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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4


Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0030

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-12-23

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[salute] My dear Son

Yours of the 22d came to hand this Morning. I shall leave it wholly to Mr. Thaxters Judgment, what Lectures you are to attend, as at this distance I cannot form any opinion.
You will apply the most of your Attention, I hope, to your Latin and Greek Master, for the present.
I am pleased to see that you recollect the 22 of December, the day on which, those Patriots and Heroes landed at Plymouth, who emigrated immediately from the Town where you now are. It is impossible, but you must ever entertain a Veneration for the Memory of those great and good Men, to whose adventurous Spirit and inflexible Virtue you certainly, as well as I owe our Existence.
I wish you, in your next Letter, to transcribe me the Passage of Shakespear, in which the Brownists are mentioned.
You should treat the Minister of that Society, in Leyden with the greatest Respect, and attend his Meeting, every Sunday both in the forenoon and Afternoon.
You will also behave with the Utmost Respect to Mr. Luzacs Family who are worthy People and very good Friends to your Country.
I have heard a very great Character of Mr. Hemsterhuis, formerly Professor of Greek, in the University of Leyden,1 and that the present Professor of that Language is a Disciple of his Mr. Valkennaar.2
And that another Disciple of his Mr. Rhunkenius, is Professor of History and Eloquence. This Mr. Rhunkenius has published an Edition of an Hymn to Ceres, (found in Russia, and supposed to have been composed by Homer) with a Latin Translation and Notes. I would have you purchase that Hymn.3
Mr. Pestel is Professor of the Law of nations and of the publick Law.4
Mr. Voorda is Professor of the civil Law, that is to say as I understand it, of the Roman Imperial Law, as the Institutes of Justinian &c.5 Pray enquire whether he reads Lectures upon the whole Corpus Juris, the Digest, the Code, the Novells &c., whether he takes any Notice of the Feudal Law, that is of the Consuetudines Feudorum, and whether any Mention is made of the Cannon Law.
Mr. Vanderkesel is another Professor of the civil Law, but what is his Department?6
Mr. Dehahn is Professor of Medicine and Chymistry.7
Mr. Allemand is Professor of Experimental Philosophy.8
{ 49 }
I wish you to make all the Enquiries possible concerning these learned Professors, and let me know whether I have their Names and Departments right.
Let me know also whether you are matriculated into the University. If not, I wish you to procure the Priviledge and Honour, provided you can by the Rules of the University be admitted to it. The Expence is not to be regarded.
I hope in short that you will inform yourself as perfectly as possible concerning, the Origin, the Progress, the Institutions, Regulations, Revenues &c. of that celebrated University, and especially to remark every Thing in it, that may be imitated, in the Universities of your own Country.
Let me know whether there is any Professor of Mathematicks and in what manner they are taught.—Here are Enquiries enough for you, a long time.—Dont neglect to write me often.

[salute] Your affectionate Father,

[signed] John Adams
RC (Adams Papers); endorsed: “Pappa's letter of Decr: 23 Answer'd Deer: 26–1780 No. 4”; docketed by JQA in a later hand: “J. Adams 23 Decr: 1780.” (JQA's answer of 26 Dec. has not been found.)
Also Tr in hand of CFA, numbered by him “No. 275.” This is one of the large number of transcripts of family letters, 1780–1843, mentioned in the Introduction to Series II of The Adams Papers (vol. 1:xxxiii, above). These were evidently prepared in and about 1843, some doubtless earlier and others quite possibly after JQA's death in 1848, with a view to publishing a more comprehensive collection of family letters than, in the end, CFA issued. The numbering of the earliest letters among the transcripts suggests that CFA proposed to include these in his edition of the JA-AA Familiar Letters of 1876, because numbers he assigned them correspond closely with the numbers of adjacently dated letters printed in that volume (see note on JA to JQA, 17 March 1780, vol. 3:309, above); but he finally excluded them and never carried out his earlier plan for a collection of family letters in which JQA was to be the central figure and his parents, wife, brother TBA, and son CFA the other correspondents. It should be stated here that, except for special circumstances, the existence of a CFA transcript alongside the original in the Adams Papers will not hereafter be recorded in descriptive notes on letters in the Adams Family Correspondence.
1. Tiberius Hemsterhuis (1685–1766), professor of Greek and of national (i.e. Dutch or “vaderlandsche”) history, 1740–1765 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 1:1068–1072; Album studiosorum Academiae Lugduno Batavae, MDLXXV-MDCCCLXXV . . . , The Hague, 1875). The register of the Leyden faculties in the compilation called the Album studiosorum has also been used in the biographical notes below to confirm dates of appointment, &c.
2. Lodowijk Caspar Valckenaer (1715–1785), professor of Greek from 1766, and of native history from 1768 (Nieww Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 1:1514–1516).
3. David Ruhnken (1723–1798), reader in Greek from 1757, and professor of history and oratory from 1761 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 10:851–854). His edition of the Hymn { 50 } to Ceres, from a codex recently found in Moscow and attributed to Homer, was published this year: Hymnus in Cererem, nunc primus editus a Davide Ruhnkenio, Leyden, 1780; a copy was sent by Thaxter to JA under cover of a letter dated 25 Jan. 1781, below, and remains among JA's books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 122).
4. Frederik Willem Pestel (1724–1805), professor of jurisprudence from 1763 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 3:968–969). Pestel was one of the great figures in Dutch legal scholarship, and JA acquired both his Commentarii de Republica Batava, Leyden, 1782, and Fundamenta jurisprudentiae naturalis, Leyden, 1777 (Catalogue of JA's Library, p. 191; see also Thaxter to JA, 1, 23 Jan. 1781, below).
5. Bavius Voorda (1729–1799), professor of Roman law from 1765; in 1781 he served as rector magnificus of the University; because of his prominence in the Dutch Patriotic (anti-Orangist) party he was dismissed from the University in 1788, but was restored in 1795 during the French regime (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 3: 1336–1338).
6. Dionysius Godefridus van der Keesel (1738–1816), professor of Roman law from 1770 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 3:674–675).
7. Johann David Hahn (1729–1784), professor of medical practice and of chemistry from 1775 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 8:666; mention only).
8. Jean Nicolas Sébastien Allamand (1713–1787), professor of philosophy and mathematics from 1749, and of experimental physics from 1761 (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek, 1:75–77).

