John Quincy Adams to John Adams
London June 1st. 1784
Yesterday I received your favour by Dr. Parker, and was very glad to find you pleased with your situation, tho’ I was myself in pretty low Spirits. I have been continually endeavouring to get acquainted with some person who would introduce me into the House of Commons, and have not as yet succeeded; on the other hand, Callihan is arrived; has had a delightful passage, but in lieu of our ladies, has only brought some letters which you will receive by Mr. Bingham1 who leaves this Place, next Friday. So that I have not been able as yet to put in execution the two principal Reasons, for which you sent me here. It gives me real pain, to find that I am so unsuccessful an Ambassador. Still I hope to do something. I shall however wait for your orders to determine upon what I have to do. The Letter unsealed, in the Packet Mr. B[ingham] will deliver you is from Mr. Higginson to Mr. Jackson—or rather, extracts from such a Letter.2 Mr. Jackson desired me to Copy those extracts, as he supposed they would be interesting to you. The seal upon the Packet, is that of the Quincy arms,3 and is a good impression, tho the middle part is not quite plain. Mr. Jackson thinks these details are ne[cessary?].
The Cincinnati seem to be very much disliked, [on the?] other side the Atlantic; several States have shown [their?] disapprobation of them and it is supposed the order w[ill] soon be entirely annihilated.
The House of Representatives of our State have taken some Resolutions upon the Subject, which are I think quite noble. But perhaps you have seen them.4
Mr. Jay is at Dover, or has sailed from thence within these few days, Mr. Laurens went down to see him last Saturday, and I believe, returned yesterday tho’ I have not seen him, since then. He intends sailing himself within a fortnight for Boston. Mr. Chace,5 and Mr. Gorham are both here still.
With Respects to Mr. Dumas and family, Your dutiful Son.
J. Q. Adams
The enclosed letters were brought by Mr. W. Warren, who came with Captn. Callihan; the cover of the large one, you will find torn; I intended to open it supposing there might be letters in it for me; but before I had opened it I was told the hand writing and the seal were Mr. Daltons:7 I therefore left it as it was, and hope you will receive it so.
Your dutiful Son.
J. Q. Adams
RC (Adams Papers). addressed: “à Son Excellence Monsieur J. Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire Des Etats Unis de l’Amerique Hollande à La Haye”; endorsed: “John 1. June 1784.” Some damage to the text where the seal was removed.
1. These letters included AA to JA, 12 April, above, carried on Capt. Callihan’s ship by Winslow Warren (see the postscript). Warren also carried AA to JQA, 25 April, above. William Bingham, a wealthy banker and land speculator from Philadelphia, had served as American agent in Martinique, and had corresponded with the American commissioners in 1778. In 1784–1785, he and his wife, Ann Willing Bingham, became well acquainted with the Adamses while traveling in Europe. See JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:149; JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint (from vol. 6), and others, Cambridge, 1977-. description ends , 6:37; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends .
2. The extracts in JQA’s hand are dated April and 4 May 1784, and are under those dates in the Adams Papers. The extracts for April, printed in part in Amer. Hist. Assoc., Annual Report for 1896, 1:713–719, speculate on the effect on trade if Britain were to repeal its Navigation Acts. In this letter Higginson also asserted that if Franklin alone were to represent the United States, without the restraining influence of JA and John Jay, or any other person, France would quickly determine the character of Anglo-American commercial relations. The May letter deals at some length with French influence in Congress and its harmful effects. Jackson referred to these extracts in a 7 June letter to JA (Adams Papers). Stephen Higginson and Jonathan Jackson, both former congressmen from Massachusetts, were business partners (Benjamin W. Labaree, Patriots and Partisans: The Merchants of Newburyport, 1764–1815, Cambridge, 1962, p. 62).
3. Presumably the arms of Roger de Quincy, second earl of Winchester (1195–1264), from whom the American Quincys believed they were descended. Roger’s father, Saer de Quincy, first earl of Winchester, was one of the twenty-five barons chosen to compel King John’s observance of Magna Carta. In 1787, while traveling through the south of England, AA became greatly interested in the tradition that she was descended from the thirteenth-century Quincys. And in 1831, JQA incorporated the Quincy coat of arms in an elaborate book-plate that drew together armorial devices from several of the families from which he was descended (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1900; 63 vols. plus supplements. description ends ; JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:204; Henry Adams, “The Seals and Book-Plates of the Adams Family, 1783–1905,” in Catalogue of JQA’s Books description begins Worthington C. Ford, ed., A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athenaeum. With Notes on Books, Adams Seals and Book–Plates, by Henry Adams, Boston, 1938. description ends , p. 135–148, esp. 144, and illustrations opposite p. 142, 146 [Quincy arms in the lower left quadrant of the shield]).
4. All that the journals of the House and Senate record is the naming of a joint committee to consider how “to prevent the ill consequences of any combinations . . . to promote undue distinctions among the citizens of this free State and tending to establish an hereditary nobility.” Soon thereafter, a new joint committee was created to inquire into details and report back (Records of the States, Microfilm, Mass. A. 1b, Reel No. 11, Unit 1, p. 389, 16 Feb.; p. 420, 26 Feb.). But a condemnation of the Cincinnati attributed to the legislature was published (see John Thaxter to JA, 19 Jan., Adams Papers).
5. The State of Maryland had sent Samuel Chase, a former congressman and a friend of JA’s from 1774, to England to try to recover the state’s stock in the Bank of England, which two loyalists had carried off with them (DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends ).
6. The following note is written on a separate sheet.
7. Tristram Dalton to JA, 6 April (Adams Papers).