Adams Papers

John Quincy Adams to John Adams, 22 December 1780

John Quincy Adams to John Adams

Leyden December 22d 1780

Honoured Sir

I have this day received two letters from you of the 20th. in one of which you say you would have me attend all the lectures in which Experiments are made, but I shall have to attend two lectures upon law, and therefore shall have no time. As to the lecture upon Greek; there is but one, and the Gentlemen with whom Mr. Thaxter has consulted, think that it is necessary, to have made some proficiency in the Greek Language, to be able to attend it.

I have this day seen the master who is to teach us greek and Latin.1 He is to come to us twice a day; from twelve to one oclock and from five to six in the afternoon, so that I shall be two hours occupied with our master an hour at each lecture is two more and the rest of my time I shall be writing from Homer, the Greek testament, of Grammar, and learning lessons for our Master.2

This is a famous day in new England. The anniversary of the landing of our forefathers at Plimouth.3

Our master is to begin with us to morrow.

We are all invited to drink tea with Mr. Luzac to day.

The scene in which Shakespear speaks of Brownist is in the third volume page 121. in Twelfth night or what you will, Act 3 Scene 4th. If you borrow Mr. Searle’s Shakespear you will see it there.4

I am your Dutiful Son,

John Quincy Adams

RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “A Monsieur Monsieur Adams. Chez Monsieur Henry Schorn. a Amsterdam”; endorsed: “Mr. John Decr. 22. ansd. 23,” to which CFA added “1780.” This letter was originally enclosed in Thaxter’s to JA of this date, following.

1JA on 11 Jan. 1781

“Was present [in Leyden] from 12. to one O Clock, when the Praeceptor gave his Lessons in Latin and Greek to my Sons. His Name is Wenshing. He is apparently a great Master of the two Languages, besides which he speaks French and Dutch very well. . . . He is pleased with [his pupils] and they with him” (Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:451).

John Thaxter in his letter of this date, following, gives the tutor’s name as “Wensing.”

2Punctuation as in MS.

3See note 3 on Mrs. Warren’s letter to AA of 21 Dec., above.

4Sir Andrew Aguecheek: “An’t be any way, it must be with valour; for policy I hate. I had as lief be a Brownist as a politician” (Twelfth Night, Act III, scene ii, in modern editions). The volume- and page-reference furnished by JQA is to an edition of The Works of Shakespeare published at Edinburgh in 8 vols., 1769–1771, Alexander Donaldson printer.

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