A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 11

{ i }
The Adams Papers

Series IISeries II
Adams Family Correspondence

{ ii } { iii }

Adams Family Correspondence

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

Volume 11 • July 1795 – February 1797

The Belknap Press
of Harvard University Press
Cambridge, Massachusetts
and London, England
{ iv } { v }
In appreciation for her many years of
service to The Adams Papers,
we dedicate this volume to the memory of
friend and editor extraordinaire.
{ vi }
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
{ vii }

The Adams Papers

Administrative Committee
Douglas Adams
Bernard Bailyn
Levin H. Campbell
Caroline Keinath
Pauline Maier
Catherine R. Matthews
Elizabeth Prindle
Alan Rogers
L. Dennis Shapiro
John Walsh
Hiller B. Zobel
Editorial Advisory Committee
Joyce O. Appleby
Joseph J. Ellis
Linda K. Kerber
Thomas K. McCraw †
Gordon S. Wood
† Deceased
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”).
{ viii } { ix } { x } { xi }

Descriptive List of Illustrations

1. CHARLES ADAMS, ca. 1795   19  
On 16 August 1795 Charles Adams wrote to seek his mother’s permission to marry Sarah (Sally) Smith: “It appears to be the wish of those concerned and a wish that perfectly coincides with mine that the connection between Sally and myself should take place as early in the fall as possible” (below). Known for his good looks and likable personality, Charles had been interested in Sally, the sister of William Stephens Smith, since at least 1792. On 29 August 1795, Sally and Charles, along with Sally’s sister Margaret and her fiancé, Felix Leblond de St. Hilaire, were married at the First Presbyterian Church in New York City.  
While the Adamses initially had some reservations about this match, they were relieved to see Charles happily settled. Sister Nabby wrote to John Quincy on 26 October, remarking on Charles’ marriage, “after all the Hair Breadth scrapes and iminent dangers he has run, He is at last Safe Landed—and I beleive is very happy” (below). Charles seemed to have recovered from his worrisome youth at Harvard College and was by the mid-1790s engaged in a promising legal career. Following their marriage, he and Sally would have two daughters, Susanna Boylston (1796–1884) and Abigail Louisa Smith (1798–1836). Unfortunately, Charles’ transformation did not last, and he succumbed to alcoholism, dying at the age of thirty in 1800.  
This miniature portrait by an unknown artist is the only known extant likeness of Charles. Possibly an oil on ivory, it is reproduced from an article on the Adams family in the illustrated magazine Wide Awake, November 1888. The present location of the original miniature is unknown (“Records of the First and Second Presbyterian Churches of the City of New York,” NYGBR, 13:87 [April 1882]; vol. 8:xxviii–xxix; Oliver, Portraits of JQA and LCA, p. 33–34).  
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  
On 19 November 1795 John Quincy Adams paid a visit to the home of William Henry Ireland, who had reputedly acquired a massive trove of “lost” Shakespeare documents, including an original { xii } manuscript of King Lear; a fragment from Hamlet; correspondence, including a letter to Queen Elizabeth I; legal documents; and a wholly unknown play entitled Vortigern, which, according to John Quincy, Ireland claimed “will be ranked among the very best plays of the author.” After seeing some of the items, John Quincy noted in his Diary that “the marks of authenticity born by the manuscripts are very considerable,” but that the findings were likely to create “a literary controversy.” Writing a few days later to his mother, he further observed, “Mr Ireland told us indeed that no single person that had seen the papers entertained the smallest doubt of their being genuine, but this assurance did not entirely remove mine” (D/JQA/24, APM Reel 27; JQA to AA, 24 Nov. 1795, below).  
John Quincy was right to be skeptical. Ireland (1777–1835) had forged all of these items as part of a scheme to secure the royalties from Shakespeare’s plays. His forgeries initially fooled numerous experts, but doubters emerged and a public debate ensued regarding the possibility that the papers were fake. After the only performance of Vortigern in April 1796, Ireland published a confession, An Authentic Account of the Shaksperian Manuscripts, London, 1796.  
The alleged letter to “Anna hatherrewaye” reproduced here came with a lock of hair about which “Shakespeare” wrote, “I praye you perfume thys mye poore Locke withe thye balmye Kysses forre thenne indeede shalle Kynges themmeselves bowe and paye homage toe itte.” Ireland was apparently determined not only to rewrite Shakespeare’s plays but also to reimagine Shakespeare’s marriage as a true love affair (Jeffrey Kahan, Reforging Shakespeare: The Story of a Theatrical Scandal, Bethlehem, Penn., 1998, p. 9–10, 17–20, 41–43, 56, 66–67, 125–126, 166–167, 196; Patricia Pierce, The Great Shakespeare Fraud: The Strange, True Story of William-Henry Ireland, Phoenix Mill, Eng., 2004, p. 77–80).  
Courtesy of the Folger Shakespeare Library.  
3. “TITANIA AND BOTTOM,” BY HENRY FUSELI, ca. 1790   129  
John Quincy Adams reported to his mother on 6 Jan. 1796 that he was “very highly gratified” with his viewing of the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery in London (below). Alderman John Boydell and his nephew Josiah Boydell developed the idea in 1786 to create both a gallery and a new edition of Shakespeare’s plays featuring scenes illustrated by the best artists available. Although John Boydell conceded that English historical painting was still “but in its infancy,” he and his nephew strove to “establish an English School of Historical Painting.” They opened the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery on Pall Mall in 1789, eventually showing over 160 paintings by various artists and selling subscriptions for print editions of the images.  
Henry Fuseli (1741–1825) made more contributions to the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery than any other artist, and his were arguably the most original. Influenced by the German Sturm und { xiii } Drang literary movement, he preferred to depict fantastical scenes and moments of high emotion in Shakespeare’s plays. One such piece by Fuseli, “Titania and Bottom,” represents Act IV, scene i, of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. In this woodland scene, Titania falls under a spell, and Bottom, his head transformed into that of an ass, becomes the object of her affections. John Quincy was unimpressed, characterizing the piece as a mere visualization of “the nauseous incoherencies of a sick man’s dream” (same).  
At about the time of John Quincy’s visit, the gallery’s subscribers were becoming anxious to see the engraved prints. John Boydell requested patience as “works of genius cannot be hurried,” but in 1804 the patience of the funders ran out and the gallery closed its doors. John Boydell died shortly thereafter, and a lottery was held to disperse the gallery’s collection (Oxford Art Online; Katherine Kickel, “Seeing Shakespeare for the First Time All Over Again in the Boydell Shakespeare Gallery,” Journal of the Wooden O Symposium, 5:82–86, 94–95 [2005]; John Boydell, A Catalogue of the Pictures, &c. in the Shakespeare Gallery, Pall-Mall, London, 1796, p. iii, vii–viii).  
Courtesy of Digital Image © Tate, London, 2012.  
After visiting with Richard Cranch’s nephew, John Cranch (1751–1821), at Axminster in 1787, Abigail Adams recounted his “delicate complexion” and “small features.” She surmised that although “he had been cramped and cowed in his Youth,” he developed into “a virtuous amiable man.” By the 1790s, John Cranch had left Axminster, where he was an attorney, and moved to London, where he took up painting professionally.  
Influenced by seventeenth-century Flemish genre scenes, Cranch’s known body of work asserts the value of painting landscapes and everyday life, discounting bias “against Familiar nature, life and manners.” An example of his artistic philosophy, “The Carrier’s Cart” depicts a rustic wagon carrying merry peasants, a twine-bound parcel, and a small dog in a wicker basket. The people, rural station, and horse-drawn cart are rendered with rusty brown tones that match the earthy foreground.  
“Mr. John Cranch is a charming painter,” John Adams reported to Abigail in a letter of 6 February 1796, but he added that the artist is “without much encouragement” (below). Self-taught, Cranch never achieved any substantial success, though he received some recognition from the Society of Artists. The last known exhibition of his work was held at the British Institution in 1808, where he showed seven pieces. Cranch influenced John Constable’s development as an artist with his “Painter’s Reading” (1796), a listing of essential books on art. He continued to write about the arts, publishing the treatise Inducements to Promote the Fine Arts of Great Britain: by Exciting Native Genius to Independent Effort, and Original Designations in 1811 (JA, D&A, 3:206–207; DNB; John { xiv } Constable: Further Documents and Correspondence, ed. Leslie Parris and others, London, 1975, p. 196, 199–202; From Gainsborough to Constable: The Emergence of Naturalism in British Landscape Painting 1750–1810, Woodbridge, Eng., 1991, p. 13, 62).  
Courtesy of the Royal Albert Memorial Museum and Art Gallery, Exeter.  
On 16 April 1796 John Adams wrote to Abigail that “the People of the United States are about to be Stirred up in every quarter of the Union.” John was referring to the debate in the House of Representatives over implementing the necessary appropriations for carrying the Jay Treaty into effect. John noted that the Philadelphia merchants “unanimously voted to Petition that The Faith The Honour and the Interest of the Nation may be preserved. They have appointed Committees to correspond with the Merchants in all the seaports.” Writing from New York on 24 April, Charles Adams informed John Quincy that “petitions are flowing in from all parts of the continent signed by most of the people of property urging them to make the appropriations.” On 1 May Abigail reported to John that many residents of Massachusetts were also frustrated with the delays in implementing the Jay Treaty: “The people have waited During a Months Debate with patience and temper, expecting that in the End, the House would comply, but as they see them grow hardned, and the period nearly at Hand, when Great Britain has stipulated to deliver the posts, a well grounded fear has pervaded throughout New England, which has roused the Merchant the Mechanick, the Farmer” (all below).  
