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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-11


I went down with Charles and Billy to Mrs. Quincy's, in the afternoon. Mr. and Mrs. Gannett were there, Captain Freeman of Dorchester, and Mrs. Edwards, an antiquated Coquet, who { 77 } was about half a century gone. Very much such a thing as Narcissa is at present; and if her face did not give the lye to her behaviour I should suppose her now to be 17 rather than 70.

Her grisled locks assume a smirking grace,

And art has levell'd her deep furrow'd face.

Her strange demand no mortal can approve,

We'll ask her blessing, but can't ask her love.1

1. Edward Young, Satire V, “On Women,” from “Love of Fame, The Universal Passion. In Seven Characteristical Satires” (Poetical Works, 2 vols., Boston, 1854, 2:120).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-12


Charles and myself went over to Weymouth, and dined at Doctor Tufts's. We were overtaken by a violent thunder shower. The lightening fell at a very small distance from an house where we took shelter while the Cloud pass'd over. When we return'd to Braintree we found Mr. Dingley at my uncle's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-13


Mr. Weld preach'd all day from Micah VI. 8. He hath shewed thee O man, what is good, and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God. Mr. Weld proved, that to do justly, was to practice, all the Christian Virtues, and that a man who did not so, took things, for what they were not, and he likewise inculcated humility. The Sermon was as good as our President's from the same text the last fast day.1
1. See entry for 6 April (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-14


Mr. Cranch went to Boston in the morning. My aunt and Miss Betsey, are both of them unwell. The weather being rainy and disagreeable Mr. Dingley determined to stay till to-morrow. Mrs. Apthorp, spent the afternoon here.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-15


Mr. Dingley return'd to Duxbury: he proposes returning here next Friday, to spend a fortnight. The weather was fine all day. We have had but very few disagreeable dog days.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-16


Charles came to Cambridge last Monday in order to move into our new Chamber. My Cousin and myself came from Braintree at about 9 o'clock, and arrived here just at Commons time. I found the Chamber all in Confusion, and it will be so probably all the rest of this Week, for Lowell and Bigelow, who lived in it last year were two of the greatest slovens in their Class. The studies must both be paper'd, which is a very disagreeable piece of Work. Leonard White came in the evening from Haverhill and brought me a couple of Letters.1
1. Letters not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-17


The Scholars are coming in very fast, and are almost all of them busy, in putting their new chambers in order, and moving. Very busy all day in papering Charles's study, and part of mine, but before we finish'd the Paper fail'd us. Drank tea with Mead in his Chamber which is contiguous to mine. The Club are quite in a Dilemma, how to do since the boys are sent off. They are unwilling to send Freshmen, and think it beneath their dignity to go themselves for what they want. At about 10 o'clock this evening, Stratten, a crazy fellow came, and knock'd at my door; just as I was going to bed; I opened it, and he ask'd me for some water; I told him I had none, and shut the door upon him: “Damn you, says he, do you refuse a man a little water.” After thumping two or three minutes at the door, he went away, knock'd at all the doors in the entry; ran up and down stairs, came again, to my door and stamp'd at it, and finally ran to the window in the entry, push'd it up, and leapt immediately out of it. I instantly got out of my bed, went to my window, and saw him lying on the ground. After 3 or 4 minutes he began to groan “Oh! I've broke my leg.” Charles had not gone to bed; I desired him to go and call up Dr. Jennison; who immediately came out. The fellow complain'd in the most doleful manner. However, after examining his leg, (for he was not at all hurt any where else) the Doctor said, there might be a bone crack'd but that none was displaced. It was with a great deal of difficulty that we were able to get Stratten, into one of the lower Rooms which is empty. He persisted for two hours in attempting to walk, for in addition { 79 } to his State of mind, he was then as drunk as a beast. At length however he was carried into the Room, and laid on a Straw bed. The Doctor, although the man was insulting him continually dress'd up his leg, and we left him just before 12 o'clock, at Night, upon which I immediately retired to bed again.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-18


They were obliged to carry off Stratten this forenoon, as he could not possibly walk. I finished papering my study this forenoon, and in the afternoon put the Chamber in order. I engaged Sullivan 2d.1 for my freshman. Bridge made tea this afternoon for the Club, in Kendall's turn. Somehow or other we made out without employing a freshman finally.
1. James Sullivan, the second of three brothers to graduate in that class, and son of Gen. John Sullivan. College customs enforced a system of freshman servitude under which any upperclassmen could demand personal services from first-year men. The well-advised freshman sought to attach himself to a senior “who protected him from the importunities of juniors and sophomores, and allowed him to study in his chamber, in order to be handy for personal errands” ([Thomas C. Amory], “Master [John] Sullivan of Berwick [Maine]—His Ancestors and Descendants,” NEHGR, 19:304 [Oct. 1865]; Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 105–106).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-19


Leonard White Came from Boston, and Cranch return'd from Braintree this day. Almost all the College, have got here now, and the new monitors,1 (who must always belong to the junior Class) took their Seats yesterday. They are Adams 2d.2 and Underwood, who is about 35 years old. I have done little or nothing this day. The first week is almost always loitered away.
1. Monitors were appointed by the college president to keep bills of absence and tardiness at devotional and other exercises (Benjamin Homer Hall, A Collection of College Words and Customs, Cambridge, 1856, p. 325–326).
2. Solomon Adams, a sophomore, was regarded as “Adams 1” by the college until the end of July 1786 when he became “Adams 2.” On the other hand, JQA, who entered late in his junior year, was first classified “Adams 3,” but he became “Adams 1” by the beginning of his senior year (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:228, 233, 237–238).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-20


Mr. Deane,1 of Falmouth preach'd here this day, in the forenoon from Matthew. XI. 29. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart; and ye shall find rest unto { 80 } your souls, and in the afternoon from Luke XVI. 31. And he said unto him, If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead. A whining sort of a Tone was employ'd by Mr. Deane, which would have injured the Sermons if they had been good.

For what's a Sermon, good or bad

If a man reads it like a lad,

but Mr. Deane's Sermons, were not hurt by his manner of speaking them.
1. Samuel Deane was minister of the First Congregational Church, Falmouth (now Portland, Maine), from 1764 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:591–598).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-21


We recite this week, and the next to Mr. Read; The juniors have now a leisure week; Mr. Hale having resign'd, and no other tutor being chosen in his stead. Every tutor when he resigns his office, has a right to nominate a person, for his successor; Mr. Hale nominated Mr. Paine the former Butler but they say he is too Popular among the scholars, to be chosen, there are four other gentlemen in nomination, three of whom (Mr. Abbot, Mr. Burr, and Mr. Webber) are his Class mates. The other Mr. Prescott, was in the Class before him.1
This afternoon after Prayers Charles read the Customs2 to the Freshmen in the Chapel: they are read three mondays running in the beginning of every year, by the three first in the Sophimore Class, who are ordered to see them put in execution, immediately after prayers. The two Classes went out to have their wrestling match, a Custom which has for many years been established here. From 6 o'clock till twelve they were constantly at the work. They went on so close that the two Champions of each Class were fresh to take hold; but in less than five minutes Mitchell, the Sophimore, threw Babbitt and Fay, the Freshmen hero's. The Sophimores then set up a cry for three or four minutes, which resounded through the Colleges, for the Classes here make it a matter of great consequence.
1. Jonathan Burr was eventually appointed to this position. Samuel Webber was chosen to replace another tutor, Nathan Read, in Aug. 1787, and two years later was made Hollis Professor of Mathematics and of Natural and Experimental Philosophy, succeeding Samuel Williams, who resigned in disgrace; he held that po• { 81 } sition until elected president of the college (in preference to Eliphalet Pearson) in 1806 (NEHGR, 35:289–290 [July 1881]; entry for 23 Aug. 1787, below; Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 190).
2. See note for entry of 27 March (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-22


Mr. Shaw came last evening with my brother Tom, who was examined this morning for the freshman Class, and admitted. He soon after set off for Braintree, where he is going to stay untill, a place is found for him to board at. I declaim'd this afternoon Collins's Ode on the Passions.1 Coll: Waters and Mr. Cranch came up from Boston. I spent an hour in the evening with them at Waters's Chamber.
1. The Poetical Works of William Collins..., London, 1786, p. 83–86 (MQA).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-23


Went to Mr. Dana's in the forenoon. He proposes going to Maryland, to meet in a Federal convention.1 We had the Club, at Mason's chamber this evening. Fay the Freshman was there, and sung a number of Songs extremely well. He also plays sweetly on the violin. He entertained us there charmingly for a couple of hours; and appears to be quite an agreeable companion.
1. On 29 Aug. Dana and four others received commissions from Gov. James Bowdoin to represent Massachusetts at the Annapolis Convention, but neither Dana nor his colleagues arrived in time (MHi: Cushing-Orne Papers; Edmund C. Burnett, ed., Letters of Members of the Continental Congress, 8 vols., Washington, 1921–1936, 8:469).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-24


Went down to the President's, for an order to take a book from the Library, but he did not know whether he could give it me without leave from the Corporation.1 Mr. Thaxter was here a few minutes; but was on his return to Haverhill. Mr. and Mrs. Cranch, Dr. Tufts, Mr. Isaac Smith, and his Sister Betsey were here at Tea.
Was at Bridge's chamber in the Evening.
1. For Harvard's numerous and detailed laws regarding the borrowing of books, see Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 31 [1935]:370–375.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-25


Mr. Read made a mistake, in calling over the Freshmen this morning, as it is customary to except them, the first week. Doctor Tufts was here this morning, and has engaged a boarding place for Tom, at Mr. Sewall's. I have not begun as yet to Study, with any Closeness, though it is full Time. Had Tea, and pass'd the evening at Williams's Chamber.
William Lovejoy Abbot,1 was 21 January 18th. He belongs to Andover, and is the head of our Class. He purposes studying Physic. A very steady sober lad, he appears fond of being thought a dry, humourous fellow, and has acquired a great command of his Countenance. His wit would not please in the mouth of any other Person; but his manner of producing it seldom fails of raising the laugh. He is a very good speaker, especially such Pieces, as conceal the features of mirth under the mask of gravity.
1. “Abbot 1st” later practiced medicine in Amesbury until 1794, when he moved to Haverhill (Russell Leigh Jackson, “Physicians of Essex County,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 83:163 [April 1947]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-26


Rainy weather all day. I had a number of the Class at my Chamber in the Afternoon. Immediately after Prayers we had a Class meeting for the Purpose of choosing a Valedictory Orator, and Collectors of Theses.1 Eaton was moderator. A motion was carried that a majority of the votes of Class should be necessary for an Election. When the votes were collected it was found there was no choice. There were five votes, for Jackson, the last Person, that would have been suspected of obtaining any. A second attempt was made, equally fruitless. Jackson had ten Votes. It was then resolved, that the choice of an Orator should be deferred; and that the Class should proceed to that of the Collectors. The one for Technology, Grammar, and Rhetoric was first ballotted. Waldo, had 20 Votes; but as a majority of all the Votes was required there was no Choice. It was voted then, that the Person who should have for the future, the greatest number of Votes, should be duly elected. Waldo said, he was sensible of the honour done him by those gentlemen, that had voted for him; but that he wished to be excused. He was taken at his word, and Abbot 2d. was chosen. His modesty and diffidence were such that { 83 } he earnestly requested to be excused; but with great difficulty was prevailed upon to accept. The second Collector for Logic, Metaphysics, Ethics, Theology, and Politics, was then Chosen. Fiske was the Person. The Mathematical Part fell to Adams, and the Physical to Johnstone. The choice of those was not so judicious as that of the others. Cranch and Abbot 1st would undoubtedly have been more proper Persons, but neither of them would probably have accepted, a second choice. The meeting at about 7 o'clock was adjourned till Monday evening, when we shall proceed to the Choice of an Orator. The Club then came, and drank tea at my Chamber. Fay was there, and entertained us with singing till 9 o'clock.
1. Theses collectors prepared propositions, or arguments to be advanced and defended, in four branches of knowledge, basing them on subjects studied in the undergraduate curriculum. Hypothetically, if challenged, any senior was expected to defend these theses in Latin. The president, professors, and tutors chose from those submitted by the collectors a sufficient number suitable for publication on the theses sheet. For the 1787 sheet and JQA's mathematical theses, see the Descriptive List of Illustrations, Nos. Harvard Theses, 1787: The Theses Sheet 256109 and Harvard Theses, 1787: Detail from John Quincy Adams' Mathematical Theses 2571110 (Benjamin Homer Hall, A Collection of College Words and Customs, Cambridge, 1856, p. 458–459; entry for 8 May 1787, below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-27


Mr. Hilliard preach'd in the morning from Philippians, IV. 11. Not that I speak in respect of want; for I have learned in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. And in the afternoon from Luke XIX. 8. And Zaccheus stood and said, unto the Lord; Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the Poor; and if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him four fold. They say Mr. H. has had his Corn stole from him lately, and that he preached this Sermon to perswade the thieves to return it.
I went after meeting to Williams Chamber, and remained there till almost prayer Time.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-28


We recite again to Mr. Read this week, but he did not attend in the afternoon because, we had a Lecture from Mr. Williams, at 3 o'clock. After Prayers the Class met by adjournment, and Fiske was chosen moderator. It was then resolved that if after the first ballot, there was not a majority for any one Person; the Class should the 2d. Time confine their Votes to the 3 Persons who { 84 } should have the most votes. I supposed that the greatest contest would lay between Bridge and Little, but to my great surprise, the second ballot Was between Freeman, Little, and Waldo. The third was between Freeman, and Little, who finally carried it by a considerable majority. The Class then all went to his Chamber, but did not stay there more than an hour.
After tea we had a meeting of the A. B. Beale and Cushman were admitted. Fiske, gave us a very good Oration, upon Ambition, closing with a number of very pretty Poetical Lines. We came to several New Regulations. There were two or three Pieces read. I had written the following, which I forgot to carry with me, and was excused from reading till the next meeting.
A.B. N: 3—

Trifles light as air

Are to the jealous Confirmation strong

As proofs of holy writ.1

The Tragedy from which these lines are a Quotation, is such a complete History of the progress of Jealousy, that it would be the greatest presumption in me, to pretend saying anything new upon the subject. I shall therefore confine myself to a few remarks upon this play, which furnishes a more fruitful source than the trite and I may say worn out subject of Jealousy, which I suppose no person present is acquainted with, except merely by Speculation.
This Play is by many considered as the most perfect of all, that we owe to the immortal Shakespeare, and if we attend merely to the conduct of it, we may readily confess that few dramatic performances are better; but the very foundation upon which the whole fabric is erected appears injudicious, disgusting, and contrary to all probability.2 Who can believe that the Senate of Venice, would give the government of an island belonging to the State, to a moor, when it is known how constantly the Venitian nobility have always enjoy'd every employment in the State? And how tenacious they have ever been of this Prerogative? And is it natural that a young Lady so virtuous and Chaste as Desdemona is represented would as Brabantio expresses it,

“Run from her guardage to the sooty Bosom

of such a thing as him, to fear, not to delight.”3

In short I never could conceive what induced the Poet to take a negro for an example of Jealousy. But from this defect great { 85 } Beauties are derived. In particular the speech of Othello to justify himself before the Senate

“My Story being done

She gave me for my pains a world of sighs,

She swore in faith twas strange, twas passing strange

Twas pitiful, twas wondrous pitiful.

She wish'd she had not heard it; yet she wish'd

That heaven had made her such a man. She thank'd me

And bade me, if I had a friend that loved her,

I should but teach him how to tell my Story

And that would woo her. On this hint I spake,

She loved me for the dangers I had past

And I loved her that she did pity them.”4

This is to perfection, the artless, and rough, but winning eloquence of a Soldier.
The manner in which Iago raises the jealousy of Othello, at first by, obscure hints and insinuations, and afterwards by direct accusations shows the nicest acquaintance with human nature. I wish however to doubt, whether man be capable of the consummate villainy which is display'd in the character of Iago.
The Reasons which he gives for all his malice against Othello and Cassio is, that he suspects they have both intrigued with his wife, and moreover that Cassio was promoted before him. Jealousy, and disappointed Ambition, will easily prepare a man for committing crimes; but Iago appears to care very little for his Wife, and without love there cannot be much Jealousy. The other Circumstance, I do not think sufficient to induce a man to perpetrate such detestable deeds. For it may be considered as a maxim that no man does evil for evil's sake, nor will any one injure his fellow creature unless it be to gratify Interest or Passion. It is a fault too general with the writers of novels, Romances and Plays, that their characters are either too good or too bad. Nature deals not in extremes, and as the best man is he who has the least faults, so the worst, is he who has the least virtues. An author may indeed in drawing a good character, represent it more perfect, than is commonly found in real Life; because it may serve as a model for others to imitate; but to represent men worse than they really are, can be of no service, that I know, and, it is degrading human Nature.
It must however be confess'd that the character of Iago is abso• { 86 } lutely necessary in order to work up the mind of Othello to such a pitch of Jealous fury as leads him to murder his wife, and herein consist the chief Beauties of the Play. But besides these, there are detached beauties of Sentiment and expression as in all the Plays of this inimitable author.
There is an energy and force in these Lines

“The tyrant custom

Hath made the flinty, and steel couch of war

My thrice driven bed of down.”5

There is a consummate hypocrisy in the following observation of Iago, which can escape the notice of no Sensible Reader

“Who steals my purse, steals trash; ‘t'is something, nothing.

T‘was mine! t'is his, and has been slave to thousands.

But he that filches from me, my good name,

Robs me of that, which not enriches him

And makes me, poor indeed.”6

But to show all the excellencies of this Tragedy would almost be to transcribe it.
The Cloven foot was ascribed by the vulgar to the Devil, in Shakespeare's days as well as in our's, which appears from Othello's saying when he has full proof of his wife's innocence, and of the villainy of Iago.

I look down tow'rds his feet; but that's a fable.7

The 13th. Scene of the second Act,8 may I think be recommended to the serious attention of every young man. We may perceive how much the author detested a Vice, (which at this day is too common) by his representing it as attended with the most fatal consequences.
1. Othello, Act III, scene iii, lines 324–326. Editorial citations to Othello are from Shakespeare's Works, ed. Quiller-Couch and others.
2. Despite JQA's lifelong interest in the theater, so amply demonstrated in these early years, his critical, indeed damning, views of Othello became hardened at this young age and persisted throughout his life. They were publicly ridiculed in 1835 in Fanny Kemble's Journal and were published in several articles the following year. For a detailed account, see CFA, Diary, 5:84–87.
3. Act I, scene ii, lines 70–71.
4. Act I, scene iii, lines 158–168.
5. Act I, scene iii, lines 229–231.
6. Act III, scene iii, lines 159–164.
7. Act V, scene ii, line 288.
8. From the context, JQA was most likely using the Warburton edition of Pope's The Works of Shakespear in Eight Volumes..., London, 1747, which divided Act II into 15 scenes. This was the edition { 87 } JQA had previously used for long quotations in his Diary while in Holland (entry for 9 June 1781, note 3, above); no copy of this edition exists, however, in the Adams' libraries. In the Quiller-Couch edition of Shakespeare, this scene is scene iii, lines 254–328 of Act II. The “Vice” JQA is referring to is “the devil drunkenness,” for which Cassio berates himself.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-29


We had no recitation in the afternoon. After Prayers, we had a meeting of the ΦBK at Freeman, and Little's Chamber; Mr. Ware presided in the absence of Mr. Paine. Abbot 2d. was received. Freeman read a short Dissertation upon the love of our neighbour; Little and Packard a Forensic on the Question, whether the present scarcity of money in this Commonwealth be advantageous to it. Harris and Andrews, were the extempore disputants. Chandler 3d. and Cushman were admitted. Several others were proposed, but an universal Vote, could not be obtained for them. The meeting was finally adjourned to Packard's Chamber tomorrow morning, immediately after Commons in Order to receive the two Persons, just admitted, and to make another attempt to admit others.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-30


The Society met, this morning at Packard's Chamber agreeable to their Resolution. Mr. Paine presided. Chandler and Cushman were received. Beale and Harris were at length admitted; and it was resolved that they should be received, the morning of the anniversary, which will be next Tuesday. But all attempts to admit two others that were proposed were found useless. It is a misfortune, that small and trifling prejudices, should be the means of excluding worthy young men from a Society, which might be of Service to their Reputation. But of two evils the smallest should always be preferred, and the Consequences would undoubtedly be more dangerous, if every member of the Society had not the privilege of excluding any other Person.
We had no recitation this afternoon; Bridge was at my Chamber in the Evening. We had this afternoon from Mr. Williams, one of the best Lectures, that I ever heard him deliver: it was upon the importance of the mathematical Sciences. His Style was nervous,1 but too negligent. Such a Sentence as this, “There { 88 } is something in the Nature of Truth, which naturally is Pleasing to us,” ought not to proceed from the Pen of a Professor at any University.
We had likewise a Lecture in the morning from Dr. Wigglesworth.
1. Powerful, vigorous (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-31


Charles went to Boston in the morning. I began upon Trigonometry in my mathematical manuscript. We had a Class meeting immediately after Prayers. The Committee of the Class that was appointed to inform the President of the choice, for an Orator &c. reported, that the President had not given his consent to have the Oration in English, because he thought it would show a neglect of classical Learning. I motioned that the Vote, for having it in English should be reconsider'd, but there was a considerable majority against it. It was then voted that the President should be informed that the Class had determined to have an English Oration, or none at all. The former Comittee all declined going again. Johnstone, Fiske, and Welch, were chosen, but declined. It was much like AEsop fable of the mice, who determined to have a bell tied round the Cat's neck: they were all desirous that it should be done; but no one was willing to undertake the Performance of it. The meeting was finally adjourned till monday next.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-01

Friday September 1st. 1786.

Studied Algebra all the forenoon. Took books from the Library, Brydone's Tour vol: 2d. Ossian's Poems, and Boswell's Corsica.1 The weather begins to grow quite cold. This morning I shivered, almost all prayer Time. It is however to be hoped it will not set in, so soon.
1. Patrick Brydone, A Tour Through Sicily and Malta..., 2 vols., London, 1774; The Works of Ossian, The Son of Fingal, Transl. from the Gaelic by James MacPherson, London, 1762, or 3d edn., London, 1765; James Boswell, An Account of Corsica, The Journal of a Tour to that Island...., London, 1768 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 73, 143, 55).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-02


I have been too busily employ'd, to have much to say. Study, does not afford, a rich source for description. We had a moot { 89 } Court in the afternoon at Fiske's Chamber. Packard was condemned. Mr. and Mrs. Cranch were here.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-03


Mr. Hilliard gave us a Sermon in the forenoon from Isaiah LV. 6. Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near, and in the afternoon from John V. 22. For the Father judgeth no man; but hath committed all judgment unto the Son. I do not believe that Mr. H. has one new idea, in ten Sermons upon an average. Some of his argumentation this afternoon appeared to militate with the Trinitarian System. He said we ought to take it a peculiar favour, that we were to be judged by Christ, because he had a practical knowledge of our natures, and would make allowance for the frailty of humanity. Now this appears to bring the Question to a Point. If Christ was God he was omniscient and consequently wanted1 no practical knowledge of mankind. But as he was not omniscient, the Consequence is plain, and may be easily deduced from Mr. H's own Concessions. But all religious sects have their absurdities. It is with them as with man. That which has the least faults is the best.
1. That is, “lacked.”

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-04


We were to have had a Class meeting, by Rights: but no one thought to obtain Leave. As we have no metaphysical Tutor,1 here at present, we supposed, that, for the ensuing fortnight we should have no reciting. But the government have determined that we should continue to attend Mr. Reed in S'Gravesande's. This is not an agreeable Circumstance; a Person who does not belong to the University, and hears only the word reciting, naturally concludes, that the Scholars are an idle set of fellows, because they are always averse to recitations. Now the Fact is just the Contrary. A Person fond of study, regards the Time spent in reciting as absolutely lost. He has studied the Book before he recites, and the Tutors here, are so averse to giving ideas different from those of the author, whom they are supposed to explain, that they always speak in his own words, and never pretend to add any thing of their own: Reciting is indeed of some Service to { 90 } idle fellows; because it brings the matter immediately before them, and obliges them, at least for a short Time, to attend to something. But a hard Student will always dislike it, because it takes time from him, which he supposes might have been employ'd to greater advantage.
We had a mathematical Lecture from Mr. Williams, this afternoon, upon Dialling.2 Probably the last we shall have this Quarter, as he Proposes setting out in the Course of this week upon a Journey. He expects to be gone about six weeks. I was at Little's Chamber in the Evening somewhat late. Freeman came from Sever's Chamber, and display'd such a brilliancy of wit, that I could scarcely come away. Beale and White endeavoured obtaining leave to go to Providence; to Commencement; but were refused.
1. Tutor John Hale had resigned (entries for 6 May and 21 Aug., above).
2. A method of surveying.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-05


Anniversary of the ΦBK, Society.1 The members were, on that account excused from reciting. At 11. we met at The Butler's chamber. Harris and Beale were received, after which we proceeded on business. Mr. Paine, and the Orator, went first, and the others after them according to the order of admission. Mr. Andrews gave us a spirited, and well adapted Oration upon friendship. After it was finished, we returned to the Butler's Chamber. Packard then informed the Society, that there was in Town, a young Gentleman from Dartmouth College, by the name of Washburne; a Senior Sophister; who was very desirous of having the Society established there, and he was commissioned also, to express the same desire from several others of the same Class. It was questioned whether we had any right to grant a charter without consulting the Fraternities at New Haven, and Williamsburg. A number of arguments were used on both sides, and when it was put to vote there were 8 for consulting them, and 8 against it. It was again debated for some time, and, finally determined, by a considerable majority, that we should consult the brethren at New Haven, and Williamsburg; and at the same Time enquire whether it is their Opinion that each fraternity has a right to grant Charters out of their respective States.2 These debates took up more than an hour; after this we pro• { 91 } ceeded to choose our Officers. Mr. Paine was elected President, Mr. Ware Vice President, Little Secretary, and Fiske Treasurer. At about half past Two, we went to Mrs. Nutting's, and had a very good Dinner. Wit and Wine, the Bottle and the Joke, kept nearly an equal Pace. When the Prayer Bell rung we broke up, and attended Prayers.
We dansed in the evening at Mason's chamber till 9 o'clock.
1. Harvard's chapter was incorporated 5 Sept. 1781 (Catalogue of the Harvard Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa..., Cambridge, 1912, p. 100).
2. A letter, dated 20 Nov., was sent to New Haven, asking for their opinion on the subject, but it was not received until the following May; in the meantime, the Yale chapter sent Harvard a similar letter (CtY: Phi Beta Kappa Records; Catalogue of the Harvard Chapter, p. 111; entry for 21 Feb. 1787, below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-06


This day the annual Dudleian Lecture was preach'd by Mr. Symmes of Andover; the subject was the validity of Presbyterian Ordination. There are four subjects which are alternately treated the first Wednesday in September. They are Natural Religion, Revealed Religion, The errors of the Romish Church, and that above mentioned. The founder was Mr. Dudley:1 who gave a Sum the annual interest of which is 12£ and is given to the Person who preaches the Lecture. The person is appointed by the President, the Professor of Divinity, the Senior Tutor, and the Minister of Roxbury, but they cannot choose a Person under 40 years old. Mr. Symmes's Lecture was a very good one, and the Sentiments he expressed were very liberal, though he was extremely severe in some places upon the Church of England.2
Mr. Cranch was here all the afternoon.
I was admitted into the Handel Sodality; and attended in the evening at Cranch's Chamber.
1. Paul Dudley, a provincial Massachusetts judge, willed to Harvard £133 6s. 8d. for an endowment to be known as the Dudleian lectures (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 4:52–53).
2. Unlike most other Dudleian lectures, Symmes' was never printed (same, 12:586).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-07


No reciting. Cranch went to Boston.
The Commonwealth is in a State of considerable fermentation. Last week at Northampton, in the County of Hampshire, a body of armed men to the number of three or four hundred, pre• { 92 } vented the Court of common Pleas from sitting, and bruised the high-sheriff dangerously, as it is reported.1 The same Court was likewise stopp'd the day before yesterday, at Worcester by 400 men. The Court went to a Tavern, and adjourned till yesterday. They were again prevented from proceeding yesterday, and adjourned without a day. The militia it seems could not be raised to quell them. The Governor issued a Proclamation,2 calling upon the People at large to support the Constitution, attacked in such a flagrant manner, and directing the State's Attorney, to prosecute the abbettors of these Riots. The Militia in the Town of Boston, have already offered their Services, and declared their determination to support the government with their Lives and Fortunes. Where this will end Time alone, can disclose. I fear, it will not before some blood is shed. The People complain of grievances; the Court of Common Pleas, the Senate, the Salaries of Public Officers, the Taxes in general, are all grievances, because they are expensive: these may serve as pretences, but the male-contents, must look to themselves, to their Idleness, their dissipation and extravagance, for their grievances; these have led them to contract debts, and at the same time have, rendered them incapable of paying them. Such disturbances if properly managed may be productive of advantages to a Republican Government, but if they are suffered to gain ground, must infallibly lead to a civil war, with all its horrors. This will not I believe be the Case at present; but such struggles seldom end without the loss of some Lives. Such commotions, are like certain drugs, which of themselves are deadly Poison but if properly tempered may be made, highly medicinal.
1. This event marked the first violence in what was to become Shays' Rebellion.
2. Printed in Massachusetts Centinel, 6 Sept.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-08


I went in the evening to see Mrs. Dana; there was a large Company there, and I escaped as soon as I could. I intended to make a number of Sage Reflections, this evening, but I feel so ill-natured, that I will not attempt it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-09


The inferior Court, is to sit according to Law, next Tuesday, at Concord; it is said, that the same People, who stopp'd it at { 93 } Worcester, are determined to join others, and proceed in the same manner at Concord. And they will probably carry their Point; for the People that are sensible, what evil Consequences must attend these disorders, yet are unwilling to use any exertions for putting a stop to them. We are now in a perfect State of Anarchy. No laws observed, and no power to Punish delinquents; if these treasonable practices, are not properly quelled, the Consequences must be fatal to the Constitution, and indeed to the Common-wealth.
The Parts for the next exhibition,1 were given out this afternoon. Freeman, has the English Oration, Bridge the Latin, Adams and Cranch, a Forensic disputation, on the Question Whether inequality among the citizens be necessary, to the preservation of the Liberty of the whole?2Beale, Burge, Fiske, Harris, Little, and Packard have the mathematical Parts. The President told us to be ready, by a fortnight from next Tuesday, as the Corporation might possibly meet, then.
We had a beautiful Evening; I walk'd out with Cranch, round the Common, and on the Road till near 11.
1. The exhibition was given on 26 Sept. At this time Harvard held exhibitions semiannually, and the various parts were assigned by the college government to members of the junior and senior classes. As the program outlined in JQA's entry here and that of 26 Sept. suggests, participants displayed their oratorical skills as well as their literary, classical, and mathematical learning. The exhibitions were open to all in the college and to interested outsiders and parents; about four hundred later attended the exhibition (Benjamin Homer Hall, A Collection of College Words and Customs, Cambridge, 1856; Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 28 Sept., Adams Papers).
2. JQA spoke on the side affirming the necessity of inequality for liberty. Speakers were apparently given strips of paper each with the title of his part. See entry for 26 Sept., note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-10


Mr. Porter1 the Minister of Roxbury, preach'd here; he is a pretty good Speaker. His discourse in the forenoon was from Revelations XI. 17th. We give thee thanks O, Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great Power, and hast reigned. And in the afternoon from John I. 45, 46. Philip findeth Nathanael, and saith unto him, We have found him of whom Moses in the Law, and the Prophets, did write, Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Joseph? And Nathanael said unto him, Can there any good thing come out of Nazareth? Philip saith unto him, Come and See. Mr. Por• { 94 } ter's Language is Good, and his manner of preaching better than Common. But I suppose him not to be very deep, as a divine; he is indeed yet a young Man. Cranch and myself dined at the President's. Mrs. Willard is as different in her manners, from the President, as can be. They form quite a contrast. Mrs. W. is easy, and unaffected: and appears not to be made for Cerimony. He is stiff and formal; attached to every custom, and trifling form; as much as to what is of Consequence; however, he was quite sociable; much more so indeed than I should have expected.
1. Eliphalet Porter was ordained at Roxbury in 1782 and remained there throughout his life (Walter Eliot Thwing, History of the First Church in Roxbury, Massachusetts, 1630–1904, Boston, 1908, p. 178, 184).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-11


We recite again to Mr. Read this week, and shall probably the whole of this Quarter. I finished the first part of my forensic. We had in the Evening, a meeting of the A. B. We had no Oration, Abbot 2d. being necessarily detained. Little and Cranch gave us a Forensic.1 I read my N: 3. (p: 38.)2 Several other Pieces were read, after which we determined to admit Abbot, Gordon, and Dodge, of the Junior Class; and finally adjourned to next Monday, evening.
1. Punctuation in the preceding two sentences has been editorially supplied.
2. See entry for 28 Aug. (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-12


Rain'd hard almost all day. We had a Class meeting, after Prayers for determining the matter, concerning a Valedictory Oration. By dint of obstinate impudence, Vociferation, and noise; the minority so wearied out those on the other side, that several of them went out, after which, a Vote was pass'd, ratifying the proceedings of the last meeting. Johnson, Sever, and Chandler 3d. were then chosen as a committee to inform the President of the proceedings in the Class, and the meeting was dissolved. We had a meeting of the ΦBK, at Burge's Chamber. Bridge, and Abbot, read a forensic, on the Question, “whether internal tranquillity, be a proof of Prosperity in a Republic.” Freeman and <myself> Adams were the extemporaneous disputants. The Society then adjourned till this day fortnight, when they are to meet at Little's Chamber, immediately after Prayers.
{ 95 }

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-13


Finished my Trigonometry.
Immediately after Prayers in the Evening, the military Company, assembled, on the Common, and Captain Vose harangued them. He gave them a pretty Oration upon Patriotism. It contained several brilliant thoughts, and a well adapted Quotation from Cicero. After the Speech, the Company, went through the manual exercise, which was very well performed. After Commons the Sodality met, at Foster's Chamber; and play'd several Tunes. Broke up, as is customary at 9 o'clock.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-14


White went to Haverhill. I determined with Little upon two Pieces, to publish in the next Magazine for the A B. Concluded my Forensic, for the exhibition. Weather begins to be quite cold.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-15


I copied a part of Fiske's Oration, upon Patriotism, to be printed in the next Boston Magazine,1 from the A B. Finished reading Jenyns's Disquisitions.2 I think they show great judgment and deep penetration. I know not that I ever read, so small a volume that gave me greater Pleasure.
Abiel Abbot,3 was 20. the 14th. of last December. He is one of the good scholars in our Class, and a pretty writer. His disposition is amiable, and his modesty so great, that it gives him a poor opinion of himself, which he by no means deserves. He proposes for the Pulpit, and has I believe every Qualification necessary to make him, a good Preacher: and his example, I have no doubt, as well as his Precepts, will recommend all the moral Duties.
1. The Boston Magazine ceased publication with a combined November-December issue and without Fiske's article.
2. Soame Jenyns, Disquisitions on Several Subjects, London, 1782.
3. “Abbot 2d,” after studying theology in Andover, returned to Harvard as tutor, 1794–1795. Following some years of preaching in Coventry, Conn., he became principal of Governor Dummer Academy, Byfield, Mass., in 1811 and later was minister at Peterborough, N.H. (Abiel Abbot and Ephraim Abbot, A Genealogical Register of the Descendants of George Abbot..., Boston, 1847, p. 7–8).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-16


Copied off my Forensic for the Exhibition, and prepared it, to carry for Approbation to the President. I received in the fore• { 96 } noon, a Letter from Delia.1 White return'd this Evening from Haverhill.
1. Letter not found. Delia was the name JQA gave to Nancy Hazen in his poem, “An Epistle to Delia,” which he completed on 12 Dec. 1785 after resolving to put an end to his feelings toward her. The name may have been derived from the collection of 16th-century sonnets by Samuel Daniel about another Delia, the love of the poet's youth (M/JQA/28, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 223).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-17


Mr. Hilliard preach'd in the forenoon from Isaiah V. 12. But they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the Operation of his hands. It might be a political Subject, and relate, to the Times, but I know not whether it really was. His Text in the Afternoon, was from Hebrews XII. 1. Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with a great Cloud of Witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the Sin, which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with Patience the Race that is set before us. I seldom hear much of Mr. H's Sermons, except the Texts. Dined at Mrs. Dana's. She laugh'd at a certain Class mate of mine, who all at once, wears green silk before his Eyes, as if they were injured by hard Study. But certainly every one, who knows him, will exculpate Study from that fault.
After Prayers I went with Mead, and pass'd the evening at Professor Pearson's. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers1 were there. The Professor, is a much more agreeable, and indeed a more polite Man, than I should have suspected, from what I have heard. I have not seen any Person belonging to the Government, so polite to Scholars, or show so few Airs. Mrs. Pearson is likewise very agreeable.
1. Mrs. Daniel Denison Rogers was a sister of Henry Bromfield Jr., whom JQA met in Amsterdam. Their sister Sarah was the wife of Prof. Eliphalet Pearson (Daniel Denison Slade, “The Bromfield Family,” NEHGR, 26:38–39, 142 [Jan., April 1872]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-18


