I did an ED (yes, like a TED) talk tonight at the MTA's summer conference. I'll post the video once it's up.
I was asked for my notes on my talk tonight. I don't really have any.
The letter I quoted from was written September 2, 1755, and, thanks to the Adams estate, you can find it online here. In my work, I called this talk "the Gloomy Paedagogue," and, if you read the whole letter ninteen-year-old John Adams wrote to his friend Richard Cranch, you'll see why.
Most of the information about Adams is available either from his letters (if you poke around above, you'll find more) or from the biographies (I read several!) out there. I will say that I developed a real affection for Adams through putting this together: from his stubborn young insistence on being a farmer, to his loneliness in Worcester, through his sharp assessment of his own (and others') abilities and the overwhelming task before them at the Revolution. Really, really interesting man.
The other passage is simply Chapter V, Section II of the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. If you haven't read the state constitution, I highly recommend it! In particular, though, if you're involved in education in Massachusetts, take a look at Chapter V, Section II (which you can also find at the bottom of the blog). It's what we're supposed to be about "for the preservation of their rights and liberties."