John Adams to John Quincy Adams
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.
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur J. Q. Adams, chez Monsieur Dana, aux soins de Messrs. Strahlborne & Wolff Banquers a St Petersbourg”; endorsed: “Mr.: J.As letter, received at St: Petersbourg May. 15. 1782.” Early Tr (Adams Papers), in JQA’s hand.