Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

14th. JQA 14th. Adams, John Quincy

Dined at Lincoln, and immediately after dinner we again proceeded on our journey and by 5 o'clock, got to Cambridge, which is 12 miles: we came through Concord, and Lexington which 12 years ago were of no note, but which have been since rendered ever memorable, by being the place, where the first martyrs in the glorious cause of American Liberty, bled, (April 19th. 1775). Posterity will revere this spot of Land, more, than the Dutch do the place where Egmont and Horn, suffered; which is at Brussels.

We drank tea at Cambridge, and at about 6 we set out for Boston. We cross'd the ferry at about dusk; and got to Mr. Cranch's lodgings, just in good Season. We found Miss Betsey had been very unwell, but recovering. Mr. I. Smith,1 came in a few minutes after we got there: and I went with him to a Club2 of which he was member. I found there Dr. Welch, Dr. Dexter,3 Dr. Appleton,4 and Mr. Brewster. It was at Mr. Clarkes5 house; this gentleman is collegue to Dr. Chauncy, in the Ministry, and bears a good Character as a preacher. At about 9. I went home with Mr. Smith. His father and mother yesterday left the Town, with the Governor,6 Lieutenant Governor, and their Ladies to go to Princeton, to Mr. Gill's7 Seat. He gave me a Letter from my friend Brush, in New Haven.8


Isaac Smith Jr. (1749–1829), son of Deacon Isaac Smith and cousin of AA. Smith fled to England as a loyalist in 1775, but returned to America in 1784. Trained in the ministry, he preached in various places after his return but never received a call. Later he served as Harvard librarian, 1787–1791, and preceptor of Dummer Academy, 1791–1809 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 16:523–530).


This was undoubtedly the Wednesday Evening Club, founded in 1777 by four clergymen, four doctors, four lawyers, and four “merchants, manufacturers and gentlemen of literature and leisure.” Neither Brewster nor Isaac Smith Jr. were apparently members, however, although Smith's brother, William, was (The Centennial Celebration of the Wednesday Evening Club: Instituted June 21, 1777, Boston, 1878, p. 142–145).


Aaron Dexter, Boston physician and Erving Professor of Chemistry and Materia Medica at Harvard, 1783–1816 325([Charles C. Smith], “Notice of Aaron Dexter, M.D.,” MHS, Procs. , 1 [1791–1835]:421–423).


Nathaniel Walker Appleton, half-brother of John and Thomas Appleton, was a Boston physician and a founder of the Massachusetts Medical Society (Walter L. Burrage, History of the Massachusetts Medical Society with Brief Biographies of the Founders and Chief Officers, 1781–1922 Boston, 1923, p. 34–36; W. S. Appleton, Genealogy of the Appleton Family, Boston, 1874, p. 14).


John Clarke was later minister of the First Church of Boston (“Sketch of the Life and Character of the Late Rev. Dr. Clarke,” MHS, Colls. , 1st ser., 6 [1800]:iii–ix).


James Bowdoin served two terms as governor of Massachusetts, 1785–1787 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 11: 514–550).


John Gill, captain of the Continental artillery during the Revolution and owner of extensive potash lands in Princeton, Mass. (same, 17:521–522).


Presumably Eliphalet Brush to JQA, 29 Aug. (Adams Papers).

15th. JQA 15th. Adams, John Quincy

This morning my brother Charles and Cousin Cranch, came from Cambridge to see us. I at length went, and got my sword and hat, which have been at Mrs. Kilby's, ever since I arrived here first: Dined with Mr. Smith; I intended to go to Braintree in the afternoon, but was deterred, by an appearance of bad weather, but as it cleared up at about 5 o'clock, I rode, over the neck with my Cousin Betsey. When we got to Roxbury we turn'd back again. Spent some time with my uncle Cranch, and then return'd to Deacon Smith's.

16th. JQA 16th. Adams, John Quincy

At about 9 this morning I went to Mr. Foster's, and found my Cousin Betsey Cranch ready to go with me. We then set out in the Chaise, and at about 11. got to Braintree where we found only Mr. Tyler, and cousin Lucy. She had a letter from Miss Hazen which I had a great curiosity to see; but could not prevail upon her to show it me. Mr. Tyler came up from Boston last Evening. Parson Wibird was here in the evening but I did not see him.

17th. JQA 17th. Adams, John Quincy

Great part of the day was spent in reading; and writing to my friends in Europe;1 a vessel is to sail e'er long. At about 4 o'clock, Mr. and Mrs. Cranch return'd home. Mr. Tyler too, went out early in the morning and did not return till the evening.


The only extant letter written (in part) on this day was to AA2, 8–18 Sept. (Adams Papers).