…You tell me of degrees of perfection to which human nature is capable of arriving, and I believe it, but at the same time lament that our admiration should arise from the scarcity of the instances…
…Remember the Ladies, and be more generous and favourable to them than your ancestors. Do not put such unlimited power into the hands of the Husbands…
…If much depends as is allowed upon the early education of youth and the first principles which are instill’d take the deepest root, great benefit must arise from literary accomplishments in women…
…These are times in which a genius would wish to live. It is not in the still calm of life, or in the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed…
The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues…
…Do not grieve, my friend, my dearest friend. I am ready to go.
…We have too many high sounding words, and too few actions that correspond with them.
Letter to John Adams (1774)
…A little of what you call frippery is very necessary towards looking like the rest of the world.
Letter to John Adams (1 May 1780)
…Learning is not attained by chance, it must be sought for with ardor and attended to with diligence.
Letter to John Quincy Adams (8 May 1780)
…I begin to think, that a calm is not desirable in any situation in life. Every object is beautiful in motion; a ship under sail, trees gently agitated with the wind, and a fine woman dancing, are three instances in point. Man was made for action and for bustle too, I believe.
Letter to her sister, Mary Smith Cranch (1784)
…To be good, and to do good, is the whole duty of man comprised in a few words.
Letter to Elizabeth Shaw (1784), quoted in John Adams (2001) by David McCullough, p. 310
…Do not grieve, my friend, my dearest friend. I am ready to go. And John, it will not be long.
Last words in a letter to John Adams, as quoted in Famous Last Words (1961) by Barnaby Conrad
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