Thomas Jefferson Papers
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John Adams to Thomas Jefferson, 30 December 1818

From John Adams

Quincy Decr 30th 1818 6 oClock1

Dear Sir

Late last night I received Your Report and your translation of Tracy, for both of which, tho’ I have read neither I thank you, but the full proof2 of your returning health has given me more Pleasure than both. I envy your Eyes and hands and Horse. Mine are too dim, too tremulous

and my head is too dizzy for the Sovereign Doctor.3

All is now Still and tranquil. There is nothing to try Mens Souls nor to excite Men’s Souls but Agriculture. And I Say God Speed the Plough and prosper Stone Wall.

Had I your Eyes and Fingers, and 100 years to live I could write an 100. Volumes in folio but neither myself nor the World would be the wiser or4 the better for any thing that could be done by your assured Friend

John Adams

RC (DLC); at foot of text: “President Jefferson”; endorsed by TJ as received 10 Jan. 1819 and so recorded in SJL. FC (Lb in MHi: Adams Papers).

Adams had also received a copy of Destutt de tracy, Treatise on Political Economy, from Joseph Milligan (Adams to Milligan, 31 Dec. 1818 [Lb in MHi: Adams Papers]). For the transmission to Adams of TJ’s letter to John Barnes of 11 Nov. 1818, in which TJ called his horse his sovereign doctor, see note to Barnes to TJ, [30] Nov. 1818. The phrase try mens souls comes from the opening sentence of Thomas Paine, The American Crisis (Norwich, Conn., [1776]).

1RC: “oCock.” FC: “oclock.”

2RC: “prof.” FC: “proof.”

3FC here adds “Horse.”

4Preceding three words not in FC.

Index Entries

  • Adams, John; and Destutt de Tracy’s writings search
  • Adams, John; and TJ’s health search
  • Adams, John; health of search
  • Adams, John; letters from search
  • Adams, John; on state of politics search
  • Adams, John; TJ sends works to search
  • agriculture; as national occupation search
  • A Treatise on Political Economy (Destutt de Tracy) search
  • Destutt de Tracy, Antoine Louis Claude; A Treatise on Political Economy search
  • horses; TJ rides search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Books & Library; sends books search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Health; good health of search
  • Jefferson, Thomas; Writings; Proceedings and Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia search
  • Paine, Thomas; quoted search
  • political economy; works on search
  • Proceedings and Report of the Commissioners for the University of Virginia (Thomas Jefferson); distributed by TJ search
  • Virginia, University of; Establishment; commissioners’ report search