Docno: ADMS-04-04-02-0031

Author: Adams, Abigail
Recipient: Adams, John
Date: 1780-12-25

Abigail Adams to John Adams

[salute] My Dearest Friend

How much is comprised in that short sentance? How fondly can I call you mine, bound by every tie, which consecrates the most inviolable Friendship, yet seperated by a cruel destiny, I feel the pangs of absence sometimes too sensibly for my own repose.
There are times when the heart is peculiarly awake to tender impressions, when philosophy slumbers, or is overpowerd by sentiments more conformable to Nature. It is then that I feel myself alone in the wide world, without any one to tenderly care for me, or lend me an assisting hand through the difficulties that surround me, yet my cooler reason dissaproofs the repineing thought, and bids me bless the hand from whence my comforts flow.

“Man active resolute and bold

is fashioned in a different mould.”

More independant by Nature, he can scarcly realize all those ties which bind our sex to his. Is it not natural to suppose that as our dependance is greater, our attachment is stronger?—I find in my own breast a sympathetic power always operating upon the near approach of Letters from my dear absent Friend. I cannot determine the exact distance when this secret charm begins to operate. The time is some• { 51 } times longer and sometimes shorter, the Busy Sylphs are ever at my ear, no sooner does Morpheus close my Eyes, than “my whole Soul, unbounded flies to thee.” Am I superstitious enough for a good Catholick?
A Mr. Ross arrived lately at Philadelphia and punctually deliverd your Letter's.1 At the same time a vessel arrived from Holland, and brought me yours from Amsterdam of the 25 of Sepbr. which Mr. Lovell was kind enough to forward to me. I have written you largely since Davis arrived here, tho not in reply to Letters brought by him, for old Neptune alone had the handling of them. He was chased and foolishly threw over all his Letters into the sea, to my no small mortification. A Brig which came out with him arrived at Providence and brought me yours of Sepbr. 15th together with some from Mr. Thaxter.—The things you sent came safe to hand. Jones not yet arrived. I suppose he may have the much wanted trunk on Board, which you suppose came in the Alliance. You call upon me to write, by every opportunity. I do not omit any, yet my Letters many of them must take so circuitous a Route, that they must cost you much more than they are worth.
This I hope will go direct to France by Col. Pallfry, if he does not sail before it reaches Philadelphia.—The Enemy have met with many disastrous events in Charlestown. As much as they Boast, they have more occasion to mourn. We have had several successes there which do honour to American Arms.
If the people can strugle through the demands this year made upon them, and accomplish what they are striving after, the filling their Army for 3 years or the War, they will do great things towards a negotiation for peace.
The present demand for supplies for the Army, the payment of our 3 and 6 months Men, together with our continential taxes, and govermental expences, oblige every person to look about them, to retrench every Luxery and economize with the utmost frugality. The remittances you have been so kind as to make me, have enabled me hitherto to answer all demands made upon me. I have still much more to pay before the close of the year. I have been trying to collect a list of the Taxes for the present year but have not yet been able. My Tenants groan and say they cannot live, that the whole stock of the place would not pay the yearly tax. Every body groans, yet every body sees the necessity of complying with the requisition. We have in this Town allready collected money to purchase 22 thousand weight of Beaf. We had just accomplished it when out comes an other tax for 46 { 52 } thousand weight more to be paid by the first of Jan'ry. We have just paid our 3 months men, and our six are returning with loud calls upon us, 46 men are calld to fill our continental Army for 3 years or the war, which are to be procured at any rate. Can you judge of our present Burden? I hope we shall surmount all and yet see happy and peacefull days.
I told you in a former letter that our Season was embitterd by a most distressing drought, yet the year is crowned with universal Health. We have reason to sing of Mercy and judgment.
Admiral de Ternay died last week with a Fever at Road Island. Our Friends are all well, so is your ever affectionate
[signed] Portia
Complements to Mr. Dana. Love to my dear John and Charles. I mourn the loss of their Letters by Davis.
Stevens'ens2 Brother has received a Letter from him dated in Amsterdam in August, in which he tells him that he had sent a Number of hankerchifs, some for Mr. Bracket and some for Mr. Bass and a Letter with them directing him what to do with the remainder, but is so stupid as not to say, by whom he sent them nor from whence, neither the vessels Name nor captains—they are not come to hand. The owners come to me to inquire. I cannot give them the least direction, know not a word about them. In future if he does Buisness, he had better be more correct—he must write to them about them.3
RC (Adams Papers); docketed by CFA: “Portia. Decr. 25th. 1780.” As stated in the text, this letter was sent to Philadelphia to be carried to France by William Palfrey, who however sailed before it arrived. James Lovell forwarded it to JA in a letter of 8 Jan. 1781 (Adams Papers); see Lovell to AA, 8 Jan. 1781, below. Concerning the second postscript see note 3.
1. These letters, clearly not addressed to AA, are not precisely identifiable.
2. Joseph Stephens (or Stevens), JA's servant, who accompanied JA abroad, has been earlier identified (vol. 3:33).
3. It is not certain that this second postscript belongs with the foregoing letter. It is on a detached fragment of paper, and though filed with this letter may have been sent at another time.
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/