John Adams by Clarence Cook

"Oh that I could have a home! But this felicity has never been permitted me. Rolling, rolling, rolling, till I am very near rolling into the bosom of mother earth."

Thus wrote the venerable John Adams to his wife, in the sixty-fifth year of his age, and the last of his Presidency. A few years previous he had uttered the same sigh, nor is it infrequent in his letters. "I am weary, worn, and disgusted to death. I had rather chop wood, dig ditches, and make fence upon my poor little farm. Alas, poor farm! and poorer family! what have you lost that your country might be free!  and that others might catch fish and hunt deer and bears at their ease!"

This was written in the days when there was such a thing as genuine patriotism; when, as in the noble Greek and Roman years, there lived among us also noble men, who freely surrendered all that life offered them of sweet and splendid, to work for their fellows, and to exalt their country's state, content that old age should find them poor in fortune and broken in health, so only that integrity remained, and a serene conscience led them undisturbed to the end of life.

Among these former glories of our Republic, the name of John Adams stands in the clearest sunlight of fame. No purer patriot ever lived. The names which dazzle us in history become no fables when read by his light; Plutarch tells no nobler story, records no greater claims; Athens and Sparta smile upon him from their starry places, and Rome holds out her great hand of fellowship to him—for there is no virtue which has lived that may not live again, and our own day shows that there has never been a political corruption so base as to despair of being emulated.

Concerning the civil life of such a man, much might with ease be written. The head and front of every great political movement of his country, from his thirtieth year to the day of his death he lived no obscure life, and was missed from no contest. "The great pillar of support to the Declaration of Independence," as Jefferson called him, its fearless and eloquent defender, the right hand of his country's diplomacy, and the strength of her treaties, he is a portion of her history and his acts are her annals. But this devotion to the great political struggles of his time was not consistent with home delights.  These he was to scorn and to live laborious days. Early immersed in the stirring events of his day, he surrendered to the duty of serving, all private claims; he gave up his profession, he separated himself from his wife and children to go wherever he could be useful; he abandoned a mode of life most dear to him; and leaving his little Sabine farm and his friendly books, with no hopes of personal aggrandizement, and small, unjoyous prospect of success in the venture he was aiding, went out to fight. His first act of importance, a worthy beginning to such career, was his defence of Preston, in the famous trial for the murder of certain citizens of Boston by British soldiers, in 1770. Preston was the captain of the British troops stationed in Boston, and under government orders. As may easily be imagined, in the uneasy state of public feeling, exasperated by real injuries and petty tyrannies, suspicious, discontented and spurred on by men who circulated a thousand injurious reports, the people and the foreign soldiery were ready at any moment to break out into open quarrel. Finally, this did indeed happen. The soldiery, provoked beyond endurance, resisted the assaults of the people, and fired upon them. Captain Preston was arrested and imprisoned; five citizens had been killed and many wounded, and it was with difficulty that the people were restrained from rising into furious rebellion. Preston was taken to prison to await his trial, but it was for a time impossible to obtain counsel, so great was the hatred of the people to the soldiery, and so strong the feeling that no man would be safe from violence who would attempt to defend these foreigners for the murder of his own fellow-citizens. John Adams—then a rising lawyer in Boston, and a man who had already given hints of coming greatness—was sent for by the unfortunate captain, who begged him to undertake his cause. "I had no hesitation in answering," says Adams in his autobiography, "that counsel ought to be the very last thing that an accused person should want in a free country; that the bar ought, in my opinion, to be independent and impartial at all times, and in every circumstance, and that persons whose lives were at stake ought to have the counsel they preferred. But he must be sensible this would be as important a cause as was ever tried in any court or country in the world; and that every lawyer must hold himself responsible, not only to his country, but to the highest and most infallible of all tribunals, for the part he should act. He must therefore expect from me no art or address, no sophistry or prevarication in such a cause, nor anything more than fact, evidence, and law would justify." And a little after he tells us what it cost him to act up to his own standard of duty. "At this time I had more business at the bar than any man in the province. My health was feeble. I was throwing away as bright prospects as any man ever had before him, and I had devoted myself to endless labor and anxiety, if not to infamy and to death, and that for nothing, except what was and ought to be all in all, a sense of duty. In the evening, I expressed to Mrs. Adams all my apprehensions. That excellent lady, who has always encouraged me, burst into a flood of tears, but said she was very sensible of all the danger to her and to our children, as well as to me, but she thought I had done as I ought; she was very willing to share in all that was to come, and to place her trust in Providence."

