Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Arrival and Reception of Mr. Adams

Marietta Intelligencer, November 23, 1843

Mr. Adams arrived at this place on Wednesday of last week, at 2 o'clock, P.M. He was immediately waited upon at the boat by the Committee, and by them escorted to the Congregational Church, where a large concourse of people had assembled upon the firing of the guns announcing Mr. Adams' approach.

William R. Putnam, Esq., welcomed the venerable guest as follows:

Honored Sir - In the name of this audience, I bid you welcome to Marietta.

We rejoice, Sir, at this opportunity of paying our respects to you, and thus personally testifying the high regard we entertain of your public services and private virtues. We do cordially approve of the untiring exertions, and uncompromising integrity, ever manifested by you in defence of the liberties and rights of the people, and assure you that they will ever be held in grateful remembrance by us.

To which Mr. Adams briefly replied:

Mr. Adams commenced by referring to a period, doubtless beyond the remembrance, if not before the birth, of a majority of the dense audience around him, while he was a student of law in the town of Newburyport, Massachusetts,when the name of Marietta first saluted his ears. It awakened a powerful interest in his then youthful bosom, as it led his mind to the anticipation of that wonderful progress in western emigration and improvement which has since been realized; and more than realized. 

It was during the year 1788, in Ipswich Hamlet, a village in the neighborhood of Newburyport, that the speaker visited the Rev. Dr. Manasseh Cutler, when just returned from his first visit to the great west. He was exceedingly interested in the accounts which he received from the lips of that venerable man, in regard to the early prospects of a state which seems destined to become the first in this great confederacy. Since that time his eye had never left it, as it had advanced through the different stages of territorial government to the character of a respectable and powerful commonwealth, but he had continued an interested and delighted spectator of its progress.

Since that period his private fortunes had carried him over a considerable portion of the globe, but he had not expected the happiness of seeing with his own eyes the land - yea, the spot upon which he now was - which was thus associated with his early recollections, and on which his imagination had dwelt through the lapse of years with so much pleasure. But an incident recently occurred, which brought him to our State, and to the great city of the west; and as he had passed through the numerous corporations, so lately risen from the depths of the wilderness, in his way to that city, and on his return therefrom, his journey had been a continued repetition of enjoyment.

It would have been more gratifying to him, and doubtless would have been to the citizens, had the elements suffered them to manifest their respect for him without the exposure of this inclement day; but when, through the storm, so much of the light of human kindness as was here reflected, shone out upon him, he would say, that in return, through sunshine and through storm, the name of Marietta, and of her people, would ever dwell upon his heart. That name, so endeared to his memory by its connection with an incident which first awakened his mind to the future glories of Ohio, would be more deeply hallowed in his recollections from its recalling the occasion when, as now, he must discharge the painful but pleasing duty of bidding her his last farewell.

He was not at liberty to detain the audience longer with his remarks, for the vessel which had borne him hither was bearing others, anxious to reach the places of their destination. He would then close by invoking upon us the blessing of that heaven to which we are indebted for our liberties and our happiness.

The notes of Mr. Adams' remarks were not taken at the time, but subsequently written out from memory. 

After this address was concluded, and those who desired it had been personally introduced to him, Mr. Adams was accompanied by the Committee to the "Sacra Via" - "The Mound" - and other ancient works which he expressed a desire to visit, and thence to the Boat - upon which he immediately departed.

A committee of the committee, consisting of Hon. Ephraim Cutler, Caleb Emerson and Joseph Barker, Esqrs., left on the boat with him and accompanied him as far as Pittsburgh. A brief notice of the journey to that City and of his reception there is given by our correspondent Q.

His visit to this place will be a day long remembered. Old age will love to speak of it, and the family circle will repeat the story of his visit with feelings of gratitude and pleasure, one to the other. And those now in the happy days of innocent childhood will tell to another generation that they have seen and shaken hands with the great defender of the rights of man.

Blessings be upon this Patriot, Statesman, Sage, and may He who holds in His hands the destiny of men and of nations, vouchsafe to him many years of health and strength.

John Quincy Adams

Pittsburgh, Friday evening, Nov. 17, 1843.

The parade, the show, the external respect paid to distinguished persons in possession or pursuit of power, may pass for what it is worth. It may be sincere and hearty - or it may not. But the voluntary regard of a people bestowed on such men as John Quincy Adams, or Lafayette, when the recipients have no patronage, no favors, no offices to give in return, are truly honorable, as well to the givers as to the objects of such manifestations.

