Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

25th. JQA 25th. Adams, John Quincy

Christmas day.1 Among the Roman Catholics and the followers of the Church of England it is a great and Important day, but it is not observed in this Country, nor any where I believe by the dissenters. We had a couple of doctrinal Sermons to day. One from Isaiah XLIV. 23. Sing, o ye heavens; for the Lord hath done it: shout, ye lower parts of the Earth; break forth into singing, ye mountains o forest and every tree therein; for the Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and glorified himself in Israel. The other from John XIII. 8. Jesus answered him, If I wash thee not, thou hast no part with me.

The weather has been very pleasant. Eliza is unwell and was not at meeting. In the Evening I read to the Ladies, the 2d. book of the Conquest of Canäan; it is not inferior to the first, but the hero has nothing to do in it, and it consists all in relation, as the 2d. and 3d. Books of the Æneid. The hymn to the Sun, is beautiful. Mina's account of the Creation, and the subsequent history, is as concise, and comprehensive, as any thing of the kind I have read: the observation she makes concerning the Sun,

Yon orb, whose brightness claims thy raptur'd praise, Is but a beam of his unbounded blaze.2

is admirable, but the author must have supposed that the Educa-377tion of young Ladies, at the time he writes of, was much more excellent, than is given them in this age of the world. It is probable, that the reading of history has since been replaced by that of novels and plays, which were not invented then; young Ladies now, would be much more expert at giving an account of some high flown Romance, than of any history, even that of their own Country.


A Sunday.


Bk. II, lines 153–154.

26th. JQA 26th. Adams, John Quincy

Exceeding cold Weather all day. Such as I have not felt these three years. Went and pass'd the Evening at Mr. White's. Eliza, has been unwell since Saturday, but is recovering. The Ladies play'd several tunes on the harpsichord, and make considerable proficiency.

Peggy, is a fine girl, and her case claims the Compassion of every body that knows her. The Unhappy state of mind which she laboured under last Winter, seems an hereditary disorder: her Mother has been in the same Case; Mrs. Duncan, whose dreadful fate has been mentioned was Mrs. White's Sister, and a brother1 not long since, put an end to himself; in the same state of Mind. This must necessarily be a disadvantage to her, for her future settlement in Life. And although she has recovered, and is in good Spirits, yet a great curiosity, and a continual absence of mind, are evident proofs, that some traces of her disorder still remain: she was one of the most promising young Ladies in the Town; with an high Spirit, such as every female, at her time of Life should be possessed of, and a cheerful agreeable disposition; I sincerely wish every consequence of her former disorder, may, as most of them already have, gradually disappear, and that she may wholly recover her first state of mind, not to lose it again. She seems to have inherited none of her father's qualities. He appears to have a great deal of the dutchman in him. If he has none of the delicious enjoyments that proceed from deep Sensibility, neither is he exposed to the painful Sensations, which it often causes.


Abiel Leonard committed suicide in 1777 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:450–455).