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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 10

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The Adams Papers

Series IISeries II
Adams Family Correspondence

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Adams Family Correspondence

Margaret A. Hogan, C. James Taylor,
Sara Martin, Hobson Woodward,
Sara B. Sikes, Gregg L. Lint, Sara Georgini
graphic here

Volume 10 • January 1794 – June 1795

The Belknap Press
of Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts
and London, England
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This edition of The Adams Papers
is sponsored by the Massachusetts Historical Society
to which the Adams Manuscript Trust
by a deed of gift dated 4 April 1956
gave ultimate custody of the personal and public papers
written, accumulated, and preserved over a span of three centuries
by the Adams family of Massachusetts
graphic here
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The Adams Papers

Administrative Committee
Douglas Adams
Charles Ames
Bernard Bailyn
Levin H. Campbell
W. Dean Eastman
Caroline Keinath
Pauline Maier
Elizabeth Prindle
Alan Rogers
Hiller B. Zobel
Editorial Advisory Committee
Joyce O. Appleby
Joseph J. Ellis
Linda K. Kerber
Thomas K. McCraw
Gordon S. Wood
The acorn and oakleaf device on the preceding page is redrawn from a seal cut for John Quincy Adams after 1830. The motto is from Cæcilius Statius as quoted by Cicero in the First Tusculan Disputation: Serit arbores quæ alteri seculo prosint (“He plants trees for the benefit of later generations”).
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Descriptive List of Illustrations

