divine inspiration of the holy Scriptures, must hope that the
religion of Jesus shall prevail throughout the earth. Never since the
foundation of the world have the prospects of mankind been more
encouraging to that hope than they appear to be at the present time. And
may the associated distribution of the Bible proceed and prosper, till the
Lord shall have made 'bare his holy arm in the eyes of all the nations;
and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.'

"With many respects to the Board of Managers, please to accept the good
wishes of your friend and fellow-citizen,
                                         "JOHN QUINCY ADAMS."

On the 4th of July, 1831, at half past three o'clock in the afternoon, the
venerable JAMES MONROE, fifth President of the United States, departed
life, aged 73 years. He died at the residence of his son-in-law, Samuel L.
Gouverneur Esq., in the city of New York. His decease had been for some
days expected; but life lingered until the anniversary of his country's
independence, when his spirit took its departure to a better world.
Throughout the United States, honors were paid to his memory by hoisting
of flags at half mast, the tolling of bells, firing of minute guns, the
passing of resolutions, and delivery of eulogies. He was, emphatically, a
great and good man, respected and beloved by the people of all parties,
without exception. There are few instances in the history of the world, of
more remarkable coincidences than the death of three Presidents of the
United States, who took most prominent parts in proclaiming and achieving
the independence of our country, on the anniversary of the day when the
declaration of that independence was made to the world.  The noise of the
firing of cannon, in celebrating the day, caused the eyes of the dying
Monroe to open inquiringly. When the occasion of these rejoicings was
communicated to him, a look of intelligence indicated that he understood
the character of the day.

At this anniversary of our National Independence, Mr. Adams delivered an
oration before the citizens of Quincy. It was an able and eloquent
production. The following were the concluding paragraphs. In reference to
nullification, which was threatened by some of the Southern States, he

"The event of a conflict in arms, between the Union and one of its
members, whether terminating in victory or defeat, would be but an
alternative of calamity to all. In the holy records of antiquity, we have
two examples of a confederation ruptured by the severance of its members,
one of which resulted, after three desperate battles, in the extermination
of the seceding tribe. And the victorious people, instead of exulting in
shouts of triumph, came to the house of God, and abode there till even,
before God; and lifted up their voices, and wept sore, and said,--O Lord
God of Israel why is this come to pass in Israel, that there should be
to-day one tribe lacking in Israel? The other was a successful example of
resistance against tyrannical taxation, and severed forever the
confederacy, the fragments forming separate kingdoms; and from that day
their history presents an unbroken series of disastrous' alliances, and
exterminating wars--of assassinations, conspiracies, revolts, and
rebellions, until both parts of the confederacy sunk into tributary
servitude to the nations around them; till the countrymen of David and
Solomon hung their harps upon the willows of Babylon, and were totally
lost amidst the multitudes of the Chaldean and Assyrian monarchies, 'the
most despised portion of their slaves.'

"In these mournful memorials of their fate, we may behold the sure, too
sure prognostication of our own, from the hour when force shall be
substituted for deliberation, in the settlement of our constitutional
questions. This is the deplorable alternative--the extirpation of the
seceding member, or the never-ceasing struggle of two rival confederacies,
ultimately bending the neck of both under the yoke of foreign domination,
or the despotic sovereignty of a conqueror at home. May heaven avert the
omen! The destinies, not only of our posterity, but of the human race, are
at stake.

"Let no such melancholy forebodings intrude upon the festivities of this
anniversary. Serene skies and balmy breezes are not congenial to the
climate of freedom. Progressive improvement in the condition of man, is
apparently the purpose of a superintending Providence. That purpose will
not be disappointed. In no delusion of national vanity, but with a feeling
of profound gratitude to the God of our fathers, let us indulge in the
cheering hope and belief, that our country and her people have been
selected as instruments for preparing and maturing much of the good yet in
reserve for the welfare and happiness of the human race. Much good has
already been effected by the solemn proclamation of our principles--much
more by the illustration of our example. The tempest which threatens
desolation may be destined only to purify the atmosphere. It is not in
tranquil ease and enjoyment that the active energies of mankind are
displayed. Toils and dangers are trials of the soul. Doomed to the first
by his sentence at the fall, man by submission converts them into
pleasures. The last are, since the fall, the conditions of his existence.
To see them in advance, to guard against them by all the suggestions of
prudence, to meet them with the composure of unyielding resistance, and to
abide with firm resignation the final dispensation of Him who rules the
ball--these are the dictates of philosophy--these are the precepts of
religion--these are the principles and consolations of patriotism:--these
remain when all is lost--and of these is composed the spirit of
independence--the spirit embodied in that beautiful personification of the
poet, which may each of you, my countrymen, to the last hour of his life,
apply to himself,--

  'Thy spirit, Independence, let me share,
     Lord of the lion heart, and eagle eye!
   Thy steps I follow, with my bosom bare,
     Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky.'

"In the course of nature, the voice which now addresses you must soon
cease to be heard upon earth. Life and all which it inherits lose their
value as it draws towards its close. But for most of you, my friends and
neighbors, long and many years of futurity are yet in store. May they be
years of freedom--years of prosperity--years of happiness, ripening for
immortality! But, were the breath which now gives utterance to my feelings
the last vital air I should draw, my expiring words to you and your
children should be, Independence and Union forever!"

A few weeks subsequent to the death of ex-President Monroe, Mr. Adams
delivered an interesting and able eulogy on his life and character, before
the public authorities of the city of Boston, in Faneuil Hall. In drawing
to a conclusion, he used the following language:--

"Our country, by the bountiful dispensations of a gracious Heaven, is, and
for a series of years has been, blessed with profound peace. But when the
first father of our race had exhibited before him, by the archangel sent
to announce his doom, and to console him in his fall, the fortunes and
misfortunes of his descendants, he saw that the deepest of their miseries
would befall them while favored with all the blessings of peace; and in
the bitterness of his anguish he exclaimed:--

                                               'Now I see
              Peace to corrupt, no less than war to waste.'

"It is the very fervor of the noonday sun, in the cloudless atmosphere, of
a summer sky, which breeds

                                'the sweeping whirlwind's sway,
         That, hushed in grim repose, expects his evening prey.'

"You have insured the gallant ship which ploughs the waves, freighted with
your lives and your children's fortunes, from the fury of the tempest
above, and from the treachery of the wave beneath. Beware of the danger
against which you can alone insure your-selves--the latent defect of the
gallant ship itself. Pass but a few short days, and forty years will have
elapsed since the voice of him who addresses you, speaking to your fathers
from this hallowed spot, gave for you, in the face of Heaven, the solemn
pledge, that if, in the course of your career on earth, emergencies should
arise, calling for the exercise of those energies and virtues which, in
times of tranquillity and peace remain by the will of Heaven dormant in
the human bosom, you would prove yourselves not unworthy the sires who had
toiled, and fought, and bled, for the independence of the country. Nor has
that pledge been unredeemed. You have maintained through times of trial
and danger the inheritance of freedom, of union, of independence
bequeathed you by your forefathers. It remains for you only to transmit
the same peerless legacy, unimpaired, to your children of the next
succeeding age. To this end, let us join in humble supplication to the
Founder of empires and the Creator of all worlds, that he would continue
to your posterity the smiles which his favor has bestowed upon you; and,
since 'it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps,' that he would
enlighten and lead the advancing generation in the way they should go.
That in all the perils, and all the mischances which may threaten or
befall our United Republic, in after times, he would raise up from among
your sons deliverers to enlighten her councils, to defend her freedom, and
if need be, to lead her armies to victory. And should the gloom of the
year of independence ever again overspread the sky, or the metropolis of
your empire be once more destined to smart under the scourge of an
invader's hand,[Footnote: Alluding to the burning of the city of
Washington in the war of 1812.] that there never may be found wanting
among the children of your country, a warrior to bleed, a statesman to
counsel, a chief to direct and govern, inspired with all the virtues, and
endowed with all the faculties which have been so signally displayed in
the life of JAMES MONROE."



Mr. Adams took his seat in the House of Representatives without
ostentation, in December, 1831. His appearance there produced a profound
sensation. It was the first time an ex-President had ever entered that
hall in the capacity of a member. He was received with the highest marks
of respect. It presented a singular spectacle to behold members of
Congress who, when Mr. Adams was President, had charged him with every
species of political corruption, and loaded his name with the most
opprobrious epithets, now vieing with one another in bestowing upon him
the highest marks of respect and confidence. That which they denied the
President, they freely yielded to the MAN. It was the true homage which
virtue and patriotism must ever receive--more honorable, and far more
grateful to its object, than all the servility and flattery which power
and patronage can so easily purchase.

The degree of confidence reposed in Mr. Adams was manifested by his being
placed at once at the head of the Committee on Manufactures. This is
always a responsible station; but it was peculiarly so at that time. The
whole Union was highly agitated on the subject of the tariff. The friends
of domestic manufactures at the North insisted upon high protective
duties, to sustain the mechanical and manufacturing interests of the
country against a ruinous foreign competition. The Southern States
resisted these measures as destructive to their interests, and
remonstrated with the utmost vehemence against them--in which they were
joined by a large portion of the Democratic party throughout the North.
Mr. Adams, with enlarged views of national unity and general prosperity,
counselled moderation to both parties. As Chairman of the Committee on
Manufactures, he strove to produce such a compromise between the
conflicting interests, as should yield each section a fair protection, and
restore harmony and fraternity among the people.

So important were Mr. Adams' services deemed in the Committee on
Manufactures, that, on proposing to resign his post as Chairman, to fulfil
other duties which claimed his attention, he was besought by all parties
to relinquish his purpose. Mr. Cambreleng, of N. Y., a political opponent
of Mr. Adams, said, "It was not a pleasant duty to oppose the request of
any member of the House, particularly one of his character. He did so with
infinite regret in the present instance; and he certainly would not take
such a course, but for the important consequences that might result from
assenting to the wishes of the distinguished gentleman from Massachusetts.
He had reached the conclusion, not without infinite pain and reluctance,
that the harmony, if not the existence of our Confederacy, depends, at
this crisis, upon the arduous, prompt, and patriotic efforts of a few
eminent men. He believed that much might be done by the gentleman from

In the same tone of high compliment, Mr. Barbour, of Virginia, said,
"that to refuse anything that could be asked by the gentleman from
Massachusetts gave him pain, great pain. He said it was with unaffected
sincerity he declared, that the member from Massachusetts (with whom he
was associated in the committee) had not only fulfilled all his duties
with eminent ability, in the committee, but in a spirit and temper that
commanded his grateful acknowledgments, and excited his highest
admiration. Were it permitted him to make a personal appeal to the
gentleman, he would have done so in advance of this motion. He would have
appealed to him as a patriot, as a statesman, as a philanthropist, and
above all as an American, feeling the full force of all his duties, and
touched by all their incentives to lofty action--to forbear this request."

These complimentary appeals were well deserved by Mr. Adams, and show most
emphatically the high position he occupied in the esteem and confidence of
the entire House of Representatives, on becoming a member thereof. But,
with the modesty of true greatness, it was painful to him to hear these
encomiums uttered in his own presence. He arose, and begged the House, in
whatever further action it might take upon the subject, to refrain from
pursuing this strain. "I have been most deeply affected," he said, "by
what has already passed. I have felt, in the strongest manner, the
impropriety of my being in the House while such remarks were made; being
very conscious that sentiments of an opposite kind might have been uttered
with far more propriety, and have probably been withheld in consequence of
my presence."

Mr. Adams carried with him into Congress all his previous habits of
industry and close application to business. He was emphatically a hard
worker. Few men spent more hours in the twenty-four in assiduous labor. He
would take no active part in any matter--would engage in the discussion
of no topic--and would not commit himself on any question--until he had
sounded it to its nether depths, and explored all its ramifications, all
its bearings and influences, and had thoroughly become master of the
subject. To gain this information no toil was too great, no application
too severe. It was in this manner that he was enabled to overwhelm with
surprise his cotemporaries in Congress, by the profundity of his
knowledge. No subject could be started, no question discussed, on which he
was not perfectly at home. Without hesitation or mistake, he could pour
forth a stream of facts, dates, names, places, accompanied with
narrations, anecdotes, reflections and arguments, until the matter was
thoroughly sifted and laid bare in all its parts and properties, to the
understanding of the most casual observer. The tenacity and correctness of
his memory was proverbial. Alas, for the man who questioned the
correctness of his statements, his facts, or dates. Sure discomfiture
awaited him. His mind was a perfect calendar, a store-house, a mine of
knowledge, in relation to all past events connected with the history of
his country and his age.

In connection with his other exemplary virtues, Mr. Adams was prompt,
faithful, unwearied, in the discharge of all his public duties. The oldest
member of the House, he was at the same time the most punctual--the first
at his post; the last to retire from the labors of the day. His practice
in these respects could well put younger members to the blush. While many
others might be negligent in their attendance, sauntering in idleness,
engaged in frivolous amusements, or even in dissipation, he was always at
his post. No call of the House was necessary--no Sergeant-at-arms need be
despatched--to bring him within the Hall of Representatives. He was the
last to move an adjournment, or to adopt any device to consume time or
neglect the public business for personal convenience or gratification. In
every respect he was a model legislator. His example can be most
profitably imitated by those who would arise to eminence in the councils
of the nation.

"My seat was, for two years, by his side, and it would have scarcely more
surprised me to miss one of the marble columns of the Hall from its
pedestal than to see his chair empty. * * * I shall, perhaps, be pardoned
for introducing here a slight personal recollection, which serves, in some
degree, to illustrate his habits. The sessions of the last two days of (I
think) the twenty-third Congress, were prolonged, the one for nineteen,
and the other for seventeen hours. At the close of the last day's session,
he remained in the hall of the House the last seated member of the body.
One after another, the members had gone home; many of them for hours. The
hall--brilliantly lighted up, and gaily attended, as was, and perhaps is
still, the custom at the beginning the last evening of a session--had
become cold, dark, and cheerless. Of the members who remained, to prevent
the public business from dying for want of a quorum, most but himself were
sinking from exhaustion, although they had probably taken their meals at
the usual hours, in the course of the day. After the adjournment, I went
up to Mr. Adams' seat, to join company with him, homeward; and as I knew
he came to the House at eight o'clock in the morning, and it was then past
midnight, I expressed a hope that he had taken some refreshment in the
course of the day, He said he had not left his seat; but holding up a bit
of hard bread in his fingers, gave me to understand in what way he had
sustained nature." [Footnote: Edward Everett.]

The following reminiscence will further illustrate Mr. Adams' habits of
industry and endurance at a later day, as well as show his views in regard
to the famous "Expunging Resolution."

"On a cold and dreary morning, in the month of January, 1837, I went to
the capitol of the United States, at a very early hour, to write out a
very long speech I had reported for an honorable gentleman, who wished to
look well in print; and on entering the hall of the House of
Representatives, I found Mr. Adams, as early as the hour was, in his seat,
busily engaged in writing. He and myself were the only persons present;
even the industrious Mr. Follansbee, the then doorkeeper, had not made
his appearance, with his assistants and pages, to distribute copies of the
journal and the usual documents.

"As I made it a rule never to speak to Mr. Adams, unless he spoke first, I
said nothing; but took my seat in the reporters' gallery, and went to
work. I had written about half an hour, when the venerable statesman
appeared at my desk, and was pleased to say that I was a very industrious
man. I thanked him for the compliment, and, in return, remarked, that, as
industrious as I might be, I could not keep pace with him, 'for,' said I,
'I found you here, sir, when I came in.'

"'I believe I was a little early, sir,' he replied; 'but, as there is to
be a closing debate to-day, in the Senate, on the expunging resolution,
which I feel inclined to hear, I thought I would come down at an unusual
hour, this morning, and dispatch a little writing before the Senate was
called to order.'

"'Do you think the expunging resolution will be disposed of today?' I

"'I understand it will,' he rejoined. 'I hope so, at least,' he added,
'for I think the country has already become weary of it, and is impatient
for a decision. It has already absorbed more time than should have been
devoted to it.'

"'It will pass, I suppose, sir?'

"'Oh, certainly; and by a very decided majority. The administration is
too strong for the opposition; and the affair will call up a strict party
vote. Of course Mr. Clay's resolution will be expunged, and the journal
will not be violated.'

"I was somewhat surprised at the remark, and, in return, observed that I
had always understood that it was on the constitutional ground, that the
expunging process could not be effected without destroying the journal,
that the opponents of the measure had based themselves.

"'It is true, sir, that that has been the grave and somewhat tenable
argument in the Senate; but it is a fallacy, after all,' he replied. 'The
constitution, sir, it is true, renders it imperative on both Houses to
keep a correct journal of its proceedings; and all this can be done, and
any portion of it may be expunged, without violating that instrument. For
instance, sir, a resolution is adopted to-day, is entered on the journal,
and to-morrow is expunged--and still the journal remains correct, and the
constitution is not violated. For the act by which the expungation is
effected is recorded on the journal; the expunged resolution becomes a
matter of record, and thus everything stands fair and correct. The
constitution is a sacred document, and should not be violated; but how
often is it strictly adhered to, to the very letter? There are, sir, some
men in the world who make great parade about their devotion to the "dear
constitution,"--men, sir, who make its sacred character a hobby, and who,
nevertheless, are perfectly reckless of its violation, if the ends of
party are to be accomplished by its abjuration.'

"There was a degree of sarcasm blended with his enunciation of the 'dear
constitution,' which induced me to think it possible that he intended some
personal allusion when he repeated the words. In this I might, and might
not, have erred.

"'In what way, Mr. Adams,' I inquired, 'is this expunging process to be
accomplished? Is the objectionable resolution to be erased from the
journal with a pen; or is the leaf that contains it to be cut out?'

"'Neither process is to be resorted to, as I understand it,' he replied.
'The resolution will remain in the book; black lines will be drawn around
it, and across it from right angles, and the word "expunged," will be
written on the face of it. It will, to all intents and purposes, still
stand on the face of the book. There are precedents in parliamentary
journalism for the guidance of the Senate, and I suppose they will be

"He then proceeded to give me a very graphic and interesting description
of an expunging process that took place in the British Parliament in the
reign of James the First, of England, which would repeat, if time and
space allowed. He detained me a long time, in narrating precedents, and
commenting on them; and then abruptly bringing the subject to a close,
left me to pursue my labors.

"Soon after the House had been called to order, immediately after the
chaplain had said his prayers--for that was a ceremonial that Mr. Adams
always observed--I saw him leave his seat, and proceed, as I supposed, to
the Senate chamber. After an hour or two had elapsed, I went into the
Senate, and there found him, standing outside of the bar, listening, with
all imaginable attention, to Mr. Felix Grundy, who was delivering himself
of some brief remarks he had to utter on the subject.

"At nine o'clock in the evening, as I fumbled my way through the
badly-lighted rotunda, having just escaped from a caucus that had been
holding 'a secret session,' in the room of the committee on public lands,
I descried a light issuing from the vestibule of the Senate chamber, which
apprized me that 'the most dignified body on earth' was still in session.
Impelled by a natural curiosity, I proceeded towards the council chamber
of the right reverend signors; and, just as I reached the door, Mr. Adams
stepped out. I inquired if the resolution had been disposed of.

"'No, sir,' he replied; 'nor is it probable that it will be to-night! A
Senator from North Carolina is yet on the floor; and, as it does not
appear likely that he will yield it very soon, and as I am somewhat faint
and weary, I think I shall go home.'

"The night was very stormy. Snow was falling fast; the moon, which had

                      '--not yet fill'd her horns,'

had receded beneath the western horizon; and, as the capitol was but sadly
lighted, I offered my services to the venerable sage of Quincy, and at the
same time asked leave to conduct him to his dwelling.

"'Sir,' said he, 'I am indebted to you for your proffered kindness; but I
need not the service of anyone. I am somewhat advanced in life, but not
yet, by the blessing of God, infirm; or what Doctor Johnson would call
"superfluous;" and you may recollect what old Adam says in the play of "As
you like it:"

          "For in my youth I never did apply
           Hot and rebellious liquors in my blood.'"

"For the first time in my life, I found Mr. Adams a little inclined to be
facetious; and I was glad of it--for it was to me a kind of assurance that
my presence was not absolutely unwelcome.

"The salutation being over, and Mr. Adams having consented that I should
see him down the steps of the capitol, I proceeded onward, and soon found
myself, with my revered convoy, in the vicinity of the western gate of the
capitol grounds 'The wind whistled a dismal tale,' as we trudged onward,
looking in vain for a cab; and the snow and sleet, which, early in the
day, had mantled the earth, was now some twelve inches deep on
Pennsylvania avenue. I insisted on going onward; but Mr. Adams objected,
and bidding me good night somewhat unceremoniously, told me, almost in as
many words, that my farther attendance was unwelcome.

"As I left him, he drew his 'Boston wrapper' still closer around him,
hitched up his mittens, and with elastic step breasted a wintry storm that
might have repelled even the more elastic movement of juvenility, and
wended up the avenue. Although I cannot irreverently say that he

               'Whistled as he went, for want of thought,'

I fancy that his mind was so deeply imbued with the contemplation of
affairs of state, and especially in contemplating the expunging
resolution, that he arrived at his home long before he was aware that he
had threaded the distance between the capitol and the Presidential
square." [Footnote: Reminiscences of the late John Quincy Adams, by an Old
Colony Man.--New York Atlas.]

Although elected to the House of Representatives as a Whig, and usually
acting with that party, yet Mr. Adams would never acknowledge that fealty
to party could justify a departure from the conscientious discharge of
duty. He went with his party as far as he believed his party was right and
its proceedings calculated to promote the welfare of the country. But no
party claims, no smiles nor frowns, could induce him to sanction any
measure which he believed prejudicial to the interest of the people.
Hence, during his congressional career, the Whigs occasionally found him a
decided opposer of their policy and measures, on questions where he
deemed they had mistaken the true course. In this he was but true to his
principles, character, and whole past history. It was not that he loved
his political party or friends less, but that he loved what he viewed as
conducive to the welfare of the nation, more.

The same principle of action governed him in reference to his political
opponents. In general he threw his influence against the administration of
Gen. Jackson, under a sincere conviction that its policy was injurious to
the welfare of our common country. But to every measure which he could
sanction, he did not hesitate to yield the support of all his energies.

An instance of this description occurred in relation to the treaty of
indemnity with France. For nearly forty years, negotiations had been
pending in vain with the French Government, to procure an indemnity for
spoliations of American commerce, during the French Revolution and
Republic. On the 4th of July, 1831, Mr. Rives, the American Minister to
France, succeeded in concluding a treaty with that country, securing to
American merchants an indemnity of five millions of dollars. But although
the treaty was duly ratified by both Governments, the French Chamber of
Deputies obstinately refused, for several years, to vote an appropriation
of money to fulfil its stipulations. In 1835, Gen. Jackson determined on
strong measures to bring the French Government to the discharge of its
obligations. He accordingly sent a message to Congress, recommending, in
the event of further delay on the part of France, that letters of marque
and reprisal be issued against the commerce of France, and at the same
time instructed Mr. Edward Livingston, our Minister at that day at the
Court of St. Cloud, to demand his passports, and retire to London. In all
these steps, which resulted in bringing France to a speedy fulfillment of
the treaty, Mr. Adams yielded his unreserved support to the
administration. He believed Gen. Jackson, in resorting to compulsory
measures, was pursuing a course called for alike by the honor and the
interest of the country, and he did not hesitate to give him a cordial
support, notwithstanding he was a political opponent. In a speech made by
Mr. Adams on the subject, in the House of Representatives, he said:--

"Sir, if we do not unite with the President of the United States in an
effort to compel the French Chamber of Deputies to carry out the
provisions of this treaty, we shall become the scorn, the contempt, the
derision and the reproach of all mankind! Sir, this treaty has been
ratified on both sides of the ocean; it has received the sign manual of
the sovereign of France, through His Imperial Majesty's principal Minister
of State; it has been ratified by the Senate of this Republic; it has been
sanctioned by Almighty God; and still we are told, in a voice potential,
in the other wing of this capitol, that the arrogance of France,--nay,
sir, not of France, but of her Chamber of Deputies--the insolence of the
French Chambers, must be submitted to, and we must come down to the lower
degradation of re-opening negotiations to attain that which has already
been acknowledged to be our due! Sir, is this a specimen of your boasted
chivalry? Is this an evidence of the existence of that heroic valor which
has so often led our arms on to glory and immortality? Re-open
negotiation, sir, with France? Do it, and soon you will find your flag
insulted, dishonored, and trodden in the dust by the pigmy States of Asia
and Africa--by the very banditti of the earth. Sir, the only
negotiations, says the President of the United States, that he would
encounter, should be at the cannon's mouth!"

The effect produced by this speech was tremendous on all sides; and, for a
while, the House was lost in the excitement it afforded. The venerable
orator took his seat; and, as he sank into it, the very walls shook with
the thundering applause he had awakened.

On the 28th of June, 1836, the venerable ex-President JAMES MADISON,
departed life at Montpelier, Va., in the eighty-sixth year of his age. He
had filled a prominent place in the history of our Government, from its
first organization. As a statesman, he was unsurpassed in critical acumen,
in profundity of knowledge, in an understanding of constitutional
Government, and its adaptation to the rights and interests of the people.
His writings are an invaluable legacy to his countrymen, and will be
studied and quoted for ages to come. "His public acts were a noble
commentary upon his political principles--his private life an illustration
of the purest virtues of the heart."

When a message from the President, announcing the death of Mr. Madison,
was received in the House of Representatives, Mr. Adams arose and said:--

"By the general sense of the House, it is with perfect propriety that the
delegation from the commonwealth of Virginia have taken the lead in the
melancholy duty of proposing the measures suitable to be adopted as
testimonials of the veneration due, from the Legislature of the Union, to
the memory of the departed patriot and sage, the native of their soil, and
the citizen of their community.

"It is not without some hesitation, and some diffidence, that I have risen
to offer in my own behalf, and in that of my colleagues upon this floor,
and of our common constituents, to join our voice, at once of mourning and
exultation, at the event announced to both Houses of Congress, by the
message from the President of the United States--of mourning at the
bereavement which has befallen our common country, by the decease of one
of her most illustrious sons--of exultation at the spectacle afforded to
the observation of the civilized world, and for the emulation of after
times, by the close of a life of usefulness and of glory, after forty
years of service in trusts of the highest dignity and splendor that a
confiding country could bestow, succeeded by twenty years of retirement
and private life, not inferior, in the estimation of the virtuous and the
wise, to the honors of the highest station that ambition can ever attain.

