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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-10


This forenoon Townsend, sat off for Boston. Mr. Parsons intended to have gone likewise, as the supreme Court, sits by adjournment, there this week. But he was so much troubled with an ague in his face, and the tooth ach, that he could not go.
I pass'd the evening with Little at Dr. Swett's. Mrs. Swett is a pretty woman; and agreeable: not endow'd I believe with great strength of mind; not much of a reasoner nor much of a patriot, and professes to know nothing of politics, which she supposes to be entirely out of the sphere of the female sex.
It would perhaps be as well, if all women thought so, and conducted upon the principle: yet I wish even females to feel some interest in the welfare of their country.
The Dr. is a man of learning, and ingenuity. He went through a course of professional studies in Scotland, and has travell'd in different parts of Europe, but he has a mean idea of human nature, and I should not wonder if all physicians had: for they are incessantly conversant with the physical defects and infirmities { 328 } of mankind: they see humanity in a state of humiliation, and it is no wonder if they have no idea of its glory.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-11


Reading Blackstone all day; and I pass'd the evening, at the office till eight: after which I went and past an hour with Putnam. F. Bradbury was with him. We had some conversation upon the stale topic of self love and disinterested benevolence. A subject, upon which I have very frequently conversed, with many different persons: and notwithstanding every thing that I have heard said upon the subject, I still retain the opinion which I adopted when I first reasoned upon it. I will not venture to say there is no such thing as disinterested benevolence, but I must say that after searching as deeply as possible into my own mind, I cannot find a trace of it there.
Talk'd with Doctor Kilham upon the federal constitution; the elections which have hitherto been made in different parts of the State, appear to be generally favorable to it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-12


This day I finished reading the fourth and last volume of Blackstone's Commentaries. This is one of the most important books in the profession, and I have comparatively speaking taken more time in reading it, than I probably shall, for any other book: yet I am very far, from being master of it. And I intend before the end of my three years, if I should live and have my health, to go through this book once or twice more. I began in the afternoon upon Sullivan's Lectures, and read a few pages; but not sufficient to get an idea of the merits of the book. Thompson, has so far recovered, that he was at the office in the afternoon.
I pass'd the evening at my own lodgings, reading, and writing.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-13


The repetition of the same events, from day to day, is the only variety which can supply materials for this record of my transactions. Conversations, are seldom interesting. New characters seldom arise, and I am employed more time in thinking what I shall say for one day, than I am in writing the occurrences of a { 329 } week. Fertility of imagination, might supply the deficiency of materials, but my soil produces no spontaneous fruits.
I passed this evening with Thompson: his father was taken very ill this afternoon with a nervous disorder, and was so sick that we broke up our assembly before eight o'clock.
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.