Six respected New Englanders—Jeremy Belknap, Thomas Dawes, Simeon Howard, Jonathan Mason Jr., George R. Minot, and John Warren—prepared a circular letter addressed “To THE FREE AND INDEPENDENT CITIZENS” of the towns of Massachusetts protesting the congressional delay in funding the treaty. This circular letter was published in the Boston Columbian Centinel, 30 April. The authors of the memorial warned that further obstruction would bring about another conflict with Great Britain: “Should the House persist to refuse their concurrence to give operation to that Treaty, PEACE, with her smiling train of attendant blessings, may be expelled from our Country; and WAR! horrid WAR! with all its varied and multiplied desolations be introduced in her stead.” Included with the circular letter was a memorial from the city of Boston, signed by 1,300 citizens, and adopted by the town “at a meeting the most numerous perhaps ever known.”  
The authors designed the letter for mass distribution. The copy illustrated here, addressed to the residents of Southborough, includes a handwritten note in the lower left corner, “Is it not expedient to communicate this on Sunday?” While some towns embraced this approach, others used regular town meetings to discuss { xv } it. On 4 May Abigail wrote to John that at its town meeting “the inhabitants of Quincy yesterday very generally Signd the Memorial” (below). In the end, Massachusetts citizens in “above Forty Towns,” including roughly one hundred subscribers in Quincy, signed memorials such as this urging the treaty’s immediate implementation (MHi:(Circular.) To the Free and Independent Citizens; Evans, No. 31302; Boston Columbian Centinel, 11 May).  
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  
These miniature oil portraits of Joshua (1742–1802) and Catherine Nuth (1757–1811) Johnson were part of a group of nine small oval portraits, each measuring approximately 6 by 4 1/2 inches, that also included the seven Johnson daughters. At the time the paintings were made, Joshua Johnson was a successful Maryland businessman who had been living abroad for over twenty years. Catherine Nuth was an Englishwoman whom Joshua had met after he arrived in London in 1771 to work with the mercantile firm of Wallace, Davidson & Johnson. The couple would marry in 1785.  
The Johnsons relocated to Nantes, France, during the American Revolution. They returned to London in 1783, residing on Cooper’s Row, Great Tower Hill, until they sailed for the United States in 1797. In 1790 Joshua became the U.S. consul in London, and their home served as the center of Joshua’s consular and commercial business. The Adams and Johnson families had known each other since 1779, when John and John Quincy, while waiting for a ship to take them back to the United States, had spent time with the family in Nantes. John Quincy became reacquainted with the Johnsons in November 1795 during a diplomatic trip to London, and he subsequently began his courtship of Louisa Catherine.  
In his miniature portrait, Joshua wears a dark brown jacket with a large notched collar and lapels. Underneath, he wears a buff waistcoat with a high standing collar and a white ruffle attached to his shirtfront. His white hair, quite possibly a wig, is curled up at the ends. In keeping with fashionable women’s attire of the 1790s, Catherine Nuth wears a stylish light blue silk dress with a fitted bodice and sleeves. A sheer fichu or rounded handkerchief overlays a lace inset on the low neckline of her dress. A tall embellished hat in a matching silk fabric sits high on her head with a trailing white scarf. Very likely a professional hairdresser styled the curls that surround her face and the loose waves that fall to her shoulders. The artist is unknown, and the date of the sitting is conjectural but based on the apparent age of the youngest Johnson daughter, Adelaide (Oliver, Portraits of JQA and LCA, p. 22–27; LCA, D&A, 1:x, xxi–xxii, 3, 6, 7, 19, 42, 49, 2:773–774; Andrew Oliver and others, Portraits in the MHS, Boston, 1988, p. 56; Ann Buermann Wass and Michelle Webb Fandrich, Clothing Through American History: The Federal Era Through Antebellum, 1786–1860, Santa Barbara, Calif., 2010, p. 63, 85–86).  
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.  
{ xvi }
William Cranch moved to Washington, D.C., in the fall of 1794 to work for the land speculation firm of Morris, Nicholson & Greenleaf. Writing to John Quincy Adams two years later, Cranch described the nascent federal city as containing “about 100 hansome brick houses the greatest part of which are yet unfinished & of course uninhabited.” There were also “about 100 decent wooden dwelling houses occupied by tradesmen,” all of which were “scatter’d about over the whole face of the City” so that “there is yet but little appearance of a town” (16 Sept. 1796, below).  
Cranch also noted in his letter to John Quincy that the federal city was “an object which undoubtedly attracts the attention of many People in Europe.” One such person was the Englishman George Isham Parkyns (1749–ca. 1820), a watercolorist and engraver who traveled to the United States in the mid-1790s. This image by Parkyns, originally issued in 1795 by New York publisher James Harrison, was supposed to be part of a set of 24 American landscapes—from Washington to Philadelphia to Boston—that would be sold by subscription. The full set was never produced, however, and Parkyns returned to Great Britain around 1800.  
The aquatint depicts the port of Georgetown, D.C., in the late eighteenth century. Georgetown served as an important terminus on the Potomac River for the shipment of goods from upriver counties and was the uppermost point on the Potomac that could be reached by oceangoing vessels. In the foreground a ship is docked at the wharf while in the background two other vessels are seen in the harbor. The buildings on the waterfront are a mixture of brick and wooden manufacture in various stages of construction. In front of the buildings a rider on horseback converses with a man leading a horse-drawn cart over the dirt road (Oxford Art Online; Eleanor M. McPeck, “George Isham Parkyns: Artist and Landscape Architect, 1749–1820,” The Quarterly Journal of the Library of Congress, 30:175–176, 181 [July 1973]; Proposals for Publishing in Aquatinta, a Series of Views … from the City of Washington on the Patomac, through Baltimore, Philadelphia, &c. &c. to Boston, in Massachusetts, Philadelphia, 1799, Evans, No. 48952; Robert J. Kapsch, The Potomac Canal: George Washington and the Waterway West, Morgantown, W. Va., 2007, p. 14, 20).  
Courtesy of the Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division, LC-DIG-ppmsca-23666.  
On 28 November 1796 Abigail Adams wrote to John Quincy after learning of his betrothal to his “kindred Soul,” Louisa Catherine Johnson. Abigail asked “Louissa to Set for her Miniature.” Abigail requested that the painting be the same size as John Quincy’s 1795 miniature by Mr. Parker, and she specified that a lock of hair be { xvii } included “upon the reverse” (below). While John Quincy does not appear to have received his mother’s letter, it is probable that this miniature of Louisa was executed ca. 1796 and sent to Abigail.  
Composed of oil on ivory, this portrait captures Louisa at about 22 years old, near the time of her marriage to John Quincy. Depicted with a palette of pale and tranquil colors, Louisa wears a white dress with a light pink sash over one shoulder. Her hair is swept back from her face with loose curls and entwined with a sheer scarf and pearls.  
The initials “SS,” painted near Louisa’s left shoulder, suggest that the artist is Samuel Shelley (1750–1808). A self-taught artist from London, he exhibited regularly at the Royal Academy and was a founder of the Society of Painters in Water Colours. At the time of Louisa’s miniature, Shelley’s work was actively sought after and carried fees commensurate with his reputation and experience (vol. 10:xii, 216; Oliver, Portraits of JQA and LCA, p. 31, 33; Oxford Art Online; George C. Williamson, The Miniature Collector: A Guide for the Amateur Collector of Portrait Miniatures, N.Y., 1921, p. 175).  
Courtesy of the Diplomatic Reception Rooms, U.S. Department of State, Washington, D.C.  
Boston native James Greenleaf (1765–1843) made and later lost his fortune in land speculation schemes in the early republic. As brother-in-law to William Cranch (and occasionally Cranch’s employer), his activities were of particular interest to the Adamses. On 23 January 1796 John Adams informed Abigail that Greenleaf had “taken Advantage of the Gullability of the Boston Speculators” by swindling from them “half a Million of Dollars by a very Artful Sale of shares at a monstrous Price” (below). Greenleaf was selling portions of the Yazoo land grants in Georgia—vast tracts of land with largely fraudulent boundaries. The following year, John again wrote to Abigail about Greenleaf, noting that he had “commenced Suits” against Robert Morris and John Nicholson “for five hundred thousand Dollars. What will be the Fate of all these men I know not nor guess” (5 Jan. [1797], below). The suits and countersuits emerged out of Greenleaf’s land speculation in Washington, D.C., and in the North American Land Company. All three men were ultimately imprisoned for debt at the Prune Street prison in Philadelphia. Greenleaf, however, was released in 1798 by utilizing Pennsylvania laws that allowed him to leave prison as an insolvent debtor. He subsequently returned to Washington and resumed his financial activities.  
The American painter Gilbert Stuart, after spending more than twenty years in Great Britain, returned to the United States in the spring of 1793 and established himself as a portraitist. James Greenleaf commissioned this painting in 1795 before his financial losses. The oil on canvas shows Greenleaf dressed in a dark suit with a high-standing collar, a dark waistcoat, and a white shirt with a large { xviii } ruffle. His wavy hair is curled up at the ends, and the tail is tied with a black ribbon at the nape of his neck (vol. 10:156; Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family, p. 101; Abernethy, The South in the New Nation, p. 138–139, 149; Clark, Greenleaf and Law, p. 169, 171, 172; Oxford Art Online).  
Courtesy of the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts, Philadelphia. Deposited by J. Rush Ritter on behalf of the Livingston Family.  
{ xix }