Such were the politicians of that day; and though we do not doubt that private virtue as much abounds with us as with them, and that as great private sacrifices as this was public can be instanced in these later times, yet no one will be so hardy as to say that any politician of this day would brave such hazards or so daringly face peril. Politics are become a trade with us. The curse of popular governments is this, that they make office desirable in proportion to the ease with which it is attained, and that seeking place becomes in time as legitimate a profession as seeking oysters. No one will so mock at common sense, or hold the judgments of his fellow spectators in such light esteem, as to aver that any one of our public men serves his country for his country's sake, or for any better reason than because it is conducive to bread and butter. Hence it is with us a jeer and a by-word to talk about patriotism. The fact seems to be, that our material prosperity is so great, our resources so boundless, our outlook so glorious, our liberty so well assured—or at least the liberty of those among us who are white—that there is no call for sacrifice and patriotic service. The country is rich and can well afford, if she will be served, to pay the servant; but we speak of devotion to principle, which we believe is clean gone out from us, and can be predicated of no public man.

John Adams, son of John Adams and Susannah Boylston Adams, was born at Quincy, Massachusetts, on the 19th day of October, 1735. He received the best education that the times afforded, graduated at Harvard College, and afterward commenced the study of divinity with a view to the ministry; at the same time he was occupied in teaching school, that universal stepping-stone in New England to professional life. Indeed, there was then hardly more than there is now any such thing as a schoolmaster by profession; and without doubt a sufficing reason for the fact that our young men are so inefficiently educated, is, that the teachers are in nine cases out of ten only one lesson in advance of their scholars. In those days, however, the schoolmaster was apt to be a person of some consequence. He held a position very often next in importance to that of the parson, and ruled an autocrat over his little flock of beardless citizens. Nowhere has he been better described than in "Margaret," in the character of Master Elliman, whose mingled pompousness, verbiage, and pedantry, admirably represent the class to which he belonged. But the character gradually lost its individuality as society advanced, until at length the great bulk of teachers, except in the colleges, were merely young men preparing for the learned professions.

The injurious effect of this state of things, which has made a very decided mark upon our national character, we will not discuss here, but it is well to note the differences between the manners of the colonial times, and those of our present day—and of these differences none is so striking as the great decrease of respect in which professional men are held with us compared with that which was yielded to them by our forefathers. With them the schoolmaster, the parson, the physician, the lawyer, were considered and treated as a sort of sacred nobility, apart from the vulgar, and wholly refusing admixture with them; they were placed in the seats of honor, and counted among counsellors; their company was sought by the wealthy and the educated, their acts were chronicled, and their words were echoed from mouth to mouth. In the streets, when the schoolmaster or minister appeared, the children at play drew up into a hurried line, took off their caps, made deferential  bows and listened with humility to the greeting or word of advice. Nowadays, the Pope himself would be hustled in an omnibus, and if Master Elliman were to appear in the streets and offer advice to the children, ten to one but that they would throw dirt at him. It was in the twilight which followed the departing day of these venerable times and preceded the coming on of these degenerate darker hours, that John Adams became a pedagogue. He was hardly at that age fit to be a teacher. He was thoughtful, ambitious and lofty in his aims, but he was also somewhat indolent and wanted persistency. It is true that his mind was hardly made up as to what he should do for a living. We have said that he began with studying for the ministry, but he tells us that he at one time read much in medical books, and inclined to the study of physic.

