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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0043

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1781-01-21

Abigail Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

Tis a long time since I had the pleasure of a Letter from you. If you wrote to me by Capt. Davis as I suppose you did, your Letters were all thrown over Board.
If you have since written by a Brig call'd the Fame, I fear it will { 68 } never reach me. She is still missing and must be taken or lost. The Mars from France we daily expect. The last Letters which I received from you came by the Alliance, and were dated in April so that tis Nine Months since a single line from your own hand reachd me.
I expect your observations upon your New Situation, an account of Holland, and what you find there, worthy of remark, what improvements you have made in the languages, in the Sciences, and the fine Arts.
You are now become resident in a Country famous for its industery and frugality, and which has given Birth to many Learned and great Men. Erasmus, Grotius and Boerhaave, so well known in the Literary world, stand foremost in the List of Fame.
You must not be a superficial observer, but study Men and Manners that you may be Skilfull in both. Tis said of Socrates, that the oracle pronounced him the wisest of all Men living because he judiciously made choice of Humane Nature for the object of his Thoughts. Youth is the proper season for observation and attention—a mind unincumberd with cares may seek instruction and draw improvement from all the objects which surround it. The earlier in life you accustome yourself to consider objects with attention, the easier will your progress be, and more sure and successfull your enterprizes. What a Harvest of true knowledge and learning may you gather from the numberless varied Scenes through which you pass if you are not wanting in your own assiduity and endeavours. Let your ambition be engaged to become eminent, but above all things support a virtuous character, and remember that “an Honest Man is the Noblest work of God.”
I hope you will not let any opportunity slip or any vessel sail, which is bound for America without Letters from you. Your Friends here all desire to be rememberd to you. Your cousin Billy has written to you several times, and is quite impatient to hear from you. Your sister—not a word in excuse will I say for her. She ought to write to you and I call upon her too, but she is very neglegent.

[salute] I am my dear Son with sincere wishes for your Health and happiness affectionately yours,

[signed] A A
RC (Adams Papers). Dft (Adams Papers); at head of text in CFA 's hand: “Draught of the preceding.”
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Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0044

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-01-23

John Thaxter to John Adams

[salute] Sir

I had the Honour of your Note and the inclosed Extracts yesterday Morning; I waited on Mr. Luzac immediately with the Paper and shewed him the Extracts, with which he was highly gratified.1 He sent them so late last Evening that I had only time to inclose them to You. The News cannot but be agreable to every one who loves his Country, and feels interested in every Event that affects it: but the Quantity of it is too great to claim an immediate Credit. Altho' the whole and much more may be within the Compass of one's Wishes, and however fashionable it may be to shape one's language to his Wishes, yet after the confident Reports from that quarter of the Continent in the Summer of 1779, and their palpable falsity, one will be moderate in wishing; and modest in speaking, 'till there is an ample Confirmation.
Master John and I attend Professor Pestel's Lectures sur les fondemens de Jurisprudence naturelle. They are very ingenious and learned. His Lectures upon Grotius We do not attend—he has not time. I have thought it most adviseable for him to attend the former of the two. I wish however for your direction. He and his Brother are extremely diligent, and I presume their progress will be satisfactory to You.
The Rector Magnificus has consented to matriculate Master Charles. If it is agreable to You, I will wait upon him for that purpose.2
I have the honor to inclose You Mr. Pestel's Latin Edition, and Homer's Hymn to Ceres, and to be with perfect Respect, Sir, your most humble Servt.,
[signed] J. Thaxter
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Mr. Thaxter reed. & ansd. 24 Jan. 1781.” (This answer has not been found.) For the enclosed or accompanying books written or edited by two professors at Leyden, see notes 3 and 4 under JA to JQA of 23 Dec. 1780 (2d letter), above.
1. JA 's “Note” has not been found. The “Extracts” it covered were acknowledged with touching gratitude by Jean Luzac in a letter to JA of 22 Jan. (Adams Papers); they probably form part of the news and comment on the war in America, especially in the South, printed in the Gazette de Leyde and its supplements for 23 and 26 January.
2. See Thaxter to JA , 1 and 11 Feb., below.
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