Adams Papers

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams, 2 June 1797

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

Philadelphia June 2d 1797—

My dear Sir

Your Brother is appointed to Berlin, but you I presume will soon return to America; perhaps you may be upon your passage, and this Letter may not reach you, before You Sail1

I long to see you, but yet I am Very sensible it must be a cruel separation to your Brother— Who he can obtain for a Secretary I know not.2

The family is all here, and are as happy as the absence of all our Children, and the critical situation of public affairs will permit—

The Intelligence we obtain from the Fratrum dulce par,3 continues to be the most ample, copious and systematic of any that is sent us

Mr: Quincy has favored us with the perusal of your Letter in February, which does you great honor; there is a delicacy in the Stile which is much admired—4

I have selected Two Characters as respectable as I could find, and as impartial as any in the Union, and United them with Mr: Pinkney, to make one trial more at accomodation with France, which I heartily desire; whether they will be received or not, time must discover; If they are not the French will never have another overture in my time; There are no abler men, than Dana and Marshall.5

I think upon the whole it will be more for your advantage, to come home, and become acquainted with all the principal characters; Live and ride with me, be my Secretary when you can or will, and keep your office, and attend the courts; it will certainly be most for my comfort, and that of your Mother; But I dont mean to controul you—

I am with a tender affection / your Father

John Adams

LbC in Samuel Bayard Malcom’s hand (Adams Papers); internal address: “Thomas B Adams”; APM Reel 117.

1JA nominated JQA to be minister plenipotentiary to Prussia on 20 May. The Senate confirmed the nomination on 31 May. The following day Timothy Pickering wrote to JQA that his commission would be sent by the first conveyance, and on 15 July Pickering sent JQA instructions for renewing the Prussian-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, noting that JA’s “principal design” in appointing JQA to Prussia “was to place at Berlin a Minister of your abilities and knowledge in diplomatic affairs, from whom in the existing situation of Europe correct intelligence and information highly interesting to the United States might be derived” (both Adams Papers). JA had similarly written to JQA on 2 June, explaining his decision to change the mission from Portugal to Prussia and noting the strategic importance of northern Europe and the renewal of the Prussian treaty. He also asked JQA to describe the roles the king of Prussia and the emperors of Russia and Germany planned to take during and after the European war (Adams Papers). JQA learned of the appointment on 7 July, prior to receiving these letters, and he received the commission and instructions on 22 Sept. (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 , 5th Cong., 1st sess., p. 240, 242; William Vans Murray to JQA, [6 July], first letter, Adams Papers; JQA to Murray, 7 July, LbC, APM Reel 130). An original and a Dupl of JQA’s commission, dated 1 June and signed by JA and Pickering, are in the Adams Papers. For the Senate debate over JQA’s nomination, see CA to JQA, 8 June, note 4, below.

2Thomas Welsh Jr. would replace TBA as JQA’s secretary in Sept. 1798 (D/JQA/24, 28 Sept. 1798, APM Reel 27). For more on Welsh, see vol. 3:189 and LCA, D&A description begins Diary and Autobiographical Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams, ed. Judith S. Graham and others, Cambridge, 2013; 2 vols. description ends , 1:89–90.

3Charming pair of brothers.

4See AA to Mary Smith Cranch, 3 June 1797, and note 8, below.

5On 31 May JA nominated Francis Dana and John Marshall, along with Charles Cotesworth Pinckney, to serve as envoys extraordinary and ministers plenipotentiary to France. On 5 June the Senate voted 23 to 4 to approve Pinckney’s appointment, and 22 to 6 to approve both Dana’s and Marshall’s appointments (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 , 5th Cong., 1st sess., p. 241, 243–244).

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