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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-21

21st.

I really do not know what I have done this day. I am always sensible, that what with one trifle and another I lose too much of my Time, and yet I do not know how to employ more of it. I believe it is a disadvantage to have so many public exercises to attend. It is impossible to get seriously and steadily fixed down to any Thing. As soon as I get in a way of thinking or writing upon any Subject, the College Bell infallibly sounds in my Ears, and calls me, to a Lecture, or to recitation or to Prayers. This cannot { 98 } certainly suffer any one, to engage in profound Study of any kind.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-22

22d.

Mr. Read sent for me this morning, informed me, that the Exhibition was to come on next Tuesday; and offered to excuse me, from the recitations till then, in Case, I was not prepared, as the Time, that had been given for getting ready was so short. But as it happened I was not in want of more Time. I made tea for our Club.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-23

23d.

I have done nothing all this Day. Every Day thus lost doubles the obligation of improving the next; but I fear if I was held to perform the Obligation, I should soon become a Bankrupt. Pass'd the Evening at Bridge's Chamber. We had considerable Conversation, as we frequently have, concerning our future Prospects. He is ambitious, and intends to engage in Politics. He expects more happiness from it, than he will ever realize I believe. But he is form'd for a political Life, and it is [he will?] probably show to advantage in that Line.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-24

24th.

Mr. Hilliard gave us an occasional Sermon, occasioned by the Death of Mr. Warland, a young Man, belonging to this Town. His Text was from Job. XIV. 1. 2. Man, that is born of a Woman, is of few days, and full of Trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a Shadow, and continueth not. It was one of the best Sermons I have heard from Mr. H: The idea that the diseases of the Body, are so many arrows taken from the Quiver of God Almighty, appears however, to be an instance of the Bathos.
In the afternoon, a Mr. Foster1 preach'd from Isaiah LIII. 1. Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? I never heard a more extravagant fellow. His Discourse was a mere Declamation, without any connection, or train of Reasoning. He said that Religion, ought never to be communicated by raising the Passions, and mentioned it as a peculiar advantage of the Christian System, that it speaks to the un• { 99 } derstanding. Yet he made an Attempt, (a most awkward one I confess) to be Pathetic: talk'd, of a Grave, a winding sheet, and a Place of Skulls, all of which amounted to nothing at all, which was likewise the Sum total, of his whole Sermon. Yet this Man, is a Popular preacher, in the Place where he is settled. For the maxim of Boileau will hold good in all Countries, and in all Professions

Un Sot trouve toujours, un plus sot qui l'admire.2

1. Probably Jacob Foster, minister at Nelson, N.H., 1781–1791. Foster was regarded as a moderate Calvinist (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:407–410).
2. Nicholas Boileau-Despréaux, “L'art poétique” from Oeuvres choisies, 2 vols., Paris, 1777, 2:[11]. JQA quotes the last line of the first song.