Descriptive List of Illustrations
John Quincy Adams Begins His Diary, 1779 4
The titlepage and the first page of entries are from John Quincy Adams' earliest extant Diary, cited as D/JQA/1 in the code used by Adams editors to indicate individual Diary booklets. The title was revised from that on the front cover. The meaning of the large capital letters (WORL) and the smaller letters in the margin and in the upper left-hand corner has not been determined; they do not appear in the text of the Diary. The design scrawled by Adams along the bottom of the titlepage is repeated throughout the early Diaries.
John Quincy Adams' Cover Designs for His Second Diary Booklet, 1780 24
For the paper cover of D/JQA/2 Adams drew this winged figure, probably male, standing on a pedestal; beside it he scrawled an abstract design of almost equal height. He included no titlepage. The back cover, showing soldiers and sailors, guns, cannons, a fort, and a ship, may have been drawn from scenes Adams witnessed in northern Spain or southern France on his journey from Bilbao to Bordeaux. Imaginative sketches of this sort are not found in his Diaries after this date.
“Saw the Shipping Which Made a Grand Appearance” 33
These sketches of ships, characteristically named the Frightful and the Horrid, and the two rows of stick figures engaged in combat suggest a young mind fired by imagined military and naval exploits, perhaps conjured up as Adams viewed the scene at the Bordeaux waterfront. The drawings appear in D/JQA/2 on the last page and on the inside of the back cover. This Diary booklet concludes with a description of the harbor.
Francis Dana, by Sharples, Post 1794 90
Francis Dana, a Boston lawyer, served John Adams as secretary to the peace commission and as chargé d'affaires. John Quincy Adams
accompanied him to St. Petersburg as a companion and private secretary in 1781, when Dana was appointed minister to Russia by the Continental Congress. Adams remained with him for over a year, while Dana tried repeatedly and without success to gain recognition from the court of Catherine the Great. In 1787, when Adams was a student at Harvard and heard that Dana had suffered a stroke, he wrote revealingly: “To me, he has been a second father, and his instructions, though too much neglected at the Time when he gave them, have since been more attended to; and have at least check'd some of my failings, and were calculated to reform them entirely.” After a slow recovery Dana resumed his distinguished career as judge and later Chief Justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court. Years later John Quincy Adams christened his third son Charles Francis in remembrance of his deceased brother Charles and “as a token of honor to my old friend and patron judge Dana.” The pastel portrait of Dana reproduced here is by either James or Ellen Sharples, or both of them, and was painted sometime after 1794 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates
, 15:204–217; JA, Diary and Autobiography
; JQA, Diary, 10 March 1787
, below; 13 Sept. 1807; Katharine McCook Knox, The Sharples: Their Portraits of George Washington and His Contemporaries ...
, N.Y., repr. 1972, p. 94–95).
Courtesy of Mr. and Mrs. Victor Notarangelo.
“I Was Always ... Addicted To Books Beyond ... Bounds Of Moderation.” 109
John Quincy Adams' voracious appetite for and preoccupation with books, which he obtained on his frequent travels, led him from an early age to devise methods of identifying his acquisitions. Before he began to use bookplates, he often embellished his books with his signature and the date of purchase and occasionally forewarned any would-be thief. An example of this is found in his copy of John Clarke's Introduction à la syntaxe Latine pour apprendre aisément a composer en Latin ..., Paris, 1773, translated into French by Noel François de Wailly, in which the business label of L. C. R. Baudoin of Lorient has been mounted on the page facing Adams' statement of ownership. The book was purchased during his first trip to Europe in 1778–1779.
John Quincy Adams' first bookplate appears in books purchased after he returned to Europe in late 1779. Designed and executed by hand, it is designated “Book-Plate A” in Henry Adams 2d's note on “The Seals and Book-Plates of the Adams Family” (
Catalogue of JQA's Books
, p. 135–136). The copy illustrated here, from his set of Jean Jacques Rousseau, Oeuvres,
5 vols., London, 1753, vol. 1, shows the elaborate book numbering system Adams devised. The number 17 in the upper right corner distinguishes each set of volumes purchased, while the number in the lower left corner (56–60, in this set) was placed to record each separate volume in his library. This ambitious and cumbersome scheme was soon discarded.
