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John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams, 21 April 1797

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

The Hague April 21. 1797. 2 Floréal an 5.

My dear Brother.

For I suppose you must have an explanation to keep you current with the vieux stile, now-a-days.— I have received your pleasant account from Brussels of your travels thus far. Continue to write me as often as you can, and sur tout return as speedily as possible.

I have read something in Adam Smith about the wonders performed by division of labour. I know very well the effects of its multiplication, for the moment you went away, it took me as usual au depourvu, and I am so overloaded with it, that I finish by doing little or nothing.

The Decree or arrête against our passports was a new one, as you will find. Mr: Cutting and his friends are prevented by it from going to Paris, very much to their disappointment.1

General Pinckney and his family are here.2 Mr: Rutgers was here too this morning and is gone on to Amsterdam. Capt Mackay gave me no opportunity to reject the offer you mentioned; he expected to find you here, and will write you.

I have since your departure, received letters from Mr: Short and Mr: Waldo, at Paris, both of whom I suppose you will see. I enclose a letter for Waldo.3

Your friends here enquire after you avec interêt. We visited the Hansetowns on Tuesday and Sweden according to custom on Wednesday.4 This evening, we expect to see Madam Schimmelpenninck.5

You know my aversion to long Letters (to writing them I mean) and I suppose will be glad to find mine short ones. None from America since you went away.

Your’s with the truest affection.

LbC in TBA’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr: T B Adams.”; APM Reel 130.

1On 17 April JQA recorded in his Diary that William Cutting was accompanied by “Mr: Apthorp” and “Mr: Shaw.” These were likely George Henry Apthorp, for whom see Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 15 Oct., and note 6, below, and John Shaw, of New York, who would marry a cousin of Apthorp’s in 1799 (D/JQA/24, 1 June, 6 Aug. 1797, APM Reel 27; John Wentworth, The Wentworth Genealogy: English and American, Boston, 1878, p. 519–520, 525; Hopper Striker Mott, The New York of Yesterday: A Descriptive Narrative of Old Bloomingdale, N.Y., 1908, p. 333; Frederic W. Bailey, Early Connecticut Marriages as Found on Ancient Church Records Prior to 1800, 7 vols., New Haven, 1896–1906, 7:28).

2Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and his family had removed from Amsterdam to The Hague by 18 April, taking up residence in the Maréchal de Turenne (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27; Stinchcombe, XYZ Affair description begins William C. Stinchcombe, The XYZ Affair, Westport, Conn., 1980. description ends , p. 51).

3In his letter of 12 April William Short thanked JQA for forwarding items via James Monroe and noted his regret at not seeing JQA at Paris prior to his imminent return to the United States (Adams Papers).

John Jones Waldo wrote to JQA on 10 April (Adams Papers) seeking a recommendation for a consular posting at Bordeaux, France, where he planned to settle. JQA replied on 21 April offering to provide the recommendation (LbC, APM Reel 130). Waldo (ca. 1769–1803), who was engaged in commercial shipping, had been a Harvard classmate of JQA’s (vol. 7:140; Jefferson, Papers description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, N.J., 1950–. description ends , 38:420).

4JQA was referring to visits made to two diplomats. The first was Baron Georges François Bosset de la Rochette, who had long represented several German states and independent Hanseatic towns at The Hague; the second was the Swedish minister, Count Fredrik Adolf Löwenhielm, who frequently held parties on Wednesdays (D/JQA/24, 15, 29 March, 5, 12, 18, 19 April, APM Reel 27; M/TBA/2, 15 March 1795, APM Reel 282; JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977–. description ends , 13:493; Repertorium description begins Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, 1936–1965; 3 vols. description ends , 3:412).

5Catharina Nahuys Schimmelpenninck (1770–1844) was the wife of Rutger Jan Schimmelpenninck, a member of the Batavian National Assembly (Biografisch Portaal van Nederland).

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