Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

eral Washington. I honour him for his goodAnd accordingly, he set out a week qualities, but in this house I feel myself his su- after the date of his letter, and arrived in derior. In private life I shall always acknow- America in the summer of 1779. But ledge him to be mine.'-- vol. ii., pp. 15, 16.

whether it was that he had done the noAnd all this the editor winds up by say- thing he had to do in Europe so much to ing, with admirable naiveté, that if Wash- the satisfaction of the Congress-or was ington had, like ordinary inilitary heroes, likely to do something in America so little attempted the liberties of his country, Mr. to their satisfaction, we cannot tell; but Adams's suspicions of the general wonld he was in about three months (29th Sephave earned him a high reputation ! tember) re-appointed to the European

The merits and services of Washington mission with, as we are told in the biograsoon subdued all petty cavils; and Adams phy, a higher rank, and more important learned, no doubt, to regard him with pro object-namely, as minister plenipotentiper reverence : but he never

seems to ary, to negotiate a peace, and with auspeay of him with that entire frankness thority also to make a commercial treaty and cordiality which might have been ex- with Great Britain. But these powers pected.

seem to have been illusory : the first does It seems strange, after the editor's pro not appear to have had any immediate fessions that his publication is a full and consequences; and the latter was certain. candid one, that we find no allusion to one ly revoked. He arrived in France early of the most important-to his wife the very in 1780, but seems to have been again most interesting-event of Mr. Adams's treated with as little kindness, or even career, namely-his removal from Con-notice, by his masters' as he had been gress and the chairmanship of the Board before. He writes on the 7th June,-of War, by a mission to Europe, where

“I have no remittances, nor anything to de. he found nothing to do, and during which pend on : not a line from Congress or any memhe was treated with great neglect and ber since I left you (seven months before’:)-, discourtesy from home. We cannot help vol. ii., p. 51. connecting this resolve of Congress,

Is it not clear that the main object of which, we learn aliundè, took place on this mission could only be to get rid of the 28th of November, with the peculiar him? However, about September, he resentiments expressed by Mr. Adams in ceived-.-or, if we were to trust the biothe preceding month about the Commander-in-chief. Are we not justified by this mission to Holland, where he resided a

graphy, undertook on his responsibility-a remarkable instance in expressing our

year

and a half, almost, it seems, as a priwonder how little these letters add to Mr. Adams's biography ?

vate person, principally engaged in negoHe remained about a year in France, tiating loans with individual capitalists to accompanied by his eldest son—the now but about April

, 1782, he was received in

meet the pressing wants of the Congress ; venerable John Quincy Adams, then ele

a public character, and in the five followven years old; but his letters are written with more than his usual caution—now heard from his masters'---he negotiated,

ing months--during which he had not really necessary from the risk of capture; and at length concluded a treaty with the He complains grievously, and, as it would Dutch Government: but the value of his seem, justly, of the neglect he experienc services was still so scantily acknowledg. ed from the government at home; and ed, that on his return to Paris, on the at last seems to have returned to Ameri- 4th December, 1782, he wrote to Congress ca without recall or even permission :

a resignation of all his employments, and Passy, 27th February, 1779.- The situation solicited leave for his immediate return 10 in which my masters have left me puzzles me America. Of this no notice was taken; very much. They have said nothing to me. and he at last made up his mind to return But one set of gentlemen write that I am to go home with or without leave, unless he should to Spain, another to Holland, a third to Vienna; but, upon the whole, I believe they don't intend receive a commission to the court of St. to send me to either, but leave me to stay here James's : but that he thought unlikely, in a ridiculous situation, or return home, if I forget there. I shall return unless I should receive before the time arrives for the vessel to 'The same influence, French influence 1 sail, orders which I can execute with honour, mean, hich induced Congress to revoke my and with a prospect of rendering some service commission, will still continue to prevent the to the public. But of these two last points 1 revival of it. And I think it likely, too, that will judge for myself.'—vol. ii., p. 53.

