Charles Adams to John Adams
New York June 4th 1796
My dear Sir
The canvass of the votes for Senators for this district and for Members of Assembly to Represent the City of New York was finished yesterday by the Statement I send you herewith you will perceive that the politics of this State have begun to run in a vigorous stream in the proper channel.1 Mr Burr is by this time pretty well convinced that his popularity is much less than he had fondly imagined. All is well. Those who are most acquainted with the sentiments of the people at large predict a federal Representation in both houses of six to one. We already see the benefit of our last census.—
I met Mr King yesterday he informs me that my brother was nominated by the President as Minister Plenipotentiary to Portugal.2 There is a report in circulation in this City that Genet is again appointed Minister from France to The United States and that he has instructions to demand ten thousand men to aid the French in the West Indies.3 such is the report a few days will determine the truth or falshood of it.
If true we are again plunged into a dilemma. The Minister cannot be received unless we chuse to be a mark for the finger of scorn to point at. There is at present no necessity to comment upon a circumstance as yet unveiled. You friends here are all in good health Mrs Adams joins me in the sentiments of respectful affection to my mother and your self with which I am your son
RC (Adams Papers).
1. The enclosure has not been found but was possibly from the New York Herald, 4 June, which published the results of the canvassing of the first through seventh wards in New York City and noted a Federalist majority in many of the contests.
2. George Washington nominated JQA minister plenipotentiary to Portugal on 28 May, the Senate unanimously approved the nomination on 30 May, and JQA received news of the appointment on 6 August. Secretary of State Timothy Pickering, however, explained to JQA that the current minister, David Humphreys, was involved in treaty negotiations with Algiers, and as no one had yet been appointed the new minister to The Hague, the transfer would be postponed until further notice. Eight months later Pickering wrote to JQA providing new instructions and enclosing copies of JQA’s commission and letter of credence to Portugal and his letter of recall from The Hague; JQA received the letter on 9 April 1797, but he never served. Instead, he was nominated minister to Prussia by JA (U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour., description begins Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1789– . description ends 4th Cong., 1st sess., p. 212, 213; D/JQA/24, 6 Aug. 1796, 9 April 1797, APM Reel 27; Pickering to JQA, 11 June 1796, 17 Feb. 1797, both Adams Papers). An original and a Dupl of JQA’s commission, dated 30 May 1796, and an original and a Dupl of JQA’s letter of credence, dated 17 Feb. 1797, all signed by Washington and Pickering, are in the Adams Papers.
3. The rumor was false; however, the current minister, Pierre Auguste Adet, had been meddling in American politics since April 1796 in an effort to incite popular demonstrations, promote Democratic-Republicans sympathetic to France, and effect the election of a pro-French president. Adet’s efforts culminated in published letters announcing new French policies regarding U.S. shipping and his resignation, for which see AA to JQA, 11 Nov., and note 3, below. Adet remained in the United States until May 1797 when he was replaced by Philippe André Joseph de Létombe (Michael F. Conlin, “The American Mission of Citizen Pierre-Auguste Adet: Revolutionary Chemistry and Diplomacy in the Early Republic,” PMHB, description begins Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography. description ends 124:507, 508 [Oct. 2000]; 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 3:144; 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 1:34–35).