John Adams to John Quincy Adams
Philadelphia Decr. 12. 1795
My Dear Son
By your old Acquaintance Mr Hall, who is bound to Europe I shall Send you Some Newspapers, which will give you a general View of the Complexion of our Public Affairs. Upon Meeting and conversing with the Members of Congress I find that although there will be Noise there will be no Serious Evil this session. The Treaty if it comes back ratified by the K of G. B. will be Supported and executed without any difficulty.
Your old Friend real or pretended, Randolph is under a dark Cloud and his Behaviour Under it increases its blackness and thickness. I think his Business is done.
The Senate have now a Gallery and Yesterday for the first time, the Debates were overlooked by a crouded Audience. The Senators who voted against the Treaty persevere as well as those who voted in its favour. Bache has published this morning Minutes of the Speeches of the Cons but has omitted those of the Pros.1 This proceeding has less Reciprocity than the Treaty. The Voice of the People So much vaunted by the Ten is not in Reality in their favour. A great Majority will Support Government and the twenty.
The Conduct however of Some of our old Men, such as Rutledge, McKean S. Adams Warren &c has been not only illegal and unconstitutional but indiscreet in a high degree.2
I am anxious to hear from you in England, as the President informs me he has directed you to go there. I hope you have not flinched.— I can give you no Advice but to Act as you have done with Reserve, Caution discretion, Rectitude & Impartiality.
My Love to your Brother Thomas and believe / me to be your Affectionate Father
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “John Quincy Adams Esqr.” Tr (Adams Papers).
1. The Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser, 12 Dec., published portions of the Senate’s debate on its response to George Washington’s address, for which see JA to CA, 13 Dec., and note 2, below. The article included the text of Stevens Thomson Mason’s motion and speeches by Rufus King and Pierce Butler, but it excluded comments by Jacob Read, Oliver Ellsworth, and Henry Tazewell. Butler and Tazewell supported Mason’s motion; King, Read, and Ellsworth opposed it (Annals of Congress, description begins The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States [1789–1824], Washington, D.C., 1834–1856; 42 vols. description ends 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 15–23).
2. John Rutledge, Thomas McKean, and Samuel Adams had all expressed their opposition to the Jay Treaty in various ways. For Rutledge, see AA to JQA, 29 Nov., and note 6, above. Thomas McKean was part of a committee representing “the Citizens of Philadelphia” that submitted a memorial to Washington in July condemning the treaty and encouraging him to refuse to ratify it, suggesting that such a decision would “advance the prosperity and happiness of your constituents.” Samuel Adams had failed to suppress anti-treaty riots in Boston and would later speak publicly to the Mass. General Court of his opposition to the treaty, for which see AA to JA, 21 Jan. , and note 3, below. James Warren, while not in public office, also likely opposed the treaty, given his earlier support for the French Revolution and his opposition to the United States’ developing too close ties with any European country (Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 28 July 1795; Mark Puls, Samuel Adams: Father of the American Revolution, N.Y., 2006, p. 226–227; Sibley’s Harvard Graduates, description begins John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– . description ends 11:604).