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clothed, as he was, with the revolutionary mantle, could not sustain the scrutiny. The voice of a free people, called him from power and consigned him to the shades of Quincy, where it would have been well for his future fame, if he had devoted the remnant of his years, to the cultivation of his farm and of philosophy. But his feelings and principles and desires, were not fashioned upon the model of the Roman Cincinnatus. The shadow of departed glory, lingered in his fancy, and stars and diadems still danced on his vision. He saw in every object around him, engraven in capitals, the memento, NON SUM, QUOD FUI.
It is well observed, that the truest delineations and traits of human character, are found in private intercourse and in familiar correspondence. Here, the mind discharges its sentinels—the heart is liberated from the restraints of policy and affectation-and, the whole man unbends and displays the ingredients of his composition, and speaks the language of his real feelings and sentiments. It is in this plain and unclouded mirror, that the American people may now behold the character, who once presided over their destinies, and wbo assumes to be their political father.
It will be seen through the whole tenor of this correspondence, that, in the estimation of Mr. Adams, no person in the nation, of any party, is entitled to consideration or credit, except himself and his son, who, when appointed to an important office, " is banished, because he is too just!"They seem to be specially designed by providence, to take this infant nation into their keeping, and to hold her in safe leading-strings, through successive generations. Thrice happy America, for possessing such a race ! How blind and infatuated, for entrusting the reins, for a moment, to such ignoble hands as Jefferson and Madison !
From the letters written in 1803 and 4, it Mr. Adams' imagination was incessantly disturbed by the
v grisly goblin of Democracy. This monster had broken the
chains, with which, he had been bound, in his reign, and was now stalking through the nation, and leading the people to seduction and ruin. The same uneasy and unhallowed ambition, which characterised him, in public, pursued him to his retreat. Envy, jealousy and resentment, burned in his bosom; and, he conceived the herculean project of prostrating the reputation of his successor, and of raising himself and his family upon the ruins of republicanism. His immediate friends and connexions, and the newspaper scribblers of the day, at his instigation, embarked in the business of calumny, and the administration of Jefferson, was assail. ed, with a venom and virulence, unparalleled in the annals of any other age or nation. He affected to shudder at the calamities, which the infidel President was preparing for his country ; and, an appeal was made to the religion and morality of the people, to avert the impending desolation. The torrents of abuse and defamation, which were poured out, with unsparing profusion, upon the republican chief, may be traced, with unerring certainty, to the prolific fountain at Quincy. The federalists were upbraided with the charge of apathy and indifference to public concerns, for not coming to the attack, with more zeal and fury and devotion to their prostrate leader 66 Anecdotes from memory,” conjured up in the dark caverns of spleen and resent. ment, were furnished to be wrought into political essays, and · palmed, for facts, upon the nation.
Amidst all this confusion and war of elements, Jefferson stood, like Atlas, upon a broad and immoveable basis, with his bead in clear sunshine, above the clouds. His administration was energetic, without armies-dignified, without gag-laws-and, the treasury abundant, without direct taxes. The principles of the Constitution, went into complete and harmonious operation, and the resources of the
country, were developed, to the credit of this, and to the admiration of other nations. Religion and her altars were preserved from profanation—temples of literature and sci. ence were founded and patronized-and, an immense population spread into the western wilderness, carrying the habits of industry and enterprize, and the principles of civil liberty. The people flocked to the republican standard; and, the result of the second election, demonstrated, that republican principles had taken deep root in their affections.
The game was up. Republicanism could not be overthrown; and, we hear nothing more from our correspondent, about the abandoned “ Rake, Democracy.” A long and portentous silence enşues, interrupted occasionally by a small gun in the shape of a poetical lampoon, which, like the scattered fire of a retreating enemy, shews more of imbecile malice, than of magnanimous courage.
It would be a curious investigation to look minutely into the chasm of years, in this correspondence. But, the secret workings of the passions--the humbled pride--the stifled hatred and resentmentấthe writhings and agonies of conflicting desires, must be left to conjecture. The result only is known. Unconquerable ambition gained a victory, et omnia alia cedant. To this triumphant passion, truth, consistency, former principles, and gratitude to former friends, associates and supporters, must yield.
Mr. Adams has laid it down as a principle* that “ if a family, which has been high in office, and splendid in wealth falls into decay, from profligacy, folly, vice or misfortune, they generally turn Democrats, and court the lowest of the people, with an ardour, an art, a skill and consequently with a success, which no vulgar Democrat can attain." Upon this principle, the irrevocable decision is taken, and conversion to democracy is re
* Vide Letter VI.
solved upon, as the only means of recovery, by his family, of departed power. It does not appear, whether this, conversion was a gradual work, or whether it came in a blaze of lightning like that of his " exemplar Paul.”* The only account furnished by Mr. Adams, is, “they cannot sink me lower than the bottom, and I have been safely landed there these eight years." "I will not die for nothing,"
my SONS are very much delighted, that I have taken the subject up.” The speculation was without hazard.Nothing to lose; but the possibility, if not the prospect of “ a success, which no vulgar Democrat can attain”! Who would not embark with such odds in his favour?
The time for the explosion arrives—the volcano bursts, and red-hot streams of lava are poured through the columns of the Boston Patriot, sweeping away characters, and burying the peace of families, in their march. The destroying spirit has gone forth; and, nothing can arrest his career. The sanctuary of the dead is violated. The ashes of him, who once wielded the sword, and fought our battles by the side of our Washington-Those ashes, which once were animated by the celestial fire of genius and eloquence, are drawn from their repose and scattered in the winds. The distinguished individuals of the party, which raised him to power, now that its ascendency is gone, have become “ British Bears and Tory Tigers," and must be hunted dową. The French have become a very clever people; but, John Bull has turned his dreadful eye-balls upon us, and will ere long trample us in the dust.“ Democracy” has become a Deity and its 66 Islam” a vicegerent,—and, “I and Jefferson have always been friends”—Ecce, nos, poma natamus !
My countrymen, it would be trifling with your feelings to pursue the analysis further. It would be offering indignity
* No irreverent allusion to the apostle, is intended. Mr. A. uses the expression in application to himself,
to your good sense and discernment, to draw the inferences and explain the great end and design of this and a simultaneous conversion. They are written in flaming characters upon the front of the transaction. Let the voice of reason and of patriotism be heard. They make their solemn appeal, to the democracy of Maine-to the republicans of NewHampshire-to the freemen of the Green Mountains-to the whole people of this nation, to pause and consider, whether it be safe to engraft a Scion of this old Stock in our tree of liberty-where, it might shoot up in rank luxuriance and opershadow and destroy it.