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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-21


This day the Seniors leave, College; there is no recitation in the morning, and prayers are deferred till 10 o'clock. The Class then went down in procession two by two, with the Poet at their head, and escorted the President to the Chapel. The President made a very long prayer, in which in addition to what he commonly says he pray'd a great deal for the Seniors: but I think he ought to get his occasional prayers by heart before he delivers them. He bungled always when he endeavoured to go out of the beaten track, and he has no talent at extempore Composition. The Poem was then delivered, by Fowle, who paid most tremendous Compliments to the President but his addresses, to the Professors and Tutors, to the other Students, and to his own Class, were excellent. The Seniors soon after it was over set out, on their party.
In the afternoon I was admitted with Burge, and Cranch to the φῖβετα, καππα Society. It is established to promote friendship, { 53 } | view and Literature, in several of the Universities of America. The initials of the words φιλοσοφια βιομ κυβερνητης,1 are on one side of the medal, and on the other S. P. which means Societas Philosophica [Philosophicae]. They had met in Harris and Dwight's Chamber, and there was in the admission a considerable degree of Solemnity. Mr. Paine,2 the butler, was present as vice president, Mr. Burr,3 and Mr. Ware, as members, Andrews, and Harris of the Seniors, and Bridge, Fiske, Freeman, Little, and Packard, who were admitted some time Since, from our Class.
1. “Philosophy is the governess, rule or guide of life.” Because of the rising criticism of secret societies, JQA was instrumental in 1831, at a time of anti-Masonic feeling, in helping expose the secrets of Phi Beta Kappa to the world (JQA, Memoirs, 8:383–387, 389–392, 394–399; Oscar M. Voorhees, The History of Phi Beta Kappa, N.Y., 1945, p. 184–191).
2. Joshua Paine, Harvard 1784, M.A. 1787 (Harvard Quinquennial Cat.).
3. Jonathan Burr, Harvard tutor, 1786–1787 (same).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-22


White and Cranch went to Brain tree this morning, and intend to stay there till Saturday night. Weather cool, and in the afternoon rather disagreeable.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-23


I made tea, for the Club: only four attended: many of them being out of town. I answered for no absences, this morning. Almost all the Seniors are now gone.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-24


My Cousin return'd from Braintree this Evening. We had no reciting this morning. Weather comfortable all day.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-25


Mr. Mellen,1 preach'd here: he was a Tutor two or three years since. His forenoon discourse was from Psalm, c. 3.2Know ye that the Lord, he is God: it is he that hath made us and not we ourselves; we are his People, and the sheep of his Pasture. The afternoon, from Acts X. 2. A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
Mr. Mellen's manner is more affected, than that of any preacher I ever saw. His Sentiments were more liberal than is { 54 } common, and his composition good; but all is entirely spoilt by his manner of speaking.
1. John Mellen was minister of the first parish of Barnstable (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:405–409).
2. That is, Psalms 100:3.
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.