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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


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

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

5th.

Took an early breakfast, and walk'd with Cranch to Cambridge. We got to Packard's chamber, just after 9 o'clock. There was a meeting of the ΦBK. The president and vice-president being both absent, Mr. Andrews presided for the meeting: a number of new regulations were introduced; the resignation of the president was read and accepted. Just before 12 The officers for the ensuing year were ballotted. Mr. Ware, (who arrived just before the choice) was elected president; Mr. Harris vice-president; Abbot secretary, and Phillips treasurer.
Immediately after this business was finished, we walk'd in { 284 } procession to the chapel, preceded by the two orators. (Lowell and Freeman.) Freeman gave us an Oration containing miscellaneous observations, without any professed subject; and this like all his other performances was extremely well written, and equally well deliver'd. Lowell, gave us an encomium upon history, which contained a number of very good observations, but his delivery was not without a share of that affectation, which if I may so express myself, is natural to him. The students attended very generally except those of the Senior class; who kept off, from a spirit of envy, all except Dodge.
We return'd to the butler's room, and soon after proceeded to Mr. Warland's, where we had an excellent dinner provided for us. Besides the members, of the present senior class, there were present Mr. Kendall, and Mr. B. Green, Mr. Ware; Mr. Andrews, Mr. Harris: Packard, Cranch, Freeman, and myself: after passing a couple of hours, in friendly mirth and festivity, at three o'clock, we adjourn'd again to Packard's chamber, where we voted to admit Mr. Bancroft, a minister of Worcester; Mr. Packard of Marlborough, and Dr. Barker of Hingham, as members of the Society without the usual forms. On account of the Dudleian lecture we adjourn'd the meeting till five o'clock; when we again met, but there being no further business, the meeting was then dissolved.
The lecture was preach'd by Doctor Howard. The subject was natural religion and his text was from []1 And we also are his offspring. The sermon was replete with sound sense, and a wholsome doctrine, as all the sermons that I ever heard from this gentleman, have been.
In the evening I called at the president's and at Mr. Wigglesworths', and took their letters for Newbury-Port. Lodg'd at college, with Clarke.
1. Acts 17:28, but left blank in MS. The lecture was given by Simeon Howard.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-06

6th.

This morning after breakfasting with Mr. Andrews I walk'd leisurely to Boston. Just before I left Cambridge the parts for exhibition were distributed: Charles has a dialogue with Emerson: the circumstance gave me more pleasure than any allotment that I ever had, myself.
As soon as I arrived in Boston, I immediately went to Court, { 285 } and found them engaged upon the trial of one John Shehane for burglary. The attorney general1 began, in behalf of the commonwealth. He examined his witnesses and said but little, observing that he should wait to see what defence the counsel for the prisoner, had to make.
Mr. Wetmore2 spoke first for the prisoner; at the first outset, he attempted to address the passions of the jury, Mr. Dawes who sat next to me observ'd that this was a bad omen. The pathetic he said should always be reserved for the latter part of the plea: a man should gradually grow warm (said he) as he advances in his subject; like a wheel, which acquires heat by rolling.
The evidence which Mr. Wetmore produced, was very favorable to the prisoner. If true it proved an alibi; and it proved likewise that Shehane, had bought the articles, which he was charged with stealing: but they told so many different stories, and the attorney general produced such evidence, that they were perjured; that I think no stress could be laid upon it.
Mr. Tudor spoke much at length in the afternoon; and very ably: Mr. Paine, closed for the Commonwealth, at about 7 in the evening. All the judges (there were four present) appeared to be of opinion that the prisoner was guilty. At half past 8, the jury was pack'd,3 and the court adjourn'd for an hour: but the jury had not then agreed upon a verdict; upon which the court adjourn'd till 9 o'clock to-morrow morning.
I was so entirely engaged the whole day in hearing this trial, which was very interesting; that I had no time, to go any where else. Between 10 and 11 at night I carried my bundle to Mr. Colman's, from whose house the stage setts off, and I took a bed there, in order to be ready to go very early in the morning.
1. Robert Treat Paine, attorney general from 1777 to 1790 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:462–482).
2. William Wetmore, a Boston attorney (same, 17:447–451).
3. In this sense, sent out to deliberate upon a verdict.
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/