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ONE of the many distinguished friends of Colonel Ward was John Adams, Colossus of the Congress of '76. The more one contemplates the words and works of this statesman, over whom there has been such bitter and lasting controversy, the less weight one is inclined to give to the accusations brought against him, compared with his illustrious services in the cause of American independence. None among his colleagues was more emphatically an embodiment of the heart of our nation than John Adams. He was the very pith of America, the incarnate spirit of New England. His mind and body had the strength of the hardy soil and the vigorous climate that gave him birth. He was not a man for fine words, or for the exercise of the art of fascination; his was the nature and power of the pioneer; his was the work of the man, rather than of the gentleman. And, as if obedient to a controlling instinct, his capacity increasing with the severity of opposition, he stood firm and towering as his own New England hills. Legislative and executive ability were united in this stanch statesman. For thought, and the practical application of it, who among his contemporaries shall be mentioned before him? Jefferson could pen the Declaration, but Adams must not only lend his counsel, but force the finished document through a stubborn Congress. Nor could he have carried Lee's famous Resolution, had he not practiced himself with his own preparatory measure of the previous May.

Rock and wood of New England was John Adams. He knew no ties or interests but those which bound him to his mother earth He did not step beyond the boundary of New England till he was nearly forty years of age, when his State sent him to Philadelphia, a delegate to the first Continental Congress. Previous to this time, his labors, though by no means insignificant, were but skirmishes compared to the after-battle. Now he began that series of stupendous labors, which none but a mental and physical giant could have endured, continuing through more than a quarter of a century.

From the date of his first resolution for the instruction of the representatives of the town of Braintree, on the subject of the Stamp Act,

his work was incessant and momentous. It is bewildering to trace the footsteps of this patriot, pushing ever forward, through and over innumerable obstacles, upon his prophet's pathway. Stone upon stone, he saw the rise of the temple of liberty. His mind was in the design, his handiwork in the manual labor of construction.

It is lamentably true that the writings Mr. Adams has left concerning himself are fragmentary and lacking in method; but the record of his public labors is enough. Those are fit words of Jefferson: "The clearest head and firmest heart of any man in Congress." Add to this combination the essential element, endurance, and the portrait is finished. Let us take the worker's own words:

"I was incessantly employed through the whole fall, winter, and spring of 1775 and 1776 in Congress during their sittings, and on committees on mornings and evenings; and unquestionably did more business than any other member of that house."

It was in the midst of these labors that the first of the letters here offered was written. He has shown us the main-spring of his character: "Verbal resolutions accomplish nothing. ** Let reasoning men infer what we shall do from what we actually do."

The reader will remember the expedition into Canada, referred to in this letter,that expedition which cost brave young Montgomery his life, and showed to the world the exalted powers of poor Arnold,— that terrible march through unbroken forest, through swamp and swollen rivers, through mud, and snow, and ice, thirty-two days of isolated suffering in the wilds of what is now Maine. The writer's comment upon the depredations of the British navy in the coast towns, exhibits him in his characteristic defiance and dignity.

The close of 1775 was near; and, so far, there was little to encourage. Mr. Adams was at his work in Congress; Colonel Ward was active in the service, as aide-de-camp and secretary of General Artemus Ward.

PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 14, 1775

SIR: I had yesterday the pleasure of your letter of the 4th inst. by Captain Price, for which, as well as a former kind letter, I heartily thank you. The Report you mention, that Congress have resolved

upon a free trade, is so far from being true, that you must have seen by the public papers before now that they have resolved to stop all trade until next March.

Adams. But with even his confidence, there must be a mingling of doubt; with all his firmness, a trembling at the approach of the awful crisis. He wrote his noble wife,

What will be done then, time will discover. This April 12, 1776: "This is not independency,

winter I hope will be emproved in preparing some kind of defence for our trade. I hope the Colonies will do this separately. But these subjects are too important and intricate to be discussed in a narrow compass, and too delicate to be committed to a private letter.


The report that Congress has resolved to have no more connection, &c., untill they shall be indemnified for the damage done by the tyranny of their enemies will not be true perhaps so soon as some expect it.

Verbal resolutions accomplish nothing. It is to no purpose to declare what we will or will not do, in future times. Let reasoning men infer what we shall do from what we actually do.

The late conduct in burning towns, so disgraceful to the English name and character, would justify anything but similar barbarity. Let us preserve our temper, our wisdom, our humanity and civility, tho' our enemies are every day renouncing theirs. But let us omit nothing necessary for the security

of our Cause.

