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Louisa Catherine Adams

(1775 - 1852)

First Lady from March 4, 1825 to March 4, 1829

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Mrs. Adams was the sixth in the succession of occupants of the Executive Mansion, and with her closed the list of the ladies of the Revolution. A new generation had sprung up in the forty-nine years of Independence, and after her retirement, younger aspirants claimed the honors. Born in the city of London on the 12th of February, 1775, she received advantages superior to those enjoyed by most of the ladies of America. Hex father, Mr. Johnson, of Maryland, although living at thi: outbreak of the war, in England, was ever a patriotic American, and soon after hostilities commenced, re moved with his family to Nantes, in France. "There he received from the Federal Congress an appointment as Commissioner to examine the accounts of all the American functionaries then entrusted with the public money of the United States, in Europe; in the exercise of the duties of which he continued until the peace of 1783. Our National Independence having then been recognized, he returned to London, where he continued to reside, and where he acted as consular agent for the United States, until his final return in 1797, to his native soil."


It was fortunate for Mrs. Adams that her husband was a strong, intellectual nature; he both satisfied and sustained her, and rendered her sojourn on earth contented and agreeable. In her father's house in London he first saw her, in 1794, and on the 26th of July, 1797, they were married at the Church of All-Hallows. Soon afterward his father became President, and he was transferred to Berlin, where he repaired with his wife as a bride, to play her part in the higher circles of social and political life. It need scarcely be added that she proved perfectly competent to this; and that during four years, which comprised the period of her stay at that court, notwithstanding almost continual ill-health, she succeeded in making friends and conciliating a degree of good-will, the recollection of which is, even at this distance of time, believed to be among the most agreeable of the associations with her varied life. In 1801, after the birth of her eldest child, she embarked with Mr. Adams on his return to the United States. Not to Maryland, the home of her childhood, but, a stranger to their habits and manners, she went among the New England people, and settled with her husband in Boston. Here she determined to be satisfied and live with a people whom in feeling she was not unlike, but scarcely was she beginning to feel at home when Mr. Adams was elected Senator, and she removed with him to Washington. A sister was already established there, and she met once more the members of her own family, where to her the winter months passed pleasantly away. Each summer she returned to Boston, and thus alternating between there and Washington in winter, she passed the eight years of Jefferson's term. To many, the capital was an out-of-the way place, and not always pleasant to Congressmen's wives, some of whom left the gayeties of larger cities to be detained six or eight months; but Mrs. Adams was peculiarly fortunate in her position, having around her near and dear relations from whom she had been separated many years. It became home to her, and to a Southerner, the climate was more congenial than the region of her husband's birthplace.


Mr. Adams, called by President Madison, to embark for Russia as our first accredited minister, Mrs. Adams determined to go, even at the cost of leaving her two eldest children with their grandparents, and taking with her a third, not yet two years old. They sailed from Boston early in August, and after a long and somewhat hazardous passage arrived in St. Petersburg toward the close of October.


What voyages those must have been, when nearly three months were consumed in getting from one country to another; when weary weeks of summer merged into winter before the barrier between the old and the new world could be passed. Yet how often had members of that family braved dangers unknown to perform some duty in the other world. Far back into the past, their Puritan ancestors had found a refuge on "wild New England's shore," and in that interval, the waters of the sea had wafted the children of the third and fourth generations over its crested waves, to ask for the heritage their forefathers claimed—liberty of conscience, and freedom to worship God.


Years before, a brave, strong woman had, with streaming eyes, seen the form of her eldest boy start over the same track he was now treading, and she had gone back to her lonely home to suffer. Now, through its well-known and treacherous path, that son, grown to man's estate, with children of his own left behind, wencls his tedious way, to bear to the halls of remotest nations the wishes and intentions of his young country.


His wife, preferring an uncertain exile in a foreign country to a separation from her husband, suffered extremist anguish as she thought of her weeping children, for the first time separated from her. She felt the great distance and doubtful prospects of hearing from them, not less keenly than she did the length of time which might elapse before she again would tread the shores of her native land. And the bleak climate to which she was hastening in nowise tended to make her cheerful, nor did the fact that Mr. Adams was the first Minister, allay her anxious sadness. Never, perhaps, in the history of the world, were such scenes being enacted as now. Europe was literally a battle-field, and Napoleon, the scourge of the continent, was ruling, by the mighty force of his great skill, the destinies of the Old World. Shut up in St. Petersburg, Mrs. Adams gathered rumors of the progress of that "man of destiny," and listened for his knock even at the gates of the imperial capital. During the six years of her stay in Russia, what wondrous things transpired! What intense interest marked the era, we, of comparative quiet, can scarcely conceive. Death took from her an infant, born whilst there and the twofold affliction of public and private trouble weighed upon her.


