Adams gives up the law for a diplomatic career as minister of the Netherlands
Handwritten endorsement, signed “John Q. Adams,” on the reverse of a legal writ, written in Adams’s hand, concerning the estate chattels of William Ash of Boston, one page, 8 x 7, dated November 21, 1793. Writ concerns a debt against the estate of William Ash, Herman Brimmer, and John Homans. On the reverse, Adams writes, “Brimmer et al Exors, vs. Ash, January 1794, John Q. Adams, 23 Nov.” Matted with a photocopy of the front of the document and an engraved portrait, to an overall size of 32.5 x 16. In very good condition, with toning and partial separation along both vertical folds (old tape repair to one fold), paper loss to top edge, scattered toning, and show-through from printing on reverse.
After Adams graduated from Harvard, he passed the Boston bar exam and opened a law office for a brief time, handling the affairs of a few local merchants such as William Ash, bookseller Herman Brimmer, and physician John Homans. However, he had little enthusiasm for the law and preferred to write essays defending the neutrality policy established by Washington’s administration. In 1793, his “Marcellus” and “Columbus” essays were published in the Columbian Centinel and won him national recognition as George Washington tried to keep America out of the growing hostilities between Britain and France that arose during the French Revolution. On May 30, 1794, Washington appointed Adams minister to the Netherlands (at the age of 26)—a position he did not want but was persuaded to accept by his father—and so ended young Adams’ law career. Oversized. Pre-certified John Reznikoff/PSA/DNA and RR Auction COA.