Papers of John Adams, volume 1

From Jonathan Sewall

Draft of a Letter on the Evils of Licensed Houses

4.

At the head of the text of this letter, and just possibly intended as an addendum to it, but more likely part of a preceding (but missing) letter or even a wholly detached thought, is a passage reading as follows: “A Project has just started into my Mind of collecting the Anecdotes of the Lives of all the great Lawyers, ancient and modern. The Character of Sulpitius suggested it to me. Vid. Middleton, V. 3 P. 134.”

Apparently nothing came of this passing thought. The reference is doubtless to Conyers Middleton, The History of the Life of Cicero, of which JA owned a set, in 3 vols., London, 1755, now in MB, from which the third volume is missing. The set had been presented to JA as a Detur Prize at Harvard College ( Catalogue of JA's Library ).