Adams Papers

From John Adams to Josiah Quincy Jr., 18 September 1774

To Josiah Quincy Jr.

Philadelphia Septr. 18. 1774

Dr Sir

I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your kind Letter,1 and to thank you for it, and then Seal my Letter.

Business, Ceremony, Visits and a thousand &cas. take up my Time so entirely that I can scarce find half enough for Sleep.

I have Spoken to several Gentlemen concerning you and Shall to more. I wish you a prosperous Voyage and much of the exalted Pleasure of serving your Country.2

You are surrounded with active scenes in our Province at Present: We are not idle here. But how long it will be before the World will know our Meditations I cant Say.

Our Country is in the Post of Honour, and of Danger and she behaves in Character. The Congress is sensible of it, and will Act in Character too, I hope and believe.


John Adams

RC (MHi:Quincy Papers); addressed: “To Josiah Quincy Jun Esq Boston favd. by Mr Revere”; docketed: “John Adams’s Lr: Sept 18 1774 Phila.”

1Not found.

2On 28 Sept. 1774 Quincy sailed from Salem on a secret political mission to England that he had been persuaded to take by the whig leadership in Massachusetts. Gen. Gage, in a letter to Lord Dartmouth on 25 Sept. referring to the transmission of dispatches, remarked, “I understand that a Person whose Name is kept secret, goes on the same Vessell, and that there is something misterious concerning the Object of his Voyage” (Gage, Corr. description begins The Correspondence of General Thomas Gage with the Secretaries of State, 1763–1775, ed. Clarence E. Carter, New Haven, 1931–1933; 2 vols. description ends , 1:375). Seeing himself as the American minister, Quincy sought to gain information and, if possible, repeal of the Intolerable Acts. In the process he obtained interviews with Lord North, Lord Dartmouth, and various English whigs, but in the end he came to see conflict as inevitable. Carrying information of such importance that it could not be entrusted to the mails, he sailed for home, but died on 25 April, outside Gloucester Harbor, before he could communicate his intelligence (Josiah Quincy, Josiah Quincy, Jr., Boston, 1825, p. 176–352; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– . description ends , 15:479–491).

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