As volume 11 of the Adams Family Correspondence opens in July 1795, neither John Adams nor the rest of his family had any notion of the profound changes that would be wrought in their lives over the next twenty months. John was in Quincy with Abigail, farming and enjoying the break between congressional sessions. Children John Quincy and Thomas Boylston had established a comfortable routine in the Netherlands, and Charles and Abigail 2d (Nabby) were content with their lives in New York City. By February 1797, the period at which this volume concludes, John was preparing for his presidential inauguration, Abigail was attempting to organize her return to Philadelphia and assumption of duties as first lady, and John Quincy was looking forward to marriage and a new diplomatic appointment. Charles had married and become a father, and Thomas Boylston was facing the decision of whether to remain in Europe as his brother’s secretary or return to the United States and resume his legal career. Nabby and her husband had been forced out of New York City by financial pressures and were regrouping in the small town of Eastchester, New York. Most significantly, the entire country was anxiously waiting to see what the first change in presidential administrations would bring.
In the interim, Congress debated the implementation of the Jay Treaty, and the country became increasingly divided, such that by late 1796 factions had developed into full-fledged political parties. Scandal forced the resignation of Edmund Randolph as secretary of state, but diplomacy triumphed in new U.S. treaties with Spain, Algiers, and a coalition of Native Americans. The general war still waged in Europe and spilled over into the West Indies. Yet truces between France and several of the belligerents hinted at possible resolution, and, under the Directory, France experienced its longest period of stable governance since the start of its revolution. On the { xx } home front, Abigail continued to insure the smooth running of the family farm in John’s absence and, of course, monitored Massachusetts politics on his behalf.
Of the 303 letters in this volume, nearly a third were written by John Adams, who—still lacking meaningful employment as vice president—poured considerable energy into keeping up regular correspondence with Abigail and their children. Abigail and John Quincy rounded out the other main correspondents; the three of them account for fully three-quarters of the letters printed here. Other letter writers include Charles and Thomas Boylston (16 and 17 letters, respectively), Abigail Adams Smith (Nabby, 3 letters), Abigail’s sister Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody (8 letters), and for the first time, Louisa Catherine Johnson (17 letters), along with a few others. The vast majority of these letters are recipient copies, with a handful only available as drafts. John Quincy also retained much of his correspondence in letterbooks; for descriptions of the ones he kept during this period, especially Letterbook 4, his primary collection of private letters for the years 1795 to 1797, see vol. 10:xxxii–xxxiii.
As has been the pattern over the last several volumes of the Family Correspondence series, John’s and Abigail’s letters to each other remain at the core of the book during the periods when they were apart; the rest of the time, the letters among Abigail, John, and their children, especially their sons, take center stage. Almost 40 percent of the letters—117 total—are between John and Abigail. An additional 39 letters they wrote during the same time period have been omitted from the volume primarily for lack of space. John continued to write more frequently (101 letters in all), but Abigail at greater length. Abigail, in fact, complained once again that John was not providing the news she wanted to hear, noting that “Gentlemen are not half [so] particular as the Ladies are in their details.” John dismissed the charge: “As to the details in which you Say the Ladies excell Us, I have not Patience—I who have the Patience of Job, have not Patience to write Letters in the style of Grandison & Lovelace.”1 Regular post, fortunately, ensured that letters, no matter their level of detail, arrived quickly and reliably—a far cry from the pattern of the 1770s and 1780s.
Writing to their children—and getting responses in return—was far more challenging for John and Abigail. Letters to Europe continued to take anywhere from one to three months to make the { xxi } transatlantic crossing, and replies were equally delayed. Over the course of the twenty months covered by volume 11 of the Family Correspondence, John and Abigail wrote 45 letters to their sons in Europe, of which 38 are printed here. Several others are mentioned but were apparently lost, some en route and some at later dates. Abigail complained particularly that the war between Great Britain and the Netherlands (as a French satellite) obstructed communications, and “our Letters too are liable to Capture so that the freedom of communication is much barred.”2 Correspondence to England was easier but still protracted.
John and Abigail no doubt also wrote regularly to Charles and Nabby, but most of those letters are not extant, so tracking their correspondence is considerably more challenging. Only one letter from Abigail to Charles survives from this time period, an apparent draft dated 5 February 1797. Similarly, merely seven letters from John or Abigail to Nabby are known to have existed for the same period, five of which are published here. Of those to Nabby that do exist, the majority come from the Journal and Correspondence of Miss Adams, Daughter of John Adams, edited by Nabby’s daughter, Caroline Amelia Smith de Windt, in three volumes, 1841–1849, few of which survived a mid-nineteenth-century fire.
The children responded in kind to their parents’ correspondence, and 45 letters written by the four Adams offspring to Abigail or John appear in the book. The largest number is from John Quincy, with Charles and Thomas Boylston close behind. Only a single letter from Nabby to her parents still survives from this time period, though, once again, textual indications make clear that others were written and have since been lost.
This volume offers the first taste of what will become a central feature of the Family Correspondence series in the years to come: the correspondence between John Quincy and his future wife, Louisa Catherine Johnson. From June 1796, after they separated for the first time since their engagement and began corresponding, through the end of February 1797, they wrote 47 letters to one another, 34 of which are printed here. Their letters alternate between the typical romantic stylings of young lovers and less-gentle missives, with didactic, demanding instructions on John Quincy’s part and sharp responses from Louisa, suggesting a tumultuous relationship and early difficulties with communication.
{ xxii }
There is also evidence that Louisa was not the sole author of some of her letters to John Quincy. She commented in her Diary that “My officious governess however undertook to correct my letters and to give them such a tournure as she thought would be most elegant—” And she told him how “totally incapacitated do I feel myself for writing were it not through fear of giving you pain I certainly shou’d indulge my avowed aversion to it and decline the task.”3 Undoubtedly her first few letters were short and casual, while later ones became longer and more carefully styled, suggesting either greater experience or the advice and influence of another. Over time, however, Louisa became an accomplished author in her own right, and her correspondence will eventually become a worthy successor to Abigail’s in the world of Adams Family Correspondence.


