Papers of John Adams, volume 18

To Rufus King

To John Jay

To John Adams from Jonathan Jackson, 15 February 1786 Jackson, Jonathan Adams, John
From Jonathan Jackson
Dear Sir Boston 15 Feby 1786

I had your very agreeable Letter of the 1st. Octobr in course after it’s date, which I have not before acknowledged nor the very obliging Note from Miss Adams accompanying it—1 you will please for me & Mr Tracy to thank that Lady for her kind Enquiries & good Wishes espressed for us & our families & to return their & our affectionate Compliments to Mrs. & Miss Adams— I hope that the Ladies enjoy the Air & Society in which they are placed—that they have Health & Peace of Mind—

I wrote to you in Octr & then took the Liberty to introduce to your Acquaintance Mr Escott & his Partners, who were a Society with which I enjoyed as much real Sociability, & by whom I was treated with as much Hospitality as by any persons while abroad— if agreeable to you I hope that an Acquaintance is commenced between you & that you find them as I described them—

Mr Parkinson is a Man of Information & Ingenuity— Had I been sure that to your Ladies it would have been agreeable, I should have proposed to Mrs. Reed an Acquaintance with them, tho’ mine with 161 her would perhaps scarcely authorize it— she is a Lady I got quite attached to for her very pleasing & agreeable manners— she is more of a domestic Woman than the fine Ladies of England commonly are, & was she & your Ladies to slide into an easy Acquaintance with each other I think they would both be pleased & enjoy it—

I am writing to Mr Escott by this Conveyance & again meddling with what perhaps is impertinent— I have hinted to him my Wish that your Ladies & Mrs Reed should be brõt to Know each other—2if my Interference should be construed by either of you to be impertinent, you will attribute it I hope to a well intentioned Zeal that others should enjoy like pleasures as I have—

My Partner Mr Higginson wrote to you by one of the last Ships & anticipated every thing I could furnish you in the political Line & with much more Perspicuity & Method—3

I wish more than I expect to hear of a speedy & agreeable Termination of the Pursuits committed to your Charge, both with the Country you are placed in, & with the States of Barbary—

By the time you return you will be practised I imagine in the Arts of defence, & get accustomed to the Attack of Scribblers & Party-Men, & with perfect Composure will be able to meet the most impudent unfounded Assertions— even Kings in the Country you are in must learn to live easy under these or not to be easy at all— in this respect it is an extraordinary people— while I was in their Country I never heard of but one person of importance enough to attack & vilify that had escaped the Arrows of Detraction—& that was said to be their present Queen, indeed it was once attempted on her but an universal Disapprobation of it had discouraged a Renewal— from all that was said of her I was led to think her a valuable domestic Character— indeed it was generally said that she had the Discretion never to meddle with their Politics, which if true is much in her favour, & a rare instance I believe in the Courts of Europe—

When you have Leisure my good Sir your Communications upon any Subject you may think worthy your pen will always be most agreeable to me— I have very seldom seen your Son since his Arrival— I am told that he is a very hard & close Student & confines himself to Haverhill almost entirely at present—4

If you meet Doctr Price & Mr Benja Vaughan5 at any time you will oblige me to present them with my respectfull Compliments—

With great respect & esteem / I am dear Sir / your friend & most obedt Servt

Jona Jackson

RC (Adams Papers); internal address: “The Honble. / Mr Adams”; endorsed by AA2: “Mr Jackson Feb / 1786—”


Vol. 17:484–485. AA2’s note has not been found.


In his 24 Oct. 1785 letter (Adams Papers), Jackson introduced the London and Málaga wine merchant John Kirkpatrick Escott (d. 1799), his wife Deborah (d. 1818), and Mrs. James Reed, the wife of Escott’s partner, who died in November. “Mr Parkinson” was probably John Parkinson, who was also associated with the firm (Edward Wedlake Brayley, The History of Surrey, 5 vols., London, 1841–1844, vol. 2, part 1, p. 200; The Pedigree Register, 2:307 [Sept. 1912]; John B. Bosanquet and Christopher Puller, comps., Reports of Cases Argued and Determined in the Courts of Common Pleas, and Exchequer Chamber, and in the House of Lords, 3 vols., Phila., 1805, 1:349; Journal of the Barbados Museum and Historical Society, 12:27 [Nov. 1944]). There is no evidence that the Adamses ever socialized with Jackson’s friends.


Stephen Higginson’s letter was of 30 Dec. 1785, above, to which JA replied on 18 Feb. 1786, below.


JQA was studying for his entrance into Harvard, under the tutelage of his uncle Rev. John Shaw (vol. 17:60, 61). Adhering to a rigorous reading schedule, JQA wrote that he would “seldom retire before 1 in the morning, and rise, between 8 and 9” (JQA, Diary , 1:408).


Benjamin Vaughan was a London merchant and protégé of the Earl of Shelburne whom JA first met at Paris in 1782 (JA, D&A , 3:53, 54; AFC , 5:464, 466–467). Vaughan frequently dined at No. 8 Grosvenor Square, for which see the indexes to AFC , vols. 6 and 7.