John Adams as He Lived. Ii: Unpublished Letters to Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse Professor of Physic at Harvard College

QUINCY August 16 1812
You are So waggish and roguish with your Woofs and your Warps and your Webs, that I am almost afraid to write or Speak to you. Yet I wish we were nearer together.
I was a little alarmed at the Story of the pacific Commission. Some body was pleased to call the Sarcasms in the Repertory, ‘Severe.’ They ought to have been called the Snarlings of Park the Puppy, and the Squealings of Park the Pigg.
It is become fashionable to call me ‘The Venerable.’ It makes me think of the venerable Bede, the venerable Mead, the venerable Daniel Burgess, the venerable Savannarola, the venerable Westley, the venerable Theodore Beza. The Gentlemen of the Navy Yard at Washington have lately called me the modern Nestor. I like that Title much better. Pray change the Title and Say the venerable Washington the venerable Jefferson, and the venerable Madison: I have worn it too long. It is become threadbare upon me. Do not however, I pray you call me the ‘ Godlike Adams,’ ‘ the Sainted Adams,’ ‘our Saviour Adams’ ‘Our Redeemer Adams,’ ‘our Saviour on Earth and our Advocate in Heaven’ ‘The Father of his Country,’ ‘The Founder of the American Republic,’ ‘The Founder of the American Empire etc. etc. These Ascriptions belong to no Man; no! nor to any twenty Men; nor to any hundred Men, nor to any thousand Men.

QUINCY March 23 1813
The inclosed letter from Dr. Rush will give you good News of your Son. I congratulate you on the honor he has obtained by his Examination, and his Sure prospect of a Degree as a Doctor of Medicine.
A young Gentleman came from Boston before Breakfast this morning, on purpose to bring me the News of the Hornets Laurells. I wish every Young Man had as good Feelings and as much respect for mine. But Alas how many have Sensations and Reflections of a different Character! I congratulate you, that Laurence is now enrolled in the List of our Naval Conquerors with Hull, Decatur, Jones and Bainbridge. Immortality here and hereafter be their Reward. And Something besides, more durable and more comfortable than Balls, Dinners Huzzas or Hozannas. I will not Say however, that these are amiss.
These five Victories are So Striking, So extreamly remarkable, So impressive on the Imagination, that they never will be oblitterated from the Memory of any Man, Woman or Child in the United States. Nor can they remain unknown to any Nation of Europe. They will ferment in the Minds of this People till they generate a national Self respect, a Spirit of Independence and a national Pride which has never before been felt in America. I wish the Republican Papers would do Something more than they have done to make these Splendid Atchievements more popular, and give full Scope to The national Joy. The Tide ought to run as rapidly as that in the Bay of Fundy or the Waters in the Falls of Niagara.

QUINCY March 31st 1813
‘The History’ is of no value, except on Account of its date. It was written and printed in Edes and Gills Boston Gazette, in the Intervall between the first Congress in 1774 and the Second Congress in 1775 under the Signature of Novanglus. In this View it is a Document; an historical Memoir. To me personally, it is of some importance as it is a record of the Principles on which I engaged in the Controversy with Great Britain and in the Revolutionary War, which have cost me so dear.
Who would then have thought that an Higginson Family in 1813 would have as much Influence in America as an Hutchinson Family had in 1773 and 1774 and upon the Same Principles and by the Same means? The Rise of Bonaparte and his Power is not a more unexpected, or astonishing Phaenomenon. The Higginsons have now more Power, in Boston and in New England by one third than The Hutchinsons had then. This Accession of Strength has been obtained by a profligate System of Funds and Banks and by an immense Credit from Great Britain, by an Accession of an Host of Scotch and English and by a more deadly Sett against the Virtue, the Liberty and Independence of this Country by the Scottish Cabinet, and by the mad Conduct of France for the last five or Six and twenty Years.
The Independent Whigg boasts of the Freedom of the Press! But where is it? Neither the Chronicle nor the Patriot have the Courage or the Skill of the Boston Gazette and Massachusetts Spy in 1770. 1. 2. 3. 4. And these when left to themselves were as foolish as need be. Accessible to every Silly Boy and often inaccessible to the wisest Men.
Talk not to me of my Son for Governor or any Thing else. He is gone, as his Father did before him on a Romantic Expedition to Muscovy to his own Ruin and the Ruin of his Children. I pray God he [torn off] return this Summer, whatever may become of M [tom off] but Gull Traps.
I congratulate you, most Sincerely, on your Sons Merit and Glory.
Please to enclose ‘The History’ to me by the Mail.
Mr. Jeffersons Compliment is ingenious and flattering: but you would find Rivals and Envy and Opposition and Mortification to the Southward as well as the Northward.