“I have this day … heard News that is of some Importance.” Thus John first broached to Abigail a subject, indeed, of “some Importance”: “One of the Ministry told me to day,” he continued, “that the President was solemnly determined to serve no longer than the End of his present Period.” John recognized immediately its significance. “You know the Consequence of this,” he wrote Abigail, “to me and to yourself. Either We must enter upon Ardours more trying than any ever yet experienced; or retire to Quincy Farmers for Life.” John had toiled, faithfully but restlessly, as vice president for eight years, waiting for just such an opportunity. He had no intention of continuing as second in command under anyone else. He would either be elected president or retire from public life altogether.4
George Washington’s decision not to seek a third term as president—widely rumored by the spring of 1796 and formally announced in September—was hardly an enormous surprise. He had been reluctant to assume the presidency in the first place, and his second term particularly was marked by contentious political divisions. Still, it was not a change that many people could easily endorse. Charles Adams noted to John Quincy that he was “confident The People of this Country will never accept” Washington’s resignation. Only his death, Charles thought, would allow for a peaceful transition. { xxiii } Likewise, Abigail reported to Thomas Boylston: “All America is or ought to be in mourning The President of the united states refuses again to be considerd as a canditate for that office.”5
Well before the election season formally began, the two political parties—Federalists and Democratic-Republicans—were drawing battle lines and differentiating themselves and their political philosophies. One major precursor to the election contest was the debate over the Anglo-American commercial treaty negotiated by John Jay in the fall of 1794. Although the Senate consented to it in June 1795, the treaty remained highly contested well after George Washington formally signed it in August 1795. Federalists supported it as a means to improve trade relations with Great Britian and resolve issues outstanding from the 1783 Treaty of Paris. But Democratic-Republicans despised it as a capitulation to Britain and rejection of the United States’ traditional friendship with France. Abigail commented that “no event Since the commencment of the Government, has excited so much undue heat, so much bitter Acrimony, so much base invective, as has been pourd forth against mr. Jay and the Treaty.” Newspapers offered lengthy articles pro and con, and publishers printed numerous pamphlets on the topic, resembling somewhat the outpouring of commentary during the debate over the ratification of the Constitution.6
The Adamses, as was their common practice, shared these pieces, so copies of Alexander Hamilton’s Camillus and Rufus King’s Curtius, among other protreaty works, traveled across the Atlantic to keep the younger generation well-informed about the political fight. But at the same time the Adamses lauded these writings, they decried those of the opposition: “Before this reaches you,” Abigail commented to John Quincy, “you will hear no Doubt of the Party opposition to the Treaty. … Rancorous Knaves & Desperate incendiarys Skulk behind the press, and stab the fairest and best characters in the United States.” She even refused to send her son some works, noting, “I doubt not many of these papers will reach you, but I cannot have a Hand, in transmitting such base calumny.”7 Abigail’s attitude toward the press, while not new, was increasingly one of frustration and considerable anger, especially as her husband and { xxiv } George Washington became prime targets; her eventual support for laws to curtail press freedoms in the late 1790s may well have had its genesis at this time.
Apart from using newspapers to argue their case, Democratic-Republicans, having lost the battle over ratification of the treaty, sought to block its implementation by denying it funding in the House of Representatives in the spring of 1796. They also encouraged opposition to the treaty at the state level. In Virginia, for instance, they succeeded in December 1795 in having a series of resolutions introduced that recommended constitutional amendments giving the House of Representatives power to approve treaties and limiting some of the powers of the Senate. John considered these recommendations “hairbrain’d,” but other state legislatures took them seriously enough to formally debate, if not actually approve, them. Democratic-Republicans hoped these maneuvers would garner support for congressional opposition to implementing the treaty and, in the long term, rally support for their candidates in the 1796 elections.8
France responded equally adamantly against the treaty, with its minister to the United States, Pierre Auguste Adet, ultimately tendering his resignation in protest. France felt that the Jay Treaty put it at a significant competitive disadvantage, vis-à-vis U.S. trade, to the British, who claimed the right to seize goods from neutral vessels bound for enemy ports. The French, still bound by the “free ships make free goods” provision of the 1778 Franco-American Treaty of Amity and Commerce, could not respond in kind to disrupt neutral shipping to British ports. Adet chose to make his concerns known publicly, arguing in a letter widely published in the newspapers that the United States had surrendered its neutrality and violated the terms of its treaties with France.9
In the end, the Democratic-Republicans could not muster sufficient opposition to undermine the treaty. They were forced to back down in the face of Washington’s firm refusal to release documents related to the negotiations. Federalists engaged in an active petition drive, sending memorials to Congress urging the prompt enactment of the treaty. This effort swayed a bare majority to vote in favor of full funding on 30 April, after debates full of “Rancour, and very unbecomeing bitterness.” These events further cemented the political divisions within the United States and provided an important { xxv } undercurrent to the presidential election. As John observed, the question of succession “may occasion as much Controversy and Animosity as The Treaty with Great Britain, which was ultimately determined by no proper Considerations of Merit, but merely by fear of Constituents in many.”10
Such controversies made the presidency in many ways a less than appealing position, and not everyone considered winning it a positive goal: “Whoever may be the successor of the present first magistrate,” John Quincy commented to Charles, “will hold a situation so uncomfortable and so dangerous, that there is nothing in its possession to make it desirable.” John too questioned why anyone would accept a public position: “The Expences of living at the Seat of Government are so exorbitant, so far beyond all Proportion to the salaries and the Sure Reward of Integrity in the discharge of public functions is such obloquy Contempt and Insult, that no Man of any feeling is willing to renounce his home, forsake his Property & Profession for the sake of removing to Philadelphia where he is almost sure of disgrace & Ruin.” John was speaking of the search for cabinet secretaries, but he also had in mind the presidency and its various challenges.11
Abigail especially had reservations—on John’s behalf, no doubt, but also for what the presidency would mean for herself. “My Ambition leads me not to be first in Rome,” she wrote to John upon first hearing the news of the likely succession. “There is not a beam of Light, nor a shadow of comfort or pleasure in the contemplation of the object. if personal considerations alone were to weigh, I should immediatly say retire with the Principle.” She considered the position “a most unpleasent Seat, full of Thorns Briars thistles, Murmuring fault finding calumny obliqui discrage for I ought I know & What not.” She particularly feared that she could never live up to the standards set by Martha Washington, whom she admired. But Abigail also believed that “the Hand of Providence ought to be attended to and what is designd, Cherefully Submitted to.”12
John expressed some concerns over the post—he promised “cool deliberation” of his intentions—but he had a difficult time truly masking his ambitions. He repeatedly suggested to Abigail that he would be happy whatever the outcome of the election, but he also argued that if the Fates gave him the position, “it would be dastardly { xxvi } to Shrink if it were in ones Power” to accept the responsibility. In another letter, he commented to her, “I hate to live in Phila. in Summer and I hate still more to relinquish my farm— I hate Speeches, Messages Addresses & answers, Proclamations and such Affected, studied constrained Things— I hate Levees & Drawing Rooms— I hate to Speak to a 1000 People to whom I have nothing to Say— Yet all this I can do— But I am too old to continue more than one or at most more than two heats, and that is scarcely time enough to form conduct & compleat any very useful system.” In the same breath as he declaimed hatred of all the tasks of the position, he contemplated multiple terms in office. Essentially, John convinced himself that he had a moral obligation to serve if that is how the election should play out—and the closer it came to actually voting, the more certain he became that duty required him to take his rightful place as head of the nation.13
By the late winter and early spring of 1796, people were openly discussing potential successors to Washington. Thomas Jefferson was one obvious candidate—the Philadelphia Aurora General Advertiser described him as “that good patriot, statesman & philosopher”—and John Jay also seemed likely. John Adams, of course, was part of the discussion as a prospective candidate as well as a participant in the deciding process. As he reported to Abigail, “I Suspect, but dont know, that Patrick Henry, Mr Jefferson, Mr Jay and Mr Hamilton will all be voted for. I ask no questions: but questions are forced upon me— I have had Some Conversations purposely Sought, in order as I believe indeed as I know, to convince me, that the Fœds had no thought of overleaping the Succession.” By the fall the contest had largely settled into a competition between John Adams and Thomas Pinckney for the Federalists and Thomas Jefferson and Aaron Burr for the Democratic-Republicans.14
The Constitution, established before the advent of political parties, specified that each state could determine its own process for selecting presidential electors, who, in turn, would cast votes for two individuals each. The person receiving the most votes would become president; whoever received the second most would become vice president, regardless of party affiliation. Nor was any distinction made between individuals competing for the presidency versus the vice presidency. In 1796, then, factions attempted to orchestrate { xxvii } vote counts to insure the election of favored candidates in a chosen order.15
As the first contested presidential election in the United States, both sides engaged in levels of electioneering that would have been unthinkable four or eight years earlier—but would seem commonplace, even modest, to modern eyes. Apart from extensive newspaper publications and pamphleteering, parties distributed thousands of sample ballots—possibly as many as thirty thousand in Pennsylvania alone—encouraging votes for slates of specific electors. Abigail found the whole process distasteful. “When Balanced as our Government is,” she wrote to John Quincy, “the progress of corruption is gaining Such ground, that I fear America will never go through an other Election without Blood shed.” Both she and John blamed much of the vitriol on “foreign influence.” John claimed that “the French Manoeuvres have gained the Votes of Pensilvania and how many others is unknown.”16
By the end of December, although the electoral votes had not yet been officially announced, the outcome was certain. John Adams won the election with 71 electoral votes, while Thomas Jefferson placed second with 68 votes. The resulting division—a president from one party, a vice president from another—had been of some concern throughout the process. John himself noted in January 1796, “It will be a dangerous Crisis in public affairs if the President and Vice President should be in opposite Boxes.” But the Adamses trusted to their long friendship with Jefferson and hoped such a crisis would not ensue. Abigail commented to Elbridge Gerry regarding Jefferson, “I have long known him, and entertain for him a personal Friendship, and tho I cannot accord with him in Some of his politicks, I do not believe him culpable to the extent he has been represented. placed at the Head of the Senate, I trust his conduct will be wise and prude[nt. I] hope it will be a means of softning the animiosity of Party, and of cementing & strengthining the bond of union.”17
John and Abigail turned to preparations for the transition: “The Prospect before me,” John wrote to her, “opens many Questions and Inquiries concerning House, Furniture, Equipage, Servants and { xxviii } many other Things which will give me trouble and occupation enough and the more because you will not be here—” Abigail was ambivalent about the prospect, noting to Thomas Boylston, “Joy dwells in these dear silent shades at Quincy and domestick pleasures in Peace and tranquility. if I should be calld to quit thee, with what regreet shall I part from thee.” But she would do what was needed, hiring servants, purchasing a carriage, and finding proper accommodations for John’s mother. By the end of February 1797, Abigail was actively making arrangements, hoping to leave for Philadelphia in the next month or so. John, too, was busy, preparing for his forthcoming inauguration.18


