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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0011-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-09-22

22d.

This morning I sent down a Cart with my two trunks that are going to Haverhill. I intended to go myself in the forenoon, but at length resolv'd to go and dine with Mrs. Quincy, and from thence go forward to Boston. My two good Cousins went in the Chaise; I walk'd it, with Mr. Tyler. We were not expected, and somewhat late: we found Parson Wibird there, who ask'd me abundance, of questions, mostly concerning the Women of the different Countries I had been in. I observed this to him, and he said, “Yes I always inquire about the best things first” an honourable testimony in favour of the Ladies, as it comes from an old Batchelor; who I believe would have spent his days much more pleasantly than he has, had he taken to himself, one of these best things thirty five years ago. Of all negative happiness, I think, that attending the life of an old batchelor is the most insipid.

On some fond breast the parting soul relies,

Some pious drops the closing eye requires.1

After dinner Mr. Tyler, and I mounted our horses, and trudg'd { 328 } on towards Boston: at Milton, we stopp'd for half an hour at Genl: Warren's, and found Mrs. Otis there. At about 5 o'clock, we got to the neck: there Mr. Tyler left me, and went to Jamaica Plains where his mother lives. When I got to my uncle Cranch's lodgings, he told me, that the Stage between this and Haverhill, will not go this week; so that my trunks cannot be sent. Went to my uncle Smith's. Mrs. Otis and Mrs. Welch spent the evening there, and I was obliged to take a hand at whist, which is never very agreeable to me, but which I always think myself obliged to do, when a party cannot otherwise be made.
1. Thomas Gray, “Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard,” lines 89–90. On 29 Sept. 1782 JQA copied this poem into one of his poetical commonplace books (M/JQA/26, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 221). JQA also may have had in his possession at this time the Poetical Works of Mr. Gray, new edn., London, 1785, now at MQA, which contains his bookplate.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0011-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-09-23

23d.

At 9 this morning I went to see about getting my trunks to Haverhill: Mr. Cranch told me; they have been put on board a vessel, that will sail in two or three days for Newbury Port and from thence, a conveyance will easily be found for sending them to Haverhill. I visited Mr. Toscan; and was afterwards introduced to Mr. Hughes, Mr. Lincoln, and Mr. Gardiner, all three Lawyers. The last, on the 4th. of July, pronounced the most curious, blank verse discourse, that I ever read.1 He shows beyond all dispute that he is a great admirer of blank verse. Some critics pretend that blank verse is the most noble, and most perfect, in English Poetry. Mr. G: opinion on that subject seems to go further still. He seems to think that it is preferable even upon common occasions to prose, and when I was introduced, I expected to hear him break out into some Raphsody.
Dined at the French Consuls, and in the afternoon went with him and visited the Governor, and Mr. Russel: I there saw Mr. Seaver who arrived yesterday in a vessel from St. Petersburg. He inform'd us that the Russian Army in time of Peace was composed of 450,000 men. This was a piece of news to me, and would be I fansy to a Russian: I went with the Consul and Mr. Serane, and drank tea at Mr. Tudor's,2 who was very polite. Mr. Serane, sung, play'd on the violin, and on the guittar; this gentleman, though only nineteen years old, is quite a virtuose. I spent the evening, and supped at Mr. B. Austin's.3 I was again, unwillingly { 329 } obliged to play all the evening at Whist. I used formerly to be very fond of cards, and could spend evening after evening at play. Whence my present aversion to them arises I know not: but wish it may continue; for I think, that if playing cards is excusable in a woman, it is, for a man, but a miserable loss of time at best. When we rose from Supper it was so late, that I supposed Deacon Smith's family would be in bed: and went with Mr. Tyler who lodges at Mr. Palmer's. It was 12 before we retired.
1. An Oration, Delivered July 4, 1785, At the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston, In Celebration of the Anniversary of American Independence, [Boston], 1785.
2. William Tudor, judge advocate in the Continental Army and a Boston lawyer, who had studied law with JA from 1769 to 1772 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 17:252–265).
3. Benjamin Austin, a popular Boston political figure ( DAB ).