A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Chronology
Chronology

Chronology

Chronology

{ 402 } { 403 }

Chronology

The Adams Family, 1761–1782

N.B. This is the first Chronology to appear in the Adams Family Correspondence and covers vols. 1–4. See Introduction, 3:xxxviii–xxxix.
1761   Feb.   John Adams (JA) records arguments in Superior Court of Judicature on writs of assistance (Petition of Lechmere).  
1761   May   Upon the death of his father, JA inherits Braintree property (later known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace).  
1761   Nov.   JA admitted to practice in the Superior Court of Judicature.  
1762   Spring   JA begins serving on town committees and traveling the Inferior and Superior Court circuits. His circuit riding continues for fourteen years.  
1762   Aug.   JA admitted barrister in the Superior Court of Judicature.  
1762   Oct.   Courtship correspondence of JA and Abigail, daughter of Rev. William Smith of Weymouth, begins.  
1763   Feb.   Treaty of Paris concluded, by which France cedes Canada, and Spain cedes the Floridas, to Great Britain  
1763   March   JA's first known newspaper contribution, signed “Humphrey Ploughjogger,” is published in the Boston Evening Post.  
1764   Feb.   Beginning of smallpox epidemic in Boston which was to last throughout the year.  
1764   April–May   JA inoculated in Boston for the smallpox, conducting almost daily correspondence with his fiancée at Weymouth.  
1764   Oct. 25   JA and Abigail Smith (AA) marry and make their home in the house inherited from JA's father.  
{ 404 }
1765   Jan.   JA joins a lawyers' “sodality” in Boston for the study of legal history and theory.  
1765   March   JA elected surveyor of highways in Braintree.  
1765   March   Stamp Act passed by the British Parliament; repealed in March 1766, but repeal is accompanied by the Declaratory Act.  
1765   June   JA travels the eastern court circuit to Maine for the first time.  
1765   July 14   Abigail (AA2), 1st daughter and eldest child of JA and AA, is born at Braintree.  
1765   Aug.–Oct.   JA publishes “A Dissertation on the Canon and the Feudal Law” in installments in the Boston Gazette.  
1765   Sept.   JA composes the Braintree Instructions denouncing the Stamp Act.  
1765   Dec.   JA named of counsel for Boston to plead for reopening of the courts.  
1766   March   JA elected a Braintree selectman.  
1766   July   JA becomes active in the improvement of professional practice of the law through the Suffolk bar association.  
1766   Aug.   Benjamin Blyth executes portraits of JA and AA.  
1767   July 11   John Quincy (JQA), 1st son of JA and AA, is born at Braintree.  
1768   April   The Adamses move to the “White House” in Brattle Square, Boston.  
1768   June   JA writes instructions for the Boston representatives to the General Court protesting the seizure of John Hancock's sloop Liberty. Later in the year he successfully defends Hancock in admiralty court against charges of smuggling in connection with the Liberty.  
1768   Sept.   British troops arrive in Boston Harbor to control resistance to Townshend Act duties, which are repealed, except for the tax on tea, in 1769.  
1768   Dec. 28   Susanna (d. 4 Feb. 1770), 2d daughter of JA and AA, is born in Boston.  
{ 405 }
1769   Spring   The Adamses move to Cole (or Cold) Lane, Boston.  
1769   May   JA writes instructions for the Boston representatives to the General Court protesting the presence of British troops and the growing power of admiralty courts.  
1769   May–June   JA successfully defends Michael Corbet and three other sailors in admiralty court for the killing of Lt. Henry Panton of the British Navy.  
1770   March   JA agrees to defend Capt. Thomas Preston and the British soldiers involved in the “Boston Massacre.”  
1770   May 29   Charles (CA), 2d son of JA and AA, is born in Braintree.  
1770   June   JA elected a representative to the General Court from Boston; serves until April 1771.  
1770   Oct.–Nov.   JA successfully defends Preston and the soldiers in the “Boston Massacre” trials.  
1770     The Adamses move during this year to “another House in Brattle Square.”  
1771   April   The Adamses move back to Braintree.  
1771   June   JA travels to Connecticut for his health and takes the mineral waters at Stafford Springs.  
1772   Sept. 15   Thomas Boylston (TBA), 3d son of JA and AA, is born in Braintree.  
1772   Nov.   The Adamses move to Queen Street (later Court Street) in Boston, and JA maintains his law office there until the outbreak of hostilities.  
1773   Jan.–Feb.   JA publishes articles in the Boston Gazette answering William Brattle and opposing crown salaries to Superior Court judges.  