I have been so unwell all Day, that I have not been able to attend to any Studies at all. We had a Class meeting after Breakfast. The Committee that was Sent to inform the President of the proceedings of the Class, informed that he had said he feared he should be obliged to direct the Class to have the Oration in Latin; notwithstanding this it was voted by a majority of two, that the Class should still persist. I went in the forenoon to the President's to have my forensic approbated. I rode over the { 97 } Bridge through Boston, and returned by Roxbury, before dinner. The Sodality met in the Evening at Abbot's Chamber, to play over the Tunes for exhibition.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-19


Unwell again, so that I have not been able to Study. I have felt a kind of dizziness, which very much resembles Sea-sickness. I have been however much better than I was yesterday. Rain'd almost all day.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-20


This Evening, immediately after prayers, the President inform'd us that the Government, and Corporation, had chosen Mr. Jonathan Burr, for a Tutor, he had accepted the Office, and was to be attended accordingly. I went with Sever, to Mr. Tracy's and to Mr. Gerry's, but neither of them was at home. Attended the musical Society at Mayo's chamber, till 9 o'clock.
Jonathan Amory,1 was 16. the 7th. of last July. His disposition is good and very easy. But he is too young to be possess'd of that steadiness and Reflection, which a Person just going into the world, ought to have. From the instances of Persons now in College, that came so very young, I think it may be concluded, that in general, it is a disadvantage to enter College before the age of fifteen; very few of those that come, before that age, make any considerable figure, in a Class.
1. Amory became a Boston merchant. He was first in the countinghouse of his uncles Jonathan and John Amory, then engaged in business with James Cutler, and finally went into partnership with his eldest brother, Thomas Coffin Amory (“Memoir of the Family of Amory,” NEHGR, 10:64 [Jan. 1856]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-21


I really do not know what I have done this day. I am always sensible, that what with one trifle and another I lose too much of my Time, and yet I do not know how to employ more of it. I believe it is a disadvantage to have so many public exercises to attend. It is impossible to get seriously and steadily fixed down to any Thing. As soon as I get in a way of thinking or writing upon any Subject, the College Bell infallibly sounds in my Ears, and calls me, to a Lecture, or to recitation or to Prayers. This cannot { 98 } certainly suffer any one, to engage in profound Study of any kind.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-22


Mr. Read sent for me this morning, informed me, that the Exhibition was to come on next Tuesday; and offered to excuse me, from the recitations till then, in Case, I was not prepared, as the Time, that had been given for getting ready was so short. But as it happened I was not in want of more Time. I made tea for our Club.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-23


I have done nothing all this Day. Every Day thus lost doubles the obligation of improving the next; but I fear if I was held to perform the Obligation, I should soon become a Bankrupt. Pass'd the Evening at Bridge's Chamber. We had considerable Conversation, as we frequently have, concerning our future Prospects. He is ambitious, and intends to engage in Politics. He expects more happiness from it, than he will ever realize I believe. But he is form'd for a political Life, and it is [he will?] probably show to advantage in that Line.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-24


Mr. Hilliard gave us an occasional Sermon, occasioned by the Death of Mr. Warland, a young Man, belonging to this Town. His Text was from Job. XIV. 1. 2. Man, that is born of a Woman, is of few days, and full of Trouble. He cometh forth like a flower, and is cut down; he fleeth also as a Shadow, and continueth not. It was one of the best Sermons I have heard from Mr. H: The idea that the diseases of the Body, are so many arrows taken from the Quiver of God Almighty, appears however, to be an instance of the Bathos.
In the afternoon, a Mr. Foster1 preach'd from Isaiah LIII. 1. Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? I never heard a more extravagant fellow. His Discourse was a mere Declamation, without any connection, or train of Reasoning. He said that Religion, ought never to be communicated by raising the Passions, and mentioned it as a peculiar advantage of the Christian System, that it speaks to the un• { 99 } derstanding. Yet he made an Attempt, (a most awkward one I confess) to be Pathetic: talk'd, of a Grave, a winding sheet, and a Place of Skulls, all of which amounted to nothing at all, which was likewise the Sum total, of his whole Sermon. Yet this Man, is a Popular preacher, in the Place where he is settled. For the maxim of Boileau will hold good in all Countries, and in all Professions

Un Sot trouve toujours, un plus sot qui l'admire.2

1. Probably Jacob Foster, minister at Nelson, N.H., 1781–1791. Foster was regarded as a moderate Calvinist (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:407–410).
2. Nicholas Boileau-Despréaux, “L'art poétique” from Oeuvres choisies, 2 vols., Paris, 1777, 2:[11]. JQA quotes the last line of the first song.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-25


Almost all this Day was employ'd in preparing for the exhibition. The musical Parts take up some time. We had in the afternoon a Lecture from Mr. Pearson, upon Philosophical Grammar.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-26


The exhibition began at about a quarter after 12, with, the Latin Oration by Bridge, it was a Panegyric upon the military institution which has lately been established. The forensic between Cranch, and me, came next. I read as follows. The second Part refers, to Cranch's reply.2
“Conscious of the insufficiency of my ability to perform the task allotted to me, I would fain implore the Indulgence, and Candour of this respectable Audience. But Apologies of this kind, are seldom of much avail, especially when they have any foundation: I shall therefore without any further Preamble, introduce the Question, Whether inequality among the Citizens, be necessary to the Preservation of the Liberty of the whole?
There are two views in which the word Inequality, as relating to the Citizens of a State, may be considered. Inequality, of Fortune, or of Rights, Privileges and Dignities. In the Case of Riches, the Inequality arises in the natural Course of Things; Nor is there an Instance of a State of any Consequence, subsisting without it. There were indeed several sharp Contests in the Roman Republic, with Respect to an equal distribution of Lands; but they were never of any Service, to the People, and { 100 } were always attended, with the most unhappy Consequences. The Question appears therefore to be, in other Words, whether a pure democracy be the most favourable Government to the Liberties of a People.
It is a very general political maxim, that Men can never possess a great degree of Power without abusing it. Hence, so few Instances of despotic Monarchs, who have not been the scourges of their People. In an aristocratic government, the Power being in a number of hands, this tyrannical disposition becomes more dangerous, and extends wider its baneful Influence. But of all Tyrannies, the most dreadful, is that of an whole People; and in a Government, where all men are equal, the People will infallibly become Tyrants. What Protection can any Laws afford a Citizen in a State where every individual, thinks he has a right of altering and annulling them at his Pleasure, and where nothing is wanting, but the capricious whim of a vile Rabble, to overturn all Laws and Government? If a Prince is oppressive, at least he has been taught in some measure, the Art of governing an Empire, and has commonly been educated, for it. The same may be said of an Aristocracy, they will at least endeavour to support the Dignity of a State, and will take proper Measures for the safety of the majority, of the People, though they may be unjust to individuals. But when the Passions of a People, conscious of their Liberty and strength are raised, they hurry them into the greatest extremities: an enraged multitude, will consult nothing, but their fury; and their Ignorance serves only to increase their Obstinacy, and their Inconsistency.
The most simple forms of Government, are probably the most ancient: But Mankind soon perceived, the great inconveniences which naturally arise from a despotic Monarchy, an arbitrary Aristocracy, and an inconstant Democracy. They endeavoured therefore to form Constitutions, which might unite all the advantages, severally possessed by each of those Systems, without having their Defects. Such was the Constitution which raised a petty Village of Italy to the Empire of the World; and such in more modern Times was the Constitution which enabled Great Britain, to make such a splendid figure, in three Quarters of the Earth, and to prescribe terms of Peace to two combined Kingdoms, whose natural Advantages were so much superior to her own: happy would it have been for her, if Prosperity had not introduced Luxury and Corruption, which have undermined the { 101 } Pillars of her excellent Constitution, and exposed her to the Contempt and Derision of those very Nations by whom she was formerly view'd with Terror.
I am sensible, my Friend, that you have the popular Prejudice in your favour; and that in declaring against equality I am combating the Sentiments, of perhaps a large majority of the Inhabitants of this Common wealth. It is the Duty of every Person, and more especially of an unexperienced Youth, to show a proper Deference, and Respect for the Opinions of Mankind in general, and of his Countrymen in particular. But when his Reason tells him that these Opinions would lead him to a manifest absurdity, I think he has a Right to refuse his Assent to them, at least untill sufficient Arguments are brought to support them. Now, as Nature has in every other Particular, created a very great inequality among Men, I see not upon what grounds we can found the Supposition, that they ought all to share an equal degree of Power. And that too great a degree of equality among the Citizens, is prejudicial to the Liberty of the whole, the present alarming Situation of our own Country will I think afford us a sufficient Proof.
Part 2d.
It appears, my Friend, that you yourself are sensible of the weakness of your Cause, by your endeavouring to prove, what I never pretended to dispute, what I am as firmly persuaded of as you are, and indeed what I have already granted viz. That the People cannot be free in a despotic Monarchy, nor under an aristocracy; and that if the Proportion of wealth, possessed by Individuals, be unequal to a great degree, the Liberty of the Nation will be in Danger. I plead not for an excess of inequality, but I still maintain that a perfect equality is contrary to Nature and to Reason.
“In this Commonwealth” you say “The People apprehend some Persons have amassed too large a Proportion of Wealth, and acquired too large a share of Power, and thinking themselves injured have arisen, and demanded Satisfaction?”
But why do they think themselves injured? Is it because they have suffered Tyranny or Oppression? No! It is because other Persons have been more industrious, more prudent and more successful than they. When, regardless of every Principle which { 102 } binds Man to Man, they laid violent hands on Justice herself, by stopping the proceedings of the Courts of Law, in diverse Places, was it because they had been injured by those Courts, and could not obtain Redress? No. It was because they were conscious they had injured others; and they wished therefore to put a stop to all means of obtaining redress. Now had the Notions of those People concerning equality been a little lower, and had there been really a greater degree of inequality among the Citizens, the Commonwealth would not have been thrown into a State of anarchy and Confusion, and instead of rebelling against the Laws and Government, those People would have sought in Oeconomy and Industry, that relief which they now endeavour to wrest by Violence.
If by Equality among the Citizens could be meant an equal right to Justice, and to the Protection of the Laws, certainly no Person, whose Soul is not debased by Slavery could object to it; but this construction cannot be put upon the word; it must be considered as relating to wealth or Dignity and in both Senses, I still must think inequality absolutely necessary for the Liberties of a People.
But here I would not be considered as an Advocate for hereditary Distinctions. Wealth may with Propriety be transmitted from Father to Son. But Honour and Dignities, should always be personal. The Man who to the greatest natural and acquired Abilities unites the greatest Virtues, should certainly not be view'd as on a Par with a vicious Fool, but the absurdity would I confess be equally great, if any one was obliged to enquire who were the Ancestors of a Citizen, to know whether he be respectable.
The History of Lacedemon certainly can produce no Argument in favour of equality. For 1st. it was an hereditary Monarchy. Two branches of a Family descended from Hercules were in Possession of the Throne for nine hundred years. 2dly. There was a Senate composed of 28 persons who formed an aristocratic Body with Power equal to that of the Kings; and 3dly. the Authority of the Ephori, who were chosen annually among the People was superior even to that of the Monarchs. So that in this Respect, the Spartan Constitution was similar to the Roman, and the British, which, I have already agreed were excellent. But Heaven forbid there should ever arise in our Country a Legislator to establish by Force, a Constitution which could form { 103 } nothing but Warriors. The fine feelings of the Heart which render human Nature amiable, were entirely excluded from the System of Lycurgus. Many of his Laws, display a barbarous Cruelty, and beauteous Science, whose persuasive Voice, calms the impetuous Passions of Youth, sooths the cares, and asswages the infirmities of age, was discarded from within the walls of Sparta by this savage Legislator.
I doubt whether these arguments have convinced you, my Friend, of the necessity of inequality; but however we may differ in Opinion in this Respect, I am sure you will unite with me, in addressing to Heaven the most fervent Petition, that whatever the Constitution of our own Country may be, she may enjoy genuine Liberty and real Happiness forever.”
After I read this Part Cranch concluded with a reply. The next Thing that came on, was the Syllogistic dispute, by the Juniors Grosvenor, Dodge, Clark, and Adams 3d. It was on the Question, Whether there is a Sense of morality innate in the human Mind. A Dialogue upon Eloquence from Fenelon3 by Gordon and Lincoln succeeded, and after that the Greek Oration by Abbot 3d. the Hebrew by Gardiner, and finally the English by Freeman, which obtained an universal Clap, the first, known at an Exhibition. It was upon the political Situation of our affairs, and was delivered extremely well. The Oration would not read so well as Little's, but taken altogether would please almost any audience better.
We had Commons immediately after the exhibition. There were no Tutors Present, and there was a sad Noise in the Hall.
After Commons the Martimercurean band, escorted the President, with the Committee of the Overseers, over to the Steward's, where they performed the manual exercise. I pass'd part of the afternoon at Freeman's Chamber. Sullivan who took his degree this year was there.
I had Company to tea at my Chamber. Deacon Smith and his Son, Dr. Welch, and his Lady. Mrs. Otis. Mrs. Cutts, and Betsey Smith.
The Tea Club, who have formed a small Society for dancing, were here in the Evening till 9.
I had a very bad head ache, and retired to rest immediately after they went away.
1. Between leaves of JQA's Diary at this point there is inserted a loose piece of paper, written in Joseph Willard's hand, which reads: “2. A forensic disputation { 104 } upon this question—‘Whether inequality among the citizens be necessary to the preservation of the liberty of the whole'? By Adams and Cranch.” Presumably this strip of paper was handed out by President Willard at the time parts were distributed on 9 Sept.
2. Cranch's reply and rebuttal have not been found.
3. Fénelon, François de Salignac de La Mothe, Dialogues Concerning Eloquence in General; and Particularly, That Kind Which is Fit for the Pulpit..., transl. William Stevenson, London, 1722 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 149). According to the faculty records, Gordon and Lincoln 1st were to give “an English dialogue between Demosthenes and Cicero, from [Fénelon, Archbishop of] Cambray's dialogues of the dead” [Dialogues des morts anciens et modernes, avec quelques fables..., 2 vols., Paris, 1752] (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5: 237).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-27


I feel quite indolent as I have finally got rid of the affair which has kept me employ'd this fort'night. Was part of the forenoon at Bridge's Chamber. The Sodality met in the Evening, at Putnam's. Rather Unwell.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-28


We had a meeting of the ΦBK, in the morning at Little's Chamber. Chandler read a Dissertation, Harris and Cushman a Forensic. Bridge and Cranch were the extempore disputants. Went with Freeman to Boston: paid a number of Visits; we dined at Mr. Sullivan's, in Company with Mr. Bartlett, Mr. Johonnot, and George Warren. Took a long walk with Johonnot in the afternoon. Return'd to Cambridge with Freeman, before 8. We had a very good supper at Mason's Chamber, after which we took a walk, and return'd there again; finally retired, between 11 and 12 o'clock.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-29


It is a most unhappy Circumstance, for a Man to be very ambitious, without those Qualities which are necessary to insure him Success in his Attempts. Such is my Situation,

If it be a Sin to covet Honour

I am the most offending Soul alive.1

But I have not the faculty of convincing the persons that compose the small Circle in which I move, that my deserts are equal to my pretentions and disappointment must naturally follow. I often wish I had just Ambition enough to serve as a Stimulus to { 105 } my Emulation, and just Vanity enough to be gratified with small Distinctions. But I cannot help despising a fellow of such a Character. I esteem a Man who will grasp at all, even if he cannot keep his hold, but one who in the fifth or sixth Station can be content, whilst he has an equal Chance of obtaining the first must be despicable. May that Spirit, which inspires my Breast never be bent into an evil Course; and above all may Envy never find a corner of my Heart to lurk in!
These Lines have been suggested by an Event which happened this Day: If any one should read them except myself; I request he would not consider them as a proof, of my intolerable Vanity and self-conceit; but that he would think my heart is sometimes so full, that it spontaneously dictates to my hand Sentiments, which many would endeavour to conceal, with the utmost Care, and for which I must at Times condemn myself.
I went with Sever, passed the Evening, and supped, at Mr. Gerry's. Mrs. Gerry was not at home, Mrs.2 and Miss Thompson were there, and a Coll: Glover,3 a very curious sort of a Man. Miss Thompson, has a very Innocent Countenance, is pretty, and sensible of it, like all other fine Women.
1. King Henry V, Act IV, scene iii, lines 28–29.
2. Mrs. James Thompson, wife of a New York merchant and mother of Ann Thompson Gerry (entry for 9 Aug. 1785, note 3, above).
3. John Glover, Marblehead merchant, brigadier general in the Continental Army, and political intimate of Elbridge Gerry (George A than Billias, General John Glover and His Marblehead Mariners, N.Y., 1960, p. 35–37, 131).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0008-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-09-30


I see not why I should not relate what anecdotes I can collect concerning myself; and why I should not be at Liberty to record the Panegyrical speeches, that I hear made, by Chance. Grosvenor the Junior told my Class mate and neighbour, Abbot 1st., (without thinking I heard him,) that in his Opinion, Adams's forensic at the last Exhibition was the meanest that was ever delivered in the Chapel. It would not have been easy to express the Sentiment with more Energy, however I must bear it and only hope, that the generality of the Audience were more favourable.
Mr. and Mrs. Cranch were here in the Afternoon, the weather has been uncommonly warm ever since last Sunday. Learned was with me part of the Evening, and paid me several Compliments, which had they been true might have consoled me for the ill Opinion of Grosvenor.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-01

Sunday October 1st. 1786.

Mr. Paine, preached here, in the forenoon from Acts IV. 12. Neither is there salvation in any other, and in the afternoon from I of Corinthians XVI. 14. Let all your things be done with Charity. The morning discourse was doctrinal, and therefore not so pleasing a Subject as the other; which was excellent. His arguments in favour of Charity, were such as naturally arise from the Subject, but well arranged, and in a very agreeable Stile. His delivery is good, but his length of Stature is such, as prevents his appearing so graceful as he otherwise might. Upon the whole he drew my attention more than any preacher I have heard for several months.
Bridge passed the evening in my Chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-02


We recite this week to Mr. Burr the new Tutor; but he was absent this Day. The A B Society met this Evening. The Juniors Bancroft and Lincoln were received; Abbot, and Dodge, were received the last meeting. The first Piece read, was the forensic between Fiske and myself upon the Question whether, a republican Government, be the most favourable for the advancement of Literature. I denied it, and read the following Arguments in the negative:
A. B. N 4.
There is no Proposition however absurd, that will not be adopted and defended by some Man or other: and when an assertion is made contrary to all Sense or Reason, an ingenious Man can sometimes convince an Audience, that it is true, by representing only one side of the Question, and using only those arguments which incline towards that Side.
These Reflections naturally arise in my Mind, when I see you, Sir, endeavouring to show that a Republican Government, is the most favourable to Literature. You begin by laying down several of the most extraordinary premises that I ever heard: from these you draw natural Conclusions it is true, but which prove Nothing; for the Scriptures you know, tell us that an house built on the sand, must fall at the first blast. Your whole System seems to stand upon this maxim, that the very Idea of a republican Government presupposes the Inhabitants in the highest State of Civilization. I am willing my good friend, that you should presuppose { 107 } whatever you please, if you will confess the fact to be far otherwise.
Without recurring to Athens or Sparta, Carthage or Rome, for Common Place arguments, as is too frequently done, let me ask whether at the present day the most civilized Nations are not subjected to Despotic monarchs: and whether Republics are not rather remarkable for being backward in the progress of civilization? And as to the scope, which a popular form of Government gives to Ambition, I should conceive that Circumstance more proper to form wise Politicians than men of deep learning. There cannot be in popular governments encouragements to literary genius equal to those which are given by Princes, who have themselves a Taste for the fine arts. They grant such rewards as kindle the latent sparks of genius, and enable it to shine with the brightest splendor. This is so consonant with experience, that the most distinguished aera's in the History of Literature are found in the Times and Countries of an Augustus, a Charles the 2d., and a Lewis the 14th. Indeed the prospect which every citizen in a free Government, has, of obtaining Offices of State, appears to me rather prejudicial than advantageous to Literature. A Man engaged in the Affairs of his Country can pay but little attention himself to the Art and Sciences; but when the desire of shining as a Statesman, or as a general is entirely restrained, and an ambitious man, has no other method to render his Name illustrious, than by his literary productions, all his attention will of Course be turned that way, and it must naturally follow, that his Exertions will be attended with Consequences more favourable to Literature than in a State where it is but a secondary Object, or (if I may so express it) an Instrument by which the Citizens raise themselves to public Employments.
Part 2d.
I have always supposed, my worthy Friend, that however certain a young Man might be of any Proposition, Decency and Modesty required he should not make it, with all that assurance, and confidence, which might be proper in a man of years and experience. I likewise suppose when I made the Question, which, I know not for what Reason, has not, I think been answered, that the Fact itself was so plain and Evident, as would oblige you { 108 } yourself to answer in the affirmative. Had you done this your System must consequently have fallen; but rather than contradict a Proposition, which is next to self-evident, you have prudently avoided giving any answer at all, and have rested your Cause upon a Distinction, which would better suit a pleading at the Bar, than a candid Enquiry after Truth, viz. that a Question is no Argument. But since you can be convinced with nothing but positive assertions, I willingly indulge your inclination; and affirm, that the Idea of a republican government does not presuppose the highest degree of Civilization, and I trust I can prove it from your own Concessions. You grant that the most civilized Nations extant are governed by despotic Monarchs. It must follow that republics are not so much civilized; how then can you say, that republics have the greatest degree of civilization? It is just as reasonable, as if you should say, a yard is longer than a foot, but yet a foot, is longer than a yard.
To my other Question you reply, that had I confined my Attention to America, I must be sensible the answer would be in the negative: but Sir, suffer me to observe, that America, is not the only Republic now extant, and that the Question is not concerning the American but the republican form of government. You think my Distinction between a man of deep learning and a wise Politician is something new; I am happy to find that in the course of our Dispute, one new Idea has arisen, and I believe most of our hearers will agree that it is a just one. Politics and Literature are as different from one another as war and Literature; Nor is a very extensive acquaintance with the fine arts, more requisite for a Statesman, than for the general of an Army. You seem to think that Literature is like any particular Science, and that a small acquaintance with it is sufficient, if it can raise a Citizen to public Employments. I agree, it is sufficient for the Purpose of an ambitious citizen, but it is not sufficient for the promotion of Literature itself. Let us run a parallel between the progress of a man of genius in a republic and in a Monarchy. In both Cases, he will be employ'd while young in the pursuit of literature. In the republic, he will soon be called upon to serve the public, and from that time forth, he will be obliged to relinquish the Study of the Arts and Sciences, because the affairs of the Nation will employ all his Time. But in a Monarchy, his Talents will acquire him respect, reputation, and perhaps fortune, but they will not introduce him to a Situation which shall in• { 109 } duce him to neglect the Sciences. On the contrary he will be continually improving his literary faculties, and his productions will do honour to himself and to his Country. This is my idea of the promotion of literature, and this is what a republic can seldom boast of. There is only one more argument of your's, that I shall endeavour to refute: (for I fear our friends that are present, will think I have taken too much time to prove a thing so evident.) You say we must not judge of the improvements of a nation by a few individuals, but by the People at large, and reasoning from this principle you conclude, that the progress of literature is greater in America than in any other country on earth. Let us examine your train of reasoning. “In America the common people can make out to read a chapter in the Bible by spelling about half the words. In Europe nine tenths of them cannot read at all. Here they can most of them write their names, there they are obliged to make a mark. Therefore, literature has made greater progress here than in Europe.” If literature consisted in reading the Bible, or in writing a name, I should certainly concur in Opinion with you; but as the life of Man is barely sufficient to form a person deeply versed in literature, its progress must be the greatest, where there are Men, who can employ all their days, in cultivating the Arts and Sciences.
One or two Dissertations were read, and a character of Mr. James by Bridge, extremely well done. Abbot gave us an Oration upon Patriotism. We determined for the future to meet Sunday evenings, and then we all retired.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-03


A number of the Students have been very ill in consequence of eating cheese from the Buttery. It operated very violently as an emetic.
We recited this morning to Mr. Burr in Reid on the Mind. The Tutor seems to be very unfavourable to the author, and treated him very cavalierly. He tells us we are to spend only this week upon the book, and that we shall go into Burlamaqui, upon natural Law1 immediately.
There was a horse Race here in the afternoon, which prevented our reciting. The dancing Club met at Beale's in the Evening.
{ 110 }
1. Jean Jacques Burlamaqui, The Principles of Natural and Political Law, transl. Thomas Nugent, 2 vols., London, 1763 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 83).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-04


We had this morning a forensic given out, to be read next week, on the Question whether the diversities in national characters arise chiefly from Physical Causes. I am to support the affirmative, and think upon the whole it is the best side of the Question.
Our musical Society met in the evening at Vose's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-05


A very bad cold, has prevented my studying much, this day.
In the morning we finished reciting in Reid. We went over more than 300 Pages at this recitation. The next book we are to study, is Burlamaqui, which is said to be very good. I made tea for the Club. Bridge had a small dispute with me, upon the nature of Physical Causes. He thought the effects produced by sensual Appetites, could not be attributed to physical causes. I was of opinion that they must be. We appealed to Mr. Burr, and his Sentiments confirm'd mine.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-06


A stormy day. Very unwell, especially in the former part of the Day. I have had several Times little contests with Bridge, upon the Subject of our forensic. He is to support the negative side of the Question, and will write very ingeniously. He is the only person in the Class who is fond of discussing questions of this kind in Conversation: we frequently dispute, and it always, increases my acquaintance with the Subject. The objections he raises are commonly weighty, and they lead me to look further than I should otherwise do, into the point in debate; and our difference of opinion is attended with no bad Effects, as all acrimony, and ill humour is excluded from our Conversations.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-07


I have been studying almost all day what to write for a Forensic; the subject is so copious, that I find a great difficulty, in { 111 } shortening my arguments, and making them concise. Charles went down to the Castle.1
1. That is, Castle Island, situated off Dorchester in Boston Harbor, and formerly the site of the fortified post Castle William, burned down by the British in 1775.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-08


Mr. Hilliard preached in the morning from Ephesians V. 1. Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children. A poor subject. His afternoon text was from Psalm XXX. 7. Thou didst hide thy face, and I was troubled. The Sermon appeared like an address to lunatic People; and to tell those who were so despondent, as to think they had committed the unpardonable Sin. There is not I believe much danger on that side; and that his Cautions were quite unnecessary.
Dined at Mr. Dana's. He got home from the Southward yesterday.
The A B, met in the Evening. We had several essays, and Orations from Beale and Harris, both upon, writing and Eloquence. We finally chose officers. Fiske president again. Little and Harris Secretaries. We adjourned before 9 o'clock to the first Sunday next quarter.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-09


No reciting. Mr. Burr is engaged to preach several Sundays at Hingham, and does not return early enough for the next morning recitation. We had a Lecture from Mr. Pearson, upon words and Letters: he enumerated all the different sounds of the 26 letters of the English alphabet. Mr. Williams who returned yesterday from his Journey, gave the Class a Lecture, upon Trigonometry. Pass'd the evening with Bridge.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-10


The ΦBK. met at Burge's chamber at 11 o'clock. Beale and Burge read dissertations. The extempore disputants were Packard and Chandler. We voted to admit White. Mr. Wigglesworth gave a Lecture in the afternoon. Several fellows in the two lower Classes were very indecent and noisy. The dancing Club met at Bridge's Chamber. After they broke up, I remained there; took a walk by the fine moon-light; and retired at about 11.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-11


The Class from 9 to near twelve were reading their forensic; I read in the affirmative as follows.
“Whether the diversities of national character, (taking the word, character, in its most extensive Sense) arise chiefly, from physical Causes ?”
The many Arguments which naturally present themselves to defend each side of this Question, created in my mind, (and perhaps not in mine alone) a small difficulty. That many of the diversities of character, which distinguish so much one Nation from another, proceed from Religion, Government, or the intercourse between neighbouring States is what no Person can deny. That many others derive their origin from physical Causes, is what every man of sense and Candor must acknowledge: whether the moral or the physical are predominant, is an enquiry worthy the discussion of men of more experience and judgment, than are to be found among the students of this university: every one however must chuse one side of the question; and I have therefore adopted that which appears to me, to be the most probable. National character is the assemblage of those qualities which are predominant in the minds of the individuals who form a Nation; and by diversities are here meant (I imagine) those peculiar traits which distinguish so greatly the inhabitants of one Country from those of any other on Earth.
Should we consider the question, as relating to primary and original Causes, it would appear that there are none but physical; for a short reflection will convince us that moral Causes themselves are but the Effects of physical causes. A proof of this may be drawn from the national character of the Hollanders. Should the question be put to any one of our opponents, whence the three great characteristics of that Nation, (cleanliness, industry, and avarice) arose? probably he would answer, from moral Causes; and he would alledge the great power of education and habit. These I confess may at this day, serve to maintain, and may have served heretofore to increase those qualities; but they never can be said to have been the original Causes. The situation of the country, which is continually exposed to the encroachments of the surrounding Ocean, and the Climate which is so moist as causes, every thing that is not constantly kept clean, to moulder, absolutely require great neatness, industry and econ• { 113 } omy; and I am convinced in my own mind, that were the present inhabitants to migrate, and in their stead was a colony from any other nation to settle there, in the course of one century the new settlers would be distinguished by the same virtues and Vices, which now form the dutchman's character. But without taking all the advantages which the question seems to present, I will consider only the immediate causes of diversities in national characters, and even these, are, I believe, chiefly physical.
Let us single out from the european nations two, which notwithstanding their proximity to each other, and notwithstanding the constant intercourse between them, are so remarkable for their difference of character. The characteristics of the french nation are, contentment, vivacity, and a certain degree of levity; those of the English are thoughtfulness, melancholy, and a continual restless, uneasy disposition, whatever, their situation may be: In this case, we cannot imagine the difference to be owing to moral causes; for it would be natural to suppose, that a form of government which insures to every man his property, and personal safety, and a religion founded upon humanity and toleration, was calculated to make a nation happy, and contented; and on the other hand; that a Government in which the fortune, and even the Life of every individual depends upon the caprice of a despot, and a religion which enervates the mind, and corrupts the heart would render a nation miserable if it could be effected by moral causes. But when we consider the different physical causes which operate upon the minds of the French and English we can easily account for the facts as they stand.
Few Nations are favoured with a sky so serene, and a climate so temperate as the French. The air which they breathe is pure, and they are exempted from both the extremes of heat and cold. Their diet is generally light and salubrious; and from the Throne to the Cottage they are remarkably temperate. But the atmosphere of England is almost always loaded with vapours, there, the heart is seldom cheered, the spirits are seldom enlivened by the genial rays of the Sun; and the climate is so variable and unsteady; that frequently the resolution of the Seasons seems to be performed in the course of a day. The diet of the inhabitants is heavy and oppressive to the stomach; and they are too much addicted to the use of spiritous liquors: in both these instances it is evident, that the physical and moral causes counteract each other. But the contest is too unequal; the physical are { 114 } so powerful that they destroy the influence of the moral, and yet appear to act, with as much force, as they could do, even if they met with no opposition. Arguments of a similar nature might be applied to other nations; but they could not be more conclusive, and would carry me beyond the limits prescribed to exercises of this kind. I shall therefore endeavour to refute some other objections which might be raised against the influence of physical causes.
It is evident that the characters of the same nations, have been very different at different periods. The modern Greeks and Romans, for instance are supposed to be as different from the ancient, as they possibly could be even if they did not live in the same countries. The alteration has been undoubtedly produced by a concurrence of physical and moral causes; and at first sight we should be led to think, the latter were chiefly influential: but it must be remembered that the physical causes have undergone a great change: the diet is extremely different, and the climates are most probably, far from being the same: if we were to judge of the Campania di Roma, from the enthusiastic accounts given of it by Pliny and Florus, we should suppose it to be a terrestrial Paradise; but this self same spot is now so unhealthy that it is intirely uninhabited, although the soil be as fruitful as any in Italy. This last Circumstance affords a presumption that the present situation of the country was the effect, not the cause of the alteration in the climate. If physical causes have operated so surprising a change upon one part of the country, we may reasonably conceive that the climate of the whole, has been in some measure effected by them. Why then should we expect to find in the Greeks and Romans of the present day, those characteristics, which distinguished the masters of the World?
I shall take notice but of one argument more, which might be used on the opposite side of the question. It respects the Jews. They have been for many Centuries, and still are dispersed all over the earth, yet they maintain to a great degree the same national character; but admitting that they have uniformly preserved the same peculiarities, whether the causes be moral or physical, they cannot be applied to any other Nation: it is by a particular dispensation of the Deity who for wise purposes has seen fit to keep them seperate and distinct from the rest of the world. But in fact the immediate causes may properly be called physical. They never mingle with other Nations, by intermar• { 115 } riages, which probably produce great effects, on the bodily frame, and they never make use of any animal food but what is prepared in their own peculiar manner.
But after all, it is in vain for Man, to attempt separating what the God of nature has united; the connection between the human mind and body is so intimate; that possibly whatever affects the one must necessarily have influence over the other; and perhaps after investigating the matter clearly and deeply, we should have reason to conclude, that physical and moral causes are really and essentially the same”
Johnson, whose great pride is in being singular, found fault with the question; and said he could not understand it. The only conclusion I can draw from his confession is that he is a very stupid fellow.
Mr. Shaw was here in the forenoon. Mr. Williams gave us a lecture upon the dimensions of the Earth.
The sodality met at Baxter's chamber in the evening. White brought me a couple of letters up from Boston. One from my mother, and the other from my Sister, signed A. Smith.1 She was married it seems the 12th. of June.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-12


Mr. Burr gave out this morning a subject for our next forensic. “Whether an extorted promise be obligatory.” The affirmative is not so favourable, as in the last question. Though in many cases, it may be true.
The weather, extremely dull, which causes a very general depression of spirits.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-13


Had a great deal of fuss about some Tea spoons, which I lost some days since. I have found most of them however in an extraordinary manner. But it made me in manner lose all this day; as great part of it has been employ'd in making researches.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-14


Went to Boston, in order to get some books1 which were sent by Callahan; but I could not get them: dined at Deacon Smith's. { 116 } Mr. Otis's family were there. Harry and his father had a dispute concerning the Roman toga. I came up with Beale; in the evening we held a Court of Law. Putnam, and myself were condemned to pay a bottle of wine each.
1. JQA had earlier asked his father to send copies of “New Testaments in Greek and Latin” from JA's personal library, and Desaguliers' translation of van's Gravesande's Mathematical Elements (JQA to JA, 2 April, Adams Papers). In addition to these volumes, JQA received others which he had not requested, “mostly upon philosophical subjects” (AA to JQA, 21 July, Adams Papers; entry for 16 Oct., below). Among these was François Soulès, Histoire des troubles de l'Amérique..., London, 1785, now at MQA among JQA's books, which contains notes by JA in the second volume (JQA to AA, 30 Dec. 1786–11 Jan. 1787, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-15


Was excused from attending meeting this day: being somewhat unwell. Finished the first volume of Burlamaqui in the forenoon. Bridge was at my chamber after dinner.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-16


We recite two or three times more, in s'Gravesande's, but next quarter, we shall begin upon Ferguson's Astronomy.1 Mr. Williams had a lecture, upon Trigonometry, very few of the Class attended. Charles went to Boston in the morning, and at length, brought the books, which are mostly upon philosophical subjects. Mead was at my Chamber in the evening. About half the Class are gone. I declaimed this Evening, a piece from Blair's Lectures2 vol. 1. p: 14, 15, 16. on the cultivation of taste.
1. James Ferguson, Astronomy Explained Upon Sir Isaac Newton's Principles, And Made Easy to Those Who Have Not Studied Mathematics...., London, 1756. JQA requested of his father a copy of this work in his letter of 30 Aug. (Adams Papers), and his copy, 7th edn., London, 1785, is at MQA.
2. Hugh Blair, Lectures on Rhetoric and Belles Lettres, 2 vols., London, 1783; Harvard had the 3-vol., 2d edn., London, 1785 (Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 149).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-17


Charles and my Cousin, went away in the morning, immediately after commons. Tom, went to Boston, and brought back Dr. Tufts's Chaise. Soon after dinner we set off, in the midst of the rain. We got to Braintree, just at five o'clock. We found Mr. and Mrs. Shaw here.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-18


Loitered away, a great part of my Time, as I most commonly do in vacation Time. I intend however to read considerable, before I return to College. Mr. Shaw and his Lady, this morning, left us to return homeward. Was down in my father's library part of the afternoon. The weather begins to be quite cold, and the leaves are all falling from the trees.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-19


Spent the day, in alternately reading, writing, walking, and playing. This is dull life, and convinces me, how grossly the whole herd of novel and romance writers, err, in trumping up, a Country life. Let them say what they will: the most proper situation for man, is that which calls forth the exertion of faculties, and gives play to his passions. A negative kind of happiness, like that of the brutes, may be enjoyed in the Country, but the absence of pain or anxiety is not sufficient for a man of sensibility. The passions of the mind, are what chiefly distinguish us from the brute creation, and as a country life tends to diminish their influence, it brings us nearer a par with them, and is therefore derogatory to the dignity of human nature.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-20


My two brothers were gone all the morning on a gunning party. My cousin and I went, in the afternoon, but we were unsuccessful. All kinds of game are scarce here, as there are several persons in the town that persecute the animals so much, that they have driven them all away.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-21


Mr. Thaxter stop'd about half an hour, this morning, on his return from Hingham, where he has been this week. In the afternoon I went with my cousin, and drank tea, at my uncle Quincy's. Just after we return'd, Leonard White and his Sister came in. Mr. and Mrs. Cranch arrived about an hour after. Leonard brought me a letter.1
1. Letter not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-22


Mr. Tread well, preach'd in the forenoon from Matthew XI. 15 “he that hath ears to hear, let him hear;” and in the afternoon from Psalm IV. 4. commune with your own heart. Mr. T. appears to be a sensible man; but by no means a good speaker. In common conversation his voice, and manner of speaking is agreeable; but if he begins to pray or to preach, he immediately assumes a most disgusting cant. He spent the evening here; and talk'd of his Son, who is at college, in the junior class. He appears to have juster ideas of him, than parents commonly have of their children.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-23


Mr. Cranch went this morning to Boston. His Son, went with him, and will proceed to Haverhill, for his Sister Lucy. Leonard and Peggy White, return'd to Boston. Thayer one of Charles's classmates, dined here, and after dinner they both set off to go to Scituate. Thus from a numerous company, we are all at once reduced to a very small party; I went down in the afternoon to the library. Miss Betsey Apthorp spent the evening here.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-24


Went down to my uncle Adams's in the afternoon, and spent a couple of hours. Finished reading Burlamaqui, upon natural and political Law. I am much pleased with the principles established by this author. The stile of the english translator is not agreeable.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-25


Thayer and Charles returned from Scituate this afternoon. Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard came to pass the night here. Mr. H appears much more to advantage in private conversation than he does in the pulpit. He appears to be a very sensible man.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-26


We have been left alone again this day. Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard went away this morning. I employ most of my time at present in reading the Abbé Millot's elements of history.1 They are well written but very concise. He is quite philosophical: in some pas• { 119 } sages perhaps too much so. At least he calls in question many historical facts; without sufficient reason, I think. His reflections which seem to form the greatest part of his work, are for the most part just, and display, much humanity, which is an essential requisite in a historian.
1. Claude François Xavier Millot, Elemens d'histoire générale..., 9 vols., Switzerland, 1778. JQA's copy, at MQA, was purchased in 1781.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-27


Mr. Read came here in the afternoon, to spend a day. Though he cannot entirely lay aside the Tutor, but retains a little of the collegiate stiffness, yet he endeavours to be affable, and is very sociable. These people when distant from their seat of Empire, and divested of that Power, which gives them such an advantageous idea, of their own superiority, are much more agreeable, than, they are, when their dignity puts them at such an awful distance from their pupils. Mr. Read conversed much upon several subjects and with a great deal of complaisance; but with most ease, and pleasure upon subjects which form part of the studies at the university.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-28


Mr. Read set out in the afternoon to return to Cambridge. In the Evening Mr. Cranch returned from Boston, and Lucy and her brother from Haverhill.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-29


Mr. Wibird preach'd all day from John I, 47. Jesus saw Nathanael coming to him, and saith of him, Behold an Israelite indeed in whom is no guile! Mr. W. is said to be so fond of his ease, that he seldom writes new Sermons, but preaches his old ones over and over, frequently. But this was new, and one of the best that I ever heard him deliver, full of judicious reflections, and wise instructions, which proves that if he is not of great service to the People, of this parish, as a moral teacher, it is not for want of sufficient abilities. The family here, are in affliction, on account of the Death of Mr. Perkins1 in Virginia, a young gentleman, who resided in the house some months, and endeared himself to the whole family. A more particular attachment between { 120 } him, and Eliza, renders his loss more distressing to her, than to the rest; and her great sensibility deepens the wound. Her grief is silent, but is painted expressively on her countenance.
1. Thomas Perkins, of Bridgewater, had been a preceptor of the Adams boys and the Cranch children during 1781–1782, then left for Virginia to keep a private school. He returned the following year and studied law with Royall Tyler, but soon went south, to Kentucky, to return again once he had made his fortune. He died in Aug. 1786 (Adams Family Correspondence,4:309; Book of Abigail and John, p. 367; Mary Cranch to AA, 22 May–3 June 1786; Elizabeth Smith Shaw to AA, 1–3 Nov. 1786, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-30


Snow'd all the morning. Mr. Cranch went to Boston and Charles with him: he return to Cambridge. As the supreme judicial Court is to sit there this week, there will be two or three companies of militia, in order to prevent riots; for the insurrections of this kind, are not yet quelled, and indeed I know not when they will be. There is not sufficient energy in the government, and the strength of the party opposed to it is increasing. Unless some vigorous measures are taken the constitution of the commonwealth must infallibly fall.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0009-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-10-31


Miss B. Palmer, came from Germantown, this afternoon, to spend the night here. We prepared to return to Cambridge as our vacation closes this day.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-01

Wednesday November 1st. 1786.

