A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0003-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1784-07-10

July 10. 1784 Saturday.

May not the Ascent of Vapours be explained, or rather accounted for upon the Principle of the Air Balloon? Is not every Bubble of Vapour, that rises, an Air Balloon? Bubbles are formed at the Bottoms of Canals, Rivers, Ponds, rise to the Top, and mount up. These Bubbles are particles, or small quantities of inflammable Air, surrounded with a thin film of Water.
Champaign Wine, Bottled Porter &c. are full of Air Bubbles or Balloons. Set a Decanter or Tumbler of Water in the Sun, and thousands of Air Balloons are formed in the Water at the Bottom and on the Sides of the Glass. Turn the Glass aside so as to expose these Bubbles to the Air, many of them burst in an Instant, others do not, but continue sometime covered with a thin film of Water. Inflammable Air being lighter, than common Air, rises in it.
In the common Experiment with which Boys amuse them selves, the Air which is blown through the Tobacco Pipe, into the Soap Suds, is common Air, of equal Weight with that which surrounds the Bub• { 170 } ble and therefore will not ascend very high. But if inflammable Air were blown thro the Pipe instead of common Air, we should have a Series of Ballons aerostatiques, which would ascend like those of Montgolphier.1
1. The earliest “aerostatic experiments” (balloon flights), by the Montgolfier brothers and others in France, 1783–1784, attracted world-wide attention and are frequently alluded to in the correspondence of JA, Franklin, and Jefferson at this period. Among the Adams Papers is a colored “Aerostatic Experiments” in Paris, 1783 facing page 289drawing entitled “Bon Voyage, ” reproduced in this volume, showing the “Nouveau Globe Aérostatique inventée par M[essieu]rs. Charles et Robert; enlevé devant la Famille Royale le lundi 1er. Décembre 1783, à 1. heure 40. minutes.” On 19 Sept. 1784 the Adams family watched a balloon ascension from the Tuileries Gardens (AA2, Jour. and Corr., 1:18–19).

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0003-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1784-08-03

1784. August. 3.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0003-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1784-08-04

Aug. 4.

Sett off, for London, had a tedious Passage from Helvoet, of near two days. Obliged to put in at Leostoff [Lowestoft], and ride from thence 24 miles in a Cart.1
1. JA's sudden decision to go to London himself and take his family directly to Paris without a pause of some weeks at The Hague, was prompted by the news of Jefferson's arrival in Europe a month or so before JA expected him; see JA to AA, 1 Aug. (Adams Papers), and Jefferson to JA, “On board the Ceres off Scilly,” 24 July (Adams Papers; Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 7:382–383, with note quoting JA's expressions of pleasure in the appointment of Jefferson as a fellow commissioner).
In JA's accounts as settled by Congress there appears the following entry:
“Expences of his Removal with his Family from the Hague & London to Auteuil in August 1784 including extra Expences of Carriages, Post Horses, Passages by Sea from Helvoet to Harwich & from Dover to Calais &c. £100.... Purchase of a Carriage in London. £120” (DNA: RG 39, Foreign Ledgers, Public Agents in Europe, 1776–1787, p. 267).

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0003-0005-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1784-08-07

Aug. 7.

Arrived at the Adelphi Buildings and met my Wife and Daughter after a seperation of four Years and an half. Indeed after a Seperation of ten Years, excepting a few Visits. Set off the next Day for Paris.1
1. On this date the Diary of AA2, so far as it is known (no MS has been found), begins. The first entry reads:
“London, Aug. 7th, 1784. At 12, returned to our own apartments; when I entered, I saw upon the table a hat with two books in it; every thing around appeared altered, without my knowing in what particular. I went into my own room, the things were moved; I looked around—'Has mamma received letters, that have determined her departure?— When does she go?—Why are these things moved?' All in a breath to Esther. ‘No, ma'm, she has received no letter, but goes to-morrow morning.' ‘Why is all this appearance of strangeness?—Whose hat is that in the other room?—Whose trunk is this?—Whose sword and cane?— It is my father's,' said I. Where is he?' { 171 } 'In the room above.' Up I flew, and to his chamber, where he was lying down, he raised himself upon my knocking softly at the door, and received me with all the tenderness of an affectionate parent after so long an absence. Sure I am, I never felt more agitation of spirits in my life; it will not do to describe” (Jour. and Corr., i:viii).
AA2's Diary is quite full for the family's journey to Paris, which was by way of Dover, Calais, Boulogne, Montreuil, Amiens, and Chantilly (same, p. 7–14).
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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/