1773   May   JA elected by the House a member of the Massachusetts Council but is negatived by Gov. Thomas Hutchinson.  
1773   Dec. 16   Boston Tea Party.  
{ 406 }
1774   Feb.   JA buys his father's homestead (later known as the John Adams Birthplace) from his brother Peter Boylston Adams.  
1774   March   JA furnishes legal authorities for impeachment proceedings against Chief Justice Peter Oliver.  
1774   March   Boston Port Act passed by Parliament, closing port of Boston in June.  
1774   May   JA elected by the House a member of the Council but is negatived by Gov. Thomas Gage.  
1774   June   JA elected a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress. The family returns to Braintree.  
1774   June–July   JA travels “for the tenth and last time on the Eastern Circuit” in Maine, and parts with his loyalist friend Jonathan Sewall at Falmouth.  
1774   Aug.   JA travels from Boston to Philadelphia with the Massachusetts delegation to the Continental Congress.  
1774   Sept.–Oct   JA attends first Continental Congress.  
1774   Oct.–Nov.   JA returns from Philadelphia to Braintree.  
1774   Nov.–Dec.   JA attends first Provincial Congress in Cambridge as a member from Braintree.  
1774   Dec.   JA reelected to the Continental Congress.  
1775   Jan.–April   JA publishes essays signed “Novanglus” in Boston Gazette in answer to Daniel Leonard's “Massachusettensis” articles.  
1775   April 19   Lexington and Concord fights; first blood of the Revolution is spilled.  
1775   April–May   JA travels from Braintree to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  
1775   May   Colonial forces lay siege to British army in Boston, now under the command of Howe and Clinton.  
1775   May–July   JA attends second Continental Congress; makes first proposal of Washington as commander in chief of a Continental Army.  
1775   June 17   AA and JQA watch Bunker Hill battle from Penn's Hill above their house.  
1775   July 3   Washington takes command of Continental forces at Cambridge. AA conveys a high opinion of him to JA in a letter of 16 July.  
1775   July   JA elected by the House a member of the Council; resigns in April 1776.  
{ 407 }
1775   July   JA writes letters to AA and James Warren ridiculing John Dickinson's conciliatory views; the letters are intercepted and published by the British in August and produce a lasting sensation that promotes the idea of independence.  
1775   Aug.   JA returns from Philadelphia to Braintree, attends the Massachusetts Council in Watertown, and is reelected to the Continental Congress.  
1775   Aug.–Sept.   JA travels from Boston to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  
1775   Late summer and fall   Dysentery epidemic in Boston; JA's brother Elihu dies in camp in August, and AA's mother dies October 1.  
1775   Sept–Dec.   JA attends the Continental Congress and plays a principal part in the measures leading to the establishment of an American navy.  
1775   Oct.   JA appointed Chief Justice of Massachusetts; resigns in Feb. 1777 without ever serving.  
1775   Dec.   JA obtains leave from Congress and returns from Philadelphia to Braintree, attends the Massachusetts Council in Watertown, visits the army headquarters in Cambridge, and is reelected to the Continental Congress.  
1776   Jan.   JA drafts for the General Court a proclamation to be read at the opening of courts of justice and town meetings.  
1776   Jan.–Feb.   JA travels from Braintree to the Continental Congress in Philadelphia.  
1776   Feb.–Oct.   JA attends the Continental Congress.  
1776   March 17   The British evacuate Boston.  
1776   March–April   After reading Paine's Common Sense, JA writes Thoughts on Government, published anonymously.  
1776   Spring and summer   Smallpox epidemic in Boston.  
1776   May   JA advocates establishment of new state governments and writes preamble to the resolution of 15 May recommending such action to the states.  
1776   June   JA appointed president of the newly formed Continental Board of War and Ordnance.  
1776   June–July   JA appointed to committee to draft a declaration of independence and makes the principal speech in favor of the resolution for independence, adopted on 2 July, followed by adoption of the Declaration of Independence, 4 July.  
{ 408 }
1776   June–Sept.   JA drafts a “Plan of Treaties” and instructions to the first American Commissioners to France.  
1776   July   AA and children inoculated for smallpox.  
1776   Sept.   JA journeys to Staten Island with Benjamin Franklin and Edward Rutledge as a committee of Congress to confer with Admiral Lord Howe.  
