HotFreeBooks.com
Memoir of the Life of John Quincy Adams.
by Josiah Quincy
1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse

MEMOIR

OF

THE LIFE OF

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.



BY

JOSIAH QUINCY, LL. D.

Justum et tenacem propositi virum, Non civium ardor prava jubentium, Non vultus instantis tyranni, Mente quatit solida.



BOSTON: CROSBY, NICHOLS, LEE AND COMPANY. 1860.

Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by PHILLIPS, SAMPSON & CO., In the Clerk's Office of the District Court of the District of Massachusetts.



Stereotyped by HOBART & ROBBINS, New England Type and Stereotype Foundery, BOSTON.



THE PRESIDENT AND MEMBERS OF THE MASSACHUSETTS HISTORICAL SOCIETY,

This Work,

PREPARED AT THEIR REQUEST, IS RESPECTFULLY DEDICATED, BY THEIR ASSOCIATE,

JOSIAH QUINCY.

BOSTON, June 1, 1858.



PREFATORY NOTE.

The ensuing Memoir comprises the most important events in the life of a statesman second to none of his contemporaries in laborious and faithful devotion to the service of his country.

The light attempted to be thrown on his course has been derived from personal acquaintance, from his public works, and from authentic unpublished materials.

The chief endeavor has been to render him the expositor of his own motives, principles, and character, without fear or favor,—in the spirit neither of criticism or eulogy.

JOSIAH QUINCY.

BOSTON, June 1, 1858.



CONTENTS.

PAGE CHAPTER I.

BIRTH.—EDUCATION.—RESIDENCE IN EUROPE.—AT COLLEGE.—AT THE BAR. —POLITICAL ESSAYS.—MINISTER AT THE HAGUE.—AT BERLIN.—RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES, 1

CHAPTER II.

RESIDENCE IN BOSTON.—RETURNS TO THE BAR.—ELECTED TO THE SENATE OF MASSACHUSETTS.—TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.—HIS COURSE RELATIVE TO THE ATTACK OF THE LEOPARD ON THE CHESAPEAKE.—RESIGNS HIS SEAT AS SENATOR OF THE UNITED STATES.—APPOINTED MINISTER TO RUSSIA.—FINAL SEPARATION FROM THE FEDERAL PARTY, 25

CHAPTER III.

VOYAGE.—ARRIVAL AT ST. PETERSBURG.—PRESENTATION TO THE EMPEROR. —RESIDENCE AT THE IMPERIAL COURT.—DIPLOMATIC INTERVIEWS.—PRIVATE STUDIES.—APPOINTED ONE OF THE COMMISSIONERS TO TREAT FOR PEACE WITH GREAT BRITAIN.—LEAVES RUSSIA, 44

CHAPTER IV.

RESIDENCE AT GHENT.—AT PARIS.—IN LONDON.—PRESENTATION TO THE PRINCE REGENT.—NEGOTIATION WITH LORD CASTLEREAGH.—APPOINTED SECRETARY OF STATE.—LEAVES ENGLAND, 59

CHAPTER V.

FIRST TERM OF MR. MONROE'S ADMINISTRATION.—STATE OF PARTIES.—SEMINOLE WAR.—TAKING OF PENSACOLA.—NEGOTIATION WITH SPAIN.—PURCHASE OF THE FLORIDAS.—COLONIZATION SOCIETY.—THE ADMISSION OF MISSOURI INTO THE UNION, 77

CHAPTER VI.

SECOND TERM OF MONROE'S PRESIDENCY.—STATE OF PARTIES.—REPORT ON WEIGHTS AND MEASURES.—PROCEEDINGS AT GHENT VINDICATED.—VOTES WHEN HE WAS A MEMBER OF THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES DEFENDED.— INDEPENDENCE OF GREECE.—CONTESTS OF PARTIES.—ELECTED PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, 120

CHAPTER VII.

ADMINISTRATION AS PRESIDENT.—POLICY.—RECOMMENDATIONS TO CONGRESS.— PRINCIPLES RELATIVE TO OFFICIAL APPOINTMENTS AND REMOVALS.—COURSE IN ELECTION CONTESTS.—TERMINATION OF HIS PRESIDENCY, 142

CHAPTER VIII.

PURSUITS OF MR. ADAMS IN RETIREMENT.—ELECTED TO CONGRESS.—PARTIES AND THEIR PROCEEDINGS.—HIS COURSE IN RESPECT OF THEM.—HIS OWN ADMINISTRATION AND THAT OF HIS SUCCESSOR COMPARED.—REPORT ON MANUFACTURES AND THE BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.—REFUSAL TO VOTE, AND CONSEQUENT PROCEEDINGS.—SPEECH AND REPORT ON THE MODIFICATION OF THE TARIFF AND SOUTH CAROLINA NULLIFICATION, 175

CHAPTER IX.

INFLUENCE OF MILITARY SUCCESS.—POLICY OF THE ADMINISTRATION.—MR. ADAMS' SPEECH ON THE REMOVAL OF THE DEPOSITS FROM THE BANK OF THE UNITED STATES.—HIS OPINIONS ON FREEMASONRY AND TEMPERANCE SOCIETIES. —EULOGY ON WILLIAM WIRT.—ORATION ON THE LIFE AND CHARACTER OF LAFAYETTE.—HIS COURSE ON ABOLITION PETITIONS.—ON INTERFERENCE WITH THE INSTITUTION OF SLAVERY.—ON THE POLICY RELATIVE TO THE PUBLIC LANDS.—SPEECH ON DISTRIBUTING RATIONS TO FUGITIVES FROM INDIAN HOSTILITIES.—ON WAR WITH MEXICO.—EULOGY ON JAMES MADISON.—HIS COURSE ON A PETITION PURPORTING TO BE FROM SLAVES.—FIRST REPORT ON JAMES SMITHSON'S BEQUEST, 219

CHAPTER X.

MARTIN VAN BUREN PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.—MR. ADAMS' SPEECH ON THE CLAIMS OF THE DEPOSIT BANKS.—HIS LETTER ON BOOKS FOR UNIVERSAL READING.—ORATION AT NEWBURYPORT.—SPEECH ON THE RIGHT OF PETITION.— LETTER TO THE MASSACHUSETTS ANTI-SLAVERY SOCIETY.—ADDRESS TO THE INHABITANTS OF HIS DISTRICT.—HIS VIEWS AS TO THE APPLICATION OF THE SMITHSONIAN FUND.—HIS INTEREST IN THE SCIENCE OF ASTRONOMY.—LETTER TO THE SECRETARY OF STATE ON AN ASTRONOMICAL OBSERVATORY.—LETTER ON THE ABOLITION OF SLAVERY IN THE DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA.—RESOLUTIONS FOR THE LIMITING OF HEREDITARY SLAVERY.—DISCOURSE BEFORE THE NEW YORK HISTORICAL SOCIETY.—ADDRESS ON THE SUBJECT OF EDUCATION.— REMARKS ON PHRENOLOGY.—ON THE LICENSE LAW OF MASSACHUSETTS.—HE ORGANIZES THE OUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES, 268

CHAPTER XI.

SECOND REPORT ON THE SMITHSONIAN FUND.—HIS SPEECH ON A BILL FOR INSURING A MORE FAITHFUL EXECUTION OF THE LAWS RELATING TO THE COLLECTION OF DUTIES ON IMPORTS.—REMARKS ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF AN EXTENSIVE SERIES OF MAGNETICAL AND METEOROLOGICAL OBSERVATIONS.—ON ITINERANT ELECTIONEERING.—ON ABUSES IN RESPECT TO THE NAVY FUND.—ON THE POLITICAL INFLUENCES OF THE TIME.—ON THE ORIGIN AND RESULTS OF THE FLORIDA WAR.—HIS DENUNCIATION OF DUELLING.—HIS ARGUMENT IN THE SUPREME COURT ON BEHALF OF AFRICANS CAPTURED IN THE AMISTAD, 302

CHAPTER XII.

WILLIAM HENRY HARRISON PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES.—HIS DEATH.—VICE-PRESIDENT JOHN TYLER SUCCEEDS.—REMARKS OF MR. ADAMS ON THE OCCASION.—HIS SPEECH ON THE CASE OF ALEXANDER M'LEOD.—HIS VIEWS CONCERNING COMMONPLACE BOOKS.—HIS LECTURE ON CHINA AND CHINESE COMMERCE.—REMARKS ON THE STATE OF THE COUNTRY, AND HIS DUTY IN RELATION TO IT.—HIS PRESENTATION OF A PETITION FOR THE DISSOLUTION OF THE UNION, AND THE VOTE TO CENSURE HIM FOR DOING IT.—HIS THIRD REPORT ON MR. SMITHSON'S BEQUEST.—HIS SPEECH ON THE MISSION TO MEXICO, 328

CHAPTER XIII.

REPORT ON PRESIDENT TYLER'S APPROVAL, WITH OBJECTIONS, OF THE BILL FOR THE APPORTIONMENT OF REPRESENTATIVES.—REPORT ON HIS VETO OF THE BILL TO PROVIDE A REVENUE FROM IMPORTS.—LECTURE ON THE SOCIAL COMPACT, AND THE THEORIES OF FILMER, HOBBES, SYDNEY, AND LOCKE.— ADDRESS TO HIS CONSTITUENTS ON THE POLICY OF PRESIDENT TYLER'S ADMINISTRATION.—ADDRESS TO THE NORFOLK COUNTY TEMPERANCE SOCIETY. —DISCOURSE ON THE NEW ENGLAND CONFEDERACY OF 1643.—LETTER TO THE CITIZENS OF BANGOR ON WEST INDIA EMANCIPATION.—ORATION ON LAYING THE CORNER-STONE OF THE CINCINNATI OBSERVATORY, 364

CHAPTER XIV.

