In every respect, John Quincy Adams’s life was made for a great novel, or movie…or even a good biography. At age ten, John Quincy had his first opportunity to travel to Europe with his father (a diplomat in Paris) and begin a youth filled with foreign affairs, multiple languages and new customs. This in an era when few New Englanders of any age ever travelled beyond their own state’s borders.
Returning only briefly to the US, the father/son duo soon traveled abroad again – this time seeing Spain, France and the Netherlands. Fortunately for posterity, twelve-year-old John Quincy began a diary on this trip abroad – a diary he maintained for almost seventy years until his death.
As barely a teenager, multilingual John Quincy had the opportunity to leave his father behind in Europe and travel to St. Petersburg. He was asked to serve there as private secretary and translator to…
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