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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

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).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-16


Breakfasted at Judge Dana's. Doctor Waterhouse came, in and entertained us for some time with his quaint wit. I paid several visits in the course of the forenoon: pass'd a couple of hours very agreeably with Miss Wigglesworth and Miss Jones.1 The latter of these two Ladies, in former times, was not with me upon so good terms as at present. I thought her capricious, and ill-natured: but of late she has been much better. I once wrote a double acrostic for her, neither part of which was true. As I did not insert them at the time I will now introduce one of them;2 for the contrast is false and unjust. I went to see Mr. Smith, the Librarian, and also to Mr. Gannett's; where Miss Lucy Cranch, has been these two months past. The young Lovers went home this forenoon with the Miss Clarkes, And Mr. Andrews did not get back, { 392 } till we had nearly dined. Immediately after dinner I mounted my horse; and got to Mr. Cranch's, between six and seven. My aunt I found was gone to Cambridge, for Lucy, and expects to return with her to-morrow. I found my friends well except W. Cranch, who has been very unwell, but is recovering.

C—ould all the powers of rhetoric combined

A—ssist to show the beauties of her mind

T—he Poet's efforts would be all in vain

H—er mind is fair, without one single stain

A—11 the soft Passions which improve the heart

R—eign in her breast, and every thought impart

I—n such a breast no foible can reside

N—o little art, for prudence is her guide

E—ach moral beauty, which adorns the soul

J—oin'd to each grace, completes her soft controul

O—f Siren charms, the poets often tell,

N—o goddess e'er employ'd them half so well;

E—nvy itself must drop a tear to find,

S—o fair a face with such a beauteous mind.

1. JQA mentions Miss Jones and Miss Ellery in his line-a-day entry (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).
2. The acrostic that JQA copied into this entry first appeared in his verse composition book, M/JQA/28, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel no. 223. The second acrostic, which he apparently wrote down on the leaf that followed, has been clipped out of the book.
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.