ADAMS, John (1735-1826), President. Autograph letter signed ("John Adams") as President, to New York Mayor Richard Varick (1753-1831), Philadelphia, 7 February 1800. 1 full page, 4to (9¾ x 7 7/8 in.) light browning, faint mat-burn at edges, tiny chip to left-hand edge, otherwise in good condition.
PRESIDENT ADAMS PRAISES GOUVERNEUR MORRIS'S EULOGY ON GEORGE WASHINGTON
President Adams formally acknowledges receipt of copies of Gouverneur Morris's eulogy on George Washington, delivered at the request of the New York City Corporation on December 31 in St. Paul's Church (the same church which Washington had attended during his residence in New York). The copies had evidently been sent to the President by New York Mayor Varick and the New York City Council: "I have received your favor of the 28th of last month, with two Copies of Mr. [Gouverneur] Morris's Oration on the Death of General Washington and I pray you to present my Thanks to the Common Council for this obliging Mark of their attention. I had before read with much pleasure this Oration and found it distinguished, among the multitude of Productions on this melancholy occasion which I have read, for its Judgement and Candor as well as its elegance and Pathos...."
The death of General Washington, on 14 December 1799 "called forth a spectacle of universal grief which was remarkable in its magnitude even by modern standards," and Gouverneur Morris, a dedicated Federalist, was "among the more prominent speakers" who delivered eulogies on the occasion (J.A. Carroll & M.W. Ashworth, First in Peace, pp.651-652). President Adams was first informed of Washington's death in a letter from Tobias Lear, Washington's secretary, which he accordingly transmitted to Congress, explaining that "it has pleased divine Providence to remove from this life our excellent fellow-citizen, George Washington, by the purity of his character and a long series of services to his country rendered illustrious through the world."