GENERAL CORRESPONDENCE AND OTHER PAPERS OF THE ADAMS STATESMEN
Cover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 18: December 1785 – January 1787, from Harvard University PressCover: Papers of John Adams, Volume 18 in HARDCOVER

Papers of John Adams, Volume 18

December 1785 – January 1787

Volume 18 is the final volume of the Papers of John Adams wholly devoted to John Adams’ diplomatic career. It chronicles fourteen months of his tenure as minister to Great Britain and his joint commission, with Thomas Jefferson, to negotiate treaties with Europe and North Africa. With respect to Britain, Adams found it impossible to do “any Thing Satisfactory, with this Nation,” and the volume ends with his decision to resign his posts. His diplomatic efforts, Adams thought, were too much akin to “making brick without straw.”

John Adams’ ministerial efforts in London were disappointing, but other aspects of his life were not. He and Jefferson failed to finalize treaties with Portugal and Great Britain, but they did, through agent Thomas Barclay, conclude a treaty with Morocco. Barclay’s letters are the earliest and most evocative American accounts of that region. Adams witnessed the marriage of his daughter, Abigail 2d, to William Stephens Smith, promoted the ordination of American Episcopal bishops, and toured the English countryside, first with Thomas Jefferson and then with his family. Most significant perhaps was the publication of the first volume of Adams’ Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America. This work is often attributed to concern over Shays’ Rebellion, of which Adams knew little when he began drafting. In fact, it was Adams’ summer 1786 visit to the Netherlands that provoked his work. There, Dutch Patriot friends, involved in their own revolution, expressed interest in seeing “upon paper” his remarks “respecting Government.”

Recent News

From Our Blog

Jacket: The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos, by Tom Siegfried, from Harvard University Press

Q&A with Tom Siegfried, author of The Number of the Heavens: A History of the Multiverse and the Quest to Understand the Cosmos

In The Number of the Heavens, Tom Siegfried, the award-winning former editor of Science News, shows that one of the most fascinating and controversial ideas in contemporary cosmology—the existence of multiple parallel universes—has a long and divisive history that continues to this day. We spoke to him about the possible existence of a multiverse and the co

‘manifold glories of classical Greek and Latin’

The digital Loeb Classical Library (loebclassics.com) extends the founding mission of James Loeb with an interconnected, fully searchable, perpetually growing virtual library of all that is important in Greek and Latin literature.