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ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848). Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") to William Plumer, Washington, 16 March 1829.
ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848). Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") to William Plumer, Washington, 16 March 1829.
ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848). Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") to William Plumer, Washington, 16 March 1829.
ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848). Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") to William Plumer, Washington, 16 March 1829.
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PROPERTY FROM THE ROGER D. JUDD COLLECTION OF HISTORICAL LETTERS, DOCUMENTS AND MANUSCRIPTS
ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848). Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") to William Plumer, Washington, 16 March 1829.

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ADAMS, John Quincy (1767-1848). Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") to William Plumer, Washington, 16 March 1829.

Four pages, 248 x 210mm, bifolia (rear leaf laid into a larger sheet, spine reinforced).

John Quincy Adams criticizes his successor in the White House: "President Jackson commenced his Administration by a gross, groundless and wanton insult upon his predecessor in his inaugural address, but the comment upon his promise of reform in the first measures he has taken, has already fastened upon himself a deeper stigma than it is in his power to fix upon me." Adams takes aim at Jackson's "Spoils Sysetm" decrying executive efforts to "make the post office of every village in the Union a market overt for electioneering partizans ... Of the rest I will not speak—it will soon speak for itself, till sycophancy shall sicken at its own philters of prostitution to meet him more than half way." Adams also muses on Daniel Webster's position in regard to the the new administration: "If the interest of Mr. Van Buren is to predominate, he will soon seal the want of Mr. Webster to sustain him ... As statesmen Webster to Van Buren, is Hyperion to a Satyr. As Intriguers, they would change masks. To use the language of Lord Bacon, Van Buren should pack the Cards, and Webster should play the game," and adding that "Mr. Webster is more prone to trim the sale [sic] to the breeze than to take the wheel at the helm".

The balance of the letter is devoted to intrigues of an earlier era, 1803-1815, when New England Federalists, turned out of power in the election of 1800 and seeing their political influence weakened with the Louisiana Purchase, were believed to have schemed to secede from the Union to create a northern confederacy, culminating in the Hartford Convention. Adams relates an interesting affair involving James A. Hamilton, son of his father's political nemesis, Alexander Hamilton, who was then serving in the Jackson Administration as acting Secretary of State awaiting the arrival of Martin Van Buren. After relating the history of the nascent disunion movement in New England, he remarked that Hamilton, "by a singular coincidence ... wrote me a Letter making some enquires of explanation and evidence, respecting what I had said with allusion to his father in my Letter to the Boston Confederates, and also as to my belief in the Statement contained in your Letter to me concerning his father's consent to attend the proposed autumnal meeting in Boston in 1804." Adams' version of events places Alexander Hamilton in a positive light. According to Adams, James Hamilton "appeared to be entirely satisfied with the explanations I had given him in relation to his father, and said to me, that in confirmation of the view I had taken of his father's opinions at that time upon the disunion project…" James Hamilton added that "he believed Mr. Jefferson's scruples with regard to the power of Congress, without an Amendment of the Constitution of annexing Louisiana to the Union, had been removed by a Letter from his father. This was marvellous to me—so marvellous that I ask myself whether I did not misunderstand him. But I brought to my mind the long struggle of the Hamilton family, very recently set at rest, to make the world believe that Alexander Hamilton was the author of Washington's farewell Address." Provenance: Howard K. Sanderson (his sale), Anderson Galleries, 1-3 May 1916, lot 129 – A.C. Goodyear (his sale), Anderson Galleries, 1-2 February 1927, lot 107 – Sotheby's, New York, 1 November 1993, lot 9.

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