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Item 31 - John Quincy Adams Catalog 591 (Sep 2020)

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Signed booklet: An Eulogy on the Life and Character of James Monroe, fifth president of the United States, delivered at the request of the Corporation of the City of Boston on the 25th of August, 1831. Boston: J. H. Eastburn, 1831. Booklet bound in cream paper wrappers, 6.25 x 9.75, 100 pages. Signed and inscribed on the half-title page in ink, "Judge Smith Thompson, With the Respects of J. Q. Adams." Autographic condition: very good to fine, with scattered light staining and a central vertical fold to the signed page. Book condition: VG-/None, with scattered creasing and mottled foxing throughout. Accompanied by a modern cloth presentation folder.

The recipient of this volume, Judge Smith Thompson, had been nominated to the US Supreme Court by President Monroe in 1823, and he served there as an associate justice until his own death twenty years later. During his time on the nation's highest bench, he established himself as a staunch opponent of Chief Justice John Marshall. Thompson was the only Supreme Court appointment made by President Monroe during his eight years in office.

Adams knew Monroe very well—he served as his only Secretary of State, then succeeded him as president—and regarded him as a close friend and political ally. Eloquently sketching Monroe's life and good work in public service, Adams closes with a stirring tribute: 'And should the gloom of the year of Independence ever again overspread the sky, or the metropolis of your empire be once more destined to smart under the scourge of an invader's hand, that there never may be found wanting among the children of your country a warrior to bleed, a statesman to counsel, a chief to direct and govern, inspired with all the virtues, and endowed with all the faculties, which have been so signally displayed in the life of James Monroe.' As a booklet connecting Adams to his predecessor, inscribed to Monroe's only Supreme Court nominee, this is an exemplary piece of American history.

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