Adams Papers

John Quincy Adams to Joshua Johnson, 2 June 1796

John Quincy Adams to Joshua Johnson

The Hague June 2. 1796.

Dear Sir.

I arrived at Gravesend on Saturday, barely in time to get on board the vessel in which I had engaged my passage, and which was already under weigh. After a voyage of three days, I landed at Rotterdam, and came on here immediately. In the boat from Rotterdam I met Mr: Bourne, who was on his return from Paris, and who goes on this day to Amsterdam1

As I understand there is a vessel going to London in the course of a few days, I take the earliest opportunity to inform you of my arrival here, and to request you, and Mrs: Johnson, and all your amiable family once more to accept the assurance of my gratitude, for the numberless marks of kindness I have received from all during my stay in England. Upon this subject I shall not attempt to express what I feel. I am sure it would be in vain.

I find as yet nothing material as to news. The Armistice on the Rhine positively ceases though it is said the Austrians have proposed on the renewal of hostilities to spare the towns and villages on the Rhine.—2 They appear here to wish for Peace, as much as in England, and to expect it rather more.

Mr: Bourne left Paris on the 26th: of last month; that is last Thursday. All the Americans recognized by Mr: Monroe, were allowed to remain there notwithstanding the late decree;3 every thing there was quiet. Mr: Bourne’s tour to America will not take place so soon as he expected. He will doubtless inform you of his intentions himself.

I hope to hear from you as frequently as will suit your convenience. I have requested Mr: Hall occasionally to forward me the papers, but he will be indebted to you for the knowledge of the opportunities that may occur.— I trust it is at this day unnecessary for me to make a tender of any services that it may ever be in my power to render you or any of your friends; you will always command them of course.

I wish to be remembered in terms of the most cordial regard and attachment to Mrs: Johnson and the young Ladies. I take the liberty of enclosing herewith a few lines for Miss Louisa, and remain, Dear Sir, ever your’s.

John Q. Adams

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “J. Johnson Esqr.”; endorsed: “John Q. Adams / Hague 2 June 1796 / Recived 27 ditto / Answrd 5 July.” and “Reced 27 June.” LbC (Adams Papers); APM Reel 128.

1Sylvanus Bourne had been on a tour of France during the spring (John Jones Waldo to Sylvanus Bourne, 16 June, DLC:Sylvanus Bourne Papers, 3:8461–8462). For Bourne’s visit to the United States in the summer of 1797, see JQA to AA, 8 Feb., note 3, below.

2On 21 May 1796 the Austrians renounced the armistice with France, and hostilities resumed on 1 June. The French strategy, devised by Lazare Nicolas Marguerite Carnot, planned to have the Sambre-Meuse Army advance along the Main and the Rhine-Moselle Army strike along the Danube, with both armies eventually moving toward Vienna. On 31 May the Sambre-Meuse Army crossed the Rhine and proceeded toward the Lahn, where the army of Archduke Charles of Austria eventually engaged it. Charles’ numerically superior army forced the French to retreat across the Rhine by mid-June. The French were also defeated at Uckerath on the 18th, although their weaker troops had initially repelled the Austrians in that battle (Biro, German Policy of Revolutionary France, description begins Sydney Seymour Biro, The German Policy of Revolutionary France: A Study in French Diplomacy during the War of the First Coalition 1792–1797, 1 vol. in 2, Cambridge, 1957. description ends 2:609–610; Lee W. Eysturlid, The Formative Influences, Theories, and Campaigns of the Archduke Carl of Austria, Westport, Conn., 2000, p. 71, 72; Ross, Quest for Victory, description begins Steven T. Ross, Quest for Victory: French Military Strategy 1792–1799, New York, 1973. description ends p. 94, 95).

3The 10 May (An. IV, 21 floréal) decree by the Directory ordered all “strangers” to move at least ten leagues from Paris unless specifically exempted; the penalty for noncompliance was deportation. James Monroe asked Charles Delacroix, French minister of foreign affairs, that the 150 Americans residing in Paris be allowed to stay in that city as the majority of them were businessmen. Monroe planned to issue new passports to the Americans, sent the minister a list of the Americans he knew were living in Paris, and agreed to aid in detecting foreigners pretending to be American citizens (Michael Rapport, Nationality and Citizenship in Revolutionary France: The Treatment of Foreigners 1789–1799, Oxford, 2000, p. 269–270; Beverly W. Bond, The Monroe Mission to France, 1794–1796, Baltimore, 1907, p. 68).

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