Politics was hardly the only issue on the minds of the Adamses. As always, the family’s correspondence contains an intimate look at their private lives, and in this period, discussions of marriage and family life took on a particularly prominent role. Not surprisingly given their ages—John Quincy turned twenty-eight in 1795, with Charles three years younger and Thomas Boylston aged twenty-three—the young Adams men were devoting serious thoughts to their personal lives and to the possibility of marriage. Their letters, especially those of John Quincy, reflect all the usual uncertainties of young men seeking to find their place in the world and companions to accompany them.
On the marriage front, Charles acted first. He had been courting Sarah (Sally) Smith, one of William Stephens Smith’s sisters, since at least 1792, despite apparent reservations by their families. Neither John nor Abigail opposed Sally per se, but rather questioned Charles’ ability to “see his way clear & be able to support a Family.” When Abigail had visited the young couple in June 1795, she “advised them to continue longer single” but did not oppose “their determination, to be for none other.” By August 1795 Charles had made up his mind. He wrote to Abigail formally asking her “to consent to the proposal and to bestow your parental blessing upon your affectionate son.” Interestingly, however, Charles did not wait for that consent to proceed. He and Sally married on 29 August in a { xxix } joint wedding with Sally’s sister Margaret. The only other Adams present was likely Charles’ sister Nabby, who reported to John Quincy: “After all the Hair Breadth scrapes and iminent dangers he has run, He is at last Safe Landed—and I beleive is very happy.”19
Charles’ marriage sparked some jealousy in John Quincy, who sincerely congratulated his brother but also wrote to Thomas Boylston of being “buffeted about the world in solitary celibacy.” Serving as U.S. minister to the Netherlands—“an easy, dull, peaceable kind of life”—gave him little optimism for a potential match. John Quincy also continued to mourn, at least to some extent, the loss of his relationship with Mary Frazier, to whom he had become attached while living in Newburyport. That relationship had been broken off several years before, partially at Abigail’s behest, but John Quincy could not help but question whether it made him unable to find another partner: “Can a widowed heart: an heart which at the monition of parental solicitude and tenderess, has offered up at the shrine of worldly prudence the painful sacrifice of an ardent affection, and pronounced by mutual consent and acquiescence an irrevocable separation from the object of all its hopes and all its wishes; can such an heart readily submit to the controul of other bonds?” Nonetheless, John Quincy refused to consider what he called “a marriage of convenience.” He hoped for a love match and insisted that “it will be time enough to think” of such other options “at five and forty.” Clearly, John Quincy still had hope that the right woman might be found.20
He was prepared, then, when circumstances brought him to London in November 1795 on a diplomatic mission related to the Jay Treaty, and into the social circle of the Johnson family. Joshua Johnson, a merchant originally from Maryland, was serving as the U.S. consul in London, and his home had become a social center for American expatriates in the city. Along with numerous others, John Quincy came for a visit and there met three Johnson sisters of eligible age: Ann (Nancy), Louisa, and Carolina. He became a regular caller, and for a time it remained unclear to which sister he was attracted. But he finally “made his attentions” to Louisa “decidedly publick” at a ball celebrating her twenty-first birthday in January { xxx } 1796, and by the end of the spring, they had reached a formal understanding.21
Interestingly, John Quincy at first avoided making a definitive statement to his parents of his new romantic relationship. Instead, he dropped hints. Toward the end of February 1796 he indicated he had little time to write: “Perhaps I may tell you the reason of this at a future day; or perhaps you may guess at it without being told.” In late March he informed them, “I begin to think very seriously of the duty incumbent upon all good citizens to have a family.— If you think this the language of a convert, perhaps you will enquire how he became so?— I am not yet prepared to answer that.” But they nonetheless understood his meaning. John congratulated him in a letter of 19 May in equally oblique terms: “I suspect by your last Letter to your Mamma that some Family or other afforded the means of making your Winter in London tollerable at least.” John went on to note that he had suspected John Quincy would form an “Attachment” in Europe, and while he might have preferred that John Quincy marry an American, “You are now of an Age to judge for yourself.— And whether you return and choose here, or whether you choose elsewhere, Your deliberate Choice shall be mine.”22
As John Quincy and Louisa’s correspondence amply demonstrates, the course of true love did not run quite smooth. John Quincy left London in late May 1796 to return to the Netherlands, having long since completed his diplomatic responsibilities in England. Believing he did not yet have the financial resources to marry Louisa—in the same letter in which he informed his parents of his intent to marry, he also indicated, “I must not yet take upon me the incumbrance of a family”—their wedding was postponed indefinitely. Instead, the young couple began an extended correspondence. Initially their letters focused on pledges of their love and affection, emphasizing the difficulty of their separation. John Quincy closed one letter “with every Sentiment of the tenderest attachment to yourself, from your ever faithful friend,” while Louisa noted, “I feel an aching void which only a letter from you can remove.”23
But miscommunications abounded, leading to hurt feelings and offense. John Quincy hoped to prepare Louisa for the difficulties of { xxxi } life as the wife of a foreign minister but managed to convey his instructions with condescension and a professorial tone that rankled: “The modes of life, the manners and customs of the people where you may have occasion to reside, will be entirely different from those which you have been used to: perhaps many of them will appear unpleasant to you. For your own happiness, endeavour to acquire the faculty not merely of acquiescence, in unavoidable inconveniences, but even of a cheerful conformity to things which must be endured, and above all establish as an invariable rule for your conversation, to express no general or national reflections.—” Louisa attempted to reassure John Quincy of her fondness and obedience, her willingness to learn and trust in him: “When I reflect upon the part in life I shall have to act with the little I have seen of the world my conscious deficiency appears manifest and I already think I see you blush for my awkwardness but I know the generosity of your disposition and am convinced you will forgive and encourage me by your kindness to mend—” But over time, she could not always contain her frustration, writing that his letters “afforded me both pleasure and pain.” She objected to his accusations that she cared only for his rank, denying that she was “too much elated with your situation” as a diplomat and challenging his assumption that, as a woman, she was too “fond of parade.”24
By the fall of 1796, John Quincy had received word of his appointment as the U.S. minister plenipotentiary to Portugal. A promotion for John Quincy (from minister resident to minister plenipotentiary), this new posting created the opportunity he needed to move toward marriage, and he planned to travel to Lisbon by way of London, where the wedding would take place. But delays in receiving permission to take up his new post continued to push back his departure and thus the marriage, distressing Louisa and leading to some of the most heated exchanges between the couple and a near termination of their engagement. Both sides relented, however, and as of February 1797, when this volume closes, John Quincy was still awaiting directions from the United States.25
The Adams brothers were not the only ones facing changing personal lives. Abigail’s sister Elizabeth, too, was moving toward her { xxxii } second marriage, having lost her first husband, Rev. John Shaw, in September 1794. Driven not only by a desire for companionship but also by “pecuniary motives,” Elizabeth acted quickly to marry the Rev. Stephen Peabody of Atkinson, New Hampshire, who, like Shaw before him, combined work as a minister and schoolmaster. They were married on “a dreadful stormy” 8 December 1795. The auspices were not ideal that day, with the “house wet—neighbours disappointed, every thing wrong, & wearing a sad aspect—” Elizabeth was leaving the home where her children had been born, and the town where she had lived happily for many years. Nevertheless, she knew she needed to proceed, and she found her new husband “one of the kindest of Friends, to have supported, & encouraged me.”26
Elizabeth Peabody’s marriage did not only affect herself. It also held significance for her children by John Shaw, who had to adapt to a new stepfather and a new home. Abigail helped in this adjustment, counseling William Smith Shaw that “Time would reconcile him to the Thought of seeing another in the Room of him whom he had lost, especially as there could be no objection to the person.” Fortunately, Abigail was able to report to Elizabeth that William “appeard on this visit much happier than when he was last here. he spoke of mr Peabody with respect and regard.”27 William, too, as a student at Harvard College, had the advantage of being somewhat removed from the situation. Elizabeth’s daughters, Betsy Quincy and Abigail, had no such reprieve. While their experiences are not recorded in the Adamses’ correspondence, they no doubt also struggled with the changes to the family. Part affection, part necessity, a second marriage for a mature woman of limited financial means could prove successful but was grounded in quite different expectations—and had far different ramifications—from that of a young man in love.
Nabby and William Stephens Smith and their three children—William Steuben, John Adams, and Caroline Amelia—feature only tangentially in this volume, though Nabby was able to report to her brother John Quincy that Caroline “is the finest Girl of her age ever seen—that she almost walks, talks, and is a most surprising Child.” As had been the case throughout their marriage, Col. William Stephens Smith’s financial adventures continued to prove a burden to his wife and children. After purchasing a large parcel of land in { xxxiii } New York City and beginning to build a substantial mansion, Smith lost his newfound fortune when the land-speculation bubble burst in 1796, and he was forced to sell. Abigail hoped that this setback “might Serve as a check upon that too great propensity to extravagance in living, Which has given so much cause of apprehension to the col’s best Friends.” By February 1797 the Smiths were living in modest quarters in the small town of Eastchester, New York, some twenty miles north of New York City. This move marked the beginning of a lengthy downward spiral for the Smiths, as William Stephens Smith increasingly found himself unable to provide adequately for his wife and children. As John reported to Abigail, “I Spent a pleasant Day before Yesterday with Mrs Smith and her Children at East Chester where they now live. At night the Col & his two Brothers came home from hunting Patridges and Quails an Amusement which had engaged them two Days. Halcyon Days are over, at that house but Horses are still very plenty.”28