English influence will now be added to French,

can

for I don't believe that George wishes to see my tude or decency refuse.'-vol. ii., pp. 99, 101, face. In this case I shall enjoy the satisfaction 102. of coming wbere I wish mosi to be, with all my children, living in simplicity, innocence, and re Of this mission, or of his subsequent pose.'- vol. ii., p. 92.

residence in London as minister, these

Letters give no account whatsoever--as We notice particularly this flippant al. Mrs. Adams.--to whom all those letters lusion to George,' as a pregnant indica- are addressed---soon joined him and retion of the predisposition with which Mr, mained with him in Europe till his final Adams would visit the English eourt, and

return. We have therefore nothing to of the temper in which he was likely to add to what we said in our former article regard the King.

concerning this period. After an absence His employment at Paris during the of nine years he landed at Boston on the spring of 1783, in the most important and 17th June, 1788, and Congress honoured honourable office of negotiating the def- him with a resolution of Thanks for his nitive treaty of peace, does not seem to able and faithful discharge of various imhave assuaged his ill humour, nor induced

portant commissions.' him to recall his resignation :-

We have many reasons for thinking

that these thanks appeared both to Mr. Paris, May 30, 1783.--Here I am out of all and Mrs. Adams parsimonious, if not inpatience. Not a word from America. The

vidious: but he soon received a more genBritish ministry lingering on. Mr. Hartley uncertain what to do. No regulation of com- eral and cordial testimony of approbation. merce agreed on : no definitive treaty of peace

On the first election for chief magissigned, or likely to be signed very soon. trates under the new constitution, Marcb, My spring passage home lost. The total idle- 1789, Washington was elected President ness, the perpetual uncertainty we are in, is the and Adams Vice-President; and they were most insipid, and at the same time disgusting both re-elected in 1793. and provoking, situation imaginable. I had rather be employed in carting street-dust and

We have already said that during his marsh-mud.'---Vol. ii., p. 93.

first vice-presidency there are but a couple

of insignificant letters; and it does not And again,

appear that there was any great concert *We advance slowly to the definitive treaty. I or confidence between Washington and can now have no hopes of seeing you before late Adams; and Adams, towards the close of in the fall. If the acceptance of my resignation that period, writes with something of a arrives, as I expect, and we finish the peace as

tone of disappointed ambition :-soon as I can reasonably hope, I shall not now be able to embark before October. If you and your danger threatens I grow calm. I am very ap

• I know not how it is, but in proportion as daughter were with me, I could keep up my prehensive that a desperate anti-federal pariy spirits; but, idly and insipidly as I pass my time, will provoke all Europe by their insolence. But I am weary, worn, and disgusted to death. Í had rather chop wood, dig ditches, and make my country has, in its wisdom, contrived for me

the most insignificant office that ever the invenfences upon my poor little farm.?-vol. ii., pp. tion of man contrived, or his imagination con94, 95.

ceived ; and as I can do neither good nor evil, I At length, however, a mission to Eng- must be borne away by others, and meet the land repairs all :

common fate.'—vol. ii., p. 133. 'Paris, Sept. 7, 1783.--- This moming, for the But the violence of this anti-federalist first time, was delivered me the resolution of party, and the atrocity of the French Rev. Congress the 1st of May, that a commission olution at home, and its audacious insoand instructions should be made out to me, Dr. lence to foreign powers, drew WashingFranklin, and Mr. Jay, to make a treaty of commerce with Great Britain. If this intelligence ton and Adams into more intimate interhad been sent us by Barney, who sailed from course. The following are the strongest Philadelphia a month after the 1st of May, it indications of this friendly feeling that we would have saved me and others much anxiety. can find :

This resolution of Congress deserves my gratitude. It is highly honourable to me, and Philadelphia, Jan. 9, 1794.---Nearly one-half restores me my feelings, which a former pro- the country is in constant opposition to the othceeding had taken away. I am now perfectly er, and the President's situation, which is highcontent to be recalled whenever they think fit, or ly responsible, is very distressing. He made to stay in Europe until this business is finished, me a very friendly visit yesterday, which I reprovided you will come and live with me. turned to-day, and had iwo hours' conversation You don't probably know the circumstances with him alone in his cabinet. The conversawhich attend this proceeding of Congress. They tion, which was extremely interesting, and equalare so honourable to me, that I cannot in grati- | ly affectionate, I cannot explain even by a hint.

