Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Adams, John (1735-1826) to: James McHenry

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00103 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Quincy, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 27 July 1799 Pagination: 1 p. : docket ; 25 x 20 cm.

Fear or rising debt and taxes. Written as President to his Secretary of War. Adams approves McHenry's raising a company of cavalry [sic] but worries at cost. "This system of Debts and Taxes is levelling all government in Europe." JA was staying at his home at Quincy at the time

Quincy July 27. 1799

I have recd your favour of the 20th. And have no Objection to the plan you propose of raising a Company of Cavalry. - on "Our means"! I never think of our means without Shuddering! All the Declamations as well as Demonstrations of Trenchard & Gordon, Bolingbroke Bernard & Walpole, Hume, Burgh and Burke, rush upon my Memory and frighten me out of my Witts. The system of Debts and Taxes is leveling all Government in Europe. We have, a Career to run to be sure and some time [struck: before Us] to pass before We arrive at the European Crisis. But We must ultimately go the same Way. There is no practicable or imaginable Expedient to escape it, that I can conceive.
J. Adams

Secretary of War.

Quincy July 27. 1799

27th July 1799
President of the U.S.

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources