A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Search for a response to this letter.

Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0237

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-03-16

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

My Work for a day.
Make Latin,  
Explain   Cicero  
  Erasmus2  
  Appendix3  
Peirce   Phaedrus.4  
Learn   greek Racines5  
  greek Grammar  
Geography  
geometry  
fractions  
Writing  
Drawing6  
As a young boy can not apply himself to all those Things and keep a remembrance of them all I should desire that you would let me know what of those I must begin upon at first. I am your Dutiful Son,
[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams Hotel de Valois Richlieu A Paris,” with sender's address written in JQA's hand across one corner of the cover: “Ecole de Mathematiques.” Postmarked: “16 4e. Lvee. K/EI BANL E/P.D 3S,” the very last element being handwritten, the others stamped; see facsimile of cover reproduced as an illustration in this volume, and the Descriptive List of Illustrations, p. John Quincy Adams Lists His Studies and Seeks His Father's Advice following 212xvii–xviii, above, which attempts an elucidation of these markings of the Petite Poste de { 308 } Paris prior to its attachment to the Grande Poste in July 1780; compare also the postal markings on JQA's letter of 21 March, below. Endorsed: “My Son.” The name “Bethune” appears in John Thaxter's hand on the cover sheet, but this must have been written later for a purpose not now apparent.
1. Date supplied from the postmark (“16”) in combination with JA's reply of 17 March, following.
2. Probably a Latin edition of Erasmus' Colloquia, of which there were many prepared for French students' use from the early 16th century on. Among the many works by Erasmus at MQA, most of them no doubt acquired by JQA, are two editions of the Colloquia, an Elzevir published at Amsterdam, 1679, and a Colloquia selecta familiaris, Paris, 1767, which may have been the copy used by JQA at Passy.
3. JA, who was evidently keeping close track of his sons' studies, gives a fuller title for this work in his reply of the next day. According to JA this was an “Appendix de Diis et Heroibus ethnicis,” or Supplement on the Pagan Gods and Heroes, that is, an account of classical mythology, presumably for young readers. This was a common type of work, but the particular one being studied by JQA, whether a separate publication or part of a Latin reader, has not been identified.
4. That is, “Parse Phaedrus.” The OED records the spellings peirse, parce, and pearce in the 16th and 17th centuries, and there was evidently great variation in pronunciation. The Fables in verse of Phaedrus were a favorite book for beginners in Latin at the end of the 18th century. At MQA is a Latin edition, Paris, 1742; among JQA's books at the Boston Athenaeum are two others, London, 1750, and Paris, 1783, both with JQA's bookplate, but the latter ineligible by date for JQA's use at Passy.
5. “Racines” is the French word for “roots.” Hence: Learn Greek roots.
6. In the MS there follows a crude ornamental design spread across the whole page; see the facsimile John Quincy Adams Lists His Studies and Seeks His Father's Advice following 212illustration in this volume.
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/