There’s Swearing, and Then There’s Swearing….

John Quincy Adams / sketch'd by Arthur J. Stansbury Esqr. a few hours previous to the death of Mr. Adams


The Charge of “Bargain and Sale,” — The Maysville, Kentucky Eagle says: — Mr. Adams, in his address in the Presbyterian church of Maysville, in responding to the declaration of Gen. Collins, “that he, (Mr. Adams,) had placed Kentucky under deep and lasting obligations to him for his noble defence of her great statesman, in his letter to the Whigs of New Jersey,” replied, as follows:

“I thank you, sir, for the opportunity you have given me of speaking of the great Statesman who was associated with me in the administration of the General Government, at my earnest solicitation; who belongs not to Kentucky alone, but to the whole Union; and is not only an honor to this state and this nation, but to mankind. The charges to which you refer, I have, after my term of service had expired, and it was proper for me to speak, denied before the whole country; and I here reiterate and reaffirm that denial; and as I expect shortly to appear before my God, to answer for the conduct of my whole life, should these charges have found their way to the Throne of Eternal Justice, I WILL, IN THE PRESENCE OF OMNIPOTENCE PRONOUNCE THEM FALSE.”

This solemn declaration of the venerable man, who must in the course of nature, soon appear before the Judge of all, needs no comment.


“Bargain and Sale” was this:  in 1824 when Clay was in the US House of Representatives, the race between Andrew Jackson and John Quincy Adams did not produce a clear electoral victory for either, and the matter went to the House.  There, Clay backed Adams, with an alleged quid-pro-quo of an appointment to the cabinet.   Adams won in the House,  Clay was named Secretary of State, and the cry of “Bargain and Sale!” was heard from Clay’s detractors.  Eventually the matter led to a duel between Henry Clay and Virginia Congressman John Randolph (neither was injured).

Tomorrow: Whig Battle Cry

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