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ation of the country in the neutral line of policy which had been wisely adopted.
In reference to this topic, John Adams writes his wife, as follows, under date of Dec. 19, 1793:
« The President has considered the conduct of Genet very nearly in the same light with Columbus,' and has given him a bolt of thunder. We shall see how this is supported by the two Houses. There are who gnash their teeth with rage which they dare not own as yet. We shall soon see whether we have any government or not in this country.”
The political writings of the younger Adams had now brought him prominently before the public. They attracted the especial attention of Mr. Jefferson, who saw in them a vastness of comprehension, a maturity of judgment and critical discrimination, which gave large promise of future usefulness and eminence. Before his retirement from the State Department, he commended the youthful statesman to the favorable regard of President Washington, as one pre-eminently fitted for public service.
General Washington, although a soldier by profession, was a lover of peace. His policy during his administration of the government, was pre-eminently pacific. Convinced that, in the infant state of the Union, war with a foreign nation could result only in evil and ruin, he was anxious to cultivate the most friendly relations with foreign governments, and to carry out, both in letter and spirit, the strict neutrality he had proclaimed. To declare and maintain these
principles abroad, and to form political and commercial relations with European powers, Washington looked anxiously around for one fitted for a mission so important. His attention soon became fixed on John Quincy Adams. He saw in him qualities not only of deep political sagacity, and views of policy at unity with his own, but a familiarity with the languages and customs of foreign courts, which marked him as one every way calculated to represent our government with credit in the old world. He accordingly, in May, 1794, appointed Mr. Adams Minister of the United States at the Hague.
That this prominent appointment was as flattering to Mr. Adams as it was unexpected, is naturally true. It was the more to his credit in consideration of the fact, that in those days elevation to offices of this importance was the award of merit and talent, and not the result of importunity, or the payment of party services. Mr. Adams was at this time in the twenty-seventh year of his age-a younger man, undoubtedly, than has since ever been selected by our Government to fulfil a trust so important. But the ability and discretion of the young diplomatist, and the success which attended his negotiations in Europe, so creditable to himself and his country, fully justified the wisdom of Washington in selecting him for this important duty.
Although the father of Mr. Adams was then Vice President of the United States, yet it is well known his appointment on a foreign mission was obtained without
the influence or even the request of his parent. It is not strictly correct, however, as stated by several biographers, that he was selected for the mission to Holland without any previous intimation of the President's intentions to his father. This is made evident by the following extract of a letter from John Adams to his wife, dated Philadelphia, 27th May, 1794, conveying intelligence which must have made a mother's heart swell with honest pride and satisfaction:
“ It is proper that I should apprize you, that the President has it in contemplation to send your son to Holland, that you may recollect yourself and prepare for the event. I make this communication to you in confidence, at the desire of the President, communicated to me yesterday by the Secretary of State. You must keep it an entire secret until it shall be announced to the public in the journal of the Senate. But our son must hold himself in readiness to come to Philadelphia, to converse with the President, Secretary of State, Secretary of the Treasury, &c., and receive his commissions and instructions, without loss of time. He will go to Providence in the stage, and thence to New York by water, and thence to Philadelphia in the stage. He will not set out, however, until he is informed of his appointment.”
“ Your son !" is the phrase by which the father meant to convey his own sense of how large a part the mother had in training that son; and to enhance the compliment, it is communicated to her at the desire of President Washington.
MR. ADAMS TRANSFERRED TO BERLIN-HIS MARRIAGE-LITE
RARY PURSUITS-TRAVELS IN SILESIA-NEGOTIATES TREA
TIES WITH SWEDEN AND PRUSSIA-RECALLED TO THE UNI
MR. Adams presented himself at the Hague, as Minister Plenipotentiary of the United States, in the summer or fall of 1794. Ten years before, he was there with his father—a lad, attending school—at which time the father wrote: They give him a good character wherever he has been, and I hope he will make a good man.” How abundantly that hope was likely to be fulfilled, the elevated and responsible position occupied by the son at the expiration of the first ten years after it was expressed, gave a promising and true indication.
On his arrival in Holland, Mr. Adams found the affairs of that country in great confusion, in consequence of the French invasion. So difficult was it to prosecute any permanent measures for the benefit of the United States, owing to the existing wars and the unsettled state of things in Europe, that after a few months he thought seriously of returning home. A report of this nature having reached President Washington, drew from him a letter to Vice President John Adams,
dated Aug. 20, 1795, in which the following language occurs :
“ Your son must not think of retiring from the path he is now in. His prospects, if he pursues it, are fair; and I shall be much mistaken if, in as short a time as can well be expected, he is not found at the head of the Diplomatic Corps, be the government administered by whomsoever the people may choose.”
This approbation of his proceedings thus far, and encouragement as to future success, from so high a source, undoubtedly induced the younger Adams to forego his inclination to withdraw from the field of diplomacy. He continued in Holland until near the close of Washington's administration. That he was not an inattentive observer of the momentous events then transpiring in Europe, but was watchful and faithful in all that pertained to the welfare of his country, is abundantly proved by his official correspondence with the government at home. His communications were esteemed by Washington, as of the highest value, affording him, as they did, a luminous description of the movement of continental affairs, upon which he could place the most implicit reliance.
The following extract of a letter from John Adams, will show the interest he naturally took in the welfare of his son while abroad, and also afford a brief glance at the political movements of that day. It is dated Philadelphia, Jan. 23, 1796 :
“ We have been very unfortunate in the delays which have attended the dispatches of our ambassadors. Very lucky, Mr. John