Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

22d. Friday.

December 31. 1782.

23d. Saturday. JQA 23d. Saturday. Adams, John Quincy
23d. Saturday.

After having passed the whole night in the street, at last, we found a publick house at the Swedish arms, said to be the best in the city; but if it is the best is not good for much. This forenoon Mr. Brandenburg came here and gave me a letter from Mr. D.1 After dinner we went into a bookseller's shop to buy some books. We found there a gentleman whose name is Watström; he is director of the mines.2 As soon as he found we were strangers without knowing us, he offered to show us every thing that is to be seen in town; and could not have been more polite if we had been strongly recommended to him: indeed I have found from our first entrance into Sweden; that strangers are treated with a great deal of Politeness and civility all over the country.3


Probably Dana to JQA, 21 Oct. (Adams Papers), in which Dana gave JQA directions for the delivery of letters to JA, who would probably be in Paris when JQA reached The Hague, and instructions to have the ciphers intended for America thrown overboard in case of capture.


Charles Bernard Wadström, with whom JQA was to stay during part of the coming winter, was a Swedish mechanical and mining engineer in government service. In 1769 he was responsible for making navigable the cataract of Trollhättan (sometimes Trolhaéetta or Drolhetta), which JQA saw on 20 Jan. 1783 (below). In 1787 Wadström went to Africa, where he remained for two years. Afterward he visited England, where he advocated the abolition of the slave trade and encouraged the establishment of philanthropic colonies in Africa. While in London he published in 1789 his Observations on the Slave Trade, and a Description of Some Part of the Coast of Guinea . . ., as well as subsequent works of a similar nature. Later, while minister resident to the Netherlands, JQA renewed his friendship with Wadström by correspondence (Helen Maria Williams, “Memoirs of the Life of Charles Berns [Bernard] Wadström,” The Annual Register . . . For the Year 1799, new edn., London, 1813, p. 326–330; Wadström to JQA, 5 Dec. 1795, and JQA to Wadström, 5 July 1797, LbC, Adams Papers).


JQA spent the next five weeks (24 Nov.–31 Dec. 1782) in Stockholm, but little is known about his activities there. His seventh Diary, which was written on the blank pages in a Swedish almanac, contains numerous markings by the names of various Swedish officials, presumably those he met while staying in Stockholm. In addition, JQA makes mention, in the few extant letters he wrote during his stay in the country, of Swedish merchants he met in Stockholm, as well as other towns and villages, who were interested in beginning trade with the United States (JQA to JA, 1 Feb. 1783, Adams Papers; JQA to AA, 23 July 1783, Writings , 1:8).