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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-22


Amory and Stacey, return'd from their expedition: They got to Cape-Ann at about twelve on Wednesday night, and were about two hours at the ball. On Thursday they proceeded to Marblehead, and attended at the assembly which was held there: Last Night they patrol'd the streets of Salem, serenading the houses, and came home this afternoon compleately fatigued. { 378 } Mr. Parsons arrived in town too this morning from Boston, and held a court, for taking cognizance of Mr. Atkins's actions.
Pickman, pass'd the evening with us at Mrs. Hooper's. Mr. Cutler was likewise there.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-23


Pickman had agreed to go with me, and hear Parson Tucker preach this forenoon; but some circumstance prevented him; so I went alone. The Dr. gave us a very good sermon upon the education of children. I went home with Mr. Tracey to dinner, and Pickman soon came in. We dined and pass'd the afternoon with Mr. Tracey. This gentleman, was in the course of the war, peculiarly fortunate and accumulated, an immense fortune; but he has since been equally unluckily, and is now, very much reduced. The generosity of his heart is equal to any estate whatever: and although he has not been so prudent, as might be wish'd, yet every one who is acquainted with him, must lament his misfortunes, and heartily wish he may retrieve his affairs. We rode in to town in the beginning of the evening as the weather was rainy. We stop'd at Mrs. Hooper's. We found Miss Cazneau there; and Thompson and Putnam came in soon after. The evening was dull. Miss Cazneau, would sing; and murdered two or three songs. A specimen of Townsend's wit, set us to laughing. Mr. Parsons, set out this morning, to go to Boston, but the weather being disagreeable, he return'd home after proceeding three or four miles. I have undertaken a task1 which possibly at some future day, may serve to fill part of this volume; but which at present takes up much of my time.
1. JQA is referring to his poem “A Vision.” See note for entry of 30 Jan. 1787 (above), and entry of and note for 28 March (below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-24


I attended at Mr. Atkins's Court; and appeared to the actions. Mr. Marquand who had been summoned there, appeared, and somewhat diverted us by his impetuosity. I met young Thomas in the street who gave me some information from Cambridge.
This being the last day of service, we have been uncommonly busy in the office in copying the writs and making out records, according to the Justice's act,1 which is useless and even trouble• { 379 } some on every account. I this day finished reading Gibbon's History, which I have had a long time without perusing. It has given me much information upon a part of history with which I was but little acquainted. The style upon the whole I think is elegant, but his manifest partiality against the Christian religion; is equally injurious to his character as a philosopher, and as an historian. He affects to despise those men who from a zealous attachment to their religion, have adopted the effusions of enthusiasm, as readily as the pure and indisputable relations of history; while he is himself guilty of the other extreme, which in my mind is much less excusable. Knox however is I believe too severe when he says, that this writer by a meretricious and affected stile, far beneath the native dignity and simplicity of the ancients has caught the transient applause of the public, and indeed the occasion upon which he passes this judgment renders the censure very reprehensible:2 The reflection upon Julian's leaving Paris, was to me one of the most ingenious passages in the book: And Knox, by setting himself up as the Champion of english prejudices, cannot be quoted by a neutral person as an authority of great weight.
1. Perpetual Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1780–1800, 3 vols., Boston, 1801, 1:146–149.
2. Vicesimus Knox, Liberal Education; Or, A Practical Treatise on the Methods of AcquiringUseful and Polite Learning, 10th edn., 2 vols., London, 1789, 2:307–309.
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.