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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


{ 440 }

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-08

8th.

We met this evening at my lodgings, as we have changed the evening in order to accommodate Thompson who wishes to attend Mr. Spring's lectures. This young fellow, who is possessed of most violent passions which he with great difficulty can command, and of unbounded ambition, which he conceals perhaps even to himself has been seduced into that bigoted, illiberal system of religion which by professing vainly, to follow purely the dictates of the bible, in reality contradicts the whole doctrine of the new testament, and destroys all the boundaries between good and evil, between right and wrong. But like all the followers of that sect, his practice is at open variance with his theory. When I observe into what inconsistent absurdities those persons run, who make speculative, metaphysical religion a matter of importance, I am fully determined never to puzzle myself in the mazes of religious discussion, to content myself with practising the dictates of God and reason; so far as I can judge for myself; and resign myself into the arms of a being whose tender mercies are over all his works.1
1. To this account JQA adds, in his line-a-day entry, “Walk'd after nine. Journal” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-09

9th.

Thompson went to see Miss Roberts at Newtown. I cannot read with so much satisfaction for some days past, as I usually do, as my eyes are very troublesome. Walk'd in the evening, but quite alone: I finished a day or two since, my performance for the 5th. of next month;1 and am now very closely engaged in a matter which has been accumulating upon me these two months.
1. According to JQA 's draft copy of the Phi Beta Kappa speech, he had completed it on 6 Aug.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-10

10th.

Mr. Kimball supplied the place of Mr. Andrews this day. I observed none of Captn. Coombs's family were at meeting, and heard in the afternoon that his Daughter Polly, had left this world; and I trust for a better, this morning; after an illness of four or five months. In the afternoon I went to Mr. Spring's, meeting and heard a Mr. Story1 preach there hammering away in { 441 } the true stile upon predestination and free-will. None but an atheist he said could doubt of the former; and no man that had common sense of the latter. He endeavoured to soften his system as much as possible; hoping thereby, I suppose, that he might be employ'd in the other parish.
I walk'd with Stacey and Romain, in the evening. We met Amory who was returning from Cape Ann with Miss Fletcher. After he had carried her home, he went at about 9 in the evening with Stacey to Ipswich.
1. Probably Isaac Story, minister of the Second Congregational Church of Marblehead (James McLachlan, Princetonians, 1748–1768: A Biographical Dictionary, Princeton, 1976, p. 655–657).