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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0002-0009-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-21

October 21. Tuesday.

Dined at Amiens, and put up, at night, at Abbeville. The Roads are the best I have ever seen in France. They are not paved, or if they are, the Pavement is covered, with Flynt Stones. They Pick up in the neighbouring Fields, a Species of small Flynt Stones, which they lay along in heaps on the Side of the Road, and with these they mend the high Ways from time to time. The Wheels of the Carriages crushes them to Dust, and they made admirable Roads.
There are no Vines, on this Road. The Country is all sown with Wheat. They are every where, cutting up by the Roots the Elms and other Forest Trees, which formerly <grew> were planted on the Sides of { 147 } the Roads and introducing Apple Trees in their stead. We found Tea Apparatus's generally in the publick houses, and the hand Irons, Tongs &c. and several other Things more in the English Style than you find in other Parts of France.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0002-0009-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-22

1783. Octr. 22. Wednesday.

Went to Calais. Dined at Boulogne sur mer. Put up at Mr. Dessins.1
1. “When we arrived at Calais, as soon as we had set down in our Chamber, up comes the master of the House, and with a low bow says, Messieurs je suis vôtre trés humble serviteur; Je suis Dessein (Yorick's man) et je viens vous rendre mes devoirs; savoir si vous voulez de Vargent &c.” (JQA to Peter Jay Munro, 19 Nov. 1783, NNMC). Pierre Dessin kept the Hôtel d'Angleterre and had been considerably enriched and in some degree immortalized by Laurence Sterne's entertaining portrait of him in A Sentimental Journey, 1768. In Aug. 1784 the whole Adams family stopped at the Hôtel d'Angleterre when traveling from London to Paris, and AA2 playfully supposed she saw Yorick's “very Monk” passing her window on his way “to present himself to papa” (AA2 Jour. and Corr., 1:8). They were there again in 1785 when returning to London; see JA to Jefferson, 23 May 1785 (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 8:161). Dessin proved useful to Jefferson in the troublesome business of importing purchases from England to France; see their correspondence (which establishes Dessin's name, spelled in a great variety of ways by travelers), in same, 9:438, 542; 10:206, 292, 333.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0002-0009-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-23

Oct. 23. Thursday.

Went on board the Packet at Nine, put off from the wharf at Ten, but had such contrary Winds and Calms, that We did not arrive at Dover untill 3 O'Clock next Morning. I was 18 hours on the Passage. The Packet was 17. She could not come in to the Harbour, made Signals for a Boat, which carried Us ashore for five shillings a head.
I was never before so Sea sick, nor was my Son. My Servant was very bad. Allmost all the Passengers were sick. It is a remarkable Place for it. We are told that many Persons Masters of Vessells and others who were never Sea sick before have been very bad in making this Passage.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0002-0009-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1783-10-24

Oct. 24. Friday.

We are lodged at Dover, at the Royal Hotel Inn, kept by Charles Mariee. On the Backside of his house is one of the Dover Cliffs; it is an high Mountain, and at this Place is perpendicular, and there is an Appearance of Danger that the Rocks at Top, might split off by their own Weight, and dash to Pieces some of the small brick Houses at its Foot.—White Stone.
I walked round with my Son to the Coach road, and ascended to the { 148 } Top of this Mountain. It is very steep. It is covered with a thick Sward, and with a Verdure quite to the Top. Upon the Top of the Mountain, there is a plowed Field, sown with Turnips, which look very vigorous. I went into the ploughed ground to examine its Composition, and found it full of Flynt Stones, such as the Road from Chantilly to Calais is made of, and all the Fields on that road are full of. In short the White Stone of the Cliffs, and the Flynt Stone of the Fields, convince me that the Lands here are the same with those on the other Side of the Channell and but a Continuation of the same Soil. From this Mountain, We saw the whole Channel, the whole Town and harbour of Dover. The Harbour is but a Basin and the Town, but a little Village. We saw three small Vessells on the Stocks, building or repairing, and fifteen or twenty small Craft, Fishing Sloops and schooners chiefly in the harbour. It has not the Appearance of a Place of any Business at all. No Manufacture, No Commerce, and no Fishery of any Consequence, here.
The Sheep here are very large, and the Country all around has a Face of Verdure and Fertility beyond that of France in general: but this is owing no doubt to the difference of Cultivation. The Valleys only in France look rich, Plains and Mountains look meagre. Here the Mountain is rich.
The Channell between this and Calais, is full of Vessells, french and English, fishing for Herrings. The Sardine are not caught here.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.