Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5



Alexander Hill Everett, after A Painting by Gérard in 1825 facing or following page 212[unavailable]

The steel engraving by Henry Jordan and Frederick W. Halpin of Alexander Hill Everett (1790–1847) was published by J. & H. G. Langley, New York City, and appeared in 1842 in the Democratic Review, 10:facing p. 460. The engraving must have been done in the same year since it was only then that Halpin, recently arrived from England, and Jordan began to work together as a firm (George C. Groce and David H. Wallace, Dictionary of Artists in America, 1564–1860, New Haven, 1957). The likeness is “taken from a very fine portrait painted a number of years ago in Paris by the celebrated Girard, now in the possession of Ex-President Adams” (Democratic Review, 10:478). This would have been the portrait intended for President Adams for which Everett sat to Baron François Gérard (1770–1836) in 1825, when on his way to his new post as minister to Spain. Of it, Everett wrote to the President from Madrid: “In passing through Paris last August I sat a few times to Gérard for a portrait, intending it for you. My stay was so short that I could not at the time get it finished, and prepared for shipment: but I have since learned from my correspondent that it has been sent off to America. I have requested my brother Edward to deliver it to you, and venture to hope that you will do me the favour to accept it. My friends at Paris thought the resemblance pretty good, but were not much pleased with the colouring: As respects the execution, however, the name of Gérard, who stands at the head of his art in France, may be supposed to cover all defects. I informed him at the time of the destination of the portrait, and he appeared to be pleased with the opportunity of placing one of his works in your hands” (15 April 1826, Adams Papers). Whether the painting was kept by Adams in Washington or in Quincy during the years between 1825 and 1842 cannot be ascertained, nor is any information of its later whereabouts known to the editors.

The relations between the two men had long been close. Everett had studied law with Adams and had served him as private secretary in Russia, 1809–1811. As Secretary of State, Adams appointed Everett chargé d’affaires at The Hague, 1818–1824; the appointment in Madrid followed when Adams became President. At the end of the Adams administration Everett returned to Boston. In the years xvithat followed, as Everett ventured into domestic politics on his own, there were times when the two found themselves on opposing sides, particularly since Everett, seeking to survive, seemed to follow a somewhat devious course. See, for example, p. 187, 196, and 369, below. Louisa Catherine Adams was led to say of him during such a time: “I have known him ... ever since he was 19 years old and from that time I have never yet had reason to believe that he knew what a fixed principle was” (p. 208, below).

The connections between Charles Francis Adams and Everett were of a varied sort and began soon after Everett resumed his residence in Boston as editor of the North American Review , to which Adams was a contributor, generally unsatisfied by the treatment he received. Other points of friction developed as Adams expressed irritation on occasion at what seemed to him a lack of loyalty to John Quincy Adams and at Everett’s addiction to expediency which served more often to make him vulnerable than to advance his career. See below, p. 187, 205; vol. 6:257, 261. However, the relationship underwent several transformations during the years embraced by the present volumes, as will be evident in the index. Adams was always an admirer of Everett’s abilities: “As a Writer he has few equals” (vol. 3:133, above). He regarded Everett and John Quincy Adams as “the two best political writers in the State, if not in the Country” (vol. 6:198, below). In turn, Everett came to show greater appreciation of Adams’ writings (p. 144, below). Further, in the tortuous course of politics, Everett, for a time at least, returned to adherence to John Quincy Adams’ position, winning Charles Francis Adams’ grudging approbation: “Everett is a man of whose motives of action I have seen too much within a few years to rely upon them very implicitly. He has on the whole supported my father and therefore I am disposed to do what I can to support him” (vol. 6:304, below). A respect for each other as writers and the necessities of antimasonic politics ultimately produced a situation in which the two by agreement were writing for the Boston Daily Advocate in tandem. See vol. 6:152–153 and 183–184, below.

Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.