" Mr. Adams," said his son, "lived there poor, studious, ambitious and secluded, on the narrow basis of the parchment of his commission, respected for learning and talents, but little given to the costly entertainments of an opulent and ostentatious court circle. But the extraordinary mission could afford and was. entitled to more expensive circulation in the splendid palaces of a magnificent city, inhabited by the owners of thousands of serfs, and some of them of Ural Mountains containing mines of gold. Living frugally, withdrawn from all but indispensable parade, Mr. Adams laid the basis of a modest competency for his return to America, whose official acquisition American, republican parsimony induces, if not justifies."


The war between England and America broke out in the meantime, and communication was almost entirely cutoff. British ships cruised about our ports to capture peaceful vessels, and thundered their cannon at the capital of the country. While Mrs. Adams grew tired and weary of her cheerless abode in that far, northern climate, British troops were busy devastating the country round about her old home, and burning the mansion which later in life she was to occupy. Completely cut off from all that made life dear, Mr. Adams hoped for some opportunity to be recalled, and restore his divided family to each other. Emperor Alexander unconsciously prepared the way for their return by proposing to be mediator for England and the United States. In consequence of this offer, the commissioners repaired to St. Petersburg, accompanied by Mr. Payne Todd, the stepson of President Madison, whose simple position in America was exaggerated by European mistake to princely position. Their coming was a source of pleasure to Mrs. Adams, whose time had been spent so quietly, and it was her hope to return with them; but while the commissioners enjoyed themselves with the sights of the Russian capital, £reat changes were taking place on the continent, and they were unaware how radical they were. The return ship to the United States brought the news to Boston that Napoleon was banished to Elba, Louis the XVIII. propped on the throne of his ancestors by foreign armies, and England was at the zenith of her power and greatness. Never were the prospects of republican America so low since its independence, and the hearts of those patriots trembled when they thought of the future. The Russian mediation failed, but the commissioners afterward met at Ghent, where delays succeeded each other until on Christmas eve, Saturday, 241)1 December, 1814, the treaty was signed. It was the desire of Mr. and Mrs. Adams to have returned home this winter, but the failure of the commissioners at St. Petersburg necessitated the presence of Mr. Adams at Ghent, and it was thought best she should remain in Russia. The state of Europe, restless and revolutionary, was considered another argument in favor of her remaining, and consequently Mr. Adams set out without her. Alone in that place where she had lived five years, where she had buried one child, and where she hoped her husband would soon rejoin her, she passed the sixth winter, and wished only for the spring to come to release herself and son from their exile. How her heart must have yearned, in days short only because the darkness was so long, for her little ones over the wide Atlantic, and with what zeal must she have prepared for that homeward-bound trip, so near in anticipation, yet in reality so far off. But he: trial was in proportion to her strength, and if she did not go home, her children came to her afterward.* Spring at last came, on the almanac at least, if not in the gorgeous beauty it was wont to appear in her far-off southern home, and she was advised to travel by land to rejoin her husband at Paris, whither he had gone from Ghent. The difficulties and dangers of a land route through the late theatre of a furious war, had no influence to bear upon her determined idea to go, and braving solitary journeys, rogues, and dangers of every conceivable kind, set out with her child to travel to France. Hers must have been an indomitable spirit, else the lonely days of constant travel through villages and wild, uncultivated countries, where every inanimate thing bore traces of grim-visaged war, would have convinced her of the risk she was running. With the passports of the Russian government, and the strong recommendation of being the American minister's wife, she bade adieu to all apprehensions, and risked all to only get nearer to home and children.

* Mrs. Adams had four children, three sons and a daughter. I. George Washington Adams, born in Berlin, 12th April, 1801. a. John Adams, born in Boston, 4th July, 1803. 3. Charles Francis Adams, born in Boston, August i8th, 1807. 4, Louisa Catherine Adams, born in St. Petersburg, August I2th, 1811, and died there the next year.


