Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

23d. JQA 23d. Adams, John Quincy

At 9 this morning I went to see about getting my trunks to Haverhill: Mr. Cranch told me; they have been put on board a vessel, that will sail in two or three days for Newbury Port and from thence, a conveyance will easily be found for sending them to Haverhill. I visited Mr. Toscan; and was afterwards introduced to Mr. Hughes, Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Gardiner, all three Lawyers. The last, on the 4th. of July, pronounced the most curious, blank verse discourse, that I ever read.1 He shows beyond all dispute that he is a great admirer of blank verse. Some critics pretend that blank verse is the most noble, and most perfect, in English Poetry. Mr. G: opinion on that subject seems to go further still. He seems to think that it is preferable even upon common occasions to prose, and when I was introduced, I expected to hear him break out into some Raphsody.

Dined at the French Consuls, and in the afternoon went with him and visited the Governor, and Mr. Russel: I there saw Mr. Seaver who arrived yesterday in a vessel from St. Petersburg. He inform'd us that the Russian Army in time of Peace was composed of 450,000 men. This was a piece of news to me, and would be I fansy to a Russian: I went with the Consul and Mr. Serane, and drank tea at Mr. Tudor's,2 who was very polite. Mr. Serane, sung, play'd on the violin, and on the guittar; this gentleman, though only nineteen years old, is quite a virtuose. I spent the evening, and supped at Mr. B. Austin's.3 I was again, unwillingly 329obliged to play all the evening at Whist. I used formerly to be very fond of cards, and could spend evening after evening at play. Whence my present aversion to them arises I know not: but wish it may continue; for I think, that if playing cards is excusable in a woman, it is, for a man, but a miserable loss of time at best. When we rose from Supper it was so late, that I supposed Deacon Smith's family would be in bed: and went with Mr. Tyler who lodges at Mr. Palmer's. It was 12 before we retired.


An Oration, Delivered July 4, 1785, At the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, In Celebration of the Anniversary of American Independence, [Boston], 1785.


William Tudor, judge advocate in the Continental Army and a Boston lawyer, who had studied law with JA from 1769 to 1772 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 17:252–265).


Benjamin Austin, a popular Boston political figure ( DAB ).

24th. JQA 24th. Adams, John Quincy

This forenoon I was present at the marriage, of Mr. Nash and Miss Apthorp. They were married in the Chapel by Mr. Parker,1 as Mr. Freeman,2 the minister there, not having receiv'd orders, cannot perform the Ceremony. He was however present and in the Pulpit, where he was kind enough to give me a place. Mr. Tyler, who is intimate with him, introduced me to him. Mr. Nash was dress'd in his uniform, plainly, as becomes an Officer, and a gentleman. Miss Apthorp, was elegantly dress'd, though the colour of her gown appear'd to me, sober for the occasion. The old man3 look'd happy, as if he was giving his Daughter to a member of the British royal family. The mother appeared dejected, nor can any person, who considers the consequences of this event, wonder at it. The poor girl herself, as the ceremony was performing, trembled like a leaf—and for my heart I could not help trembling for her too. Her prospects are not, I think to be envied. Her father may think it, an honour for her to be connected with a british officer.

Mais sans argent l'honneur n'est qu'une maladie.4

The gentleman's father is purser on board a king's ship. He himself is 1st. Lieutenant on board another; his fortune independent of his pay, is not large I am told, and surely if an officer's pay is scarcely sufficient to maintain him alone, it must fall short when he has a wife and family to support. But what with many People, would be a still greater objection to their union, is that this pair 3 330months ago were perfect strangers to each other. Tinder, is but too often the emblem of a sudden passion: I wish it may not be in this Case. I sincerely hope, that the maxim audaces fortuna juvat,5 may prove just, and that every sort of Happiness may attend them through Life.

Dined at Mr. Palmer's, and sent an excuse to Mr. Russel, who had invited me. The weather was disagreeable all the morning, and at about noon it began to be hazy. It continued so, all the afternoon; but I intended notwithstanding that, to go out this evening as far as Genl. Warren's. I had my horse saddled and bridled, when the rain began to shower down in such a manner, that I determined at length to remain in town. I went with Mr. Tyler, and spent the evening with Mr. Gore,6 a lawyer. He spoke of a Mr. le Washington,7 who arrived here in the last vessel from London; a traveller greatly improved in the art of fiction. Slept again at Mr. Palmer's.


Samuel Parker was installed as minister of Trinity Church in Boston in 1774 and was elected Episcopal Bishop of the Eastern Diocese in 1804 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 16:76–84).


James Freeman, appointed reader at King's Chapel, Boston, in 1783 and ordained rector by the congregation in 1787 after higher Episcopal authorities in New York refused to ordain him because of his unorthodox views (Francis William Pitt Greenwood, History of King's Chapel in . . ., Boston, 1833, p. 135, 139–142).


James Apthorp, of Braintree, the father of Lucy Ann (John Wentworth, The Wentworth Genealogy, 2 vols., Boston, 1870, 1:300–301, 306).


“Mais l'honneur sans argent n'est qu'une maladie,” Jean Racine, Les Plaideurs, Act I, scene i, [line 11] (Oeuvres de Jean Racine avec des commentaires, 8 vols., Paris, 1768, 2:178). There are two editions of Racine's works at MQA published before this date, both with JQA's bookplate.


Fortune favors the bold.


Christopher Gore, member of the state constitutional convention in 1788 and in 1796 commissioner to settle American claims against England under Jay's Treaty. He later served Massachusetts as governor and U.S. Senator ( Hist. of Suffolk Co., Mass. , 1:225; Biog. Dir. Cong. ).


Cited in the Massachusetts Spy, 15 Sept., as “Mr. Washington,” but otherwise unidentified. JQA's letter to AA2, 19–30 Sept. (Adams Papers) makes it clear that Washington was a teller of “extravagant Stories” and not a writer of fiction.