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“On opening the will which he had handed to Mrs. Washington shortly before death," writes Irving, "it was found to have been carefully drawn up by himself in the preceding July; and by an act in conformity with his whole career, one of its first provisions directed the emancipation of his slaves on the decease of his wife. It had iong been his earnest wish that the slaves held by him in his own right should receive their freedom during his life, but he had found that it would be attended with insuperable difficulties on account of their intermixture by marriage with the 'dower negroes,' whom it was not in his power to manumit under the tenure by which they were held. With provident benignity he also made provision in his will for such as were to receive their freedom under this device, but who, from age, bodily infirmities, or infancy, might be unable to support themselves, and he expressly forbade, under any pretense whatsoever, the sale or transportation out of Virginia of any slave of whom he might die possessed. Though born and educated a slaveholder, this was in consonance with feelings, sentiments and principles which he had long entertained. In a letter · · · in September, 1786, he writes: 'I never mean, unless some particular circumstances should compel me to it, to possess another slave by purchase, it being among my first wishes to see some plan adopted by which slavery in this country may be abolished by law.' And eleven years afterward he writes:

• I wish from my soul that the legislature of this state could see the policy of a gradual abolition of slavery. It might prevent much future mischief.'”

“The character of Washington," writes Irving further, in summing up the life-work of the great leader, “may want some of those poetical ele. ments which dazzle and delight the multitude, but it possessed fewer inequalities and a rarer union of virtues than perhaps ever fell to the lot of one man-prudence, firmness, sagacity, moderation, an overruling judgment, an immovable justice, courage that never faltered, patience that never wearied, truth that disdained all artifice, magnanimity without alloy. It seems as if Providence had endowed him in a preëminent degree with all the qualities requisite to fit him for the high destiny he was called upon to fulfill—to conduct a momentous revolution which was to form an era in the history of the world, and to inaugurate a new and untried government, which, to use his own words, was to lay the foundation ‘for the enjoyment of much purer civil liberty and greater public happiness than have hitherto been the portion of mankind.' The fame of Washington stands apart from every other in history, shining with a truer lustre and a more benignant glory. With us his meinory remains a National property, where all sympathies throughout our widely-extended and diversified empire meet in unison. Under all dissensions and amid all the storms of party, his precepts and example speak to us from the grave with a paternal appeal; and his name-by all revered-forms a universal tie of brotherhood-a

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watchword of our union. “It will be the duty of the historian and the sage of all nations,' writes an eminent British statesman (Lord Brougham) 'to let no occasion pass of commemorating this illustrious man, and until time shall be no more will a test of the progress which our race has made in wisdom and virtue be derived from the veneration paid to the immortal name of Washington.'”

JOHN ADAMS.

CHAPTER 1.

.

ACADEMIC, COLLEGIATE, AND PROFESSIONAL EDUCATION,

TH

HE devotion of New England to liberal education; the universal per.

suasion of rich and poor, that its bestowal upon the youth of the col onies was a duty only to be omitted under the pressure of the sternest poverty or other unavoidable obstacle, served well the interest of America in raising up, for the great emergency of the Revolution, a class of men whose zeal was tempered by liberal knowledge and culture; whose practical weight was increased by the breadth of view which arises from the comparison of existing political conditions, with those of preceding centuries. John Adams was one, and the greatest of these men. His grandfather had given the eldest of his twelve children the best obtainable education at Harvard, that grand old college, which dated from the time of Governor Wentworth. Desiring to confer as great a blessing upon one of his own sons, the second Adams, with some difficulty persuaded John, his oldest son, born October 19 (old style), 1735, to matriculate at Harvard, which he did in 1752. Harvard at that time made no affectation of recognizing a dead level of social equality. Students, upon entering, were placed upon the lists, not in alphabetical order, nor according to the succession in which they came, but with strict regard to the rank and position of the families to which they belonged. This fact gives us a definite means of placing the Adamses in the social scale, for John Adams stood fourteenth in a class of twenty-lour. Jolin Quincy Adams says, however, in the unfinished biography of his father, completed by Mr. Charles Frances Adams, that the fact of his father's securing even this rank, was due rather to the position of the maternal branch of the family, than to that of the Adamses. In ironical reflection upon this artificial

distinction, was the fact that John Adams, from the beginning to the close of his course at Harvard, found but two competitors for intellectual leadership, in a class exceptional for the ability and high scholarship of its members, among whom were numbered William Browne, subsequently governor of the island of Bermuda; John Wentworth, who became governor of New Hampshire; David Sewall, long judge of the United States district court in Maine; Tristram Dalton, an early United States Senator for Massachusetts; Samuel Locke, afterwards president of Harvard college, and Moses Hem. menway, who became a distinguished divine. Only the two last named approached the scholarship of Adams, who was but seventeen years of age at the time of his admission. Remaining in college three years, Adams was granted his bachelor's degree in 1755, and stood face to face with the problem of making a living. His father had already done for him quite as much as his means would permit, in supporting him during his preparatory and collegiate studies. He had gained a liberal education, the friendship of men greatly his social superiors, and the intellectual equipment necessary to any professional undertaking. It is not easy, at this day, to realize how narrow a field was open to him. Public sentiment, and the usage of the day, practically restricted the choice to the three professions of law, medicine, and divinity. Mercantile pursuits did not invite a man of liberal education; commerce was small, and called for little more knowledge than did shopkeeping; engineering had not become a profession in America, and manual labor of any kind could be as well done by any one who could not write his name.

The life of New England had been, from the outset, such as to give to divinity a prestige accorded to no other profession. The Puritans had left the mother country in search of freedom of thought and speech upon religious subjects. Settled in their new home, religious discussion had constituted the predominating intellectual exercise of all the carly years of the colony, and, even so late as the time of Adams, the clergyman was a person uniting the personal and social prestige, which had survived the old establishments, with the respectability belonging to presumed learning, and the influence of the spiritual mentor. Law was held in small esteem. The system of courts and practice was simple; litigations were small and unremunerative, and, as small business always breeds pettifoggers, the bar was none too well represented. To these the Puritans, with the sturdy literalness which was so characteristic, applied strictly the condemnation : "Woe unto you, also, lawyers, for ye lade men with burdens grievous to be borne,” and the profession was, if not actually in disrepute, far from holding its proper place, in relation to others. Medicine was better regarded, but, as the fathers of New England had proved, upon the rack and at the stake, their greater esteem of the soul than of the body, it conid not but be that he who administered to the carnal man, should give

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