Yet I imagine that his inclination to either of these professions was never very strong. His education at Cambridge, then the high seat of orthodoxy, and perhaps the advice of his parents, his father holding an office in the church government of his town of some importance at that day, may have led his mind in the direction of the ministry, and his studies in that line were very regular and persistent for some time. Surgery and medicine had probably merely the fleeting fascination for  him which they have for multitudes of eager young men, striving to pry into all the subtile secrets of nature, and to find out all the mysteries which environ us. But as he says of himself, "the law drew me more and more," and in his Diary under the date of Sunday, 22d of August, 1756, we have the following entry:—

"Yesterday I completed a contract with Mr. Putnam to study the law, under his inspection, for two years. I ought to begin with a resolution to oblige and please him and his lady in a particular manner; I ought to endeavor to please every body, but them in particular. Necessity drove me to this determination, but my inclination, I think, was to preach; however, that would not do. But I set out with firm resolutions, I think, never to commit any meanness or injustice in the practice of law. The study and practice of law, I am sure, does not dissolve the obligations of morality or of religion; and, although the reason of my quitting divinity was my opinion concerning some disputed points, I hope I shall not give reason of offence, to any in that profession, by imprudent warmth."

He now gave up his school, and somewhat changed his manner of life. Before we leave him let us hear his quaint description of the schoolboys of his day—not very different from the youngsters of 1853.

"15. Monday (1756).—I sometimes in my sprightly moments consider myself in my great chair at school, as some dictator at the head of a commonwealth. In this little state I can discover all the great geniuses, all the surprising actions and revolutions of the great world, in miniature. I have several renowned generals not three feet high, and several deep  projecting politicians in petticoats. I have others catching and dissecting flies, accumulating remarkable pebbles, cockle-shells, &c., with as ardent curiosity as any virtuoso in the Royal Society. Some rattle and thunder out A, B, C, with as much fire and impetuosity as Alexander fought, and very often sit down and cry as heartily upon being outspelt as Cęsar did, when at Alexander's sepulchre he recollected that the Macedonian hero had conquered the world before his age. At one table sits Mr. Insipid, foppling and fluttering, spinning his whirligig, or playing with his fingers, as gayly and wittily as any Frenchified coxcomb brandishes his cane or rattles his snuff-box. At another, sits the polemical divine, plodding and wrangling in his mind about "Adam's fall, in which we sinned all," as his Primer has it. In short, my little school, like the great world, is made up of kings, politicians, divines, L.L.D.'s, fops, buffoons, fiddlers, sycophants, fools, coxcombs, chimney-sweepers, and every other character drawn in history, or seen in the world. Is it not, then, the highest pleasure, my friend, to preside in this little world, to bestow the proper applause upon virtuous and generous actions, to blame and punish every vicious and contracted trick, to wear out of the tender mind every thing that is mean and little, and fire the new-born soul with a noble ardor and emulation? The world affords us no greater pleasure. Let others waste their bloom of life at the card or billiard-table among rakes or fools, and when their minds are sufficiently fretted with losses, and inflamed by wine, ramble through the streets, assaulting innocent people, breaking windows, or debauching young girls. I envy not their exalted happiness. I had rather sit in school and consider which of my pupils will turn out in his future life a  hero, and which a rake, which a philosopher, and which a parasite, than change breasts with them; though possessed of twenty laced waistcoats and a thousand pounds a year."

One of the most interesting features of the early part of the "Diary" from which these extracts have been taken, is the perfect simplicity and truthfulness with which the writer details his efforts to attain steadfastness of purpose and diligence in study. He feels in moments of reflection the value of his time and the sacredness of duty; he makes the best resolutions, and concocts the wisest plans for improvement and the most liberal schemes of study; but his animal spirits, which flowed on in cheerfulness, even to his latest day of life, his social nature, and his admiration for women, all played sad pranks with his resolves, and drew out from him many a repentant sigh over lost and wasted time. Yet this trouble ceases almost as soon as he begins to study law and gives up his uncertain dallyings with schoolkeeping, divinity, and medicine. Having once put his shoulder to the wheel, he worked with vigor, and began to show what greatness of character there was in him. Let it not be understood from what we have said, that John Adams was ever a seeker after low or vulgar pleasures. More than once in his "Diary" he ridicules the foolish, extravagant, licentious amusements of the young men of his time. Card-playing, drinking, backgammon, smoking, and swearing, he says are the fashionable means of getting rid of time, which excited in his mind only contempt. "I know not," he says, "how any young fellow can study in this town. What pleasure can a young gentleman who is capable of thinking, take in playing cards? It gratifies none of the senses, neither sight, hearing, taste, smelling, nor feeling; it can entertain the mind only by hushing its clamors. Cards, backgammon, &c., are the great antidotes to reflection, to thinking, that cruel tyrant within us! What learning or sense are we to expect from young gentlemen in whom a fondness for cards, &c., outgrows and chokes the desire of knowledge?"

