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passion have charged him with obtaining that office by bargain and corruption. Before you, my fellow-citizens, in the presence of our country and of heaven, I pronounce that charge totally unfounded. This tribute of justice is due from me to him, and I seize, with pleasure, the opportunity afforded me by your letter, of discharging the obligation.
"As to my motives for tendering to him the department of state when I did, let that man who questions them come forward. Let him look around among statesmen and legislators of this nation and of that day. Let him then select and name the man whom, by his pre-eminent talents, by his splendid services, by his ardent patriotism; by his all-embracing public spirit, by his fervid eloquence in behalf of the rights and liberties of mankind, by his long experience in the affairs of the Union, foreign and domestic;-a president of the United States, intent only upon the honour and welfare of his country, ought to have preferred to HENRY Clay. Let him name the man, and then judge you, my fellow-citizens of my motives.
, Nor can I pass over this opportunity, without offering a congenial tribute of justice and of gratitude to those other eminent and virtuous citizens, who have been united with me in the performance of my painful, but I will not say, thankless labours. I took not one of them from the circle, though I leave every one of them among the dearest of my personal friends. Amidst all the difficulties, dis
. couragements, and troubles, which have attended my administration, it has been a never-failing source of consolation to me, that its internal harmony has been more perfect than that of any other administration which this country has ever witnessed.
“Of the qualifications of the secretary of the treasury, (Mr. Rush,) let his annual reports upon the finances, com
pared with those of all his predecessors let the payment of thirty-three millions of the public debt, during the four years of his agency-let his indefatigable industry and assiduity, in the discharge of all the duties of an office, burthened with them almost beyond the ability of human endurance-let the urbanity of his manners, and the courtesy of his deportment, to the innumerable claimants upon the treasury, who have approached him in the successive years, through which, but for the intervention of disease, he has been absent from his office not a single day:-let these be the decisive tests. Descended from parents, of whose character, both public and private, Pennsylvania and New-Jersey have equal reason to be proud, well has he sustained, and does sustain, the honour of his name. His services and his friendship to me have been inestima. ble; and, in parting with him, I confidently trust that his future services will not be lost to the sagacity of his native state, or of the Union.
In the department of war alone did a change take place of the person at its head, during the progress of my administration. It was, at first, conferred upon a citizen of Virginia, (Mr. Barbour,) long possessed of the highest confidence of that great and honourable commonwealth ; -her governor in the days of danger and of invasion during the late war;-her senator at the time I invited him to preside over that department. He had been a warm supporter of one of my competitors at the election; but his opposition to me had been that of a liberal and honourable mind. His fulfilment of the duties of the department fully justified the confidence I had reposed in him; and he recently left it only for the most important of our missions abroad, in which he is now ably and faithfully maintaining the honour and interests of our country.
His successor, (Gen. Porter,) was a citizen of New
York, also highly distinguished by the honours of his native state and of the Union ;-one of the members of that congress which vindicated the traduced honour and spirit of the nation, by the declaration of war in 1812;-one of the warriors, whose gallant achievements during the war have been recorded in the solemn legislative thanks of his country ;-since intrusted with an arduous commission for the settlement of her boundaries;—and, when invited by me to a share in the councils of the Union, a member of the legislature of New-York. His services in the department of war have been also satisfactory and effective; and he leaves to his successor an official reputation, which it will be praise enough to him to maintain unimpaired.
The attorney-general, (Mr. Wirt,) was also an adopted citizen of Virginia, not less distinguished by the classical elegance of his taste in literature, than by his profound learning in the law, and his commanding eloquence at the bar. The biographer of Patrick Henry-the painter of manners and instructer of morals—at an early period of life appointed and commissioned by my predecessor, I deemed myself, and the country, fortunate by his continuance in the same capacity during my term of service. Educated and inclining to a rigorous construction of the extent of constitutional power, his professional advice has been the more readily confided in by me, as its tendencies always were rather to the limitation, than to the enlargement of its exercise; for, in the whole course of my administration, I have deemed it safer to abstain from the use of any questionable authority, than to hazard the encroachment of power, by assuming, unnecessarily, the decision of disputed points.
Such, fellow-citizens, have been the associates of my official duties, in the conduct of my administration. Unable to bestow upon them any other reward for their faith
ful and zealous service to their country, than this testimonial of my gratitude and esteem, it is with a pleasure not inferior to that which I receive from your friendly estimate of my own endeavours, that I shall cherish the assurance of your approbation extended to them.
With regard to those apprehensions of future evil which your solicitude for the welfare of our country has inspired, in looking forward to the administration of my successor, it becomes me, perhaps, only to say, that I hope they may prove unfounded. To a president of the United States, the favour of the people is an instrument of beneficent power, more potent than an imperial sceptre. But it is in the fortunes of nations, and especially in the improvement of their condition, that the history of their benefactors must be traced. It is in the ages of posterity this history must be read. If, in the reform of abuses, which have es. caped the vigilance of my observation, the president of the United States shall introduce none of deeper consequence and more alarming magnitude, I shall myself be ready to mingle in the voice of gratulation, at the deeper penetration, or more efficient energy, which shall discern the latent defect, and apply the corrective remedy. Should the promise of reform itself be wasted upon trifles, undiscernible to the eye of posterity, or be spent upon the palpitations of heart between the incumbent and the expectant of official emoluments, the nation will enjoy little benefit, and suffer little injury by the change. That is not a plant, the root of which will strike to the centre, and the stem of which will ascend with fragrance to the skies. With you, my countrymen, I am disposed to hope and pray for the best; to extend to the administration every reasonable indulgence which they may need; and to give them credit for every good deed they may perform for the promotion of the general welfare.
“Accept, gentlemen, for yourselves, and those whom you represent, the respectful salutations of your friend and fellow-citizen,
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.” WASHINGTON, 11th March, 1829.
The incident to which Mr. Adams here alludes, we suppose to be Mr. Clay's duel with John Randolph. Mr. A. is right in his supposition, that Mr. C. regrets this incident :-he certainly does regret it. No man is less a duellist in principle than himself. Five years ago, he remarked, in an address to his fellow-citizens—"I owe it to the community to say, that, whatever heretofore I may have done, or, by inevitable circumstances, may be forced to do, no man in it holds in deeper abhorrence than I do, the pernicious practice of duelling. Condemned, as it must be, by the judgment and philosophy, to say nothing of the religion, of every thinking man, it is an affair of feeling, about which we cannot, although we should, reason. The true corrective will be found, when all shall unite, as all ought to unite, in its unqualified proscription."
We have strong doubts whether any possible combination of circumstances can justify a duel; but certainly those in which Mr. Clay was placed, approximated as near to a perfect justification, as circumstances ever did or ever
There is much truth in the following paragraph, which we extract from a letter recently sent us by a gentleman, who has stood far higher than Mr. Randolph in office, as well as in public estimation.
“It is pretty well known to the nation at large, on the