A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.

Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0013-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-11-20


We had two sermons to day, upon a text from Proverbs: 19th. Chap: 20:v: Hear counsel and receive instruction, that thou mayest be wise in thy latter end. The several instances of death, that have lately occurred in this town were not passed unnoticed. Two persons, both promising to be useful in the spheres assigned them, had been cut off in the bloom of youth; the divinity, often took from the world in this manner, those whose Characters were universally loved and esteemed, yet suffered others, that were entirely useless, or perhaps the bane of society, to continue. Those impious fools who pretend to disbelieve an over ruling providence, considered this as an argument in their favour. But what else was this than supposing, the author of Nature had as contracted views, and ideas, as their's. In truth I have often wondered how it happened, that a being whose mind is so exceedingly weak, that it cannot comprehend why a pebble thrown into the air should fall to the ground, can pretend to raise a doubt, whether there was a being, more wise, more exalted more powerful than himself. Any man will think, it impertinent and absurd in another to pronounce judgment, upon the plainest subject, if he does not understand it: and is it not still more ab• { 360 } surd to deny, what Nature cries aloud in all her works: when we must, all acknowledge, ourselves, entirely ignorant, of the secret springs that keep the machine of the world in play.
Mr. Shaw was absent a great part of the Evening; he was called to marry Dr. Woodbury to Miss Hannah Appleton. My Aunt attended the wedding. After meeting I went to Mr. White's and spent half an hour with them.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0013-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-11-21


My Aunt and Eliza, went and took a ride in the afternoon. They drank tea at Judge Sargeant's, and I spent about an hour there. Went home with my Cousin, and stay'd the Evening at Mr. White's. His Lady is very unwell, and has been so a considerable time. She was recovering, when the fatal accident of her Sister happened; and I fear it has tended to occasion a relapse. She is possess'd of great Sensibility, and the disaster, must have been in a peculiar manner weighty to her. Mr. Thaxter came in soon after I did, and at about 8 in the Evening, came home with me, and pass'd half an hour here.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0013-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-11-22


I have been very steady all day at My Studies, and have at length been able to go through an hundred verses in the Testament. The book is exceeding easy: the only difficulty I find is being obliged, to look words which takes up time. This Evening Miss Nancy at last made her appearance; Mr. Thaxter and Miss Betsey Duncan were here a few minutes in the Evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0007-0013-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1785-11-23


The weather has look'd snowy, for several days past, but has remained, in Statu quo, till this evening; Which is pretty stormy.

The cherish'd fields

Put on their winter robe of purest white.1

I am not fond of seeing this Robe; there is something so dreary so gloomy, to me, in looking, all around, to see a dull lifeless sameness, every where, that the first appearance of snow, is quite disagreeable to me.
{ 361 }
1. James Thomson, “The Seasons: Winter,” lines 232–233 (Poetical Works, ed. J. Logie Robertson, London, 1908, p. 194).
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.