Up to the time of his commencing the study of law with Mr. Putnam, John Adams had resided in Braintree, sharing in the social intercourses of the place, its tea-parties, clubs of young men, visiting and receiving visitors, and all the common civilities of country life. On one occasion, we find him taking tea and spending the evening at Mr. Putnam's, in conversation about Christianity. This was at the time when Adams was studying divinity, and it is evident that he discussed religion and theological subjects with a good deal of interest, since we find that the talk at almost all these meetings turns in that direction. There seems to have been a decided leaning towards speculation and doubt in the minds of many men, on the subject of Christianity, at that day, and we frequently find their opinion very frankly expressed in the "Diary," and left almost without comment by the recorder. He was very fond of chatting with his neighbors over a social cup of tea, sometimes after a day spent in hard study, at other times resting from the fatigues of attending to little affairs about the farm, loading and unloading carts, splitting wood, and doing other chores. He is apt to be a little impatient with himself. He finds it easier to say before going to bed that he will rise at six than to get up when the hour arrives. Several days in the "Diary" bear for sole record—"Dreamed away  this day," and once when several had slipped by without any seeming good result, he writes—"Thursday, Friday. I know not what became of these days;" and again—"Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday. All spent in absolute idleness, or which is worse, gallanting the girls." The next day—"Tuesday. Sat down and recollected my self, and read a little in Van Muyden, a little in Naval Trade and Commerce."

And so the good seems always leading him on, always eluding him, and playing sad momentary havoc with his peace of mind. But he consents to no doubtful terms with the enemy. He determined to conquer the foes of sloth, inattention, social indulgence, and do his whole duty. With the responsibilities of time came the cure for youthful follies, and his marriage in the thirtieth year of his age, dealt the last fatal blow to all his enemies. In 1764 he thus writes:—

"Here it may be proper to recollect something which makes an article of great importance in the life of every man. I was of an amorous disposition, and, very early, from ten or eleven years of age, was very fond of the society of females. I had my favorites among the young women, and spent many of my evenings in their company; and this disposition, although controlled for seven years after my entrance into college, returned, and engaged me too much till I was married.

"I shall draw no characters, nor give any enumeration of my youthful flames. It would be considered as no compliment to the dead or the living. This I will say:—they were all modest and virtuous girls, and always maintained their character through life. No virgin or matron ever had cause to blush at the sight of me, or to regret her acquaintance with me. No father, brother, son, or friend, ever had cause of  grief or resentment for any intercourse between me and any daughter, sister, mother, or any relation of the female sex. These reflections, to me consolatory beyond all expression, I am able to make with truth and sincerity; and I presume I am indebted for this blessing to my education.


"I passed the summer of 1764 in attending courts and pursuing my studies, with some amusement on my little farm, to which I was frequently making additions, until the fall, when, on the 25th of October, I was married to Miss Smith, second daughter of the Rev. William Smith, minister of Weymouth, granddaughter of the Hon. John Quincy, of Braintree, a connection which has been the source of all my felicity, although a sense of duty, which forced me away from her and my children for so many years, produced all the griefs of my heart and all that I esteem real afflictions in life."