Her son, in speaking of this time, said: " In such circumstances, to be fastened in a snow-drift with night coming on, and to be forced to rouse the peasants of the surrounding country to dig them out, which happened in Courland, was no slight matter. But it was of little significance compared to the complicated anxieties incident to the listening, at every stopping-place, to the tales of jobbery and murder just committed on the proposed route, so perpetually repeated at that time to the traveller; and to the warnings given by apparently friendly persons of the character of her own servants, corroborated by the loss of several articles of value, and, most of all, to the observation of the restless contention between jarring political passions under which the whole continent of Europe was heaving until it burst forth at the return of Napoleon from Elba. Hardly a day passed that did not require of Mrs. Adams some presence of mind to avoid becoming implicated in the consequences of party fury. For even the slight symbol of a Polish cap on the head of her servant came near making food for popular quarrel."
On the way she heard of Napoleon's return from Elba, and knew that his coming would be disputed not only by the Bourbons in power, but that it would be the signal for a general uprising throughout Europe. As she journeyed along from place to place, she witnessed the excitement that followed the news, and saw, with much concern, the preparations for hostile demonstrations. As she neared the border the activity of the military was observable on all sides. Napoleon was making by forced marches the seven hundred miles that lay between the seaport at which he landed and Paris, and at every point he was receiving the accessions to his numbers that increased until he reached Paris at the head of an army. The immense influence which his past successes had over the French people was thus exhibited, and he took possession of the capital amid the huzzas of the populace and to their great delight. It was at such a time that Mrs. Adams was approaching the city, and it may well be imagined that her every thought was in the direction of her own and her children's safety. Later, when the events were over, and she was at liberty to recall them, she dwelt with interest upon the dangers confronted and the anxieties she had endured, nor did she express regret that her experiences had been what they were. The scenes she witnessed were commanding the consideration of the world, and romance in her wildest dreams had not conceived of anything more thrilling than the enterprise in which Napoleon had embarked. It was a matter that concerned all Europe, and the moment he set foot upon French soil, the crown-heads of the old world began to prepare for a conflict that was to end his career, or change the fate of nations.


Mrs. Adams found, as she neared Paris, the dangers to which she was exposed, and dismissing her servants, who were afraid to go farther, hired others and continued her approach to her husband. But every crossroad and forest path was filled with soldiers wild with enthusiasm, rushing forward to join their great chief, and at one time she found herself surrounded by them. This was a very awkward position, as the troops seemed disposed to require from all around them the most unequivocal declaration of political faith. Mrs. Adams appealed to the commander of the detachment, and by his advice she was enabled to fall back, although not without the exercise of considerable prudence, until th<* last of the men had passed, when she diverged into. another road, and by making a considerable circuit, avoided any further meeting.


Having proved, in this manner, that calmness and presence of mind render many things perfectly practicable which imagination at first invests with insuperable difficulties, she arrived in Paris safe and well, there to be greeted by her husband, on the evening of the 21st of March, 1815, immediately after that of the memorable arrival of Napoleon and the flight of the Bourbons.
The advantages thus thrown in the way of an American woman were justly appreciated by Mrs. Adams, and she, free from prejudice, studied the strange perversities of fortune. The events of the hundred days were enough to crowd the memory for a life-time. They fill us at this clay, as we ponder over them, with awe and amazement. All. was activity and eagerness, all bustle and confusion. The armies were reviewing in the square of the Place Carousel, and the inspiriting notes of martial music added enthusiasm to the grandness of the time and place.
But the arrival of her children in England, from whom she had been separated since the autumn of 1809, nearly six years, was of more interest to her than the events happening around her. On the 25th of May, 1815, Mr. Adams went to London with* his family, and soon afterward learned that he was appointed Minister to the Court of St. James. The impression made upon the most eminent circles during his residence in London has been retained up to the present time. It has been said of him that " his simple habits, his plain appearance, his untiring industry, his richly stored mind, his unbending integrity, his general inte1-course and correspondence with foreign courts and diplomatists of the greatest distinction, all tended to elevate, in a high degree, the American character in the estimation of European nations."


Mrs. Adams had advantages in London which scarcely any American woman has ever had since; true, she had not wealth to make a great display, but her home was one of pleasant comfort, and enjoying as she did the society of one of the most intelligent of men, and of the best informed circle in the great capital, she had signal opportunities for cultivation. Charles King, in his eulogy on John Quincy Adams, speaks thus: " It was while Mr. Adams was Minister of the United States in London, that it was my personal good fortune to be admitted to his intimacy and friendship. Being then in London on private business, and having some previous acquaintance with Mr. Adams, I found in his house an ever kind welcome, and in his intercourse and conversation unfailing attraction and improvement. Under an exterior of, at times, almost repulsive coldness, dwelt a heart as warm, sympathies as quick, and affections as overflowing, as ever animated any bosom. His tastes, too, were all refined. Literatare and art were familiar and dear to him, and hence it: was that his society was at once so agreeable and so improving. At his hospitable board, I have listened to disquisitions from his lips on poetry, especially the dramas of Shakespeare, music, painting, sculpture—of fure excellence and untiring interest. The extent of his knowledge, indeed, and its accuracy, in all branches, were not less remarkable than the complete command which he appeared to possess over all his varied stores of learning and information."


Mr. Monroe succeeded Mr. Madison in the Presidential chair in 1817, and immediately appointed Mr. Adams his Secretary of State. On receiving notice of his appointment to this responsible office, Mr. Adams with his family embarked for the United States, on board the packet-ship " Washington," and landed in New York on the 6th of August, 1817. A few days after his arrival, a public dinner was given him in Tammany Hall, New York. The room was elegantly decorated. In the centre was a handsome circle of oak leaves, roses, and flags—the whole representing, with much effect, our happy union—and from the centre of which, as from her native woods, appeared our eagle, bearing in her beak this impressive scroll: " Columbia, great Republic, thou art blest,  While Empires droop, and monarchs sink to rest."