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

But his earnest desire to do right, and his close all intercourse with Great Britain. On application to discover it, his deliberate and this the senate was equally divided; but comprehensive view of our affairs with all the Mr. Adams, who deprecated the political world, appeared in a very amiable and respect- result and was indignant at the secret mo. able light. The anti-federalists and the Frenchified zealots have nothing now to do that I can

tive, negatived it, and, by this great ser. conceive of, but to ruin his character, destroy vice to justice as well as to the best interhis peace, and injure his health. He supports ests of his country, proved that his office all their attacks with great firmness; and his was not so entirely unimportant as in health appears to be very good. The Jacobins quieter circumstances it had appeared to would make a sortie upon him, in all the force him. they could muster, if they dared.'-vol. ii., p.

As Washington's second presidency was 137.

wearing out, politicians began to calcuAnd again--

late whether he would retire or go on for

a third term. There has been, since that Yesterday I dined at the President's, with time, an understanding-though there is ministers of state and their ladies, foreign and no positive rule-that the president shall domestic. After dinner the gentlemen drew off not be elected a third time; and there after the ladies, and left me alone with the Pre- has been no such instance : but at this pesident in close conversation. He detained me riod there was a pretty general opinion there till nine o'clock, and was never more frank and open upon politics. I find his opinions and that General Washington might go on, and sentiments are more exactly like mine than I ever even Mr. Adams himself, when looking knew before, respecting England, France, and forward to the presidency, intimated, with our American parties.'-vol. ii., p. 214. a parade of humility that makes us smile,

that he would by no means be persuaded Yet at the time of this first confidential to accept a third election. Washington interchange of opinions on these great kept his intentions very secret, and had questions, Washington and Adams had probably not made up his own mind till been seven years colleagues in the offices about the commencement of his last year. of President and Vice-President. We But if he ever contemplated another tour of really do not wonder that he should have service, the virulence and ingratitude of felt some little dissatisfaction as to the the French faction tired out his equaniminsignificance of his position; but we must ity, and determined him to retire. Durdo him the justice to say that no such feel. ing this period of doubt, we find Mr. Ading was visible in his conduct. He acted ams naturally but sometimes almost comhonestly, and, as far as he could, zealous- ically anxious about his chance of the ly, in support of Washington's adminis- great prize--though even to the wife of tration against the political agitation his bosom he atteinpts to keep up a show which the democrats and partisans of the of philosophical and republican indifferFrench were directing against the govern- ence; which, however, was really no ment; and, the senate being almost equal- more than a hedge-to borrow a metaly balanced, his casting voice decided phor from another species of competition some very important questions-one in —to console him in the event of failure. particular, on which he dwells with much He relied, it appears, strongly on the right earnestness, and which, even now, ought of succession, as if John I. ought necessa. not to be forgotten. The main object of rily to succeed George I., and he calls the French party was to force Ameri- himself with a semi-serious pleasantry the ca into hostilities with England, and the heir-apparent.' Elected, however, he was accidental collision at sea between the by the good sense of his country, for he British cruisers and American commerce was undoubtedly, if not a cleverer, at least afforded the most plausible and popular an honester and safer politician, as well pretences for a rupture-but these were as a more respectable private man,

than with the most influential persons only pre- his strongest antagonist

, Mr. Jefferson. tences : the real state of the case was that the short foot-notes in which the editor -to Mr. Adams's great and just indig- announces this and the former elections nation—these persons were deeply indebt- as vice-president, do not inform us of the ed to English correspondents, and were majority by which he was chosen, nor pushing on hostilities as a short mode to who were his competitors-nor, strange cancel their liabilities and defraud their to say, could it be anywhere discovered, creditors. One of the most formidable either from note or text, that during his of these attempts was Mr. Clarke's resolu- presidency Mr. Jefferson was vice-Presition, in the summer of 1794, to prohibit dent. Our readers will judge of the his.

