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    Sale 2265

    Americana: Printed and Manuscript, Including Abraham Lincoln's 1864 Victory Speech: The Original Handwritten Manuscript

    12 February 2009, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 3

    ADAMS, John. Autograph letter signed ("John Adams"), to "My dear George, My dear John and my dear Charles" (his grandsons, children of John Quincy Adams), Quincy. Mass., 4-5 July 1815.

    Price Realised  


    ADAMS, John. Autograph letter signed ("John Adams"), to "My dear George, My dear John and my dear Charles" (his grandsons, children of John Quincy Adams), Quincy. Mass., 4-5 July 1815.

    2 pages, 4to, left-hand edge with protective strip of paper affixed, otherwise in very fine condition.


    John and Abigail's grandsons, to whom he writes, were George Washington Adams (1801-1829), John Adams II (1803-1834) and Charles Francis Adams (1807-1886). The former president opens his affectionate letter with a curious couplet: "Time was, our Ancestors would knock the servants up, and rise at four O clock." He goes on to offer a delightful account of a recent event: "For three or four weeks we have been afflicted by drought so sharp and severe as to threaten destruction to our grain, grass and gardens. Our sky was brass and our rain powder and dust. But yesterday and last night we had a plentiful and delightful rain with sublime thunder and beautiful lightning. This morning, awaked by the morning sun at break of day, I arose, a quarter before four. The storm was over. The atmosphere pure, sweet and clear; the dust laid; the grain, grass, gardens, foliage, flowers washed clean and their colors freshened. The Birds! Oh how shall I describe the concert! It was begun by the long whoop of the Nighthawk and the lofty clarion of all the Game cocks in the neighborhood. The Robbins by dozens soon followed with their animating carols. The Woodpeckers, the Larks, the Bob O Lincolns, the Gold Finches, the Thrushes, the Catbirds, the Virginia Nightingales, the blue birds, the spring birds, the Swallows, the Sparrows, the Yellow Birds and the Wrens, all united with the amorous cooing of the Doves. You would have thought you heard ten thousand ladies with their soft, sweet and melodious voices all singing and talking at once, on a great plain."

    "Now, Master John, let me give you a specimen of the art of sinking in poetry, philosophy and divinity. Do you think all this company of nature was to introduce your birthday? Oh! No! Was it to introduce the 39th anniversary of American Independence? Oh! No! But to you, Master John it ought to intimate that you was born for some good and useful purpose. July 5th. The day has past. A more comfortable, beautiful and delightful day was never seen." He admits to avoiding the local celebrations of Independence: "I did not think it wise to expose my trembling limbs and purblind eyes, to the inspection of the respectable multitudes in Boston, Lexington or Dorchester. I have lost my taste, if I ever had any for toasts and huzzas and clapping hands." He closes warmly: "We know not what has become of you, or your father and mother. Write and let us know. With more anxiety for you, than you will at present believe, I am your affectionate grandfather...."

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