In 1758, his term of study with Mr. Putnam being expired, John Adams left Worcester, having determined for several reasons not to settle there, but to establish himself, if possible, in Braintree, where his father and mother resided. They had invited him to live with them, and he says that as there had never been a lawyer in any country part of the county of Suffolk, he was determined to try his fortune there. His acquaintances told him that "the town of Boston was full of lawyers, many of them of established characters for long experience, great abilities, and extensive fame, who might be jealous of such a novelty as a lawyer in the country part of their county, and might be induced to obstruct me. I returned, that I was not wholly unknown to some of the most celebrated of those gentlemen; that I believed they had too much candor and generosity to injure a young man; and, at all events, I could try the experiment, and if I should find no hope of success, I should then think of some other place or some other course." The result was that he established himself in Braintree, living at his father's house, and continuing his studies patiently and perseveringly until clients began to appear. He gives an amusing account of his first "writ," and chronicles its failure with a nonchalant stoicism which can hardly conceal his vexation at being laughed at by his acquaintances among the young lawyers of the town. His residence in Braintree seems to have been a pleasant one. He had much leisure for study and reading, and made good use of his time. He was acquainted with all the people of consequence in the town, and was, as we have said, fond of visiting, calling in to take a social pipe or glass, as was the fashion of the day, to chat with the wife or daughter of the house, to discuss with the head of the family the last political bubble of the hour, the prospect of the crops, the expediency of this or that proceeding in the village, or any of the local topics of the day. Sometimes we find him with a knot of young fellows met together of an evening, discussing with one or two some question in morals or rhetoric, or sitting abstracted with a book or his pipe on one side the chimney, the room filled with smoke, the rest of the party engaged in card-playing, backgammon, or other sedative game. At another time, though somewhat later, he speaks of hearing "the ladies talk about ribbon, catgut, and Paris net, riding-hoods, cloth, silk, and lace;" and again he has a pleasant picture of taking tea at his grandfather Quincy's—"the old gentleman inquisitive about the hearing before the governor and council, about the governor's and secretary's looks and behavior, and about the final determination of the board. The old lady as merry and chatty as ever, with her stories out of the newspapers." He had through life a serene equable mind, he took the kindness and unkindness of fortune with even looks, and preserved his relish for a joke undiminished, in all his circumstances. We have before us two portraits of John Adams painted, the one when about forty years of age, the other when he was ninety. The younger likeness is a face of remarkable beauty, the forehead broad, serene, and intelligent, the eyebrows dark and elegantly arched over a pair of eyes which we make no doubt did fierce execution among the young women of the period who came under their sparkling influence. The lips full, finely curved, and giving an expression of great sweetness to the face, are yet firmly set, and combine with the attitude of the head to convey an impression of haughtiness and dignity. The chin is full, rounded, and inclined to be double; the powdered hair and the stiff coat take away from the youthful appearance of the picture. The other portrait is from an original by Gilbert Stuart, and was painted when John Adams was in his ninetieth year. At this time he was obliged to be fed from a spoon; yet no one, looking at this noble, vigorous head, with its fine color and magnificent forehead, would suppose his age so great. The beauty of the young man has grown into the fuller nobility of a face in which there appears no trace of any evil passion, no mark of any uneasy thought, but an undisturbed serenity that looks back on life and awaits death with the happiest memories and the gladdest anticipations.

In 1768, Mr. Adams, by the advice of his friends, who were urgent with him, removed to Boston, and took the house in Brattle Square called the White House. His son, John Quincy Adams, was born the year before—his life commenced with the most stirring period of his country's history, and it was his good fortune to bring down to our times so clear a memory of those events as to make a conversation with him on the subject an era in the life of an American. Shortly after the removal of John Adams to Boston, he was requested to accept an office under government; but although it was offered to him without respect to his opinions, which were well known to be hostile to the British rule in Massachusetts, and although the office was very lucrative, yet he insisted on refusing it, because he feared that he should sacrifice his independence in some manner to the influences of the position. He therefore declined any connection with the government, and continued the practice of the law, which had now become the source of a very handsome income, and was leading him by rapid steps into a very wide and honorable repute.

