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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-14


I met with several impediments in the morning so that it was eleven o'clock before I cross'd the river: the weather was very good, but growing Cloudy. I got to Doctor Kitteridge's house at Andover, before one. I stop'd to see my Class-mate W. Abbot and dined there. Bowman and Wyeth were likewise there. I would say something of Mrs. Kitteridge, but it would be now a very improper time to give an account of such impressions. I left the House before three; and soon after it began to rain, and continued without intermission untill I arrived at Cambridge; I got there at about six. I rode, eight or ten miles with an Almsbury man, who is going to Concord court upon business. Mr. Parsons is engaged in his cause, and the man had a deal to say about lawyer's.
I found my brothers at our old chamber, and after sitting with them half an hour, went over, and pass'd the remainder of the evening with Packard. I found Cushman, at his chamber, and we { 390 } spent the eve very sociably. Clarke had been riding in the rain as well as myself, the greatest part of the day. He came from Harvard, where he went to accompany Grosvenor, who went home very sick a few days ago.
Cushman is apprehensive that he will not be able to obtain his degree1 before next Commencement. He tells me he has not yet preached, as had been reported: Child, Kellogg and Mead are, he says the only Classmates of ours who have yet appeared in the pulpit.
1. Cushman had not received his bachelor's degree in the commencement of 1787 because of unpaid college bills.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-15


The weather was quite disagreeable, for exhibition; in consequence of which there was but little company. Phillips began the performances, with a Latin Oration. His subject was General Washington; a subject which must be inexhaustible or it would long since have been exhausted. He spoke well. Treadwell and Gardner, next came upon the stage, in a forensic disputation. Their question was something like this. “Whether mankind have any natural right to authority over one another.” They quibbled about words, and said on neither side much to the purpose. Treadwell however did better than I expected of him. In the Syllogistic dispute Cutts was respondent, Blake 2. and Wigglesworth opponents. I have forgotten the question upon which they exerciced their ingenuity. Bradbury and Hooper, personated Plato and Diogenes; in a dialogue, upon the conduct of courtiers: the only fault that could be found, was that Hooper's delicacy of person, and neatness of dress, contrasted rather too much with our ideas of Diogenes, and indeed, with what he said in that Character. Paine and Shaw spoke a greek dialogue, in which I did not feel myself greatly interested; and Abbot closed with an English Oration, upon the slave-trade. The Composition was very good, and it was well spoken, though, the natural disadvantage of a weak voice, injured the effect of his delivery. I do not recollect having heard any performances upon this subject, at College, and it will afford a fruitful source for declamation....1 The governor then arose, and made a speech addressed to the Students, in which he congratulated them upon their proficiency, and exhorted them to go on in the ways of well-doing. { 391 } The music which succeeded was but indifferent. They had no violin: and Fay their best performer, was unwell, and did not attend.
After the exhibition was over I went down to Judge Dana's, and dined in company with a number of Ladies. Stedman and Harris, the butler, dined there too. There was a Miss Patten from Rhode Island; Almy Ellery is fond of her; and I will trust to her judgment; but was it not for that I should not be much prepossessed in the Lady's favour: She is very tall, very young, and very diffident. Miss Badger I have seen before; but there are three or four Miss Clarke's of whom I have heard much said; and whom I this day saw for the first Time. They are all agreeable; and none of them handsome: Patty is the most comely, me judice.
After dinner I called at Dr. Wigglesworth's, but the young Ladies were gone over to the College, to drink tea. We went to Phillips's chamber. It was full of Company. Between seven and eight we went to Brown's Rooms, and danced till between Twelve and one.2 I was completely fatigued, and glad that the company then dispersed. I pass'd the evening very agreeably; and after breaking up went with my Classmate Foster, and lodg'd at my brother's Chamber; where by priority of possession I still claim a right.
1. JQA's ellipses.
2. “Senior dance” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).
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.