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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0005-0011-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-10-20

Monday October 20th. 1783.1

Left Auteuil, with my Father, for London,2 at about 9 o'clock in the morning; rode 9 ½ posts as far as St. Just and stopp'd for the night. We dined at Chantilly.
1. First entry in D/JQA/9, which covers the period 20 Oct.–6 Dec., but lacks entries for 27 Oct.; 5, 19, 22, 27–28 Nov.; and 3–4 Dec. This Diary booklet, measuring approximately 4½″ × 7¼″, consists of nine sheets of folded paper to create 36 pages, only 17 of which were eventually used by JQA . The booklet is accompanied by a thinner sheet of paper, folded over like the booklet, though somewhat shorter and wider, which is laid in at the end of diary entries for 1783. With some gaps, it contains entries for 8 Aug.–11 Sept. 1784.
2. While resting in Auteuil, JA gradually recovered from his fever, but was still “extremely emaciated and weak.” He was urged by his friends and doctor to travel to England and take the waters at Bath. By mid-October he had decided upon a stay there of six weeks. During all this time JQA kept up with some of his studies. He began translating Caesar's Commentaries (M/JQA/44, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 239), probably continued to translate some of Horace's Odes (M/JQA/42, same, Reel No. 237), a task begun under the tutelage of Dumas, and copied various pieces of English poetry from William Enfield's highly popular anthology and elocutionary book, The Speaker, or Miscellaneous Pieces, Selected from the Best English Writers . . ., London, 1774 (M/JQA/43, same, Reel No. 238). Most of his time, however, was probably spent as secretary to his father, who commented that JQA wrote in “a good hand very fast, and is very Steady, to his Pen and his Books” (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:142–144; Book of Abigail and John , p. 364).