Writing to William Cranch on 4 January 1794, Thomas Boylston Adams reported on the controversial path and uncertain fate of French minister Edmond Charles “Citizen” Genet in America. “The Minister of the French Republic has litterally pursued the Instructions of his Masters, the Executive Council of France; but the Members of that Council who gave the instructions are at present in disgrace,” he noted (below). Since Genet’s arrival in Charleston, South Carolina, in April 1793, his brazen defense of French privateering and ardent efforts to reclaim portions of Louisiana and Canada for France divided Americans. Public apprehension deepened, however, as Genet persisted with machinations to raise money and troops for the French Republic, a practice that threatened to undermine the official U.S. policy of neutrality. By the summer of 1793, Genet’s interference prompted George Washington and Thomas Jefferson—who was originally a supporter of Genet—to request the French minister’s formal recall.    
“We are waiting the answer of the Executive of France to the letter of complaint from the Secretary of State, concerning the conduct of the Citizen Minister,” Thomas Boylston wrote in frustration six months later, as a turbulent power shift in France delayed American attempts to have Genet removed from his position. The new, Jacobin-led government eventually dispatched a four-man commission to arrest him, but Washington, possibly fearing Genet’s execution, rescinded the demand just as the commissioners arrived in late February 1794. Genet surprised his critics by settling in New York, where he “really, and truly” married Governor George Clinton’s daughter Cornelia that fall, a move Abigail Adams reported was purely “for political purposes” as it was “against the Governours consent. he thinks I presume that it would injure his Election” (to Thomas Boylston Adams, 30 Nov. 1794, below).    
This profile of Genet, composed by the highly regarded professional team of artist Jean Baptiste Fouquet and engraver Gilles Louis Chretién, was made in 1793 at the height of the controversy and depicts Genet encircled by his official diplomatic title (Jefferson, Papers, 26:686, 692; Meade Minnigerode, Lives and Times: Four Informal American Biographies, N.Y., 1925, p. 195–209; Meade { x } Minnigerode, Jefferson, Friend of France, 1793: The Career of Edmond Charles Genet, N.Y., 1928, p. 193–194, 197, 201–207, 222–225, 229–231, 233, 281–285; George Gates Raddin Jr., Caritat and the Genet Episode, Dover, N.J., 1953, p. 9–11; Neil Jeffares, Dictionary of Pastellists before 1800, London, 2006).    
Courtesy of the Albany Institute of History and Art.    
“New Theatre opened this Day,” John Quincy Adams recorded in his Diary on 3 February 1794, a matter-of-fact entry that communicates little of the drama that led to the event. The previous year John Quincy had served on a committee to lobby for the overturn of Boston’s 1750 ban on theatrical entertainments, and after a tumultuous debate the effort was successful. A Boston consortium promptly built a new playhouse at the corner of Federal and Franklin streets. On its debut evening the Federal Street Theatre (also known as the Boston Theatre) featured the tragedy Gustavus Vasa by Henry Brooke and the comedic farce Modern Antiques. John Quincy “did not attend, nor fully partake of the common curiosity” of the premier, but he did go to six performances before the month was over. One show left him “pleased beyond expectation,” another was merely an “indifferent play indifferently acted,” and a third was “tolerable; but too licentious” (D/JQA/22, 3, 5, 17, 21, 24, 26, 28 Feb. 1794, APM Reel 25).    
Designed by Charles Bulfinch, the American classical revival Federal Street Theatre building was unlike the plain, unadorned playhouses of other eighteenth-century towns. A subscriber described the theater as “one of the most Elegant & beautiful buildings on the Continent” but also expressed concern that at $40,000 the cost was double the original estimate (Henry Jackson to Henry Knox, 26 Jan., 13 April, NHi:Gilder Lehrman Coll., on deposit). The interior decorations were equally stunning, as described by Bulfinch himself: “The back walls are painted of a light blue, and the front of the boxes, the columns, &c. are of straw and lilach colour: the mouldings, balustrades, and fret work are gilded: a crimson silk drapery suspended from the second boxes, and twelve elegant brass chandeliers of five lights each, complete the decoration.”    
A gold medal by Boston engraver Joseph Callender was awarded to Bulfinch “for his unremitted and liberal Attention in the Plan and Execution of That Building” and entitled Bulfinch to “a Seat in the Boston Theatre during Life; Benefit Nights excepted.” The theater building stood for only four years, burning in 1798, to be replaced in the fall of the same year by a plainer structure also designed by Bulfinch (vol. 9:342, 351, 354–355; Thomas Pemberton, “A Topographical and Historical Description of Boston, 1794,” MHS, Colls., 1st ser., 3:255–256 [1794]; Harold Kirker, The Architecture of Charles Bulfinch, Cambridge, 1969, p. 66, 70, 71).    
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Courtesy of the Harvard Theatre Collection, Houghton Library, Harvard University.    
On 23 March 1794 Thomas Boylston Adams wrote to Abigail Adams from Philadelphia, “I am preparing to make a Journey into the interior part of this State, in a Circuit with my Master Ingersoll, who as Attorney Genl. of the State is required to attend the Supreme Court.” Between 28 April and 1 June, Thomas Boylston’s travels between the district courts in West Chester, York, Lancaster, Carlisle, and Reading made him an eyewitness to the development of Pennsylvania’s inland counties. In a series of letters to John Adams, he repeatedly praised the region: from York on 5 May he wrote, “on every side the fields of grain met our eyes, and the extent of the Cultivation from the Road was a good indication of the richness of the soil”; on 20 May he described Lancaster as “the largest inland town in America,” populated by “industrious” people who fully harnessed “the richness of the land” (all below).    
Such industry, however, required an outlet. In 1792 the Pennsylvania legislature authorized the construction of a private toll road to address “the great quantity of heavy articles, of the growth and produce of the country, and of foreign goods, which are daily transported between the city of Philadelphia and the western counties of the state.” The Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, financed by public subscription and completed in 1794, was the country’s first long-distance road with a stone and gravel surface. John Adams described it as a “great Improvement” (to Abigail Adams, 23 June 1795, below).    
“American Stage Waggon,” by the Irish topographical writer Isaac Weld Jr. (1774–1856) and engraved by James Sargant Storer (1771–1853) of London, captures both the commercial activity of the turnpike and the beauty and productivity of the surrounding landscape. This illustration was reproduced in the third edition of Weld’s Travels through the States of North America, and the Provinces of Upper and Lower Canada, during the Years 1795, 1796, and 1797, 2 vols., London, 1800, facing 1:27. Weld’s accompanying narrative echoes the descriptions of the region voiced by Thomas Boylston Adams in 1794: “The country on each side of the road is pleasingly diversified with hill and dale. Cultivation is chiefly confined to the low lands, which are the richest; the hills are all left covered with wood, and afford a pleasing variety to the eye. The further you go from Philadelphia the more fertile is the country, and the more picturesque at the same time. … It is scarcely possible to go one mile on this road without meeting numbers of waggons passing and repassing between the back parts of the state and Philadelphia” (Laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, from the Fourteenth Day of October, One Thousand Seven Hundred, to the Sixth Day of April, One Thousand Eight Hundred and Two, 6 vols., Phila., 1803, 4:165; Charles I. Landis, “History of the Philadelphia and { xii } Lancaster Turnpike,” PMHB, 42:131, 235, 242 [April, Oct. 1918]; DNB; Weld, Travels through the States of North America, 1:111, 115).    
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.    
“Last Evening I received the Miniatures, and they were next to personally Seeing you,” Abigail Adams wrote to John Quincy Adams on 5 December 1795, “for the likenesses are very good, the painter however, it is Said has given a more flattering Likeness of you than of Thomas” (Adams Papers). Thomas Boylston Adams agreed that his portrait was not perfect, calling it a “tolerable likeness, though there is something about the mouth, that strikes me as wanting exactitude” (M/TBA/2, 11 April, APM Reel 282).    
The watercolor-on-ivory portraits had been sent from The Hague by John Quincy in July in fulfillment of Abigail’s earlier request that he and his brother commission them, first in Philadelphia, then when that proved impossible, during their stay in Europe. The artist was an expatriate Englishman named Parker whom Thomas Boylston met while ice-skating on a Hague canal in February. The pair became good friends and spent many days and evenings together during the ensuing year. Although neither John Quincy nor Thomas Boylston recorded Parker’s first name, he may have been John Parker (b. 1745), who studied in Rome in 1768, exhibited at the Royal Academy in London in the 1770s, and is thought to have worked as a portraitist in the Netherlands from 1793 to 1799.    
Thomas Boylston sat for his miniature in several sessions between 31 March and 11 April 1795, and Parker began his likeness of John Quincy soon thereafter. Thomas Boylston paid for both pictures, recording a cost of f 53.6.6 for the second. In later years Abigail wore the miniatures as clasps for bracelets of black velvet ribbon. Despite not being thoroughly pleased with his own likeness, Thomas Boylston noted the artist’s ability to cast his subjects in a good light. “Mr. P—— has the talent of making handsome portraits where the original is not so,” he wrote. “There is justice in the remark, but it is a circumstance which offends no body, & is sure to please the person flattered” (M/TBA/2, 21 Feb., 23, 31 March, 11, 25 April, 12 May, 28 Aug., APM Reel 282; M/TBA/3, 4 Aug., APM Reel 283; Oliver, Portraits of JQA and LCA, p. 28–33; A. C. A. W. Baron van der Feltz, Charles Howard Hodges 1764–1837, Assen, Netherlands, 1982, p. 45–47, 381–382).    
Courtesy of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C., and the Massachusetts Historical Society.    
6. “AN EXCISEMAN,” 1792   225  
“A very serious opposition to the collection of the Excise has taken place in one of the western Counties of this State,” John Quincy Adams informed his mother on 29 July 1794, as Pennsylvania frontiersmen violently protested the 1791 tax on distilled spirits by { xiii } attacking and torching tax collector John Neville’s home. “The Collector’s House has been burnt down, and an action between the insurgents and a company of soldiers terminated in the loss of several lives” (below). Whiskey had become one of the region’s chief products, and the perceived aggression of affluent excisemen out-raged the subsistence-level farmers who distilled and sold it. Throughout the summer and fall of 1794 a series of increasingly vicious clashes, similar to the incident at Neville’s estate, directly challenged the federal government’s power to enforce tax collection.    
Crude cartoons in the popular press, like the one shown here, often simplified the political nature of the Whiskey Rebellion and explicitly endorsed mob violence. In this caricature, dated 13 August 1792, both sides replay a familiar and highly sensationalist narrative: The zealous tax collector, making his rounds in league with the devil, is ultimately punished by a cohort of beleaguered citizens. “An Exciseman,” described as a “burdensome Drone,” is pursued by a pair of irate farmers intent on tarring and feathering him. A demon captures the “bum” exciseman mid-flight, “claps an hook in his nose, leads him off to a Gallows, where he is immediately hanged.” The boisterous crowd then “puts a barrel of whiskey under him, sets fire to it, burns and blows him up.” The unknown artist, a self-titled “poet laureate of liquor,” appends a brief, punning “elegy” that begins: “Just where he hung the people meet. / To see him swing was music sweet, / A Barrel of whiskey at his feet. / Without the head.”    
George Washington responded to the rebellion by leading an army into western Pennsylvania to suppress the uprising by force. By late November 1794 the insurgency had largely been defeated though unrest and discontent continued, and opposition to excise taxes long remained a potent force on the American frontier (Slaughter, Whiskey Rebellion, p. 67, 73, 218–220, 226).    
Courtesy of the Philadelphia History Museum at the Atwater Kent.    
Perpetual bouts of unrest continued to afflict the Ohio frontier in the early 1790s, and anxious Americans were captivated with the gripping newspaper accounts of Maj. Gen. “Mad” Anthony Wayne’s actions on 20 August 1794 at the Battle of Fallen Timbers, near present-day Toledo, Ohio. Wayne, a hero of the American Revolution who was renowned both for his brilliant tactics on the battlefield and for his volatile tendencies as a camp disciplinarian, had resumed command in April 1792 to quell an outbreak of violence between settlers and Native Americans in the Northwest Territory. At Fallen Timbers, Wayne’s troops vanquished a force of Native Americans from the Wabash and Maumee rivers region, led primarily by Shawnee chief Blue Jacket.    
Directed to dispel the British military presence from the new nation, Wayne shrewdly used the victory at Fallen Timbers to destroy the feeble network of alliances that British troops had formed with { xiv } Native Americans. Following the battle, Wayne approached British-held Fort Miami, but instead of attacking it, he burned the crops and leveled the ground around it. In a letter to Abigail Adams on 22 September 1794, Charles Adams relayed the very serious allegations that “Genl Wayne has taken several British subjects in a late engagement with the Indians and hung them upon the trees I do not vouch for the truth of this but the conduct of the officers of the British Government towards this Country bear not a very favorable aspect” (below). The federal government’s efforts to secure the Northwest Territory from foreign interests improved greatly in August 1795 when the ratification of the Jay Treaty finally forced the British to vacate their forts. Wayne used this development as leverage in negotiating the acquisition of a sizable swath of land from the Native American chiefs who could no longer solicit British aid.    
Back in his native Pennsylvania and throughout the states, Wayne’s triumph at Fallen Timbers dramatically revitalized his celebrity status. “General Wayne was there in Glory,” John Adams reported to Abigail of Wayne’s much-celebrated return to Philadelphia. “This Mans Feelings must be worth a Guinea a Minute. The Pensulvanians claim him as theirs, and spew him a marked respect” (13 Feb. 1796, Adams Papers). Around the same time, Wayne sat for portrait painter Jean Pierre Henri Elouis; engraver George Graham is thought to have relied on Elouis’ miniature when he composed the mezzotint shown here, which was originally published on 1 June. Wayne died of gout a little more than six months later (DAB; David Meschutt, “Portraits of Anthony Wayne: Re-Identifications and Re-Attributions,” American Art Journal, 15:33–34, 36 [Spring 1983]; John Hyde Preston, A Gentleman Rebel: The Exploits of Anthony Wayne, N.Y., 1930, p. 310–315; Glenn Tucker, Mad Anthony Wayne and the New Nation, Harrisburg, Penn., 1973, p. 240–243, 248–249, 252).    
Courtesy of the National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution.    
On 11 November 1794 in the first letter he wrote to Abigail Adams from The Hague, John Quincy Adams described the changing events in France: “Since the fall of Robespierre, every day new details of the most inconceivable cruelty, are produced in the national Convention, and every thing is laid to his charge. … The wanton and unnecessary effusion of blood, which so long desolated the french republic, has at length become unfashionable” (below). On 27–28 July 1794 (An. II, 9–10 thermidor) French Jacobin leaders, including Maximilien Robespierre, were overthrown and executed en masse. Always a minority in the National Convention, the Jacobins lost the support of their allies in the Paris Commune when the spiraling violence of the Terror led to attacks on popular leaders of the Commune. The subsequent rise of the Thermidorian regime or reaction marked a more moderate phase of the French Revolution { xv } during which the new leaders sought a return to the revolutionary ideals that they believed Robespierre had betrayed. This illustration, one of many anti-Terror prints to appear after Thermidor, embodies that shift. In the foreground, Robespierre stomps on the Constitutions of 1791 and 1793 while guillotining the executioner— the last revolutionary figure besides himself. Towering guillotines populate the background and are lettered to represent groups of slain people, among whom are the members of the Revolutionary Tribunal, Jacobins, Girondins, noblemen, priests, women, children, and popular societies. In the middle ground, a monument bears the inscription “Here lies all France” and is topped by an inverted revolutionary cap, impaled and slowly burning. The cartoon, by an unknown artist, speaks to the irony of a revolution that attacked all French citizens, whether ally or foe. But the illustration also embodies the relief of those who escaped Robespierre’s hand (Bosher, French Rev., p. 202–203, 226–232; Schama, Citizens, p. 851; Steven Blakemore, Crisis in Representation: Thomas Paine, Mary Wollstonecraft, Helen Maria Williams, and the French Revolution, Cranbury, N.J., 1997, p. 13–14).    
Courtesy of Musée Carnavalet / Roger-Viollet.    
9. THE BATAVIAN REPUBLIC, 1798   387  
The French invasion of the United Provinces of the Netherlands, which John Quincy Adams satirically described to Abigail Adams on 12 February 1795 as an “arrival” by “friends and allies of the Batavian People,” sparked ongoing rumors and speculation about a formal alliance between the two countries. In his letter to John Adams of 8 May 1795, Thomas Boylston Adams spoke of the long-rumored peace: “The Alliance does not yet appear to have taken place” but “must be purchased at all events, and the dismemberment of a considerable portion of the Dutch territory will be among the sacrifices required on one side and conceded on the other.” Peace between France and the Batavian Republic was formalized by the Treaty of The Hague, signed on 16 May. The following day, John Quincy wrote to his brother Charles, “I can now inform you that a treaty for this last purpose was signed this morning, and will probably very soon be published. It contracts an Alliance between the two Republic’s, defensive during the remainder of the present war; offensive and defensive from the period of its termination. This event is of the highest importance to the interests of this Country, and of no inconsiderable consequence to the rest of Europe. It is perhaps connected with a more extensive system, which will unfold itself in the course of the present Season” (all below). The terms of the treaty stipulated that in return for recognition of the Batavian Republic and a mutual pledge of noninterference in domestic affairs, the Dutch would pay an indemnity of 100 million guilders, provide France with a huge loan at a deeply discounted interest rate, and cede the territories of Maastricht, Venlo, and Dutch Flanders. Additionally, the Dutch would { xvi } dismantle their forts along these frontiers and share sovereignty of Flushing Harbor. Secretly, the Dutch also agreed to maintain a French Army of 25,000 through the end of the war (Schama, Patriots and Liberators, p. 206–207).    
This illustration, a detail from a larger historical map of the Netherlands prepared in the late nineteenth century, delineates the boundaries of the Batavian Republic as they were in 1798. It further outlines the territory along the Maas River and bordering Flushing Harbor that was ceded to France in 1795 under the terms of the treaty (Gustav Droysen and Richard Andree, Professor G. Droysens allgemeiner historischer hand-atlas in sechsundneunzig karten mit erläuterndem text, Bielefeld, Germany, 1886).    
Courtesy of www.maproom.org.    
On 28 November 1794 Thomas Boylston Adams visited the anatomical theater and museum at Leyden, recording the more unusual displays in his Diary: “In the theatre, is a vast collection of human skeletons, & bones. Unnatural births or monsters—distorted limbs, attitudes & postures; in short it is a collection of the Lusæ Naturæ, which are as curious, as they are humiliating spectacles of human nature, when it becomes the sport & jest of a Creator.” He found the museum’s natural history collection less noteworthy and thought it remarkable only for its size and the “great variety of Christals, and precious stones, together with different kinds of Oar” (M/TBA/2, APM Reel 282).    
The anatomical theater at the University of Leyden, established in 1594, served the dual function of classroom and public museum and became an important center for medical education and scientific research during the seventeenth century. By the 1720s its use as a classroom had declined, but it continued to be a tourist attraction until the theater’s demolition in 1821. The collection held human skeletons and those of common animals, but it also included more sensational specimens. An inventory of the theater published in 1701 records among the “cheifest rarities” “Two East Indian Tygers,” “The Sceleton of an Asse upon which Sit’s a Woman that Killed her Daughter,” “The Skin of a Man Tann’d,” and “A Young Elephant’s Head.” In addition to physical specimens, the theater also contained artistic renderings and allegorical art, among which were human skeletons carrying banners with humanistic warnings like Nascentes morimur, “we are born but to die.”    
Many of these elements appear in this illustration drawn and engraved by the Zeeland draughtsman Crispijn de Passe (1564–1637) around 1614 but likely modeled after drawings by Jan Cornelisz Woudanus in 1609 and 1610. It was published in Johannes Meursius’ history of the university’s first fifty years, Athenae Batavae. Sive de urbe Leidensi, & Academia, virisque claris, Leiden, 1625, p. 34 (Tim Huisman, The Finger of God: Anatomical Practice in 17th-Century Leiden, University of Leiden, Ph.D. diss., 2008, p. 10–13, { xvii } 36–39; Gerrard Blancken, A Catalogue of All the Cheifest Rarities in the Publick Theater and Anatomie-Hall, of the University of Leyden, rev. edn., Leyden, 1701, p. 4, 5; Ger Luijten and others, Dawn of the Golden Age: Northern Netherlandish Art, 1580–1620, Amsterdam, 1993).    
Courtesy of Wellcome Library, London.    
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The months from January 1794 through June 1795, covered in volume 10 of the Adams Family Correspondence, marked a period of relative quiet for John and Abigail Adams but one of increasing activity for the Adams sons. John Quincy launched his official diplomatic career, with Thomas Boylston accompanying him to Europe. John continued in his position as vice president, spending winters in Philadelphia and summering in Quincy, while Abigail lived year-round in Massachusetts. She traveled outside the state only once during this time. In June 1795 she visited her daughter Abigail Adams Smith and new granddaughter Caroline Amelia in New York City, while John attended the special session of Congress in Philadelphia called to consider the Jay Treaty.
But John and Abigail’s quiet life did not translate into a peaceful era in the United States or Europe. Americans were increasingly divided politically between Federalists and Democratic-Republicans, leading to sharp debates over economic policy, relations with foreign nations, and the continuing evolution of the federal government. Battles with Native Americans in the West and the violence of the Whiskey Rebellion in Pennsylvania further underscored the tensions of the era. Similarly, abroad, the general war pitting France against most of the other European nations continued to escalate, leading in early 1795 to the occupation of the Netherlands and the establishment of the Batavian Republic. The Adamses followed all of these events closely and used their letters to debate the issues among themselves.
The scope of the family’s correspondence picked up in these years, most notably due to John and Abigail’s separation during congressional terms and active correspondence at those times. This volume alone contains 145 letters between John and Abigail—nearly half the volume—114 of which have never before appeared in print. { xx } Writing to one another at least weekly and often more frequently, John and Abigail took solace in this steady communication: “we are grown too old to live seperate,” Abigail claimed, but “our present seperation is much mitigated by the frequent intercourse we are enabled to hold by Letter.” John, in turn, replied with appreciation for Abigail’s writing: “You Apologize for the length of your Letters and I ought to excuse the shortness and Emptiness of mine. Yours give me more entertainment than all the speeches I hear. There is more good Thoughts, fine strokes and Mother Wit in them than I hear in the whole Week.”1
Another important correspondence for these eighteen months was that between John and his son Charles; more than half of all the extant letters they exchanged date from this period. In the spring of 1794 John used the free time provided him by his position as vice president to write at length to Charles on politics and the law, hoping both to inspire Charles’ interest in his own legal career in New York City and perhaps also to build a stronger relationship with his middle son. These letters, however, while grounded in current congressional debates over the American response to French and British incursions, mainly copy extracts from previously published works by various seventeenth- and eighteenth-century scholars. They contain little of the personal or contemporary information that usually makes John’s correspondence so appealing. Accordingly, only a handful of them are published here, along with some of Charles’ dutiful responses.2
John also kept up correspondence with his other children, and some fifty of those letters are published here. Although somewhat less pedantically than in his letters to Charles, John nonetheless made a concerted effort to advise all of his children on a variety of subjects, from what to read to how much to exercise to how to relate to the public. Abigail supported this effort, commenting, “You can do much service to your sons by your Letters, and advise. you will not teach them what to think, but how to think, and they will then know how to act.”3 John used his children as sources of information, peppering them with questions regarding the state of political affairs in their respective cities. Through the questions he asks and the advice he supplies, John’s letters reveal much about his { xxi } evolving relationship with his sons, demonstrating his pride and respect but also his strong concern for their well-being and future prospects.
In general, all three Adams sons are well represented in the volume, with 29 letters from John Quincy, 16 from Charles, and 22 from Thomas Boylston. Deeply engaged in their burgeoning careers but still finding time for various social and civic engagements, the young men’s letters to their parents, their cousin William Cranch, and one another reflect the activities of young men in early-republic America—courting women, visiting and traveling, attending political meetings, attempting to move forward professionally. John Quincy’s and Thomas Boylston’s letters from Europe are especially rich, providing firsthand accounts of political events and social activities in London and the Netherlands, and observations on the continuing impact of the French Revolution on European life.
By contrast, daughter Nabby is almost silent in the volume, with only one letter extant from her for the entire period and only one from her husband, William Stephens Smith. Similarly, Mary Smith Cranch has no letters in the book, likely because Abigail spent nearly the entire period in Quincy and thus had no reason to write back and forth with her elder sister. And only five letters appear from Elizabeth Smith Shaw, mainly documenting the trauma caused by the death of her husband, Rev. John Shaw, and the subsequent dislocation of her family. Fortunately, the richness of the correspondence among John, Abigail, and their three sons more than makes up for these absences.


