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By 1814, John Quincy Adams had spent years in foreign diplomatic service, but through regular correspondence with his mother and father—and his voluminous diary—he remained a faithful reporter of all that he observed. Adams led the team of delegates from the U. S. who began negotiations in August 1814, and finished on December 24, 1814, the day that the treaty of peace was signed between representatives of the United States and Great Britain at Ghent. Adams immediately analyzed the events in a letter to his mother:
Of the Peace which we have at length concluded, it is for our Government, our Country and the world to judge.— It is not such, as under more propitious circumstances might have been expected, and to be fairly estimated must be compared not with our desires, but with what the situation of the parties and of the world at and during the Negotiation made attainable.