John Quincy Adams to John Adams
Passy March 21st 1780
I yesterday asked Mr. Pechigny if he thought it would do brother Charles any good to begin upon Latin at present, he answered me, that on the contrary, that he thought that it would spoil his taste for it; That he must conjugate verbs about a month, and then he might begin upon Latin, he desired me to ask you if you thought his proposition good and if you should he would Set Brother Charles upon conjugating verbs immediately, and if you Should not he would keep him upon Latin.1 Please to give my respects to M[ess]rs. Dana and Thaxter. I am your dutiful and affectionate Son,
John Quincy Adams
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “Monsieur Monsieur Adams Hotel de Valois rue de Richlieu a Paris,” with sender’s address in JQA’s hand: “Pension de Mathematiques.” Postmarked: “21 8e. Lvee. K/EI E/P.D,” all stamped impressions; endorsed: “My Son March 21. 1780.” See facsimile reproduced as an illustration in this volume, and for an explanation of the postal markings see Descriptive List of Illustrations, p. xvii–xviii, above.
1. This is sufficiently confusing even for a twelve-year-old adviser to his father on the studies of a younger brother. As JA’s reply of the next day (below) makes clear, JQA by “conjugating verbs” meant conjugating French verbs; and in the last clause he must have meant, not “keep,” but start CA “upon Latin.”