We returned through Boston, to Cambridge. The road from Charlestown was full of carriages coming here, to see the review of the militia of the County, under the command of General Brookes.1 I found my chamber full of Ladies, who had a view of part of the troops from the windows: there were I believe about 2000 men, composed of the Cadet, and light infantry Company's, and the independent volunteers, which consist entirely of young gentlemen residing in Boston, the artillery companies of Charlestown and Roxbury, and about 60 companies of militia, from the different Towns in the County. The Governor, Lieutt. Governor, and Council, first went round them, after which, they all march'd by his excellency, who stood on the steps of the Court house door; after dinner they all march'd away except two { 121 } companies which remained for the protection of the court. They have been here since monday, and stationed themselves in the college hall, and chapel. The Court sat in the afternoon. I went in but a short time before they adjourned, and heard Judge Dana deliver his opinion to the jury, upon a small case: he spoke extremely well.
1. John Brooks, a veteran of the Revolution, led a militia division against Shays' forces (Charles Brooks, History of the Town of Medford, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Boston, 1855, p. 129–134).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-02


Attended the court in the forenoon, and afternoon, but there were no causes of any consequence tried. Pass'd the evening at Bridge's chamber, in company with Mr. Andrews, and Mr. Harris.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-03


Reading, Reid on the Mind. This author in some places pleases me very much; but in others he is disagreeable especially when he attempts to be humorous. His Chapter upon seeing which fills three quarters of the book, contains, a long detail upon the construction of the eye, and a very curious dissertation upon squinting, but which seems, to have very little to do with the Mind. This and a laborous attempt to prove a proposition which no body can deny (viz, that there is no similarity between the cause of a sensation in the mind, and the sensation itself) takes up almost all this inquiry into the human mind.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-04


Charles and Cranch went to Boston. Wrote part of my forensic; and as I was obliged to support a side of the question, which I cannot believe; I found it very difficult to write any thing, and shall finally be very short.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-05


Mr. Hilliard preach'd in the morning from Matthew XXIV 13. But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. I have no observations to make upon his Sermon, several of those I have made heretofore will apply. In the afternoon, Mr. Burr, the { 122 } Tutor preach'd from Titus II, 11, 12. For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men. Teaching us, that denying ungodliness and worldly lust, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world. Mr. B. preaches well, but altho: it is but so short a Time since he begun, yet he has acquired a tone in speaking which approaches too near a cant. He paid the most attention to the last verse, which indeed is more proper to be expatiated upon.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-06


We recited this morning for the first time in Ferguson's astronomy. The part which I have read is pleasing, and the study in itself is as agreeable, as it is useful and important.1 Mr. Williams began his course of astronomical Lectures this morning. The class attend in two divisions. He gave us the Theory of the earth's motion. We observed the Sun through a telescope; and saw several clusters of those spots which are mentioned in astronomical books. Mr. W told us, that he once saw one of them divide in two, while he was looking through the glass. He was to have given us a view of the moon this evening but could not because the weather was cloudy.
1. JQA's interest in astronomy was to continue throughout his life. In 1816 he gave a set of celestial charts to Harvard and a few years later contributed money for building an observatory for the college. The need for a national observatory was included in his presidential inaugural address (Andrew Oliver, Portraits of John Quincy Adams and His Wife, Cambridge, 1970, p. 226–227 and references there).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-07


We had a lecture from Mr. Wigglesworth in the afternoon, and in the evening the weather being fair, we look'd through the telescope at the moon. The objects were not so much magnified as I expected, nor so plain, as they are represented in books. We held a court at Beale's chamber after tea.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-08


Mr. Williams gave a public astronomical lecture this afternoon, relating to the different theory's of the planetary System; he gave an account of the Ptolemean, the Tychonic,1 and the Copernican. There was little more than what may be found in most astronomical books; but the lecture was entertaining and was { 123 } very à propos, as it relates to the public course, and, to the book, which we have just begun to study.
Weather very comfortable.
1. A via media between the Ptolemaic and Copernican systems, devised by the 16th-century Dutch astronomer Tycho Brahe, who believed that five planets rotated about the sun, which in turn circled around the immobile earth.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-09


Had the whole day to myself; as I did not attend the afternoon recitation. Spent my Time in reading Ferguson, and Saunderson.1
1. Nicholas Saunderson, The Elements of Algebra, In Ten Books..., 2 vols., Cambridge, England, 1740 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 1). JQA may have used his personal copy of Saunderson, recorded among his books in 1784, which is no longer in his or the other Adams' libraries ([Christian Lotter], Inventory of JQA's books, 6 Nov. 1784, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-10


We had a Lecture at 10 this forenoon from Mr. Williams, explaining the theory of the motion of the Earth and Moon. The astronomical lectures that we have already received, do not entirely answer my expectations; I have as yet got from them very little more than I knew before.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-11


We had another Lecture at 11 from Mr. Williams, to give us the theory of solar and lunar eclipses. In the evening after tea, we held a court at Foster's chamber, and tried a number of causes.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-12


Very unwell with a sore throat, so that I did not attend meeting. Dined with White at my chamber. We had in the evening a meeting of the A B. I read the following piece.

Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws

And asks no omen, but his country's cause.1

Superstition is a quality, which in all ages of the world, has had peculiar sway, over the human mind: it seems to have been { 124 } implanted there by the hand of Nature: when two uncommon events happen in the same place, and in a short space of Time, the ignorant vulgar will immediately conclude, the one to be the effect of the other: Imagination usurps the place of Reason, and forms very extravagant hypotheses, in which she herself places an implicit faith. Philosophy has always attempted to destroy this power of Fancy, and never fails convincing when she is heard; but she disdains courting the common herd of mankind, and the others are so few, that they are overpowered by the superior number of Fancy's votaries; and thus, many are obstinately fixed in error, till nothing can restore them.
I have often endeavoured to account for this proneness in the human mind, to whatever is marvelous, and I believe it can be attributed only to a strange combination of the powers of imagination and reason. It is a fundamental maxim, that nothing can exist without a cause: to gratify the curiosity of knowing those Causes, which is inherent in the human mind, is the business of natural, and moral philosophy: but their progress is always extremely slow; and as they can judge only from the concurrence of so many circumstances, as prove a fact to demonstration, they are upon every new and extraordinary occasion, forced at least to suspend their decision for a time; they are frequently obliged, to acknowledge, their ignorance, and the impossibility of obtaining a clear and distinct view of many things. But our Imagination is too impatient to be contented with a partial knowledge of any thing: if she cannot discover the real causes of things, she is ever ready, to invent fictitious; and she has almost always sufficient influence in the human mind, to induce it to adopt her own chimaera's. From these causes, arose probably, the ideas of ghosts, spirits, fairies, witches, and all those imaginary beings, of whose existence, the ignorant, (and consequently superstitious), of all ages, have never doubted. Hence likewise the fictions of astrology, and the confidence, placed in dreams, even by men, whose minds enlightened by Science, should soar, above those Clouds of the imagination, into the serene atmosphere of truth: hence the still more extravagant belief, that the flight of birds, or the entrails of an ox or a sheep, would discover, what should be the success attending any enterprize; and although mankind in general, at this day, are no longer imposed upon by these absurdities, yet it must be confessed, they are influenced by others equally contrary to reason, and common Sense. See a { 125 } party at cards! If one of them be very unlucky, he will wish to change his seat, as if the chair he sit in, had any connection with the cards he is playing; ask the captain of a vessel, all ready to sail, and with an excellent wind, why he remains in the port? Because he is afraid to set sail, on a Friday; as if the success of the voyage, was to depend, upon the day of the departure. These, and many other notions of the same kind, of which we are daily made witnesses, sufficiently evince, that superstition is far from being entirely exploded, or even from being confined to the most ignorant and illiterate class of people; if we examine ourselves, with a severe, and impartial eye, few of us, I believe, will be able to say, that we are never influenced by this disorder of the imagination: but as it can never be serviceable, either to ourselves or to any of our fellow creatures, as it may be essentially injurious to society, and as it must infallibly tend to make us unhappy, it ought constantly to be our endeavour, to overcome every weakness of this kind, and to reduce, not only our conduct, but likewise our opinions and sentiments to the standard of unerring Reason.
1. Homer, Iliad, ed. Pope, Bk. XII, lines 283–284. JQA's copy, 4 vols., London, 1759, with his bookplate and bearing the inscription “J.Q. Adams, 1781” is among JA's books at MB.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-13


The Class recite this week to Mr. Burr: but I was so unwell this morning that I did not attend. We had in the afternoon the last lecture upon Trigonometry. Mr. W. recommended to us to proceed upon the projection of the sphere and, upon conic sections. Mrs. Cranch and Miss Betsey were here in the afternoon. The parts for the next exhibition1 were distributed. Putnam has the English oration, Lloyd the Latin, Chandler 3d. and White the forensic; and Learned, Mayo, Prentiss, Vose, Welch, and Willard the mathematical parts. The class are pleased with all except the first, which could not possibly, have been given more to the surprize, of almost every one. Mr. Williams in the evening pointed out to us, a number of the constellations in the Heavens.
1. Given on 8 Dec. The parts and performers are discussed in more detail in JQA's entry for that day.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-14


We had a meeting of the ΦBK immediately after Commons in the morning, and received White. The meeting was then adjourned till twelve o'clock, as we were obliged to retire at 9. to read our forensic in the chapel. I made the following piece answer two purposes; but as I disliked the Question, I was quite short upon it.
Whether an extorted promise be obligatory?
The Question must be considered as relating only to such promises as are unjustly extorted; for if reason approves of the claim, of a man, who is reduced to the necessity of employing violence to obtain it, she will undoubtedly likewise justify that violence. The laws of nature, and the customs of all civilized nations justify it. It cannot therefore be made a question: under the head of promises justly extorted, must be taken, all contracts with an open and public enemy, whether made by a nation at large, or, by individuals. A doubt can be raised therefore, only when the person by whom the promise is extorted, acts contrary to the Laws of nature and of nations, and I am sensible that most moral writers agree, that in cases of this kind, all promises, are null of themselves and consequently cannot be obligatory. As it would argue the most unjustifiable arrogance in me, to maintain an opinion in opposition to that of many persons, whose productions have done honour to human nature, I shall only beg leave, to question, whether the consequences which must attend the breach of extorted promises, might not be very prejudicial to the interests of mankind in general? And whether the man who should not prefer enduring, the greatest evils, even Death itself, rather than make a promise with the design never to fulfill it, would not be blameable for loosening the bonds of Society.
We danced in the evening, at Tom Chandler's chamber; but I was unwell, and came away before nine. Cranch went to Lincoln, to day with his Mamma.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-15


Mr. Burr went to an Ordination, and consequently we had no reciting in the afternoon. Mr. Williams had a Lecture to demonstrate the truth of the copernican System, at 3, and in the evening: he shew us the planet Venus, which through a telescope, appears shaped like the moon, and was this evening horned. She { 127 } is quite small view'd through our glasses, which magnify objects 90 Times.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-16


The weather begins to grow very cold: it has been remarkably fine all this fall. Mrs. Cranch return'd from Mystic, and will pass the night at Mrs. Hilliard's. Mr. Williams gave us in the evening a view at Jupiter, through the telescope. He appears like the moon when full, and attended with his four Satellites, at different distances. They are quite bright though invisible to the naked eye.
Bridge pass'd an hour with me after lecture.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-17


Took books from the library. Hammond's algebra; Burke, on the sublime and beautiful, and Smith's theory of moral sentiments.1 Was employ'd a great part of the day, in calculating the Elements for a solar Eclipse. Snow.
1. Nathaniel Hammond, The Elements of Algebra in A New and Easy Method..., 4th edn., London, 1772; Edmund Burke, A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and the Beautiful..., London, 1761; Adam Smith, The Theory of Moral Sentiments..., 2d edn., London, 1761 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 1,93,95).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-18


Unwell, so that I could not do much all day. Finished my elements for an eclipse, and finally found it would be here before Sunrise, and consequently not visible.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-19


I was very sick with a sore throat, and head ache; so that I could not attend meeting. Dined in my chamber with Bridge, and Cranch. There was in the evening a meeting of the A B, but I could not attend. The weather quite cold.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-20


Snow'd almost all day. White set out early in the morning for Haverhill; his sister is to be married to-morrow.1 The Class recite to Mr. Burr, this week. I did not attend this morning. Mr. { 128 } Pearson, gave a lecture, upon the analogy between philosophical grammar, and the human body. His divisions of Sentences, are those of Harris.2 Sentences of assertion and volition. Mr. Williams gave a lecture upon the projection of the sphere but not one in the Class, had done any thing in it, as there are very few manuscripts upon the subject in college.
1. Peggy White, Leonard's sister, married Bailey Bartlett (Haverhill, Vital Records).
2. James Harris, Hermes: Or, A Philosophical Inquiry Concerning Language and Universal Grammar..., London, 1751, p. 17 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 135).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-21


The second division of the Class, read a forensic, upon the Question, whether the destroying of inferior animals, be a violation of the Laws of nature. Where so much may be said on one side, and so little on the other, there cannot I believe, be derived, much instruction from a debate. The pieces were almost all short, and I do not recollect, that any thing new was said. Mr. Wigglesworth, gave us in the afternoon, a lecture, and in the evening Mr. Williams, gave us a view at Saturn, through the telescope. The planet did not appear more than an inch in diameter, but the ring was quite plain. I could just perceive one of the Satellites, which appeared quite near the planet. We danced at Chandler 2d's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-22


We had a lecture in the forenoon from Mr. Wigglesworth. Wrote off something upon conic Sections; for Mr. Williams's next Lecture. For the future it is left at the option of every individual in the class to attend him or not. The sodality met this evening, but I could not attend. Williams was part of the evening at my chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-23


Snow'd all the forenoon. We had tea at Cranch's chamber; Whitney arrived in the evening; he comes from Petersham, in Worcester county, and says the insurgents threaten coming to prevent the setting of the court of common pleas, in this Town, next week.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-24


This evening, just after tea, at Chandler 1st's chamber, we were all called out by the falling of a fellow, from the top to the bottom of the stairs. He was in liquor, and tumbled in such a manner, that his head was on the lower floor, and his feet two or three steps up. When we first went out, the blood was streaming from his head, his eyes appeared fixed, and he was wholly motionless. We all supposed him dead. He soon recovered however so as to speak, and was carried off, about an hour after he fell.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-25


Mr. Williams gave us a lecture this forenoon, to explain several astronomical instruments. Nothing new however. There are many flying reports concerning the coming of the insurgents next week. They have even been expected to arrive this evening, but none as yet have appeared.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-26


Attended meeting for the first time these three weeks. Dined at Judge Dana's. Captain Hobby, who was an officer in the late war, is there, and remains in town, by the desire of Genl. Lincoln,1 who will take the command on Tuesday, to oppose the rioters, in case they should appear, and who wishes to place experienced officers, at the head of those companies of militia, that are not organized.
We had a meeting of the A B in the evening. Fiske had an Oration, one essay was read, and I spoke the following piece.
A B. N: 6.
“To a friendly, to an indulgent audience, instead of a formal discourse, of which I feel myself utterly incapable, I shall beg leave to offer only a few observations upon a subject, in which, as a member of Society, as a friend to the interests of mankind in general, and more particularly, as an inhabitant of this commonwealth, I feel myself deeply interested.
It is a trite observation, but no less true than solemn, that not only man himself, but the works of his hands, and the productions of his mind, while connected with his body, carry within themselves the principles of their destruction. All the arts and sciences, like our bodily frames, from an impotent and feeble infancy, generally rise gradually to that degree of perfection, by which, whatever pertains to humanity is bounded; after which, { 130 } they imperceptibly decline, and finally return to nothing from whence they sprung.
We are however easily reconciled to these ideas, because we know, that such are the unalterable Laws, which have been established by the god of nature. But when by some unforeseen or unexpected accident, an individual is brought to an untimely end, we feel an involuntary pang, and lament the fate of one, who was not suffered to perform the course allotted to human nature. But if our hearts are thus taught by nature to sympathize for the misfortune of an individual, how painful, how distressing must our feelings be, when we behold a deadly blow aimed at the vitals of a constitution upon which our own happiness and that of millions depends; a constitution, purchased by the treasures, and sealed with the blood of our countrymen. These sentiments are dictated, gentlemen, by the present situation of public affairs in this commonwealth. At a time, when our property, our precious rights and privileges, and even our lives are threatened with destruction, it is undoubtedly, highly proper, for young men, about to enter upon the theatre of the world, to enquire, what were the causes of our present evils, what remedies, should at such a critical juncture be applied, and, what measures might be taken, in future to prevent the renewal of such dangers.
It must be universally agreed, that within these few years, there has been an astonishing decay of public virtue among us. Posterity will scarcely believe, that in the short compass of ten years, the same nation should have exhibited repeated examples of the most exalted heroism, and of the most abject pusilannimity—Young as we are, we all remember with what a noble ardor, and with what an undaunted fortitude, our countrymen resolved to support their liberty attacked by an arbitrary and powerful Tyrant: unacquainted, with the art of war, destitute of every kind of ammunition, without an army, and without a treasury to support one, the citizens of the united States resisted the forces of the most powerful nation on the face of the earth, assisted by an army of barbarous mercenaries, sold to the british monarch, by their more barbarous Princes—After suffering from the parent country, injuries, more than sufficient to weary the most enduring patience, the americans, perswaded, that as subjects, they could never obtain justice, finally declared themselves a free and independent nation: this action, was the result { 131 } of cool reason, and mature deliberation. The declaration of independence drawn by the nervous and eloquent pen of a Jefferson, and the constancy, with which, for two years, they maintained a war, without the assistance of foreign powers, convinced the European Nations of the justice of their cause, and will convince posterity that their conduct was not dictated by the rage of party, or the temporary frenzy of enthusiasm.
The disadvantages under which, our countrymen laboured were such as precluded all possibility of raising immediately forces sufficient to oppose the veterans of Europe. The British armies were every where successful, and desolation, and rapine attended them, wherever they went. The invincible resolution display'd by the americans in the time of their greatest distress was never surpassed by the sublimest exertions of Roman magnanimity. At length, Fortune adopted the cause of Virtue, and after a struggle of seven years, the independence of America, was acknowledged by Britain herself. It is not necessary to mention, that during the whole course of the war, this State was particularly distinguished for her zeal, and spirited exertions in the common cause—But Oh! how altered is the scene! Instead of that noble spirit of freedom, which animated the breasts of our countrymen, we now hear of nothing but riots, and insurrections. Instead of an attachment to good order, and the Laws, we now behold nothing but violent attempts upon the administration of Justice, and so far have we degenerated, from that sacred regard to honour, which ought always to influence the conduct of individuals, and of nations, that thousands among us, publicly pretend to an abolition of all debts, whether public or private.
These evils are generally allowed to have proceeded from that luxury and dissipation, which have been introduced into our country since the Peace: and undoubtedly many of them originated from those Causes. But it is of little service to be acquainted with the disease, unless proper remedies are prescribed, and applied; what avails it, that public orators should lament our fondness for foreign frippery, our extravagance, and idleness unless, they recommend, by their precepts and example, the opposite virtues of industry and oeconomy? If but a few individuals of fortune and reputation, would agree, to confine themselves to the real necessaries and conveniencies of life, and to discard those superfluities, which have brought our Country on the verge of her ruin; their example would soon be followed { 132 } by the generality of the People, and all complaints of imaginary grievances, with their lawless and destructive consequences would soon be at an end. What I propose, gentlemen, is not impossible: for the two or three first years of the late war, our intercourse with foreign nations was almost entirely interrupted, and the People lived upon the produce of their own Country, more happily than they could have done with all the imported fopperies of Europe. What has once been attempted with success can surely be performed again, and every one will allow that some measures of this kind, are as necessary at this time, as they ever were, in any period of our history. In short, unless some measures are soon adopted more effectual, than any that have yet been taken, we must soon submit to the most detestable of all tyrannies, that of a lawless, and unprincipled rabble. Our history will cast an indelible stain upon the annals of mankind. The name of american will be sufficient to brand any man with infamy, and our nation instead of holding, as they might have done, a distinguished rank, amongst the sovereigns of the Earth, will become, the scorn, the reproach, and the derision of mankind. Should this be the case,

“Should men, for freedom born, renounce her cause,

Refuse, her guidance, violate her Laws,

Lose, first their Country's rights, and then their own,

And bend before, a haughty despot's throne:

Should liberty, desert this wretched land,

And fly from fierce oppresion's iron hand;

Secure, I follow where she leads the way,

To shun a tyrant's arbitrary sway,

Where'er the goddess chuses her abode,

There too shall dwell, my tutelary god;

Ignoble slavery, my soul disdains,

My only country, is where freedom reigns.”

1. Benjamin Lincoln (1733–1810), of Hingham, had been appointed commander of the Massachusetts militia in April 1786. He raised $20,000 to finance the expedition against the insurgents which began in mid-Jan. 1787, when he marched westward to protect the Springfield arsenal (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12: 416–438).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-27


Recite in Ferguson this week. Mr. Williams, this forenoon concluded his course of astronomical lectures, by explaining the or• { 133 } rery, and the cometarium.1 I have not received from these lectures either the entertainment or the instruction, which I expected from them. Except having acquired a clearer notion of the figures of the different planets by viewing them through the telescope, I believe I have not attained one new idea, by the ten Lectures. However I do not know that more could be said than has been. In Sciences of this kind, little novelty is now to be expected. Few discoveries are probably left to be made, and those will be owing perhaps, rather to chance, than to any extraordinary effort of genius.
This evening, just before prayers about 40 horsemen, arrived here under the command of Judge Prescott2 of Groton, in order to protect the court to-morrow, from the rioters. We hear of nothing, but Shays3 and Shattuck4: two of the most despicable characters in the community, now make themselves of great consequence. There has been in the course of the day fifty different reports flying about, and not a true one among them.
1. A mechanical device for illustrating the motion of comets in their elliptical orbits.
2. General Oliver Prescott, the Groton physician, military officer, and justice of the peace who, upon hearing of Shattuck's intention of preventing the court from sitting, rode into Cambridge with a body of forty horsemen and secured the courthouse. Receiving word of the reception prepared for them, the rebels melted away (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12: 569–573).
3. Daniel Shays, Revolutionary officer, Pelham farmer, and local officeholder, prominent in the rebellion which bears his name. Shays, by this time the leader of the insurgents in western Massachusetts, had two months earlier established an agreement with the Hampshire co. militia to prevent the Supreme Judicial Court, meeting at Springfield, from hearing cases involving indictments against the insurgents or concerning debts (DAB).
4. Job Shattuck, Revolutionary officer, large Groton landowner, and prominent townsman, who had participated in the Groton riots of 1781, which involved the collection of taxes in specie. On 12 Sept., Shattuck assembled about one hundred men from Groton and nearby towns to prevent the sitting of the court of common pleas in Concord. Successful there, they decided to march to Cambridge, where the court was to meet on 28 Nov. The plan to join up with other rebel forces failed, and Shattuck was later captured, tried in Boston the following May, and sentenced to be hanged. After two temporary reprieves, he was unconditionally pardoned and retired to Groton (Samuel A. Green, “Groton during Shays's Rebellion,” MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 1 [1884–1885]:298–312).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-28


The weather very cold. No appearance of rioters as yet, tho' it is this evening reported that there are 1500, within four miles of Cambridge. We dansed this evening at Chandler ists. Last night the ΦBK met at Burge's chamber. Little and Cranch read disser• { 134 } tations. Freeman and Packard, a disputation upon the Question, whether good order is promoted more by the rewarding of virtue, than by the punishment of vice. Mr. Ware and Mr. Harris disputed extempore. Baron was admitted, after which the meeting was adjourned for a fort'night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-29


No appearance yet of any body to prevent the sitting of the court; the reports have not yet ceased however. Had tea at my chamber this evening, and several of the club past the evening with me. Lovell, a classmate of mine, is half crazy, at hearing so much news. He wants to be doing something, and is determined by some means or other to fight the insurgents. He says he is no politician, he was made for an active life, but he cannot live in a place, where there is so much news.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-30


The reports of Shays, and Shattuck coming, at the head of thousands to stop the Court, grow more rare. It is now almost too late to spread any more stories of that kind. Shattuck instead of attacking, will have to defend himself, for, about 150 young volunteers, from Boston, under the command of Coll. Hitchborn1 went through here this forenoon, on horseback, and are gone, with the design to seize two or three of the ring leaders of the mob, and bring them down to Boston. The Roxbury artillery company, under Major Spooner: went likewise from here in the evening. They would not say, which way they were going, but it is supposed they have the intention of seizing Wheeler2 and Smith,3 two of the leaders in the County of Worcester. There seems to be a small spark of patriotism, still extant; it is to be hoped, that it will be fanned, and kindled by danger, but not smothered by sedition. A republic must very frequently be called back to the principles of its government, and so long as it has sufficient virtue for that, its constitution will stand firm.
1. Benjamin Hichborn was called on 29 Nov. to lead a corps of cavalry volunteers into northern Middlesex co. against the insurgents (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:36–44).
2. Capt. Adam Wheeler, of Hubbardston, who with about one hundred men had kept the Worcester courts from meeting in September and again in November (Ellery B. Crane, “Shays' Rebellion,” { 135 } Worcester Society of Antiquity, Procs. . . . For the Year 1881, p. 72–73, 81–82).
3. JQA may be referring to Nathan Smith of Shirley, Middlesex co., who was with Wheeler on 12 Sept. when the insurgents kept the Middlesex courts from opening at Concord (same, p. 74–76).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-01

Friday December 1st. 1786.

It was on Wednesday, that the troop of horsemen from Boston went up in search of Shattuck. They succeeded in their attempt, and this forenoon at about 11 o'clock, they return'd through this town, with two besides Shattuck; by the names of Parker, and Page.1 These were taken by the horsemen, from Groton, before, the arrival of those from Boston. The circumstances of Shattuck's capture, are variously related, but the following are the most authenticated. The gentlemen pass'd the night on Wednesday at Concord; and yesterday morning, at about seven, they went to Shattuck's house. He was gone from thence but they could not discover which way. They then came about a mile on this road, and met a man, who by threats and promises was induced to tell them, that he had parted from Shattuck, but a short Time before, but he would not say where. They proceeded a little further, and saw in the snow the tracks of a man, going from the common road. They suspected them to be his, and followed them. Mr. Sampson Read, first saw him, on the opposite bank of a small river, and immediately cross'd it on the ice; Shattuck then came to a stand, and said to Read: “I know you not; but whoever you are you are a dead man.” Read ascended the bank; a scuffle between them ensued. Read fell over the Bank, and the other, in making a violent push, at him, lost his sword, and fell upon him. He recovered his sword however, and was just about to pierce his antagonist with it, when Dr. Rand of Boston, arrived, and drew the sword from his hand, backwards by the hilt; at the same time Fortescue Vernon aimed at Shattucks arm, but the sword glanced, and wounded him dangerously in the knee, upon which he immediately surrendered himself; but said he should be rescued in half an hour: the gentlemen, were not molested however in bringing him off; but had every where every assistance given them, that they were in want of, and the apparent good will of every one, wherever they went.
1. Oliver Parker of Groton, who led the insurgents in their march through Concord on their way to the Cambridge courthouse, and was later joined by Shattuck. Benjamin Page was another Groton ringleader (Samuel A. Green, “Groton during Shays's Rebellion,” MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 1 [1884–1885]:303–304).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-02


The party from Roxbury under the command of Major Spooner, which went from here, thursday evening, were not so successfull in their pursuit of Wheeler, and Smith, as those who went for Shattuck. They mistook the house where he was, and he got information of their being in quest of him, before they could find him, so that he made his escape. The Court adjourned from hence this afternoon, and Cambridge is not at present in danger of being the immediate scene of action. These rebels have for these three months, been the only topic of conversation all over the Commonwealth.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-03


A number of the Class drank tea in the morning at Bridge's chamber. Attended meeting, all day; Mr. Hilliard preached in his ordinary stile in the morning, but after dinner he gave us, a sermon against swearing; the best I ever heard him deliver.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-04


We had after prayers a class-meeting, upon the subject of a private commencement. Freeman read the Petition, which he was desired by the class to draw up; it was voted that it should be carried up this week.1 I went with Sever, and pass'd the evening at Mr. Gerry's. Just before we went it began to snow, but when we return'd, we had a violent storm, with the wind in our faces all the way. Sat with Sever about an hour after we got back.
1. This petition and two others mentioned in later entries have not been found. The Corporation did not discuss the petition until 10 April 1787 and decided not to grant the request because “public exercises of commencement have an happy influence in exciting a laudable emulation among the students” and because displays of students' learning “are highly beneficial to the Commonwealth at large by stimulating parents to give their children an education which may qualify them to fill with reputation and honor the several offices in church and state” (MH-Ar: Corporation Records, 3:282–283). Joseph Willard added several more substantial reasons when he spoke to the class the following day. See below. The class made one final appeal on 1 May to the college overseers, but they eventually supported the corporation in denying a private commencement (MH-Ar:Overseers Records, 3:343–344).
In a letter to his sister, JQA explained what was at the heart of the matter. “The expenses of that day, to the class which graduates, are said to amount upon an average to £1000. In the present situation of the country,” he continued, “this is a large sum, and the advantages derived from appearing in public [on a commencement program] are not adequate to it” (JQA to AA2, 14 Jan.–9 Feb. 1787, Adams Papers). To this argument the overseers made some concessions by ordering that the strictest economy be observed at commencement. { 137 } They omitted the usual entertainment and ordered that merely a cold dinner should be provided, for which the students would pay only $2.00. No entertainment was to be given by any candidate for a degree outside the walls of the college, except those whose parents lived in Cambridge. Students were advised to dress simply in inexpensive black worsted gowns, not to purchase new clothes, and not to entertain friends in their rooms in a lavish fashion (MH-Ar: Corporation Records, 3:282–283).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-05


The storm continued with unabated violence, a great part of the day. In the evening however it cleared up, and is now very cold. This day had been appointed for exhibition, but the weather was such as prevented it. Several of the Class had invited a number of the young ladies in town, to a dance, but were obliged to postpone it likewise for several days.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-06


The Weather fair, but the Snow, which drifted a great deal, is in some places so deep, that it is impossible to get through it. We danced in the club this evening at Foster's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-07


I have been rather idle, this week, and this day entirely so. This evening I went down with Mr. Andrews1 to Judge Dana's, and spent a couple of hours there. Invited Miss Ellery2 and Miss Nancy Mason, to the dance to'morrow.
1. John Andrews, Harvard 1786, who was studying divinity at Harvard at this time.
2. Almy, daughter of William Ellery (JQA to AA2, 14 Jan.–9 Feb. 1787, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-08