"Of the public life of James Madison what could I say that is not deeply
impressed upon the memory and upon the heart of every one within the sound
of my voice? Of his private life, what but must meet an echoing shout of
applause from every voice within this hall? Is it not in a pre-eminent
degree by emanation from his mind, that we are assembled here as the
representatives of the people and the States of this Union? Is it not
transcendently by his exertions that we all address each other here by the
endearing appellation of countrymen and fellow-citizens? Of that band of
benefactors of the human race, the founders of the Constitution of the
United States, James Madison is the last who has gone to his reward. Their
glorious work has survived them all. They have transmitted the precious
bond of union to us, now entirely a succeeding generation to them. May it
never cease to be a voice of admonition to us, of our duty to transmit the
inheritance unimpaired to our children of the rising age.

"Of the personal relations of this great man, which gave rise to the long
career of public service in which twenty years of my own life has been
engaged, it becomes me not to speak. The fulness of the heart must be
silent, even to the suppression of the overflowings of gratitude and
affection." To the year 1835, the career of Mr. Adams in Congress had been
marked by no signal display of characteristics peculiar to himself, other
than such as the world had long been familiar with in his previous
history. He had succeeded in maintaining his reputation for patriotism,
devotion to principle, political sagacity and wisdom, and his fame as a
public debater and eloquent speaker. But no new development of qualities
unrecognized before had been made. From that year forward, however, he
placed himself in a new attitude before the country, and entered upon a
career which eclipsed all his former services, and added a lustre to his
fame which will glow in unrivalled splendor as long as human freedom is
prized on earth. It can hardly be necessary to state that allusion is here
made to his advocacy of the Right of Petition, and his determined
hostility to slavery. At an age when most men would leave the stormy field
of public life, and retire to the quiet seclusion of domestic comfort,
these great topics inspirited Mr. Adams with a renewed vigor. With all the
ardor and zeal of youth, he placed himself in the front rank of the battle
which ensued, plunged into the very midst of the melee, and, with a
dauntless courage, that won the plaudits of the world, held aloft the
banner of freedom in the Halls of Congress, when other hearts quailed and
fell back! He led "the forlorn hope" to the assault of the bulwarks of
slavery, when the most sanguine believed his almost superhuman labors
would be all in vain. In these contests a spirit blazed out from his noble
soul which electrified the nation with admiration. In his intrepid bearing
amid these scenes he fully personified the couplet quoted in one of his

  "Thy spirit, Independence, let me share,
     Lord of the lion heart and eagle eye!
   Thy steps I follow, with my bosom bare,
     Nor heed the storm that howls along the sky."

The first act in the career of Mr. Adams as a Member of Congress, was in
relation to slavery. On the 12th of December, 1831, it being the second
week of the first session of the twenty-second Congress, he presented
fifteen petitions, all numerously signed, from sundry inhabitants of
Pennsylvania, praying for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade in
the District of Columbia. In presenting these petitions, Mr. Adams
remarked, that although the petitioners were not of his immediate
constituents, yet he did not deem himself at liberty to decline presenting
their petitions, the transmission of which to him manifested a confidence
in him for which he was bound to be grateful. From a letter which had
accompanied the petitions, he inferred that they came from members of the
Society of Friends or Quakers; a body of men, he declared, than whom there
was no more respectable and worthy class of citizens--none who more
strictly made their lives a commentary on their professions; a body of men
comprising, in his firm opinion, as much of human virtue, and as little of
human infirmity, as any other equal number of men, of any denomination,
upon the face of the globe.

The petitions for the abolition of the slave trade in the District of
Columbia, Mr. Adams considered relating to a proper subject for the
legislation of Congress. But he did not give his countenance to those
which prayed for the abolition of slavery in that District. Not that he
would approbate the system of slavery; for he was, and in fact had been
through life, its most determined foe. But he believed the time had not
then arrived for the discussion of that subject in Congress. It was his
settled conviction that a premature agitation of slavery in the national
councils would greatly retard, rather than facilitate, the abolition of
that giant evil--"as the most salutary medicines," he declared in
illustration, "unduly administered, were the most deadly of poisons."

The position taken by Mr. Adams, in presenting these petitions, was
evidently misunderstood by many, and especially by Abolitionists. They
construed it into a disposition on his part to sanction, or at least to
succumb unresistingly, to the inhumanity and enormity of the slave
institution. In this conclusion they signally erred. Mr. Adams, by birth,
education, all the associations of his life, and the fixed principles of
his moral and political character, was an opposer of slavery in every
form. No man felt more keenly the wretched absurdity of professing to base
our Government on the "self-evident truth, that all men are created equal,
and endowed by their Creator with an unalienable right to life, liberty,
and the pursuit of happiness"--of proclaiming our Union the abode of
liberty, the "home of the free," the asylum of the oppressed--while
holding in our midst millions of fellow-beings manacled in hopeless
bondage! No man was more anxious to correct this disgraceful misnomer, and
wipe away its dark stain from our national escutcheon at the earliest
practicable moment. But he was a statesman of profound knowledge and
far-reaching sagacity. He possessed the rare quality of being able to
"bide his time" in all enterprizes. Great as he felt the enormity of
American slavery to be, he would not, in seeking to remove it, select a
time so unseasonable, and adopt measures so unwise, as would result,
Samson-like, in removing the pillars of our great political fabric, and
crushing the glorious Union, formed by the wisdom and cemented by the
blood of our Revolutionary Fathers, into a mass of ruins.

Believing there was a time to withhold and a time to strike, he would
patiently wait until the sentiment of the American people became
sufficiently ripened, under the increasing light and liberality of the
age, to permit slavery to be lawfully and peaceably removed, while the
Union should remain unweakened and untouched--the pride of our hearts,
the admiration of the world. Hence, in his early career, he saw no
propitious moment for such a work. While discharging the duties of U. S.
Senator, Secretary of State, and President, an attempt in that direction
would have resulted in an aggravation of the evils of slavery, and a
strengthening of the institution. Nor on first entering Congress did he
conceive the time to be fully come to engage in that agitation of the
momentous subject, which, when once commenced in earnest, would never
cease until either slavery would be abolished, as far as Congress
possessed constitutional power, or the Union become rent in twain! But he
evidently saw that time was at hand--even at the door--and he prepared
himself for the contest.

In 1835, the people of Texas took up arms in open rebellion against the
Government of Mexico. That Province had been settled chiefly by emigrants
from the Southern and Southwestern States. Many of them had taken their
slaves with them. But the Mexican Government, to their enduring honor be
it said, abolished slavery throughout that Republic. The ostensible object
of the Texian insurrection was to resist certain schemes of usurpation
alleged against Santa Anna, at that time President of Mexico. At the
present day, however, after having witnessed the entire progress and
consummation of the scheme, it is abundantly evident, that from the
beginning there was a deliberate and well-digested plan to re-establish
slavery in Texas--annex that province to the United States--and thus
immensely increase the slave territory and influence in the Union.

At the first blast of the Texian bugle, thousands of volunteers from the
slaveholding States rushed to the standard of "the lone star." Agents were
sent to the United States to create an interest in behalf of Texas--the
most inflammatory appeals were made to the people of the Union--and armed
bodies of American citizens were openly formed in the South, and
transported without concealment to the seat of the insurrection. President
Jackson reminded the inhabitants of the United States of their obligations
to observe neutrality in the contest between Mexico and its rebellious
province. At the same time, Gen. Gaines, with a body of U. S. troops, was
ordered to take up a position within the borders of Texas. The avowed
object of this movement was to protect the people of the Southwestern
frontiers from the incursions of Indian tribes in the employment of
Mexico. But the presence of such a body of troops could not but exert an
influence favorable to the measures and objects of Texas; and besides, it
afterwards appeared the Indians had no disposition to take sides with
Mexico, or to make any depredations on the territories of the United
States. A call was made on Congress for an appropriation of a million of
dollars to carry on these military operations, the entire tendency of
which was to encourage Texas in its attempt to throw off the Mexican
allegiance and re-establish slavery.

The source from whence the authorities of Texas were confidently looking
for assistance, and the ulterior object at which they were aiming in their
insurrection--viz.: annexation to the United States, and thus adding
territory and strength to the institution of slavery,--are clearly
revealed in the following extracts from a letter addressed by Gen.
Houston, commander of the Texian forces, to Gen. Dunlap, of Nashville,

                                         "Near Sabine, July, 2, 1836.
SIR:--Your favor of the 1st of June reached me last evening. I regret so
much delay will necessarily result before you can reach us. We will need
your aid, and that speedily. The enemy, in large numbers, are reported to
be in Texas. * * * * * The army with which they first entered Texas is
broken up and dispersed by desertion and other causes. If they get another
army of the extent proposed, it must be composed of new recruits, and men
pressed into service. They will not possess the mechanical efficiency of
discipline which gives the Mexican troops the only advantage they have.
They will easily be routed by a very inferior force. For a portion of that
force, we shall be obliged to look to the United States! It cannot reach
us too soon. There is but one feeling in Texas, in my opinion, and that
is, to establish the independence of Texas, and TO BE ATTACHED TO THE
UNITED STATES! * * * * * March as speedily as possible, with all the aid
you can bring, and I doubt not but you will be gratified with your
reception and situation."

The whole plan succeeded beyond the anticipation of its most sanguine
projectors. Aided by men and means from the United States, Texas
established its independence--organized a government--incorporated
slavery into its constitution so thoroughly as to guard against the
remotest attempt ever to remove it--and by a process unsurpassed in the
annals of political intrigue, in due time became annexed to the North
American Union. In this accession of a territory from which several large
States will eventually be carved out, the slave power of the United States
obtained a signal advantage, of which it will not be backward to avail
itself in the time of its need. A faithful history of this entire movement
is yet to be written.

Mr. Adams, with his well-known and long-tried sagacity, saw at a glance
the whole design of the originators of the Texas insurrection. While most
people were averse to the belief that a project was seriously on foot to
sever a large and free province from the Mexican Republic and annex it to
the Union as slave territory, he read the design in legible characters
from the beginning. In a speech made in the House of Representatives, in
May, 1836, in reference to the call for a million of dollars, for purposes
already stated, Mr. Adams unriddled the Texian project with the vision
of a prophet.

"Have we not seen American citizens," said Mr. Adams, "going from all
parts of the country to carry on the war of this province against the
united Government of Mexico? Who were those who fell at Alamo? Who are now
fighting under the command of the hero [Footnote: General Houston.] of
Texian fame? And have we not been called upon in this House, to recognize
Texian independence? It seems that Gen. Gaines considers this a war in
defence of 'our Texians.'"

Mr. Cambreleng explained that the word "neighbors," had been accidentally
omitted in Gen. Gaines' dispatch.

Mr. Adams continued:--"Was this an intention to conquer Texas, to
re-establish that slavery which had been abolished by the United Mexican
States? If that was the case, and we were to be drawn into an
acknowledgment of their independence, and then, by that preliminary act,
by that acknowledgment, if we were upon their application to admit Texas
to become a part of the United States, then the House ought to be informed
of it. I shall be for no such war, nor for making any such addition to our
territory. * * * * * * I hope Congress will take care to go into no war
for the re-establishment of slavery where it has been abolished--that they
will go into no war in behalf of 'our Texians,' or 'our Texian
neighbors' and that they will go into no war with a foreign power, without
other cause than the acquisition of territory."

In a speech delivered a few days subsequent to the above, Mr. Adams used
the following language:--

"It is said that one of the earliest acts of this administration was a
proposal, made at a time when there was already much ill-humor in Mexico
against the United States, that she should cede to the United States a
very large portion of her territory--large enough to constitute nine
States equal in extent to Kentucky. It must be confessed that a device
better calculated to produce jealousy, suspicion, ill-will and hatred,
could not have been contrived. It is further affirmed that this overture,
offensive in itself, was made precisely at the time when a swarm of
colonists from these United States, were covering the Mexican border with
land-jobbing, and with slaves, introduced in defiance of Mexican laws, by
which slavery had been abolished throughout the Republic. The war now
raging in Texas is a Mexican civil war, and a war for the reestablishment
of slavery where it was abolished. It is not a servile war, but a war
between slavery and emancipation, and every possible effort has been made
to drive us into the war on the side of slavery."

"When, in the year 1836, resolutions to recognize the independence of
Texas came up in the House of Representatives, Mr. Adams opposed them with
great energy and eloquence, and provoked a most ardent and violent debate.
Mr. Waddy Thompson, then a Representative in Congress, and subsequently
Minister to Mexico, advocated the passage of the resolutions; and, in
doing so, said that Mr. Adams, in negotiating the Florida treaty, actually
ceded to Mexico the whole of Texas, a province that was part and parcel of
this Union.

"Mr. Adams immediately arrested the speech of Mr. Thompson, and denied the
impeachment. Mr. Thompson rejoined, and, to strengthen his position,
quoted some remarks Gen. Jackson had made on the subject, confirmatory of
the charge of having sacrificed the national domain, in the Florida

"Mr. Adams replied with great warmth; and went into a minute and
interesting narrative of the whole transaction. Among other things, he
said that, before the Florida treaty was signed, he took it to Gen.
Jackson, to obtain his opinion of it; and that it was unconditionally
approved by him.

"Mr. Thompson was surprised at the announcement of this fact. It weakened
his position very materially; and he resumed his seat a defeated
antagonist. So said the House of Representatives, with scarcely the
exception of a member.

"Mr. Adams continued his defence. 'At that time,' said he, 'General
Jackson was in this city, on exciting business connected with the Seminole
war; and, after the treaty had been concluded, and only wanted the
signatures of the contracting parties, the then President of the United
States directed me to call on General Jackson, in my official capacity as
Secretary of State, and obtain his opinion in reference to boundaries. I
did call. General Jackson, sir, was at that time holding his quarters in
the hotel at the other end of the avenue, now kept by Mr. Azariah Fuller,
but then under the management of Jonathan McCarty. The day was
exceedingly warm, and, on entering General Jackson's parlor, I found him
much exhausted by excitement, and the intensity of the weather. I made
known to him the object of my visit; when he replied that I would greatly
oblige him if I would excuse him from looking into the matter then. "Leave
the papers with me, sir, till to-morrow, or the next day, and I will
examine them." I did leave them sir; and the next day called for the
hero's opinion and decision. Sir, I recollect the occurrence perfectly
well; General Jackson was still unwell; and the papers, with an
accompanying map, were spread before him. With his cane, sir, he pointed
to the boundaries, as they had been agreed upon by the parties; and, sir,
with a very emphatic expression, which I need not repeat, he affirmed

"This debate, whilst yet warm from the hands of the reporters, reached
General Jackson; and was at once pressed upon his attention. Its
contradiction and refutation were deemed matters of paramount importance.
The old soldier did not hesitate long to act in the matter, and speedily
there appeared in the Globe newspaper a letter, signed Andrew Jackson,
denying, in unqualified and unconditional terms, everything that Mr. Adams
had uttered. He denied having been in Washington at the time Mr. Adams
designated; but afterwards, being convinced that he was in error, in this
fact only he corrected himself, but denied most positively that he had
seen the Florida treaty, or Mr. Adams, at the time of its negotiation, or
that he had had the remotest agency or connection with the transaction.

"Mr. Adams responded, and appealed to his diary, where everything was set
forth with the utmost precision and accuracy. The year, day of the month,
and of the week, and the very hour of the day, all were faithfully

"The affair produced much sensation at Washington; and even the most
determined advocates of General Jackson believed that he, and not Mr.
Adams, was in error, No one would, or could for a moment, believe that Mr.
Adams' had made a false report.'

"Whilst this controversy was pending, I called at the Presidential
mansion, one afternoon, when General Jackson, strange to say, happened to
be alone. He said that he was very glad to see me, because he would like
to hear, from one who had an opportunity of seeing more of the press than
he saw, what was the exact state of public opinion, in regard to the

"'As far as I am capable of judging, Mr. President,' I replied, 'the
people appear to be unanimous in the opinion that there is a
misunderstanding, a misapprehension, between you and Mr. Adams; for no one
imagines, for a moment, that either of you would misrepresent facts! Mr.
Adams is a man of infinite method; he is generally accurate, and, in this
instance, it appears that he is sustained by his diary.'

"'His diary! don't tell' me anything more about his diary! Sir, that diary
comes up on all occasions--one would think that its pages were as
immutable as the laws of the Medes and Persians! Sir, that diary will be
the death of me! I wonder if James Monroe kept a diary! If he did, it is
to be hoped that it will be looked to, to see if it contains anything
about this Adams and Dan Onis treaty. Sir, I did not see it; I was not
consulted about it.'

"The old hero was exceedingly vehement, and was proceeding to descant with
especial violence, when he was interrupted by the entrance of Mr.
Secretary Woodbury, and I never heard another word about the matter. A
question of veracity between the parties was raised, and was never
adjudicated. Both went down to the grave before any definite light was
cast on the subject; but the world had decided that General Jackson was in
error." [Footnote: Reminiscences of the late John Quincy Adams, by an Old
Colony Man.]



In the meantime, during the years 1836 and 1837, the public mind in the
Northern States, became fully aroused to the enormities of American
slavery--its encroachments on the rights and interests of the free
States--the undue influence it was exercising in our national
councils--and the evident determination to enlarge its borders and its
evils, by the addition of new and large territories. Petitions for the
abolition of slavery and the slave trade in the District of Columbia and
the Territories, began to pour into Congress, from every section of the
East and North. These were generally presented by Mr. Adams. His age and
experience--his well-known influence in the House of Representatives--his
patriotism, and his intrepid advocacy of human freedom--inspired the
confidence of the people of the free States, and led them to entrust to
him their petitions. With scrupulous fidelity he performed the duty thus
imposed upon him. Whoever petitions might come from--whatever the nature
of  their prayer--whether for such objects as he could sanction or not--if
they were clothed in respectful language, Mr. Adams felt himself under an
imperative obligation to present them to Congress. For several sessions at
this period, few days passed without his presenting more or less petitions
having some relation to the subject of slavery.

The southern members of Congress became alarmed at these demonstrations,
and determined to arrest them, even at the sacrifice, if need be, of the
right of petition--the most sacred privilege of freemen. On the 8th of
Feb., 1836, a committee was raised by the House of Representatives, to
take into consideration what disposition should be made of petitions and
memorials for the abolition of slavery and the slave trade, in the
District of Columbia, and report thereon. This committee consisted of
Messrs. Pinckney of South Carolina, Hamer of Ohio, Pierce of New
Hampshire, Hardin of Kentucky, Jarvis of Maine, Owens of Georgia,
Muhlenberg of Pennsylvania, Dromgoole of Virginia, and Turrill of New
York. On the 18th of May, the committee made a lengthy and unanimous
report, through Mr. Pinckney, recommending the adoption of the following

"Resolved, That Congress possesses no constitutional authority to
interfere in any way with the institution of slavery in any of the States
of this Confederacy.

"Resolved, That Congress ought not to interfere in any way with slavery in
the District of Columbia.

"And whereas, It is extremely important and desirable that the agitation
of this subject should be finally arrested, for the purpose of restoring
tranquillity to the public mind, your committee respectfully recommend the
adoption of the following additional resolution, viz.:--

"Resolved, That all petitions, memorials, resolutions, propositions or
papers, relating in any way, or to any extent whatever, 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 thereon."

When the first of these resolutions was taken up, Mr. Adams said, if the
House would allow him five minutes' time, he would prove the resolution to
be untrue. His request was denied.

On the third resolution Mr. Adams refused to vote, and sent to the
Speaker's chair the following declaration, demanding that it should be
placed on the journal of the House, there to stand to the latest

"I hold the resolution to be a direct violation of the Constitution of the
United States, of the rules of this House, and of the rights of my

Notwithstanding the rule embodied in this resolution virtually trampled
the right of petition into the dust, yet it was adopted by the House, by a
large majority. But Mr. Adams was not to be deterred by this arbitrary
restriction, from a faithful discharge of his duty as a representative of
the people. Petitions on the subject of slavery continued to be
transmitted to him in increased numbers. With unwavering firmness--against
a bitter and unscrupulous opposition, exasperated to the highest pitch by
his pertinacity--amidst a perfect tempest of vituperation and abuse--he
persevered in presenting these petitions, one by one, to the amount
sometimes of two hundred in a day--demanding the action of the House on
each separate petition.

His position amid these scenes was in the highest degree illustrious and
sublime. An old man, with the weight of years upon him, forgetful of the
elevated stations he had occupied, and the distinguished honors received
for past services, turning away from the repose which age so greatly
needs, and laboring, amidst scorn and derision, and threats of expulsion
and assassination, to maintain the sacred right of petition for the
poorest and humblest in the land--insisting that the voice of a free
people should be heard by their representatives, when they would speak in
condemnation of human slavery and call upon them to maintain the
principles of liberty embodied in the immortal Declaration of
Independence--was a spectacle unwitnessed before in the history of
legislation. A few specimens of these transactions will enable the reader
to judge of the trials Mr. Adams was compelled to endure in the discharge
of his duties, and also of his moral courage and indomitable perseverance,
amid the most appalling circumstances.

On the 6th of Jan., 1837, Mr. Adams presented the petition of one hundred
and fifty women, whom he stated to be the wives and daughters of his
immediate constituents, praying for the abolition of slavery in the
District of Columbia, and moved that the petition be read.

Mr. Glascock objected to its reception.

Mr. Parks moved that the preliminary motion, on the reception of the
petition, be laid on the table, which was carried.

Mr. Adams said, that if he had understood the decision of the Speaker in
this case, it was not the petition itself which was laid upon the table,
but the motion to receive. In order to save the time of the House, he
wished to give notice that he should call up that motion, for decision,
every day, so long as he should be permitted to do so by the House;
because he should not consider his duty accomplished so long as the
petition was not received, and so long as the House had not decided that
it would not receive it.

Mr. Pinckney rose to a question of order, and inquired if there was now
any question pending before the House?

The Speaker said, he had understood the gentleman from Massachusetts as
merely giving notice of a motion hereafter to be made. In doing so, it
certainly was not in order to enter into debate.

Mr. Adams said, that so long as freedom of speech was allowed to him as a
member of that House, he would call up that question until it should be

Mr. Adams was called to order.

Mr. A. said, he would then have the honor of presenting to the House the
petition of two hundred and twenty-eight women, the wives and daughters of
his immediate constituents; and as a part of the speech which he intended
to make, he would take the liberty of reading the petition. It was not
long, and would not consume much time.

Mr. Glascock objected to the reception of the petition.

Mr. Adams proceeded to read, that the petitioners, inhabitants of South
Weymouth, in the State of Massachusetts, "impressed with the sinfulness of
slavery, and keenly aggrieved by its existence in a part of our country
over which Congress--"

Mr. Pinckney rose to a question of order. Had the gentleman from
Massachusetts a right, under the rule, to read the petition?

The Speaker said, the gentleman from Massachusetts had a right to make a
statement of the contents of the petition.

Mr. Pinckney desired the decision of the Speaker as to whether a
gentleman had a right to read a petition.

Mr. Adams said he was reading the petition as a part of his speech, and he
took this to be one of the privileges of a member of the House. It was a
privilege he would exercise till he should be deprived of it by some
positive act.

The Speaker repeated that the gentleman from Massachusetts had a right to
make a brief statement of the contents of the petition. It was not for the
Speaker to decide whether that brief statement should be made in the
gentleman's own language, or whether he should look over the petition, and
take his statement from that.

Mr. Adams.--At the time my friend from South Carolina--

The Speaker said the gentleman must proceed to state the contents of the

Mr. Adams.-I am doing so, sir.

The Speaker.--Not in the opinion of the chair.

Mr. Adams.--I was at this point of the petition--"Keenly aggrieved by its
existence in a part of our country over which Congress possesses exclusive
jurisdiction in all cases whatsoever--"

Loud cries of "Order," "Order!"

Mr. Adams.-"Do most earnestly petition your honorable body--"

Mr. Chambers of Kentucky rose to a point of order.

Mr. Adams.--"Immediately to abolish slavery in the District of Columbia--"

Mr. Chambers reiterated his call to order, and the Speaker directed Mr.
Adams to take his seat.

Mr. Adams proceeded with great rapidity of enunciation, and in a very loud
tone of voice--"And to declare every human being free who sets foot upon
its soil!"

The confusion in the hall at this time was very great. The Speaker decided
that it was not in order for a member to read a petition, whether it was
long or short.

Mr. Adams appealed from any decision which went to establish the principle
that a member of the House should not have the power to read what he
chose. He had never before heard of such a thing. If this practice was to
be reversed, let the decision stand upon record, and let it appear how
entirely the freedom of speech was suppressed in this House. If the
reading of a paper was to be suppressed in his person, so help him God, he
would only consent to it as a matter of record.

Mr. Adams finished the petition. The petitioners "respectfully announce
their intention to present the same petition yearly before this honorable
body, that it might at least be a memorial in the holy cause of human
freedom that they had done what they could."

These words were read amidst tumultuous cries for "order," from every part
of the House. The petition was finally received, and laid upon the table.

Other scenes of a still more exciting character soon occurred.

On the 7th of February, 1837, after Mr. Adams had offered some two hundred
or more abolition petitions, he came to a halt; and, without yielding the
floor, employed himself in packing up his budget. He was about resuming
his seat, when he took up a paper, and hastily glancing at it, exclaimed,
in a shrill tone--

"Mr. Speaker, I have in my possession a petition of a somewhat
extraordinary character; and I wish to inquire of the chair if it be in
order to present it."

"If the gentleman from Massachusetts," said the Speaker, "will inform the
chair what the character of the petition is, it will probably be able to
decide on the subject."

"Sir," ejaculated Mr. Adams, "the petition is signed by eleven slaves of
the town of Fredericksburgh, in the county of Culpepper, in the state of
Virginia. It is one of those petitions which, it has occurred to my mind,
are not what they purport to be. It is signed partly by persons who cannot
write, by making their marks, and partly by persons whose handwriting
would manifest that they have received the education of slaves. The
petition declares itself to be from slaves, and I am requested to present
it. I will send it to the chair."

