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from his pen. He was elected president of that body, but he declined this honor, considering his advanced age, for he was now eighty-five; and Isaac Parker, chief justice of the commonwealth, was made the presiding officer. Old as he was, on one important question Mr. Adams made a speech, and it was a good one, clearly conveying precisely what he meant. On hearing this speech, short as it was, the accurate observer could have satisfactory proofs of what had been called the characteristics of his eloquence in days gone by, -energy of thought and expression. That sledge-hammer mode of striking at a subject, which was once pre-eminently his, is refreshing, after hearing all the prettiness of oratory, which like sweetmeats, soon produce satiety.
He was delighted with all he saw and heard in this convention; there was more inind in it than he expected to find, and higher acquirements than he anticipated, fond and partial as he was to his native stale. He listened to the debates of the convention with the greatest attention and delight; for a race of first rate men had grown up, such as he wished to see, wise in the doctrines of constitutional law, and well acquainted with the history of their country. He found that their speeches were not wanting in learning, for precedent and illustration. The Sre of youth illumined the eye of the patriarch when he heard the master spirits of that body, doing justico to the leaders of the revolution; fairly examining their deeds as matters of history, speaking with freedom upon all these topics which were so near and dear to him.
" thank God that I have lived to be a, wit. ness of this day's debate," was, at the close of a discussion upon some point that was ably treated, his emphatic exclamation.
Although he had been for twenty years out of public life, still he was always a public njan. His early work had been read in every part of the world where freedom had a name, and his pen was not at rest while he was in retirement. He saw error abounding and he grew indignant, and strove to set things right, and such was his honesty of character, that if some were not prepared to be convinced by his reasonings, all were satisfied with his facts. These communications to the public will be read with more interest in a later period of our history than at present. They will be considered as those developements of minute circumstances that will be more wanted hereafter to elucidate some points of obscurity, than now, but at the present time they are acceptable. The language of an actor in the scenes he described seems endued with lile, if he entered into them with zeal and in every thing leading to the revolution and of accomplishing it, Mr. Adams was himself a part, and a great one.
Most other men began their opposition to the mother country from the course of conduct pursued by her within the ten or dozen years preceding the bursting of the storm at Lexington; it was not so with Mr. Adams, he had looked at all the events that had transpired from the landing of his forefathers, and saw in them a connected series that would, to a moral certainty, result in a struggle for independence. Most of his compatriots were for putting off the evil day, he was for meeting it while he was in the vigor of life, in order that he might sit down under his own vine and fig tree, in the cool of the evening of life, and enjoy peace and independence. He was fully aware of the price that was to be paid for this, and was wills ing to risk property and life on the chance of sucs cess. His honor, he felt, was safe, whatever might ensue ; a halter and rack had no terrors for him, notwithstanding they made such, learful impressions on the imaginations of many who wished toʻact with him.
In looking at the nation, with a great and comprehensive mind, be did not forget that parts made up a whole. The welfare of his native state occupied no small share of his thoughts, and the town of his birth was never forgotten, as the whole course of his treatment of it shows. He extended to the people of Quincy his paternal care while living, and remembered them in his will also. He left no small portion of his moderate fortune to promote learning and religion where he first received the maternal precepts of duty and virtue, and they returned his solicitude with the fondest affection. They took a pride in having him among them, and were gratelul to Heaven that his life was greatly protracted. When he passed the streets on a ride, or walk, as was his daily custom in warm weather, every one did him reverence ; from the little urchin trudging his way to an infant school, to the aged who had known him when young, and rising to dignity and honors in his country's cause, and who were now wending their way with him to the grave. This was not a hollow courtesy, it was from the heart, a true homage of their high respect for a great man. He must have been virtuous, and great, who has his monument erected where his cradle was rocked, and the people of his birth. plaçe are delighted to come and read his epitapha Before Mr. Adams was called to close his eyes on the things of time, his heart was made grateful to. Heaven, for being permitted to see his son elevated 10, the office of chiel magistrate of the American people.
How gratifying to a father, must this circumstance have been, knowing as he did how well he had been prepared by education and principles for the situation. The patriarch was sustained by a kind providence, notwithstanding his advanced age, until the half century from the day of signing the declaration of independence had come, and then, in the midst of rejoicings, his spirit departed to join the congregar tion of the just. On the same day, a few hours before him., another signer of the declaration of independence had departed. Mr. Jefferson died at noon on the fourth of Juiy, 1826. This was considered a remarkable coiucidence, and in every part of the United States eulogies were pronounced in commemoration of the lives and deaths of these worthies of the revolution. The nation, as it were gathered round their hearse, and listened to the strange events of the age in which these patriots lived, and to the account of the sliare that each took in the affairs of that day. Precious facts were brought out which might have been lost forever, if not noticed at such a time, which are now treasured up for the historian, who may soon take them for his page; for truly such men make a part of history before they leave this theatre of action. The day we trust is at hand when we shall begin to think the reputations of our distinguished men makea part of our national glory. The former ages of our history have only treasured up a few facts concerning those who were men of importance in their generation. One of the objects of this work is to cull from the most authentic sources all the facts connected with the lives of the chief executives of our republic, by which the present and rising generations will have an opportunity of forming correct opinions of the merits of each.
Mr. Adams was a friend to education, good sound education, such as taxed the highest effort of the mind to acquire. Attention to mathematics, the classics, history, and political economy, was strictly insisted on by him; not that he neglected the ornas mental parts of education, but they were not cultivated to the exclusion of more solid matters. If his own could not be called a finished education, it was a robust one, it brought forth all the faculties, of his mind, and taught them to act on all the business of life with energy and directness. He secured the Spartan firmness with as much of the Athenian poJish as possible, but the first, according to his creed must at all events be secured. He was so determined to speak what he thought, that he was not always what the world called prudent. But there was such an honesty in all he said, that, on reflection, every one was satisfied with his candor and frankness, if at times they were a little disturbed at his freedom. He was ready to hail the improvements of the times, but would not suffer the old landmarks to be rudely removed. He regarded what had been as rather what should be revised, than destroyed ; and the revolutions of the day as confirming rather than derogating the law already given. When some who had acted with him, were desirous of doing away with the common law, he came out in defence of it, with all the lion-spirit that was within him; he had no Utopian notions, no sickly sentiments of duty. He lelt like a man of strong passions, and reasoned like a man of a strong mind. His answer to a letter addressed him by the president of the peace society speaks out the character of the man. His only method of keeping peace was to wear a sword and to use it when occasion required.