Before leaving Braintree, John Adams had become accustomed to a great deal of exercise, riding horseback to Boston, Germantown, Weymouth, and other adjoining towns; cutting down trees, superintending planting and harvesting, and every way taking a good share of the work on his farm. Some of the pleasantest portions of the "Diary" are those in which he describes this part of his life. The following extract gives a moral picture of his habits:—

"October, 22. Friday. Spent last Monday in taking pleasure with Mr. Wibird. * * * * *
Upon this part of the peninsula is a number of trees, which appear very much like the lime tree of Europe, which gentlemen are so fond of planting in their gardens for their beauty. Returned to Mr. Borland's, dined, and afternoon rode to Germantown, where we spent our evening. Deacon Palmer showed us his lucerne growing in his garden, of which he has cut, as he tells us, four crops this year. The Deacon had his lucerne seeds of Mr. Greenleaf, of Abington, who had his of Judge Oliver. The Deacon watered his but twice this summer, and intends to expose it uncovered to all the weather of the winter for a fair trial, whether it will endure our winters or not. Each of his four crops had attained a good length. It has a rich fragrance for a grass. He showed us a cut of it in 'Nature Displayed,' and another of St. Foin, and another of trefoil. The cut of the lucerne was exact enough; the pod in which the seeds are is an odd thing, a kind of ram's-horn or straw.

"We had a good deal of conversation upon husbandry. The Deacon has about seventy bushels of potatoes this year on about one quarter of an acre of ground. Trees of several sorts considered. The wild cherry-tree bears a fruit of some value; the wood is very good for the cabinet-maker, and is not bad to burn. It is a tree of much beauty; its leaves and bark are handsome, and its shape. The locust; good timber, fattening to soil by its leaves, blossoms, &c.; good wood, quick growth,  &c. The larch-tree; there is but one in the country, that in the lieutenant-governor's yard at Milton; it looks somewhat like an evergreen, but is not; sheds its leaves.

"I read in Thompson's Travels in Turkey in Asia, mention of a turpentine called by the name of turpentine of Venice, which is not the product of Venice, but of Dauphinč, and flows from the larch tree. It is thick and balsamic, and used in several arts, particularly that of enamelling.

"24. Sunday. Before sunrise.—My thoughts have taken a sudden turn to husbandry. Have contracted with Jo. Field to clear my swamp, and to build me a long string of stone wall, and with Isaac to build me sixteen rods more, and with Jo. Field to build me six rods more. And my thoughts are running continually from the orchard to the pasture, and from thence to the swamp, and thence to the house and barn, and land adjoining. Sometimes I am at the orchard ploughing up acre after acre, planting, pruning apple-trees, mending fences, carting dung; sometimes in the pasture, digging stones, clearing bushes, pruning trees, building to redeem posts and rails; and sometimes removing button-trees down to my house; sometimes I am at the old swamp burning bushes, digging stumps and roots, cutting ditches across the meadows and against my uncle; and am sometimes at the other end of the town buying posts and rails to fence against my uncle, and against the brook; and am sometimes ploughing the upland with six yoke of oxen, and planting corn, potatoes, &c., and digging up the meadows and sowing onions, planting cabbages, &c., &c. Sometimes I am at the homestead, running  cross-fences, and planting potatoes by the acre, and corn by the two acres, and running a ditch along the line between me and Field, and a fence along the brook against my brother, and another ditch in the middle from Field's line to the meadows. Sometimes am carting gravel from the neighboring hills, and sometimes dust from the streets upon the fresh meadows, and am sometimes ploughing, sometimes digging those meadows to introduce clover and other English grasses."

Thus passed the days of his early married life in Braintree, between the earnest study of the law, the participation in social intercourse with friends and neighbors, and occasional Bucolical episodes. In 1768, as we have said, he removed to Boston, and but seldom went into the country. In 1771, however, we find him writing as follows:

"The complicated cares of my legal and political engagements, the slender diet to which I was obliged to confine myself, the air of the town of Boston, which was not favorable to me, who had been born and passed almost all my life in the country, but especially the constant obligation to speak in public, almost every day, for many hours, had exhausted my health, brought on a pain in my breast, and a complaint in my lungs, which seriously threatened my life, and compelled me to throw off a great part of the load of business, both public and private, and return to my farm in the country. Early in the Spring of 1771, I removed my family to Braintree, still holding, however, an office in Boston. The air of my native spot, and the fine breezes from the sea on one side, and the rocky mountains of pine and savin on the other, together with daily rides on horseback and the amusements of agriculture, always delightful to me, soon restored my health in a considerable degree.

