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Newspaper Belonging to John Quincy Adams Reports Transfer of the Floridas to the U.S.
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This issue contains an inside page report of the U.S. taking possession of Florida from Spain under the terms of the Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. This issue was owned by, delivered to, and read by John Quincy Adams (the “Adams” in the Adams-Onís Treaty) when Adams was the Secretary of State in the James Monroe administration. “Hon. John Q. Adams” is written in contemporary brown iron gall ink in the top blank margin on the front page, indicating that this issued was delivered to Adams while he was serving as Secretary of State.

[JOHN QUINCY ADAMS]. Newspaper. Western Monitor, August 7, 1821. Lexington, Kentucky: William Gibbes Hunt. Issue owned by John Quincy Adams; Report on Adams-Onís Treaty of 1819. 4 pp, 14½ x 20½ in.

Inventory #23822       Price: $3,500



            “We have received advices from Pensacola to the 13th inst. which day had been fixed upon for giving up possession to the U. States authorities, but the ceremony was, at the solicitation of the Spanish Commandant, postponed three days. General Jackson, with the U.S. troops, was about one mile and a half from Pensacola—his family had been at their residence in town for several days. The place is crowded with visitors and emigrants from various parts of the Union.” (p3/c5)


            “The Charleston Courier of the 17th inst. contains the following pleasing intelligence.

            “By the arrival last evening of the sloop Wasp, Capt. Chester, from St. Augustine, we learn that the American flag was hoisted at that place on the 10th inst. At 5 o’clock in the morning, a salute was fired from the fort by the Spanish troops, and the Spanish flag displayed—At 3 P.M. the American colors were hoisted with the Spanish, and the American troops landed at the South Battery, and marched directly to the fort.—At 4. the Spanish troops marched out, and the Spanish flag was lowered under a salute of 21 guns from the fort, which was answered by the U.S. schrs. Tarter and Revenge, at anchor in the harbor.” (p3/c5)

            “The coronation of George the 4th, is officially fixed for the 19th of July. From the arrangements made, the ceremony will be as splendid as it is useless.” (p3/c3)

Historical Background

In 1819, Secretary of State John Quincy Adams negotiated a treaty with Spanish foreign minister Luis de Onís y González-Vara to transfer East Florida and West Florida (including future parts of Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana) to the United States in exchange for defining the border between the United States and New Spain from the Gulf of Mexico along the Sabine, Red, and Arkansas Rivers to the Pacific Ocean, north of California and south of Oregon. The United States agreed to pay claims of up to $5 million by residents of Florida against the Spanish government. The representatives signed the treaty on February 22, 1819, Spain ratified the treaty in October 1820, and the U.S. Senate ratified it on February 19, 1821. The two nations exchanged ratifications and the treaty was proclaimed on February 22.

The formal exchange of flags ceremony took place in St. Augustine on July 10, 1821, for East Florida, and on July 17 at Pensacola for West Florida. General Andrew Jackson, appointed temporary governor in March to oversee the transition, resigned following the transfer, and William P. DuVal became the first territorial governor of combined Florida in 1822.

Additional Content: This issue also contains the first part of John Quincy Adams’ July 4, 1821 speech in Washington “on the occasion of reading the [original] Declaration of Independence” (p1/c5-p2/c3) (Full text of speech); a meeting of the president and directors of the Second Bank of the United States (p2/c3-4); a report of a tornado in New Orleans (p2/c5); and an advertisement for The Floridian, the first American newspaper published in Florida (p4/c6).

John Quincy Adams (1767-1848), sixth president of the United States (1825-1829), and the son of John Adams. He studied at Harvard and was admitted to the bar in 1790. Having been educated partly in Europe while his father held various diplomatic posts in the 1780s, John Quincy Adams served successively as minister to The Netherlands, Portugal, Prussia, Russia, and Britain. He began his career a moderate Federalist but switched to the Jeffersonian Republican Party around the year 1807. He helped negotiate the Treaty of Ghent, ending the War of 1812, and was a brilliant Secretary of State (1817-1825), taking the lead role in formulating the Monroe Doctrine. He won the election of 1824, which was decided in the House of Representatives because no candidate won a majority in the Electoral College. Adams’s “deal” with House Speaker Henry Clay, whom he named Secretary of State, helped spark the formation of an opposition party around Andrew Jackson. John Quincy Adams served one largely frustrating term as president and lost in the election of 1828 to Andrew Jackson. Surprising most observers, Adams stood for election to the House of Representatives in 1831 and served seventeen memorable years, becoming a bulwark for civil liberties and a voice in the emerging anti-slavery movement. He defended the Amistad slaves before the Supreme Court in 1841, and died of a stroke on the floor of the House in 1848.

Western Monitor (1814-1825) was a weekly newspaper published in Lexington, Kentucky. Originally published by James Fishback and Henry C. Sleight, Thomas T. Skillman and William Gibbes Hunt took over publishing it in August 1815. From 1818 to 1823, Hunt continued alone. William Tanner and then Thomas Curry published the newspaper in the last years of its existence.


Complete separation along fold, with light corner and edge wear to issue, including small area of loss in lower right corner of back page. Typical folds. Even toning to issue.

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