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desirous to resign into his hands a task to which I must take the liberty of observing that I am altogether inadequate; and a trust, the extensive importance of which could not be fully perceived at the time when my orders to repair hither were transmitted."
On the 13th of January, 1796, he wrote in his Diary :—
"Attended the levee. Saw Mr. Morris there. (Gouverneur Morris, a man whose vanity he considered .extravagant, and for whose character he had little* admiration). Heard of Mr. Pinckney's arrival. Mr. Hammond at the levee, too. The King did not speak to me. My reception at Court this day contrasted completely with those on former occasions, when I was to be cajoled into compliance. I valued it much more highly; it flattered my pride as much as the former fawning malice humbled it."
On the following day he wrote:—
"Morning papers say that I took leave of the King at the levee yesterday, introduced by Lord Grenville, and that I am upon my return home. I suppose it is meant as a hint to me to go. I can certainly henceforth do no good here. But I can not well go without receiving further orders from home."
About the last of April he received orders to return to Holland, but lingered in London a month longer. There was a cause for this delay not connected with the diplomatic relations of the two nations, and which was, to him, by far the most momentous matter belonging to his trip to England at this time. Joshua Johnson, Consul in London from this country, was then residing there with his family. In the society of his daughter, Louisa Catherine, Mr. Adams considered himself more than compensated for the mission he had desired to make short, and which he believed would be so destitute of benefit to his country. Before starting on his return to Holland he was betrothed to her.
On the 26th of July, 1797, having gone to London, on his way to Berlin, he wrote in his Diary:—
"At nine this morning I went, accompanied by my brother, to Mr. Johnson's, and thence to the Church of the Parish of All Hallows, Barking, where I was married to Louisa Catherine Johnson, the second daughter of Joshua and Catherine Johnson, by Mr. Hewlett. Mr. Johnson's family, Mr. Brooks, my brother, and Mr. J. Hall, were present. We were married before eleven in the morning, and immediately after went out to see Tilney House, one of the splendid country-seats for which this country is distinguished."
A very modest and sensible tour, indeed!
But to resume the thread of former, if not more interesting and appropriate events, beginning with Mr. Adams's return to The Hague in June, 1796. His diplomatic duties were now quite light, affording him ample time for social affairs, which have always, however, been deemed a very considerable and essential part of the business of a foreign minister. But he also turned his attention to a systematic course of reading and study. Besides renewing his old classical readings, he pursued vigorously the study of the German language; and under a teacher, gave some attention towards acquiring the Italian. He professed to be none too well pleased with the way in which he had spent the last year, and especially the squandering of his time in London society, against his better judgment and real disposition.
On the 11th of July he wrote in his journal:—
"I enter this day upon my thirtieth year. The periodical days of reflection are seldom satisfactory to me. The principal reproach my conscience can make me, for the last year, is too much time spent in relaxation, perhaps lost. Let me strive to make a better improvement of the next. My apology for the past must be the state of my health. Though insufficient, it is the best I have. The irresistible dissipation of London is none. The weakness of the heart is only a plea for mercy; much more might have been done by me."
But he now made up much of his lost.time by close application. Dinners and "puerile pawn-playing" were less frequent, but a part of his reading was in the line of dissipating light "trash." His Diary at this time is quite full and gossipy.
On the last day of 1796 he wrote:—
"The seven last months, passed at The Hague, have, on the contrary, been a time of as steady and constant application as ever occurred in the course of my life. ... I have, in a great measure, repaired, to my own satisfaction, the loss of my time in the dissipation of London. . . . With my conduct also since my return from England, I am more content than I was there, and in the course of seven months, I can have nothing essential to regret."
On the 6th of- August, 1796, he received a letter from the Secretary of State apprising him that President Washington had appointed him Minister to Portugal, and advising him to hold himself ready for further instructions. William Vans Murray, who had been appointed to succeed him, did not arrive at The Hague until the middle of June, 1797, and soon after Mr. Adams started for his new post.
GENERAL WASHINGTON PROVIDES FOR THE SON OF HIS
SUCCESSOR—NOMINALLY A LAWYER AGAIN—
MR. ADAMS TAKES A SEAT IN THE
IN the meantime the third Presidential election had taken place. As the choice of the people became apparent Washington saw the annoyance Mr. Adams would experience in relation to the official position of his son. The desire to relieve his successor of embarrassment in the case, and at the same time secure the retention of John Quincy in the diplomatic service, led Washington, towards the end of his Presidency, to transfer Mr. Adams to a new mission. The Adamses had more than intimated the difficulty among themselves, and supposed that to maintain the honor of the father the son should resume his profession during the father's Administration. The position taken by the son is clear enough in his own words in a letter to his mother at the time. He wrote:—
"The appointment to the mission of Portugal, I find from your letter, was, as I had before concluded, unknown to my father. I have already written you on the subject, and I hope, my ever dear and honored mother, that you are fully convinced from my letters which you have before this received, that upon the contingency of my father's being placed in the first magistracy, I shall never give him any trouble by solicitation for office of any kind. Your late letters have repeated, so many times, that in that case I shall have nothing to expect, that I am afraid you have imagined it possible that I might form expectations from that event. I had hoped that my mother knew me better, that she did do me the justice to believe that I have not been so totally regardless or forgetful of the principles which education has instilled, nor so totally destitute of personal sense of delicacy, as to be susceptible of a wish tending in that direction.'
In reply to a letter from the President elect, on this subject General Washington wrote:—
"monday, Feb. 20, 1797.
"dear Sir,— I thank you for giving me a perusal of the inclosed. The sentiments do honor to the head and the heart of the writer; and if my wishes would be of any avail, they should go to you in a strong hope that you will not withhold merited promotion from John Q. Adams because he is your son. For without intending to compliment the father or the mother, or to censure any others, I give it as my decided opinion that Mr. Adams is the most valuable public character we have abroad, and that there remains no doubt in my mind that he will prove himself to be the ablest of all our diplomatic corps. If he was now to be brought into that line, or into any other public walk, I could not, on the principle which has regulated my conduct, disapprove of the caution which is hinted at in the letter. But he is already entered; the public, more and more, as he is known, are appreciating his talents and worth; and his country would sustain a loss if these were to be checked by over-delicacy on your part.
"With sincere esteem, and affectionate regard,
"I am ever yours, George Washington."
In May, 1796, President Washington had sent to the Senate the appointment of John Quincy Adams to be Minister Plenipotentiary at Lisbon, and in this the Senate concurred.
It being decided to establish a mission at Berlin at the outset of Mr. Adams's Administration, and this being of the same grade as that of Portugal, he chose to transfer his son to the former. This change, the