Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

18th. JQA 18th. Adams, John Quincy

All day within; the weather uncommonly mild. Mr. Thaxter spent the Evening and supped here. Began the 2d. volume of the Essay upon the human Understanding. There are many things, somewhat abstruse, in this book, and I have not at present time to read them with sufficient attention, but there is one thing, which I never heard of, and which surprized me. He seems to adopt the opinion of the transmigration of souls; and in a very 407long note, where he defends himself, against the bishop of Worcester, he rather enlarges upon it. All this is upon the subject of identity, which takes up a considerable part of the book.

19th. JQA 19th. Adams, John Quincy

Mr. Evans preach'd in the forenoon from Luke XV. 18. 19. I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven and before thee. And am no more worthy to be called thy Son: make me as one of thy hired Servants. In the afternoon the two ensuing verses. And he arose, and came to his father: but when he was yet a great way off, his father saw him, and had compassion, and ran, and fell on his neck, and kissed him. And the son said unto him, Father I have sinned against heaven, and in thy sight, and am no more worthy to be called thy Son. There is not perhaps in the whole Bible, a subject upon which a clergyman, can employ his talents more usefully. This Story naturally leads to the encouragement of all the virtues that adorn human Nature, and shows, in a striking light the terrible consequences of Vice. Mr. Evans had two good Sermons upon it; there was an apparent imitation of Yorick's,1 but I did not like them the less for that. He did not take certain heads to his discourse, as is a general custom among our Clergymen; but I think like Mr. Osgood, who said he did not see what good a parcel of heads without any bodies, could do. The discourses were moral, and practical; and I prefer hearing none at all, to hearing those of any other kind. Mr. Redington, and Judge Blodget were here in the Evening.


Laurence Sterne, Sermons of Mr. Yorick.

20th. JQA 20th. Adams, John Quincy

Snow'd almost all day. In the evening I went over to Bradford, with my brother. Eliza, thought to be sure somebody was sick, that we came in such weather; stay'd a couple of hours: as I return'd I stopp'd in half an hour at Mr. White's.

21st. JQA 21st. Adams, John Quincy

The weather cleared up in the Night; somewhat cold, and very windy. Mr. Evans set off in the afternoon for Portsmouth.

Finished the 4th. and began the 5th. Book of the Iliad. The 200 408last lines in the 4th. are much more difficult than any thing I have met with in Greek as yet.