Soon afterward, Mr. Adams and family went to Boston to visit his father's family, where he was the recipient of another public dinner: the last meeting with his mother on earth, it was one which he never forgot. It was gratifying to her sensitive nature to see him thus rising from one elevated position to another, and it soothed her aged heart beyond any power of expression. Many years of his life had been spent far away from her, and his absences were long and unbroken. She had always written regularly to him, and by example and precept endeavored to instill into his nature some portion of her own aspirations. When his talents had won for him this last position, she bowed her head and thanked God. Perhaps the spirit recognized his still higher promotion, and the natural conclusion, arrived at from former precedents, that by gradual ascent he would reach the place his father  copied, occurred to her. When she died at her home in Quincy, he was in Washington, busy with the manifold duties of his place, whither he had gone to reside permanently, in September, 1817.


The performance of the duties of the State Department necessarily required a residence at Washington, and the manner in which Mr. Adams thought proper to devote himself to them, devolved upon his lady the entire task of making his house an agreeable resort to the multitudes of visitors who crowd to the capital on errands of business, or curiosity, or pleasure, from the various sections of the United States during the winter season. A large diplomatic corps from foreign countries, who feel themselves in more immediate relations with the Secretary of State, and a distinguished set of public men, not then divided by party lines in the manner which usually prevails, rendered the society of that time, and Mrs. Adams' house where it most often congregated, among the most agreeable recorded in the social history of the capital.


Much as it has been ridiculed since, the "era of good feeling" had some characteristics peculiar to itself. For an instant, sectional animosities relented, the tone of personal denunciation and angry crimination, too generally prevailing in extremes, yielded; and even where the jealous rivalry for political honors still predominated in the hearts of men, the easy polish of general society removed from casual spectators any sense of its roughness, or inconvenience from its impetuosity. Washington may have presented more brilliant spectacles since, but the rancor of party spirit has ever mingled its baleful force too strongly not to be perceptible in the personal relations which have existed between the most distinguished of our political men.


The following letter, not before published, from Mrs.. Adams to her father-in-law will be read with interest. She corresponded regularly during her life in Washington, with him, until his death, in 1826:


To John Adams.
"washington, t6M April, 1819.  "Yes! my dear sir, was my mind sufficiently strong or capacious to understand, or even to comprehend the study of ancient and modern philosophy, I am certain I should derive very great advantage from that study; but you certainly forgot when you recommended it, that you were addressing the weaker sex, to whom stoicism would be both unamiable and unnatural, and who would he very liable in avoiding Scylla, to strike upon Charybdis, or to speak without metaphor, to rush into scepticism. Have you perceived anything like fatalism in my letters? I am unconscious of'it, though I fear there may sometimes be a little inclination toward it. The woman you selected for your wife was so highly gifted in mind, with powers so vast, and such quick and clear perception, altogether so superior to the general run of females, you have perhaps formed a too enlarged opinion of the capacities of our sex, and having never witnessed their frailties, are not aware of the dangers to which they are exposed, by acquirements above their strength.


"The systems of the ancients have been quite out of my reach, excepting the Dialogues of Plato, which Mr. A. recommended to me last year, and which I read attentively. I cannot say that I am entirely unacquainted with their different theories, but that acquaintance has been too superficial to make them well understood, and I have been too much inclined to view them, as difficult of practice, and not tending much to the real benefit of mankind. With the modern philosophers I have become more intimate, if I may make use of such a word, speaking of works which I have read, but which I could not understand or digest. Locke has puzzled me, Berkley amused me, Reid astonished me, Hume disgusted me, and Tucker either diverted me or set me to sleep. This is a very limited sort of reading, and you will laugh at my catalogue of names which have at best, I believe, but little title to the rank of philosophers, or at least must come in at the fag end. I have dipped into others and thrown them aside, but I have never seen anything that would satisfy my mind, or that would compare with the chaste and exquisitely simple doctrines of Christianity.


