STUDY AND PRACTICE OF THE LAW UNTIL MARCH, 1770.
FROM the time of the admission of Mr. Adams to the bar, he resided at his father's house, in Braintree; and, after the decease of his father, which happened on the 25th of May, 1761, he remained with his mother, until his marriage, in 1764. The earlier part of this time was a period of intense anxiety to him with regard to his prospects in life. An obscure village of New England, in a family alike unknown to fortune and to fame, was a scene little adapted to promote his advancement in either. In the following extracts from his journal, the reader will find an exposition of the thoughts which occupied his leisure; of the studies that he pursued; of hit; constant observation upon men and manners within the contracted circle of acquaintance with whom he habitually associated, and of that severe and rigorous self-examination and censure to which he had accustomed himself, and in which he reduced to effective practice the precept of Pythagoras.
" Æt. xxiii. 1759. The other night, the choice of Hercules came into my mind, and left impressions there which I hope will never be effaced, nor long unheeded. I thought of writing a fable on the same plan, but accommodated, by omitting some circumstances and inserting others, to my own case. Let virtue address me.
"Which, dear youth, will you prefer, a life of effeminacy, indolence, and obscurity, or a life of industry, temperance, and honor? Take my advice; rise and mount your horse by the morning's dawn, and shake away, amidst the great and beautiful scenes of nature that appear at that time of the day, all the crudities that are left in your stomach, and all the obstructions that are left in your brains. Then return to your studies, and bend your whole soul to the institutes of the law and the