QUINCY September 17. 1813
I receive with pleasure, the News of your removal to Cambridge and establishment in Office, in which may you, and your amiable Lady Sons and daughters, continue to do honour, and administer medicine, to this Country, diseased in Body and mind.
I Have been repairing or rather rebuilding a Tomb for my Daughter. It is done. I am now replacing a Stone to my Father, instead of one erected by me fifty two Years ago, which Men Women, Boys Girls and Cattle had long Since demolished. Whether I Shall raise one for myself, where it will be raised, by whom, and how soon, I, as yet, neither know, nor much, care.
I know not whether the Greek is correct in Grammar, or Orthography, or Application. I own I have not the Foresight of the Tumble Bug: Yet in my Conscience, I believe, I had more and clearer, than this Nation or its Government for 14 years past.
I am not yet weary of Life, nor do I wait with impatience for an obscure death, or a Splendid one. The former must Soon be my Lott. May I be prepared. Fame Fortune Power! I have always despized Ye all. Mens conscia recti, is and always has been, all in all.
To thee, Supream Power, who knowest all my weaknesses Imperfections and Follies, I appeal.

QUINCYMay 22 1815
Your fav’r is rec’d. Gallia changefull as a Child at play ‘now calls in Princes: now drives away,’and this is exactly conformable to Examples Sett her by England Scotland and Ireland in the 17th Century; to that of Holland, Geneva, Switzerland Etc. in the 18th and Austria Russia Sweeden Prussia Saxony and the whole Confederation of the Rhine in the 19th. And our dear beloved Country has not been wanting to the Duties of Fraternity in exhibiting proofs that She is of the Same Family.
I am not about to become a Leader or Follower in Theology. To my own Master I Stand or fall.
As to Napoleon, I Say again, read Alexander, in Quintus Curtius in Plutarch, or Arrian; read Charles 12th and Oliver Cromwell read Jack Cade and Wat Tyler, Rienzy, King Theodore, Mazzionelli and Pascall Paoli. Read all these Puppets, and then ask is there a Juggler behind the Scene, who exhibits all these Tragedies Commedies and Farces? For the Benefit of a Night? Oh! No! Tis Wisdom and Benevolence, too profound and exalted for thy comprehension, poor ignorant Superficial Mortal as thou art. What an Enthusiast I am!
Your Fable of the Westphalia Hogs,

if Mankind would but Seriously consider it, is worth as much as your kine Pock Inoculation.
Dean Swifts Yahoos are not half so instructive as your Westphalia Hogs. I insist upon it that you tell me the Author, the Book the Chapter, the Verse, in which you found that Couplet

‘ Hogs of Westphalia are a Saving brood
‘What one lets drop, the other takes for food.’

I do not remember it; tho’ I have Some Suspicion that I have Seen it.
It is the most pithy, the most laconic, the most nervous Essence of Party Spirit that I have ever read. I Say as Swift Said of Pope

When he can in one Couplet fix
More Sense than I can put in Six
I cry, pox take him and his Witt
It gives me Such an envious fit.

It is the History of all Factions and all Parties I have ever known.
I am your Steady Friend

QUINCY May 30th 15
You made that Westphalian Couplet yourself. Sleeping or waking, nobody but you could have dreamed or thought of

Hogs of Westphalia are a Saving brood
What one lets drop, the other takes for food.

