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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


This foot note contained in document ADMS-01-03-02-0007-0001-0001
7. AA reported part of the rest of the voyage, which was stormy and protracted, in a letter to AA2 written at sea, 29 May. The Lucretia aided a dismasted American vessel bound for Baltimore, and on 28 May the Brieslers' child, a daughter, was born (same, p. 76–79).
The ship arrived in Boston Harbor on 17 June. As early as 7 May Gov. John Hancock had placed a letter in the hands of the pilot at Boston Light announcing to JA the arrangements for his public reception (Adams Papers). These were elaborate and, as carried out, were reported fully in the Massachusetts Centinel of 18 June:
“Yesterday, after an absence of nine years, arrived in this metropolis, from England, his Excellency JOHN ADAMS, Esq. late Ambassadour from the United States of America, to the Court of Great-Britain—with his lady. His Excellency the Governour having previously ordered, that every mark of respect be paid his Excellency on his arrival, the approach of the ship in which he arrived, was announced by a signal from the Light and a discharge of cannon from the Castle—when off the Castle he was saluted with a federal discharge of cannon from that fortress, and when the ship had arrived at her moorings, the Secretary of the State, by order of his Excellency the Governour repaired in his Excellency's carriage to the end of the pier, from whence, in the State barge, the Secretary waited on the Ambassadour on board, and in his Excellency the Governour's name, congratulated him on his arrival, and invited him and family to his Excellency's seat. The wind being fresh and fair, the ship arrived at town too early to admit our fellow citizens receiving his Excellency in the manner they had previously intended—Notwithstanding, short as the time was, the Pier was crowded—and his Excellency welcomed on shore by three huzzas from several thousand persons. The Secretary of the State accompanied his Excellency in the barge on shore, where his Excellency the Governour's Carriage waited for him—in which he, his lady, the Secretary of the State, and others, rode to the Governour's house, receiving as he passed the compliments and congratulations of his fellow-citizens. The bells in the several churches rang during the remainder of the day—every countenance wore the expressions of joy—and every one testified that approbation of the eminent services his Excellency has rendered his country, in a manner becoming freemen, federalists, and men alive to the sensations of gratitude.
Mr. Adams resides at the House of his Excellency the Governour—where he yesterday received the congratulations of his Honour the Lieutenant-Governour, the Hon. Council and, the heads of the several departments of government, on his safe arrival in his native country.”
On the 18th JA was received by the General Court, informed that on the 6th he had been elected a member of the Massachusetts delegation to the First Congress under the Federal Constitution (John Avery Jr., Secretary to the Council, to JA , 6 June, Adams Papers), { 217 } assigned a chair in the House for his use “whenever he may please to attend the debates” (Order of the House, 18 June, Adams Papers), and tendered an address of welcome and gratitude by both houses, to which he replied in two brief and moving paragraphs (Address in Adams Papers; Answer, in JA 's hand, facsimiled in Stan V. Henkels, Catalogue of Sale No. 1372, 19 March 1925; both printed in Mass. Centinel, 21 June 1788).
At Newburyport on the 18th JQA learned of his parents' arrival, but could not get accommodations to Boston until the 20th, when he got a horse and rode over to Boston. He found his father gone to Braintree but his mother still at the Governor's house; they went to Braintree together in the afternoon. JQA spent much of the next ten days unpacking books and other goods, which came by lighters from the Lucretia, in the house his parents had bought in preparation for their return ( JQA , Diary, 1830 June; JQA, Life in a New England Town , p. 143–146). This was the former John Borland house, which had been briefly owned by Royall Tyler in the 1780's but which reverted to the possession of Leonard Vassall Borland, son of John and Anna Vassall Borland, and was purchased from him by JA for £600 on 26 Sept. 1787 through the agency of Cotton Tufts and Thomas Welsh (Deed recorded in Suffolk co. Registry of Deeds, 161:123, under date of 20 Oct. 1787; see note 1 on the second entry of Jan. 1759, above). For AA 's lively impressions of the new house and the difficulties of repairing and settling it, see her letter to AA2 of 7 July (AA2, Jour. and Corr. , 2:84–86).