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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0003-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-08


We recite this week in Terence, and Caesar to Mr. James. This is the tutor of the oldest standing in College. He is very well ac• { 29 } quainted with the branch he has undertaken, and Persons, that are not Students, say that he is much of a Gentleman. But it seems almost to be a maxim among the Governors of the College, to treat the Students pretty much like brute Beasts. There is an important air, and a haughty look, that, every Person, belonging to the government, (Mr. Williams excepted) assumes, which indeed it is hard for me to submit to. But it may be of use to me, as it mortifies my Vanity, and if any thing, in the world, can teach me humility, it will be, to see myself subjected to the commands of a Person, that I must despise.
Mr. James is also accused of having many Partialities, and carrying them to very great length and moreover, that those partialities do not arise from any superior talents or Virtues, in the Student, but from closer, and more interested motives. There are some in our Class with whom, he has been peculiarly severe, and some he has shown more favour, than any Tutor ought to show to a Student. I wish not his favour, as he might prize it too high, and I fear not his Severity, which he can never display, if I do my Duty. Mr. Williams, gave us a mathematical Lecture at 9. Still on Surveying. About two thirds, of the Class are behind hand, and the rest are obliged to wait for them till they come up.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0003-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-09


We had this afternoon a public1 Lecture upon Divinity. It is a pretty common Custom among the Students, to take their books into the Chapel, and whilst these Lectures are going on they study their next Lessons; those indeed, that do this, are some of the good Scholars of the Class, for there are many, that do not look, into a book, more than once a Quarter, before they go in to recite. Lovell, was punish'd this morning, for carrying to the recitation an English Terence. Was he to punish all, that do so, about 2/3 of each Class would be fined. I was not at reciting this morning, because, the prayer Bell did not wake me. This is only the second Time, that it has happened to me this Quarter, and I hope, I shall soon be so used to early rising, as to be up every morning, a little after five. I find my Time flies away here, as fast as any where. Being engaged now in a multiplicity of Studies, I cannot make, a very rapid progress in any branch. Latin, Greek, Mathematics, natural Philosophy, and Metaphysics, are enough to fill any ones hands at one Time, and I have calculated, that { 30 } about 6 hours every day are taken up in Prayers, recitings, Lectures &c. which are not to be consider'd, as studies. But mathematics and natural Philosophy, are studies so agreeable, that the Time I devote to them, seems a time of relaxation.
1. Public lectures were open to the entire college; private lectures, which JQA mentions in later entries, were given to selected classes.
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.