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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0002-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
DateRange: 1780-07 - 1780-09


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1. Titlepage of D/JQA/3, covering the period 25 July–30 Sept. 1780, which describes JQA's journey from France to Holland and his settlement there, where JA began efforts which later culminated in Dutch recognition and financial aid to the American colonies. This Diary booklet, approximately 7¼″ × 4½″, is subdivided by JQA into three distinct “volumes,” as he described them, corresponding to three twelve-leaf sections which have been sewn together with two blank pages between volumes two and three. The divisions occur at 17–18 Aug. and 9–10 Sept.
The titlepage was written probably sometime between 25 July and 10 Sept., when JQA seems to have perfected part of the cipher which is started here. Presumably he began at the top of the titlepage a simple transposition of the alphabet, which is perfected and used in the enciphered message found on the second of two otherwise blank leaves separating entries for 9 and 10 Sept. Near the left margin at the center and bottom of the title-page, JQA appears to manipulate a seven-letter word combination, presumably generated from the word “Journal.” There are other markings to the right of these, most of which have been crossed out and probably have little or no connection with the rest.
After 31 Jan., the day on which JQA's second Diary booklet ended, he and the other Americans continued on their way to Paris. The party left Bordeaux on 2 Feb., traveled through Angoulême, Poitiers, Tours, and Orléans, and arrived in Paris late in the afternoon of 9 Feb. The Adamses took lodgings at the Hôtel de Valois in the rue de Richelieu, where JA was to remain until he left for Holland the following July. While JA visited Benjamin Franklin at Passy, the Comte de Vergennes, French secretary of state for foreign affairs, at Versailles, and others during his first week in the French capital, JQA, CA, and Sammy Johonnot were placed in school in Passy the day after their arrival. There they attended the pension academy of M. Pechigny and his wife, which was highly popular among Americans who had children in France (Dana, Journal; Adams Family Correspondence,3:272–273). JQA's American schoolmates at Pechigny's may have been the same who attended Le Coeur's school with him in 1778–1779. Few, however, can be identified. One was Jesse Deane, son of Silas Deane, the American Commissioner in Paris whom JA replaced. Young Deane had originally come to France in 1778 with JA and JQA and remained in Europe until 1783, living with his father in Ghent and London during the last two years. Another American student at Passy who attended Le Coeur's and possibly Pechigny's school was Charles B. Cochran, a South Carolinian, who later returned to his native state to practice law and served in the state legislature. There may have been other Americans at the school, but none was subsequently mentioned by JQA (entry for 5 Sept., below; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:271; John B. O'Neall, Biographical Sketches of the Bench and Bar of South Carolina, 2 vols., Charleston, 1859, 2:600; Walter B. Edgar, ed., Biographical Directory of the South Carolina House of Representatives, 2 vols., Columbia, 1974, 1:238, 267; Cochran to JQA, 5 June 1809, Adams Papers).
JQA's course of study at Pechigny's in- { 35 } cluded Latin and Greek, geography, mathematics, writing, and drawing. When JA wrote to Pechigny some months later he asked that his sons be excused from dancing and fencing instruction and requested that they “attend the Drawing and Writing Masters, and bend all the rest of their Time and attention, to Latin, Greek, and French, which will be more useful and necessary for them in their own Country, where they are to spend their Lives.” Somewhat earlier JA had advised JQA to concentrate on Latin and Greek, “leaving the other studies to be hereafter attained, in your own Country” (Adams Family Correspondence, 3:348, 309). While JA found his sons' schooling expensive, he was “well satisfied with the Care that is taken of them, and with the progress they make.” For JQA's part, he was “very content with [his] situation” during the half year he was to remain there (same). In addition to letters about his studies, the Adams Papers also contain a copy of JQA's English translation of La Fontaine's fables, made between 31 March and 16 Aug. 1780 (M/JQA/42, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 237).
In midsummer 1780 JA left Paris for Amsterdam with his two sons. For his reasons for doing so, see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 2:434–435, as well as the sources mentioned there. On 30 Aug., JQA and CA were placed as boarding students in the well-known Latin School on the Singel, in the heart of the city. The school is described in some detail in the diary entries which follow. Regrettably, JQA's Diary ends a month later and is not resumed until the following summer, but not before he hinted of growing difficulties with the native language and the segregation imposed, “because we dont understand the Dutch.” Attempts to overcome language problems may also help to explain why the pair remained at the school during a three-week vacation a short while later. JA, with whom the boys spent Wednesday and Saturday afternoons and Sundays, became so displeased with their course of studies that he wrote, though never sent, a letter to Rector Verheyk, preceptor of the school, complaining about his holding JQA back, which he regarded as “a damage to interrupt him in Greek, which he might go on to learn without understanding Dutch.” Matters came to a head on 10 Nov., when JA promptly removed them from the school after he received a strongly worded letter from Verheyk (entry for 6 Sept., below; Adams Family Correspondence, 4:10, 1112).

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0002-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-07-25

Tuesday 25th of July.

At about eleven o clock took leave of all my Schoolmates, and went to Paris, with an intention to set out for Holland on thursday, next.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-07-26

Wednesday 26th.

Prepared everything for the journey. In the afternoon pappa went to Dr. Franklin's for a Passport.1
1. At this time American ministers were empowered to issue passports to Americans traveling in the country to which they were accredited (Adams Family Correspondence, 4:xv).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1780-07-27

Thursday 27th.

Stevens went to the lewtenants of the Police for a passport to go out of the kingdom. He could not get it till 10 o clock. At twelve o clock we dined. Mr. Austin,1 Mr. Appleton,2 Mr. Dana, { 36 } Mr. Thaxter Mr. Fox3 Captn. Robinson and Dr. Foulk4 took leave of us and at about 1 o clock we sot out. We passed over the boulevards and out of the porte St. Martin and left Paris. We had very good roads passed over some land very well cultivated and at about ten o clock at night we arrived at Compiègne which is a small city and a very old one. We came 9 Posts and a half which is 57 Miles to day.
1. Jonathan Loring Austin, one-time secret agent for Franklin in England and secretary for JA at Passy, had come back to Europe in a vain endeavor to secure a loan for Massachusetts from Dutch, French, and Spanish authorities (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 16:303–308; Adams Family Correspondence,3:262–263).
2. John Appleton, son of Nathaniel Appleton, the commissioner of the Continental Loan Office and Boston merchant, was in Paris on mercantile business and later followed the Adams' party to Holland, carrying letters for JA (Francis Dana to JA, 31 July, Adams Papers; Adams Family Correspondence,3:390, where the date of Dana's letter is incorrectly given as 31 Aug.).
3. George Fox, an American traveler in Europe, portrayed as a man of “fortune and genius,” sympathetic to the promotion of agriculture, natural history, and the arts in America (Anne H. Cresson, “Biographical Sketch of Joseph Fox, Esq., of Philadelphia,” PMHB, 32:196 [April 1908]; Cal. Franklin Papers, A.P.S., 2:243).
4. Dr. John Foulke, described in Benjamin Rush's letter of introduction for him to JA as “a young gentleman of a respectable Quaker family who goes to France to finish his Studies in Medicine” (Benjamin Rush to JA, 28 April, Adams Papers).
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.