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The servitude of the negroes lay with weight upon his mind; he often made it the subject of conversation, and revolved several plans for their general emancipation. His industry was unremitted, and his method so exact, that all the complicated business of his military command and civil administration was managed without confusion and without hurry. Not feeling the lust of power, and ambitious only for honorable fame, he devoted himself to his country upon the most disinterested principles, and his actions wore not the semblance, but the reality, of virtue: the purity of his motives was accredited, and absolute confidence placed in his patriotism. While filling a public station, the performance of his duty took the place of pleasure, emolument, and every private consideration. During the more critical years of the war, a smile was scarcely seen upon his countenance; he gave himself no moments of relaxation, but his whole mind was engrossed to execute successfully his trust. He was as eminent for piety as for patriotism; his public and private conduct evince, that he impressively felt a sense of the superintendence of God, and of the dependence of man. In his addresses, while at the head of the army and of the national government, he gratefully noticed the signal blessings of Providence, and fervently commended his country to divine benediction. In private, he was known to have been habitually devout. In the establishment of his presidential household, he reserved to himself the Sabbath, free from the interruptions of private visits or public business; and, throughout the eight years of his civil administration, he gave to the institutions of Christianity the influence of his example. Uniting the talents of the soldier with the qualifications of the statesman, and pursuing, unmoved by difficulties, the noblest end by the purest means, he had the supreme satisfaction of beholding the complete success of his great military and civil services, in the independence and happiness of his country. He died, after a short illness, on the 14th of December, 1799. He was buried with the honors due to the noble founder of a happy and prosperous republic. History furnishes no parallel to the character of Washington. He stands on an unapproached eminence—distinguished almost beyond humanity for self-command, intrepidity, soundness of judgment, rectitude of purpose, and deep, ever-active piety.
John ADAMs, a distinguished patriot of the American revolution, was born in 1735, at Braintree, Massachusetts. He was educated at the University of Cambridge, and received the degree of master of arts, in 1758. At this time he entered the office of Jeremiah Gridley, a lawyer of the highest eminence, to complete his legal studies; and in the next year he was admitted to the bar of Suffolk. Mr. Adams at an early age espoused the cause of his country, and received numerous marks of the public confidence and respect. He took a prominent part in every leading measure, and served on several committees which reported some of the most important state papers of the time. He was elected a member of the Congress, and was among the foremost in recommending the adoption of an independent government. It has been affirmed by Mr. Jefferson himself, “that the great pillar of support to the declaration of independence, and its ablest advocate and champion on the floor of the house, was John Adams.” In 1777, he was chosen commissioner to the court of Versailles, in the place of Mr. Deane, who was recalled. On his return, about a year afterwards, he was elected a member of the Convention to prepare a form of government for the state of Massachusetts, and placed on the sub-committee chosen to draught the project of a constitution. Three months after his return, Congress sent him abroad with two commissions, one as minister plenipotentiary to negotiate a peace, the other to form a commercial treaty with Great Britain. In June, 1780, he was appointed, in the place of Mr. Laurens, ambassador to Holland, and in 1782, he repaired to Paris, to commence the negotiation for peace, having previously obtained assurance that Great Britain would recognize the independence of the United States. At the close of the war, Mr. Adams was appointed the first minister to London.
