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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


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Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0011-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-09-10

10th.

We all dined this day at Mr. White's. The only other strangers present, were Mr. Smith,1 the minister of the other meeting house in this place, and Mr. B. Bartlett,2 a merchant. Mr. Smith proposes going into the Jersies, and to set out in the beginning of next week. A Vessel belonging to Mr. White was launch'd in the afternoon, but we missed seeing it, as it went sooner than was expected.
1. Hezekiah Smith was installed as minister in 1766, just after Haverhill's New Lights had formed a Baptist society; there he remained throughout his life (James McLachlan, Princetonians, 1748–1768: A Biographical Dictionary, Princeton, 1976, p. 411–413).
2. Bailey Bartlett married Peggy White, sister of JQA 's Harvard classmate Leonard White, in Nov. 1786 (Daniel Appleton White and Annie Frances Richards, The Descendants of William White, of Haverhill, Mass. . . ., Boston, 1889, p. 77–78).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0011-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-09-11

11th.

Attended Mr. Shaws meeting; forenoon, and afternoon. Took a walk down by the side of the river; with Mr. Thaxter. The Situation of the town is very agreeable.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0011-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-09-12

12th.

Spent part of the forenoon with Mr. Thaxter at his Office. At 12 o'clock, we went, to a Collation, given by Dr. Woodbury who is building an house, and who moreover was yesterday first published for marriage; it seems that upon both these occasions it is Customary here, for a man to invite all his male friends, to an entertainment of this kind, and I as a visitor at Mr. Shaw's was ask'd. After dinner, I went out with my brother and a gun, but could meet with no game. A solitary Robin, was all we brought, back. We found Company when we return'd. Mr. Collins, the minister of a neighbouring town. Miss Hazen thinks he is not sufficiently attentive to his wife, and I am of her opinion. His looks I think are enough to chill one in a hot day. I should rather take him for a dutchman, than an American.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0011-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-09-13

13th.

At about 9 this morning we left Haverhill, cross'd the river, and stopp'd first at Mr. Symmes's, and afterwards at Mr. French's, but a few minutes at each. After we had rode, about a { 323 } mile beyond Mr. French's house, we turn'd away from the road we came to Haverhill by, and took the Lincoln road: but I was very much surprised, to see that very few persons knew, any thing about Lincoln, although it is not more than 22 miles distant from Andover: I met a man whom I judg'd by his appearance to be turn'd of sixty: when I enquired of him the road to Lincoln; his answer was, that he knew of no such place: how many mortals,

On the self same spot,

Are born, take nurture, propagate, and rot,1

entirely ignorant of every thing that lies ten miles beyond it? But in this Country, where every man has an opportunity of displaying the talents he possesses; and where the education of the People, is so much more attended to, than in any part of Europe, or perhaps of the world, I did not expect to find beings of that sort.

[] rich [] poor [] [] [] august

How great! how low! how abject! How sublime!

How wonderful! how complicate is man!2

We rode through about 8 miles of sand, and 4 of rocks, after which the road was better: at about 6 o'clock, we arrived at Lincoln, and immediately went to my aunt Smith's.3 She has five children with her, and one at Mr. Shaw's.4 Billy, Louisa, Polly, Isaac, and Charles are here. The eldest is not more than 14 years old: the youngest is about 6. Oh! it almost makes my heart, shrink within me; when I look on these fine Children; to think of the Prospects before them: entirely the effects of extravagance in a father: what a Lesson! Surely providence makes sometimes use of these means, to terrify those who can be actuated by no other principle, into the performance of their duty.
1. “An Essay on Man,” Epistle II, line 63.
2. “How poor, how rich, how abject, how august,/How complicate, how wonderful, is man!” (Edward Young, “The Complaint; Or, Night Thoughts,” Night I, lines [68–69], Poetical Works, 2 vols., Boston, 1854, 1:6).
3. Catharine Louisa Salmon Smith (1749–1824), wife of William Smith Jr., the brother of AA . Smith (1746–1787), as the rest of JQA 's entry suggests, had burdened his wife and children with cares through his improvidence and neglect, though his precise activities have not been fully pieced together. He had settled his family on his father's property in Lincoln before the Revolution and was undoubtedly engaged in trade during the years after the war. Smith had been absent from his family for the past two years and was seldom heard from, and his wife, in a { 324 } letter to AA of 26 Oct. (Adams Papers), hoped “for his reformation and restoration to virtue and to his family.” According to other family members, Smith suffered from alcoholism. Besides having deserted his family, Smith was on trial in New York during these months on a charge of counterfeiting, of which he was later acquitted. When he died two years later, he was still separated from his family (Mary Smith Cranch to AA , 10 Dec. 1785; 22 March–9 April 1786, 21 Oct. 1787, Adams Papers; CFA, Diary , 5:143–144).
4. This was Elizabeth (1771–1854), the youngest oldest of the Smiths' six children.