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Philadelphia July 27, 1777

My dear Son

If it should be the Design of Providence that you should live to grow up, you will naturally feel a Curiosity to learn the History of the Causes which have produced the late Revolution of our Government. No Study in which you can engage will be more worthy of you.

It will become you to make yourself Master of all the considerable Characters, which have figured upon the Stage of civil, political or military Life. This you ought to do with the Utmost Candor, Benevolence and Impartiality, and if you should now and then meet with an Incident, which shall throw some Light upon you Fathers Character, I charge you to consider it with an Attention only to Truth.

It will also be an entertaining and instructive Amusement, to compare our American Revolution with others that Resemble it. The whole Period of English History, from the Accession of James the first, to the Accession of William the third will deserve your most critical Attention.

Adams, John. Letter to John Quincy Adams, July 27, 1777. Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Published in Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 2: June 1776 - March 1778 (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1963). Pages 289-292.