The honors bestowed on Mr. Adams at this place, though not such in appearance as the Pittsburghers would have wished, were amply sufficient to testify their deep respect and hearty good will. Arrangements were made in expectation that his arrival would happen, or might be timed so that his public entree should be at ten o'clock, A.M. to-day. But the noted Ben Franklin steamer was "too spry" for them. A respectable committee - Messrs. Harmar Denny, William Eichbaum, Thomas Bakewell, C. Darrah, and E. Stevens, met the Ben Franklin at Wheeling on Wednesday night and endeavored to prepare for these arrangements. Mr. Adams signified his entire readiness to acquiesce. But the captain, having delayed so much already, would delay no longer, and the personal friends who accompany him in his tour thought it not prudent to tax his exertions beyond what had been originally contemplated. The Ben Franklin drew near the city on yesterday, firing frequent salutes; passed up towards the Monongahela Bridge, and cam ashore in fine style. 

Swarming multitudes thronged the beach and "The Old Man Eloquent" was conducted ashore and to the "Exchange," by Mr. Hay, Mayor of Pittsburgh, and the Committee; and Wilson McCandless informed the people that Mr. Adams was not able, at that time, to undergo the fatigues of introduction.

To-day, though the weather was not favorable, there was a very large turn out to see Mr. Adams. A large number of Firemen and some militia made a very good display. It was contemplated to extend the march of the procession through the principal streets of the city, but heavy rain induced them to curtail it.

Mr. Adams rode in a carriage with the Mayor of Pittsburgh and Alleghany, and his friend and travelling companion, Mr. Grenell. Four or five other carriages followed, with the Committee and gentlemen from abroad. In the first of these was the delegation from Marietta, with Mr. Denney.

A platform was raised beside the Exchange and here Mr. McCandless made an eloquent and stirring address to Mr. Adams. There was a heavy mass of hearers - or spectators - in the streets. It rained heavily. Mr. Adams looked well and in spirits; amply able to have gone through a regular built speech, had the assemblage been in pleasant circumstances to hear. But here - as I understand he did at Marietta - he made a very pleasant apology for a speech, worth, as I think, some half dozen of your regular-built elaborations. He noticed here, with marked satisfaction, that he had been invited by all parties.

I think Mr. Adams was well pleased with his reception at Marietta, such a spontaneous rush, on so very short notice, testified most earnestly and unequivocally the affectionate regard of your citizens.

The conversations which took place on board the Ben Franklin after his visit to the "Old Settlement," are understood to have been of a very interesting character.

Fifty five years ago, it seems - while John Quincy Adams was a student in the Law Office of the celebrated Theophilus Parsons - he visited Dr. Manasseh Cutler at Ipswich Hamlet, just after the Doctor's return from the infant settlement on the Muskingum (in the promotion whereof he had been one of the main instruments) and there obtained a most interesting account of that settlement; from which time the progress and prospects of the Northwest - especially Ohio - have been the objects of high and never ceasing interest in the mind of Mr. Adams. One of the Marietta delegation to accompany him up the Ohio, was Judge Cutler, son of the Doctor, and of the same age with Mr. Adams. Another was Joseph Barker, the oldest Anglo American Native of Ohio now living. 

An interesting incident is said to have occurred soon after the Ben Franklin left Marietta. Judge Cutler remarked to Mr. Adams that he remembered with the strongest feelings of interest the fact that the firmness and sagacity of John Adams and John Jay, in negotiating the Peace of '83 secured us this great and growing and all important west. Mr. Adams replied in a subdued by touching tone and manner that he supposed certain things (my information was not certain what) would be remembered, but he had feared people had forgotten his father.

After supper Mr. Adams, having retired for a short time, came and sat down in the Gentlemen's Cabin and conversed with great freedom on quite a variety of topics. As he spoke without any reserve, as a man speaks among his intimate friends, it would hardly be proper to attempt any report of his expressions in detail. But of the group that listened around there is probably not one but would be exceedingly gratified could a truly graphic sketch he made of that scene.

Members of the Washington County delegation sat beside him. When a subject was suggested by the elder one, he would branch forth directly in a discourse, full of pith and interest, and in a very few minutes you would feel more entertainingly instructed than ordinarily by a dissertation of regular length, breadth and thickness. When a pause permitted the suggestion of a new topic, the same readiness was manifested in opening the rich store house of his mind, and handing forth from its well assorted treasures.

It was most interesting to note the attitudes of the listeners. Nearly every head and neck was turned and bent, that the ear might not miss its office in catching and reporting every word, every syllable that fell from the lips of John Quincy Adams.



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