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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-18


Passed the day at the office; Townsend and Thompson were there in the evening.
The question, what am I to do in this world recurs to me, very frequently; and never without causing great anxiety, and a depression of spirits: my prospects appear darker to me, every day, and I am obliged sometimes to drive the subject from my mind, and to assume some more agreeable train of thoughts. I do not wish to look into futurity; and were the leaves of fate to be { 331 } opened before me, I should shrink from the perusal. Fortune, I do not covet. Honours, I begin to think are not worth seeking, and as for “the bubble reputation,” though deck'd with all the splendors of the rainbow, yet those very splendors are deceitful, and it seldom fails to burst, from the weight of the drop which it contains.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-19


I spent my time this day, in the same manner that I did the two last. I came home to my lodgings at about 8 in the evening, and not being disposed to study, felt quite dull. When Dr. Kilham is not at home, I am entirely without company; for my landlady is in fact a good woman, but merely a good woman.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-20


The cold weather appears to be for setting in seriously; and indeed it is high time that it should. It snow'd some part of the day. Just after dusk, I walk'd with Thompson and Putnam to Little's home in Newbury, but he was gone to attend the ordination at Byfield. We return'd, and the lads pass'd the evening quite sociably with me, till 9 o'clock. Captain Wyer was here in the evening. He was he says, an enthusiast for liberty in 1775, but finds it all a farce; he is now, no less an enthusiast; and he may chance to find his present object, which is different enough from Liberty, more tragical, than merry. I finished this day with Sullivan's lectures; and am not displeased to have gone through it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-21


I read through Wright's short treatise upon the feudal tenures. I found nothing in it, but what I had before read upon the subject in other writers. In the beginning of the next week, I shall take up Coke upon Littleton, Which seems to be the great magazine for law knowledge but it is one of those unlucky folio's, which appear so formidable to many students in the profession. I set myself down, for three months at this book.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-22


I pass'd the day as usual at the office; but there was scarce a half an hour at a Time, without some visitor who entered into { 332 } conversation with Mr. Parsons, and prevented us from paying any attention to our books. This is too frequently the case, and much of our Time is lost in that manner, luckily this was to me a leisure day, and I only made a few extracts from Blackstone.
Little pass'd the evening with me.
Weather quite moderate.
I should wish in order to give some kind of variety to these pages, to bring in the aid of something more, than a mere insipid narrative of my journeys from the office to my lodgings, and from my lodgings to the office. I have heretofore made free plunder with the characters of persons with whom I had any connections, but on many accounts I have found this a dangerous practice: for as I cannot keep these volumes so secret as I should wish to, and as the models may by some measure get access to the picture, I am obliged either to forfeit my sincerity, even towards myself, or to run the risque of making enemies. My disposition has prompted me to prefer the latter evil and I have sometimes experienced the disadvantages of committing my real opinions to writing. I have been thinking whether the method of recording observations, without exemplifying characters, would not be equally agreeable to me without being dangerous. If my observations are collected from a concurrence of facts, and if they should be upon subjects of any consequence, I might in that manner pluck the rose, without pricking my finger with the thorn. I believe I shall endeavour, though not immediately to practice upon this plan.
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.