Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

<del>Thursday</del> Friday <del>19</del> 20th 1781. JQA Friday 20th 1781. Adams, John Quincy
Thursday Friday 19 20th 1781.

This morning we set off from Hunfeld at about 5 o'clock for Gotha where we arriv'd at about 9 o'clock P.M. It is about 66 Miles. The 2 first Posts to Vaach Vacha and to Bercka we had very bad roads but the rest was pretty good; Vaach belongs to the Prince of Hesse-Cassel, and Bercka is the first town in Saxony. Here we saw a new Married couple going about the streets with some musicians before them and I suppose half the village following them. They were dress'd in black and the bride had some large gold lace round her head. We were told that this is the third day they have been about so, and that it is generally done for a week after marriage. This they say is the custom 98throughout Saxony, in the villages. After Bercka hardly a spot of ground was uncultivated, and at that we had an exceeding fine view. We lodge out of the city, at the sign of the Negroe.

<del>Friday</del> Saturday <del>20th</del> 21st 1781. JQA Saturday 21st 1781. Adams, John Quincy
Friday Saturday 20th 21st 1781.

This morning at five o'clock we set off from Gotha and arriv'd at Naumburg (distant 60 Miles) at about 6 o'clock. Pretty good roads the ground wholly cultivated; flat level country till we get about 10 Miles from Naumburg and then it begins to be a little mountainous.

Sunday July 22d 1781. JQA Sunday July 22d 1781. Adams, John Quincy
Sunday July 22d 1781.

This morning at 4 o'clock we set off from Naumburg for Leipsic where we arriv'd at about 11 o'clock A.M. The distance is about 36 Miles. The first post was a little mountainous but pretty well cultivated, the last post is a large plain well cultivated also.

A German Post Mile is 6 English Miles And a German post is generally two German Miles; You pay a German Guilder per post for each horse; for a post and a half you pay a guilder and a half per horse and for two posts in proportion. A German Guilder is about 1 shilling and 10 pence Sterling. The money changes in almost every petty prince's dominions and the same silver money does not pass above 100 Engh. Miles, in general, but French Guineas or Dutch Ducats pass all over Germany. In some places Ducats are better than Louis D'ors, and in others L'D'or's are better than Ducats, but you lose something by either, in the Exchange.

Wednesday July the 25th 1781.<a xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0" href="#DQA01d199n1" class="note" id="DQA01d199n1a">1</a> JQA Wednesday July the 25th 1781. Adams, John Quincy
Wednesday July the 25th 1781.1

On Monday at about 1 o'clock P.M. we set away from Leipsig for Berlin, Where we arriv'd this day at about 11 o'clock A.M. The distance is 120 English Miles; The soil, all the way is thin and sandy, and some part of the way foresty. We rode all night on Monday. At about half past eleven at Night, being in the middle of a Forest and the road being at the bottom of a hill, The postilon run our wheels on one side, upon the hill and there happening to be a mud puddle just there the other side sunk in, and the weight being so heavy on that side, our carriage quite 99overset with one pair of wheels under and the other pair up; but luckily none of us was much hurt. We got the carriage up (by the way of a couple of ropes fasten'd to the wheels Which the horses drew,) but found it was broke in several places, however, we got into it and continued our rout till last night at about 8 o'clock When we arriv'd at Teltow a Village about twelve Miles from Berlin; Where we stopp'd and lodg'd last night; this morning we set off from Teltow and arriv'd here, as I have already mention'd at 11 o'clock. It is the handsomest and the most regular city I ever saw; at the entrance of each Gate the houses form almost a Square; The streets in general are uniform and large. There is one street which goes from one end of the city to the other, and is three English Miles long. The city is situated upon the river Spree. Here the king has a Palace where the Royal Library once was but at present there as building on purpose for it.2


Actually 23–25 July, as the entry makes clear.


JQA undoubtedly meant that the new Royal Library was being built; Dana describes it as being nearly complete (Dana, Journal, 23 July).