September 3 1815: “That Way, Madness lies.”!


… The natural bent of my mind has the honour to resemble yours so much, that chymical physical and mathematical studies would have been the favourite Amusement, pursuit and Occupation of my Life, if I had been permitted to choose. But such Felicity has not been granted to me. Imperious Circumstances have driven me, to Metaphysicks to Theology, and what is no better and no worse, to Politicks and War. When a Boy, I read Ray, Derham and Nieuenteit; and I have never read any Thing since with more delight. You may smile when I tell you that at the same early age, I read in a poor English Translation, Fontenelles Plurality of Worlds. After this shall I tell you, that I have had personal Conversation with Dr Herschill, and seen his Astronomical Machinery, heard from his Lips his observations on the Heavens. Can it be supposed that I do not admire this Universe? And adore its Author? its Ruler? its Father? its Master? Its supream, almighty, all wise, and all benevolent Judge?

Cannot I say, as pathetically, as you do? “Alass! what avail me now this vain Knowledge of public Law, and that of my Country?” “What Profit do I reap from these unrelented Exertions?” And what Profit did Alexander, Cæsar, Hannibal, Frederick or Buonaparte, reap from theirs?

You have a Talent, at the Pathetick, which I could never equal, if I would; and which I never would equal, if I could. Who can read your excursion to Oneida Lake without Tears? I could give you histories too, of domestic seperations! But I forbear. “That Way, Madness lies.”!

—  John Adams  writes to François Adriaan Van der Kemp, 3 September 1815

September 2 1815: Abigail Writes

On September 2 1815, Abigail Smith Adams writes to her daughter-in-law Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams, who is in London.

Quincy Sepbr 2d 1815 — My Dear daughter

Your Letter of July 9th was joyfully received by me, it was not untill your Letter arrived, that I had any certain knowledge where you were, altho I had presumed from mr Adams Letter of 19 March from Paris, that you might have reachd there, the day after your Sister Smith left it.

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August 31 1815: An Exchange Between Dearest Pip and Darling Duck

On August 31 1815, Lord Byron is on his way to see his sister Augusta at Six Mile Bottom. He has forgotten some vials with “drops” on his dressing table so he writes to Lady Byron, from Epping, to send them to him.

Dearest Pip―The learned Fletcher with his wonted accuracy having forgotten something I must beg you to forward it. On my dressing table two phials labelled “drops,” containing certain liquids of I know not what pharmacopoly – (but white & clear so you can’t mistake I hope). One of these I want in my material medica. Pray send it carefully packed to me at Goose’s per coach on receiving this – and believe me ever most lovingly thine
B. (not Frac.) Continue reading