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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0101

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1781-05-29

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

I am two Letters, I believe in your Debt, but I have been too busily engaged, to be able to write you.
I am pleased with the divisions of your time, which you tell your Brother you have lately made, which appears to be a judicious distribution of Study and Exercise, of Labour and Relaxation.1
But I want to have you, upon some higher Authors than Phaedrus and Nepos. I want to have you upon Demosthenes. The plainer Authors you may learn yourself at any time. I absolutely insist upon it, that you begin upon Demosthenes, and Cicero. I will not be put by. You may learn Greek from Demosthenes and Homer as well as from Isocrates and Lucian—and Latin from Virgil and Cicero as well as Phaedrus and Nepos.
What should be the Cause of the Aversion to Demosthenes in the World I know not, unless it is because his sentiments are wise and grand, and he teaches no frivolities.
If there is no other Way, I will take you home, and teach you Demosthenes and Homer myself.

[salute] I am your affectionate Father,

[signed] John Adams2
{ 145 }
RC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “Mr. J. Q. Adams.”
1. JQA's letter to CA on “the divisions of [his, i.e. JQA's] time,” probably written on 20 May, has not been found; see JQA to JA, 21 May, above.
2. Although CFA did not choose to print this quaint but characteristic letter advising JQA on his Greek and Latin studies, he did permit the publisher or anonymous editor of Homes of American Statesmen ... by Various Writers, N.Y., 1854, to make a facsimile of the MS, which appears as a double-page insert with Clarence Cook's account of John Adams in that volume, following p. 150.

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0102

Author: Lovell, James
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1781-05-29

James Lovell to Abigail Adams

Yesterday's Post brought me your Letters of the 10th and 14 with a Copy of March 17. on the Subject of which I shall be particular when I have a proper Opportunity.1 I have a Friend2 to whom I communicate most unreservedly all the Ocurrences which tend to govern my Pleasures and my Pains; your Letters will of Course be submitted in that mixt View: I have already hinted their Influence in the latter; so that there is a Chance of some Eclaircissement before I can convey them in whole, should you meet each other.
“You have a very small personal Acquaintance with the Lady whom you esteem and commisserate—you have as little personal Acquaintance with the Gentleman connected with her.”3—Had you greater with both, you could not fail to think more highly of the former, and not so well or so ill of the latter as you seem at present to think, if I, who am perfectly intimate with them, may conclude from the Communications which you have lately made to me.—When I write again on this Subject I shall transmit some Anecdotes which you will think interesting to your Friend abroad. I believe I have already told you to see S[amuel] A[dams] as a Preparative.
I please myself with imagining you had Letters by Capt. Porter who appears to have reached Boston the 13th. in 27 Days from France. We are still without a Line from Mr. A or Mr. D[ana] since October.
I shall be attentive to Mr. Cranch if an Occasion offers to Fishkills.
I need not betray the Secrets which I am enjoined to keep. Your Eveship ought to be satisfied with what the Printers are pleased to give to the good People of Boston-Town. Glory or Shame, great in Degree of either Kind, depends upon the Behavior of the Americans in the coming six months, but more especially in the two first. I shudder verily at the Thought. Is it not almost a Resurrection from the Dead that I am looking for?
And now, avaunt ye Emanations of an honest Pen! Come to my aid { 146 } ye Products of Insincerity! It is not the candid but the sentimental to whom I send you.

[salute] “I have the Honor to be with the most perfect Consideration Your Excellency's most obedt. & devoted humble Servant,”

[signed] James Lovell
PS By way of Nota Bene Excellency in English is of both Genders.
1. All three of AA's letters here acknowledged are printed above, but that of 14 May appears under the date of her draft, 13 May, the only surviving text. Lovell found “a proper Opportunity” to enter into the subject of AA's reproaches of 17 March in his letter of 16 June, below.
2. Mrs. Lovell.
3. Lovell is quoting from AA's letter to him of 10 May, above. The lady and gentleman are of course Lovell and his wife.
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.