"April 16. Tuesday evening. Last Wednesday, my furniture was all removed to Braintree. Saturday I carried up my wife and youngest child, and spent the Sabbath there very agreeably. On the 20th or 25th of April, 1768, I removed into Boston. In the three years I have spent in that town, have received innumerable civilities from many of the inhabitants; many expressions of their good will, both of a public and private nature. Of these I have the most pleasing and grateful remembrance. * * * * *

"Monday morning I returned to town, and was at my office before nine. I find I shall spend more time in my office than ever I did. Now my family is away, I feel no inclination at all, no temptation, to be any where but at my office. I am in it by six in the morning, I am in it at nine at night, and I spend but a small space of time in running down to my brother's to breakfast, dinner, and tea. Yesterday, I rode to town from Braintree before nine, attended my office till near two, then dined and went over the ferry to Cambridge. Attended the House the whole afternoon, returned and spent the whole evening in my office alone, and I spent the time much more profitably, as well as pleasantly, than I should have done at club. This evening is spending the same way. In the evening, I can be alone at my office, and nowhere else; I never could in my family.

"18. Thursday—Fast day. Tuesday I staid at my office in town; yesterday went up to Cambridge, returned at night to Boston, and to Braintree,—still, calm, happy Braintree,—at nine o'clock at night. This morning, cast my eyes out to  see what my workmen had done in my absence, and rode with my wife over to Weymouth; there we are to hear young Blake—a pretty fellow.

"20. Saturday. Friday morning by nine o'clock, arrived at my office in Boston, and this afternoon returned to Braintree; arrived just at tea-time; drank tea with my wife. Since this hour, a week ago, I have led a life active enough; have been to Boston twice, to Cambridge twice, to Weymouth once, and attended my office and the court too.

"But I shall be no more perplexed in this manner. I shall have no journeys to make to Cambridge, no General Court to attend; but shall divide my time between Boston and Braintree, between law and husbandry;—farewell politics."

During Mr. Adams's residence in Boston he did not always occupy the same house. In April, 1768, he removed, as we have said, to the White House in Brattle Square. In the spring, 1769, he removed to Cole Lane, to Mr. Fayerweather's house. In 1770, he removed to another house in Brattle Square.

In 1772 he again removed to Boston with his family, and finding, as he says, that "it was very troublesome to hire houses, and to be often obliged to remove, I determined to purchase a house, and Mr. Hunt offering me one in Queen-street, near the scene of my business, opposite the Court House, I bought it, and inconvenient and contracted as it was, I made it answer, both for a dwelling and an office, till a few weeks before the 19th of April, 1775, when the war commenced."

In 1774 Mr. Adams was appointed delegate to the first American Congress at Philadelphia, and was obliged to leave his family in Braintree, while he himself remained with the Congress. He continued to reside in Philadelphia, visiting his family but seldom, and then in a very hurried manner, till the year 1776, when he was appointed commissioner to France in the place of Silas Deane, who was recalled. The treaty with France having been concluded by Dr. Franklin before Mr. Adams reached Paris, he returned home after an absence of a year and a half.

Hardly had he returned before he was again dispatched as Minister to the Court of St. James. While abroad at this time he made some stay in Paris, was afterwards at Amsterdam for the purpose of negotiating a loan and forming a treaty of amity and commerce with Holland, and still later, in 1785, was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to Great Britain. During all this time he had been separated from his wife—a space of nearly six years—but in 1784, finding that there was no prospect of a return, he sent for Mrs. Adams to join him in London. On reaching London, Mrs. Adams found that her husband was in Paris; her son, John Quincy Adams, was sent by his father to escort his mother and sister to France. The letters of Mrs. Adams, describing their mode of life in Paris, or rather at the little town of Auteuil, and also those which give an account of her residence in London, are most charmingly written, and we wish there was room for long extracts from them, but we already trespass upon the reader's kindness. We have space for only one pretty domestic picture.

The family are expecting a packet of letters from America, which their friend Mr. Charles Storer has sent from London to Paris. They had some difficulty in procuring them from the post-office.

