Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 2


Tuesday July 1st. 1788.

30th. JQA 30th. Adams, John Quincy

Mr. and Mrs. Shaw return'd to Haverhill this morning: and this day I finished unpacking the books; which however must continue for some time in great disorder.1


At the bottom of JQA's line-a-day entries for June in D/JQA/13, he has written a phrase in shorthand, followed, on the line below, by the date “June 17.” The inscription is JQA's earliest recorded use of John Byrom's shorthand system, antedating other shorthand specimens in his papers by twenty years, and the first of about a half-dozen examples he entered into this Diary before the end of the year. Byrom's characters here are rendered “year on the 25th August.” The significance of either date to JQA is not known to the editors. In 1794, while en route to his diplomatic post in the Netherlands, JQA mentioned having once attempted to learn shorthand, “but soon gave over the pursuit; not having a very high opinion of the utility of the art, and being very early weary of the labour to acquire it.” He briefly resumed his study of it, but abandoned it until the following decade (Thomas Molineux, An Introduction to Byrom's Universal English Short-Hand, 5th edn., London, 1821; JQA, Diary, 3 Oct. 1794).