“I Will Not Attempt to Describe My Feelings at Meeting Two Persons so Dear to Me . . . I Will Only Say I was Completely Happy”
John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 30 July 1784 413
It would only be a week more before the Adamses were finally
reunited in London when John Quincy Adams wrote these heartfelt words to his father at The Hague. John Adams, confident in and proud of young John Quincy, wrote to Abigail soon after her arrival, “I Send you a son who is the greatest Traveller, of his Age, and without Partiality, I think as promising and manly a youth as is in the World. He will purchase a Coach, in which We four must travel to Paris” (26 July 1784
The letter illustrated here is one of the last in a remarkable exchange between John and John Quincy from mid-May 1784 through July 1784. These letters, printed below, comprise the first fully mature correspondence between the Adams men. Until this time, John Quincy's letters were mainly reports to his father concerning his or his brother Charles' studies; in these later letters young Adams' style and manner becomes decidedly uninhibited and confident. After being admitted to the gallery of the House of Commons, John Quincy wrote: “I [have] given you my opinion of the eloquence of several great Orators. If it is erroneous my judgment is in fault, for I have followed in this matter the Ideas of no one” (6 June 1784
, below). John Adams, quite pleased by John Quincy's attendance at Parliament and his vivid descriptions of the debates, was yet ever mindful of his son's studies: “You have had a Taste of the Eloquence of the Bar and of Parliament: but you will find Livy and Tacitus, more elegant, more profound and Sublime Instructors” (21 June 1784
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2007.