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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0003-0002-0007

Author: Adams, Abigail
Date: 1784-07-09

Fryday July 9.

A fine day; but little wind; have been upon Deck the chief of the Day, engaged in reading Campbles political Survey of Great Britain.1 None of the advantages which he has enumerated belonging to Britain of Soil, climate, water; &c. but what America possesses in an equal if not superiour degree. As our Country becomes more populous, we shall be daily makeing new discoveries and vie in some future day, with the most celebrated European Nation; for as yet; we may say, with the Queen of Sheby, the one half has not been told. We are in the infancy of Science, and have but just begun to form Societies for the propagation and encouragement of the fine Arts. The <3> 2 most celebrated painters now in Britain are Americans <Mrs. Wright> Mr. Copely and Mr. West.2
1. John Campbell, A Political Survey of Britain; Being a Series of Reflections on the Situation, Lands, Inhabitants, Revenues, Colonies and Commerce of This Island, London, 1774; 2 vols.
2. AA very properly struck Mrs. Wright's name from this list, but it is not determinable whether she did so immediately or after her visit to Patience Wright's “repository” or museum of wax portraits in Cockspur Street, London, later this month; see her journal-letter to Mrs. Cranch, 6–30 July 1784 (MWA; AA, Letters , ed. CFA , 1848, p. 177–178). The present journal being otherwise uncorrected, it is likely that she did so at once, feeling that she had overstated American claims to artistic eminence. On the eccentric Quaker artist and supposed American spy Patience (Lovell) Wright, see DAB ; also Lewis Einstein, Divided Loyalties . . . , Boston and N.Y., 1933, p. 390–395. There is a lively and amusing characterization of her by AA2 in her journal-letter to JQA , 4 July–11 Aug. 1785 (Adams Papers).