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of an unshackled and universal freedom, more tried and firm, never trod our soil or breathed our air.”
Mr. Wright was very much attached to agricultural pursuits, and to the quiet retired life of the country. He resided in Canton, St. Lawrence county, New York, and lived in the most plain and unostentatious manner. During the intervals of public duty, he was a practical farmer. Beloved and respected by his neighbors, he was always welcomed on his return home by the old and the young,
, the rich and the poor, who flocked to receive him.
His political opinions partook of the ultra cast, and were therefore violently assailed by his political opponents. His sincerity does not seem to have been questioned, and he was without doubt a republican in practice as well as profession. The Democratic Convention of the Union, before the last election, solicited him to accept the nomination to the Vice Presidency; and, it is stated on good authority, that the President offered him a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court. Both these offers he declined.
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS.
The subject of this notice was one of the most remarkable men of the age. He was born at Braintree, in Massachusetts, July 11, 1767, and was the son of John Adams, the second President of the United States. In early life he accompanied his father to Europe, and at the age of 14, was taken by Mr. Dana, Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia, as his private secretary. He afterwards returned to America, graduated with distinguished honor at Harvard University, in 1787, and studied law with Chief Justice Parsons. In 1794, he was appointed by General Washington Minister to the United Netherlands, and in 1797, Minister to Prussia. In 1801, he returned home, having first concluded an important treaty of commerce at Berlin. In 1803, he was chosen Senator in the Congress of the United States. Having resigned his seat in that body, he was appointed Professor of Rhetoric in Harvard University. His lectures attracted great attention, for Mr. Adams cultivated the graces of elocution, had a profound knowledge of the sciences, of ancient and modern languages, and of the history and literature of all nations. In 1809, Mr. Madison nominated him Minister Plenipotentiary to Russia. His energetic and faithful discharge of this trust, produced a most favorable impression. Mr. Adams was at the head of the commission which negotiated at Ghent, in 1815, the peace with England. The commission consisted of John Quincy Adams, James A. Bayard, Jonathan Russel, Albert Gallatin, and Henry Clay. At the conclusion of this negotiation, Mr. Adams was appointed Minister Plenipotentiary to St. James. In 1817, he was called home, and took the place of Secretary of State, in the cabinet of Mr. Monroe. In the fall of 1824, he was a candidate for the Presidency. Andrew Jackson received 99 votes, John Quincy Adams 84 votes, Wm. H. Crawford 41 votes, and Henry Clay 37 votes. The election was thus thrown into the House of Representatives, and Mr. Adams having received on the first ballot the vote of thirteen states, was declared duly elected. In 1829, when his term of office expired, he retired to his family mansion in Quincy, and in 1831, was chosen to represent in Congress the district in which he lived. He continued an active member of the House of Representatives until his decease, which happened Feb. 23d, 1848, in his 81st year. He was struck by death whilst at his seat in the House, and exclaimed, “ This is the end of earth, I am content." Removed to the speaker's room, he died there.
Mr. Adams was remarkable for his industry and regularity. He was naturally of an impetuous temper, and in the decline of life is said to have lamented the indulgence of it. He was a strict attendant upon religious services—a reverent student of the Bible. We conclude our notice of this eminent citizen with an extract from the remarks made by Senator Benton on the occasion of his decease.
“In this long career of public service, Mr. Adams was distinguished not only by faithful attention to all the great duties of his station, but to all their less and minor duties. He was not the Salaminian galley, to be launched only on extraordinary occasions, but he was the ready vessel, always launched when the duties of his station required it, be the occasion great or small. As President, as cabinet minister, as minister abroad, he examined all questions that came before him, and examined all in all their parts, in all the minutiæ of their detail, as well as in all the vastness of their comprehension. As Senator, and as a member of the House of Representatives, the obscure committee room was as much the witness of his
application to the drudgery of legislation, as the halls of the two Houses were to the ever-ready speech, replete with knowledge, which instructed all hearers, enlightened all subjects, and gave dignity and ornament to debate.
“In the observance of all the proprieties of life, Mr. Adams was a most noble and impressive example. He cultivated the minor as well as the greater virtues. Wherever his presence could give aid and countenance to what was useful and honorable to man, there he was. In the exercises of the school and of the college-in the meritorious meetings of the agricultural, mechanical, and commercial societies-in attendance upon Divine worship—he gave the punc
tual attendance rarely seen but in those who are free from the weight of public cares.
"Punctual to every duty, death found him at the post of duty; and where else could it have found him, at any stage of his career, for the fifty years of his illustrious public life? From the time of his first appointment by Washington, to his last election by the people of his native town, where could death have found him but at the post of duty ? At that post, in the fullness of age, in the ripeness of renown, crowned with honors, surrounded by his family, his friends and admirers, and in the very presence of the national representation, he has been gathered to his fathers, leaving behind him the memory of public services which are the history of his country for half a century, and the example of a life, public and private, which should be the study and the model of the generations of his countrymen.”
TRIAL OF DR. COOLIDGE.
The trial of Dr. Valorus P. Coolidge, for the murder of Edward Mathews, took place the 14th of March, 1848, at Augusta in Maine, before Chief Justice Whitman, and two associate justices.
The respectable position in society held by the prisoner, and the singular atrocity of the crime with which he was charged, excited unusual interest; so much so, that to accommodate the large number desirous of hearing the trial, the court was induced to transfer its sittings from the court-house to a very capacious church, which was filled as soon as the doors were thrown open.