The Speaker (Mr. Polk,) who habitually extended to Mr. Adams every
courtesy and kindness imaginable, was taken by surprise, and found himself
involved in a dilemma. Giving his chair one of those hitches which ever
denoted his excitement, he said that a petition from slaves was a novelty,
and involved a question that he did not feel called upon to decide. He
would like to take time to consider it; and, in the meantime, would refer
it to the House.

The House was very thin at the time, and little attention was paid to what
was going on, till the excitement of the Speaker attracted the attention
of Mr. Dixon H. Lewis, of Alabama, who impatiently, and under great
excitement, rose and inquired what the petition was.

Mr. Speaker afforded the required information. Mr. Lewis, forgetting all
discretion, whilst he frothed at the mouth, turned towards Mr. Adams, and
ejaculated at the top of his voice, "By G-d, sir, this is not to be
endured any longer!"

"Treason! treason!" screamed a half dozen other members. "Expel the old
scoundrel; put him out; do not let him disgrace the House any longer!"

"Get up a resolution to meet the case," exclaimed a member from North

Mr. George C. Dromgoole, who had acquired a very favorable reputation as
a parliamentarian, was selected as the very man who, of all others, was
most capable of drawing up a resolution that would meet and cover the
emergency. He produced a resolution with a preamble, in which it was
stated, substantially, that, whereas the Hon. John Quincy Adams, a
representative from Massachusetts, had presented to the House of
Representatives a petition signed by negro slaves, thus "giving color to
an idea" that bondmen were capable of exercising the right of petition, it
was "Resolved, That he be taken to the bar of the House, and be censured
by the Speaker thereof."

Mr. Haynes said, the true motion, in his judgment, would be to move that
the petition be rejected.

Mr. Lewis hoped that no motion of that kind would come from any gentleman
from a slaveholding section of the country.

Mr. Haynes said he would cheerfully withdraw his motion.

Mr. Lewis was glad the motion was withdrawn. He believed that the House
should punish severely such an infraction of its decorum and its rules;
and he called on the members from the slaveholding States to come forward
now and demand of the House the punishment of the gentleman from

Mr. Grantland, of Georgia, would second the motion, and go all lengths in
support of it.

Mr. Lewis said, that if the House would inflict no punishment for such
flagrant violations of its dignity as this, it would be better for the
Representatives from the slaveholding Slates to go home at once.

Mr. Alford said, if the gentleman from Massachusetts intended to present
this petition, the moment it was presented he should move, as an act of
justice to the South, which he in part represented, and which he conceived
had been treated with indignity, that it be taken from the House and
burnt; and he hoped that every man who was a friend to the constitution,
would support him. There must be an end to this constant attempt to raise
excitement, or the Union could not exist much longer. The moment any man
should disgrace the Government under which he lived, by presenting a
petition from slaves, praying for emancipation, he hoped that petition
would, by order of the House, be committed to the flames.

Mr. Waddy Thompson moved the following resolution:--

"Resolved, 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."

The idea of bringing the venerable ex-President to the bar, like a
culprit, to receive a reprimand from a comparatively youthful Speaker,
would be a spectacle so disgraceful, and withal so absurd, that the
proposition met with no favor. An easier way to reprimand was devised. Mr.
Haynes introduced the following resolution:--

"Resolved, That John Quincy Adams, a Representative from the State of
Massachusetts, has rendered himself justly liable to the severest censure
of this House, and is censured accordingly, for having attempted to
present to the House the petition of slaves."

Several other resolutions and propositions, from members of slaveholding
States, were submitted to the House; but none proved satisfactory even to
themselves. Mr. Adams, unmoved by the tempest which raged around him,
defended himself, and the integrity of his purpose, with the distinguished
ability and eloquence which characterized all his public labors.

"In regard to the resolutions now before the House," said he, "as they all
concur in naming me, and in charging me with high crimes and misdemeanors,
and in calling me to the bar of the House to answer for my crimes, I have
thought it was my duty to remain silent, until it should be the pleasure
of the House to act either on one or the other of these resolutions. I
suppose that if I shall be brought to the bar of the House, I shall not be
struck mute by the previous question, before I have an opportunity to say
a word or two in my own defence. * * * * * *

"Now, as to the fact what the petition was for, I simply state to the
gentleman from Alabama, (Mr. D. H. Lewis,) who has sent to the table a
resolution assuming that this petition was for the abolition of slavery--I
state to him that he is mistaken. He must amend his resolution; for if the
House should choose to read this petition, I can state to them they would
find it something very much the reverse of that which the resolution
states it to be. And if the gentleman from Alabama still chooses to bring
me to the bar of the House, he must amend his resolution in a very
important particular; for he may probably have to put into it, that my
crime has been for attempting to introduce the petition of slaves that
slavery should not be abolished. * * * * * *

"Sir, it is well known, that from the time I entered this House, down to
the present day, I have felt it a sacred duty to present any petition,
couched in respectful language, from any citizen of the United States, be
its object what it may; be the prayer of it that in which I could concur,
or that to which I was utterly opposed. It is for the sacred right of
petition that I have adopted this course. * * * * * * * * Where is your
law which says that the mean, and the low, and the degraded, shall be
deprived of the right of petition, if their moral character is not good?
Where, in the land of freemen, was the right of petition ever placed on
the exclusive basis of morality and virtue? Petition is supplication--it
is entreaty--it is prayer! And where is the degree of vice or immorality
which shall deprive the citizen of the right to supplicate for a boon, or
to pray for mercy? Where is such a law to be found? It does not belong to
the most abject despotism! There is no absolute monarch on earth, who is
not compelled, by the constitution of his country, to receive the
petitions of his people, whosoever they may be. The Sultan of
Constantinople cannot walk the streets and refuse to receive petitions
from the meanest and vilest of the land. This is the law even of
despotism. And what does your law say? Does it say that, before presenting
a petition, you shall look into it, and see whether it comes from the
virtuous, and the great, and the mighty? No sir; it says no such thing.
The right of petition belongs to all. And so far from refusing to present
a petition because it might come from those low in the estimation of the
world, it would be an additional incentive, if such incentive were

"But I must admit," continued Mr. Adams, sarcastically, "that when color
comes into the question, there may be other considerations. It is possible
that this house, which seems to consider it so great a crime to attempt to
offer a petition from slaves, may, for aught I know, say that freemen, if
not of the carnation, shall be deprived of the right of petition, in the
sense of the House."

When southern members saw that, in their haste, they had not tarried to
ascertain the nature of the petition, and that it prayed for the
perpetuation, instead of the abolition of slavery, their position became
so ludicrous, that their exasperation was greatly increased. At the time
the petition was announced by Mr. Adams, the House was very thin; but the
excitement it produced soon filled it; and, besides, the sergeant-at-arms
had been instructed to arrest and bring in all absentees. The excitement
commenced at about one o'clock, and continued until seven o'clock in the
evening, when the House adjourned. Mr. Adams stood at his desk, resolutely
refusing to be seated till the matter was disposed of, alleging that if he
were guilty, he was not entitled to a seat among high and honorable men.
When Mr. Droomgoole's resolution was read to the House for its
consideration, Mr. Adams yielded to it one of those sarcastic sneers which
he was in the habit of giving, when provoked to satire; and said--"Mr.
Speaker, if I understand the resolution of the honorable gentleman from
Virginia, it charges me with being guilty of giving color to an idea!'"
The whole House broke forth in one common irrepressible peal of laughter.
The Droomgoole resolution was actually laughed out of existence. The
House now found that it had got itself in a dilemma,--that Mr. Adams was
too much for it; and, at last, adjourned, leaving the affair in the
position in which they found it.

For several days this subject continued to agitate the House. Mr. Adams
not only warded off the virulent attacks made upon him, but carried the
war so effectually into the camp of his enemies, that, becoming heartily
tired of the contest, they repeatedly endeavored to get rid of the whole
subject by laying it on the table. To this Mr. Adams objected. He insisted
that it should be thoroughly canvassed. Immense excitement ensued. Call
after call of the House was made. Mr. Henry A. Wise, who was, at the time,
engaged on the Reuben Whitney affair, was sent for: with an accompanying
message that the stability of the Union was in danger!

Breathless, and impatient, Mr. Wise made his appearance, and inquired what
was the matter. He was informed.

"And is that all?" ejaculated Mr. Wise. "The gentleman from Massachusetts
has presented a petition signed by slaves! Well, sir, and what of that? Is
anybody harmed by it? Sir, in my opinion, slaves are the very persons who
should petition. Mine, sir, pray to me, and I listen to them; and shall
not the feeble supplicate? Sir, I see no danger,--the country, I believe,
is safe."

At length the exciting subject was brought to a termination, by the
passage of the following preamble and resolutions; much softened, it will
be seen, in comparison with the measures first proposed:--

"An inquiry having been made by an honorable gentleman from Massachusetts,
whether a paper which he held in his hand, purporting to be a petition
from certain slaves, and declaring themselves to be slaves, came within
the order of the House of the 18th of January,[Footnote: This order was
the same as that adopted by the House on the 18th of May, 1836. See p.
281.] and the said paper not having been received by the Speaker, he
stated that in a case so extraordinary and novel, he would take the advice
and counsel of the House.

"Resolved, That this House cannot receive said petition without
disregarding its own dignity, the rights of a large class of citizens of
the South and West, and the Constitution of the United States.

"Resolved, That slaves do not possess the right of petition secured to
the citizens of the United States by the constitution."

The slave petition is believed to have been a counterfeit, manufactured by
certain members from slaveholding States, and was sent to Mr. Adams by the
way of experiment--with the double design of ascertaining if he could be
imposed upon; and, if the deception succeeded, those who got it up were
curious to know if the venerable statesman would redeem his pledge, and
present a petition, no matter who it came from. He was too wily not to
detect the plot at the outset; he knew that all was a hoax; but, he
resolved to present the paper, and then turn the tables on its authors.
[Footnote: Reminiscences of the late John Quincy Adams, by an Old Colony

On the 20th of December, 1838, Mr. Adams presented a petition praying for
the establishment of international relations with the Republic of Hayti,
and moved that it be referred to the Committee on Foreign Affairs, with
instructions to consider and report thereon. This motion was opposed with
great warmth by members from slaveholding States. Mr. Adams was repeatedly
interrupted during the delivery of the brief speech he made on the

Mr. Bynum insisted that the gentleman from Massachusetts should take his
seat, under the rule. If, however, he was permitted to proceed, Mr. B.
hoped some gentleman of the slaveholding portion of the House would be
allowed to answer him.

Mr. Adams.--Sir, I hope so. Only open our mouths, gentlemen; that is all
we ask, and you may answer as much as you please.

Mr. Bynum.--I object to the gentleman proceeding further with his
observations, except by consent of the House. If we have rules we had
better either obey them or burn them.

The House voted, by 114 to 47, to allow Mr. Adams to proceed.

In continuing his speech, Mr. Adams said, that even admitting the object
of the petitioners is abolition, as has been alleged, they had the right
to petition for that too; for every individual in the country had a right
to be an abolitionist. The great men of the Revolution were abolitionists,
and if any man denies it, I will prove it.

Mr. Wise.--I deny it.

The Speaker said this was out of order.

Mr. Adams.--I feel obliged to the gentleman from Virginia for giving me
the invitation, and I will now prove what I say.

The Speaker said this did not form any part of the question before the

Mr. Adams.--George Washington, in articulo mortis, by his last will and
testament, before God, his Creator, emancipated his slaves.

Mr. Wise.--Because he had no children.

The Speaker again interposed, and said the gentleman could not go into
that question. It was entirely out of order.

Mr. Adams.--I did but accept the invitation of the gentleman from
Virginia. I do not wish to go further. I simply take the position that
George Washington was an abolitionist in the most extensive sense of the
term; and I defy any man in this House to the discussion, and to prove to
the contrary if he can.

The Speaker called Mr. Adams to order.

Mr. Adams.--Well, sir, I was stating the high authority which is to be
found for the principles of abolition. Does the gentleman from Virginia
deny that Thomas Jefferson was an abolitionist?

Mr. Wise.--I do.

The Speaker again interposed.

Mr. Adams.--Well, sir, then I come back to my position, that every man in
this country has a right to be an abolitionist, and that in being so he
offends no law, but, in my opinion, obeys the most sacred of all laws.

The motion to instruct the committee, was finally laid upon the table.

Mr. Adams was evidently anxious to engage in a legitimate discussion, in
the House of Representatives, of the subject of slavery in all its
bearings, influences, and results. Such a discussion, coolly and
deliberately entered upon, by men of the most distinguished abilities in
the nation, could not but have been pregnant with lasting good, not only
to the North, but also to the South and the entire country. To afford
opportunity for a dignified and profitable investigation of this momentous
topic, Mr. Adams, on the 25th of Feb., 1839, proposed the following
amendments to the Constitution of the United States:--

"Resolved, by the Senate and House of Representatives in Congress
assembled, two-thirds of both Houses concurring therein, That the
following amendments to the Constitution of the United States be proposed
to the several States of the Union, which, when ratified by three-fourths
of the legislatures of said States, shall become and be a part of the
Constitution of the United States:--

"1. From and after the 4th day of July, 1842, there shall be throughout
the United States no hereditary slavery; but on and after that day, every
child born within the United States, their territories or jurisdiction,
shall be born free.

"2. With the exception of the territory of Florida, there shall henceforth
never be admitted into this Union, any State, the constitution of which
shall tolerate within the same the existence of slavery.

"3. From and after the 4th day of July, 1845, there shall be neither
slavery nor slave trade, at the seat of Government of the United States."

Instead of meeting and canvassing, in a manly and honorable manner, the
vitally important question involved in these propositions, the
slaveholding Representatives objected to its coming before the House for
consideration, in any form whatever. In this instance, as in most others,
where the merits of slavery are involved, the supporters of that
institution manifested a timidity, a want of confidence in its legitimacy,
of the most suspicious nature. If slavery is lawful and defensible--if it
violates no true principle among men, no human right bestowed by the
Creator--if it can be tolerated and perpetuated in harmony with republican
institutions and our Declaration of Independence--if its existence in the
bosom of the Confederacy involves no incongruity, and is calculated to
promote the prosperity and stability of the Union, or the welfare of the
slaveholding States themselves--these are facts which can be made evident
to the world, by the unsurpassed abilities of southern statesmen. Why,
then, object to a candid and fearless investigation of the subject? But if
slavery is the reverse of all this--if it is a moral poison, contaminating
and blighting everything connected with it, and containing the seeds of
its own dissolution sooner or later--why should wise, sagacious
politicians, prudent and honest men, and conscientious Christians, shut
their eyes and turn away from a fact so appalling and so dangerous. No man
of intelligence can hope, in this age of the world, to perpetuate that
which is wrong and destructive, by bravado and threatening--by refusing to
look it in the face, or to allow others to scrutinize it. Error must pass
away. Truth, however unpalatable, or however it may be obscured for a
season, must eventually triumph. The very exertions of its supporters to
perpetuate wrong, will but hasten its death.

  "Truth, crushed to earth, will rise again;
     Th' eternal years of God are hers:
   But Error, wounded, writhes with pain,
     And dies among her worshippers."

Notwithstanding the course Mr. Adams felt himself compelled to pursue led
him frequently into collision with a large portion of the Members of the
House of Representatives, and caused them sometimes, in the heat of
excitement, to forget the deference due his age, his experience, and
commanding abilities, yet there was ever a deep, under-current feeling of
veneration for him, pervading all hearts. Those who were excited to the
highest pitch of frenzy by his proceedings, could not but admire the
singleness of his purpose, and his undaunted courage in discharging his
duties. On all subjects aside from slavery, his influence in the House has
never been surpassed. Whenever he arose to speak, it was a signal for a
general abandonment of listlessness and inattention. Members dropped their
newspapers and pamphlets--knots of consulting politicians in different
parts of the Hall were dissolved--Representatives came hastily in from
lobbies, committee-rooms, the surrounding grounds--and all eagerly
clustered around his chair to listen to words of wisdom, patriotism, and
truth, as they dropped burning from the lips of "the old man eloquent!"
The confidence placed in him in emergencies, was unbounded. A case in
point is afforded in the history of the difficulty occasioned by the
double delegation from New Jersey.

On the opening of the 26th Congress, in December, 1839, in consequence of
a two-fold delegation from New-Jersey, the House was unable, for some
time, to complete its organization, and presented to the country and the
world the perilous and discreditable aspect of the assembled
Representatives of the people, unable to form themselves into a
constitutional body. On first assembling, the House has no officers, and
the Clerk of the preceding Congress acts, by usage, as chairman of the
body, till a Speaker is chosen. On this occasion, after reaching the State
of New Jersey, the acting Clerk declined to proceed in calling the roll,
and refused to entertain any of the motions which were made for the
purpose of extricating the House from its embarrassment. Many of the
ablest and most judicious members had addressed the House in vain, and
there was nothing but confusion and disorder in prospect.

The fourth day opened, and still confusion was triumphant. But the hour of
disenthrallment was at hand, and a scene was presented which sent the
mind back to those days when Cromwell uttered the exclamation--"Sir Harry
Vane! wo unto you, Sir Harry Vane!"--and in an instant dispersed the
famous Rump Parliament.

Mr. Adams, from the opening of this scene of confusion and anarchy, had
maintained a profound silence. He appeared to be engaged most of the time
in writing. To a common observer, he seemed to be reckless of everything
around him--but nothing, not the slightest incident, escaped him. The
fourth day of the struggle had now commenced; Mr. Hugh H. Garland, the
Clerk, was directed to call the roll again.

He commenced with Maine, as was usual in those days, and was proceeding
toward Massachusetts. I turned, and saw that Mr. Adams was ready to get
the floor at the earliest moment possible. His keen eye was riveted on the
Clerk; his hands clasped the front edge of his desk, where he always
placed them to assist him in rising. He looked, in the language of Otway,
like the

                     "--fowler, eager for his prey."

"New Jersey!" ejaculated Mr. Hugh H. Garland, "and the Clerk has to repeat

Mr. Adams sprang to the floor!

"I rise to interrupt the Clerk," was his first ejaculation.

"Silence, silence," resounded through the hall; "hear him, hear him! Here
what he has to say; hear John Quincy Adams!" was the unanimous ejaculation
on all sides.

In an instant, the most profound silence reigned throughout the Hall--you
might have heard a leaf of paper fall in any part of it--and every eye was
riveted on the venerable Nestor of Massachusetts--the purest of
statesmen, and the noblest of men! He paused for a moment; and, having
given Mr. Garland a

                           "--withering look!"

he proceeded to address the multitude:

"It was not my intention," said he, "to take any part in these
extraordinary proceedings. I had hoped that this House would succeed in
organizing itself; that a Speaker and Clerk would be elected, and that the
ordinary business of legislation would be progressed in. This is not the
time, or place, to discuss the merits of the conflicting claimants for
seats from New Jersey; that subject belongs to the House of
Representatives, which, by the constitution, is made the ultimate arbiter
of the qualifications of its members. But what a spectacle we here
present! We degrade and disgrace ourselves; we degrade and disgrace our
constituents and the country. We do not, and cannot organize; and why?
Because the Clerk of this House, the mere Clerk, whom we create, whom we
employ, and whose existence depends upon our will, usurps the throne, and
sets us, the Representatives, the vicegerents of the whole American
people, at defiance, and holds us in contempt! And what is this Clerk of
yours? Is he to control the destinies of sixteen millions of freemen? Is
he to suspend, by his mere negative, the functions of Government, and put
an end to this Congress? He refuses to call the roll! It is in your power
to compel him to call it, if he will not do it voluntarily. [Here he was
interrupted by a member, who said that he was authorized to say that
compulsion could not reach the Clerk, who had avowed that he would resign,
rather than call the State of New Jersey.] Well, sir, then let him
resign," continued Mr. Adams, "and we may possibly discover some way by
which we can get along, without the aid of his all-powerful talent,
learning and genius. If we cannot organize in any other way--if this Clerk
of yours will not consent to our discharging the trusts confided to us by
our constituents, then let us imitate the example of the Virginia House of
Burgesses, which, when the colonial Governor Dinwiddie ordered it to
disperse, refused to obey the imperious and insulting mandate, and, like

The multitude could not contain or repress their enthusiasm any longer,
but saluted the eloquent and indignant speaker, and intercepted him with
loud and deafening cheers, which seemed to shake the capitol to its
centre. The very Genii of applause and enthusiasm seemed to float in the
atmosphere of the Hall, and every heart expanded with an indescribable
feeling of pride and exultation. The turmoil, the darkness, the very
"chaos of anarchy," which had, for three successive days, pervaded the
American Congress, was dispelled by the magic, the talismanic eloquence of
a single man; and, once more the wheels of Government and of Legislation
were put in motion.[Footnote: Reminiscences--by an Old Colony Man.]

Having, by this powerful appeal, brought the yet unorganized assembly to a
perception of its hazardous position, he submitted a motion requiring the
acting Clerk to proceed in calling the roll. This and similar motions had
already been made by other members. The difficulty was, that the acting
Clerk declined to entertain them. Accordingly, Mr. Adams was immediately
interrupted by a burst of voices demanding, "How shall the question be
put?" "Who will put the question?" The voice of Mr. Adams was heard above
the tumult, "I intend to put the question myself!" That word brought order
out of chaos. There was the master mind.

As soon as the multitude had recovered itself, and the excitement of
irrepressible enthusiasm had abated, Mr. Richard Barnwell Rhett, of
South Carolina, leaped upon one of the desks, waved his hand, and

"I move that the Honorable John Quincy Adams take the chair of the Speaker
of this House, and officiate as presiding officer, till the House be
organized by the election of its constitutional officers! As many as are
agreed to this will say ay; those--"

He had not an opportunity to complete the sentence--"those who are not
agreed, will say no,"--for one universal, deafening, thundering ay,
responded to the nomination.

Hereupon, it was moved and ordered that Lewis Williams, of North Carolina,
and Richard Barnwell Rhett, conduct John Quincy Adams to the chair.

Well did Mr. Wise, of Virginia, say, "Sir, I regard it as the proudest
hour of your life; and if, when you shall be gathered to your fathers, I
were asked to select the words which, in my judgment, are best calculated
to give at once the character of the man, I would inscribe upon your tomb
this sentence, 'I will put the question myself.'" [Footnote: In a public
address, Mr. Adams once quoted the well known words of Tacitus, Annal.
vi. 39--"Par negotiis neque supra"--applying them to a distinguished
man, lately deceased. A lady wrote to inquire whence they came. Mr. Adams
informed her, and added, that they could not be adequately translated in
less than seven words in English. The lady replied that they might be well
translated in five--Equal to, not above, duty--but better in three--JOHN
QUINCY ADAMS.--Massachusetts Quarterly Review.]



It would be impossible, in the limit prescribed to these pages, to detail
the numerous scenes and occurrences of a momentous nature, in which Mr.
Adams took a prominent part during his services in the House of
Representatives. The path he marked out for himself at the commencement of
his congressional career, was pursued with unfaltering fidelity to the
close of life. His was the rare honor of devoting himself, unreservedly,
to his legitimate duties as a Representative of the people while in
Congress, and to nothing else. He believed the halls of the Capitol were
no place for political intrigue; and that a member of Congress, instead of
studying to shape his course to make political capital or to subserve
party ends, should devote himself rigidly and solely to the interests of
his constituents.  His practice corresponded with his theory. His
speeches, his votes, his entire labors in Congress, were confined strictly
to practical subjects, vitally connected with the great interests of our
common country, and had no political or party bearing, other than such as
truth and public good might possess.

His hostility to slavery and the assumptions and usurpations of slave
power in the councils of the nation, continued to the day of his death. At
the commencement of each session of Congress, he demanded that the
infamous "gag rule," which forbid the presentation of petitions on the
subject of slavery, should be abolished. But despite its continuance, he
persisted in handing in petitions from the people of every class,
complexion and condition. He did not hesitate to lay before the House of
Representatives a petition from Haverhill, Mass., for the dissolution of
the Union! Although opposed in his whole soul to the prayer of the
petitioners, yet he believed himself sacredly bound to listen with due
respect to every request of the people, when couched in respectful terms.

In vain did the supporters of slavery endeavor to arrest his course, and
to seal his lips in silence. In vain did they threaten
assassination--expulsion from the House--indictment before the grand jury
of the District of Columbia. In vain did they declare that he should "be
made amenable to another tribunal, [mob-law] and as an incendiary, be
brought to condign punishment." "My life on it," said a southern member,
"if he presents that petition from slaves, we shall yet see him within the
walls of the penitentiary." All these attempts at brow-beating moved him
not a tittle. Firm he stood to his duty, despite the storms of angry
passion which howled around him, and with withering rebukes repelled the
assaults of hot-blooded opponents, as the proud old headland, jutting far
into ocean's bosom, tosses high, in worthless spray, the dark mountain
billows which in wrath beat upon it.

"Do the gentlemen from the South," said he, "think they can frighten me by
their threats? If that be their object, let me tell them, sir, they have
mistaken their man. I am not to be frightened from the discharge of a
sacred duty, by their indignation, by their violence, nor, sir, by all the
grand juries in the universe. I have done only my duty; and I shall do it
again under the same circumstances, even though they recur to-morrow."

  "Though aged, he was so iron of limb,
   None of the youth could cope with him;
   And the foes whom he singly kept at bay,
   Outnumbered his thin hairs of silver grey."

Nor was Mr. Adams without encouragement in his trying position. His
immediate constituents, at their primary meetings, repeatedly sent up a
cheering voice in strong and earnest resolutions, approving heartily his
course, and urging him to, perseverance therein. The Legislatures of
Massachusetts and Vermont, rallied to his support. In solemn convocation,
they protested against the virtual annihilation of the right of
petition--against slavery and the slave trade in the District of
Columbia--gave their entire sanction to the principles advocated by Mr.
Adams, and pledged their countenance to all measures calculated to sustain

Large bodies of people in the Eastern, Northern, and Middle States,
sympathized with him in his support of the most sacred of privileges
bestowed on man. Representative after Representative were sent to
Congress, who gathered around him, and co-operated with him in his holy
warfare against the iron rule which slavery had been enabled to establish
in the national Legislature. With renewed energy he resisted the mighty
current which was undermining the foundations of the Republic, and bearing
away upon its turbid waters the liberties of the people. And he resisted
not in vain.

