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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-03


I walk'd with Thompson a mile or two in Newbury. The prospects on that road are delightful; and I am more pleased with that walk than with any other near this town. We went to Judge Greenleaf's. Mrs. Hodge and Mrs. Parsons were there. We past the evening as usual at that house. The judge was very sensible and sociable; Mrs. Greenleaf was very agreeable; and all the daughters sat like just so many young misses, whose mamma, had told them, that little girls must be seen and not heard. The judge to strangers appears to be quite a soft and complacent man; but his family regulations are rather despotic: this circumstance takes off much of the pleasure of visiting there, which would otherwise be great; for his conversation and that of his Lady are quite entertaining.
{ 411 }
She asked me if I had not been greatly disappointed last week; I told her I had, and that it had been a subject of much vexation to me. The judge said it was well. He always wished that his young friends might meet with disappointments and misfortunes; and the greater the better, if they were not such as to debilitate the mind. It was best to be enured to misfortunes in early life; sooner or later they would come; and it was much best to be prepared for them by experience.
Thompson came home and supp'd with me.1
1. In his line-a-day entry, JQA refers to “Wood.” Presumably he continued his reading of Thomas Wood's Institutes that he had begun the previous day (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

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


Walk'd into Newbury in the evening with Thompson;1 and we returned through Joppé,2 by a different route from that which I usually come. We past an hour at Mrs. Emery's. Her daughter is very amiable, though not handsome. She entertained us sometime by playing upon the Harpsichord. Mr. J. Greenleaf was there; it is reported that he is paying his addresses there. The dispositions of the persons are not sufficiently congenial to render either of them happy, and I should therefore wish that this report, like most others of the same nature may prove an idle surmise without any foundation.
1. “Tolerable weather” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).
2. Joppa, a small fishing village on the Merrimack River, east of Newburyport in Newbury (John J. Currier, “Oulde Newbury”: Historical and Biographical Sketches, Boston, 1896, p. 218–219; Currier, Newburyport, 1:151).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-05


We met in the evening at Stacey's lodgings. Putnam was not present. At about seven we received a letter from him which for its singularity I am determined to preserve.1 And after I came home2 I wrote him an answer which is likewise here inserted, and which I shall send him to-morrow.

[addrLine] Messrs. Stacey, Thomson and Adams or to any one of them.

[salute] Gentlemen

You doubtless recollect the conversation which passed at our office, the evening after our last club night. It will be needless { 412 } for me again to go over the same ground; let me just observe “that at the time I left you, I neither wished or expected to meet any lady or ladies during the evening” What I then told you, I know, and you may rest assured was truth however clouded with circumstances which might lead you to a different supposition. You may attribute the effect to “accident, sympathy” or just what you please, it alters not the original cause of action. I feel an happy consciousness of my innocence of the charges you alledged against me (such as imposing on the club &c) which consciousness alone, could support me when absent from a Society, whose pleasures I once eagerly sought, as eagerly wished to deserve, as richly enjoyed.
I think your treatment to me was unkind, severe and illiberal. With pleasure, I can appeal to my own bosom in the calm hour of reflection and retirement, and declare such treatment unmerited.
I write not Gentlemen under the influence of passion and resentment, but give you sentiments dictated by reflection and approved by reason and my conscience. I wish you to consider the affair as relating only to the club.
These circumstances Gentlemen must excuse my absence this ev'ning.
I should be happy to wait on you at my chamber next Thursday evening, where I propose to take my leave of the club and thereby render your happiness secure.

[salute] Adieu! may you be united, may you be happy.

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] S.P.
The Answer

[salute] Sir

The formal and ceremonious manner in which you have been pleased to address the members of the club, constrains me to adopt a stile, which to a Class-mate and an intimate, I cannot but use with reluctance.
The charges of unkindness, of severity and illiberality, which your letter contains, were considered by Stacey and Thompson, so far as they respected them, as unmerited. To me alone, we supposed they could in any manner be applicable. That my observations upon the Subject were severe, I freely acknowledge, since, whatever the truth might be, the occurrence, was not of sufficient importance, to me to justify the strength of my expres• { 413 } sions: they might therefore bear the appearance, of unkindness, but if unkindness consists in the intention, I can sincerely declare, that nothing was more foreign to my heart. But Sir I am not conscious that even my treatment of you, could be justly charged with illiberality. For the repeated instances of equivocation in your conduct upon the same subject, which you have acknowledged, might I conceive excuse my doubting the truth of assertions, which upon similar occasions you had always made with equal seriousness; if however you still consider yourself as injured, I am ready to make any acknowledgment which you may think your honour can require. At the same time I would submit to your consideration, whether your leaving thus abruptly a society which among our acquaintance is generally known to exist, might not excite their curiosity; and whether if the occasion of your quitting us, should accidentally transpire, it might not be productive of consequences equally mortifying to us all; as, to every impartial person the original cause of separation must appear trifling and puerile.
Your proposal “that the affair may be considered as relating only to the club,” I am perswaded, you, will acknowledge upon further reflection, to be impracticable. For if the injury which you have received is sufficiently great to induce you to dissolve your connection, with a Society “whose pleasures you once eagerly sought, as eagerly wished to deserve, as richly enjoyed” how can you upon all other occasions, retain that friendship and confidence, from which alone those pleasures were derived. I trust you will suffer these considerations to have their weight in your mind, and as you say you write not “under the influence of passion and resentment,” I hope you will be induced to drop your present intentions, and not give us reason at every subsequent meeting to regret the loss of one of the original members of the institution.
If however, you should persist in your present sentiments, we must decline waiting on you at your lodgings, as the meeting would necessarily be attended with a great degree of that restraint, an exemption from which is one of those charms whence we derive our greatest enjoyments. As Pickman expects to be absent the week after next he has desired us to call next Thursday evening at his lodgings. There we shall be happy to see you: to renew over a friendly glass the social intercourse which has thus { 414 } unfortunately been interrupted, and to bury in oblivion a dissention which we sincerely hope may never be revived.
[signed] J. Q. A.
1. None of the original correspondence copied in the entries for this and the following day has been found.
2. JQA indicates in his line-a-day entry that he took a walk between his club meeting and letter-writing (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.