REPORT ON THE RESOLVES OF THE LEGISLATURE OF MASSACHUSETTS PROPOSING AN AMENDMENT OF THE CONSTITUTION OF THE UNITED STATES IN EFFECT TO ABOLISH A REPRESENTATION FOR SLAVES.—FOURTH REPORT ON JAMES SMITHSON'S BEQUEST.—INFLUENCE OF MR. ADAMS ON THE ESTABLISHMENT OF THE NATIONAL OBSERVATORY AND THE SMITHSONIAN INSTITUTION.—GENERAL JACKSON'S CHARGE THAT THE RIO GRANDE MIGHT HAVE BEEN OBTAINED, UNDER THE SPANISH TREATY, AS A BOUNDARY FOR THE UNITED STATES, REFUTED.— ADDRESS TO HIS CONSTITUENTS AT WEYMOUTH.—REMARKS ON THE RETROCESSION OF ALEXANDRIA TO VIRGINIA.—HIS PARALYSIS.—RECEPTION BY THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES.—HIS DEATH.—FUNERAL HONORS.—TRIBUTE TO HIS MEMORY, 409



MEMOIR

OF

JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.



CHAPTER I.

BIRTH.—EDUCATION.—RESIDENCE IN EUROPE.—AT COLLEGE.—AT THE BAR. —POLITICAL ESSAYS.—MINISTER AT THE HAGUE.—AT BERLIN.—RETURN TO THE UNITED STATES.

John Quincy Adams, son of John and Abigail Adams, was born on the 11th of July, 1767, in the North Parish of Braintree, Massachusetts—since incorporated as the town of Quincy. The lives and characters of his parents, intimately associated with the history of the American Revolution, have been already ably and faithfully illustrated.[1]

[1] See "Letters of Mrs. Adams, with an Introductory Memoir," and "The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States, with a Life of the Author," by their grandson, Charles Francis Adams.

The origin of his name was thus stated by himself: "My great-grandfather, John Quincy,[2] was dying when I was baptized, and his daughter, my grandmother, requested I might receive his name. This fact, recorded by my father at the time, is not without a moral to my heart, and 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, through life, perpetual admonitions to do nothing unworthy of it."

[2] John Quincy represented the town of Braintree in the colonial legislature forty years, and long held the office of speaker.

At Braintree his mother watched over his childhood. At the village school he learned the rudiments of the English language. In after life he often playfully boasted that the dame who taught him to spell flattered him into learning his letters by telling him he would prove a scholar. The notes and habits of the birds and wild animals of the vicinity early excited his attention, and led him to look on nature with a lover's eye, creating an attachment to the home of his childhood, which time strengthened. Many years afterwards, when residing in Europe, he wrote: "Penn's Hill and Braintree North Common Rocks never looked and never felt to me like any other hill or any other rocks; because every rock and every pebble upon them associates itself with the first consciousness of my existence. If there is a Bostonian who ever sailed from his own harbor for distant lands, or returned to it from them, without feelings, at the sight of the Blue Hills, which he is unable to express, his heart is differently constituted from mine."

These local attachments were indissolubly associated with the events of the American Revolution, and with the patriotic principles instilled by his mother. Standing with her on the summit of Penn's Hill, he heard the cannon booming from the battle of Bunker's Hill, and saw the smoke and flames of burning Charlestown. During the siege of Boston he often climbed the same eminence alone, to watch the shells and rockets thrown by the American army.

With a mind prematurely developed and cultivated by the influence of the characters of his parents and the stirring events of that period, he embarked, at the age of eleven years, in February, 1778, from the shore of his native town, with his father, in a small boat, which conveyed them to a ship in Nantasket Roads, bound for Europe. John Adams had been associated in a commission with Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, as plenipotentiary to the Court of France. After residing in Paris until June, 1779, he returned to America, accompanied by his son. Being immediately appointed, by Congress, minister plenipotentiary to negotiate a treaty of peace and commerce with Great Britain, they both returned together to France in November, taking passage in a French frigate. On this his second voyage to Europe, young Adams began a diary, which, with few intermissions, he continued through life. While in Paris he resumed the study of the ancient and modern languages, which had been interrupted by his return to America.

In July, 1780, John Adams having been appointed ambassador to the Netherlands, his son was removed from the schools of Paris to those of Amsterdam, and subsequently to the University of Leyden. There he pursued his studies until July, 1781, when, in his fourteenth year, he was selected by Francis Dana, minister plenipotentiary from the United States to the Russian court, as his private secretary, and accompanied him through Germany to St. Petersburg. Having satisfactorily discharged his official duties, and pursued his Latin, German, and French studies, with a general course of English history, until September, 1782, he left St. Petersburg for Stockholm, where he passed the winter. In the ensuing spring, after travelling through the interior of Sweden, and visiting Copenhagen and Hamburg, he joined his father at the Hague, and accompanied him to Paris. They travelled leisurely, forming an acquaintance with eminent men on their route, and examining architectural remains, the paintings of the great Flemish masters, and all the treasures of the fine arts, in the countries through which they passed. In Paris, young Adams was present at the signing of the treaty of peace in 1783, and was admitted into the society of Franklin, Jefferson, Jay, Barclay, Hartley, the Abbe Mably, and many other eminent statesmen and literary men. After passing a few months in England, with his father, he returned to Paris, and resumed his studies, which he continued until May, 1785, when he embarked for the United States. This return to his own country caused a mental struggle, in which his judgment controlled his inclination. His father had just been appointed minister at the Court of Great Britain, and, as one of his family, it would have been to him a high gratification to reside in England. His feelings and views on the occasion he thus expressed:

"I have been seven years travelling in Europe, seeing the world, and in its society. If I return to the United States, I must be subject, one or two years, to the rules of a college, pass three more in the tedious study of the law, before I can hope to bring myself into professional notice. The prospect is discouraging. If I accompany my father to London, my satisfaction would possibly be greater than by returning to the United States; but I shall loiter away my precious time, and not go home until I am forced to it. My father has been all his lifetime occupied by the interests of the public. His own fortune has suffered. His children must provide for themselves. I am determined to get my own living, and to be dependent upon no one. With a tolerable share of common sense, I hope, in America, to be independent and free. Rather than live otherwise, I would wish to die before my time."

In this spirit the tempting prospects in Europe were abandoned, and he returned to the United States, to submit to the rules, and to join, with a submissive temper, the comparatively uninteresting associations, of college life. After reviewing his studies under an instructor, he entered, in March, 1786, the junior class of Harvard University. Diligence and punctual fulfilment of every prescribed duty, the advantages he had previously enjoyed, and his exemplary compliance with the rules of the seminary, secured to him a high standing in his class, which none were disposed to controvert. Here his active and thoughtful mind was prepared for those scenes in future life in which he could not but feel he was destined to take part. Entering into all the literary and social circles of the college, he became popular among his classmates. By the government his conduct and attainments were duly appreciated, which they manifested by bestowing upon him the second honor of his class at commencement; a high distinction, considering the short period he had been a member of the university. The oration he delivered when he graduated, in 1787, on the Importance of Public Faith to the Well-Being of a Community, was printed and published; a rare proof of general interest in a college exercise, which the adaptation of the subject to the times, and the talent it evinced, justified.

After leaving the university, Mr. Adams passed three years in Newburyport as a student at law under the guidance of Theophilus Parsons, afterwards chief justice of Massachusetts. He was admitted to the bar in 1790, and immediately opened an office in Boston. The ranks of his profession were crowded, the emoluments were small, and his competitors able. His letters feelingly express his anxiety to relieve his parents from contributing to his support. In November, 1843, in an address to the bar of Cincinnati, Mr. Adams thus described the progress and termination of his practice as a lawyer—

"I have been a member of your profession upwards of half a century. In the early period of my life, having a father abroad, it was my fortune to travel in foreign countries; still, under the impression which I first received from my mother, that in this country every man should have some trade, that trade which, by the advice of my parents and my own inclination, I chose, was the profession of the Law. After having completed an education in which, perhaps, more than any other citizen of that time I had advantages, and which of course brought with it the incumbent duty of manifesting by my life that those extraordinary advantages of education, secured to me by my father, had not been worthlessly bestowed,—on coming into life after such great advantages, and having the duty of selecting a profession, I chose that of the Bar. I closed my education as a lawyer with one of the most eminent jurists of the age,—Theophilus Parsons, of Newburyport, at that time a practising lawyer, but subsequently chief justice of the commonwealth of Massachusetts. Under his instruction and advice I closed my education, and commenced what I can hardly call the practice of the law in the city of Boston.

"At that time, though I cannot say I was friendless, yet my circumstances were not independent. My father was then in a situation of great responsibility and notoriety in the government of the United States. But he had been long absent from his own country, and still continued absent from that part of it to which he belonged, and of which I was a native. I went, therefore, as a volunteer, an adventurer, to Boston, as possibly many of you whom I now see before me may consider yourselves as having come to Cincinnati. I was without support of any kind. I may say I was a stranger in that city, although almost a native of that spot. I say I can hardly call it practice, because for the space of one year from that time it would be difficult for me to name any practice which I had to do. For two years, indeed, I can recall nothing in which I was engaged that may be termed practice, though during the second year there were some symptoms that by persevering patience practice might come in time. The third year I continued this patience and perseverance, and, having little to do, occupied my time as well as I could in the study of those laws and institutions which I have since been called to administer. At the end of the third year I had obtained something which might be called practice.

"The fourth year I found it swelling to such an extent that I felt no longer any concern as to my future destiny as a member of that profession. But in the midst of the fourth year, by the will of the first President of the United States, with which the Senate was pleased to concur, I was selected for a station, not, perhaps, of more usefulness, but of greater consequence in the estimation of mankind, and sent from home on a mission to foreign parts.

"From that time, the fourth year after my admission to the bar of my native state, and the first year of my admission to the bar of the Supreme Court of the United States, I was deprived of the exercise of any further industry or labor at the bar by this distinction; a distinction for which a previous education at the bar, if not an indispensable qualification, was at least a most useful appendage."[3]

[3] See Niles' Weekly Register, New Series, vol. xv., pp. 218, 219.

