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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-22


The Weather has softened so much, that, it thaw'd last Night, and has, all this day. We had nevertheless in the forenoon, a Sermon, from, Psalm CXLVII. 17. who can stand before his cold. And a cold Sermon it was. The Subject indeed was such, as that much, was not to be expected from it, nor indeed was much made of it. It was however short, which is a very good Quality at this Season of the year. The afternoon text, from I Corinthians. III. 18. Let no man deceive himself, opened a much wider field for reasoning, and morality. The discourse pleased me much better. My Brother sat up with me; I began upon the first Book of the Satires,1 which are upon a very different plan from the Odes. Close reasoning, sharp ridicule, and few ornaments are the { 393 } Characteristics of this kind of Poetry. Ridicule, and even reasoning, may be made use of in an Ode, but it absolutely requires the most fragrant flowers of rhetoric, and Poetry to adorn it.
1. JQA apparently also made at this time a translation of Horace's Satires; there is an undated fragmentary document in M/JQA/44 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 239), which contains translations of Satires 1 and 3–10 of Book I, Satire 1 being incomplete; and Satires 1–8 of Book II, Satire 8 being incomplete.

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-23


Began upon Homer's Iliad, in the morning, and got through 50 lines. This author would be very easy to understand, was it not for the various dialects he makes use of.
Drank tea, and spent the Evening at Mr. McHard's; but as the Company was chiefly composed of young Ladies, of Course, there was nothing said, which may not be found in Swift's polite Conversation;1 and I am sure there is nothing there, that deserves to be repeated. We play'd cards, till about 9, and then all retired.
1. A Complete Collection of Polite and Ingenious Conversation, published under the pseudonym of Simon Wagstaff, Esq., good-naturedly satirizes through three dialogues the inane attempts at repartee of such characters as Miss Notable, Lord Sparkish, and others. The examples of smart conversation offered, Swift's introduction declared, should fill every need of genteel people “met together for their mutual entertainment.”

Docno: ADMS-03-01-02-0008-0001-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-01-24


Went over, with my Cousin and brother Charles, to dine with Mr. Allen at Bradford. A lame foot prevented Tom from going with us. Last Saturday, he turn'd his foot as he was walking, and disjointed three bones. So that he cannot yet walk.
Walker and Ebenezer Webster, formally a pupil of Mr. Shaw's dined with us: and an old gentleman by the name of Osgood1 belonging to Andover, a very sensible man, and by the manner in which he conversed I judged he had been a traveller. There was after dinner, another Doctor Osgood,2 came in: a young man very talkative I fancy: he reason'd more than half an hour to prove to Mr. Allen, that a minister without a fortune, did very wrong to marry; I thought his attempt was somewhat ill-timed.
Returning home we met the young Ladies from Master White's going to Johnny's. We escorted them; sat there half an hour: and came off.
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1. Probably Joseph Osgood Sr., a physician at Andover (Ira Osgood, A Genealogy of the Descendants of John, Christopher, and William Osgood, Salem, Mass., 1894, p. 38–39).
2. Possibly Dr. Isaac Osgood Jr., a son of the Haverhill merchant (Russell Leigh Jackson, “Physicians of Essex County,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 84:182 [April 1948]).
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.