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John Adams to Charles Adams

31 Dec. 1795

Dear Son Philadelphia Decr 31. 1795

Yesterday I received your kind and pleasing Letter of the 26, and am happy to hear of your and your Ladies health. I dont approve of your calling her Sally unless to herself in a Family Way. To other People especially in Writing you must call her Mrs Adams. Your Nephews and Neice I hope will have the Measles favourably. it is a good age and a good Season: so that I think the family may be congratulated in the Event.

Alass poor Randolph! But what are We to think of the Symptoms of a Corruption which appear in various shapes in this infant Country? I hope it will not appear that any Member of either house listened to the vile proposals of the two Weeklies from Detroit. But the Attempt itself is disgraceful to our Country.

Your quotation from Shakespear is well applied and is most admirable. There is another Passage which I wish you would look for and write me in what Play it is, to this Effect

He who lives on Popularity

is like a drunken Sailor on a Topmast

at every Nod, liable to plunge into the Briny deep.

The people, are as I believe always grateful, when they are not deceived. But they are ignorant and credulous & easily imposed on. in times of Wealth and Prosperity they are easily altered and corrupted. Juvenal in his tenth Satyr ver. 78 describes the Roman People, who in the days of the Republic granted the Consulship, \&/ the Command of Armies, as reduced to such Indolence, Effiminacy and folly as to think only of Bread and the Games of the Circus.

Nam qui dabat olim

Imperium, Fasces, Legiones, Omnia, nunc Se

Continet, et duas tantum res animus optat,

Panem et Circonces. Juv. 10. 78.

Cakes and Sports, to a People humiliated in their own Esteem, by Corruption, are, as to Children, all they Wish and all they want.

Mr Josiah Quincy brought me your Letter and was much pleased with your situation and Civilities to him. This young Man is eloquent—his Father was eloquent: his Grand father was eloquent and his Great Grand father was eloquent. Here is eloquence in 4 successive Generations. Who can Say that Eloquence does not descend in Families.

Write me as often as possible. I am your / Father

John Adams

(MHi: Seymour Collection).
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