Lot 8013: John Quincy Adams Signed Handwritten Letter
28th June 2018
ALS signed “J. Q. Adams,” one page both sides, 7.5 x 10, November 21, 1788. Letter to James Bridge, written by Adams from Braintree as a 21-year-old law student. In part: "Indeed you were not mistaken when you judg'd what my feelings would be upon the perusal of your animated descriptions of the social engagements in which I have often shared. Your observation was anticipated by an involuntary sigh which came from my heart, and which I am sure you will not attribute to envy. It was the tribute of friendship and has just now been repeated, upon the recollection, that at this instant you are probably renewing the festive scene. Those hours which you are enlivening with the charms of unrestrained conversation, I am passing in the solitary dignity of silence. Surrounded by the learning and ingenuity of three thousand years, a mind in the least stimulated by curiosity or ambition cannot complain of the tediousness of time; yet I often wish I could more effectually vary the sources of enjoyment, and mingle the pleasures of an intercourse with my living friends, to those of a participation in the speculations of the 'mighty dead.' In my transactions for a month or five weeks past I have been mechanically regular. My Health is in a great measure restored; but I religiously allot three hours every day to exercise: eight or nine to sleep, which I generally obtain; and the remainder in part to idleness and in part to study, chiefly reading: but I have almost wholly confined my reading to amusing and entertaining subjects. Foster's Crown Law, and about 100 pages in Harris's Justinian, are all the fruit of my professional studies that I can boast of hitherto; but I hope to be able henceforward to allow a considerable portion of my time to the occupation the most important to me, since my future support is to depend on it." Addressed on the reverse of the second integral page by Adams to "Mr. James Bridge, Newbury-Port." In fine condition, with partial separation along the hinge with its integral address leaf. After graduating from Harvard in July 1787, John Quincy Adams studied law in Theophilus Parsons of Newburyport, Massachusetts. He gained admission to the bar in 1790 and began practicing law in Boston, following in the footsteps of his father. A wonderful, early letter from Adams on a topic familiar to any college student—the difficulty of balancing serious studies with his social life.
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