Adams Papers

Abigail Adams to Catherine Nuth Johnson, 2 March 1798

Abigail Adams to Catherin Nuth Johnson

Philadelphia March 2 1798

my Dear Madam

Yesterday the secretary of state received Letters from mr Adams at Berlin dated Nov’br 10th & 17th in which he says that he left Hamburgh on the 2d and reachd Berlin on the 7th. he had an interveiw with the Minister. the King was informd of his arrival, and desired the Minister to express to him the extreem regreet he felt at not being able to give him Audience, as his dangerous illness wholy prevented him from doing buisness. he desired the Minister to express to him the satisfaction he received from this Mark of attention from the united states, as well as his regreet at being unable to give him his first Audience.1

Mr Adams’s Letter of the 17th informs that the King of Prussia died yesterday morning at 9 oclock, and was immediatly succeeded to the Throne by his son Frederic William the 3d. concequently Mr Adams’s Credentials cannot be presented, untill new ones are sent him, which will be as speedily as possible2

He mentions having written Letters from Hamburgh of 31 of october, which are not come to Hand;3 as these Letters are to the secretary of state & wholy upon publick buisness—no mention is made of his private affairs, and as yet We have not any private Letters, tho I cannot but hope there are some. It was however a great Satisfaction to me, to learn their safe arrival at Berlin; and my pleasure would be incompleat, if I did not embrace the earliest opportunity of communicating it to you, Who I have not a doubt, take an equal interest in the safety and prosperity of our Children

From our Envoys in France no official Communications have been received, only vague News paper reports. their situation must I think be very painfull. if they have attempted any communications with their Government, they have failed. that they have been altogether silent, I know not how to believe. The Jacobins as usual, are very insolent false and abusive upon the occasion— Indeed my dear Madam, the service of this Government is not a Bed of Roses— in any department of it

The President unites with me, in presenting his Regards to mr Johnson and Family. I forwarded a Letter to you from mrs smith.4 I hope you received it—

I am dear Madam with Sentiments / of Esteem and Friendship / Yours &c

A Adams5

RC (Adams Papers); notation by CFA: “To Mrs Catherine Johnson.”

1When JQA arrived in Berlin, there were three primary foreign ministers serving under Frederick William II—Count Karl Wilhelm Finck von Finckenstein, Philipp Karl von Alvensleben, and Count Christian August Heinrich Kurt von Haugwitz. Here, AA accurately summarized JQA’s 10 Nov. 1797 letter to Timothy Pickering (LbC, APM Reel 132) reporting his meeting with Haugwitz and noting that Commandeur Joseph de Maisonneuve, then representing the Maltese Order of the Knights of St. John of Jerusalem in Berlin, had asked him to forward a letter to JA (Brendan Simms, The Impact of Napoleon: Prussian High Politics, Foreign Policy and the Crisis of the Executive, 1797–1806, Cambridge, Eng., 1997, p. 49; D/JQA/24, 9, 10 Nov., APM Reel 27; 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 , 1:294).

2In his letter to Pickering of 17 Nov., JQA also reported that he had presented his credentials to renew the Swedish-American treaty to the Swedish minister, Baron Carl Gustav Schultz von Ascheraden (LbC, APM Reel 132).

3For JQA to Pickering, 31 Oct., see JQA to AA, 22 Feb. 1798, and note 1, above.

4Not found.

5AA wrote again to Johnson on 12 April informing her that public dispatches from JQA reported his presentation to the new Prusian king. She also sent Joshua Johnson the recently published dispatches and instructions of the U.S. envoys to France, reporting, “I hope our Envoys will not be the sufferers, in concequence of their being made public; I should feel much happier if I was sure they were out of that Man trap of Paris” (Adams Papers).

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