Adams Papers

From John Adams to Caleb Stark, Jr., 1 February 1824

Washington 1 February 1824

My Dear Stark.

After waiting somewhat impatiently I allow for your last it came to hand on friday & delighted me exceedingly as it contained much information concerning our classmates of whom I hear nothing in any other way. One thing I have heard however by the newspapers which I should have preferred not to have heard I mean the deat[h] of Levett. It would seem that we have hardly yet been long enough absent from Alma Mater to hear of the death of those who were as high in life & youth as we; but when I think of what I knew him there, the deading truth strikes upon me that the heart which was warmed by the impulse of youthful friendship is now cold & immoveable in the silent grave. He was not it is true, a dashing blade, or the disciple of maddening dissipation; he had not, the wealth of Peru; he had not the polish of the world; he had not the gay & thoughtless spirits of some; but he had a heart; a kind & feeling heart; he loved his classmates with the sober, well moderated affection of a man; He is gone: One more is taken from the little band who lived with & felt for each other. May that God in whose presence he must stand & recieve his judgment, forgive his failings & reward his good deeds. I hear frequently from Bob Burten & through him of Clark his Chum: but seldom of any one else—The Representative from Charleston gave me some news of Haskell—

In my last I attempted a description of a ball & would in this do something or other to afford you amusement but I am very far from such a state of feeling as that would require owing to a recent death which has <struck> thrown a damp upon all our gaiety & dissipations, It was the loss of a young woman who was married just this time last year & whose wedding caused great part of last winters gaiety. She died a few days after having brought a young boy into the world which she left as a legacy to her husband. He is one of the French Legation & his situation is dreadful as you may suppose. But I will not trouble you with details in which you can be but little interested & upon which I might delay too long.

Your description of your fellow students does not cause me much desire to become acquainted with them. Mine at present are of somewhat different a character. Mostly which play a few moments round the candle then burn themselves to death—I have no young men with whom I can have any friendly intercourse & only meet such chaps as will do very well for Ball Room acquaintances. Besides which I am called by duties to be more in the company of older men & of mighty dignity—

My time is spent partly at Congress where for two weeks we have had some very interesting debates; part of the time in reading Law & part of the time in dancing at balls & parties

Tomorrow the Supreme Court commences its session & I shall endeavour to attend it<s session> very regularly. But this is the fourth letter I have written to day & my fingers tell me it is time to sign myself / Your friend & Classmate

John Adams—

MBU: Bortman Collection.

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