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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-22

22d.

The weather yesterday did not look promising, but is this day very clear, and for the season uncommonly warm. At about half past nine I mounted my horse, and Townsend said he would take { 307 } an airing and ride a few miles with me: the pleasantness of the weather led him on till he finally agreed to go as far as Haverhill, intending to return in the afternoon. We rode part of the way with Sohier, the Collegian,1 who was on his way to Groton; and we got to Haverhill just before twelve o'clock. I found Mr. and Mrs. Shaw had set out this morning for Hingham. At twelve we went to Mr. Thaxter's lodgings, and found fifty or sixty people heartily at work, in which we very readily joined them.2 At about 2, there were 18 or 20 left who sat down to a table covered with “big bellied bottles.” For 2 hours or more Bacchus and Momus joined hands to increase the festivity of the company. But the former of these deities then of a sudden took a fancy to divert himself, and fell to tripping up their heels. Momus laugh'd on, and kept singing, till he finally grew hoarse and drowsy, and Morpheus to close the scene sprinkled a few poppies over their heads, and set them to snoring in concert. This is I believe the first time that I have dived any depth into the pagan mythology since I undertook the direction of these very interesting memoirs. I have always had the precept of Horace in my mind.

Noc Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus.3

and I trust the gentle reader will not think I have in this instance violated that rule. But to return to plain insipid narration, by five o'clock they were all under the table except those who had been peculiarly cautious, and two or three stout topers. I had been very moderate, yet felt it was necessary to walk, and take the air. I rambled with Leonard White, over the fields, and through the streets till near 7 o'clock. Then went home with him and after passing a couple of hours in chat, retired quite early to bed.
1. William Sawyer, Harvard 1788, of Newburyport (Currier, Newburyport, 2:292).
2. Presumably to celebrate the marriage banns announced the day before for Thaxter and Elizabeth Duncan.
3. “Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus inciderit,” De Arte Poetica, lines 191–192: “And let no god intervene, unless a knot come worthy of such a deliverer” (Horace, Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, transl. Fairclough, p. 466, 467).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-23

23d.

Rose at about 8 this morning, and felt no inconveniency from the scene of yesterday. Townsend, who got so much engaged as { 308 } to give up all thoughts of returning last night to Newbury-Port, breakfasted with us this morning; and then mounted his horse.
It was a little after nine, when I started from the opposite shore of the river, and it was about twelve when I got to the tavern in Wilmington. Mr. Thaxter, and Miss Duncan, and her brother James, a Mr. Howe, and two or three other ladies dined at Wilmington. The landlord is opposed to the proposed Constitution. I stopped about a quarter of an hour at Medford to see my friend Freeman, and delivered him a couple of letters. I expected to have seen him at the ordination to-morrow, but his school retains him at Medford. We got into Boston just before Sunset. We stopp'd an hour there to get dress'd, and take a dish of Coffee. It was quite dark before we got out of Town; and we arrived at Braintree between 8 and 9. We found that the young ladies and all the company that was disposed to attend the ordination1 had gone to Hingham this afternoon. I was very much fatigued. I once before rode this journey in a day; (v: p: 25)2 and was still more fatigued, but that was in the middle of Summer, when the weather was very warm, which made it more tedious to ride on horseback.
Kirkland and my brother Tom were both here, and could not go on to Hingham for want of horses.
It was almost 11. before we retired.
1. The ordination in Hingham of Henry Ware, JQA 's former roommate at Harvard.
2. Entry for 5 Aug. 1786 (above).