The brave old man lived to see his labors, in this department of duty,
crowned with abundant success. One after another the cohorts of slavery
gave way before the incessant assaults, the unwearied perseverance, of Mr.
Adams, and the faithful compeers who were sent by the people to his
support. At length, in 1845, the obnoxious "gag rule" was rescinded, and
Congress consented to receive, and treat respectfully, all petitions on
the subject of slavery. This was a moral triumph which amply compensated
Mr. Adams for all the labors he had put forth, and for all the trials he
had endured to achieve it.

Yes; he "lived to hear that subject which of all others had been forbidden
an entrance into the Halls of Congress, fairly broached. He lived to
listen, with a delight all his own, to a high-souled, whole-hearted
speech on the slave question, from his colleague, Mr. Palfrey--a speech,
of which it is not too high praise to say, that it would not have
disparaged the exalted reputation of Mr. Adams, had he made it himself.
Aye, more, he lived to see the whole House of Representatives--the members
from the South, not less than those from the North, attentive and
respectful listeners to that speech of an hour's length, on the political
as well as moral aspect of slavery in this Republic. What a triumph! At
the close of it, the moral conqueror exclaimed, 'God be praised; the seals
are broken, the door is open.'" [Footnote: Rev. S. J. May.]

If anything were wanting to crown the fame of Mr. Adams, in the Last days
of life, with imperishable honor, or to add, if possible, new brilliancy
to the beams of his setting sun, it is found in his advocacy of the
freedom of the Amistad slaves.

A ship-load of negroes had been stolen from Africa, contrary to the law
of nations, of humanity and of God, and surreptitiously smuggled, in the
night, into the Island of Cuba. This act was piracy, according to the law
of Spain, and of all Governments in Christendom, and the perpetrators
thereof, had they been detected, would have been punished with death.
Immediately after the landing of these unfortunate Africans, about
thirty-six of them were purchased of the slave-pirates, by two Spaniards
named Don Jose Ruiz and Don Pedro Montes, who shipped them for Guanaja,
Cuba, in the schooner "Amistad." When three days out from Havana, the
Africans rose, killed the captain and crew, and took possession of the
vessel--sparing the lives of their purchaser's, Ruiz and Montes. This
transaction was unquestionably justifiable on the part of the negroes.
They had been stolen from their native land--had fallen into the hands of
pirates and robbers, and reduced to abject slavery. According to the first
law of nature--the law of self-defence--implanted in the bosom of every
human being by the Creator, they were justified in taking any measures
necessary to restore them to the enjoyment of that freedom which was
theirs by birthright.

The negroes being unable to manage the schooner, compelled Ruiz and
Montes to navigate her, and directed them to shape her course for Africa;
for it was their design to return to their native land. But they were
deceived by the two Spaniards, who brought the schooner to the coast of
the United States, where she was taken possession of by Lieut. Gedney, of
the U. S. surveying brig Washington, a few miles off Montauk Point, and
brought into New London, Conn., The two Spaniards claimed the Africans as
their property; and the Spanish Minister demanded of the President of the
United States, that they be delivered up to the proper authorities, and
taken back to Havana, to be tried for piracy and murder. The matter was
brought before the District Court of Connecticut.

In the mean time President Van Buren ordered the U. S. schooner Grampus,
Lieut. John S. Paine, to repair to New Haven, to be in readiness to convey
the Africans to Havana, should such be the decision of the Court. But the
Court decided that the Government of the United States had no authority to
return them into slavery; and directed that they be conveyed in one of our
public ships to the shores of Africa, from whence they had but recently
been torn away. From this decision the U. S. District Attorney appealed to
the Supreme Court of the United States.

These transactions attracted the attention of the whole people of the
Union, and naturally excited the sympathy of the masses, pro and con, as
they were favorable or unfavorable to the institution of slavery. Who
should defend, in the Supreme Court, these poor outcasts--ignorant,
degraded, wretched--who, fired with a noble energy, had burst the shackles
of slavery, and by a wave of fortune had been thrown into the midst of a
people professing freedom, yet keeping their feet on the necks of millions
of slaves? The eyes of all the friends of human rights turned
instinctively to JOHN QUINCY ADAMS. Nor were their expectations
disappointed. Without hesitation he espoused the cause of the Amistad
negroes. At the age of seventy-four, he appeared in the Supreme Court of
the United States to advocate their cause. He entered upon this labor with
the enthusiasm of a youthful barrister, and displayed forensic talents, a
critical knowledge of law, and of the inalienable rights of man, which
would have added to the renown of the most eminent jurists of the day.

"When he went to the Supreme Court, after an absence of thirty years, and
arose to defend a body of friendless negroes, torn from their home and
most unjustly held in thrall--when he asked the Judges to excuse him at
once both for the trembling faults of age and the inexperience of youth,
having labored so long elsewhere that he had forgotten the rules of
court--when he summed up the conclusion of the whole matter, and brought
before those judicial but yet moistening eyes, the great men whom he had
once met there--Chase, Cushing, Martin, Livingston, and Marshal himself;
and while he remembered that they were 'gone, gone, all gone,' remembered
also the eternal Justice that is never gone--the sight was sublime. It was
not an old patrician of Rome, who had been Consul, Dictator, coming out of
his honored retirement at the Senate's call, to stand in the Forum to levy
new armies, marshal them to victory afresh, and gain thereby new laurels
for his brow; but it was a plain citizen of America, who had held an
office far greater than that of Consul, King, or Dictator, his hand
reddened by no man's blood, expecting no honors, but coming in the name of
justice, to plead for the slave, for the poor barbarian negro of Africa,
for Cinque and Grabbo for their deeds comparing them to Harmodius and
Aristogeiton, whose classic memory made each bosom thrill. That was worth
all his honors--it was worth while to live fourscore years for that."
[Footnote: Theodore Parker.]

This effort of Mr. Adams was crowned with complete success. The Supreme
Court decided that the Africans were entitled to their freedom, and
ordered them to be liberated. In due time they were enabled, by the
assistance of the charitable, to sail for Africa, and take with them many
of the implements of civilized life. They arrived in safety at Sierre
Leone, and were allowed once more to mingle with their friends, and enjoy
God's gift of freedom, in a Pagan land--having fortunately escaped from a
cruel and life-long bondage, in the midst of a Christian people.

In reply to a letter requesting Mr. Adams to write out his argument in
this case, he concludes as follows: "I shall endeavor, as you desire, to
write out, in full extent, my argument before the Court, in which all this
was noticed and commented upon. If it has no other effect, I hope it will
at least have that of admonishing the free people of this Union to keep
perpetually watchful eyes upon every act of their executive
administration, having any relation to the subject of slavery."

In availing the country of the benefit of the "Smithsonian Bequest," and
in founding the "Smithsonian Institute" at Washington, Mr. Adams took an
active part. He repeatedly called the attention of Congress to the
subject, until he succeeded in causing a bill to be passed providing for
the establishment of the Institute. He was appointed one of the Regents of
the Institute, which office he held until his death.

In the summer of 1843, Mr. Adams visited Lebanon Springs, N. Y., for the
benefit of his health, which had become somewhat impaired, and also the
health of a cherished member of his family. He designed to devote only
four or five days to this journey; but he was so highly pleased with the
small portion of the State of New York he saw at Lebanon Springs, that he
was induced to proceed further. He visited Saratoga, Lake Georgia, Lower
Canada, Montreal and Quebec. Returning, he ascended the St. Lawrence and
the Lakes as far as Niagara Falls and Buffalo, and by the way of
Rochester, Auburn, Utica and Albany, sought his home in Quincy with health
greatly improved.

Although Mr. Adams had many bitter enemies--made so by his fearless
independence, and the stern integrity with which he discharged the public
duties entrusted to him--yet in the hearts of the people he ever occupied
the highest position. They not only respected and admired the politician,
the statesman, but they venerated the MAN! they loved him for his purity,
his philanthropy, his disinterested patriotism, his devotion to freedom
and human rights. All this was manifested during his tour through New
York. It was marked in its whole extent by demonstrations of the highest
attention and respect from people of all parties. Public greetings,
processions, celebrations, met him and accompanied him at every step of
his journey. Never since the visit of La Fayette, had such an anxious
desire to honor a great and good man been manifested by the entire mass of
the people. His progress was one continued triumphal procession. "I may
say," exclaimed Mr. Adams, near the close of his tour, "without being
charged with pride or vanity, I have come not alone, for the whole people
of the State of New York have been my companions!"

At Buffalo he was received with every possible demonstration of respect.
The national ensign was streaming from an hundred masts, and the wharves,
and the decks and rigging of the vessels, were crowded by thousands
anxious to catch a glimpse of the renowned statesman and patriot, who was
greeted by repeated cheers. Hon. Millard Fillmore addressed him with
great eloquence. The following is the conclusion of his speech:--

"You see around you, sir, no political partisans seeking to promote some
sinister purpose; but you see here assembled the people of our infant
city, without distinction of party, sex, age, or condition--all, all
anxiously vieing with each other to show their respect and esteem for
your public services and private worth. Here are gathered, in this vast
multitude of what must appear to you strange faces, thousands whose hearts
have vibrated to the chord of sympathy which your written speeches have
touched. Here is reflecting age, and ardent youth, and lisping childhood,
to all of whom your venerated name is as dear as household words all
anxious to feast their eyes by a sight of that extraordinary and venerable
man, of whom they have heard, and read, and thought so much--all anxious
to hear the voice of that 'old man eloquent,' on whose lips wisdom has
distilled her choicest nectar. Here, sir, you see them all, and read in
their eager and joy-gladdened countenances, and brightly-beaming eyes, a
welcome--a thrice-told, heart-felt, soul-stirring welcome to 'the man whom
they delight to honor.'"

Mr. Adams responded to this speech in a strain of most interesting
remarks. He commenced as follows:--

"I must request your indulgence for a moment's pause to take breath. If
you inquire why I ask this indulgence, it is because I am so overpowered
by the eloquence of my friend, the chairman of the Committee of Ways and
Means, (whom I have been so long accustomed to refer to in that capacity,
that, with your permission, I will continue so to denominate him now,)
that I have no words left to answer him. For so liberal has he been in
bestowing that eloquence upon me which he himself possesses in so eminent
a degree, that while he was ascribing to me talents so far above my own
consciousness in that regard, I was all the time imploring the god of
eloquence to give me, at least at this moment, a few words to justify him
before you in making that splendid panegyric which he has been pleased to
bestow upon me; and that the flattering picture which he has presented to
you, may not immediately be defaced before your eyes by what you should
hear from me. * * * * * *

In concluding his remarks he said:--"Of your attachment to moral principle
I have this day had another and pleasing proof in the dinner of which I
have partaken in the steamer, in which, by your kindness, I have been
conveyed to this place. It was a sumptuous dinner, but at which temperance
was the presiding power. I congratulate you on the evidence there
exhibited of your attachment to moral principle, in your co-operation in
that great movement which is promoting the happiness and elevation of man
in every quarter of the globe.

"And here you will permit me to allude to an incident which has occurred
in my recent visit to Canada, in which I perceived the cooperation of the
people of that Province in the same great moral reformation. While at
Quebec, I visited the falls of Montmorenci, a cataract which, but for
yours, would be among the greatest wonders of nature. In going to it, I
passed through the parish of Beauport, and there, by the side of the way,
I saw a column with an inscription upon its pedestal, which I had the
curiosity to stop and read. It was erected by the people of Beauport in
gratitude to the Virgin, for her goodness in promoting the cause of
temperance in that parish. Perhaps I do not sufficiently sympathize with
the people of Beauport in attributing to the Virgin so direct an influence
upon this moral reform; but in the spirit with which they erected that
monument I do most cordially sympathize with them. For, under whatever
influence the cause may be promoted, the cause itself can never fail to
make its votaries wiser and better men. I cannot make a speech. My heart
is too full, and my voice too feeble. Farewell! And with that farewell;
may the blessings of heaven be upon you throughout your lives!"

Mr. Adams was greatly delighted with his visit to Niagara Falls. A
letter-writer thus describes it:--

"Mr. Adams seems incapable of fatigue, either physical or mental. After a
drive in the morning to Lewiston, he stopped, on his return to the Falls,
at the whirlpool. The descent to the water's edge, which is not often
made, is, as you will remember, all but vertical, down a steep of some
three hundred and sixty feet. One of the party was about going down, when
Mr. Adams remarked that he would accompany him. Gen. Porter and the other
gentlemen present remonstrated, and told him it was a very severe
undertaking for a young and hearty man, and that he would find it, in such
a hot day, quite impracticable. He seemed, however, to know his
capacities; and this old man, verging on four score years, not only made
the descent, but clambered over almost impracticable rocks along the
margin of the river, to obtain the various views presented at different
points. The return was not easy, but he was quite adequate to the labor;
and after resting a few minutes at the summit, resumed his ride, full of
spirits and of animated and instructive conversation. After dinner, he
crossed over to Goat Island, and beheld the cataract from the various
points, and continued his explorations until all was obscured by darkness.
He seemed greatly impressed by the wonderful contrast presented by the
scene of rage and repose--of the wild and furious dashing of the mighty
river down the rapids, with its mad plunge over the precipice--and the
sullen stillness of the abyss of waters below. I wish I could repeat to
you his striking conversation during these rambles, replete with brilliant
classical allusions, historical illustrations, and the most minute, and as
it seemed to me, universal information. * * * * * * I sincerely concur
with the worthy captain of one of our steamboats, who said to me the other
day,--'Oh, that we could take the engine out of the old "Adams," and put
it into a new hull!'"

During his visit at the Falls, Mr. Adams, on a Sabbath morning,
accompanied by Gen. Porter, visited the remnant of the Tuscarora Indians,
and attended divine service in their midst. At the conclusion of the
sermon, Mr. Adams made a brief address to the Indians, which is thus
described by the letter-writer alluded to above:--

"Mr. Adams alluded to his advanced age, and said this was the first time
he had ever looked upon their beautiful fields and forests--that he was
truly happy to meet them there and join with them in the worship of our
common Parent--reminded them that in years past he had addressed them from
the position which he then occupied, in language, at once that of his
station and his heart, as 'his children'--and that now, as a private
citizen, he hailed them in terms of equal warmth and endearment, as his
'brethren and sisters.' He alluded, with a simple eloquence which seemed
to move the Indians much, to the equal care and love with which God
regards all his children, whether savage or civilized, and to the common
destiny which awaits them hereafter, however various their lot here. He
touched briefly and forcibly on the topics of the sermon which they had
heard, and concluded with a beautiful and touching benediction upon them."

At Rochester immense multitudes assembled to receive Mr. Adams. He was
welcomed in an eloquent address from the Mayor of the city. The following
are a few extracts from the reply of Mr. Adams:--

"Mr. Mayor and Fellow-citizens:--I fear you expect from me a speech. If it
were in my power, oppressed as I am with mingled astonishment and
gratitude at what I have experienced and now see of your kindness, to make
a speech, I would gratify you with one adorned with all the chaste yet
simple eloquence which are combined in the address to which you have just
listened from your worthy Mayor. But it is not in my power. You may
probably think there is some affectation on my part, in pretending
inability to address you, knowing as many of you do, that I have often
addressed assemblies like this. But I hope for greater indulgence from you
than this. I trust you will consider that I have seen and spoken to
multitudes like that now before me, but that these multitudes had frowning
faces. Those I could meet, and to those I could speak. But to you, whose
every face is expressive of generous affection--to you, in whose every
countenance I see kindness and friendship--I cannot speak. It is too much
for me. It overcomes my powers of speech. It is a new scene to me.

* * * * * *

"Amongst the sentiments which I have expressed, and the observations which
I have made during my brief tour through this portion of your State, it
was impossible for me to forego a constant comparison with what New York
was in other days, and what it is now. I first set my feet upon the soil
of the now Empire State, in 1785. I then visited the city of New York,--at
that time a town of 18,000 inhabitants. I tarried, while in that city, at
the house of John Jay--a man whom I name, and whom all will remember, as
one of the most illustrious of the distinguished patriots who carried our
beloved country through the dark period of the Revolution. Mr. Jay, the
Secretary of Foreign Affairs, under the Congress of the Federation, was
laying the foundation of a house in Broadway, but which was separated by
the distance of a quarter of a mile from any other dwelling. At that time,
being eighteen years of age, I received an invitation to visit western New
York; and I have regretted often, but never more than now, that I had not
accepted that invitation. Oh! what would I not have given to have seen
this part of this great State then, that I might be able to contrast it
with what it now is. * * * * *

"It has seemed to me as if in this region the God of nature intended to
make a more sublime display of his power, than in any other portion of the
world. He has done so in physical nature--in the majestic cataract, whose
sound you can almost hear--in forest and in field--in the mind of man
among you, In what has been accomplished to make your city what it is, the
aged have done the most. The middle aged may say we will improve upon what
has been done; and the young, we shall accomplish still more than our
fathers. That, fellow-citizens, was the boast in the ancient Spartan
procession--a procession which was divided into three classes--the old,
the middle-aged, and the young. They had a saying which each class
repeated in turn. The aged said--

  'We have been, in days of old,
   Wise and gentle, brave and bold.'

The middle-aged said--

  'We, in turn, your place supply;
   Who doubts it, let them come and try.'

And the boys said--

  'Hereafter, at our country's call,
   We promise to surpass you all.'

And so it will be with you--each in your order."

At Auburn every possible token of respect was paid to the venerable
statesman. A committee consisting of ex-Gov. Seward, Judge Conklin,
Judge Miller, Luman Sherwood, P. H. Perry, S. A. Goodwin, James C. Wood,
and J. L. Doty, Esqs., proceeded to Canandaigua to meet Mr. Adams. At
half past nine o'clock in the evening, Mr. Adams, accompanied by the
committee, arrived in Auburn. He was received by a torch-light procession,
composed of the Auburn Guards, the Firemen, and an immense concourse of
citizens, and conducted to the mansion of Gov. Seward, where he thus
briefly addressed the people:--

"Fellow-citizens:--Notwithstanding the glow with which these brilliant
torch-lights illuminate my welcome among you, I can only acknowledge your
kindness, on this occasion, by assuring you that to-morrow morning, by the
light of the blessed sun, I hope to take everyone of you by the hand, and
express feelings too strong for immediate utterance."

On the following morning at six o'clock, Mr. Adams visited the State
Prison, and made many inquiries concerning the discipline of the prison,
and its success in the prevention of crime and reformation of offenders.
At 9 o'clock he met the citizens in the First Presbyterian church, where
he was addressed by Gov. Seward, as follows:--

"SIR:--I am charged with the very honorable and most agreeable duty, of
expressing to you the reverence and affectionate esteem of my
fellow-citizens, assembled in your presence.

"A change has come over the spirit of your journey, since your steps have
turned towards your ancestral sea-side home. An excursion to invigorate
health impaired by labors, too arduous for age, in the public councils,
and expected to be quiet and contemplative, has become one of fatigue and
excitement. Rumors of your advance escape before you, and a happy and
grateful community rise up in their clustering cities, towns, and
villages, impede your way with demonstrations of respect and kindness, and
convert your unpretending journey into a triumphal progress. Such honors
frequently attend public functionaries, and such an one may sometimes find
it difficult to determine how much of the homage he receives is paid to
his own worth, how much proceeds from the habitual reverence of good
republican citizens to constituted elective authority, and how much from
the spirit of venal adulation.

"You, sir, labor under no such embarrassment. The office you hold, though
honorable, is purely legislative, and such as we can bestow by our
immediate suffrage on one of ourselves. You conferred personal benefits
sparingly when you held the patronage of the nation. That patronage you
have relinquished, and can never regain. Your hands will be uplifted
often, during your remaining days, to invoke blessings on your country,
but never again to distribute honors or reward among your countrymen. The
homage paid you, dear sir, is sincere, for it has its sources in the just
sentiments and irrepressible affections of a free people, their love of
truth, their admiration of wisdom, their reverence for virtue, and their
gratitude for beneficence.

"Nor need you fear that enthusiasm exaggerates your title to the public
regard. Your fellow-citizens, in spite of political prudence, could not
avoid honoring you on grounds altogether irrespective of personal merit.
John Adams, who has gone to receive the reward of the just, was one of the
most efficient and illustrious founders of this Empire, and afterwards its
Chief Ruler. The son of such a father would, in any other age, and even in
this age, in any other country than this, have been entitled, by birth
alone, to a sceptre. We not merely deny hereditary claims to civil trust,
but regard even hereditary distinction with jealousy. And this
circumstance enhances justly the estimate of your worth. For when before
has it happened that in such a condition of society the son has, by mere
civic achievement, attained the eminence of such a sire, and effaced
remembrance of birth by justly acquired renown?

"The hand we now so eagerly grasp, was pressed in confidence and
friendship by the Father of our Country. The wreath we place on your
honored brow, received its earliest leaves from the hand of Washington. We
cannot expect, with the agency of free and universal suffrage, to be
always governed by the wise and the good. But surely your predecessors in
the Chief Magistracy, were men such as never before successively wielded
power in any State. They differed in policy as they must, and yet,
throughout their several dynasties, without any sacrifice of personal
independence, and while passing from immature youth to ripened age, you
were counsellor and minister to them all. We seem therefore, in this
interview with you, to come into the presence of our departed chiefs; the
majestic shade of Washington looks down upon us; we hear the bold and
manly eloquence of the elder Adams; and we listen to the voices of the
philosophic and sagacious Jefferson, the refined and modest Madison, and
the generous and faithful Monroe.

"A life of such eminent patriotism and fidelity found its proper reward in
your elevation to the eminence from which you had justly derived so many
honors. Although your administration of the government is yet too recent
for impartial history, or unbounded eulogy, our grateful remembrance of it
is evinced by the congratulations you now receive from your

"But your claims to the veneration of your countrymen do not end here.
Your predecessors descended from the Chief Magistracy to enjoy, in repose
and tranquillity, honors even greater than those which belonged to that
eminent station. It was reserved for you to illustrate the important
truths, that offices and trusts are not the end of public service, but are
merely incidents in the life of the true American citizen; that duties
remain when the highest trust is resigned; and that there is scope for a
pure and benevolent ambition beyond even the Presidency of the United
States of America.

"You have devoted the energies of a mind unperverted, the learning and
experience acquired through more than sixty years, and even the influence
and fame derived from your high career of public service, to the great
cause of universal liberty. The praises we bestow are already echoed back
to us by voices which come rich and full across the Atlantic, hailing you
as the indefatigable champion of humanity--not the humanity which embraces
a single race or clime, but that humanity which regards the whole family
of MAN. Such salutations as these cannot be mistaken. They come not from
your contemporaries, for they are gone--you are not of this generation,
but of the PAST, spared to hear the voice of POSTERITY. The greetings you
receive come up from the dark and uncertain FUTURE. They are the
whisperings of posthumous FAME--fame which impatiently awaits your
departure, and which, spreading wider and growing more and more distinct,
will award to JOHN QUINCY ADAMS a name to live with that of WASHINGTON!"

The audience expressed their sympathy with this address by long and
enthusiastic cheering. When order was restored, Mr. Adams rose, evidently
under great and unaffected embarrassment.

He replied to the speech in an address of about half an hour, during which
the attention of his audience was riveted upon the speaker, with intense
interest and affection. He declared the embarrassment he felt in speaking.
He was sensible that his fellow-citizens had laid aside all partizan
feelings in coming up to greet him. He desired to speak what would not
wound the feelings of anyone. He was grateful, deeply grateful, to them
all. But on what subject of public interest could a public man speak, that
would find harmony among an intelligent, thinking people? There were such
subjects, but he could not speak of them.

The people of Western New York had always been eminently just and generous
to him, and had recently proved their kindness on various occasions, by
inviting him to address the State Agricultural Society on agriculture. But
his life had been spent in the closet, in diplomacy, or in the cabinet;
and he had not learned the practice, or even the theory of agriculture.
After what he had seen of the harvests of Western New York, bursting with
food for the sustenance of man, for him to address the people of such a
district on agriculture, would be as absurd as the vanity of the
rhetorician who went to Carthage to instruct Hannibal in the art of war.
He had been solicited to address the young. In his life time he had been
an instructor of youth, and, strange as from his present display they
might think it, he had instructed them in the art of eloquence. And there
was no more honorable office on earth than instructing the young. But the
schools and seminaries had passed him, while he was engaged in other
pursuits; and for him now to attempt to instruct the young of this
generation, would evince only the garrulousness of age.

He had been invited to discourse on internal improvement; but that was a
subject he feared to touch. On one point, however, all men agreed. All
were in favor of internal improvement. But there was a balance between the
reasonable sacrifices of this generation, and the burden it had a right to
cast upon posterity, and every individual might justly claim to hold his
balance for himself. One thing, however, he was sure he might assume with
safety. In looking over the State of New York, upon its canals and
railroads, which brought the borders of the State into contiguity, and its
citizens in every part into communion with each other, he was sure that
all rejoiced, and might well glory in what had been accomplished.

Mr. A. said he had read and endeavored to inform himself concerning prison
discipline, a subject deeply interesting to the peace, good order, and
welfare of society; but after his examination of the penitentiary here, he
was satisfied that he was yet a learner, instead of being able to give
instruction on that important subject.

He had been asked to enlist in the growing army of temperance, and
discourse on that cause, so deeply cherished by every well wisher of our
country. And he would cheerfully speak; but other and more devoted men had
occupied the field, and what was left for him to say on temperance? In
passing through Catholic Lower Canada he saw a column erected to the
Virgin Mary, in gratitude for her promotion of the temperance cause. If
indeed the blessed Virgin did lend her aid to that great work, it would
almost win him to worship at her shrine, although he belonged to that
class of people who rejected the invocation of saints.

He felt, therefore, that he had no subject on which to address them, but
himself and his own public life. The experience of an old man, related by
himself, would, he feared, be more irksome than profitable.

"What, then, am I to say? I am summoned here to speak, and to reply to
what has been said to me by my respected friend, your late Chief
Magistrate. And what is the theme he has given me? It is myself. And what
can I say on such a subject? To know that he entertains, or that you
entertain for me the sentiments he has expressed, absolutely overpowers
me. I cannot go on. The only answer I can make, is a declaration, that
during my public service, now protracted to nearly the age of eighty, I
have endeavored to serve my country honestly and faithfully. How
imperfectly I have done this, none seem so sensible as myself. I must
stop. I can only repeat thanks, thanks, thanks to you, one and all, and
implore the blessings of God upon you and your children."

