I love to assign cameo roles to the founding fathers in my novels. The largest role so far goes to the Marquis de Lafayette in Le Chevalier. However, my favorite has to be John Adams in Willing Love.
Scene: Captain Evan Foster has hired a young lawyer to defend his new
charges of smuggling.
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“Is that Adams?” Richard asked.
“It is.” Evan studied his hired solicitor’s almost slovenly appearance. He wore a suit of drab brown that might have been homespun. Even from a distance, Evan could see the wear on the heels of his leather shoes. The buckles looked to be made of brass. Nothing in the lawyer’s appearance inspired confidence, but then that hadn’t been why Evan had hired him.
“Not much to look at, is he?” Richard voiced Evan’s thoughts aloud. “Where did you find him?”
“Braintree,” Evan said. He didn’t mention the man had been tending his garden and had mud up to his elbows at the time.
“Hmmm.” Richard studied the solicitor. “A maritime lawyer?”
“A successful maritime lawyer?” Richard clarified his question.
“Graduated from Harvard at the age of fifteen.” Evan decided not to add that Adams had been between cases when he found him.
Evidently, although not yet thirty, the young Mr. Adams had built a reputation for being brilliant but a bit hard to stomach. Obnoxious had been the description provided by
one of Adams’ neighbors when Evan traveled up to Boston to fetch the man Rachel Ashcroft had told him to retain should he ever be in need of a lawyer.
When the squeak of the garden gate announced Evan’s arrival, Adams glanced up from the stubborn weed he was pulling, giving Evan the dour look of a man twice his age. Evan had wondered, and not for the last time, what brilliance Rachel could possibly have seen in the stout little fellow.
This cameo was inspired by a couple of things. First, John Adams had the reputation of being a bit of a curmudgeon. The "obnoxious" designation comes from Adams himself when he tells Jefferson why he thinks Jefferson should be the one to pen the Declaration of Independence.
"I am obnoxious, suspected and unpopular. You are very much otherwise."
John Adams to Thomas Jefferson
Secondly, John Adams was a lawyer before he was a founding father. If you've studied your history (or watched the A&E miniseries) you'll remember that he is the one who defended the British officers after the Boston Massacre. I figured if he was good enough for Captain Preston, he was good enough for Prudence Ashcroft.