Adams' second bookplate (“Book-Plate B”), which he probably began to use in 1783, was based on the coat of arms of the family of John Adams' mother, the Boylstons. See the descriptive note,
Adams Family Correspondence,
, and illustration facing p. 381. To the coat of arms, John Quincy Adams added the boughs framing the shield and the ribbon at the bottom, meant for a motto, though none was used. “Two Copper plates for the Arms and Name, J.Q.A.” were recorded among the inventory of his belongings in 1784 (
Catalogue of JQA's Books
, p. 138; [Christian Lotter], Inventory of JQA's books, 6 Nov. 1784, Adams Papers
When Adams abandoned his second bookplate for a third, designated “Book-Plate C” by Henry Adams 2d, he patterned it after one designed by his father. Like Bookplate B, it is based on the Boylston coat of arms; the shield is slightly modified, and the roundels are filled in with two lions and a fleur-de-lis. Above the shield, the lion holds the cross in a different position. The shield is encircled with a garter bearing a motto taken from lines in Tacitus' History
Catalogue of JQA's Books
, p. 138–140).
Although it is impossible to tell exactly when John Quincy Adams began to use each of his bookplates, they are occasionally useful in helping to date the purchase of books. Internal evidence shows that he used Bookplate A on books bought between 1780 and 1783; many books with the little-used Bookplate B were added to his collection in 1786 or before. Bookplate C appears in many volumes bought in Russia in 1781 and 1782 and those purchased when he returned to Europe in 1794. Presumably Bookplate C was affixed at a later time to books obtained in Russia.
The quotation about John Quincy Adams' addiction to books comes from the long autobiographical sketch he sent to Skelton Jones in April 1809 (JQA, Writings
Courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior—National Park Service, Adams National Historic Site, Quincy, Massachusetts.
Views of St. Petersburg 120–121
Founded by Peter the Great in the early eighteenth century, St. Petersburg was built along the Neva River and its tributaries and on islands near its mouth, where it empties into the Gulf of Finland in the eastern Baltic. The bottom engraving shows a view of the Neva, with the Admiralty on the left bank and, directly opposite, the Academy of Science. The Academy, which John Quincy Adams occasionally visited during his first sojourn in the Russian capital, was located in Vassilyostrof quarter, an island in the Neva, and near much of St. Petersburg's commercial district. Well endowed with a large faculty and an extensive natural history, geological, and art museum, the Academy derived considerable income from the publication and sale of books, almanacs, court calendars, and gazettes.
The Admiralty, seen from a different perspective in the illustration on the upper left, was a rectangular structure with a gilt spire.
Surrounded by earthen ramparts, it was “remarkable,” one foreign visitor thought, “for nothing but its ugly appearance.” Nevertheless, in close proximity to most of the principal royal and governmental buildings, its immediate environs were “the centre of amusement and business, the brilliant resort of pleasure and fashion.” It was not far from here that Dana and young Adams first took lodgings when they came to the Russian capital. The Admiralty was also the geographical center of the city, most of which was on the left or southern bank, and it was from this point that three long, straight streets called Prospects ran out in various directions, like radii, to the outskirts of the capital.
The most important of these was the Nevski Prospect, which headed southeast about five miles to the monastery of St. Alexander Nevski. The view on the upper right shows this broad avenue at about midpoint, looking back toward the heart of the city. In the foreground is the Annitskoi (or Anitschkov) Palace and the Fontanka River, one of several older rivulets at this time being made into canals, which formed irregular concentric semicircles radiating out from the Admiralty and dividing the city into distinct quarters. The Nevski Prospect was lined with the grand houses of “the great and the opulent” and contained many hotels and shops filled with “a constant bustle” unknown in other quarters of the city.
