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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0081

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1781-05-17

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

[salute] Honoured Sir

I reciev'd this morning your letter of the 14th. in which you speak of Poetry, and although I have not read much of it, yet I always admired it, very much.
I take the Delft Dutch paper to learn to read the language. To day there is a report which I read in it that Admiral Kingsbergen had taken fourteen of the German Transports, but this is only a report.1
Inclosed is a letter which I reciev'd this morning, I should have sent it by Mr. Thaxter (who is arrived here with Mr. Guild) but he says that it would be better to send it, this night.2 I will write to brother Charles by Mr. Thaxter.

[salute] I am your dutiful Son,

[signed] John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams Ministre Plenipotentiaire des etats unis de l'Amerique Sur le Keizers Gragt prés du { 117 } Spiegel Straat à Amsterdam”; endorsed in John Thaxter's hand: “Master John 17th. May 1781.” For the enclosure see note 2.
1. The report JQA had read in “the Delft Dutch paper” (on which see JA's reply of 18 May, below) related to Adm. Jan Hendrik van Kinsbergen, soon to be better known for his part in the Dutch naval action against the British at the Doggerbank, Aug. 1781 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 4:839).
2. The letter enclosed was a note to JA from the Duc de La Vauguyon, French minister at The Hague, 16 May 1781, acknowledging receipt of copies of JA's Memorial to... the States General (Adams Papers; JA, Works, 7:416).

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0082

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1781-05-18

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I have this Morning received yours inclosing a Letter from the Duke de la Vauguion.1
Please to inform me in your next, when the Vacation begins. It is my Design that you shall come and spend a Part of the Vacation with me.—I approve very much of your taking the Delft Gazette the Writer of which is a great Master of his Language, and is besides a very good Friend to his Country and to yours.2
You go on, I presume, with your latin Exercises: and I wish to hear of your beginning upon Sallust who is one of the most polished and perfect of the Roman Historians, every Period of whom, and I had almost said every Syllable and every Letter is worth Studying.
In Company with Sallust, Cicero, Tacitus and Livy, you will learn Wisdom and Virtue. You will see them represented, with all the Charms which Language and Imagination can exhibit, and Vice and Folly painted in all their Deformity and Horror.
You will ever remember that all the End of study is to make you a good Man and a useful Citizen.—This will ever be the Sum total of the Advice of your affectionate Father,
[signed] John Adams
1. See the preceding letter.
2. The “Delft Gazette,” which JQA subscribed to and read in order to improve his knowledge of Dutch, was the Hollandsche Historische Courant, whose publisher and editor was Wybo Fynje (1750–1809), a former Mennonite minister and a strong adherent of the Dutch Patriot party. In 1775 Fynje had married Emilie, a sister of JA's friend Jean Luzac, publisher of the Gazette de Leyde. The Fynjes were forced to flee to Antwerp and then to St. Omer in France following the suppression of the Patriot movement in 1787. With the establishment of the Batavian Republic, Fynje returned to The Hague in 1795 and resumed his journalistic and political activities. (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, i: 906–908; information furnished by C. D. Goudappel, Director, Gemeentear-chief Delft, Netherlands.) In later years JA remembered that it was the “editor of a gazette at Delphi, who had the reputation of one of the most masterly writers in the nation in their own language,” who had translated JA's Memorial of 1781 for publication in Dutch, but he did not record his name (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot, p. 430).
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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, 2018.