Posts Tagged ‘John Quincy Adams’

The Wants of Man

March 1, 2012

“The Wants of Man.”

Editor Constitution — Will you publish the poem entitled “The Wants of Men,” written by President John Quincy Adams”
Chattanooga, Tenn.

“Man wants but little here below,
Nor wants that little long.”
‘Tis not with me exactly so;
But ’tis so in the song.
My wants are many and, if told,
Would muster many a score;
And were each wish a mint of gold,
I still should long for more.

What first I want is daily bread –
And canvas-backs – and wine –
And all the realms of nature spread
Before me, where I dine.
Four courses scarcely can provide
My appetite to quell;
With four choice cooks from France, beside,
To dress my dinner well.

I want (who does not want?) a wife –
Affectionate and fair;
To solace all the woes of life,
And all its joys to share;
Of temper sweet, of yielding will,
Of firm, yet placid mind –
With all my faults to love me still
With sentiments refined.

And as Time’s car incessant runs,
And Fortune fills my store,
I want of daughters and of sons
From eight to half a score.
I want (alas! can mortal dare
Such bliss on earth to crave?)
That all the girls be chaste and fair –
The boys all wise and brave.

I want a warm and faithful friend,
To cheer the adverse hour;
Who ne’er to flatter will descend,
Nor bend the knee to power –
A friend to chide me when I’m wrong,
My inmost soul to see;
And that my friendship prove as strong
To him as his to me.

I want the seals of power and place,
The ensigns of command;
Charged by the people’s unbought grace
To rule my native land.
Nor crown nor sceptre would I ask,
But from my country’s will,
By day, by night, to ply the task
Her cup of bliss to fill.

I want the voice of honest praise
To follow me behind,
And to be thought in future days
The friend of human kind,
That after ages, as they rise,
Exulting, may proclaim,
In choral union to the skies,
Their blessings on my name.

These are the wants of mortal man –
I cannot want them long,
For life itself is but a span,
And earthly bliss a song.
My last great want, absorbing all –
Is, when beneath the sod,
And summoned to my final call,
The Mercy of my God.

The Atlanta Constitution (Atlanta, Georgia) Aug 8, 1899

Andrew Breitbart (1969-2012)

Rest in Peace

John Quincy Adams – Patriot, Poet, Statesman, and Sage

February 20, 2012

[From the Baltimore Patriot.]

Wonderful man! whose mighty mind
Not even age itself can blight;
He is an honor to mankind,
And to the world a shining light;
His voice is heard in freedom’s halls,
As oft ’twas heard in olden time,
Echoing along the lofty walls,
In tones of eloquence sublime.

Patriot and poet, statesman, sage,
The friend of freedom and our race;
His fame shall live thro’ every age,
And millions yet unborn shall trace
The record of his bright renown,
And of his brilliant deeds sublime,
Which shall to mighty men go down
Upon the future tide of time.

To Ireland’s hero he the lyre
Has swept and sung of other days,
While listening ears poetic fire,
Perceivedin all his lofty lays;
The thunders of his touching tongue,
From which corruption shrinks in fear,
Thro’ freedom’s temple oft have rung,
When listening Senates’ lean’d to hear.

Had he in ancient Greece appeared,
Immortal would have been his name;
Statues to him would have been reared,
And by the golden pen of fame,
His glory on the mighty scroll,
High in her temple would be placed;
Almost on marble would his soul,
By Grecian gratitude be traced.


The Ohio Repository (Canton, Ohio) Jul 8, 1847


The October Number of the “Democratic Review,” published at Washington, contains some very interesting “glances at Congress,” in which several of the most prominent members are described in a graphic and somewhat impartial manner. The following sketch of that extraordinary man, JOHN Q. ADAMS, will be read with much interest:
Cum. Pres.

“Our attention is now attracted to a ray of light that glitters on the appex of a balk and noble head located on the left of the House, in the neighborhood of the speaker’s chair. It proceeds from that wonderful man who in his person combines the agitator, poet, philosopher, statesman, critic and orator — John Quincy Adams. There he sits, hour after hour, day after day, with untiring patience, never absent from his seat, never voting for an adjournment of the House, his ear ever on the alert always prepared to go at once into the profoundest questions of state or the minutest points or order. We look at him and mark his cold and fearless eye, his stern and abstracted gaze, and conjure up phantoms of other scenes. We look upon a more than king, who has filled every department of honor in his native land, still at his post; he who was the president of millions, now the representative of forty odd thousand, quarrelling about trifles or advocating high principles; to day growling and sneering at the House, with an abolition petition in his trembling hand, and anon lording it over the passions, and lashing the members into the wildest state of enthusiasm by his indignant and emphatic eloquence. Alone unspoken to, unconsulted with others, he sits apart, wrapped in his reveries, or probably he is writing, his almost perpetual employment. He looks enfeebled, but yet he is never tired; worn out, but ever ready for the combat; melancholy, but let a witty thing fall from any member that hazards an arrow at him — the eagle is not swifter in its flight than Mr. Adams; with his agitated finger quivering in sarcastic gesticulation, he seizes upon his foe, and, amid the amazement of the House, rarely fails to take signal vengeance. His stores of knowledge on every subject, garnered up through the course of his extraordinary life, in the well arraigned store house of a memory which is said never to have permitted a single fact to escape it, give him a great advantage over all comers in encounters of this kind. He is a wonderful eccentric genius. He belongs to no party, nor does any party belong to him. He is original, of very peculiar ideas, and perfectly fearless and independent in expressing and maintaining them. His manner of speaking is peculiar; he rises abruptly, his face reddens, and in a moment, throwing himself into the attitude of  a veteran gladiator, he prepares for the attack; then he becomes full of gesticulation, his body sways to and fro self command seems lost, his head is bent forward in his earnestness till it sometimes touches the desk; his voice frequently breaks, but he pursues his subject through all its bearings — nothing daunts him — the House may ring with cries of order — order! unmoved, contemptuous he stands amid the tempest, and like an oak that knows its gnarled and knotted strength, stretches his arm forth and defies the blast.

