Travels Through North America, during the years 1825 and 1826

By His Highness,
Bernhard, Duke of Saxe-Weimar Eisenach

His excellency, John Quincy Adams, President of the United States, had just returned from a visit to his aged and venerable father near Boston, and took the room next to mine in the Mansion house. He had been invited to the Wistar Party on the 22d of October, at the house of Colonel Biddle, and accepted the invitation to the gratification of all the members. I also visited the party. The President is a man about sixty years old, of rather short stature, with a bald head, and of a very plain and worthy appearance. He speaks little, but what he does speak is to the purpose. I must confess that I seldom in my life felt so true and sincere a reverence as at the moment when this honorable gentleman whom eleven millions of people have thought worthy to elect as their chief magistrate, shook hands with me. He made many inquiries after his friends at Ghent, and particularly after the family of Mr. Meulemeester. Unfortunately I could not long converse with him, because every member of the party had greater claims than myself. At the same time I made several other new and interesting acquaintances, among others with a Quaker, Mr. Wood, who had undertaken a tour through England, France, Germany, Denmark, Sweden and Russia, mostly with the philanthropic view of examining the prison discipline of those countries. I was much gratified with his instructive conversation, although I had some controversy with him on the prison discipline, as he heard that I did not agree with his views relative to the new penitentiary, of which he was one of the most active promoters. Mr. Livingston, who has effected the abolition of capital punishment in the state of Louisiana, was here lauded to the skies by the philanthropists. God send it success!

On the following day I paid my respects to the President, and gave him the medals which Mr. Cornelissen at Ghent had confided to my care. One silver medal was from the Botanic Society of Ghent, with an appropriate inscription for the President; the other a bronze medal, which had been struck in the year 1823, in honor of the Haerlem jubilee on the discovery of the art of printing; both were sunk by the skillful artist Mr. Braemt, at Brussels. In the evening I saw the President again, who honored with his presence a party at Mr. Walsh's. I had first the intention of leaving here today with the steamboat for Baltimore, but the arrival of the President changed my resolution, as I wished to attend with him the anniversary, which was to be celebrated on the 24th of October, and then to travel in his company to Baltimore.



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