It so perfectly and Summarily comprehends the whole Genius and history of Party and Faction from the Ipse dixit of Pythagoras to the disciples of the Scottish Creolian of Nevis.
Upon elementary Principles Napoleon is the most legitimate Souvereign in Europe, having been twice elected by a great Nation. If the August conclave at Vienna can decree a King for France why may they not destine the Duke of York, or Mrs. Clark to be King of our beloved united States? Why may they not lay all Nations and Kingdoms under Interdict? Popes have Sett Precedents enough.
I believe you are mistaken. It is Mackean of Bowdoin Colledge not McKean the Orator at Cambridge, who has edited Goldsmith. According to your Account, he is an Enthusiast. I have been coaxed by a fascinating Woman into a Subscription for the Work. If your Account of it is correct, I shall wish my name to Cobbets Letters.

[In Abigail Adams’s handwriting] ah poor Man, dalilah has shorn his Locks! Not his wife however.

A. A.

QUINCY Dec’r 19th 1815
Permit me to Sympathize with you and your Children on the loss of your amiable and excellent Consort. As my reflections on this mournfull Event can be no other than your own, I Shall Spare you the pain of reading them.
I thank you for your Letter of the 14th and the Pamphlet inclosed.
Do you know the Meaning of the Words ‘ Awakenings ? ’ and ‘ Revivals ? ’ I am old enough to have attended the Predecations of that great Model of theatrical Grace and Elegance, of harmonious Oratory, and att the Same time as I verily believe of fervent Piety, The Reverend Mr. George Whitefield. I have Since Seen and heard Larrive, at Paris, and Mrs. Siddons in London.
The ’Awakenings and Revivals’ excited by Mr. Whitefield now forgotten, would fill Volumes which would make you laugh and cry, like a Madman. Laugh at the Absurdities and weep over the Wickedness of your Species.
‘Awakenings and Revivals’ are now running over the whole Globe. They have awakened the Doctrine, that ‘there must be but one Religion in the World.’ This reminds me of a Dialogue between Dr. Mayhew and my Schoolmaster first and my Tenant afterwards a zealous Churchman Mr. Joseph Cleverly.
Mayhew. Mr. Cleverly! If you were an absolute Monarch, for Example, like a King of France or Spain, what Regulations would you make in regard to Religion?
Cleverly. I would have but one Religion in my Dominions.
Mayhew. Would you persecute all who differed from it?
Cleverly. Yes. No Persecution could be too Severe to Secure the Unity of the Church.
This Dialogue I had from the Lips of Dr. Mayhew Himself: and I had not then nor have had Since a doubt of its littoral Truth for I had before and after that, held twenty Conversations with Cleverly in which he had uniformly avowed the Same Bigotry Superstition and Enthusiasm.
According to the Pamphlet you Sent me, We must all pay voluntarily or involuntarily, Tiths or Fifths or thirds or halves or all We have, to Send Bibles and Missionaries to convert all Men and Save their Souls. I am confident that all the Property of Europe and America would not be Sufficient to convert Asia and Africa.
Mankind must have a Crusade A War of Reformation A French Revolution, or Anti Revolution to amuse them and preserve them from Ennui.
The Christian is the Religion of the heart: but the heart is deceiptfull above all things and unless controuled by the Dominion of the Head, will lead Us into Salt ponds.
Awakenings and Revivals are not peculiar to Religion. Philosophy and Policy at times are capable of taking the Infection. The Distemper broke out in France in 1785 with dreadfull Symptoms of the Purple kind In 1814 and 1815 it has Seized all Europe. Cannot you and your Friend Jenner discover Some recondite Inoculation, to moderate its deleterious Rage?
I fear I must leave behind me to Posterity the Character of a Grogniard a Grogneur, a Grumbletonian, a Cassandra or a Laoccoon. For I can not go away with every Wind, especially when two hurricanes blow from Opposite Points of the Compass.