In 1789, he was elected vice-president of the United States, and, on the resignation of Washington, succeeded to the presidency, in 1797. After his term of four years had expired, it was found, on the new election, that his adversary, Mr. Jefferson, had succeeded by the majority of one vote. On retiring to his farm in Quincy, Mr. Adams occupied himself with agriculture, obtaining amusement from the literature and politics of the day. The remaining years of his life were passed in almost uninterrupted tranquillity. The account that Mr. Adams gives, in a letter to a friend, of his introduction to George III., at the court of St. James, as the first minister from the rebel colonies, is very interesting. The scene would form a noble picture, highly honorable both to his majesty and the republican minister. Here stood the stern monarch, who had expended more than six hundred millions of dollars, and the lives of two hundred thousand of his subjects, in a vain attempt to subjugate freemen; and by his side stood the man who, in the language of Jefferson, “was the great pillar of support to the declaration of independence, and its ablest advocate and champion on the floor of Congress.” Mr. Adams says, “At one o'clock, on Wednesday, the first of June, 1785, the master of ceremonies called at my house, and went with me to the secretary of state's office, in Cleaveland Row, where the marquis of Caermarthen received and introduced me to Mr. Frazier, his under secretary, who had been, as his lordship said, uninterruptedly in that office through all the changes in administration for thirty years. After a short conversation, Lord Caermarthen invited me to go with him in his coach to court. When we arrived in the ante-chamber, the master of the ceremonies introduced him, and attended me, while the secretary of state went to take the commands of the king. While I stood in this place, where, it seems, all ministers stand upon such occasions, always attended by the master of ceremonies, the room was very full of ministers of state, bishops, and all other sorts of courtiers, as well as the next room, which is the king's bed-chamber. You may well suppose I was the focus of all eyes. I was relieved, however, from the embarrassment of it, by the Swedish and Dutch ministers, who came to me, and entertained me with a very agreeable conversation during the whole time. Some other gentlemen, whom I had seen before, came to make their compliments to me, until the marquis of Caermarthen returned, and desired me to go with him to his majesty. I went with his lordship through the levee room into the king's closet. The door was shut, and I was left with his majesty and the secretary of state alone. I made the three reverences— one at the door, another about half way, and another before the presence, according to the usage established at this and all the northern courts of Europe; and then I addressed myself to his majesty, in the following words:– “Sire: The United States have appointed me minister plenipotentiary to your majesty, and have directed me to deliver to your majesty this letter, which contains the evidence of it. It is in obedience to their express commands, that I have the honor to assure your majesty of their unanimous disposition and desire to cultivate the most friendly and liberal intercourse between your majesty's subjects and their citizens, and of their best wishes for your majesty's health and happiness, and for that of your family. The appointment of a minister from the United States to your majesty's court, will form an epoch in the history of England and America. I think myself more fortunate than all my fellow-citizens, in having the distinguished honor to be the first to stand in your majesty's royal presence in a diplomatic character; and I shall esteem myself the happiest of men, if I can be instrumental in recommending my country more and more to your majesty's royal benevolence, and of restoring an entire esteem, confidence, and affection; or, in better words, the old good nature and the good old humor, between people who, though separated by an ocean, and under different governments, have the same language, a similar religion, a kindred blood. I beg your majesty's permission to add, that, although I have sometimes before been instructed by my country, it was never, in my whole life, in a manner so agreeable to myself.” “The king listened to every word I said, with dignity, it is true, but with apparent emotion. Whether it was my visible agitation—for I felt more than I could express—that touched him, I cannot say; but he was much affected, and answered me with more tremor than I had spoken with, and said:– “Sir : The circumstances of this audience are so extraordinary, the language you have now held is so extremely proper, and the feelings you have discovered so justly adapted to the occasion, that I not only receive with leasure the assurance of the friendly disposition of the É. States, but I am glad the choice has fallen upon you to be their minister. I wish you, sir, to believe, and that it may be understood in America, that I have done nothing in the late contest but what I thought myself indispensably bound to do, by the duty which I owed my people. I will be frank with you. I was the last to conform to the separation; but the separation having become inevitable, I have always said, as I now say, that I would be the first to meet the friendship of the United States as an independent power. The moment I see such sentiments and language as yours prevail, and a disposition to give this country the preference, that moment I shall say, “Let the circumstances of language, religion, and blood, have their natural, full effect.” I dare not say that these were the king's precise words; and it is even possible that I may have, in some particulars, mistaken his meaning; for, although his pronunciation is as distinct as I ever heard, he hesitated sometimes between members of the same period. He was, indeed, much affected, and I was not less so; and therefore I cannot be certain that I was so attentive, heard so clearly, and understood so perfectly, as to be confident of all his words, or sense. This I do say, that the foregoing is his majesty's meaning, as I then understood it, and his own words, as nearly as I can recollect them. The king then asked me whether I came last from France; and, upon my answering in the affirmative, he put on an air of familiarity, and smiling, or rather laughing, said, “There is an opinion among some people that you are not the most attached of all your countrymen to the manners of France.’ I was surprised at this, because I thought it an indiscretion, and a descent from his dignity. I was a little embarrassed; but, determined not to deny truth, on the one hand, nor lead him to infer from it any attachment to England, on the other, I threw off as much gravity as I could, and assumed an air of gayety, and a tone of decision, as far as was decent, and said, ‘That opinion,