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much toil, anxiety, and sorrow I have suffered.” I asked if Mr. Adams's letter of acceptance had been read to him. — “Yes,” he said, and added, “My son has more political prudence than any man that I know who has existed in my time; he never was put off his guard: and I hope he will continue such; but what effect age may work in diminishing the power of his mind, I do not know; it has been very much on the stretch, ever since he was born. He has always been laborious, child and man, from infancy.” - When Mr. J. Q. Adams's age was mentioned, he said, “He is now fifty-eight, or will be in July;” and remarked that “ all the Presidents were of the same age: General Washington was about fifty-eight, and I was about fifty-eight, and Mr. Jefferson, and Mr. Madison, and Mr. Monroe.”
- We inquired, when he expected to see Mr. Adams. — He said,
- He said, “ Never: Mr. Adams will not come to Quincy, but to my funeral. It would be a great satisfaction to me to see him, but I don't wish him to come on my account.” — He spoke of Mr. Lechmere, whom he “ well remembered to have seen come down daily, at a great age, to walk in the old town-house,” — adding, “And I wish I could walk as well as he did. He was Collector of the Customs for many years, under the Royal Government.” — E. said, “I suppose, Sir, you would not have taken his place, even to walk as well as he.”
No,” he replied, “ that was not what I wanted.” He talked of Whitefield, and “ remembered, when he was a Freshman in college, to have come in to the Old South, [I think,] to hear him, but could not get into the house; -- I, however, saw him," he said,
through a window, and distinctly heard all. He had a voice such as I never heard before or since. He cast it out so that you might hear it at the meeting-house, (pointing towards the Quincy meeting-house,] and
“ And you
he had the grace of a dancing-master, of an actor of plays. His voice and manner helped him more than his sermons. I went with Jonathan Sewall.”
were pleased with him, Sir?” “ Pleased! I was delighted beyond measure.” – We asked, if at Whitefield's return the same popularity continued. — “Not the same fury,” he said, “ not the same wild enthusiasm as before, but a greater esteem, as he became more known. He did not terrify, but was admired.”
We spent about an hour in his room. He speaks very distinctly for so old a man, enters bravely into long sentences, which are interrupted by want of breath, but carries them invariably to a conclusion, without ever correcting a word.
He spoke of the new novels of Cooper, and “ Peep at the Pilgrims,” and “ Saratoga,” with praise, and named with accuracy the characters in them. He likes to have a person always reading to him, or company talking in his room, and is better the next day after having visitors in his chamber from morning to night.
He received a premature report of his son's election, on Sunday afternoon, without any excitement, and told the reporter he had been hoaxed, for it was not yet time for any news to arrive. The informer, something damped in his heart, insisted on repairing to the meeting-house, and proclaimed it aloud to the congregation, who were so overjoyed that they rose in their seats and cheered thrice. The Reverend Mr. Whitney dismissed them immediately.
When life has been well spent, age is a loss of what it can well spare, — muscular strength, organic instincts, gross bulk, and works that belong to these. But the central wisdom, which was old in infancy, is young in fourscore years, and, dropping off obstruc
tions, leaves in happy subjects the mind purified and wise. I have heard that whoever loves is in no condition old. I have heard, that, whenever the name of man is spoken, the doctrine of immortality is announced; it cleaves to his constitution. The mode of it baffles our wit, and no whisper comes to us from the other side. But the inference from the working of intellect, hiving knowledge, hiving skill, — at the end of life just ready to be born, — affirms the inspirations of affection and of the moral sentiment.
MORALS respects what men call goodness, that which all men agree to honor as justice, truth-speaking, good-will, and good works. Morals respects the source or motive of this action. It is the science of substances, not of shows. It is the what, and not the how. It is that which all men profess to regard, and by their real respect for which recommend themselves to each other.
There is this eternal advantage to morals, that, in the question between truth and goodness, the moral cause of the world lies behind all else in the mind. It was for good, it is to good, that all works. Surely it is not to prove or show the truth of things, that sounds a little cold and scholastic, - no, it is for benefit, that all subsists. As we say in our modern politics, catching at last the language of morals, that the object of the state is the greatest good of the greatest number, so, the reason we must give for the existence of the world is, that it is for the benefit of all being
Morals implies freedom and will. The will constitutes the man. He has his life in Nature, like a beast: but choice is born in him; here is he that chooses; here is the Declaration of Independence, the July Fourth of zoology and astronomy. He chooses, - as the rest of the creation does not. But will, pure and perceiving, is not wilfulness. When a man, through stubbornness, insists to do this or that, something absurd or whimsical, only because he will,
he is weak; he blows with his lips against the tempest, he dams the incoming ocean with his cane. It were an unspeakable calamity, if any one should think he had the right to impose a private will on others. That is the part of a striker, an assassin. All violence, all that is dreary and repels, is not power, but the absence
Morals is the direction of the will on universal ends. He is immoral who is acting to any private end. He is moral, — we say it with Marcus Aurelius and with Kant, — whose aim or motive may become a universal rule, binding on all intelligent beings; and with Vauvenargues, the mercenary sacrifice of the public good to a private interest is the eternal stamp of vice.”
All the virtues are special directions of this motive: justice is the application of this good of the whole to the affairs of each one: courage is contempt of danger in the determination to see this good of the whole enacted: love is delight in the preference of that benefit redounding to another over the securing of our own share: humility is a sentiment of our insignificance, when the benefit of the universe is considered.
If from these external statements we seek to come a little nearer to the fact, our first experiences in moral as in intellectual nature force us to discriminate a universal mind, identical in all men. Certain biases, talents, executive skills, are special to each individual; but the high, contemplative, all-commanding vision, the sense of Right and Wrong, is alike in all. Its attributes are self-existence, eternity, intuition, and command. It is the mind of the mind. We belong to it, not it to us. It is in all men, and constitutes them men. In bad men it is dormant, as health is in men entranced or drunken; but, however inoperative,