Alton Observer (Alton, Illinois) Jan 4, 1838


The Hon. John Quincy Adams concluded his argument before the United States Supreme Court, in the Amistad case, with the following touching reminiscence:

May it please your Honor: On the 7th of February, 1804, now more than thirty-seven years past, my name was entered, and yet stands recorded on both the rolls, as one of the attorneys and counselors of this Court. Five years later, in February and March, 1809, I appeared for the last time before this Court, in defense of the cause of justice, and of important rights, in which many of my fellow citizens had property to a large amount at stake. Very shortly afterwards, I was called to the discharge of other duties; first in distant lands, and in later years, within our own country, but in different departments of her Government. —

Little did I imagine that I should ever be required to claim the right of appearing in the capacity of an officer of this Court. Yet such has been the dictate of my destiny; and I appear again to plead the cause of justice, and now of liberty and life, in behalf of many of my fellow-men, before that same Court, which, in a former age, I had addressed in support of rights of property. I stand again, I trust for the last time, before the same Court, “hic castus artemque repeno.” I stand before the same Court, but not before the same judges, nor aided by the same associates, nor resisted by the same opponents. As I cast my eyes along those seats of honor and of public trust, now occupied by you, they seek in vain for one of those honored and honorable persons whose indulgence listened then to to my voice. Marshall, Cushing, Case, Washington, Johnson, Livingston, Todd: where are they? Where is that eloquent statesman and learned lawyer who was my associate counsel in the management of that cause — Robert Goodloe Harper? Where is that brilliant luminary, so long the pride of Maryland and of the American bar, then my opposing counsel — Luther Martin? Where is the excellent clerk of that day, whose name has been inscribed on the shores of Africa, as a monument of his abhorrence to the African slave trade — Elias B. Caldwell? Where is the marshal? Where are the criers of the Court? Alas! where is one of the very judges of the Court, arbiters of life or death, before whom I commenced this anxious argument? Gone! — gone from a world of sin and sorrow, I trust — to that blest abode, “where the wicked cease from troubling, and the weary are at rest.” And it is my ardent wish, and fervent prayer, that each and every one of you, may go to this final account with as little of earthly frailty to answer for, as those illustrious dead; and that you may every one, after the close of a long and virtuous career in this world, be received at the portals of the next with the approving sentence: Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”

Alton Telegraph And Democratic Review (Alton, Illinois) Mar 17, 1848


The anecdotes of he ‘old man eloquent,’ would fill a volume. One of the most touching, and eminently illustrative of the devotedness which his domestic virtues called forth from those in his service, was recently narrated to us in substance as follows:

‘A few years ago, as John Quincy Adams was riding to the capitol, his horses became unmanageable and overturned his coach, dashing the driver, and Irishman, who had long been in Mr. Adams’ employ, with great violence against a post or the corner of a building. He was taken up for dead, and carried to an apartment in the capitol, under the room in which Mr. Adams breathed his last, followed by many persons among them Mr. Adams himself. After some time the injured man was restored to consciousness, and, apparently regardless of his own sufferings, turning his eyes anxiously around, his first words were — ‘Is Mr. Adams safe?’ Mr. Adams replied that he was unhurt. The poor fellow exclaimed, ‘Then I am content,’ and relapsed into an unconscious state. The venerable statesman was deeply moved at his evidence of affectionate regard for his welfare, and tears flowed down his cheeks. The wounded and suffering man was taken to the Patriot’s house, but did not survive until morning. Mr. Adams was engaged to speak in some important cause before the Supreme Court of the United States on that day — it is believed in the Amistad case; but his feelings were such that he went to he Court, and stating the circumstances that had occurred, solicited, as a personal favor, the postponement of the case until the next day, which was accordingly granted. The tokens of mourning were placed on Mr. Adams’ door, as if one of his own family had deceased; and the funeral took place from his house, and under his personal superintendence. Truly has it been said of the illustrious sage, ‘that he concentrated affection at home.’

Salem (Mass.) Register.

American Freeman (Prairieville, Wisconsin) Apr 5, 1848


In July, 1822, a plan for an independent newspaper was proposed to John Quincy Adams by some members of Congress, and the necessity of such a paper was urged upon him with great earnestness. He replied:

“An independent newspaper is very necessary to make truth known to the people; but an editor really independent must have a heart of oak, nerves of iron, and a soul of adamant to carry it through. His first attempt will bring a hornet’s nest about his head; and, if they do not sting him to death or to blindness, he will have to pursue his march with them continually swarming over him, and be beset on all sides with obloquy and slander.”

The Berkshire County Eagle (Pittsfield, Massachusetts) Jan 26, 1860

When John Quincy Adams was elected to the House of Representatives he found that he was the owner of some shares in the United States Bank. Before taking his seat he sold his shares, on the ground that, as a representative of the people, he should not have an interest in any matter that might come before the House for legislation.

What a blessed thing it would be if our members to-day were to be governed by the same sense of honor.

Allen County Democrat (Lima, Ohio) Mar 16, 1876

Image from Ancient Faces

The late Charles Francis Adams believed in himself as well as in his ancestors. Introduced to speak at a political meeting as the grandson of President John Adams, and the son of John Quincy Adams, he at once said: “The fact of my ancestry has been referred to several times during the evening. I am proud of my father and grandfather, but I wish it distinctly understood that I appear before you as myself, and not as the son and grandson of any man.”

He then went on and made one of the most powerful speeches of the day. The moral is obvious. Every tub has its own bottom. Every American it his own ancestor.

Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Dec 15, 1886

Didn’t Inspire Him.

When Lafayette visited Virginia he was entertained with other eminent guests by President Monroe at Oak Hill. Leesburg, too, the historic town nine miles from Monroe’s country seat, accorded him honors on that occasion, and at a dinner at that town John Quincy Adams delivered a famous toast to the surviving patriots of the Revolution, who, he said, were like the sibylline leaves — the fewer they became the more precious they were.

On the return to Oak Hill another of Monroe’s guests said to Mr. Adams:

“Excuse the impertinence, but would you not tell me what inspired the beautiful sentiment of your toast today?”