John characterized his life alone in Philadelphia as a “Scæne of Dulness,” and Mary Otis, with whom he boarded in the winter of 1794, indicated to Abigail, “he is more homesick, & times-sick, than bodily indisposed.—” He attended the Senate day after day but had few official responsibilities, and while he socialized with others in government and Philadelphia society, without Abigail, he kept to himself more than he had in the years when she had joined him in the capital. In the winter of 1793–1794, he lived with his friends the Otises; the following year he stayed at a boarding house. Those arrangements left him no convenient place to entertain guests; as a { xxii } result John turned more of his energy and time to letter writing, especially to Abigail.4
A handful of topics dominated their correspondence over the periods of their separation—the activities of the federal government in Philadelphia, the growing political divisions in the nation, the increasingly unstable situation in Europe, and the local happenings of Quincy, especially as they related to the state of the Adamses’ farms. It was that last subject which most interested John during his time in Philadelphia. Abigail’s agricultural reports provided an important respite for John from the day-to-day tedium of congressional activities. He begged her for information on their farms and sang her praises when she complied. He found a “Diary of Husbandry” she sent “very accurate & pleasing” and noted, “nothing refreshes me like it, in the dull Solitude to which I am destined for four months.” Likewise, he reproached her when no news was forthcoming: “Your last Letter had not one Word of Agriculture in it,” John complained to Abigail on 19 December 1794, never mind that he had received extensive reports from her several times over the previous six weeks.5
Abigail was obviously quite capable of managing the farm herself—she had been doing so, on and off, for twenty years after all—but John still did not hesitate to offer advice. “There is a quantity of manure thrown out of the Ditches of the Coves which I should wish carted or Sledded into the yard,” he wrote one day. On another, “It is nearly time for our Tar Brushes to be brandishing round the Appletrees.” And yet more that same day: “I wish you to buy as many Yearling Calves and two year olds as you can—and Cows to make up the No. 20 reserving two for our own home. I have sent an 100 Wt of Clover seed and twelve Quarts of herds Grass. … The Fences should be put up as early as may be, and the manure carted in season.” His letters reveal that John spent many hours thinking about how best to improve the lands they owned and at least as much time putting those thoughts to paper.6
Responding with good humor, Abigail enjoyed the responsibility though she was also happy to share it: “you will be sick enough of Politicks by next May I fancy to long after your Rocks and Hills, and I shall be sick enough of Hills and Rocks by that time to wish you joy of them.” In the meantime, she took on all the myriad details { xxiii } of administering their farms, from hiring hands to dosing sick animals to deciding where and when to plant which crops. She also kept John well-informed, often in playful fashion: “our People commencd war—against the canker worm, the 2 day of March,” she commented. “We were the earliest in Town, and we have already slain our thousands.” Later in the year, she submitted a day-by-day diary outlining each step she or her hands had done that week. For example, “october 30. Shaw No 1 & 2 carting Sea weed. Joy getting wood Trask Hayden & Minos the No leged Negro diging potatoes Arnold & Bass spreading sea weed Copland absent. Statson in the Garden—” She occasionally asked for John’s advice but did not hesitate to act without his input when necessary.7
Abigail was also deeply involved in nursing John’s mother, Susanna Boylston Adams Hall, who throughout the spring of 1794 suffered from a long, debilitating bout of pneumonia. At several points the Adamses feared for her life. Abigail wrote to her daughter, Nabby, in early February that Hall “is still in so poor a way that I have very little expectation of her ever going abroad again.” Likewise, she told John, “her strength daily declines . . . . she may continue in this way, for some weeks, and she may sink in less than one.” Even Hall herself felt the end was near, as she instructed Abigail to inform John “that she leaves you her Blessing, that she request your remembrane of her to the Throne of Mercy, that she is hastning to an other and a better Country, where she hopes one day to meet You, but that here she shall never see you more.” John, away in Philadelphia, felt keenly the separation and monitored the situation from a distance. He insisted on being responsible for the expenses of his mother’s illness and instructed Abigail to pay for the funeral to spare his brother Peter any financial burden. Fortunately, that offer proved unnecessary. Hall recovered and lived another three years—just long enough to see her son become president of the United States.8
Caring for friends and neighbors was a regular part of village life, and Abigail did her share well beyond the assistance she provided to her mother-in-law. In the wake of the death of John Shaw, Abigail’s brother-in-law, the Adamses took in Elizabeth and John’s daughter Betsy Quincy Shaw and also helped Elizabeth to make decisions regarding the disposal of property. Various friends, including John, Abigail, and John Quincy, stepped up to help Elizabeth’s son, { xxiv } William Smith Shaw, afford to continue his education at Harvard, which he had begun just a few weeks prior to his father’s death. Elizabeth expressed her gratitude to Abigail, citing their shared concern for their children: “You who love, & know me, can enter into all my feelings even to those of a Mother, & are sensible with what weight my Children lie upon my heart— Their Education & their welfare is my greatest Concern— I am happy that my Daughter meets with your approbation you cannot think what a comfort it has been to think that you love her— I have trembled for her— It was absolutely necessary she should go from this house—yes, & from one Mother to another.”9
Abigail—and John—were equally occupied with their own children. In January 1794, John Quincy was working as a lawyer in Boston, Charles in New York City, and Thomas Boylston in Philadelphia. Daughter Nabby, William Stephens Smith, and their two children, William Steuben and John Adams Smith—to be joined in January 1795 by a daughter, Caroline Amelia—were also in New York. Each of the three sons was relatively successful in the legal profession, building clientele and establishing himself in his respective city. While less is known of Nabby’s and her family’s activities for this period, the Smiths’ financial difficulties had diminished, and she was apparently content raising her family in New York City. Abigail and John worried about all of them and never hesitated to offer opinions and suggestions. But not all the children were created—or treated—equally. John Quincy remained the favorite and the one on which the Adamses pinned the most hope, though this ambition was sometimes expressed with criticisms designed to curb his faults rather than with praise for his successes. Charles and Thomas Boylston, though clearly well loved, inspired fewer comments and seemingly lesser expectations. As the most settled of the children, the eldest, and a married woman, Nabby received the least amount of advice from her parents.
John Quincy’s published writings provoked different responses from his parents. Abigail alternated between justifiable pride in his accomplishments and concern that he might become too mired in answering his critics: “I would not however advise columbus to enter the list with any one who may throw him the Gauntlet. if the metal is pure Gold, the more it is Rub’d the brighter it will shine. I believe it will stand the ordeal—” She even lobbied her old friend { xxv } George Cabot, a Massachusetts senator, to try to have them reprinted in Philadelphia, without success, while John—who described them as “a luminous Production”—kept close tabs on their republication in New York City. John and Abigail both recognized the potential dangers for John Quincy of being too successful at such a young age and wanted to make sure that he would keep any sense of superiority in check: “Our son will find the Envy of his Friends, the bitterest Drop in the Cup of Life,” John wrote to Abigail. “He must have a Care however not to give them Advantages by indiscreet Exultations, nor by an unmanly humiliations. Let him take no improper Notice, of what he must see and feel.”10
As for Charles, John worried especially about his son’s health. John considered Charles “fat as a Squab or Duck” and warned him, “I am not without Anxiety on account of your health . . . . there are innumerable Disorders which originate in Fulness, especially in a sendentary and a studious Life. you must rouse yourself from your Lethargy and take your Wallk every Day. When you cannot wallk abroad, wallk in your Room: open your Windows and air your Room as often as you can. … One of the most essential Things for a Lawyer is to study his Constitution and take Care of his Health.—” Both parents also focused their sights on Charles’ continuing romantic interest in Sally Smith, William Stephens Smith’s sister. John suggested to Abigail that Charles be told the story of a distressed Braintree family destroyed by a too-early marriage and insufficient resources: “My Imagination has often painted to me exactly Such a Picture in a Case of our Silly Charles, who was once in a fair Way to have raised as happy a family but who I hope is grown wiser.” Despite these concerns, Charles carried forward with the relationship and eventually married Sally in the summer of 1795.11
Abigail was anxious too over Thomas Boylston’s marital prospects, or rather, that he avoid any such prospects. After relaying gossip “that all the fine Girls in Phyladelphia are marrying off,” she warned him, “You must take care & not get fascinated.” She did not want him to come home with a European wife, a concern she might better have directed at her eldest son. John and Abigail also cautioned Thomas against “that mighty Novelty Europe.” John wrote to him, “Let me tell you a Secret Tom.— It will either make or mar you. If you prove Superiour to its Blandishments Seductions and false { xxvi } Charms, it will make a Man of you.—” Of course, John wanted Thomas to learn from his time abroad, to study and read and improve himself to come back better educated and better prepared for a productive life. As the youngest, Thomas received the most gentle guidance—far greater tolerance for his foibles, more understanding for the detours in his career—but also faced the lowest expectations.12
In the end, Abigail summarized her feelings about her children in particularly telling fashion: “I will not say that all my Geese are swan I hope however that I have no occasion to Blush for the conduct of any of my Children. perhaps I build more expectation upon the rising Fame and Reputation of one of them, than of an other, but where much is given, much shall be required. I know their virtues and I am not blind to their failings—let him who is without cast the first stone.”13