While waiting for professional employment, he was instinctively drawn into political discussions. Thomas Paine had just then published his "Rights of Man," for which Thomas Jefferson, then Secretary of State, took upon himself to be sponsor, by publishing a letter expressing his extreme pleasure "that it is to be reprinted here, and that something is at length to be publicly said against the political heresies which have sprung up among us. I have no doubt our citizens will rally a second time round the standard of Common Sense."

Notwithstanding the weight of Jefferson's character, and the strength of his recommendation, in June, 1791, young Adams entered the lists against Paine and his pamphlet, which was in truth an encomium on the National Assembly of France, and a commentary on the rights of man, inferring questionable deductions from unquestionable principles. In a series of essays, signed Publicola, published in the Columbian Centinel, he states and controverts successively the fundamental doctrines of Paine's work; denies that "whatever a whole nation chooses to do it has a right to do," and maintains, in opposition, that "nations, no less than individuals, are subject to the eternal and immutable laws of justice and morality;" declaring that Paine's doctrine annihilated the security of every man for his inalienable rights, and would lead in practice to a hideous despotism, concealed under the parti-colored garments of democracy. The truth of the views in these essays was soon made manifest by the destruction of the French constitution, so lauded by Paine and Jefferson, the succeeding anarchy, the murder of the French monarch, and the establishment of a military despotism.

In April, 1793, Great Britain declared war against France, then in the most violent frenzy of her revolution. In this war, the feelings of the people of the United States were far from being neutral. The seeds of friendship for the one, and of enmity towards the other belligerent, which the Revolutionary War had plentifully scattered through the whole country, began everywhere to vegetate. Private cupidity openly advocated privateering upon the commerce of Great Britain, in aid of which commissions were issued under the authority of France. To counteract the apparent tendency of these popular passions, Mr. Adams published, also in the Centinel, a series of essays, signed Marcellus, exposing the lawlessness, injustice, and criminality, of such interference in favor of one of the belligerents. "For if," he wrote, "as the poet, with more than poetical truth, has said, 'war is murder,' the plunder of private property, the pillage of all the regular rewards of honest industry and laudable enterprise, upon the mere pretence of a national contest, in the eye of justice can appear in no other light than highway robbery. If, however, some apology for the practice is to be derived from the incontrollable law of necessity, or from the imperious law of war, certainly there can be no possible excuse for those who incur the guilt without being able to plead the palliation; for those who violate the rights of nations in order to obtain a license for rapine manifestly show that patriotism is but the cloak for such enterprises; that the true objects are plunder and pillage; and that to those engaged in them it was only the lash of the executioner which kept them in the observance of their civil and political duties."

After developing the folly and madness of such conduct in a nation whose commerce was expanded over the globe, and which was "destitute of even the defensive apparatus of war," and showing that it would lead to general bankruptcy, and endanger even the existence of the nation, he maintained that "impartial and unequivocal neutrality was the imperious duty of the United States." Their pretended obligation to take part in the war resulting from "the guarantee of the possessions of France in America," he denied, on the ground that either circumstances had wholly dissolved those obligations, or they were suspended and made impracticable by the acts of the French government.

The ability displayed in these essays attracted the attention of Washington and his cabinet, and the coincidence of these views with their own was immediately manifested by the proclamation of neutrality. Their thoughts were again, soon after, attracted to the author, by a third series of essays, published in November, 1793, in the Columbian Centinel, under the signature of Columbus, in which he entered the lists in defence of the constituted authorities of the United States, exposing and reprobating the language and conduct of Genet, the minister from the French republic, whose repeated insults upon the first magistrate of the American Union, and upon the national government, had been as public and as shameless as they had been unprecedented. For, after Washington, supported by the highest judicial authority of the country, had, as President of the United States, denied publicly Genet's authority to establish consular courts within them, and to issue letters of marque and reprisal to their citizens, against the enemies of France, he had the insolence to appeal from the President, and to deny his power to revoke the exequatur of a French consul, who, by a process issued from his own court, rescued, with an armed force, a vessel out of the custody of justice.

In these essays Genet is denounced as a dangerous enemy; his appeal "as an insolent outrage to the man who was deservedly the object of the grateful affection of the whole people of America;" "as a rude attempt of a beardless foreign stripling, whose commission from a friendly power was his only title to respect, not supported by a shadow of right on his part, and not less hostile to the constitution than to the government."

The violence of the times, and the existence of a powerful party in the United States ready to support the French minister in his hostility to the national government, are also illustrated by the following facts: "That an American jury had been compelled by the clamor of a collected multitude to acquit a prisoner without the unanimity required by law;" "by the circulation of caricatures representing President Washington and a judge of the Supreme Court with a guillotine suspended over their heads;" "by posting upon the mast of a French vessel of war, in the harbor of Boston, the names of twenty citizens, all of them inoffensive, and some of them personally respectable, as objects of detestation to the crew;" "by the threatening, by an anonymous assassin, to visit with inevitable death a member of the Legislature of New York, for expressing, with the freedom of an American citizen, his opinion of the proceedings of the French minister;" and "by the formation of a lengthened chain of democratic societies, assuming to themselves, under the semblance of a warmer zeal for the cause of liberty, to control the operations of the government, and to dictate laws to the country."

The talent and knowledge of diplomatic relations, thus displayed, powerfully impressed the administration, and the nomination of Mr. Adams as minister from the United States resident at the Netherlands, by Washington and his cabinet, was confirmed unanimously by the Senate, in June, 1794. At the request of the Secretary of State, he immediately repaired to Philadelphia. His commission was delivered to him on the 11th of July, the day he entered his twenty-eighth year. He embarked in September from Boston, and in October arrived in London, where Messrs. Jay and Pinckney were then negotiating a treaty between Great Britain and the United States, who immediately admitted him to their deliberations. Concerning this treaty, which occasioned, soon after, such unexampled fury of opposition in the United States, Mr. Adams, at the time, thus expressed his opinion: "The treaty is far from being satisfactory to either Mr. Jay or Mr. Pinckney. It is far below the standard which would be advantageous to the country. It is probable, however, the negotiators will consent to it, as it is, in their opinion, preferable to a war. The satisfaction proposed to be made to the United States for the recent depredations on their commerce, the principal object of Jay's mission, is provided for in as ample a manner as we could expect. The delivery of the posts is protracted to a more distant day than is desirable. But, I think, the compensation made for the present and future detention of them will be a sufficient equivalent. The commerce with their West India islands, partially opened to us, will be of great importance, and indemnifies for the deprivation of the fur-trade since the treaty of peace, as well as for the negroes carried away contrary to the engagements of the treaty, at least as far as it respects the nation. As to the satisfaction we are to make, I think it is no more than is in justice due from us. The article which provides against the future confiscation of debts, and of property in the funds, is useful, because it is honest. If its operation should turn out more advantageous to them, it will be more honorable for us; and I never can object to entering formally into an obligation to do that which, upon every virtuous principle, ought to be done without it. As a treaty of commerce it will be indeed of little use to us, and we shall never obtain anything more favorable so long as the principles of the navigation act are obstinately adhered to by Great Britain. This system is so much a favorite with the nation that no minister would dare to depart from it. Indeed, I have no idea we shall ever obtain, by compact, a better footing for our commerce with this country than that on which it now stands; and therefore the shortness of time, limited for the operation of this part of the compact, is, I think, beneficial to us."

After remaining fifteen days in London, Mr. Adams sailed, on the 30th of October, for Holland, landed at Hellevoetsluis, and proceeded without delay to the Hague.

His reception as the representative of the United States had scarcely been acknowledged by the President of the States General, before Holland was taken possession of by the French, under Pichegru. The Stadtholder fled, the tree of liberty was planted, and the French national flag displayed before the Stadthouse. The people were kept quiet by seventy thousand French soldiers. The Stadtholder, the nobility, and the regencies of the cities, were all abolished, a provincial municipality appointed, and the country received as an ally of France, under the name of the Batavian Republic; the streets being filled with tri-colored cockades, and resounding with the Carmagnole, or the Marseilles Hymn. Mr. Adams was visited by the representatives of the French people, and recognized as the minister of a nation free like themselves, with whom the most fraternal relations should be maintained. In response, he assured them of the attachment of his fellow-citizens for the French people, who felt grateful for the obligations they were under to the French nation, and closed with demanding safety and protection for all American persons and property in the country.

Popular societies in Holland were among the most efficient means of the success of the revolution, as they had been in France. Mr. Adams, being solicited to join one of them, declined, considering it improper in a stranger to take part personally in the politics of the country. "It was," he wrote, "unnecessary for me to look out for motives to justify my refusal. I have an aversion to political popular societies in general. To destroy an established power, they are undoubtedly an efficacious instrument, but in their nature they are fit for nothing else. The reign of Robespierre has shown what use they make of power when they obtain it."

The station of Mr. Adams at the Hague gave him opportunities to acquaint himself with parties and persons, their motives and principles, of which he availed himself with characteristic industry.

In October, 1795, he was directed by the Secretary of State to repair to England, and arriving there in November ensuing, he found he was appointed to exchange ratifications of Mr. Jay's treaty with the British government. This mission was far from pleasant to him. In effect it was merely ministerial, and so far as it might result in negotiation, he did not anticipate any good. "I am convinced," he wrote, "that Mr. Jay did everything that was to be done; that he did so much affords me a proof of the wisdom with which he conducted the business, that grows stronger the more I see. But circumstances will do more than any negotiation. The pride of Britain itself must bend to the course of events. The rigor of her system already begins to relax, and one year of war to her and peace to us will be more favorable to our interests, and to the final establishment of our principles, than could possibly be effected by twenty years of negotiation or war."

While in England, the duties of his appointment brought him into frequent intercourse with Lord Grenville and other leading British statesmen of the period. After the objects of his mission had been acceptably fulfilled, he received authority from his government to return to his station, at the Hague, in May, 1796. His time was there devoted to official duties, to the claims of general society, to an extensive correspondence, the study of works on diplomacy, the English and Latin classics, and the Dutch and Italian languages.