You are anxious for Arnold. So are we, and for Montgomery too, untill this day when an express has brought us the refreshing news of the capitulation of St. Johns. For Arnold I am anxious still. God grant him success. My compliments to Gen. Ward and his family.

I am, with respect,

Your very humble servant,

Early in 1776 Mr. Adams returned to Congress. This was a year of most exhausting labor. June 12th he was made Chairman of the Board of War and Ordnance. The severity and importance of his duties, beginning at this date, and extending through the succeeding sixteen months, cannot be overestimated. His testimony is: "The duties of this Board kept me in continual employment, not to say drudgery, from 12th of June, 1776, till 11th of November, 1777, when I left Congress forever." What a mighty task lay before this little body of men!

Some leading minds had been advocating national independence, directly and indirectly, for years; but only a few months previous had it begun to take hold upon the masses. At length, Lexington, Concord, Ticonderoga, and Breed's Hill gave successive utterances in a voice not to be misunderstood.

The necessity was upon them. No man was better prepared for it, and no man met the emergency more squarely than John

you know. What is? Why, government in every colony, a confederation among them all, and treaties with foreign nations to acknowledge us a sovereign State, and all that." Four days later he wrote his friend Ward. Two of his letters, containing derogatory remarks upon his colleagues (a pastime in which unhappily this great man indulged), had been intercepted by the British, and published, much to his personal injury. The following letter was not of the sort to benefit him, should it fall into hostile hands. The original bears no signature. be done in the immediate vicinity of his corAfter spirited advice concerning the thing to respondent, he puts the question.

Written at such a time and place, and by such a man, what a vast deal does this brief language suggest!

PHILADELPHIA, April 16, 1776.

DEAR SIR: Upon the receipt of your favour of the Third of April, I shewed your recommendation of Capt. Fellows to several gentlemen; but it had been previously determined that Captain Manley and Captain Cazneau should have the command of the two ships building in the Massachusetts.

If you should be thrown out of the service by the resignation of General Ward, and there should be any place in particular that you have an inclination for, if you will give me a hint of it, I will do you all the service in my power, consistent with the public good; and I doubt not my colleagues will do the same. But I presume that General Ward will now continue in the service, unless his health should be worse. I hope the duty will be less severe than it has been.

As far as I am capable of judging, I am perfectly of General Ward's opinion, that the five regiments are too small a force to be left in Boston. It is a great work to fortify Boston Harbour, and will require many men. But, however, I am not sufficiently informed to judge of the propriety of this measure. If there is the least reason to expect that Howe's army will return to Boston, it was wrong to remove so many men so soon; but it is hard to believe that that army will very suddenly return to that place. The Militia of that Province are tremendous to the enemy; and well they may be, for I believe they don't know of such another.

I am much obliged to you for the intelligence you have given me, and wish a continuance of your correspondence-should be glad to know of every movement in and about Boston. Every motive of self preservation, of honour, profit, and glory, call upon our people to fortify the Harbour, so as to be impregnable. It will make it a rendezvous for Men

of War and Privateers, and a mart for trade. My most respectful compliments to Gen. Ward, and

best wishes for the restoration of his health.

You seem to wish for Independence. Do the resolves for privateering and opening the Ports satisfy you? If not, let me know what will? Will nothing do but a positive Declaration that we never will be reconciled, upon any terms?

It requires time to bring the Colonies all of one mind; but time will do it.

It is not proposed to rehearse the varied commissions to France, England, and Holland, which occupied Mr. Adams from the time of his first appointment to the Court of Versailles, November, 1777, till he was chosen first Vice-President of the United States under the new Constitution. An allusion to his statesman's sagacity, diplomatic skill, and faithful performance of public trusts, is sufficient. His letters hereafter may throw some new light upon the responsibilities sustained by him under these appointments.

It was not till toward his accession to the Presidency, that plain and open dissension manifested itself between Mr. Adams and certain of his collaborators. With the outburst of the French Revolution he and Jefferson parted hands, not to clasp again for many a year. It was at this time that suspicions concerning the fidelity of Hamilton settled into conviction, and that the breach widened between them, which finally severed and destroyed the Federal party.

That the Presidential chair was not the one of all places fittest for his genius, may, without detriment to his powers or purpose, be admitted. That he was human while ruler of his people, as he was before and afterward, is not to be controverted. But the fire of party strife has died away, and the cries of "aristocracy," "monarchy," "alien and sedition laws," "midnight judges," "peace with France for selfish purposes," all have been drowned in the din of years.