It Snow'd in the morning till 10 o'clock, and it was feared the exhibition, must be again postponed. But it cleared before noon, and at about 3 o'clock, the president made his appearance in the chapel. Lloyd delivered an Oration, upon Commerce in Latin. He spoke so low that I could not hear him. Abbot 2d. and Chandler, then read a forensic, on the question, whether the natural reason of man be sufficient for the discovery of the existence of a God. The syllogistic, on the Question, Whether self love be the only spring of human actions, by Bancroft, respondent, Baxter, Adams 2d., and Treadwell opponents, followed; after this came the dia• { 138 } logue, between Adams 3d. and Wier, then the greek oration by Prescott and finally the English Oration by Putnam. The forensic, I was much pleased with: but of the last piece I could make neither head nor tail. Agriculture must find another panegyrist, before, it will be praised as it deserves. The mathematical parts were then delivered up; and after an anthem had been sung, and a few tunes play'd the company dispersed. A little after five, several of us went down, and supp'd at Bradish's: after which we went for the Ladies; and danced till 2 in the morning. The Ladies were Miss Ellery, Hill, Williams, Frazer, Wigglesworth,1 Jones2 2 Miss Kneeland, and 2 Miss Masons, Miss Cutts, and Miss Badger. The Lads were Fiske, Little, Bridge, Freeman Mason, Tom and Gardner Chandler, Beale, Amory, Lloyd, Foster, Williams, and myself, besides Mr. Andrews, who undertook to be the manager. The dance was very agreeable, except, that some partners were much better than others; and when we drew the poorest, we were not so perfectly contented. After we had sent the Ladies home, Mr. Andrews came to college and lodged with me.
1. Margaret (Peggy) Wigglesworth, daughter of Prof. Edward Wigglesworth, who later married John Andrews (Paige, Hist. of Cambridge, Mass., p. 691).
2. Catherine Jones, of Newburyport, a distant relative of Prof. Wigglesworth (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 5:410; Vital Records of Ipswich, Massachusetts, to the End of the Year 1849, 2 vols., Salem, Mass., 1910).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-09


Very little fatigue, by the last night's party: but much fatigued by the weather. For there came on this morning a second snowstorm which has raged all day with as much violence, as that which came in the beginning of the week. All the former paths, are filled up, and in some places the snow is more than 6 feet deep, and what is worse than all; I am entirely destitute of wood, and am obliged, to go about, and live upon my neighbours. The storm is so violent, that it was with the greatest difficulty, we could get to Williams's, where we drank tea this evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-10


The weather cleared up this morning; but the wind was so high, and the snow so deep; that Mr. Hilliard could not get out to meeting. The breakfast club were at my chamber, in the morn• { 139 } ing; and at noon we all went down and dined at Bradish's. We pass'd the afternoon, and supp'd there. Bridge, and I, made an attempt to go down to Professor Wiggles worth's in the evening, but the snow was so deep we could not succeed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-11


We recite this week in Burlamaqui, to Mr. Burr, but he did not attend this day. I am reduced to the necessity of being idle; for I have no wood left, and must live where I can. Foster went off this morning to Boston, and I have for the present taken up my quarters with Bridge, who has a little wood left. Meeting of the ΦBK, this evening at Burge's chamber; the performers were absent: so there was nothing done except admitting Barron, and appointing performers for the next meeting, which is to be at Cranch's chamber this day fort'night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-12


The government, this morning, determined that if more than half the students should be destitute of wood, the college should be dismiss'd. The president went to Boston, to consult the corporation, upon the subject, and he informed Little, who went this evening to request leave to go home, that the students would be permitted to disperse, to-morrow morning. Club danced at Little's chamber this evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-13


This morning, immediately after prayers, the president informed us that the vacation would begin at present, and be for 8 weeks, and hinted that the spring vacation, might on that account be omitted. As I thought I should be able to study much more conveniently here than any where else; I obtained leave to remain in town. Bridge proposes staying likewise, and we shall live together. In the afternoon we went down to Professor Wigglesworth's; found Miss Ellery just going home; I went with her, and pass'd half an hour at the judge's. Bridge engaged for us both to board at Mr. Wigglesworth's. Spent the evening at Mr. Pearson's.
{ 140 }

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-14


Thanksgiving day. Mr. Hilliard, preached a very long sermon, but none of the best. He appeared to have laboured much, and I thought quite without success. Indeed he thought perhaps there was no reason for giving thanks considering the Situation of the Country, and this makes him the more excusable. Bridge and I went down after meeting to Judge Dana's; dined, and passed the afternoon and evening there.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-15


Many families in town are distressed for want of wood; the snow, is so deep, that, the people in the Country cannot get into the woods, and there have been but two or three loads in town, since, the first storm. We begin to be shortened for it; and, are therefore prevented from studying, with any application, for the present.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-16


Tom, came from Boston this forenoon. Fifteen persons were buried there this afternoon, who perished, by different shipwrecks in the late storms. The weather quite moderate; and so calm that we could hear the bells in Boston toll, as plain, as we can that in Town, from the chambers in Hollis.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-17


Chandler 1st. went off this morning; there are about 20 of the scholars, who have not yet been able to get home. They are however going off, one by one. Attended meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preached in the morning, a sermon, which I have heard him deliver before. Thanksgiving sermon I suppose took up all his Time this week. Mr. Burr preach'd in the afternoon, and saved the Parson, the trouble, of reading another old piece. The young preachers are generally the most liberal minded; Mr. Burr was very particular, upon the insufficiency of faith without works, and strongly recommended morality.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-18


The young Ladies at Mr. Wigglesworth's, dined at Judge Danas, I went down there with Bridge; to tea, and pass'd the { 142 } evening, very sociably. The conversation turn'd upon diverse topics, and among the rest upon love which is almost always the case when there are Ladies present. Peggy came away at about 10, but Miss Jones, concluded to stay there, to-night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-19


Foster, and Lovell, and Cranch were here to day; all came for their cloaths &c. Several of the Class still remain, and untill they are gone, it will be impossible for us to study much. As they expect to go every day, they are rather dissipated, and more or less make us so. We got this day a load of wood. It is however still very dear.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-20


I have been rather more attentive this day, than for this week, past, and have written considerably. This evening a slay came from Petersham for Baron and Whitney. The person, who came with it informs us, that the insurgents have all disbanded, that numbers of them suffered extremely in the late storms, one or two perished, and several still remain, very ill at Worcester. They have had time to reflect on their conduct, and for their enthusiasm to cool down; I wish it may reform them.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-21


Miss Jones returned from Judge Dana's. I spent the evening with Bridge, and Freeman, at the Professor's. Miss Bromfield, Miss L. Kneeland, Miss Cutts, and Miss Ellery were there. [Of] all these ladies, the last are rather unsociable. We had however, upon the whole, a good time. Miss Cutts unluckily got a fall on the ice, as she was going out to the slay. Had her limbs, been rather more pliant, perhaps she might have saved herself. We came away before ten, and Freeman sat about an hour with us.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-22


Miss Cutts's misfortune, last night, has been a subject of much diversion, to the Ladies; to Miss Jones especially, who is inclined to be satirical, and appears to take no pains to restrain that disposition; whence I conclude, she considers it as an accomplishment. This is a very common error, especially among { 143 } the female sex. Satire they suppose, always includes wit, and many a severe reflection has been made, not from a principle of disapprobation, but with a view of appearing brilliant. Miss Jones, I fancy is not entirely faultless in that respect: she is but 18, rather giddy, and unexperienced. She has a very fair complexion, and good eyes, of which she is sensible; her face, is rather capricious than beautiful, and some of her features, are not handsome; of this she is not so well apprized; her shape is not inelegant, but, her limbs are rather large: she is susceptible of the tender Sentiments; but the passion, rather than the lover is the object of her affection; she is perhaps too sarcastic, but her real disposition which is good natured will excuse that; and a few more years may correct the foible.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-23


Dined with Mr. Harris, Freeman, and Bridge at Mr. Pearson's. He has been very polite to me, and was quite complaisant, this day. Mrs. Pearson, did not appear; but Miss Bromfield, and Miss Cutts were there. Neither of them were peculiarly sociable, and the latter appears just proper to make a prude, in a few years.
The weather has been very moderate, it rain'd all the morning. This afternoon it grew colder, and began to snow. I hope we are not to have a third storm, like the two we have had already.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-24


Snow'd all night, and this forenoon. I attended meeting all day: Mr. Hilliard preached, but not in his best way. The meeting was very thin. It cleared up this afternoon, and the evening is very cold.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-25


Christmas day; and one of the coldest, we have had this Season. The snow which has fallen, will be very useful in the roads: it fell very even, and has filled up the bare spots; we spent the evening at the professor's with Mr. Ware, and Mr. Andrews. Had a good deal of chat with Peggy. Mr. Ware sung.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-26


Bridge went to Boston. Mason finally took his leave, and left us to ourselves; so that we shall henceforth, be able to study, with much less interruption than we have hitherto done.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-27


Bridge went to Boston again: in the evening we went down, with Mr. Ware, and Freeman, to Judge Dana's. We convers'd and play'd whist, and sung till 10, o'clock. The ladies seem to have settled that we are to be in love: but ideas of this kind, are very common with the ladies, who think it impossible to live without Love.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-28


Studying Saunderson; Mayo was here in the afternoon. Mr. Ware likewise paid us a visit and sat about half an hour. The weather has been very good for several days, but the weatherwise foretell a snow storm.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-29


Continuation of the same course. We got us some wood, this afternoon. Bridge, pass'd the evening with the Ladies, at Mr. Mason's;1 but for particular reasons I preferr'd staying at home. Lloyd was here in the forenoon. Bridge, and Freeman return'd late from Mr. Mason's. Freeman pass'd an hour with us, after he came back.
1. Thaddeus Mason, holder of various provincial offices, including clerk of the Middlesex court of common pleas from 1735 to 1789 (Paige, Hist. of Cambridge, Mass., p. 606–607).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-30


The week has closed as it began, and I shall be content if for the six remaining weeks of the vacation I can make, an equal progress, in my present course of studies. Williams spent the evening with us. The weather is quite moderate; and has the appearance of rain.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0011-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-12-31


Sacrament day. Mr. Hilliard preach'd an occasional sermon in the forenoon; and in the afternoon from Acts IV. 28. We pass'd the evening at the professors, in company with Mr. Andrews.
This day completes two years, since, I attempted to commit to paper, the transactions, which daily occurr'd, in which I was concerned. It is a question, whether amidst the quantity of trivial events, to which I have given place, and the heap of trash which I have here inserted, there is sufficient matter worthy of remembrance, to compensate for the time I have spent in writing. For these 15 months, the Scenes before me have been so much alike, that these pages have not even the small merit of variety: but to myself I have always spoken, for myself I have always written, and to myself only, I am accountable for the nonsense, and folly in this and the preceding Volume.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-01

Monday January 1st. 1787.

I received, two letters,1 and a couple of Packets of newspapers, from Europe, they were the more acceptable, as it is almost three months, since I have had any direct news from thence, before. After playing a few tunes to the young Ladies, In the evening, I went with Bridge, and paid a visit to Mr. Hilliard; a sensible man although his Sermons are rather cold.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-02


I pass'd the evening with Mr. Andrews, at Professor Pearson's. He is fond of music, to enthusiasm. We play'd several tunes together, but I was not a proper person to accompany him. He is quite an adept in the art; and like all connoisseurs in music, extravagantly fond of Handel.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-03


Dined at Mr. Hilliard's, in company with Mr. Stedman,1 Mr. Ware, Mr. Andrews, Freeman, and Bridge. Stedman is a student in Law; said to be a man of Sense. However that may be, he does not strike me, at first sight as a very exalted genius. We pass'd { 146 } the evening, at the Professor's. Miss Jones display'd some of her satirical wit.
There was a total eclipse of the moon, between 6, and 9 in the evening; but the weather being cloudy, rendered it invisible, the greatest part of the Time.
1. William Stedman was completing his legal studies in Newburyport with Theophilus Parsons, with whom JQA would begin studying law in September (“Descendants of Gov. Bradstreet,” NEHGR, 8:317, 318, 320 [Oct. 1854]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-04


For want of sufficient exercise, I have been unwell, for several days: there is no walking at this Season, and we are consequently obliged, to keep too recluse for health. Mr. Andrews, and Freeman, pass'd the evening with us, at the professor's. Miss Jones as usual was severe. Her disposition would be much more amiable, if she was not so sensible of her satirical talents, and so fond of them as to gratify her passion upon all occasions.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-05


We passed the evening at Freeman's chamber. He proposes setting off for Newbury, to morrow morning. The weather for several days, has been uncommonly moderate, but this afternoon it grew somewhat cold, and began to snow.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-06


Very cold this morning, Freeman went for Ipswich. Mr. Andrews called upon us in the afternoon.
I got through Montesquieu's spirit Laws;1 and I much admire the author's penetration, in discovering the origin, and causes of diverse Laws in diverse Countries, and in the same Country, at different periods. His ideas of the principles, upon which the different forms of government are founded, appear very just; though I think he says not all he would have said, had he lived in a Country where a man might with impunity publish his sentiments.
1. The Spirit of Laws, transl. Thomas Nugent, 3d edn., 2 vols., London, 1758 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 84). JQA may have owned at this time an edition of Montesquieu (3 vols., Amsterdam, 1749), containing his bookplate, now at MQA.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-07


Mr. Hilliard preach'd all day; pretty much in the common stile.
Dined at Judge Dana's; and conversed with Miss Ellery upon the subject, of two young Ladies. I find, that her opinion, as well as that of Mr. and Mrs. Dana, coincides with mine in that respect. Benevolence, candor, and innocence, are more amiable, and more estimable ingredients for a character, than wit without judgment.
Weather very cold. Mr. Andrews was at tea, with us.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-08


We went down this evening with the young ladies, to Mr. Dana's. I passed several hours agreeably. I had an essay upon philosophic Love given me to read; a little allegorical tale, in the composition of which, fancy, rather than reason predominated. For, as Terence says

____ incerta haec si tu postules

Ratione certa facere, nihilo plus agas,

Quam si des operam, ut cum ratione insanias.1

1. For complete quotation and translation, see entry for 5 March, note 1 (below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-09


Snow'd part of the day. Reading Watson's chemical essays.1 They are written in a very plain intelligible manner, and are quite entertaining. The subject I have never before paid any great attention to. We pass'd the evening at the professor's. Small conversation, with women, can be interesting, only at the time it is going forward.
1. Richard Watson, Chemical Essays, 3d edn., 3 vols., London, 1784 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 37). There is a four-volume set of this 3d edn., London, 1784–1786, among JA's books (MB).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-10


Mr. Paine was ordained, minister of Charlestown, but as it snow'd all the fore part of the day, I did not attend. Cabot, the junior was here: I am still pursuing the study of algebra; which is as entertaining as it is useful. I could wish I had time for pro• { 148 } ceeding in all the mathematical branches of Science: but the time will soon come, when I shall be called to studies of a very different nature.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-11


The weather is yet unsettled, but it has not storm'd this day. Saunders, and Barron of the junior Class were here.
Our time flies away extremely fast; one half of the vacation has already eloped, and I shall soon, with a mixture of pleasure and pain, see my fellow students again assembled, and be called again to attend to the public exercises. They will it is true diminish; as our Class are henceforth to attend recitations only once a day, and that only for nine weeks, after which we shall in a manner be left to ourselves.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-12


The weather cleared up in the morning, and the cold since noon has increased very fast. We pass'd an hour in the evening at Mr. Gannett's; he was not at home: Mrs. G. is quite historical; that is she gives a very minute history of whatever occurs to herself or her family.
Up late reading parliamentary debates.1 Packard came to see us, this afternoon.
1. JQA may have been preparing for his declamation, given on 27 Feb. (below), on “part of one of Mr. Fox's speeches.”

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-13


The weather very cold all day with a strong wind. We had a Quantity of company, in the forenoon Hill, who graduated last commencement, Learned and Williams; in the afternoon Angier, Cushman and Tufts:1 Bridge set out after dinner for Lexington, where he intends to pass two or three days.
1. Either Cotton Tufts, Harvard 1789, or Abijah Tufts, Harvard 1790 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:480; Harvard Quinquennial Cat.).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-14


Mr. Hilliard preach'd all day. It is a long time since he has given us any variety: but on the other hand he writes short Ser• { 149 } mons, which is very much in his favour, in cold weather. Dined at Mr. Dana's. Forbes came up from Boston this afternoon, and lodg'd here. I pass'd the evening at Mr. Wigglesworth's. Miss Jones, has recovered from the sour fit which she has been in for several days, and is quite complaisant. Quere. is caprice, a necessary quality to form a fine woman?

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-15


The weather very moderate. The snow went off quite fast. Drank tea at Mr. Hilliard's. His daughter look'd prettier, than she ever did before. Mr. Paine was there, and appeared quite happy, in his new situation. The People of Charlestown, who never could be united in their opinions, for a minister, are universally very much attached to him, and his talents and virtues are such as will probably preserve him that esteem, which he has every where acquired. Mr. H. appears to be very fond of him, and proud of him as a brother.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-16


Dined at Mr. Dana's, and pass'd part of the evening with the Judge and his Lady at Mr. Gerry's. Miss Thompson, is very handsome; but whether she possesses all the other qualities which are requisite to render a Lady amiable, I shall not take upon me to decide.
Bridge returned this evening from Lexington.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-17


My Chum went to Boston, but return'd early in the afternoon. After tea we went down to Mr. Dana's. Miss Ellery was there, and Miss Jones with her; Bridge accompanied this Lady home, and after they were gone, I had a deal of chat, with Miss Ellery, who has a larger share of Sense, than commonly falls to an individual of her sex. We conversed upon diverse subjects, but I can never give any thing but general accounts of conversations, for I cannot always keep this book under lock and key; and some people have a vast deal of curiosity.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-18


Fine weather, till the evening, which was very blustry. The men have been selected who are to go from this Town, against the insurgents. They have taken almost all the servants in Town; the troops are to march to-morrow, for Worcester, under the command of General Lincoln. We passed the evening at Professor Williams's. Jenny look'd handsomer, than she has for several months past; and was very agreeable.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-19


The troops from this Town, went this afternoon to Waltham, from whence, they are to proceed to-morrow towards Worcester. After tea, I went with Bridge, Williams and Learned to Mystic, and had a very good dance. There were several very fine girls; but being entirely unacquainted with them all, I could not be very sociable with them. A Miss Dixey struck me, as being uncommonly beautiful; but from the few observations I could make, I thought she had the qualities which are commonly the companions of beauty: at about one in the morning we broke up, and, we reach'd home, at about two.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-20


Snow'd all day. We were rather tired after our expedition. I have been idle; and do not by any means feel disposed to write at present.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-21


Mr. Hilliard again entertained us all day, with his own composition. Bridge, and I dined at Mr. Dana's. Miss Almy informed us of all the circumstances which attended our party the other day; and among many other anecdotes, told us that Bridge was deeply smitten with a Miss Hall, who had I thought much of a sleepy appearance and I forsooth, am the humble admirer of Miss Dixey. If personal beauty was my only object of admiration, I should certainly be in this predicament, but I must look a little further, before I surrender my liberty entirely.

For all the gifts which nature can impart,

Are vain without the virtues of the heart.1

{ 151 } Mr. Andrews, who returned from Hingham yesterday, drank tea with us this evening.
1. JQA here quotes from his own poem, “An Epistle to Delia,” lines 27–28, written in 1785 (M/JQA/28, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 223).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-22


Employ'd all day, in translating some german observations for Mr. Dana: finished them: and in the evening I went down there to carry them. Miss Ellery and Miss Jones, keep up a correspondence in writing. Almy has a larger share of Sense, than commonly falls to the lot of her sex, and, that sense is cultivated and improved, a circumstance, still more uncommon.1
1. In spite of JQA's favorable disposition toward Almy Ellery and his critical and repeated comments about the “sour fits” or “unsociable” attitude of Catherine Jones, he was able to compose an acrostic about the latter on this day, which he wrote into his Diary on 16 April 1788 (below). The original is in M/JQA/28, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 223.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-23


Miss Ellery pass'd the day at the professor's, and was very agreeable; I am more and more pleased with this Lady, every time, I am in company with her. Miss Jones who is treated both by Bridge and myself with a distant reserve, appeared this day for the first Time to be mortified by it: she could not help forming a contrast between our behaviour to her, and to the two other Ladies, and her Vanity was piqued. But she has drawn it upon herself. Thomson pass'd part of the evening with us: her spirits were revived while he was present, but droop'd again, when he went away.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-24


Miss Ellery, went home this morning, after breakfast. Miss Jones, rather unsociable; her spirits low. Charles and Tom, arrived here, this afternoon from Haverhill: left all our friends well. I went down to Mr. Dana's with Charles, had a long conversation with Miss Almy, upon a subject, interesting at the present moment. Williams came home with Mrs. Dana, and we return'd together, at about 10. Charles remained.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-25


The weather has been all along quite unsettled. Yesterday was very cold, but to day, it thaws fast again. Mr. Andrews past the evening with us at the professor's. Miss Jones, rather more agreeable, than I have sometimes seen her, but not perfectly sociable. Mr. Andrews and she appear to go on as easily, and with as little rubbing as any person: less indeed than I should expect from the dissimilarity of their dispositions.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-26


General Lincoln, it seems, finds more difficulties in the affair he has undertaken, than were expected. He has sent for a reinforcement of troops: there are about 2000 men assembled to oppose him. They have the start of him, and it is supposed they intend first to attack, Genl. Shepard,1 who is at Springfield, with about 1200 men. Part of the militia are going from this town. I pass'd the evening at Mr. Dana's, and lodg'd there. Saw Mr. Winthrop.
1. William Shepard, major general of the Hampshire co. militia, repulsed the attack on the Springfield arsenal by Daniel Shays' forces on 25 Jan., before Lincoln arrived (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-27


Fay was here this morning, and Freeman return'd this day from his Tour to visit his friends. Part of the company of militia in this town, march'd this morning towards Worcester. Dispatches were expected this evening from Genl. Lincoln, but none appeared.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-28


Mr. Fiske1 supplied Mr. Hilliard this day: and gave satisfaction in general. His sentiments are very liberal, more than those of any preacher I have heard of late. It is perhaps to be feared lest some of our future divines may go too far in that respect, and assert that Christianity consists in morality alone. If this were the case, in what point would its excellence be shown, above the Systems of many heathen philosophers? For even the sublime maxim, “do good to those that hate you” was inculcated and even practised by some of them. The harsh, discouraging doctrines { 153 } held up, by many of our old preachers, are absurd, and impious; but the other extreme may be more dangerous to Christianity; and our young divines would do well, to remember

Dum vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currunt.2

Dined at Mr. Dana's, with Mr. Winthrop. He had a letter from his brother, but not of a very late date. There have been no accounts from Genl. Lincoln this day.
1. Thaddeus Fiske, of the Second Church of Cambridge at Menotomy (now Arlington), 1788–1828 (Paige, Hist. of Cambridge, Mass., p. 546).
2. “In avoiding a vice, fools run into its opposite,” Horace, Satires, Bk. I, Satire 2, line 24 (Horace, Satires, Epistles and ArsPoetica, transl. Fairclough, p. 20–21).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-29


Bridge went to Salem, upon some business this day, and returned.
Miss Ellery and Miss Williams, her brother, Mr. Andrews and Freeman, drank tea at the professor's; I was sociable with Miss Jane, for the first Time. She is not destitute of personal charms, and has I believe a very good disposition. Mr. Andrews was quite elated with the news from Springfield, which arrived this evening. A party of 700 insurgents commanded by Luke Day,1 were put to flight, without a gun fired, and about 30 of them taken. Genl. Shepherd, had however been obliged to fire at a party headed by Shays. 3 men were killed, and 3 mortally wounded. Upon the whole, affairs in that quarter appear to take quite a favourable turn.
1. Day, of West Springfield, had his orders intercepted, and failed to lend support to Shays at the battle of the Springfield arsenal. After Lincoln's arrival in Springfield, both he and Shepard scattered Day's men in West Springfield; then Lincoln pursued Shays. Unable to secure a general pardon, Shays withdrew to Petersham, where, after a forced march in a snowstorm, Lincoln surprised and routed the insurgents. Most surrendered, although Shays and a few others escaped into New Hampshire. Within a month most insurgent opposition had ended (Ellery B. Crane, “Shays' Rebellion,” Worcester Society of Antiquity, Procs. ... For the Year 1881, p. 92–99; Robert J. Taylor, Western Massachusetts in the Revolution, Providence, 1954, p. 160–163).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-30


Mrs. Cranch, Miss Betsey, and her brother, came from Braintree this morning, dined at Mr. Gannett's and returned after dinner. Bridge, and I were quite alone at tea this evening: the { 154 } Ladies were at Mrs. Forbes's, and the professor was gone to Judge Dana's. The Ladies returned however immediately after tea, and Miss Ellery came, and pass'd the evening there:

In fairest forms can evil passions dwell?

The virgin breast, can envy's venom swell?

Can malice dart her rage from beauty's eye?

And give the snow white cheek, a crimson dye?

Where then are all the tender virtues flown?

And why was strength dispensed to man alone?

The lamb, to vye with Lions neer pretends,

The timid dove, with eagles ne'er contends,

Attempt not then, ye fair, to rule by fear,

The surest female weapon is a tear.1

1. These verses were later included in JQA's “A Vision,” lines 163–172, a poem generally thought to have been written at Newburyport while he was a law student. These verses, however, clearly show that its origins were somewhat earlier. Compare JQA's “An Epistle to Delia,” lines 41–52, a poem dated 12 Dec. 1785, with “A Vision,” lines 91–102 (both in M/JQA/28). To the verses in this entry JQA later added six additional lines at the beginning (157–162): “Almira next in dubious form is seen,/Her face is female, masculine her mien,/With equal skill no mortal can pretend,/The varied faults of either sex to blend./To woman's weakness add the pride of man,/And wield alike the dagger and the fan” (same).
“A Vision,” a satirical sketch about several girls JQA knew in Newburyport, was patterned after, though more sophisticated in style than, the ''Receipt for a Wife,” which JQA had read and portions of which he had copied while staying in New York in the summer of 1785 (entry for 3 Aug. 1785, above; JQA to AA2, 1–8 Aug. 1785, Adams Papers). Later evidence confirms that Almira is Catherine Jones, whom he first met at Dr. Wigglesworth's house in Cambridge, and whom he later saw occasionally in Newburyport, though, like the Delia piece mentioned above, the sketch here may have been written about one subject and applied to another when the poem was completed later. For a discussion of the subsequent development of “A Vision,” see note for entry of 28 March 1788 (below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0001-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-01-31


Mr. Harris arrived this afternoon from Springfield, but did not bring any further accounts of consequence from that quarter. He saw on the road several of the insurgents who had returned home, sick of their expedition. Bridge and I drank tea at Mrs. Forbes's, and spent the evening. Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard, Mrs. Willard, and Mrs. Miller were there. After tea, Cards being proposed Mr. Hilliard went his way. We had a rubber of whist, with Mrs. Hilliard and Mrs. Willard; in the midst of which the president made his appearance. He soon went off however. After Cards, we had a dish1 of music. We play'd on the flute, and Mrs. { 155 } Hilliard sang a few songs. She has a very good voice, and is by no means ignorant of it. Between nine and ten we escorted Mrs. Willard and Mrs. Miller home, after which, we retired to our Chamber.
1. Figuratively, an indefinite quantity (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-01

Thursday February 1st. 1787.

It snow'd, the greatest part of the day; but gently, and without wind. Miss Jones, this forenoon, quite suddenly, resolved to go to Boston and went in the midst of the Snow. She proposes passing a fortnight there, and as our vacation is to close, next Wednesday, I shall probably not have an opportunity of seeing her frequently again. I went to tea to Mr. Pearson's, and in the evening accompanied his viol with my flute. Mr. Fayerweather1 and his family were there. An extraordinary character. The greatest range of his ideas, is between the counter of a shop, and the potatoe-hill behind his House; these furnish him with an universal topic of conversation, which he commonly enjoys alone, for he gives no other person time to express either approbation or dislike of his sentiments.
1. Thomas Fayerweather, ardent Cambridge Whig before the Revolution, whose house was converted into a hospital for soldiers in 1775 (Paige, Hist. of Cambridge, Mass., p. 418).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-02


Drank tea again at Mr. Pearson's. Miss Ellery, Miss Williams, Miss Mason, Miss Wigglesworth, Miss Foster and Miss Fayerweather were there. Mr. Andrews, Freeman, Bridge, Williams, Forbes, and Clarke. After a pretty long consultation, we had a little dance, and broke up a little before ten. I drew Miss Williams, and found her very sociable and agreeable. Miss Ellery, was obliged to go away early, because her brother1 arrived this afternoon.
1. Presumably either William Ellery or Edmund Trowbridge Ellery, brothers-in-law of Francis Dana (Harrison Ellery, “Ancestors of Hon. William Ellery, Signer of the Declaration of Independence,” Newport Historical Magazine, 4:182 [Jan. 1884]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-03


A Snow storm came on, in the afternoon, and continued in the night. We saw Mr. Ellery this evening at the professor's. Some• { 156 } thing further than the common sentiments of friendship, subsists between this gentleman and Miss Peggy. If his disposition be, but one half so amiable as her's, their union must be lasting, and productive of much happiness.1
Freeman and Forbes pass'd the evening at our chamber.
1. Peggy Wigglesworth married John Andrews in 1789.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-04


The wind was very high all the forenoon; and although the sky was clear, the drifting of the snow, has made it very disagreeable walking. We dined at the President's: he was more sociable than I have seen him before. Mrs. Willard and Mrs. Miller, are both very agreeable. The weather in the evening being fine, we walk'd down to Mr. Dana's, and pass'd two or three hours with them; Mrs. Dana, removed from our minds an impression unfavourable to Miss Foster.

Curst be the wretch, whose soul, to nature deaf,

Views with indifference another's grief

Without a sigh, afflictions voice can hear

And even mock misfortune with a sneer!

The human lot is misery and woe

And evils, from unnumber'd sources flow.

When dire misfortune with her baleful train,

Oerwhelm a mortal with excessive pain,

The kind emotions of a tender heart

Command the sympathetic tear to start.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-05


The occurrences of the day, were not remarkable. I did not study much. I have been reading Sheridans lectures upon elocution,1 and am pleased with them. They contain many usefull instructions, and ought to be perused by every person who wishes to appear as a speaker. His praises of the Greeks and Romans, may be warmed with the heat of enthusiasm, and his censure of modern Oratory is perhaps too severe: but every candid reader must acknowledge, that the contrast, which he shews, is but too well grounded.
We passed the evening with Forbes at his chamber.
{ 157 }
1. Thomas Sheridan, A Course of Lectures on Elocution..., London, 1762 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 149).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-06


This being the last day before the close of the vacation, I was part of the day employ'd in getting my chamber in order. Williams was with us all the forenoon. We spent the evening at his Father's. Miss Jenny appears more amiable to me, than she did formerly, and her behaviour has eradicated a small prejudice, which misrepresentation, had raised in my mind against her. It has been observed, that since she has lost much of that beauty, which was formerly celebrated; the young ladies of Cambridge allow, that her disposition is good. This may be easily accounted for without charging the other Ladies with envy: beauty of person, is frequently, if not always injurious to the mind, and the loss of it may convince a lady, that something more than a pretty face is requisite to make her amiable.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-07


This morning I returned to my old quarters N: 6. My Brothers and Cousin got here just before dinner. There were commons at noon, but it is most generally somewhat confused in the hall, the first day in the Quarter: I preferred not attending: Miss Ellery dined at the professor's: After dinner I took my leave of the folks of the house: in the evening White arrived from Haverhill. Very few of our class mates however, got here this day.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-08


White lent me his horse this morning, to go to Boston. Dr. Tufts, had sent by my brothers, desiring me to see him; I had not been in Boston before, these three months. Called at my uncle Smith's, at Dr. Welch's, and at Mr. Storer's. I likewise went to see Miss Jones, who appeared rather surprized to see me. Dined at Mr. Foster's, with Mr. Cranch and Dr. Tufts: they are now attending the general Court; who conduct themselves finally with great spirit, and a proper sense of their own dignity. A rebellion was (on Saturday, the first day of the Session) declared to exist in the Counties of Worcester, Berkshire, and Hampshire, and the legislature are determined to use every exertion, in order to suppress it.
{ 158 }
Returned to Cambridge, in a violent snow storm, which had indeed begun in the morning, and been all day increasing.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-09


Return'd to the library the books I had taken out, and took the second volume of the Idler.1 After prayers this evening Charles and I went down to Mr. Dana's. Mr. Ellery was there, and appeared to greater advantage than I have seen him before.
1. [Samuel Johnson and others], The Idler, 2 vols., London, 1761 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 115).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-10


Very few of the students have arrived. Not more than 15 of our Class have yet appeared. The tea Club were at my chamber: only 6 of them however were assembled. We had a supper and spent the evening at Freeman's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-11


Mr. Hilliard entertained us all day, with a couple of Sermons, upon the whole armour of god. The shield, and the helmet, the sword and the arrow, afforded subject for description, and application. The improvements which might result from these two discourses, are wholly concealed to me; that it is the duty of man, to avoid Sin, is a self evident maxim, which needs not the assistance of a preacher for proof; yet it was all Mr. H. aimed to show: how barren must the imagination of a man be, who is reduced to give descriptions of warlike instruments, to fill up a discourse of 20 minutes!
Charles dined with me at Judge Dana's.
The weather was somewhat dull, all day, and in the evening it rained very hard:
Miss Ellery told me I was vapourish.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-12


We recite this week to Mr. Burr, but this disagreeable exercice returns at present only once a day, and that only for this quarter. Mr. Pearson gave us a lecture this afternoon, upon the division, of languages into the different parts of speech. Bridge and I pass'd part of the evening at Mr. Wigglesworth's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-13


At nine o'clock this morning, the Class read a forensic disputation: I had written in the course of the vacation as follows.
Whether the infliction of capital punishments, except in cases of murder be consistent with equity?1
Had the question admitted other exceptions, or had it admitted none, I should have felt a greater degree of diffidence, in maintaining the affirmative. It has frequently been doubted by men who reason chiefly from speculation, whether it were equitable to punish any crime, with death, Sovereigns have attempted to abolish capital punishments entirely, but this scheme, like many others, which appear to great advantage in, theory has been found impracticable, because it has been attended with consequences very injurious to society; but if it be acknowledged, that death is the only equitable atonement which can be made for the commission of murder, I cannot see, why other crimes, equally, and perhaps still more, heinous, should not deserve a punishment equally severe. The question naturally occurs here; what is the end of punishment? Certainly, to give satisfaction, to the injured, and to insure the safety of individuals and of Society: but as the man who falls by the hand of an assassin, cannot receive satisfaction; the punishment in that case, must be inflicted only for the benefit of Society in general. No one, I presume will deny, that Treason is a crime, more dangerous to a community, than murder; as it threatens the destruction of each individual, as well as of the whole commonwealth: to inflict a milder punishment therefore upon this crime, would be destroying that proportion, in which alone, justice and equity consist. The celebrated Montesquieu observes, that the punishment should always derive from the nature of the crime, and consist in the privation of those advantages of which the criminal should have attempted to deprive others. He confesses however, that in many cases, this would not be effected: most frequently the man who robs the property of another, possesses, none himself, and therefore a corporal punishment, must supply the place of confiscation. Those who plead in favour of a lenient system of punishments, may engage the passions of their hearers, by expatiating upon the virtues of benevolence, humanity and mercy: far be it from me to derogate from the excellency of those exalted virtues; but if mildness in punishments instead of { 160 } deterring men from the commission of crimes, encourages them to it, the innocent, and virtuous part of the community, who have surely the greatest claim to the benevolence of a legislator, would be the greatest sufferers.
It is customary with persons who disapprove of capital punishments, to say that confinement during life to hard labour, would be a punishment, much more severe, than immediate death, and that a criminal thereby, might be rendered useful to Society, whereas a dead man is entirely lost to the community. A zealous student in surgery might deny the latter part of this proposition; but I shall only reply, that admitting confinement and hard labour for life, to be a more rigorous atonement for a crime, than death it will not follow, that it is equally terrifying, and this ought to be the principal object of a legislator. The addition of confinement will be but a small restraint to the greatest part of mankind who know, that whether innocent or guilty, they must depend upon hard labour for their subsistence. But Death is more or less terrible to all men; I have frequently heard persons who supposed themselves in perfect security, express the most intrepid contempt of death, but I conceive their philosophy would be somewhat deranged if the prospect of a sudden, and violent dissolution were placed before them. In such a situation all mankind would reason like the criminal represented by the inimitable Shakespear, as being condemned to die.

Ay, but to die, and go we know not where,

To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;

This sensible, warm motion, to become

A kneaded clod, and the delighted spirit,

To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside

In thrilling regions of thick ribbed ice,

To be imprison'd in the viewless winds

And blown with restless violence round about

The pendent world;—'tis too horrible!

