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Gaines, and where the decision was not against him, the responsibility of giving a verdict had been avoided. But it was generally believed the advantages were with Gaines. General Macomb, who had been of the same rank as the other two officers, had suffered a reduction for a more active position at the head of the engineers, and the President seeing the strife among the friends of Scott and Gaines, wisely determined to nominate Macomb at once to be Major-General.
At the urgent request of his Cabinet he then nominated William H. Harrison to be Minister to Colombia, South America, although he did not believe that the appointment of a minister at that time to Colombia was necessary. The Senate confirmed both of these appointments. To succeed Governor Barbour in the Cabinet there was but one voice among the members, and that was for the appointment of General Peter B. Porter, of New York. Even Mr. Barbour thought General Porter the only man who should be made his successor. This was, too, greatly against the inclination of the President, as he thought both justice to the sections and advantage to the future prospects of the Administration required this appointment to go to the South. He favored John Williams, of Tennessee, or Ambrose Spencer or Gaston, of the South, but he considered peace in the Cabinet as of more importance than anything else he could now expect to obtain, so submitted to this appointment. General Porter was confirmed by the Senate, and entered upon his office on the 21st of June, 1828; Mr. Southard having, in the meantime, acted as Secretary of War, Governor Barbour having withdrawn to prepare for his trip to England.
The appointment of Macomb as General of the army did not, unfortunately, settle the troubles. Scott not only refused to acknowledge or recognize Macomb as the General of the army when he met him, but actually wrote a letter to the President, as commander-in-chief, demanding the arrest of Macomb for accepting an office over him, and, in case this should be refused, demanded his own trial for declining to obey orders from Macomb. All this being unheeded, he wrote another letter stating that he designed appealing to Congress, and asked a furlough for six months to await its meeting.
Scott's conduct throughout this whole case, and in his dealings with General Gaines, was unmanly and contemptible in the extreme, and greatly excited the President, who would have dismissed him from the army without word, as he richly deserved to be, had he not respected him for the services he rendered in 1812. It was finally decided by the unanimous concurrence of the Cabinet to notify Scott that no such things as he proposed could be considered, but to give him leave of absence for a certain time.
Early in the summer of 1828, while Congress was still in session, there was a strong effort made in the Cabinet and by many outside friends of the Administration to have John McLean removed from the position he occupied. His conduct in the removal and appointment of a postmaster at Philadelphia.caused considerable commotion at the time. It was believed by many of Mr. Adams's political friends that McLean was secretly working for Jackson, and doing all he could to degrade the Administration. But he had managed the postal affairs with great ability, and Mr. Adams had repeatedly praised him for this, and, besides, he was wholly averse to making any change in the general direction of the affairs of his Administration. He believed, too, that such a step would result to his disadvantage in the Presidential race. But, about this time, Mr. Adams came to the following conclusion as to the Postmaster-General:—
"The conduct of Mr. McLean has been that of deep and treacherous duplicity. With solemn protestations of personal friendship for me, and of devotion to the cause of the Administration, he has been three years using the extensive patronage of his office in undermining it among the people. Mr. McLean is a double-dealer. 'His words are smoother that butter, but war is in his heart.'"
On the 4th of July, 1828, work was begun on the Chesapeake and Ohio Canal, at a point in the State of Maryland, a few miles from Washington. This was then considered a great event, and the President accepted an invitation to be present, and inaugurate the work by lifting the first spadeful of earth. This he did, and delivered a speech which he had prepared for the occasion, although as often happened with him, he was not satisfied with the way in which he performed the part assigned him. On attempting to put the spade into the ground he met with a root or stump of a tree. But the plucky old man, unwilling to allow such an obstacle to stand in his way or indicate the failure of the whole work by the inauspicious beginning, took off his coat, and overcoming the difficulty, turned up the first shovelful of dirt amidst the shouts of several thousand people who had been gathered to witness the ceremony of starting forward the important public enterprise.
At the close of May, 1828, Mr. Adams made this record of the way in which he was passing his time:—
"I rise generally before five, frequently before four. Write from one to two hours in this Diary. Ride about twelve miles in two hours, on horseback, with my son John. Return home about nine; breakfast; and from that time till dinner, between five and six, afternoon, am occupied incessantly with visitors, business, and reading letters, dispatches, and newspapers. I spend an hour, sometimes before and sometimes after dinner, in the gardeu and nursery; an hour of drowsiness on a sofa, and two hours of writing, in the evening. Retire usually between eleven and midnight. My riding on horseback is a dangerous and desperate resort for the recovery of my health."
In the summers during his term of the Presidency, Mr. Adams spent much time in planting and starting young trees of various kinds both at the White House and at Quincy. He planted the seeds of several species, and in this way attempted to raise the trees. One of the main objects of this work was to ascertain what could be done in producing forest-trees from the seeds. During this time, too, both he and Mrs. Adams experimented much on raising and feeding the "silkworm."
BITTER PRESIDENTIAL CONTEST OF 1828—NULLIFICATION AND THE HARTFORD CONVENTION —FREEMASONRY—MEN AND PRINCIPLES.
EARLY in the fall of 1825, the Tennessee Legislature nominated General Jackson for the Presidency, and this was all the formal action that was taken in the Presidential nominations. The newspapers and the country at once fell into the understanding that the contest was to be between Mr. Adams and General Jackson, and no ceremony was necessary to apprise the public of the fact. The Congressional Caucus had come to an end, and the convention system was not introduced until 1832. -Mr. Calhoun's friends had all joined in the Jackson movement, and he was, by common consent, placed on the ticket with Jackson, for re-election to the Vice-Presidency. A convention at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, nominated Mr. Rush for that office with Mr. Adams, and this nomination was accepted by the supporters of the Administration. Early in 1827 the Jackson Democrats were fully organized for the contest, but the shout for Adams and Rush did not begin until the next year.
Although there was a vast distance, from almost any point of view, between Mr. Adams and General
Jackson, the real political issues were not as clearly