Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

Tuesday June the 12th 1781. JQA Tuesday June the 12th 1781. Adams, John Quincy
Tuesday June the 12th 1781.

This morning after breakfast I went to Mr. Sigourny's to see about some quill's. He gave me a paper of the place where he buys his; after that I went and bought some. I din'd at home, Mr. Dennie, Mr. Donalson, and Mr. Sigourny and Mr. Du Barry din'd with us; Mr. Dennie, Mr. Donalson and Mr. Du Barry have just arriv'd here from the West India's; after dinner I went to see Mr. Greves and Mr. Brailsford, but they were not at home. I went to the first bible to see Mr. Bordly; I stay'd with him sometime and then came home.

From Guthrie's Grammar. NETHERLANDS. Chap 4th §:I.1


Here follows, on four pages of the Diary, the first three “sections,” as JQA describes them, of the account of the United Provinces of the Netherlands by William Guthrie, Geographical Grammar , p. 399–400, at which point are described 78the physical “extent, situation and boundaries,” as well as the “air, seasons, soil, and face of the country.” JQA collectively designated material copied from Guthrie as “Chapter 4,” assigning “section” numbers roughly matching Guthrie's topical subheadings, which are unnumbered in the source. JQA acquired a copy of the 1779 edition sometime in 1781 ( Catalogue of JQA's Books ).

Wednesday June the 13th 1781. JQA Wednesday June the 13th 1781. Adams, John Quincy
Wednesday June the 13th 1781.

This morning Mr. Cerisier1 came here and said that he had read in the Brussels Gazette, that there had been a second action between Lord Cornwallis and General Green, that General Green had been repulsed with the loss of 400 men, but he says he don't know by which way the news comes.2

At eleven o'clock I went to take a walk with Mr. Bordly and brother Charles; we met Mr. Le Roi on the Way. He ask'd us to go to Sloot Sloten with him this afternoon, we told him we would.

Mr. Cerisier din'd with us, after dinner brother Charles and I went to Sloot, which is a small village, about 7 Miles from Amsterdam, we found Mr. Hartsinck, Mr. Le Roi, Young Mr. Chabanel, Mr. Scravensvert, and Mr. Menoir there; we went into water, in the Haerlem meer. We got home at about half past 8 o'clock.

From Guthrie's Grammar. (continued from yesterday) Chap 4th §: 4th.3


Antoine Marie Cerisier, a French publicist and historical writer living in Amsterdam, who earlier in 1781 established the periodical paper, Le politique hollandais, the Dutch Politician, which actively promoted the American cause and was widely read (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:454).


There was no “second battle” after Guilford Court House between Greene and Cornwallis. Greene fought Rawdon unsuccessfully at Hobkirk's Hill on 25 April. Technically Rawdon was under Cornwallis' command. American casualties numbered 134 (Willard M. Wallace, Appeal to Arms, N.Y., 1951, p. 240–241).


Here follow, on about two and one-quarter pages in the Diary, the description of Dutch rivers and harbors, and Section 5, “vegetable and animal productions by sea and land,” from Guthrie, Geographical Grammar, p. 400–401.

Thursday June the 14th 1781. JQA Thursday June the 14th 1781. Adams, John Quincy
Thursday June the 14th 1781.

This morning Mr. Jennings and Mr. Greves came here with An English Gazette; in which there is the detail of the action between Cornwallis and Green. Cornwallis writes1 that he has obtain'd a compleat victory; but he has thought proper to run away to Wilmington, General Green is at Camden; Cornwallis has made a Proclamation of pardon to every body (murderers ex-79cepted) but does not mention of one single man's having came over to him yet; his army was two days without any provisions. He writes in one part of his letter that a defensive war wou'd be certain destruction to the british forces; in another, he says he can only act upon the defensive; therefore by his own confession let him act after what manner he will; it is certain destruction to the british there.

Mr. Jennings and Mr. Greves breakfasted here; I did not go out in the forenoon: Mr. Waldo din'd with us; after dinner I went and took a walk with Mr. Dana. We went to the printer's of the Amsterdam Gazette for a couple of old numbers for Mr. Dana, We Walk'd to the Western market; and look'd about the shops, and then came home.

Continued From Yesterday from Guthries Grammar. Chap: 4th §:6th.2


Cornwallis to Lord George Germain, Secretary of State for the Colonies, 17 March (two letters), Cornwallis to Germain, 18 April, with his Proclamation of 18 March, all published in the London Chronicle for the Year 1781, 49:537–540 (5–7 June).


On the next two and one-half pages in the Diary JQA has copied the first paragraph of the section entitled “population, inhabitants, manners, customs and diversions,” from Guthrie, Geographical Grammar , p. 401.