Chapter 5: the Knickerbocker group
The Fourth of July orator for 1826 in Cambridge, Massachusetts
, was Edward Everett
Although only thirty-two he was already a distinguished speaker.
In the course of his oration he apostrophized John Adams
and Thomas Jefferson
as venerable survivors of that momentous day, fifty years earlier, which had witnessed our Declaration of Independence
But even as Everett
was speaking, the aged author of the Declaration breathed his last at Monticello
, and in the afternoon of that same day Adams
died also, murmuring, it is said, with his latest breath, and as if with the whimsical obstinacy of an old man who hated to be beaten by his ancient rival, “Thomas Jefferson
was already gone.
On the first of August, Everett
commemorated the career of the two Revolutionary leaders, and on the following day a greater than Everett