Adams Papers
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John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 2 December 1794

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Philadelphia Decr 2. 1794

My dear Son

Holland, according to our latest Accounts from Europe, may so very possibly have been overrun by the French that it is uncertain where this Letter will find you. As you have a French Tongue in your head, and received a Part of your Education in France, I Should be under no Apprehensions, of your receiving any uncivil Treatment if you were to be wholly among the French, especially as you are a Citizen a Republican and an American. If indeed that Country should be conquered, or if it should become an Ally like Geneva and a new form of Government instituted, all you can do will be to write home and wait for further Orders from The President. I am not however of Opinion that either of these Cases will be reallized.

Your rising Reputation at the Bar, your admired Writings, upon occasional Subjects of great Importance, and your political Influence among the younger Gentlemen of Boston sometimes make me regret your Promotion, and the Loss of your Society to me and to your Mother, are additional Circumstances of a disagreable Nature. On the other side, your Appointment is respectable and you see Europe again at the most interesting Period of its History.

Our Army under Wayne has beat the Indians, and The Militia under Governor Lee,1 have Subdued the Insurgents, a miserable though numerous rabble of Irish & Scotch Emigrants and Redemptioners, chiefly imported Since 1783. The good Members of Congress are generally reelected, and some who were not so good have been left out.

Your Mother and all your Friends are as well as when you left Us. Your Uncle, who was also to you for sometime a Preceptor and instead of a Father, went off Suddenly and left a Widow and Children in Distress. I must assist them as much as I can. They have deserved it by their Kindness to me and mine upon all Occasions.

Charles has passed his Examination with honour and is now a Barrister—or Councillor, and if a premature Marriage should not injure him, in a good Way.

The Duke de Liancourt is arrived here in the Pigou, and as it is reported in a very destitute Condition.2

It is difficult to find opportunities to send you the News papers: but I will seek as many as I can.

Mr Greenleaf is soon to embark and will be able to give you all Information3

With a tender Affection as well as great / Esteem I am, my Dear son / your

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “John Quincy Adams / Minister American at the / Hague”; endorsed by TBA: “The Vice President / 2 December 1795 / 15 May Recd:— / 22 Answd—” Tr (Adams Papers).

1That is, Gov. Henry “Light-Horse Harry” Lee of Virginia.

2François Alexandre Frédéric, Duc de La Rochefoucauld-Liancourt (1747–1827), was an early supporter of the French Revolution, a member of the States General and Constituent Assembly, and a commander in the French Army. He was dismissed from the army after attempting to prevent the death of Louis XVI and went to England in 1792. He came to the United States in 1794 on the ship Pigou, which arrived in Philadelphia in late November. He journeyed throughout America for several years, eventually publishing in London in 1799 a report of his adventures entitled Travels through the United States of North America, the Country of the Iroquois, and Upper Canada, in the Years 1795, 1796, and 1797 (William Harper Bennett, Catholic Footsteps in Old New York: A Chronicle of Catholicity in the City of New York from 1524 to 1808, N.Y., 1909, p. 415–416; Philadelphia Gazette of the United States, 27 Nov. 1794).

3James Greenleaf planned to return to Amsterdam to resume his position as U.S. consul there but never actually sailed (Clark, Greenleaf and Law, description begins Allen C. Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal City, Washington, D.C., 1901. description ends p. 90).

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