[ocr errors][ocr errors]

torical value of a correspondence which dent very sensibly in his tenderest point-
does not even allude to so considerable a he cannot tell
circumstance.

The account of his inauguration—at whether this weeping was from joy or grief,
which, it seen no part of his own family

whether from the loss of their beloved President, was present—is curious and interesting Everybody talks of the tears, the full eyes, the

or from the accession of an unbeloved one. in many points, but above all for the slight trickling eyes, &c., but all is enigma to me. but striking sketch of his great predeces. No one descends into particulars to say why or sor in this his last, and, we think, greatest wherefore—I am therefore left to suppose that public appearance :--

it is all grief for the loss of their beloved !'

vol. ii., p. 247.
Philadelphia, 5th March, 1797.
* My dearest Friend, -Your dearest friend

What !-John Adams could not under.
never had a more trying day than yesterday. A stand the emotions of a grateful people,
solemn scene it was indeed, and'it was made a people created by Washington's genius
more affecting to me by the presence of the and virtue-on seeing the beloved father
General, whose countenance was as serene and of his country descending into, as it were,
unclouded as the day. He seemed to me to en- | the tomb of retirement ! and could fancy
joy a triumph over me. Methought I heard in it something of a personal slight to him-
him say, "Ay! I am fairly out and you fairly self!
in! See which of us will be happiest.” When
the ceremony was over, he came and made me

In the same spirit, though in a less offena visit, and cordially congratulated me, and sive form, he shows his appetite for perwished my administration might be happy, sonal applause, and something like mortisuccessful, and honourable.

fication that his accession did not make • It is now settled that I am to go into his more noise:house. It is whispered that he intends to take French leave to-morrow. I shall write you as And now, sa fortnight after the inaugurafast as we proceed. My chariot is finished, and iion,] the world is as silent as the grave. All I made my first appearance in it yesterday. It the federalists seem to be afraid to approve is simple, but elegant enough. My horses are anybody but Washington. The Jacobin papers young, but clever.

damn with faint praise, and undermine with • In the chamber of the House of Representa- misrepresentation and insinuation. If the fedlives was a multitude as great as the space eralisis go to playing pranks, I will resign the could contain, and I believe scarcely a dry eye office, and let Jefferson lead them to peace, --but Washington's. The sight of the sun, seto wealth and power if he will.'--vol. ii., p. 252. ting full orbed, and another rising, though less splendid, was a novelty. Chief Justice Ellsworth administered the oath, and with great be quoted) certainly prove that Governor

These traits (and many others could energy. Judges Cushing, Wilson, and Iredell Hutchinson's early appreciation of his chawere present. Many ladies. I had not slept well the night before, and did not sleep well racter was strikingly just ; and we cease to the night after. I was unwell, and did not wonder at Mrs. Adams's wish that so know whether I should get through or not. accurate a painter were hanged. Il n'y I did, however. How the business was receiv- a que la vérité qui blesse. They also tend ed I know not, only I have been told that Ma- to corroborate the suspicion that the son, the treaty publisher, said we should lose nothing by the change, for he never heard such peculiar sourness with which he always

alludes to his diplomatic reception in a speech in public in his life.

All agree that, taken altogether, it was the London may have had its origin in some sublimest thing ever exhibited in America. I trivial or perhaps groundless personal am, my dearest friend, most affectionately and jealousy. We say trivial or groundless,

JOHN ADAMS.' because we think that if it had been other.
Vol. ii, p. 244.

wise it would have been by this time
But neither the sedative influence of avowed.
age, nor his late intercourse with Washing But bating these weaknesses-for the
ton, nor this great personal elevation, exhibition, if intentional, of which we are
could altogether cure the innate feeling bound to acknowledge the candour of the
which he himself-in confidence to his editor- Mr. Adams won his eminent
lady, and probably in the hope of being station honourably, and filled it respecta-
contradicted by his affectionate partner, bly in talent and honestly in principle. As
calls his “egotism and vanity.' It appears Mrs. Adams soon joined him at the seat
that other reporters of the inauguration of Government, the letters during his
scene just described had dwelt more large- Presidency are few and unimportant,
ly on the abundant tears shed by the spec- which we the more regret, because the
tators – this report touches the new presi- | details of Mr. Adams's administration are