In August, 1796, he received from the Secretary of State an appointment as minister plenipotentiary to the Court of Portugal, with directions not to quit the Hague until he received further instructions. These did not reach him until the arrival of Mr. Murray, his successor, in July, 1797, when he took his departure for England. Truthfulness to himself, not less than to the public, characterized Mr. Adams. Every day had its assigned object, which every hour successively, as far as possible, fulfilled. Daily he called himself to account for what he had done or omitted. At the close of every month and year he submitted himself to retrospection concerning fulfilled or neglected duties, judging himself by a severe standard.

On arriving in London, he found his appointment to the Court of Portugal superseded by another to the Court of Berlin, with directions not to proceed on the mission until he had received the necessary instructions. While waiting for these, an engagement he had formed during a former visit to England was fulfilled, by his marriage, on the 26th of July, 1797, with Louisa Catharine Johnson, the daughter of Joshua Johnson, American consul at London; a lady highly qualified to support and to ornament the various elevated stations he was destined to fill. Mr. Adams was reluctant to accept the appointment to Berlin, as it had been made by his father, who had succeeded Washington as President of the United States. "I have submitted to take it," he immediately wrote to his mother, "notwithstanding my former declaration to you and my father, made a short time ago. I have broken a resolution I had deliberately formed, and that I still think right; but I never acted more reluctantly. The tenure by which I am for the future to hold an office of such a nature will take from me the satisfaction I have enjoyed, hitherto, in considering myself a public servant." To his father he wrote: "I cannot, and ought not, to discuss with you the propriety of the measure. I have undertaken the duty, and will discharge it to the best of my ability, and will complain no further. But I most earnestly entreat that whenever there shall be deemed no further occasion for a minister at Berlin I may be recalled, and that no nomination of me to any other public office whatever may ever again proceed from the present chief magistrate." His continuance in a diplomatic career had been repeatedly urged by President Washington. In August, 1795, he wrote to John Adams, then Vice-President: "Your son must not think of retiring from the walk he is now in (minister from the United States to Holland). 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, let the government be administered by whomsoever the people may choose." In a letter dated 20th February, 1797, addressed to Mr. Adams, just before his entrance on the Presidency, Washington again wrote: "I have a strong hope that you will not withhold merited promotion to Mr. John Quincy 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 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 would not, on the principles which have regulated my own conduct, disapprove the caution 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 are checked by over delicacy on your part."[4]

[4] Sparks' Life and Writings of Washington, XI., p. 56, and p. 188.

This letter, communicated to Mr. Adams by his mother, induced him reluctantly to acquiesce in this appointment. In reply, he wrote: "I know with what delight your truly maternal heart has received every testimonial of Washington's favorable voice. It is among the most precious gratifications of my life to reflect upon the pleasure which my conduct has given to my parents. The terms, indeed, in which such a character as Washington has repeatedly expressed himself concerning me, have left me nothing to wish, if they did not alarm me by their very strength. How much, my dear mother, is required of me, to support and justify such a judgment as that which you have copied into your letter!"

Mr. and Mrs. Adams embarked from Gravesend, and landed at Hamburg on the 26th of October, and reached Berlin early in November. He was received, with gratifying expressions of regard for the United States, by Count Finkenstein, the prime minister; but, owing to the king's illness, an audience could not be granted. After his death Mr. Adams was admitted to presentation and audience by his successor. New credentials, which were required, did not arrive until July, 1798, when Mr. Adams was fully accredited.

The absence of the king from Berlin prevented the renewal of the treaty, which was not commenced until the ensuing autumn, nor completed, in consequence of incidental delays, until the 11th of July, 1799, when it was signed by all the king's ministers and Mr. Adams, and was afterwards unanimously approved by the Senate of the United States. The object of his mission being fulfilled, Mr. Adams immediately wrote to his father that he should, at any time, acquiesce in his recall. While waiting for the decision of his government, he travelled, with his family, in Saxony and Bohemia, and, in the ensuing summer, into Silesia. His observations during this tour were embodied in letters to his brother, Thomas B. Adams, and were published, without his authority, in Philadelphia, and subsequently in England. The work contains interesting sketches of Silesian life and manners, and important accounts of manufactures, mines, and localities; concluding with elaborate historical, geographical, and statistical statements of the province.

The following passages are characteristic, and indicate the general spirit of the work. "Count Finkenstein resides in this vicinity. He was formerly president of the judicial tribunal at Custrin, but was dismissed by Frederic II., on the occasion of the miller Arnold's famous lawsuit; an instance in which the great king, from mere love of justice, committed the greatest injustice that ever cast a shade upon his character. His anxiety, upon that occasion, to prove to the world that in his courts of justice the beggar should be upon the same footing as the prince, made him forget that in substantial justice the maxim ought to bear alike on both sides, and that the prince should obtain his right as much as the beggar. Count Finkenstein and several other judges of the court at Custrin, together with the High Chancellor Fuerst, were all dismissed from their places, for doing their duty, and persisting in it, contrary to the will of the king, who, substituting his ideas of natural equity in place of the prescriptions of positive law, treated them with the utmost severity, for conduct which ought to have received his fullest approbation."

"Dr. Johnson, in his Life of Watts, has bestowed a just and exalted encomium upon him for not disdaining to descend from the pride of genius and the dignity of science to write for the wants and the capacities of children. 'Every man acquainted,' says he, 'with the common principles of human action, will look with veneration on the writer who is at one time combating Locke, and at another making a catechism for children in their fourth year.' But how much greater still is the tribute of admiration, irresistibly drawn from us, when we behold an absolute monarch, the greatest general of his age, eminent as a writer in the highest departments of literature, descending, in a manner, to teach the alphabet to the children of his kingdom; bestowing his care, his persevering assiduity, his influence and his power, in diffusing plain and useful knowledge among his subjects, in opening to their minds the first and most important page of the book of science, in filling the whole atmosphere they breathed with that intellectual fragrance which had before been imprisoned in the vials of learning, or enclosed within the gardens of wealth! Immortal Frederic! when seated on the throne of Prussia, with kneeling millions at thy feet, thou wert only a king; on the fields of Lutzen, of Torndoff, of Rosbach, of so many other scenes of human blood and anguish, thou wert only a hero; even in thy rare and glorious converse with the muses and with science thou wert only a philosopher, a historian, a poet; but in this generous ardor, this active, enlightened zeal for the education of thy people, thou wert truly great—the father of thy country—the benefactor of mankind!"

In 1801, Mr. Adams received from his government permission to return home. After taking leave with the customary formalities, he left Berlin, sailed from Hamburg, and on the 4th of September, 1801, arrived in the United States. During his residence in Berlin his time was devoted to official labor and intellectual improvement; yet his letters show that he was seldom, if ever, self-satisfied, being filled with aspirations after something higher and better than he could accomplish. His translations, at this period, embraced many satires of Juvenal, and Wieland's Oberon from the original, into English verse; the last he intended for the press, had it not been superseded by the version of Sotheby. He also translated from the German a treatise, by Gentz, on the origin and principles of the American Revolution, which he finished and transmitted to the United States for publication, eulogizing it "as one of the clearest accounts that exist of the rise and progress of the American Revolution, in so small a compass; rescuing it from the disgraceful imputation of its having proceeded from the same principles, and of its being conducted in the same spirit, as that of France. This error has nowhere been more frequently repeated, nowhere been of more pernicious tendency, than in America itself."

The last years of Mr. Adams' residence at the Court of Berlin were painfully affected by the bitter party animadversions which assailed his father's administration, and which did not fail to bring within the sphere of their asperities the missions he had himself held in Europe. These feelings became intense on the publication of Alexander Hamilton's letter "On the Public Conduct and Character of John Adams, President of the United States." This letter, with the divisions in the cabinet at Washington, occasioned by the political friends of Hamilton, excited in the breast of Mr. Adams a spirit, which, from affection for his father, and a sense of the injustice done to him, could not be otherwise than indignant. Though concealed, it was not the less understood. He regarded Mr. Hamilton's letter as the efficient cause of his father's loss of power, and attributed its influence to its being circulated at the eve of the presidential election, and to its adaptation to awaken prejudices and excite party jealousies; although it contained nothing that could justly shake confidence in a statesman of long-tried experience and fidelity. He pronounced that letter as not only a full vindication, but the best eulogium on his father's administration.



CHAPTER II.

RESIDENCE IN BOSTON.—RETURNS TO THE BAR.—ELECTED TO THE SENATE OF MASSACHUSETTS.—TO THE SENATE OF THE UNITED STATES.—HIS COURSE RELATIVE TO THE ATTACK OF THE LEOPARD ON THE CHESAPEAKE.—RESIGNS HIS SEAT AS SENATOR OF THE UNITED STATES.—APPOINTED MINISTER TO RUSSIA.—FINAL SEPARATION FROM THE FEDERAL PARTY.

Under the circumstances stated in the preceding chapter, Mr. Adams returned to the United States in no disposition to coaelesce with either division of the Federal party. He regarded it as fortunate for himself that events, in producing which he had no agency, had placed him in a position free from any constructive pledges to a party which in its original form no longer existed, and at liberty to shape his future course according to his own independent views of private interest and public duty. Resuming his residence in Boston, and his place at the bar of Massachusetts, under circumstances far from being pleasant or encouraging, after eight years' employment in foreign official stations, he had old studies to revise, and new statutes and recent decisions to explore. To the broad field of diplomacy had succeeded the intricate and narrow windings of special pleading and local laws. His juniors were in the field; by the failure of European bankers his property had been diminished; he had a family to support; yet, neither dispirited nor complaining, he reentered his profession, and, devoting his leisure hours to literature and science, apparently abandoned the political arena, without manifesting a design or desire to return to it. But he was not destined to remain long in private life. At this period the Federalists had lost the control of national affairs, but they retained their superiority in Massachusetts. Their union as a party was not sustained by the same identity of feeling and view by which, in earlier periods, it had been characterized. It was cemented rather by antipathy to the prevailing power than by any hope of regaining it. A division, more real than apparent, separated the friends of the elder Adams from those who, uniting with Hamilton, had condemned his policy in the presidency. The former were probably larger in number; the latter had the advantage in talent, activity, and influence. Both soon united in placing Mr. Adams in the Senate of the state, without any solicitation or intimation of political coincidence from him. In this election the opponents of his father's policy were acquiescent rather than content. They knew the independence and self-relying spirit of Mr. Adams, his restiveness in the trammels of party, his disposition to lead rather than follow; and yielded silently to a result which they could not prevent. The spirit which they anticipated was soon made evident.