But John could not ignore public matters for long. Too much was happening throughout the United States, and although circumstances forced him to be more observer than participant, they did not prevent him from commenting at length and sharing his opinions far and wide. He continued to serve faithfully in the Senate, presiding over sessions there even as he was prevented from speaking during debates or casting votes (except for occasionally breaking a tie). But his regular attendance gave him significant insight into governmental discussions and insured he was well-informed about the myriad political issues under consideration. Similarly, Abigail remained an avid reader of newspapers and kept herself up-to-date on political events, especially as they might affect either her family or her home state of Massachusetts.
In general, John found Congress weak and ineffective, too divided to take strong action. It particularly rankled that he was not in a position to force progress. As he commented to Abigail in early 1794, “Congress have been together, more than two Months and have done nothing, and will continue Sitting two Months longer, and do little. I for my part am wearied to death with Ennui— Obliged to be punctual by my habits, confined to my Seat, as in a Prison to see { xxvii } nothing done, hear nothing Said, and to Say and do nothing.” The following winter, he saw the situation in marginally more benign terms: “This Session of Congress is the most innocent I ever knew.— We have done no harm.” But a week later he told Abigail, “The Business of Congress this session is Dulness Flatness and Insipidity itself.” Only the special session in June 1795 to debate the Jay Treaty really engaged John—and then he was barred from commenting on it to Abigail by the code of secrecy placed around the discussions and also from any possibility of casting a tie-breaking vote by the requirement that it receive approval with a two-thirds majority.14
Political divisions in the new republic had substantially cemented themselves by this time, and John and Abigail had firmly chosen sides—though they were reluctant to describe themselves as Federalists, since they saw themselves as patriots, above mere party politics. Still, John and Abigail spent far less time deploring factionalism than they had in previous years; instead, they turned their pens to deploring Democratic-Republicans. Thus, when it came to discussions of the volatile French minister Edmond Genet, John was especially disgusted by the close relationship between Genet and the political opposition. He argued, “This party has misled him, and filled his head with prejudices against the President and his Ministers. … In all my own negotiations abroad for ten years, in three different nations, I made it a constant rule, never to make myself subservient to the friends of any party. … Had Mr. G. relied on his cause and his honour, without seeking aid from party passions, he would have had more friends and fewer enemies.” Even old friend Thomas Jefferson did not escape John’s wrath for his political allegiances. Upon Jefferson’s retirement, John noted, “Jefferson went off Yesterday, and a good riddance of bad ware. I hope his Temper will be more cool and his Principles more reasonable in Retirement than they have been in office. … He has Talents I know, and Integrity I believe: but his mind is now poisond with Passion Prejudice and Faction.” John had little patience for those who had chosen what he believed to be the wrong side of the political debate.15
The United States continued to wrestle with its relations with the two major foreign powers, France and Great Britain. The bloodshed of the French Revolution horrified John; after learning in early 1794 of the execution of Marie Antoinette, he asked, “When will Savages be Satiated with Blood.?” Abigail, too, spoke of “the horrids Scenes” { xxviii } in France “that deluge her with carnage, havock, and Blood.” But the British, in turn, were threatening American commerce, blocking trade with the West Indies, and seizing American ships, not to mention continuing to operate forts and trading posts on American soil that they had promised to give up in the 1783 Treaty of Paris. Both John and Abigail hoped for America’s continued neutrality. Abigail felt the best resolution would be an end to the war and the opportunity for France to make its own government, “to form whatever constitution they choose; and whether it is republican or monarchical is not of any consequence to us, provided it is a regular government of some form or other, which may secure the faith of treaties, and due subordination to the laws.” But she also recognized the “General Gloom and distress amongst the mercantile people” caused by British actions. John argued that making common cause with the French could be worse than war, but he rightly guessed that the American people would be unwilling to endure “another whole Year, the detention of the Posts and the depredations in their Trade.”16
George Washington responded to these tensions by sending a new envoy, John Jay, overseas to attempt once again to negotiate a commercial treaty with Great Britain. John Adams strongly supported the move: “may the gentle Zephers waft him to his Destination and the Blessing of Heaven succeed his virtuous Endeavours to preserve Peace.—” He felt reassured enough that Washington’s actions would resolve the situation and put an end to debate over it in Congress that he wrote to Abigail, “I am So well Satisfied with this measure that I shall run the venture to ask leave to go home, if Congress determines to sitt beyond the middle of May.” Never one to leave Congress in the middle of a fight, John’s declaration speaks volumes to the confidence he had in this new policy. Jay left for England in May 1794 and spent the next several months painstakingly negotiating an agreement that became known as the Jay Treaty. The treaty, which arrived in the United States in spring 1795, received senatorial consent in June 1795 after deliberations John described as “temperate, grave, decent, and wise, … and the Results judicious.” While its terms were sharply divisive and the debate over it contentious, it nonetheless served to improve Anglo-American relations for the next several years.17
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Relations with European nations were hardly the only points of concern, however, for the country or the Adamses. John reported on the debates over the opening up of the Senate chamber to the public; the disputed seating of Albert Gallatin in the Senate; the arrival of the new French minister, Jean Antoine Joseph Fauchet, sent to replace the troublesome Genet; the threatening behavior of the Barbary States in the Mediterranean; elections in other states; the rebellion in western Pennsylvania over excise taxes; and the conflict with Native Americans in the Ohio valley. Abigail followed the Massachusetts elections closely, especially for Congress and governor, and monitored the Boston town meetings (sometimes via reports from John Quincy, who often attended). She reported on the activities of the Boston democratic clubs; the visit of King George III’s son, Prince Edward, to America; and the frequently political Thanksgiving day sermons. All of these issues—and many others— provided John and Abigail with ample material for correspondence, which often reflected on the tumult of the period. As Abigail aptly noted, “This Whirligig of a World, tis difficult to keep steady in it.”18


