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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-09

9th.

Mr. Wigglesworth gave a private lecture this morning, and we had likewise a philosophical lecture from Mr. Williams; the sub• { 218 } ject was fire; and there were a number of curious observations, which, I do not recollect having heard last year: Charles pass'd part of the evening with me, at my chamber.
Moses Little1 of Newbury, will be 21 the 4th. of next July. Great application, joined to very good natural abilities, place him in the first line, in the class as a scholar: he has been attentive to all those parts of Science which are pursued here, and in all, he has made considerable proficiency: as a speaker, he is inferior to several, but his composition, is perhaps rather too flowery: to a large share of ambition he unites great modesty, and he has the peculiar talent of being favour'd by the government of the College, without losing his popularity with his Classmates. His disposition must of course be amiable, he seldom contradicts the opinions of any one, yet when he is obliged to declare his own sentiments, he can shew, that he thinks for himself. But notwithstanding all of his good qualities; he is sometimes censured, and such is the instability, of all populaces, that a small trifle might induce two thirds of the Class to deny the improvements and the abilities even of this person.
1. Little after graduation studied medicine with John Barnard Swett in Newburyport, at the same time JQA was pursuing his legal studies there; afterward he practiced in Salem (Russell Leigh Jackson, “Physicians of Essex County,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 84:89 [Jan. 1948]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-10

10th.

A violent north east storm continued the whole day, with copious rain: there has fallen more this day, than in any other two for a twelve-month past: and it will be very serviceable to the ground: Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Greenleaf were here this afternoon from Haverhill; but notwithstanding the storm, they proceeded to Boston.
Pass'd the evening with Cranch.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-11

11th.

Storm'd again the whole day: we had a lecture from Mr. Williams, upon heat, in which he introduced his own system, which he first made public last year. Charles declaimed this evening in public, for the first time. Pass'd the evening with Mead.
James Lloyd1 of Boston, was 17 []. He is said to be a good scholar, and a hard student; but his disposition is far from ami• { 219 } able. He is an only son, of a physician of eminence, and fortune in Boston; and has been too much indulged in every childish caprice, to make him studious to please others: his ideas appear to be, that the beings which surround him were created to administer to his pleasures, but that he was born wholly independent of them: whatever he sees, different from his own taste, he honours with a sneer, but when any person has boldness enough to return the sneer

Then his fierce eyes, with sparkling fury glow.2

He has not the least command of his passions, and any person of coolness might play upon his mind, and direct his rage, just as he should please.
But he can never be an agreeable companion; I was with him continually, for one week; and I should never wish to be with him again. His chum (Amory) is the only person that could live with him without quarreling, and he preserves peace only by giving way in every particular: a greater contrast of characters could not be found. Amory has every virtue which conspires to win the hearts of men, and Lloyd would be discontented, if he was placed at the right hand of omnipotence.
1. Lloyd became a Boston merchant, and, after JQA's resignation, served in the U.S. Senate from 1808 to 1813 and from 1822 to 1826 (Boston Directory, 1796; Biog. Dir. Cong.).
2. “An Essay on Criticism,” line 378.
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/