Adams Papers

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams, 16 March 1777

John Adams to Thomas Boylston Adams

Philadelphia March 16. 1777


I believe I must make a Phisician of you. There seems to be a Propriety in your studying Physick, because your Great Great Grandfather after whom you was named, was of that Profession.1 Would it not please you to study Nature, in all her wonderfull Operations, and to relieve your Fellow Creatures under the severest Pains, and Distresses to which human Nature is liable. Is not this better than to be destroying Mankind by Thousands. If you are of this Opinion, you will change your Title from General to Doctor. It requires the Character of rugged and tough, to go through the hardships of riding and walking Night and Day to visit the sick, as well as to take Care of an Army.—I am your affectionate Father.

LbC (Adams Papers); at foot of text: “T.B.A.” Tr, in the hand of LCA and probably from the now missing RC, is in Lb/JA/26, a collection of transcripts of JA’s letters made for JQA in 1829 when he was at work on his father’s papers.

1Thomas Boylston (1644?–1696?), JA’s mother’s grandfather, “a Surgeon and Apothecary who came from London in 1656” and settled in what is now Brookline, Mass. (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 3:256; see Adams Genealogy).

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