The single most important event for the Adams family in 1794 was John Quincy Adams’ appointment as the new U.S. minister resident to the Netherlands. Earlier in the year, rumors had circulated in Philadelphia of other possible appointments for John Quincy, including U.S. attorney for the district of Massachusetts. Instead, on 26 May 1794 John learned from Secretary of State Edmund Randolph that George Washington had nominated John Quincy to the Dutch post. John was deeply pleased by this honor for his son as well as excited for the opportunity to guide him in a role John himself had once held. He advised John Quincy to take the position and immediately began writing to him with lists of the things he needed to learn to fulfill the post successfully; as John Quincy observed, “He is more gratified than myself at my appointment.”19
John Quincy was somewhat more ambivalent about the opportunity. He had worked hard over the previous years to build up his legal career and had also begun to make a name for himself in Boston { xxx } politics. During the winter of 1793–1794, he distinguished himself with two series of newspaper articles, signed Columbus and Barneveld, respectively, that debated the behavior of the French consul in Boston and, more important, that of the French minister to the United States, Edmond Genet. Both series were well received, as John Quincy himself reported with a tinge of false modesty: “The public here, have been sufficiently favourable to Columbus: the applause which from many different quarters has been bestowed upon his Letters, in private conversations has been so much superior to their merits, that I dare not repeat the observations which have been reported to me, lest you should suspect the author of Vanity beyond the limits of common extravagance.” While he certainly planned at some point to enter into public life, he was not necessarily expecting to receive the call so soon. Ironically, on the same day that John sent him news of the appointment, he wrote to his father, “I think I have every day less ambition than the former, to pursue a political career. … I find myself contented with my state as it is.” He further noted in his Diary, “I wish I could have been consulted before it was irrevocably made. I rather wish it had not been made at-all.”20
Nevertheless, John Quincy was at heart an Adams. Upon learning of the appointment, he made the only choice he could: he would put aside his own preferences and serve at the behest of the nation. He promptly set off for Philadelphia where he spent several weeks reviewing the dispatches of previous ministers—including those of his own father—and learning what was expected of him. To his disappointment, the only major work assigned to him would be to superintend the loans from the Dutch upon which the United States still depended. Accordingly, he determined that he would remain no more than three years. “If the business of an American Minister there should continue to be the mere agency of a broker,” he wrote to his father, “and my office be of no benefit but to me, I shall feel myself under an obligation to return home; and resume my profession or any other employment in private life, that shall afford me an honourable support.”21
The appointment provided benefits for another member of the family, Thomas Boylston, whom John Quincy invited to accompany him as his private secretary. Initially, the Adamses had toyed with { xxxi } the idea of Thomas Boylston’s moving to Boston to take over John Quincy’s law office. John had concerns over Thomas’ ability to succeed in Philadelphia and worried about his son’s work ethic: “he makes too many Visits in Families where there are young Ladies. Time is Spent and nothing learn’d.” Thomas Boylston, however, disliked that plan. If he was to continue in the law, he would prefer to do so in Philadelphia: “Here I have already made a begining in the Profession—in Boston I am unknown,” he wrote to his father. “Here I have qualifyed myself in some degree for the Practice in this state—In Massachusetts I should have to learn the first rudiments—” But a chance to visit Europe was a different matter and a much more appealing prospect, especially as he was the only member of the family yet to have gone abroad. John Quincy reported to his father that Thomas “does not consider this as offering any thing permanent to him … but as a decent support for a short period of Time, an opportunity of seeing part of Europe, and perhaps of making some improvements which would not be so easily attainable at home.”22
John Quincy and Thomas Boylston sailed together for Europe on 17 September, arriving first in London on 15 October and then a few weeks later continuing on to the continent. Notwithstanding John Quincy’s rather low expectations for the significance of his new office, this move put him and Thomas right in the center of the general war then waging in Europe. Their father had wisely observed that “the Post at the Hague is an important Diplomatick Station, which may afford many opportunities of acquiring political Information and of penetrating the Designs of many Cabinets in Europe.” Indeed, as John Quincy reported to his sister, they arrived “at a very critical and dangerous period for this Country. … The french armies are advancing rapidly into the Heart of the Country. The nation internally is divided into parties extremely inveterate against each other.” While they had no fears for their personal safety—as neutrals they were protected, and even among the Dutch citizens “the dread of conquest is very much abated” they assured their concerned family back home—they had a front-row view of the turmoil.23
For the remainder of the period covered in this volume, the two men stayed in the Netherlands, conducting their diplomatic efforts { xxxii } despite the French invasion and the Dutch revolution that inaugurated the new Batavian Republic. They found time to attend numerous book sales (much like his father, John Quincy was beginning to amass a significant private library), and Thomas Boylston attempted to master both French and German. They went sightseeing in Leyden and Amsterdam and engaged in the usual rounds of social visits and dinners out. But most of all they tried to keep up with political events and their ministerial responsibilities. As John Quincy reported to brother Charles, “Our time has not hung heavy upon our hands— The magnitude of events following one another in such rapid Succession around us—the novelty and importance of the political scenes of which we were witnesses, together with the attention to our own concerns, and the use of some valuable books, served as a full employment for our time, and if we had not been almost entirely deprived of communication from our friends, we should have had no reason to complain of tediousness.”24
Furthermore, if John Quincy’s letterbooks are any guide, he kept Thomas Boylston hard at work as his secretary. As soon as he received his appointment, John Quincy began keeping letterbooks— much as his father had—to record both his personal and professional correspondence, a decision that has left modern scholars with a rich manuscript record. For the period of this volume, he used three separate books, numbered 2 through 4, filmed at reels 126, 127, and 128, respectively, of the Adams Papers microfilm. Two of these, Letterbooks 2 and 4, are designated “Private,” while Letterbook 3, marked “Public,” contains his official correspondence as minister. John Quincy continued this separation of letters, with a few exceptions, throughout his career, though his designations of private and public sometimes blurred. All but two of the letters in these three books are in Thomas Boylston’s hand (including letters John Quincy wrote to Thomas Boylston himself before their departure for Europe), with occasional corrections or emendations by John Quincy. Only his private letters to family have been considered for inclusion in this and future volumes of the Adams Family Correspondence; his remaining private letters and all public material will be published in The Papers of John Quincy Adams, where his public letterbooks will be discussed in greater detail.
Letterbook 2 is titled, in Thomas Boylston’s hand, “Private Letter { xxxiii } Book. / July 18— 1794.,” while John Quincy added above that, “From 18. July 1794. / to / 8. Feby: 1795.” The first two pages, unnumbered and in John Quincy’s hand, contain his letter to Edmund Randolph of 14 June 1794 accepting the ministerial appointment and a copy of George Washington’s commission to John Quincy of 30 May. Following that are 164 numbered pages with 77 letters to family, friends, and other acquaintances with whom he conducted private business. The final three pages supply an index by recipient with the date of each letter and the location from which it was written.
John Quincy’s Letterbook 4 carries on his private correspondence. Similar to the previous volume, it is entitled “Private Letters” in Thomas Boylston’s hand, with John Quincy noting at the top of the title page, “From 9. Feby: 1795 / to / 16. Feby: 1797.” This 428-page volume contains 216 letters, of which 59 cover the period to the end of June 1795. An index was started for the back of the volume but never completed.


