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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-10

10th.

Leonard White came up in the morning, and proposed to me, to make one of a small slaying party to Ham[p]stead, where Mr. White has an house, and farm. At about 10 o'clock, the slay stopp'd at the gate, and we immediately set away; Eliza, Peggy White Mr. Moores, Leonard, and myself. It was half past 11 before we got to the Place, although only 8 miles distant; on ac• { 386 } count of the great number of loaded teems which we met on the road; the Country People, come down in the Winter in Slays, from 40 or 50 miles, to supply this and the neighbouring towns, with provisions of various kinds; and as the path is now very narrow, and the Snow deep, it is difficult, and sometimes dangerous for two carriages to cross each other. About 3 miles from Mr. Shaw's, is the line which seperates the States of Massachusetts and New Hampshire, I had never cross'd it before this day. We dined at Hamstead, and at about half after four set out to return; it was about 6 o'clock when we got to Mr. White's house. We had quite an agreeable party; the weather very good, and the Company small; return'd from Mr. White's, at about 8 o'clock, and went very early to bed, as what with setting up so late last night, and what with the jaunt, I was very much fatigued.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-11

11th.

Finished in the forenoon, the second Book of the Cyropaedia; which I began, the 2d. of this month, and in the afternoon I began upon the book of Luke, in the Testament. I finish'd Matthew, last Thursday, and passed over Mark, in which it is supposed there is no difficulty, and which I may go through, in case, I have leisure. Miss Nancy, went in the afternoon with a large Party on slaying; and dancing. I loiter'd away the whole evening, which I have not done before, for some time. But I made up the lost time in the Night: between 1 and 2 in the morning when I retired to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-12

12th.

Began in the forenoon upon the third book of the Cyropaedia; Eliza Duncan, Miss Stevenson and Mr. Bil. Osgood spent the Evening here. Nancy has been very much in the dumps, these two or three days. I hope she is not offended with herself; for though she has many very great foibles (the lot of humanity) yet, upon the whole she is really a good girl.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-13

13th.

Mrs. Payson pass'd the afternoon here. A Daughter of Mrs. Sargeants who was a Coquettish young Widow, and married, about 9 months since; she is in some measure the arbiter of Taste { 387 } and fashion here: and makes very smart and severe Remarks, upon every one, who does not happen to dress or dance, according to her Taste.
I went down with Nancy to Mr. Duncans, and was there all the Evening; there was considerable Company: the young Squire, as empty, as a Drum, though it must be said in his favour, that he is not very talkative. Mr. Tim Osgood, who return'd yesterday from Newbury, where he went to carry Miss Knight. Mr. Duncan, said, he was an ambitious man, for that he was doing all he could to be Knighted. Miss Stevenson, endeavours to say very witty things, and has an archness of look, as who should say, is not that excellent. There is perhaps a little affectation in the matter, but it is all very excuseable, in a Lady. We must always judge of persons and things from their qualities, relative to others of the same kind. In this Country where fortunes are almost universally very small, four or five hundred £ sterling, annual income is considered as a large fortune; in Europe, it is a very trifling one. Were our young Ladies generally remarkable, for great virtues, and very few and inconsiderable faults, one might with Reason be strict, and severe; but as the matter stands, we must entirely over look small, foibles,

Be to their faults a little blind,

Be to their virtues very kind,1

for most of our damsels are like portraits in crayons, which at a distance look, well, but if you approach near them, are vile daubings. There are some indeed who like the paintings of the great masters, excite admiration more and more, the nearer, and the longer they are examined. A few such, alone can reconcile me to a sex, which I should otherwise, doubt whether to hate, despise, or pity most.
1. Matthew Prior, “An English Padlock,” [lines 78–79]; JQA has reversed the lines. A copy of Prior's Poems on Several Occasions, 2 vols. in 1, Glasgow, 1759, was owned by JQA at this time (MQA).
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/