Johns Hopkins University collection on John Quincy Adams
- Adams, John Quincy , 1767-1848 (Person)
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0.167 Cubic Feet (3 items)
Scope and Contents
In a letter to Charles Carroll of Carrollton, dated March 17, 1827, John Quincy Adams writes that he has appointed Mr. Samuel Chase Jr., son of Samuel Chase, to the position of judge of the Orphans Court, District of Columbia. The vacancy occurred because of the death of Judge Richard Bland Lee. The appointment was granted at the request of Charles Carroll of Carrollton. Adams notes that he is gratified to alleviate "the distress which has befallen the children of an ardent patriot" by an "immediate compliance with your recommendation."
In a letter dated March 19, 1827, Charles Carroll of Carrollton responds to Adams and expresses gratitude for the "charitable exercise of your authority" to the children of one of his colleagues and "signer of independence."
The "Ebony and Topaz" toast is in the handwriting of John Quincy Adams. The toast is a satirical acknowledgement of a heraldic addition awarded posthumously to the coat of arms of the family of Major General Robert Ross, commander of British troops during the War of 1812. Ross led the brigades who marched on Washington by way of Bladensburg and set fire to the nation's capital. British troops then landed at North Point, Maryland on September 12, 1814 in an attempt to attack Baltimore. Major General Ross was mortally wounded in the advance towards Baltimore. A royal warrant, dated August 25, 1815 ordained that his widow and descendants would henceforth be called Ross of Bladensburg.
Sometime after 1815, John Quincy Adams apparently wrote a lengthy toast deriding the award to Ross. The toast was based on an ancient fable of ebony and topaz which represented the spirits of good and evil. The toast suggested that when a spirit of evil invades America and a foreign monarch honors the invading commander, the spirit of good will provide a Republican militia man to confer those honors with a bullet to the commander's heart.
A note, most likely in the handwriting of George Dobbin, included with the manuscript described the toast as receiving both censure and praise. The note also stated that the toast was first published in the Baltimore American which was edited by Peter Hoffman Cruse. It is unknown when the toast was published.
Carroll, Charles, 1737-1832--Archives. P. 1,2; Chase, Samuel, 1741-1811 P. 1; Chase, Samuel, Jr. P. 1; Cruse, Peter Hoffman P. 2; Lee, Richard Bland. P. 1; North Point, Battle of, 1814. P. 2; Ross, Robert General P. 2;
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