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John Quincy Adams to Joshua Johnson

14 Oct. 1796

Dear Sir. The Hague October 14. 1796.

I received by the last post from Bremen your favour of the 30th: ulto: and beg you to accept my thanks for the information it contains. I would fain hope that in the spring ensuing, there will be no particular occasion remaining for the use of neutral vessels. The british ministry having sent a person to Paris, for the negotiation of Peace, and the great and numerous reverses which both the parties to the War have suffered during the season now at its close, being of a nature which I should imagine would make them all more inclined to close a contest, which at present is only ruinous to all who are engaged in it. There is also now a Portuguese Minister at Paris, to negotiate on the part of that Court, so that a Peace between it, and the french Republic has become very probable.

I observe your determination of going to America, early in the course of the Spring, and it cannot be denied but that the motives which induce you to the resolution are of an irresistible nature. I hope that upon your arrival you will find the situation of your affairs more favourable for settlement than you expect, and doubt not but that your presence will easily effect it.

I have good reason to think that I shall be able to get away from here, before the month of March; as far as it shall depend upon me I shall certainly make no unnecessary delay. It is not from choice that I remain here at this moment.

My orders from the Government, (which I mention in confidence) are positive, to remain here for the present. Those which will release \me/ may from day to day arrive. How long they may be delayed is impossible for me to ascertain. But I have no reason to expect they will come later than March or that they will not leave me at liberty to take my own course when I go from hence. I shall take the earliest occasion to inform you, when I shall be able to take my determination.

The Determination of the french Directory, not to molest our flag, being conformable to the Treaty between the two Countries, was such as might have been expected. It is indeed much to be wished, that the british would entirely cease to molest us on their part. They will perhaps at a future day learn more moderation and civility.

I am happy to hear from you that it is now believed the President will again serve in that important office. Of his re-election I never had any doubt. His merits and services have more weight with the People of America, than all the artifice or intrigue or malevolence that could be combined against him. They know the worth of a firm man at the head of the Union, and feel the necessity of such a character. In the course of another Presidency, I trust his system of administration and policy will prove as triumphant over all the opposition that has been raised against it, as his fame has already risen over all the attacks which have so vainly been directed against it.

We have at present no material news here. The french army of Sambre and Meuse, reinforced by that of the north, maintains a position on the right side of the Rhine. General Moreau continues his retreat and will doubtless effect it, though somewhat harrassed by the pursuit of the Austrians. Buonaparte is said to have met with some little check of late in Italy. Whether all those Events will moderate the swelling designs of the french Government, to a desire and intention for Peace, and whether they will not again rouse the other side to the expectation of more advantageous terms than will meet with a reciprocal consent, time alone must discover. It is however one ground of consolation to those who are not engaged in the War, that the turns of fortune experienced by the belligerents on both sides will teach them a lesson of moderation towards others which the exultation of continual and uninterrupted victories would not be well adapted to inspire.

I beg to be remembered with respect and affection to Mrs Johnson and the young Ladies, and remain with the warmest esteem and attachment / Dear Sir, very sincerely your friend, and very humble Servt:

John Q. Adams.

RC (MHi: Adams Papers).
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