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feared were misleading many Americans and endangering their attempt at self-government. So to rectify European and American mistakes together, as far as he could, he prepared and published, while in England, a work of three volumes, entitled, "A Defense of the Constitution of the United States of America against the Attack of M. Turgat." It gave an analysis of all ancient free governments, and summarized their histories and results in the main. It stated and enforced his ideas of the American system. The first volume was published and sent to this country in season to be republished, circulated and read, before the meeting of the convention which made the constitution under which the United States have had a century of unexampled prosperity. It was an antidote to the French ideas and influence which were then prevailing. It was a help to the members of the constitutional convention, to the state legislatures and people at large. Perhaps it was this great work published abroad, which made possible to America the inimitable constitution under which, in one hundred years, it has become the first nation in the world.
Mr. Adams took leave of the Old World on the twentieth of April, 1788. He reached America in the midst of the excitement over the acceptance of the constitution. In the formation of the government under the constitution, he was elected the first vice-president to serve under Washington. The office usually is not very important, but at this beginning of the government it was important in settling usage and defining important principles; for no less than twenty times during the first administration did he cast the deciding vote in the senate, and sometimes explained the reasons for his vote, to set the principles involved clearly before the people.
MADE SECOND PRESIDENT.
At the close of Washington's second term of office as president of the United States, John Adams was elected as his successor, with Thomas Jefferson as vice-president.
At this time, political partisanship had grown to be strong. The federalists were those who had promoted the adoption of the constitution; had favored a strong government fashioned after the English model, in which the legislative, judicial and executive departments held checks over each other, and all had their source in the people. Washington and Adams were of this party, though neither of them were strong partisans. Thus far it had been the dominant party, though the influence of French opinions and politics had grown much of late among the rural people, and the influence of Jefferson, the leader of democratic ideas, had come to be strong. The democratic party was rather organizing than organized. It was composed largely of those who sympathised with the lovers of freedom in France, and had an intense hatred of everything English. Its whole stock in trade was a splendid theory, and the enthusiasm of many of its devotees was very great. Mr. Adams was a leader in founding the government, in constitution-making, in putting great practical principles into working forms; but not a leader in organizing men into party activities.
At that time the greed for office had not grown mucn among the strong men of the new nation, and Mr. Adams found it difficult to fill the leading places in his government with first-class minds. He was obliged to take such as would serve, and in the end the weakness of some of his cabinet filled his way with difficulties. The country was divided chiefly over its foreign policies. The federalists, in the main, approved of Mr. Jay's treaty with England, which Washington had signed, and lost many friends by doing so, while the opposition party approved of a close sympathy with the new things in France and called the federalists tories. The strong French party in America led many unscrupulous French managers to attempt to carry America into the French war with England, and then their conduct was so false to treaty obligations as to come near causing a war between France and America. All preparations were made, even to raising an army and appointing its leading officers; but before declaring war, Mr. Adams thought some further effort should be made to avert it, and when the French leaders
found what resentment they had stirred up in America, they were as anxious to allay it as were the friends of peace in America to have it allayed. It was an over-interest in French and English affairs which led different classes in America into foreign sympathies and entanglements, that caused the government much trouble and came very near wrecking the new ship of state.
It has since become pretty clear that Mr. Hamilton, the leader of the federalists, was in league with ambitious schemers in England and elsewhere to secure large portions of the Spanish possessions in America for the United States, and as an entering wedge to this scheme, a war with France would raise a large army which he would lead, and once raised he thought to make it necessary to keep it large and active in promoting his ambitious schemes of empire. A country without an army was not known in the world, and Hamilton believed an army was needed in America. It looks as though he would have been glad to play a Napoleonic part on the American continent.
