John Adams letter to Abigail Adams, 25 January 1799

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Philadelphia, 25 January, 1799.

MY DEAREST FRIEND,

I AM as much of a solitudinarian as Frederick the Conqueror. He was constantly saying at sixty, " Jesuis vieux, casse, surannee," &c., &c., &c. I may say the same and have the honor to resemble him in this particular, but I shall never imitate his idolatry for Voltaire. His materialism appears to me very superficial. He insists upon being all matter, without knowing what matter is. The monades, the etres simples, the atoms, the molecules organiques, all these guesses and fictions, are as nonsensical as the occult qualities. Human knowledge cannot penetrate so deep. I was profoundly learned in all that jargon at twenty years of age, but found it all useless, and renounced it for fee simple and fee tail.

Thomas is my delight and I know not how to re sign him ; but as I know you will not be quite well till you see him, I shall consent to his going next week.

J. A.

Author:
John Adams

Source:
Letters of John Adams, Addressed to His Wife. Edited by His Grandson, Charles Francis Adams, Volume II, 1841