At the annual organization of the state government it had been usual to choose the members of the Governor's Council from his political friends. Mr. Adams at once proposed to place in it one or more of his political opponents. This measure, which he maintained was wise and prudent, was regarded, according to the usual charity of party spirit, as designed to gain favor with the Democracy, and was immediately rejected. In other instances his disposition to think and act independently of the Federal party was manifested, and was of course not acceptable to its leaders.

In November he was urged to accept a nomination as a member of the House of Representatives in Congress. This he refused, saying that "he would not stand in the way of Mr. Quincy,"[1] who had been the candidate at the preceding election. This objection was immediately removed, by an assurance of the previous determination of the latter to decline, and of the satisfaction with which he regarded the nomination of Mr. Adams. The result was unsuccessful. Out of thirty-seven hundred votes, William Eustis was elected by a majority of fifty-nine. The newspapers assigned as the cause that the day of the election was rainy. Mr. Adams surmised that it was owing to the indifference to his success of the leaders of the old Federal party, and remarked on the occasion, "This is among the thousand proofs how large a portion of Federalism is a mere fair-weather principle, too weak to overcome a shower of rain. It shows the degree of dependence that can be placed on such friends. As a party their adversaries are more sure and more earnest."

[1] The writer of this Memoir.

In an oration, delivered in May of this year, before the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society, Mr. Adams paid a just and feeling tribute to the memory of George Richards Minot, then recently deceased, in which the character of that historian, the purity of his life, moral worth, and intellectual endowments, are celebrated with great fulness and truth. In December he delivered, at Plymouth, an address commemorative of the Pilgrim Fathers.

During the remainder of the civil year Mr. Adams had more than once indicated his independence of party, and his settled purpose of thinking and acting on all subjects for himself. When, therefore, in February, 1803, a vacancy in the Senate of the United States occurred, the nomination of Mr. Adams was opposed by that of Timothy Pickering, who was deemed by his friends better entitled to the office, from age and long familiarity with public affairs. To their extreme disappointment, however, after three ballotings, without success, in the House of Representatives, Mr. Adams was chosen, and his election was unanimously confirmed by the Senate. In March following, another vacancy in the Senate of the United States having occurred, Mr. Pickering was elected. Thus, by a singular course of events, two statesmen were placed as colleagues in the Senate of the United States, from Massachusetts, between whom, from antecedent circumstances and known want of sympathy in political opinion, cordial cooeperation could scarcely be anticipated. Apparent harmony of principles and views was, however, manifested. Mr. Adams well understood the delicacy of his position, arising from the ill-concealed jealousy of the Federalists, on the one hand, and the open dislike of the Democracy, on the other. He considered himself placed between two batteries, neither of which regarded him as one of their soldiers. He early adopted two principles, as rules of his political conduct, from which he never deviated,—to seek or solicit no public office, and, to whatever station he might be called by his country, to use no instrument for success or advancement but efficient public service.

In October, 1803, Mr. Adams removed his family to Washington, and took his seat in the Senate of the United States. On the 26th of that month he took ground in opposition to the administration upon the bill enabling the President to take possession of Louisiana, and on which he voted in coincidence with his Federal colleagues. His objection was to the second section, which provided "that all the military, civil and judicial powers, exercised by the officers of the existing government of Louisiana, shall be vested in such person and persons, and shall be exercised in such manner, as the President of the United States shall direct." The transfer of such a power to the President of the United States, Mr. Adams deemed and maintained, was unconstitutional; and he called upon the supporters of the bill to point out the article, section, or paragraph, of the constitution, which authorized Congress to confer it on the President. He regarded the constitution of the United States to be one of limited powers; and he declared that he could not reconcile it to his judgment that the authority exercised in this section was within the legitimate powers conferred by the constitution. Many years afterwards, when his vote on this occasion was made a subject of party censure and obloquy, in addition to the preceding reasons Mr. Adams gave to the public the following solemn convictions which influenced his course:

"The people of the United States had not—much less had the people of Louisiana—given to the Congress of the United States the power to form this union; and, until the consent of both people could be obtained, every act of legislation by the Congress of the United States over the people of Louisiana, distinct from that of taking possession of the territory, was, in my view, unconstitutional, and an act of usurped authority. My opinion, therefore, was that the sense of the people, both of the United States and Louisiana, should be immediately taken: of the first, by an amendment of the constitution, to be proposed and acted upon in the regular form; and of the last, by taking the votes of the people of Louisiana immediately after possession of the territory should be taken by the United States under the treaty. I had no doubt that the consent of both people would be obtained with as much ease and little more loss of time than it actually took Congress to prepare an act for the government of the territory; and I thought this course of proceeding, while it would terminate in the same result as the immediate exercise of ungranted transcendental powers by Congress, would serve as a landmark of correct principles for future times,—as a memorial of homage to the fundamental principles of civil society, to the primitive sovereignty of the people, and the unalienable rights of man."

On the 3d of the ensuing November he manifested his independent spirit by voting in favor of the appropriation of eleven millions of dollars for carrying into effect the treaty for the purchase of Louisiana, in opposition to the other senators of the Federal party;—a vote which, many years afterwards, in consequence of comments of party, he took the opportunity publicly to explain. The critical nature of the course to which he foresaw he was destined was thus expressed by himself: "I have had already occasion to experience, what I had before reason to expect, the danger of adhering to my own principles. The country is so totally given up to the spirit of party, that not to follow the one or the other is an unexpiable offence. The worst of these has the popular current in its favor, and uses its triumph with all the unprincipled fury of faction; while the other is waiting, with all the impatience of revenge, for the time when its turn may come to oppress and punish by the popular favor. But my choice is made. If I cannot hope to give satisfaction to my country, I am at least determined to have the approbation of my own reflections."

On the 10th of January, 1804, Mr. Adams introduced two resolutions for the consideration of the Senate: the one declaring that "the people of the United States have never, in any manner, delegated to this Senate the power of giving its legislative concurrence to any act imposing taxes upon the inhabitants of Louisiana without their consent;" the other, "that, by concurring in any act of legislation for imposing taxes upon the inhabitants of Louisiana, without their consent, this Senate would assume a power unwarranted by the constitution, and dangerous to the liberties of the people of the United States." After a debate of three hours, both resolutions were rejected, as he anticipated; only three senators—Tracy, of Connecticut, Olcott, of New Hampshire, and White, of Delaware—voting with him in favor of the first, and twenty-two voting in the negative; Mr. Pickering, his colleague, asking to be excused from voting, and Mr. Hillhouse, the remaining Federalist in the Senate, absenting himself, obviously to avoid voting: after which the last was unanimously rejected. Concerning his course on this occasion Mr. Adams wrote: "I have no doubt of incurring much censure and obloquy for this measure. I hope I shall be prepared for and able to bear it, from the consciousness of my sincerity and of my duty."

Mr. Adams alone spoke against the bill for the temporary government of Louisiana, which passed on the ensuing 18th of February; and only four senators—Messrs. Hillhouse, Olcott, Plummer, and Stone—voted with him in the negative; Mr. Pickering absenting himself from the question.

In August, 1805, the corporation of Harvard College elected Mr. Adams Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory on the Boylston foundation. After modifications of the statutes, which he suggested, were adopted, he accepted, and immediately entered upon a course of preparatory studies, reviving his knowledge of the Greek, and making researches among English, Latin, and French writers, relative to the objects of his professorship. In the ensuing December, as a member of the Ninth Congress, he took an active part in the debates and measures of the Senate.

In January, 1806, he was appointed on a committee, of which Mr. Smith, of Maryland, was chairman, on that part of the President's message "relative to the spoliations of our commerce on the high seas, and the new principles assumed by the British courts of admiralty, as a pretext for the condemnation of our vessels in their prize courts." The debates in that committee resulted in two resolutions, both offered by Mr. Adams, adopted, reported, and finally passed by the Senate, with some modifications; Mr. Pickering, Mr. Hillhouse, and Mr. Tracy, the three Federalists in the Senate, voting for them.

British aggressions and British policy towards neutrals were, in the judgment of Mr. Adams, to be resisted at every hazard. His opinions on these subjects had been formed from opportunities which no other American statesman had equally enjoyed. In 1783 he had been present at the signature of the treaty of peace, and had imbibed the opinions and feelings then entertained by the American ministers. In 1795 he had been engaged in negotiations with British statesmen, particularly with Lord Grenville. Their views in respect of American commercial rights he considered selfish and insolent; resistance to them as an emanation from the spirit of patriotism, to which others gave the name of "prejudice," or "antipathy." Of these opinions and feelings he made no concealment; and to them may be traced the course of policy which, shortly after, separated him from the Federal party, and subjected him temporarily to their reproaches and censures.

In June, 1806, Mr. Adams was inaugurated Professor of Oratory in Harvard University, and during the ensuing two years delivered a course of lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, which have been published in two octavo volumes, and constitute an enduring monument of fidelity, laborious research, and eloquent illustration of the objects and duties of his academic station. While engaged in these labors, an event occurred which intensely excited his feelings as a man and a statesman.

