FIRST EDITION OF JOHN QUINCY ADAMS’ ORATION ON LAFAYETTE, 1835, PRESENTATION COPY INSCRIBED BY ADAMS
ADAMS, John Quincy. Oration on the Life and Character of Gilbert Motier de Lafayette. Washington: Gales and Seaton, 1835. Slim octavo, original full red straight-grain morocco gilt rebacked. $16,500.
First edition of Adams’ stirring Oration honoring Lafayette following his death at the age of 78, delivered by Adams before Congress on December 31, 1834, inscribed on tipped-in leaf (as always), “Thomas K. Davis from John Quincy Adams.” In the original presentation binding boards.
John Quincy Adams, America's sixth president and secretary of state under Monroe, was a longtime friend of General Lafayette, having spent time at his estate near Paris while Adams was engaged in diplomatic duties. Later, as Monroe's secretary of state and shortly before his election to the presidency, Adams arranged to bring Lafayette to America in mid-1824 to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American Revolution. Following his triumphant national tour, Lafayette stayed with President Adams in the White House before departing for France in the fall of 1825. At Lafayette's death in 1834, Adams, then in the House of Representatives, delivered this Oration to commemorate Lafayette who, in Adams' words, "devoted himself, his life, his fortune, his hereditary honors, his towering ambition, his splendid hopes— all to the cause of liberty… He became one of the most effective champions of our Independence." Sabin 295. Cronin & Wise 157. The inscription to Benjamin Gorham is on a tipped-in leaf, as always for presentation copies from Adams. The recipient, Thomas K. Davis, was an 1827 graduate of Harvard whose father was a close friend of Adams'. Davis himself is mentioned several times in the diaries of John Quincy Adams' son, Charles Francis Adams. With bookplate and blindstamp of Radcliffe college, with with "discarded" stamps to bookplate and evidence of library pocket removal from rear pastedown.
Interior generally fine, only light wear and circular mark to handsome morocco boards. Very desirable inscribed by Adams.