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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0009-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-07-17

Sunday July 17th. 1785.

At four in the morning we came to anchor, and weigh'd it again at eight o'clock: we sailed up the North River, and pass'd by the ruins of the forts built by the British while they were in possession of New York. Upon Staten Island they are numerous. The Entrance of this river furnishes a number of very beautiful prospects; and the Situation of a number of country Seats upon Long Island is exceeding fine. At about noon we arrived directly before the City, and anchored near the shore. All the other passengers immediately went on shore. I waited to have my trunks cleared, and at about 2 went on shore at Long Island and dined with Monsr. de Marbois1 the french Consul. He has from his house, (which stands on an elevation, and commands at once the City, the river, Staten and Governor's Islands, and the harbour) one of the finest prospects I ever saw. After dinner I went with the Captain, over to the City, and walk'd about with him. Took a lodging at Cape's tavern, which appears not to be a good one, but is said to be the most tolerable in town. We met Mr. Sears2 at the Coffee house, and went with him, to his house: set half an hour with him, and then we again return'd on board, where I preferred passing the night (as my trunks were there,) rather than at Capes. Found Mr. Salvius and Mr. Fontfreyde, on board, for the same reason that I was there.
The french packets are certainly an excellent institution, but they are extremely expensive to the french government. The six packets do not cost the king less than 200,000 livres a year: for this reason it is said there are to be only four which will sail every two months. Every passenger pays five hundred livres for his passage, and it is customary to give about 2 louis d'ors among the Servants on board and the ships Crew. You live at the Captains table, and have a small apartment on board, to yourself. You must provide whatever refreshments you may be in need of: and must find your own sheets, and pillows and napkins. You are allow'd one matrass, and you may embark with you 2 trunks of four feet cube; if you have any thing more you pay freight. All the french packets are ships. The Courier de l'Amerique, has 96 feet of keel, and bears about 200 tuns. The others are nearly of the same size.
1. François Marbois, later Comte and Marquis de Barbé-Marbois, a French diplomat long involved in American affairs, beginning in 1779 as secretary to the French minister, the Chevalier de La Luzerne, then as chargé d'affaires a year later, and finally consul general in 1783. Marbois and the Chevalier de La Luzerne { 289 } had sailed to America with the Adamses on La Sensible in 1779 and learned English from JQA during the voyage. The Frenchmen were “in raptures with my Son,” JA commented, who was, they insisted, the “Master of his own Language like a Professor.” After the completion of the voyage, Marbois wrote to the elder Adams, encouraging him to take JQA back to France where the young man could obtain educational advantages unequaled in America (Howard C. Rice, “French Consular Agents in the United States, 1778–1791,” The Franco-American Review, 1:369 [Spring 1937]; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:385; Marbois to JA, 29 Sept. 1779, Adams Papers).
2. Isaac Sears, the New York merchant who had emerged as a leader of the Sons of Liberty during the Stamp Act crisis and was one of the earliest in New York to call for a general congress of the colonies. Sears was serving in the state legislature and the chamber of commerce (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0009-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-07-18


At about 9 in the morning, I went on shore with my trunks, which were search'd, so that I almost thought myself in Europe again. I went to Cape's, and after I had put all in order, went immediately to Mr. Jay, N: 8. Broadway. I then went to his office, which is at the corner of Dock Street, and found him there. I deliver'd to him all the Letters I had for him, and remain'd with him half an hour. I then return'd and visited Mr. van Berkel the Dutch Minister. Dined with Mr. Jay and after dinner, went immediately, to see Mr. Gerry (N: 61. King Street). Spent some time with him, and then went with him and Mr. King,1 and was introduced to the president of Congress,2 to Mr. Hardy,3 and Mr. Monroe of the Virginia delegation and to several other gentlemen. I went to governor Clinton's,4 but he was not within. We walk'd round the rampart, and waited upon Mr. Gardoqui5 the spanish chargé des affaires. He was not at home. We met Mr. Ellery and Mr. Howell of the Rhode Island delegation,6 and Mr. McHenry7 of the Maryland. Spent part of the Evening with Mr. Osgood,8 and return'd to my lodging at about 9 o'clock.
1. Elbridge Gerry and Rufus King were Massachusetts delegates to the congress, 1776–1781 and 1782–1785, and 1784–1787, respectively (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
2. Richard Henry Lee, Virginia delegate 1774–1780, 1784–1787, and president from Nov. 1784 for one year (same; JCC, 27:649).
3. Samuel Hardy, Virginia member of the congress 1783–1785 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
4. George Clinton, governor of New York, 1777–1795 (same).
5. Diego de Gardoqui, the Spanish chargé d'affaires, 1785–1789, the son of Joseph de Gardoqui of Bilbao, whom JA and JQA visited in Jan. 1780 and whose firm, Gardoqui & Sons, was the chief conduit of military stores to America for the Spanish court during the Revolution (Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder, p. 445; Samuel Flagg Bemis, Pinckney's Treaty: A Study of America's Advantage from Europe's Distress, 1783–1800, Baltimore, 1926, p. 71–73).
6. William Ellery and David Howell, delegates 1776–1781 and 1783–1785, and 1782–1785, respectively (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
7. James McHenry, member 1783–1786, and later secretary of war, 1796–1800 (same).
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8. Samuel Osgood, Massachusetts delegate, 1780–1784, had been elected commissioner of the United States Treasury by the congress earlier in the year and lived in New York (same; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:412–419).
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.