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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-05

5th.

Rain'd again a great part of the day. Putnam pass'd the evening at my lodgings. We conversed upon a variety of Subjects. I am more pleased with him, than I was while we were, Classmates: he is not exempt from that puerility which I mentioned as constituting his character;1 and I have sometimes seen him exert a degree of little cunning, to obtain an end, in trifles where it was totally unnecessary even to serve his own purpose; But he { 386 } is good-natured, and friendly; willing and ready to oblige; easy and contented; enjoying the present, and looking forward to futurity without sufficient anxiety to embitter his happiness. I often envy him his feelings. For “who by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature.”2 The prospects of life which are before me, are by far the most frequent employment of my thoughts: and according to the different temperature of my Spirits, I am sometimes elated with hope, sometimes contented with indifference, but often tormented with fears, and depressed by the most discouraging appearances. Such reflections serve only to deprive me of my present enjoyments; after all, the events which Time is to produce, must take their course, and “sufficient surely,” to the day is the evil thereof.3
1. JQA's earlier sketch of Putnam is in the entry for 27 May 1787 (above).
2. Matthew, 6:27.
3. Same, 6:34.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-06

6th.

A Parson Allen preach'd this day for Mr. Carey. I went to hear him in the forenoon. His Sermon was sensible, but his delivery was quite disagreeable: his manner of speaking was so singular that several times it was with difficulty I restrained myself from laughing. I did not feel a great inclination to hear him again, and I therefore, went in the afternoon, and heard Mr. Murray. He is an orator; but if he did not betray such a consciousness of his own powers, while in the pulpit, he would be much more pleasing to me. There is no situation perhaps in which that consummate art of concealing art, is more requisite, than in the desk. Art is undoubtedly necessary in speaking to command the attention of an audience; but if that art is apparent, the solemnity of the occasion, greatly tends to increase the disgust which I always conceive, against affectation. For when a preacher appears so wholly occupied with the admiration of his own rhetorical talents; it seems he can have but little concern for the important subject, of which his eloquence is only the instrument, and which ought to be the chief, I had almost said the only object of his thoughts.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-07

7th.

I went with Thompson, to Mr. Atkins's, to answer to an action which we had brought before him this day.
{ 387 }
The first Monday in April, being the day appointed by the Constitution for the choice of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Senators The Town meeting here began at ten in the morning, and the poll was closed at four in the afternoon. Mr. Hancock and General Lincoln, had a great majority in this Town, as well as in Newbury. And a federal List of Senators; for. Fed and anti; are the only distinctions at this day. Mr. S. Adams had a <great> number of votes for Lieutt. Governor; but, for what reason, I cannot tell, all the influence was against him. The revolution that has taken place in sentiments within one twelve month past must be astonishing to a person unacquainted, with the weaknesses, the follies, and the vices of human nature. The very men, who at the last election declared the Commonwealth would be ruined if Mr. Hancock was chosen, have now done every thing to get him in, and the other side are equally capricious. We have not yet got sufficiently settled to have stated parties; but we shall soon I have no doubt obtain the blessing.
I pass'd an hour or two this evening with Thompson at Mrs. Emery's: and he spent half an hour with me, till nine 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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/