Inside the Beltway: John Adams message in ‘friendship book’ brings $40,000

Got any old notes or correspondence tucked away in the dusty drawer of some ancient desk?

The Raab Collection — a family-owned business dealing in historic signatures and letters — has announced the discovery of a previously unknown, early 19th-century autograph book, or “friendship album” as it was called back then.

This small book contains a unique entry that includes both the signature and some practical advice from Founding Father and former President John Adams, who at that time was 88 years old.

The year was 1824. The brief but friendly note references the Massachusetts towns of Braintree and Quincy. The presidential advice went to one Ellen Maria Brackett, a 19-year-old neighbor who was about to be married.

“Descended as you are from one of the most ancient and respectable inhabitants of the town of Braintree, and having passed your life in that part of it now called Quincy, where you acquired your amiable accomplishments, I hope you will carry with you wherever you go an affectionate remembrance of the place of your birth, and the worthy character of your fellow citizens,” Adams wrote in his message.

“I rejoice at your prospect of an intimate connection with the family of my excellent friend Judge Peters, and his excellent lady Miss Robinson, both of whom I shall remember with affectionate respect as long as I live. With my most sincere wishes that you may be attended with every prosperity through life,” he concluded.

The message itself is one of over 50 in the album — which includes personal wishes, brief poems, essays and advice. The Raab Collection recently acquired the historic book from descendants of the young bride-to-be. It is now up for sale, priced at $40,000.

Find the details — along with a noteworthy collection of other historic documents — at


The woes continue on the southern border. One Republican lawmaker has a strategy to counter the presence of undocumented immigrants and illegal drugs — an ongoing challenge in the regions between Mexico and the U.S.

Sen. J.D. Vance of Ohio believes that an American president should be able to deploy the U.S. military to counter the actions of Latin American drug cartels.

“I want to empower the president of the United States, whether that’s a Democrat or Republican, to use the power of the U.S. military to go after these drug cartels,” Mr. Vance said Sunday in an appearance on NBC’s “Meet the Press.”

“We have to recognize the Mexican government is being, in a lot of ways, destabilized by the constant flow of fentanyl,” Mr. Vance said.
The lawmaker also noted that he has talked to Drug Enforcement Administration agents who think that the revenue of drug cartels in the border region has now increased 14 times in recent years.

“That shows you what bad border policies can do,” he added.

Mr. Vance is not alone in these sentiments.

“Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who is running for president, said Monday that he supported using ‘deadly force’ against migrants suspected of smuggling drugs into the United States. South Carolina Sen. Tim Scott, also a Republican, has also said he would dispatch U.S. special forces against the cartels,” wrote Michael Mitsanas, an NBC News analyst.

“In March, Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina told Fox News that it was time to put Mexico on notice and classify some Mexican drug cartels as foreign terrorist groups. Democrats remain largely opposed to the proposal,” he said.


“Trump’s basement campaign.”

This little phrase comes from an Axios analysis released Saturday and shared with Inside the Beltway.

“Former President Trump isn’t campaigning at the pace he did in previous cycles, preferring to spend most days at his Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster clubs rather than gripping-and-grinning in Iowa and other early primary states,” the analysis said.

“Why it matters: With Trump doubling up on Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis in GOP primary polls, and legal peril mounting, his homebody schedule is a striking change from his more frenetic, rally-packed past,” the report noted, pointing out that Mr. Trump’s rally in South Carolina marked only his second big gathering of the year.

But there’s an extra dynamic at work, perhaps.

“Trump’s polling lead has increased even as other candidates upped their campaign travel,” the analysis advised.


North Dakota Gov. Doug Burgum — who is also a Republican presidential hopeful — is in the process of perfecting a sharp national presence. One helpful way for a candidate to do that is to talk up the economy, and to emphasize some unique personal insight into this complex subject.

“The world economy is changing. Technology is changing every job, every industry, every company, I’m the only candidate in the race that’s got any background in technology. I understand energy. I understand agriculture, world markets, the economic statecraft we need to create a more stable world,” Mr. Burgum said Sunday on Fox News.

“I care care deeply about the people in this country. I care about the neighbors I have grown up with, the farmers, the ranchers, the factory floor folks. I know that they’re the engine of the American economy. And we have got to do right by them,” the governor said.

“Every business I have ever been has been successful, because we focused on customers. In North Dakota, we treat the taxpayers like the customers they are. And we have to do that. Government is not about the politicians. It’s about the people. We have got to deliver. We have got to create answers that work for every American,” Mr. Burgum said.


• 73% of U.S. adults say they plan to meet up in person “as normal” with friends or family on July Fourth.

• 18% will celebrate Independence Day with friends or family via a video-chat or phone call.

• 8% will meet up with friends and family but “take precautions” as they did during the coronavirus pandemic.

• 60% of U.S. adults say they will spend “about the same” amount of money on July Fourth festivities as they did in 2022.

• 22% will “spend less” and 18% will “spend more” than they did in 2022.

SOURCE: A Civic Science online survey of 8,390 U.S. adults conducted June 25-27 and released Sunday.

• Follow Jennifer Harper on Twitter @HarperBulletin.

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