An Honest Man


Quote taken from John Adams by David McCullough, published in 2001 by Simon and Shuster, New York, NY (p.289)

Earlier, in a long, affectionate letter to his daughter, John had offered memorable advice on choosing a husband that, in sum, expressed what he valued most in a man and what he so struggled to be himself so much of his life:

Daughter!  Get you an honest man for a husband, and keep him honest.  No matter whether he is rich, provided he be independent.  Regard the honor and moral character of the man more than all other circumstances.  Think of no other greatness but that of the soul, no other riches but those of the heart.  An honest, sensible, humane man, above all the littleness of vanity and extravagances of imagination, laboring to do good rather than be rich, to be useful rather than make a show, living in modest simplicity clearly within his means and free from debts and obligations, is really the most respectable man in society, makes himself and all about him most happy!