For a complete statement of Adams Papers editorial policy as revised in 2007, see Adams Family Correspondence,8:xxxv-xliii. Readers may also wish to consult the descriptions of the editorial standards established at the beginning of the project in Diary and Autobiography of John Adams,1:lii–lxii, and Adams Family Correspondence,1:xli–xlviii. These statements document the original conception of the Adams Papers project, though significant parts of them have now been superseded.
The only major addition to the 2007 policy regards the selection for publication in the Adams Family Correspondence series of John Quincy Adams’ letters from his diplomatic posts to his father. In general, we will include those letters only when they focus substantially on family matters. If their content revolves largely or entirely around diplomatic and political affairs, they will be reserved for consideration and likely inclusion in The Papers of John Adams or The Papers of John Quincy Adams. John Quincy’s letters to other family members—especially Abigail, to whom he often wrote at the same time as he did to his father—will continue to be published routinely in the Family Correspondence books.
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The Massachusetts Historical Society continues to support the work of making Adams family materials available online to scholars and the public at its website, www.masshist.org. Three digital resources in particular complement the Adams Family Correspondence volumes: The Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive, The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection, and the Adams Papers Digital Edition.
The Adams Family Papers Electronic Archive contains images and text files of all of the correspondence between John and Abigail Adams owned by the Massachusetts Historical Society as well as John Adams’ Diaries and Autobiography. The files are text searchable and can be browsed by date. See www.masshist.org/digitaladams.
The Diaries of John Quincy Adams Digital Collection provides digital images of John Quincy Adams’ entire 51-volume Diary, which he composed over nearly seventy years. The images can be searched by date or browsed by volume. See www.masshist.org/jqadiaries.
The Adams Papers Digital Edition, a project cosponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard University Press, and the Massachusetts Historical Society, provides searchable text files of the 38 Adams Papers volumes published prior to 2007 (excluding the Portraits volumes), supplemented by a cumulative index prepared by the Adams Papers editors. This digital edition is designed not to replace the letterpress edition but rather to complement it by providing greater access to a wealth of Adams material.
Readers may wish to supplement the letters included in volume 10 of the Adams Family Correspondence with material from the same time period included in John Quincy Adams’ Diary, available online (as described above), and in the letters of John Adams and John Quincy Adams published, respectively, in The Life and Works of John Adams, edited by Charles Francis Adams, 8:515–517, and Writings of John Quincy Adams, edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford, 1:176–381. Another important resource is the unpublished Diary Thomas Boylston Adams kept while in Europe, available on the Adams Papers microfilm. Future volumes of the Papers of John Adams will greatly expand on John’s public activities during these years.
As with previous Family Correspondence volumes, the letters printed here do more than shed light on the activities of a single family—albeit an especially important one—at a critical period in { xxxv } American and European history. Rather, the correspondence provides an important snapshot of eighteenth-century life, illuminating a vast range of topics from how best to protect fruit trees from caterpillars to the popular response to Marie Antoinette’s death, from the dangers of thieves in England to the call for militia troops in response to the Whiskey Rebellion. Writing to their closest relations, the Adamses hold nothing back, sharing frank opinions and tart observations, vivid imagery and heartfelt concerns, “full of Entertainment and Instruction.”25 As both participants in and commentators on American society of the 1790s, the Adams family has no equal.
Margaret A. Hogan
June 2010
1. AA to JA, 12 Jan. 1794; JA to AA, 4 Feb., both below.
3. AA to JA, 2 Feb., below.
4. JA to AA, 22 Jan. 1794;Mary Smith Gray Otis to AA, 23 Feb., both below. See also JA to AA, 9 Nov., below.
5. JA to AA, 18 Nov., 19 Dec., both below.
6. JA to AA, 18 Jan., 17 Feb. (1st letter), 17 Feb. (2d letter), all below.
7. AA to JA, [ca. 20] Feb., 14 March, 10 Nov., all below.
8. AA to AA2, 3 Feb.; AA to JA, 8,26 Feb.; JA to AA, 4 Feb. (2d letter), all below.
9. Elizabeth Smith Shaw to AA, 24 Jan. 1795; AA to TBA, 23 April, both below. See also AA to JA, 19 Nov. 1794; JQA to AA, 16 May 1795, both below.
10. AA to JQA, 12 Jan. 1794; JA to CA, 2 Jan.; to AA, 14 Jan., all below.
11. JA to AA, 16 Jan. 1795; to CA, 7 Feb.; to AA, 6 Jan. 1794, all below. See also AA to TBA, 10 Jan. 1795, and note 2, below.
12. JA and AA to TBA, 26 April 1795; JA to TBA, 3 Dec. 1794, both below.
13. AA to JA, 27 May, below.
14. JA to AA, 8 Feb., 5 Dec.,14 Dec., all below.
15. JA to AA2, 7 Jan.; to AA, 6 Jan., both below.
16. JA to AA, 9 Jan.; AA to JA, 26 Feb.; to AA2, 3 Feb.; to JA, 14 March; JA to AA, 8 March, all below.
17. JA to AA, 19 April 1794, 14 June 1795, both below.
18. AA to JA, 6 Dec. 1794, below.
19. JA to AA, 4 Feb. (1st letter); to JQA, 26 May (1st and 2d letters), 30 May (1st letter), all below; D/JQA/22, 10 June, APM Reel 25.
20. JQA to JA, 5 Jan., 26 May, both below; D/JQA/20, 8–10 June, APM Reel 23.
21. JQA to JA, 18, 27 July, both below.
22. JA to AA, 22 Jan.; TBA to JA, 14 July; JQA to JA, 18 July, all below.
23. JA to JQA, 24 Aug.; JQA to AA2, 20 Nov., both below.
24. JQA to CA, 16 April 1795, below.
25. JA to AA, 8 March 1794, below.
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Numerous people have helped to bring this volume to completion. On the staff of the Adams Papers, we especially want to acknowledge the contributions of Karen N. Barzilay, former assistant editor; James T. Connolly and Amanda A. Mathews, our current transcribers; Judith S. Graham and Beth Luey, editors of the Louisa Catherine Adams diaries; Mary T. Claffey, digital production editor; Robert F. Karachuk, associate editor; and Neal Millikan, National Historical Publications and Records Commission fellow. They all gave invaluable assistance with the book, helping with the preparation of materials for this and future volumes of the Adams Family Correspondence. They took on a range of tasks both large and small with considerable skill, grace, and good humor. Rachel Love, our 2009 summer intern, helped to compile the chronology.
Ann-Marie Imbornoni copyedited the whole manuscript with her usual care and thorough attention to detail.
Many people assisted in the research behind this book. We particularly wish to thank Edward B. Doctoroff, former Head of the Library Privileges and Billing Division at Harvard’s Widener Library, and the reference staffs at Harvard University’s Houghton, Lamont, and Widener libraries; the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department at the Boston Public Library; and the New England Historic Genealogical Society. Prof. John J. McCusker of Trinity University, San Antonio, Texas, once again guided us through the arcana of eighteenth-century finance.
Kevin and Kenneth Krugh of Technologies ’N Typography in Merrimac, Massachusetts, shepherded the volume through typesetting with efficiency and skill. At Harvard University Press, we are particularly grateful to John F. Walsh, Associate Director for Design and Production, for his ongoing support of all things Adams. Abigail Mumford, Production Supervisor, and Kathleen McDermott, Senior { xxxviii } Editor in History and the Social Sciences, once again ably assisted with the publication, marketing, and sales of this and other Adams Papers titles.
The Massachusetts Historical Society continues to provide this project with the use of its unrivaled collections and the support of its knowledgeable staff. In particular, we thank Dennis A. Fiori, President; Peter Drummey, Stephen T. Riley Librarian; Conrad E. Wright, Worthington C. Ford Editor; Brenda M. Lawson, Director of Collections Services; Mary E. Fabiszewski, Senior Cataloger; Nancy Heywood, Digital Projects Coordinator; and all of the members of the Library—Reader Services department. Finally, we also greatly appreciate the ongoing contributions made by the Adams Papers Administrative Committee to the success of this project.
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Guide to Editorial Apparatus

The first three sections (1–3) of this guide list, respectively, the arbitrary devices used for clarifying the text, the code names for prominent members of the Adams family, and the symbols that are employed throughout The Adams Papers, in all its series and parts, for various kinds of manuscript sources. The final three sections (4–6) list, respectively, the symbols for institutions holding original materials, the various abbreviations and conventional terms, and the short titles of books and other works that occur in volume 10 of the Adams Family Correspondence.


