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    Description

    John Quincy Adams Autograph Letter Signed. One page with blank integral; 7.8" x 9.75". "Washington 20 January 1818." A letter to Horatio Bigelow and Orville L. Holley, editors of the American Monthly Magazine and Critical Review in New York thanking them for issues of their magazine and reminiscing about his time at Harvard. In part: "Among the most pleasing reflections of my life is the relation which I bore for sometime to the students at Harvard University as one of their instructors; and it recurs with peculiar gratification to my mind, whenever the literary accomplishments of any of those who were my pupils, come to flatter me with the thought that my advice may have contributed to form their tasted and to excite their virtuous ambition. The richness of the fruit gives a charm to the remembrance of the care bestowed upon the blossom..."

    While serving as a U.S. Senator for Massachusetts, Adams accepted the Boylston Professorship of Rhetoric and Oratory at Harvard in 1805, a position he retained until 1809, when he was sent to Russia to represent the United States. Bigelow graduated from Harvard in 1809 and Holley in 1813; Adams' tone and language suggests at least one of them had been a student of his during his tenure.

    Adams reverts to his role as a teacher in the closing of the letter: "Allow me by way of supplement to my Professor's functions, to ask you, by what authority you use the word 'to conduct' as a verb neutral? 'he has conducted with gross brutality' - N. 6 of Vol. I p. 422. Review of Lord Byron's Lament of Tasso. Will either the deviation of this word, or English usage, or Mr. Pickering's American Dictionary warrant the use of it in this sense, without the relative pronoun?" Signed in full, "John Quincy Adams."

    Condition: Gently and evenly toned, with flattened mail folds and bold ink. Light soiling on verso of integral blank, where a small mounting remnant appears at top. A piece of string is threaded and tied along the left margin at top, with a matching tiny hole and tear at bottom.


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    Auction Dates
    April, 2018
    18th Wednesday
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