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    Sale 2011

    Fine Printed Books and Manuscripts Including Americana

    12 June 2008, New York, Rockefeller Plaza

  • Lot 17

    ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848), President. Autograph letter signed ("John Quincy Adams"), as U.S. Minister to Britain, to G.W. Erving, U.S. Minister to Spain; Ealing [England], 2 November 1816.

    Price Realised  

    ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848), President. Autograph letter signed ("John Quincy Adams"), as U.S. Minister to Britain, to G.W. Erving, U.S. Minister to Spain; Ealing [England], 2 November 1816.
    1 full page, 4to, small hope in blank upper portion, verso with docket. Matted with a portrait and glazed in a fine gilt-wood frame.

    TWO U.S. MINISTERS SEARCH FOR MAPS OF THE LOUISIANA TERRITORY WHILE ADAMS STEWS ABOUT THE VACATIONING BRITISH CABINET

    Following the 1803 Louisiana Purchase, there was considerable disagreement over the correct boundary between Louisiana and Spanish holdings. In 1805 James Monroe and Thomas Pinckney claimed the Rio Bravo as the western boundary, and G.W. Erving, U.S. Minister to Spain opened diplomatic discussions in hopes of resolving the dilemma. Erving had written Adams to request a map, and Adams reports that "...I have been repeating time after time fruitless searches for such a map....From the unanimous report of all the map sellers that I could find in London I am informed that there is no separate map of Louisiana extant. There was nothing but Arrowsmith's Map of North America to be had, and that, I presumed, would not answer your purpose. In the London edition of [Zebulon] Pike's Travels there is a map on a very small scale of his [Pike's] course, which if I could have got without the Book, I would have sent you...; but of its correctness I know nothing; and it was not to be had separate from the Book. If the great map of Arrowsmith will suit you, let me know, and it shall be forwarded...."

    Continuing, Adams gives an account of debates in Parliament over the rising price of wheat: "Complaints are yet heard, and here and there a popular meeting abusing sinecures, and occasionally a riot among the workmen, immediately suppressed by the Military. The Government dispise all this. The Cabinet Ministers are absent, visiting their friends or Mineral Waters...The Revenue has recruited its funds, and the stockholders their Spirits. Parliament, though loudly called for by the Reformers, will not meet before February...."

    A few years later, Adams returned to the U.S. to become Secretary of State, and in 1818-1819 took over negotiations with Don Luis de Onís, the Spanish Minister, culminating in the Adams-Onís Treaty, ratified in 1821. It resulted in the cession of East Florida and fixed the boundary of the Louisiana Territory at the Sabine and Red rivers. Considerable controversy exists over whether Adams might have obtained the territory of Texas in addition to East Florida.


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    Pre-Lot Text

    THE PROPERTY OF A PRIVATE COLLECTOR