Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

19th. JQA 19th. Adams, John Quincy

We went out between 9 and 10 this morning, in order to take, a walk, and look at the troops, for this day there happened to be a regimental muster here, and training day for the militia. When we went out we had no idea of being gone more than an hour, but it was near two before we return'd. 10 Companies from Newbury, march'd about two miles out, and met 7 others from Almesbury Amesbury. There were in all, I imagine about a thousand men under arms. All the officers and the artillery Company composed of 39 men, were in a dark blue uniform, faced with scarlet: the troops were not in any uniform. They paraded tolerably well, all things consider'd, though it would take I imagine considerable time to make Prussian troops of them. The Coll. Lieutt. Coll. and Adjudant were on white horses. There was none of the officers that appeared so much to advantage as the adjutant, a joiner by trade, named Herriman. Many officers who have from their childhood brought up in regular armies, would not appear more graceful or show more dignity at a parade, than this person did. Some men whatever their Station in Life may be, have a natural grace and elegance, which never leave them; others though possess'd of the highest advantages, and train'd from their Infancy to the Science of politeness, can never acquire that easy agreeable manner which has so great a tendency:

To make men happy and to keep them so.1

When the two parties had join'd after a short pause, they march'd all together back into the town, and we left them. We dined at Mr. Dalton's, but he was so unwell, that he could not favour us with his Company. He caught yesterday a bad cold, at New town, a seat which he owns, about half way between this and Haverhill. Mr. Symmes2 dined with us, a young Gentleman, 344whose manners are very easy and agreeable. At about 4. we proceeded in the order we went yesterday, to return home; we got to Mr. White's house, just before dark. I came from the ferry on horseback. Spent the Evening very agreeably, there, and return'd home, at about 9 o'clock. Found Mr. Thaxter there, but he soon after went away.


Horace, Epistles, Bk. I, Ep. vi, line 2 ( Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, transl. Fairclough, p. 286, 287).


William Symmes, an Andover lawyer and son of Rev. William Symmes (John Adams Vinton, The Symmes Memorial. A Biographical Sketch of Rev. Zechariah Symmes . . . with a Genealogy and Brief Memoirs of Some of His Descendants . . ., Boston, 1873, p. 59–61).

20th. JQA 20th. Adams, John Quincy

Spent the whole day at home. Miss Nancy spent the afternoon and evening at Mr. Duncan's. In the beginning of the Evening my uncle and Aunt arrived, although they were not expected before to-morrow. I am rejoyced at it, for the time they have been gone has appeared long to me, and somewhat dull. My Aunt brought me Letters from London, as two vessels have arrived. I have two from my Mother, which excite my curiosity to an high degree;1 and it cannot be gratified without those from my Sister, which I hope will come by the Post to morrow. I know not, that I was ever so impatient, and I cannot Reason myself out of it.


AA to JQA, 11, 23 Aug.; also received was one from William Vans Murray to JQA, 2 Aug., all in Adams Papers (JQA to AA2, 1–22 Oct., Adams Papers). JQA knew some decision had been made about Royall Tyler, but not yet exactly what. In the first of AA's letters to her son, she wrote that he would be surprised by the contents of some of the letters arriving in packets, but added that β€œat the same time you will approve the wise conduct of the writer [AA2] who has shewn a firmness of mind and prudence which do her honour. Be Silent! We are all rejoiced because it came of her own accord free and unsolicited from her, and was the result I believe of many Months anxiety as you were witness.” For AA2's letter, which was being concluded as AA wrote, see entry for 29 Oct. (below). AA2 wrote a one-sentence letter to Tyler breaking the engagement, returning his miniature and letters, and asking that he give hers to Richard Cranch (JA, Earliest Diary , p. 27).

21st. JQA 21st. Adams, John Quincy

Stormy weather all day. It is a very lucky circumstance, that Mr. and Mrs. Shaw return'd yesterday, as they would have had a very disagreeable time to day. In the morning I went down to Mr. White's with the Chaise, for my Cousin, who came to spend the day, and will not return this Night, as the Storm rather increases than otherwise.