29 March 1841
adams-john10 Neal Millikan Amistad Slave Trade
292 Washington Monday 29. March 1841. Fire

29. IV:30. Monday

Munroe E

Rain the greater part of the last night, and of this day, with a chilling east wind requiring a small fire in my chamber, just enough to be kept burning— Mr. Munroe was a stranger from Boston, who brought a parcel for Elizabeth. I completed the assortment and filing of my Letters received since the beginning of this year, and find myself with a task before me perfectly appalling— I am yet to revise for publication my argument in the case of the Amistad Africans, and in merely glancing over the Parliamentary Slave-trade papers lent me by Mr Fox, I find impulses of duty upon my own conscience, which I cannot resist, while on the other hand, the magnitude, the danger, the insurmountable burden of labour to be encountered in the undertaking to touch upon the Slave-trade— No one else will undertake it— No one but a Spirit unconquerable by Man Woman or Fiend, can undertake it, but with the heart of Martyrdom— The world, the flesh, and all the devils in hell are arrayed against any man, who now, in this North-American Union, shall dare to join the standard of Almighty God, to put down the African Slave-trade—and what can I, upon the verge of my seventy-fourth birth-day, with a shaking hand, a darkening eye, a drowsy brain, and with all my faculties, dropping from me, one by one, as the teeth are dropping from my head, one by one, what can I do for the cause of God and Man? for the progress of human emancipation? for the suppression of the African Slave-trade?— Yet my conscience presses me on—let me but die upon the breach— I walked about half an hour for exercise before dinner, and called at the house of Mr S. H. Fox the British Minister, to have some conversation with him— It was 2. O’Clock P.M. The Servant at the door told me that he was not up, and that he was unwell. I enquired at what time he was usually visible—he said between 3. and 4. I had heard that his usual hour of rising was 3. In my second walk after dinner I met Mr Jesse D. Miller, first Auditor of the Treasury; from which Office it is said he is to retire at the close of the present month and quarter.— This evening I answered an old and repeated invitation to deliver a Lecture at Richmond Virginia; and postponed answering the Letters received last Evening from the Amistad Committee, and from Lewis Tappan— I read judge Betts’s opinion upon the 14th. Section of the Tariff-Act of July 1832—and the reversal of his decision by judge Thompson— And I made several minutes from the Parliamentary Slave trade papers Class A. 1839–40. shewing the enormous extent to which that trade was in those and the two preceding years, carried on in American vessels under the patronage of N. P. Trist.