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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


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Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0188

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1784-06-06

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

Last night I received yours of the 1. with the Letter from your Mother to you,1 by which it appears so uncertain when She will arrive or embark, that if you can persuade Mr. Smith to come over here with the Ladies when they arrive, I would not have you wait for them.
Make a Visit to Mr. Whitefoord,2 and ask the favour of him in my name to procure you a Place in the Gallery of the House of Commons, to hear the Debates.
You Say nothing of our Books at Stockdales; have you shipped them? And by whom? If not do this Business as soon as possible. I am impatient to collect together here, all the little Things which belong to me, that I too may be in a Condition to return home, upon Occasion. I expect soon what we left at Paris. I am amazed that the Opportunity by Calahan has been neglected, and that because Letters were not received.3 How could Letters be expected from me when I had reason to expect every Moment, their Arrival in England?
My best Respects to Mr. Laurens Mr. Chase and Mr. Gorham when you see them, and to all other Acquaintances.
If you can get a few Opportunities in the House of Commons, I would not have you wait for any Thing else except shipping the Books. Indeed I dont know but you might as well bring them with you to Helvoot, you might send them to Harwich by the Machine4 I suppose. I want you here, as a Secretary, as a Companion and as a Pupill. Leave a Letter for Your Mamma and Sister, with Mr. Puller or Mr. Copeley,5 that if they should arrive they may know you have been over to meet them, and that I beg them to come here with Mr. Smith as soon as possible. I have now no Expectation of their Arrival before the month of August or latter End of July, perhaps not before the Fall. Happy Mr. Jay! Happy Mr. Laurens! in their Prospects of { 339 } Seeing home. I wish I had been wise enough, to have persisted in my Plan of going home too. But the Resolution of Congress of the 1. May 1783,6 and the desire of doing Some little service in the Execution of it if I could, deceived me. What will now be the Consequence I know not. It has put me to sea, in an Ocean of Uncertainties, public and private. The Return of Mr. Laurens and Mr. Jay, will make still further alterations probably in the Intentions of Congress. I have nothing to do but wait, here untill I know. Come to me, and help me, for I must remain here now untill the Ladies arrive, and I hope untill I embark for Boston.
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers). endorsed: “Mr. Adams. June 6. 1784”; docketed, also by JQA : “My Father. 6. June 1784.”
1. See JQA to JA , 1 June, note 1, above.
2. Caleb Whitefoord had been secretary to the British peace commissioner Richard Oswald in 1783 ( DNB ).
3. JA is reacting to the opening paragraph of AA 's letter of 12 April, above; see also JQA to JA , 18 May, note 1, above.
4. That is, by stage or mail coach ( OED ).
5. Richard or Charles Puller, JA 's London bankers (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:172); the painter John Singleton Copley, whom JA had met, for the first time since the Revolution, in London in Nov. 1783 (same, 3:150).
6. Naming JA , Benjamin Franklin, and John Jay as ministers to negotiate a commercial treaty with Great Britain.

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0189

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1784-06-06

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Hond. Sir

Last Wednesday Mr. W. Vaughan, got me introduced into the house of Commons, and I was there, from about 2. in the afternoon till 1. the next morning. The Subject, was a very dry, uninteresting one to me, it was the Westminster election, and the time, till 10 at night was taken up in hearing the Council [counsel], on one side for Mr. Fox, and the electors of Westminster who petitioned, and on the other, for the high Bailiff of Westminster. But the Council for the high Bailiff, having desired to be permitted to produce to the House, an Evidence, to prove, that there were several hundred illegal voters upon the poll, a debate in the House arose.1 Mr. Fox and his party opposed the admittance of the Evidence, and the ministerial Members, spoke in favour of the admittance. The debate lasted 'till 1. in the morning, when, the Question being put, the galleries were cleared and I retired; the next day the house adjourned, on account of the king's birth day, to 12. o'clock to morrow. . . .2 In the course of the debate the principal persons who spoke were, on one side, Mr. Fox, Lord North, Mr. Sheridan, and Mr. Lee, on the other Mr. Pitt, Lord Mulgrave, Sir L. Kenyon, Mr. P. Arden, and Mr. Wilberforce: { 340 } and if I may be allowed to give my opinion, Mr. Pitt, is upon the whole the best, and most pleasing speaker of them all. He has much grace, in speaking, and has an admirable choice of words, he speaks very fluently, so distinctly that I did not lose a word of what he said, and he was not once embarassed to express his Ideas. Mr. Fox on the contrary speaks with such an amazing heat and rapidity, that he often gets embarassed, and stammers sometime before he can express himself; his Ideas are all striking, but they flow upon him, in such numbers, that he cannot communicate them without difficulty: I should think he would carry all before him if he spoke to persons, who were to be convinced by any thing that was said. . . . Lord North is very cool, but does not I think speak, like either of the two before mentioned: Mr. Sheridan speaks extremely fast, and has a wonderful facility of expression, but is not so distinct as Mr. Pitt. . . . There Sir, in obedience to your Commands, have I 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.
The other day, I met with Govr. Pownall who desired me to present his Compliments to you; he wishes to know something about the business of the donation,3 but I told him I believed you had heard nothing of it; he is going to spend some time in the South of France.
I saw Mr. Temple this day: he desired I would send you the enclosed Letter, on account of the paragraph marked + thus. He would wish to have the Letter by the return Post.4
Captn. Callahan informs me that a wedding, was talked of in our family when he left America; if so I fear we shall not have the pleasure of seeing my Sister here.
Mr. Jay sailed about a week since from Dover; Mr. Laurens left this place last evening for Falmouth, to sail for New York in the Packet.

[salute] Your Dutiful Son,

[signed] J. Q. A.
RC (Adams Papers). docketed by CFA : “J. Q. Adams. June 6th 1784,” and “J.Q.A. June 6th 1784.”
1. See JQA to JA , 18 May, and note 4, above.
2. Elision points in the MS , here and below.
3. This may refer to Nathaniel Gorham's effort to raise funds for the rebuilding of Charlestown, Mass. (see Richard Cranch to JA , 20 Aug. 1783, and note 1, above). JA and JQA had visited Thomas Pownall at his home at Richmond Hill, Surry, in Nov. 1783. Pownall had been governor of Massachusetts, 1757–1760, and was warmly thought of by many Americans for his liberal views on colonial administration in the years before the Revolution (JQA, Diary , 1:206; DNB ).
4. See JA to JQA , 11 June, note 1, below.