On the 22d of June, 1807, during the recess of Congress, an attack by the British ship Leopard upon the American frigate Chesapeake, by which several of her crew were killed, and four of them taken away, created surprise and indignation throughout the Union. From the previous state of his opinions, no one partook more strongly of these feelings than Mr. Adams. He immediately urged his political friends to call a town-meeting in Faneuil Hall on the subject; but the measure was utterly discouraged by the leaders of the Federal party. Soon, however, a meeting of the inhabitants of Boston and the neighboring towns was called at the Statehouse to consider that outrage. The meeting was not numerous, and consisted almost entirely of the friends of the administration. Mr. Gerry was chosen chairman, and Mr. Adams, who had attended it, was appointed on the committee to prepare appropriate resolutions. These, when reported and modified according to suggestions made by Mr. Adams, were unanimously adopted. When it was intimated to him that his course was regarded as symptomatic of party apostasy, he replied that his sense of duty should never yield to the pleasure of party.

Soon after, in consequence of letters from a committee of correspondence at Norfolk, a town-meeting was called at Faneuil Hall, at which resolutions were passed, reported by a committee of which Mr. Adams was chairman. Mr. Otis offered a resolution calling on government for the protection of a naval force; but, Mr. Adams objecting, it was withdrawn.

On the 27th of October, 1807, Mr. Jefferson called a special meeting of Congress, chiefly on account of the affair of the Chesapeake. On this subject the discrepancy of the opinions and views of Mr. Adams with those of the leaders of the Federal party were so openly manifested, that his separation from it was generally anticipated. He had now been a member of the Senate during four sessions, but had not been permitted to exercise any decided influence on the subjects of debate. Many of his propositions had failed under circumstances which indicated a disposition to discourage him from such attempts. Some, which on his motion had been negatived, had been subsequently easily carried, when moved by members of the administration party. In respect of the general policy of the country, he had been uniformly in a small and decreasing minority. His opinion and votes, however, had been oftener in unison with the administration than with their opponents; and he had met with quite as much opposition from his party friends as from their adversaries. At this crisis, however, he took the lead, and, immediately on the delivery of the President's message, offered to the Senate two resolutions. 1st. "That so much of the President's message as related to the recent outrages committed by British armed vessels within the jurisdiction and in the waters of the United States, and to the legislative provisions which may be expedient as resulting from them, be referred to a select committee, with leave to report by bill or otherwise." 2d. "That so much of the said message as relates to the formation of the seamen of the United States into a special militia, for the purpose of occasional defence of the harbors against sudden attacks, be referred to a special committee, with leave to report by bill or otherwise."

Both these resolutions were adopted, and on the first Mr. Adams was appointed chairman. Soon after, in the course of the same session, Mr. Adams took the incipient step on several important subjects, and was appointed chairman of the committee to whom they were intrusted in each of them; thus manifesting that he intended no longer to take a subordinate part in the proceedings of the Senate, and that a disposition to disappoint him was no longer a feeling entertained by a majority of that body.

On the 24th of November, Mr. Adams reported a bill on the British outrages, and, on a motion to strike out of it a section providing that "no British armed vessel shall be admitted to enter the harbors and waters under the jurisdiction of the United States, except when forced in by distress, by the dangers of the sea, or when charged with public dispatches, or coming as a public packet." Mr. Adams, with twenty-five others, voted in the negative. Messrs. Goodrich, Pickering, and Hillhouse, the only three Federal senators, alone voted in the affirmative. On the final passage of the bill, Mr. Adams voted with the majority, in the affirmative, and the three Federal senators in the negative.

On the 18th of December, 1807, Mr. Jefferson sent a message to Congress recommending an embargo. A bill in conformity having been immediately reported, a motion was made, in the Senate, that the rule which required three different readings on three different days should be suspended for three days. Violent debates ensued. On the vote to suspend, Mr. Adams voted in the affirmative. His colleague and every other Federalist voted in the negative.

On the final passage of the bill laying the embargo, and on the subject of British aggressions, Mr. Adams again repeatedly separated from his colleagues and the other members of the Federal party, and voted in coincidence with the administration.

Newspaper asperities and severities in debate ensued, which he supported, as he averred, in the consciousness that the course of the administration was the only safe one for his country, and in the belief that it would be justified by events, and receive the sanction of future times. His course had been, however, opposite to that of the other Federal members in both houses of Congress. On a subject so momentous to the commercial states, his colleague, Mr. Pickering, thought proper to justify to the people of Massachusetts the course and motives of the Federal party, and on the 16th of February, 1808, addressed a letter to James Sullivan, Governor of that commonwealth, stating what papers "had been submitted to Congress by the President in justification of the embargo," and endeavored to show, by facts and reasonings, that the measure had been passed "without sufficient motive or legitimate object; that the avowed dangers were imaginary and assumed; and that the real motives for it were contained in those French dispatches which had been confidentially submitted to Congress, and withdrawn by Mr. Jefferson, in which the French emperor had declared that he will have no neutrals;" that the embargo was "a substitute—a mild compliance with this harsh demand;" that he (Mr. Pickering) had reason to believe that the President contemplated its continuance until the French emperor repealed his decrees. He concluded by asserting that an embargo was not necessary to the safety of our seamen, our vessels, or our merchandise, and was calculated to mislead the public mind to the public ruin.

This letter, though intended for the Legislature of Massachusetts, was not communicated to it, the political path of Governor Sullivan not being coincident with that of Colonel Pickering. But it was soon published by a friend of the writer. In a letter to Harrison G. Otis, on the 31st of March, 1808, Mr. Adams published a reply, stating that Mr. Pickering, in enumerating the pretences (for he thinks there were no causes) for the embargo, totally omitted the British orders in council, which, although not made the subject of special communication by the President, had been published in the National Intelligencer antecedent to the embargo, the sweeping tendency of whose effects formed, to his understanding, a powerful motive, and together with the papers a decisive one, for assenting to the embargo; a measure which he regarded as "the only shelter from the tempest, the last refuge of our violated peace." He adds: "The most serious effect of Mr. Pickering's letter is its tendency to reconcile the commercial states to the servitude of British protection, and war with all the rest of Europe." Regarding it as a proposition to strike the standard of the nation, he proceeded to investigate the claims of Great Britain in respect of impressment, and to her denying neutrals the right of any commerce with her enemies and their colonies, which was not allowed in time of peace. This result of the rule of 1756, he asserted, was "in itself and its consequences one of the deadliest poisons in which it was possible for Great Britain to tinge the weapons of her hostility." The decrees of France and Spain, by which every neutral vessel which submitted to English search was declared "denationalized," and became English property, though cruel in execution, and too foolish and absurd to be refuted, were but the reasoning of British jurists, and the simple application to the circumstances and powers of France of the rule of the war of 1756. Mr. Adams then proceeded to state and reason upon other aggressions of Great Britain on our commerce, and asserted that "between unqualified submission and offensive resistance against the war declared against American commerce by the concurring decrees of all the belligerent powers, the embargo had been adopted; and having the double tendency of promoting peace and preparing for war, in its operation is the great advantage which more than outweighs all its evils."

A course thus independent, and in harmony with the policy of the administration, caused Mr. Adams to become obnoxious to suspicions inevitably incident to every man who, in critical periods, amid party struggles, changes his political relations. Of the dissatisfaction of the Legislature of Massachusetts Mr. Adams received an immediate proof. His senatorial term would expire on the 3d of March, 1809. To indicate their disapprobation of his course, they anticipated the time of electing a senator of the United States, which, according to usage, would have been in the legislative session of that year. James Lloyd was chosen senator from Massachusetts by a vote of two hundred and forty-eight over two hundred and thirteen for Mr. Adams, in the House of Representatives, and of twenty-one over seventeen, in the Senate. On the same day anti-embargo resolutions were passed in both branches by like majorities.

The next day Mr. Adams addressed a letter to that Legislature, in which he stated that it had been his endeavor, deeming it his duty, to support the administration of the general government in all necessary measures to preserve the persons and property of our citizens from depredation, and to vindicate the rights essential to the independence of our country; that certain resolutions having passed the Legislature, expressing disapprobation of measures to which, under these motives, he had given assent, and which he considered as enjoining upon the representatives of the state in Congress a sort of opposition to the national administration in which, consistently with his principles, he could not concur, he, therefore, to give the Legislature an opportunity to place in the Senate of the United States a member whose views might be more coincident with those they entertained, resigned his seat in that body. James Lloyd was immediately chosen by the Legislature to take the seat thus vacated.

In the midst of these political agitations Mr. Adams was constantly employed in writing and delivering lectures, as Professor of Rhetoric, and in pursuing his studies of the Greek language and the science of astronomy. During the ensuing summer, the neglect or withdrawal of some former friends, and the open asperities of others, were often trying to his feelings. Rumors were circulated of promises made or of expectations held out to him by the administration; and, although he unequivocally denied their truth, belief in them was in accordance with the party passions of the moment, and was diligently inculcated on the popular mind by pamphlets and newspapers. Also in the summer and winter of 1808 he had to support an oppressive weight of obloquy, from which he had no relief, as he asserted, but an unshaken confidence that his course had been coincident with the true interests of his country, and would finally be approved by it.

In the winter of 1809 he attended the Supreme Court of the United States at Washington, and while there first received from Mr. Madison, two days after his inauguration as President of the United States, an intimation of his intention to offer him the appointment of minister plenipotentiary to St. Petersburg. When this nomination and the concurrence of the Senate became public, it was seized and commented upon as unquestionable evidence of the motives which had occasioned the change in his political course, and was made the subject of severe animadversions in all the forms in which indignant partisans are accustomed to express censure and reproach. This appointment his political adversaries announced as at once a proof and the reward of his apostasy. Such insinuations were felt by Mr. Adams as an insupportable wrong. For seven years he had previously represented his country at foreign courts, in stations to which he had been first appointed by Washington himself; who had declared that he must not think of retiring from the diplomatic line, and pronounced him the ablest, and destined ultimately to become the head, of the diplomatic corps.[2] Under these circumstances he felt that even party spirit itself might have spared towards him this reproach, and have recognized higher motives than seeking and receiving reward for party services. Actuated by this sense of wrong, while preparing for his departure on the mission to Russia, he issued from the press a series of strictures, at once severe and vindictive, on the policy of the Federal leaders, in the form of a review of the writings of Fisher Ames; which were regarded by the public, and probably intended by himself, as an evidence of irreconcilable abandonment of the party to which he had formerly belonged, and a permanent adhesion to that of the national administration.

