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John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 16 October 1798

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Quincy Oct. 16. 1798

My Dear sir

The inclosed Letter from the sec. of state will go by the Way of England. In the paragraph quoted from me I wish you not to mistake. I dont mean that I have any aversion to a Treaty with Prussia or sweeden, upon Terms consistent with your Instructions. You may agree to such a Treaty as soon as you please.1 But in the present State of Things, if the Neutral Powers will not go to War with France and We are compelled to do so, I have no Scruple to say I will not bind the United states to let French Dutch & spanish Property pass, under Neutral Flaggs. I hope the Dutch & the Spaniards will not force Us into a War with them. But if they do they must and shall take the Consequences.2

Your Mother has been sick of a Complication of Disorders, a chronic Diarrhea, an intermittent fever and almost a Diabetes sometimes for three Months. she is still very weak, but We think better, and hope will get well. We are in hopes of seeing your Brother in a few Weeks. Love to your best Friend and to your new sec. I am / your affectionate

John Adams

Be pleased to make my best Compliments to Mr De Thulemeyer and thank him for his kind Remembrance of me: I recollect with great Pleasure his kind & polite and even friendly Treatment of me for some Years, when We resided at the Hague. I would go a Great Way to have the Pleasure of a few Hours Conversation with him.— What Effect upon the World does he think our old Country of Holland, and the Austrian Low Countries will have in the Hands of France?3

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mr Adams.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 119. Tr (Adams Papers).

1The enclosure was Timothy Pickering to JQA of 24 Sept., in which Pickering responded to JQA’s proposal that in negotiating a treaty with Sweden the United States should insist on a provision protecting neutral navigation in the event of war, “provided the enemy of the warring power admitted the same principle.” Pickering offered both his and JA’s agreement to the suggestion, telling JQA that insistence on such a provision in treaties with both Sweden and Prussia should thereafter be considered part of his instructions (Adams Papers).

2Tensions were high between the United States and Spain as Spain continued to move closer to the political orbit of France and its client state the Batavian Republic. A particular source of friction was Spain’s reluctance to turn over forts in the Louisiana territory in compliance with the terms of Pinckney’s Treaty (Cambridge Modern Hist. description begins The Cambridge Modern History, Cambridge, Eng., 1902–1911; repr. New York, 1969; 13 vols. description ends , 7:323–324).

3JQA’s letters to JA frequently included the greetings of Baron Friedrich Wilhelm von Thulemeier, “a judge of the supreme judicial tribunal” who served as the Prussian minister to the Netherlands during JA’s years at The Hague (JQA to JA, 18 May, 25 Sept., both Adams Papers). For Thulemeier, see vol. 7:307 and JA, Papers description begins Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977–. description ends , 16:ix.

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