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branches of their representatives, in every part and at the central seat of the confederacy?
"Yet gratifications still higher awaited me. In the wonders of creation and improvement that have met my enchanted eye, in the unparalleled and self-felt happiness of the people, in their rapid prosperity and insured security, public and private, in a practice of good order, the appendage of true freedom, and a national good sense, the final arbiter of all difficulties, I have had proudly to recognize a result of the republican principles for which we have fought, and a glorious demonstration to the most timid and prejudiced minds, of the superiority, over degrading aristocracy or despotism, of popular institutions, founded on the plain rights of man, and where the local rights of every section are preserved under a constitutional bond of union. The cherishing of that union between the States, as it has been the farewell entreaty of our great paternal Washington, and will ever have the dying prayer of every American patriot, so it has become the sacred pledge of the emancipation of the world; an object in which I am happy to observe that the American people, while they give the animating example of successful free institutions, in return for an evil entailed upon them by Europe, and of which a liberal and enlightened sense is everywhere more and more generally felt, show themselves every day more anxiously interested.
"And now, sir, how can I do justice to my deep and lively feelings for the assurances, most peculiarly valued, of your esteem and friendship; for your so very kind references to old times, to my beloved associates, to the vicissitudes of my life; for your affecting picture of the blessings poured, by the several generations of the American people, on the remaining days of a delighted veteran; for your affectionate remarks on this sad hour of separation, on the country of my birth, full, I can say, of American sympathies, on the hope, so necessary to me, of my seeing again the country that has deigned, near half a century ago, to call me hers? I shall content myself, refraining from superfluous repetitions, at once, before you, sir, and this respected circle, to proclaim my cordial confirmation of every one of the sentiments which I have had daily opportunities publicly to utter, from the time when your venerable predecessor, my old brother in arms and friend, transmitted to me the honorable invitation of Congress, to this day, when you, my dear sir, whose friendly connection with me dates from your earliest youth, are going to consign me to the protection, across the Atlantic, of the heroic national flag, on board the splendid ship, the name of which has been not the least flattering and kind among the numberless favors conferred upon me.
"God bless you, sir, and all who surround us. God bless the American people, each of their States, and the Federal Government. Accept this patriotic farewell of an overflowing heart. Such will be its last throb when it ceases to beat."
With the exception of some serious annoyance from the Governor of Georgia on account of the Indians in that State, a matter to be noted hereafter, Mr. Adams passed this summer in comparative quietness. It was the lull after and before great storms. He had done all he could to lead to this state by letting public affairs take the course in which they had long been flowing. The office-holders had neither been scared nor turned from their easy places.
In May he was invited to go over near Baltimore to an agricultural fair or exhibition, and this is what he wrote in his Diary about this scheme to start him out:—
"Mr. Barbour had not received his invitation. I had received mine, and had delayed answering under some hesitation whether to go or not. I now conclude for various reasons not to go. From Skinner's letter to Barbour, it is apparent that the society wish to make the President of the United States a part of their exhibition. To gratify this wish, I must give four days of my time, no trifle of expense, and set a precedent for, being claimed as an article of exhibition at all the cattle-shows throughout the Union. From cattle-shows to other public meetings for purposes of utility or exposures of public sentiment, the transition is natural and easy. Invitations to them would multiply from week to week, and every compliance would breed the necessity for numerous excuses and apologies. Finally, this is no part of my duties, and some duty must be neglected to attend to it. 'Seest thou a man diligent in his business V I answered Mr. Skinner, declining the invitation."
A great deal of this summer Mr. Adams spent in swimming in the Potomac, devising plans for the ornamentation of the tympanum of the Capitol's Dome, keeping run of the odds and ends of the times, and altogether passing quite a busy sort of lazy summer.
He tells briefly about it in his Diary in these words, at the end of July :—
"The whole month has been more intensely warm than I had ever before experienced. My rising hour has ranged from four to half-past five. Almost every day I have bathed in the river and swam, from three-quarters of an hour to an hour and a half. Then read an hour. Breakfast between eight and nine, and received a succession of visitors till four or five P. M. Dine from five to six. Play billiards from six to seven or eight, and generally retire to bed between eight and nine. Excepting the current business transacted by conference with the heads of Departments, the month may be said to have passed away in idleness."
Early in August Mr. Adams and La Fayette went, by invitation, to "Oak Hill" to see Mr. Monroe. On the way, the tongue of the carriage was broken, and a part of the retinue walked the rest of the distance to Monroe's. For his part Mr. Adams had with him his son, John, and the old "hired man," Antoine Michael Giuste; and La Fayette had his valet-dechambre, secretary, and George Washington, his son. The night of the 7th, and the next day and night they actually passed with Mr. Monroe. Mr. Adams said, "The day was spent in desultory conversation with Mr. Monroe, Mr. Hay, General La Fayette, Dr. Wallace, Mrs. Hay, and visitors at the house." Mrs. Monroe was with her other daughter in New York. The next day they went to Leesburg to which La Fayette had been invited. There they had a big dinner, and La Fayette (who never surfeited of slopping eulogies) and the wordy Virginians made speeches.
Determined that they should lose none of the day, about night they were made to attend the baptism of two children, one of which was named Mary La Fayette, and the General required to stand sponsor for it. The President and Mr. Monroe had to stand in the same relation to the other child, which was named Maria Louisa. That night they stayed at Ludwell Lee.s, and Mr. Adams and Mr. Monroe slept in the same room, which had a bed for each. This ridiculous trip was worse than the Maryland cattle-show . could have been. Of it Mr. Adams only wrote: "A full account of this day's proceedings will be published in the newspapers. I have no pleasure in such scenes." No wonder. What man of refined tastes could take interest in such a trip?
La Fayette's new paternal obligations did not trouble him much, as on that very night, while they were at Ludwell Lee's, little Mary La Fayette Mason died.
It would have been a difficult matter to induce Mr. Adams to take another such trip. Imagine the President of the United States, the thoughtful and studious John Quincy Adams, visiting, sitting with folded or restless hands, lounging about for two whole days and nights; engaging in small and "desultory conversation" with Mrs. Hay, quiet old Mr. Monroe, Dr. Wallace, and visitors to the house!
An hour or two among real friends, persons of common likes and interests, would be tolerable to such a man; a day and night would be crime and suicide, especially amidst .incongenialities. Wise and conscientious men can not do such things. Society has made a race of idle and thoughtless women for this useless and evil leisure.