The views were drawn by Louis Nicolas de Lespinasse and engraved by François Denis Née and Claude Niquet. All of these illustrations come from an untitled volume containing views, maps, tables, charts, and pictures of Russians in native costumes which was owned by John Quincy Adams and is now in the Stone Library at the Old House in Quincy. It is undoubtedly a companion “Atlas” to Nicholas G. C. Le Clerc's Histoire physique, morale, civile et politique de la Russie ancienne,
3 vols., Paris and Versailles, 1783–1784, and Histoire physique, morale, civile et politique de la Russie moderne,
3 vols., Paris and Versailles, 1783–1785. Both sets are among Adams' books at Quincy, and the first volume contains, as does the Atlas, the business label of the St. Petersburg bookseller Etter, from whom Adams purchased them while he was minister there. A number of references throughout Le Clerc's volumes indicate that these plates were to be reproduced as a separate volume. Harvard has another edition (Histoire ... moderne,
1783–) of these volumes, given by John Quincy Adams to the college on 29 September 1797, when he was minister plenipotentiary to the court at Berlin (Storch, Picture of Petersburg,
p. 53, 297–301, 324–344, 38–39, 29, 20–22, 43–44; Bénézit, Dict. ... des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs
Courtesy of the U.S. Department of the Interior—National Park Service, Adams National Historic Site, Quincy, Massachusetts.
The Variétés Amusantes, Paris, 1786 213
Founded in 1778 or 1779, the Variétés Amusantes moved in 1785 from the Boulevards to the Palais Royal, where its new home was built on a site known today as the Parterre d'Enée. Although the actors included such renowned performers as Volange, the come•
dies and other productions were, in the words of John Quincy Adams, “calculated to please the mob,” like those of many small Paris theaters of the time. “I wonder how people of any delicacy, and especially Ladies can frequent” this theater, he wrote in his Diary. “The plays acted have seldom much wit, and almost universally are very indecent.” While other, more established theaters were virtually deserted of patrons, these were “always crowded, though they present nothing but low buffoonery, and scurrility. O tempora, O mores!” Despite his moralizing, Adams attended performances here and at similar theaters throughout the remaining months of his stay in Paris. This illustration is from a group of engravings called “Les Délices du Palais-Royal,” in the Hennin Collection of the Bibliothèque Nationale
(Max Aghion, Le théâtre à Paris au XVIII siècle,
Paris, , p. 279–282; Howard C. Rice Jr., Thomas Jefferson's Paris,
Princeton, 1976, p. 16; JQA, Diary, 4
, 17 Jan. 1785
Courtesy of the Bibliothèque Nationale, Paris.
Thomas Jefferson, by John Trumbull, 1787 223
In early 1785, during the few months that John Quincy Adams remained in Paris after Jefferson's arrival, the young man came to borrow books and spend evenings with the new minister, “whom I love to be with,” he recorded in his Diary, “because he is a man of very extensive learning, and pleasing manners.” Even forty years later, John Adams recalled the influence that Jefferson had over John Quincy Adams at a time when the elder Adams referred to him as “our John” because, he told the Virginian, “he appeared to me to be almost as much your boy as mine.”
Trumbull, who had returned to London in 1783 to resume his studies with Benjamin West, had gradually turned his interest from classical subjects to events and personalities of American national history, and Jefferson, whom he met in 1785, “encouraged me to persevere in this pursuit.” The following year and again in the fall of 1787 Trumbull spent some time in Paris with Jefferson, and it was on the second trip that he painted the minister's portrait. Regarded by one authority as Trumbull's “most successful portrait of the statesman” and the model for numerous copies, it became part of the detail in the original small Declaration of Independence.
The portrait shows the Virginian's own fine natural reddish hair instead of a powdered wig (JQA, Diary, 16 Feb.
