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peace with all the world, with an increasing revenue and with a surplus of $5,125,638 in the public treasury, —the administration of the Government of the United States was surrendered by Mr. Adams on the 3d of March, 1829."*
The “Georgia Constitutionalist” thus describes Mr. Adams' retirement from office :-“ Mr. Adams is said to be in good health and spirits. The manner in which this gentleman retired from office is so replete with propriety and dignity, that we are sure history will record it as a laudable example to those who shall hereafter be required by the sovereign people to descend from exalted stations. It was a great matter with the ancients to die with decency, and there are some of our own day whose deaths are more admirable than their lives. Mr. Adams' deportment in the Presidency was lofty and proud; but the smile with which he throws aside the trappings of power, and the graceful propriety with which he takes leave of patronage and place, are truly commendable.”
* American Annual Register.
MR. ADAMS' MULTIPLIED ATTAINMENTS—VISITED BY SOUTHERN
GENTLEMEN-HIS REPORT ON WEIGHTS AND
HIS POETRY-ERECTS A MONUMENT TO THE MEMORY OF HIS
PARENTS-ELECTED MEMBER OF CONGRESS-LETTER TO THE
BIBLE SOCIETY-DELIVERS EULOGY ON DEATH OF EX-PRES
Few public men in any country have possessed attainments more varied than were those of Mr. Adams. Every department of literature and science received more or less of his attention—every path of human improvement seems to have been explored by him. As a statesman, he was unrivalled in the profundity of his knowledge. His state papers-given to the world while Minister, Secretary of State, President, and Member of Congress—his numerous addresses, orations, and speeches, are astonishing in number, and in the learning they display.* No man was more
* Aside from his state papers, official correspondence, and speeches, which would make many volumes, the Literary World gives the following list of the published writings of Mr. Adams :
"1. Oration at Boston, 1793 ; 2. Answer to Paine's Rights of Man, 1793; 3. Address to the Members of the Massachusetts Charitable Fire Society ; 4. Letters on Silesia ; 5. Letters on Silesia, 1804; 6. Inaugural Oration at Harvard College, 1806; 7. Letters to H. G. Otis, in reply to Timothy Pickering, 1808; 8. Review of the Works of Fisher Ames, 1809 ; 9. Lectures on Rhetoric and Oratory, two volumes, 1810;
familiar with modern history, with diplomacy and international law, and the politics of America and Europe for the last two or three centuries.
In other departments he appeared equally at home. His acquaintance was familiar with the classics, and several modern languages. In oratory, rhetoric, and the various departments of belles lettres, his attainments were of more than an ordinary character. His commentaries on Desdemona, and others of Shakspeare's characters, show that he was no mean critic, in the highest walks of literature, and in all that pertains to human character.
The following interesting account of an interview with ex-President Adams, by a southern gentleman, in
10. Report on Weights and Measures, 1821 ; 11. Oration at Washington, 1821; 12. Duplicate Letters; the Fisheries and the Mississippi, 1822; 13. Oration to the citizens of Quincy, 1831; 14. Oration on the Death of James Monroe, 1831; 15. Dermot McMorrogh, or the Conquest of Ireland, 1832; 16. Letters to Edward Livingston, on Free Masonry, 1833; 17. Letters to William L. Stone, on the entered apprentice's oath, 1833; 18. Oration on the Life and Character of Lafayette, 1835; 19. Oration on the Life and Character of James Madison, 1836; 20. The Characters of Shakspeare, 1837; 21. Oration delivered at Newbury port, 1837; 22. Letters to his Constituents of the Twelfth Congressional District of Massachusetts, 1837; 23. The Jubilee of the Constitution, 1839; 24. A Discourse on Education, delivered at Braintree, 18-10; 25. An Address at the Observatory, Cincinnati, 1843.
Among the unpublished works of Mr. Adams, besides his Diary, which extends over half a century, and would probably make some two dozen stout octavos, are Memoirs of the earlier Public and Private Life of John Adams, second President of the United States, in three volumes; Reports and Speeches on Public Affairs; Poems, including two new cantos of Dermot McMorrogh, a Translation of Oberon, and numerous Essays and Discourses."
1834, affords some just conceptions of the versatility of his genius, and the profoundness of his erudition :
“ Yesterday, accompanied by my friend T., I paid a visit to the venerable ex-President, at his residence in Quincy. A violent rain setting in as soon as we arrived, gave us from five to nine o'clock to listen to the learning of this man of books. His residence is a plain, very plain one : the room into which we were ushered, (the drawing-roorn, I suppose,) was furnished in true republican style. It is probably of ancient construction, as I perceived two beams projecting from the low ceiling, in the manner of the beams in a ship's cabin. Prints commemorative of political events, and the old family portraits, hung about the room; common straw matting covered the floor, and two candlesticks, bearing sperm candles, ornamented the mantle-piece. The personal appearance of the exPresident himself corresponds with the simplicity of his furniture. He resembles rather a substantial, well-fed farmer, than one who has wielded the destinies of this mighty Confederation, and been bred in the ceremony and etiquette of an European Court. In fact, he appears to possess none of that sternness of character which you would suppose to belong to one a large part of whose life has been spent in political warfare, or, at any rate, amidst scenes requiring a vast deal of nerve and inflexibility.
6 Mrs. Adams is described in a word -a lady. She has all the warmth of heart and ease of manner that mark the character of the southern ladies, and from which it would be no easy matter to distinguish her.
“ The ex-President was the chief talker. He spoke with infinite ease, drawing upon his vast resources with the certainty of one who has his lecture before him ready written. The whole of his conversation, which steadily he maintained for nearly four hours, was a continued stream of light. Well contented was I to be a listener. His subjects were the architecture of the middle ages; the stained glass of that period; sculpture, embracing monuments particularly. On this subject his opinion of Mrs. Nightingale's monument in Westminster Abbey, differs from all others that I have seen or heard. He places it above every other in the Abbey, and observed in relation to it, that the spectator saw nothing else.' Milton, Shakspeare, Shenstone, Pope, Byron, and Southey were in
turn remarked upon. He gave Pope a wonderfully high character, and remarked that one of his chief beauties was the skill exhibited in varying the cesural pause-quoting from various parts of his author, to illustrate his remarks more fully. He said very little on the politics of the country. He spoke at considerable length of Sheridan and Burke, both o whom he had heard, and could describe with the most graphic effect. He also spoke of Junius; and it is remarkable that he should place him so far above the best of his contemporaries. He spoke of him as a bad man; but maintained, as a writer, that he had never been equalled.
“ The conversation never flagged for a moment; and on the whole, I shall remember my visit to Quincy, as amongst the most instructive and pleasant I ever passed."
As a theologian, Mr. Adams was familiar with the tenets of the various denominations which compose the great Christian family, and acquainted with the principal arguments by which they support their peculiar views. While entertaining decided opinions of his own, which he did not hesitate to avow on all proper occasions, he was tolerant of the sentiments of all who differed from him. He deemed it one of the most sacred rights of every American citizen, and of every human being, to worship God according to the dictates of his own conscience, without let or hindrance, our laws equally tolerating, and equally protecting
In the most abstruse sciences he was equally at home. His report to Congress, while Secretary of State, on Weights and Measures was very elaborate, and evinced a deep and careful research into this important but most difficult subject. That report was