“Why,” replied Mr. Adams, “it was suggested this morning by the picture of the sibyl that hangs in the hall of the Oak Hill mansion.”

“How strange!” remarked the less brilliant guest. “I have looked at that picture many times during the past years, and that thought never occurred to me.”

Adams County News (Gettysburg, Pennsylvania) Jun 25, 1910


Previously Posted:

The Life and Death of John Quincy Adams

Dorothea L. Dix – Worked to Alleviate the Sufferings of Humanity

February 10, 2012

Miss Dorothea L. Dix.
[From the Galaxy, March 15.]

Who is Miss Dix? The name has, for over a quarter of a century, been a household word in our land, as a symbol of philanthropy, of unselfish heroic devotion in alleviating the sufferings of humanity. Yet how little does the public know of her personality, her habits, where she was born, or where she resides. Like Shakespeare, she has lost her individuality in the greatness of her work. Her presence is felt but not perceived, just as a single grain of subtle perfume fills a whole room, but is itself unseen.  Still, Miss Dix is no myth, but only a flesh and blood marvel.

When her achievements are stated in the aggregate they suggest miraculous power, but are in fact, a practical illustration of what one woman can do in thirty years, when inspired by a noble purpose, and working unceasingly for the good of the race.

She has been instrumental in establishing thirty-two public hospitals for the insane: one in Rome, one in Dalmatia, one on the Isle of Jersep, one in Nova Scotia, one in New Foundland, and the remainder chiefly in our own country. With the episode of four years and a half of service in the military hospitals during the rebellion, this stupendous labor constitutes the story of her life. Her career as a philanthropist is all that the world has any right to know, and yet, apart from all vulgar curiosity, it feels a natural desire to learn something of the personnel of this angel of mercy. Her carte de visite is seen in none of the shops, few people seem to have met her, and the sketch given of her in the American Encyclopedia is very incorrect, was written by one who never saw her, and even mistakes the place of her birth.

Boston is the city of her nativity. Her grandfather was a physician, but her father, owing to delicate health, never adopted a profession. General John A. Dix in not, as is often stated in the papers, her brother, but is a near blood relative.

Miss Dorothea L. Dix was once a young lady of the American Athens, in affluent circumstances, and, like a thousand others, in a situation to lead a life of aimless ease. Like Jno. Howard, she had, when young a very frail and impaired constitution. She was sent to England, and on several voyages to warmer climates, to recover her health. When she first arrived in Liverpool she was prostrated with illness, and it was eighteen months before she was able to be borne in the arms of her nurses to the home bound ship. It is probable that she rescued herself from chronic invalidism by her strong will and the inspiration of the philanthropic labors which she began before her girlhood was ended.

One Sabbath, as she was coming out of Dr. Lowell’s church in Boston, the steps were crowded in front, and she overheard two benevolent gentlemen talking about the horrible condition of the jail in East Cambridge, where there was a number of young prisoners awaiting trial. Early that week, although under the care of a physician, she visited this institution and there found, in addition to other inmates, thirty insane persons, in the most wretched state of filth and rags, breathing a pestilential air, shut up in dark, damp cells, and receiving no treatment whatever.

The surroundings of the others confined there were not much better. She began her task by conducting religious services in the jail on the Sabbath, which had been wholly neglected. soon after, she set about relieving the physical sufferings of these unfortunate outcasts of society.

As the accommodations for the insane were insufficient in her own State, she applied to its Legislature, and on the facts being brought to their knowledge, an appropriation was made for enlarging their asylums. In her younger days Miss DIX was very intimate in the family of William Ellery Channing, the celebrated Unitarian divine, but it does not appear that he gave direction to her philanthropic enterprises, for while sympathizing fully with their purposes, he rather opposed her exhaustive exertions, on the ground that she would destroy her health. But she had received a thorough education, which had taught her to rely on her own powers, and when resolve had been deliberately formed, opposition only increased its strength.

After her success in Massachusetts, she went on a visit to Washington, and while there examined into the condition of the insane, and found sad need of reformation. She called on John Quincy Adams, then a Representative in Congress, after having held the highest office in the gift of the nation, and the sympathies of the “old man eloquent” were at once excited. He secured at her suggestion, the passage of a bill making a very adequate appropriation for the cure of the insane in the District of Columbia.

Her life work was now fairly begun. She comprehended its scope and magnitude, she prosecuted it with system, practical method, and indomitable energy. With a quiet persistency that excited no opposition, and a persuasive earnestness which won the support of those whose aid she required, she gave up her home, her friends, quiet; renounced the literary leisure for which she had a decided taste, the joys of domestic life, the fascinating pleasure of society — she consecrated everything which had in it any element of selfishness to the service of humanity.

Alton Weekly Telegraph (Alton, Illinois) Apr 26, 1867

Image from Find-A-Grave


The Worcester Woman Who Devoted Her Life to the Unfortunate

TRENTON, N.J., July 20 — Dorothea L. Dix, who acquired a national reputation by her efforts to relieve the condition of the pauper, criminal and insane classes of the country has died of heart disease at the Trenton asylum, aged 85.

She was instrumental in having the asylum founded as well as many other similar institutions throughout the country. While visiting here five years ago, she was taken sick, and the state authorities, in recognition of her services, offered her a home for life at the asylum.

In 1848, MISS DIX petitioned congress for an appropriation of public lands to endow hospitals for the insane in the various states, and in 1854 a bill was passed granting 10,000,000 acres for the purpose but the measure was vetoed by President Pierce.

Miss Dix was born at Worcester, Mass., and for many years resided at Boston, to which city her remains will be sent.

The Fitchburg, Sentinel (Fitchburg, Massachusetts) Jul 20, 1887

Thomas Chase: Last of Paul Jones’ Men

January 13, 2012

Image from the Revolutionary War and Beyond

The Last of Paul Jones’ Men.