John Quincy and Thomas Boylston continued to have front-row seats for the ongoing turbulence in Europe, from the general European war to the political convulsions in France and the Netherlands. By the summer of 1795 France and Great Britain had been at war for two years, and France and Prussia for nearly four. As Thomas Boylston wrote to his father in July 1795, “If to you the state of Europe is enigmatical & incomprehensible, it is no less so I believe to the mind of every reflecting man. Its Wars its Revolutions, and its Convulsions, must have their course, but what will follow in their train, or where they will terminate is beyond the reach of calculation.” Fighting proceeded on both sides of the Rhine River throughout the fall of 1795, culminating in Austrian victories in the early winter. An armistice between Austria and France temporarily halted hostilities but only through May 1796; thereafter, warfare resumed in the Rhine valley. French defeat at the hands of the Austrian Army in the summer and early fall of 1796 prevented any hope of a quick resolution to the conflict.29
Fighting also continued in Italy, where in the spring of 1796 Napoleon Bonaparte began his successful campaign, dividing { xxxiv } Sardinian troops from the Austrian Army and forcing a separate peace between France and Sardinia—“a very important and decisive victory,” according to John Quincy. Not content with this, Napoleon continued to push farther into Italy. “By land, the french armies are every where successful,” John Quincy informed his mother in July. “They are in all probability before this at Rome. They have made Peace with all the Italian Sovereigns but the Emperor and the Pope. The successor of St: Peter stands a great chance to lose his keys, and to exchange the tiara for the bonnet-rouge.—” Later the same year, France also manuevered Spain and Prussia into peace treaties, leaving Britain and Austria dangerously alone in pursuing the general war.30
Fortunately, the situation was considerably more peaceful in the Netherlands. John Quincy could report to his mother that “the Peace and tranquility of this Country has not hitherto been interrupted since the Revolution.” The Batavian Revolution had changed little in day-to-day life and even politically, while some disruption occurred, the violence was never on a scale to what had occurred in France. On 1 March 1796 Thomas Boylston attended the reopening of the National Assembly “in full Diplomatic Dress” and found himself impressed with the “Dutch decorum. The enthusiastic fervor, which has been so remarkable, for producing movements of violence & tumult, in french popular assemblies, is not an appendage of the Batavian character.” Still he was skeptical that this event was anything more than a “mockery of regeneration,” an opinion that proved prescient when the assembly took over two years to develop an acceptable new constitution.31
France, too, was struggling to find its political footing, fortunately with somewhat less violence than had become the norm during the Terror. In August 1795 the National Convention adopted, and a popular referendum subsequently confirmed, a new constitution for France. The document created a five-person executive authority, known as the Directory, and two legislative bodies, one with power to propose laws, the other to approve them. As Thomas Boylston rather sarcastically reported to his father the following summer, “In France, the operation of what is called the regular or Constitutional Government, has been in every respect superior to that of any of its predecessors. Compared with antecedent experiments, it may even be styled a Government of laws.” While “Jacobinism still lurks in secret places,” the overall operation of the government was { xxxv } considerably more orderly, and “It is doubtless a blessing for the French nation, that order and subordination are once more established among them.”32
In Great Britain, food shortages in the fall and winter of 1795 led to growing unrest. Frustration with the seemingly endless war with France also contributed to rising discontent, leading to an attack on King George III on 29 October 1795 while he was riding to the opening of Parliament. The government under William Pitt responded with a crackdown on political clubs, passing the Treasonable and Seditious Practices Act and the Seditious Meetings Act, which clarified the definition of treason, punishable by death, and limited the size of political gatherings. As John Quincy summarized the situation, “The Government here is very busy against Sedition; and Sedition no less busy against the Government. Some prospect of a famine, but none of Peace.”33
European affairs, as troubled as they could sometimes be, presented important opportunities for John Quincy and Thomas Boylston as individuals. When George Washington tasked John Quincy with delivering the Jay Treaty ratifications to Great Britain in the fall of 1795, it served to highlight John Quincy’s growing stature in the American diplomatic corps. While ultimately a fruitless mission for John Quincy—the ratifications had been exchanged by the time he finally reached Britain in November 1795—the assignment spoke to the value Washington and Secretary of State Timothy Pickering placed in John Quincy’s work. His reports back home, which his father described as “full of accurate Information, profound Sagacity and nice discernment,” had been well-received throughout the political establishment, and Washington himself had told John that John Quincy’s “Prospects … are fair: and I shall be much mistaken, if, in as short a Period as can well be expected, he is not found at the head of the Diplomatic Corps.”34 Operating thousands of miles from the American political maelstrom helped to remove John Quincy somewhat from the most virulent disputes of the period, and while the Adams name kept him firmly aligned with the Federalists, he was respected as a diplomat on both sides of the political divide.
John Quincy’s extended absence in England left Thomas Boylston { xxxvi } in charge of the U.S. mission in the Netherlands. He appreciated the trust placed in him but found the duties somewhat daunting. On top of the usual secretarial responsibilities he had routinely performed for his brother, Thomas Boylston now also had to spend time drafting letters, negotiating with Dutch bankers regarding American loans, and coordinating passports for American citizens in distress. He found his “duties & occupations have been so much altered & so considerably multiplied, that I considered every moment lost that was not devoted to the discharge of them.” John tried to encourage him, informing him that “I have read your public Dispatches with great Pleasure. I find your Situation has led you to an Attentive Observation of the Events of the War and the Maneuvres of Politicks and your curious felicity of Expression enables you to represent both to great Advantage.” And Abigail expressed her pleasure to John at this new, if temporary, position: “I rejoice at the opportunity Thomas has of shewing that he is equal to the trust reposed in him. … I think we have great cause of pleasure and satisfaction in our Children. I hope You feel very proud of them; I do I assure You.”35
Still, by the summer of 1796, John Quincy had returned to The Hague, leaving Thomas Boylston free to contemplate his future. He had originally committed to spending two years in Europe, and by the spring of 1796 was considering a return to the United States. John instructed him to consult first “Your own Good, Happiness & Advantage” but could not refrain from noting, “To me it would be a great Pleasure to have you near me. It is very hard upon your Mother as well as me to be seperated as We are from all our Children but We hope it will not be always so.” Thomas Boylston himself remained ambivalent. His interest in returning to the legal profession was limited, but he felt he had few other options: “I know that the return to the Bar … will be the commencement of an Ordeal by no means pleasant to encounter. I dread it, but will not shrink from it, both from a conviction of its necessity, & because I well know my Father’s partiality to the idea of having only Lawyers among his Sons.” Equally he feared once more becoming dependent on his father for financial support. He wrote to John Quincy, “I had rather be a Clerk for life, than subject myself again to that condition” of economic dependence. In the end, he chose to remain in Europe { xxxvii } with his brother, following John Quincy in the fall of 1797 to his new posting in Berlin.36


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 only include those letters 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. Similarly, letters written by Thomas Boylston Adams in his capacity as John Quincy’s secretary, and letters between Thomas Boylston and John Quincy on public matters, will be treated in the same fashion. 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.


