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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0012-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-10-18

18th.

This morning I rose about half an hour before the Sun, and walk'd two or three miles before breakfast. Spent half an hour, with Mr. Thaxter at his office. After breakfast went down to Mr. White's and there agreed with them in what manner to go to Newbury. Dined with them, and at about half after two, Mr. J: Duncan,1 set out with Miss White, I with my Cousin and Leonard, on horse back. We cross'd the ferry about 3 miles off, and at about 5, we got to Newbury; we went to Mr. Dalton's, who was not then at home. We found it exceedingly cold on the road, and both Leonard, and I had forgot our Surtouts, for which we suffer'd, and I dare say this Circumstance, will teach us more prudence another time, more effectually than a sermon would. Mr. Dalton return'd to tea, and we spent the Evening there. His eldest Daughter, Ruth, is the fattest Person of her age I ever saw. Moderately speaking I suppose, her circumference equal to her height, and she is not short. She is but little turn'd of 18 years. Mr. Dalton has three other Daughters, one of whom is unwell. I have not for a long while seen a family, that has struck me so agreeably, as this. Mr. Dalton, was my father's classmate at College, and has been his friend ever since.2 He is universally affable and polite, and unites to an high degree the gentleman with the scholar. His [wife] has something in her Countenance, which would authorize any one at first sight, to pronounce, her amiable and benovelent.

Of manners gentle, and affections mild.

The Children all seem to inherit, the soft, placid turn of mind which distinguishes both the parents. Who after seeing such a family, as this can relish the idle Pomp and Pageantry of a Court. He who could must have ideas of happiness, very different from mine.
{ 343 }
We all slept, at Mr. Dalton's. Mr. Duncan, Leonard and I in one Chamber.
1. James Duncan Jr., son of the Haverhill merchant and brother of Betsy (James Duncan Phillips, “James Duncan and Son: Merchants, Capitalists, and Chain Store Operators,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 89:51 [Jan. 1953]).
2. Tristram Dalton, a Newburyport merchant and member of the Massachusetts House of Representatives, 1782–1788, later served briefly as a U.S. senator. Dalton and JA corresponded over many years (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:569–578; JA, Earliest Diary, p. 67–68).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0012-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-10-19

19th.

We went out between 9 and 10 this morning, in order to take, a walk, and look at the troops, for this day there happened to be a regimental muster here, and training day for the militia. When we went out we had no idea of being gone more than an hour, but it was near two before we return'd. 10 Companies from Newbury, march'd about two miles out, and met 7 others from Almesbury [Amesbury]. There were in all, I imagine about a thousand men under arms. All the officers and the artillery Company composed of 39 men, were in a dark blue uniform, faced with scarlet: the troops were not in any uniform. They paraded tolerably well, all things consider'd, though it would take I imagine considerable time to make Prussian troops of them. The Coll. Lieutt. Coll. and Adjudant were on white horses. There was none of the officers that appeared so much to advantage as the adjutant, a joiner by trade, named Herriman. Many officers who have from their childhood brought up in regular armies, would not appear more graceful or show more dignity at a parade, than this person did. Some men whatever their Station in Life may be, have a natural grace and elegance, which never leave them; others though possess'd of the highest advantages, and train'd from their Infancy to the Science of politeness, can never acquire that easy agreeable manner which has so great a tendency:

To make men happy and to keep them so.1

When the two parties had join'd after a short pause, they march'd all together back into the town, and we left them. We dined at Mr. Dalton's, but he was so unwell, that he could not favour us with his Company. He caught yesterday a bad cold, at New town, a seat which he owns, about half way between this and Haverhill. Mr. Symmes2 dined with us, a young Gentleman, { 344 } whose manners are very easy and agreeable. At about 4. we proceeded in the order we went yesterday, to return home; we got to Mr. White's house, just before dark. I came from the ferry on horseback. Spent the Evening very agreeably, there, and return'd home, at about 9 o'clock. Found Mr. Thaxter there, but he soon after went away.
1. Horace, Epistles, Bk. I, Ep. vi, line 2 (Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, transl. Fairclough, p. 286, 287).
2. William Symmes, an Andover lawyer and son of Rev. William Symmes (John Adams Vinton, The Symmes Memorial. A Biographical Sketch of Rev. Zechariah Symmes . . . with a Genealogy and Brief Memoirs of Some of His Descendants . . ., Boston, 1873, p. 59–61).
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/