[2] See pages 18 and 19.



CHAPTER III.

VOYAGE.—ARRIVAL AT ST. PETERSBURG.—PRESENTATION TO THE EMPEROR.— RESIDENCE AT THE IMPERIAL COURT.—DIPLOMATIC INTERVIEWS.—PRIVATE STUDIES.—APPOINTED ONE OF THE COMMISSIONERS TO TREAT FOR PEACE WITH GREAT BRITAIN.—LEAVES RUSSIA.

After resigning his professorship at Harvard University, Mr. Adams embarked from Boston, with Mrs. Adams and his youngest son, on the 5th of August, 1809, in a merchant ship, bound to St. Petersburg. During a boisterous and tedious voyage his classical and diplomatic studies were pursued with characteristic assiduity. The English were then at war with Denmark; and, as they entered the Baltic, a British cruiser sent an officer to examine their papers. The same day they were boarded by a Danish officer, who ordered the ship to Christiansand. The captain thought it prudent to refuse, and to seek shelter from an equinoctial gale in the harbor of Flecknoe. The papers of the ship and Mr. Adams' commission were examined, and he afterwards went up to Christiansand, where he found thirty-eight American vessels, which had been brought in by privateers between the months of May and August, and were detained for adjudication. Sixteen had been condemned, and had appealed to the higher tribunals of the country. The Americans thus detained presented a memorial to Mr. Adams, to be forwarded to the President of the United States. The sight of so many of his countrymen in distress was extremely painful, and he determined to make an effort for their relief, without waiting for express authority from his government.

On resuming their voyage, their course was again impeded by a British squadron. An officer was sent on board by Captain Dundas, of the Stately, a sixty-four gun ship, to examine their papers. He compared the personal appearance of each of the seamen with his protection, threatening to take a native of Charlestown because his person did not correspond with the description, and finally ordered the ship to return through the Cattegat.

Mr. Adams immediately went on board the Stately, showed his commission, and remonstrated with Captain Dundas, who referred him to Admiral Bertie, the commander of the squadron, who was in his stateroom on the quarter-deck. After a protracted opposition, the admiral acknowledged the usage of nations, and, as an ambassador, permitted him to pursue his voyage by the usual course through the sound. From these and similar difficulties, Mr. Adams did not land at St. Petersburg until the 23d of October.

The Chancellor of the empire, Count Romanzoff, received Mr. Adams in courtly state, and requested a copy of his credential letter, with an assurance of the pleasure his appointment had given him personally. His presentation was postponed, from the temporary indisposition of the emperor; but he was immediately invited, by Count Romanzoff, to a diplomatic dinner, in a style of the highest splendor. Among the company was the French ambassador, M. de Caulaincourt, Duke de Vicence, the foreign ministers then at the Russian Court, and many of the nobility. In the mansion of the Chancellor Mr. Adams had dined in 1781, as secretary of Mr. Dana, in the same splendid style, with the Marquis de Verac, at that time French minister at the Russian Court. His mind was more impressed with the recollection of the magnificence he had then witnessed on the same spot, and with reflections on the mutability of human fortune, than with the gorgeous scene around him.

The Emperor Alexander received Mr. Adams alone, in his cabinet, and expressed his pleasure at seeing him at St. Petersburg. Mr. Adams, on presenting his credentials, said that the President of the United States had desired him to express the hope that his mission would be considered as a proof of respect for the person and character of his majesty, as an acknowledgment of the many testimonies of good-will he had already given to the United States, and of a desire to strengthen commercial relations between them and his provinces. The emperor replied, that, in everything depending on him, he should be happy to contribute to the increase of their friendly relations; that it was his wish to establish a just system of maritime rights, and that he should adhere invariably to those he had declared. He then entered into a confidential exposition of the obstacles then existing to a general pacification, and of the policy of the different European powers, and said that he considered the system of the United States towards them as wise and just. Mr. Adams replied, that the United States, being a great commercial and pacific nation, were deeply interested in a system which would give security to commerce in time of war. It was hoped this great blessing to humanity would be accomplished by his imperial majesty himself; and that the United States, by all means consistent with their peace, and their separation from the political system of Europe, would contribute to the support of the liberal principles to which his majesty had expressed so strong and just an attachment. The emperor replied, that between Russia and the United States there could be no interference of interests, no cause for dissension; but that, by means of commerce, the two states might be greatly useful to each other; and his desire was to give the greatest extension and facility to these means of mutual interest. Passing to other topics, he made many inquiries relative to the cities of the United States.

The empress and the empress mother each gave Mr. Adams a private audience; and, after Mrs. Adams had also been presented to the imperial family, they were invited to a succession of splendid entertainments. "The formalities of these court presentations," Mr. Adams remarked, "are so trifling and insignificant in themselves, and so important in the eyes of princes and courtiers, that they are much more embarrassing to an American than business of greater importance. It is not safe or prudent to despise them, nor practicable for a person of rational understanding to value them."

As the balls and parties given by the emperor, the foreign ministers, and the nobility, did not usually terminate until four o'clock in the morning, they so essentially interfered with the studies and official engagements of Mr. Adams, that he determined, as far as his station permitted, to relinquish attending them.

In December he requested the Chancellor to solicit the emperor to interpose his good offices with the Danish government for the restoration of American property sequestrated in the ports of Holstein. Count Romanzoff, in reply, stated that the emperor took great pleasure in complying with that request, and was gratified by this opportunity to show his friendly disposition towards the United States, and immediately ordered the Chancellor to represent to the Danish government the wish of the emperor that the American property might be examined and restored as soon as possible. The Danish government acceded at once to the emperor's desire; and the effect of his interposition was gratefully acknowledged by the Americans whose property was liberated.

The residence of Mr. Adams in Russia was during an eventful period. The Emperor Alexander was at first endeavoring to avoid a collision with Bonaparte, by yielding to his policy; and afterwards, on his invasion, was engaged in driving him out of Russia, bereft of his army and continental influence. During these years the release or relief of American vessels and seamen from the effects of the French emperor's Berlin and Milan decrees, and from other seizures and sequestrations, were the chief objects to which Mr. Adams directed his attention.

His subsequent attempts to establish permanent commercial relations between the United States and Russia were favorably received by that government. The chancellor of the empire, Count Romanzoff, acknowledged the importance of a treaty between Russia and the United States, and intimated that the only obstacle was the convulsed state of opinion at that period throughout the commercial world, which was such that "it hardly seemed possible to agree to anything which had common sense in it." Count Romanzoff conducted towards Mr. Adams not only with official respect, but with cordiality. On one occasion he transmitted to him by his private secretary a work relative to an armed neutrality, which was preparing under his auspices for publication, requesting the American minister to make such observations upon it as he thought proper.

The courteous manners of the Emperor Alexander, his apparent desire to conciliate the United States, and the personal intercourse to which he admitted its representative, were frequently acknowledged by Mr. Adams. In the midst of the splendor of the Russian Court, and the magnificent entertainments of its ministers and of resident plenipotentiaries, some of whom expended fifty thousand roubles a year, and the ambassador from the French emperor over four hundred thousand, he maintained the simplicity of style suited at once to his salary and to the character of the country he represented. Loans to an indefinite amount were proffered to him by mercantile houses. These he uniformly declined, though under circumstances of great temptation to accept them. "The opportunities," he wrote, "of thus anticipating my regular income, it is difficult to resist. But I am determined to do it. The whole of my life has been one continued experience of the difficulty of a man's adhering to the principle of living within his income; the first and most important principle of private economy. In this country beyond all others, and in my situation more than any other, the temptations to expense amount almost to compulsion. I have withstood them hitherto, and hope for firmness of character to withstand them in future."

In connection with this topic, the following anecdote was related by Mr. Adams: "As I was walking, this morning (in May, 1811), I was met by the emperor, who was also walking. As he approached he said, 'Monsieur Adams, il y a cent ans que je ne vous ai vu,' and took me cordially by the hand. After some common observations, he asked me whether I intended to take a house in the country this summer. I said 'No; that I had for some time that intention, but I had given it up,'—'And why?' said he. I was hesitating upon an answer, when he relieved me from my embarrassment by saying, 'Peut-etre sont-ce des considerations de finance.' As he said it in perfect good humor, and with a smile, I replied, in the same manner, 'Mais, Sire, elles y sont pour une bonne partie.'—'Fort bien,' said he, 'vous avez raison. Il faut toujours proportionner la depense a la recette;' a maxim," remarks Mr. Adams, "worthy of an emperor, though few emperors practise upon it."

The customs, manners, and habits, of the nobility and the people; their public institutions, edifices, monuments, and collections in the fine arts; the overweening influence of the clergy, their power and political subserviency; the character of the foreign ministers, and the policy of the courts they represented, were carefully observed and noted down for future thought and illustration.

Nor were his researches restricted to subjects of diplomatic duty, or to objects immediately connected with his foreign relations. He studied the language and history of Russia, the course and usages of its trade, especially in relation to China, and made laborious inquiries into the proportions of Russian, English, and French weights, measures, and coins. In obtaining a minute accuracy in these proportions, he employed many hours; on which he observed, "I fear I shall never attain them, and the usefulness of which is at least problematical;[1] but 'Trahit sua quemque ipsa voluntas;' my studies generally command me—I seldom control them."

[1] The Report of Mr. Adams, when Secretary of State, on weights and measures, at the call of Congress, sufficiently evidences the ultimate usefulness of these researches.

The progress of the seasons in Russia, the rising and the setting of the sun, were daily noted, as also the variation of the climate, by the thermometer. His thirst for knowledge, and his desire of investigating causes and effects, were never satiated.