The Massachusetts Historical Society continues to support the work of making Adams family materials available to scholars and the public online. Four 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, the Adams Papers Digital Edition, and the Online Adams Catalog. All of these are available through the Historical Society’s website at www.masshist.org.
{ xxxviii }
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 fully text searchable and can also be browsed by date.
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 diary volume.
The Adams Papers Digital Edition, a project cosponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities, Harvard University Press, and the Massachusetts Historical Society, offers 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.
The Online Adams Catalog represents a fully searchable electronic database of all known Adams documents, dating primarily from the 1760s to 1889, at the Massachusetts Historical Society and other public and private repositories. The digital conversion—based on the original Adams Papers control file begun in the 1950s and steadily updated since that time—was supported by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission and the Massachusetts Historical Society, and was initiated by Packard Humanities Institute funds in 2009. The catalog allows public online access to a database of over 110,000 records, with some 30,000 cross-reference links to online, printed, and microfilm editions of the items, or to websites of the holding repositories. Each record contains information on a document’s author, recipient, and date and on the location of the original, if known.
The letters in volume 11 of the Adams Family Correspondence may be supplemented 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 Works of John Adams, edited by Charles Francis Adams, 8:517–530, and Writings of John Quincy Adams, edited by Worthington Chauncey Ford, 1:381–508, 2:1–132. Also of note is the unpublished Diary that Thomas Boylston Adams kept while in Europe, available on the Adams Papers microfilm. Future volumes of { xxxix } the Papers of John Adams will provide considerably more coverage of John’s public activities during these years.
The Adamses’ correspondence printed here provides a fascinating window into American and European life in the 1790s. Whether commenting on urgent political issues like the Jay Treaty, or mulling important life choices such as marriage and career, the Adamses used their letters to share observations, solicit advice, and, most of all, maintain their sense of connection to one another. Their insights on myriad subjects, combined with the Adamses’ extraordinary talents as writers, give their correspondence enduring value.
Finally, this volume, while significant in its own right, also provides an important prologue to a major new challenge for the Adams family. As John wrote to Abigail the day after he had the awkward duty of counting electoral votes in the Senate and declaring himself the next president of the United States, “The Die is cast, and you must prepare yourself for honourable Tryals.”37 No doubt, the Adamses would prove equal to the task.
Margaret A. Hogan
October 2012
1. AA to JA, 20 Dec. 1795; JA to AA, 28 Dec., both below.
2. AA to TBA, 10 March 1796, below.
3. LCA, D&A, 1:44; LCA to JQA, 4 July 1796, below.
4. JA to AA, 5 Jan. 1796; JA to AA, 2 Feb., both below.
5. CA to JQA, 6 Jan. 1796; AA to TBA, 25 Sept., both below.
6. AA to JQA, 15 Sept. 1795, below. For more on the newspaper wars surrounding the Jay Treaty, see Todd Estes, The Jay Treaty Debate, Public Opinion, and the Evolution of Early American Political Culture, Amherst, 2006, p. 104–126.
7. JA to JQA, 25 Aug. 1795, and note 3; AA to JQA, 8 Oct., both below.
8. JA to AA, 24 Dec. 1795, and note 3, below. See also AA to TBA, 10 March 1796, and note 5, below.
9. See AA to JQA, 11 Nov. 1796, and note 3, below.
10. JA to AA, 1 April 1796, note 1; AA to TBA, 10 June; JA to AA, 3 May, all below.
11. JQA to CA, 15 Sept. 1795; JA to AA, 7 Jan. 1796, both below.
12. AA to JA, 21 Jan. [1796], 14 Feb., 20 Feb., all below.
13. JA to AA, 7 Jan. 1796,6 Feb.,1 March, all below.
14. JA to AA, 10 Feb. 1796, and note 1; 1 March, both below.
15. This situation was not resolved until the Constitution was altered with the passage of the 12th Amendment in 1804.
16. AA to JQA, 28 Nov. 1796; to JA, 4 [Dec.]; JA to AA, 4 Dec., all below.
17. JA to AA, 7 Jan. 1796; AA to Elbridge Gerry, 31 Dec., both below. See also JA to AA, 1 Jan. 1797, and note 1, below, for Jefferson’s response to his election.
18. JA to AA, 27 Dec. 1796; AA to TBA, 8 Nov., both below. For some of AA’s arrangements, see, for example, AA to JA, 15, 22, 28, 30 Jan. 1797, all below.
19. Vol. 9:275–276; 10:110–111, 345, 346; AA to JQA, 29 Feb. 1796; CA to AA, 16 Aug. 1795; AA2 to JQA, 26 Oct., all below. On the “Epidemic Matrimony” of the Smith family, see AA to TBA, 30 Nov.; JA to AA, 6 Dec., both below.
20. JQA to TBA, 2 Nov. 1795; to CA, 6 July; to AA, 7 Nov., all below.
21. LCA, D&A, 1:41. For more on the courtship between JQA and LCA, see Margery M. Heffron, “‘A Fine Romance’: The Courtship Correspondence between Louisa Catherine Johnson and John Quincy Adams,” NEQ, 83:200–218 (2010). For the genealogy of the Johnson family, see LCA, D&A, 2:773–774.
22. JQA to AA, 20 Feb. 1796,30 March; JA to JQA, 19 May, all below.
23. JQA to AA, 5 May 1796; to LCA, 9 July; LCA to JQA, 24 July, all below.
24. JQA to LCA, 13 Aug. 1796; LCA to JQA, 28 Aug.,30 Sept.,1 Nov., all below.
25. For the letters regarding the scheduling of JQA and LCA’s wedding, and a possible plan for it to take place in the Netherlands, to which JQA strenuously objected, see JQA to LCA, 20 Dec. 1796; LCA to JQA, 30 Dec.; JQA to LCA, 10 Jan. 1797; LCA to JQA, 10, 17, 20 Jan.; JQA to LCA, 31 Jan.; LCA to JQA, 31 Jan., all below. For JQA’s correspondence with Joshua Johnson on the same, see JQA to Johnson, 9, 27 Jan., both below.
26. Elizabeth Smith Shaw to AA and Mary Smith Cranch, 24 Sept. 1795; Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody to AA, 9 Jan. 1796, both below.
27. AA to Elizabeth Smith Shaw Peabody, 12 Feb. 1796, below.
28. AA2 to JQA, 26 Oct. [1795]; AA to JA, 10 April 1796, and note 7; JA to AA, 1 Dec., all below.
29. TBA to JA, 13 July 1795, below.
30. JQA to AA, 5 May 1796, and note 2; 25 July, both below.
31. JQA to AA, 30 July 1795; TBA to JA, 24 June 1796; JQA to AA, 30 March, note 3, all below.
32. TBA to JA, 6 Aug. 1796, below. See also JQA to CA, 6 July 1795, and note 4, below.
33. JQA to TBA, 18 Nov. 1795, and note 7, below. See also TBA to AA, 1 Dec., and note 3, below.
34. JA to JQA, 19 Sept. 1795, below.
35. TBA to JA, 14 Dec. 1795; JA to TBA, 25 March 1796; AA to JA, 28 March, all below.
36. JA to TBA, 25 March 1796; TBA to JQA, 23 April, both below.
37. JA to AA, 9 Feb. 1797, below.
{ xl } { xli }


