At 5 A.M. on in intensely hot summer day, President John Quincy Adams left the White House by stagecoach for Quincy, Massachusetts. It was July 9, 1826, just two days short of his fifty-ninth birthday. He had been up the night before "in anxiety and apprehension, until near midnight." The heat made him miserable. Candlelight attracted insects. There were no screens. The day before, he had gotten three letters from Quincy with the news that his ninety-one-year-old father, the second president of the United States, was on his deathbed. John Quincy had "flattered" himself that his father "would survive this summer, and even other years." A rider was on his way from Baltimore to tell him he was wrong.
-Fred Kaplan, John Quincy Adams: American Visionary