A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
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-03-01-02-0008-0001-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-24


Went over, with my Cousin and brother Charles, to dine with Mr. Allen at Bradford. A lame foot prevented Tom from going with us. Last Saturday, he turn'd his foot as he was walking, and disjointed three bones. So that he cannot yet walk.
Walker and Ebenezer Webster, formally a pupil of Mr. Shaw's dined with us: and an old gentleman by the name of Osgood1 belonging to Andover, a very sensible man, and by the manner in which he conversed I judged he had been a traveller. There was after dinner, another Doctor Osgood,2 came in: a young man very talkative I fancy: he reason'd more than half an hour to prove to Mr. Allen, that a minister without a fortune, did very wrong to marry; I thought his attempt was somewhat ill-timed.
Returning home we met the young Ladies from Master White's going to Johnny's. We escorted them; sat there half an hour: and came off.
{ 394 }
1. Probably Joseph Osgood Sr., a physician at Andover (Ira Osgood, A Genealogy of the Descendants of John, Christopher, and William Osgood, Salem, Mass., 1894, p. 38–39).
2. Possibly Dr. Isaac Osgood Jr., a son of the Haverhill merchant (Russell Leigh Jackson, “Physicians of Essex County,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 84:182 [April 1948]).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-25


Dined with my Cousin, and brothers at Mr. White's; the young Captain1 was there, a youth, who goes by that title because, he has assumed the man somewhat young. Peggy told me to write some Verses in her Pocket book, and after hesitating between a number of silly ideas, I at length pitch'd upon these, which are full silly enough.

Ah what avails it, to invoke the Muse,

To sing your praises as the Poets use,

Since t'would exhaust the richest flow of Verse,

One in a thousand Beauties to rehearse.

If it is but insipid flattery, it is no more than what every young Lady expects from Gentlemen; and what few of the Gentlemen refuse them.
My Cousin went with the Ladies to spend the Evening at Major Bartlett's. My brothers and I return'd home.
1. That is, Capt. Benjamin Willis Jr.; see entry of 9 Dec. (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-26


This morning my Cousin and Brother left us, to return back to Braintree. The late thaw has made the roads very bad for them; but the weather has been agreeable, till the Evening, which is Snowy. Mr. Piper, a Clergyman, belonging to Wakefield in New Hampshire, spent the Night here; I felt not in so high spirits as I sometimes do, and much in a silent mood: so that I did not stay to hear much of Mr. Piper's Conversation.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-27


Finished the first book of the Satires, and began, the 2d. These I find no difficulty in, as I have translated them before.1 Read in Locke's Essay upon the Understanding, in the afternoon; the whole of the first book is taken up in proving that there are no innate Ideas. A person should never pass judgment upon such { 395 } points, or indeed any others that are the subjects of Contention, without hearing both sides of the Question: but he appears to reason in such a manner that I am very much inclined to think him right. It has been said, that his arguments to prove that the existence of a God is not an innate Idea, may be injurious, but they make no alteration in the reality, nor do they in the least invalidate, the evidence, of, what Nature cries aloud in all her works. This is the only idea, which I think might be contended for as innate; for as to those of a Virtue, justice &c. I conceive of nothing that can be answered to what he says upon the subject.
1. JQA began earlier a written translation of Horace's Satires, containing only Satire 1 of Book I. He first turned it into Latin prose by transposing the order of words and then translated it phrase by phrase (M/JQA/42 [1783?], Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 237).