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“ The day is past. The second day of July, 1776, will be the most memorable epocha in the history of America. I am apt to believe it will be celebrated by succeeding generations as the great anniversary festival. It ought to be commemorated as the day of deliverance by solemn acts of devotion to God Almighty. It ought to be solemnized with pomp and parade, with shows, games, sports, guns, bells, bonfires and illuminations, from one end of this continent to the other, from this time forward for ever more. You will 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 the declaration, and support and defend these states. Yet through all the gloom I can see the rays of ravishing light and glory. I can see that the end is more than worth all the means. And that posterity will triumph in this day's transaction, even though we should rue it, which I trust in God we shall not.” – Vol. i.,

p. 128.

And here, at this great incident of Mr. Adams's life, at this great event in the history of our country, having already passed our limits, we are compelled to pause almost abruptly, uncertain, too, whether we shall be able ever to recur to a subject which is so full of interest and historical value. We regret this the more, as, in our judgment, the latter part of Mr. Adams's public life is that which has been least understood and most misrepresented. Still, as a man of the Revolution we are content to consider him, and regret that we are prevented from passing in distinct review the remaining incidents even of his Revolutionary life. They would further illustrate the ardent, impulsive patriotism which was his characteristic — the sanguine confidence and unwavering faith in the predominance of the principles of civil liberty, for the assertion of which his youth and prime were thus devoted. We have traced, with the help of the revelations of these most interesting letters, his career, from its comparatively humble beginning, the law office of Jeremy Gridley in Worcester, to what we must regard as its culminating point, when, as the leader of an American senate, he laid the foundations of the Republic, and put upon a record, over which no black lines of party prejudice can ever be drawn, his memorable resolution which made us independent. For the services of John Adams during the Revolution, (to say nothing of those he rendered afterwards,) America cannot be too grateful. As a man of action he had no equal. He was the Marcellus of our councils — the master-spirit of his 1842.]

Inviolability of the Public Faith.

61

times. He was, we repeat, always in advance, always stimulating those whose perplexed vision made them pause. And who can now tell how much the cause of the Revolution owed to rash and dauntless spirits such as his ?

Mr. Adams remained in Congress till the winter of 1777, when he was appointed commissioner to the court of France in the place of Silas Deane. In February, 1778, he left his native shores in the frigate Boston, one of that little navy which he had been so instrumental in founding, accompanied only by his eldest son, John Quincy Adams, then a boy not quite eleven years

of age.

Of his diplomatic career at the different courts of Europe, whither he was successively despatched, we have not left ourselves room to speak. In the differences which occurred between the American envoys, as to the extent of our obligations and the conduct to be pursued towards the French court, Mr. Adams, as is well known, agreed with Mr. Jay. Our opinions on the merits of this controversy we have already elsewhere expressed. But in Mr. Adams's private correspondence there is no asperity, no harshness, no irritation. He differed from his colleague, but there was no want of confidence and regard. There was throughout mutual good-will and friendliness. We find in these letters an amiable confirmation of what we hinted at in our article on Jay, that Dr. Franklin was rather too much “ lionized" during his sojourn at Paris, and gave M. de Marbois as our authority for the Paris gossip. In a letter to his wife of the twenty-fifth of April, 1778, Mr. Adams says:

“ Tell Mrs. Warren that I shall write her a letter as she desired, and let her know some of my reflections in this country. My venerable colleague enjoys a privilege here that is much to be envied. Being seventy years of age, the ladies not only allow him to embrace them as often as he pleases, but they are perpetually embracing him. I told him yesterday I should write this to America.” – Vol. ii., p. 23.

On one cardinal point Mr. Adams was peculiarly sensitive, and we are tempted to refer to it at a moment like the present, when a blush must be burning on the cheek of every honest, true-hearted American, at the thought of what may be said of us when the current news of this day of partial dishonor shall have travelled across the Atlantic. We mean the inviolability of the public faith, as pledged by law, by treaty, by the national word of honor. He clung to that principle as to the rock of our salvation. And is it not enough io move the bones of the departed patriot in his honored grave, to realize that at this time of day, when our institutions are matured, there should be doubters of the public faith, doubters for pitiful dollars and cents, dishonest doubters that men should live upon this soil who are content to count the cost of national dishonor and who glory in the poor comfort of infamous insolvency, a refusal or an omission to pay a public debt? Let such men read and meditate on a single and concluding passage from a forgotten volume. It is from a letter written by John Adams to James Warren at the darkest period of the war, and to be found in Mr. Sparks's diplomatic correspondence. It is eminently characteristic. It is a text, too, which every American diplomatist abroad, and every American statesman at home, should learn by rote. It relates to the obligation of the French treaty, then supposed to be questioned, but it has an universal application.

