I can’t believe I used that title …
I have always considered John Adams to be the most under-rated President we’ve had, if I may use that term.
And … Abigail Adams … incredible …
When I think of people “ahead of their time,” I always place Abigail at the top of the list.
One of the great thrills Carol and I have had is the opportunity to visit the John Adams birthplace, on Franklin Street in Quincy, Massachusetts. On the same property is the birthplace of John Quincy Adams, their son, and 6th United States President. I also consider John Quincy Adams the most intelligent President we’ve had, with his learning and ability to speak so many languages.
We have visited “Peacefield,” the home and farm purchased in 1787 by John Adams, and lived in by their son, as well. It is also lovingly called “The Old House.” What a thrill to visit “the Library out back.” What a thrill to step into that Library! The Library! The Stone Library, built in 1873, contains more than 12,000 books that belonged to the family.
Here is an excerpt from the Will of John Quincy Adams, dated January 18, 1847:
“I give and bequesth my library of books, my manuscript books and papers, and those of my father, and all of my family pictures…to my son, Charles Francis Adams, trusting that his mother shall at all times have the use of any of the books in the library at her discretions; and I recommend to my said son…to cause a building to be erected, made fire-proof, in which to keep the said library, books, documents, and manuscripts safe…and I especially recommend …that he will, as far as may be in his power, keep them together as one library…”
Take it from someone who just spent, on Saturday, during what others call “Summer Vacation,” seven hours working inside a High School Library … If you get a chance to see “The Stone Library” …
Carol and I also have visited the crypt, underneath the church, which is the final resting place of John Adams, Abigail Adams, John Quincy Adams, and Charlotte Adams. There just aren’t words to describe what it was like, being there. Standing there. I can still feel it.
It was a trip, made with our Pastor and his Wife, which we will never forget. The images just won’t leave.
I’m grateful for that.
This is another one of those great trips we’ve taken, and is “on the list” to share photos. We often get requests from friends who have joined us on some of these trips, who keep asking us, “When are you going to put together the video” or slide show, etc. Or, “When are you going to send us the pictures?” Even on trips when we’ve left the United States, we haven’t “gotten around yet” to sharing the stories or pictures from these trips. We usually don’t mention our trips publicly, but, on occasion, I’ll slip up and say something like, “Yeah, I remember seeing something like that in South America” or something, which is always met with something like, “I didn’t know you went to …”
One day … we’ll get around to it, I’m sure.
I always feel like I should be talking/sharing about something else besides us.
So, we’ll try to do better with sharing. If it’s any indication, this trip to the Adams Homestead … with our Pastor and Wife … was something like 12 years ago … or, longer …
I still consider the book “John Adams,” by David McCullough, the best biography I have read. David McCullough won the Pulitzer Prize for this (I was an early advocate) and for his book on Harry Truman. I must also mention in this writing how much I enjoyed his “1776” book. His descriptions of individuals knows no equal. I still vividly recall, from his book on John Adams, his physical descriptions of George Washington and Thomas Jefferson. I read the book, and wrote the excerpt below, well over 10 years ago. It is never “my time,” but “the time” to write or share, so, here now, is the excerpt I wrote over a decade ago:
On this day in early July, the week of our July 4th, I think back to reading this from the book on John Adams:
“That John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had died on the same day, and that it was, of all days, the Fourth of July, could not be seen as a mere coincidence.
‘It was a visible and palpable manifestation of Divine favor,’ wrote John Quincy Adams, in his diary that night, expressing what was felt and would be said again and again, everywhere the news spread.
In the weeks and months that followed, eulogies to Adams and Jefferson were delivered in all parts of the country and largely in the spirit that their departure should not be seen as a mournful event. They had lived to see the expanded greatness and consolidated strength of a pure republic. They had died amid the hosannas and grateful benedictions of a numerous happy and joyful people. And, on the nation’s 50th birthday. Which, said Daniel Webster in a speech in Boston, was proof from on high that our country and its benefactors are objects of His care. Webster’s eulogy, delivered at Faniel Hall, on August 2nd, lasted two hours.”
I just remembered … we’re flying out early Monday morning … to spend several days in the Deep South … I haven’t finished writing about our last trip there … several years ago …
Ted and Carol
P.S. Following 12 years of bitter silence caused by their disagreement over the role of the new federal government, these two old friends managed to reestablish the discourse of their younger years spent in Philadelphia, where they both served in the Continental Congress, and Paris, where they served together as ambassadors to France. In 1812, Benjamin Rush, a Patriot and physician from Philadelphia, initiated a renewed correspondence and reconciliation between his two friends and ex-presidents. The correspondence continued until Adams and Jefferson both died on July 4, 1826, the 50th anniversary of the Declaration of Independence that all three friends had signed in 1776.