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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


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).

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

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

3d.

Dined with, Bridge, Cranch, Freeman, Little and White, at our classmate Foster's in Boston. Just before dinner I went with Mr. Foster, and paid a visit to the french Consul. The family, at Mr. Foster's are all very agreeable; Miss Foster amused us, with a few tunes upon the harpsichord. It began to snow early in the afternoon, so that we were obliged to return sooner than we had intended. We were not half an hour coming from Boston, and got here just before prayers. Pass'd the evening at Lovell's chamber. The storm was violent till midnight, after which it abated. Charles came back from a little tour to Lincoln.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-04

4th.

Was absent from meeting all day. Read a Sermon, from Blair, in the forenoon, upon the duties of the young.1 Dined with White, Foster and Lovell, at my chamber. Weather cleared up in the afternoon.
Josiah Burge,2 of Hollis, in New Hampshire, County of Hills• { 169 } borough, was 20 the 19th. of last April; he is possessed of one of those calm, easy minds, which enjoy happiness, under almost all circumstances. His serenity is seldom ruffled by passion, or oppressed by melancholy. His circumstances are not fortunate, and he is obliged to be absent frequently from college. Careless of futurity, he views all objects in a fair light, and always hopes for the best. It were natural to suppose, a character of this cast, would be indolent in study; yet he is acknowledged to be a very good scholar, and his mental capacity, is far from deficient. With such a disposition, he cannot be disliked, and accordingly he is much esteemed. He intends to preach, and should he be settled among men, of liberal sentiments, I have no doubt, but he will be successful. Died. 1790.3
1. Hugh Blair, Sermons, 2 vols. [1:13th edn., 10th edn.], London, 1785, 1:306–340 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 156).
2. Burge had been prepared for Harvard at Philips Academy by Eliphalet Pearson, who was preceptor there until 1786. Burge was one of a handful of students unable to pay his bills and thus ineligible to graduate in July. When Pearson found out about it only days before graduation, he offered to advance the money and sought out a group of seniors, including JQA , to help locate their classmate and bring him back for commencement. During the remainder of his short life, Burge taught school and studied for the ministry. He preached at Rindge, N.H., for about nine months before he died of consumption following an attack of measles (MH-Ar: Quinquennial File; Samuel T. Worcester, History of the Town of Hollis, New Hampshire, From Its First Settlement to the Year 1879..., Boston, 1879, p. 290–291; entry for 16 July, below).
3. An interlineation written at a later date.