Adams Family Correspondence, volume 5

John Thaxter to Abigail Adams

John Adams to Abigail Adams

John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 1 February 1783 JQA JA


John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 1 February 1783 Adams, John Quincy Adams, John
John Quincy Adams to John Adams
Honoured Sir Gottenburgh Feby. 1. 1783

I arrived here a few days agone,1 and expect to be at the Hague by the latter end of this month where I shall wait for your orders, in case I dont find you there; what to do. I should have written you from Stockholm but when I arrived there I was told you was in Paris, and I did not know where to adress my letters. But just before I left Stockholm2 I receiv'd a letter from Mr. Dana 3 in which he told me I might send them to Mr. Grand. I should have been in Holland, before this time, had the weather not made me stop a fortnight in a small town call'd Norrkiöping.4 I have had a very agreable Journey, for the Season of the year. I believe there is no people in Europe so 87civil and hospitable to Strangers as the Sweeds. The name of stranger is enough for them to do one all the services in their power. They are in general good friends to America, but seem to be a little afraid for their mines;5 however they are very well disposed for carrying on Commerce, with America; and there is a merchant here named CederstrVm6 who has a brother lately settled in Boston. Mr. Eberstein the first merchant in Norrkiöping only waits for an opportunity to send some ships. Mr. Brandenburg in Stockholm intends to send a vessel to some part of America this spring. He desired me to let him know what would be the best articles he could send, and gave me a list of the exports of Sweeden; a copy of which I have sent to Mr. D. desiring him to answer Mr. Brandenburg as I was not certain myself, about the matter.7

They talk a great deal here about peace. Tis said to be very near; but a great many people think the contrary, on account of the amazing armaments of the belligerent powers. But nothing is certain as yet I believe.

I am your most dutiful Son J Q. Adams

P.S. Please to present my duty to Mamma when you write. As soon as I arrive in Holland I shall write to her and to all my friends in America.

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To. J. Adams. Esqr. Paris”; endorsed: “J. Q. Adams. 1. Feb. 1783 ansd. 18th. recd. 18th.”


JQA had arrived in Göteborg, the largest city on the west coast of Sweden, on 16 Jan., and would not depart until 11 February. His Diary entries for this period, during which he took a side trip to the falls and canal works at Trollhättan, are among the most detailed of his entire journey from Russia to Holland (JQA, Diary , 1:164–170).


JQA had arrived in Stockholm on 22 Nov. 1782 and left on 31 Dec. (same, 1:159–162).


Not found.


JQA had reached Norrköping, located on an inlet to the Baltic Sea, about 80 miles southwest of Stockholm, on 1 Jan., and departed on 14 Jan. (same, 1:162–164). His Diary describes his stay there in some detail.


Sweden was in the eighteenth century, and remains today, a leading exporter of high grade iron and steel products. This put the Swedes in natural competition with the United States, whose Pennsylvania iron deposits were also among the world's most valuable in the eighteenth century. Eli F. Heckscher, An Economic History of Modern Sweden, Cambridge, 1954.


Carl Söderström; his brother was Richard Söderström, Swedish merchant and later consul at Boston, whom JQA would meet in 1785 (JQA, Diary , 1:167).


JQA's Diary entry of 23 Nov. 1782 suggests that Brandenburg may already have been in correspondence with Francis Dana before JQA's arrival in Stockholm (same, 1:161). JQA's letter to Dana requesting advice for Brandenburg has not been found. In a 28 Feb. letter to JA (Adams Papers), Brandenburg wrote that he lent JQA money in Stockholm, and that he had heard of JA's concern for JQA's whereabouts (see JA to AA, 4 Feb., note 5, below). He then told JA what he knew about JQA's journey through Sweden to Göteborg, and congratulated JA on the conclusion of the preliminary articles of peace.