At the conclusion of this reply, Mr. Adams was introduced to a large
number of the ladies and gentlemen assembled in the church. He then
returned to the American Hotel, where he remained an hour, receiving the
visits of the citizens of the adjoining towns. At 11 o'clock the Auburn
Guards escorted Mr. Adams and the committee, followed by a large
procession, to the car-house. Accompanied by Gov. Seward, Judge Miller,
Hon. Christopher Morgan, the committee, Auburn Guards, and a number of the
citizens of Auburn, he was conveyed in an extra train of cars, in an hour
and five minutes, to Syracuse.

At Syracuse, at Utica, at Albany, the same spontaneous outgushing
manifestations of respect and affection met him that had hitherto attended
his journey in every populous place through which he passed. In his reply
to the address of Mr. Barnard, at Albany, he concluded in the following

"Lingering as I am on the stage of public life, and, as many of you may
think, lingering beyond the period when nature calls for repose--while I
remain in the station which I now occupy in the Congress of the United
States, if you, my hearers, as an assembly, or if anyone among you, as an
individual, have any object or purpose to promote, or any end to secure
that he believes can in any way advance his interests or increase his
happiness, then, in the name of God, I ask you to send your petitions to
me! (Tremendous cheering.) I hope this is not trespassing too far on
politics. (Laughter, and cheers.) I unhesitatingly promise you, one and
all, that if I can in any way serve you in that station, I will do it most
cheerfully; regarding it as the choicest blessing of God, if I shall thus
be enabled to make some just return for the kind attentions which you have
this day bestowed upon me."

In his route homeward, Mr. Adams was received and entertained in a very
handsome manner by the people of Pittsfield, Mass. He was addressed by
Hon. George N. Briggs, who alluded, in eloquent terms, to his long and
distinguished public services. Mr. Adams, in reply, spoke of the scenes
amidst which he had passed his early youth, and of the influence which
they exerted in forming his character and shaping his purposes. "In 1775,"
said he, "the minute men from a hundred towns in the province were
marching, at a moment's warning, to the scene of opening war. Many of them
called at my father's house in Quincy, and received the hospitality of
John Adams. All were lodged in the house which the house would contain;
others in the barns, and wherever they could find a place. There were then
in my father's kitchen some dozen or two of pewter spoons; and I well
recollect going into the kitchen and seeing some of the men engaged in
running those spoons into bullets for the use of the troops! Do you
wonder," said he, "that a boy of seven years of age, who witnessed this
scene, should be a patriot?"

In the fall of the same year, Mr. Adams received an invitation from the
Cincinnati Astronomical Society, to visit that city, and assist in the
ceremony of laying the corner stone of an observatory, to be erected on an
eminence called Mount Ida. The invitation was accepted. On his journey to
Cincinnati, the same demonstrations of respect, the same eagerness to
honor the aged patriarch were manifested in the various cities and towns
through which he passed, as on his summer tour.


The ceremony of laying the corner stone took place on the 9th of November,
1843. Mr. Adams delivered an address on the occasion, replete with
eloquence, wisdom, philosophy, and religion. The following beautiful
extract will afford a specimen:--

"The various difficult, and, in many respects, opposite motives which have
impelled mankind to the study of the stars, have had a singular effect in
complicating and confounding the recommendation of the science. Religion,
idolatry, superstition, curiosity, the thirst for knowledge, the passion
for penetrating the secrets of nature, the warfare of the huntsman by
night and by day against the beast of the forest and of the field, the
meditations of the shepherd in the custody and wanderings of his flocks,
the influence of the revolving seasons of the year, and the successive
garniture of the firmament upon the labors of the husbandman, upon the
seed time and the harvest, the blooming of flowers, the ripening of the
vintage, the polar pilot of the navigator, and the mysterious magnet of
the mariner--all, in harmonious action, stimulate the child of earth and
of heaven to interrogate the dazzling splendors of the sky, to reveal to
him the laws of their own existence.

"He has his own comforts, his own happiness, his own existence, identified
with theirs. He sees the Creator in creation, and calls upon creation to
declare the glory of the Creator. When Pythagoras, the philosopher of the
Grecian schools, conceived that more than earthly idea of 'the music of
the spheres'--when the great dramatist of nature could inspire the lips of
his lover on the moonlight green with the beloved of his soul, to say to

  'Sit, Jessica.--Look how the floor of Heaven
   Is thick inlaid with pattens of bright gold!
   There's not the smallest orb which thou beholdest,
   But in his motion like an angel sings,
   Still choiring to the young eyed cherubim!'

"Oh, who is the one with a heart, but almost wishes to cast off this muddy
vesture of decay, to be admitted to the joy of listening to the celestial



The last time Mr. Adams appeared in public in Boston, he presided at a
meeting of the citizens of that city, in Faneuil Hall. "A man had been
kidnapped in Boston--kidnapped at noon-day, 'on the high road between
Faneuil Hall and old Quincy,' and carried  off to be a slave! New England
hands had seized their brother, sold him into bondage forever, and his
children after him. A meeting was called to talk the matter over, in a
plain way, and look in one another's faces. Who was fit to preside in such
a case? That old man sat in the chair in Faneuil Hall. Above him was the
image of his father and his own; around him were Hancock and the other
Adams, and Washington, greatest of all. Before him were the men and women
of Boston, met to consider the wrongs done to a miserable negro slave. The
roof of the old Cradle of Liberty spanned over them all. Forty years
before, a young man and a Senator, he had taken the chair at a meeting
called to consult on the wrong done to American seamen, violently
impressed by the British from an American ship of war--the unlucky
Chesapeake. Now an old man, clothed with half a century of honors, he sits
in the same Hall, to preside over a meeting to consider the outrage done
to a single slave. One was the first meeting of citizens he ever presided
over; the other was the last: both for the same object--the defence of
the eternal right!" [Footnote: Theodore Parker.]

Few men retain the health and vigor with which Mr. Adams was blessed in
extreme old age. When most others are decrepit and helpless, he was in the
enjoyment of meridian strength and energy, both of body and mind, and
could endure labors which would prostrate many in the prime of manhood. An
instance of his powers of endurance is furnished in his journey to
Washington, to attend the opening of Congress, when in the 74th year of
his age. On Monday morning he left Boston, and the same evening delivered
a lecture before the Young Men's Institute, in Hartford, Conn. The next
day he proceeded to New Haven, and in the evening lectured before a
similar Institute in that city. Wednesday he pursued his journey to New
York, and in the evening lectured before the New York Lyceum, in the
Broadway Tabernacle. Thursday evening he delivered an address before an
association in Brooklyn; and on Friday evening delivered a second lecture
before the New York Lyceum. Here were labors which would seriously tax the
constitution of vigorous youth; and yet Mr. Adams performed them with much
comparative ease.

His great longevity, and his general good health, must be attributed, in
no small degree, to his abstemious and temperate habits, early rising, and
active exercise. He took pleasure in athletic amusements, and was
exceedingly fond of walking. During his summer residence in Quincy, he has
been known to walk to his son's residence in Boston (seven miles,) before
breakfast. "While President of the United States, he was probably the
first man up in Washington, lighted his own fire, and was hard at work in
his library, while sleep yet held in its obliviousness the great mass of
his fellow-citizens." He was an expert swimmer, and was in the constant
habit of bathing, whenever circumstances would permit. Not unfrequently
the first beams of the rising sun, as they fell upon the beautiful
Potomac, would find Mr. Adams buffeting its waves with all the
sportiveness and dexterity of boyhood, while a single attendant watched
upon the shore. When in the Presidency, he sometimes made a journey from
Washington to Quincy on horseback, as a simple citizen, accompanied only
by a servant.

More than four score years had sprinkled their frosts upon his brow, and
still he was in the midst of his usefulness. Promptly at his post in the
Hall of Representatives stood the veteran sentinel, watching vigilantly
over the interests of his country. With an eye undimmed by age, a quick
ear, a ready hand, an intellect unimpaired, he guarded the citadel of
liberty, ever on the alert to detect, and mighty to repel, the approach of
the foe, however covert or however open his attacks. Never did the Union,
never did freedom, the world, more need his services than now. A large
territory, of sufficient extent to form several States, had been blighted
by slavery, and annexed to the United Sates. A sanguinary and expensive
war, growing out of this strengthening of the slave power, had just
terminated, adding to the Union still larger territories--now free soil
indeed, but furnishing a field for renewed battles between slavery and
liberty. New revolutions were about to break forth in Europe, to convulse
the Eastern Hemisphere, and cause old thrones to totter and fall!

How momentous the era! How deeply fraught with the prosperity of the
American Republic--with the progress of man--the freedom of nations--the
happiness of succeeding generations! How could he, who for years had
prominently and nobly stood forth, as the leader of the hosts contending
for the rights and the liberties of humanity, be spared from his post at
such a juncture? Who could put on his armor?--who wield his weapons?--who
"lead a forlorn hope," or mount a deadly breach in battles which might yet
be waged between the sons of freedom and the propagators of slavery? But
the loss was to be experienced. A wise and good Providence had so ordered.
The sands of his life had run out. A voice from on high called him away
from earth's stormy struggles, to bright and peaceful scenes in the spirit
land. He could no longer tarry. Death found the faithful veteran at his
post, with his harness on. How applicable the words of Scott, on the
departure of Pitt:--

  "Hadst thou but lived, though stripp'd of power,
   A watchman on the lonely tower,
   Thy thrilling trump had roused the land,
   When fraud or danger were at hand;
   By thee, as by the beacon-light,
   Our pilots had kept course aright;
   As some proud column, though alone,
   Thy strength had propp'd the tottering throne.
   Now is the stately column broke,
   The beacon-light is quenched in smoke,
   The trumpet's silver sound is still,
   The warder silent on the hill!
   O think how, to his latest day,
   When death, just hovering, claimed his prey,
   With Palinure's unaltered mood,
   Firm at his dangerous post he stood;
   Each call for needful rest repell'd,
   With dying hand the rudder held,
   Till, in his fall, with fateful sway,
   The steerage of the realm gave way."

It has been supposed by some that the remote cause of Mr. Adams's death
was a severe injury he received by a fall in the House of Representatives,
in June, 1840. The accident is thus described by an eye witness:--

"It had been a very warm day, and the debates had partaken of
extraordinary excitement, when, a few moments before sunset, the House
adjourned, and most of the members had sought relief from an oppressive
atmosphere, in the arbors and recesses of the adjoining Congressional

"At that time I held a subordinate clerkship in the House, which usually
confined me, the larger portion of the day not devoted to debate, to one
of the committee rooms; whilst the balance of the day I occupied as a

"Mr. Adams was always the first man in the House, and the last man out of
it; and, as I usually detained myself an hour or more after adjournment,
in writing up my notes, I often came in contact with him. He was pleased
to call at my desk very often, before he went home, and indulge in some
incidental, unimportant conversation. On the day referred to, just as the
sun was setting, and was throwing his last rays through the murky hall, I
looked up, and saw Mr. Adams approaching. He had almost reached my desk,
and had uplifted his hand in friendly salutation, when he pitched
headlong, some six or eight feet, and struck his head against the sharp
corner of an iron rail that defended one of the entrance aisles leading to
the circle within the bar, inflicting a heavy contusion on his forehead,
and rendering him insensible. I instantly leaped from my seat, took the
prostrate sufferer in my arms, and found that he was in a state of utter
stupor and insensibility. Looking around for aid, I had the good fortune
to find that Col. James Munroe, of the New York delegation, had just
returned to his desk to procure a paper he had forgotten, when, giving the
alarm, he flew to the rescue, manifesting the deepest solicitude for the
welfare of the venerable statesman. Follansbee, the doorkeeper, with two
or more of his pages, came in next; and after we had applied a plentiful
supply of cold water to the sufferer, he returned to consciousness, and
requested that he might be taken to his residence. In less than five
minutes, Mr. Moses H. Grinnell, Mr. George H. Profit, Mr. Ogden Hoffman,
and Col. Christopher Williams, of Tennessee, were called in, a carriage
was procured, and Mr. Adams was being conveyed to his residence in
President Square, when, it being ascertained that his shoulder was
dislocated, the carriage was stopped at the door of the private hotel of
Col. Munroe, in Pennsylvania Avenue, between Eleventh and Twelfth
streets; the suffering, but not complaining statesman, was taken out, and
surgical aid instantly put in requisition. Doctor Sewall was sent for;
when it was ascertained that the left shoulder-joint was out of the
socket; and, though Mr. Adams must have suffered intensely, he complained
not--did not utter a groan or a murmur.

"More than an hour elapsed before the dislocated limb could be adjusted;
and to effect which, his arm endured, in a concentrated and continued
wrench or pull, many minutes at a time, the united strength of Messrs.
Grinnell, Munroe, Profit, and Hoffman. Still Mr. Adams uttered not a
murmur, though the great drops of sweat that rolled down his furrowed
cheeks, or stood upon his brow, told but too well the physical agony he
endured. As soon as his arm was adjusted, he insisted on being carried
home, and his wishes were complied with.

"The next morning I was at the capitol at a very early hour, attending to
some writing. I thought of, and lamented the accident that had befallen
Mr. Adams, and had already commenced writing an account of it to a
correspondent. At that instant I withdrew my eyes from the paper on which
I was writing, and saw Mr. Adams standing a foot or two from me, carefully
examining the carpeting. 'Sir,' said he, 'I am looking for that place in
the matting that last night tripped me. If it be not fastened down, it may
kill some one.' And then he continued his search for the trick-string

Mr. Adams after this accident did not enjoy as sound health as in previous
years, yet was more active and vigorous than the majority of those who
attain to his age. But on the 20th of November, 1846, he experienced the
first blow of the fatal disease which eventually terminated his existence.

On the morning of that day, while sojourning at the residence of his son,
in Boston, preparing to depart for Washington, he was walking out with a
friend to visit a new Medical College, and was struck with paralysis by
the way. This affliction confined him several weeks, when he obtained
sufficient strength to proceed to Washington, and enter upon his duties in
the House of Representatives. He viewed this attack as the touch of death.
An interregnum of nearly four months occurs in his journal. The next entry
is under the head of "Posthumous Memoir." After describing his recent
sickness, he continues:--"From that hour I date my decease, and consider
myself, for every useful purpose, to myself and fellow-creatures, dead;
and hence I call this, and what I may hereafter write, a posthumous

Although he was after this, regular in his attendance at the House of
Representatives, yet he did not mingle as freely in debate as formerly. He
passed the following summer, as usual, at his seat in Quincy. In November,
he left his native town for Washington, to return no more in life!

On Sunday, the 20th of February, 1848, he appeared in unusual health. In
the forenoon he attended public worship at the capitol, and in the
afternoon at St. John's church. At nine o'clock in the evening he retired
with his wife to his library, where she read to him a sermon of Bishop
Wilberforce, on Time--"hovering, as he was, on the verge of eternity!"
This was the last night he passed beneath his own roof.

Monday, the 21st, he rose at his usual very early hour, and engaged in his
accustomed occupations with his pen. An extraordinary alacrity pervaded
his movements, and the cheerful step with which he ascended the steps of
the capitol was remarked by his attendants. He occupied a portion of the
forenoon in composing a few stanzas of poetry, at the request of a friend,
and had signed his name twice for members who desired to obtain his

Mr. Chase had introduced a resolution of thanks to Generals Twiggs,
Worth, Quitman, Pillow, Shields, Pearce, Cadwalader, and Smith, for
their services in the Mexican war, and awarding them gold medals. Mr.
Adams was in his seat, and voted on the two questions preliminary to
ordering its engrossment, with an uncommonly emphatic tone of voice. About
half past one o'clock, P. M., as the Speaker had risen to put another
question to the House, the proceedings were suddenly interrupted by cries
of "Stop!--stop!--Mr. Adams!" There was a quick movement towards the chair
of Mr. Adams, by two or three members, and in a moment he was surrounded
by a large number of Representatives, eagerly inquiring--"What's the
matter?"--"Has he fainted?"--"Is he dead?" JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, while
faithful at his post, and apparently about to rise to address the Speaker,
had sunk into a state of unconsciousness! He had been struck a second time
with paralysis. The scene was one of intense excitement. Pallor, anxiety,
alarm, were depicted on every countenance. "Take him out,"--"Bring
water,"--exclaimed several voices. He had been prevented from falling to
the floor by a member from Ohio, whose seat was near his--Mr. Fisher--who
received him in his arms. Immediately Mr. Grinnell, one of his colleagues
from Massachusetts, was by his side, keeping off a press of anxious
friends, and bathing his face with iced water.

"He was immediately lifted into the area in front of the Clerk's table.
The Speaker instantly suggested that some gentleman move an adjournment,
which being promptly done, the House adjourned. A sofa was brought, and
Mr. Adams, in a state of perfect helplessness, though not of entire
insensibility, was gently laid upon it. The sofa was then taken up and
borne out of the Hall into the Rotunda, where it was set down, and the
members of both Houses, and strangers, who were fast crowding around, were
with some difficulty repressed, and an open space cleared in its immediate
vicinity; but a medical gentleman, a member of the House, (who was prompt,
active, and self-possessed throughout the whole painful scene,) advised
that he be removed to the door of the Rotunda opening on the east portico,
where a fresh wind was blowing. This was done; but the air being chilly
and loaded with vapor, the sofa was, at the suggestion of Mr. Winthrop,
once more taken up and removed to the Speaker's apartment, the doors of
which were forthwith closed to all but professional gentlemen and
particular friends."

The features of the dying patriarch were almost as rigid as though in
death: but there was a serenity in his countenance which betokened an
absence of pain. There were five physicians, members of the House,
present, viz.:--Drs. Newell, Fries, Edwards, Jones of Georgia, and Lord.
These gentlemen were unremitting in their attentions. Drs. Lindsley and
Thomas, of the city, were also immediately called in. Under the advice of
the medical gentlemen present, he was cupped, and mustard plasters were
applied, which seemed to afford some relief. Reviving a little and
recovering consciousness, Mr. Adams inquired for his wife. She was
present, but in extreme illness, and suffering the most poignant sorrow.
After a few moments' interval he relapsed again into unconsciousness. A
correspondent of the New York Express describes as follows the progress of
these melancholy events:--

"Half past one o'clock.--Mr. Benton communicated to the Senate the notice
of the sudden illness of Mr. Adams, and moved an adjournment of that body.

"Quarter to two.--Mr. Adams has several physicians with him, but exhibits
no signs of returning consciousness. The report is that he is sinking.

"Two o'clock.--Mr. Giddings informs me that he shows signs of life. He
has just now attempted to speak, but cannot articulate a word. Under
medical advice he has submitted to leeching.

"Half past two.--Mrs. Adams and his niece and nephew are with him, and Mr.
A. is no worse. The reports, however, are quite contradictory, and many,
despair of his recovery.

"Three o'clock.--None but the physicians and the family are present, and
the reports again become more and more doubtful. The physicians say that
Mr. Adams may not live more than an hour, or he may live two or three

"His right side is wholly paralyzed, and the left not under control, there
being continually involuntary motions of the muscles. Everything which
medical aid can do, has been done for his relief. Briefly, just now, by
close attention, he seemed anxious to 'thank the officers of the House.'
Then, again, he was heard to say--'This is the last of earth! I AM
CONTENT!' These were the last words which fell from the lips of, 'the old
man eloquent,' as his spirit plumed its pinions to soar to other worlds."

Mr. Adams lay in the Speaker's room, in a state of apparent
unconsciousness, through the 22d and 23d,--Congress, in the meantime,
assembling in respectful silence, and immediately adjourning from day to
day. The struggles of contending parties ceased--the strife for interest,
place, power, was hushed to repose. Silence reigned through the halls of
the capitol, save the cautious tread and whispered inquiry of anxious
questioners. The soul of a sage, a patriot, a Christian, is preparing to
depart from the world!--no sound is heard to ruffle its sweet serenity!--a
calmness and peace, fitting the momentous occasion, prevail around!

The elements of life and death continued their uncertain balance, until
seven o'clock, on the evening of the 23d, when the spirit of JOHN QUINCY
ADAMS bade adieu to earth forever, and winged its flight to God.

  "Give forth thy chime, thou solemn bell,
  Thou grave, unfold thy marble cell;
   O earth! receive upon thy breast,
   The weary traveller to his rest.

  "O God! extend thy arms of love,
   A spirit seeketh thee above!
   Ye heav'nly palaces unclose,
   Receive the weary to repose."

The tidings of Mr. Adams' death flew on electrical wings to every portion
of the Union. A statesman, a philanthropist, a father of the Republic, had
fallen. A nation heard, and were dissolved in tears!

In the history of American statesmen, none lived a life so long in the
public service--none had trusts so numerous confided to their care--none
died a death so glorious. Beneath the dome of the nation's capitol; in the
midst of the field of his highest usefulness, where he had won fadeless
laurels of renown; equipped with the armor in which he had fought so many
battles for truth and freedom, he fell beneath the shaft of the king of
terrors. And how bright, how enviable the reputation he left behind! As a
man, pure, upright, benevolent, religious--his hand unstained by a drop of
human blood; uncharged, unsuspected of crime, of premeditated wrong, of an
immoral act, of an unchaste word--as a statesman, lofty and patriotic in
all his purposes; devoted to the interests of the people; sacredly
exercising all power entrusted to his keeping for the good of the public
alone, unmindful of personal interest and aggrandizement; an enthusiastic
lover of liberty; a faithful, fearless defender of the rights of man! The
sun of his life in its lengthened course through the political heavens,
was unobscured by a spot, undimmed by a cloud; and when, at the close of
the long day, it sank beneath the horizon, the whole firmament glowed with
the brilliancy of its reflected glories! Rulers, statesmen, legislators!
study and emulate such a life--seek after a character so beloved, a death
so honorable, a fame so immortal. Like him--

  "So live, that when thy summons comes to join
   The innumerable caravan, that moves
   To the pale realms of shade, where each shall take
   His chamber in the silent halls of death,
   Thou go not, like the quarry-slave at night,
   Scourged to his dungeon; but, sustained, and soothed
   By an unfaltering trust, approach thy grave,
   Like one who wraps the drapery of his couch
   About him, and lies down to pleasant dreams."

On the day succeeding Mr. Adams' death, when the two Houses of Congress
met, the full attendance of members, and a crowded auditory, attested the
deep desire felt by all to witness the proceedings which would take place
in relation to the death of one who had long occupied so high a place in
the councils of the Republic. As soon as the House of Representatives was
called to order, the Speaker, (the Hon. Robert C. Winthrop of
Massachusetts,) rose, and in a feeling manner addressed the House as

"Gentlemen of the House of Representatives of the United States: It has
been thought fit that the Chair should announce officially to the House,
an event already known to the members individually, and which has filled
all our hearts with sadness. A seat on this floor has been vacated, toward
which all eyes have been accustomed to turn with no common interest. A
voice has been hushed forever in this Hall, to which all ears have been
wont to listen with profound reverence. A venerable form has faded from
our sight, around which we have daily clustered with an affectionate
regard. A name has been stricken from the roll of the living statesmen of
our land, which has been associated, for more than half a century, with
the highest civil service, and the loftiest civil renown.

"On Monday, the 21st instant, JOHN QUINCY ADAMS sunk in his seat, in
presence of us all, by a sudden illness, from which he never recovered;
and he died, in the Speaker's room, at a quarter past seven o'clock last
evening, with the officers of the House and the delegation of his own
Massachusetts around him.

"Whatever advanced age, long experience, great ability, vast learning,
accumulated public honors, a spotless private character, and a firm
religious faith, could do, to render anyone an object of interest,
respect, and admiration, they had done for this distinguished person; and
interest, respect, and admiration, are but feeble terms to express the
feelings with which the members of this House and the people of the
country have long regarded him.

"After a life of eighty years, devoted from its earliest maturity to the
public service, he has at length gone to his rest. He has been privileged
to die at his post; to fall while in the discharge of his duties; to
expire beneath the roof of the capitol; and to have his last scene
associated forever, in history, with the birthday of that illustrious
patriot, whose just discernment brought him first into the service of his

"The close of such a life, under such circumstances, is not an event for
unmingled emotions. We cannot find it in our hearts to regret, that he has
died as he has died. He himself could have desired no other end. 'This is
the end of earth,' were his last words, uttered on the day on which he
fell. But we might also hear him exclaiming, as he left us--in a language
hardly less familiar to him than his native tongue--'Hoc est, nimirum,
magis feliciter de vita migrare, quam mori.'

"It is for others to suggest what honors shall be paid to his memory. No
acts of ours are necessary to his fame. But it may be due to ourselves and
to the country, that the national sense of his character and services
should be fitly commemorated."

Mr. Holmes of South Carolina arose and addressed the House in most
eloquent strains. The following are extracts from his eulogy:--

"The mingled tones of sorrow, like the voice of many waters, have come
unto us from a sister State--Massachusetts weeping for her honored son.
The State I have the honor in part to represent once endured, with yours,
a common suffering, battled for a common cause, and rejoiced in a common
triumph. Surely, then, it is meet that in this, the day of your
affliction, we should mingle our griefs.

"When a great man falls, the nation mourns; when a patriarch is removed,
the people weep. Ours, my associates, is no common bereavement. The chain
which linked our hearts with the gifted spirits of former times, has been
rudely snapped. The lips from which flowed those living and glorious
truths that our fathers uttered, are closed in death! Yes, my friends,
Death has been among us! He has not entered the humble cottage of some
unknown, ignoble peasant; he has knocked audibly at the palace of a
nation! His footstep has been heard in the Hall of State! He has cloven
down his victim in the midst of the councils of a people! He has borne in
triumph from among you the gravest, wisest, most reverend head! Ah! he has
taken him as a trophy who was once chief over many States, adorned with
virtue, and learning, and truth; he has borne at his chariot-wheels a
renowned one of the earth.

