Printable Version
< Return to Section Eight Introduction  

Printable Version

John Adams to John Quincy Adams

[Amsterdam, 28 April 1782]

My Child

Yours of March 20/31 I have received.

I am well pleased with your learning German for many Reasons, and principally because I am told that Science and Literature flourish more at present in Germany than any where. A Variety of Languages will do no harm unless you should get an habit of attending more to Words than Things.

But, my dear boy, above all Things, preserve your Innocence, and a pure Conscience. Your morals are of more importance, both to yourself and the World than all Languages and all Sciences. The least Stain upon your Character will do more harm to your Happiness than all Accomplishments will do it good.—I give you Joy of the safe Arrival of your Brother, and the Acknowledgment of the Independance of your Country in Holland. Adieu.


Adams, John. Letter to John Quincy Adams, [April 28, 1782]. Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society. Published in Adams Family Correspondence, Volume 4: October 1780 - September 1782 (Cambridge: The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 1973). Page 317.