"About eight in the evening, however, they were brought in and safely delivered, to our great joy. We were all together. Mr. Adams in his easy chair upon one side of the table, reading Plato's Laws; Mrs. A. upon the other, reading Mr. St. John's "Letters;" Abby, sitting upon the left hand, in a low chair, in a pensive posture;—enter J.Q.A. from his own room, with the letters in his hand, tied and sealed up, as if they were never to be read; for Charles had put half a dozen new covers upon them. Mr. A. must cut and undo them leisurely, each one watching with eagerness. Finally, the originals were discovered; 'Here is one for you, my dear, and here is another; and here, Miss Abby, are four, five, upon my word, six, for you, and more yet for your mamma. Well, I fancy I shall come off but slenderly. Only one for me.' 'Are there none for me, sir?' says Mr. J.Q.A., erecting his head, and walking away a little mortified."

On his return from Europe, Mr. Adams resided—whenever political duties permitted his absence from the seat of government—at the mansion in Quincy, the name by which the more ancient portion of Braintree was called.

The estate was purchased after the revolution. The house had been built long before by one of the Vassall family, a well-known republican name in England in the time of the commonwealth, some members of which had transferred themselves to Jamaica under Cromwell's projects of colonizing that island, and from thence had come to Massachusetts. But time had changed them from republicans to royalists, and when the revolution broke out they were on the side of the mother  country. In Quincy, however, the race had run into females, and the house belonged to a descendant by the name of Borland, who sold it to the agent of Mr. Adams. It was then, however, very different from what it is now. Mr. Adams nearly doubled the size of it, and altered the front. It has since been altered once or twice, and lately by the present occupant, Mr. Charles Francis Adams, a grandson of the President.

In this house Mr. Adams continued to reside till his death in 1826. During the time that he was in Philadelphia and Washington as President and Vice-President, Mrs. Adams remained at Quincy, partly on account of her health, partly to take charge of her husband's private property, which had never been large, and which had suffered much diminution from the expenses incident to public life.

Mrs. Adams's account of her residence in Washington—the troubles which she had in procuring almost the necessaries of life in that out of the way settlement—her description of Washington and the White House at that early date, have been printed too often in newspapers all over the country, to need insertion here. Not less interesting than these letters are those which describe her life in Philadelphia; her little sketches of society in that city, then the seat of government, have all the charms which the unaffected letters of an elegant woman cannot fail to display.

The following letter will conclude our article, showing, as it does, the peaceful occupations of this happy aged couple, retired to their beloved home to await the inevitable summons, to which they looked forward with the beautiful resignation of  minds in love with virtue, and conscious of no offence against the laws of God or man.

TO THOMAS B. ADAMS.
Quincy, 12 July, 1801.

"My Dear Son:

"I am much delighted to learn that you intend making a visit to the old mansion. I wish you could have accomplished it so as to have been here by this time, which would have given you an opportunity of being at Commencement, meeting many of your old acquaintances, and visiting the seat of science, where you received your first rudiments.

"I shall look daily for you. You will find your father in the fields, attending to his haymakers, and your mother busily occupied in the domestic concerns of her family. I regret that a fortnight of sharp drought has shorn many of the beauties we had in rich luxuriance. The verdure of the grass has become a brown, the flowers hang their heads, droop, and fade, whilst the vegetable world languishes; yet still we have a pure air. The crops of hay have been abundant; upon this spot, where eight years ago we cut scarcely six tons, we now have thirty. 'We are here, among the vast and noble scenes of nature, where we walk in the light and open ways of the divine bounty, and where our senses are feasted with the clear and genuine taste of their objects.' * * * * *

"I am, my dear Thomas, affectionately, your mother,

"Abigail Adams."    

Mrs. Adams died at Quincy on the 28th of October, 1818, aged seventy-four years.

 John Adams died at the good age of ninety-one years, on the 4th of July, 1826. We thank God, as he did, that a life spent in the service of his country should close without pain and in perfect tranquillity of soul, on the anniversary of the best day in her history, and a day with which his name is for ever associated in our gratefullest memories.