Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

20th. Wednesday.

22d. Friday.

1.

The extent of JQA's German language instruction while he lived in St. Petersburg was limited, and the name of his master is unknown. Believing that JA would prefer that JQA learn German rather than Russian, Dana hired an instructor who gave young Adams three lessons a week at about a guinea a month (Dana to JA, 28 March O.S., Adams Papers; Adams Family Correspondence 4:302–303). As later Diary entries indicate, JQA did not long pursue this study, although sixteen years later, while serving as minister to Berlin, he again “began an attempt to acquire the practice of reading German” ( JQA, Diary, 12 March 1798). He soon obtained a mastery of the language. The only remnant of JQA's early German education, completed on 17/28 Aug. 1782, is a transcription, in German script, of Ludwig Holberg's play, Der Geschwätsige Barbierer (The Talkative Barber), M/JQA/25, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 220.