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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0010-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-08-07


Went in the morning to Church: Mr. Harrison who is always with the Ladies squired them there

“E'en Churches are no Sanctuaries now.”

A gentleman preach'd from a text in the Psalms. He spoke well, but was so slow that the first part of a phrase was lost before he finish'd the last. After Church I paid a visit with Mr. D. Le Roi1 and Captain Kortright, to Miss van Berkel, who arrived two days agone; she was not within, and to Miss Alsop, who is a little too much the Coquet, and injures her appearance by affectation. Dined with Mr. Le Roi. At 7. in the evening I went and drank tea with Miss Marshall: there was a considerable party there, and I was introduced to Miss van Berkel whom I had formerly seen in Holland. She cannot be called handsome but has that affability which is to me much more agreeable in a Lady than Beauty alone. She complains much of her misfortune in not speaking the Language, and is fearful that she appears awkward and ill bred, because she does not speak: and really, no person can, have an idea, how disagreeable it is to be in a Country, and not speak the Language; without having been himself in that predicament. Here it is worse than anywhere else, because there are fewer persons who speak any foreign Language: and the few Ladies, that can speak a little french, are so bashful, that there is no persuading them to talk. Miss Susan Livingston pleases me much better now than she did the first times I was in Company with her. We walk'd in the evening half an hour on the mall, in Broad way, after which I waited upon Miss van Berkel home.
1. Daniel Le Roy, son of New York merchant Jacob Le Roy and younger brother of Herman Le Roy (Alexander Du Bin, ed., Le Roy Family and Collateral Lines . . ., Phila., 1941, p. 6).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0010-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-08-08


I went out with Mr. Harrison, Mrs. Swift, and Miss Riché, to Content to see Lady Wheate,1 who is one of the most reputed beauties in the Town. I own I do not admire her so much as I expected to, before I saw her. She is like too many, of the handsome Ladies here, very affected. The most pleasing Characters here, are of those who are pretty without enjoying any share of beauty. When shall I see a beauty without any conceit? Dined at { 300 } the Presidents with a large Company among others Genl. Greene, Governor Clinton, Mr. Osgood and Mr. W. Livingston.2 In the evening I went and drank tea, at Miss S. Livingston's, where there was a large Company of Ladies. Miss Riché, sung again and repeated the former songs. Notwithstanding the admiration my friend Harrison has for her, I think upon closer examination, that she is not free from that affectation which some Ladies here seem to take for grace.
I endeavoured to excuse myself to Miss Livingston for not having waited on her before, but she said I should do better if I made no apology at all. Madam de Marbois too appeared very cold, and I fear I have offended many persons by not waiting on them, which I have not been able to do. Miss van Berkel was sociable.
1. The eighteen-year-old widow of Sir Jacob Wheate, a sixty- or seventy-year-old British officer who left for the West Indies shortly after his marriage and there died. “Content” was the name of their country seat, located about three miles out of town (JQA to AA2, 1–8 Aug., Adams Papers).
2. Walter Livingston, a New York delegate to the congress in 1784 and 1785, who was appointed commissioner of the United States Treasury in 1785 (Biog. Dir. Cong.).
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.