Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

9th. Tuesday.

11th. Thursday.

10th. Wednesday. JQA 10th. Wednesday. Adams, John Quincy
10th. Wednesday.

St. Peter and St. Paul's day. Grand Duke's fête. Mascarade ball and illumination at Peterhoff.1 At about 1. o'clock P.M. set out for that place with Mr. Artaud and Mr. D. and arriv'd there at about half past 5. Walk'd in the Garden till seven, and then went to the ball.


On this day, according to Henry Storch, “every being susceptible of pleasure left the town,” to go to Peterhof, the imperial palace on the Gulf of Finland. This Palace was begun in 1711 and built under the direction of Jean Baptiste Alexandre Leblond, Peter the Great's architect, who designed the famous water cascade. The road from St. Petersburg, about sixteen miles long, was “so covered with equipages, horsemen and pedestrians, that it resembled one continued caravan.” At twilight “the whole gardens are illuminated; the branches of the trees, and the water of the fountains seem to be converted into fire. The excellent situation of Peterhof and its variety of water-works here combine with the effects of pyrotechnics, to fascinate the sight by a grand picture, produced as it were by magic, and which, once beheld, can never be forgotten.” Meanwhile, inside the palace, “the motley-coloured multitude of masks press round the well-furnished tables or join hands in the mazy dance” ( Picture of Petersburg , p. 460–462; Larousse, Grand dictionnaire universel ; Thieme and Becker, Lexikon ). JQA's attendance at the annual festival in 1811, while minister to Russia, is described in Memoirs , 2:284–288.