"There was no incident in the birth, the life, the death of Mr. Adams, not
intimately woven with the history of the land. Born in the night of his
country's tribulation, he heard the first murmurs of discontent; he saw
the first efforts for deliverance. Whilst yet a little child, he listened
with eagerness to the whispers of freedom as they breathed from the lips
of her almost inspired apostles: he caught the fire that was then kindled;
his eye beamed with the first ray; he watched the day spring from on high,
and long before he departed from earth, it was graciously vouchsafed unto
him to behold the effulgence of her noontide glory. * * * * * * *

"He disrobed himself with dignity of the vestures of office, not to retire
to the shades of Quincy, but, in the maturity of his intellect, in the
vigor of his thought, to leap into this arena, and to continue, as he had
begun, a disciple, an ardent devotee at the temple of his country's
freedom. How, in this department, he ministered to his country's wants, we
all know, and have witnessed. How often we have crowded into that aisle,
and clustered around that now vacant desk, to listen to the counsels of
wisdom, as they fell from the lips of the venerable sage, we can all
remember, for it was but of yesterday. But what a change! How wondrous!
how sudden! 'Tis like a vision of the night. That form which we beheld but
a few days since, is now cold in death!

"But the last Sabbath, and in this hall, he worshipped with others. Now
his spirit mingles with the noble army of martyrs, and the just made
perfect, in the eternal adoration of the living God. With him "this is the
end of earth." He sleeps the sleep that knows no waking. He is gone--and
forever! The sun that ushers in the morn of that next holy day, while it
gilds the lofty dome of the capitol, shall rest with soft and mellow light
upon the consecrated spot beneath whose turf forever lies the PATRIOT

The following resolutions were unanimously passed by the House of

"Resolved, That this House has heard with the deepest sensibility, of the
death in this capitol of JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, a Member of the House from the
State of Massachusetts.

"Resolved, That, as a testimony of respect for the memory of this
distinguished statesman, the officers and members of the House will wear
the usual badge of mourning, and attend the funeral in this hall on
Saturday next, at 12 o'clock.

"Resolved, That a committee of thirty be appointed to superintend the
funeral solemnities.

"Resolved, That the proceedings of this House in relation to the death of
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS be communicated to the family of the deceased by the

"Resolved, That the seat in this hall just vacated by the death of the
late JOHN QUINCY ADAMS be unoccupied for thirty days, and that it,
together with the hall, remain clothed with the symbol of mourning during
that time.

"Resolved, That the Speaker appoint one member of this House from each
State and Territory, as a committee to escort the remains of our venerable
friend, the Honorable JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, to the place designated by his
friends for his interment.

"Resolved, That this House, as a further mark of respect for the memory of
the deceased, do adjourn to Saturday next, the day appointed for the

In the Senate, after a formal annunciation of the death of Mr. Adams, in a
message from the House of Representatives, Mr. Davis, of Massachusetts,
arose and delivered a feeling address, on the life and services of the
deceased patriot. The following are extracts:--

"Mr. President: By the recent affliction of my colleague, (Mr. Webster,) a
painful duty devolves upon me. The message just delivered from the House
proves that the hand of God has been again among us. A great and good man
has gone from our midst. If, in speaking of JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, I can give
utterance to the language of my own heart, I am confident I shall meet
with a response from the Senate.

"He was born in the then Province of Massachusetts, while she was girding
herself for the great revolutionary struggle which was then before her.
His parentage is too well known to need even an allusion; yet I may be
pardoned if I say, that his father seemed born to aid in the establishment
of our free Government, and his mother was a suitable companion and
co-laborer of such a patriot. The cradle hymns of the child were the songs
of liberty. The power and competence of man for self-government were the
topics which he most frequently heard discussed by the wise men of the
day, and the inspiration thus caught gave form and pressure to his after
life. Thus early imbued with the love of free institutions, educated by
his father for the service of his country, and early led by WASHINGTON to
its altar, he has stood before the world as one of its eminent statesmen.
He has occupied, in turn, almost every place of honor which the country
could give him, and for more than half a century, has been thus identified
with its history. * * * * *

"It is believed to have been the earnest wish of his heart to die, like
Chatham, in the midst of his labors. It was a sublime thought, that where
he had toiled in the house of the nation, in hours of the day devoted to
its service, the stroke of death should reach him, and there sever the
ties of love and patriotism which bound him to earth. He fell in his seat,
attacked by paralysis, of which he had before been a subject. To describe
the scene which ensued would be impossible. It was more than the
spontaneous gush of feeling which all such events call forth, so much to
the honor of our nature. It was the expression of reverence for his moral
worth, of admiration for his great intellectual endowments, and of
veneration for his age and public services. All gathered round the
sufferer, and the strong sympathy and deep feeling which were manifested,
showed that the business of the House (which was instantly adjourned) was
forgotten amid the distressing anxieties of the moment. He was soon
removed to the apartment of the Speaker, where he remained surrounded by
afflicted friends till the weary clay resigned its immortal spirit. 'This
is the end of earth!' Brief but emphatic words. They were among the last
uttered by the dying Christian."

When Mr. Davis had concluded his remarks, Mr. Benton, of Missouri,
delivered a most beautiful eulogy on the character of Mr. Adams. He

"Mr. President: The voice of his native State has been heard through one
of the Senators of Massachusetts, announcing the death of her aged and
most distinguished son. The voice of the other Senator, (Mr. Webster,) is
not heard, nor is his presence seen. A domestic calamity, known to us all,
and felt by us all, confines him to the chamber of private grief, while
the Senate is occupied with the public manifestations of a respect and
sorrow which a national loss inspires. In the absence of that Senator, and
as the member of this body longest here, it is not unfitting or unbecoming
in me to second the motion which has been made for extending the last
honors of the Senate to him who, forty-five years ago, was a member of
this body, who, at the time of his death, was among the oldest members of
the House of Representatives, and who, putting the years of his service
together, was the oldest of all the members of the American Government.

"The eulogium of Mr. Adams is made in the facts of his life, which the
Senator from Massachusetts (Mr. Davis) has so strikingly stated, that,
from early manhood to octogenarian age, he has been constantly and most
honorably employed in the public service. For a period of more than fifty
years, from the time of his first appointment as Minister abroad under
Washington, to his last election to the House of Representatives by the
people of his native district, he has been constantly retained in the
public service, and that, not by the favor of a Sovereign, or by
hereditary title, but by the elections and appointments of republican
Government. This fact makes the eulogy of the illustrious deceased. For
what, except a union of all the qualities which command the esteem and
confidence of man, could have ensured a public service so long, by
appointments free and popular, and from sources so various and exalted?
Minister many times abroad; member of this body; member of the House of
Representatives; cabinet Minister; President of the United States; such
has been the galaxy of his splendid appointments. And what but moral
excellence the most perfect--intellectual ability the most eminent--
fidelity the most unwavering--service the most useful, could have
commanded such a succession of appointments so exalted, and from sources
so various and so eminent? Nothing less could have commanded such a series
of appointments; and accordingly we see the union of all these great
qualities in him who has received them.

"In this long career of public service Mr. Adams was distinguished not
only by faithful attention to all the great duties of his stations, but to
all their less and minor duties.  He was not the Salaminian galley, to be
launched only on extraordinary occasions, but he was the ready vessel,
always launched when the duties of his station required it, be the
occasion great or small. As President, as cabinet Minister, as Minister
abroad, he examined all questions that came before him, and examined all
in all their parts, in all the minutiae of their detail, as well as in all
the vastness of their comprehension. As Senator, and as a member of the
House of Representatives, the obscure committee-room was as much the
witness of his laborious application to the drudgery of legislation, as
the halls of the two Houses were to the ever ready speech, replete with
knowledge, which instructed all hearers, enlightened all subjects, and
gave dignity and ornament to debate.

"In the observance of all the proprieties of life, Mr. Adams was a most
noble and impressive example. He cultivated the minor as well as the
greater virtues. Wherever his presence could give aid and countenance to
what was useful and honorable to man, there he was. In the exercises of
the school and of the college--in the meritorious meetings of the
agricultural, mechanical, and commercial societies--in attendance upon
Divine worship--he gave the punctual attendance rarely seen but in those
who are free from the weight of public cares.

"Punctual to every duty, death found him at the post of duty; and where
else could it have found him, at any stage of his career, for the fifty
years of his illustrious public life?  From the time of his first
appointment by Washington to his last election by the people of his native
town, where could death have found him but at the post of duty? At that
post, in the fullness of age in the ripeness of renown, crowned with
honors, surrounded by his family, his friends, and admirers, and in the
very presence of the national representation, he has been gathered to his
fathers, leaving behind him the memory of public services which are the
history of his country for half a century, and the example of a life,
public and private, which should be the study and the model of the
generations of his countrymen."

At the conclusion of Mr. Benton's address, the following resolutions,
introduced by Mr. Davis, were passed by the Senate:--

"Resolved, That the Senate has received with deep sensibility the message
from the House of Representatives announcing the death of the Hon. JOHN
QUINCY ADAMS, a Representative from the State of Massachusetts.

"Resolved, That, in token of respect for the memory of the deceased, the
Senate will attend his funeral at the hour appointed by the House of
Representatives, and will wear the usual badge of mourning for thirty

"Resolved, That, as a further mark of respect for the memory of the
deceased, the Senate do now adjourn until Saturday next, the time
appointed for the funeral."

President Polk issued a Proclamation announcing to the nation its
bereavement, and directing the suspension of all public business for the
day. The public offices were clothed in mourning. Orders were issued from
the War and Navy Departments, directing that at every military and naval
station, on the day after the order should be received, the honors
customary to the illustrious dead should be paid.

At 12 o'clock on Saturday, the 26th of February, the funeral took place in
the capitol. It was a solemn, an imposing scene. The Hall of
Representatives was hung in sable habiliments. The portraits of Washington
and La Fayette, the beautiful statue of the Muse of History in the car of
Time, and the vacant chair of the deceased, were wreathed in crape. In the
midst, and the most conspicuous of all, was the coffin containing the
remains of the illustrious dead, covered with its velvet pall. The
President of the United States, and the Heads of Departments, the Members
of both Houses of Congress, the Judges of the Supreme Court, the Foreign
Ministers, Officers of the Army and Navy, Members of State Legislatures,
and an immense concourse of the great, the wise, and the good, were
present, to bestow honor on all that remained of the statesman, the
philosopher, and the Christian.

A discourse was delivered on the occasion, by the Rev. R. R. Gurley,
chaplain to the House of Representatives, from Job xi. 17, 18--"And thine
age shall be clearer than the noon-day; thou shalt shine forth, thou
shalt be as the morning: and thou shalt be secure, because there is
hope." The following are extracts from the sermon:--

"In some circumstances, on some occasions, we most naturally express our
emotions in silence and in tears. What voice of man can add to the
impressiveness and solemnity of this scene? The presence and aspect of
this vast assembly, the Chief Magistrate, Counsellors, Judges, Senators,
and Representatives of the nation, distinguished officers of the army and
the navy, and the honored Ambassadors from foreign powers,--these symbols
and badges of a universal mourning, darkening this hall into sympathy with
our sorrow, leave no place for the question, 'Know ye not that a prince
and a great man is fallen in Israel?' Near to us, indeed, has come the
invisible hand of the Almighty--that hand in which is the soul of every
living thing, and the breath of all mankind; in this very hall, from
yonder seat, which he so long occupied, in the midst of the
representatives of the people, has it taken one full of years and honors,
eminent, for more than half a century, in various departments of the
public service; who adorned every station, even the highest, by his
abilities and virtues; and whose influence, powerful in its beneficence,
is felt in many, if not in all the States of the civilized world.
* * * * *

"Not more certainly is the body invigorated and preserved by suitable
food, by manly exercises, by the vital air, than are the intellectual and
moral faculties by the investigation and reception of divine truths, by
habits of obedience to the divine will, by cheerful submission to the
order and discipline of Divine Providence. Nor let us ever distrust the
Father of our spirits, who knows perfectly all the wants of our nature,
but rest assured that his commandments in the sacred Scriptures are
entirely in harmony with the decrees of his providence; and that as to
fear Him and keep His commandments is the whole duty (because the highest
duty, and comprehending all others), so will it prove the whole and
eternal happiness of man. If the indissoluble and harmonious connection
between the laws of nature, of Providence and the moral law, be not
always obvious, it is always certain. Over all the darkness, disturbances,
and evils of the world shines revealed, more or less clearly, like the
serene and cheerful heavens, this immutable law, binding virtue, however
obscure, persecuted, or forsaken, to reward; duty, however humble or
arduous, to happiness. Hence the declaration, that all things shall work
together for good to them who love God, and that all things are
theirs--the past and future, things temporal and spiritual, prosperity and
adversity, angels, and principalities, and powers, and God himself, in all
the resources of his wisdom and all the eternity of his reign.

"How shone out, clear as the noonday, yet mild and gentle as the morning,
even in age, in the life and character of that great and venerable man,
around whose precious, but, alas! inanimate form we all press in
gratitude, admiration, and love, those high virtues derived from faith in
God, and nurtured by his revealed truth, this bereaved Congress, and, I
may add, this nation witnesses. * * * * * *

"Truly emblematic of his moral integrity and strength of character would
be the granite column from his native hills, one and entire, just in its
proportions, towering in its height, immoveable in its foundations, and
pointing to Heaven as the temple and throne of everlasting authority, the
final refuge, the imperishable home of all regenerated and faithful souls.

"Independence of mere human authority in the use of his reason, on all
subjects, was united with veneration most sincere and profound for the
sacred Scriptures, as a supernatural revelation from God, 'whose
prerogative extends not less to the reason than the will of man,' and from
a daily perusal of the Divine Word, and a constant and devout attendance
upon the public worship of the Sabbath, although differing on some points
from common opinions, he cherished enlarged views of Christian communion,
and recognized in most, if not all the religious denominations of this
country, members of one and the same family and kingdom of Jesus Christ.
* * * * * * *

"Alas, the sad and appalling ruins of death! 'This is the end of earth.'
Approach! lovers of pleasure, seekers after wisdom, aspirants, by
pre-eminence in station, and power, and influence among men, to fame; see
the end of human distinctions and earthly greatness! Surely man walketh
in a vain show; surely man in his best estate is altogether vanity. How
pertinent to this scene the words of Job: 'He leadeth princes away
spoiled, and overthroweth the mighty. He removeth away the speech of the
trusty, and taketh away the understanding of the aged. He discovereth
deep things out of darkness, and bringeth out to light the shadow of
death!' How, indeed, is the mighty fallen, and the head of the wise laid
low! All flesh is grass--all the glory of man as the flower of the field.
And shall this vast congregation soon be brought to the grave--that house
appointed for all the living? Hear, then, the great announcement of the
Son of God: 'I am the resurrection and the life, and whosoever believeth
in me, though he were dead yet shall he live, and whosoever liveth and
believeth in me shall never die.' Is it strange that he who communed so
much with the future as the great statesman to whose virtues and memory we
now pay this sad, final, solemn tribute of honor and affection, should, in
the last conversation I ever had with him, have expressed both regret and
astonishment at the indifference among too many of our public men to the
truths and ordinances of our holy religion? Is it to affect our hearts
that he has been permitted to fall in the midst of us, to arouse us from
this insensibility, and cause us to press towards the gates of the eternal
city of God? Let us bless God for another great example to shine upon us,
that another star (we humbly trust) is planted amid the heavenly
constellations to guide us to eternity!"

At the conclusion of the exercises in the capitol, a vast procession,
escorted by military companies, conveyed the remains to the Congressional
burying ground, where they were to rest until preparations for their
removal to Quincy should be completed.

  "Sad was the pomp that yesterday beheld,
   As with the mourner's heart the anthem swelled;
   The rich-plumed canopy, the gorgeous pall,
   The sacred march, and sable vested wall!--
   These were not rites of inexpressive show,
   But hallowed as the types of real woe!
   Illustrious deceased! a NATION'S sighs,
   A NATION'S HEART, went with thine obsequies!"

The following letter of thanks from Mrs. Adams, addressed to the Speaker,
was laid before the House of Representatives:--

                                         "Washington, February 29, 1848.
"SIR: The resolutions in honor of my dear deceased husband, passed by the
illustrious assembly over which you preside, and of which he at the moment
of his death was a member, have been duly communicated to me.

"Penetrated with grief at this distressing event of my life, mourning the
loss of one who has been at once my example and my support through the
trials of half a century, permit me nevertheless to express through you my
deepest gratitude for the signal manner in which the public regard has
been voluntarily manifested by your honorable body, and the consolation
derived to me and mine from the reflection that the unwearied efforts of
an old public servant have not even in this world proved without their
reward in the generous appreciation of them by his country.

"With great respect, I remain, sir, your obedient servant,
                                             "LOUISA CATHARINE ADAMS."

On the following week, the Committee of one from each State and Territory
in the Union, appointed by the House of Representatives to take charge of
the remains of the deceased ex-President, and convey them to Quincy for
final interment, commenced their journey. It was a new, yet inexpressibly
thrilling and imposing spectacle. The dead body of "the Old Man Eloquent,"
surrounded and guarded by a son of each of the States and Territories of
that Union which he had so largely assisted in consolidating and
sustaining, leaves the capitol of the nation, where for more than thirty
years he had acted the most conspicuous part among the fathers of the
land, to rest in the tomb of its ancestors, amid the venerable shades of
Quincy. How solemn the progress of such a procession. It was indeed, "the
Funeral March of the Dead!" Wherever it passed, the people rose up and
paid the utmost marks of respect to the remains of one who had occupied so
large a space in the history of his country. In towns, in villages, in
cities, as the mournful cortege swept through, business was suspended,
flags were displayed at half mast, bells were tolled, minute guns were
fired, civil and military processions received the sacred remains, and
watched over them by night and by day, and passed them on from State to

"What a progress was it which the dead patriot thus made! From the capitol
of the nation, beneath whose dome, and while at his post of duty, he was
seized by death--within sight almost of that Mount Vernon where repose
the ashes of him, the Father of his Country, who first distinguished,
encouraged and employed the extraordinary capacity of the youthful
Adams--through cities that in his life time have grown up from
villages--passing, at Baltimore, almost beneath the shadow of the monument
which there testifies of the valor of those who fell for country in the
war of 1812--and in Philadelphia halting and reposing within the hall
where his great father; John Adams, had fearlessly stood for Independence,
and where Independence was proclaimed--the dead passed on, everywhere
followed by the reverential gaze and the mourning heart, till, reaching
the great metropolis of New York, where the same father had been sworn in
and taken his seat, as the first Vice President of the United States, with
George Washington for President! Thence away the march was resumed, till
it reached old Faneuil Hall--the cradle of American liberty, the fitting
final restingplace, while yet unburied, of the body of one in whose heart,
at no moment of life, did the love of liberty, imbibed or strengthened in
that hall, suffer the slightest abatement." [Footnote: King's Eulogy.]

Faneuil Hall was clothed in the dark drapery of mourning, fitting to
receive the body of one of the greatest of the many noble sons of the
venerable Bay State. Amid solemn dirges and appropriate ceremonies, the
chairman of the Congressional Committee surrendered to a Committee from
the Legislature of Massachusetts, the sacred remains they had accompanied
from the capitol of the United States.--

"Throughout the journey," said the chairman, "there have been displayed
manifestations of the highest admiration and respect for the memory of
your late distinguished fellow-citizen. In the large cities through which
we expected to pass, we anticipated such demonstrations; but in every
village and hamlet, at the humblest cottage which we passed, and from the
laborers in the field, the same profound respect was testified by their
uncovered heads."

The Committee of the Massachusetts Legislature having thus received the
body from its Congressional escort, in turn surrendered it to the keeping
of the municipal authorities of Boston, for burial at Quincy. This
ceremony was performed by Mr. Buckingham, chairman of the Legislative
Committee, in these impressive words:--

"In the name and behalf of the Government and People of the Commonwealth
of Massachusetts, whose honored but humble servant I this day am, I
consign to your faithful keeping, Mr. Mayor, the remains of JOHN QUINCY
ADAMS--all that was mortal of that venerable man, whose age and whose
virtues had rendered him an object of intense interest and admiration to
his country and to the world. We place these sacred remains in your
possession, to be conveyed to their appointed home--to sleep in the
sepulchre and with the dust of his fathers."

Mr. Quincy, the Mayor, in accepting the guardianship conferred upon him in
behalf of the city of Boston, replied in the following terms:--

"There is something sublime in the scene that surrounds us. An honored son
of Massachusetts--one who was educated by a signer of the Declaration of
Independence--one who heard the thunder of the great struggle for liberty
on yonder hill, has, after a life of unparalleled usefulness and fidelity,
fallen in the capitol of the country he served. His remains were escorted
here by delegates from every State in the Union. They have passed over
spots ever memorable in history. They have everywhere been received with
funeral honors. They have reposed in the hall of independence. They now
lie in the cradle of liberty. As a citizen of Massachusetts, I cannot but
acknowledge our sense of the honor paid to her distinguished son. Mourned
by a nation at its capitol, attended by the representatives of millions to
the grave, he has received a tribute to his memory unequalled among men.

"These remains now rest in the cradle of liberty. It is their last
resting-place on their journey home. As a statesman's, 'this is to them
the last of earth!' To-morrow they will be deposited in the peaceful
church-yard of the village of his birth, there to be mourned, not as
statesmen mourn for statesmen, but as friends mourn for friends.

"He will be 'gathered to his fathers!' And how great, in this case, is the
significance of the expression! It is possible that other men may be
attended as he will be to the grave. But when again shall the tomb of a
President of the United States open its doors to receive a son who has
filled the same office?"

On the following day, the body, under the charge of the municipal officers
of Boston, was conveyed to Quincy. In the Unitarian church, in the
presence of old neighbors and friends, the last funeral exercises were
held, and the last sad burial service was performed.

By the side of the graves of his fathers, overshadowed by aged trees,
which had sheltered his head in the days of boyhood, in a plain tomb,
prepared under his own direction, and inscribed simply with his name,
sleep the ashes of JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.

  "Let no weak drops
   Be shed for him. The virgin in her bloom
   Cut off, the joyous youth, and darling child,
   These are the tombs that claim the tender tear
   And elegiac songs. But Adams calls
   For other notes of gratulation high;
   That now he wanders thro' those endless worlds
   He here so well descried; and, wondering, talks
   And hymns their Author with his glad compeers.
   Columbia's boast! whether with angels thou
   Sittest in dread discourse, or fellow blest
   Who joy to see the honor of their kind;
   Or whether, mounted on cherubic wing,
   Thy swift career is with the whirling orbs,
   Comparing things with things, in rapture lost,
   And grateful adoration for that light
   So plenteous ray'd into thy mind below
   From Light himself--oh! look with pity down
   On human kind, a frail, erroneous race!
   Exalt the spirit of a downward world!
   O'er thy dejected country chief preside,
   And be her Genius called! her studies raise,
   Correct her manners, and inspire her youth;
   For, though deprav'd and sunk, she brought thee forth,
   And glories in thy name. She points thee out
   To all her sons, and bids them eye thy star--
   Thy star, which, followed steadfastly, shall lead
   To wisdom, virtue, glory here, and joy
   Unspeakable in worlds to come."

EULOGY.[Footnote: Delivered before the Legislature of New York, by Wm. H.


We are in the midst of extraordinary events. British-American Civilization
and Spanish-American Society have come into collision, each in its fullest
maturity. The armies of the North have penetrated the chapparels at Palo
Alto and Resaca de la Palma--passed the fortresses of Monterey, and rolled
back upon the heart of Mexico the unavailing tide of strong resistance
from the mountain-side of Buena Vista. Martial colonists are encamped on
the coasts of California, while San Juan d'Ulloa has fallen, and the
invaders have swept the gorge of Cerro Gordo--carried Perote and Puebla,
and planted the banner of burning stars and ever-multiplying stripes on
the towers of the city of the Aztecs.

The thirtieth Congress assembles in this conjuncture, and the debates are
solemn, earnest, and bewildering. Interest, passion, conscience, freedom,
and humanity, all have their advocates. Shall new loans and levies be
granted to prosecute still farther a war so glorious? or shall it be
abandoned? Shall we be content with the humiliation of the foe? or shall
we complete his subjugation? Would that severity be magnanimous, or even
just? Nay, is the war itself just? Who provoked, and by what unpardonable
offence, this disastrous strife between two eminent Republics, so
scandalous to Democratic Institutions? Where shall we trace anew the
ever-advancing line of our empire? Shall it be drawn on the shore of the
Rio Grande, or on the summit of the Sierra Madre? or shall Mexican
Independence be extinguished, and our eagle close his adventurous pinions
only when he looks off upon the waves that separate us from the Indies?
Does Freedom own and accept our profuse oblations of blood, or does she
reject the sacrifice? Will these conquests extend her domain, or will they
be usurped by ever-grasping slavery? What, effect will this new-born
ambition have upon ourselves? Will it leave us the virtue to continue the
career of social progress? How shall we govern the conquered people? Shall
we incorporate their mingled races with ourselves, or rule them with the
despotism of proconsular power? Can we preserve these remote and hostile
possessions in any way, without forfeiting our own blood-bought heritage
of freedom?

Steam and lightning, which have become docile messengers, make the
American people listeners to this high debate, and anxiety, and interest,
intense and universal, absorb them all. Suddenly the council is dissolved.
Silence is in the capitol, and sorrow has thrown its pall over the land.
What new event is this? Has some Cromwell closed the legislative
chambers? or has some Caesar, returning from his distant conquests, passed
the Rubicon, seized the purple, and fallen in the Senate beneath the
swords of self-appointed executioners of his country's vengeance? No!
nothing of all this. What means, then, this abrupt and fearful silence?
What unlooked for calamity has quelled the debates of the Senate and
calmed the excitement of the people? An old man, whose tongue once indeed
was eloquent, but now through age had well nigh lost its cunning, has
fallen into the swoon of death. He was not an actor in the drama of
conquest--nor had his feeble voice yet mingled in the lofty argument--

  "A grey-haired sire, whose eye intent
   Was on the visioned future bent."

And now he has dreamed out at last the troubled dream of life. Sighs of
unavailing grief ascend to Heaven. Panegyric, fluent in long-stifled
praise, performs its office. The army and the navy pay conventional
honors, with the pomp of national woe, and then the hearse moves onward.
It rests appropriately, on its way, in the hall where independence was
proclaimed, and again under the dome where freedom was born. At length the
tomb of JOHN ADAMS opens to receive a SON, who also, born a subject of a
king had stood as a representative of his emancipated country, before
principalities and powers, and had won by merit, and worn without
reproach, the honors of the Republic.