The trial lasted an entire week, and the number of witnesses examined amounted to about seventy. From this voluminous mass of testimony it appeared that Dr. Coolidge was a physician in the town of Waterville, in a very successful practice, notwithstanding which he was always in need of money, and borrowed it wherever he could, and commonly at usurious interest. More than a dozen witnesses stated that he was indebted to them for money lent, from fifty to three or four hundred dollars, and that about the time of Mathews death, he offered $500 for the use of $2,000 for six months, and even for a still shorter time.
It further appeared that the prisoner knew that Mathews had gone to Brighton with a drove of cattle; that he made repeated inquiries of the amount Mathews would receive, and requested the barkeeper of the house where Mathews boarded, to let him know when Mathews returned. Mathews arrived on Saturday, the 25th of March, but Coolidge did not see him until the following Wednesday. There were several private interviews between him and Coolidge on Wednesday and Thursday. In the afternoon of the latter day, he received $1500 from the Taconic Bank, and after eight o'clock at night, remarked that it was time to go to Dr. Coolidge's office, and was seen to go in that direction. The next morning he was found dead, in the cellar in which Dr. Coolidge kept his fuel. Two deep cuts were found on his head, some black and blue spots about his throat, and his boots were clean, though the streets were muddy at the time.
At the Coroner's inquest, Coolidge was examined with other witnesses, and he stated that Mathews had been at his office twice the day before, for the purpose of borrowing $200, which he wanted to make up the sum of $2,000 he had promised to raise. The last time it was a little after eight o'clock at night, when he received the money-of which one hundred dollars was in a note he had received of W, R. Doe. Denied that he had written any note to Mathews the day before, or at any time.
There was then a post-mortem examination of the body, when Coolidge, remarking that they could not tell whether the wounds in the head were sufficient to produce death, unless the scalp was turned back, cut and turned back the scalp. It being then proposed to examine the stomach, it was taken out by Coolidge, and the contents emptied into a basin. They smelt strong of brandy. A few minutes afterwards he remarked to a bystander that they had better be removed, as they might scent the room. They were accordingly taken out, and after remaining awhile behind an old hogshead, were locked up in an ice-house; whence they were taken, on the following Monday, and delivered to Professor Loomis for examination. When Coolidge was asked, on Friday evening, if the contents of the stomach had not better be examined, he inquired of the wit. ness if they had been preserved, and on being told that they had, he replied, they had lain so long, nothing could be ascertained from them.
These contents were carefully analyzed by Professor Loomis, and found to contain prussic acid by several tests. Several physicians, who were present at the post-mortem examination, also testified that the liver, lungs, spleen, and brain, indicated the action of prussic acid, and that they perceived its peculiar odor.
The medical men farther thought that the wounds in the head not having been attended with inflammation, were probably given after death, with the view of preventing suspicion of the real cause.
From these indications of the presence of prussic acid, and other circumstances, Coolidge was now strongly suspected of the murder, and was accordingly taken into custody. It was then found, and it was proved in court, that, on the 17th of September, he had written to Boston for an ounce of hydrocyanic (prussic) acid, “ as strong as it can be,” which he received: and that, on the 19th of September, he also wrote to Hallowell for an ounce of the same acid, “as strong as it is made.” This acid, when used in medicine, is commonly diluted to 2 per cent. The pure acid is seldom called for. Dr. Coolidge previously had by him some of the diluted acid.
On Monday, after the murder, a boy found in the top of Coolidge's sleigh, a gold watch and chain, which were proved to be the same as those worn by Mathews the Thursday before. They were wrapped up in white paper, which was of the same description as some found in Coolidge's office.
Coolidge endeavored to persuade two witnesses to conceal from the coroner's inquest that he wished to borrow money of themhaving himself stated to the jury that, so far from wishing to borrow money, he had lent Mathews $200, and to one witness he proposed to give fifty dollars, and declared he was a ruined man, when he found he could not succeed.
Many minor circumstances corroborated the inference from the preceding strong facts, but the testimony of Thomas Flint removed every shadow of doubt of the prisoner's guilt.
The witness was a student in Dr. Coolidge's office, and he stated that, about nine o'clock on Thursday night, when he was going to bed, at his boarding house, he met Dr. Coolidge, who requested the witness to go to his office with him. When there, he said, “I am going to reveal to you a secret which involves my life; that cursed little Edward Mathews came in here, and went to take a glass of brandy and fell down dead ; he now lies in the other room. I thumped him on the head to make people believe he was murdered.” After some consultation, they decided on carrying the body to the cellar, to remain there until it was discovered the next day. The next day he found in the office a note from Coolidge, requesting him to sweep the office carefully, which he did, and removed some signs of blood. About noon he saw Coolidge charge Mathews with $200 lent. Coolidge handed him a sum of money, requesting him to keep it, saying the jury might ask to see his pocket book, and he did not know but there was too much money in it. After the examination of the body, Coolidge told the witness, while in the office together, that there was $1,000 under the carpet, beneath the iron safe, which he wished witness to take care of. In the evening the prisoner seemed to be greatly agitated. He took the money he had given witness, selected some of the bills, put them into his pocket book, and gave the witness others from the pocket book. The money was put in one of a number of jugs in the office, and the prisoner requested the witness to sleep with him that night. The next day he seemed unwilling to receive back the money he had given to the