Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

25th. JQA 25th. Adams, John Quincy

It continued raining all night, and in the morning so that I could not go out of town. We went to the Chapel, and heard Mr. Freeman preach. This gentleman has adopted the antetrinitarian1 System, which has of late appear'd in this Country. Such religious freedom, as America, enjoys, must always have a tendency to increase the number of religious sects: but if this be a disadvantage, it is more than balanced by the liberal Sentiments which every sect adopts with respect to all the rest. After 331Church was over Mr. Tyler and myself, mounted our horses and cross'd the neck together; at Roxbury he left me, and went to his Mamma's. I proceeded to Braintree. I got to the meeting house, a little before the service began, and attended it. The weather clear'd up this afternoon, and promises to continue fair.


That is, Anti-Trinitarian. Freeman, with his strong liberal tendencies, was moving King's Chapel from Anglicanism toward Unitarianism (Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, New Haven, 1972, p. 388–389, 392).

26th. JQA 26th. Adams, John Quincy

Mr. Tyler, was to return last evening, but did not. My two Cousins went last Saturday to Boston and will not return this week. My uncle, went this afternoon to Boston so that my aunt and I are now at home quite alone. In the forenoon, I went out with my gun; and took a long walk: but found no game of any kind. In the afternoon I went down to our house, and looked over many of the things. I can never feel gay in this house, while its owners are absent, and this evening my aunt accused me of being melancholy; a reproach I am very seldom loaded with. I had a disagreeable head ache, and really felt very dull.

27th. JQA 27th. Adams, John Quincy

Mr. Tyler came from Boston last evening; was pretty busy in the forenoon; I went and paid a visit to Mr. Apthorp, next door neighbour to my uncle: he came from Boston this morning and is going back this afternoon: he is a man of Sense, and much reading, but he has a certain wildness in his eyes, which indicates something extraordinary, in his character, which I am told is really the case. He has an extravagant fondness for England, and for everything that is English: he talks sensibly upon diverse subjects, but as I had heard his Character before I saw him, I purposely spoke in the highest terms, of the french Nation and their Country: he never said he was of a different opinion, but he observed that though the beauties of England were not of the same kind, they were very great, and like a true Englishman contrasted, french politeness and outward accomplishments, to English dignity and Sincerity. I did not think it was necessary to contest any point, and therefore humoured him in his Admiration for Britain; in which, however I am very far from joining with him. After dinner I went down with Mr. Tyler, and drank 332tea with my uncle Quincy,1 and from his house saw the tender, which came lately from Hallifax, to carry back Mr. Nash, and his new bride.

I intended to go as far as Milton this evening, but it was so late when we return'd from my uncle's, that I could not. As we were walking home, I had with Mr. Tyler some very curious conversation, on a subject as curious. We smoked a sociable pipe in the Evening at his office: and there continued it. He was somewhat in a prophetic mood, but I imagine, he will never have occasion to say

Cet oracle, est plus sûr que celui de Chalcas Calchas.2


Norton Quincy (1716–1801), JQA's great-uncle. He was formerly a Boston merchant, but after the death of his wife soon after marriage, he retired to Braintree, where he lived a reclusive life in the Quincy estate. His refusal to seek company and to accept other than minor town offices bothered the Adamses, who, though they were very fond of him, felt that his name and position should have led him to accept greater responsibilities (L. H. Butterfield, A Pride of Quincys, MHS Picturebook, Boston, 1969, [p. 7–8]).


That is, JQA believed that Tyler would never have absolute conviction that a certain event, presumably marriage to AA2, would take place. The quotation is from Racine's tragedy Iphigénie (1674), Act III, scene vii, last line.