" I fear you will find this letter more extravagant than any you have ever received from me, but I have made it a rule to follow where the current of my ideas cairied me, and to give them to you in a perfect undress. My reading has been too general, and too diffuse to be very beneficial. French authors have occupied my attention the largest portion of my life, but their venom was destroyed, by the events which were continually passing almost before my eyes, and which showed how wicked was the practice resulting from such theories. You, my dear sir, have ever possessed a nature too ardent, too full of benevolent feelings to all your race, with a mind too noble, and a capacity too enlarged, to sink into the cold and thankless state of stoicism. Your heart is too full of all the generous and kindly affections for you ever to acquire such a cold and selfish doctrine. No, my dear sir, it was, it is impossible. Look at your past life, retrace all the eminent services you have rendered to your country, and to mankind, and if you, by unforeseen and uncontrollable events, have been prevented from doing all you wished, all you desired, toward promoting their felicity, let their unequalled prosperity (in producing which, you had so large a share) sooth your latest hours, and cheer your heart with the conviction, that to you, in a great measure, they owe it; and this sentiment alone will be sufficient reward. I set out in life with the most elevated notions of honor and principle ; ere I had entered it fairly, my hopes were blasted, and my ideas of mankind, that is, all the favorable ones almost, were suddenly chilled, and I was very near forming the horrid and erroneous opinion, that no such thing as virtue existed. This was a dreadful doctrine at the age of little more than twenty, but it taught me to inflect and not to ' build my house in the sand.' My life has been a life of changes, and I had early accustomed myself to the idea of retirement. The nature of our institutions, the various turns o*f policy to which an elective government is ever liable, has long occupied my thoughts, and I trust I may find strength to sustain any of the changes which may be in store for me, with fortitude, dignity, and I trust cheerfulness. To these changes, I can never attach the idea of disgrace. Popular governments are peculiarly liable to factions, to cabals, to intrigue, to the juggling tricks of party, and the people may often be deceived for a time, by some fair speaking demagogue, but they will never be deceived long; and though they may, in a moment of excitement, sanction an injustice toward an old and faithful servant, they appreciate his worth, and hand his name down with honor to posterity, even though that ' name may not be agreeable to the fashionables.' It is one which I take a pride in bearing, and one that I hope and pray my children may never dishonor.
"What you say concerning the Floridas is, I believe, universally allowed, and as to the effect upon the name, why, it is of little importance, provided the substance is left, and the act undeniable. There is the lance, let the lance speak—I can safely swear as an individual I never set my heart on what the world calls a great reward. I am too well assured, that 'uneasy lies the head that wears a crown,' and the station is too full of thorns to render it very desirable. I have no relish for being absolutely crucified for the sake of a short pre-eminence. You have, I suppose, seen the correspondence between Gen. Scott and old Hickory ? How do you like the epistle of the former-? What do you think of De Witt Clinton's reply to the charge insinuated against him ? We hear of nothing but complaints of the times, and our commercial world are in great distress. In Baltimore (that city where the South American privateers are owned and fitted out by native citizens in the very face of the public, and committing depredations on the property of their fellow-citizens) there are failures every day, and it is said the mischief will extend to all parts of the Union. In Virginia, a man who broke out of the jail in this city, has offered himself as a candidate for Congress, telling the electors that he would take only six dollars a day, as he thinks eight too much; because if he found his pay insufficient, he would play, and by this means insure himself a living. That he had often played with their late member, and with many of the most distinguished members of Congress, who used to send for him to play with them. Such things are—
"Adieu, my dear Sir."


" During the eight years in which Mrs. Adams presided in the house of the Secretary of State," writes her son, Hon. Charles Francis Adams, in 1839, "no exclusions were made, in her invitations, merely on account of any real or imagined political hostility; nor, though keenly alive to the reputation of her husband, was any disposition manifested to do more than to amuse and enliven society. In this, the success was admitted to be complete, as all will remember who were then in the habit of frequenting her dwelling. -But in proportion as the great contest for the Presidency, in which Mr. Adams was involved, approached, the violence of partisan warfare began to manifest its usual bad effects, and Mrs. Adams decided to adopt habits of greater seclusion. When at last the result had placed her in the President's mansion,, her health began to fail her so much, that though she continued to preside upon occasions of public reception^ she ceased to appear at any other times, and she beganto seek the retirement which since her return to private life she has preferred. Mr. Adams has been, it is tru«; and still continues, a. representative in Congress, fro<u the State of Massachusetts, and this renders necessary an annual migration from that State to Washington arid back again, as well as a winter residence within the sound of the gayeties of that place; but while her age and health dispense her from the necessities of attending them, severe domestic afflictions have contributed to remove the disposition. Thus the attractions of great European capitals, and the dissipation consequent upon high official station at home, though continued through that part of her life when habits become most fixed, have done nothing to change the natural elegance of her manners, nor the simplicity of her tastes. In the society of a few friends and near relatives, and in the cultivation of the religious affections without display, she draws all the consolation that can in this world be afforded for her privations. To the world Mrs. Adams presents a fine example of the possibility of retiring from the circles of fashion, and the external fascinations of life, in time still to retain a taste for the more quiet though less showy attractions of the domestic fireside. A strong literary taste which has led her to read much, and a capacity for composition in prose and verse, have been resources for her leisure moments; not with a view to that exhibition which renders such accomplishments too often fatal to the more delicate shades of feminine character, but for her own gratification and that of a few relations and friends. The late President Adams used to draw much amusement, in his latest years at Quincy, from the accurate delineation of Washington manners and character, which was regularly transmitted, for a considerable period, in letters from her pen. And if as time advances, she becomes gradually less able to devote her sense of sight to reading and writing, her practice of the more .homely virtues of manual industry, so highly commended in the final chapter of the book of Solomon, still amuses the declining days of her varied career."