, 11 March 1785
, below; JA, Works
, 10:414; The Autobiography of Colonel John Trumbull, Patriot-Artist, 1756–1843,
ed. Theodore Sizer, New Haven, 1953, p. 92–93, 152; Fiske Kimball, “The Life Portraits of Jefferson and their Replicas,” Amer. Philos. Soc., Procs.,
88:501, 503, 505 [Dec. 1944]).
Courtesy of the Yale University Art Gallery.
The Comédie Italienne, Paris, Circa 1780S 229
Established in 1716 and a royal troupe from 1723, the Comédie Italienne, or Théâtre Italien, as it was also known, had originally begun with an Italian repertory but gradually worked in French
comedies and plays until, by the late 1770s, it was Italian in name only. The merger of the Comédie with the Opéra Comique in 1762 allowed it to present, in addition, light and comic operas, interspersed with musical plays and parodies, all of which had become fashionable in Paris during the final decades of the ancien régime. It was here, as well as at several other Paris theaters, that John Quincy Adams attended numerous performances with his family, Jefferson, and other Americans from 1783 until his departure for America. Some plays, such as Sedaine and Grétry's Richard Coeur de Lion,
which he saw on 2 March 1785 at the Comédie Italienne, made such “an indelible impression” that Adams was able to recall lines and sentiments from the production 45 years later. In 1783 the Comédie moved from the Hôtel de Bourgogne to a new home, shown here, designed by royal architect Jean François Heurtier. The rear of the building was on the Boulevard; two new streets, the rue Favart and rue Marivaux, were cut along its sides; and the front of the theater faced a small square. After removal to its new quarters, the company experienced several profitable seasons, then struggled throughout most of the rest of the century. It disbanded in 1801 (Clarence D. Brenner, The Théâtre Italien: Its Repertory, 1716–1793, With a Historical Introduction, University of California Publications in Modern Philology,
63 : 1–35; JQA, Diary, 7 Nov. 1830,
This engraving by Née, after the work of Jean Baptiste Lallemand, is from Jean Benjamin de Laborde and others, Description général et particulière de la France ..., 12 vols. [called Voyage pittoresque de la France ..., after vol. 4], Paris, 1781–, vol. 10, Monuments de Paris et des environs, plate no. 75.
Courtesy of the Boston Athenaeum.
The Marquis De Lafayette, by Joseph Boze, 1790 246
After the Marquis' return to France from America in January 1785, John Quincy Adams dined regularly at the home of Lafayette, who “entertained all the Americans every Monday.” Adams recorded with unusual detail one of his conversations with the Marquis in which the Frenchman severely criticized his peers. Adams concluded that he spoke “somewhat openly and freely for a french nobleman,” adding “perhaps he thought that among Americans, he could freely speak his mind without any danger.” On Adams' return trip to America several months later, he carried with him important letters and documents for various Americans from the Marquis, especially the whale oil proposals to aid New England merchants who were now without a market because of the war with Great Britain.
This portrait of Lafayette was commissioned by Thomas Jefferson after his return to the United States. In a letter to his close associate William Short on 6 April 1790, Jefferson wrote that “my pictures of American worthies will be absolutely incomplete till I get the M. de la fayette's.” Short selected as painter Joseph Boze, who
had done many portraits and miniatures of the royal family and other leading Paris personalities, and who Short later said had “taken by far the best likenesses of the Marquis.” When completed, it cost Jefferson 16 guineas, 3 1/2 more for the gilt frame, and 12 livres for packing for shipment to America. After Jefferson's death most of his paintings were sold at public sales in New York and Boston to help clear up his debt-laden estate. Two years later this painting was given to the Massachusetts Historical Society by the widow of John W. Davis, a federal district court clerk and son of John Davis, president of the Society, 1818–1835 (JQA, Diary, 4
, 9 April
, 9 May 1785
, below; Jefferson, Papers
, 16:318; 18:32, 356; Bénézit, Dict.... des peintres, sculpteurs, dessinateurs et graveurs
