Election Eve, 1800
PRESIDENT JOHN ADAMS awakened early on the soot-black morning of October 13, 1800. He dressed hurriedly, not only to fight off the lancing autumn chill that penetrated Peacefield, his home in Quincy, Massachusetts, just south of Boston, but because he was to depart that morning for the nation's capital. His vacation was at an end, fourteen marvelous weeks of seclusion from treacherous politicians and political chicanery, detached even from the presidential election of 1800, though he was a candidate in that contest.
During the languid summer Adams had managed his little farm, a few indifferent acres that splayed out from the house, where grains were grown and four or five dairy cows and weary horses pastured. On occasion he worked alongside the hired hands, and he enjoyed daily hikes of three or four miles, but he spent most of each day in his dark study, where he read and reflected. Adams devoted as much time as was necessary to the presidency, reading every report sent to Quincy, but, truth be told, there was not much to do that summer and fall, as Congress was not in session and the members of his cabinet were in the capital tending to their respective departments.
Adams' mood that morning was bittersweet. He was delighted that his wife, Abigail, who planned to follow a few days later, would remain at his side in the capital until he returned to Quincy, whether in March,