His provoking independence of his cabinet; his appointment of Gerry; his failure to appoint Hamilton; his absence from the inauguration of his successor,-all this is of little or no importance. The simple record of the Administration shall tell, and we cannot stoop, for information, to the heated pamphlet of the partisan. That an Administration disappointed opposed parties is not sufficient to condemn its wisdom or integrity. Whether the Federal party would have lived longer under another head is a question impossible to determine.

If the continuance of peace, the increase

of prosperity, the growth of credit with other nations, the appointment of officials worthy of their position, the establishment of a secure defense against invasion by foreign Powers particularly in the formation of a respectable navy for a Government that had before but a few straggling ships of war upon the high seas-if such is the record to damage the fame of the head and front of an Administration, the memory of John Adams must suffer accordingly. Does this Administration, with Washington's upon the one side and Jefferson's upon the other, suffer from so illustrious connections? If we look at the Administration and not at the functionary, believing that the President of people is something more than the President of a party, we shall, perhaps, agree with Sullivan, that in the then delicate situation of foreign and domestic relations, “a more energetic, pure, and patriotic exercise of constitutional power could neither be expected nor desired." John Adams might have been a better listener, not only as chief magistrate, but as delegate and diplomat; less self-confident and suspicious; less curt and commanding; more conciliatory toward both friends and enemies; but would he then have accomplished the master work which is the glory of his name? By working over and making smooth the individual, would not the fiber of the public servant have been weakened? The curve is graceful, but the straight line is direct.


It may be interesting to the reader not familiar with newspaper literature of that day, to read a specimen of the politer sort, which appeared the same month the above letter was written, and deals with the same subject-matter. The following stanzas selected from this parody, are supposed to be from the pen of Benjamin Russell, Editor of "The Columbian Centinel," in which sheet they were published. Mr. Russell was very successful in goading the sides of his opponent with the editorial quill, as may be discovered in this effort concerning the coming of the "Salt Mountain Philosopher."

PARENT of ill! in every state,
In every club adored-
By small, by wicked, and by great,
Of mischief sovereign lord,-

Thou great curst cause! but yet obeyed,.
Who all my thoughts confined,
To follow mischief's wayward track,
To virtue's precepts blind,-

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In June, 1793, "The National Gazette" began a series of jingles termed "Probationary Odes, by Jonathan Pindar, Esq., a cousin of Peter's, and candidate for the post of Poet Laureate." This paper was edited by, and the stanzas next quoted are the work of, Philip Freneau, the celebrated Revolutionary rhymster. He spared no Federalist, from Washington down. His musical genius thus disposes of the well-known "Discourses on Davila," and of their author with them.


Daddy rice, Daddy rice,
One may see in a trice

The drift of your fine publication;

As sure as a gun,

The thing was just done

To secure you-a pretty high station.

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ton; the veteran John Adams was, as it were, an exile in the solitude of his Quincy home, suffering not only from neglect of the people whom he had so long served, but smarting under multiplied misrepresentations of his character and past labors. These are his sad words concerning the ingratitude of his own party, addressed to a relative in 1808:

"The Federalists, I think, might suffer my old lamp to go out without administering their nauseous oil, merely to excite a momentary flash before it expires."

With powers undiminished, the great statesman had been thrust aside, and was made, by those to whom he had given his superior strength from his youth up, an object of petty reviling and contumely. He lived to see the scale of justice turning again in his favor, but the time was not yet. He still communed with a small band of chosen friends. Hence the value of his letters written at this period. Whatever may be affirmed of the author's bias, egotism, or spasmodic use of hard words, universal opinion puts his integrity of purpose beyond the touch of criticism. And it is to Mr. Adams's correspondence after his retirement to private life, that the student must look to settle many of the unfortunate differences which have existed, concerning his claims upon posterity. Many of these letters remain unpublished; and, until they find the light, judgment upon the nicer matters of which he possessed the most, if not the sole, information, must be suspended.

Owing to the exasperating circumstances under which these letters were written, it is not surprising that frequent asperities dart up to the surface. We have but to remember the situation, and occasional biting words militate little against the reason or judgment of the writer.

He was not only cast down, but the rabble was trampling upon him. He was not only prohibited from further labor, but ignorant or malignant meddlers were blotting out services already rendered. Mild language would have made a too tame return.

The following letter is a pointed illustration of the author's relation to contemporary historians. It is to be borne in mind, that the treaty herein mentioned was the provisional treaty, the definitive treaty of peace with Great Britain not being signed till the year following.

