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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-03

3d.

At about 8 this morning I went set off with my Cousin, for Cambridge, where we arrived, just after 10. At 11 the exhibition began, with the Latin Oration by Prescott. It was upon the military art, and the composition appeared to be very good, but it was not very well deliver'd: this person indeed was never form'd for an Orator. This part was followed by a forensic disputation, upon the question, whether the conduct of mankind in general is much influenced by a prospect of future reputation? between Grosvenor and Baxter. The former appeared to much better advantage than his opponent. Both introduced perhaps more scripture than was necessary. The syllogistic dispute came on next by Weld respondent. Bradbury, Churchill and Payne opponents. The question was, whether the approbation of conscience makes any action virtuous. This was followed by the dialogue between Haven and Thayer both of which spoke very well. Cutts delivered the greek Oration and Kirkland the Hebrew, and both were approved; the literary performances closed with the English Oration, by Gordon, the subject was patriotism. It was well { 249 } written, and well spoken; though he took rather too high a pitch of voice, and imitated Mr. Otis rather too much. An anthem was sung, and several pieces of music perform'd extremely well.
I dined with Mr. Andrews in company with a number of other gentlemen; among the rest several of his class mates. Cranch went over to Mystic, and pass'd the evening there, but as I had some business to transact I remain'd at Cambridge.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-04

4th.

Breakfasted with Forbes, and at ten o'clock set off for Boston in company with Clark: as soon as I got into town I went to the chapel, where Mr. Dawes was delivering the anniversary Oration;1 but he had almost finished, when I got there. He closed very prettily: after which his ode to independence, set to music by Mr. Selby2 was perform'd: from thence I went immediately to the old brick meeting house, where another Oration3 was deliver'd by Genl. Brooks, for the Society of the Cincinnati. It was cautious and well guarded: but although the claws of the eagle may be concealed or withdrawn, they are always ready as a weapon to attack or to defend, whenever an opportunity shall present itself. After he had done, I went up to the common, in order to see the military parade. It is surprizing what a martial spirit has been raised in this capital within these twelve months; on the last anniversary of independence; a few undisciplined militia, with as many colours of dress as there were men, would scarcely have been collected; whereas this day, there appeared, no less than six independent companies besides a regiment of militia, all in their respective uniforms. They paraded and exercised on the common till four o'clock. It was three, before I went off, to dinner with Mr. E. Freeman. I was with him the greater part of the afternoon; saw the Companies again, who at about 5 o'clock, march'd down State street, and up again, with which they closed their exercices. I drank tea at Mr. Foster's and at seven o'clock, we mounted our horses, and return'd to Braintree: we got home just after nine.
1. Thomas Dawes, An Oration Delivered July 4, 1787, at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston .. ., Boston, 1787. Dawes was a Boston lawyer ( Hist. of Suffolk County, Mass., 1:246).
2. William Selby, British-born composer and organist at King's Chapel (David McKay, “William Selby, Musical Émigré in Colonial Boston,” Musical Quarterly, 57:609–627 [Oct. 1971]).
3. John Brooks, An Oration, Delivered to the Society of the Cincinnati..., Boston, 1787.
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