To the Editor of the Whig & Courier:

During a recent visit to the County of Oxford, I found time to call on the venerable THOMAS CHASE, of Livermore, the last, probably, of Paul Jones’ men. Mr. Chase is now 88 years old, and, though the old hull is pretty much battered and decayed, his mind is clear, and his recollection of the stirring events of his youth, is distinct and vivid. He was born at Martha’s Vineyard; from which place he removed to L some fifty years ago, where he has since lived. He has ever enjoyed, and deservedly, the reputation of an industrious, intelligent, and thoroughly honest man. In fact, the name of “Uncle Chase” is the synonym of “honesty,” in the neighborhood where he lives.

He delights to tell the history of his early life — to relate the story of his numerous adventures and sufferings; but it is when he comes to speak of Paul Jones and his daring exploits — when he is describing, it may be, the engagement between the Richard and the Serapis, that his eye kindles and sparkles with unwonted brightness, and his voice, broken and almost inaudible before, becomes strong and clear, and he is ready to shoulder his crutch and show how ships were taken seventy years ago.

The outlines of his story, as near as I can recollect, are as follows: —

A Privateer came to the Vineyard in the early part of the Revolution, for the purpose of engaging a number of men to go out cruising on the coast. Chase, and about a dozen other young men joined them. After they had sailed they were, for the first time, informed that their destination was the coast of England. At this intelligence, they were a “good deal struck up,” though there were a few that were not displeased at the idea of going abroad, and among this number was Chase, who had a love of adulation and a strong desire to see foreign countries. —

They had not been long on the British coast before they discovered a British man-of-war, much too strong and powerful for them. As they were not noticed for sometime they had hopes of being able to escape, and tried to do so, — they were, however, seen, before they could get away, and were finally taken. In a few days the prisoners were put into another ship, and were shifted not less than three times in about four months. In one of the ships they suffered exceedingly — there were over 1400 souls, men, women, and children, Americans, French, &c. on board. The ship was dirty, the prisoners were dirty, sick and dying — large numbers died. At length the American prisoners were landed at Plymouth, and carried before two justices and a clerk and arraigned for treason. Witnesses were examined, and they were told that they would be committed to “Mill Prison,” on “suspicion of treason against his most Gracious Majesty, George the Third, and would there await their trial or His Majesty’s most Gracious pardon.” They were committed to this famous [or infamous] prison, and kept there twenty three months, during which time they underwent almost incredible privations and sufferings. At the end of twenty three months, (two years and a quarter after they were made prisoners) they were exchanged for British sea men and sent to France. They landed at a small town about ten miles below Nantes. Here they found a recruiting ship and were persuaded to enlist for the purpose of filling the crews required for the squadron, then fitting out at Le Orient, for John Paul Jones.

While at this place Mr. Chase very well recollects seeing John Adams on board the ship where he was. He was in his morning gown, walking the quarter deck when he saw him, and accompanied by his son, John Quincy Adams, then a boy some ten or twelve years old. Mr. Chase was one of the crew of the Alliance, Capt. Landais. His account of the celebrated engagement between the Bon Homme Richard, &c., the Serapis and Countess of Scarborough agrees in the main with that given by Mr. Cooper, though he differs with him in some respects. — He will not allow that the Alliance deserves all the left handed compliments paid to her by Mr. C. According to his account, it was the Alliance and not the Pallas, that disabled the Countess of Scarborough — that it was in consequence of the broadsides from the former that she struck — that the Pallas, coming up, rendered them valuable assistance, and was left in charge of the prize, while the Alliance went to the aid of Jones. And here, Mr. Chase says the Alliance also did good service — not to the enemy, as Mr. Cooper would have it, but to Jones.

When Jones sailed alongside of the Serapis, her commander hailed him — “who are you?’ Jones made no answer. The questions was repeated, “Who are you?” Tell me, or I’ll fire into you” “I will tell you when I get a little nearer!” roared Jones, in a voice that almost drowned the thunder of a simultaneous discharge of broadsides from the Richard and Serapis, which took place at that moment.

Chase was afterwards under Jones several months while he was in command of the Alliance, and became considerably acquainted with him. He was a man of great mechanical ingenuity, and an excellent worker of wood, and while at the Mill prison had beguiled many weary hours in whittling out some very curious wooden ladles, one of which he happened to have with him when Jones came to command the Alliance, and which so pleased Jones, that he gave him half a guinea for it for a punch ladle. He then employed him as a cabin joiner, and while in this capacity he saw a good deal of Jones, and had the vanity to believe he was quite a favorite.

Mr. Chase represents that Jones was liked by his own crew, but not generally by the crew of the Alliance. The crew of the Alliance were much attached to one of their Lieutenants, a Mr. Barkley of Boston, with whom Jones had a falling out, and who was sent below by Jones as the crew thought without sufficient cause. Jones tried to get him back, but he resolutely refused to stir without a Court Martial, Jones would not give him one and he did not go upon deck until Landais was reinstated.

He says Jones was a stern man — brave impetuous — a good man when the crew did well, but the devil if they did otherwise. He wanted everything done in its proper time and way, and everything in its place, and would have it. If his men did well, and took hold right he was kind and pleasant. He had a voice like a cannon, but which in ordinary conversation was rather thick and grum. He was of light complexion, and something, perhaps, below the medium stature. Chase speaks highly of his talents as a naval Commander, and says he always “liked Jones.”

En passant,]our friend is one of six revolutionary veterans (they are all Whigs,) now living in the fine old Whig town of Livermore. A year ago his son endeavored to persuade him to vote the anti-slavery ticket. “No, said he, “I was a Whig of ’76 — I am a Whig now — I have always been a Whig — I believe I shall die a Whig.”


Bangor Daily Whig and Courier (Bangor, Maine) Sep 19, 1843

The Expedition:

Richard “Dick” Swete’s goal was to find, and preserve, all of John Paul Jones’ ships. A historian and underwater archaeologist, he spent years researching Jones and the American Revolutionary naval battle between the HMS Serapis and the HMS Bon Homme Richard. Gathering a group of volunteers, his own modest income and a great deal of perseverance, Swete laid plans to find Serapis.

Find out more HERE

The Life and Death of John Quincy Adams

November 13, 2009

Death of John Quincy Adams!

