Adams Papers

John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 26 May 1794

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Philadelphia May 26. 1794

My dear son

Since, I wrote you this morning, at the request of Mr Randolph a thousand things occur to me to say to you, but as I have not time at present I shall write you from day to day.

You will have a Collection to make of the Journals of Congress and the Laws of the Union; and all the Reports of our Ministers of State to take with you.

You must remember all the Relations of the U. S. with all foreign Nations.

In holland you must be very cautious between Patriots and Stathouderiens.1

In your Dispatches you must be very cautious and delicate in casting Reflections upon Nations, souvereigns, and even Courts and Parties. Write nothing which can give personal, party or national offence: unless the public good as well as the Truth, absolutely demand it of you.— You will have Loans & Money Matters to attend to. Study therefore, the Calculations necessary.

You must make yourself Master of all our disputes with England Spain, France. &c

You must Study the Lines & Boundaries of the United States.— You will have to watch the English Ambassador & all the Anglomanes. But I have not time.


J. A.

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Q. A.”

1The people of the Netherlands had long been divided loosely into two political parties: the Patriot Party and the Orangist, or Stadholder, Party. Although there were many divisions within each of these broad groups, the Patriots generally favored political reform, including the abolition of the hereditary position of stadholder, while the Orangists supported retaining the existing government and the rule of the stadholder (currently William V of the House of Orange). In 1786–1787, revolution in the Netherlands had led to the temporary expulsion of William V and the arrest of his wife, Wilhelmina, but an invasion by the Prussian Army restored the stadholder and overthrew the Patriot leaders, who were pushed into exile in France. By 1794, the French Army was prepared to invade the Netherlands, and by 1795, Patriots, in conjunction with the French, had formally established the Batavian Republic as a client state of the French Republic and permanently exiled William V (Schama, Patriots and Liberators, description begins Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813, New York, 1977. description ends p. xix, 14–15). See also TBA to JA, 19 Oct., and note 2, below.

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