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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-26

26th.

I took a long walk, this afternoon with Putnam, and as we came back we stop'd at Mrs. Hooper's. Townsend is still there the weather being so unsettled, that he has not ventured to go much from the house yet; He must however go in a few days to Ipswich as he is to be sworn in at that Court. We play'd quadrill. Miss Knight and Miss Phillips were there. With the latter of these Ladies I have never hitherto had any acquaintance. I went a mile with her, after ten to wait on her home, and on the way met Master Thompson, but as I returned I could not overtake him.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-27

27th.

I went with Pickman, Amory Stacey and Putnam to Salisbury, to see a vessel launch'd: She stuck as she went off. We dined there but the party was very far from being agreeable. A. Orne, is an habitual debauchee, who at the age of five or six and twenty has brought upon himself the infirmities of old age. He is one of those human beings whom to see is to despise. The description in the choice of Hercules1 beautifully expresses the character.
At about five in the afternoon, I return'd with Pickman and Putnam, to Newbury-Port, and from thence walk'd up to Little's; where we found Thompson and Sawyer: we pass'd the evening agreeably; and much more to our Satisfaction than we could have done with those other Lads whom we left at Salisbury.

“Vast Happiness enjoy thy gay Allies!

A Youth of Follies; an old age of Cares:

Young, yet enervate; old yet never wise;

Vice wastes their vigour, and their Mind impairs.”

1. That is, the choice presented to Hercules by female representations of Virtue and Vice, each of whom urged him to follow the path she pointed out. JA suggested the fable as a theme for the United States seal (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:ix–x, 96–98).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0003-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-28

28th.

The weather was pleasant. Townsend rode, this day. I pass'd the evening with him: and found Miss Knight at Mrs. Hooper's. After having dismiss'd two or three inconstant suitors, she is { 381 } now address'd by a Mr. Gregory from Boston, to whom she will probably soon be united.

With all the charms of beauty richly fraught,

Lucinda's form my fond attention caught.

A faultless person and a lovely mind,

I found with wonder, were in her combin'd

Deficient only in a single part,

She wanted nothing but a feeling heart.

Calm and unruffled as a Summer Sea,

From Passions gale's Lucinda's breast is free,

A faithless lover she may well defy

Recall her heart nor breathe a single sigh

And should a second prove inconstant too

She changes on till she can find one true.1

Such a character may be esteemed; it may likewise be beloved, for she has had more than one Lover; but their unsteadiness may possibly derive some excuse from this very disposition of her's: for my own part, I never could conceive such sentiments with respect to her, as would enable me to be inconstant.
1. This stanza and the one recorded in the entry for 8 April (below) were later incorporated in “A Vision.” This work, begun as early as 30 Jan. 1787 but not completed until June 1790, became a satirical sketch of nine young women whom JQA knew during his years in Newburyport. It remained unpublished until Dec. 1839, when Brother Jonathan, the weekly edition of the New York Evening Tattler, printed it from an MS copy. Later the poem was published in JQA's Poems of Religion and Society, Auburn and Buffalo, N.Y., 1853, and Currier's Newburyport, 2:541–547. The only known MS copy of the work in JQA's hand is in M/JQA/28, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 223. Upon rereading the printed version in 1839, JQA regarded it as an unequaled effort. “As a Poet I have never surpassed it,” he wrote; “My summit level as a Statesman, Orator, Philosopher and Proser is of about the same elevation” (William Cranch to JQA, 10 June 1790, Adams Papers; JQA, Diary, 25, 28 Dec. 1839, Memoirs, 10:176–177).
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/