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PROPERTY OF VARIOUS OWNERS

Adams, John Quincy, Sixth President
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("J. Q. ADAMS") TO NATHANIEL FREEMAN, REPORTING ON ONE OF THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL OF THE STATE RATIFYING CONVENTIONS
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 27,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT
44

PROPERTY OF VARIOUS OWNERS

Adams, John Quincy, Sixth President
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("J. Q. ADAMS") TO NATHANIEL FREEMAN, REPORTING ON ONE OF THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL OF THE STATE RATIFYING CONVENTIONS
Estimate
20,00030,000
LOT SOLD. 27,500 USD
JUMP TO LOT

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Printed and Manuscript Americana, Including Cartography

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New York

Adams, John Quincy, Sixth President
AUTOGRAPH LETTER SIGNED ("J. Q. ADAMS") TO NATHANIEL FREEMAN, REPORTING ON ONE OF THE MOST CONSEQUENTIAL OF THE STATE RATIFYING CONVENTIONS
3 pages (7 5/8 x 6 1/8 in.; 193 x 155 mm) on a bifolium, Newbury-Port, 25 February 1788, integral autograph address ("Mr. Nataniel Freeman. Medford. To be left with Mr. W. Cranach at Mr. Dawes's office)." PROVENANCE: Elsie O. and Philip D. Sang Foundation (Parke Bernet, 20 June 1979, lot 601)

A little soiled, seal tear and repairs, minor fold separations.


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Catalogue Note

"PROBABLY THE SYSTEM WILL BE ADOPTED. AS I NOW SINCERELY HOPE IT MAY BE BY ALL THE STATES: FOR I AM NOW A STRONG FEDERALIST." Adams begins by jokingly apologizing for letting his epistolary credit run a little long with Freeman due to other obligations, but quickly turns to the most important topic of the day—and one of the most important in the nation's history: the ratification of the proposed constitution. Despite Adams's already extensive diplomatic travels with his father, the tenor of his criticism is somewhat insufferable, coming from a twenty-year-old.

"I took a ride to Exeter in order to hear the debates in the New Hampshire Convention upon the momentous question. And I must acknowledge, I was never more disappointed. The abilities on either side, were (to speak of the best of them) contemptible. The speakers were dull and inanimate: Some of them indeed appeared to be zealous, but they were incapable of employing either the eloquence, which overpowers all opposition; or the charm of reasons which convinces the understanding. In short the arguments offered on both sides were so weak, that the most assiduous supporters of either party appeared to me to labour most strongly against themselves.

"As the appearances were unfavourable to the Constitution; the federalists with difficulty obtained an adjournment till the third Wednesday in June, when they are to meet again at Concord, where ["it will" struck through] probably the System will be adopted. As I now sincerely hope it may be by all the States: for I am now a strong federalist.—Not that I am convinced the plan is a good one; but because I think opposition would be attended with more immediate and perhaps greater evils."

Adams's prediction proved correct. Not only did New Hampshire ratify the constitution when the convention reconvened in June, but she became the ninth state to do, thereby establishing the charter as the law of the land.

The second half of the letter is devoted to quite a different subject: love. "I have been of late somewhat indolent in the progress of my studies: we have had a number of parties, of diverse kinds: you know I am not a great admirer of the fair: but we have a number of young ladies in this town whose charms would soften the most obdurate heart, and were it not for the philosophical maxim, that equal forces destroy each other, I might ere this have been a glove to the little tyrant.—There is no situation which I wish more to avoid, than that of being in Love, for there is no situation, in which a man appears to me so much like a fool. How can our vanity, or our pride, submit to the idea, of being dependent for our happiness upon the caprice of a silly girl? Where is our boasted Independence, when we are obliges to fawn, to cringe, and to lie (for I believe all true lovers lie damnably) and all for what?—I have too great a sense of decorum to give the real answer, in writing, even to a male friend.” Adams closes with the hope that he and Freeman, and others of their circle, will "see each other frequently."

Fine Printed and Manuscript Americana, Including Cartography

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New York