Charles Adams to William Cranch
Haverhill March 14th. 1784
NB This is not performing the promise of writing to one another every week. I know you can write if you have a mind to for you have <
as much> enough time to write. I have just done getting my mornings lesson, began at the verbs in ao eo oo at the indicative mood have got the active voice out.1 Have I not been spry. Had I began Virgil when you went away. Oh yes well I have got the second Georgic out allmost; fifty lines is my common lesson. Ben Willes2 is very well only has got his nose broke by a brother. Oh William how careless I am. My letter is nothing but scrols3 but I hope you will find it out because I expect it will give you a great deal of pleasure. Since you went away4 We have got to keeping doves and we have got the bell up boy and we are fine folks here. Now do you mind and write a good long letter to me pretty soon.
RC (Private owner, New York, 1957); addressed: “Mr. William Cranch Cambridge”; endorsed: “C A—ms March 14 1784.”
1. CA refers to the Greek contract verbs, e.g. τιμαω, φιλεω,, and δηλοω, in which the vowel that ends the stem of the verb—α, ε, and ο—is dropped or altered in the present and imperfect tenses.
2. On Benjamin Willis Jr., who was about fifteen or sixteen at this time, see JQA, Diary description begins Diary of John Quincy Adams, ed. David Grayson Allen, Robert J. Taylor, and others, Cambridge, 1981-. description ends , 1:368–369.
3. CA’s handwriting is certainly informal and the editors have supplied much of the punctuation in this text. CA’s penmanship contrasts sharply with that of JQA at the same, or indeed at a much younger age.
4. Cranch had just left the tutelage of his uncle John Shaw to enter Harvard College at the winter break, half a year before the usual beginning date. He graduated in 1787, in the same class with JQA, who entered in March 1786, with advanced standing. CA entered Harvard, as a freshman, in Aug. 1785, and graduated in 1789. See AA to JQA, , below.
5. This is the earliest extant letter written by CA.