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quences, from the latter, while both descriptions are in the occupancy of the same proprietor; it not being in my power, under the tenure by which the dower negroes are held, to manumit them."
Long before this, he had recorded his resolve: "I never mean, unless some particular circumstances should compel me to it, to possess another slave by purchase; it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law."
Mrs. Washington, immediately after her husband's death, learning from his will that the only obstacle to the immediate emancipation of the slaves was her right of dower, immediately relinquished that right, and the slaves were at once emancipated.
The 12th of December, 1799, was chill and damp. Washington, however, took his usual round on horseback to his farms, and returned late in the afternoon, wet with sleet, and shivering with cold. Though the snow was clinging to his hair behind when he came in, he sat down to dinner without changing his dress. The next day, three inches of snow whitened the ground, and the sky was clouded. Washington, feeling that he had taken cold, remained by the fireside during the morning. As it cleared up in the afternoon, he went out to superintend some work upon the lawn. He was then hoarse, and the hoarseness increased as night came on. He, however, took no remedy for it; saying, "I never take any thing to carry off a cold. Let it go as it came."
He passed the evening as usual, reading the papers, answering letters, and conversing with his family. About two o'clock the next morning, Saturday, the 14th, he awoke in an ague-chill, and was seriously unwell. At sunrise, his physician, Dr. Craig, who resided at Alexandria, was sent for. In the mean time, he was bled by one of his overseers, but with no relief, as he rapidly grew worse. Dr. Craig reached Mount Vernon at eleven o'clock, and immediately bled his patient again, but without effect. Two consulting physicians arrived during the day; and, as the difficulty in breathing and swallowing rapidly increased, venesection was again attempted. It is evident that Washington then considered his case doubtful. He examined his will, and destroyed some papers which he did not wish to have preserved.
His sufferings from inflammation of the throat, and struggling for breath, as the afternoon wore away, became quite severe. Still he retained his mental faculties unimpaired, and spoke briefly
of his approaching death and burial. About four o'clock in the afternoon, he said to Dr. Craig, "I die hard; but I am not afraid to go. I believed, from my first attack, that I should not survive it: my breath cannot last long." About six o'clock, his physician asked him if he would sit up in his bed. He held out his hands, and was raised up on his pillow, when he said, "I feel that I am going. I thank you for your attentions. You had better not take any more trouble about me, but let me go off quietly. I cannot last long."
He then sank back upon his pillow, and made several unavailing attempts to speak intelligibly. About ten o'clock, he said, "I am just going. Have me decently buried, and do not let my body be put into the vault until three days after I am dead. Do you understand me?" To the reply, "Yes, sir," he remarked, “It is well." These were the last words he uttered. Soon after this, he gently expired, in the sixty-eighth year of his age.
At the moment of his death, Mrs. Washington sat in silent grief at the foot of his bed. "Is he gone?" she asked in a firm and collected voice. The physician, unable to speak, gave a silent signal of assent. ""Tis well," she added in the same untremulous utterance. "All is now over. I shall soon follow him. I have no more trials to pass through."
On the 18th, his remains were deposited in the tomb at Mount Vernon, where they now repose, enshrined in a nation's love; and his fame will forever, as now, fill the world.
Ancestry of John Adams.
Anecdote of his Boyhood. - State of the Country.- Marriage.
British Assumptions. Riot in Boston. Adams's Defence of the Soldiers.
- Anecdote. Patriotism of Adams. - The Continental Congress. His Influence in Congress. Energy of Mrs. Adams. The Appointment of Washington. - The Declaration of Independence. Letter from Mrs. Adams. - Interview with Lord Howe. - Journey to Baltimore. - Delegate to France. The Voyage. - Adams and Franklin. - The Contrast. Franklin and Voltaire. - Second Trip to Paris. Successful Mission to Holland. Conflict with the French Court. - Mission to England. - Presidential Career. - Last
Days and Death.
JOHN ADAMS was born in the present town of Quincy, then a portion of Braintree, on the 30th of October, 1735. His father's elder brother, Joseph, had been educated at Harvard, and was, for upwards of sixty years, minister of a Congregational church at Newington, N.H. The father of John Adams was a farmer of moderate means, a worthy, industrious man, toiling early and late for the very frugal support which such labor could furnish his family. The fact that he was a deacon of the church attests the esteem in which he was held by the community. Like most Christian fathers, he was anxious to give his son a collegiate education, hoping that he would become a minister of the gospel.
