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Adams, John (1735-1826) to unknown re: reflecting on his Presidency (signed after illness)

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05263 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Quincy Type: Letter signed Date: 9 May 1823 Pagination: 1 p. 25 x 20.4 cm

Summary of Content: Signed with a very shaky hand, apparently after suffering a stroke. Important letter in which Adams reflects on the foreign affairs of his presidency, especially the Quasi War and the convention of 1800. "... there was war between St. Dennis [i.e., France] and St. George [Britain], [and] each had an army in America constantly skirmishing with each other, and both of them constantly stabbing me with lancets, spikes and spears. [M]y sole object was to preserve the peace and neutrality of the country, and thank God, I obtained [it], at the loss of my power and fame, with both sides."

Background Information:

Full Transcript: Quincy May 9th 1823
Sir
I have received your letter of the 26th April you are entirely mistaken in supposing that the second article of the Convention of France was stricken ...out at my desire or information, on the Contrary I was desirous of retaining them, so much so that I sent a message to senate, and explicitly told them it would have been more agreeable to my inclination to have ratified the Convention as it stood. As to addresses and [struck: escorts] answers, & escorts, and Parades, and all the pomposities of that time, I wish to forget them all forever, They were extremely disagreeable to me at that time. To explain all the mysteries of that period never was, and never will be in my power. It would require volumes to give a simple history of it; All that I can say of it is, there was war between St Dennis, and St. George, each had an Army in America constantly skirmishing with each other, and both of them constantly stabbing me with lancets, spikes, and spears, my soul object was to preserve the peace and neutrality of the Country; and that I thank God I obtained, at the loss of my power and fame, with both sides
I am Sir respectfully your most obedient Humble Servant
John Adams

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People: Adams, John, 1735-1826

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Subjects: PresidentHealth and MedicalGlobal History and CivicsForeign AffairsQuasi-warFranceMilitary HistoryTreatyPoliticsNeutralityPeaceVice President

Sub Era: The First Age of Reform

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