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John Adams to John Quincy Adams

Aug. 18. 1782

My dear Son

It is with Pleasure that I enclose this amiable Letter from your Sister, which breaths a very commendable affection for You and solicitude for your Welfare. There is nothing more tender than these Correspondences between Families, as there is nothing more sacred than the Relations of Brother and sister, except that of Parent and Child. It is your duty to answer her.

I say again, it is a moral and a religious duty to cultivate these amiable Connections by constant Correspondence, when We cannot by Conversation. But I need not recur to any Thing so austere as the Idea of Duty. The Pleasure of corresponding with a sister so worthy of you ought to be Motive sufficient. Subjects can never be wanting. Discriptions of Cities, Churches, Palaces, Paintings, Spectacles, all the Objects around you, even the manners and Dress of the People will furnish ample materials.

Adams, John. Letter to John Quincy Adams, August 18, 1782. Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Published in Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4: October 1780 - September 1782 (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1973). Pages 366-367.