The following devices will be used throughout The Adams Papers to clarify the presentation of the text.
[…]   One word missing or illegible.  
[. . . .]   Two words missing or illegible.  
[. . . .]1   More than two words missing or illegible; subjoined footnote estimates amount of missing matter.  
[]   Number or part of a number missing or illegible. Amount of blank space inside brackets approximates the number of missing or illegible digits.  
[roman]   Conjectural reading for missing or illegible matter. A question mark is inserted before the closing bracket if the conjectural reading is seriously doubtful.  
<roman>   Canceled matter.  
[italic]   Editorial insertion.  
{roman}   Text editorially decoded or deciphered.  


First Generation
JA   John Adams (1735–1826)  
AA   Abigail Adams (1744–1818), m.JA 1764  
Second Generation
AA2   Abigail Adams (1765–1813), daughter of JA and AA, m.WSS 1786  
WSS   William Stephens Smith (1755–1816), brother of SSA  
{ xl }
JQA   John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), son of JA and AA  
LCA   Louisa Catherine Johnson (1775–1852), m.JQA 1797  
CA   Charles Adams (1770–1800), son of JA and AA  
SSA   Sarah Smith (1769–1828), sister of WSS, m.CA 1795  
TBA   Thomas Boylston Adams (1772–1832), son of JA and AA  
AHA   Ann Harrod (1774–1845), m.TBA 1805  
Third Generation
GWA   George Washington Adams (1801–1829), son of JQA and LCA  
JA2   John Adams (1803–1834), son of JQA and LCA  
MCHA   Mary Catherine Hellen (1806–1870), m.JA2 1828  
CFA   Charles Francis Adams (1807–1886), son of JQA and LCA  
ABA   Abigail Brown Brooks (1808–1889), m.CFA 1829  
ECA   Elizabeth Coombs Adams (1808–1903), daughter of TBA and AHA  
Fourth Generation
LCA2   Louisa Catherine Adams (1831–1870), daughter of CFA and ABA, m. Charles Kuhn 1854  
JQA2   John Quincy Adams (1833–1894), son of CFA and ABA  
CFA2   Charles Francis Adams (1835–1915), son of CFA and ABA  
HA   Henry Adams (1838–1918), son of CFA and ABA  
MHA   Marian Hooper (1842–1885), m.HA 1872  
MA   Mary Adams (1845–1928), daughter of CFA and ABA, m. Henry Parker Quincy 1877  
BA   Brooks Adams (1848–1927), son of CFA and ABA  
Fifth Generation
CFA3   Charles Francis Adams (1866–1954), son of JQA2  
HA2   Henry Adams (1875–1951), son of CFA2  
JA3   John Adams (1875–1964), son of CFA2  


The following symbols are employed throughout The Adams Papers to describe or identify the various kinds of manuscript originals.
D   Diary (Used only to designate a diary written by a member of the Adams family and always in combination with the short form of the writer’s name and a serial number, as follows: D/JA/23, i.e., the twenty-third fascicle or volume of John Adams’ manuscript Diary.)  
Dft   draft  
Dupl   duplicate  
FC   file copy (A copy of a letter retained by a correspondent other than an Adams, no matter the form of the retained copy; a copy of a letter retained by an Adams other than a Letterbook or letterpress copy.)  
FC-Pr   letterpress copy retained by an Adams as the file copy  
{ xli }
IRC   intended recipient’s copy (Generally the original version but received after a duplicate, triplicate, or other copy of a letter.)  
Lb   Letterbook (Used only to designate an Adams Letterbook and always in combination with the short form of the writer’s name and a serial number, as follows: Lb/JQA/29, i.e., the twenty-ninth volume of John Quincy Adams’ Letterbooks.)  
LbC   Letterbook copy (Used only to designate an Adams Letterbook copy. Letterbook copies are normally unsigned, but any such copy is assumed to be in the hand of the person responsible for the text unless it is otherwise described.)  
M   Miscellany (Used only to designate materials in the section of the Adams Papers known as the “Miscellanies” and always in combination with the short form of the writer’s name and a serial number, as follows: M/CFA/31, i.e., the thirty-first volume of the Charles Francis Adams Miscellanies—a ledger volume mainly containing transcripts made by CFA in 1833 of selections from the family papers.)  
MS, MSS   manuscript, manuscripts  
RC   recipient’s copy (A recipient’s copy is assumed to be in the hand of the signer unless it is otherwise described.)  
Tr   transcript (A copy, handwritten or typewritten, made substantially later than the original or later than other copies—such as duplicates, file copies, or Letterbook copies—that were made contemporaneously.)  
Tripl   triplicate  


DLC   Library of Congress  
DNA   National Archives and Records Administration  
DSI-MAH   Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of American History  
MB   Boston Public Library  
MBAt   Boston Athenæum  
MBSufC   Suffolk County Courthouse  
MH-Ar   Harvard University Archives  
MHi   Massachusetts Historical Society  
MQA   Adams National Historical Park  
MaSaPEM   Peabody Essex Museum  
MWA   American Antiquarian Society  
NjP   Princeton University  
NAlI   Albany Institute of History and Art  
NHi   New-York Historical Society  
NN   New York Public Library  
NNC   Columbia University  
OCHP   Cincinnati Historical Society, Cincinnati Museum Center  
PPAmP   American Philosophical Society  
PWacD   David Library of the American Revolution  
WHi   Wisconsin Historical Society  
{ xlii }


  • Adams Papers
  • Manuscripts and other materials, 1639–1889, in the Adams Manuscript Trust collection given to the Massachusetts Historical Society in 1956 and enlarged by a few additions of family papers since then. Citations in the present edition are simply by date of the original document if the original is in the main chronological series of the Papers and therefore readily found in the microfilm edition of the Adams Papers (see below).

  • The Adams Papers
  • The present edition in letterpress, published by The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press. References to earlier volumes of any given unit take this form: vol. 2:146. Since there is no overall volume numbering for the edition, references from one series, or unit of a series, to another are by writer, title, volume, and page, for example, JA, D&A, 4:205.

  • Adams Papers, Adams Office Manuscripts
  • The portion of the Adams manuscripts given to the Massachusetts Historical Society by Thomas Boylston Adams in 1973.

  • APM
  • Formerly, Adams Papers, Microfilms. The corpus of the Adams Papers, 1639–1889, as published on microfilm by the Massachusetts Historical Society, 1954–1959, in 608 reels. Cited in the present work, when necessary, by reel number. Available in research libraries throughout the United States and in a few libraries in Canada, Europe, and New Zealand.

  • PCC
  • Papers of the Continental Congress. Originals in the National Archives: Record Group 360. Microfilm edition in 204 reels. Usually cited in the present work from the microfilms but according to the original series and volume numbering devised in the State Department in the early nineteenth century; for example, PCC, No. 93, III, f. 5, i.e., the fifth page of the third volume of series 93.

  • Thwing Catalogue, MHi
  • Annie Haven Thwing, comp., Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630–1800. Typed card catalogue, with supplementary bound typescripts, in the Massachusetts Historical Society. Published on CD-ROM with Annie Haven Thwing, The Crooked and Narrow Streets of the Town of Boston, 1630–1822, Massachusetts Historical Society and New England Historic Genealogical Society, 2001.


  • AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848
  • Letters of Mrs. Adams, the Wife of John Adams. With an Introductory Memoir by Her Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, 4th edn., rev. and enl., Boston, 1848. { xliii }

  • AA2, Jour. and Corr.
  • Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams, … Edited by Her Daughter [Caroline Amelia (Smith) de Windt], New York and London, 1841– [1849]; 3 vols.
    Note: Vol. [1], unnumbered, has title and date: Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, 1841; vol. 2 has title, volume number, and date: Correspondence of Miss Adams … Vol. II, 1842; vol. [3] has title, volume number, and date: Correspondence of Miss Adams … Vol. II, 1842, i.e., same as vol. 2, but preface is signed “April 3d, 1849,” and the volume contains as “Part II” a complete reprinting, from same type and with same pagination, of vol. 2, above, originally issued in 1842.

  • AFC
  • Adams Family Correspondence, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Marc Friedlaender, Richard Alan Ryerson, Margaret A. Hogan, and others, Cambridge, 1963– .

  • Amer. State Papers
  • American State Papers: Documents, Legislative and Executive, of the Congress of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1832–1861; 38 vols.

  • Annals of Congress
  • The Debates and Proceedings in the Congress of the United States [1789–1824], Washington, D.C., 1834–1856; 42 vols.

  • Biog. Dir. Cong.
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989.

  • Bosher, French Rev.
  • J. F. Bosher, The French Revolution, New York, 1988.

  • Boston Directory, [year]
  • Boston Directory, issued annually with varying imprints.

  • Braintree Town Records
  • Records of the Town of Braintree, 1640 to 1793, ed. Samuel A. Bates, Randolph, Mass., 1886.

  • Cambridge Modern Hist.
  • The Cambridge Modern History, Cambridge, Eng., 1902–1911; repr. New York, 1969; 13 vols.

  • Catalogue of JA’s Library
  • Catalogue of the John Adams Library in the Public Library of the City of Boston, Boston, 1917.

  • Catalogue of JQA’s Books
  • Henry Adams and Worthington Chauncey Ford, A Catalogue of the Books of John Quincy Adams Deposited in the Boston Athenæum with Notes on Books, Adams Seals and Book-Plates, Boston, 1938.