From that scene, so impressive in itself, and impressive because it never
before happened, and can never happen again, we have come up to this place
surrounded with the decent drapery of public mourning, on a day set apart
by authority, to recite the history of the citizen, who, in the ripeness
of age, and fulness of honors, has thus descended to his rest. It is fit
to do so, because it is by such exercises that nations regenerate their
early virtues and renew their constitutions. All nations must perpetually
renovate their virtues and their constitutions, or perish. Never was there
more need to renovate ours than now, when we seem to be passing from the
safe old policy of peace and moderation into a career of conquest and
martial renown. Never was the duty of preserving our free institutions in
all their purity, more obvious than it is now, when they have become
beacons to mankind in what seems to be a general dissolution of their
ancient social systems.

The history of JOHN QUINCY ADAMS is one that opens no new truth in the
philosophy of virtue; for there is no undiscovered truth in that
philosophy. But it is a history that sheds marvellous confirmation on
maxims which all mankind know, and yet are prone to undervalue and forget.
The exalted character before us was formed by the combination of virtue,
courage, assiduity, and modesty, under favorable conditions, with native
talent and genius, and illustrates the truth, that in morals as in nature,
simplicity is the chief element of the sublime.

John Quincy Adams was fortunate in his lineage; in the period, and in the
place of his nativity; in all the circumstances of education; in the age
and country in which he lived; in the incidents, as well as the occasions
of his public service; and in the period and manner of his death. He was a
descendant from one of the Puritan planters of Massachusetts, and a son of
the most intrepid actor in the Revolution of Independence. Quincy, the
place of his birth, is a plain, bounded on the west by towering granite
hills, and swept without defence by every wind from the ocean. Its soil
in ancient times was as sterile as its climate is always rigorous.

Born on the eleventh day of July, 1767, in the hour of the agitation of
rebellion, and reared within sight and sound of gathering war, the
earliest political ideas he received were such as John Adams then
uttered--"We must fight." "Sink or swim--live or die--survive or perish
with my country, is my unalterable determination." A mother fervently
pious, and eminent in intellectual gifts, directed with more than maternal
assiduity and solicitude the education of him who was to render her own
name immortal. Never quite divorced from home, yet twice, and for long
periods in his youth, a visitor in Europe, he enjoyed always the parental
discipline of one of the founders of the American State, and often the
daily conversation of Franklin and Jefferson; and combined travel in
France, Spain, England, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, and Russia, and even
diplomatic experience, with the instructions of the schools of Paris, of
the University at Leyden, and of Harvard University at Cambridge; and all
these influences fell upon him at a period when his country, then opening
the way to human liberty through trials of fire, fixed the attention of

The establishment of the Republic of the United States of America, is the
most important secular event in the history of the human race. It did not
disentangle the confused theory of the origin of Government, but cut
through the bonds of power existing by prescription, at a blow; and thus
directly and immediately affected the opinions and the actions of men in
every part of the civilized world. It animated them everywhere to seek
freedom from despotic power and aristocratic restraint. Whenever and
wherever they have since moved, either by peaceful agitation or by
physical force, to meliorate systems of government, whether in France at
the close of the last century, or afterward on the second subversion of
the elder branch of the Bourbons, or in the recent overthrow of the
constitutional king, or in Ireland, or in England, or in Italy, or in
Greece, or in South America, whether they succeeded or failed, there, in
the tumult or in the strife, was the spirit of the American Revolution.
"It gave an example of a great people, not merely emancipating themselves,
but governing themselves, without either a monarch to control, or an
aristocracy to restrain them; and it demonstrated, for the first time in
the history of the world, contrary to the predictions and theories of
speculative philosophy, that a great nation, when duly prepared, is
capable of self-government by purely republican institutions."

But the establishment of the American Republic was too great an
achievement to be made all at once. It was a drama of five grand acts,
each of which filled a considerable period, and called upon the stage
actors of peculiar powers and distinguished virtues. Those acts were,
colonization, preparation, revolution, organization, consolidation.

Two of these acts were closed before John Quincy Adams was born. The
third, the revolution, the shortest of them all, dazzles the contemplation
by the rapidity and the martial character of its incidents. The fourth,
the organization of the Government, by the splendors of genius elicited,
and the felicity of the new form of government presented, satisfies the
superficial inquirer that, when the Constitution had been adopted, nothing
remained to perfect the great achievement. But other nations have had
successful revolutions, and have set up free constitutions, and have yet
sunk again under reinvigorated despotism. The CONSOLIDATION of the
American Republic--the crowning act--occupied forty years, reaching from
1789 to 1829. During that period, John Quincy Adams participated
continually in public affairs, and ultimately became the principal actor.

The new Government was purely an experiment. In opposition to the fixed
habits of mankind, it established suffrage practically universal, and
representation so perfect that not one Legislative House only, but both
Houses; not legislative officers only, but all officers, executive,
ministerial, and even judicial, were directly or indirectly elected by the
people. The longest term of the senatorial trust was but six years, and
the shortest only two, and even the tenure of the executive power was only
four years. This Government, betraying so much popular jealousy, was
invested with only special and limited sovereignty. The conduct of merely
municipal affairs was distributed within the States, among Governments
even more popular than the federal structure, and without whose
ever-renewed support that structure must fall.

The Government thus constituted, so new, so complex and artificial, was to
be consolidated, in the midst of difficulties at home, and of dangers
abroad. The constitution had been adopted only upon convictions of
absolute necessity, and with evanescent dispositions of compromise. By
nearly half of the people it was thought too feeble to sustain itself, and
secure the rights for which governments are instituted among men. By as
many it was thought liable to be converted into an over-shadowing
despotism, more formidable and more odious than the monarchy which had
been subverted. These conflicting opinions revealed themselves in like
discordance upon every important question of administration, and were made
the basis of parties, which soon became jealous and irreconcilable, and
ultimately inveterate, and even in some degree disloyal.

These domestic feuds were aggravated by pernicious influences from Europe.
In the progress of western civilization, the nations of the earth had
become social. The new Republic could not, like the Celestial Empire, or
that of Japan, confine itself within its own boundaries, and exist without
national intercourse. It had entered the family of nations. But the
position it was to assume, and the advantages it was to be allowed to
enjoy, were yet to be ascertained and fixed. Its independence, confessed
to be only a doubtful experiment at home, was naturally thought ephemeral
in Europe. Its example was ominous, and the European Powers willingly
believed that, if discountenanced and baffled, America would soon relapse
into colonial subjugation. Such prejudices were founded in the fixed
habits of society. Not only the thirteen colonies, but the whole American
hemisphere, had been governed by European States from the period of its
discovery. The very soil belonged to the trans-atlantic monarchs by
discovery, or by ecclesiastical gift. Dominion over it attached by divine
right to their persons, and drew after it obligations of inalienable
allegiance upon those who became the inhabitants of the new world. The new
world was indeed divided between different powers, but the system of
government was the same. It was administered for the benefit of the
parental State alone. Each power prohibited all foreign trade with its
Colonies, and all intercourse between them and other plantations, supplied
its Colonies with what they needed from abroad, interdicted their
manufactures, and monopolized their trade. The prevalence of this system
over the whole continent of America and the adjacent islands prevented all
enterprize in the colonies, discouraged all improvement, and retarded
their progress to independence.

The American Revolution sundered these bonds only so far as they confined
thirteen of the British Colonies, and left the remaining British
dominions, and the continent, from Georgia around Cape Horn to the
Northern Ocean, under the same thraldom as before. Even the United States
had attained only physical independence. The moral influences of the
colonial system oppressed them still. Their trade, their laws, their
science, their literature, their social connections, their ecclesiastical
relations, their manners and their habits, were still colonial; and their
thoughts continually clung around the ancient and majestic States of the
Eastern Continent.

The American Revolution, so happily concluded here, broke out in France
simultaneously with the beginning of Washington's administration. The
French nation passed in fifteen years from absolute despotism under Louis
XVI., through all the phases of democracy to a military despotism under
Napoleon Bonaparte; and retained through all these changes, only two
characteristics--unceasing ferocity of faction, and increasing violence of
aggression against foreign States. The scandal of the French Revolution
fell back upon the United States of America, who were regarded as the
first disturbers of the ancient social system. The principal European
monarchs combined, under the guidance of England, to arrest the
presumptuous career of France and extirpate democracy by the sword.
Nevertheless, the republican cause, however odious in Europe, was our
national cause. The sympathies of a large portion of the American people
could not be withdrawn from the French nation, which always claimed, even
when marshalled into legions under the Corsican conqueror, to be fighting
the battles of freedom; while, on the other side, the citizens who
regarded innovation as worse than tyranny, considered England and her
allies as engaged in sustaining the cause of order, of government, and of
society itself.

The line already drawn between the American people in regard to their
organic law, naturally became the dividing line of the popular sympathies
in the great European conflict. Thus deeply furrowed, that line became "a
great gulf fixed." The Federal party unconsciously became an English
party, although it indignantly disowned the epithet; and the Republican
party became a French party, although with equal sincerity it denied the
gross impeachment. Each belligerent was thus encouraged to hope some aid
from the United States, through the ever-expected triumph of its friends;
while both conceived contemptuous opinions of a people who, from too eager
interest in a foreign fray, suffered their own national rights to be
trampled upon with impunity by the contending States.

Washington set the new machine of government in motion. He formed his
cabinet of recognized leaders of the adverse parties. Hamilton and Knox of
the Federal party were balanced by Jefferson and Randolph of the adverse
party. "Washington took part with neither, but held the balance between
them with the scrupulous justice which marked his lofty nature." On the
25th of April, 1793, he announced the neutrality of the United States
between the belligerents, and his decision, without winning the respect of
either, exasperated both. Each invaded our national rights more flagrantly
than before, and excused the injustice by the plea of necessary
retaliation against its adversary, and each found willing apologists in a
sympathizing faction in our own country.

Commercial and political relations were to be established between the
United States and the European Powers in this season of conflict.
Ministers were needed who could maintain and vindicate abroad the same
impartiality practised by Washington at home. There was one citizen
eminently qualified for such a trust in such a conjuncture. Need I say
that citizen was the younger Adams, and that Washington had the sagacity
to discover him?

John Quincy Adams successively completed missions at the Hague and at
Berlin, in the period intervening between 1794 and 1801, with such
advantage and success, that in 1802 he was honored by his native
commonwealth with a seat as her representative in the Senate of the United
States. The insults offered to our country by the belligerents increased
in aggravation as the contest between them became more violent and
convulsive. France, in 1804, laid aside even the name and forms of a
Republic, and the first consul, dropping the emblems of popular power,
placed the long-coveted diadem upon his brow, where its jewels sparkled
among the laurels he had won in the conquest of Italy. Washington's
administration had passed away, leaving the American people in sullen
discontent. John Adams had succeeded, and had atoned by the loss of power
for the offence he had given by causing a just but unavailing war to be
declared against France. Jefferson was at the head of the Government; he
thought the belligerents might be reduced to forbearance by depriving them
of our commercial contributions of supplies, and recommended, first an
embargo, and then non-intercourse. Britain was an insular and France a
continental power. The effects of these measures would therefore be more
severe on the former than on the latter, and, unhappily, they were more
severe on our own country than on either of the offenders.

Massachusetts was the chief commercial State in the Union. She saw the
ruin of her commerce involved in the policy of Jefferson, and regarded it
as an unworthy concession to the usurper of the French throne. In this
emergency John Quincy Adams turned his back on Massachusetts, and threw
into the uprising scale of the administration, the weight of his talents
and of his already eminent fame. Massachusetts instructed the recusant to
recant. He refused to obey, and resigned his place. His change of
political relations astounded the country, and, with the customary charity
of partisan zeal, was attributed to venality. It is now seen by us in the
light reflected upon it by the habitual independence, unquestioned purity,
and lofty patriotism of his whole life; and thus seen, constitutes only
the first marked one of many instances wherein he broke the green withes
which party fastened upon him, and maintained the cause of his country,
referring the care of his fame to God and to an impartial posterity. Like
Decimus Brutus, whom Julius Caesar saluted among his executioners with
the exclamation "Et tu, Brute!" John Quincy Adams was not unfaithful, but
he could not be obliged where he was not left free.

Jefferson retired in 1809, leaving to his successor, the scholastic and
peace-loving Madison, the perilous legacy of perplexed foreign relations,
and embittered domestic feuds. Great Britain now filled the measure of
exasperations, by insolently searching our vessels on the high seas, and
impressing into her marine all whom she chose to suspect of having been
born in her allegiance, even though they had renounced it and had assumed
the relations of American citizens. War was therefore imminent and
inevitable. Russia was then coming forward to a position of commanding
influence in Europe, and her youthful Emperor Alexander had won, by his
chivalrous bearing, the respect of mankind. John Quincy Adams was wisely
sent by the United States, to establish relations of amity with the great
power of the North; and while he was thus engaged, the flames of European
war, which had been so long averted, involved his own country. War was
declared against Great Britain.

It was just. It was necessary. Yet it was a war that dared Great Britain
to re-assert her ancient sovereignty. It was a war with a power whose
wealth and credit were practically inexhaustible, a power whose navy rode
unchecked over all the seas, and whose impregnable garrisons encircled the

Against such a power the war was waged by a nation that had not yet
accumulated wealth, nor established credit, nor even opened avenues
suitable for transporting munitions of war through its extended
territories--that had only the germ of a navy, an inconsiderable army, and
not one substantial fortress. Yet such a war, under such circumstances,
was denounced as unnecessary and unjust, though for no better reason than
because greater contumelies had been endured at the hands of France. Thus
a domestic feud, based on the very question of the war itself, enervated
the national strength, and encouraged the mighty adversary.

The desperate valor displayed at Chippewa and Lundy's Lane, at Fort Erie
and Plattsburgh, and the brilliant victories won in contests between
single ships of war on the ocean and armed fleets on the lakes, vindicated
the military prowess of the United States, but brought us no decisive
advantage. A suspension of the conflict in Europe followed Napoleon's
disastrous invasion of Russia, and left America alone opposed to her great
adversary. Peace was necessary, because the national credit was
exhausted--because the fortunes of the war were inclining against us--and
because the opposition to it was ripening into disorganizing councils.
Adams had prepared the way by securing the mediation of Alexander. Then,
in that critical period, associated with Russell, Bayard, the learned and
versatile Gallatin, and the eloquent and chivalric Clay, he negotiated
with firmness, with assiduity, with patience, and with consummate ability,
a definitive treaty of peace--a treaty of peace which, although it omitted
the causes of the war already obsolete, saved and established and
confirmed in its whole integrity the independence of the Republic--a
treaty of peace that yet endures, and, we willingly hope, may endure

After fulfilling a subsequent mission at the Court of St. James, the
pacificator entered the domestic service of the country as Secretary of
State in the administration of James Monroe; and at the expiration of that
administration became President of the United States. He attained the
honors of the Republic at the age of fifty-seven, in the forty-ninth year
of independence. He was sixth in the succession, and with him closed the
line of Chief Magistrates who had rendered to their country some tribute
of their talents in civil or military service in the war of independence.

John Quincy Adams, on entering civil life, had found the Republic
unstable. He retired in 1829, leaving it firmly established. It was thus
his happy fortune to preside at the completion of that work of
consolidation, the beginning of which was the end of the labors of

John Quincy Adams engaged in this great work while yet in private life, in
1793. He showed to his fellow-citizens, in a series of essays, the
inability of the French people to maintain free institutions at that time,
and the consequent necessity of American neutrality in the European war.
These publications aided Washington so much the more because they
anticipated his own decision. Adams sustained the same great cause when he
strengthened the administration of Jefferson against the preponderating
influence of Great Britain. His diplomatic services in Holland and Russia
secured, at a critical period, a favorable consideration in the Courts of
those countries, which conduced to the same end; and his brilliant success
in restoring peace to the country so sorely pressed, relieved her from her
enemies, reassured her, and gave to sceptical Europe conclusive proof
that her republican institutions were destined to endure.

The administration of John Quincy Adams blends so intimately with that of
Monroe, in which he was chief Minister, that no dividing line can be drawn
between them. Adams may be said, without derogation from the fame of
Monroe, to have swayed the Government during his presidency; and with
equal truth, Monroe may be admitted to have continued his administration
through that of his successor.

The consolidation of the Republic required that faction should be
extinguished. Monroe began this difficult task cautiously, and pursued it
with good effect. John Quincy Adams completed the achievement. The dignity
and moderation which marked his acceptance of the highest trust which a
free people could confer, beautifully foreshadowed the magnanimity with
which it was to be discharged. He confessed himself deeply sensible of the
circumstances under which it had been conferred:--

All my predecessors (he said) have been honored with majorities of the
electoral voices, in the primary colleges. It has been my fortune to be
placed, by the divisions of sentiment prevailing among our countrymen, on
this occasion, in competition, friendly and honorable, with three of my
fellow-citizens, all justly enjoying, in eminent degrees, the public
favor; and of whose worth, talents and services, no one entertains a
higher and more respectful sense than myself. The names of two of them
were, in the fulfilment of the provisions of the constitution, presented
to the selection of the House of Representatives, in concurrence with my
own, names closely associated with the glory of the nation, and one of
them farther recommended by a larger majority of the primary electoral
suffrages than mine. In this state of things, 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 determination.

It argued a noble consciousness of virtue to express, on such an occasion,
so ingenuously, the emotions of a generous ambition.

He displayed the same great quality no less when he called to the post of
chief Minister, in spite of clamors of corruption, Henry Clay, that one of
his late rivals who alone among his countrymen had the talents and
generosity which the responsibilities of the period exacted.

John Quincy Adams signalized his accession to the post of dangerous
elevation by avowing the sentiments concerning parties by which he was
inflexibly governed throughout his administration:--

Of the two great political parties [he said] which have divided the
opinions and feelings of our country, the candid and the just will now
admit, that both have contributed splendid talents, spotless integrity,
ardent patriotism, and disinterested sacrifices, to the formation and
administration of the Government, and that both have required a liberal
indulgence for a portion of human infirmity and error. The revolutionary
wars of Europe, commencing precisely at the moment when the Government of
the United States first went into operation under the constitution,
excited collisions of sentiments, and of sympathies, which kindled all the
passions and embittered the conflict of parties, till the nation was
involved in war, and the Union was shaken to its centre. This time of
trial embraced a period of five-and-twenty years, during which the policy
of the Union in its relations with Europe constituted the principal basis
of our own political divisions, and the most arduous part of action of the
Federal Government. With the catastrophe in which the wars of the French
Revolution terminated, and our own subsequent peace with Great Britain,
this baneful weed of party strife was uprooted. From that time no
difference of principle, connected with the theory of government, or with
our intercourse with foreign nations, has existed or been called forth in
force sufficient to sustain a continued combination of parties, or given
more than wholesome animation to public sentiment or legislative debate.
Our political creed, without a dissenting voice that can be heard, is that
the will of the people is the source, and the happiness of the people is
the end, of all legitimate government upon earth--that the best security
for the beneficence, and the best guaranty against the abuse of power,
consists in the freedom, the purity, and the frequency of popular
elections. That the General Government of the Union, and the separate
Governments of the States, are all sovereignties of legitimate powers;
fellow servants of the same masters, uncontrolled within their respective
spheres--uncontrollable by encroachments on each other. If there have been
those who doubted whether a confederated representative democracy was a
government competent to the wise and orderly management of the common
concerns of a mighty nation, those doubts have been dispelled. If there
have been projects of partial confederacies to be erected upon the ruins
of the Union, they have been scattered to the winds. If there have been
dangerous attachments to one foreign nation, and antipathies against
another, they have been extinguished. Ten years of peace at home and
abroad have assuaged the animosities of political contention and blended
into harmony the most discordant elements of public opinion. There still
remains one effort of magnanimity, one sacrifice of prejudice and passion,
to be made by the individuals throughout the nation who have heretofore
followed the standards of political party. It is that of discarding every
remnant of rancor against each other, of embracing, as countrymen and
friends, and of yielding to talents and virtue alone that confidence
which, in times of contention for principle, was bestowed only upon those
who bore the badge of party communion.

During the administration of John Quincy Adams, he was really the Chief
Magistrate. He submitted neither his reason nor his conscience to the
control of any partisan cabal. No man was appointed to office in obedience
to political dictation, and no faithful public servant was proscribed. The
result rewarded his magnanimity. Faction ceased to exist. When South
Carolina, a few years afterward, assumed the very ground that the ancient
republican party had indicated as lawful and constitutional, and claimed
the right and power to set aside, within her own limits, acts of Congress
which she pronounced void, because they transcended the Federal authority,
she called on the republican party throughout the Union in vain. The
dangerous heresy had been renounced forever. Since that time there has
been no serious project of a combination to resist the laws of the Union,
much less of a conspiracy to subvert the Union itself.

What though the elements of political strife remain? They are necessary
for the life of free States. What though there still are parties, and the
din and turmoil of their contests are ceaselessly heard? They are founded
now on questions of mere administration, or on the more ephemeral
questions of personal merit. Such parties are dangerous only in the
decline, not in the vigor of Republics. Rome was no longer fit for
freedom, and needed a Dictator and a Sovereign, when Pompey and Caesar
divided the citizens. What though the magnanimity of Adams was not
appreciated, and his contemporaries preferred his military competitor in
the subsequent election? The sword gathers none but ripe fruits, and the
masses of any people will sometimes prefer them to the long maturing
harvest, which the statesmen of the living generations sow, to be reaped
by their successors. For all this Adams cared not. He had extinguished the
factions which for forty years had endangered the State. He had left on
the records of history instructions and an example teaching how faction
could be overthrown, and his country might resort to them when danger
should recur. For himself he knew well, none knew better, that

  "He who ascends to mountain-tops shall find
     The loftiest peaks most wrapt in clouds and snow.
   He who surpasses or subdues mankind,
     Must look down on the hate of those below.
   Though high above the sun of glory glow,
     And far beneath the earth and ocean spread,
   Round him are icy rocks, and loudly blow
     Contending tempests on his naked head,
  And thus reward the toils which to their summits led."

The federal authority had so long been factiously opposed, that the
popular respect for its laws needed to be renewed. The State of Georgia
presented the fit occasion. She insisted on expelling, forcibly, remnants
of Indian tribes, within her limits, in virtue of a treaty which was
impeached for fraud, and came for revision before the Supreme Court and
the Senate. The President met the emergency with boldness and decision.
The demonstration thus given that good faith should be practised, and the
law have its way, no matter how unequal the litigating parties, operated
favorably toward restoring the moral influence of the Government. That
influence, although sometimes checked, has recently increased in strength,
until the federal authority is universally regarded as final, and liberty
again walks confidently hand in hand with law.

John Quincy Adams "loved peace and ensued it." He loved peace as a
Christian, because war was at enmity with the spirit and precepts of a
religion which he held to be divine. As a statesman and magistrate, he
loved peace, because war was not merely injurious to national prosperity,
but because, whether successful or adverse, it was subversive of liberty.
Democracies are prone to war, and war consumes them. He favored,
therefore, all the philanthropic efforts of the age to cultivate the
spirit of peace, and looked forward with benevolent hope to the ultimate
institution of a General Congress of nations for the adjustment of their
controversies. But he was no visionary and no enthusiast. He knew that as
yet war was often inevitable--that pusillanimity provoked it, and that
national honor was national property of the highest value; because it was
the best national defence. He admitted only defensive war--but he did not
narrowly define it. He held that to be a defensive war, which was waged to
sustain what could not be surrendered or relinquished without compromising
the independence, the just influence, or even the proper dignity of the
State. Thus he had supported the war with Great Britain--thus in later
years he sustained President Jackson in his bold demonstration against
France, when that power wantonly refused to perform the stipulations it
had made in a treaty of indemnity; and thus he yielded his support to what
was thought a warlike measure of the present administration in the
diplomatic controversy with Great Britain concerning the Territory of
Oregon. The living and the dead have mutual rights, and therefore it must
be added that he considered the present war with Mexico as unnecessary,
unjust, and criminal. His opinion on this exciting question is among those
on which he referred himself to that future age which he so often
constituted the umpire between himself and his contemporaries.

With such principles on the subject of war, he regarded the establishment
of a system of national defence as a necessary policy for consolidating
the Republic. He prosecuted, therefore, on a large scale, the work of
fortification, and defended against popular opposition the institution for
the cultivation of military science, which has so recently vindicated that
early favor through the learning, valor, patriotism and humanity exhibited
by its pupils on the fields of Mexico. But with that jealousy of the
military spirit which never forsakes the wise republican statesman, he
cooperated in reducing the army to the lowest scale commensurate with its
necessary efficiency:

It was a vain and dangerous delusion (he said) to believe that in the
present or any probable condition of the world, a commerce so extensive as
ours could exist without the continual support of a military marine--the
only arm by which the power of a confederacy could be estimated or felt by
foreign nations, and the only standing force which could never be
dangerous to our own liberties.

The enlargement of our navy, under the influence of these opinions, is
among the measures of national consolidation we owe to him; and the
institution for naval education we enjoy, is a recent result of his early

But John Quincy Adams relied for national security and peace mainly on an
enlightened and broad system of civil policy. He looked through the future
combinations of States, and studied the accidents to which they were
exposed, that he might seasonably remove causes of future conflict. His
genius, when exercised in this lofty duty, played in its native element.
He had cordially approved the measures by which Washington had secured the
free navigation of the Mississippi. He approved the acquisition of
Louisiana, although with Jefferson he insisted on a preliminary amendment
of the constitution for that purpose. He had no narrow bigotry, concerning
the soil to which the institutions of our fathers should be confined, and
no local prejudice against their extension in any direction required by
the public security, if the extension should be made with justice, honor,
and humanity.

The acquisition of Louisiana had only given us additional territory,
fruitful in new commerce, to be exposed to dangers which remain to be
overcome. Spain still possessed, beside the Island of Cuba, the Peninsula
of the Floridas, and thus held the keys of the Mississippi. The real
independence, the commercial and the moral independence, of the United
States, remained to be effected at the close of the European wars, and of
our own war with England. Our political independence had been confirmed,
and that was all. John Quincy Adams addressed himself, as Secretary of
State, to the subversion of what remained of the colonial system. He
commenced by an auspicious purchase of the Floridas, which gave us
important maritime advantages on the Gulf of Mexico, while it continued
our Atlantic sea-board unbroken from the Bay of Fundy to the Sabine.