[ocr errors]

kindly yours,

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]

but imperfectly known, and are skipped over firing of cannon, and when asked if he as it were by the biographer: we know, knew what day it was, replied — Oh, yes, indeed, generally, that he inherited from the glorious 4th of July! In the fore. Washington the enmity of the French noon he was visited by the orator of the party, and at last found himself forced, as day, the minister of the parish, who found we think, into hostilities with France ; him seated in an arm-chair, and asked him from which he had little prospect of re- for a sentiment to be given at the public treating with honour, or of advancing with table. I will give you,' said the patriarch, much hope of ultimate success; but, fortu- Independence for ever!' Towards the nately, the profligate sway of the Direc- close of the day he exclaimed Jefferson tory was overthrown, and Buonaparte was survives !' but it was not so-for, strange too happy to relieve his new-born power to say, Jefferson had already died at one from the difficulties and unpopularity of a o'clock of that same day on which Mr. war with America.

Adams expired at six in the evening : and We believe that Mr. Adams's conduct by a still more wonderful coincidence in all this affair was not only justifiable another ex-President, Monroe, also died but laudable ; that indeed it was almost on the same anniversary, in 1830. inevitable ; and we regret that we have Mr. Adams was a warm professor of no record of his own personal feelings republican principles, but moderate and and views in that important crisis. It sober in their application : a friend of shook, however, his popularity so much, liberty, but not less the advocate of order that, instead of being pressed, as he once and discipline in the state ; and it will be dreamed, to a third presidency, he was happy for his country is his example and even refused a second : towards the close his precepts shall be so far remembered of 1800, Mr. Jefferson, the avowed cham- as to tend to moderate and control that pion of French principles and the head of spirit of unbounded democracy which has the French party, was elected in his room; been growing, we fear, in America, and though, in justice to Mr. Adams and his which we believe to be incompatible with country, we must add, by a majority of any permanent system of rational governonly one ; and on the 4th of March, 1801, ment. Mr. Adams retired into private life, not Mr. Adams expresses on many occa. unhonoured, though unaccompanied by sions his fears on this subject with an any of those higher emotions which he earnestness and sagacity that do him had envied to Washington !

honour; and, in spite of his little personal Indeed, in reply to a birthday address dissatisfaction against England, he was in 1802, the year after, he reverted with always ready to do ample justice to the bitterness to the treatment he had re. merits of our form of Government. ceived :

• The newspapers have represented my writ• Under the continual provocations breaking ings as having a monarchical tendency – an and pouring on me, from unexpected as well aristocratical tendency. In answer to these as expected quarters, during the two last years charges, I only wish to have them read. I of my administration, he must have been more have represented the British constitution as the of a modern epicurean philosopher than ever I most perfect model that has yet been discoverwas or ever will be, io have borne them all ed or invented by human genius and experience without some incautious expressions, at times, for the government of the great nations of Eu. of an unutterable indignation.'—Biog. tit. rope. It is a master-piece. It is the only

system that has preserved, or can preserve, the He, however, was generally and justly shadow, the colour, or the semblance of liberty respected in his retirement; and there can to the people, in any of the great nations of be no doubt that his name and fame con sented as the best for us, in our peculiar situa

Europe. Our own constitution I have repretributed to the subsequent election of his tion." - Letter of John Adams to S. Perley, June able and excellent son to the presidential 19, 1809. chair-in which he was destined like his father-and from much the same honour We agree with Mr. Adams that the able causes-to receive the affront, as it constitution of the United Svates was had become, of non-re-election.

perhaps the best that they could have Mr. Adams died in 1826, at the venera- adopted in their peculiar situation. The ble age of ninety-one--very remarkably-only question is whether it will be found on the anniversary of the declaration of so ivhen the 'peculiarity' of that situation Independence. On that morning he was shall have worn out. aroused by the ringing of bells and We have not the slightest desire that

« AnteriorContinuar »