Nothing has given me more joy than the universal disdain that is expressed, in public and private letters, at the idea of departing from the treaty and violating the public faith. This faith is our American glory, and it is our bulwark. It is the only foundation on which our Union can rest securely. It is the only support of our credit both in commerce and finance. It is our sole security for the assistance of foreign powers. The idea of infidelity cannot be treated with too much resentment or too much horror. The man who can think of it with patience is a traitor in his heart, and ought to be execrated as one who adds the deepest hypocrisy to the blackest treason. The longer I live in Europe, and the more sider our affairs, the more important our alliance with France appears to me. It is a rock on which we may safely build. Narrow and illiberal prejudices, peculiar to John Bull, with which I might perhaps in some degree have been infected when I was John Bull, have now no influence over me. I never was, however, much of John Bull. I was John Yankee, and as such I shall live and die."

Mr. Adams was the first envoy to Great Britain from the recognised United States — the first Vice-President of the United States, that honor implying, by the wisdom of the constitution as it then stood, that he was the second choice of the people — and the successor of Washington in the Presidency. The history of his administration has yet to be written, and when written, and fairly written, and the load of prejudice is once lifted up, it will appear, unless we are much mistaken, that Mr. Adams, as President, was more

I con

1842.]

Mr. Jefferson's Proscription.

63

sinned against than sinning. The perplexity of domestic politics embroiled by foreign sympathies and antipathies - a French party and an English party, was his lot. An illassorted, quarrelsome cabinet was his legacy. The steady hand of Washington no longer held the belm. The chief officers mutinied, and an irritable, but faithful master, could not quell the mutiny or save the ship. But of this rich theme we have not left ourselves room to speak.

Of but one matter connected with Mr. Adams's post-revolutionary career shall we say a word, and that merely because we are enabled to produce some new evidence, unknown to the accomplished editor of these volumes, and probably to the public, on a contested point. It is well known that, on the accession of Mr. Jefferson to the presidency in 1801, the friendly relations which had at one time existed between Mr. Adams and himself were entirely changed, and that for many years there was a complete and hostile estrangement. The ferocity of the attacks made on Mr. Adams by Mr. Jefferson's partisans before the election, laid the foundation for this state of.feeling. But still there was a lurking disinclination to consider Mr. Jefferson responsible for the violence of his heated or mercenary friends. That responsibility, however, on his accession he chose to assume. When Mr. Adams was elected President, though at that time party lines were strictly drawn and party excitement at its height, one of his earliest acts was to tender to some of his leading opponents high and honorable appointments. To Mr. Jefferson himself, in public and private, he manifested the greatest kindness, and to Mr. Madison and Mr. Gerry he made successive and repeated offers of marks of his highest confidence. Not so Mr. Jefferson ; for while honied words of moderation and magnanimity were falling from his lips, his hand was never wearied in the work of proscription for opinion's sake, and among the first persons summarily removed, was Mr. John Quincy Adams, Then commissioner of bankruptcy in Massachusetts. When, at a later period, a reconciliation was attempted, through the agency of Mrs. Adams, between Mr. Jefferson and her husband, and this act, of what she could not but consider wanton insult, was alluded to, Mr. Jefferson declared, with what sincerity those who understand his character and ordinary principles of action can best judge, that when he directed the removal he was not aware who the incumbent was. The editor of these volumes very justly remarks, that "perhaps

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the great majority of readers will think much less unfavorably of the deed itself than of the apology it was thought advisable to make for it.” What Mrs. Adams thought and said will be seen in her letters now first published, and which, in our judgment, are in most favorable contrast with the apologetic quibbles in answer to which they were written.

But Mrs. Adams did not know that, at the very time when Mr. Jefferson wantonly removed her son from the office which he held, an appeal had been made, and earnestly made, to Mr. Jefferson's magnanimity, in behalf of that son, and with a view to higher honors, by one who had greater reason to be hostile to the Adams family than Mr. Jefferson himself. Our readers will have seen that of no one had Mr. Adams the elder spoken with more bitterness than of Mr. Dickinson. They were always arrayed against each other. By one of those curious transitions wbich often occur in politics, Mr. Dickinson, in the latter part of his life, became the vehement partisan of the extreme doctrines of Mr. Jefferson and his school. On the accession of the latter to the presidency, Mr. Dickinson wrote him a letter of congratulation and advice, a copy of which now lies before us, and which is published in no collection of his works or correspondence, and from wbich, its date being the twenty-sixth of June, 1501, we make the following extract:

“Perfectly assured as I am, that the Chief Magistrate of my country aims at the universal good of his fellow citizens, and invited as I am by his obliging condescension, I let my thoughis tiow tiem my pen without reserve. It seems to me impissible to the President to have adopted a more wise methai törubaining ustulinformation, than that of beingon terms oferudiental intercourse with everal persons in each state, 02 wboabe can rely. Yet that method will not solve every dair. The chancter of the adzinistration is to be fixed ja se opinion of the world. I is to be acknowledged to be

bra. Dus dantel Niasining to court its eneSV be ceriadzenced bris friends. The a Vastbeer of his couetry.

Teniselere. I wisa bim to make two or tepeces osses with proper pauses between reizes seca rar mase is fel Love DX secz those in Cecgress, Waze nedes, sed seaeg against REPRO ses are se es worden gepoes by a rile

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