A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1783-10-31

Friday Octr. 31st.

Dined at Mr. Vaughan's:1 in the evening we went to the Drury Lane Theatre, where Isabella, or the Fatal marriage and the Irish Widow, 2 were represented. Mrs. Siddons;3 supposed to be the first Tragick performer in Europe, play'd the part of Isabella. A young Lady, in the next Box to where we were, was so much affected by it as to be near fainting and was carried out. I am told that every Night Mrs. Siddons performs; this happens, to some persons. I never heard of anything like it, in France: Whether this proves there is more Sensibility here, that the Tragedies are deeper, or that they are better performed, is a problem. Perhaps all those Reason's may be given.
1. Probably William or Benjamin Vaughan, sons of Samuel Vaughan, a London merchant, and Sarah, daughter of Benjamin Hallowell of Boston. The younger Vaughans were sympathetic to the American cause, and several later resettled in America; Benjamin, as secretary to Lord Shelburne, was instrumental in obtaining concessions for the American commissioners in 1782 (JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:54; Early Recollections of Robert Hallowell Gardiner, 1782–1864, Hallowell, Maine, 1936, p. 118; entries for 6 Nov. 1783, 2 Oct. 1788, below).
2. David Garrick, Isabella; or, The Fatal Marriage, London, 1757; and The Irish Widow, London, 1772, also by Garrick ( Biographia Dramatica ).
3. Mrs. Sarah Siddons had made her triumphal return to the London stage the previous year in this role ( DNB ).