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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


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Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-06

6th.

Past the day at Judge Dana's. It rain'd almost all day. Miss Peggy Wigglesworth was there; amiable as usual. Mrs. Dana read some pages in the sorrows of Werter.1 Women are better judges of sentiment than men: the ladies were pleased with parts of these letters, which to me appeared very trifling. The arguments in favour of suicide, are sophistical; and subtile, but when well examined, they must appear false: as all arguments that can be brought in favour of this unnatural crime ever must.
Francis Welch 2 of Plastow in New Hampshire was 21 the 31st of last month. His talents are not striking, and his mind is contracted. His disposition is very unamiable, and his heart is not good. Envy of the worst kind has established her dominion in his breast, and her snakes appear to play around his head. His eye, is the eye of the basilisk, and his every feature expresses the base passions which reign in his soul. His disposition renders him miserable, and cannot fail to make unhappy all those who are connected with him.
1. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Werther, transl. Daniel Malthus, 2 vols., London, 1779, and subsequent English translations; first published in German in 1774.
2. Welch became minister of the West Parish, Amesbury (later Merrimac), Mass. (William Prescott, “Philip Welch of Ipswich, Ms., and His Descendants,” NEHGR , 23:421 [Oct. 1869]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-07

7th.

North-east winds, still chill the blood, and with a dull cold principle affect our spirits. This evening, immediately after prayers, the Martimercurean band paraded; the members belonging to our Class appeared for the last Time. They performed the manual exercices, and the different evolutions, very well. Supp'd at Bradish's with Bridge and Foster: the former has obtained leave to be absent at Commencement, and expects to go, in a few days: more than twenty of our class are already gone.
Otis, Upham and Wilson were admonished yesterday morning.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-08

8th.

Took books from the library for the last time. I took Mason's Poems and Abbadie, upon the truth of the Christian religion.1 This afternoon the president returned me, my part for Commencement! I feel quite low-spirited, at seeing my Class-mates { 237 } falling off, one by one: we shall never meet again, all together; and these youthful scenes which now are so delightful, will soon be remembered, with sensations of mingled pain and pleasure. Here void of every care, enjoying, every advantage, for which my heart could wish, I have past my time, without the perplexities with which life is surrounded, here without the avocations of business or the hurry of affairs, I have pursued those studies, to which my inclination led me. Soon, too soon I shall be obliged to enter anew upon the stage of general Society on which I have already met with disgust, and which with satisfaction I quitted. These disagreeable reflections haunt me continually and imbitter the last days, of my college life.
Leonard White of Haverhill was 20 the 3d. of last month. As I lived at Haverhill some time, and as he Chums with my cousin, I was acquainted with him before I came to the University, and have been very intimate with him since: his natural abilities without being very great, are such as will enable him to go through life with honour, and his disposition is amiable. His virtues are numerous, but among them all modesty is the most conspicuous. I never knew any other person so intimately as I am acquainted with him, without having perceived in him some sparks of Vanity: but I believe he never experienced the feeling. A remarkable neatness of person is likewise one of his characteristics, and is the more extraordinary because he has so few imitators here. He has so much candor2 that I never heard him speak ill of any one of his Class-mates, and very seldom of any one: his defects are only trivial foibles, and he will certainly be an useful member of Society.
1. Jacques Abbadie, A Vindication of the Truth of Christian Religion, Against the Objections of All Modern Opposers..., transl. H[enry] L[ussan], 2d edn., 2 vols., London, 1694 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 151).
2. Freedom from malice ( OED ).