« 이전계속 »
probable that hereafter, as heretofore, the most important negotiations with foreign powers will be committed to joint missions of several members. To every such mission and to all its members, the Ghent negotiation will afford instructive lessons, as well by its union as by its divisions. The conduct of Mr. Russell will afford a negative instruction of deep import. It will teach them to beware of leaguing invidious and imaginary sectional or party feelings with the purposes of the enemy, against our rights of assuming the argument of the enemy against ourselves; of proclaiming, without necessity, differences of opinion upon rejected propositions; of secret denunciations in the shape of self-vindication ; of crude and shallow dissertations against essential interests and just claims, and interpolating public papers to adapt them to the purposes of the moment. It will teach them to have a higher sense of the rights and liberties of this Nation, than to believe them to be held at the will of a British king; and it will warn them to turn their talents to better uses than that of sacrificing the essential interests of their country. . . .
"The question in relation to the Mississippi, can never be revived. That specter is forever laid. Great Britain has not only disavowed the claim to it, which we would have admitted as valid; she has abandoned that upon which she herself exclusively rested it. Of its value, in confirmation of the opinions which I have expressed, I have given extracts from the debates in Parliament, on the peace of 1782, which show how it was estimated by her greatest statesman at that time. Those estimates had been confirmed by an experience of thirty years. The slumbers of the unoffending citizens of the Western country, can, therefore, never more be, if they ever were, disquieted by the visits of this apparition to the glimpses of the moon. But the day may come, though I trust it is far remote, when the title to our fishing liberties may again be in peril as imminent as it was at the negotiation of Ghent. And if, in that day, the American statesmen, who may be charged with the defense and support of the rights, liberties, and interests of their country, should deem it among the qualifications for their office to possess some knowledge of the laws of nations, some acquaintance with the history of their country, and some patriotism more comprehensive than party spirit or sectional prejudice ever gave or ever can give, I trust in God that their proficiency will have led them to the discoverv that all treaties, and all articles of treaties, and all liberties recognized in treaties, are not abrogated by war; tbat our fishing liberties were neither before nor since the Revolutionary War, held at the mere pleasure of the British crown; and that the lawful interests and possessions of one section of the Union are not to be sacrificed for the imaginary profit of another, either by disparaging their value, or by casting them away as the interests of a disaffected part of the country."
The most trying of all Mr. Adams's wonderful experiences at this time was with a member of Congress, General Alexander Smyth, of Virginia, who had made a somewhat doubtful, if not disreputable, record in the recent British and Indian war.
Smyth made a furious attack upon him, and Mr. Adams answered him. Smyth then undertook a barefaced and dishonorable scheme for undermining his character. By order of Congress, Mr. Adams had with much labor collected and arranged the papers making a history of the proceedings in the Constitutional Convention of 1787, and a few errors of punctuation were made in important places, also a change of date from the 13th to the 12th; in which, in the first instance, Smyth had taken up the idea that he should be able to prove that Mr. Adams designed the change of punctuation to alter the sense with the effect of weakening the power of the States, and giving absolute power to Congress, and in the other case that he willfully intended to falsify the record. For the completion of his scheme it was necessary for him to see the original records in the State Department, and for this privilege he boldly applied to Mr. Adams. This, of course, was granted, with the stipulation that Mr. Adams, who was responsible for the safety of the papers in his department, should be present at their examination. Mr. Adams was, however, surprised one morning on entering his room at the Department to find Smyth with one of his friends in possession of it, and engaged in making copies of dates and passages he expected to use for Mr. Adams's overthrow. He had already made certificates to be signed by the chief clerk, who was present, and who had furnished him the records. Mr. Adams seeing the design of this vicious, new enemy, took charge of the proceedings in such a way as to show Smyth and his friend at once that the date he had used was the true date of the adoption of the measure, and the discrepancy of one day was only the time between the time of adoption and final engrossing; showing also that the error of punctuation occurred in the hands of the printer, which there had been no opportunity to correct; and that this had all been well understood and provided for and corrected. Smyth, beaten again, retreated as ingloriously as it had been held he did at Lake Erie.
Mr. Adams's reply to Smyth, together with his speech in the United States Senate on the purchase of Louisiana, and a letter from Thomas Jefferson on the same subject, was printed in a pamphlet by Gales and Seaton, editors of the "National Intelligencer." Mr. Adams also published a letter to the people of Virginia, who were constituents of General Smyth. This long letter was dated "Washington, Dec. 28th, 1822," and was addressed "To the Freeholders of Washington, Wythe, Grayson, Russell, Tazewell, Lee. and Scott Counties, Virginia," and was first published in the "Richmond Enquirer." It was also printed and circulated in pamphlet form. This letter, in a very neat and high-toned manner, explains and defends his own conduct and public services on points assailed by General Smyth, and does not neglect to touch up the General.s valuable official record.
January 1, 1823, Mr. Adams began with the following prayer, the only thing recorded in his Diary for that day, in the midst of one of the most stormy periods of his life, a performance for which some of our Presidents had not the heart, and none other of them the faculty:—
"All gracious Parent! on my bended knee
THE CABINET SWIMMER—"THE MONROE DOCTRINE "-THE MISSOURI COMPROMISE—HUMAN SLAVERY.
N the 11th of July, 1823, Mr. Adams wrote in his Diarv :—
"I commence upon my fifty-seventh year. Swam with Antoine an hour in the Potomac. We started for the bridge, but, after swimming about half an hour, I perceived, by reference to a house upon the shore beyond which we were to pass, that we had ascended very little above where we had left our clothes, and that the current of the tide was insensibly carrying us into the middle of the river. We continued struggling against the tide about twenty minutes longer without apparently gaining a foot. I then turned back, and in fifteen minutes landed at the rock where I left my clothes, upon which, in the interval, the tide had so much encroached that it began to wet them, and, in another half hour would have soaked them through or floated them away. We had been an hour and five minutes in the water, without touching ground, and before turning back I began to feel myself weary."
On the 9th of August he wrote :—
"Swam in the Potomac to the bridge against the tide, and returned with it. One hour and fifty minutes in the water, Antoine being still at hand with the canoe. I was about an hour and a half in going, and not more than twenty minutes in returning."
This kind of uncommonly skillful exercise Mr. Adams took almost daily in the warm seasons during his long residence in Washington, even while he was President. And Antoine, the old Russian here men