QUINCY Mar. 17. 1817
Have you read certain Strictures upon Painters and Paintings in the Newspapers? What do you think of them?
I am pleased with his gratitude to Copeley, but I believe he was not perfect Master of Copeleys Merit.
There is a Portrait of Justice Dana in his Robe, bands and Tie Wigg of a Barrister at Law, now no doubt in possession of his Descendants. There is a full Length Portrait of Governor Adams, probably in possession of his Daughter. The Hon. Mr. Quincy has a Portrait of his Grandfather. And there are many others. In these Portraits there is Truth Nature and Fact. You can Scarcely help discoursing with them, asking them questions and receiving answers.

QUINCY June 4. 1817
Your pathetic Letter of the 2d has filled my heart with Sympathy and Grief. Your Son, by a all that I knew, or have heard of him, would have been an ornment to Society. Your Sorrow at his loss must be exquisite. I can give you no better advice for your Consolation, than to read your favourite Dr. Barrow.

It is the Lot of humanity! You are not, alone! If I look back for Sixty Years, what a long catalogue do I See of young Men of the brightest Genius and most promising hopes, fallen Victims to excessive Ardour in pursuit of Knowledge? It seems as if the World was not worthy of such Lights.
If I may compare my Afflictions with yours, I have lost Grandfathers and Grand Mothers, Fathers and Mothers, Brothers and Sisters, Sons and Daughters, Grand Children and a great Grandchild, and I cannot recollect any of them without a Thrill.1 I say nothing of political, litterary, or civil Friends. I was once in a similar Situation with your Son Benjamin. An Adjournment of Congress, for a few Weeks, in the Fall of 1775 gave me an Opportunity of visiting my Constituents; and the hopes of Seeing my Family for a few days. Arriving, on horseback, from Philadelphia, within a quarter of a mile of my house, I met an Acquaintance, who informed me that my favourite Brother, who had commanded a Company of Volunteers in the Army at Cambridge from the 19th of April, and there taken the Camp Dissentary, lay at the Point of death, given over by his Physicians. Bouyed up with the joyous hope of embracing my Wife and Children in a few minutes, how was I cast down? The next morning brought the fatal News of his death. I attended his funeral; and all the Joy of my Visit home, was turned into mourning!
The Calamity of your Friend Jenner affects me very Sensibly.2
However, Resign, my Friend! Resign! Not merely because You cannot help these Things; but because you firmly believe they are intended for your good and mine; and what is of infinitely greater Importance, the Worlds.
You have Still Children, Sons and Daughters who do you honour, and will console your Age.
Let me hear none of the Silly Whinings of Tacitus, Cicero and Quintillian. We are not to exist, to vegitate, eternally here.
I am, dear Sir, with deep Sympathetic Feelings with you, and your Family, and with the Widow and Children of my much more ancient Friend Dalton, your assured Friend
and humble Servant

M[ONTEZILLO Jan 30. 1818?]
As ‘ the accurate Jefferson’ has made the Revolution a Game of Billiards, 1 will make it a Game of Shutlecocks. Henry might give ‘the first impulse to the Ball’ in Virginia but Otis’s Battledore had struck the Shuttlecock up in air in Massachusetts and continued to keep it up for several years before Henrys Ball was touched. Jefferson was but a Boy at Colledge of 15, or 16 years of age at most, and too intent on his Classicks and Sciences to know think or care about any thing in Boston. When Otis first fulminated against British Usurpation I was but twenty five years and three months old. Jefferson is at least nine, I believe ten years younger than me; and consequently could not be more than fifteen or Sixteen. He knew more of the Eclipses of Jupiters Satelites than he did of what was passing in Boston. You presume that I ‘am certain as to the date.’ You need not take my Word. Look into Judge Minots History of Massachusetts Bay Anno 1761. Search the Records of the Superiour Court of Judicature, Court of Assize and General Goal Delivery, at Salem Term 1760 and Boston Term 1761. Look up the Newspapers of 1761. Ascertain the time when Chief Justuce Stephen Sewall died. Call for Dr. Mayhews printed Sermon on his Death. Search the date of Chief Justice Thomas Hutchinsons Commission as Chief Justice, ascertain the Time when the Bench and the Bar assumed their Scarlet and Sable Robes, and you will not find much reason to call in question my Veracity or Memory.
[Torn] a right to say

Hos Ego Versiculos feci, tulit alter honores
Sic Vos non vobis mellificates Apes

They were James Otis and Samuel Adams
And to them ought Statues to be erected and not to John.

