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Browsing: Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 7


Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0085

Author: Cranch, Elizabeth
Author: Norton, Elizabeth Cranch
Recipient: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1786-07-01

Elizabeth Cranch to Abigail Adams

[salute] My dear Aunt

I have this moment heard that Cushing will sail for London in 3 days, It mortifies me to let one oppertunty pass unimprovd that might convey to my Aunt the assurances of my grateful affection, and earnest wishes for her happiness; Time nor absence have abated that (may I not call it) filial regard which your tender kindness, early inspired my heart; the recollection of inumerable instances of it call forth, many a time the trickling tear; when I am fondly indulging myself in contemplating the pleasing past! and cherishing the chearful hope that those days of happiness, repose and friendship may soon return; In the future plan of happiness which fancy has portray'd, your return makes so essential a part, that it would be quite incomplete without it. But, the melancholy { 229 } occasion that has brought me to town, warns me to beware of placing too strong an attachment on any future Scheme, nothing can be more uncertain; The sudden death of our Aunt Smith is an afflictive stroke to us all. You will have accounts probably before this reaches you. The day before Yesterday, I followd her to the silent Tomb!

“The sweet remembrance of the just

Shall flourish when they Sleep in dust.”1

Sure then this good Woman will live forever in the hearts of her Friends; her unaffected piety, threw a continual serenity and chearfulness over her whole Life, and disrobed Death of all its Terrors! Another, a more striking proof of deaths power to “cull his Victims from the fairest Fold,”2 we have in the sudden exit of Mrs Cushing (Lucy Thaxter). This day week she was buried, and left a little infant, one day old! What changes have been made in the Circle of your friends since your absence by this all powerful conqueror! And ah! I tremble at what may be!
Yesterday, PM, being very pleasant, induced Papa, Mama, Cousin Wm: Smith, and myself, to take a ride over the Bridge to Charleston and Cambridge, to drink Tea, with my Brother, Your two Sons, and Leonard White; they always appear so happy to see us, that I know not any Visits that I recive so much pleasure from.
We could not help regretting, that you and my dear Cousin, should lose so much satisfaction. Before Thomas, leaves, Colledge, tho, we thougth, we hoped, we might all assemble yet, at his Chamber.—I could not help laughing at Cousin john, for the learned dirt, (not to say rust) he had about and around him. I almost scolded, however we seized his gown and Jackett and had a clean one put on. I took my Scissars and put his Nails into a decent form, and recommended strongly a Comb and hair-string to him. He invited me to come once a Quarter, and perform the like good services [for] him again.—Charles was a contrast, but [not?]too strikingly so, he is naturally and habitually neat. But they are all good—as yet. I feel proud of my Brothers, they are beloved and respected.
Tis dinner time and I am engaged to dine at my Uncles.3 My dear Cousin, I long to write to, but feel so awkward, at addressing, I know not whom, that I shall only ask her acceptance and belief of my sincerest Love, of my real joy, at the prospect of her happy Connexion, and my constant wishes, that each day may encrease her enjoyment, that she may ever feel the self-approbation, of a steady uniform perseverence in the path of consious rectitude.4
{ 230 }

[salute] Please to present my Uncle with my most respetful and affectionate regards, and accept the Dutiful and grateful affection of your

[signed] E C
Sister Lucy is at home and has been writing you.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Mrs Adams. Grosvenor Square”; endorsed: “Betsy Cranch july 1 1786.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed.
1. A common paraphrase of Psalms, 112:6.
2. Young, Night Thoughts, Night V, line 918.
3. Probably Isaac Smith Sr.
4. The remainder of the text is written lengthwise in the margin.

Docno: ADMS-04-07-02-0086

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Recipient: Adams, Thomas Boylston
Date: 1786-07-02

John Quincy Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

[salute] My Dear Brother

I have not written to you before, since I left you,1 because my Studies and European Letters have engrossed all my Time. But as you will probably soon enter this University, I wish to give you a few hints which you may improve as you please. You will consider them, not as the commands or instructions of a Preceptor, but as the advice of a friend, and a Brother.
Your intimate acquaintances will probably be in your own Class, at least alm[ost all] of them; and let me strongly recommend to you great caution, and Prudence in [the?] choice of them for on this in a great measure depends your reputation in College and even all through Life. If the Class which you will belong to is numerous, you will undoubtedly, find in it a great variety of Characters. Some will be virtuous and studious. These two Qualities are most commonly united, as are also their opposites, vileness and vice. It is not necessary to tell you that those of the first sort [ . . . ] will be proper Companions for you, and such as you may always call your friends without a blush. It is probable you will perceive that those, who are the most officious, the most complaisant, and perhaps the most agreeable, on a short acquaintance, will after some time prove unworthy of your friendship. Like paintings in crayons, which look very well at a distance, but if brought close to the eye, are harsh and unpleasing, the most amiable characters are often the most reserved, as wisdom, and prudence require, that we should establish an intimacy, with those only whose characters we have had opportunities to study, and who have given us proofs, of their attachment to honour, morality and religion. I could wish you to be upon good terms with all your Classmates, but intimate with few, endeavour to have { 231 } no Enemies, and you can have but few real friends. Never be induced by ridicule or by flattery to depart from the Rule of right which your own Conscience will prescribe to you. There are [some] persons, who make it a practice to laugh at others whose principle is to [ . . . ] of Virtue, but you may be persuaded, that whatever such fellows may pretend they will always esteem you, for behaving well. Vice will sometimes condescend to beg for respect, but Virtue commands it, and is always sure to obtain it.
Next to the Ambition of supporting, an unblemished moral Reputation, that of excelling as a Scholar, should be nearest your heart. These two Qualities are not frequently united: four or five is as great a number as a Class [can] generally boast of. But you will find, that they, are always the favourites of the Class, and never fail meeting with [esteem?], not only from their fellow Students, but likewise from the Government of the University. I have heard one of the most respectable Characters in the Class, which is now about to graduate, say, that he has made it a Rule, ever since he entered College, to study upon an average six hours in a day. If you feel yourself capable of this I would recommend it to you as an example. There is no difficulty in it, and I am persuaded that after a short Time it would be more agreeable to you than to be idle, and it would be a determination which you would remember, all the remainder of your Life with Pleasure; and you would soon, very soon perceive the advantages deriving from it. But if you would put such a resolution into execution, you should determine, not to content yourself merely with studying for recitations, and you will never be at a loss what to Study. In short that both your moral and your Literary character, be set as an example for your own Classmates and the succeeding classes to imitate, is the sincere, and [express] wish of your ever affectionate friend & brother
[signed] J.Q. Adams
P.S. Present my best respects to [our] Uncle and Aunt and to Mr: Thaxter, my Compliments wherever you please.
N.B. I have requested of Dr: Jennison, that he would take you for his freshman, he did not give a positive answer, but you will not enter into any engagement contrary to it.2
RC (Private owner); addressed: “Mr: Thomas B. Adams. at the Revd: Mr: Shaw's Haverhill Honoured by Leonardus White Esqr.” Some loss of text where the seal was removed and the manuscript was stained.
1. On 14 March, when JQA left the Shaw family in Haverhill to enter Harvard (JQA, Diary, 1:415).
2. This paragraph is written on the address page of the letter.
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/