Adams Papers

From John Adams to François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 10 February 1818

Montezillo Feb. 10. 1818

Dear Sir

James Otis Counsellor, Colonel &c &c &c Said to me Some fifty or Sixty years ago “John; when I meet with good Luck or bad luck, I Say nothing about either; because I know that more will be glad than grieved at my Misfortunes, and more will be mad than glad at my Prosperity.” This Old Fellow understood Mankind; and So do I. and therefore, when I am happy I never boast of it; and if I were miserable, which I never have been yet; I would never complain of it to you.

I have no hopes of marrying my Wifes Sister, for two Reasons. 1. She has none. 2. if She had ever So many not one of them would have me. I know not, then, why you Sent me Your learned and ingenious discussion, which however I have read with pleasure, though it was to me; using in re non dubia testebus non necessariis. I never doubted the Lawfulness but never liked the thing. all things that are lawful are not expedient.

I will Send your Manuscript to Mr Tynge when I can find out where he lives. At present I know not.

The American Accademy of Arts and Sciences was founded on a good plan and would have been a glorious Institution if its original design had been pursued. But Ambition has well nigh ruined it, by Splitting it into Morsells, erecting its Committees <of> into <and> an Historical Society, and Agricultural Society, a Medical Society an Antiquarian Society, not to mention Missionary Societies Bible Societies and Peace Societies, Assylums for Insane &c. And all this for the Sake of multiplying Presidents and Vice Presidents Recording Secretaries corresponding Secretaries Treasurers &c. and for the Sake of converting them all into political Electioneering Engines. These Things have made me perhaps too indifferent about them all. I have given you all the Transactions of all of them I ever owned and Shall never purchase any others. I find more entertainment and Information in De Grim, La Harpe and especially in Symondi. I am, Sir respectfully and affectionately / your Friend

John Adams


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