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John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Philadelphia August 11. 1777

My dear Son

As the War in which your Country is engaged will probably hereafter attract your Attention, more than it does at this Time, and as the future Circumstances of your Country, may require other Wars, as well as Councils and Negotiations, similar to those which are now in Agitation, I wish to turn your Thoughts early to such Studies, as will afford you the most solid Instruction and Improvement for the Part which may be allotted you to act on the Stage of Life.

There is no History, perhaps, better adapted to this usefull Purpose than that of Thucidides, an Author, of whom I hope you will make yourself perfect Master, in original Language, which is Greek, the most perfect of all human Languages. In order to understand him fully in his own Tongue, you must however take Advantage, of every Help you can procure and particularly of Translations of him into your own Mother Tongue.

Adams, John. Letter to John Quincy Adams, August 11, 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 307-308.