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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0004-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1785-06 - 1785-07

[List of Visits Paid and Returned in London, June–July? 1785]1

Le Comte de Lusi. Minister [] of Prussia. Great Pultney Street. r
De Tribolet Hardy. Secretaire de Legation de S.M. Prussienne. r
{ 179 }
Mr. De Jeanneret de Dunilac late Chargé D'Affairs of his Prussian Majesty at the British Court. South Moulton Street Oxford Street. No. 49. r
Lord Mahon. Downing Street. r
The Earl of Abbington. r.
The Earl of Effingham. r.
Mr. Cottrell Assistant Master of the Ceremonies Berners Street. r
Mr. Grand. Great Marlborough Street No. 54. r
Mr. Horn and Tooke. r
Mr. Brand Hollis. Bruton Street Berkley Square. 1st House on the right.
Mr. Bridgen. r.
Mr. R. Penn. Queen Ann Street, West Cavendish Square. r.
Mr. Strachy. Portman Square. No. 18. r
Lt. General Melvill Brower Street No. 30. r
Mr. Nicholls Queen Ann Street West. No. 42. r.
Sir Clement Cottrell Dormer. r. Wimpole Street. r.
Le Comte de Pollon, Lincolns Inn Fields. Brother of the Chevalier. Min[ister] of Sardinia. r.
Mr. Winchcomber Hartley. Golden Square. r.
Mr. Chamberlain Palsgrave Place Strand. No. 5. r
Mr. Chew. Charles Street St. James's Square No. 23. r
Mr. Granville Penn.
Count Woronzow Envoy Extr. & M.P. from the Empress of Russia. r
Mr. Frances, at Ray's Saddler Piccadilly No. 83. r.
Mr. Martin New Street. Bishops Gate Street. r.
Mr. Middleton Bryanston Street.
General Stewart. Norfolk Street Strand No. 33
Mr. Cunningham Dto.
Mr. Lane, Nicholas lane.
<Mr. Martin. New Street. Bishopsgate Street>
Jos. & Isaac Saportas. Great Crescent Minories. No. 5.
Mr. Wallace Bedford Street.
Mr. Bordieu.
Jos. & Isaac Saportas. Great Crescent Minories No. 5.
Brigr. General Forbes, in the Service of Portugal George Street. York Buildings No. 17. r
Sir James Harris. Park Street. Westminster. r
Mr. Wallace Bedford Street.
I. Heard Garter. r
{ 180 }
Lord Hood. r
Mr. Jennings. Soho. Wrights Hotel.
1. A loose, folded sheet, without date, in JA's hand and docketed by him: “List”; filed in Adams Papers under the assigned date 1785?. This sheet was afterward used as a cover for other papers, for on its blank fourth page appears a docketing notation in the hand of WSS: “Illegal Captures & Complaints of Injuries receiv'd.”
From scattered allusions in JA's and AA's correspondence during June-July 1785 there can be little doubt that this is a list of some (though by no means all) of the visitors received by the Adamses during their first weeks in London. The calls they returned are indicated by the abbreviation “r.” Only a few of the calls recorded were of the ceremonial, diplomatic kind, the explanation of which may be that, as the Dutch minister in London, D. W. Lynden van Blitterswyck, told JA, “Here the New Minister receives the first Visit, from all the foreign Ministers, whereas in France and Holland the New Minister makes the first visit to all the foreign Ministers and notifies formally to them his reception. This saves me,” JA went on to say, “from an Embarrassment, and we shall now see who will and who will not” (to Jefferson, 27 May, LbC, Adams Papers; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 8:167). Other visits were from persons like the Penns who had American connections (though it should be noted that there are no loyalist refugees on the list) or who were favorably disposed toward America (e.g. the Earls of Effingham and Abingdon, Lord Mahon [later 3d Earl Stanhope], John Home Tooke, Thomas Brand Hollis, and David Hartley's brother Winchcombe). Still others were old friends or former acquaintances (e.g. Edward Bridgen, Henry Strachey, Gen. Robert Melville, and Edmund Jenings). The purpose of Admiral Lord Hood's very unexpected visit is interestingly detailed in a letter JA wrote to John Jay, 26 June, a few days after it occurred (LbC, Adams Papers; Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 2:387).
The new minister's family had been reduced by one before leaving Auteuil. In the preceding fall JA and AA had decided that their eldest son should return to America to take a degree at Harvard and prepare himself for the bar. JA accordingly wrote President Joseph Willard of Harvard, 8 Sept. (MH), and Willard replied on 14 Dec. enclosing a vote of the President and Fellows to admit JQA to whatever class an examination showed him qualified to enter (Adams Papers). JA's letters to Willard and to Professor Benjamin Waterhouse, dated 22 and 24 April respectively, describing the studies his son had pursued while in Europe are of the highest interest (letterbook copies, Adams Papers; the letter to Willard is printed in Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 13 [1910–1911]:115–116; that to Waterhouse in Ford, ed., Statesman and Friend, p. 5–8, under date of 23 April). JQA left Auteuil for Lorient on 12 May, went on board the French packet Courier de l'Amérique on the 18th (where he found seven dogs being sent by Lafayette to George Washington, which JQA was charged to see were “well fed” during the voyage), sailed on the 21st, kept a careful journal of the passage to send to his sister, and arrived in New York on 17 July (JQA to AA2, 1112 May, 25 May-17 July; JQA to JA, 18 May; Lafayette to JQA, 18 May; all in Adams Papers; see also JQA's Diary, which is very regular and full for the period concerned).
On 20 May the three remaining Adamses left Auteuil by carriage and traveled via Montreuil to Calais, where they put up again at “Dessin's,” beguiling a dusty journey by reading a copy of Jefferson's Notes on the State of Virginia presented to them by the author; they reached London on the 26th and stopped at the Bath Hotel in Piccadilly, where Charles Storer had engaged rooms for them (JA to Jefferson, 22, 23, 27 May, and AA to Jefferson, 6 June; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 8:159–161, 167, 178–181). On the very night of his arrival JA announced his presence in London to Foreign Secretary Lord Carmarthen, who received him the following day. On 1 June he was formally received by George III; both men were deeply moved by the circumstances in which they { 181 } found themselves, and both distinguished themselves by their words and conduct (JA to Carmarthen, 26 May, LbC, Adams Papers; Carmarthen to JA, 27 May, Adams Papers; JA to Jay, 2 June, reporting verbatim what the King and he had said to each other, LbC, Adams Papers, printed in Works, 8:255–259). As a result of AA's house-hunting efforts, JA signed on 9 June a lease for a house “in the North East Angle of Grosvenor Square in the Parish of Saint George Hanover Square,” owned by the Hon. John Byron of Purbright, for the term of 21 months at an annual rental of £160 (Lease in Adams Papers; see also AA to Mrs. Cranch, [22]24–28 June, MWA, printed in AA, Letters, ed. CFA, 1848, p. 252). This, the first United States legation in London, is still standing, unoccupied in 1959, at the junction of Duke and Brook Streets, overshadowed by the immense new American Embassy building on the west side of Grosvenor Square. Into it the Adamses moved their furnishings and books, just arrived from the Hôtel des Etats Unis at The Hague, during the first day or two of July; and in a remarkable journal-letter begun on 2 July AA2 provided her brother with a chatty description of the “appartments” in the house, their furnishings, the servants, the neighbors in Grosvenor Square (one of whom was Lord North), visitors and visits, &c., &c. (to JQA, 24 July-11 Aug. 1785, Adams Papers). Subsequent installments of her journal-letters—carefully numbered, each of them running to many pages, and none of them published— furnish by far the fullest account of the Adamses' domestic and social life in London, 1785–1788, compensating in some measure for JA's near-abandonment of his Diary during this period.
On 17 June JA had begun his conferences with Secretary Carmarthen concerning the principal points to be adjusted between the United States and Great Britain; see his letter to Jay of that date (LbC, Adams Papers; Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 2:378–382).

