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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0010-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-08-20

20th.

We tried my horse this morning in Mr. Chaumont Chaise, but could not make him go at all: so we put him before one of his horses and Dupré, his servant mounted him, in that manner he went very well. Mr. Broome, and Mr. Brush, who are so kind as to keep us Company as far as Hartford rode in a Chaise of their own. We went only sixteen miles before dinner. The weather is still very warm notwithstanding, the late thunder shower. After dinner we rode 12 miles further to Middletown. Dr. Johnson1 whom I met at Fairfield, gave me a letter for Genl. Parsons,2 one of the aldermen of this City. About 18 months agone five towns in this State, New-Haven, Hartford, New-London, Norwich and Middletown, form'd themselves into Corporations, and are now called Cities. Genl. Parsons told me, he was three years in College with my father, and was then very intimate with him. It gave me peculiar pleasure to meet with so old a friend of my fa• { 309 } ther, and that circumstance greatly increased my reverence for the person.
We walk'd about the City which is one of the smallest of the five. But is very pleasantly situated on Connecticut River. The views from some parts of it are enchanting; and the river is a very beautiful one. In the evening Mr. Chaumont, Mr. Brush, and myself, went and bath'd in it. The general spent some time with us.
1. William Samuel Johnson was a Connecticut lawyer, pre-Revolutionary political leader, but loyalist after independence was declared. He served later as a delegate to the Constitutional Convention and as president of Columbia College, 1787–1800 ( DAB ).
2. Samuel Holden Parsons, brigadier, and later, major general in the Continental Army (Heitman, Register Continental Army, p. 9–10). Parsons was a correspondent of JA 's in the early stages of the war.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0010-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-08-21

21st.

At six in the morning, we all left Middleton: and rode on to Hartford, where we arrived at about 9. The distance is 14 miles. For several miles on this side of Middleton, we rode along by the side of the river: and after we left it, we had from the top of an hill a most elegant prospect. Indeed there are a number in this Country, which looks as prosperous, and as fertile, as any I remember ever to have been through. We had some thoughts of stopping at Weathersfield, which is 3 miles from Hartford; and going to meeting there: this State is very famous for psalm singing, and Weathersfield is peculiarly distinguish'd: but we thought best upon the whole to go forward directly to Hartford. I was much fatigued when I arrived, and took a nap; after which I went and visited Coll. Wadsworth, who arrived in town last evening. We dined at our tavern, and after dinner, went to the meeting. Mr. Chaumont was struck with, the singing: he is a connoisseur in music, and was surprised to find so much harmony here. After Meeting I went and delivered a letter from my father to Mr. Trumbull,1 the author of McFingal, who formerly studied law with him. I sat about 2 hours with him, and had some conversation with him, mostly upon the french poets, in which he is well versed. He is not very partial to Voltaire, and in that I agree perfectly in opinion with him. We afterwards went and Drank tea with Coll. Wadsworth, who lives in a very elegant manner: { 310 } he made a very large fortune, by being agent for the french army, with Mr. Carter, or rather Church:2 he has two fine daughters. Harriot, is not handsome, but very genteel. Betsey is only 11. years old, but promises to be a Beauty. After tea, we went and took a walk round the town, and on the banks of the river which is about 15 feet deep here but there is a bar at some distance from this place, which prevents large vessels from coming up to the town except in the spring when the river overflows. This is considered as the capital of the State, though New-Haven, has some pretensions to that title, and in a commercial view is better situated. We spent the Evening at Coll. Wadsworth's.
1. Dated 28 April ( LbC , Adams Papers). John Trumbull, the Connecticut poet and lawyer, had studied with JA in 1773–1774. He published the first part of his widely popular poem McFingal in 1775. Consisting of four cantos in Hudibrastic verse, it described the blunders of British leaders during the Revolution (Victor E. Gimmestad, John Trumbull, N.Y., 1974).
2. John Barker Church, an Englishman who came to America under the assumed name of John Carter, was Wadworth's business partner during the war (P. H. Woodward, One Hundred Years of the Hartford Bank, Now the Hartford National Bank of Hartford, Conn., Hartford, 1892, p. 32–33).