Papers of John Adams, volume 15

From Thomas Cushing

From C. W. F. Dumas

To C. W. F. Dumas, 28 November 1783 Adams, John Dumas, C. W. F.
To C. W. F. Dumas
Dear Sir London Nov. 28. 1783.

I have been So taken up with Royal Societies and Royal Accademies, with British Musæums and Sir Ashton Levers Musæum with Wedgwoods Manufactory of Earthen Ware and Parkers of Glass, &c 379that I have not had time to write you a Line.1 You Observe I say nothing of Politicks for although I have been introduced to the great Politicians at their Desire I have not found them Sufficiently well disposed to induce me to Spend much time that Way.

I think to Stay here a few Weeks and then return to the Hague unless I should in the mean Time, receive orders from Congress to go elsewhere.

Write me all the News, if you please under Cover to Mr Joshua Johnson Coopers Row, great Tower Hill, or John Stockdale, Opposite Burlington House Piccadilly.—either of these Addresses will do.—

I expect Mrs Adams, to arrive Somewhere in Europe, in France England or Holland I hope it will be Holland, and in Such a Case I shall Soon be there.

My Respects to the Ladies, and believe me / your most obedient

J. Adams

RC (PPL:Smith Manuscript Coll.); internal address: “Mr Dumas.”; endorsed: “Mr. Jn. Adams.”


On 4 Nov., JA, in company with JQA, John Jay, William Bingham, and William Vaughan, visited Sir Ashton Lever’s natural history museum, or Holophusikon, and the British Museum. In his later description of his visit to the first, JA noted that he had seen “Sir Ashton and some other knights, his friends, practising the ancient but as I thought long forgotten art of archery.” JQA, in his Diary, provided a more detailed description of the collections at the two museums, noting that while the British Museum’s were “much more extensive,” with regard to natural history “Sir Ashton Lever’s Collection is much more perfect” (JQA, Diary , 1:199–200; JA, D&A , 3:151). In a 5 Nov. letter to Peter Jay Munro, JQA expanded on his Diary entry for the previous day, commenting more fully on Lever’s display of “curiosities” collected in the course of Capt. James Cook’s final voyage and the fragments of Alexander Pope’s translation of The Iliad and the original of the Magna Carta that the party had seen at the British Museum (NNMus).

JA probably refers to a visit to the Josiah Wedgwood showroom in London at Newport Street and St. Martin’s Lane rather than the firm’s manufactory in distant Staffordshire. William Parker manufactured cut-glass ware and lamps at 69 Fleet Street in London. It is not known when JA visited either, but in his later account he noted that he “was not less delighted with the elegance of his [Wedgwood’s] substitute for porcelain, than with his rich collection of utensils and furniture from the ruins of Herculaneum.” With regard to Parker’s “manufactory of cut glass,” he wrote that “it seemed to be the art of transmitting glass into diamonds” ( DNB ; A. E. Musson and Eric Robinson, Science and Technology in the Industrial Revolution, Manchester, Eng., 1969, repr. edn., N.Y., 1989, p. 264; JA, D&A , 3:151).