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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


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Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0078

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1778-09-27

John Quincy Adams to Abigail Adams

[salute] Honoured Mamma

My Pappa enjoins it upon me to keep a journal, or a diary, of the Events that happen to me, and of objects that I See, and of Characters that I converse with from day, to day, and altho I am Convinced of the utility, importance, & necessity, of this Exercise, yet I have not patience, & perseverance, enough to do it so Constantly as I ought. My Pappa who takes a great deal of Pains to put me in the right way, has also advised me to Preserve Copies of all my letters, & has given me a Convenient Blank Book for this end; and altho I shall have the mortification a few years hence, to read a great deal of my Childish nonsense, yet I shall have the Pleasure, & advantage, of Remarking the several steps, by which I shall have advanced, in taste, judgment, & knowledge.1 a journal Book & a letter Book of a Lad of Eleven years old, Cannot be expected to Contain much of Science, Litterature, arts, wisdom, or wit, yet it may Serve to perpetuate many observations that I may make, & may hereafter help me to recolect both persons, & { 93 } things, that would other ways escape my memory. I have been to see the Palace & gardens of Versailles, the Military scholl at Paris, the hospital of Invalids, the hospital of Foundling Children, the Church of Notre Dame, the Heights of Calvare, of Montmartre, of Minemontan, & other scenes of Magnificense, in & about Paris, which if I had written down in a diary, or a Letter Book, would give me at this time much Pleasure to revise, & would enable me hereafter to Entertain my Freinds, but I have neglected it & therefore, can now only resolve to be more thoughtful, & Industrious, for the Future & to encourage me in this resolution & enable me to keep it with more ease & advantage my father has given me hopes of a Present of a Pencil & Pencil Book in which I can make notes upon the spot to be Transfered afterwards in my Diary & my Letters this will give me great Pleasure both because it will be a sure means of improvement to myself & enable me to be more entertain[in]g to you.

[salute] I am my ever honoured & revered Mamma your Dutiful & affectionate Son

[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC and LbC (Adams Papers); aside from better paragraphing in LbC, the differences between the two texts are negligible. Text is given here in literal style.
1. JQA's earliest surviving diary (D/JQA/1) was begun on 12 Nov. 1779, the day he left Braintree for Boston to board the French frigate La Sensible for his second voyage to Europe. But he had begun a letterbook some months before he wrote the present letter; see above, JQA to TBA, 29 May, note 1.
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/