QUINCY, April 15, 1809. DEAR SIR: I have received your letter of the tenth, and read some of the printed papers inclosed,

and intend to read the rest. You long since let me in some degree into the nature of your claim, and I always thought it founded in justice, but have never been able to assist you to any effort in procuring relief. Now I am out of the question, except as an individual. You are persuaded that "posterity and future historians will duly estimate the merit of the founders of our nation, and the statesmen who framed our excellent Constitutions." I am persuaded of the contrary, and that historical justice will never be done to any of them, any more than it is by the present generation. If the lying documents which are to go down to posterity for the foundation of history were to be collected in volumes, the whole world could not contain the books that should be written. Let me give you an instance. In the "Boston Gazette" of March 27, 1809, is a piece of the signature of Spartacus, which contains more lies than lines. From among them all I will select one. "Whereas Mr. Adams, in a letter written by himself, declares that 'Mr. Jay had the whole merit of the Treaty of Peace, having agreed upon all the material Articles before his arrival!!"" A more egregious lie was never printed or written. As it is marked with inverted commas for a quotation, it is an atrocious forgery. The truth is, that no material Article had been agreed upon before my arrival. No article whatever had been agreed upon, none had been discussed. None could be discussed. Of the five ministers, there were absent Adams, Lawrence, and Jefferson. Franklin and Jay only were on the spot. These two, if they had been united and disposed, could not, without presumption, ever have opened any conference with the British Minister before my arrival. But Franklin and Jay could agree upon nothing. Franklin would not negotiate without communicating all to the Count de Vergennes. Jay would communicate nothing to the Count de Vergennes. In this state of suspence the whole business rested, and no conferences were

opened till my arrival. I then declared to my colleagues, both Franklin and Jay, that I would not communicate our proceedings to the Court of Versailles; and then Franklin, finding two against him, and that we should go on without him, agreed to open the conferences without communicating with Vergennes. The conferences lasted near six weeks, and none of the Articles were agreed upon till the last night, late in the evening of the twenty-ninth of November, 1782, before the signature of the Treaty on the 30th.

The Articles, especially those relative to the Fisheries and the Refugees, were obstinately con. tested by the British Ministers to the last moment. It ought not to be forgotten that I was sent to Europe in 1779 alone, in the Commission for Peace; and it was not till sixteen or eighteen months afterwards, that Franklin, Lawrence, Jay, and Jefferson were appointed with me. While I was alone in the Commission for Peace, I settled the principle upon which Mr. Jay and I finally insisted-that is, not to treat or confer with any Ambassadors untill we had exchanged full powers, and had the right and received copies of Commissions to treat with us as

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Ambassadors from the United States of America. By insisting on this point while I was alone, I defeated the most insidious and dangerous plott that was ever laid to ensnare us and deprive us of our independence. I mean the projected Congress at Vienna, and the Mediation of the two Imperial Courts, the Emperor of Germany and the Empress of Russia. This great event is wholly unknown to the public in America, but it will be one day explained. It would require too many sheets of paper to detail it now.

Can there be anything meaner, than by the grossest lies to deprive me of my share of the honor in the Negotiation of the Peace? I desire no more than my share. I should despise every tittle that should be offered me more than my share. I am, Sir,

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A month before, the venerable victim of injustice wrote to Mr. Cunningham:

"You speak of the fortunate issue of my negotiation with France, to my fame!!! I cannot express my astonishment. My Fame!!! It

has been the systematical policy of both parties, from that period especially, and indeed for twelve years before, to conceal from the people all the services of my life. And they have succeeded to a degree that I should scarcely have believed it possible for a union of both parties to effect.”

To correct like misrepresentations, and to supply wanting material for the rounding of the history of affairs in which he was an active participant, occupied those hours of Mr. Adams's quiet life, taken from his daily employment in literary and scientific reading. That he found the task a discouraging one, and not to be appreciated till after years, is too plainly evident. The allusion to the "Boston Patriot" in the next letter concerns: first, those articles contributed to that journal, upon the writer's share in the negotiations with Great Britain and other prominent powers of Europe, which resulted in the acknowledgment by those powers of the Independence of the United States; secondly, his defense against charges preferred by General Hamilton. Material for this latter purpose had lain in readiness seven or eight years.

This is his own description of his plan of labor, written to another the day previous to the writing of the following letter to Col. Ward:

"If you see the Patriot, you will see I am scribbling twice a week. I am hammering out a brass farthing into an acre of leaf brass. But I was

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