It would require an hundred Volumes in Folio to investigate the ‘Roost Cock’ who produced the Sacred mysterious Egg, to which you allude in your Letter of 17. Jan. The Antiquity of this Egg and its Universality over the whole Globe is astonishing. Chaldeans Persians Egyptians Hindoos Japanese Greeks Roma[n]s Mexicans Peruvians all had this mysterious Egg. Orpheus is said to have learned in Egypt, that Matter unrelated Self existent and eternal was called Chaos. That after many Ages this matter was arrounded into the Shape of an Egg: and out of this Egg were hatched Qvpavos and Ghee. who became Husband and Wife and produced this grand and beautiful World: but Who was the ‘Roostcock’ that treaded the Egg out of Chaos? This question I cannot answer, without the help of Ocellus Lucanus Timaeus of Locris and Sanchoniathon who all derived their Cosmogony from the Same Source. And if I understand them it was The Most High, The Eternal God the Good, who by his Logos, that is to say by his Ideas, his Intellect, his Intelligence gave to Matter first the form of an Egg and hatched all things out of it.
I believe you will agree with me that it is not worth our while to exchange the Cosmogony of Moses for any other that has appeared ancient or modern.

I have written to Mr. Monroe.

Does not Milton allude to the Egg when he invokes

That Spirit, who from the first Was present, and with mighty Wings outspread Dovelike Sat brooding on the vast abyss, And made it pregnant?

You know the Rooster who produced Leda’s Egg. But that produced only the Dioscures.

MONTEZILLO July 27th 1820
I will not envy you but congratulate you on the pleasure you have had in your excursion to Washington But I covet the like pleasure so much that if I could do it without stirring up an uproar, and hurly burly through the Contenent, Old as I am I would get into my Gig, and bend my course thitherward to morrow morning. I regret most grievously that you did not Visit Cedar Grove, at Fishkill Landing, after you were at West Point. John Peter and Caroline De Windt, my Grand Children and three of my great Grand Children would have boasted all their days of a visit from Dr. Waterhouse and his Lady. From your account of the Institution, I wish that some of my Grand Sons were at it.
It is true that three persons in my family have been unwell. But their sickness was not such as to render your intended visit unacceptable or inconvenient. I hope you will not delay it long, we are all well now.
I am extremely mortified at the doubt of my Son’s visit to Montezillo this Summer. If he cannot come to me, it seems to me as if I must go to him. But if I should lay my Bones at Washington they will erect no monument to me. Are you a sufficient adept in Astrology to foretell when we shall have rain, for the information of your friend and humble Servant

MONTEZILLO May 18 1821
I have made my Cantabridgians read your Letter to all my family at Breakfast. We all recognized the concordance between the Oration upon Industry and Doctor Barrows Sermons which I have caused to be read in my family over and over. Indeed I do not believe it possible for human Ingenuity to write any Thing upon Industry which may not be found Substantially in his five Sermons in favour of that Virtue.
I read Clarendon in 1758, when I was three and twenty years old, and have found his Works a valuable Source of Information ever Since. I recommend it to all my young Friends yet he is a very partial Writer as well as Hume. Both those Historians ought to have traced that Family of Steuarts to their origin, for they were of very bad discent and Education. Mary Queen of Scotts was a Guise, a Niece of the Cardinal de Lorrain and the Duke of Guise, and had her Education under them and Catharine of Medicis, three as pernicious Characters as any in History. From that detestible Source She derived her licentious manners, and her Principles of Religion, and Government; and She transmitted to all her Posterity a deep cast of all their Corruptions.
But my paralitic hand will hold no longer than to write the name of your Friend