The weariest, and most loathed worldly life,

That age, ache, penury, imprisonment

Can lay on nature, is a paradise

To what we fear of Death.2

Mr. Wigglesworth gave a public lecture this afternoon. We danced in the evening at White's chamber.
{ 161 }
1. JQA's draft of the disputation, dated 11 Jan., contains no major changes (M/JQA/46, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241).
2. Measure for Measure, Act III, scene i, lines 117–125, 127–131.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-14


Mr. Wigglesworth gave us this morning a private lecture, and Mr. Williams had a public one, in the afternoon. Bridge and Freeman went over after dinner to attend an exhibition of Cushman's school in Mystic.1 I could not go. Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Duncan, were here a few minutes; they came from Haverhill this morning. I made tea for the club this evening, and I believe it will be for the last Time. It is too troublesome to return so frequently as once a week, and there are only 9 or 10 now left. Was part of the evening at Mason's chamber and supp'd with him there.
1. JQA's classmate Joshua Cushman taught school in Medford during the winter of 1786–1787 (Charles H. Morss, “The Development of the Public School of Medford,” Medford Historical Register, 3:24 [Jan. 1900]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-15


I went down in the morning to Mr. Pearson's, with an intention of inviting Miss Bromfield to dance with us this evening but she was out of town. There are several young ladies in this place, who have not attractions to charm the gentlemen, but in the case of a dance, there is no choice, we must either take up with those ladies or have none. We drew lots therefore, to determine, who should go to one house; and who to another. It fell to my lot to go no-where, but Foster who was to have invited Miss Bromfield, not being acquainted with her, requested me to go in his stead. We assembled at about 7 o'clock, and danced till 2 in the morning after which we broke up. The Ladies were, Miss Ellery, Wiggles-worth, Jones, Foster, two Miss Mason's, Miss Williams, Hill, Eustis, and two Miss Kneelands. Mr. Ellery, Mr. Harris, and Mr. Andrews, with my Class mates Amory, Bridge, Chandler 3d., Cranch, Forbes, Foster, Freeman, Lloyd, White, and Williams compleated the company. Of the Ladies, some had beauty without wit, and some wit without beauty; one was blest with both, and others could boast of neither. But little was said, and sentiment did not thrive, when the feet are so much engaged, the head in general is vacant. After we return'd several of us pass'd { 162 } a couple of hours at Cranch's Chamber, and at about 4 o'clock I retired to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-16


I rose just before the commons bell rung for dinner, quite refreshed, and not more fatigued, than I commonly am. The other lads were all up, in the morning, and had been to my chamber though I knew nothing of it. After dinner we were an hour at White's chamber. Several of the gentlemen were nodding, and most of them appeared quite worn out. I went with White to Mr. Mason's and to Mr. Wigglesworth's: the Ladies were all well, but somewhat fatigued. There was a lecture, in the afternoon; but few of us attended: I pass'd the evening, with Cranch, at Judge Dana's. Miss Ellery had a head ache, and was much fatigued. Miss Hastings was there, but she has neither youth nor beauty, and if she has wit it is somewhat beneath the surface. We retired at about 10.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-17


Was at Kendall's chamber after dinner; and likewise drank tea there. At home all the evening reading and writing; a number of junior's had quite a frolic in Clarkes chamber.
Samuel Angier1 from Medford, was 20 the 8th. of last November. Although his chamber is directly opposite to mine, I have but little intercourse with him. His character is far from amiable. Envy and vanity appear to me to be the most remarkable traits which distinguish him. He always appears discontented with himself and with all the world beside. There is but one person, of whom he speaks uniformly, and invariably well; and perhaps this is because, no one will ever take the task from him. Such is his admiration for this gentleman, that being incapable of displaying the same talents he is contented with aping his foibles which are sufficiently numerous and conspicuous. He proposes studying physic, and in that profession I hope, he will be useful; for any other he would not be suited, for I believe he would be a surly lawyer, and, an illiberal bigoted divine.
1. Angier, who had transferred from Dartmouth, was later licensed to practice medicine (The Massachusetts Medical Society: A Catalogue of Its Officers, Fellows, and Licentiates, 1781–1893, Boston, 1894, p. 199).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-18


Mr. Hilliard preached to us in the forenoon, and the president in the afternoon, when we were improved by a very laborious encomium upon Moses. Whatever the president's literary talents may, be, he is certainly not an elegant composuist, nor a graceful orator. His reasoning may be sound, but the charms of his stile, if any there be, are hidden from a vulgar audience. Dined at Mr. Dana's. Pass'd the evening at Bridge's chamber, and made it rather late before, I went to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-19


We recite this week to Mr. Read. So few of the Class have yet arrived, that we have all something to say at one recitation, and Mr. Read always goes completely through a lesson. Mr. Pearson gave a very long lecture in the afternoon, upon the article in the greek, Latin, French and English Languages. He was rather tedious, and before he got through, the Sophimores and Freshmen, shew their impatience, by shuffling. White, Cranch, and myself were the only persons in the Class, who attended Mr. Williams's mathematical lecture at 3. Seeing so few, he hinted he should not attend any more. I shew him my manuscript upon algebra. In the evening a number of us danced at Mason's chamber till 9 o'clock, having transferred to this time the Tuesday club. We were to have had this evening a meeting of the ΦBK, but Mr. Ware being unavoidably called away, it was postponed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-20


Was part of the afternoon at Bridge's chamber. Had tea at Little's. Charles and Cranch, pass'd the evening at Mr. Hilliard's. I was with Mr. Andrews at White's chamber.
William Amherst Barron1 of Petersham was 18. the 10th. of January. By the death of his father, which happened since he entered the university, he has been involved in some difficulties, and has been able to spend but a small portion of his Time here. Notwithstanding these disadvantages he is said to be a good scholar, and his disposition is amiable. Since I came, he has been present only one quarter, so that my personal acquaintance with him is not intimate. He intends studying Law.
{ 164 }
1. Barron returned to Harvard from 1793 to 1800 as mathematics tutor; thereafter, he entered the U.S. Army, where he was acting professor of mathematics at West Point, 1802–1807, and then served in the department of the quartermaster general until 1821 (Sidney Willard, Memories of Youth and Manhood, 2 vols., Cambridge, 1855, 1:275–276; George W. Cullum, Biographical Register of the Officers and Graduates of the U.S. Military Academy, at West Point, N.Y., From Its Establishment, March 16, 1802, to the Army Re-Organization of 1866–67, 2 vols., N.Y., 1868, 1:78).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-21


Mr. Williams gave us a public lecture this afternoon, containing, an account of the different constellations in the Heavens. We had at Little's chamber a meeting of the ΦBK. Mr. Andrews read a dissertation, containing a panegyric, upon the Ladies. A Letter from the branch of the Society at New-Haven was read,1 containing some queries respecting the granting a charter to Dartmouth, and an account of their transactions, upon a certain affair. After the letter was read a committee of 3,2 was appointed to answer it. The meeting was then adjourned to Monday March 5th. I pass'd a couple of hours with Freeman.
1. Not found, but dated 2 Jan. and referred to in Harvard's reply of 8 March.
2. Henry Ware, JQA, and James Bridge.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-22


Very cold weather. We drank tea at Williams's. Bridge, and I went and pass'd the evening at Judge Dana's; he himself is attending the court at Boston. We found Mr. Read and Mr. Burr there, and endeavoured as much as possible to behave like gentlemen. After we returned to college, I got engaged in conversation with Bridge, so deeply, at his chamber, that it was near 1 in the morning, before I left him.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-23


About one half the Class are here at present: they have been coming in, quite slowly; and they will be chiefly here, I suppose, before the end of the Quarter. Yesterday afternoon, I met with Mr. Ware, and Bridge, upon the subject of the letter to New Haven; we thought it would be best for each of us to write, and to select from the three. Accordingly I wrote this evening.1 I made tea this evening, and at the same time quitted the club, for a number of substantial reasons.
{ 165 }
1. JQA's draft letter has not been found. The letter sent to New Haven was dated 8 March and is printed in the Catalogue of the Harvard Chapter of Phi Beta Kappa..., Cambridge, 1912, p. 111–113. The RC at Yale indicates that it went out in Ware's hand and over his signature, as senior officer of the Harvard chapter. Yet, as JQA reports in the next entry, it was he, not Ware, who decided which of three letters was sent to Yale; thus he undoubtedly shaped the reply.
The committee's letter presented the case for granting the charter to Dartmouth. Because the William and Mary chapter was so distant and “by this unavoidable delay a number of worthy characters now at Dartmouth College would be deprived of the benefit resulting from the institution,'' the Harvard chapter deemed it advisable to draw up a charter, provided such a move received Yale's approbation. Yale agreed, and the charter was signed on 21 June at Cambridge. Two months later it received Yale's ratification (Catalogue of the Harvard Chapter, p. 114–115).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-24


Committee met again at Mr. Ware's chamber; after reading all the letters, I was requested to select from them. White went to Boston, and spoke to Mr. Dingley, who sent back my volumes of Gibbon's roman history.1 Drank tea and passed the evening in Mead's chamber, and retired very early. The weather has grown quite moderate.
1. The only extant copy of Edward Gibbon's The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire in the Adams' libraries is a broken six-volume set of at least two editions, London, 1727–1788, containing the autograph of JA and bookplates of JQA (Catalogue of JA's Library).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-25


I was absent from meeting all this day. Bridge dined with me, at my chamber. I begun, and read 100 pages in Gibbon's history; with the stile of which I am extremely pleased. The author is not only an historian but a philosopher. The only fault with which I think he may be charged, is, an endeavour sometimes at the point of an epigram, when a serious reflection, would be more proper.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-26


We recite again in Ferguson. Mr. Pearson gave a lecture this afternoon; it was still upon the article, very dry, and abstract, by no means the most entertaining that I ever attended. From six this morning when I arose till near twelve which was the time when I retired to bed, I have been as busily employ'd as I have any day these two years.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-27


Almost all our Class have arrived. This morning I was not waked by the ringing of the prayer bell and therefore did not attend the recitation. I declaimed this afternoon, part of one of Mr. Fox's speeches, from the Parliamentary debates, in December 1783.1 N. B. Did not speak loud enough, and changed feet too often. We danced in the evening at Putnams chamber till 9 o'clock. Read after I came home, a chapter or two in Gibbon.
1. Charles James Fox was foreign secretary in the coalition ministry of the Duke of Portland. The speech was undoubtedly Fox's highly “republican” one of 17 Dec., filled with sound Whig principles and made because the King used his personal influence to defeat Fox's India bill. Fox passionately defended the rights of the Commons and liberties of England: “The deliberation of this night must decide whether we are to be freemen or slaves; whether the House of Commons is to be the palladium of liberty or the organ of despotism.” Fox and the rest of the ministers were dismissed the following day, and Pitt formed a government (The Parliamentary Register; Or a History of the Proceedings and Debates of the House of Commons..., 112 vols., London, 1775–1813, 12:428–429).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0002-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-02-28


Mr. Williams gave us an astronomical lecture this afternoon. The sodality met, in the evening at Putnam's chamber, and play'd till nine. Spent an hour with Mead after I return'd.
Benjamin Beale1 was 18. the 6th. of June last. His father was from Braintree, but he was born at Liverpool in England. He entered the Class just before they commenced sophimores. His disposition is amiable, and he is a good scholar; but the government of the university have so repeatedly taken notice of him at exhibitions, that it has given offence to many of the young gentlemen in the Class, and they affect to despise his abilities; and to deny his scholarship. His talents have perhaps been rather overrated by the government, but I fear they are still more underrated in the Class; and he is not the only person whose popularity with his fellow students, has been greatly diminished by the favours of the government: notwithstanding all the reports circulated by malice and envy, I believe him very deserving: he displays no vanity, either of his person, which is elegant, or of his genius, which has been flattered by distinction, and this I think, is a sure mark of good Sense. Commerce, will probably be his profession, and from his general character, I think he has a good prospect of success. May he obtain it!
{ 167 }
1. Beale, son of the merchant Benjamin Beale and his English wife, who became the Adamses' nearest neighbors in Quincy after 1792. Young Beale studied law and was admitted to the Suffolk bar in 1792, but decided to turn to foreign trade a few years later (Hist. of Suffolk County, Mass., 1:286; JA to AA2, 29 Oct. 1792, in AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:124; JA to James Monroe, 6 March 1795, DLC: Monroe Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-01

Thursday March 1st. 1787.

Charles went to Boston this morning: in the afternoon, I was at Foster's chamber; he introduced me to his father and to Mr. Bissi, a young french gentleman, who lives with the french Consul. He had been three years at a school at Passi, which I left in 1780, so that we had a fund of conversation, ready to our hands. We accompanied the gentlemen, into the library, the museum, and the philosophy chamber. Mr. Bissi, was most entertained with the elegant paintings of Mr. Copley, with which the philosophy chamber is adorn'd: and for a cursory view, more entertainment may be derived from one good portrait, than from an hundred thousand volumes, however elegantly bound, if the outsides only can be seen. I was up very late this evening reading Gibbon.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-02


Mr. Andrews was at my chamber in the forenoon. I went with him, and Cranch and my class mate Harris, to take tea, at Mr. Pearson's. Miss Ellery, Miss Hastings, two Miss Mason's and Miss Foster were there. I got seated between Miss Ellery and Miss Hastings, but could not perfectly enjoy the pleasures of conversation, because, the music, was introduced. Music is a great enemy to sociability, and however agreeable it may be sometimes, there are occasions, when, I should wish it might be dispensed with.
James Bridge,1 of Pownalborough in the Province of Maine, was 21 the 23d. of last September. As a scholar and as a gentleman, he is inferior to no one in the Class, and with no one, have I contracted since I entered the university, so great a degree of intimacy. His natural abilities are very good, and they have been greatly improved by Study. His passions are strong, but in general he keeps them well under command. His genius is metaphysical, rather than rhetorical; in reasoning with him we are rather convinced by the force of his argument, than seduced by the brilliancy of his imagination. He is possessed of much benev• { 168 } olence, and ambition occupies a large share of his mind; he does not endeavour to conceal this, but freely owns his expectations; which are so sangwine, that I somewhat fear, he will not entirely realize them all. His advantages however will be peculiar, and it is I think very probable that he will one day be eminent in the political Line. Law will be his Study; and I have long hoped that we should be together in one office, but many difficulties attend the scheme, and I fear much that it will not take place. My friendship for this gentleman, and three or four more of my classmates, saddens very much the anticipation of commencement, when we must part, perhaps forever.
1. After a year of virtual self-study, Bridge entered Theophilus Parsons' law office in Newburyport, and he became JQA's roommate. He practiced law in Augusta, Maine, made a fortune as agent and attorney for the proprietors of the Kennebec purchase, then gradually retired from the profession and became president of a bank in Augusta in 1814. Although JQA thought him “form'd for a political Life” and believed he would “probably show to advantage in that Line,” Bridge never so distinguished himself, serving only a single term in the legislature and the governor's council and as a member of the Maine constitutional convention of 1819 (Bridge to JQA, 28 Sept., Adams Papers; entry for 23 Sept. 1786, above; Willis, Hist. of the Law, Courts, and Lawyers of Maine, p. 154–159; James W. North, History of Augusta, From the Earliest Settlement to the Present Time..., Augusta, Maine, 1870, p. 507–509).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-03


Dined with, Bridge, Cranch, Freeman, Little and White, at our classmate Foster's in Boston. Just before dinner I went with Mr. Foster, and paid a visit to the french Consul. The family, at Mr. Foster's are all very agreeable; Miss Foster amused us, with a few tunes upon the harpsichord. It began to snow early in the afternoon, so that we were obliged to return sooner than we had intended. We were not half an hour coming from Boston, and got here just before prayers. Pass'd the evening at Lovell's chamber. The storm was violent till midnight, after which it abated. Charles came back from a little tour to Lincoln.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-04


Was absent from meeting all day. Read a Sermon, from Blair, in the forenoon, upon the duties of the young.1 Dined with White, Foster and Lovell, at my chamber. Weather cleared up in the afternoon.
Josiah Burge,2 of Hollis, in New Hampshire, County of Hills• { 169 } borough, was 20 the 19th. of last April; he is possessed of one of those calm, easy minds, which enjoy happiness, under almost all circumstances. His serenity is seldom ruffled by passion, or oppressed by melancholy. His circumstances are not fortunate, and he is obliged to be absent frequently from college. Careless of futurity, he views all objects in a fair light, and always hopes for the best. It were natural to suppose, a character of this cast, would be indolent in study; yet he is acknowledged to be a very good scholar, and his mental capacity, is far from deficient. With such a disposition, he cannot be disliked, and accordingly he is much esteemed. He intends to preach, and should he be settled among men, of liberal sentiments, I have no doubt, but he will be successful. Died. 1790.3
1. Hugh Blair, Sermons, 2 vols. [1:13th edn., 10th edn.], London, 1785, 1:306–340 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 156).
2. Burge had been prepared for Harvard at Philips Academy by Eliphalet Pearson, who was preceptor there until 1786. Burge was one of a handful of students unable to pay his bills and thus ineligible to graduate in July. When Pearson found out about it only days before graduation, he offered to advance the money and sought out a group of seniors, including JQA, to help locate their classmate and bring him back for commencement. During the remainder of his short life, Burge taught school and studied for the ministry. He preached at Rindge, N.H., for about nine months before he died of consumption following an attack of measles (MH-Ar: Quinquennial File; Samuel T. Worcester, History of the Town of Hollis, New Hampshire, From Its First Settlement to the Year 1879..., Boston, 1879, p. 290–291; entry for 16 July, below).
3. An interlineation written at a later date.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-05


Snow'd moderately, a large part of the day. We recite to Mr. Burr. Professor Pearson, gave a lecture with which he concluded his observations upon the article. I did not hear many of them.
At 7 this evening we had a meeting of the ΦBK at Cranch's chamber. Mr. Ware, was excused from reading a dissertation. I had written with White in opposite composition, and read the following piece.
Whether Love, or fortune ought to be the chief inducement, to marriage?1
Was I not perswaded of the benevolent candor, and kind indulgence of this audience, I should not venture to express my sentiments upon a subject, which, most men, will affirm, admits not of a question: there are certain prejudices among men, which it is dangerous to oppose: and was I in a Company of { 170 } Ladies, to avow, the following opinions, they would be universally combated, by the flash of indignation and the sneer of contempt, which too frequently supply the place of argument: but liberality of sentiment, is a chief characteristic of this Society: and if my reasoning is judged erroneous, I shall at least be sure of being forgiven.
No proposition perhaps, affords a fairer scope for the ridicule of commonplace reasoners, than that which I endeavour to maintain. Was mankind, in that primitive state of innocence, of which, the only traces that remain are to be found in the descriptions of poetry, I confess it would be unnatural and absurd to consider wealth as a requisite, for the union of two persons of different sexes: but in this iron age, when fortune is so important an article, to the happiness of men, it appears not to me repugnant to the principles of reason and virtue.
It is a very old observation that words have more influence than things in forming the opinions of men: and to this perhaps may be ascribed the universal applause bestow'd on love matches, and the detestation of interested marriages. The word Love, raises very agreeable ideas in the mind, and avarice, has always been branded with infamy. Should we, however investigate the nature of the two passions, the most strenuous advocates for the former would perhaps acknowledge, that the comparison would not be greatly in its favour. That pure, refined, and elevated passion, which we term Love, is an heterogeneous compound of Lust, and Vanity, most frequently attended with Jealousy, a passion formed by the furies for the misery of mankind. It is captious, imprudent, whimsical, and utterly inconsistent with reason. If you think this definition too severe, attend to the words of a celebrated ancient author.

In AMORE, haec omnia insunt vitia, injuriae

Suspiciones, inimicitiae, induciae,

Bellum, pax rursum: incerta haec si tu postules

Ratione, certa facere, nihilo plus agas

Quam si des operam, ut cum ratione insanias.2

Such is the passion which most men consider, as the indispensable foundation, of an union for life between the sexes. But very soon after marriage, Lust is satiated by enjoyment, and vanity remains the only ingredient, this, instead of being gratified, will be subject to frequent mortifications, because it will not be sup• { 171 } ported by fortune; discord introduces herself into the family, and the astonished couple, find themselves chain'd to eternal strife.
Now suppose a man should make wealth the chief, though not the only object in his matrimonial pursuit. The connection may be formed by the mild warmth of mutual esteem, but without one spark of that blazing flame, which is dignified, with the name of Love. The Husband by the acquisition of a fortune, will be put in possession of the conveniences of Life, and out of the reach of want; and his wealth, will give him consideration, and importance. A Sentiment of gratitude will induce him to treat his wife with complaisance and affection; and she in her turn, perceiving him, sensible of the advantages, she had bestowed upon him, from a principle of generosity, would never remind him of her favours. They would have reason to be pleased with themselves, and it would naturally, follow, that they would please each other: no disappointed passion would divide them; no troublesome wants would make them burdens to each other; the sentiments of friendship with which the connection had been formed at first, will be greatly increased; and the happy pair would never have reason to regret the absence of that extravagant passion, which like the Sirens of ancient fable, charms but to destroy. They will labour under no difficulties, with respect to the education of their children; and their hopes for their prosperity will with reason overbalance their fears of misfortune.
Perhaps I may be charged with delivering the general opinion, with the mere alteration of words; and it may be said that the ideas which I express by the appellation of mutual esteem, are in fact the same, which the rest of the world understand, by Love: but were this the case, love might subsist between Man and man, which is contrary to the received System; I have heard a brother of this Society, whose judgment, was I to name him, would not be called in question, say, in speaking of a certain Lady, that she was too perfect to be the object of Love: the observation was very just; and I dare say many of our brothers now present, have experienced the truth of it. In short, the only difference between mutual esteem and Love is, that the one is founded only upon Reason, to which the other is diametrically opposite.
Such are the sentiments, which with diffidence, I venture to acknowledge as mine: I am not however obstinately attached to { 172 } them; and should any arguments be produced sufficient to convince me, that they are erroneous, I shall retract them without hesitation.
A revision of the Laws was voted; and Freeman and Little were appointed as a committee to make alterations in the ceremony of admission.
1. JQA's draft, dated 4 March, contains only minor variations (M/JQA/46, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241).
2. Terence, Eunuchus, Act I, scene i, lines 14–18: “Love has all these Inconveniences in it, Injurys, Jealousys, Resentments, Truces, War, then Peace again: to endeavor to make these Incertaintys certain, by Reason, is just the same as if you should strive to be mad with Reason” (Comoediae Sex, London, Brindley edn., 1744, p. 47; Terence's Comedies..., transl. T. Cooke, 2d edn., 2 vols., London, 1755, 2:26, 27; both are among JQA's books at MQA).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-06


Engaged an horse, to go to Haverhill to-morrow; White went to Boston for the same purpose. Mr. Burr gave out for our next forensic, the following question. “Whether Christianity has been promotive of the temporal interests of mankind.” It is to be read the week before the close of the vacation, and will be the last exercice of this kind, for our Class.
John Chandler1 of Petersham, County of Worcester, was 19. the 21st. of last July. Without great genius, or an uncommon share of knowledge, he has sufficient of both to render him, an useful and respectable member of Society. His disposition is very obliging, and with an handsome fortune, he unites, a laudable frugality to a proper spirit of generosity; he proposes following commerce, and as a merchant, will I doubt not, promote his own interest, without injuring any other individual.
1. “Chandler 1st” later became a partner with his brothers in and then headed a mercantile house which traded at Petersham and Coleraine, Mass. (George Chandler, The Chandler Family, The Descendants of William and Annis Chandler, Who Settled in Roxbury, Mass. 1637, Boston, 1872, p. 508, 854–855).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-07


At about 11, in the morning I set off, with Foster and White, for Haverhill. At half past one, we got to Dick's tavern in Wilmington; we dined there, at three we started again, and at a quarter after five arrived in Haverhill: we rode in the snow the greater part of the Time. The slaying is very good; but we could not trust to its continuing so, three days at this Season of the { 173 } year: I stay'd but a few minutes at Mr. White's and then went up to Mr. Shaw's. I was extremely fatigued; and retired early to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-08


In the forenoon, I went and paid a number of visits, to my old acquaintance in this place; Mr. Thaxter; I pass'd a couple of hours with. Was at Mr. Osgood's, Mr. Duncan's, and Mr. Bartlett, who has sacrificed to Hymen,1 since I saw him last. “Cupid by Hymen was crown'd,” but at 37 it is to be supposed a man of sense, would be able to repel the attacks of the young tyrant, whose empire is generally composed of more youthful subjects. The flame, by which the torch was lighted, was not I imagine very ardent, but it will probably be lasting. It was not like the impetuous, crackling blaze of the faggot, but like the mild, and constant heat of the walnut.
I finished my visits, at Miss Hazen's; she has lately been a journey with her brother, to a remote part of the State, and return'd last week. She appears not quite so handsome, as she used to be, fourteen months since; though she is yet too young to begin to fade. We conversed about half an hour, but rather in a distant ceremonious manner.
Dined at Mr. White's. At about 4 afternoon, I went with Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett, two Miss Codman's, Miss Hazen, and her brother, Foster and White, in two double sleighs down upon the river, to Russell's tavern. Just before we went upon the ice, in going down a steep descent, one sleigh overset, men and women, all pell mell one on the other: no person however was hurt: not two minutes after; one of our horses went through the ice, just off the banks of the river: we thought the sleigh would follow; the ladies screamed, and leapt out; but we soon extricated ourselves from that difficulty likewise: we then cross'd the river, stop'd an hour at the tavern; then rode, up on the river 4 or 5 miles, and return'd just before dark: drank tea, and pass'd part of the evening at Mr. White's, and at 8, went up the hill.
1. See entry for 10 Sept. 1785, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-09


Walk'd about the town, with Mr. Hazen, White and Foster. Went to see Miss Hazen, the Miss McKinstry's, Mr. Thaxter, { 174 } and Judge Sargeant, who was very much fatigued by riding from Boston yesterday. He proposes going into Berkshire next week, and is already imagining all the difficulties of travelling that way, with terror. His journey thither will probably be more fatiguing than his jaunt from Boston. We drank tea, with Miss McKinstry, went to Mr. Duncan's to show Foster the beauty;1 and spent the evening at Mr. Bartlett's, in singing, playing cards &c.
Snow'd and rained the greatest part of the day.
1. Elizabeth Duncan.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-10


We had not obtained leave to be absent from College, and were therefore obliged to be at meeting, in Cambridge, to-morrow, or to submit to the fine. This morning therefore, between 9 and ten, we left Haverhill, with beautiful weather, but sloppy riding, as a great deal of snow, was melted by the rain last night: we got to the half way tavern by twelve, we stop'd and dined there, after which we again proceeded; and arrived at College while the prayer bell was tolling, just before Sun Set. Foster quitted us in Mystic, and went to Boston. Soon after prayers I heard with equal grief and surprize, that Judge Dana was seized with an apoplectic, and paraletic fit, on thursday in the forenoon: that his life was for sometime despaired of, and that he is still in a very dangerous situation. To me, he has been a second father, and his instructions, though too much neglected at the Time when he gave them, have since been more attended to; and have at least check'd some of my failings, and were calculated to reform them entirely. I have therefore reason to revere him in a peculiar manner: but a man of his Talents and virtues, filling one of the most important offices in the State, is precious to the whole Commonwealth; and should his disease prove fatal, his loss will not be easily repaired.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-11


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preach'd; but not very much to the purpose: what with the fatigue of my yesterday's ride, the little sleep I had last night, and some soporific qualities in the discourses which were read, I was much refreshed by a { 175 } couple of naps which I took; one beforenoon and the other after. In the evening I went down to Judge Dana's, but did not see him: the president was there: stiff as ever. Mr. Dana, had a second attack last night; but not so violent as the first: they have some hopes, and many fears with respect to his recovery.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-12


This morning the parts for the ensuing exhibition were distributed. Foster has the English Oration, Waldo the Latin: Freeman, Little, and Adams, a conference in English, upon the comparative utility of Law, Physic, and Divinity,1Eaton and Harris, a forensic dispute, upon the Question, whether the destruction of inferior animals by Man, be agreeable to the Laws of nature. Bridge, Cranch, White and Adams; the mathematical parts. Waldo, who proposes obtaining leave in about a month, to go to Europe, requested to be excused from performing.2
Mr. Pearson gave us a lecture this afternoon, upon the noun: rather abstruse. Judge Dana, had another fit of his disorder. I fear exceedingly, that he will not recover. Drank tea at Williams's Chamber.
1. The parts were actually assigned as follows: Little on physic, Adams on law, and Freeman on divinity.
2. Waldo was granted this request, and the part was reassigned to William Amherst Barron (MH-Ar: Corporation Records, 3:280–281).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-13


Somewhat idle, the greater part of the day: rather dull, and low spirited: the Sophimores this evening got more than half seas over, in Wilson's chamber, directly under mine, and made, a most outrageous noise till almost 9 o'clock. Weather moderate.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-14


Was employ'd almost all day, in thinking upon the subject of my conference; wrote a few Lines, with much difficulty. Did not like the subject. Wished the conference to the devil: the junior Class being displeased with the distribution of parts for exhibition; so far as respected their Class; assembled this evening at Prescott's chamber, and made a great deal of noise. The Sodality met at my chamber this evening.
Thomas Chandler1 of Worcester, was 19 the 11th. of last Jan• { 176 } uary. His father was formerly one of the most opulent individuals in N. England; but in consequence of his siding with the british, in the late war, a large part of it was confiscated; he had 15 or 16 children, so that Tom has not the prospect of a very great estate. His disposition is good; he is extremely irascible, but

he carries anger, as the flint bears fire.2

A trifle will throw him off his guard, but a moment's recollection, reforms him. In the space of five minutes I have seen him calm, raging violent and repenting: excepting at such times his temper is easy, and contented: his happiness however proceeds chiefly from want of thought, and reflection: in short, he appears to be influenced so entirely by his Passions, that I should think him rather an instrument of action, than a moral agent.
1. “Chandler 2d,” son of John, was afterward a merchant at Chester, Vt., and Worcester, Mass. (George Chandler, The Chandler Family, Boston, 1872, p. 140, 526–527, 255–259).
2. O Cassius! you are yoked with a lamb/that carries anger as the flint bears fire (Julius Caesar, Act IV, scene iii, lines 109–110).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-15


All day, engaged again, in writing my part of the conference; I do not know that I ever found so much difficulty, to write upon any subject: Little, and Freeman, are not much better pleased: in the night however, between 12 and 2 o'clock, I began to have something like a flow of ideas; I wrote more, than I had done, in two whole days. I Dined, with Freeman and Little, Cranch, and Lloyd at Mrs. Forbes's. Charles brought me a letter this evening from Boston; it was from my Sister, but dated so long agone, as last July.1

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-16


Attended the library.
After prayers we had a Class meeting. It seems reports have been spread about, that many of the Class are in reality desirous to have a public Commencement, and were induced merely out of complaisance, to sign the petition, which was presented; as we conceived this might be injurious to our Cause, we voted that an additional petition should be presented to the corporation, in { 177 } order, to prevent any suspicions of our sincerity. Freeman was chosen to draw it up but declined: I wished not to be alone, and finally, Fiske Little, and Adams, were chosen, to draw up the petition and present it to the Class, for approbation;1 after which the meeting was dissolved.
Gardner Leonard Chandler2 of Worcester was, 18, the 29th. of November. Notwithstanding his youth, his fortune, (which is supposed to be greater than that of any other student in College,) and the unbounded indulgence which his mother has always shown him, he is neither vain, extravagant nor idle; without being considered as in the first rank, either for natural or acquired abilities, he is however respectable for both: his disposition is amiable, and his moral character is without a blemish: he may be a great man; but will certainly be a good one. He intends to follow the profession of the Law.
1. Not found. See note for entry of 4 Dec. 1786 (above).
2. “Chandler 3d” studied law in the office of Levi Lincoln Sr., of Worcester, but soon abandoned his practice to become a Boston merchant (George Chandler, The Chandler Family, Boston, 1872, p. 259, 263, 530).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-17


I at length finished my part of the conference, this forenoon, and was employ'd all the afternoon in transcribing it; Although I have not been able, even to please myself; yet I now feel, as if an heavy burden had been taken from my shoulders. I have still however a great deal of business, upon my hands. Late up this evening. The Government met this forenoon to make enquiries concerning the noise at Prescott's and at Wier's chamber: Cabot it seems receive'd from them a private admonition; and something further is expected for the others.
Caleb Child1 of Brookline was 26 the 13th. of last May; his name, and his years for a student at College, do not by any means agree. He has been absent a great part of the Time since I entered so that I have but very little acquaintance with him. Those who know him, say, that were it not for a considerable degree of envy his disposition would not be bad. As a scholar he is not remarkable; and although he has endeavoured more than once to display his genius by declaiming his own composition, yet the most common opinion is that he has not succeeded. Divinity will be his profession, and he has already acquired a ministerial cant, which is such an essential quality to a preacher.
{ 178 }
1. After graduation, Child taught school in Boston and preached in Roxbury; he later moved to New York, where he was a preacher, physician, and apothecary in Poughkeepsie and Troy (Alfred B. Page, “Some Graduates of Harvard College,” Dedham Historical Register, 4:48 [Jan.1893]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-18


Mr. Hilliard preached for us the whole day: his text in the afternoon was in these words, “righteousness exalteth a nation.”1 A political Sermon; upon the present situation of affairs; the first Mr. H. has delivered since I became one of his hearers.
We had this evening a meeting of the A B. for the first time this quarter. We chose officers, to continue, untill our Class shall cease to meet at the Society. A couple of essays were read; and it was voted that, Adams 3d. Barron, Gardner, Grosvenor, and Phillips, of the junior Class, should be admitted: after which the meeting should be adjourned till next Sunday evening, at half after seven.
1. Proverbs 14:34.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-19


This morning the junior's Prescott, and Wier, were publicly admonished for having had riotous noises at their chambers, last week. The sentence is considered all over college, as uncommonly severe, and by many as wholly unmerited, at least on the part of Prescott.
We had in the evening a meeting of the ΦBK. at Fiske's chamber. A dissertation was read by Freeman, but the other exercices were omitted: it was voted that a number of books should be bought to add to the library belonging to the Society. Andrews and Fiske, were chosen as a committee to purchase them.
William Cranch of Braintree, was 17 the 17th. of last July. The ties of blood, strengthened by those of the sincerest friendship, unite me to him, in the nearest manner. Our sentiments upon most subjects are so perfectly similar, that I could not praise his, without being conscious of expressing a tacit applause of my own. His manners I can however pronounce amiable; his spirit, nobly independent: his judgment sound, and his imagination lively. His thirst for useful knowledge, and his fondness for study is not surpassed by that of any individual in the Class: { 179 } happy were it for me; if with a perfect coincidence with his opinions in general, I could unite, the same talents, and the same accomplishments.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-20


Lines, upon the late proceedings of the College Government.
By a Student.1

The government of College met,

And Willard rul'd the stern debate.

The witty Jennison declared

That he had been completely scared.

“Last Night, (says he) when I came home,

I heard a noise in Prescott's room:

I went and listen'd at the door,

As I have often done before;

I found the junior's in a high rant.

They call'd the President a Tyrant.

They said as how, I was a fool,

A long ear'd ass, a sottish Mule,

Without the smallest grain of spunk;

So I concluded they were drunk.

From Xenophon, whole pages torn

As trophies, in their hats were worn

Thus all their learning, they had spread

Upon the outside of the head,

For I can swear without a sin,

There's not a line of greek within.

At length I knock'd, and Prescott came;

I told him t'was a burning shame,

That he should give his Class mates wine,

And he should pay an heavy fine.

Meanwhile; the rest grew so outrageous,

That though I boast of being courageous,

I could not help being in a fright,

For one of them, put out the light.

And t'was as you may well suppose

So dark, I could not see my nose.

I thought it best to run away

And wait for vengeance till to day:

For he's a fool at any rate,

{ 180 }

Who'll fight when he can rusticate.

When they found out, that I was gone

They ran through college, up and down,

And I could hear them very plain

Take the Lord's holy name in vain!

To Wier's chamber they repair'd

And there the wine they freely shared,

They drank and sung till they were tired,

And then they peacefully retired.”

When this Homeric speech was said,

With drawling tongue, and hanging head,

The learned Doctor, took his seat,

Thinking he'd done a noble feat.

Quoth Joe “the crime is great I own

Send for the junior's one by one;

By this almighty wig I swear,

Which with such majesty I wear,

And in its orbit vast contains

My dignity, my power and brains,

That Wier and Prescott both shall see

That College boys must not be free.”

He spoke and gave the awful nod

Like Homer's Dodonean god.

The College to it's center shook,

And every pipe, and wine glass broke.

Williams, with countenance humane,

Which scarce from laughing could refrain

Thought that such youthful scenes of mirth

To punishments should not give birth.

Nor could he easily divine

What was the harm of drinking wine.

But Pearson with an awful frown

Full of his article and noun:

Spoke thus. “By all the parts of speech,

Which with such elegance I teach,

By all the blood which fills my veins,

By all the power of Handel's strains

With mercy I will never stain

The character which I maintain:

Pray tell me why the laws were made

If they are not to be obey'd,

{ 181 }

Besides, that Wier I can't endure

He is a wicked rake I'm sure.

But whether I be right or not

I'll not recede, a single jot.”

James saw twould be in vain t'oppose,

And therefore to be silent chose.

Read, with his two enormous eyes

Enlarg'd to thrice their common size,

And brow contracted, staring wild,

Said, government was much too mild.

“Were I, (said he) to have my will

I soon would teach them to be still:

Their wicked rioting to quell,

I'd rusticate, degrade, expel;

And rather than give up my plan,

I'd clear the college, to a man.”

Burr, who has little wit or pride,

Preferr'd to take the strongest side;

And Willard soon receiv'd commission

To give a public admonition.

With pedant strut, to prayers he came,

Call'd out the criminals by name:

Obedient to his dire command;

Before him Wier and Prescott stand.

