« AnteriorContinuar »
Lower Canada he saw a column erected to the Virgin Mary, in gratitude for her promotion of the temperance cause. If indeed the blessed Virgin did lend her aid to that great work, it would almost win him to worship at her shrine, although he belonged to that class of people who rejected the invocation of saints.
He felt, therefore, that he had no subject on which to address them, but himself and his own public life. The experience of an old man, related by himself, would, he feared, be more irksome than profitable.
“ What, then, am I to say? I am summoned here to speak, and to reply to what has been said to me by my respected friend, your late Chief Magistrate. And what is the theme he has given me? It is myself. And what can I say on such a subject? To know that he entertains, or that you entertain for me the sentiments he has expressed, absolutely overpowers
I cannot go on. The only answer I can make, is a declaration, that during my public service, now protracted to nearly the age of eighty, I have endeavored to serve my country honestly and faithfully. How imperfectly I have done this, none seem so sensible as myself. I must stop. I can only repeat thanks, thanks, thanks to you, one and all, and implore the blessings of God upon you and your children.”
At the conclusion of this reply, Mr. Adams was introduced to a large number of the ladies and gentlemen assembled in the church. He then returned to the American Hotel, where he remained an hour,
receiving the visits of the citizens of the adjoining towns. At 11 o'clock the Auburn Guards escorted Mr. Adams and the committee, followed by a large procession, to the car-house. Accompanied by Gov. Seward, Judge Miller, Hon. Christopher Morgan, the committee, Auburn Guards, and a number of the citizens of Auburn, he was conveyed in an extra train of cars, in an hour and five minutes, to Syracuse.
At Syracuse, at Utica, at Albany, the same spontaneous outgushing manifestations of respect and affection met him that had hitherto attended his journey in every populous place through which he passed. In his reply to the address of Mr. Barnard, at Albany, he concluded in the following words :
Lingering as I am on the stage of public life, and, as many of you may think, lingering beyond the period when nature calls for repose—while I remain in the station which I now occupy in the Congress of the United States, if you, my hearers, as an assembly, or if any one among you, as an individual, have any object or purpose to promote, or any end to secure that he believes can in any way advance his interests or increase his happiness, then, in the name of God, I ask you to send your petitions to me! (Tremendous cheering.) I hope this is not trespassing too far on politics. (Laughter, and cheers.) I unhesitatingly promise you, one and all, that if I can in any way serve you in that station, I will do it most cheerfully ; regarding it as the choicest blessing of God, if I shall thus be enabled to make some just return for the kind attentions which you have this day bestowed upon me.”
In his route homeward, Mr. Adams was received and entertained in a very handsome manner by the people of Pittsfield, Mass. He was addressed by Hon.
George N. Briggs, who alluded, in eloquent terms, to his long and distinguished public services. Mr. Adams, in reply, spoke of the scenes amidst which he had passed his early youth, and of the influence which they exerted in forming his character and shaping his purposes.
“ In 1775," said he, “ the minute men from a hundred towns in the province were marching, at a moment's warning, to the scene of opening war. Many of them called at my father's house in Quincy, and received the hospitality of John Adams. lodged in the house which the house would contain; others in the barns, and wherever they could find a place. There were then in my father's kitchen some dozen or two of pewter spoons; and I well recollect going into the kitchen and seeing some of the men engaged in running those spoons into bullets for the use of the troops! Do you wonder,” said he, “ that a boy of seven years of age, who witnessed this scene, should be a patriot ?"
In the fall of the same year, Mr. Adams received an invitation from the Cincinnati Astronomical Society, to visit that city, and assist in the ceremony of laying the corner stone of an observatory, to be erected on an eminence called Mount Ida. The invitation was accepted. On his journey to Cincinnati, the same demonstrations of respect, the same eagerness to honor the aged patriarch were manifested in the various cities and towns through which he passed, as on his summer tour.
The ceremony of laying the corner stone took place on the 9th of November, 1843. Mr. Adams delivered an address on the occasion, replete with eloquence, wisdom, philosophy, and religion. The following beautiful extract will afford a specimen :
“ The various difficult, and, in many respects, opposite motives which have impelled mankind to the study of the stars, have had a singular effect in complicating and confounding the recommendation of the science. Religion, idolatry, superstition, curiosity, the thirst for knowledge, the passion for penetrating the secrets of nature, the warfare of the huntsman by night and by day against the beast of the forest and of the field, the meditations of the shepherd in the custody and wanderings of his flocks, the influence of the revolving seasons of the year, and the successive garniture of the firmament upon the labors of the husbandman, upon the seed time and the harvest, the blooming of flowers, the ripening of the vintage, the polar pilot of the navigator, and the mysterious magnet of the marinerall, in harmonious action, stimulate the child of earth and of heaven to interrogate the dazzling splendors of the sky, to reveal to him the laws of their own existence.
“ He has his own comforts, his own happiness, his own existence, identified with theirs. He sees the Creator in creation, and calls upon creation to declare the glory of the Creator. When Pythagoras, the philosopher of the Grecian schools, conceived that more than earthly idea of the music of the spheres'--when the great dramatist of nature could inspire the lips of his lover on the moon. light green with the beloved of his soul, to say to her :
Sit, Jessica.-Look how the floor of Heaven
“Oh, who is the one with a heart, but almost wishes to cast off this muddy vesture of decay, to be admitted to the joy of listening to the celestial harmony !"
HIS DEATH-THE FUNERAL AT WASHINGTON-REMOVAL OF
THE BODY TO QUINCY-ITS INTERMENT.
The last time Mr. Adams appeared in public in Boston, he presided at a meeting of the citizens of that city, in Faneuil Hall. “A man had been kidnapped in Boston-kidnapped at noon-day, on the high road between Faneuil Hall and old Quincy,' and carried off to be a slave! New England hands had seized their brother, sold him into bondage forever, and his children after him. A meeting was called to talk the matter over, in a plain way, and look in one another's faces. Who was fit to preside in such a case ? That old man sat in the chair in Faneuil Hall. Above him was the image of his father and his own; around him were Hancock and the other Adams, and Washington, greatest of all.
Before him were the men and women of Boston, met to consider the wrongs done to a miserable negro slave. The roof of the old Cradle of Liberty