Looking through an old folder, I found notes I wrote when I read McCullough’s book for the first time 10 years ago. I want to share them.
First I want to share what I wrote then, “I’m really enjoying reading about the Presidents. Especially McCullough’s John Adams captured me. Adams’ earnestness, integrity, thin-skin, knowing that he talked too much and that his feelings got hurt often, but he kept going. He had so much good in his life too. I don’t know that he could’ve done it without Abigail. She was so devoted and so loved him -his rock and touchstone.”
Some of his quotes that I noted:
To granddaughter, Caroline, in response to her quandary over the riddles of life, “The longer I live, the more I read, the more patiently I think, and the more anxiously I inquire, the less I seem to know… Do justly. Love mercy. Walk humbly. This is enough… So questions and so answers. Your affectionate grandfather.”
He believed, with all his heart, as he had written to Jefferson, that “…no effort in favor of virtue was lost.”
Once in a letter to his old friend Francis van der Kemp, he wrote, “Griefs upon griefs! Disappointments upon disappointments. What then? This is a gay, merry world not withstanding.”
One more quote but this one is from Abigail to their son, John Quincy, “It is not in the still calm life…that great characters are formed… When a mind is raised and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant wake into life and form characters of the hero and statesman.”