In closing this communication I trust that it will not be deemed inappropriate to the occasion and purposes upon which we are here assembled to indulge a momentary retrospect, combining in a single glance the period of our origin as a national confederation with that of our present existence, at the precise interval of half a century from each other. Since your last meeting at this place the 50th anniversary of the day when our independence was declared has been celebrated throughout our land, and on that day, while every heart was bounding with joy and every voice was tuned to gratulation, amid the blessings of freedom and independence which the sires of a former age had handed down to their children, two of the principal actors in that solemn scene—the hand that penned the ever memorable Declaration and the voice that sustained it in debate—were by one summons, at the distance of 700 miles from each other, called before the Judge of All to account for their deeds done upon earth. They departed cheered by the benedictions of their country, to whom they left the inheritance of their fame and the memory of their bright example.
If we turn our thoughts to the condition of their country, in the contrast of the first and last day of that half century, how resplendent and sublime is the transition from gloom to glory! Then, glancing through the same lapse of time, in the condition of the individuals we see the first day marked with the fullness and vigor of youth, in the pledge of their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor to the cause of freedom and of man-kind; and on the last, extended on the bed of death, with but sense and sensibility left to breathe a last aspiration to Heaven of blessing upon their country, may we not humbly hope that to them too it was a pledge of transition from gloom to glory, and that while their mortal vestments were sinking into the clod of the valley their emancipated spirits were ascending to the bosom of their God!
JOHN QUINCY ADAMS
State of the Union Address
John Quincy Adams
December 4, 1827
Fellow Citizens of the Senate and of the House of Representatives:
A revolution of the seasons has nearly been completed since the representatives of the people and States of this Union were last assembled at this place to deliberate and to act upon the common important interests of their constituents. In that interval the never slumbering eye of a wise and beneficent Providence has continued its guardian care over the welfare of our beloved country; the blessing of health has continued generally to prevail throughout the land; the blessing of peace with our brethren of the human race has been enjoyed without interruption; internal quiet has left our fellow citizens in the full enjoyment of all their rights and in the free exercise of all their faculties, to pursue the impulse of their nature and the obligation