페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

Vice-President by the vote of the people in districts. This was done in mind of the way in which Mr. Adams reached the Presidency, and was a part of the general plan of opposition to his Administration. The following bills were also introduced: For amending the Constitution, making members of Congress ineligible to civil office by Executive appointment; to regulate the advertising laws of the country; to secure faithful officers, and remove others; to regulate the appointment of postmasters, cadets, and midshipmen; and a bill to take from the President the power of removing at pleasure naval and military officers.

Mr. Adams had appointed several Congressmen to important positions, had taken the public printing in a few cases out of the hands of his bitter revilers, and all these measures were aimed at him, as was avowed by John Randolph and others. Although some of these matters were pressed in other sessions during Mr. Adams's term, nothing came of any of them, and while this plan of submitting the Presidential election to the direct vote of the people has at different times since agitated politicians and been a dark theme before the country, nothing has ever been accomplished, the original electoral system gaining strength with the lapse of time.

One-third of the session was taken up with the discussion of these bills; and so, matters required for the general good were pushed out to make room for partisan machinations against the Administration, and in this evil mood the first session of Congress under Mr. Adams closed, May 22, 1826.

Soon after the close of this session Albert Gallatin went to England to fill the place held but a few months by Rufus King, whose declining health compelled him to return home. Early in 1827 Mr. King died.

The event of 1826 which became of unusual importance in the recoYd of political superstitition was the death of John Adams and Thomas Jefferson on the same day, "the day we celebrate."

The President had received letters concerning the "low" condition of his father, and on the 9th he set out for Quincy. At Baltimore, on the same day, he got word that his father had died on the 4th. Five days were then required to transmit any kind of news from Boston to Washington. In the old home at Quincy, on the 13th of July, Mr. Adams wrote in his Diary:—

"My father and my mother have departed. The charm which has always made this house to me an abode of enchantment is dissolved; and yet my attachment to it," and to the whole region round, is stronger than I ever felt it before. I feel it is time for me to begin to set my house in order, and to prepare for the church-yard myself."

This he did, uniting with the Church while, on this trip, a matter which will be written of more fully in a future chapter. While in Massachusetts at this time, Mr. Adams took the necessary steps as one of the executors of his father's will, looked thoroughly into his affairs, made arrangements for carrying out the provisions of the will, and also made some arrangements towards retiring from public life on the 4th of March, 1829.

During this trip he had the painful gratification of hearing Edward Everett and other orators of his State deliver eulogies on the lives of his father and Mr. Jefferson. Mr. Adams believed himself to be the founder of the school and race of orators then rising to distinction in Massachusetts. His lectures at Cambridge had been the first experiment in the University in teaching the spirit and principles of real oratory.

All Mr. Adams's reflections and observations while on this trip home had a tendency to wed him more firmly to his former notions of intellectual culture. He believed that even the quality of the blood would be affected in time by mental culture. And why not? The mine opened to him in the old family papers and records, left by his father, was cich with evidence in support of his indisputable sentiments. These old documents too clearly revealed the difference in the fortune of those of his ancestors who had and those who had not received the benefits even of what is generally termed education.

On the 19th Mr. Adams returned to Washington, in time to be present in the House of Representatives at the delivery of Attorney-General Wirt's celebrated Eulogy on John Adams and Thomas Jefferson.

CHAPTER XXI.

SECOND SESSION OF THE NINETEENTH TERM OF CONGRESSSECOND ANNUAL MESSAGE—THREE GREAT GENERALS IN POLITICS.

[ocr errors]

N the 4th of December, 1826, Congress again assembled for the short session ending March 3, 1827.

PRESIDENT ADAMS'S SECOND ANNUAL MESSAGE.

December 0, 18S6.

To The Senate And House Of Representatives Of The United States:—

The assemblage of the representatives of the Union in both Houses of Congress at this time, occurs under circumstances calling for the renewed homage of our grateful acknowledgments to the Giver of all good. With the exceptions incidental to the most felicitous conditions of human existence, we continue to be highly favored in all the elements which contribute to individual comfort and to national prosperity. In the survey of our extensive country we are generally to observe abodes of health and regions of plenty. In our civil and political relations we have peace without, and tranquillity within our borders. We are, as a people, increasing with unabated rapidity in population, wealth, and national resources; and, whatever differences of opinion exist among us with regard to the mode and the means by which we shall turn the beneficence of Heaven to the improvement of our own condition, there is yet a spirit animating us all which will not suffer the bounties of Providence to be showered upon us in vain, but will receive them with grateful hearts, and apply them with unwearied hands to the advancement of the general good.

Of the subjects recommended to the consideration of Congress at their last session, some were then definitely acted upon. Others left unfinished, but partly matured, will recur to your attention without needing a renewal of notice from me. The purpose of this communication will be to present to your view the general aspect of our public affairs at this moment, and the measures which have been taken to carry into effect the intentions of the Legislature as signified by the laws then and heretofore enacted.

In our intercourse with the other nations of the earth we have still the happiness of enjoying peace and a general good understanding; qualified, however, in several important instances, by collisions of interest, and by unsatisfied claims of justice, to the settlement of which the Constitutional interposition of the legislative authority may become ultimately indispensable.

By the decease of the Emperor Alexander of Russia, which occurred contemporaneously with the commencement of the last session of Congress, the United States have been deprived of a long-tried, steady, and faithful friend. Born to the inheritance of absolute power, and trained in the school of adversity, from which no power on earth, however absolute, is exempt, that monarch, from his youth, had been taught to feel the force and value of public opinion, and to be sensible that the interests of his own government would be best promoted by a frank and friendly intercourse with this republic, as those of his people would be advanced by a liberal commercial intercourse with our country. A candid and confidential interchange of sentiments between him and the Government of the United States, upon the affairs of South America, took place at a period not long preceding his demise, and contributed to fix that course of policy which left to the other governments of Europe no alternative but that of sooner or later recognizing the independence of our southern neighbors, of which the example had by the United States already been set. The ordinary diplomatic communications between his successor, the Emperor Nicholas, and the United States, have suffered some interruption by the illness, departure, and subsequent decease of his minister residing here, who enjoyed, as he merited, the entire confidence of his new sovereign, as he had eminently responded to that of his predecessor. But we have had the most satisfactory assurances that the sentiments of the reigning emperor toward the United States are altogether conformable to those which had so long and constantly animated his imperial brother; and we have reason to hope that they will serve to cement that harmony and good understanding between the two nations which, founded in congenial interests, can

« 이전계속 »