Skip to main content
Go to accessibility notice


    John Quincy Adams Autograph Letter Signed Four Times. Five pages with integral address leaf, 7.5" x 9.25", Boston, January 18, 1802. Writing to Rufus King, who was in London serving as minister to Great Britain, Adams says that he is transmitting "...a list of law books...requesting you to direct your bookseller to ship them by some one of the spring vessels from London...address'd to me."

    Adams gives King news of the political atmosphere in the United States at the time, which "...still remains severe..." He writes, in part: "Since the meeting of Congress, it appears there is a large majority in the house of Representatives, and a decided, though small one, in the Senate, favourable to the views of the Executive. The measures recommended by the President [Jefferson]...are all popular, in all parts of the union. But they are all undergoing a scrutiny in the public newspapers...A writer in the New York evening post, said to be General Hamilton [Alexander Hamilton founded the paper in 1800] has undertaken particularly to point out great and comprehensive errors of system...and his doctrines find great approbation among the federalists...." Jefferson and his Democratic-Republicans had been at odds with Alexander Hamilton and his Federalist party since his time as secretary of state under Washington. He continues: "These papers will without doubt be transmitted to you...and they, with the President's Message and the Report from the Secretary of the Treasury, will give you the fairest view of what our Administration, and our Opposition, are at this time."

    Adams goes on to say that the " from the Treasury exhibits a pleasing view of the present state of our finances...The President however has drawn from it the inference that our internal taxes ought to be repealed. This measure will probably be carried into effect. The established system of naturalization, and the judicial courts will have the same fate...Their probable inconveniences are remote, are therefore not discernible to the short sight of the million; and are of the most weighty consequence." Shortly after this letter was written, the Republican controlled Congress repealed the Judiciary Act of 1801, thereby removing the last minute appointments of Federalist judges made by John Adams before leaving the presidency.

    Following the letter, Adams has provided "A List of Law Books to be ship'd by the first vessel for Boston, addressed to John Quincy Adams..." The list consists of thirty books providing titles, size, and volume. Following the list he asks "Messrs: Bird, Savage and pay the bill for these books when sent, and charge to my acct." On the verso of the list, he places a request for an additional book, followed by a fourth signature. A second list of books, not in Adams hand, appears at the end.

    The letter is addressed to King in Adams' hand. Despite some toning and scattered spots of foxing, the letter is in great condition. Folds are smoothed. Address leaf is torn in two places. from opening at the wax seal.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    April, 2013
    11th Thursday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 5
    Lot Tracking Activity: N/A
    Page Views: 710

    Buyer's Premium per Lot:
    19.5% of the successful bid (minimum $14) per lot.

    Sold for: Sign-in or Join (free & quick)

    Heritage membership

    Join Now - It's Free

    1. Past Auction Values (prices, photos, full descriptions, etc.)
    2. Bid online
    3. Free Collector newsletter
    4. Want List with instant e-mail notifications
    5. Reduced auction commissions when you resell your
    Consign now
    • Cash Advances
    • More Bidders
    • Trusted Experts
    • Over 200,000 Satisfied Consignors Since 1976
    Consign to the 2020 September 14 - 15 Americana & Political.

    Learn about consigning with us

    Heritage has gone above and beyond my expectations in handling all of my transactions in a thoroughly professional manner. I would not hesitate to recommend them to anyone worldwide for the exemplary auction and valuation services they provide.
    Richard H.,
    Corsicana, TX
    View More Testimonials receives more traffic than any other auction house website. (Source:

    Video tutorial

    Getting the most out of search

    Recent auctions

    2019 November 14-16 Space Exploration Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part IV - Dallas
    2019 November 14-16 Space Exploration Auction Featuring The Armstrong Family Collection Part IV - Dallas
    REALIZED SO FAR $2,537,851