The Telegraph reports the death, on the 24th ultimo, of JOHN QUINCY ADAMS, the illustrious sage of Quincy. The whole nation will deplore the loss of this great and good man. Venerable alike for his years, his honors, his eminent worth, and his faithful and distinguished public services, he had outlived the rancor of party, and won the admiration and respect even of those who most bitterly opposed him. He died, as he lived, in the service of his country, leaving behind him a reputation for ability second to but one or two in the roll of America’s Great Men, and a character of honesty, integrity, public and private virtue, second to none. His name will be embalmed with those of WASHINGTON, FRANKLIN, JEFFERSON, HAMILTON and other Sages and Statesmen in the hearts of the American people — fitting Mausoleum for a PATRIOT’s Memory!

[Sent. & Gaz.

Mr. ADAMS was struck with paralysis on the 21st., whilst in his seat, in the House. He lingered till the 24th, having been speechless all the while.

Watertown Chronicle (Watertown, Wisconsin) Mar 8, 1848

Adams John Q death

From the Ohio State Journal.


TUNE — The Cow died on. [see note below]

Trouble in Columbus,
Locos raising Ned,
Kicking up a rumpus —
Squally times ahead!
Rushing like a hurricane,
Madly they convene.
Room at the ‘American,’
In Number 18.

Senate Hall deserted,
Fifteen Locos fly;
Nineteen Whigs diverted,
Never say die;
Speaker Goddard, frowning
With majestic mien,
Sendeth Sergeant Downing
To Number 18.

Sergeant, with his warrant,
Thought the Devil’s to pay,
Bold as a Knight Errant
Wends his winding way.
Crowding through spectators
Tickled at the scene,
For absquatulators
In Number 18.

Rats abroad when roaming,
Watching — every one —
When ratcatchers ‘re coming
To the hole will run —
So the “fifteen” scatter;
Scampering are seen —
Said Kelsey “what’s the matter
In Number 18?”

Sergeant Downing, rapping,
Tapping at the door,
Didn’t catch them napping,
But upon the floor —
Some were tossing coppers,
Some looked quite serene.
Some were telling whoppers,
In Number 18.

Olds, the master spirit,
Spoke — ‘he had the floor’ —
“Sergeant Downing, hear it:
Never, nevermore.
With the Whigs up yonder
“Patriots” will be seen,
But we’ll give ’em thunder
From Number 18!

“Fiery persecution —
On our shoulders broad
Stands the Constitution:
Heavens! what a load!”
Doctor raised his spectacles,
Spectacles of green —
Down a tear trickles,
In Number 18!

“Ask the Speaker Goddard,
Never at a loss,
How I’m to be foddered
In Pickaway and Ross?
I am independent,
What may intervene,
Lord of the Ascendant
In Number 18.

“If from here I’m driven,
What shall I go at? —
I’m only fit for Heaven,
And hardly fit for that!
Sergeant Downing, travel!”
Said he, quite serene,
“We’ll raise the very Devil
In number 18!”

Downing took the message,
As he came away;
Blocking up the passage
People in dismay,
Gathering around him,
Wish the news to glean —
Asking if he found ’em
In Number 18.

Barbers with their razors,
Doctors with their bills,
Landlords, and, O scizzors!
Washwomen with ?ills;
All the nooks and corners
Emptying were seen —
“Shouldn’t crowd the mourners”
In Number 18.

Fallen in with misery
Upon evil times —
Can’t get in the Treasury,
Can’t get at the dimes!
Treasury doors are fasten’d,
Treasurer Bliss is keen;
Sorely — sorely chastened,
Is Number 18.

Calm as summer morning
Warrant was returned;
Senators, discerning,
Quietly adjourned; —
Smothering a dry laugh,
Many Whigs were seen —
“Couldn’t come the Giraffe”
In Number 18.

Good old Father Cronise,
Wishing he in nowise
Had absquatulated,
By himself stood musing —
Thought ’twas rather green
Domes he should be losing;
For Number 18.

Close behind him — startled,
Sergeant-at-Arms, there,
O if the old man “tortled,”
Jumping like a deer.
Lightning-like retreated,
A blue streak is seen,
Cronise evaporated,
From Number 18.

Down the street dashing,
Hair wildly streaming.
Through the mud splashing,
Children all screaming —
Barking dogs — all sizes,
Accompanying seen.
The flight of Cronise’s
From Number 18.

Locos no concession
Meeting as a boon,
Yielded at discretion
Saturday at noon;
Spitefully as pet Bears,
Suffering from spleen,
“Such a getting down stairs”
From Number 18.

Jonah in a bad snap,
Swallowed UP a whale;
Rats in a steel trap,
Certainly should squeal;
Locos, though disgusted,
Once again convene —
Guess the TIN PAK “busted”
In Number 18.

Olds, the great concocter
Wouldn’t yet come in,
Whigs had the Doctor
Where Caleb had the hen;
The Doctor he is eloquent,
The Doctor isn’t green,
But the Dr. saw the Elephant
In Number 18.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Feb 29, 1848

NOTE: In regards to the tune: “the tune the old cow died of” being merely a proverbial or slang way of expressing “the music is insufferably bad.” P. P.

Posted by Jim Dixon on the Mudrat Cafe website.

Adams John Q

This first biography was written the year before he died.


Sketches of the Public Men of the United States.



IT would be more difficult to tell when John Quincy Adams was not in public life, and more difficult to state the honors he has not enjoyed from his countrymen, than those which he has. No child was ever blessed with a nobler father, or a purer mother, than John Quincy Adams. The father was one of the foremost and bravest spirits of the revolution, and the mother has all the heroism and intelligence of the worthiest women of her age and time. She was the daughter of the Rev. William Smith, of Weymouth, and one of the two sisters, both of whom were remarkable and exemplary women, the one marrying the Hon. Richard Cranch, of Quincy, father of the present Chief Justice Cranch of Washington, and the other the Rev. Mr. Shaw, one of the old and honorable Congregational Ministers of New England. Of the father I need not speak, and of the mother I will only add, that those who will read her published letters to husband, son and niece, pronounce the author of the truths and wisdom therein embodied, worthy of the highest eulogium language can bestow. Nor shall I attempt — for time and space would fail me — to enumerate more than the most public events in the career of Ex-President Adams.