1776   Oct.   JA obtains leave from Congress and returns from Philadelphia to Braintree.  
1776   Nov.   JA reelected to the Continental Congress.  
1777   Jan.   JA travels from Braintree to attend the Continental Congress sitting in Baltimore.  
1777   March   JA travels to Philadelphia when Congress adjourns to that city.  
1777   July 11   AA gives birth to a stillborn daughter, Elizabeth.  
1777   Aug.   Beginning of correspondence between AA and James Lovell, a Massachusetts delegate to the Continental Congress; the correspondence continues with growing frequency and intimacy through early 1782, when Lovell leaves Congress.  
1777   Sept.   JA leaves Philadelphia upon the adjournment of Congress after the American defeat at Brandywine Creek, and travels to York, Penna., where Congress reconvenes.  
1777   Oct. 16   Burgoyne surrenders his northern army to the American forces under Gates at Saratoga.  
1777   Nov.   JA obtains leave from Congress, returns to Braintree, and resumes his law practice, traveling to Portsmouth in December to defend the owners of the Lusanna, He there learns he has been elected by Congress a joint commissioner (with Franklin and Arthur Lee) to France, replacing Silas Deane.  
1778   Feb. 6   Treaties of alliance and of amity and commerce between France and the United States signed at Versailles.  
1778   Feb.–March   JA and JQA sail from Quincy Bay aboard the Continental frigate Boston, Capt. Samuel Tucker, to Bordeaux.  
1778   April   JA and JQA join Franklin's household at the Hôtel de Valentinois in Passy; JA begins his efforts to put the affairs of the American joint mission on a businesslike footing. His personal tensions with Franklin begin.  
{ 409 }
1778   April   JQA enters M. Le Coeur's pension academy in Passy.  
1778   May   JA has his first audience with Louis XVI at Versailles.  
1778   Sept.   Joint commission dissolved and Franklin named sole minister to France.  
1778   Dec.   AA2 makes extended visit to the James Warrens in Plymouth, not returning to Braintree until May 1779.  
1779   Jan.   AA writes to a member of the Continental Congress severely criticizing Silas Deane's controversial address in defense of his conduct in France.  
1779   March   JA takes leave of the French court.  
1779   March–June   JA, accompanied by JQA, in Nantes, Brest, Lorient, Saint Nazaire, and on board the Alliance arranging for the exchange of prisoners of war and awaiting passage to America.  
1779   April   JA makes acquaintance with the Joshua Johnson family at Lorient, perhaps providing JQA with the opportunity of meeting Louisa Catherine Johnson (later his wife, LCA), then aged four.  
1779   April   By secret treaty Spain becomes a co-belligerent with France in the war against England.  
1779   June–Aug.   JA and JQA sail from Lorient to Boston with the Chevalier de La Luzerne, French minister to the United States, aboard the French frigate La Sensible, arriving home on 3 August.  
1779   Aug.   JA proposes founding the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, incorporated May 1780.  
1779   Aug.–Nov.   JA elected to represent Braintree in convention to frame a new state constitution; attends the convention and drafts The Report of a Constitution. . . for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, which is adopted, after alterations, by the convention and by the towns of Massachusetts in June 1780.  
1779   Sept.   JA elected minister by Congress with sole powers to negotiate treaties of peace and commerce with Great Britain; commissions revoked June–July 1781.  
1779   Nov.–Dec.   JA, JQA, and CA, accompanied by John Thaxter as JA's private secretary, sail from Boston aboard La Sensible to El Ferrol, Spain.  
1779   Dec.–Jan.   The Adams party travels across northern Spain. From Bilbao JA sends the first of his consignments of European goods to AA, of which a number more were to follow from time to time from mercantile firms in Spain, France, and the Netherlands.  
{ 410 }
1780   Jan.–Feb.   The Adams party travels from Bayonne to Paris and takes up residence at the Hôtel de Valois in Rue de Richelieu.  
1780   Feb.   JQA and CA enter an academy in Passy conducted by M. Pechigny.  
1780   Feb.–March   Russian Declaration of Armed Neutrality at sea, aimed at Great Britain and later joined by various northern powers; it eventually proves ineffective.  
1780   May 19   A meteorological phenomenon occurs in New England: “the Dark Day.”  
1780   Spring and summer   The correspondence between JA and the Comte de Vergennes on such topics as the former's announcing his mission, Congress' devaluation of Continental currency, and French naval strategy in American waters leads to an open breach between them.  
1780   June   JA commissioned an agent by Congress to negotiate a Dutch loan.  
1780   July–Aug.   Accompanied by his sons, JA travels from Paris to Amsterdam, before learning of his commission, to explore the possibility of Dutch financial aid to the United States.  
1780   Aug.–Nov.   JQA and CA attend the Latin School on the Singel in Amsterdam. They are withdrawn when JQA proves insubordinate.  
