Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 2

19th. JQA 19th. Adams, John Quincy

At home all the evening. Master Moody, called to see me; “Don't you think said he, that I am very condescending, thus to come and visit you.” It might be very true, considering the dignity which his years have given him: but the address was very much that of a schoolmaster, whose habits of commanding give him a prescriptive title to importance. He sat with me about an hour, and then departed.

I have been more attentive to studies this week, than I was the last. I have made considerable progress in my folio, and have got some insight, into one or two particulars, which had hitherto been involv'd in intricacy and obscurity. I have spent three evenings this week in my own room, and have in some measure retrieved my particular arrearages: The weather has been very fa-348vorable, so that I have not been forced to drop my pen from the stiffness of my fingers. The winter is already far advanced, and is now rapidly passing away. I can afford, if the severity of the weather should require it, to fall back once or twice more, and the extremity cannot I think last so long as to make me lose the thread of my adventures.

It seems as if we were fated to have no lasting snow this winter. It snow'd again all this forenoon; but so soon, as a sufficient quantity had fallen, to make good sleighing; it turn'd to rain; which I suppose, will sweep it all away again.

20th. JQA 20th. Adams, John Quincy

I attended at Parson Carey's meeting. We had two Sermons, in continuation of a subject upon which he preached last Sunday; the excellency of Christianity. I pass'd the whole evening in writing very industriously; not a little to the increase of this volume.

It thaw'd all last night, but not so as to carry off all the snow. The streets, were like a river the chief of the day, but at about five the wind got round to the North-west, and blew with some violence. In two hours time the streets were dry, and the ice strong enough to bear a man. I think I never saw a more sudden, or a greater alteration in the weather. The wind subsided to a degree, before midnight; but left it very cold.

And now I bid adieu to my pen, and to my book.

21st. JQA 21st. Adams, John Quincy

I began upon the third book of the first part of the Institutes and read a few pages as usual. In the evening I again look'd into Gibbon, and made some progress in his second volume. I have also been reading for these two or three days past, the letters from a Chinese philosopher;1 which are a number of essays upon various subjects, wrought into a kind of a novel: they are entertaining, and exhibit no bad picture of english manners.

The accounts from Boston this evening are disagreeable. The opposite parties in the convention grow warm, and irritable; Mr. Dana and Mr. Gerry it is said have come to an open and public rupture.

Mr. B. Lincoln, the general's son, and Dr. Adams, son to the president of the Senate, died last week.


Oliver Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World; Or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher..., 2 vols., London, 1762.