Mr. A. is fast verging on four score years, having been born on the 11th of July, 1767. Nearly 60 years of this time, in one way or another, he has been in public life, and has filled the highest offices, — and almost all grades of office, — known either to our National or State Governments. He was cradled almost in the Revolution, and lived thro’ it, of necessity, not only an active spectator, but sometimes a participator, — and that not in an humble way, — in some of its most important events. Ten years after he was born, and in the midst of the Revolution, he accompanied his father to Europe. It was John Quincy Adams, Benjamin Franklin, and Arthur Lee, as is known, who composed the Commission at Versailles. —

John Q. Adams was absent but eighteen months, and during this time improved himself in the study of French and Latin, and other branches of learning. Old John Adams landed in Boston, in August ’79, in the very density of the darkness of the Revolution. He was not permitted to remain longer than three months at home, the scene for the greatest service being then upon the European side of the Atlantic as a negotiator with powers friendly to the United States, and with those like France, who were hostile to England. Again the son accompanied the father to Europe and at a time, too, when the ocean was almost dotted with English ships in search of every thing American, or friendly to the independent colonies which could be found. It was during the voyage that old John Adams was placed in charge of the Commodore Tucker, one of the thunderbolts of old ocean, and every bit as brave as Paul Jones, or any of the fabled heroes of the sea.

The little vessel of the Commodore had many a hair-breadth escape from capture, but the master was determined never to yield without a struggle, no matter what force might attack him. At one time real danger was at hand, and the life of Adams was deemed as precious as the great mission he had in charge. Tucker insisted, therefore, that Adams should, as the Ambassador of the country keep out of harm’s way. The minister tried but in vain, to obey orders, for no sooner was there real danger at hand, than he was foremost in the fight, and so impatient of restraint, as to mingle with the humble sailors, in defence of the ship. Adams, however, arrived safely out, and Holland for a time became the scene of his labors.

He was a beggar at the footstool of thrones and principalities, for means to carry on the war of his country with England, and among kings, noblemen and aristocratic bankers, for it was not easy then to obtain the ‘sinews of war,’ at home or abroad. Ours was a young nation in the New world, and the most powerful nation in the Old denounced us as traitors and rebels. But against all odds, our fathers faithfully struggled, patiently endured, and in the end gloriously triumphed. It was in such a school as this that John Quincy Adams was taught, and with a mother to guide him who loved to instil into his mind those principles of religious and civil liberty, higher than which no nation or body of men ever aimed to obtain. He was surrounded too, often by the great and good men of the Revolution.

These, the companions of his father, were his great moral exemplars. He was favored beyond this with the companionship of some of the most distinguished men of the Old World. John Adams, even at this time, when his son was not 18 years of age, in one of his letters, spoke of him with the affection and respect of a true father, in these words: “The strict and inviolate regard you have ever paid to truth, gives me pleasing hope that you will not swerve from her dictates, but add justice, fortitude, and every manly virtue, which can adorn a good citizen, do honor to your country, and render your parents supremely happy, and particularly your affectionate mother.”

Young Adams soon visited many parts of Europe. He was put to school alternately at Paris, Amsterdam and Leyten, and afterward accompanied Francis Dana, in 1781, to St. Petersburgh, where he acted as the private secretary of our Minister.

He returned home, after visiting Northern Europe, Germany in part, Holland, France and England. It was his good fortune to be with his father at the signing of the treaty of Peace in Paris, 1783.  At London he was favored, as a listener to the eloquence of Burke, Sheridan, Fox, Pitt, a galaxy of names that no one English Parliament before or since, has ever exhibited. All these men at this time were in the zenith of their powers. Pitt stood at the head of the British Ministry, with his three great rivals arrayed against him. This was before young Adams was 20 years of age. Indeed soon after he was 18, he entered Harvard College, far advanced in his studies, and in 1787 graduated and turned his attention at once and with great assiduity to the law, a profession on which at one time he thought he should have to depend for the means of support. He studied vigorously under Theophilus Parson — once a distinguished Chief Justice in Massachusetts. He became at this time apparently ambitious of fame, and distinguished himself particularly with his pen, in his opposition to some popular essays from the famous Thomas Paine.

Later in life he was the public defender of Washington, for the course pursued by the father of his country toward the then singular minister of France, the famous Genet. His first honors came from the hands of the first President, and under all administrations, since then, he has held conspicuous positions derived from the people, the State, or from the Federal government. — Washington sent him to the Netherlands under the recommendation of Thomas Jefferson — who afterwards also gave him a distinguished post abroad.

The conflict with the father would not allow Mr. Jefferson to be alienated from the son. Mr. Adams, therefore went hither and thither at the call of his government, & was ever ready to go where he could do the most good. Now at the Court of Holland, and again at the Court of St. James; to day hurrying off to Berlin, and to-morrow to Portugal; this year an important negociator with Prussia, the next serving in the Legislature of his State, the third a Senator in Congress, the 4th a Professor of Oratory and Rhetoric in his old Alma Mater, and soon after again, flying upon the wings of the wind for distant Russia, as the Minister Plenipotentiary of his government.

It was Mr. Adams who incited the emperor of Russia to mediate as a friendly power for the restoration of peace between the governments of England and the United States. It was he too who was one of the Commissioners (with Clay and Gallatin) to negotiate the treaty of peace which was signed at Ghent, in Dec. 1814. His father, in his presence, had signed the first treaty of peace at Paris, and it was his good fortune to sign the second treaty himself at Ghent. Honors still followed him. Mr. Madison appointed him Ambassador to England, which office he held, until Mr. Monroe, at the commencement of his administration, called him home, not to retirement, but to be his Secretary of State — an office which all will admit be filled with the most marked ability. Still his course was onward and upward, and when Mr. Monroe served out his two terms, Mr. Adams became his successor in the Presidential office, receiving the votes of 13 states, which was then the requisite number in the house of Representatives, as one of the 3 competitors who had failed to be elected by the people.