1780   Oct.   Treason of Benedict Arnold. Capture of Henry Laurens, with incriminating papers, at sea.  
1780   Dec.   Francis Dana elected by Congress American minister to Russia; he proceeds there in 1781 but is never officially recognized.  
1780   Dec.–Jan.   JA elected minister by Congress, in the place of Henry Laurens, to negotiate a treaty of amity and commerce with the Netherlands.  
1781   Jan.   JQA, CA, and John Thaxter matriculate as students at the University of Leyden through arrangements made by Benjamin Waterhouse.  
1781   Jan.–Feb.   Great Britain begins hostilities against the Netherlands, using the captured papers of Henry Laurens as a pretext.  
1781   March   Maryland's ratification of the Articles of Confederation, adopted by Congress in 1777, makes the confederation of American states complete.  
{ 411 }
1781   March–May   JA drafts, submits, and prints a Memorial to the States-General urging Dutch recognition of American sovereignty.  
1781   April   JA rents and furnishes a house on the Keizersgracht in Amsterdam. CA, because of illness and homesickness, leaves Leyden and comes to live with his father.  
1781   April   AA makes plans to buy land in Vermont and in the following year does so.  
1781   May   James and Mercy Otis Warren and their family move to Milton, occupying former Governor Hutchinson's house on Neponset Hill and thus becoming neighbors of AA.  
1781   June   JA elected by Congress first among five joint commissioners (JA, Franklin, Jay, Laurens, and Jefferson) to treat for peace with Great Britain. Their instructions make them strictly dependent on French advice and approval.  
1781   June   Austrian and Russian courts offer their services as mediators between the belligerents.  
1781   July   JA returns to Paris to discuss with Vergennes the proposed mediation of the Austrian and Russian courts; rejects Vergennes' proposals and returns to Amsterdam.  
1781   July   JA awarded LL.D. in absentia by Harvard College; not conferred until December.  
1781   July   AA writes letters to Lovell and to Elbridge Gerry, defending JA against aspersions cast on him by Franklin's letter to Congress of 9 Aug. 1780, written at the behest of Vergennes.  
1781   July–Aug.   JQA travels overland from Amsterdam to St. Petersburg as companion, interpreter, and clerk to Francis Dana.  
1781   Aug.   JA commissioned by Congress to negotiate a triple or quadruple alliance between the Netherlands, France, Spain, and the United States.  
1781   Aug.   CA starts his voyage home, traveling from the Texel aboard the South Carolina, Commodore Alexander Gillon, but disembarks at La Coruñia in September; completes his voyage, beginning in December, from Bilbao on the Cicero, Capt. Hugh Hill, arriving home late in January.  
1781   Aug.–Oct.   JA suffers severely from a nervous fever.  
1781   Sept.–Oct.   Siege of Yorktown ends in Cornwallis' surrender, 19 Oct., to the Franco-American allies.  
1782   Jan.–March   With the aid of Dutch friends, JA presses for recognition at The Hague.  
{ 412 }
1782   Feb.–March   North's ministry resigns and is replaced by that of Rockingham, which shortly sends peace emissaries to France.  
1782   April   JA is recognized by the States General as minister plenipotentiary to the Netherlands and granted an audience with the Stadholder, Willem V.  
1782   May   JA takes up residence at the Hôtel des Etats-Unis at The Hague, purchased by him as the first legation building owned by the United States in Europe.  
1782   June   JA contracts with a syndicate of Amsterdam bankers to raise the first Dutch loan to the United States, 5,000,000 guilders.  
1782   June(?)   JA publishes anonymously A Collection of State-Papers, Relative to the First Acknowledgment of the Sovereignity of the United States of America, and the Reception of Their Minister Plenipotentiary, by Their High-Mightinesses the States-General of the United Netherlands, The Hague, 1782.  
1782   June   First mention in the Adams correspondence of Royall Tyler, who later becomes engaged to AA2.  
1782   July   Shelburne succeeds as British prime minister following death of Rockingham.  
1782   Summer   JA conducts lengthy negotiations for a treaty of amity and commerce between the Netherlands and the United States, signed at The Hague, 8 October.  
1782   Oct.   JA travels from The Hague to Paris.  
1782   Oct.–Nov.   JA participates in negotiating and, with his fellow commissioners, signs at Paris, 30 Nov., the Preliminary Treaty of Peace between the United States and Great Britain. He remains in Paris.  
1782   Oct.–Nov.   JQA leaves St. Petersburg and travels via Finland and the Åland Islands to Stockholm, where he remains until the end of the year.  
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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/