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Note on the text:

"Smollet" refers to Tobias Smollet's A Complete History of England, a book much loved by both JQA and his father.
Those selections students are instructed to read appear below in color.
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John Quincy Adams to John Adams

Braintree June the 2d 1777

Dear Sir

I Love to recieve Letters very well much better than I love to write them, I make but a poor figure at Composition my head is much too fickle, my Thoughts are running after birds eggs play and trifles, till I get vexd with my Self, Mamma has a troublesome task to keep me Steady, and I own I am ashamed of myself. I Have but Just entered the 3d volume of Smollet tho I had designed to have got it Half through by this time. I have determined this week to be more diligent as Mr. Thaxter will be absent at Court, and I cannot persue my other Studies I have Set myself a Stent, and determine to read the 3d volume Half out, If I can but keep my resolution I will write again at the end of the week, and give a better account of myself. I wish sir you would give me Some instructions with regard to my time and advise me how to proportion my Studies and my Play, in writing and I will keep them by me and endeavour to follow them I am dear Sir with a present determination fo growing better yours,

John Quincy Adams

Adams, John Quincy. Letter to John Adams, June 2, 1777. Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Published in Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2: June 1776 - March 1778 (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963). Pages 254-255.