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hundred pounds sterling to Mr. Adams as a departing minister. This present, he declined, giving as his reason that there was a clause in the Constitution of his country rendering it illegal and improper for its representatives to accept presents from foreign sovereigns. Of this custom he says :—
"The prohibition of the Constitution of the United States in this case has my hearty approbation, and I wish it may be inflexibly adhered to hereafter. The usage itself as practiced by all European governments is, in my judgment, absurd, indelicate, with at least very strong tendencies to corruption."
Then, he thought, too, that as the United States did not give presents to foreign ministers it was especially proper for her representatives to reject these gifts. He said that the governments of Europe were becoming ashamed of the despicable custom, and instanced the case, which had made such an indelible impression upon his mind, of the able and just Russian Chancellor, Count Romanzoff, who had turned the value of all the official presents made to him into the treasury in aid of the pensions granted to disabled soldiers, and who had, probably, to some extent, been led to this humane and unselfish course, by his reflections upon the rule pursued in the United States in declining to give and receive presents.
Mr. Adams said, however, that Lord Castlereagh had received valuable presents besides twenty-four snuff-boxes, each worth nearly five thousand dollars, and showed no disposition to relinquish the usage, as certainly did not the British master of ceremonies, who was allowed to deduct ten per cent of the value of the present (which was always money in England) as his part of it.
On the 15th of June, with his family, all his children having joined him in London, Mr. Adams embarked in the ship, Washington, from Cowes, Isle of Wight, for America. As the representative of his Government abroad this was the end of his diplomatic career. He had been one of the pioneers of American diplomacy, and was still to remain for many years at the head of international affairs at home. He had certainly, nominally at least, reached the point at which Washington's good judgment had placed him, and that he deserved it was at that momont sufficiently demonstrated by his call to the head of Mr. Monroe's Cabinet, an act in which the great mass of his countrymen heartily supported the President. Of this new step he was about making in his career he wrote to his mother:—
"As to the popular favor with which you observe the appointment has been attended, I well know how to appreciate its stability as inherent in its own nature; but that is the smallest of my concern.
"You observe that among the various public speculations there have been some expressing apprehensions that my public opinions and feelings would not harmonize with those of the President. It is certain that our sentiments on subjects of great public interest have, at particular periods of our public life, been much at variance. That they may be so again is as certainly not improbable. . . .
"Ever since his appointment to the Department of State has brought me into official relations with him, I have known few ot his opinions with which I did not cordially concur, and where there might be shades of difference, have had ample reason to be satisfied with the consideration which he had given to the candid expression of mine. . .
"I am aware that by the experience of our history under the present Constitution, Mr. Jefferson alone of our four Presidents has had the good fortune ot a Cabinet harmonizing with each other and with him throughout the whole period of his Administration.
"For myself, I shall enter upon the functions o.f my office with a deep sense of the necessity of union with my colleagues, and with a suitable impression that my place is subordinate, that my duty will be to support, and not to counteract or oppose, the President's Administration; and that, if, from any cause, I should find my efforts to that end ineffectual, it will be my duty seasonably to withdraw from the public service, and leave to more competent persons the performance of the duties to which I should find myself inadequate."
THE CABINET AND THE SECRETARY OF STATE—ADAMS AND SOCRATES—WASHINGTON SOCIETY AND ETIQUETTE.
AT the time at which Mr. Adams became Secretary of State the appointment to that position was deemed almost equivalent to a nomination for the Presidency. A very limited line of precedents had given pretense to this state of affairs, especially with, the class of politicians which followed the lead of the "Virginia Dynasty." In this condition of things it was not to be expected that Mr. Adams's appointment to a position putting him in the direct way • to the Presidential Chair would meet no opposition. Wm. H. Crawford wanted to be President, and Virginia politicians mainly were anxious to prepare for his succession to Mr. Monroe. Henry Clay was equally concerned about his own interests, and desired for himself the place assigned Mr. Adams. But Mr. Monroe was an honest and moderate politician, with the laudable ambition to kill what little party contention there was left at the end of Mr. Madison's term of office.
The Federal party was almost extinct, and an Administration of "good feeling" seemed readily attainable. Nor did Mr. Monroe appear deeply interested in the question of succession, nor the quarter from which his successor should come. He wanted to use the means which seemed to indicate the best road to eminent success in his own Administration.
With this feeling, on the first day of March, 1817, he wrote to General Jackson, whom it was then beginning to be the fashion to patronize:—
"I shall take a person for the Department of State from the eastward; and Mr. Adams, by long service in our diplomatic concerns, appearing to be entitled to the preference, supported by his acknowledged abilities and integrity, his nomination will go to the Senate."
And what reply did Jackson make to this? He
"I have no hesitation in saying you have made the best selection to fill the Department of State that could be made. Mr. Adams, in the hour of difficulty, will be an able helpmate, and I am convinced his appointment will afford geueral satisfaction."
General Jackson was then passing through a state which he never had the good fortune to enter again in his life. It was his era of "good feeling," and his opinion of men was largely as glowing as theirs was of him. The unlettered Hero of New Orleans could afford to be just and generous. And no man in the world had so much cause to be gratified with the appointment of Mr. Adams to the diplomatic post in Mr. Monroe's Cabinet. No man received so much benefit from it as did General Jackson, a fact that will be made quite apparent farther on in these pages.
No man in the Nation, perhaps, knew so well the qualities of Mr. Adams fitting him for the diplomacy branch of affairs as did Mr. Monroe. For eight years he had read his voluminous correspondence as Minister to Russia, Commissioner to Ghent, and Minister at London, and he not only did not see those evidences of dissimilarity of opinion with himself of which men