Astronomy was with him a subject of early and intense interest. He studied the works of Schubert, Lalande, Biot, and Lacroix, and constantly observed the heavens, and noticed their phenomena, according to the calendar. By Langlet's and Dufresnoy's tables he attempted to ascertain with precision the Arabian and Turkish computations of time, comparing them with those of Christian nations. From astronomy and chronology he was drawn into the study of mathematics, and the logarithms in the tables of Collet.

Neither were the works of the ancient philosophers and orators omitted in the sphere of his studies. The works of Plato, the orations of Demosthenes, Isocrates, AEschines, and Cicero, were not only read, but made the subject of critical analysis, comparison, and reflection.

Religion was also in his mind a predominating element. A practice, which he prescribed to himself, and never omitted, of reading daily five chapters in the Bible, familiarized his mind with its pages. In connection with these studies he read habitually the works of Butler, Bossuet, Tillotson, Massillon, Atterbury, and Watts. With such an ardor for knowledge, and universality in its pursuit, it is not surprising that he should say, as on one occasion he did, "I feel nothing like the tediousness of time. I suffer nothing like ennui. Time is too short for me, rather than too long. If the day was forty-eight hours, instead of twenty-four, I could employ them all, if I had but eyes and hands to read and write."

In 1810, citizens of the United States, who had formed a settlement on the north-west coast of North America, were embarrassed in their intercourse with China, by the Chinese mistaking American for Russian vessels. In a conversation with Mr. Adams on the means of avoiding this difficulty, Count Romanzoff described the obstacles the Russians had experienced in their commerce with China. He stated that in the reign of Catharine II. the Emperor of China complained of a governor of a province bordering on Russia, as "a bad man;" in consequence of which, the empress caused him to be removed. This concession did not satisfy the Chinese emperor, who declared the punishment insufficient, and demanded that "the offender should be impaled alive by way of atonement." This demand so shocked Catharine that she issued an edict prohibiting her subjects from all commercial relations with China. This edict continued in force until the Chinese themselves sought for a renewal of their former intercourse, when the empress yielded her resentment to policy.

The loss of time from the civilities and visits of his numerous diplomatic associates was annoying to Mr. Adams. "I have been engaged," he wrote, "the whole forenoon; and though I rise at six o'clock, I am sometimes unable to find time to write only part of a private letter in the course of the day. These visits take up so much of my time, that I sometimes think of taking a resolution not to receive them; but, on the other hand, so much information important to be possessed, and particularly relative to current political events, is to be collected from them, that they are rather to be encouraged than discountenanced."

"The French ambassador," writes Mr. Adams, "assured me that he hoped the difference between his country and mine would soon be settled, and requested me to inform my government that it was the desire of the Emperor of France, and of his ministers, to come to the best terms with the United States; that they knew our interests were the same, but he was perfectly persuaded that, if any other person but Gen. Armstrong was there, our business might be settled entirely to our satisfaction. I told him that, as I was as desirous that we should come to a good understanding, I regretted very much that anything personal to General Armstrong should be considered by his government as offensive; that I was sure the government of the United States would regret it also, and would wish, on learning it, to be informed what were the occasions of displeasure which he had given. 'C'est d'abord un tres galant homme,' said the ambassador; 'but he never shows himself, and upon every little occasion, when by a verbal explanation with the minister General Armstrong might obtain anything, he writes peevish notes.' This appears to me," observes Mr. Adams, "an intriguing manoeuvre, of which the minister thinks I might be made the dupe."

On one occasion, Count Romanzoff requested an interview with Mr. Adams, and, among other inquiries, asked what could be done to restore freedom and security to commerce. He replied, that, "setting aside all official character and responsibility, and speaking as an individual upon public affairs," as Count Romanzoff had requested, he thought the best course towards peace was for his excellency to convince the French government that the continental system, as they called it, and as they managed it, was promoting to the utmost extent the views of England, and, instead of impairing her commerce, was securing to her that of the whole world, and was pouring into her lap the means of continuing the war just as long as her ministers should consider it expedient. He could hardly conceive that the Emperor Napoleon was so blind as not to have made that discovery already. Three years' experience, with the effects of it becoming every day more flagrant, had made the inference too clear and unquestionable. The Emperor Napoleon, with all his power, could neither control the elements nor the passions of mankind. He had found his own brother could not or would not carry his system into execution, and had finally cast at his feet the crown he had given him, rather than continue to be his instrument any longer. Count Romanzoff gravely questioned the statement of Mr. Adams respecting the commercial prosperity of England, but admitted his views in general to be correct, saying that, as long as a system was agreed upon, he thought exceptions from it ought not to be allowed. Mr. Adams then asked him how that was possible, when the Emperor Napoleon himself was the first to make such exceptions, and to give licenses for a direct trade with England? Count Romanzoff replied, that he thought all such licenses wrong, and he believed that there were not so many of them as was pretended. There was indeed one case of a vessel coming to St. Petersburg both with an English license and a license from the Emperor Napoleon. He was of opinion that she ought to be confiscated for having the English license. But the French commercial and diplomatic agents were very desirous that she might go free, on account of her French license; and perhaps the Emperor, in consideration of his ally, might so determine. Romanzoff complained bitterly that all the ancient established principles, both of commercial and political rectitude, had, in a manner, vanished from the world; and observed that, with all her faults, England had the advantage over her neighbors, of having hitherto most successfully resisted all the innovations upon ancient principles and establishments. For his own part, since he had been at the head of affairs, he could sincerely protest one wish had been at the bottom of all his policy, and the aim of all his labors,—and that was universal peace.

In 1811 Mr. Adams received from the Secretary of State a commission of an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States; an appointment which he immediately declined.

In 1812 the emperor directed Count Romanzoff to inquire whether, if he should offer his mediation to effect a pacification between the United States and Great Britain, Mr. Adams was aware of any objection on the part of his government. He replied, that, speaking only from a general knowledge of its sentiments, the proposal of the emperor would be considered a new evidence of his regard and friendship for the United States, whatever determination might be formed. Under this assurance, the offer was made, transmitted, and immediately accepted. In July, 1813, Mr. Gallatin and Mr. Bayard, being associated with Mr. Adams on this mission, arrived at St. Petersburg, bringing credentials, for the purpose of commencing a negotiation, under the mediation of the emperor.

On communicating these credentials to Count Romanzoff, Mr. Adams informed him that he had received instructions from the American government to remain at St. Petersburg under the commission he had heretofore held; and that he had been mistaken in supposing that his colleagues had other destination, independent of this mission. His conjecture had been founded on the doubt whether the President would have appointed this mission solely upon the supposition that the mediation would be accepted by the British government; but he was now instructed that the President, considering the acceptance of the British government as probable, though aware that if they should reject it this measure might wear the appearance of precipitation, thought it more advisable to incur that risk than the danger of prolonging unnecessarily the war for six or nine months, as might happen if the British should immediately have accepted the mediation, and he should have delayed this step until he was informed of it. It was with the President a great object to manifest, not only a cheerful acceptance on the part of the United States, but in a signal manner his sentiments of consideration and respect for the emperor, and to do honor to the motives on which he offered his mediation. After hearing these statements of Mr. Adams, the emperor directed Count Romanzoff to express his particular gratification with the honorable notice the American government had taken of his offer to effect a pacification between Great Britain and the United States.

In September Lord Cathcart delivered to the emperor a memoir from the British government, stating at length their reasons for declining any mediation in their contest with the United States. But, although the British government did not choose that a third power should interfere in this controversy, it had offered to treat directly with the American envoys at Gottenburg, or in London.

This proposition having been accepted by the United States, Mr. Adams was associated with Bayard, Clay, and Russell, in the negotiation. After taking leave of the empress and Count Romanzoff,—the emperor being then before Paris with the allied armies,—he quitted St. Petersburg on the 28th of April, 1814. His family remained in that city, and he travelled alone to Revel. There he received the news of the taking of Paris, and the abdication of Napoleon. From thence he embarked for Stockholm.



CHAPTER IV.

RESIDENCE AT GHENT.—AT PARIS.—IN LONDON.—PRESENTATION TO THE PRINCE REGENT.—NEGOTIATION WITH LORD CASTLEREAGH.—APPOINTED SECRETARY OF STATE.—LEAVES ENGLAND.

Mr. Adams arrived in Stockholm on the 24th of May, and after visiting Count Engerstroem, the Minister of Foreign Affairs, and meeting the Swedish and foreign ministers at a diplomatic dinner, given by Baron Strogonoff, he left that city on the 2d of June. A messenger from Mr. Clay informed him that, at the request of Lord Bathurst, the negotiation of the treaty of peace had been transferred to Ghent. Passing through Sweden, he embarked from Gottenburg in the United States corvette John Adams for the Texel, landed at the Helder, and proceeded through Holland to Ghent, where his associates met for the first time in his apartments on the 30th of June. The British commissioners did not arrive until the 7th of August, and their negotiations were not concluded until the 24th of December, 1814. On presenting three copies of the treaty, signed and sealed by all the commissioners, to Mr. Adams, and on receiving three from him, Lord Gambier said, he trusted the result of their labors would be permanent. Mr. Adams replied, he hoped it would be the last treaty of peace between Great Britain and the United States.

The American commissioners were presented to the Prince of Orange, the sovereign of the Netherlands, and, on the 5th of January, 1815, the citizens of Ghent celebrated the ratification of the treaty, by inviting the representatives of both nations to a public entertainment at the Hotel de Ville. Mr. Adams left that city with characteristic expressions of gratitude for the result of a negotiation which he hoped would prove propitious to the union and best interests of his country.

On the 3d of February he arrived in Paris, and met the American commissioners, and with them was presented by Mr. Crawford, resident minister of the United States, to Louis the Eighteenth, and to the Duke and Duchess of Angouleme. He was also presented to the Duke of Orleans, at the Palais Royal, who spoke with grateful remembrance of hospitalities he had received in America. Mr. Adams was often in the society of Lafayette, Madame de Stael, Humboldt, Constant, and other eminent persons, and was deeply interested in observing the effect of all changes in the laws and government of France.

1  2  3  4  5  6  7  8     Next Part
Home - Random Browse