American Minute with Bill Federer
FEB. 21 – JQA & the Bible
A bronze marker on the U.S. House floor indicates where Adams’ desk once stood.
John Quincy Adams was the only U.S President to serve in Congress after having been President.
African slaves were purchased at Muslim slave markets and brought to the Americas.
The annotated John Quincy Adams-A Bibliography, compiled by Lynn H. Parsons (Westport, CT, 1993, p. 41, entry#194), contains “Unsigned essays dealing with the Russo-Turkish War and on Greece,” (The American Annual Register for 1827-28-29 (NY: 1830):
“The natural hatred of the Mussulmen towards the infidels is in just accordance with the precepts of the Koran…
The fundamental doctrine of the Christian religion is the extirpation of hatred from the human heart. It forbids the exercise of it, even towards enemies…
In the 7th century of the Christian era, a wandering Arab…spread desolation and delusion over an extensive portion of the earth…
He declared undistinguishing and exterminating war as a part of his religion…The essence of his doctrine was violence and lust, to exalt the brutal over the spiritual part of human nature.”
On September 26, 1810, John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary:
“I have made it a practice for several years to read the Bible through in the course of every year. I usually devote to this reading the first hour after I rise every morning…
I have this morning commenced it anew…this time with Ostervald’s French translation.”
In September of 1811, John Quincy Adams wrote to his son from St. Petersburg, Russia:
“My dear Son…You mentioned that you read to your aunt a chapter in the Bible or a section of Doddridge’s Annotations every evening. This information gave me real pleasure; for so great is my veneration for the Bible…
It is of all books in the world, that which contributes most to make men good, wise, and happy… My custom is, to read four to five chapters every morning immediately after rising from my bed…
It is essential, my son…that you should form and adopt certain rules…of your own conduct… It is in the Bible, you must learn them…
‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength, and thy neighbor as thy self.’ On these two commandments, Jesus Christ expressly says, ‘hang all the law and the prophets’.”
John Quincy Adams’ correspondence to his son is compiled in Letters of John Quincy Adams to his son, on the Bible and its Teachings, which contains his statement:
“No book in the world deserves to be so unceasingly studied, and so profoundly meditated upon asthe Bible.”
On March 13, 1812, John Quincy Adams noted:
“This morning I finished the perusal of the German Bible.”
“You ask me what Bible I take as the standard of my faith – the Hebrew, the Samaritan, the old English translation, or what? I answer, the Bible containing the Sermon on the Mount…
The New Testament I have repeatedly read in the original Greek, in the Latin, in the Geneva Protestant, in Sacy’s Catholic French translations, in Luther’s German translation, in the common English Protestant, and in the Douay Catholic translations.
I take any one of them for my standard of faith.”
On December 31, 1825, John Quincy Adams wrote in his diary:
“I rise usually between five and six…I walk by the light of the moon or stars, or none, about four miles, usually returning home…I then make my fire, and read three chapters of the Bible.”
Poet Ralph Waldo Emerson wrote concerning John Quincy Adams:
“No man could read the Bible with such powerful effect, even with the cracked and winded voice of old age.”
John Quincy Adams wrote:
“I speak as a man of the world to men of the world; and I say to you, Search the Scriptures! The Bible is the book of all others…not to be read once or twice or thrice through, and then laid aside, but to be read in small portions of one or two chapters every day.”
At the age of 77, John Quincy Adams was vice-president of the American Bible Society, where he stated, February 27, 1844:
The Bible carries with it the history of the creation, the fall and redemption of man, and discloses to him, in the infant born at Bethlehem, the Legislator and Saviour of the world.”
Get the book, Prayers and Presidents
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American Minute with Bill Federer
Spain conquered the New World in the early 1500’s and set up a system called encomienda or repartimiento, which was similar to feudal France’s Corvée “unfree labour.”
Slavery in Cuba began earlier and lasted longer than anywhere else in the Americas.
When indigenous Indians died from harsh treatment and lack of immunity to diseases, Spain replaced them with Africans bought from Muslim slave markets.
Priests like Bartolomé de las Casas, Franciscan Friars, Papal Bulls, and Christian missionaries, such as the Moravians, were a voice of conscience against slavery, but Colonial governments largely ignored them.
A notorious trade triangle developed with Havana, Cuba, at its center: SLAVES from Africa to SUGAR from the Caribbean to RUM in England.
Importation of slaves to the United States ended in 1807, but in 1839, an international incident occurred.
A Portuguese ship from Sierra Leone sold 53 slaves to Spanish Planters on the Cuban shipAmistad.
On July 1, 1839, the Africans seized the ship and demanded to be sailed back to Africa.
Instead, the captain misdirected the ship to Long Island, NY, where the slaves were arrested.
The Amistad Case went to the Supreme Court, with 74-year-old former President, John Quincy Adams, defending the Africans.
Adams stated, “By the blessing of God, I will argue the case before the Supreme Court,” and writing in his journal, October 1840:
“I implore the mercy of God to control my temper, to enlighten my soul, and to give me utterance, that I may prove myself in every respect equal to the task.”
Francis Scott Key offered Adams advice. Adams shook hands with Africans Cinque and Grabeau, saying: “God willing, we will make you free.”
Wining the case, JQA, known as “Old Man Eloquent,” had argued:
“The moment you come to the Declaration of Independence, that every man has a right to life and liberty, an inalienable right, this case is decided. I ask nothing more in behalf of these unfortunate men than this Declaration.”
In Cuba, a Creole farmer began a revolt in 1868 for racial equality, freedom of speech and freedom of association.
Spain killed thousands putting it down in the Ten Years War.
A Royal decree finally ended slavery in Cuba in 1886.
In 1895, another rebellion began and Spain sent 200,000 soldiers to Cuba.
Tens of thousands were put into concentration camps where they suffered from starvation, disease and exposure.
Yellow Press journalism excited the American public, who demanded President William McKinley intervene.
The U.S.S. Maine was sent to Havana, and on FEBRUARY 15, 1898, it blew up in the harbor under suspicious conditions, beginning the Spanish-American War.
President McKinley approved the Resolution of Congress:
“Whereas the abhorrent conditions which have existed for more than three years in the island of Cuba, so near our own borders, have shocked the moral sense of the people of the United States, have been a disgrace to Christian civilization,
culminating, as they have, in the destruction of a United States battle ship, with 266 of its officers and crew, while on a friendly visit in the harbor of Havana, and cannot longer be endured…
Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives…that the people of the island of Cuba are and of right ought to be free.”
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