But, like most boys, John Adams was not fond of his books. In the bright, sunny morning of his boyhood in Braintree, with the primeval forest waving around, the sunlight sleeping upon the meadows, the sparkling brooks alive with trout, and the ocean rolling in its grandeur before him, out-door life seemed far more attractive than the seclusion of the study, and the apparent monotony of life in the midst of books. When he was about fourteen years of age, his father said to him, " My son, it is time for you to decide respecting your future occupation in life. What business do you wish to follow?"
"I wish to be a farmer," the energetic boy replied.
"Very well," said the judicious father: "it is time now for you to commence your life-work. You must give up play, and enter upon that steady, hard work, without which no farmer can get a
living." The next morning, at an early hour, John was with his hoe alone in the field. He worked all the morning till noon; came home to his dinner; returned to the field; worked all the afternoon till night. As he hoed, he thought. The blue sky was above him; but there was also a blazing, scorching sun. The forest waved around. He would have enjoyed wandering through it with his gun; but that was boy's play which he had given up, not farmer's work upon which he had entered. Work, work, work, was now to him life's doom; and forest, brook, and ocean strangely lost their charms.
In the evening he said to his father, with some considerable hesitation, "Father, I have been thinking to-day, and have concluded that I should like to try my books." His father offered no objections, and was willing to make every effort in his power to indulge his son in his choice, if he were determined to devote all his energies to the acquisition of an education. There was a very good school in the town, and John laid aside his hoe for his grammar. He entered Harvard College at the age of sixteen, and graduated in 1755, highly esteemed for integrity, energy, and ability. He must have struggled with small means; for his father found it necessary to add to his labors as a farmer the occupation of a shoemaker, to meet the expenses of his household. When John graduated at twenty years of age, he was considered as having received his full share of the small paternal patrimony; and, with his education as his only capital, he went out to take hiş place in the conflicts of this stormy world. The first thing the young graduate needed was money. He obtained the situation of instructor in one of the public schools in Worcester. While teaching school, he also studied law. All thoughts of the ministerial profession were soon abandoned.
This was a period of great political excitement. France and England were then engaged in their great seven-years' struggle for the mastery over this continent. Braddock had just suffered his ignoble defeat. A young Virginian by the name of George Washington, who had saved Braddock's army, was then beginning to be known. The colonies were in great peril. The question, whether French or English influence was to dominate on this continent, was trembling in the balance. A large number of the young men of the colonies were called to the camp, and the great theme engrossed every mind. At this time, John Adams wrote a
very remarkable letter to a friend, in which, with almost prophetic vision, he described the future greatness of this country, -a prophecy which time has more than fulfilled.
To these engrossing themes young Adams consecrated all the enthusiasm of his nature. He thought, he talked, he wrote. He hesitated whether to give himself to law, to politics, or to the army. Could he have obtained a troop of horse, or a company of foot, he declares that he should infallibly have been a soldier.
For two years, John Adams remained in Worcester, then a town of but a few hundred inhabitants, teaching a public school and studying law. He was a very earnest student. His journal proves, that, inspired by a noble ambition, he consecrated his time, with great moral courage and self-denial, to intellectual culture. Speaking of the profligate lives of some of the young men around him, he writes,
"What pleasure can a young gentleman, who is capable of thinking, take in playing cards? It gratifies none of the senses. It can entertain the mind only by hushing its clamors. Cards, backgammon, &c., are the great antidotes to reflection, to thinking. What learning and sense are we to expect from young gentlemen in whom a fondness for cards, &c., outgrows and chokes the desire of knowledge?"
When but twenty-two years of age, he returned to his native town of Braintree, and, opening a law-office, devoted himself to study with renewed vigor. Soon after this, his father died; and he continued to reside with his mother and a brother, who had taken the farm. His native powers of mind, and untiring devotion to his profession, caused him to rise rapidly in public esteem. In October, 1764, he married Miss Abigail Smith, daughter of Rev. William Smith, pastor of the church in Weymouth. She was a lady of very rare endowments of person and of mind, and, by the force of her character, contributed not a little to her husband's celebrity. The British Government was now commencing that career of aggressions upon the rights of the colonists which aroused the most determined resistance, and which led to that cruel war which resulted in the independence of the colonies. An order was issued by the British crown, imposing taxes upon certain goods, and authorizing an indiscriminate search to find goods which might have evaded the tax. The legality of the law was contested before the Superior Court. James Otis was engaged by