On the fourth of March, 1825, John Quincy Adams was inaugurated as President of the United States, and took the executive chair, which had been entered twentyeight years before by his venerated father. The scene at the inauguration was splendid and imposing. At an early hour of the day, the avenues leading to the capitol presented an animated.spectacle. Crowds of citizens on foot, in carriages and on horseback, were hastening to the great centre of attraction. Strains of martial music and the movements of the various military corps heightened the excitement.
At 12 o'clock, the military escort, consisting of general and staff officers and several volunteer companies, received the President-elect at his residence, together with President Monroe and several officers of government. The procession, led by the cavalry, and accompanied by an immense concourse of citizens, proceeded to the capitol, •where it was received with military honors by the U. S. Marine Corps, under Col. Henderson.


Meanwhile the hall of the House of Representatives presented a brilliant spectacle. The galleries and the lobbies were crowded with spectators. The sofas between the columns, the bar, the promenade in the reav of the Speaker's chair, and the three outer rows of the members' seats, were occupied by a splendid array of beauty and fashion. On the left, the Diplomatic Corps, in the costume of their respective courts, occupied the place assigned them, immediately before the steps which led to the chair. The officers of the army and navy were scattered in groups throughout the hall. In front of the clerk's table chairs were placed for the Judges of the Supreme Court.


At twenty minutes past 12 o'clock, the marshals, in blue scarfs, made their appearance in the hall, at the head of the august procession. First came the officers of both Houses of Congress. Then appeared the President-elect, followed by the venerable ex-President Monroe, with his family. To these succeeded the Judges of the Supreme Court, in their robes of office, the members of the Senate, preceded by the Vice-President, with a number of the members of the House of Representatives.


Mr. Adams, in a plain suit of black, made entirely of American manufactures, ascended to the Speaker's chair and took his seat. The Chief-Justice was placed in front of the clerk's table, having before him another table on the floor of the hall, on the opposite side of which sat the remaining judges, with their faces toward the chair. The doors having been closed and silence proclaimed, Mr. Adams arose, and in a distinct and firm tone of voice read his inaugural address.


The congratulations which then poured in from every side, occupied the hands, and could not but reach the heart, of President Adams. The meeting between him and his venerated predecessor had in it something peculiarly affecting. General Jackson was among the earliest of those who took the hand of the President; and their looks and deportment toward each other were a rebuke to that littleness of party spirit which can see no merit in a rival, and feel no joy in the honor of a competitor. Shortly after i o'clock, the procession commenced leaving the hall. The President was escorted back as he came. On his arrival at his residence, he received the compliments and respects of a great number of ladies and gentlemen, who called on him to tender their congratulations. The proceedings of the day were closed by an inaugural ball in the evening. Among the guests present were the President and Vice-President, ex-President Monroe, a number of foreign ministers, with many civil, military and naval officers.*


Mrs. Adams gave up the comforts of her home, and took possession of the White House soon after the inauguration. The spring and summer wore quietly away, -for even in the White House, gayety was confined to the winter season, and save the visits of friends, nothing occurred to vary the quiet of every-day life. Her children were a consolation to her in her infirm condition, for her health failed her as soon as she moved into the President's house.


It was the happy fortune of Mrs. Adams to be the t/ccupant of the White House when Lafayette visited the United States, who at the invitation of the President spent the last weeks of his stay at the Executive Mansion, and from there, on the 7th of September, 1825, bade an affecting farewell to the land of his adoption.


As the last sentence of this farewell address was pronounced, Lafayette advanced and took President Adams in his arms, while tears poured down his venerable cheeks. Retiring a few paces, he was overcome by his feelings, and again returned and falling on the neck of Mr. Adams, exclaimed in broken accents, "God bless you." The sighs and tears of the many assembled bore testimony to the affecting solemnity of the scene. Having recovered his self-possession, the General stretched out his hands, and was in a moment surrounded by the greetings of the whole assembly, who pressed upon him, each eager to seize, perhaps for the last time, that beloved hand which was opened so freely for our aid when aid was so precious, and which grasped with firm and undeviating hold the steel which so bravely helped to achieve our deliverance. The expression which now beamed from the face of this exalted man was of the finest and most touching kind. .The hero was lost in the father and the friend. Dignity melted into subdued affection, and the friend of Washington seemed to linger with a mournful delight among the sons of his adopted country.


A considerable period was then occupied in conversing with various individuals, while refreshments were presented to the company. The moment of departure at length arrived; and having once more pressed the hand of Mr. Adams, he entered the barouche, accompanied by the Secretaries of State, of the Treasury, and of the Navy, and passed from the capital of the Union.
The whole scene—the peals of artillery, the sounds of numerous military bands, the presence of the vast concourse of people, and the occasion that assembled them, produced emotions not easily described, but which every American heart can readily conceive.