These volumes always require the assistance of many more people than can be listed on the title page. On the staff of the Adams Papers, we especially want to recognize the contributions of Mary T. Claffey, Sara Georgini, Judith S. Graham, and Amanda A. Mathews. They provided invaluable assistance with the book, helping with the preparation of materials for this and future volumes of the Adams Family Correspondence with their usual diligence and good humor. We are also grateful for the support of our other Adams Papers colleagues, Caitlin Christian-Lamb, Beth Luey, and Mark Mastromarino, who share with us in the joys of editing the Adamses’ letters.
We are grateful to Ann-Marie Imbornoni, our longtime copyeditor, for her thorough and thoughtful review of the entire manuscript.
Many people assisted in the research behind this book. We particularly wish to thank the reference staffs at Harvard University’s Houghton, Lamont, and Widener libraries; the Rare Books and Manuscripts Department at the Boston Public Library; the New England Historic Genealogical Society; and the Adams National Historical Park. Jeremie Korta provided the French translations, and Professor Ward W. Briggs assisted with the Latin translations. Dr. George P. Sanders provided useful information about Dutch medals.
Kevin and Kenneth Krugh of Technologies ’N Typography in Merrimac, Massachusetts, managed the typesetting of the volume with efficiency and skill. At Harvard University Press, we are grateful to Tim Jones, Director of Design and Production; Abigail Mumford, Production Supervisor; and Kathleen McDermott, Senior Editor in History and the Social Sciences, who have ably assisted with the publication, marketing, and sales of this and other Adams Papers titles. We also particularly want to acknowledge John F. Walsh, former Associate Director for Design and Production at Harvard, who has been a tireless advocate for the Adams Papers for the past thirty years. We wish him well in his retirement.
{ xlii }
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; Elaine Grublin, Director of Reader Services; Conrad E. Wright, Worthington C. Ford Editor; Brenda M. Lawson, Director of Collections Services; Anne E. Bentley, Curator of Art; Mary E. Yacovone, Senior Cataloger; Nancy Heywood, Digital Projects Coordinator; and all of the members of the Library—Reader Services department. The Adams Papers Administrative Committee of the Society continues to provide important ongoing support of and encouragement to the project as a whole.
Finally, this book is dedicated, with great warmth and affection, to the incomparable Ann Louise Coffin McLoughlin, who passed away during the editing of this volume. Ann Louise was the copyeditor and chief advocate of the project at Harvard University Press from our first volumes in 1961 to 1993. Most of the style choices we use today can trace their origins to Ann Louise’s work. Even long retired, she continued to take a strong interest in the Papers and never failed to check up on our progress. She was an honorary member of our staff and is much missed.
{ xliii }

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 11 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  
JQA   John Quincy Adams (1767–1848), son of JA and AA  
{ xliv }
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   a letterpress copy retained by an Adams as the file copy  
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 { xlv } 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  


CtHi   Connecticut Historical Society  
DLC   Library of Congress  
DNA   National Archives and Records Administration  
MB   Boston Public Library  
MBBs   Bostonian Society  
MBU   Boston University Libraries  
MH-H   Houghton Library, Harvard University  
MHi   Massachusetts Historical Society  
MQA   Adams National Historical Park  
NHi   New-York Historical Society  
NNMus   Museum of the City of New York  
OCHP   Cincinnati Historical Society, Cincinnati Museum Center  


  • 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 { xlvi } 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.

  • Catalog of the Stone Library
  • Catalog of the Books Housed in the Stone Library, Adams National Historic Site, Quincy, Massachusetts, unpublished typescript of Stone Library card catalog, MQA, 1994.

  • Nationaal Archief
  • Nationaal Archief, The Hague. For details on the Dumas Papers microfilm edition, see JA, D&A, 3:9–10.

  • Oxford Art Online
  • Oxford Art Online, a compendium of online art resources including Grove Art Online (formerly the Grove Dictionary of Art), the Bénézit Dictionary of Artists, and others: www.oxfordartonline.com.

  • Repertorium van ambtsdragers en ambtenaren
  • Repertorium van ambtsdragers en ambtenaren 1428–1861, www.historici.nl/Onderzoek/Projecten/Repertorium.

  • Thwing Catalogue, MHi
  • Annie Haven Thwing, comp., Inhabitants and Estates of the Town of Boston, 1630–1800. Typed card catalog, 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, New Letters
  • New Letters of Abigail Adams, 1788–1801, ed. Stewart Mitchell, Boston, 1947.

  • 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.
    { xlvii }
    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.

  • Abernethy, The South in the New Nation
  • Thomas P. Abernethy, The South in the New Nation, 1789–1819, [Baton Rouge, La.], 1961.

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

  • AHR
  • American Historical Review.

  • Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs.
  • American Antiquarian Society, Proceedings.

  • Amer. Hist. Assoc., Ann. Rpt. for [year]
  • American Historical Association, Annual Report, 1889– .

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

  • ANB
  • John A. Garraty, Mark C. Carnes, and Paul Betz, eds., American National Biography, New York, 1999–2002; 24 vols. plus supplement; rev. edn., www.anb.org.

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

  • Bemis, JQA
  • Samuel Flagg Bemis, John Quincy Adams, New York, 1949–1956; 2 vols. Vol. 1: John Quincy Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy; Vol. 2: John Quincy Adams and the Union.

  • Biog. Dir. Cong.
  • Biographical Directory of the United States Congress, 1774–1989, Washington, D.C., 1989; rev. edn., bioguide.congress.gov.

  • Biro, German Policy of Revolutionary France
  • Sydney Seymour Biro, The German Policy of Revolutionary France: A Study in French Diplomacy during the War of the First Coalition 1792–1797, 1 vol. in 2, Cambridge, 1957.

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

  • Boston and Charlestown Ship Registers
  • Ship Registers and Enrollments of Boston and Charlestown, Boston, 1942.

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

  • Bryan, Hist. of the National Capital
  • Wilhelmus Bogart Bryan, A History of the National Capital from Its Foundation through the Period of the Adoption of the Organic Act, New York, 1914–1916; 2 vols.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Combs, Jay Treaty
  • Jerald A. Combs, The Jay Treaty: Political Battleground of the Founding Fathers, Berkeley, Calif., 1970.

  • 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; rev. edn., www.oxforddnb.com.

  • Doc. Hist. Ratif. Const.
  • The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, ed. Merrill Jensen, John P. Kaminski, Gaspare J. Saladino, and others, Madison, Wis., 1976– .

  • 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. { xlix }

  • First Fed. Cong.
  • Documentary History of the First Federal Congress of the United States of America, March 4, 1789 – March 3, 1791, ed. Linda Grant De Pauw, Charlene Bangs Bickford, Helen E. Veit, William C. diGiacomantonio, and Kenneth R. Bowling, Baltimore, 1972– .

  • Greene, Papers
  • The Papers of General Nathanael Greene, ed. Richard K. Showman, Dennis Conrad, Roger N. Parks, and others, Chapel Hill, N.C., 1976–2005; 13 vols.

  • 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.

  • Haraszti, Prophets
  • Zoltán Haraszti, John Adams and the Prophets of Progress, Cambridge, 1952.

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

  • History of Hingham
  • History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts, Hingham, 1893; 3 vols. in 4.

  • 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, Discourses on Davila
  • [John Adams], Discourses on Davila: A Series of Papers on Political History Written in the Year 1790, and Then Published in the Gazette of the United States, Boston, 1805.

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

  • 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– . { l }

  • 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.

  • Kurtz, Presidency of JA
  • Stephen G. Kurtz, The Presidency of John Adams: The Collapse of Federalism 1795–1800, Philadelphia, 1957.

  • LCA, D&A
  • Diary and Autobiographical Writings of Louisa Catherine Adams, ed. Judith S. Graham and others, Cambridge, 2013; 2 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.

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

  • Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard
  • Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636–1936, Cambridge, 1936.

  • New England Historical and Genealogical Register.

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

  • NEQ
  • New England Quarterly.

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

  • Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek
  • P. C. Molhuysen and others, eds., Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Leyden, 1911–1937; 10 vols. { li }

  • Notable Amer. Women
  • Edward T. James and others, eds., Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, Cambridge, 1971; 3 vols.

  • N.Y. Assembly, Jour.
  • Journal of the Assembly of the State of New-York, issued annually with varying imprints.

  • New York Genealogical and Biographical Record.

  • N.Y. Senate, Jour.
  • Journal of the Senate of the State of New-York, issued annually with varying imprints.

  • OED
  • The Oxford English Dictionary, 2d edn., Oxford, 1989; 20 vols.; rev. edn., www.oed.com.

  • 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.

  • Papenfuse, Pursuit of Profit
  • Edward C. Papenfuse, In Pursuit of Profit: The Annapolis Merchants in the Era of the American Revolution, 1763–1805, Baltimore, 1975.

  • 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.

  • Penna. Archives
  • Pennsylvania Archives. Selected and Arranged from Original Documents in the Office of the Secretary of the Commonwealth, Philadelphia and Harrisburg, 1852–1935; 119 vols. in 123.

  • 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, 1936–1965; 3 vols.

  • Ross, Quest for Victory
  • Steven T. Ross, Quest for Victory: French Military Strategy 1792–1799, New York, 1973. { lii }

  • Rush, Autobiography
  • The Autobiography of Benjamin Rush: His “Travels through Life” Together with His Commonplace Book for 1789–1813, ed. George W. Corner, Princeton, N.J., 1948.

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

  • Schom, Napoleon Bonaparte
  • Alan Schom, Napoleon Bonaparte, New York, 1997.

  • 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– .

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • U.S. House, Jour.
  • Journal of the House of Representatives of the United States, Washington, D.C., 1789– .

  • U.S. Senate, Exec. Jour.
  • Journal of the Executive Proceedings of the Senate of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1789– .

  • U.S. Senate, Jour.
  • Journal of the Senate of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., 1789– .

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Wood, Empire of Liberty
  • Gordon S. Wood, Empire of Liberty: A History of the Early Republic, 1789–1815, New York, 2009. { liii }

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