A Congressman’s Prayer

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This poem was not written for publication or to impress the constituents of the author, nor are these empty phrases. The gentleman from the Plymouth District of Massachusetts belonged to no party and meant every word he said. Placing duty before self, national interests before local, and justice before all, he served in the House through the long years between 1831 and 1848, when, at eighty, he died in honor at his post. No ordinary legislator, he had already been minister to Russia and the Court of St. James, professor of rhetoric and oratory at Harvard, secretary of state, and President of the United States. Who knows whether Congress will see the like again of such a poem or such a man as John Quincy Adams?