LITTLE HILL May 8th 1821
You must have much pleasure in watching the opening mind of your Grandchild; for, being half Waterhouse and half Ware it must be a choice Spirit.
But how Smal is your felicity in comparison with mine, who have Seven Grand Children, Scattered over the World, and Seven more under my own roof, and eight or ten great grandchildren, one of whom is here with her Mother. A great granddaughter, and a great grandson of the Same Age, three Years; whose Sports, capers, gambols, and droleries are diverting as any harlequins on any Stage.
So much for diversion, amusement and felicity! but there is a reverse of the medal; a Solemn Side of the picture! I feel a great Trust; a Solemn Sacred responsibility! What is to be the fortune or destiny of this numerous Posterity? Have I done my duty to them? Aye! there’s the rub; that gives me pain. I have Spared neither pains nor expence in proportion to my means, oportunities, and abilities, in the Education of my family: but I find that Education alone is not all sufficient.
Streight is the gate and narrow is the Way, that leads to reputation, honour, Success, and hapiness even in this World. This narrow road leads through the Provinces of Prudence Temperance, Justice and Fortitude, and must be steadily and cautiously travelled. Hercules will find Sloth, and Indolence and pleasure, and vanity, and Pride, and Ambition, and Luxury, and Avarice, and Slander, and Ridicule, and Reproach, and Vilification, assau[l]ting him in every Stage of his Journey, and tempting him out of his Way.
How Streight is this Gate! How narrow is this Way! Yet most infallibly it is the only Path to Hapiness in this World. I Say nothing, at present, of the next.

MONTEZILLO 25th November 1821.
I sympathise with Alexipharmacus in his resentment of the indignities offered to Richardson, Lock, Barrow etc. yet I cannot approve of the principle of Clarissa Harlow’s history, because Such virtue ought never to be rendered So unfortunate; for I believe it never is, even in this world; nor was ever so infernal a villain as Love-lace ever able to maintain, for so long a time, the esteem and the admiration of man-kind. Nor do I approve of the resolution of Sir Charles Grandison to confine himself to private life; for such talents and such virtues are under moral and religious obligations to engage in the service of their Country and mankind, and to undertake the most hazardous services when circumstances may require them.
The obligations of mankind to Mr. Locke for his diffusion of the principles of Civil and Religious Liberty, are beyond all my powers of calculation; nor is his merit the less, though the wit of Voltaire and the eloquence of Rousseau, who derived their principles from him. Reprobates as they were, contributed more to Scatter them throughout the world, among all ranks of people, than his plain discourses could have done. His Essay upon the human understanding is an admirable work. He had studied Descartes and Hobbs, and his theory was suggested by them. He corrected most of their errors, but he adopted some even from Hobbs. Some of his mistakes have been noted by Hume, Berkley and Reid, but the inaccuracies of them all, I think, have been clearly pointed out by Dugald Stuart , who has proved that Metaphysicks are too profound for the human understanding to investigate.
Are you a partizan for the Greeks against the Turks? G. B. is determined that neither Russia or Austria Shall have them; if it be true that the King is sending 15000 troops from Hanover to the Ionian Islands. But this is as far beyond my comprehension as Metaphysics. This I know that I am
P. S. I do not relish the controversy between England and Scotland. They have both done wonders in a literary way, even in the present Century. Pray, is Hallam, the Middle-age-man, Scotch or English?