; Mabel M. Swan, The Athenaeum Gallery, 1827–1873,
Boston, 1940, p. 34, 85–89; Boston Daily Evening Transcript,
18 July 1833; MHS, Procs.
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
John Quincy Adams' Return to America, July 1785 291
Beginning with the entries of 1785, the John Quincy Adams Diary went beyond the random and occasionally embellished jottings of the earlier period. Although the Diary booklets previous to 1785 show some gradual transition to more disciplined summaries of daily activities and begin to reveal Adams' thoughts and views, major changes in appearance and style occurred when he began D/JQA/10 on 1 January 1785, as is shown by the entry illustrated here, written with a consistent hand in well-thought-out prose. In August 1783 Adams purchased three blank, leather-bound books, which eventually became Diaries 10, 11, and 12; but it was another year and a half before he resolved to keep a consistent, day-by-day record. Then he began to write in his first permanent book for diary-keeping purposes, rather than rely upon the small booklets or folded sheets he had hitherto used.
City Hall, New York, the Residence of Congress from 1785 to 1790 302
In December 1784, when the Confederation Congress resolved to hold its meetings in New York, the New York Common Council offered, and Congress accepted, use of City Hall, located at Broad and Wall streets. Congress convened in January 1785 and continued to meet there until 1790, when, as the United States Congress, it moved to Philadelphia. Congress gathered on the second floor of the east wing. In 1787 a visitor described the chamber as filled with richly carved mahogany tables and chairs and adorned with portraits of Washington, some slain general officers of the Revolution, and the King and Queen of France. Only days after arriving in New York in July 1785, John Quincy Adams found it impossible to refuse the offer of President Richard Henry Lee to live at his house during
his New York stay. For a month Adams was a center of attention among congressmen, foreign consuls, and families of New York society. Barely eighteen years old, he dined or walked nearly every day with men from the North or South, sharing his views on politics and Europe.
This view of City Hall, New York's second, which was completed in 1704, was adapted from a sketch by David Grim. It depicted the structure as it appeared ca. 1745–1747 and was drawn from memory in 1818 after its demolition. The adapted sketch is in David T. Valentine's Manual of the Corporation of the City of New-York for 1856, N.Y., 1856, facing page 32. Except for a small, crude drawing by Du Simitière, ca. 1769, it is the only complete sketch showing the building before it was altered by L'Enfant in 1788, to become known thereafter as Federal Hall. A third story was added in 1763 (I. N. Phelps Stokes, The Iconography of Manhattan Island, 1498–1909, 6 vols., N.Y., 1915–1928, 1:272; 3:538, 863; 5:1219).
Courtesy of The New-York Historical Society.
The Parsonage of the First Parish Church of Haverhill 402
This late-nineteenth-century photograph, the only known extant view, shows the house in which John Quincy Adams' uncle and aunt, the Reverend John and Elizabeth (Smith) Shaw, lived while Shaw served as minister of the First Church from 1778 to 1794. It was here that Adams spent the fall and winter of 1785–1786 preparing himself, under the tutelage of Shaw, in Greek and Latin, for admission to Harvard. Built in 1773, the house remained the parsonage until it was sold in 1831. It was demolished in 1908. The portico, pillars, and door were probably added in the middle nineteenth century. In a view of Haverhill drawn ca. 1815 by a Mrs. Green, published in The Saltonstall Papers, 1607–1815,
ed. Robert E. Moody, MHS, Colls.
, 81: facing 326, the house without these additions is seen near the top of the hill on Main Street and opposite Shaw's Church, the third building of the First Parish Church (1766–1837). The size and elegance of the parsonage reflected the wealth that the town had garnered from inland and coastal trading before its postwar decline (Letter from Howard W. Curtis, Curator of Special Collections, Haverhill Public Library, 8 Nov. 1978, Adams Papers Editorial Files
From the Haverhill Collection, Special Collections Department, and Courtesy of the Trustees of the Haverhill Public Library.