Our Collection

At the Institute’s core is the Gilder Lehrman Collection, one of the great archives in American history. More than 70,000 items cover five hundred years of American history, from Columbus’s 1493 letter describing the New World to soldiers’ letters from World War II and Vietnam. Explore primary sources, visit exhibitions in person or online, or bring your class on a field trip.

Adams, John (1735-1826) to Mr. Rutherford

High-resolution images are available to schools and libraries via subscription to American History, 1493-1943. Check to see if your school or library already has a subscription. Or click here for more information. You may also order a pdf of the image from us here.

Gilder Lehrman Collection #: GLC00188 Author/Creator: Adams, John (1735-1826) Place Written: Sober Hill, in Quincy Type: Autograph letter signed Date: 03 August 1796 Pagination: 2 p. ; 26 x 21 cm.

Written as Vice-President. Adams discusses Bordley's notes on the report of the Board of Agriculture; his escape from politics during the Summer; hopes to hear more on Rutherford's thoughts on agriculture. Numbered "155." at top of p. 1.

Sober Hill, in Quincy August 3. 1796
Dear Sir

I received, with great Pleasure, your kind Letter of the 28th. of June, inclosing Mr. Bordleys Notes, on the outline of the 15th Chapter of the proposed general Report from The Board of Agriculture. Mr. Bordleys Observations show him to be a Farmer of uncommon intelligence as well as Experience. If I should ever have the Courage to Send Sir John Sinclair any Remarks on the Report I shall certainly inclose these. Thirty years ago I should have been all alive to such a Correspondence: but thirty years taken from Agriculture and applied to Law and Politicks, diminish a Mans Ardour and destroy his Activity.
You and I, and others like us, if Such there are who retire in Summer to Tranquillity and Sobriety (for that is the name of my Hill) without hearing a Dispute upon Politicks are the happiest Mortals alive, as long as we can keep out of our minds the thought of the necessity of returning to Cares and Perplexities in the Winter. [2] I own I have another unpleasant Reflection which occurs to me very often, vizt. that we are no longer to meet an Elsworth [sic.] a King a Strong or a Cabot to share our Toils and diminish our Anxieties. We Shall have good Men however in their Places.
The Political Atmosphere has been more Serene this Summer than ever I knew it. After a Storm generally comes a Calm - I have not heard a Gale nor a Breeze. Long may the quiet last: that you and I may have Leisure to pursue our favourite amusements Studies and Experiments.
I shall always be happy to hear of your Welfare and to share in your discoveries in Agriculture or in Politicks or any other Science Literature or Scene of Life, being with great and
Sincere Esteem your Friend and
humble Servant
John Adams

Order a CopyCitation Guidelines for Online Resources