MONTEZILLO June 10th 1822.
Thanks for your letter of 5th June and smoaking lecture but as I have not read the lect ure I shall confine myself in this, to smoaking Theology. I believe you have heard of the Park Street prayers for the conversion of Boston and Cambridge, in which as far as they are good, sincere, honest pure and benevolent, I heartily join them; but which as far as they are hypocritical bigoted and fanatical, I hope will meet the fates of some other prayers. About the time of the British fast for success in the war against America; Dr. Franklin and I then keeping house] together at Passy made a dinner for the Americans and some other company. The conversation turning at table on the subject of the British supplications, Dr. Franklin said, Gentlemen I have an history to relate to you relative to this, which I had from the best authority. On the British fast day St. Gabriel and St. Michael looked down upon earth. Says Gabriel there is a thick fog around that planet. We can see nothing what is it? Oh says Michael that is a cloud consisting of the prayers of the English coming up for the success of their armies against America Poh! says Gabriel; Michael smiled, and said that Poh! has scattered all the mist, we can now see plainly land and water, hills and valleys, cities and Villages. This Fable I believe to be Franklins own composition because it is exactly characteristic of his genius, I hope and believe that the mephytic particles of the Park Street prayers will be as effectually dispersed to the four winds.
my kind regards to Mrs. Waterhouse.
from your friend

MONTEZILLO May 21 1821
I am glad I forgot to return your Son’s beautiful morsel on Industry with my last Letter; because it furnishes an Apology for writing another. In answering a letter I commonly forget to notice two thirds of it, till my answer is Sent away.
Helvetius and Rousseau preached to the French Nation Liberty, till they made them the most mechanical Slaves; equality till they destroyed all Equity; humanity till they became Weasels, and Affrican Panthers; and Fraternity till they cutt one anothers throats like Roman Gladiators.
Helvetius carried his enthusiasm for Equality So far that he fills many pages with learned and ingenious Arguments to prove thatt Men are born equal in Capacity, Intellect, and Genius. This doctrine, if I have correctly measured your inimitable wooden leg, is at Antipodes with yours. You Seem to imply that Natural Genius is all, and Education nothing but artificial Show. Now, if I rightly ken you both, I canot perfectly agree with Waterhouse or Helvetius: For
1. Barrow and Waterhouse have both proved the antient Maxim that the Gods Sell all things to Industry.
2. I have never known a Studious Youth who did not come to Something; A Student at the Bar who did not make a Lawyer; a Student in Medicine who did not become a Physician; a Student in Theology who did not turn out a divine. No, Nor a Studious Carpenter who did not appear an excellent Architect; nor a diligent Shoemaker, who was not a good Workman.
3. Genius is often produced by Accident. Mrs. Morton Says Genius is Sorrows Child. Extream Poverty, deep distress, Severe Affliction, Sudden danger, cruel, inextricable Embarrasments, often produce astonishing Efforts of Genius. Revolutions they Say, produce Self taught Heros, Statesmen, Phylosophers, Genius in Abundance, out of multitudes of lumpish Animals. Anger, Hatred, Revenge, Jealousy, Envy, and above all Love, are often productive of Sublime and beautiful Genius. Disappointment too, often creates it.
4. Genius is often created by artificial and physical Means. West India and even New England Rum and Virginia Whisky, Mild English Porter, and even good old Cyder, much more Burgundy Champaigne, Old Madeira, Cherry, and Old Hock, are great Inspirers. But they Say, for I never tried an Attom or a drop, that Opium and liquid Laudanum are the very divinities that Stir within Us, and will produce Genius out of the coarsest Clay. Arrack, and Coniac brandy have plenty of Genius in them.
5.To descend to examples. Tom. Paine could never write without Several bottles of Porter, or an equal quantity of Alcohol, Rum, or brandy, in his Stomach. Churchill could not compose a Verse, without a Bottle of Madeira Wine before him. Abraham B—p of Connecticutt could not write upon the Alliance of Church and State, till he had a reasonable quantity of Rum and Water in him. And I have been told by Parson Montague of Dedham, though I will not vouch for the truth of it, that General Hamilton never wrote or spoke at the bar, or elsewhere, in public, without a bit of Opium in his mouth. But none of these causes can produce Helvetius’s Equality of Genius. Education, after all, is a better leg, if it is wooden, than all the rest.

So much for octogenarian or nonagenarian badinage!

  1. [In Waterhouse’s hand] He had not then lost his most excellent wife.
  2. [In Waterhouse ’s hand] A depression of spirits, or gloominess, unfitting him for correspondence or social intercourse.