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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-02

2d.

I breakfasted this morning with Stedman. A number of the lawyers were there; rather nettled at a bill now before the Senate, for the better regulating the fees &c of attorney's and practitioners. The Committee by whom it was drawn up, and presented, was composed of those persons who for these two years past have been the most violent of the Community, in their antipathy to lawyers.1
Blessed Times! I was so much engag'd this forenoon in other matters, that I could not attend at the Court. I called at Mr. Dana's and at Mr. Wigglesworth's, and took their letters for Newbury-Port. Dined at Mrs. Forbes's. Jack, and his brother James, arrived from Boston, just before dinner. It was almost 5 o'clock, when I got on my horse; and took leave of Forbes and Packard. Just after dusk, I got into Boston. Went to Mr. Dawes's, and found Wm. Cranch with whom I went and pass'd the evening at Dr. Tufts's lodgings.
Lodg'd at Mr. W. Smith's.
1. In Feb. 1787, in the aftermath of Shays' Rebellion, the Massachusetts legislature lowered court and attorney fees, an important cause of complaint among the rebels. When legislators attempted to enact further reductions at this time, the { 314 } lawyers were able to gather enough support to defeat the measure (Gerard W. Gawalt, The Promise of Power: The Emergence of The Legal Profession in Massachusetts, 1760–1840, Westport, Conn., 1979, p.65).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-03

3d.

Between 8 and 9 this morning, I cross'd Charlestown, and Maiden bridges. I rode, as far as D'anvers before I stopp'd. There I found Mr. W. Parsons and his wife, Mr. T. Parsons, and Mr. J. Tracey. They started from thence before me, but I, came up with them again in Ipswich, where we dined at Homan's tavern. Parsons was quite witty, but strained rather too-much for it as he frequently does. “John,” said he to Tracey “who made you adjutant general?”—“Mr. Bowdoin.”—“Strange! how the wisest men, will err sometimes!..”1 This kind of wit may I think be compared to a sky rocket, which spends all its force in hissing, and then disappoints us, with such a weak explosion that it can scarcely be heard. But wit to be pleasing, must, I think be unexpected, like the lightening which flashes in our eyes. From Ipswich I rode in Company with them to Newbury, and at about Sun-set I return'd my horse to his owner. I met Thompson in the street, and went with him to Putnam's lodgings. He stay'd only a few minutes, but I tarried there till almost 9 o'clock, when I came home and retired to bed.
1. JQA 's ellipses.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-04

4th.

I was so much fatigued in consequence of my yesterday's ride that I did not attend meeting. I wrote some lines at home, and finished reading the first volume of Buffon's theory of the earth.1 I am exceedingly pleased, with the style, and manner of this writer. It is concise, nervous, and elegant. The theory I cannot properly judge of till I get through the other volume.
1. Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon and others, Histoire naturelle, générate et particuliere, avec la description du cabinet du roy, 44 vols., Paris, 1749–1804.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-05

5th.

I attended at the Office. Amory was there. Return'd yesterday from Salem. Townsend went to Boston last week, and has not yet return'd. In the afternoon, we attended the funeral of Mrs. Dav• { 315 } enport a sister of Mr. Parsons. She died of a consumption a few days since. Little, and Thomson pass'd an hour with me in the evening, after which, I went with the latter to Mr. Atkins's. Thomson was much affected, on hearing of the death of one of his school-boys; who died of the Scarlet fever, after a very short illness.
I cannot write yet in the evening, for want of fire.