Since then the career of Mr. Adams has been too familiar to need comment at my hands. There are various opinions, too, as to the propriety of his course, and the justice of his sentiments. Desiring not to discuss party or sectional questions in these sketches, I prefer to leave the subject of this sketch just where it is, only adding that Mr. Adams was elected to Congress in 1831, that he has been a member ever since, and that he will in all probability die at his post, and with the harness on his back. Most heartily do I believe him to be governed by the patriotism and the highest sense of honor. — Those who differ from him — and there are few men who have not widely differed from him at times, — are bound to concede this. — To praise his vast amount of intelligence, whether the result of his observation or study, or whether appertaining to political historical or biblical knowledge, would be “the wasteful and ridiculous excess of gilding refined gold.” The life of such a man is one of the most incidents that illustrate our nations history, and as such it ought to be cherished as a precious legacy by the American people.

Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio) Jun 24, 1847


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From the New York Tribune.


Another, and almost the only link which binds the political history of our country’s present to the past era of her first existence as a nation, has been broken by the death of this venerable statesman. It is as if that great time, with the great men to whom it gave birth, and who have now taken their revered places in the world’s history, were removed farther from us, with the departure of one in whom they still lived and spoke. It is the fate of no common life, to contain within the span of its earthly rising and setting, such experience as his embraced; — the growth of a feeble colony, into one of the mightiest empires of all time — the spectacle of a total revolution in the world’s politics, science and philosophy — the birth and development of a wonderful age. Yet such a life was his, whose loss we deplore — for whom the nation will sorrow, as one man — whose memory will become a part of our childrens’ heritage, and whose labors will stand as a pillar, upholding the majesty of human Freedom.

John Quincy Adams was born at Braintree (afterward Quincy) Mass. on the 11th of July, 1767. He received his name from his great-grandfather, John Quincy, who, in the early part of the century, was honored with many civil distinctions from the Governor of the Providence, and who died a few hours after the birth of the boy who took his name. His childhood was passed during the stormy times of the Revolution; and even as a child he participated in some of its most memorable occurrences. — When John Adams was appointed Joint Commissioner to France in 1777, with Franklin and Lee, John Quincy accompanied him, though at this time but eleven years of age. He spent eighteen months in Paris, at school, and returned to America with his father in 1779. During this visit he enjoyed the instructions of Franklin, who conceived a strong attachment for his young countryman.

In three months after their arrival, John Adams was again dispatched by Congress to Europe, and set sail, with his son, in a French frigate for Brest. They has a perilous passage, for the ocean was at that time thronged with British fleets, and their capture was only avoided by the daring and courage of the commander. The frigate was driven by violent storms into the port of Ferrol, in Spain, whence they traveled by land to Paris. They went soon after to Holland, where he studied for some time at Amsterdam and at the celebrated University of Leyden.

In July, 1781, Francis Dana, (father of Richard H. Dana, the poet,) who had accompanied John Adams as Secretary of Legation, was appointed Minister to Russia, and took with him young John Quincy, then but fourteen years of age, as his Private Secretary. After a year’s residence in St. Petersburg, he left Mr. Dana, and in the Fall of 1782 and the following Winter traveled alone thro’ Sweeden, Denmark and Hamburg to Holland, where he arrived in April. His father was then in Paris, but visiting the Hague in July, he took his son with him on his return. The treaty of peace was signed in September, and from that time till May, 1785, he resided with his father in England and France, having intercourse with the most distinguished society of those countries. In London he was introduced upon the floor of Parliament, and heard some of the finest efforts of Pitt, Burke, Fox and Sheridan. His acquaintance with Jefferson, who was then Minister to France, dates from this period, and he was afterward strongly recommended to the notice of Washington by that great statesman.

When his father was appointed Minister to the Court of St. James, in 1785, as he was desirous of completing his education in his native country, he obtained permission to return. He entered an advanced class in Harvard University, and graduated at the end of two years. — Making choice of the law for his profession, he studied in the office of the celebrated Theoplilus Parsons, at Newburyport, and afterwards established himself in Boston, where he remained four years, satisfying himself with extending his knowledge of the principles of law, and writing occasional political essays.

But when, in 1794, the country was aroused and excited by the appeals of the French Minister, Genet, Mr. Adams entered the field with three articles under the signature of “Marcellus,” in which he set forth, what has since been a prominent part of his political creed — the obligation of neutrality concerning the policy or conflicts of other nations. In these letters he anticipated the precise course which was recommended by Washington and agreed to by his cabinet. His reputation for clear judgment and political foresight, thus honorably established, introduced him to the notice of Washington, to whose esteem and confidence he was at once admitted.

At the recommendation of Jefferson, he was appointed Minister to Holland in May, 1794, and from that time until 1801, remained abroad, serving the country in various diplomatic capacities. Immediately before the expiration of Washington’s term he received the appointment of Minister to Portugal, but while on his way to Lisbon, his destination was changed by President Adams to Berlin, where he resided four years. During this period he visited the Riesengebirge, the wild mountain district of Silesia, the haunt of German fairy tradition, which at that time was hardly known to tourists. He was the first American who ascended the Schneekoppe, which is considered the highest mountain in Central Europe, north of the Danube. His letters descriptive of this tour appeared in the Portfolio, published in Philadelphia, but were afterwards published in a volume, which was reprinted in London, and translated into French and German. His position in Europe at this time, enabled him to look upon the great scenes enacted around him, as an unprejudiced spectator, and his calm philosophic mind improved this opportunity of studying a terrible page in Modern History. He supported the character of his country abroad with dignity and honor, and returned divested of party prejudice by his long absence, and glowing with a spirit of hte most pure and single-minded patriotism.

His friends did not allow him to pause in the career which had been marked out for him both by nature and education. He was elected to the Massachusetts Senate in 1802, and in the same year to the Senate of the U. States. In addition to this high distinction, he was appointed Professor of Rhetoric and Oratory in Harvard University, and during the recesses of Congress delivered a series of lectures which were attended by crowded audiences, and afterwards published in two octavo volumes. A course which he delivered on the “Art of Good Speaking,” was exceedingly popular, and his own fine oratorical talents enabled him to do the subject full justice.

