John Adams to John Quincy Adams
Amsterdam May 18. 1781
My dear Son
I have this Morning received yours inclosing a Letter from the Duke de la Vauguion.1
Please to inform me in your next, when the Vacation begins. It is my Design that you shall come and spend a Part of the Vacation with me.—I approve very much of your taking the Delft Gazette the Writer of which is a great Master of his Language, and is besides a very good Friend to his Country and to yours.2
You go on, I presume, with your latin Exercises: and I wish to hear of your beginning upon Sallust who is one of the most polished and perfect of the Roman Historians, every Period of whom, and I had almost said every Syllable and every Letter is worth Studying.
In Company with Sallust, Cicero, Tacitus and Livy, you will learn Wisdom and Virtue. You will see them represented, with all the Charms which Language and Imagination can exhibit, and Vice and Folly painted in all their Deformity and Horror.
You will ever remember that all the End of study is to make you a good Man and a useful Citizen.—This will ever be the Sum total of the Advice of your affectionate Father,
RC (Adams Papers).
2. The “Delft Gazette,” which JQA subscribed to and read in order to improve his knowledge of Dutch, was the Hollandsche Historische Courant, whose publisher and editor was Wybo Fynje (1750–1809), a former Mennonite minister and a strong adherent of the Dutch Patriot party. In 1775 Fynje had married Emilie, a sister of JA’s friend Jean Luzac, publisher of the Gazette de Leyde. The Fynjes were forced to flee to Antwerp and then to St. Omer in France following the suppression of the Patriot movement in 1787. With the establishment of the Batavian Republic, Fynje returned to The Hague in 1795 and resumed his journalistic and political activities. (Nieuw Ned. Biog. Woordenboek description begins P. C. Molhuysen and others, eds., Nieuw Nederlandsch Biografisch Woordenboek, Leyden, 1911–1937; 10 vols. description ends , i: 906–908; information furnished by C. D. Goudappel, Director, Gemeentear-chief Delft, Netherlands.) In later years JA remembered that it was the “editor of a gazette at Delphi, who had the reputation of one of the most masterly writers in the nation in their own language,” who had translated JA’s Memorial of 1781 for publication in Dutch, but he did not record his name (JA, Corr. in the Boston Patriot description begins Correspondence of the Late President Adams. Originally Published in the Boston Patriot. In a Series of Letters, Boston, 1809–1810; 10 pts. description ends , p. 430).