Mission Accomplished

April 2, 1819 – July 28, 1819

John Adams to Thomas Jefferson: “Tho I cannot write I still live and enjoy Life. The World is dead. There is nothing to Communicate in Religion, Morals, Philosophy, or Politicks. I hope your Health is perfectly restored. Mine is pritty much like that of Voltaire, Frankline and Samuel Adams, at my Age.”

When you’re 83 years old (and live in the age of bloodletting) you are allowed to talk like this. And refer to your Age as a proper noun.

I wonder who JA found for scribes. Days earlier he mentioned borrowing “the hand of a friend” to write a letter. A few years earlier he had his wife and presumably other younger family members (granddaughters?) to help if necessary. After writing to TJ about Ben Franklin and his, ahem, “appetites,” (November 15, 1813, which I excerpted here) he closes with this gem: “As I have no Amanuenses but females, and there is so much about generation in this letter that I dare not ask any one of them to copy it, and I cannot copy it myself I must beg of you to return it to me…”

Word of the day: Amanuensis—a literary or artistic assistant, in particular one who takes dictation or copies manuscripts.

Euphemism of the day: Generation

I wonder about the scribes, but that’s all.

Back to the cynical quips of a sour elder. JA to TJ: “What a poor ignorant, Malicious, short-sighted, Crapulous Mass, is Tom Pains Common Sense…”

Leaving aside JA’s fascinating disdain for Thomas Paine, in “Crapulous Mass” my search for the perfect insult is finally over. It’s been a fun ride, John Adams. I began this journey more than a year ago. It was a simple quest: to search the wisdom and knowledge of the two greatest Founding Fathers, to grow in historical understanding, to glean the truths and lessons and apply these to my own life as I navigate the waters of manhood, servanthood, and humanity. Thank you, Mr. Adams, for ensuring that my most memorable takeaways in this project remain on the same level as when I began, which hasn’t progressed much since 1994 when I could recite almost every line from “Dumb and Dumber.” I’m off to dig out some old Ren and Stimpy VHS tapes.


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