John Quincy Adams to John Adams
Braintree March ye 23 1777
I received yours of the 19 of Feb1 and thank you for your perpetual almanack <
for> with the assistance of my Mamma I soon found it out and find it is a very useful thing I have been a reading the history of Bamfylde moore carew2 he went through the < biggest> greatest3 part of america twice, and he gives a very pretty Desscription of maryland and philadelphia and new york but though he got a great deal of money yet I do not think he got his living either credibly or honestly for surely it is better to work than to beg and better to beg than to lie, for he addicted himself to so many falsehoods that his charecter is odious to all and a disgrace to human nature my Brothers and Sister all send their duty to you please to accept the same from your dutiful son,
John Quincy Adams
 P S This is a Letter of Mr. Johns own composition.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To The Honble. John Adams esq Philidelphia”; endorsed: “ansd. Ap. 8.”; docketed in one or more unidentified hands. The text of this letter is here given with literal fidelity.
1. Not found.
2. Bampfylde Moore Carew (1693–1770?), “king of the beggars,” son of a Devonshire clergyman, ran away from home as a boy and led a career devoted to “swindling and imposture, very ingeniously carried out” (DNB description begins Leslie Stephen and Sidney Lee, eds., The Dictionary of National Biography, New York and London, 1885–1900; 63 vols. plus supplements. description ends ). At one point he was transported to America, escaped, and made his way from Maryland to Connecticut. The veracity of contemporary accounts of his life is, to say the least, subject to question, and their bibliography is complex; see The King of the Beggars: Bampfylde-Moore Carew, ed. C. H. Wilkinson, Oxford, 1931. Since no Adams copy of either Carew’s Life and Adventures, first published in 1745, or his Apology, first published in 1749, has been found, one cannot say what version JQA was reading. Very likely it was one of the later and very popular amalgamated editions of the two books.
3. This correction is in AA’s hand.