“The rulers, merciful and kind,

With equal grief and wonder find

That you should laugh, and drink and sing,

And make with noise the college ring:

I therefore warn you to beware

Of drinking more than you can bear:

Wine, an incentive is to riot

Destructive of the public quiet:

Full well your Tutors know this Truth,

For sad experience taught their youth:

Take then this friendly exhortation,

The next offence is rustication.”

This afternoon Dr. Welch, and Deacon Smith came up from Boston, and were here about half an hour: This evening we danced for the last Time, at Lovell's chamber. After which I was some time at Mead's.
{ 182 }
1. Since its publication in Benjamin Homer Hall's A Collection of College Words and Customs, Cambridge, 1856, the first known printed version, this poem has been attributed to JQA, partly because JQA's Diary entry is still the only known contemporary MS version. Hall claimed that he published the poem “from a MS. in the author's [JQA's] handwriting, and in the possession of the editor of this work” (p. 233–235). Hall, Harvard 1851, a lawyer of Troy, N.Y., had no known contact with the Adams family, although he may have been acquainted with JQA2, who graduated in 1853. He provides no documentation for JQA's authorship, and the MS he used has not been found. Many of the poem's sentiments about college officials, tutors, and the incident itself mirror JQA's own, but the severe judgments on Harvard officials and the benign condonation of the students' behavior seem out of character. Moreover, the style of “The Late Proceedings” is untypical of JQA's productions. Until new evidence is forthcoming, JQA's authorship should be accepted with some reservation.
A partial answer for these doubts may come from another copy of the poem, transcribed in the late 19th century and among the Charles Grenfill Washburn papers at the American Antiquarian Society. (See also Harvard Graduates' Magazine, 26:343–344 [Dec. 1917].) Unlike Hall's version, which was a looser rendition containing freer punctuation and many small word changes, the Washburn copy is a truer, though far from an exact, reproduction of JQA's, or JQA's version as published in the late 19th century by HA (“Harvard College. 1786–1787,” in Historical Essays, N.Y., 1891, p. 118–121). In an endnote to the Washburn transcription the poem is assigned to “J. Q. Adams and J. M. Forbes, March 1787” Such a collaborative effort was not impossible. JQA described Forbes as having “an uncommon share of wit” and a classmate who “always found his fellow students ready to laugh at his satirical wit”; he had been a close friend since JQA entered college (entry for 28 March, below). Moreover, the two remained friends well past their college days, both studying law and practicing their profession in Boston, and eventually leaving their country for foreign service. So, while the Washburn copy sheds no new authoritative light on the authorship of “The Late Proceedings,” it provides a clue, albeit unsubstantiated, which may better explain JQA's role in the poem's development.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-21


This usually an holiday to the junior Class who now cease reciting at eleven in the forenoon. The greatest part of the Class generally join and go to some tavern at a distance from Cambridge, where they spend the evening, in mirth, and festivity: but several circumstances have induced the present juniors to omit this custom; and the President a few mornings since read in the chapel, a vote of the corporation, expressing their approbation of the conduct of the young gentlemen in that respect, and recommending to the ensuing Classes to imitate their example: several of the Class however, determined to adhere to the good old cause; in consequence of which a number of the windows in the Philosophy chamber were broken.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-22


Fast day. Attended Mr. Hilliard the whole day; but to no great purpose: in consequence of the late severity of the College Gov• { 183 } ernors, there has been yesterday and this day, a subscription paper handed about among all the Classes, to procure a meeting of the whole college to-morrow evening in the chapel, every person having a pipe, a glass and a bottle of wine, and there to convince the government that the Students are possess'd of “a noble spirit, a spirit which shall nip the bud of tyrannical oppression,” they will get as drunk as beasts, and probably break every tutors window in College: this absurd, and ridiculous plan has found so many votaries, that a large majority of every Class except ours have already subscribed; but I am happy that in our Class; there are but few who have joined the association, and as it is to take place only upon condition that there be a majority of every Class, the plan will most probably fail.
I went down this evening to Mr. Dana's: I saw him for the first Time since his illness. They say he is much better, and recovering fast; but I was shock'd at seeing him; pale, emaciated and feeble, he scarcely looks like the same man he was three weeks agone.
Beautiful weather, and the warmest we have yet had, this Season.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-23


Charles went down to Mr. Dana's this evening; the judge is mending but quite slowly:
I had thoughts of carrying up some algebraic calculations, for the mathematical performance at exhibition, but, Cranch takes the next transit of Venus. Bridge and White, who do not choose, to take much trouble, have both taken lunar eclipses; and as there was no solar eclipse presented at the last exhibition I determined to project one, for the next. I went to Mr. Read to find out, when there will be a large one, and finally calculated the elements for that which will happen, May 15th. 1836.
Joshua Cushman1 of Bridgewater will be 23 the 11th. of next month. Poverty appears to be his greatest enemy; she opposes his progress, and he has a very great struggle with her, to go through College. For genius he is neither at the Zenith nor at the Nadir; but somewhere about half way between. For improvements, he has made as many perhaps, as his circumstances would allow him. In composition, an admiration of beautiful periods, and elegant expression, have taken from the natural taste { 184 } | view for that simplicity in which alone true beauty and elegance consist. His conversation sometimes degenerates into bombast; to express that he wants a glass of water he will say, that within the concave excavation of his body, there are certain cylindric tubes which require to be replenished from, the limpid fountain or the meandering rivulet. In the public exercices of composition his greatest fault is prolixity. He will write two sheets of paper full, for a forensic, while scarcely any other of the Class will scarcely fill half one. He is however esteemed by the Class in general, as an amiable character, if not as an uncommon genius.
1. Cushman studied theology and was ordained at Winslow, Mass. (now Maine), where he was minister from 1795 until 1814. His contract was not renewed, possibly because of his liberal religious views. While still a minister, he sat for two terms in the Massachusetts legislature. He later served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1819–1825. Afterward he served in the Maine legislature (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-24


We had last evening a Class meeting; a petition drawn up by Little, as additional to that already presented, was read to the Class, and approved by them: the Committee, were ordered to carry it down to the President. I was employ'd the greatest part of this day in projecting my Eclipse for exhibition. The elements are as follows.
  for a solar Eclipse. May 15th. 1836.   D.   H.   M.   S.  
1.   True time of New Moon at Cambridge, in May 1836.   15:   9:   29:   13  
      °   '   "  
2.   Semidiameter of the Earth's Disc     0:   55:   0  
3.   Sun's Distance from the nearest solstice     35:   17:   42  
4.   Sun's Declination, North     18:   58:   0  
5.   Moon's latitude, north ascending     0:   26:   26  
6.   Moon's horary motion from the Sun     0:   28:   14  
7.   Angle of the Moon's visible path with the ecliptic     5:   35:   0  
8.   Sun's Semidiameter     0:   15:   55  
9.   Moon's Semidiameter     0:   15:   0  
10.   Semidiameter of the Penumbra     0:   30:   55.  
Charles watch'd at Mr. Dana's this night.
Peter Eaton1 of Haverhill was 22 the 15th. of this month. I have { 185 } not the pleasure of an intimate acquaintance with him; but all those who have, speak well of him. As a speaker he is distinguished, and as a scholar respectable; his public exercices have been in general equal if not superior to any in the Class since I belonged to it: but he is very modest and diffident, so that he has not brought himself so much into notice, as several others in the Class, who without his abilities have a much greater share of confidence.
1. Eaton was ordained at West Boxford in Oct. 1789 and remained there as minister throughout his life (Sidney Perley, “The Dwellings of Boxford,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 29:85–86 [April–June 1892]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-25


We heard Mr. Evans preach, all day: he attempted to be quite pathetic in the afternoon; but when art is seen through it must be disgusting; and when a person appears deeply affected upon a subject, which cannot be very interesting, we must conclude, that he grieves for the pleasure of grieving.
This night I watch'd at Mr. Dana's. I read a couple of novels in the course of the night; both of them perfectly insipid.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-26


Breakfasted at the judge's, and then returned to College. Finished the projection of my eclipse, for exhibition. Mr. Read gave out this morning to the Class, the calculation of a solar Eclipse for 1791 as the last exercice, on that score. This afternoon I calculated the elements for it.
Oliver Fiske1 of Brookfield, will be 25. the 2d. of Septr. next. Solidity of judgment; independence of spirit, and candour of disposition, are the chief characteristics of this gentleman; as a scholar, he stands on the first line in the Class; and his honour is unblemished: his circumstances are not fortunate, and he has been often absent from College. He was with General Lincoln in Berkshire the greater part of the last winter: and wishes to follow a military life, after leaving the University: he would make I believe a very good officer, and whatever his profession may be, he will be certainly an excellent man.
1. Fiske was a volunteer in the Revolution, and at Harvard he was instrumental in reorganizing the Marti-Mercurian Band. He studied medicine and practiced throughout his life in Worcester (William Lincoln, History of Worcester, Massachusetts, From Its Earliest Settlement to September, 1836..., Worcester, 1837, p. 259–260).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-27


It was late before I retired last night, and this morning I arose between 10 and 11. Little called me up to go to the President with our petition. We called Fiske and went all together. Mr. Willard conversed with us upon the subject of a private Commencement; but from what we could collect we rather suppose the Corporation will deny the favour which we requested. He said however, there would be next week a meeting of the Corporation, when they would probably give their final decision.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-28


Employ'd, part of the day in projecting the Eclipse for April 1791. We had a meeting of the musical society this evening at Foster's chamber. It was after 8 before we could make the instruments accord; and at 9 we were obliged to break up; this indeed is most frequently the case. It would not be easy to collect a set of worse instruments than we have, among eight or ten violins and as many flutes there are not more than two or three that will accord together, without scraping and blowing an hour or more, so that we can seldom play more than three or four tunes at a meeting. Wrote a little after I came from Foster's, and retired a little after ten.
John Forbes1 of Cambridge was 15. the 13th. of last August. He is the youngest person in the Class, and his entering the university at so early a period, has been an essential injury to him; by being left so much to his own direction at twelve years of age, he acquired habits of indolence, and idleness, which are not easily shaken off. He has an uncommon share of wit, and an extraordinary memory: but he has not sufficiently learnt to respect himself; as he has always found his fellow students ready to laugh at his satirical wit, he has acquired a great degree of impudence, and rather then miss a joke fills his conversation frequently with the most low lived scurrility: as he seldom loses much of his time in thinking he is not sensible, that the very persons who applaud his satire despise the speaker, or that the reason why no notice is taken of his insults, because he is supposed to have no meaning in what he says, his mind like the sand will receive any impression; and the impression will last about as long. All these foibles however may be attributed to his youth, and it is to be hoped a few years of experience, will correct them; he is always { 187 } { 188 } good-natured, and has a great deal of sensibility; with an excellent genius which wants nothing but cultivation to make it flourish among the first. I have been intimate with him, since I entered College, and have always endeavoured to retain the same Sentiments concerning him though his friendship for me, appears to ebb and flow as frequently as the tide: if he should throw off those childish follies which now disgrace his character, and apply with diligence to study, he would be an honour to his friends and an ornament to Society.
1. Forbes studied law following graduation and practiced in Boston until about 1796, when he went to Europe. Five years later he was appointed consul, living at Hamburg and Copenhagen until 1819; the following year he went to Buenos Aires as commercial agent and eventually rose to chargé d'affaires (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-29


I went this evening with Bridge, and pass'd half an hour at Mr. Wigglesworth's. Ned is very ill of a pleurisy fever, and Peggy looks low spirited. The Professor has been all along, and still is much opposed to a private Commencement, and when he has once adopted an opinion, I believe it would require supernatural powers to convince him that it is erroneous.
Dr. Jennison had one or two square of glass in his windows broken this evening, and has lately received several other insults of the same kind: it was owing to a complaint made by him that Prescott and Wier were admonished, and this Circumstance has made him very unpopular.
Bossenger Foster1 of Boston was 19. the 9th. of last December. Of him I can say but little: he is a very good speaker, and has a good natural genius, but has not been very assiduous in improving the talents entrusted to him by nature: his conversation and manners are often puerile, and very seldom show him to great advantage: his chief excellency lies in declaiming an elegant piece of composition, and in playing on the violin: in these particulars there is not, perhaps his superior in College. He is remarked by some, as being of a narrow disposition, but this stigma is cast by certain characters upon every person who keeps within the bounds of common frugality. And if this were Foster's only fault I should set him down, as an excellent character.
1. Foster later studied law in Theophilus Parsons' office with JQA (entry for 20 Sept. 1788, below).
{ 189 }

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-30


Charles went to Boston this forenoon.
I have been somewhat idle for several days: and expect to continue so till the exhibition is over; for so long as that is before me I can pay very little attention to any thing else. I found this to be the case last fall, and do now, still more so but, thank fortune I have only one more trial at the worst, of this kind to go through; which will be at commencement unless we should obtain a private one. Distinctions of this kind are not, I think, very desirable; for besides the trouble and anxiety which they unavoidably create they seldom fail of raising the envy of the other students. I have oftentimes witnessed this with respect to others and I am much deceived if I have not lately perceived it, with respect to myself.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-31


The Class recited in Doddridge this morning, but I did not attend, being rather unwell. The weather has been very pleasant for several days: and indeed the whole month has been much more agreeable than March generally is.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-01

Sunday April 1st. 1787.

Attended meeting the whole day, to hear Mr. Hilliard; and had moreover the supreme felicity of waiting on the amiable Miss Williams to her home. After meeting, at night, I wrote part of my forensic, for next Tuesday. Attended the meeting of the A B. in the evening: not many of the members present. Two or three pieces however were read, and a forensic dispute between Abbot 3d. and Dodge, upon the curious question, whether wine be beneficial to mankind. A little after nine, we dispersed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-02


Recite this week in Burlamaqui: This is the day on which the election of a governor is made throughout the Commonwealth: in this Town, there were only 37 votes for Mr. Bowdoin, and 154 for Mr. Hancock: this gentleman has likewise a majority of 50 votes in Boston; indeed it is supposed he will have a consider• { 190 } able majority throughout the State. Mr. Cushing has the majority of votes, as lieutenant Governor, both here, and at Boston.
The Martimercurian band assembled this afternoon to choose their officers for the ensuing year. Gardner was chosen Captain, Gordon lieutenant, and Barron ensign.
We had this evening a meeting of the ΦBK, at Cushman's chamber; he read a Dissertation, but the dispute was omitted. Little business was done; and after appointing writers for the next meeting, we all retired. I pass'd the remainder of the evening at White's chamber.
Up late.
Nathaniel Freeman1 of Sandwich, County of Barnstable, was 21. the 1st. of last month. Few persons are so liberally gifted by nature as this gentleman. He is of a middle size, but extremely well proportioned, his countenance is very handsome, and full of dignity: as an animated speaker he shines unrivaled in our Class, and for brilliancy of imagination he is inferior to none of his fellow students. He appears to be well acquainted with his peculiar excellence, and has therefore chiefly attended to composition; perhaps he has gone too far in this respect, so as to neglect other studies equally useful. In the languages, in the mathematical, and philosophical pursuits, and in metaphysics; though superior to the generality of the students, he is however surpassed by many individuals. He was formed for an orator,2 and as such he will be distinguished whether he plead at the bar, or administer at the altar. With great sensibility he unites great ambition; but notwithstanding his numerous advantages he is as free from vanity as any person of my acquaintance. He is warm in his friendship, and perhaps rather too keen in his resentments. His passions are strong, but their violence is counteracted by the generosity of his heart. He has many imperfections, which are the concomitants of humanity; but upon the whole it would be difficult to find at this university a more promising character.
1. Freeman later studied law and practiced in Sandwich, served as brigade major in the militia, and was a representative in the congress 1795–1799 (Freeman, Hist. of Cape Cod, 1:561–562; 2:137).
2. Freeman, the “preferred rival” to JQA in oratory at commencement, was described as “superior in style, elegance and oratory” to JQA by the Massachusetts Centinel, 21 July. “Freeman was not deficient in elegance of diction; in mellifluousness he was unequalled. He has happily imitated the plain and just model of eloquence which has been attended with the most flattering success in this country” (JQA, Memoirs, 6:77).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-03


At nine this morning the Class in two divisions read their forensics one part upon the Question “Which is the best form of government;” and the other upon that “Whether the introduction of Christianity has been serviceable to the temporal interests of mankind:” on this question, I read the following piece in favour of the affirmative:1
It is a subject of astonishment to me, that, at an University, where a liberal system of religion is generally professed, a question should be proposed which implies a denial, either of the goodness, or of the wisdom of omnipotence. In a Country where the forcible arguments of an infallible inquisition, reduce the opinions of all men to one standard, this question might with some decency be debated; because, those who deny the temporal advantages, which Christianity affords, might shelter themselves, under the protection of a future world; and this would be entirely consistent with the practice of putting a man to Death, in order to insure his eternal salvation. But here, thank Heaven!, religion does not stifle every sentiment which can counterbalance the vices and follies of humanity: here, without the dread of momentary, or of eternal flames, a man can affirm as his opinion, that all those who fear god and love their neighbours as themselves, will enjoy an equal share of felicity in a future State, whatever their mode of worship, may be. I am happy to say I have heard this sentiment inculcated from the sacred desk; and sorry I am to hear it now, publicly called in question. For if it be doubted whether Christianity be of service to mankind in this world, it must either be supposed necessary for salvation in the world to come, or acknowledged entirely useless and even injurious to the welfare of men.
I am sensible, however, that those persons who maintain the negative of this question, will have a rich plunder of argument from the history of the civilized part of the earth, ever since the introduction of Christianity: From the days of Nero to those of Constantine, the bloody banner of Persecution was almost continually display'd, against the peaceful standard of Christ: a short lucid interval ensued, after which the divine institution was again attacked by the absurd imposture of Mahomet and his followers: The enthusiastic spirit of crusading, which was calculated to maintain and support the faith, increased the impor• { 192 } tance of religion, by the murder of millions; and when the Christian world grew weary of contending with foreign enemies, they soon discovered, that they had sufficient to do, to defend the glory of Christ against one another: Every trifling deviation of sentiment was supposed sufficient to corrupt the whole System, as the imperceptible sting of an asp is sufficient to taint the whole mass of the blood. The different sects of Christians persecuted one another with such envenomed fury, and such unbounded malice, that an impartial observer would suppose, the principles by which they were actuated had been delivered by a fiend of hell, rather than by the Son of God.
All this I say, may be urged by our opponents with a very specious appearance of truth. But even admitting all these facts to be incontestible, I cannot for my part, see, what they prove against Christianity. I would ask, have there been more wars, and have those wars been more cruelly conducted since the introduction of this religion, than before that aera? Certainly not: and therefore we must attribute the discord of men, to an infernal spirit which cannot be rooted from their hearts, and not to a religion whose main object is to oppose that spirit. Christianity, it is true, has been the immediate object of many contests: but when mankind have an inclination to quarrel with one another, a motive is easily found; the causes of dispute are innumerable, and had Christianity never appeared; the power of Discord would probably have been much greater than it has been. Every candid reader of history will acknowledge that the Christian institution, has gradually inspired into the hearts of men, sentiments of compassion, benevolence and humanity even towards their enemies, which were entirely unknown to the savage barbarians of antiquity. Nero and those who imitated his persecutions, would still have been tyrants, had the religion never appeared; and the innocent victims of their execrable despotism, would have been equally numerous, without acquiring the glory of martyrdom: the Saracens would equally, have borne desolation through the Earth: and conquest would have been a sufficient motive for crusading, if devotion had failed but mercy would have been unknown among the conquerors, and perpetual slavery would have been the mildest lot of a vanquished army. If from these considerations we conclude, that Christianity has been beneficial to mankind collectively, how much more reason have we to think it has promoted their happiness individually: it { 193 } has strengthened the influence of every sentiment of humanity and benevolence: it has taught us, our real duties towards one another, and towards ourselves. It has vindicated the rights of nature, which before its introduction had been violated, even by the principles of civil Society: it has restrained within proper bounds, even the sacred rights of parental authority, and shewn the cruelty, and the absurdity of abandoning an infant to destruction for any deformity in its bodily frame: it has enlarged our views, and taught us, not to confine our goodwill and friendship, to the small circle from whom we have received, or to whom we have granted favours, but to embrace in the arms of our affection the whole human race: it has inculcated the sublime maxim of loving our enemies, and of praying for those who persecute, and in short, if it does not enable us to reach the summit of perfection, it is because we wilfully depart from its guidance and direction.
At 11 o'clock Mr. Williams, began his course of experimental philosophy, by a lecture on the properties of matter.
1. JQA's draft, dated 2 April, contains only minor variations (M/JQA/46, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-04


Employ'd great part of the day in collecting the theses. I have now as many as I shall want excepting five or six in fluxions1 which I cannot easily find, as I do not understand the doctrine enough for my own satisfaction: in the evening the sodality met at Mayo's chamber, and play'd till 9.
I was very much fatigued and retired to bed quite early.
Timothy Fuller2 of Needham, Suffolk County, will be 22. the 26th. of next July. I have very little acquaintance with this person, and his character is such as will not induce me to cultivate an intimacy with him. His countenance is perfectly stupid, and has no other expression than that of gin or brandy, his chief talent lies in drinking largely of these liquors without apparent intoxication, and in smoking tobacco; and this talent he improves by incessant application; as a classmate I insert his name, and my plan obliges me to give the traits which distinguish his character. I would fain mention his virtues; but if he possesses any they are too deep to be perceived by common observation.
{ 194 }
1. That is, differential calculus (OED).
2. Fuller became a physician in Needham (Francis H. Fuller, “Descendants of Ensign Thomas Fuller, of Dedham,” Dedham Historical Register, 5:128 [July 1894]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-05


At eleven this forenoon, Mr. Williams gave us, the second, philosophical lecture: it was upon the incidental properties of matter, and excepting very few deviations, was expressed in the same terms with that we had last year upon the same subject: indeed, whether the professor's time is taken up by other studies, or whether he is too indolent to make any improvements in his lectures, it is said he gives every year the same course, without adding or erasing a line.
However interesting the subject may be, there are many students who find no entertainment in the repetition of what they have already heard and frequently read; and I must myself confess that these lectures which were highly entertaining last year, afford me little amusement or instruction at present: if the experiments and the observations upon them were somewhat varied, I should now attend the lectures with as much satisfaction as I received from them last year.
Drank tea at Foster's chamber. Mr. Bissi was there. In the evening I went with Cranch, and Mead to Mr. Pearson's; I invited the ladies to my chamber exhibition day: the professor himself was not at home. We also went and passed about an hour at Mr. Hilliard's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-06


We this day returned our books to the library.
I went immediately after prayers to Mr. Wiggles worth's; where I found only Mr. Ellery and Miss Peggy: I waited there a short time and went from thence to Mr. Williams's, but did not find a soul at home. I spent a couple of hours in the evening with Sever at Mr. Gerry's. Mrs. Gerry was quite unwell, so that we neither saw her nor her Sister.
Thomas Hammond1 of Rochester, Plymouth C: was 20 the 17th. of last August. He has a mixture of good and bad qualities, so equally poised, that it is difficult to determine, whether his character may be called good or bad. He has it is said an independent spirit; but I believe few students at this place distinguish properly between independence and impudence: it is certain { 195 } that Hammond, by this same independent spirit has indisposed every governor of the university against him; and whether this circumstance is much to his credit, an impartial world may determine: he is studious, and has a good knowledge of the Latin Language in particular. As a metaphysician some think him acute, but I have more frequently known him to dispute about words, and dabble with trifles, than to reason with superior judgment or genius. His moral conduct is not wild or extravagant, but at times his profanity, will make the most abandoned, stare. In short if he has any principles they are certainly not such as I should wish a friend of mine to adopt.
1. Hammond became a lawyer and settled in New Bedford (Fleet's Pocket Almanack and Massachusetts Register, 1794).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-07


Mr. Williams gave us this forenoon a lecture upon motion: the same which we heard a twelve month past; upon that subject. Fine weather.
I have been this day chiefly employ'd in making preparations for exhibition. White brought me some things from Boston. Spent great part of the afternoon at Cranch's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-08


Mr. Burr preach'd to us this afternoon, a pretty good Sermon. In the evening I attended the meeting of the A B. and read an essay. Several other pieces of the same kind were presented but the Oration and forensic were omitted. Freeman requested a dismission from the Society, and it was granted: Cranch was chosen in his stead to deliver the anniversary Oration on the 12th. of next month. It was 10 o'clock before we had perform'd all our business.
A B. N. 7.

Oh! sovereign of the willing soul,

Parent of sweet, and solemn-breathing airs,

Enchanting shell! the sullen cares

And frantic Passions, hear thy soft controul.

[signed] Gray.1
The influence of music and Poetry, upon the human mind, have so frequently been expatiated upon, that it would be needless to { 196 } attempt producing any new ideas on the subject: but we may derive entertainment and instruction, from the repetition of what has already been said, and this exercice of the mind preserves its health, and enables it to execute greater projects.
There is something unaccountable in the human mind, by which it is obliged (if I may so express myself) to receive pleasure from harmony. It is certainly involuntary, nor can it be subjected to the laws of reason. It appears to be peculiar to the mind of man, for notwithstanding all the splendid tales told of Orpheus and Amphion, it is plain that none of the beast creation are sensible to the charms of music: if any of the domestic animals, received pleasure, from a concert of instruments, many of them have a faculty of manifesting their sensibility which certainly, would not lay dormant upon such Occasions. Sound it is well known, has a great effect upon many animals, but seldom otherwise than to strike them with terror. The generous horse, is startled at the rumbling of the drum, and roused at the clang of the trumpet: but he does not appear at all affected by instruments which convey gentler sounds, and it is plain, that martial music, instead of affording him pleasure, always terrifies him. It is not the harmony, which actuates him, but the noise.
There are indeed birds, which by the mere strength of nature, will warble strains, scarcely to be surpassed by the most admired compositions of art. But it must be supposed that these powers are only mechanical, for those birds, that utter only harsh, disagreeable notes, are as fond of hearing themselves, as the nightengale. It is not necessary to produce many arguments in favour of a proposition, which perhaps no one would deny. Enough therefore has been said, to this Point.
This fondness for harmony is then one of the characteristics which distinguish man from the brute creation: and it is one of the richest sources of enjoyment, that an indulgent providence has granted him. Harmony, under various forms can rouse, soften or restrain all the passions in the human breast. There is scarce a sensation in the heart, but there may be found a musical note in unison with it. I appeal to the experience of every person, whether all their passions have not been influenced by the power of harmony?

“If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,

Music her soft assuasive voice applies.

{ 197 }

And when the soul is prest with cares

Awakes it with enlivening airs.

Warriors she fires, with animating sounds,

Pours balm into the bleeding lovers wounds.”2

It is remarkable that this charm is rather falsified, and corrupted, among civilized nations, than perfected: its efficacy appears to be diminished in proportion to the advancement of civilization. If we carry our researches so far back as the fabulous ages of antiquity, we shall hear of its influence not only over lions, and tygers, not only over rocks and Forests, but even over the stern, unrelenting tyrant of the infernal regions. We know how far these accounts are to be credited; but at the same Time, it must convince us, to what a degree of enthusiasm the fondness for harmony was carried in those days. As soon as the light of history begins to dawn, we find the effects of music to be much diminished. Still however we hear of a Tyrtaeus, who by a song, rallies the retreating forces of Sparta, and turns the scale of victory: still we hear of an Homer deified for his verse, and that verse, consulted as an oracle upon all occasions; still we are told of a Timotheus, who “bids alternate passions, fall and rise

While at each change, the son of Libyan Jove,

Now burns with glory, and then melts with Love,

Now his fierce eyes, with sparkling fury glow,

Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow

Persians and greeks, like turns of nature found,

And the worlds victor stood subdued by sound!”3

Yet if we examine the subject, with attention, I believe we shall have reason to conclude, that the power of music has been gradually declining to our own times. There is but one modern story which is any thing like those of antiquity concerning the influence of harmony: it is told by Dryden, in his ode to St. Cecilia.

When to her organ, vocal sounds were given

An Angel heard, and strait appear'd

Mistaking Earth for Heaven.4

If such always have been, and such always must be the effects of music, what can be said of the man, who is not affected by it? Let us conclude with the great master of human nature.
{ 198 }

“The Man that hath no music in himself

Nor, is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,

Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils,

The motions of his spirit are dull as night,

And his affections dark as Erebus.”5

1. Thomas Gray, “The Progress of Poesy,” lines 13–16 (Poetical Works of Mr. Gray, new edn., London, 1785, p. 25, at MQA). This poem was copied by JQA as early as Sept. 1782, while he was living in St. Petersburg (M/JQA/26, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 221).
2. “Ode for Music on St. Cecilia's Day,” lines 24–29. JQA copied Pope's poem into another of his commonplace books in Aug. 1782 (M/JQA/24, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 219). The poet's lines 26–27 read: “Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,/Exalts her in enlivening airs.”
3. “An Essay on Criticism,” lines 376–381.
4. “A Song for St. Cecilia's Day,” (1687), lines 52–54—also copied by JQA in Aug. 1782 (M/JQA/24, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 219). In the first line JQA substituted “sounds” for “breath.”
5. The Merchant of Venice, Act V, scene i, lines 84–88.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-09


This is the last week in which our Class attend recitations; and, this morning Mr. Burr gave us the last 30 pages of Burlamaqui for to-morrow morning.
Preparing for exhibition; wrote a little.
In the evening the two musical Societies met together in Putnam's chamber, and perform'd the anthem. Not in the best manner possible.
Thaddeus Mason Harris1 of Maiden, Middlesex, will be 19 the 7th. of next July. As a scholar he is respectable, and his natural abilities are far from contemptible; he has a taste for poetry and painting which wants cultivation, and a benevolent heart, which wants judgment to direct it. He has a great share of sensibility, which has led him into an excessive fondness for pathetic composition; so that all his exercises appear to be attempts to rouse the passions; though frequently the subject itself will not admit of passion. His speaking is injured by the same fault; for in endeavouring to call up the affections of his hearers, he runs into a canting manner, which disgusts instead of pleasing: this failing is however amiable, because it proceeds from the warmth of his heart. His disposition I believe to be very good; and if the picture is a little shaded by Vanity, a foible so universal ought to meet always with our indulgence, his constitution is feeble, and his Circumstances are penurious, but his spirit is independent, and his mind is cheerful.
{ 199 }
1. Harris afterward studied divinity, but served as Harvard Librarian from 1791 to 1793 before holding the pulpit at the First Church, Dorchester, from 1793 to 1838 (Nathaniel L. Frothingham, “Memoir of Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, D.D.,” MHS, Colls., 4th ser., 2 [1854]:130–155).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-10


The weather in the morning was disagreeable, but cleared up, at about ten. Had company at my chamber. Major Cabot and his Lady, Miss Bromfield, Miss Thomson, and Miss Fayerweather, Miss Williams, and Miss Wigglesworth; Mr. Ellery, Mr. Ware, and Miss Andrews, with several of my Classmates. It was almost twelve before the president made his appearance, immediately after which the performances began. The Latin Oration was omitted: B Barron, has been prevented by indisposition from writing it: the forensic dispute between Eaton, and Harris, came on, first. It was upon the question, “Whether Man, has a natural right to destroy inferior animals” very well supported on both sides: Though Harris in one or two passages, could not help indulging, his fondness for the pathetic: the next thing was the syllogistic dispute, by Treadwell respondent, Hill, Underwood, and West, opponents. The two first only performed, and Hill, blundered a little. The Question was, “whether the origin of all our ideas may be referred to the senses.” The Dialogue between Tamerlane and Bajazet1 was next spoken by the juniors Barron and Abbot. The greek oration, by Phillips, followed; after which I mounted the stage with Freeman and Little. I read the following piece. Little spoke immediately after me, upon Physic, and Freeman, closed, with a panegyric upon Divinity, which he performed so well that we were honoured with a clap.
A Conference
Upon the comparative utility of Law, Physic, and Divinity.
At a time when the profession of the Law, labours under the heavy weight of popular indignation; when it is upbraided as the original cause of all the evils with which the Commonwealth is distressed; when the legislature have been publicly exhorted by a popular writer3 to abolish it entirely, and when the mere title of Lawyer, is sufficient to deprive a man of the public confidence, it should seem, this profession would afford but a poor subject for panegyric: but its real utility is not to be determined by the short lived frenzy of an inconsiderate multitude, nor by { 200 } the artful misrepresentations of an insidious writer: with this consideration, I shall rely upon the candor of the audience, without being terrified by the prevailing prejudice of the day.
It is a melancholy reflection, that the utility of all the learned professions, depends entirely upon the errors, the infirmities, and the vices of mankind: Were the conduct of men towards one another directed by the invariable and eternal rules of reason, and equity, there would be no occasion for the laws of Man: if the human frame were not subject to disorders and convulsion, the skill of the physician would not be required; and if our passions were never to lead us astray from the duties which we owe to the creator, and to our fellow mortals, an order of divines would be wholly unnecessary. Unfortunately these very institutions, which were calculated to correct the frailties, and to supply the deficiencies of humanity, afford striking examples of its weakness. The lawyer depends for his subsistence, upon the breach of those Laws, whose dignity his profession obliges him to maintain; the interest of the Physician, is benefited, by the loss of that health which he is employ'd to restore; and were those vices and follies to cease, which the preacher condemns with abhorrence, and laments with pathetic eloquence, his welfare would not be promoted so much as that of religion: I am sensible, gentlemen, that the profession of the law, has been charged with this defect in almost all nations, and under all governments, whilst the physician, and the divine, have more frequently escaped the imputation. The law, labours under peculiar disadvantages in this respect. Whenever two individuals appeal to the Laws of their country to decide a dispute between them, one of them, must necessarily be in the wrong; yet such is the influence of the passions, that very frequently each of the parties is confident in the justice of his cause; and consequently, whatever the judgment may be, one of the parties, at least will consider himself injured: instead of imputing his misfortune to his own imprudence or folly, his passion will immediately suggest that it was owing to the ignorance or negligence of his lawyer, or to the sophistical refinements of the pleader for his adversary: to circumstances of this nature, more than to any peculiar depravity of the lawyers, is owing the general odium which the profession has incurr'd: The physician has the same temptation to lengthen out a disease, that the lawyer has to protract the final issue of a cause; but if it should overcome his virtue, he is not in { 201 } an equal danger of being detected; because he can easily convince his patient that the obstinacy of the disease is invincible: and should the patient die, such is the discretion and politeness of the dead, (as a dramatic author has observed) that they are never heard to complain.4 The opposite interests of religion, and of the preacher are still less exposed to public view: the Divine may continue year after year in the same round of exhortation: he may point out to his people the evil tendency and pernicious consequences of sin: with the most ardent zeal, he may recommend to them to practice humility, moderation, sobriety, and every other Christian virtue: so long as he addresses his discourses to men, he will never be in want of fruitfull topics for declamation; and so long as he performs all that is enjoined him by his profession, his people can never censure him, because they do not reform their manners.
But, gentlemen, general reflections against any particular order of men, are as false as they are illiberal; and while I freely acknowledge the abuse which may be made of the learned professions, with the most heartfelt satisfaction, I can affirm that in this country they are generally filled with men incapable of using base and ignoble arts; men, whose virtues place them beyond the reach of malice, and whose talents must always command respect.
I shall not attempt to prove the superior utility of this profession over the others; they are all absolutely necessary for the happiness, nay for the very existence of a civilized Society; and therefore I conceive their utility to be equal: their objects are to secure the possession of the three greatest blessings which contribute to the felicity of mankind, health, liberty, and innocence. Deprived of either of these, a man must necessarily be wretched; but so long as he possesses them all, he will never be overwhelmed by the torrent of other misfortunes. I shall leave it to you, gentlemen, to expatiate with superior elegance upon the utility of Physic and divinity, and shall only beg leave to mention some of the particular advantages, which are derived to Society from the profession of the law.
Before the establishment of Society, the only law by which the conduct of men towards one another could be directed, was that of benevolence, which nature has implanted in the human heart, and the influence of this amiable virtue, was frequently overpowered, by the irresistible violence of unrestrained passions. { 202 } When men first began to unite in small communities, it was necessary, that the rights and obligations of every individual, should be ascertained, by some permanent regulations: the Societies being neither extensive nor numerous, the laws at first were simple and few in number: but in proportion as the wealth the prosperity and the numbers of the Society increased, the duties and the rights of every citizen increased with them: as soon as an intercourse was opened between different States, an additional System of Laws was requisite, to regulate the communications between different nations; and finally by a continual and unavoidable multiplication of the laws, the system became so complicated, that a perfect knowledge of it, could not be obtained, without assiduous attention and laborious application: the greatest part of the community engaged in other pursuits, could not attend sufficiently to this study: it was however necessary that the laws should be executed: judges were therefore necessary who should know exactly what proportion had been established by the laws, between the punishment and the crime: it was necessary that the man to whom nature and fortune might have dispensed their gifts with liberality, should in a court of Law, have no advantage, over him, whose mind should be neither enlightened by science, nor dignified by genius: it was necessary that wealth and talents should not be taken as proofs of innocence, nor poverty and ignorance of guilt: hence arose the necessity of this profession, and whatever may be the insinuations of Envy, or the aspersions of Malice, it has certainly been the means of placing men upon a more equal footing in the courts, than they would be if every man, were obliged to plead his own cause. What employment can in fact, be more truly respectable and useful, than to defend the cause of innocence, and to vindicate the rights of injured justice: to protect the feeble, and defenceless son of poverty, from the cruel5 fangs of Oppression, and to detect the villain who either publicly or in secret violates the laws of Society, or endangers the safety of individuals.
The intimate connection between the science of the laws, and that of government must be obvious to everyone. The liberty of a State consists in the unlimited obedience of its citizens to the laws alone: every breach of a law, is therefore a breach of the liberties of the Community: and consequently, the man, whose { 203 } profession obliges him to enforce the execution of the laws, must naturally be jealous, and tenacious of the liberty of his Country.
In free governments, lawyers have been more frequently admired by posterity, than rewarded by their contemporaries, for their ardent patriotism, and their generous spirit of freedom. The name alone of a Demosthenes or a Cicero conveys the idea of the father of his Country; yet, it is well known, that one of these exalted patriots, to avoid being given up by his ungrateful countrymen to the tyrant of Macedon,6 was obliged to put a period to his own existence: the other was banished from the very city, which by his vigorous exertions, and indefatigable vigilance, had been saved from impending destruction; and was finally murdered by the unhallowed hands of an execrable miscreant7 whose life had been preserved by his eloquence.
In absolute monarchies, where the physician has not the most distant connection with public affairs, and where the clergy, are frequently used as the blind but powerful instruments of despotic sway, the lawyers, are the only set of men, who oppose any barrier to the arbitrary proceeding of tyranny. “The parliaments of Paris” says Dr. Moore “can remonstrate to the throne; and have done it, with such strength of reasoning, and energy of expression, that if eloquence were able to prevail over unlimited power, every grievance would have been redressed. Some of these remonstrances, not only display examples of the most sublime and pathetic eloquence, but also breathe a spirit of freedom which would do honour to a british house of commons—indeed the lawyers in France, have display'd more just and manly sentiments of government, and have made, a nobler struggle against despotic power than any set of men in the kingdom.”8 Such was the testimony of a writer who was not a lawyer and who was an Englishman. Yet he adds with equal truth that they are both in private society, and upon the stage, the objects of continual ridicule. The only inference that I can draw from this is, that the man who undertakes to promote the welfare of his fellow creatures, must be actuated by some nobler motive, than the desire of obtaining their gratitude and applause.
But, gentlemen, I must repeat, that notwithstanding my partiality in favour of this profession, I have the highest veneration for those, in praise of which you are about to speak: a bigoted attachment to one course of life, joined to a contempt or hatred, { 204 } of any other, is the sure characteristic of a trifling genius, and a contracted mind: and you will acknowledge with me, that the man, who unites the talents of the mind to the virtues of the heart, will always render whatever profession he embraces, respectable, and useful.
After the conference, Prescott delivered the Hebrew Oration; but had not got it by heart. Foster then spoke the english oration, which was applauded by a clap. It was upon the political situation of affairs: but in the old stile of invective against luxury, and foreign gewgaws.
After the performances closed, the company escorted the Corporation and overseers to the stewards. It was after 3, before they finished their exercices. Charles and I dined at Mr. Williams's, in company with Mr. Ward, a young gentleman who graduated at this university, a few years agone; a Miss Miranda Woodward, and my classmate Phelps: the professor himself was not at home: but came in before we went away: He was uncommonly merry and witty: he had several spats with Dr. Waterhouse who called there after dinner.
I pass'd the evening at Judge Dana's: he recovers but slowly.
1. Nicholas Rowe's play Tamerlane, A Tragedy, first produced in 1702, in which the Mongol Tamerlane defeated Bajazet, leader of the Turks, was very popular throughout the 18th century as a result of its political allegory, “an unsubtle presentation of the struggle between William III and Louis XIV abroad and the Whigs and Tories at home” (Tamerlane, a Tragedy, ed. Landon C. Burns, Phila., 1966, p. 5, 6). Harvard had two copies of Rowe's Tamerlane, which appears in the second volume of his Miscellaneous and Dramatick Works, 3 vols., London, 1733 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 131).
2. Two other copies of JQA's piece, with minor variations, exist among the Adams Papers: one, enclosed with JQA's letter to JA, 30 June; the other, a draft copy, in M/JQA/46 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241).
3. Honestus, or Benjamin Austin. See entry for 10 July 1786, note 2 (above).
4. The draft version reads: “the descretion, and the prudence of the dead, (as a <witty french> dramatic writer has <said> observed,) <is surprising: for> is so great that they are never heard to complain of the physician, by whom they were destroy'd.” This comes from Molière, Le Médecin malgré lui (1666), Act III, scene i. JQA purchased Molière's works in St. Petersburg in Sept. 1782 (Oeuvres, vols. 1–4, 6–7, Paris, 1760, vol. 8, 1753, at 4:167; Catalogue of JQA's Books).
5. Unclear in Diary, but rendered as “cruel” from both copies of JQA's speech.
6. Philip II (382–336 B.C), King of Macedon and father of Alexander the Great.
7. JQA is apparently referring to Octavianus, or Augustus (63 B.C.–A.D. 14), who did not oppose Antony's nomination of Cicero as victim of proscriptions under the new triumvirate of 43 B.C., composed of Antony, Lepidus, and Augustus. Cicero was murdered by soldiers shortly thereafter (Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities, ed. Harry Thurston Peck, N.Y., 1898).
8. John Moore, A View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland, and Germany: With Anecdotes Relating to Some Eminent Characters, 6th edn., 2 vols., London, 1786, 1:102 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 75).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-11


