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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0007-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-05-21

Saturday May 21st. 1785.

At 6 o'clock in the morning a person came from the Captain, to inform me that the wind was fair, and that I must be on board at 9 o'clock. I went to Mr. Mölich's lodgings. Called at Mr. Barclay's house and breakfasted with Mr. Champion. Bought four pieces of Nankin at 6. lis: 10 sols: the piece. Saw Mr. Lanchon1 a merchant of Reputation of this Town. He took charge of my Letter for my Sister. At 9 o'clock Mr. Champion came on board the Packet with us. Immediately they began to weigh our anchors, but before we could get clear of the harbour, the winds changed, so that we were obliged to anchor, before Port Louis. At about 11. o'clock, an American Ship came into the harbour: and as I supposed, it might bring some news, that I might be glad to know, I ask'd leave to go on board. Mr. Cuyler, a young American who came in this Packet last March, Mr. Mölich and myself, went on board, but found it was a vessel from Baltimore, that had been 50 days out.
We returned on board our Packet, and dined. After dinner I went on shore at Port Louis, with our Captain. We walk'd about the place, till near 6 o'clock, when the Captain perceived that the wind had come round again. We immediately return'd on board, weigh'd our anchors and set sail. At 11. o'clock we had got clear of the island of Groix and were at Sea. I felt very disagreeably, and went immediately to bed: but I could not sleep; on account of the noise that was made all night, on the deck.2
{ 275 }
1. Of Lanchon Frères & Cie., a commercial house at Lorient and Le Havre (Jefferson, Papers, 11:546).
2. After the following day's entry, JQA wrote irregularly in his Diary throughout the voyage.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0007-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-05-22

22d.

When we rose in the morning, we were out of sight, of Land. We have nothing now but the ocean and the sky around us. The weather being very fine none of us was very sick: but almost all the passengers felt such qualms as prevented them from eating any thing all day: myself among the rest.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0007-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-05-25

25th.

We have had fine weather on board ever since we left L'Orient, but have not in general been able to enjoy it on account of sea sickness. We begin now to stand a little firmer upon our legs. The Events that happen on board a Vessel are very seldom interesting, and the life we lead is very lazy and tiresome. Our Company on board is very gay and sociable, but is not in general such as I should have wished.
Captain le Fournier is an excellent Seaman; he is 37 years old and has pass'd more than half that time at Sea; no one could wish to be with a better Captain. He is only 1st. Lieutenant, but commands the packet, because the Chevalier d'Abouville, is now in America, building another packet, which he is to command. Captain Fournier expected to receive a Commission as lieutenant of a Frigate, but such is the delay that the Ministers cause before they grant the least favour, that he did not receive it: it will probably come to him by the next Packet: he will then have the command of this Vessel. I heartily wish he may succeed: for he is not only a good Seaman but an excellent man. If such men had the command in the french Navy, they would not be so often exposed to lose their fleets as they are, but in France, few persons of merit can make their way in the military profession; without credit at Court. A Man must have an education as a fine gentleman, must be a Courtier and an intriguer to obtain any rank. The exceptions to this rule are few. They would be numerous if the Event was consulted. Monsr. de la Motte Piquet, one of the best officers in the French Navy had nothing but his merit to recommend him, and certainly among their noble Seamen they { 276 } can find none that behaved better in the course of the last war. Very few did their duty so well.
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/