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Lot #8
John Quincy Adams

Adams forbids the Boston Times from publishing his "lecture on the war between Great Britain and China"

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Estimate: $1000+
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Adams forbids the Boston Times from publishing his "lecture on the war between Great Britain and China"

ALS signed “J. Q. Adams,” one page, 7.75 x 9.75, November 27, 1841. Letter to George Roberts, editor of the Boston Times, about an essay on the First Opium War. In full: "I have seen with great surprise a statement in the Times of this day that the whole of my lecture on the war between Great Britain and China, would be published in the notion of next Friday. I lent the manuscript at your request to Mr. Mason, merely for his perusal, to make from such an abstract as he might have made upon hearing it delivered. When I put the manuscript into his hands, he asked me if I was willing that you should publish the whole I answered explicitly and positively no. That I could consent only to such an abstract as you had requested he might be enabled to make; nor did I even offer to allow him the perusal of any subsequent lecture that I may hereafter deliver on the same subject. I could make no such engagement, having already promised the manuscript to another person. I therefore forbid the publication in the notion of next Friday, which I could not but consider as a violation of the confidence which I had reposed in Mr. Mason, by the loan of the manuscript at your request." Inlaid into a slightly larger sheet. In fine condition, with light adhesive staining to the perimeter.

In 1839, trade tensions between Great Britain and China exploded into the First Opium War. Former president John Quincy Adams sided with the British, commenting that opium was 'a mere incident to the dispute…the cause of the war is the kowtow—the arrogant and insupportable pretensions of China that she will hold commercial intercourse with the rest of mankind not upon terms of equal reciprocity, but upon the insulting and degrading forms of the relations between lord and vassal.' The Royal Navy inflicted a series of decisive defeats to the Chinese, and the Qing Dynasty was forced to sign the Treaty of Nanking in 1842.

Auction Info

  • Auction Title: Fine Autographs and Artifacts
  • Dates: #565 - Ended September 12, 2019

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