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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-28

28th.

Mr. Williams gave us an astronomical lecture this afternoon. The sodality met, in the evening at Putnam's chamber, and play'd till nine. Spent an hour with Mead after I return'd.
Benjamin Beale 1 was 18. the 6th. of June last. His father was from Braintree, but he was born at Liverpool in England. He entered the Class just before they commenced sophimores. His disposition is amiable, and he is a good scholar; but the government of the university have so repeatedly taken notice of him at exhibitions, that it has given offence to many of the young gentlemen in the Class, and they affect to despise his abilities; and to deny his scholarship. His talents have perhaps been rather overrated by the government, but I fear they are still more underrated in the Class; and he is not the only person whose popularity with his fellow students, has been greatly diminished by the favours of the government: notwithstanding all the reports circulated by malice and envy, I believe him very deserving: he displays no vanity, either of his person, which is elegant, or of his genius, which has been flattered by distinction, and this I think, is a sure mark of good Sense. Commerce, will probably be his profession, and from his general character, I think he has a good prospect of success. May he obtain it!
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1. Beale, son of the merchant Benjamin Beale and his English wife, who became the Adamses' nearest neighbors in Quincy after 1792. Young Beale studied law and was admitted to the Suffolk bar in 1792, but decided to turn to foreign trade a few years later ( Hist. of Suffolk County, Mass., 1:286; JA to AA2 , 29 Oct. 1792, in AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:124; JA to James Monroe, 6 March 1795, DLC: Monroe Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-01

Thursday March 1st. 1787.

Charles went to Boston this morning: in the afternoon, I was at Foster's chamber; he introduced me to his father and to Mr. Bissi, a young french gentleman, who lives with the french Consul. He had been three years at a school at Passi, which I left in 1780, so that we had a fund of conversation, ready to our hands. We accompanied the gentlemen, into the library, the museum, and the philosophy chamber. Mr. Bissi, was most entertained with the elegant paintings of Mr. Copley, with which the philosophy chamber is adorn'd: and for a cursory view, more entertainment may be derived from one good portrait, than from an hundred thousand volumes, however elegantly bound, if the outsides only can be seen. I was up very late this evening reading Gibbon.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-02

2d.

Mr. Andrews was at my chamber in the forenoon. I went with him, and Cranch and my class mate Harris, to take tea, at Mr. Pearson's. Miss Ellery, Miss Hastings, two Miss Mason's and Miss Foster were there. I got seated between Miss Ellery and Miss Hastings, but could not perfectly enjoy the pleasures of conversation, because, the music, was introduced. Music is a great enemy to sociability, and however agreeable it may be sometimes, there are occasions, when, I should wish it might be dispensed with.
James Bridge,1 of Pownalborough in the Province of Maine, was 21 the 23d. of last September. As a scholar and as a gentleman, he is inferior to no one in the Class, and with no one, have I contracted since I entered the university, so great a degree of intimacy. His natural abilities are very good, and they have been greatly improved by Study. His passions are strong, but in general he keeps them well under command. His genius is metaphysical, rather than rhetorical; in reasoning with him we are rather convinced by the force of his argument, than seduced by the brilliancy of his imagination. He is possessed of much benev• { 168 } olence, and ambition occupies a large share of his mind; he does not endeavour to conceal this, but freely owns his expectations; which are so sangwine, that I somewhat fear, he will not entirely realize them all. His advantages however will be peculiar, and it is I think very probable that he will one day be eminent in the political Line. Law will be his Study; and I have long hoped that we should be together in one office, but many difficulties attend the scheme, and I fear much that it will not take place. My friendship for this gentleman, and three or four more of my classmates, saddens very much the anticipation of commencement, when we must part, perhaps forever.
1. After a year of virtual self-study, Bridge entered Theophilus Parsons' law office in Newburyport, and he became JQA 's roommate. He practiced law in Augusta, Maine, made a fortune as agent and attorney for the proprietors of the Kennebec purchase, then gradually retired from the profession and became president of a bank in Augusta in 1814. Although JQA thought him “form'd for a political Life” and believed he would “probably show to advantage in that Line,” Bridge never so distinguished himself, serving only a single term in the legislature and the governor's council and as a member of the Maine constitutional convention of 1819 (Bridge to JQA , 28 Sept., Adams Papers; entry for 23 Sept. 1786, above; Willis, Hist. of the Law, Courts, and Lawyers of Maine, p. 154–159; James W. North, History of Augusta, From the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time..., Augusta, Maine, 1870, p. 507–509).