In the following September, she accompanied her husband on a visit to his aged father at Quincy, but being taken very ill at Philadelphia, the President was compelled to proceed without her. He did not remain long, and on the I4th of October set out again for Washington. It was the last time Mr. Adams ever saw his father! "The aged patriarch had lived to see his country emancipated from foreign thraldom, its independence acknowledged, its union consummated, its prosperity and perpetuity resting on an immovable foundation, and his son elevated to the highest office in its gift. It was enough! His work accomplished—the book of his eventful life written and sealed for immortality—he was ready to depart and be at peace. The 4th of July, 1826, will long be memorable for one of the most remarkable coincidences that have ever taken place in the history of nations. It was the fiftieth anniversary, the jubilee of American Independence i Preparations had been made throughout the Union to celebrate the day with unusual pomp and display. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had both been invited to participate in the festivities of the occasion, at their several places of abode. But a higher summons awaited them: they were bidden to a 'jubilee' above, which shall have no end! On that half-century Anniversary of American Independence, at nearly the same hour of the day, the spirits of Adams and Jefferson took their departure from earth! Amid the rejoicings of the people, the peals of artillery, the strains of music, the exultations of a great nation in the enjoyment of freedom, peace, and happiness, they were released from the toils of life, and allowed to enter on their rest."
These two patriarchs had been corresponding regularly, and their letters had attracted the attention of Europe as well as America. Mr. Adams had written the last letter, in which occurs the following expression: "Half an hour ago, I received, and this moment have heard read, for the third or fourth time, the best letter that was ever written by an octogenarian, dated June ist."
The editor of the London Morning Chronicle prefaces his notice of this correspondence with the following remarks:


"What a contrast the following correspondence of the two rival Presidents of the greatest republic of the world, reflecting an old age dedicated to virtue, temperance, and philosophy, presents to the heart-sickening details occasionally disclosed to us, of the miserable beings who fill the thrones of the continent. There is not, perhaps, one sovereign of the continent, who in any s<?nse of the word can be said to honor our nature, while many make us almost ashamed of it. The curtain is seldom drawn aside without exhibiting to us beings worn out with vicious indulgence, diseased in mind, if not in body, the creatures of caprice and insensibility. On the other hand, since the foundation of the American Republic, the chair has never been filled by a man for whose life (to say the least) any American need once to blush. It must, therefore, be some compensation to the Americans for the absence of pure monarchy, that when they look upward, their eyes are not always met by vice, and meanness, and often idiocy."


The administration of Mr. Adams was remarkable for the peace and prosperity of the country, and there was therefore no event in Mrs. Adams' social life of a stirring nature. Her husband was certainly the most learned man who has yet occupied the Presidential chair. No one at all acquainted with his life will deny this assertion. Profoundly versed in the lore of the ancients, he was yet more thoroughly acquainted with the history of modern governments, and was a deep thinker, as well as an eloquent speaker. A Southern clergyman visited him during his administration, and was astonished to find he was intimately acquainted with all sects and creeds, and had read every book he could mention. Finally he remembered one work of importance, and asked if he had read it. Mr. Adams had not, whereupon the minister, delighted with his success, told it everywhere and was afterward known as the man who had read one more book than John Quincy Adams.


Mrs. Adams retired from the White House with heartfelt pleasure, and sought the quiet her delicate health demanded.


The following interesting account of an interview with ex-President Adams, by a Southern gentleman, in 1834, affords some conception of the home of Mrs. Adams at Quincy.
"Yesterday, accompanied by my friend T., I paid a visit to the venerable ex-President, at his residence in Quincy. A violent rain setting in as soon as we arrived, gave us from five to nine o'clock to listen to the learning of this man of books. His residence is a plain, very plain one; the room into which we were ushered (the drawing-room, I suppose) was furnished in true republican style. It is probably of ancient construction, as I perceived two beams projecting from the low ceiling, in the manner of the beams in a ship's cabin. Prints commemorative of political events, and the old family portraits hung about the room; common straw matting covered the floor, and two candlesticks, bearing sperm candles, ornamented the mantel-piece. The personal appearance of the ex-President himself corresponds with the simplicity of his furniture. He resembles rather a substantial, well-fed farmer, than one who has wielded the destinies of this mighty confederation, and been bred in the ceremony and etiquette of a European court. In fact, he appears to possess none of that sternness of character which you would suppose to belong to one a large part of whose life has been spent in political warfare, or, at any rate, amidst scenes requiring a vast deal of nerve and inflexibility. Mrs. Adams is described in a word—a lady. She has all the warmth of heart and ease of manner that mark the character of the Southern ladies, and from which it would be no easy matter to distinguish her.
"The ex-President was the chief talker. He spoke with infinite ease, drawing upon his-vast resources with the certainty of one who has his lecture before him ready written. The whole of his conversation, which steadily he maintained for nearly four hours, was a continued stream of light. Well contented was I to be a listener. His subjects were the architecture of the middle ages; the stained glass of that period; sculpture, embracing monuments particularly. On this subject, his opinion of Mrs. Nightingale's monument in Westminster Abbey differs from all others that I have seen or heard. He places it above every other in the Abbey, and observed in relation to it, that the spectator ' saw nothing else.' Milton, Shakespeare, Shenstone, Pope, Byron, and Southey were in turn remarked upon. He gave Pope a wonderfully high character, and remarked that one of his chief beauties was the skill exhibited in ranging the cesural pause, quoting from various parts of his author to illustrate his remarks more fully. He said very little on the politics of the country. He spoke at considerable length of Sheridan land Burke, both of whom he had heard, and could describe with the most graphic effect. He also spoke of Junius; and it is remarkable that he should place him so far above the best of his cotemporaries. He spoke of him as a bad man; but maintained, as a writer, that he had never been equalled. The conversation never flagged for a moment;, and on the whole I shall remember my visit to Quincy as amongst the most instructive and pleasant I ever passed."


