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Browsing: Papers of John Adams, Volume 1


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-06-01-02-0012

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Wentworth, John
Date: 1758-04-12

To John Wentworth

Te Deum &c., I have resigned my school, I have almost recovered my Health, I have received a letter from my Friend,1 and am scarce able to say it is the kindest Smile of Heaven. But dear Jack I will tell you the Truth for once which our Tribe you know is not very apt to do—when I first read your Letter I resolved very nearly to drop the correspondence. My Vanity could not bear to be feasted with such a variety of the greatest delicacies, by a Friend whom Poverty disables me to entertain with any better fare, than lean Beef and Small Beer. { 25 } On a second Reflection, however, I found my naughty appetite so keen for your Dainties, that Vanity and Envy must go a foot.
You have quite mistaken the Case2 of my Indisposition. Far from disordering my Constitution by Study, by raising Ideas in my mind, by worshipping in the temple of knowledge, or by any of the [blank in printed text] Practices which you talk of so finely, I should have forgotten that I had a mind and that there is a Temple of Knowledge, if your letters and the letters of Some other Friends, did not recall them sometimes to my memory3 my Thoughts are intent on Oxen and Land and money and Stonewall and War, in short on every Thing, but the Things you mention.
I thank you for the amorous Vines4 you sent me and in Return having none of the Kind, will send you, a little warlike Intelligence. My Lord Loudoun in his late Journey from Hartford to Boston did this Country and indeed this Town the Honor of passing through it.5 But it happened unluckily that the Snow in this Country was so deep, and the Roads so little broke that his Lordships Chariot could not pass.6
MS not found. Reprinted from an incomplete text in (NEHGR, 5:414/7 (Oct. 1851)), with an introductory note which reads as follows: “We are indebted to the Hon. John Wentworth, of Chicago, Illinois, for the two following letters of John Adams to his classmate, the last Governor John Wentworth. The originals of these letters, now in the hands of Col. Wentworth, were presented to him by the celebrated authoress, Mrs. Catherine Frances Gore, of London, England, the Executrix of the will of her mother's cousin, Charles Mary Wentworth, who died at Kingsand, Davenport, England, April 10th, 1844. He was the only child of the last Gov. Wentworth.” (The other letter from JA to Wentworth printed in NEHGR is that which appears below under the assigned date of Oct. 1758.)
1. Letter not found.
2. An error for “Cause”?
3. Thus in printed text. JA probably intended a full stop here and a new sentence to follow.
4. An error for “Lines”?
5. John Campbell, 4th Earl of Loudoun, commander in chief of the British forces in America (DNB). See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:266.
6. Editorial note following printed text: “Here ends the sheet, the balance of the letter not being communicated.”
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/