The ever-advancing American Revolution was at the same time opening the
way to complete disinthralment. The Spanish-American Provinces revolted,
and seven new Republics, with constitutions not widely differing from our
own--Buenos Ayres, Guatamala, Colombia, Mexico, Chili, Central America,
and Peru--suddenly claimed audience and admission among the nations of the
earth. The people of those countries were but doubtfully prepared to
maintain their contest for independence, or to support republican
institutions. But on the other side Spain was enervated and declining. She
applied to the Holy League of Europe for their aid, and the new Republics
applied to the United States for that recognition which could not fail to
impart strength. The question was momentous. The ancient colonial system
was at stake. All Europe was interested in maintaining it. The Holy League
held Europe fast bound to the rock of despotism, and were at liberty to
engage the United States in a war for the subversion of their
independence, if they should dare to extend their aid or protection to the
rebellious Colonies in South America.

Such a war would be a war of the two continents--an universal war. Who
could foretell its termination, or its dread results? But the emancipation
of Spanish America was necessary for our own larger freedom, and our own
complete security. That freedom and that security required that the
nations of Europe should relax their grasp on the American Continent. The
question was long and anxiously debated. The American people hesitated to
hazard, for speculative advantages, the measures of independence already
obtained. Monroe and Adams waited calmly and firmly. The impassioned voice
of Henry Clay rose from the Chamber of Representatives. It rang through
the continent like the notes of the clarion, inspiring South America with
new resolution, and North America with the confidence the critical
occasion demanded.  That noble appeal was answered. South America stood
firm, and North America was ready. Then it was that John Quincy Adams,
with those generous impulses which the impatient blood of his
revolutionary sire always prompted, and with that enlightened sagacity
which never misapprehended the interests of his country, nor mistook the
time nor the means to secure them, obtained from the administration and
from Congress the acknowledgment of the independence of the young American
nations. To give decisive effect to this great measure, Monroe, in 1823,
solemnly declared to the world, that thenceforth any attempt by any
foreign power to establish the colonial system in any part of this
continent, already emancipated, would be resisted as an aggression against
the independence of the United States. On the accession of Adams to the
administration of the Government, the vast American continental
possessions of Brazil separated themselves from the crown of Portugal and
became an independent State. Adams improved these propitious and sublime
events by negotiating treaties of reciprocal trade with the youthful
nations; and, concurring with Monroe, accepted, in behalf of the United
States, their invitation to a General Congress of American States to be
held at Panama, to cement relations of amity among themselves, and to
consider, if it should become necessary, the proper means to repel the
apprehended interference of the Holy League of Europe.

The last measure transcended the confidence of a large and respectable
portion of the American people. But its moral effect was needed to secure
the stability of the South American Republics. Adams persevered, and, in
defending his course, gave notice to the powers of Europe, by this bold
declaration, that the determination of the United States was inflexible:--

"If it be asked, whether this meeting, and the principles which may be
adjusted and settled by it, as rules of intercourse between American
nations, may not give umbrage to European powers, or offence to Spain, it
is deemed a sufficient answer, that our attendance at Panama can give no
just cause of umbrage or offence to either, and that the United States
will stipulate nothing there, which can give such cause. Here the right of
inquiry into our purposes and measures must stop. The Holy League of
Europe, itself, was formed without inquiring of the United States, whether
it would or would not give umbrage to them. The fear of giving umbrage to
the Holy League of Europe was urged as a motive for denying to the
American nations the acknowledgment of their independence. The Congress
and the administration of that day consulted their rights and their
duties, not their fears. The United States must still, as heretofore, take
counsel from their duties, rather than their fears."

Contrast, fellow-citizens, this declaration of John Quincy Adams,
President of the United States in 1825, with the proclamation of
neutrality, between the belligerents of Europe, made by Washington in
1793, with the querrulous complaints of your Ministers against the French
Directory and the British Ministry at the close of the last century, and
with the acts of embargo and non-intercourse at the beginning of the
present century, destroying our own commerce to conquer forbearance from
the intolerant European powers. Learn from this contrast, the epoch of the
consolidation of the Republic. Thus instructed, do honor to the statesman
and magistrate by whom, not forgetting the meed due to his illustrious
compeers, the colonial system was overthrown throughout Spanish America,
and the independence of the United States was completely and finally

The intrepid and unwearied statesman now directed his attention to the
remnants of the colonial system still preserved in the Canadas and West
Indies. Great Britain, by parliamentary measures, had undermined our
manufactures, and, receiving only our raw materials, repaid us with
fabrics manufactured from them, while she excluded us altogether from the
carrying trade with her colonial possessions. John Quincy Adams sought to
counteract this injurious legislation, by a revenue system, which should
restore the manufacturing industry of the country, while he offered
reciprocal trade as a compromise. His administration ended during a
beneficial trial of this vigorous policy. But it taxed too severely the
patriotism of some of the States, and was relinquished by his successors.

Indolence begets degeneracy, and immobility is the first stage of
dissolution. John Quincy Adams sought not merely to consolidate the
Republic, but to perpetuate it. For this purpose he bent vast efforts,
with success, to such a policy of internal improvement as would increase
the facilities of communication and intercourse between the States, and
bring into being that great internal trade which must ever constitute the
strongest bond of federal union. Wherever a lighthouse has been erected,
on our sea-coast, on our lakes, or on our rivers--wherever a mole or pier
has been constructed or begun--wherever a channel obstructed by shoals or
sawyers has been opened, or begun to be opened--wherever a canal or
railroad, adapted to national uses, has been made or projected--there the
engineers of the United States, during the administration of John Quincy
Adams, made explorations, and opened the way for a diligent prosecution of
his designs by his successors. This policy, apparently so stupendous, was
connected with a system of fiscal economy so rigorous, that the treasury
augmented its stores, while the work of improvement went on; the public
debt, contracted in past wars, dissolved away, and the nation flourished
in unexampled prosperity. John Quincy Adams administered the Federal
Government, while De Witt Clinton was presiding in the State of New York.
It is refreshing to recall the noble emulation of these illustrious
benefactors--an emulation that shows how inseparable sound philosophy is
from true patriotism.

If [said Adams, in his first annual message to the Congress of the United
States,] the powers enumerated may be effectually brought into action by
laws promoting the improvement of agriculture, commerce and manufactures,
the cultivation and encouragement of the mechanic arts, and of the elegant
arts, the advancement of literature, and the progress of the sciences,
ornamental and profound, to refrain from exercising them for the benefit
of the people would be to hide in the earth the talent committed to our
charge, would be treachery to the most sacred of trusts. The spirit of
improvement is abroad upon the earth. It stimulates the hearts, and
sharpens the faculties, not of our fellow-citizens alone, but of the
nations of Europe, and of their rulers. While dwelling with pleasing
satisfaction upon the superior excellence of our political institutions,
let us not be unmindful that liberty is power, that the nation blessed
with the largest portion of liberty, must in proportion to its numbers be
the most powerful nation upon earth, and that the tenure of power by man
is, in the moral purposes of his Creator, upon condition that it shall be
exercised to ends of beneficence, to improve the condition of himself, and
his fellow men. While foreign nations, less blessed with that freedom
which is power than ourselves, are advancing with gigantic strides in the
career of public improvement, were we to slumber in indolence, or fold our
arms and proclaim to the world that we are palsied by the will of our
constituents, would it not be to cast away the bounties of Providence and
doom ourselves to perpetual inferiority? In the course of the year now
drawing to its close, we have beheld, under the auspices, and at the
expense of one State of this Union, a new university unfolding its portals
to the sons of science, and holding up the torch of human improvement to
eyes that seek the light.[Footnote: The University of Virginia.] We have
seen, under the persevering and enlightened enterprise of another State,
the waters of our Western lakes mingle with those of the ocean. If
undertakings like these have been accomplished in the compass of a few
years, by the authority of single members of our confederacy, can we, the
representative authorities of the whole Union, fall behind our fellow
servants in the exercise of the trust committed to us for the benefit of
our common sovereign, by the accomplishment of works important to the
whole and to which neither the authority nor the resources of anyone State
can be adequate?

The disastrous career of many of the States, and the absolute inaction of
others, since the responsibilities of internal improvement have been cast
off by the federal authorities, and developed upon the States, without
other sources of revenue than direct taxation, and with no other motives
to stimulate them than their own local interests, are a fitting commentary
on the error of that departure from the policy of John Quincy Adams. If
other comment were necessary, it would be found in the fact that States
have revised and amended their constitutions, so as to abridge the power
of their Legislatures to prosecute the beneficent enterprises which the
Federal Government has devolved upon them. The Smithsonian Institute, at
the seat of Government, founded by the liberality of a cosmopolite, is
that same university so earnestly recommended by Adams for the increase
and diffusion of knowledge among men. The exploration of the globe, for
purposes of geographical and political knowledge, which has so recently
been made under the authority of the Union, and with such noble results,
was an enterprize conceived and suggested by the same statesman. The
National Observatory at the capital, which is piercing the regions nearest
to the throne of the eternal Author of the universe, is an emanation of
the same comprehensive wisdom.

Such was the administration of John Quincy Adams. Surely it exhibits
enough done for duty and for fame--if the ancient philosopher said truly,
that the duty of a statesman was to make the citizens happy, to make them
firm in power, rich in wealth, splendid in glory, and eminent in virtue,
and that such achievements were the greatest and best of all works among

But the measure of duty was not yet fulfilled. The Republic thought it no
longer had need of the services of Adams, and he bowed to its command. Two
years elapsed, and lo! the priest was seen again beside the deserted
altar, and a brighter, purer, and more lasting flame arose out of the
extinguished embers.

  "He looked in years. But in his years were seen
   A youthful vigor, an autumnal green."

The Republic had been extended and consolidated; but human slavery, which
had been incorporated in it, was extended and consolidated also, and was
spreading, so as to impair the strength of the great fabric on which the
hopes of the nations were suspended. Slavery therefore must be restrained,
and, without violence or injustice, must be abolished. The difficult task
of removing it had been postponed by the statesmen of the Revolution, and
had been delayed and forgotten by their successors. There were now
resolute hearts and willing hands to undertake it, but who was strong
enough, and bold enough to lead? Who had patience to bear with enthusiasm
that overleaped its mark, and with intolerance that defeated its own
generous purposes? Slaveholders had power, nay, the national power; and
strange to say, they had it with the nation's consent and sympathy. Who
was bold enough to provoke them, and bring the execration of the nation
down upon his own head? Who would do this, when even abolitionists
themselves, rendered implacable by the manifestation of those sentiments
of justice and moderation, without which the most humane cause, depending
on a change of public opinion, cannot be conducted safely to a prosperous
end, were ready to betray their own champion into the hands of the
avenger? That leader was found in the person of John Quincy Adams. He took
his seat in the House of Representatives in 1831, without assumption or
ostentation. Abolitionists placed in his hand petitions for the
suppression of slavery in the District of Columbia, the seat of the
federal authorities. He offered them to the House of Representatives, and
they were rejected with contumely and scorn. Suddenly the alarm went
forth, that the aged and venerable servant was retaliating upon his
country by instigating a servile war, that such a war must be avoided,
eyen at the cost of sacrificing the freedom of petition and the freedom of
debate, and that if the free States would not consent to make that
sacrifice, then the Union should be dissolved. This alarm had its desired
effect. The House of Representatives, in 1837, adopted a rule of
discipline, equivalent to an act, ordaining that no petition relating to
slavery, nearly or remotely, should be read, debated or considered. The
Senate adopted a like edict. The State authorities approved. Slavery was
not less strongly entrenched behind the bulwark of precedents in the
courts of law than in the fixed habits of thought and action among the
people. The people even in the free States denounced the discussion of
slavery, and suppressed it by unlawful force. John Quincy Adams stood
unmoved amid the storm. He knew that the only danger incident to political
reform, was the danger of delaying it too long. The French Revolution had
made this an axiom of political science. If, indeed, the discussion of
slavery was so hazardous as was pretended, it had been deferred too long
already. The advocates of slavery had committed a fatal error. They had
abolished freedom of speech and freedom of petition to save an obnoxious
institution. As soon as the panic should subside, the people would demand
the restoration of those precious rights, and would scrutinize with
fearless fidelity the cause for which they had been suppressed. He offered
petition after petition, each bolder and more importunate than the last.
He debated questions, kindred to those which were forbidden, with the
firmness and fervor of his noble nature. For age

  Had not quenched the open truth
  And fiery vehemence of youth.

Soon he gained upon his adversaries. District after district sent
champions to his side. States reconsidered, and resolved in his behalf. He
saw the tide was turning, and then struck one bold blow, not now for
freedom of petition and debate, but a stroke of bold and retaliating
warfare. He offered a resolution declaring that the following amendments
of the constitution of the United States be submitted to the people of the
several States for their adoption:

From and after the fourth day of July, 1842, there shall be, throughout
the United States, NO HEREDITARY SLAVERY, but on and after that day every
child born within the United States shall be FREE.

With the exception of the Territory of Florida, there shall, henceforth,
never be admitted into this Union, any STATE the constitution of which
shall tolerate within the same the existence of SLAVERY.

In 1845, the obnoxious rule of the House of Representatives was rescinded.
The freedom of debate and petition was restored, and the unrestrained and
irrepressible discussion of slavery by the press and political parties
began. For the rest, the work of emancipation abides the action, whether
it be slow or fast, of the moral sense of the American people. It depends
not on the zeal and firmness only of the reformers, but on their wisdom
and moderation also. Stoicism, that had no charity for error, never
converted any human society to virtue; Christianity, that remembers the
true nature of man, has encompassed a large portion of the globe. How long
emancipation may be delayed, is among the things concealed from our
knowledge, but not so the certain result. The perils of the enterprize
are already passed--its difficulties have already been removed--when it
shall have been accomplished it will be justly regarded as the last noble
effort which rendered the Republic imperishable.

Then the merit of the great achievement will be awarded to John Quincy
Adams; and by none more gratefully than by the communities on whom the
institution of slavery has brought the calamity of premature and
consumptive decline, in the midst of free, vigorous, and expanding States.

If this great transaction could be surpassed in dramatic sublimity, it was
surpassed when the same impassioned advocate of humanity appeared, at the
age of seventy-four, with all the glorious associations that now clustered
upon him, at the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, and
pleaded, without solicitation or reward, the cause of Cinque and thirty
other Africans, who had been stolen by a Spanish slaver from their native
coast, had slain the master and crew of the pirate vessel, floated into
the waters of the United States, and there been claimed by the President,
in behalf of the authorities of Spain. He pleaded this great cause with
such happy effect, that the captives were set at liberty. Conveyed by the
charity of the humane to their native shores, they bore the pleasing
intelligence to Africa, that justice was at last claiming its way among
civilized and Christian men!

The recital of heroic actions loses its chief value, if we cannot discover
the principles in which they were born. The text of John Quincy Adams,
from which he deduced the duties of citizens, and of the republic, was the
address of the Continental Congress to the people of the United States, on
the occasion of the successful close of the American Revolution. He dwelt
often and emphatically on the words:

Let it be remembered, that it has ever been the pride and the boast of
America, that the rights for which she contended were the rights of human
nature. By the blessing of the Author of those rights, they have prevailed
over all opposition, and form the basis of thirteen independent States. No
instance has heretofore occurred, nor can any instance be expected
hereafter to occur, in which the unadulterated forms of republican
government can pretend to so fair an opportunity of justifying themselves
by their fruits. In this view, the citizens of the United States are
responsible for the greatest trust ever confided to a political society.
If JUSTICE, GOOD FAITH, HONOR, GRATITUDE, and all the other qualities
which ennoble the character of a nation and fulfil the ends of government,
be the fruits of our establishments, the cause of liberty will acquire a
dignity and lustre which it has never yet enjoyed, and an example will be
set which cannot but have the most favorable influence on mankind. If, on
the other side, our Governments should be unfortunately blotted with the
reverse of these cardinal virtues, the great cause which we have engaged
to vindicate will be dishonored and betrayed; the last and fairest
experiment in favor of the rights of human nature will be turned against
them, and their patrons and friends exposed to the insults, and silenced
by the votaries of tyranny and usurpation.

Senators and Representatives of the People of the State of New York: I had
turned my steps away from your honored halls, long since, as I thought
forever. I come back to them by your command, to fulfil a higher duty and
more honorable service than ever before devolved upon me. I repay your
generous confidence, by offering to you this exposition of the duties of
the magistrate and of the citizen. It is the same which John Quincy Adams
gave to the Congress of the United States, in his oration on the death of
James Madison. It is the key to his own exalted character, and it enables
us to measure the benefits he conferred upon his country. If then you ask
what motive enabled him to rise above parties, sects, combinations,
prejudices, passions, and seductions, I answer that he served his country,
not alone, or chiefly because that country was his own, but because he
knew her duties and her destiny, and knew her cause was the cause of human

If you inquire why he was so rigorous in virtue as to be often thought
austere, I answer it was because human nature required the exercise of
justice, honor, and gratitude, by all who were clothed with authority to
act in the name of the American people. If you ask why he seemed,
sometimes, with apparent inconsistency, to lend his charities to the
distant and the future rather than to his own kindred and times, I reply,
it was because he held that the tenure of human power is on condition of
its being beneficently exercised for the common welfare of the human race.
Such men are of no country. They belong to mankind. If we cannot rise to
this height of virtue, we cannot hope to comprehend the character of John
Quincy Adams, or understand the homage paid by the American people to his

Need it be said that John Quincy Adams studied justice, honor and
gratitude, not by the false standards of the age, but by their own true
nature?  He generalized truth, and traced it always to its source, the
bosom of God. Thus in his defence of the Amistad captives he began with
defining justice in the language of Justinian, "Constans et perpetua
voluntas jus SUUM cuique tribuendi." He quoted on the same occasion from
the Declaration of Independence, not by way of rhetorical embellishment,
and not even as a valid human ordinance, but as a truth of nature, of
universal application, the memorable words, "We hold these truths to be
self-evident, that all men are created equal, and that they are endowed by
their Creator with certain inalienable rights, and that among these rights
are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." In his vindication of
the right of debate, he declared that the principle that religious
opinions were altogether beyond the sphere of legislative control, was but
one modification of a more extensive axiom, which included the unbounded
freedom of the press, and of speech, and of the communication of thought
in all its forms. He rested the inviolability of the right of petition,
not on constitutions, or charters, which might be glossed, abrogated or
expunged, but in the inherent right of every animate creature to pray to
its superior.

The model by which he formed his character was Cicero. Not the living
Cicero, sometimes inconsistent; often irresolute; too often seeming to act
a studied part; and always covetous of applause. But Cicero, as he aimed
to be, and as he appears revealed in those immortal emanations of his
genius which have been the delight and guide of intellect and virtue in
every succeeding age. Like the Roman, Adams was an orator, but he did not
fall into the error of the Roman, in practically valuing eloquence more
than the beneficence to which it should be devoted. Like him he was a
statesman and magistrate worthy to be called "The second founder of the
Republic,"--like him a teacher of didactic philosophy, of morals, and even
of his own peculiar art; and like him he made all liberal learning
tributary to that noble art, while poetry was the inseparable companion of
his genius in its hours of relaxation from the labors of the forum and of
the capitol.

Like him he loved only the society of good men, and by his generous praise
of such, illustrated the Roman's beautiful aphorism, that no one can be
envious of good deeds, who has confidence in his own virtue. Like Cicero
he kept himself unstained by social or domestic vices; preserved serenity
and cheerfulness; cherished habitual reverence for the Deity, and dwelt
continually, not on the mystic theology of the schools, but on the hopes
of a better life. He lived in what will be regarded as the virtuous age of
his country, while Cicero was surrounded by an overwhelming degeneracy. He
had the light of Christianity for his guide; and its sublime motives as
incitements to virtue: while Cicero had only the confused instructions of
the Grecian schools, and saw nothing certainly attainable but present
applause and future fame. In moral courage, therefore, he excelled his
model and rivalled Cato. But Cato was a visionary, who insisted upon
his right to act always without reference to the condition of mankind, as
he should have acted in Plato's imaginary Republic. Adams stood in this
respect midway between the impracticable stoic and the too flexible
academician. He had no occasion to say, as the Grecian orator did, that if
he had sometimes acted contrary to himself, he had never acted contrary to
the Republic; but he might justly have said, as the noble Roman did, "I
have rendered to my country all the great services which she was willing
to receive at my hands, and I have never harbored a thought concerning her
that was not divine."

More fortunate than Cicero, who fell a victim of civil wars which he could
not avert, Adams was permitted to linger on the earth, until the
generations of that future age, for whom he had lived and to whom he had
appealed from the condemnation of contemporaries, came up before the
curtain which had shut out his sight, and pronounced over him, as he was
sinking into the grave, their judgment of approval and benediction.

The distinguished characteristics of his life were BENEFICENT LABOR and
PERSONAL CONTENTMENT. He never sought wealth, but devoted himself to the
service of mankind. Yet, by the practice of frugality and method, he
secured the enjoyment of dealing forth continually no stinted charities,
and died in affluence. He never solicited place or preferment, and had no
partizan combinations or even connections; yet he received honors which
eluded the covetous grasp of those who formed parties, rewarded friends
and proscribed enemies; and he filled a longer period of varied and
distinguished service than ever fell to the lot of any other citizen. In
every stage of this progress he was CONTENT. He was content to be
president, minister, representative, or citizen.

Stricken in the midst of this service, in the very act of rising to
debate, he fell into the arms of conscript fathers of the Republic. A long
lethargy supervened and oppressed his senses. Nature rallied the wasting
powers, on the verge of the grave, for a very brief period. But it was
long enough for him. The rekindled eye showed that the re-collected mind
was clear, calm, and vigorous. His weeping family, and his sorrowing
compeers were there. He surveyed the scene and knew at once its fatal
import. He had left no duty unperformed; he had no wish unsatisfied; no
ambition unattained; no regret, no sorrow, no fear, no remorse. He could
not shake off the dews of death that gathered on his brow. He could not
pierce the thick shades that rose up before him. But he knew that eternity
lay close by the shores of time. He knew that his Redeemer lived.
Eloquence, even in that hour, inspired him with his ancient sublimity of
utterance. "THIS," said the dying man. "THIS IS THE END OF EARTH." He
paused for a moment, and then added, "I AM CONTENT." Angels might well
draw aside the curtains of the skies to look down on such a scene--a scene
that approximated even to that scene of unapproachable sublimity, not to
be recalled without reverence, when, in mortal agony, ONE who spake as
never man spake, said, "IT IS FINISHED!"

Only two years after the birth of John Quincy Adams, there appeared on an
island in the Mediterranean sea, a human spirit newly born, endowed with
equal genius, without the regulating qualities of justice and benevolence
which Adams possessed in an eminent degree. A like career opened to
both--born like Adams, a subject of a king--the child of more genial
skies, like him, became in early life a patriot and a citizen of a new and
great Republic. Like Adams he lent his service to the State in precocious
youth, and in its hour of need, and won its confidence. But unlike Adams
he could not wait the dull delays of slow and laborious, but sure
advancement. He sought power by the hasty road that leads through fields
of carnage, and he became, like Adams, a supreme magistrate, a Consul. But
there were other Consuls. He was not content. He thrust them aside, and
was Consul alone. Consular power was too short. He fought new battles, and
was Consul for life. But power, confessedly derived from the people, must
be exercised in obedience to their will, and must be resigned to them
again, at least in death. He was not content. He desolated Europe afresh,
subverted the Republic, imprisoned the patriarch who presided over Rome's
comprehensive See, and obliged him to pour on his head the sacred oil that
made the persons of kings divine, and their right to reign indefeasible.
He was an Emperor. But he saw around him a mother, brothers and sisters,
not ennobled; whose humble state reminded him, and the world, that he was
born a plebeian; and he had no heir to wait impatient for the imperial
crown. He scourged the earth again, and again fortune smiled on him even
in his wild extravagance. He bestowed kingdoms and principalities upon his
kindred--put away the devoted wife of his youthful days, and another, a
daughter of Hapsburgh's imperial house, joyfully accepted his proud
alliance. Offspring gladdened his anxious sight; a diadem was placed on
its infant brow, and it received the homage of princes, even in its
cradle. Now he was indeed a monarch--a legitimate monarch--a monarch by
divine appointment--the first of an endless succession of monarchs. But
there were other monarchs who held sway in the earth. He was not content.
He would reign with his kindred alone. He gathered new and greater
armies--from his own land--from subjugated lands. He called forth the
young and brave--one from every household--from the Pyrenees to Zuyder
Zee--from Jura to the ocean. He marshalled them into long and majestic
columns, and went forth to seize that universal dominion, which seemed
almost within his grasp. But ambition had tempted fortune too far. The
nations of the earth resisted, repelled, pursued, surrounded him. The
pageant was ended. The crown fell from his presumptuous head.  The wife
who had wedded him in his pride, forsook him when the hour of fear came
upon him. His child was ravished from his sight. His kinsmen were degraded
to their first estate, and he was no longer Emperor, nor Consul, nor
General, nor even a citizen, but an exile and a prisoner, on a lonely
island, in the midst of the wild Atlantic. Discontent attended him there.
The wayward man fretted out a few long years of his yet unbroken manhood,
looking off at the earliest dawn and in evening's latest twilight, towards
that distant world that had only just eluded his grasp. His heart
corroded. Death came, not unlooked for, though it came even then
unwelcome. He was stretched on his bed within the fort which constituted
his prison. A few fast and faithful friends stood around, with the guards
who rejoiced that the hour of relief from long and wearisome watching was
at hand. As his strength wasted away, delirium stirred up the brain from
its long and inglorious inactivity. The pageant of ambition returned. He
was again a Lieutenant, a General, a Consul, an Emperor of France. He
filled again the throne of Charlemagne. His kindred pressed around him
again, re-invested with the pompous pageantry of royalty. The daughter of
the long line of kings again stood proudly by his side, and the sunny face
of his child shone out from beneath the diadem that encircled its flowing
locks. The marshals of the Empire awaited his command. The legions of the
old guard were in the field, their scarred faces rejuvenated, and their
ranks, thinned in many battles, replenished, Russia, Prussia, Austria,
Denmark and England, gathered their mighty hosts to give him battle. Once
more he mounted his impatient charger, and rushed forth to conquest. He
waved his sword aloft, and cried "TETE D'ARMEE." The feverish vision
broke--the mockery was ended. The silver cord was loosed, and the warrior
fell back upon his bed a lifeless corpse. THIS WAS THE END OF EARTH. THE

STATESMEN AND CITIZENS! the contrast suggests its own impressive moral.


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