Wythe to Adams, 5 December 1783

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Facsimile of letter from George Wythe to John Adams, dated December 5, 1783. From vol. 3 of The Works of John Adams, by Charles Francis Adams (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), between pages 354 and 355.

In this letter, George Wythe espouses his friendship with John Adams, and states that, as Professor of Law and Police at the College of William & Mary, his role is "to form such characters as may be fit to succeed those which have been ornamental and useful in the national councils of America":[1]

Letter text, 5 December 1783

G. Wythe to J. Adams.

Often had I almost resolved to write to you, to supply, in some measure, by an epistolary correspondence, the want of that conversation which I had no other cause to regret than the interruption of it by the distance between us; and had more reasons than I can enumerate to covet. But uncertainty of communication, and a doubt whether the merit of any thing I could say would be an apology for diverting your from attention from affairs incomparably more momentous hitherto kept me reluctantly silent. Your letter, therefore, by mr Mazzei, delivered to me today, this day, by which I learn your wish to receive a line from me, and that too wherever you be, was received with joy. I accept the invitation with a pleasure one feels in renewing an acquaintance with an old friend whose company was entertaining and improving. O were our habitations so neighbouring, that

οδύσύ.
Δ. 180

— θάμ᾽ ἐνθάδ᾽ ἐόντες ἐμισγόμεθ᾽: οὐδέ κεν ἡμέας
ἄλλο διέκρινεν φιλέοντέ τε τερπομένω τε,
πρίν γ᾽ ὅτε δὴ θανάτοιο μέλαν νέφος ἀμφεκάλυψεν![2]

A letter will meet with me in Williamsburg where I have again settled, assisting, as professor of law and police in the university there, to form such characters as may be fit to succede those which have been ornamental and useful in the national councils of America. Adieu.

5 Dec. 1783.

See also

References

  1. George Wythe to John Adams, 5 December 1783, reproduced in The Works of John Adams, vol. 3, Charles Francis Adams, ed. (Boston: Charles C. Little and James Brown, 1851), between 354 and 355.
  2. Homer, The Odyssey, 4:178-180:

    Living here, should we ofttimes have met together,
    nor would aught have parted us, loving and joying in one another
    until the black cloud of death enfolded us.

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