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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0070

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1796-01-23

John Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

I have nothing to write you at this moment but Scandal, and that about one of our Connections and Acquaintances, in whose Character and Fortunes Several of our near Relations and kind Friends are deeply interested for which Reason I write in Confidence and pray that Calumny if it is such may not be propagated from me nor in my name.
It is reported here in Company of senators and others of Senatorial Dignity that Mr Greenleaf by Virtue of a Connecticut Divorce in Imitation of Captain Beal is about to marry Nancy Allen.1
It is also reported that Mr Greenleaf has taken Advantage of the Gullability of the Boston Speculators in whose Estimation Dollars seem of no more Value than Cents ought to be to make an enormous hall of fishes to the amount of half a Million of Dollars by a very Artful Sale of shares at a monstrous Price in a purchase he made of Mr Gun of Georgia Lands at a very trifling one.2
The House of Representatives will do no Business with any Spirit before the Treaty arrives. The disaffected are intriguing but accounts from all quarters are very discouraging to them. We have been very unfortunate in the Delays which have Attended the Dispatches of our Ambassadors.— Very Lucky Mr John Quincy Adams, that you are not liable to criticism upon this occasion! this Demurrage would have been charged doubly, both to your Account and that of your Father. It would have been a Scheme! a Trick a design a { 149 } Contrivance. From hatred to France, Attachment to England, monarchical Maneuvres and Aristocratical Cunning! Oh how eloquent they would have been.
The Southern Gentry are playing at present a very artful Game, which I may devellope to you in Confidence hereafter, under the Seal of Secrecy. Both in Conversation and in Letters they are representing the Vice President as a Man of Moderation. Although rather inclined to limited Monarchy and somewhat Attached to the English, he is much less so that Jay or Hamilton— For their Parts for the sake of Conciliation they should be very Willing he should be continued as Vice President, provided the Northern Gentlemen would consent that Jefferson should be President. I most humbly thank you for your kind Condescension, Messieurs Transcheasapeaks.
Witness my Hand
[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “Mrs A.”; endorsed: “Janry 23 1796.”
1. James Greenleaf did divorce his first wife, Antonia Cornelia Elbertine Scholten van Aschat, and eventually married Anne (Nancy) Penn Allen but not until April 1800. Capt. Benjamin Beale Sr. (1702–1793) had divorced his second wife, Hannah Baxter, in the 1760s after she allegedly eloped while he was serving in the army (Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, p. 217; Sprague, Braintree Families). For more on James Greenleaf, see Descriptive List of Illustrations, No. 10, above.
2. Greenleaf was heavily involved in Georgia land speculation, reputedly in close ties with Sen. James Gunn of Georgia. Gunn had helped to push a law through the Georgia legislature allowing for the purchase of vast tracts of Georgia lands, known as the Yazoo land grants, by four land companies. Of these land grants, Greenleaf purchased more than 13 million acres in Aug. 1795 and sold them again to Boston and New York speculators. In addition, in Feb. 1796, he sold the entire holdings of the Georgia Mississippi Company, one of the four land grant companies, to another group of northeastern speculators for more than a million dollars. Much of this land never actually existed—its boundaries were based on fraudulent surveys—and shortly after these sales, legal challenges led to the rescinding of the act authorizing the sale (Abernethy, The South in the New Nation, p. 136–152). See also AA to JA, 14 Feb., below.

Docno: ADMS-04-11-02-0071

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1796-01-25

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother.

I believe there have been two or three opportunities of writing to the Hague since I received your favour of the 23d: ulto: which have escaped me. This circumstance is not to be attributed entirely to indolence or inattention on my part: in fact I have been very unwell, and for the last three weeks have scarcely taken a pen in hand. My previous correspondence from hence I think will bear no marks of laziness, Its quantity being equal to that of the busiest times when I had the benefit of your assistance.
My former letters will inform you that the articles in the { 150 } newspapers giving me a Commission to this Court were false. All the powers by virtue of which I acted here, are superseded by the return of Mr: Pinckney: but I have still to wait for a letter from America, which is hourly to be expected, and I hope to see you in a fortnight or three weeks from this time at furthest.1
In the mean time the affairs mentioned in your letters may remain in statu quo.— The protracted impediments to the payment of the bill on Dallarde and Swan, are very unpleasant, and strike me as a little singular; but they certainly did not arise from any fault of ours.
I have procured the articles mentioned in your list, and will send them by the first convenient opportunity that shall offer, or bring them myself.
You have some newspapers herewith conformably to your request. The present is a time of stagnation in political concerns. The armistice on the Rhine has revived the hopes of Peace, which are rather fostered and encouraged by the ministerial partizans.
Our Accounts from America to the 20th: of December, promise rather fairer from the Session of Congress than has been expected by many. God in Heaven grant, that they may finally harmonize in the support of our National honour and Justice, from which our National Peace and Prosperity are inseparable.
Remember me to all our friends and particularly to M. Bielfeld.
Your affectionate brother
[signed] John Q. Adams.
RC (MBU:Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, Richards Manuscript Coll.); internal address: “T. B. Adams Esqr”; endorsed: “J Q Adams Esqr / 25 Jany 1796 / 9 Feby Recd: / 29 Answd.” FC-Pr (Adams Papers); APM Reel 131.
1. On 14 Jan. JQA had written to TBA to inform him that Thomas Pinckney had arrived back in England and that JQA, accordingly, “shall take the first opportunity to return to the Hague, and hope to see you in the course of a week or ten days” (FC-Pr, APM Reel 131).
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.