On this day in 1840, former President John Quincy Adams begins to argue the Amistad case before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Here is a portion of that argument:
“I know of no law, but one which I am not at liberty to argue before this Court, no law, statute or constitution, no code, no treaty, applicable to the proceedings of the Executive or the Judiciary, except that law, (pointing to the copy of the Declaration of Independence, hanging against one of the pillars of the court-room) that law, two copies of which are ever before the eyes of your Honors. I know of no other law that reaches the case of my clients, but the law of Nature and of Nature’s God on which our fathers placed our own national existence. The circumstances are so peculiar, that no code or treaty has provided for such a case. That law, in its application to my clients, I trust will be the law on which the case will be decided by this Court.”
“We will pray…”
This is an excerpt from a “thank you” letter to Mr. Adams from the Amistad rebels:
“We love you very much & we will pray for you when we rise up in the morning & when we lie down at night. We hope the Lord will love you very much & take you up to heaven when you die. We pray for all the good people who make us free. Wicked people want to make us slaves but the great God who has made all things raise up friends for Mendi people he give us Mr. Adams that he may make me free & all Mendi people free.”