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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-04-03-02-0236

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Smith, Isaac Sr.
Date: 1780-03-16

John Adams to Isaac Smith Sr.

[salute] Sir

I duly received your Favour of December the 12, and thank you for your Attention to the Widows, whose Letters came safe by the same Conveyance.1 The Way of Spain is a very good one to send light Letters containing any interesting Intelligence, but large Packetts mount the Postage so high as to make it too heavy. The Method of cutting out from Newspapers interesting Paragraphs, and inclosing them, would do well. The loose Leaves of the Journals of Congress, recent ones I mean, I should be glad to have in this and all other Ways.
When I was in Spain I formed an Acquaintance with Mr. Michael Lagoanere of Corunna, a Merchant of the best Character, most extensive Business, and first Fortune in that Place. If your Vessells should ever touch at Corunna or Ferrol, or Vigo even, they cannot be addressed to a better Man. I also became acquainted with the House of Joseph Guardoqui and Sons, who will take the best Care of any Letters or Papers that may be sent to me, and will send any Thing Mrs. Adams may want of small amount and draw upon me for the Money, at Paris.
My respects to Mrs. Smith, Mrs. Gray and your son and Miss Betcy,2 I say Mrs. Gray alone because I fear by your Letter Mr. Gray is no more.3
I dont know whether this Letter will go by Mr. Brown, a young Gentleman who has been here some time, from America, or by the Viscount de Noailles. The latter is one of the most illustrious young Noblemen in this Kingdom, full of military Ardour and the most amiable Dispositions, in short fit to be as he is the Brother of the Marquis de la Fayette. Mr. Izzard also and Mr. Lee are going to Bos• { 307 } ton, where I hope they will be treated with all the Respect that is due to their well known Characters. I am, sir, with great Respect, your most obt.
[signed] John Adams
RC (MHi:Smith-Carter Papers); endorsed: “John Adams Esqr. Paris March 16. 1780.” LbC in John Thaxter's hand (Adams Papers).
1. Smith's letter of 12 Dec. 1779 and the letters of “the Widows” it enclosed have not been found.
2. Elizabeth (1770–1849), youngest daughter of Isaac and Elizabeth (Storer) Smith; in 1813 she married Jonathan P. Hall of Boston. See Adams Genealogy.
3. Mrs. Gray was Mary (or Polly), another daughter of the Smiths. In 1777 she married Edward Gray, a Boston merchant, who died at the age of 29 in Dec. 1779; there is a brief obituary of him in the Continental Journal, 23 Dec. 1779, p. 3, col. 2. In 1782 his widow married Samuel Allyne Otis. See vol. 2:356, above, and Adams Genealogy.

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/