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ADAMS, John Quincy. Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") as Minister to Prussia, to Joseph Pitcairn, U.S. Consul at Hamburg; Berlin, 28 February 1801. 1 page, 4to. Very fine condition.

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ADAMS, John Quincy. Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams") as Minister to Prussia, to Joseph Pitcairn, U.S. Consul at Hamburg; Berlin, 28 February 1801. 1 page, 4to. Very fine condition.

A FUTURE PRESIDENT AS MINISTER TO PRUSSIA

Adams had served since 1797 as U.S. Minister in Prussia, his tenure coinciding with his father's not so successful term as President. At the date of this letter, in fact, John Adams was a lame duck President, preparing--reluctantly--to hand over the reins of government to Thomas Jefferson (on March 4). Following the well-known electoral crisis, the election had been thrown into the House of Representatives, and finally, after 36 ballots, Jefferson had been declared the winner, just 11 days before this letter. It wasn't until late April that John Quincy was informed that he had been relieved of his ministerial duties by his father. Here, after thanking Pitcairn for a favor, he writes: "I will pay due attention to your hint respecting the safety of our navigation to the Russian ports in future, and converse with the Russian Minister here on the subject. The change of the British Ministry will perhaps lead to others [changes] and prevent the breaking out of the northern War; an object highly desirable even to us...." He sends correspondence to be forwarded: "Your river I presume is now free [from ice]--I enclose a small packet for the Secretary of State [John Marshall] to be forwarded by the first safe opportunity...."

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