After 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.

Image credit:

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.