Mrs. Adams enjoyed the pleasures of her home but one year, when Mr. Adams was elected a member of Congress, and from that time forward to the hour of his death he represented the Plymouth district with fidelity and ever increasing honor and power. Mr. Adams took his seat in • the House of Representatives in December, 1831, and he lived in his own house situated on I street. For fifteen years he was a member of Congress, residing continually at Washington, although making frequent visits to his old home.


More than fourscore years had left their impress upon Mr. Adams' brow, and he was still in the midst of his usefulness. In November, 1846, he had a stroke of paralysis, from which he never recovered. On the morning of that day, while sojourning at the residence of his son, in Boston, preparing to depart for Washington, he was walking out with a friend to visit a new medical college, and was attacked by the way. After several weeks, he improved sufficiently to return to his duties at the capital, but never afterward entirely recovered. On Monday, the 2ist of February, 1848, at half-past one o'clock, whilst in his seat in the House, he was struck a second time with the same disease. He was removed to the Speaker's apartment, borne on a sofa by several members, and plasters applied, which seemed to relieve him. Mrs. Adams was sent for, and on his recovering consciousness, was gladdened by her presence in answer to his inquiry for her. She was in extreme illness and suffering acute pain, but remained beside him, sustained by her niece and nephew. Mr. Adams lay in the Speaker's room in a state of apparent unconsciousness through the 226. and 23d—Congress, in the mean time, assembling in respectful silence, and immediately adjourning from day to day. At seven o'clock on the evening of the 23d he died. President Polk issued a Proclamation announcing his death, and orders were issued from all the Departments directing that suitable honors should be paid the illustrious dead. The funeral took place in the Capitol, at twelve o'clock, Saturday, 26th of February, after which the body was conveyed to the Congressional burying-ground, to remain until the completion of the preparations for the removal to Quincy.


The following letter of thanks from Mrs. Adams, addressed to the Speaker, was laid before the House of Representatives:


" Washington, February 9th, 1848.


"SiR:—The resolutions in honor of my dear deceased husband, passed by the illustrious assembly over which you preside, and of which he at the moment of his death was a member, have been duly communicated to me.


" Penetrated with grief at this distressing event of my life, mourning the loss of one who has been at once my example and my support through the trials of half a century, permit me nevertheless to express through you my deepest gratitude for the signal manner in which the public regard has been voluntarily manifested by your honorable body, and the consolation derived to me and mine from the reflection that the unwearied efforts of an old public servant have not even in this world proved without their reward in the generous appreciation of them by his country.
" With great respect, I remain, Sir, your obedient servant,
" Louisa Catherine Adams."


On the following week, the remains of the deceased ex-President were conveyed to Quincy, accompanied by a committee of one from each State and Territory in the Union.
After this sad event in Mrs. Adams' life, she lived uninterruptedly at her home in Quincy, enjoying the society of her children and relations. Mr. Charles Francis Adams thus closes a letter regarding his mother:


" I should be very glad to be of service to you if I were possessed of the material which you desire in connection with the life of my mother. But I fear they are not to be found among the papers left by her. She wrote much and read a great deal, both of French and English literature, and translated from the former for the amusement of her friends. She also wrote verses frequently in the same way. But all these accomplishments of hers, including a nice taste in music and a well-cultivated voice, are matters of little moment in a publication, however much they may contribute to the refinement of the social circle at home. Although she lived to quite an advanced age, her health was always delicate and variable, so as to interrupt the even tenor of her life and disincline her to the efforts required for general society, especially during her twelve years spent at different courts in Europe."
Mrs. Adams died the I4th of May, 1852, and was buried by the side of her husband, in the family buryingground at

Quincy, Massachusetts.


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