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world, my testimony of abhorrence to those penalties shall descend as an inheritance to my children and my country."
On the 11th of September the Anti-Masons met in Boston, and nominated Mr. Adams as their candidate for Governor of the State, a position he had always declined. But on the following day he accepted the nomination, and entered upon another exciting episode in his career. While he departed very little from his ordinary conduct and pursuits during this canvass, the controversy against Masonry occupied considerable of his time. Indeed, this affair with the Masons interfered with many of Mr. Adams's friendly relations, and deeply affected his happiness.
Unfavorable criticism, and the ill-success of his writings greatly depressed him. On the 25th of October he wrote in his Diary :—
"The pressure upon my time is almost more than I can bear, and the subject discussed in my letter to Governor Lincoln spreads before me till I know not where it will end. The more I write, the more of trouble I anticipate; and yet a sense of indispensable duty urges me on. I subject myself to so much toil and so much enmity, with so very little apparent fruit, that I sometimes ask myself whether I do not mistake my own motives. The best actions of my life make me nothing but enemies."
Among the several candidates the people were not successful in casting a Constitutional majority at the polls, and the election was thrown into the Legislature. Against this chance Mr. Adams had provided in his own mind as well as in his letter of acceptance. He had determined not to serve as Governor unless he was clearly the choice of the people. He never could lose sight of the unsatisfactory way in which he became President. But he was not now the choice of the people, having fallen several thousand votes behind the National Republican candidate, John Davis, then with him a member of Congress. In this condition of affairs he felt that he could serve his State and country best by remaining in Congress. Accordingly he notified the Legislature of his determination not to appear as one of the contestants in that body. He also wrote and printed a long address to the people of the State giving the motives which had actuated him and fully exposing his conduct in the Masonic controversy. In this address he explains, at length, the reasons for his letters to Colonel Stone and Edward Livingston, and notwithstanding the evident desire of Mr. Adams for peace of mind, this last direct public assault on the "order" was in some respects his most severe. He did not neglect, however, here to record the statement that there was not a Freemason in the State of Massachusetts, or in the Nation, toward whom he bore a particle of personal ill-will.
Both of his sons, John and Charles, who from this time on were important factors in his public conduct, objected to parts of this address, and in accordance with their wishes it was materially modified. By giving up the struggle Mr. Adams hoped to unite the National Republicans and the Anti-Masons. The latter faction was not destined to live long in the State, and it became a matter of numerical importance as to which of the more permanent parties should absorb these opponents of the "mysterious order."
Mr. Davis was not a Mason, and was opposed to the objectionable oaths and obligations, but was in a condition to deal fairly with all factions in the quarrel. There were many indications, too, of Masonry giving way before the pressure of public sentiment. Choate, Bates, Silsbee, and many others who were Masons, in the State, were expressing sentiments in favor of abolishing the "order." And even as an organization the Masons had shown some disposition to have their State charter annulled. Throughout the whole country the same spirit was, to some extent, exhibited, and very considerable numbers were undoubtedly in favor of doing away with the foolish oaths and other assailable features.
As has been intimated by his own words, Mr. Adams no doubt saw, too, that his position against Masonry would greatly embitter his last days. While he did not then or at any time subsequently recall or change his opinions against the "order," remaining always its enemy, his course now was evidently a bid for personal quiet and peace, as well as the production of harmony among all the opponents of Jacksonism, which he considered more prejudicial to the country than Masonry. Time was taming Mr. Adams's spirit. Age was sapping his energy. Peace with a world with which he had always been at war, was of some importance to a man who had very little reason for expecting better of the future than of the past.
Mr. Adams's friends were also pressing him to abandon a controversy, which it was becoming daily more apparent, would be of no benefit to himself or the country, and to turn his attention to matters more worthy of his character and ability. So ended Mr. Adams's open contest with the "order," which he never ceased to hold in disgust and abhorrence.
His position had given great strength to the cause of Anti-Masonry, and that his position and course were plainly enough the sure way to political and social ruin, establishes, beyond all chances of cavil, the purity and unselfishness of his motives. In this strange contest, Mr. Adams only reiterated the principles which had verified his character in a hundred conflicts and at every point in his career.
SLAVERY IN POLITICS—THE GREAT CONFLICT IN CONGRESS—FREEDOM'S CHAMPION.
AT the usual time Mr. Adams was again in his seat in Congress, the long session of 1835 continuing into July of the following year. This was the beginning of the most exciting, active, and, in most respects, admirable period in the life of this remarkable man, the heroic period. To follow him now becomes a difficult task. And to disentangle him by a pen-sketch from the multiform combats he sustained almost singlehanded for many years in Congress, at so advanced an age as he had then reached, appears hopeless, indeed. To do the man, the times, the subject, justice, is, perhaps, now impossible.
About the first act of Mr. Adams, on entering Congress, in 1831, was the presentation of fifteen petitions from numerous Quakers in Pennsylvania, asking the abolition of the slave-trade, and of slavery itself in the District of Columbia. This was the first step, as it proved to be, in the remarkable conflict the old man waged during the last years of his life. It was a contest with slavery, and as nearly all his acts pointed to this, the great interest in his career from this on to the end must be sought in the events of this contest.
As little has, heretofore, been said concerning Mr.