To inaugurate his plan, Mr. Hamilton worked secretly, through Mr. Adams' cabinet and the friendship of Washington, neither of whom mistrusted his ambitious designs. But Mr. Adams' aversion to war, only as a last resort, and his personal resolution against his cabinet, to make still further overtures to France, consumed time for France to see some of her mistakes and to make clear a way of adjustment. So war with France was averted; Hamilton's schemes of an empire in the Spanish possessions were frustrated, and the young American ship of state was tided over the most dangerous shoals it has yet encountered.
It was, perhaps, some knowledge of these growing "foreign entanglements" which led Washington in his farewell address to solemnly warn his countrymen against them, and to charge them to be loyal to the development of their own affairs. A tolerably full account of these troublous times and their intrigues and dangers, is to be found in "The Life and Works of John Adams," by Charles Francis Adams. A knowledge of these things
is necessary to an understanding of the political issues of that time, and the strong parties that proceeded therefrom.
In due course of time Mr. Adams' intelligent and faithful administration came to its close. As it is looked to now, his part in it is regarded as one of great purity and integrity. The policies and schemes of France and England had been forced upon this country. The people had not learned that they should be wholly separate from foreign entanglements. Some individuals in Mr. Adams' party schemed with parties abroad, which brought him and his party into great and undeserved odium. The truth of this scheming was then only partially understood, and the bitterness engendered by it was all the greater on this account.
RETIREMENT TO BRAINTREE.
On the fourth of March, 1801, Thomas Jefferson was inaugurated as Mr. Adams' successor, with Aaron Burr as vicepresident. Mr. Adams retired at once from the scene, not waiting even for the ceremonies of inauguration. He was sensitive and passionate to a high degree, even dictatorial and absolute when aroused. He had been level-headed and just-minded through all the differences, and had actually saved his country from war, and perhaps from an early death, and yet was rewarded for it by seeing his most bitter opponent, and the man that had done most to bring in foreign ideas, raised to his place. But far wiser would it have been for him to have mastered his resentment and gone calmly from what he thought the scene of his defeat. In reality he was victor. Posterity has done him justice. He now stands as more nearly the peer of Washington than any other of the great revolutionary patriots. He was greatest of all as a constitutional lawyer and statesman. His purity and integrity were equal to Washington's, but he lacked the fine poise, the discretion, the quick insight into men and occasions, the ability to put himself aside and see as an outsider, and act accordingly. He lacked the reserve of speech, the prevailing modesty and overmastering serenity which did so much for the great father of his country. He was too out-spoken, self
asserting, and too separate from common men, and so was never popular-was always unfortunate with the masses.
After the presidency, he retired to his farm and followed that early inclination which wanted to be a farmer.
He at once set about his private and domestic affairs, and spent the remainder of his life in retirement from public interests. Twenty-six years he had spent in the heart of his country's affairs, after Washington, the most useful man in founding our institutions. This great country owes much to the genius of his great mind in harmonizing and adjusting the principles and powers put into it. It has worked a hundred years with but little change, and may work on as long as its people shall be loyal, intelligent and virtuous.
In his tirement, Mr. Adams read extensively-more extensively than ever before. He restudied the great questions of religion, and finally settled nearly upon the general ideas of the unitarian theology, and lived and died in great peace of mind touching those matters.
After years of estrangement, through mutual friends, ne came into amicable relations with Mr. Jefferson. With the decline of that rancorous party spirit that was so savage at the close of his administration, returning friendship for him showed itself in many ways, and his, at first, embittered life in retirement, became cheerful and beautiful. His son, John Quincy, came into public notice as a rising man of his time, and he felt a renewed interest in the affairs of government, and the general interests of the public.
On the twenty-eighth of October, 1818, his wife died in the eighty-third year of his age. This cast a deep shadow over his life. They had lived in great peace, mutual helpers to one another.
When about eighty-five years old he wrote a series of letters to Judge Tudor, detailing with great definiteness the early movement of the people of Massachusetts in defense of their rightsgiving in minute detail the parts enacted by Otis, Hawley and Samuel Adams. This series of letters has been the source from which nearly all we now know of those events, was drawn.