I went down this morning to the president to know the determination of the Corporation with respect to a private Commencement; and was told that the petition of the Class was rejected: because they supposed that if public Commencements were lain aside, there would be no stimulus to study among the scholars: and they are afraid, that by granting our petition, they might establish a precedent which the following Classes, would take advantage of, and claim as a right, what we only request as a favour. Another reason which Mr. Willard said, had weight, although the gentlemen did not choose to avow it publicly, was their fear of offending the future governor by depriving him of that opportunity to show himself in splendor and magnificence.1
I walked down to Boston with Forbes. The weather was very fine. Dined at Dr. Welch's, and soon after dinner set off, for Braintree: drank tea at My Uncle Adams's, and got home, at about 7 in the evening.
1. Relations between the College and John Hancock were uneasy because of the unsettled problem of Harvard's finances arising from Hancock's tenure as treasurer. Hancock, who had been appointed in 1774, neglected to receive or pay the College accounts. Finally, in 1777, he was eased out of office, which he considered an insult, and Ebenezer Storer was appointed in his place. Hancock was slow to clear up the overdue accounts, and in 1780 Harvard renewed its request for a settlement to no avail. Four years later Hancock took fresh offense over the seating plan of the Lafayette dinner, but nevertheless paid up some of the debt shortly thereafter. The whole matter, however, was not settled until 1795, two years after Hancock's death. His heirs even then paid only simple, not compound, interest on the arrears (Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 153–156).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-12


By using so little exercice, as I have done for these 18 months; and leading a sedentary life; I have got into a very indifferent state of health: and have determined to attend to nothing further this vacation, than to get into a better way: for this purpose I have begun to take much exercice, from 9 to 1, and from 3 to 6, I was rambling about with my gun. Mr. Gannett and his Lady, got here just before dinner, on their road to Sandwich; and the weather being rather disagreeable they will tarry here this night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-13


Mr. and Mrs. Gannett went away at about 11. this forenoon, and left their daughter here. I pass'd the greater part of the day { 206 } again in strolling: I wrote however a little. I am much afflicted with the heart burn, and have always been in the vacations at Braintree, much more than at any other time.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-14


Spent the day very much like the two former. We have destroy'd almost all the birds within five miles about: I am reduced to neglect the improvement of the mind for the sake of the body. This is as dull and insignificant a manner of doing away a man's life, as any that could possibly be invented.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-15


Went to meeting in the forenoon, and heard Mr. Wibird preach. That most pleasing part of his performances is his reading the psalms: I never heard any person read Poetry with so much propriety, and energy. He appears inspired at those times, though never in his own discourses. I did not go in the afternoon.
Mr. and Mrs. Gannett pass'd by in the afternoon, on their return to Cambridge. When they got to Hingham, Mrs. Gannett found herself so ill, that she could not proceed any further, and therefore determined to come back.
We went in to Mrs. Apthorp's with the young Ladies this evening. Miss Charlotte, who but a twelve month agone, was as stiff as buckram, and speechless as a Statue, has been for a few months at school in Boston, and is become quite a prateapace, full of airs and laughter: a few years more however may give her judgment, and they say she is not destitute of sense.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-16


A very fine day. At about 10 this morning, the president and his Lady, Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard, Mr. Tucker and Mr. Ware, arrived here on their way to Sandwich. They breakfasted here, and proceeded forward, at about eleven. I was just mounting with my Classmate Vose when Foster and Lloyd came up, in company with Dr. Howard and Mr. Foster. They stopt to refresh their horses; we waited for them, half an hour, and finally set off without them at half past eleven. A little after one, we arrived at Hingham and all dined there. After dinner I went with Vose and Lloyd as far as Plymouth.
{ 207 }
We stopped a few minutes at Kingston where we found Fiske and Sever. Mr. Tucker and Mr. Ware came on with us. Dr. Howard and Mr. Foster came no further than Pembroke, 11 Miles back. The president and Mr. Hilliard stopped at Kingston, so that we were sufficiently divided, not to be inconvenient to one another. The roads in general were pretty good: but very dusty, the weather being very dry: the soil is not very good, especially on this side of Pembroke. The last 8 miles shew us a large proportion of pine trees and barren sands.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-17


The whole company arrived here early this morning: we went up into the burying ground and saw the ruins of the first fort built by our ancestors in this part of the world.1 We found several ancient grave stones but none dated prior to the commencement of the present Century. Between 9 and 10 this morning the Cavalry set off; Mr. Ware, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Gannett, Mr. Whitman, Mr. Haven, Vose, Lloyd, and myself. The President had been very careful to desire almost every individual, that proceeded forward, to bespeak a dish of clams for him at Ellis's a tavern about 9 miles from Sandwich, famous for the excellency of the shell fish which abound there; but alas! how uncertain are the hopes of men, how liable to disappointment: when we got to the tavern the tide was high and no clams could be got: we left the President to comfort himself with his own reflections, and before two o'clock we arrived at Mrs. Fessenden's tavern at Sandwich: we found Freeman and Little, just mounting their horses to go and meet the Company. We drank tea and supp'd at Mr. Freeman's, and returned to the tavern to lodge. Parson Whitman, of Welfleet, a man that professes to be a wit, Mr. Damon, a young clergyman, and a Mr. Green, supped with us, and endeavoured as much as possible to make us merry.
1. The fort at Plymouth, built in 1622 in response to the news of the Indian massacre of settlers in Virginia that year, was repeatedly repaired and extended (James Thacher, History of the Town of Plymouth..., Boston, 1835, p. 48, 72, 77).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-18


At about 11, this morning, we went from Mr. Freeman's to the meeting house: it was much crowded: a number of anthems were sung by the People of the town, and the buxom beauties of { 208 } the Cape, had collected together in one gallery. By twelve the young candidate made his appearance preceded by the gentlemen who were to consecrate him to the service of God: Mr. Hilliard began the ceremony with prayer: Doctor Howard then delivered an excellent Sermon, to the general satisfaction; full of candor, benevolence, and piety, with the most liberal sentiments. Mr. Shaw1 of Barnstable then gave the charge, and spoke very curiously; his language and ideas, however, were good; a Mr. Stone gave the right hand of fellowship, in such a manner that he appeared to me to be a man destitute of all feeling. Mr. Reed of Bridgwater made the last prayer, and the whole ceremony was concluded by another anthem; it was past 2 before they finished: all the students returned then to Mr. Freeman's, where we dined. In the afternoon we went to Mrs. Williams's,2 who is the widow of the late minister of this place, and at whose house Mr. Burr entertained his Company. The house was full; but we crept in with the crowd. After tea, we went with a number of Ladies to a certain house where we were to have had a dance, but we were so much crowded there was no room left to move in, not till after 11. Here was an odd scene: at about two we conducted the ladies to their homes, and then retired to our own lodgings. A young lady by the name of Caroline Williams is the celebrated beauty of Sandwich; she is fair extremely delicate, and her features are regular and well proportioned: but I cannot think her so uncommonly beautiful, as many persons suppose, and as she appears convinced herself: her Sister Patty is more agreeable.
1. Oakes Shaw, minister of the West Parish Church and elder brother of John Shaw, JQA's uncle (Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Including an Extensive Family Register, Boston, 1840, p. 291).
2. Anne Buckminster Williams, wife of Abraham Williams, who had been minister at Sandwich from 1749 until his death in Aug. 1784 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:498–501).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-19


Between 10 and 11 this morning I set off with Vose and Lloyd, and Clark, and arrived at Plymouth, before 2 in the afternoon. We found Sever and Henry Warren as soon as we arrived, and dined with them at a Mr. Russells; I paid a visit to Mrs. Thomas, and pass'd the afternoon at Warren's chamber. We drank tea at Mr. Russell's: he has two fine Sisters; one of them remarkably { 209 } handsome. After tea we adjourned to Bartlett's tavern, where we amused ourselves with cards till 11 at night and then went to supper. The company consisted of Captain Thomas, Mr. Russell, H. Warren, Sever, Vose Lloyd, and me. After supper the glass circulated so briskly, that one of the Company, became immensely foolish. Cards were again proposed; at three in the morning the travellers retired, and left the other four at whist, where they continued, till an hour after Sun rise.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-20


At nine this morning we left Plymouth, and proceeded with Sever, and Warren, to Kingston. They had been up the whole night, and we were upon the run, the greatest part of the two last nights; we were consequently very much worn out and fatigued. Just as we arrived at Mr. Sever's in Kingston, we found the President and his Lady, going from there. We rambled about before and after dinner: and finally kept ourselves awake, with backgammon and whist till 9 o'clock, after which we retired to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-21


Snow'd quite fast this morning, and the weather was very cold. Between 10 and 11 however we departed from Kingston, and arrived a little before two at Cushing's tavern in Hingham, where we dined, after which we proceeded forward; I stopp'd at Dr. Tufts's, where I found, my brothers and Cousin. At about Sunset I started again, and got home, just after dark. I then heard of a terrible fire, which happened in Boston last night,1 and consumed an hundred buildings among which three or four belonging to Mrs. Amory, the mother of an amiable classmate of mine, whose misfortune I peculiarly lament.
1. The fire was centered along Orange (now Washington) Street near Beach Street in what was then the southern part of Boston. The fire's destructiveness was eclipsed up to that time only by the great fires of 1711 and 1760 (Independent Chronicle, 26 April).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-22


Somewhat fatigued in consequence of my journey: for which reason, I did not go to meeting to hear Mr. Taft1 comment upon the scriptures. Was at the office, writing the greatest part of the day.
{ 210 }
1. Moses Taft, minister of the south precinct of Braintree (now Randolph) (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:135–136).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-23


Rambling about with my gun all the forenoon; but with little success: went and dined at my uncle Quincy's and pass'd the afternoon there: when I return'd I found Mrs. Warren, had been at Mr. Cranch's; with her Son.
Weather very dry.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-24


Very warm this forenoon. After dinner, I had just set out with my aunt to go down to Mr. Beale's in Dorchester, when we met Mrs. Williams, and her daughter in a Chaise; we returned, and about ten minutes after Mrs. Beale, and Miss Mayhew, with Ben and Miss Street, came in. Mrs. and Miss Williams propose passing the night here.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-25


The other young gentlemen, went off at about 8 o'clock: I waited about an hour longer, in order to accompany Mrs. Williams. Stopp'd about a quarter of an hour at Genl. Warren's, and arrived at College before 12: found very few of the students arrived; pass'd the evening at Mr. Dana's: he is still upon the recovery, but not very fast.
Walter Hunnewell,1 will be 18 the 10th. of next August. His misfortune is to have been born in low life, and to have been kept in it to this day. The company which his education necessarily led him into has been such as students are not used to keep; and his Classmates, consequently treat him with the most perfect neglect: as a scholar he is remarkable on neither side; and his genius appears suited to the condition in which he was born; he is a mere cypher in the Class, and was it not for the public exercices which he is obliged to attend; I should never have known there was such a person in College.
1. Hunnewell later became a physician and practiced in Watertown (James Frothingham Hunnewell, Hunnewell: Chiefly Six Generations in Massachusetts, [Cambridge], 1900, p. 30–31).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-26


The students return, slowly. Cranch went back to Braintree last night. Clark arrived from Plymouth, where he left Sever and Fiske. Rain'd almost all the forenoon, and cleared up at about dinner time.
Joseph Jackson1 of Brookline was 19 the 27th. of last October. His countenance is of a brown inexpressive cast, and his face is as perfect a blank, as his mind. His eyes are black, and always in an unmeaning stare. He is extremely dull of apprehension, and possesses no other talent, than that of pouring forth with profusion the language of Billingsgate. If I was called to point out the smallest genius in the Class, I should show him: if the most indolent and negligent student, he would be the man: but at the same time I must do him the justice to say he is not vicious; and when all the faults which a man has, may be attributed to nature, perhaps we ought not to find fault with him. Died. August. 1790.2
1. Jackson later studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Clement Jackson, and with Ammi Cutter in Portsmouth, N.H. (John Pierce, Reminiscences of Forty Years . . . in Brookline, Boston, 1837, p. 33; Russell Leigh Jackson, “John Jackson and Some of His Descendants,” NEHGR, 97:9 [Jan. 1943]).
2. Added at a later date.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-27


Went into the library, and took out one Volume of Wolff's mathematics.1 Charles went to Boston: this evening Cranch returned from Braintree: we had a class meeting this evening, and voted to present a petition for a private Commencement to the overseers, who are to meet next Tuesday. I was desired, with Barron and Packard to draw up the petition. The meeting was adjourned to monday night.
1. Christian Wolff, Elementa Matheseos Universae, 5 vols., Geneva, 1743–1754 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 92).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-28


The Boston Scholars come up this evening, after entering their names at the buttery on Wednesday.
I drew up the petition, this day, but it was little more than a repetition, of what has been said in those which were presented to the Corporation.
{ 212 }
Asa Johnson1 of Bolton, Worcester County, was 28 the 6th. of this month. He is the oldest person in the Class, and without possessing a superior genius, he is literally mad with ambition:

What shall I do to be forever known?2

appears to be the question he has frequently asked himself: but unfortunately he has hit upon a method which will not succeed: he has determined never to be of the same opinion with any other person; and to set the world at defiance: the first point which he establishes is, that the existence of a God is an absurd chimaera, which little minds only can conceive: and such a violent antipathy, has Johnson to the idea of a supreme being that no one can even hint an idea which has the most distant connection with religion, without being flatly contradicted by him: if you pretend to reason with him, he will not argue, but by cavilling upon words, and pouring forth round assertions, he keeps to his point, and never acknowledges himself in an error: Upon all other subjects he has likewise peculiar ideas; and if any one expresses an opinion, similar to that of the generality of the world; he must submit to contradiction from Johnson, as he would from a parrot, without noticing it: but the gentleman is not content with opposing the opinions of men, he must likewise follow different customs: this is a late improvement upon his System: and as his Circumstances are rather penurious, he must go upon an economical plan: last winter he cut off the tops of his boots, and they served as the upper leather for a pair of shoes: his coat was longer than necessary and folds in the skirts were entirely useless; he therefore cut them off, and had a waistcoat made with them. His hair he has cut short, but in the winter, he suffers it to grow; so that it may keep him warm. But it takes whatever direction chance may give, and

Each particular hair does stand on end,

Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.3

He even carries his singularity so far, that in eating a piece of bread and butter he holds the butter downwards, so that it may come upon the tongue. In short he is determined to be distinguished from the rest of the world, and he has succeeded: but he will always find I believe, that the world, will not respect the notions of a man, who pays no respect at all to theirs.
{ 213 }
1. Johnson was later a Worcester co. lawyer and, for a short time, postmaster of Leominster, Mass. (Hist. of Suffolk County, Mass., 1:523; Fitchburg Historical Society, Procs., 1 [1892–1894]:91).
2. “What shall I do to be for ever known, / And make the age to come my own?” (Abraham Cowley, “The Motto,” lines 1–2, Works, 11th edn., 3 vols,, London, 1710–1711, 1:1, at MQA).
3. Hamlet, Act I, scene v, lines 19–20.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-29


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preach'd in the forenoon, and Mr. Willard,1 brother to my Classmate, after dinner. Quite a young man; and his sermon was a proof of it. It was upon justice, temperance fortitude, godliness brotherly kindness, and charity: and not contemptible: his pronunciation however was not perfectly accurate, and there were some little improprieties in his language. Mr. Hilliard and he, very devoutly pray'd for one another.
William Samuel Judd2 of Hartford, in Connecticut, was 21, the 10th. of January last. He was almost three years at New-Haven College, and entered this University, since last Commencement, he has boarded out of college till this quarter, and I have consequently had but little opportunity to be acquainted with him. As a scholar he is not very conspicuous, if we judge from his public exercices. He appears rather to have a disposition towards low-life, and trades, with hair dresses and tailors, in fiddles and old cloaths. This however I only have from common report; as I have never seen any thing in him, of that kind: but there is not one of the scholars from any other College, in our Class, that leads us to suppose their method of education better than that which is pursued here.
1. Both brothers of Samuel Willard were ministers; but this one presumably was Joseph, minister at Wilbraham, Mass. (Joseph Willard and Charles Wilkes Walker, Willard Genealogy: Sequel to Willard Memoir, ed. Charles Henry Pope, Boston, 1915, p. 91, 176).
2. After graduation, Judd returned to Connecticut, where he entered trade in New Britain (Sylvester Judd, Thomas Judd and his Descendants, Northampton, Mass., 1856, p. 19–20, 28).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-30


Cranch and my Chum went to Boston this morning to see a pompous funeral of one Mr. Webb, who was grand master of the lodge of free-masons at Boston.
We had a philosophical Lecture this forenoon, upon the central forces, with an explanation of some of the conic sections. { 214 } After prayers this evening we had a class meeting. The petition to the overseers was read, and signed by those of the Class that were present. We had a thunder shower in the afternoon. It cleared up in the evening and was very pleasant. After ten o'clock I walk'd with Cranch and Foster across the common.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-01

Tuesday May 1st. 1787.

It thundered this morning from seven to nine, with some rain. I went with Barron to Mr. Hilliard's, and gave him the petition, which we desired him to deliver to the board of overseers. He told us we should not be so likely to succeed as we might if the Senate were to attend; they are detained by Boston by public affairs, as this is the last day on which the general Court propose to sit.1 However, the matter was not determined this day; but the gentlemen adjourned till Friday, at Boston when some of the Senators may attend.
Samuel Kellogg2 of Hebron, in Connecticut will be 26 the 7th. of this month. After having spent some time both at New Haven, and at Dartmouth Colleges, he entered here just before last Commencement: he proposes preaching, and is very superstitious and bigoted: he agreed after last Commencement to chum with Child; but before they had lived together three months, Child gave him six dollars to renounce his right to part of their chamber. Sever was the first person who noticed him, when he came to College, and he rewarded him by telling some lies concerning Sever, to a young lady, and in consequence of this he had a violent dispute with him. He introduced himself to several of the best families in town, and desired Mr. Read to introduce him to the worthy lads in our Class, because, said he, “I wish to be intimate with those only that bear good characters.” A character thus compounded of Superstition, impudence, hiprocrisy, and Avarice, will not probably be popular any where: here he is universally despised or hated.
1. Under a provision of the Massachusetts Constitution, the governor, deputy governor, governor's council, and the senate of the Commonwealth, together with the ministers of Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester, were all members of the Harvard Board of Overseers (Ch. V, Sect. I, Art. III).
2. Kellogg returned to Hebron to study divinity and later lived in Westfield, Mass., and Wethersfield and Hartford, Conn. (Timothy Hopkins, The Kelloggs in the Old World and the New, 2 vols., San Francisco, 1903, 1:171, 364).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-02


This morning I went out with Forbes and Mason, on a gunning party. The game was very scarce, but among us all, we kill'd a large variety of birds. We dined at one Richardson's, living beyond the fresh pond, and did not return till almost six o'clock; pass'd the evening with Cranch, and was much fatigued.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-03


Cranch went to Braintree this morning. I pass'd the greater part of the day in writing. I do not expect to get properly at the study which for one fortnight I wish to pursue till next week; and then I must attend to it with great diligence.
Weather fine.
Ephraim Kendall1 of Ipswich, Essex C. was 20 the 28th. of last Novr. There is something peculiar in this character. He is said to be one of the hardest students and one of the poorest scholars in the Class: his natural abilities are so small, that they can scarcely be improved even by cultivation. He appears to be totally destitute of literary judgment at least; for I have heard him declaim a piece in very plain english, which I was convinced he did not understand. At recitations he was never distinguished for taking the meaning of an author, and in short all his public exercices have been inferior to the common run. Yet he is possess'd of extreme sensibility, and his temper is very irascible. His person is handsome, but there is an unmeaning stare in his eye, which is too expressive of the vacancy in his mind. It would require a very metaphysical genius to prove this to be a good or a bad character; but it is not certainly one, which any person would wish to possess.
1. Kendall became an Ipswich merchant and, presumably, owner of several ships (Columbian Centinel, 12 Sept. 1798; Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 40:232, 333 [July, Oct. 1904]; 41:376 [Oct. 1905]; 70:86 [Jan. 1934]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-04


Mr. Williams at 11 o'clock gave us a philosophical lecture in which he blended two of those he gave last year; upon the centripetal force; and upon the lever.
Wrote a great deal this day. Mrs. Cranch, and Miss Lucy, were here this afternoon.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-05


A sultry, disagreeable day. Mr. Williams gave a philosophical lecture this morning; but I had forgotten his announcing it, and when the bell rung, supposed it was for some other exercice; this is the first lecture of any kind which I have not attended, since I entered the university; after dinner several of the Class went a fishing: I set out with them; but turn'd back as there was too much wind, for sport. Cranch returned from Braintree this evening.
Nathaniel Laurance1 of Woburn, Middlesex C. was 21 the 21st. of last July. I have not much acquaintance with him; but those who know him are not enthusiastic in their praises. He professes a vast deal of independence, and assurance; his heart he says never palpitated at the presence of man: and the heart which never palpitated with fear, cannot surely beat for joy. As a scholar, and as a speaker he is not conspicuous; though in his declamations he has frequently display'd that matchless impudence, of which he is so fond of boasting. His moral character is good I believe, and it is said, he has assisted his chum (Jackson) very much in the article of composition.
1. Lawrence became a minister at Tyngsborough, Mass., 1790–1839 (History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, comp. D. Hamilton Hurd, 3 vols., Phila., 1890, 2:372).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-06


Attended Mr. Hilliard all day. He preach'd rather better than usual, I think.
Dined with my brothers at Judge Dana's. He looks much better, than I have seen him at any time since he has been sick. The weather in the course of the day was disagreeably warm; more so than it has been at any time this Season, but in the evening it grew cooler, and, rained very plentifully. Pass'd the greatest part of the evening at Mason's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-07


This morning I went up, with Cranch, Learned, Lloyd, Mason, Phelps and Putnam, to the fresh pond, on fishing; and did not return till after four in the afternoon: we caught only a few small fish; and had the pleasure of rowing a clumsy boat all over the pond.
{ 217 }
I miss'd two lectures by this party: one from Mr. Williams at 11. and the other from Mr. Pearson at 2.
Pass'd the evening in Angier's chamber.
Ebenezer Learned1 of Medford, Middlesex C: will be 25 the 30th. of next Octr. Without possessing a superior genius; by mere dint of application he has become a respectable scholar: his mind is perhaps more attentive to matters of small moment, than is necessary: he has candour enough to confess himself envious, but says he cannot help it: he appears to be sensible that his abilities, are not of the first rate, yet he acknowledges, that his soul is tortured with ambition. I would not give a fig for life said he, one day to me, if I could but plant immortality upon Ebenezer Learned: There is not at present any prospect that his name, will obtain immortality. But he intends to be a preacher, when he may comfort himself with the idea, that his soul, must be immortal. He was as he says himself too old when he entered the University. From 14 to 18 I should suppose the best age for entering. The studies which are pursued here, are just calculated for the tender minds of youth; but the degree of liberty that is enjoyed, renders it dangerous to young persons, before they have acquired a certain degree of judgment.
1. Learned studied medicine with Edward Augustus Holyoke in Salem and briefly practiced in Leominster, Mass., before moving in 1793 to Hopkinton, N.H., where he resided for the rest of his life (C. C. Lord, Life and Times in Hopkinton, N.H...., Concord, N.H., 1890, p. 248, 426, 427).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-08


Began to pay some attention to my theses. Studied fluxions, a little in the forenoon: and the afternoon, translated a few. Was at Putnam's chamber before dinner. Leonard White returned from Haverhill, this day, and brought me a letter:1 at prayers Mr. Ware read a latin theological dissertation. We had a meeting of the ΦBK at Freeman's chamber. The usual performances were exhibited, and it was voted to admit the juniors Abbot, Bancroft, and Lincoln.
1. Letter not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-09


Mr. Wigglesworth gave a private lecture this morning, and we had likewise a philosophical lecture from Mr. Williams; the sub• { 218 } ject was fire; and there were a number of curious observations, which, I do not recollect having heard last year: Charles pass'd part of the evening with me, at my chamber.
Moses Little1 of Newbury, will be 21 the 4th. of next July. Great application, joined to very good natural abilities, place him in the first line, in the class as a scholar: he has been attentive to all those parts of Science which are pursued here, and in all, he has made considerable proficiency: as a speaker, he is inferior to several, but his composition, is perhaps rather too flowery: to a large share of ambition he unites great modesty, and he has the peculiar talent of being favour'd by the government of the College, without losing his popularity with his Classmates. His disposition must of course be amiable, he seldom contradicts the opinions of any one, yet when he is obliged to declare his own sentiments, he can shew, that he thinks for himself. But notwithstanding all of his good qualities; he is sometimes censured, and such is the instability, of all populaces, that a small trifle might induce two thirds of the Class to deny the improvements and the abilities even of this person.
1. Little after graduation studied medicine with John Barnard Swett in Newburyport, at the same time JQA was pursuing his legal studies there; afterward he practiced in Salem (Russell Leigh Jackson, “Physicians of Essex County,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 84:89 [Jan. 1948]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-10


A violent north east storm continued the whole day, with copious rain: there has fallen more this day, than in any other two for a twelve-month past: and it will be very serviceable to the ground: Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Greenleaf were here this afternoon from Haverhill; but notwithstanding the storm, they proceeded to Boston.
Pass'd the evening with Cranch.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-11


Storm'd again the whole day: we had a lecture from Mr. Williams, upon heat, in which he introduced his own system, which he first made public last year. Charles declaimed this evening in public, for the first time. Pass'd the evening with Mead.
James Lloyd1 of Boston, was 17 []. He is said to be a good scholar, and a hard student; but his disposition is far from ami• { 219 } able. He is an only son, of a physician of eminence, and fortune in Boston; and has been too much indulged in every childish caprice, to make him studious to please others: his ideas appear to be, that the beings which surround him were created to administer to his pleasures, but that he was born wholly independent of them: whatever he sees, different from his own taste, he honours with a sneer, but when any person has boldness enough to return the sneer

Then his fierce eyes, with sparkling fury glow.2

He has not the least command of his passions, and any person of coolness might play upon his mind, and direct his rage, just as he should please.
But he can never be an agreeable companion; I was with him continually, for one week; and I should never wish to be with him again. His chum (Amory) is the only person that could live with him without quarreling, and he preserves peace only by giving way in every particular: a greater contrast of characters could not be found. Amory has every virtue which conspires to win the hearts of men, and Lloyd would be discontented, if he was placed at the right hand of omnipotence.
1. Lloyd became a Boston merchant, and, after JQA's resignation, served in the U.S. Senate from 1808 to 1813 and from 1822 to 1826 (Boston Directory, 1796; Biog. Dir. Cong.).
2. “An Essay on Criticism,” line 378.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-12


The storm continued the whole day with unabated violence. Mr. Williams gave a philosophical Lecture upon hydrostatics, something different from that which we had on the same subject last year. Indeed several of the late lectures have been much diversified; and are the more agreeable on that account.
We had in the evening a meeting of the A B. Cranch gave us the anniversary Oration, which was well written and delivered. After this a subject of importance was discussed; and then, the officers for the next quarter, were chosen from the junior Class: Abbot was elected president, Barron secretary, and Gardner deputy secretary. The members from our Class, then took their leave; and for the future are to attend only as spectators, and at their option.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-13


The storm continued violent through the whole day. The rain pour'd down, with as much force, as if there had not fallen a drop before. I felt dizzy in the head, and therefore did not attend meeting: in the evening at half past eight we met by adjournment from last night, at Fiske's chamber; we finally concluded, the business which we met upon by the expulsion of the person, who had betray'd the Society; after which we returned all to our Chambers.
James Lovell1 of Weymouth, Suffolk C. was 19. the 1st. of January last. It would be almost impossible to trace, the sources of this person's principles of action: it might perhaps be said with truth that he has none: his natural abilities appear to be good, but they have never been improved by much cultivation: his education before he came to this university was not brilliant, and he now exhibits the mingled qualities of a buck and a clown. His passions rule him, with unrestrained sway; yet his mind is so pliant that it is easily directed by any kind of reasoning: such a disposition cannot be perfectly amiable: and accordingly he has lived with five different Chums, since his admission to College: and, if he had to remain here any longer, he would certainly change again at Commencement. He might make a good military officer; but I believe he will never shine very conspicuous, in any other capacity.
1. Lovell later practiced medicine in Weymouth (History of Weymouth, Massachusetts, 4 vols., Weymouth, 1923, 3:399–400, 402–403).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-14


We had a philosophical lecture at 11. A Class meeting was called this evening, to determine, whether the Class should take any further measures, upon the ill success of our petition for the overseers: it was proposed that the whole Class should refuse to perform the different parts that may be allotted to them for Commencement. A Committee of three was appointed, (Barron, Freeman and Packard,) to draw up a solemn declaration to be signed by all the Class. After an adjournment of one hour, we returned to the chappel: the declaration was read, and signed by 29 members of the Class: some requested time to reflect upon the subject, and some peremptorily refused to sign: it was finally voted to adjourn the meeting till to-morrow morning, that those { 221 } who wish for time to think on the matter, may then insert their names. I, opposed the measure, because, I perceived that more than half of those who signed, were influenced merely by the fear of being thought desirous of honourable parts: and I am morally certain an engagement of that kind, when contracted with so much reluctance, would never be regarded, if the person who contracted it should find it for his interest to violate the agreement.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-15


Mr. Williams gave us a lecture upon pneumatics: The parts for Commencement were not given out this morning as was expected: but the Class met by adjournment and tore up the agreement, as they found there was not sufficient unanimity, to carry the measure into execution.
William Mason,1 of Salem, Essex C. will be 19 the 12th. of next September. His natural abilities are very good, and he has a peculiar taste for the Science of natural philosophy: this he has cultivated much by reading, and observation: but in all the other branches of learning, he has been rather remiss, and to all the college exercices, he has been very inattentive; his moral principles are not very severe, and in general since he has been a member of this university, he has been as indolent, and dissipated as any in the Class: his disposition is naturally good, and he is possessed of an innate generosity of soul, which even when it is carried to an excess, is at least an amiable failing: but he has not that command over his passions, which is requisite to a man, who wishes to be popular in the world; and he has always borne the character of a buck: his faults however may all be attributed to youthful imprudence; and a few years may probably render him a very useful member of Society.2
1. Mason later became preceptor at “Smith's Academy” in Charleston, S.C. (Bentley, Diary, 1:178, 182, 322; 3:147).
2. Found at this point in the Diary on a loose sheet of paper are ten lines of poetry in JQA's hand about JA which were copied from Joel Barlow's The Vision of Columbus; A Poem in Nine Books, Hartford, 1787, p. 165.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-16


The parts for Commencement have been expected for a day or two, with some degree of impatience by the Class: they have not { 222 } yet, however been delivered. I pass'd last evening with Freeman at the Butler's chamber: he said he had seen the different parts at the president's; and that there were several of a different kind, from what have been usual in former years. Mr. Williams gave us another lecture this forenoon, upon pneumatics; he proceeds faster this year than he did last, and may close sooner, although it was a week later, when he began.
Daniel Mayo1 of Roxbury, Suffolk C. will be 25 the 30th. of next September. Little can be said of this person, except that his disposition, is very amiable: as a scholar, and as a speaker he is neither contemptible nor excellent: his chief attention has been turn'd to the study of geometry, Surveying, trigonometry, and those parts of the mathematics which are usually studied here. In these he has made some proficiency: but his virtues are more the objects of our esteem, than his abilities of our admiration: he will certainly be a good man: and that reputation is much more meritorious than the fame of extraordinary talents; because the qualities of the head are given to us, by nature; but those of the heart depend chiefly upon ourselves.
1. Mayo went west in 1788 with Col. Ebenezer Battelle, Harvard 1775, to Belpre, Ohio, where he taught school for a few years. Eventually he settled in Newport, Ky. (Clara Paine Ohler, “Frontier Life in the Old Northwest,” Journal of American History, 2:305 [1908]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-17


