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Lot 4: Adams, John Quincy. Autograph letter signed ("J.Q. Adams"), 1 page, Boston, 26 November 1841.Platinum House
July 11, 2014
Calabasas, CA, USALive Auction
4. Adams, John Quincy. Autograph letter signed (“J.Q. Adams”), 1 page (10 x 7.87 in.; 254 x 200 mm.), Boston, 26 November 1841, to William Hayden, Editor of the Atlas Boston.
Commenting on the current war between Great Britain and China––a conflict with elements similar to those of the American Revolutionary War, John Quincy Adams involes the hallowed words of the Declaration of Independence as he sides with the Chinese.
Adams writes in full:
Dear Sir I pray you to accept my thanks, for your obliging offer to publish in the Atlas, the lecture recently delivered by me, on the War between Great Britain and China. Previous engagements have taken from me the disposal of the manuscript which I should otherwise cheerfully place at yours -As to the precise grounds assumed by the Lecturer, for the cornerstone of his argument with regard to the justice of the cause, they are contained in the following words––
“We hold these truths to be self evident - that all men are created equal - that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights - that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”- If the Lecturer has failed in showing the application of these principles to the vitals of the present issue between Great Britain and China, he has failed to accomplish his task, but the fault is neither in the premises, nor in the link of adamant between them and his conclusion. Very respectfully, your obed Serv’ J Q. Adams.
First the British War with China (1841-42), erupted over the monopolistic system of maritime trade employed by the Cantonese government in an effort to stave off further British imperialism in the area, and to curtail the spread of mercantilism. The conflict began with British occupation of Chusan and the Canton River forts, followed by the seizure of several coastal ports and Chinkiang on the Grand Canal. On 29 August 1842, the Treaty of Nanking was signed, reversing the former protectionist trade policies and ceding control of Hong Kong to the British.
During this time, Adams was serving as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives––the only former President to do so. As a seasoned statesman, he was in great demand as a speaker and lecturer in his native state of Massachusetts, and throughout New England as well.
$5,000 - $8,000