Bryn Mawr College Library Special Collections

 

Dr. Mavis Kelsey Collection of Adams-Harris Papers

Part I: Description

Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library
Collection Number: 17

Copyright © 2001 by Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library

July 2001
Last Updated: November 18, 2013

Extent

Total Boxes: 1
Linear Feet: 0.50

Administrative Information

Provenance

Gift of Dr. Mavis Kelsey, February 1981.

Ownership & Literary Rights

The Dr. Mavis Kelsey Collection of Adams-Harris Papers is the physical property of the Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library. Literary rights, including copyright, belong to the authors or their legal heirs and assigns.

Cite as:

Dr. Mavis Kelsey Collection of Adams-Harris Papers, Special Collections Department, Bryn Mawr College Library.

Restrictions on Access

This collection is open for research.

 

 

JOHN QUINCEY ADAMS and LEVETT HARRIS

John Quincey Adams, later President of the United States, acted as Chief Plenipotentiary of the American delegation negotiating the Treaty of Ghent, and ending the War of 1812. Levett Harris was the American Consul (later the Charge d'Affaires) in Russia at this time. Adams's letters containing observations on the course of the negotiations, mediated by the Emperor Alexander, to Levett Harris are included in this collection. Harris, when later seeking appointment as Minister to Russia, was accused of having used his previous office corruptly for his personal gain. The collection also includes a statement in Harris' hand of his defense against this charge.

W. D. Lewis, an American merchant residing in Russia during Harris' time there, returned to the U.S. in 1819 and made the accusation. S. F. Bemis describes the charge in his J. Q. Adams and the Foundations of American Foreign Policy : "The American Consul at St. Petersburg, Levett Harris, made a fortune . . . by clearing doubtful ships and cargoes through the venal Russian neutrality commission that passed upon their authenticity."

To defend himself against this accusation Harris wrote this account. "I propose it therefore in the following statements, drawn up without exageration [sic] or embellishments, not with any view of encountering my antagonists in the newspapers, Coffee Houses, and the public places, where they have maligned me, but by way of instruction to my Counsel, and as my declaration to be used in case of death, or others . . . and also for the information of some few eminent persons who have honored me with their regards."

DESCRIPTION OF THE COLLECTION

The Dr. Mavis Kelsey Collection of Adams-Harris Papers is organized into two series:

Series I, Correspondence consists of 11 ALsS and 2 LsS written by John Quincy Adams to the American Consul and later Charge d'Affaires in Russia, Levett Harris. Also included are 2 AlsS from Mrs. Adams (Louisa Catherine Johnson) to L. Harris.

Series II, Other Materials contains the original draft of Harris' defense against the charge that he used his office corruptly for personal gain.

PART II: Box and Folder List

Processing and guide by Linda Leeuwrik and Marianne Hansen.

 

Full List of Guides to the Collections
Abbreviations Used in Guides

Last update: November 18, 2013