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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-05

5th.

I pass'd the evening with Thompson and Putnam at Mr. Bradbury's. Frank came from Boston this morning, and bro't an account of the interment of his Honor Thomas Cushing Esqr. who died last week. He has been lieutenant governor of this Commonwealth, ever since the establishment of the Constitution; and it is probable, there will be a vast deal of electioneering intrigue, for the diverse candidates for the place.
The paper also contains an extract from the concluding Letter of the third volume in defence of the american Constitutions, which speaks very favourably of the System proposed by the federal Convention... I did not expect it, and am glad to find I was mistaken, since, it appears probable, the plan will be adopted....1 We play'd cards an hour or two and then amused { 372 } ourselves with music. There were several young Ladies present, Miss Harriet's companions; a sett that are almost always together, and who have at least more personal beauty, than any equal number of other unmarried Ladies in this town.
Miss Wigglesworth,2 is about 17. Her stature is rather diminutive; but smallness is said to be one of the essential requisites of prettiness; Her features are regular, and her shape admirably proportioned. Her disposition is said to be amiable; but she talks very little. The greatest defect which I have observed in her is a frequent smile, which is certainly either unmeaning, or insulting. The only method I can pursue, when I catch her eye is to smile too; and by this means put her out of countenance. Thus much for the present; I will take some other opportunity to mention the other stars that form this constellation.
1. JQA's ellipses here and above. Written by JA to WSS on 26 Dec. 1787, the letter appeared in the Massachusetts Centinel printed on this date (JA, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 3 vols., London,1787–1788,3:502–506).
2. Probably Sarah Wigglesworth, the daughter of Col. Edward Wigglesworth of Newbury port (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:129–133).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-06

6th.

We met in the evening at Putnam's chamber. I did not pass my time so agreeably as I usually do these evenings. Townsend and Amory were there, and instead of devoting our hours to free and unrestrained conversation, we lost them in playing on the violin, and flute. Between 9 and 10 we retired.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-07

7th.

The weather begins to abate of its severity; yet people cross'd the river on the ice all this day. Townsend and Pickman this afternoon went to Salem. I was at home all the evening and Thompson spent part of it with me. He intends to quit his school, in three or four weeks; and I hope I shall then enjoy more of his company.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-08

8th.

I this day got through, my folio of Lord Coke, which has been hanging heavy upon me, these ten weeks. It contains a vast deal of Law learning; but heaped up in such an incoherent mass that { 373 } I have derived very little benefit from it. Indeed I think it a very improper book to put into the hands of a student just entering upon the acquisition of the profession. I am perswaded I might have spent the Time which has been employ'd in reading this book, to much better advantage, and that a twelvemonth hence I could have read it in less time and with more profit: but if this be the case how much more laborious must the study have been, when this was the only elementary book of the profession. The addition of Wood's Institutes and more especially of Blackstone's commentaries, has been an inestimable advantage of the late students in the profession.
In the afternoon I read a few pages in Blackstone and the contrast was like descending from a rugged, dangerous and almost inaccessible mountain, into a beautiful plain, where the unbounded prospect on every side presents the appearance of fertility. I read with more advantage than usual, as I was wholly alone in the office, all day. I spent the evening in my own room, uninterrupted by any intrusion. I proceed in the second volume of Gibbon, about fifty pages a day.
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/