Thursday, August 21, 2014

John Quincy Adams, Executive Order of July 11, 1826

Most are aware that Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on the same day (July 4th) in 1826. Needless to say, this coincidence on Independence Day got a lot of attention at the time. There were public honors from the military for both men.

John Quincy Adams Administration issued an Executive Order on July 11, 1826 to elaborate on this.

It noted, "A coincidence of circumstances so wonderful gives confidence to the belief that the patriotic efforts of these illustrious men were Heaven directed, and furnishes a new seal to the hope that the prosperity of these States is under the special protection of a kind Providence."

Honors included, "Sharing in the grief which every heart must feel for so heavy and afflicting a public loss, and desirous to express his high sense of the vast debt of gratitude which is due to the virtues, talents, and ever-memorable services of the illustrious deceased, the President directs that funeral honors be paid to him at all the military stations, and that the officers of the Army wear crape on the left arm, by way of mourning, for six months."


And more praise, "Never has it fallen to the lot of any commander to announce to an army such an event as now calls forth the mingled grief and astonishment of this Republic; never since History first wrote the record of time has one day thus mingled every triumphant with every tender emotion, and consecrated a nation's joy by blending it with the most sacred of sorrows. Yes, soldiers, in one day, almost in the same hour, have two of the Founders of the Republic, the Patriarchs of Liberty, closed their services to social man, after beholding them crowned with the richest and most unlimited success. United in their end as they had been in their highest aim, their toils completed, their hopes surpassed, their honors full, and the dearest wish of their bosoms gratified in death, they closed their eyes in patriot ecstasy, amidst the gratulations and thanksgivings of a people on all, on every individual, of whom they had conferred the best of all earthly benefits."

"Such men need no trophies; they ask no splendid mausolea. We are their monuments; their mausolea is their country, and her growing prosperity the amaranthine wreath that Time shall place over their dust. Well may the Genius of the Republic mourn. If she turns her eyes in one direction, she beholds the hall where Jefferson wrote the charter of her rights; if in another, she sees the city where Adams kindled the fires of the Revolution. To no period of our history, to no department of our affairs, can she direct her views and not meet the multiplied memorials of her loss and of their glory."

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