  • CFA, Diary
  • Diary of Charles Francis Adams, ed. Aïda DiPace Donald, David Donald, Marc Friedlaender, L. H. Butterfield, and others, Cambridge, 1964– .

  • Clark, Greenleaf and Law
  • Allen C. Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal City, Washington, D.C., 1901. { xliv }

  • Colonial Collegians
  • Colonial Collegians: Biographies of Those Who Attended American Colleges before the War of Independence, CD-ROM, ed. Conrad Edick Wright, Robert J. Dunkle, and others, Boston, 2005.

  • Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns.
  • Colonial Society of Massachusetts, Publications.

  • DAB
  • Allen Johnson, Dumas Malone, and others, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; repr. New York, 1955–1980; 10 vols. plus index and supplements.

  • DNB
  • Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1901; repr. Oxford, 1959–1960; 21 vols. plus supplements.

  • Doc. Hist. Supreme Court
  • The Documentary History of the Supreme Court of the United States, 1789–1800, ed. Maeva Marcus, James R. Perry, and others, New York, 1985–2007; 8 vols.

  • Evans
  • Charles Evans and others, American Bibliography: A Chronological Dictionary of All Books, Pamphlets and Periodical Publications Printed in the United States of America [1639–1800], Chicago and Worcester, 1903–1959; 14 vols.

  • Franklin, Papers
  • The Papers of Benjamin Franklin, ed. Leonard W. Labaree, William B. Willcox, Claude A. Lopez, Barbara B. Oberg, Ellen R. Cohn, and others, New Haven, 1959– .

  • Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family
  • James Edward Greenleaf, comp., Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 1896.

  • Hamilton, Papers
  • The Papers of Alexander Hamilton, ed. Harold C. Syrett, Jacob E. Cooke, and others, New York, 1961–1987; 27 vols.

  • Harvard Quinquennial Cat.
  • Harvard University, Quinquennial Catalogue of the Officers and Graduates, 1636–1930, Cambridge, 1930.

  • History of Weymouth
  • History of Weymouth Massachusetts, Boston, 1923; 4 vols.

  • Hoefer, Nouv. biog. générale
  • Jean Chrétien Ferdinand Hoefer, ed., Nouvelle biographie générale depuis les temps les plus reculés jusqu’à nos jours, Paris, 1852–1866; 46 vols.

  • JA, D&A
  • Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols.

  • JA, Defence of the Const.
  • John Adams, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, London, 1787–1788; repr. New York, 1971; 3 vols.

  • JA, Earliest Diary
  • The Earliest Diary of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1966. { xlv }

  • JA, Legal Papers
  • Legal Papers of John Adams, ed. L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel, Cambridge, 1965; 3 vols.

  • JA, Letters, ed. CFA
  • Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1841; 2 vols.

  • JA, Papers
  • Papers of John Adams, ed. Robert J. Taylor, Gregg L. Lint, and others, Cambridge, 1977– .

  • JA, Works
  • The Works of John Adams, Second President of the United States: with a Life of the Author, ed. Charles Francis Adams, Boston, 1850–1856; 10 vols.

  • JCC
  • Journals of the Continental Congress, 1774–1789, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, Gaillard Hunt, John C. Fitzpatrick, Roscoe R. Hill, and others, Washington, D.C., 1904–1937; 34 vols.

  • Jefferson, Papers
  • The Papers of Thomas Jefferson, ed. Julian P. Boyd, Charles T. Cullen, John Catanzariti, Barbara B. Oberg, and others, Princeton, 1950– .

  • Jefferson, Papers, Retirement Series
  • The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series, ed. J. Jefferson Looney and others, Charlottesville, Va., 2004– .

  • JQA, Diary
  • Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981– .

  • JQA, Writings
  • Writings of John Quincy Adams, ed. Worthington Chauncey Ford, New York, 1913–1917; 7 vols.

  • Madison, Papers, Congressional Series
  • The Papers of James Madison: Congressional Series, ed. William T. Hutchinson, William M. E. Rachal, and Robert Allen Rutland, Chicago and Charlottesville, Va., 1962–1991; 17 vols.

  • Mass., Acts and Laws
  • Acts and Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts [1780–1805], Boston, 1890–1898; 13 vols.

  • MHS, Colls., Procs.
  • Massachusetts Historical Society, Collections and Proceedings.

  • Miller, Treaties
  • Treaties and Other International Acts of the United States of America, ed. Hunter Miller, Washington, D.C., 1931–1948; 8 vols.

  • Monaghan, John Jay
  • Frank Monaghan, John Jay, Defender of Liberty, New York and Indianapolis, 1935.

  • Namier and Brooke, House of Commons
  • Sir Lewis Namier and John Brooke, eds., The House of Commons, 1754–1790, London, 1964; 3 vols. { xlvi }

  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

  • NEHGS, Memorial Biographies
  • Memorial Biographies of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, 1880–1908; 9 vols.

  • New-York Directory, [year]
  • New-York Directory [title varies], issued annually with varying imprints.

  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

  • OED
  • The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d edn., Oxford, 1989; 20 vols.

  • Oliver, Portraits of JA and AA
  • Andrew Oliver, Portraits of John and Abigail Adams, Cambridge, 1967.

  • Oliver, Portraits of JQA and LCA
  • Andrew Oliver, Portraits of John Quincy Adams and His Wife, Cambridge, 1970.

  • Oxford Classical Dicy.
  • Simon Hornblower and Antony Spawforth, eds., The Oxford Classical Dictionary, 3d edn., New York, 1996.

  • Parliamentary Hist.
  • The Parliamentary History of England, from the Earliest Period to the Year 1803, London, 1806–1820; 36 vols.

  • Pattee, Old Braintree
  • William S. Pattee, A History of Old Braintree and Quincy, with a Sketch of Randolph and Holbrook, Quincy, 1878.

  • Philadelphia Directory, [year]
  • Philadelphia Directory [title varies], issued annually with varying imprints.

  • PMHB
  • Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography.

  • Princetonians
  • James McLachlan, Richard A. Harrison, Ruth L. Woodward, Wesley Frank Craven, and J. Jefferson Looney, Princetonians: A Biographical Dictionary, Princeton, N.J., 1976–1991; 5 vols.

  • Repertorium
  • Ludwig Bittner and others, eds., Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder seit dem Westfälischen Frieden (1648), Oldenburg, &c., 1936–1965; 3 vols.

  • Rush, Letters
  • Letters of Benjamin Rush, ed. L. H. Butterfield, Princeton, 1951; 2 vols.

  • Schama, Citizens
  • Simon Schama, Citizens: A Chronicle of the French Revolution, New York, 1989.

  • Schama, Patriots and Liberators
  • Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands 1780–1813, New York, 1977. { xlvii }

  • Sen. Exec. Jour.
  • Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America from the Commencement of the First to the Termination of the Nineteenth Congress, Washington, D.C., 1828; 3 vols.

  • Sibley’s Harvard Graduates
  • John Langdon Sibley, Clifford K. Shipton, Conrad Edick Wright, Edward W. Hanson, and others, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– .

  • Slaughter, Whiskey Rebellion
  • Thomas P. Slaughter, The Whiskey Rebellion: Frontier Epilogue to the American Revolution, New York, 1986.

  • Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit
  • William B. Sprague, Annals of the American Pulpit; or, Commemorative Notices of Distinguished American Clergymen of Various Denominations, New York, 1857–1869; 9 vols.

  • Sprague, Braintree Families
  • Waldo Chamberlain Sprague, comp., Genealogies of the Families of Braintree, Mass., 1640–1850, Boston, 1983; repr. CD-ROM, Boston, 2001.

  • Stahr, John Jay
  • Walter Stahr, John Jay: Founding Father, New York, 2005.

  • Stewart, Opposition Press
  • Donald H. Stewart, The Opposition Press of the Federalist Period, Albany, 1969.

  • TBA, Journal, 1798
  • Berlin and the Prussian Court in 1798: Journal of Thomas Boylston Adams, Secretary to the United States Legation at Berlin, ed. Victor Hugo Paltsits, New York, 1916.

  • U.S. Census, 1790
  • Heads of Families at the First Census of the United States Taken in the Year 1790, Washington, D.C., 1907–1908; 12 vols.

  • Washington, Diaries
  • The Diaries of George Washington, ed. Donald Jackson and Dorothy Twohig, Charlottesville, Va., 1976–1979; 6 vols.

  • Washington, Papers, Presidential Series
  • The Papers of George Washington: Presidential Series, ed. W. W. Abbot, Dorothy Twohig, Jack D. Warren, Mark A. Mastromarino, Robert F. Haggard, Christine S. Patrick, John C. Pinheiro, and others, Charlottesville, Va., 1987– .

  • Washington, Papers, Retirement Series
  • The Papers of George Washington: Retirement Series, ed. W. W. Abbot, Edward G. Lengel, and others, Charlottesville, Va., 1997–1999; 4 vols.

  • Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick
  • The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745–1799, ed. John C. Fitzpatrick, Washington, D.C., 1931–1944; 39 vols.

  • Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.
  • Frederick Lewis Weis, The Colonial Clergy and the Colonial Churches of New England, Lancaster, Mass., 1936. { xlviii }

  • Winter, Amer. Finance and Dutch Investment
  • Pieter J. van Winter and James C. Riley, American Finance and Dutch Investment, 1780–1805, New York, 1977; 2 vols.

  • WMQ
  • William and Mary Quarterly.

  • Young, Democratic Republicans
  • Alfred F. Young, The Democratic Republicans of New York: The Origins, 1763–1797, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1967.
{ xlix } { l }
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, 2018.