John Quincy Adams Writes About John Adams

August 1, 1828

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John Quincy Adams Writes About John Adams
Autograph Letter Signed
2 pages | SMC 939

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      Background

      To the great autograph collector, the Reverend William B. Sprague, President John Quincy Adams sends “a specimen of my own signature under a few lines from Pope's Messiah” and explains why he hasn’t an autograph of his father, President John Adams, to spare. “In the last years of his life his eyes and hands had almost ceased to serve him and he dictated even his signatures.”


      Autograph Letter Signed, as President, 1 page, quarto, Washington, August 1, 1828. To the Reverend William B. Sprague in West Springfield, Massachusetts. With Free Frank (“J.Q. Adams”) on verso.
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      Page 1 transcript
      The Rev'd William B. Sprague West Springfield Massachusetts

      Washington 1 August 1828.

      Sir:

      I sometime since received your very obliging Letter of the 12th ult. with the accompanying valuable Sermons for which I pray you to accept my thanks.

      Conformably to your desire I enclose you a specimen of my own signature under a few lines from Pope's Messiah - more appropriate for the eye of a foreigner and a Clergyman than any thing that I could have written myself. I have here nothing of my father's writing that I could give. In the last years of his life his eyes and hands had almost ceased to serve him, and he dictated even his signatures.  I may however hereafter meet with some sample of his writing which may be spared and in that event will readily enclose it to you.

      I enclosing [sic] you in the meantime friendly and respectful salutations

      JOHN QUINCY ADAMS

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      Page 2 transcript
      J. Q. ADAMS

      FREE [frank]

      The Revd
      Wm. B. Sprague --
      West Springfield --
      Massachusetts