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HISTORY

THE ADMINISTRATION

OF

JOHN ADAMS.

CHAPTER I.

Introductory Remarks....Biography of Mr. Adams....

Review of his Political Tenets....Causes of his Election.

The United States of America enjoyed, under the administration of the illustrious Washington, all those advantages which result from the prudent policy of a virtuous magistrate. The peaceful system which he pursued, repaired, in a great measure, the injuries sustained by a long and expensive civil

His interests and passions were the same as those of the people, and a constant communication of good offices kept alive their attachments. During the first four years of the present confederacy, the second station of executive public employment, and all of the third grade, remained in

A

war.

the same hands; nor did any changes take place in the more subordinate, but from voluntary resignation and death. The public debt decreased in a much greater proportion than ever was known to take place in the same period, in any nation of the world....the expences of government were also much less, in proportion to wealth and numbers, than those of any kingdom in Europe. Affairs remained in this prosperous 'state until the conclusion of Jay's Treaty, which the growing propensity for commerce and interest had effected. Then, for the first time, those generous maxims of liberty which had established our independence, were observed to suffer....our towns and villages were immediately stocked with British agents, Nova-Scotian tories, and French royalists....the epithet of royalist became a distinction more powerful than merit, and the name of republican the most odious of titles. The voluntary resignation of Washington, who, probably, perceived the disorders which were to follow, and the election of a monarchical President, gave

a four

years triumph to this Hydra of despotism. Before I relate the tyranny and corruption which disfigured this period, it may not be improper to give a short account of the life of Mr. Adams, his political tenets, and the in cidents attending his election. This will form the design of the present chapter.

John Adams was born at Braintree, in Massachusetts, the 19th of October, 1735. General report states his father to have been a shoemaker,

and the descendant of a Scotch family who emigrated to Massachusetts Bay about 1650. Young · Adams is also said to have prosecuted, for several years, the same business ; until, by the advice of his uncle, who was a village schoolmaster, he apa plied himself to the study of letters, and relinquished the occupation of Crispin. In the year 1755 he taught a school near Braintree, and continued in this sphere of life for several years. At what period he commenced the study of law is uncertain....we only know that on the 5th of March, 1770, he advocated the cause of monarchy at Boston, in the case of Captain Preston, who barbarously put to death several citizens of that town. Dr. Morse, in a short biography which he has given of Mr. Adams, has the following particulars respecting this trial: “ The cause of Captain Preston was most unpopular. The whole town had been in a state of irritation on account of the conduct of Governor Hutchinson, and the troops which were stationed. in it....their resentment now burst into a flame...but he felt the cause to be a just one; and the danger of incurring the displeasure of his countrymen could not deter him from undertaking it. He conducted the cause with great address, by keeping off the trial till the passions of the people had time to subside. The trial at length commenced, and lasted several days, during which, he displayed the most extensive knowledge of the laws of his country, and of humanity; and, at the conclusion, he had the satisfaction of proving to Great-Britain

and a

herself, that the citizens of Massachusetts would be just and humane to their enemies, amidst the grossest insults and provocations." Captain Preston was acquitted.

Mr. Adams was afterwards elected a member of the first Congress, in 1774, and certainly assisted at bringing about the memorable resolution of the 4th of July, 1776, which declared the American Colonies free, sovereign, and independent States.

Having been, for a considerable length of time, one of the commissioners of the War-department,

principal suggestor of the terms to be offered to France, for forming a treaty of alliance and commerce, he was sent to the court of Versailles, along with Franklin and Lee, as Ministers Plenipotentiaries of the United States, to consummate that important business. On his return from France, he was called upon by Massachusetts to assist in forming a plan of government; and this State is, without doubt, indebted to Mr. Adams, both for the excellencies as well as imperfections of its present constitution.

When this business was completed, he returned to Europe, vested with full powers from Congress, to assist at any conference which might be opened for the establishment of peace; and he soon after received other powers to negociate a loan of money for the use of the United States; and to represent them as their Minister Plenipotentiary, to their High Mightinesses the States General of the United Provinces.

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