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0005-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1786-03-27

Grosvenor Square Westminster March 27. 1786.1

March 26. Sunday, dined in Bolton Street Piccadilly, at the Bishop of St. Asaphs.2 Mr. and Mrs. Sloper, the Son in Law and Daughter of the Bishop; Mrs. and Miss Shipley the Wife and Daughter; Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan, Mr. Alexander and Mrs. Williams, Mr. Richard Peters and myself, were the Company. In the Evening other Company came in, according to the Fashion, in this Country. Mrs. Shipley at Table asked many Questions about the Expence of living in Philadelphia and Boston. Said she had a Daughter, who had married, less prudently than they wished, and they thought of sending them to America.
1. First entry in D/JA/44, a stitched gathering of leaves identical in format with the preceding booklets and containing scattered entries through 21 July 1786; more than half of this booklet consists of blank leaves.
It is not possible in a paragraph or two to fill the preceding gap of some ten months in JA's Diary with any adequacy. During his first months in England the new American minister wrote often to Carmarthen on the subjects at issue between the two powers, and late in August he sought and obtained an interview with William Pitt, but on 15 Oct. he told Jay that he could “obtain no Answer from the Ministry to any one demand, Proposal or Inquiry” (LbC, Adams Papers; Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 2:479). Five days later he had a long conversation with Carmarthen covering ground well trod before—the western posts, British trade restrictions, the slaves carried off during the war, American debts to British creditors, &c. Carmarthen was civil but not really responsive, and JA { 182 } characterized the discussion as “useless” (to Jay, 21 Oct., LbC, Adams Papers; same, p. 483–491). At length in an interview on 8 Dec. JA submitted a memorial (dated 30 Nov.) requesting that in accordance with the seventh article of the Definitive Treaty the British garrisons in the Northwest be withdrawn (LbC, Adams Papers; same, p. 542–543; see also p. 543–544). Carmarthen took nearly three months to answer, and when he did he counterbalanced the British retention of the posts in violation of the seventh article against impediments erected by most of the American states in the way of collecting debts due to British creditors, in violation of the fourth article of the Treaty (Carmarthen to JA, 28 Feb. 1786, Adams Papers; printed as an enclosure, together with supporting papers, in JA to Jay, 4 March, in same, p. 580–591). These issues were to remain thus poised until the Jay Treaty of 1794.
The discussions begun at The Hague between JA and Baron von Thulemeier in March 1784 had finally been brought to an end, after a lengthy and many-sided correspondence and much maneuvering about protocol, in a treaty of amity and commerce between Prussia and the United States which was signed by Franklin at Passy on 9 July, by Jefferson at Paris on 28 July, by JA at London on 5 Aug., and by Thulemeier at The Hague on 10 Sept. 1785 (see facsimile in Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, vol. 8: facing p. 566). The treaty was transmitted to Congress in a joint letter from JA and Jefferson, London and Paris, 2–11 Oct., being the Commissioners' “Ninth Report” (PCC, No. 86; same, p. 606). The treaty itself is printed in Miller, ed., Treaties, 2:162–183. In Aug. 1786 JA decided to go himself to The Hague to exchange the ratifications.
Concerning other negotiations of 1785–1786 for which Jefferson was jointly responsible with JA, see note 2 on entry of 29 March, below.
2. Jonathan Shipley, Bishop of St. Asaph and an intimate friend of Franklin, had long been a popular figure in America because of his early and vigorous criticism in the House of Lords of the British ministry's American policy (DNB). In June Shipley was to officiate at the wedding of AA2.
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.