On a recent visit to the Massachusetts Historical Society, an archivist brought out numerous items for inspection. One highlight was this letter from President John Adams to his wife, Abigail, in 1800, after a few days of living in the White House. Many people know its famous contents, because an excerpt has long appeared on the White House dining room mantel. It goes like this: “I pray Heaven to bestow the best of blessings on this House, and all that shall hereafter inhabit it. May none but honest and wise men rule under this roof.” If only he knew. — in Boston, Massachusetts.