much hard work, John Adams persuades the Dutch to recognize the newly
independent United States. The first country to extend the honor, the
Netherlands allows an American diplomatic mission to be established at
The Hague. John Adams also secures important loans from Dutch banks for
his fledgling nation.
John Adams's work often takes him to Amsterdam, while John Quincy and
Charles are in school in Leiden, about thirty miles distant. The first
of John Adams's letters included here travels from Amsterdam to Leiden;
the last two are sent to St. Petersburg, the Russian capital more than
two thousand miles to the east.
In St. Petersburg, JQA is serving as a secretary to Francis Dana, the
U.S. emissary to the Russian court. Although he is only fourteen years
old, JQA is a good choice for the role because he can speak French, the
language of the Russian court, and is already in Europe.
The letters in this section reveal both a father's trust and his tremendous
anxiety. Not only is his son far away from his homeland, but he is also
separated from his father.
John Quincy Adams.Oil portrait, after the original by John Singleton
Copley, unsigned and undated. Courtesy of the Adams National Historic
Site, National Park Service.