Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 65,000 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 Quincy (1767-1848) to James Brooks

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC05508.001 Author/Creator: Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848) Place Written: Washington, D.C. Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 January 1842 Pagination: 1

Summary of Content: Adams comments upon his "essay" in defense of British actions in China during the Opium War. He maintains that he confined himself "to the question of right from wrong between the parties, as it stood upon the ransom of Canton." He bases his judgments on two principles: the equality of men and the love of God and neighbor. Adams alludes to Chinese demands of submission, and contrasts that with the Britons, "a Christian nation of Freeman" whom he hopes will practice mercy and moderation.

People: Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848.
Brooks, James, 1810-1873.

Historical Era: National Expansion and Reform, 1815-1860

Keywords/Subjects: President, Religion, Global History and Civics, Foreign Affairs, Asia, Drugs, Morality and Ethics, Christianity

Sub Era: Age of Jackson