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Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848) to James Bridge

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Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00958.02 Author/Creator: Adams, John Quincy (1767-1848) Place Written: Braintree, Massachusetts Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 20 October 1788 Pagination: 3 p. : address ; 25 x 19 cm.

Summary of Content: Writes to his friend and former Harvard classmate, Bridge, about his health, law studies, and longing to see his female friends. Adams also reports that Townsend, who also studied law with Theophilus Parson, is spending the winter in South Carolina and asked Adams to help "Jo." with his studies. Adams might be away, and hopes Bridge can fill in for him.

Background Information:

Full Transcript: Briantree October 20th 1788

My dear Friend
Mr. Andrews called and delivered me your favour of the 10th inst. two days ago and he will likewise be the bearer of this. ...Indeed my friend, the sight of your hand was far from discomposing the tranquility of my nerves. [O]n the contrary it gave a gentle elevation to my spirits, and a pleasant tone to the nerves; which without the addition of any soporific quality was sufficient to prepare me for rest. To answer your queries in their order, I am much better than I was when I left Newbury Port but I am not wholly recovered and indeed I am now fully persuaded that my perfect restoration to health must be a work of time, which will require patience and perseverance. I have been ever since I came home almost totally idle, so far as respects study; one half of my time has been spent in exercise of diverse kinds and I have taken pills &c. in abundance. But I must continue to practice upon the same plan, and am therefore as uncertain when I shall return to Newbury Port, as I was when I left . . . I often lament the want of a few of my friends and companions; but except in that particular my present situation is quite agreeable: And if I could study, I have here as good advantages, - as good a library and an office where I am less exposed to interruption than in our master's. But I feel some impatience to see my female friends as I have very few here to serve as a substitute: and if I allowed myself to envy you any thing, I should be [2] tempted to repine at your good fortune in passing an evening with those charming girls you mention in your Letter. I did not mention Betsy to you because I had never been in her company; but did the lovely Nancy sing: did her enchanting strains transport you into the regions of bliss, or like Cecilia's organ lead an angel to mistake earth for heaven. Or did she observe with all the studied affection of elegant formality, that she could not sing, because she found it injurious to her health? You gave me no information upon those interesting particulars; And how does Miss Jones? Mr. Andrews tells me her old courtship is again renewed, which was what I expected. Foster it seems was disappointed in the musty wine. At this time of the year serenading an whole night without being admitted any where might disturb a more stoical philosopher the [illegible]. But I think with you, there was a little deficiency in point of [illegible] neglecting Mrs. Hooper, by the bye, is Foster upon any better terms with Betsey than he was. - I wish she had a little more prudence; or a better command of her countenance.
Townsend was here to see me last week: he expects to pass the winter in South Carolina, and I hope he will receive the benefit which he seeks. [H]e looks miserably, but says he is better than he was in the summer. He told me he should be obliged to send Jo. home to pass the winter: and wished me to assist him in his studies. I promised him I would in case I should be at Newbury Port; but as this is very dubious, I likewise promised to request you would undertake the business in my absence. It is only to hear him recite two lessons a day in Erasmus, and after he has gone through that, in Cornelius, Nepos. I am endeavouring to look up among our books [3] a Nepos for him, and will send it as soon as I can find it. He will make a little Latin from Clarke's introduction which I suppose he will carry home with him. - I was so confident in your disposition to perform acts of kindness that I told Townsend, I should make no hesitation to propose the matter to you and further more I said I had no doubt but you would perform the friendly office. And I know you too well to be apprehensive of having presumed too far.
Andrew I perceive is a little mortified at the opposition he finds in the parish: yet it appears to me very trifling. From his conversation, I conclude he will accept of the call, and if you have a clever ordination I shall attempt at least to pay you a visit at that time. - [M]eanwhile I must close this letter by requesting you to remember me respectfully to Mrs. Hooper, and to present my regards wherever they may be acceptable, particularly to Thompson, & our classmates.
Your inalienable friend, J.Q. Adams.
See More

People: Adams, John Quincy, 1767-1848
Bridge, James, 1765-1834

Historical Era: The New Nation, 1783-1815

Subjects: PresidentEducationLawHealth and MedicalWomen's History

Sub Era: Creating a New Government

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