Papers of John Adams, volume 2

From William Tudor

From William Tudor

168 To Josiah Quincy Jr., 18 September 1774 JA Quincy, Josiah Jr. To Josiah Quincy Jr., 18 September 1774 Adams, John Quincy, Josiah Jr.
To Josiah Quincy Jr.
Dr Sir Philadelphia Septr. 18. 1774

I am to acknowledge the Receipt of your kind Letter,1 and to thank you for it, and then Seal my Letter.

Business, Ceremony, Visits and a thousand &cas. take up my Time so entirely that I can scarce find half enough for Sleep.

I have Spoken to several Gentlemen concerning you and Shall to more. I wish you a prosperous Voyage and much of the exalted Pleasure of serving your Country.2

You are surrounded with active scenes in our Province at Present: We are not idle here. But how long it will be before the World will know our Meditations I cant Say.

Our Country is in the Post of Honour, and of Danger and she behaves in Character. The Congress is sensible of it, and will Act in Character too, I hope and believe.

Adieu, John Adams

RC (MHi:Quincy Papers); addressed: “To Josiah Quincy Jun Esq Boston favd. by Mr Revere”; docketed: “John Adams's Lr: Sept 18 1774 Phila.”


Not found.


On 28 Sept. 1774 Quincy sailed from Salem on a secret political mission to England that he had been persuaded to take by the whig leadership in Massachusetts. Gen. Gage, in a letter to Lord Dartmouth on 25 Sept. referring to the transmission of dispatches, remarked, “I understand that a Person whose Name is kept secret, goes on the same Vessell, and that there is something misterious concerning the Object of his Voyage” (Gage, Corr. , 1:375). Seeing himself as the American minister, Quincy sought to gain information and, if possible, repeal of the Intolerable Acts. In the process he obtained interviews with Lord North, Lord Dartmouth, and various English whigs, but in the end he came to see conflict as inevitable. Carrying information of such importance that it could not be entrusted to the mails, he sailed for home, but died on 25 April, outside Gloucester Harbor, before he could communicate his intelligence (Josiah Quincy, Josiah Quincy, Jr., Boston, 1825, p. 176–352; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 15:479–491).