John Quincy Adams to John Adams
London1May 18th. 1784
I have only time to write a few lines for the present as the Post is about to depart. On Saturday the 15th. instant I sailed in the Packet Boat from Hellevoetsluys,2 and had another, long tedious voyage, tho’ the weather was so fine as to compensate for it in some measure. I arrived yesterday in the afternoon at Harwich, from which place I came in the Stage Coach here. The Adelphi Hotel, being full, I took my lodging for the present in the Imperial Hotel, Suffolk Street, but I believe, the surest way is to address your Letters to Mr. Johnson,3 or some other house, if you please, as I shall probably stay here but a day or two.
Mr. Fox has at length carried the election for Westminster by a majority of 235. Votes, and all the City was illuminated last evening. But Sir Cecil hopes still, to get the better by the verification of the Votes.4 Parliament met this day for the first Time.
With my best Respects to Mr. Dumas and Family, I am Your Dutiful Son.
J. Q. Adams
RC (Adams Papers).
1. JA had sent JQA to London to meet AA and AA2, whom he expected to arrive from Boston on Capt. Callihan’s vessel (see JQA to JA, 1 June, below). Why JA expected AA’s arrival with Callihan, however, is far from clear.
None of AA’s letters to JA, written between November 1783 and February 1784 (all above), said anything more explicit about her departure than that she was “putting all our affairs in such a train as that I may be able to leave them in the spring” (3 Jan.), and that she expected to sail for England rather than Holland (11 Feb.). On 13 March, Isaac Smith Sr. wrote JA that Callihan was planning to sail to England in April if he could get a ship ready, and that if Callihan should “get a good Vessell, [I] should Advise Mrs. Adams to go with him” (Adams Papers). On 15 March, however, AA wrote to JA, above, by the same vessel, sailing for Lisbon, that her friend Mr. Jones planned to have a ship ready to sail “the latter end of May,” and she thought it likely that she would embark on it. JA received AA’s letters through January on 5 May (see AA to JA, 15 Dec. 1783, descriptive note); it is not known when he received her February and March letters, or Smith’s March letter. Finally, AA’s 12 April letter to JA, above, went to England with Callihan, reaching London about 1 June (JQA to JA, 1 June, below). No other letters from America which stated that Callihan’s ship might take AA to England are known to the editors.
None of this correspondence throws much light on JA’s apparent failure to write AA any letters between that of 25 Jan., above, and 3 July, below; but see his own explanation in JA to JQA, 6 June, below.
2. Hellevoetsluis was a small Dutch port about twenty miles south of The Hague.
3. Joshua Johnson, JQA’s future father-in-law, who had returned to London with his family from Nantes, where JA and JQA had visited them in April 1779. The Johnsons lived in Cooper’s Row, Great Tower Hill, when JA and JQA visited them in the fall of 1783 (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:299, and note 1, 357, 3:363; 149; JQA, Diary description begins Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981-. description ends , 1:203).
4. On 17 May, Charles James Fox, leader of the opposition in the Commons to prime minister William Pitt the younger, who had the enthusiastic backing of George III, defeated the Pittite Sir Cecil Wray, 6126 to 5895, very close to the margin JQA gives here. Wray and his allies contested this election for nearly a year, but Fox was declared the victor in March 1785. In the intervening months, Fox sat in Commons for the tiny borough of Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands, one of the Tain (Northern) Burghs. (Namier and Brooke, House of Commons description begins The House of Commons, 1754–1790, ed. Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, London, 1964; 3 vols. description ends , 1:336–337, 510–511; 2:455.)