Apr 17, 2012 - Sale 2276

Sale 2276 - Lot 305

Price Realized: $ 36,000
Show Hammer Price?Final Price Realized includes Buyer’s Premium added to Hammer Price
Estimate: $ 10,000 - $ 20,000
"AN ARMY AND NAVY ESTABLISHMENT IS ESSENTIAL" ADAMS, JOHN. Autograph Letter Signed, "J. Adams," as President, to Secretary of War James McHenry, concurring in his view that an Army and Navy are necessary to furthering the interests of the United States and warning of embarrassment should the department heads be surprised. 1 page, 4to, with integral blank; marginal foxing along left edge, three small holes punched in center vertical fold. (AKF) Quincy, 19 July 1799

Additional Details

"I agree with you . . . that both an Army and Navy Establishment is essential to the present and future Interests & Greatness of the United States and that We must run the Risks which other Nations have run.
"It appeared to me that Offices were created and Salaries made necessary in the Plan for Supplying the Army, which would require the Interposition of Congress, But if the Powers already given to Administration are Sufficient I am Satisfied. . . ."
Because of the apparent disingenuousness of American diplomacy that led to the XYZ Affair in 1798, the French, without a declaration of war, seized and plundered American vessels, necessitating the expansion of the American navy. In July of 1798, Congress empowered the merchant marine to defend the American ships. French aggression ceased in 1800 after the signing of the "Convention of Peace, Commerce and Navigation," but Adams continued to build the military, partly due to a perceived threat of French invasion.
Published in the Works of John Adams, vol. 8, 1856.