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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 5


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Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0091

Author: Thaxter, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-05-28

John Thaxter to John Quincy Adams

[salute] Dear Sir

I have had the pleasure of recieving your favor of the 20th. instant.1 With regard to the Miniature of Genl. Washington, which Mr. D[ana] requested You to enquire about, I have only to say, that Mr. D. has been fully informed of the Reasons of the Delay in not sending it. Mr. Dumas can give You the whole History of the Affair, as he was so kind as to undertake the Expedition of it to Petersbourg, and why he was disappointed in the Execution of his Commission.2
I am as anxious to take You by the Hand, as you can possibly be to see me. I hope we shall meet soon. But I presume not to say when, as Business is not as yet tout-à fait finished. Tis impossible to foresee, exactly when the whole Web will be completed. 'Tis a spinning Negociation.
You will not take it amiss, that I have still so much of the Pedagogue about me, as to recommend very seriously to You a strict Attention to the Latin and Greek Languages, while You remain at the Hague, and You will suffer me also to press You to avail yourself of the classical Knowledge and good Disposition of Mr. Dumas as much as possible. He is an excellent Linguist, and I am too well convinced of your turn for Study, to doubt a Moment of a steady Application to this important Branch of Education. You will recieve the above as the Hints of a Friend, and not as the officious Intermedlings of one who loves to interfere in every Body's Business.
{ 166 }
We are a long time without News from Boston. We are in daily Expectation of some Arrivals. But Patience is almost worn out.
Mr. Storer returns Compliments to You. Please to present his and my Respects to the Family You are in.

[salute] Sincerely your Friend.

[signed] J. Thaxter
1. Not found.
2. The editors can throw little light upon the Washington miniature and its failure to arrive in St. Petersburg. In a letter of 28 March 1782 O.S. (Adams Papers), Francis Dana requested that JA send a copy of it, and JA replied on 17 Sept. that he had “sent [it] to the Care of the Dutch Ambassador” to Russia (MHi: Dana Papers). A month later, however, the Dutch ambassador told Dana that he had neither received it nor heard anything about it (Dana to JA , 20 Oct. 1782 O.S., Adams Papers). Neither JA nor Dana name the Dutch ambassador. The Dutch minister plenipotentiary to St. Petersburg, 1780–1785, was Willem Lodewijk Baron van Wassenaer Starrenburg; the Dutch resident, 1773–1794, was Johan Isaac de Swart ( Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder , 3:268).

Docno: ADMS-04-05-02-0092

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-05-29

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

It gives me great Pleasure to find, that your Situation is agreable to you. An abler Instructor than Mr. Dumas is not to be found. Is not an 100 Verses at a Time too long a Lesson?1 Are you familiar enough with the Latin to comprehend So many Verses at once? You have Ainsworths Dictionary2 I presume. Let no Word escape you, without being understood.
Drydens is a good translation, but it is not Virgil. You will do well to Study the Difference. There is another English Translation of Virgil. It is in blank Verse, done by Dr. Trapp.3 This is thought by Some to be better than Dryden's, but I am not of that opinion. It is worth your while however to have it if you can get it.
I dont know but the Book of Games would be more proper for your young head, than the History of Dido.4
You translate Suetonius in Writing, I hope, and preserve your Translation as you did that of Phaedrus.5 I Should advise you to make a compleat Translation of Suetonius, in order to make yourself Master of the Work.

[salute] Your affectionate Father

[signed] John Adams
1. See JQA to JA , 24 May, above, for JQA 's reading of Virgil, and for Dryden's translation of Virgil, to which JA refers below.
2. Robert Ainsworth, Dictionary, English and Latin, London, 1773 ( Catalogue of JA 's Library ).
3. Joseph Trapp, Aeneis of Virgil, Translated into Blank Verse, 2 vols., London, 1718–20. At { 167 } some point JQA acquired Virgil's complete Works in Trapp's blank verse translation (4th edn., 3 vols., London, 1755; now in MQA).
4. The romance of Queen Dido of Carthage and the Trojan leader Aeneas is the subject of Virgil, Aeneid, book IV, which JQA was reading (to JA , 24 May, above). Book V of the same work, the “Book of Games,” describes the athletic contests held by the Trojans in Sicily after their departure from Carthage.
5. See JQA to JA , 12 May, note 2, above. JQA had studied the Latin fabulist Phaedrus in Paris in 1780 and in Leyden in 1781, but the French translation that he copied out in Leyden was the work of his language teacher, not his own (see vols. 3:307, and note 4; 4:xvi, 113, 118, and note 1).