Adams Papers

John Adams to John Quincy Adams, 11 February 1795

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Philadelphia Feb. 11. 1795

My dear Son

Mr Wilcocks a Son of Mr Wilcocks a respectable Lawyer of this City is bound to Hamborough and from thence intends to go to Holland where I hope you will Shew him as much Civility as you can. He will be able to tell you all the news we have.1

Congress has had the most Serene Session I ever knew. We are waiting for Mr Jays Treaty and hope it will Settle all disputes with England and quiet many Animosities in America. The Senate for the next two Years will be the most decidedly for Peace & order of any which has ever Served under the Constitution.

I am under Some concern for American Credit in Amsterdam, on Account of the political Situation of the House of the Van Staphorsts. You will embrace every Opportunity to write, through Mr Jay and Mr Pinkney or some other Person in England as well as by other direct or indirect Conveyances: for the Benefit of your Services to the Publick, and the Interests of your own Reputation will depend upon the frequency and Punctuality of your Correspondence with the Secretary of State. Your first Letter, the only one as yet received gave good Satisfaction. I have not yet recd any from you and only one from your Brother.

Your Mother Brothers and Sister with her Children including a Daughter are all well. Charles is in good Business and is, as Mr Burr Says a Steady Man of Business.

Col Humphreys and Mr Cutting arrived here this Week: but upon what Enterprizes or Adventures I know not.2

Our Insurrections and Jacobin Clubbs are all en bas, at present.

I Shall be at Quincy by the Middle of March and remain there probably till the middle of November.

Write me some Account of my old Friends and present my cordial regards to them.

Jarvis rules the House in Boston but cannot get into Congress, as yet.

I am my dear son, with as much / Esteem as Sincere and tender Affection / your Father

John Adams

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J.Q. Adams Esqr”; endorsed by TBA: “The Vice President of the U. S.— / 11 Feby 1795 Philada: / 29 April Recd / 4 May Answd.”

1Likely Benjamin Chew Wilcocks (1776–1845), who was later important to developing the U.S.–China trade. He was the second son of Alexander Wilcocks (1741–1801), College of Philadelphia 1761, a respected lawyer and the recorder of Philadelphia (Charles P. Keith, The Provincial Councillors of Pennsylvania, Phila., 1883, p. 331–332; Jean Gordon Lee, Philadelphians and the China Trade 1784–1844, Phila., 1984, p. 44).

2Diplomat David Humphreys had been charged in March 1793 with negotiating the release of American hostages in Algiers. By Nov. 1794, the Dey of Algiers appeared open to negotiations, but Humphreys felt obligated to travel to the United States to discuss settlement terms directly with the state department. He arrived in Philadelphia on 10 Feb. 1795 (Hamilton, Papers, description begins The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett, Jacob E. Cooke, and others, New York, 1961–1987; 27 vols. description ends 18:14–15; 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 17:538–540; Philadelphia Gazette, 12 Feb.).

Humphreys’ companion on the journey was Nathaniel Cutting, who had received the dual appointments of consul to the Port of Le Havre de Grâce and secretary to Humphreys during the Algerian mission, in Feb. and March 1793, respectively (Washington, Papers, Presidential Series, description begins The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series, ed. W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Jack D. Warren, Mark A. Mastromarino, Robert F. Haggard, Christine S. Patrick, John C. Pinheiro, and others, Charlottesville, Va., 1987– . description ends 12:189, 190, 456; Jefferson, Papers, description begins The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950– . description ends 25:470–471).

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