His course in the Senate was in harmony with the circumstances of his election. He was unpledged to the support of any particular men or measures, though considered a moderate Federalist, and chosen Senator by a majority of that party. But his long experience of public life and the principles of Government placed him above distinction of party, and his course was independent, and marked by a conscientious adherence to his sense of right and duty. For his course in relation to the Embargo he received the censure of the Massachusetts Legislature, and on this account resigned his seat in 1808.

Immediately after Madison’s accession to the Presidency in 1809, he received the appointment of Minister to Russia, and during his residence of five years in St. Petersburg, he enjoyed the respect and confidence of the Emperor Alexander to a degree seldom bestowed upon the representatives of other nations. It was this esteem which induced the Emperor, after the Peack of 1812, to offer his mediation in the then existing war between the United States and England. Though this was declined by England, it produced an offer on her part of direct negotiation, and John Quincy Adams was placed at the head of the Commissioners who met at Ghent. Singularly enough, he occupied the same situation as his father, thirty years before, and sustained the national honor with equal faithfulness.

In February, 1815, he was appointed Minister to Great Britain, and continued to act in that capacity until Monroe’s accession, in 1817, when he was recalled in order to serve the country in a more exalted and important station — that of Secretary of State, which is only second in responsibility to the Executive office itself. His long absence abroad rendered him better competent to conduct our relations with foreign nations than any statesman our country has ever produced.

During the eight years of his service as Secretary of State, he retained the full confidence of Mr. Monroe, and assisted in the accomplishment of measures which have contributed to our national glory and prosperity. We need only mention the recognition of the independence of the South American Republics, first advocated by Henry Clay, in the House of Representatives, and the successful acquisition of Florida and adjustment of the Spanish claims, to point out the value and importance of his official labors.

When the time of Monroe’s retirement drew near, the claims of Mr. Adams to the high office could not be overlooked. His long and eminent services, firm integrity of principle and lofty patriotism, made him the choice of all intelligent and calm-thinking men. From the popularity of Jackson, Crawford and Clay, each of whom was the candidate of a large party, the electoral colleges were able to make no nomination, and the question devolved on Congress. At the first ballot Mr. Adams received the votes of thirteen States, which constituted a majority. A Committee of the House accordingly waited upon him to notify him of his election, and received an answer of acceptance.

During the four years of his administration he preserved the same calm balance of judgment, the same undeviating attachment to principle, which had distinguished his former political life. His course was moderate, dignified, and characterized by great republican simplicity. The financial affairs of the nation were conducted with the strictest integrity; large sums were expended upon internal improvements — more, indeed, was effected in the permanent improvement of the country than during all the administrations of his predecessors; upward of five millions of dollars were appropriated in pensions and private bounties, and yet thirty millions of the national debt had been paid off at the end of his term. The violent and bitter opposition he met with, is well known. The friends of Jackson and Crawford combined in a hostility to the measures of his administration, which rested not until it had produced his defeat at the Presidential election in 1828. The effect of this unprincipled partisan feeling, in its opposition to the high liberal arms of Mr. Adams, was felt in the embarrassments which were brought on the country by his successor. Some later historian, scanning this period with an unprejudiced eye, will do full honor to his acts, and the high principles by which he was governed.

After Jackson’s inauguration he retired to the old homestead at Quincy, where he passed a year or two in the enjoyment of tranquil domestic life, and surrounded with the happiest social relations. But such a man as he could not be spared long from the Councils of the Nation. — In 1830 he was elected to represent the Congressional District in which he resided, and in the following year took his seat in the House of Representatives. Since then he has been elected to nine successive Congressional terms, the duties of which he has faithfully performed; till, after sixty-seven years spent in the service of his country, he has died with his hand to her labors — his last words uttered in her Hall of Council.

His acts in the House of Representatives are part of the knowledge of every American. — They will be cited, in after years, as noble example of that exalted honesty which can sacrifice everything in pursuance of what it believes to be just and true. It was owing to his persevering efforts alone that the disgraceful gag law was removed form the statutes of Congress; and there is scarcely a more thrilling incident in the history of our legislation than the effect of his eloquent reply to the dark menaces of the Southern spirit.

Despite the violent opposition and enmity which his upright and independent career excited, we doubt whether any man has been more universally venerated and beloved. — There is no sublimer instance of popular affection on record, than was exhibited during his visit to the West, a few years ago. The spontaneous expression of love and reverence, which men of all creeds and parties offered to the old man, gave his journey the character of a triumphal march — but a grander march than ever followed the laden chariots of the ancient victors of the world, along the Appian or Flaminian way. It was one of those spectacles of a nation’s gratitude, which rarely occur more than once in an era — an expression of such deep and touching feeling, and such fervent enthusiasm as could have been exhibited by no other people on earth.

His youth, almost his childhood, was consecrated to his country’s service; his long life and wonderful energies have been consumed in building up the fabric of her greatness; and he has drawn his last breath under the shelter of her legislative dome. His nearer relatives will lament his departure, but she will be left, most vacant at his loss — she will be chief mourner beside his grave.

Huron Reflector (Norwalk, Ohio) Mar 7, 1848

From the National Intelligencer.


Few of our readers but will read with deep and tender interest the following copy of verses, written by Mr. Adams on the day preceding his fatal attack of illness, and designed to accompany his autograph signature, which had been requested by a female friend.

Written for MISS C.L. EDWARDS, of Massachusetts, on the day preceding his attack.


In days of yore, the poet’s pen
From wing of bird was plundered,
Perhaps of goose, but, now and then,
From Jove’s own Eagle sundered.
But, now, metallic pens disclose
Alone the poet’s numbers;
In iron inspiration glows,
Or with the poet slumbers.

Fair damsel! could my pen impart,
In prose or lofty rhyme,
The pure emotions of my heart,
To speed the flight of time;
What metal from the womb of earth
Could worth intrinsic bear,
To stamp with corresponding worth
The blessings thou shouldst share?

Ohio Repository, The (Canton, Ohio) Mar 8, 1848


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