This morning the different parts for Commencement were distributed by the president, in the following order.
1. A Latin Salutatory Oration, by Little.
2. An English Poem by Harris.
3. A Syllogistic disputation upon the question—“Whether thought be the essence of the soul”? by Hammond, respondent. Whitney,1 Phelps, Mason, and Lovell opponents.
4. A Forensic disputation, upon the question,—“Whether it be possible for civil liberty long to subsist in a Community, without three orders in the government, vested with such powers as to make them mutualy checks upon, and balances to each other? by Bridge, and Cranch.2
5. A Latin conference, upon the happy effects of industry and Economy in a Community. By Abbot 1st. and Abbot 2d.
{ 223 }
6. A Forensic disputation, upon the question—“Whether the world has been and is, continually increasing in useful knowledge and morality. By Chandler 3d. and Fiske.
7. A Syllogistic disputation, upon the question—“Whether any man be so depraved as to have left all sense of virtue”? by Johnson, respondent. Judd, Jackson, Hunnewell and Fuller, opponents.
8. An English Oration, upon the importance and necessity of public faith, to the well-being of a Community, By Adams.3
9. A conference in greek, upon the excellencies of some of the greek writers. By Eaton and Vose.
10. An English conference, upon this question,—“Whether, to attain the end of civil government, it be as necessary to reward the virtuous as to punish the vicious? By Foster and Putnam.
11. A Latin Oration, upon agriculture, by Beale.
12. An English conference, upon this query—“Whether mankind in general are most influenced in their conduct, by a desire of wealth, power, or fame. By Amory, Lloyd and White.4
13. A Latin conference upon this topic—Whether learning, really promotes the happiness of those who possess it? By Chandler 1st. and Mead.
14. A Forensic disputation, on the question—“Whether self-love be the ultimate spring of all human actions. By Burge and Packard.
15. An Hebrew Oration. By Learned.
16. A greek Conference upon the advantages of Peace, for cultivating the arts and Sciences. By Morton and Welch.
17. Astronomical calculations, and projections, algebraic deductions, geometrical demonstrations, solutions of problems in conic Sections, and in Trigonometry—Surveying &c. By Angier, Barron, Chandler 2d., Child, Cushman, Forbes, Kellogg, Kendal, Laurance, Mayo, Prentiss, Rand, Sever, Willard, and Williams.5
18. An English Oration. By Freeman.
The distribution of the parts, is generally approved: some indeed who are disappointed in receiving such as they suppose, less respectable than what they expected, complain, and Eaton I think is with reason displeased. On the other hand Amory, who was so certain himself of having an opponent's part, that he had engaged Hammond to write his syllogisms, for him; was agreeably disappointed, with an english conference. All the Class { 224 } agree that he deserves it not, as a student, but all are pleased with his allotment because his disposition is so uncommonly amiable.
I pass'd the evening at Mr. Dana's; in company with Mr. Reed and the librarian. The Class this evening confirmed their reputation for propriety of behaviour, by avoiding all those excesses, which have frequently disgraced the characters of the students. There were no disorders of any kind.
1. Whitney did not perform in the commencement ceremonies, apparently because his unpaid college bills kept him from graduating with the others (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:259; entry for 18 July, below).
2. Bridge was excused from the commencement, and Cranch read an oration on the same subject (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:259–260).
3. A slip of paper assigning JQA's part, written by Willard and limiting him to ten minutes, is inserted between pages 290 and 291 of the Diary.
4. In the Diary nos. 1, 2, and 3 are placed above “wealth, power, or fame,” respectively. Above “Amory, Lloyd and White” are nos. 2, 3, and 1, in that order.
5. Barron and Cushman did not perform, presumably because they had not yet paid their bills; Williams was officially excused from the ceremonies (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:261; entry for 18 July, below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-18


Concluded my theses, and carried them to him1 for examination. Began my part for commencement, and wrote about one page. The good parts as they are called, are so much more numerous this year, than they ever have been before, that the president was obliged to limit the time, to be taken up by the different performances. Mine is restrained to ten minutes; so that I shall not be able to write much.
Samuel Mead2 of Harvard, Worcester C. will be 25 the 30th. of this month. His oratorical and scholastic talents, are not remarkable on either side; he has a command of his countenance, which gives him a great advantage in declaiming humorous pieces. He is an exceeding kind neighbour, and I have lived, in the chamber adjoining his, upon very friendly terms, this year: but his politeness, I fear goes too far, for it appears to me, he is always of the same opinion with his Company however opposite that may be at different times. He has even been accused of hypocrisy; this charge however I hope is entirely without foundation, and I have no reason, to doubt of his honour or of his sincerity. The greatest defect which I have observed in him, has been, a jealousy, and suspicion, of what others have said of him: this circumstance has set him at variance with several of his class-mates; and has { 225 } | view probably been the cause of those reports which have been spread, injurious to his honour.3
1. President Joseph Willard.
2. Mead was ordained minister at Alstead, N.H., in 1791, but his congregation grew dissatisfied with his Unitarianism and dismissed him in Aug. 1797. He then went to Walpole, N.H., where he occasionally preached, but he was never again settled in a pulpit (George Aldrich, Walpole . . . Containing the Complete Civil History of the Town From 1749 to 1879..., Claremont, N.H., 1880, p. 327–328).
3. Found between pages 244 and 245 in the Diary is a loose scrap of paper with the following words: “Ε᾽χδρος γάρ μοι κεῖνος ὁμῶς ἀΐδαο πυλῄσιν / ὅς χ᾽ ἕτερο ν μὲν κεύθει ἐνὶ φρεσὶν, αλλο δὲ βάζει.. Iliad: 9. v: 312. Who dares think one thing, and another tell,/My heart detests him as the gates of Hell. Pope.”
Evidently JQA was comparing with Pope's the original version (lines 312–313), rendered as “for hateful in my eyes, even as the gates of Hades, is that man that hideth one thing in his mind and sayeth another” (Homer, The Iliad With An English Translation, transl., Augustus T. Murray, 2 vols., London, 1924, 1:404, 405; Iliad, transl. Pope, Bk. IX, lines 412–413).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-19


Mr. Thaxter was here, about half an hour, on his return to Haverhill. Mr. Williams, gave us yesterday a lecture; still upon the subject of air: in the afternoon, I carried down my theses to the president, for approbation: I went with Mrs. and Miss Williams, and Miss Betsey Cranch into the Museum, where the professor diverted them, with a number of experiments. He was very sociable, and full of wit upon the effect of the pulse-glasses.1 We returned just before prayers, and drank tea, at Mr. Williams's: he conversed much, upon the distribution of the parts, and upon the opinions of the students, with respect to the transactions of the government of the University. White pass'd the evening with me.
1. Pulse-glasses: Glass tubes filled with rarified air and enclosed at each end with a bulb “which when grasped by the hand exhibits a momentary ebullition, which is repeated at each beat of the pulse” (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-20


Attended meeting all day. Dined at Mr. Dana's, with the butler.1 The weather was warm, the fore part of the day, but in the afternoon, got round to the east.
Ephraim Morton2 of Boston was, []. He has been absent from college, on account of sickness, ever since Commencement, till this quarter; so that I have had less opportunity to form any acquaintance with him, than with any other person belonging to { 226 } the Class. His character however is not very conspicuous in any line; he is said to be a very good scholar in the Latin and greek languages; but even when he is here, he is little noticed by the Class in general, and I have seldom been in Company with him: his disposition is good, and he has at least the merit, of not being the author of any mischief.
1. William Harris served as butler from July 1786 (MH-Ar: Corporation Records, 3:260).
2. Morton afterward studied medicine and became a surgeon in the East India Company's service (Massachusetts Centinel, 16 Dec. 1789).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-21


Mr. Williams this forenoon closed the subject of Pneumatics, with an account of the different kinds of air. Was employ'd, the chief part of the day in writing my part for Commencement, and have not yet finished it. As I am conscious, of having no talent at rhetorical composition; this allotment has given me a vast deal of anxiety. As my part is of the same kind with that of Freeman, whose chief talent, among many others, lies in this kind of Compositions; I dread the comparisons which may be made; and although my friendship for him is such, that I shall rejoice to see him perform his part with universal approbation, and unbounded applause, yet I cannot help fearing that contrasts may be drawn, which will reflect disgrace upon me.1
1. Even after four decades, the signs of competitiveness with Freeman over the commencement orations were still evident. JQA wrote: “The incidents attending it were of a nature to make and leave a deep impression upon my mind. The appointment to deliver it was itself a high distinction. Yet it was but the second honour of the Class; and he who took the first, the preferred rival [Freeman], sunk at the age of 35, to be forgotten” (JQA, Diary, 7 Oct. 1822, Memoirs, 6:77).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-22


Our lecture this day, was upon magnetism; but I think it was nearly or exactly the same with that which was delivered last year upon that subject: I concluded my piece this afternoon, and propose to lay it by for some time; and to make such alterations from time to time, as shall appear proper. This afternoon Mr. Wiggles worth gave us a lecture; but was scandalously interrupted.
Hezekiah Packard,1 of Newtown, Middlesex C. was 24, the 6th. of last December. He has a good share of original wit; but his ge• { 227 } nius is not uncommon: his improvements are greater than those of the students in general, but not such as to place him in the first rank of scholars. As a speaker he is too much addicted to a monotony, whatever his declamations are. His disposition is good, and his moral character is unimpeachable.
1. Packard became mathematics tutor at Harvard, 1789–1793, and later served as minister in Chelmsford, Mass., in Wiscassett, Maine, and in Middlesex Village (Lowell), Mass. (Samuel P. Hadley, “Boyhood Reminiscences of Middlesex Village,” Contributions of the Lowell Historical Society, 1:216 [July 1911]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-23


This day, we had a lecture upon electricity: we received a shock, which was much more violent than that given us last year. I felt it only by a very disagreeable twitch in the joint at both elbows; but it was a kind of pain different from any thing else I ever felt. It is so instantaneous, that the sensation is known only by recollection: it was over before I was sensible of the stroke: it had however a powerful effect upon my nerves, as indeed I recollect, the small shock which we received last year, had likewise: Mr. Williams informed us, that for the future his lectures would depend upon the weather; as the optical experiments could not be exhibited, unless the sky were clear. Cranch went to Braintree with his Sister to-day: she intended to have spent a week more here; but was taken ill on Sunday, and is still so unwell, that she wishes to be at home.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-24


Weather was so cloudy all day, that we had no philosophical lecture. Tuesday evening we had a meeting of the ΦBK. Admitted Abbot, Bancroft, and Lincoln, and yesterday morning, we met again at Packard's chamber, and voted to admit Barron, Gardner and Grosvenor. Our Class having no college exercices to attend to, and many of them having now finished their parts for Commencement, are generally very indolent. Riding, and playing, and eating and drinking employ, the chief part of their time.
John Phelps1 of Westfield, Hampshire C, will be 19 the 16th. of next month. He entered this University, with Judd, since last Commencement and has not made a conspicuous figure in the Class. This College indeed cannot boast much of the acquisitions it has made from New-Haven and Dartmouth. Angier, Kellogg, { 228 } Judd, Phelps and Willard are all either harmless and inoffensive, or malicious, and hypocritical characters. Phelps however would come under the first description; for no body ever complains of being injured by him. He is I believe one of those indifferent characters, which are neither virtuous nor vicious.
1. Phelps studied law and practiced in Granville, Mass., where he also became a town officer, state representative, and sheriff of Hampden co., 1813–1831 (Oliver Seymour Phelps, The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors..., 2 vols., Pittsfield, Mass., 1899, 1:184; Albion B. Wilson, History of Granville, Massachusetts, [Hartford, Conn.], 1954, p. 126–129).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-25


Rain'd all day; but cleared up in the evening. We had last night a class meeting, to determine, concerning the printing of our theses; and notwithstanding the vociferous clamour of certain characters, who always glory in creating confusion, it was finally determined, that Mr. Freeman should print 2000, and a Committee was chosen, to make the agreement with him: it was then voted, that the sum which has been subtracted from the usual expence for a Corporation dinner at Commencement, be applied to the relief of the indigent scholars in the Class: a Committee was chosen to collect the money on or before the 18th. of next June, after which the meeting was dissolved. I pass'd this evening at Freeman's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-26


The weather was fair this forenoon, and Mr. Williams gave us a lecture, upon the nature, reflection, and refrangibility of light. Took a long walk this evening after prayers. Sever spent the evening at my chamber.
Nathaniel Shepard Prentiss1 of Charlestown, will be 21, the 7 th. of next August. He is a pretty good speaker, but as a scholar he is not conspicuous; notwithstanding his age, his countenance and his manners have a puerility, which indicates a boy, rather than a man: his disposition however is good: he has none of those distinguished traits of character, which bespeak a man extraordinary, whether in a good, or in an evil sense. His abilities are such as may carry him through the world with decency, if fortune should not be unfriendly; but he never will be a Cromwell nor an Hampden.
{ 229 }
1. Prentiss, sometimes spelled Prentice, practiced medicine in Marlborough, Mass., and from 1801 in Roxbury, Mass., where he combined the role of doctor with that of principal of the grammar school. He also served as town clerk and town representative in the General Court (Harrington, Hist. Harvard Medical School, 1:193–194).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-27


Attended Mr. Hilliard, the whole day: he preach'd in the afternoon a Charity Sermon, and a contribution was made, for the benefit of the unfortunate sufferers, at the late fire in Boston. There was a scandalous stamping, by some of the students, at the time of singing. Such conduct must always bring disgrace upon the University itself.
Samuel Putnam,1 of Danvers, Essex C, was 20, the 13th. of this month. To the stature, he unites the manners and the behaviour of a boy: he is a pretty good speaker, but as a scholar he is extremely superficial: his vanity, which was puffd up in the winter, by the allotment of an english Oration at an exhibition, has of late received considerable mortification. The circumstance, at the time surprized every one in the Class himself excepted, but the late allotment to him was a subject of astonishment to no one but himself. He sometimes proposes to pursue the study of the Law, and sometimes, to turn his attention to physic: and in this indecision as in all the rest of his conduct, he exhibits the weakness and instability of his mind. Unless years bring wisdom to him, he can never make a respectable figure in life.
1. Putnam eventually decided to study law, but went to Judge Theophilus Bradbury's office in Newburyport, for Parsons' was full. There JQA noted that “he is not exempt from that puerility which I mentioned as constituting his character,” a reference to this earlier character sketch, but was “more pleased with him than I was while we were classmates.” Putnam opened his law office in Salem, married into the Pickering family, served as state senator from Essex co., and judge of the state supreme court from 1814 to 1842 (Elizabeth Cabot Putnam and Harriet Silvester Tapley, “Hon. Samuel Putnam, LL.D, A.A.S....,” Danvers Historical Society, Historical Collections, 10 [1922]: 1–5, 13–15; entry for 5 April 1788, below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-28


I wrote off my piece for Commencement this forenoon, and carried it to Mr. Reed for his examination: and henceforth I believe I shall be very idle till Commencement. Having got through the business of my theses, and being prepared for the important day, I shall now be at leisure, and shall attend in some measure to my health which has been in a declining state for this twelve• { 230 } month a sedentary life, and the little exercice which I have used, have been attended with their usual consequences, and now my principal business, will be to recruit.1 Mr. Pearson gave us a lecture this afternoon, in which he attempted to prove the non-existence of complex ideas.
1. To recover one's health and vigor (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-29


The junior's, this forenoon read a forensic in the chapel, upon the question, whether the soul be material: I pass'd the whole day, in indolence, and amusement. Pass'd the evening with Fiske at Mr. Hilliard's. Mr. Reed and Mr. Ware were there.
Isaac Rand, of Cambridge, was 18 the 8th. of this month. He has been if common fame may be believed very idle and dissipated. As he lives not in College, I have had no opportunity to become much acquainted with him. His disposition I believe is very good, and his natural abilities are not despicable: his youth may be an excuse for his levity; and every one has not even that.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-30


Election day. About two thirds of the Students went to Boston. Those of us who remain'd pass'd the day, in amusement; I was at Cranch's chamber the whole day. The Sophimore Class with their civil Officers at the head march'd in procession to the Hall, and as soon as they came in a pistol was fir'd by their governor. The same ceremony was repeated after commons were over. In the evening they were at Thomas's chamber, much intoxicated and very noisy. Dr. Jennison paid them a visit at nine o'clock, and sent them all to their chambers.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-31


The Sophimores are very fearful that their yesterday's conduct has brought them into difficulties. Mr. Reed, who found his door broken through, when he return'd from Boston, is very much incensed and will probably, take measures to discover the persons who offered the insult. Mr. Williams gave us a lecture upon a number of optical instruments. I trifled away this day.
John Sever1 of Kingston, Plymouth C, was 21 the 7th. of this month: His genius is very good; but he is destitute of all moral { 231 } principles; and he has ever been remarkable for dissipation and disregard to the laws of the University: he is however ambitious of ruling and had when he first came to college so great influence, that he led the Class as he pleased: his imprudence has since that made him as unpopular as any individual in the Class.
1. Sever after graduation returned to Kingston, where he became a merchant (Columbian Centinel, 19 Nov. 1803).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-01

Friday June 1st. 1787.

At 11, we had another lecture upon the optical instruments; the solar microscope,1 the telescope, the cylindric mirror,2 and the magic lantern came under consideration; we should have seen likewise the camera obscura, but the Clouds overshadowed the Sun so much, that the effect could not take place. I carried down my part to the president, for approbation: was not quite so indolent the whole day, as I have been two days past.
1. The solar microscope was mounted on a window shutter and used in a darkened room; a mirror reflecting sunlight through the instrument projected the image of the specimen on the wall (David P. Wheatland and I. Bernard Cohen, A Catalogue of Some Early Scientific Instruments at Harvard University Placed on Exhibition in the Edward Mallinckrodt Chemical Laboratory, February 12, 1949, Cambridge, 1949, p. 31).
2. Probably an anamorphoscope, or semicircular mirror. When purposefully distorted drawings were viewed through the mirror, they appeared regular and properly proportioned. The instrument was used for demonstration rather than practical purposes (David P. Wheatland, The Apparatus of Science at Harvard, 1765–1800, Cambridge, 1968, p. 124–125).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-02


This day the government met, upon the subject of the disorders of which the Sophimores were guilty, last Wednesday. I was examined, but could give no information, upon the subject. Wilson is in sad terrors, and will I think probably come under censure: I past an hour or two with Mr. Ware, this evening after prayers.1
Solomon Vose2 of Milton, Suffolk C, was 20 the 22d. of February; a vain, envious, malicious, noisy, stupid fellow, as ever disgraced God's Creation; without a virtue to compensate for his Vices, and without a spark of genius to justify his arrogance; possessing all the scurrility of a cynic with all the baseness of a coward

A Dog in forehead, but in heart a deer.

{ 232 } A soul callous to every sentiment of benevolence, and incapable of receiving pleasure, but from the pain of another. This severity of description is not dictated merely by personal resentment: he has done all in his power to injure me it is true, but his attempts have been made with the concealed, poisoned arrows of dastardly envy, not with the open arms of a generous enemy: independent however of every selfish sentiment I cannot help despising him, and his injuring me, has only added a sentiment of aversion, which I never will disguise.3
1. Written later in JQA's more mature hand, enclosed in parentheses, and placed just before the sketch of Vose is “carried too far.”
2. Vose studied law and set up his practice at Northfield, Mass.; in 1805 he moved to Augusta, Maine (Albert K. Teele, The History of Milton, Mass., 1640 to 1887, Boston, 1887, p. 511).
3. Written at the end of the entry in a different hand and encircled: “rather warm John.” This was possibly written by CA, who not only roomed with JQA but also had a history “of prying into, and meddling with things which are nothing to him” (entries for 27 July 1786, and 17 Jan. 1787, above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-03


Attended meeting in the forenoon. Sacrament day: I went to dine at Judge Dana's: soon after I got there, he was taken ill, and thought it was with his old disorder. He sent immediately to Boston, for Doctor Lloyd,1 and Dr. Danforth;2 and for Dr. Jennison at College. We rubb'd him with a flesh brush, and with blankets, for two hours without intermission: he recover'd and the Physicians supposed this attack was only the consequence of a cold which he has caught. It rain'd hard all the afternoon, and evening. I remain'd at Mr. Dana's and lodg'd there.
1. Dr. James Lloyd, a popular and successful Boston physician trained in London, who maintained strong loyalist sympathies and ties during the war as well as warm friends among Boston whigs; his son James was one of JQA's classmates (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:184–193).
2. Dr. Samuel Danforth, another popular Boston physician, who also had maintained tory views, albeit less outspoken, and served as president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, 1795–1798 (same, 14:250–254).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-04


The judge was much better this morning. At 11 o'clock I came up to College. Mr. Williams closed his course, with a lecture upon astronomy. He finished with an affectionate farewell to the Class, advising them to carry into life the spirit of Philosophy, which was the spirit of business: a spirit which could not fail to { 233 } make useful members of Society. I return'd and dined at Mr. Dana's. Pass'd part of the afternoon there, and just before college1 came up to college again.
John Jones Waldo,2 of Boston will be 19 the 15th. of September. He has had his education till within these two or three years in England, and seems to pride himself upon his european acquisitions. He has seldom associated much with any of the Class, which some have attributed to haughty arrogance, and some to an independent disposition. His talents, natural and acquired, are very good but he has not always improved his time to the best purpose. He is not popular throughout the Class, but has one enthusiastic admirer, whose name is among the first in the Class. Waldo, at the latter end of the last quarter obtain'd leave to be absent from that time till Commencement, as he wished to embark soon, for Europe; and he has not appeared, this quarter.
1. Thus in MS.
2. Waldo was later a merchant in Bordeaux (John J. Waldo to JQA, 10 April 1797, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-05


This morning after Commons we had a meeting of the ΦBK, at Cranch's chamber: We began by admitting the junior's Grosvenor, Gardner and Barron, after which the performances for the day came on; I read the following Essay.

A Maid unask'd, may own, a well-plac'd flame,

Not loving first, but loving wrong is shame.

This proposition, though it be strictly true, will not obtain the assent of mankind in general. Very few persons, can so far overcome the prejudices of Education, as to think that a young lady of strict virtue and chastity, can, with propriety make the first advances in what is term'd courtship: but if we submit the Question to the judgment of Reason, it will perhaps be found that the opinion of the generality of mankind is erroneous and unjust.
Let us take a view of the situation of the female sex, with respect to man, which is nearly the same, in all the civilized nations on Earth: they are taught that it is their duty, to submit implicitly to the will of their lord: this is but reasonable; he is bound to protect and defend them: and his mental and bodily { 234 } strength is so much superior, that he may with propriety claim the right of commanding: But this is only one point among many, in which they are made sensible of their inferiority: they are always told that their studies should be confined to domestic life, that their science should be to take care of their families, that they should never aspire to any distinctions, military, civil, or even literary, that they should deny themselves frequently, the pleasures of society, and in short that they were made scarcely for any thing else, but nursing children, and keeping an house in order. This too if it were not carried to an extreme would be reasonable: but this is not all. From their childhood, they have the idea inculcated in their minds, that honour, virtue, reputation, and in short every thing good and great with respect to them is comprized in chastity: they are led to suppose that a woman if she has only such a command over her passions, as to resist all the temptations that assail her chastity, she is then perfect, though her disposition be ever so bad: and that, however numerous the good qualities of a female may be, they can be accounted for nothing, if she has not chastity. Now if the real virtue was inculcated, if the chastity of the mind could be taught them, the System might be justified: but this, is scarcely attended to. The purity of the Body is considered as all, and if a woman preserves that, she claims esteem and respect, though her mind, should be corruption itself. From this System has arisen the maxim, that no woman should first disclose an affection for a man. Now if we reflect, that the female sex, is form'd with a deeper sensibility, and with warmer passions than the other; that the power of those passions is not weakened by the pursuits of an active life, that the retirement from the hurry and bustle of business increases them, and suffers them to prey with more violence upon the heart, and that nature, as well as the laws of society obliges them to be collected and fixed on one object, is it not most absurd, unnatural and cruel to condemn them to silence and to deprive, a young woman even of the small satisfaction of expressing those feelings which are so deeply imprinted on the heart? The sexes were created the one for the other. Nature has made an union between them equally necessary to both: but a number of circumstances arising from society, concur in making the necessity greater on the female side.
A Man is always able to support himself: he can go through life honourably by means of his own industry, nor does he (com• { 235 } paratively speaking) require the assistance of others: but a woman, whatever her station in life, may be, is still a dependent being. She must trust either in a parent, or an husband, for protection and support. The latter must be preferred because she is enabled to return the obligations she is laid under and acquit herself of the debt: but a father's care, she cannot repay; and the dependence must consequently be greater and more burdensome: add to this that an old maid is despised and neglected by all the world: she no longer possesses those charms, which formerly had engaged the affections of men; nor can she command respect for being of service to the world. A married woman, who has a family lays society under obligations to her by bearing and educating her Children: she fulfills the design of the great author of nature: but an unmarried woman, is a mere dead weight upon the community; she must be maintained; and yet she cannot be useful to Society. Most women are sensible of this, and the male part of mankind, are all united in the opinion: but a man is not the less respected for being unmarried. He can serve his friends, or his country equally well, and perhaps better; he has many other inducements to continue single, and few that engage him to marriage. Is it not therefore consistent with reason and justice, that the fair sex should have a right to express the tender passions, of which they are so susceptible? And if so, the customs of most Nations in this respect are erroneous, and it would be the duty of a wise legislator, to establish a more equitable System.
Cranch and Fiske read a disputation, on the Question, “Whether Agriculture or Commerce, should be most cultivated in this Country.” Mr. Abbot, and Mr. Ware, disputed ex tempore on the same subject. After this we proceeded, to choose, according to Law, two anniversary orators. Thomson was chosen for the first, and Freeman for the other. We then chose Barron for secretary, and Abbot for treasurer from the junior Class; to serve till the 5th. of September. A committee was appointed to examine the books of the treasurer and secretary. Adams 3d., Clarke, and Phillips, were ballotted, for admission, and the votes in their favour were finally unanimous. After being assembled more than two hours, the meeting, was adjourn'd for a fortnight, and I went with Mr. Andrews to Judge Dana's. Return'd and dined at College, and pass'd the afternoon in Clarke's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-06


Past the day at Judge Dana's. It rain'd almost all day. Miss Peggy Wigglesworth was there; amiable as usual. Mrs. Dana read some pages in the sorrows of Werter.1 Women are better judges of sentiment than men: the ladies were pleased with parts of these letters, which to me appeared very trifling. The arguments in favour of suicide, are sophistical; and subtile, but when well examined, they must appear false: as all arguments that can be brought in favour of this unnatural crime ever must.
Francis Welch2 of Plastow in New Hampshire was 21 the 31st of last month. His talents are not striking, and his mind is contracted. His disposition is very unamiable, and his heart is not good. Envy of the worst kind has established her dominion in his breast, and her snakes appear to play around his head. His eye, is the eye of the basilisk, and his every feature expresses the base passions which reign in his soul. His disposition renders him miserable, and cannot fail to make unhappy all those who are connected with him.
1. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Werther, transl. Daniel Malthus, 2 vols., London, 1779, and subsequent English translations; first published in German in 1774.
2. Welch became minister of the West Parish, Amesbury (later Merrimac), Mass. (William Prescott, “Philip Welch of Ipswich, Ms., and His Descendants,” NEHGR, 23:421 [Oct. 1869]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-07


North-east winds, still chill the blood, and with a dull cold principle affect our spirits. This evening, immediately after prayers, the Martimercurean band paraded; the members belonging to our Class appeared for the last Time. They performed the manual exercices, and the different evolutions, very well. Supp'd at Bradish's with Bridge and Foster: the former has obtained leave to be absent at Commencement, and expects to go, in a few days: more than twenty of our class are already gone.
Otis, Upham and Wilson were admonished yesterday morning.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-08


Took books from the library for the last time. I took Mason's Poems and Abbadie, upon the truth of the Christian religion.1 This afternoon the president returned me, my part for Commencement! I feel quite low-spirited, at seeing my Class-mates { 237 } falling off, one by one: we shall never meet again, all together; and these youthful scenes which now are so delightful, will soon be remembered, with sensations of mingled pain and pleasure. Here void of every care, enjoying, every advantage, for which my heart could wish, I have past my time, without the perplexities with which life is surrounded, here without the avocations of business or the hurry of affairs, I have pursued those studies, to which my inclination led me. Soon, too soon I shall be obliged to enter anew upon the stage of general Society on which I have already met with disgust, and which with satisfaction I quitted. These disagreeable reflections haunt me continually and imbitter the last days, of my college life.
Leonard White of Haverhill was 20 the 3d. of last month. As I lived at Haverhill some time, and as he Chums with my cousin, I was acquainted with him before I came to the University, and have been very intimate with him since: his natural abilities without being very great, are such as will enable him to go through life with honour, and his disposition is amiable. His virtues are numerous, but among them all modesty is the most conspicuous. I never knew any other person so intimately as I am acquainted with him, without having perceived in him some sparks of Vanity: but I believe he never experienced the feeling. A remarkable neatness of person is likewise one of his characteristics, and is the more extraordinary because he has so few imitators here. He has so much candor2 that I never heard him speak ill of any one of his Class-mates, and very seldom of any one: his defects are only trivial foibles, and he will certainly be an useful member of Society.
1. Jacques Abbadie, A Vindication of the Truth of Christian Religion, Against the Objections of All Modern Opposers..., transl. H[enry] L[ussan], 2d edn., 2 vols., London, 1694 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 151).
2. Freedom from malice (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-09


This morning the president returned my theses to transcribe a fair copy for the press. I past the day at Judge Dana's. Mr. W. Ellery is there: his first address is certainly not in his favour. He talks too much about Newport; and our State, and his State; First impressions if they are not favourable, should not be attended to; but unless I am much mistaken this gentleman, is very far from being either a Statesman, or an hero. The wind has { 238 } finally quitted its corner in the east, and this day has been fair, with two or three showers.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-10


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Burr, preach'd two very good sermons. Dined at Mr. Dana's, in Company with Mr. Parsons of Newbury-Port: a man of great wit, as well as of sound judgment and deep learning.1
I was at Mr. Wiggles worth's in the evening with Beale; but Peggy was not at home.
The weather has been very warm this day. The thermometer was at 83.
1. After graduation, JQA studied law with Parsons in Newburyport.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-11


A very warm day. I loitered away my time, as I have, every day for these three weeks.
Classmates dropping off. Very few will be left by the 21st. This evening the sodality went serenading and at 3 in the morning they play'd in our entry.
Richard Whitney1 of Petersham, Worcester C, was 20, the 23d. of last February. His circumstances are low and he will find it very difficult to get through College; this situation distresses him, and affects his spirits: notwithstanding which his native humour, and his originality of genius, frequently break out; and appear conspicuous. I am fond of his character because there is some thing new in it: he has manners and ideas of his own, and does not keep forever in the old and beaten track; the generosity of his soul is admired, although it is cramped by poverty. His heart is benevolent and his disposition is amiable. As a scholar, the disadvantages under which he has laboured have prevented him from appearing to so great advantage, as he would if he could have spent all the time here, since his admission. As a speaker I know but little what improvements he has made; for he has been so much absent that I never heard him declaim but once.
1. Whitney, the son of Dr. Ephraim Whitney, whose strong tory sympathies apparently led to the confiscation of his property. Young Whitney became a lawyer in Brattleboro, Vt., and served as clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives, 1793–1797, and secretary to the governor and council (Frederick Clifton Pierce, De• { 239 } scendants of John Whitney, Chicago, 1895, P. 81; Zadock Thompson, History of Vermont, Natural, Civil, and Statistical..., Burlington, 1842, pt. 2, p. 118; Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, 8 vols., Montpelier, 1873–1880, 5:92).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-12


Went to Boston this morning with Bridge, Cranch, White and Whitney in the stage. I attended the debates in the house of representatives; they were debating upon the subject of the instructions to the different members. I dined at Mr. Jackson's, with Mr. Lowell,1 and Mr. Brimmer. They conversed much upon gardening.
At half past 6 in the evening we return'd to Cambridge, and past the evening at Cranch's chamber.
1. John Lowell, former member of the congress and a judge on its Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, 1783–1789. Later he was United States district court judge for Massachusetts (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:650–661).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-13


Mr. Wigglesworth gave a lecture this forenoon, but I did not attend; engaged the chief of the time in writing off my theses: read Mason's Caractacus, and was much pleased with it. I think he has made it more interesting than his Elfrida. The Catastrophe it is true is not more tragical; but the speech of the Chorus which closes the Poem of Elfrida, is cold and inanimate, and that of Caractacus is noble and pathetic.1
Weather very fine and warm, all day.
1. William Mason, “Caratacus. A Dramatic Poem: Written on the Model of the Ancient Greek Tragedy” and “Elfrida. A Dramatic Poem: Written on the Model of the Ancient Greek Tragedy” (Poems, London, 1764, p. [169]–289, [75]–168; Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 142).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-14


Return'd a copy of my theses to the president, who informed me, that they would all be ready to send to Boston in a day or two. Cranch and Amory, and Beale, went over to Mystic with Learned, who took his final leave of College.
The weather was very warm all day; but in the evening, a beautiful thunder shower refreshed the air very greatly. Pass'd the evening at Foster's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-15


A warm day, but the air has been much more pure, than for several days past. Yesterday Mr. Dana set off for Newport where he proposes tarrying till after Commencement. Drank tea with Bradbury, and my Chum, at Mr. Williams's. After tea, we walk'd with the young ladies. Jenny has been handsome, but at the age of nineteen she has lost all her beauty, and must henceforth charm only by the sweetness of her disposition: after returning from our walk, we past a couple of hours there, chatting, and singing songs, after which we retired.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-16


Charles went to Boston this morning, and return'd at night. After prayers I went with Cranch to Mr. Williams's. We walk'd with the young Ladies. Miss Frazier from Boston1 was of the party: she appears sensible and agreeable. We went and viewed Mr. Brattle's gardens, and ponds and other conveniences,2 which his ingenuity has invented for the gratification of his sensuality. This man, who enjoys an handsome estate has pass'd his whole life in studying how to live; not in a moral but in a physical sense. The ladies were disappointed when they found he had very few flowers in his garden, but it was observ'd that he was so much engaged in the service of his palate, that he could have no leisure to give his attention to any one sense in particular.
After we return'd to College I pass'd the remainder of the evening at Cranch's chamber.
Samuel Willard3 of Stafford in Connecticut, will be 21 the 26th. of next December. He was about two years and an half at Dartmouth college, and entered at this University, about a fortnight after me. He has never been much used to what is called genteel company, and is somewhat awkward in his address, which sometimes makes him an object of merriment among his satirical class-mates. His genius is not of the first rate, and his acquirements are not very extensive; he is said how ever to be a very good mathematical scholar: and in the languages he is not deficient. If he is not in wit, a man, he may at least be said to be, in “simplicity a child.” Mediocrity is his sphere and will ever remain so.
{ 241 }
1. Perhaps Rebecca, the only unmarried daughter of Boston merchant Nathan Frazier (Thwing Catalogue, MHi).
2. The estate of loyalist William Brattle, JA's newspaper antagonist in the early 1770s, was willed to his son, Maj. Thomas Brattle. The house still stands on Brattle St., just up from the square. The father's death in 1776 improved the title, but Thomas, then a refugee in England, was formally proscribed and the estate was confiscated in 1778. After six years' effort he regained title. His interest in horticulture aroused during his stay in England, Brattle planted his spacious grounds, which extended to the Charles River, with flowers and fruit trees and had a small pond, shaded by willows, stocked with fish. For the benefit of Harvard students he laid out a long walk bordered with trees and built a bathing house on the river, where students might learn to swim (Paige, Hist. of Cambridge, Mass., p. 170, 203; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:568–572; “Old Cambridge and New,” NEHGR, 25:233 [July 1871]).
3. Willard, the nephew of President Willard, afterward studied medicine and practiced in Stafford (Joseph Willard and Charles Wilkes Walker, Willard Genealogy: Sequel to Willard Memoir, ed. Charles Henry Pope, Boston, 1915, p. 46, 176–177).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-17


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preach'd us two good occasional sermons from Proverbs II. 3. 4. 5. If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding. If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures: Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord; and find the knowledge of God. The Sciences were his topic, and the importance of learning, his theme in the afternoon, he said he should omit the address which he usually makes to the young gentlemen about to leave the University, because so many of the present senior Class were already gone; he paid us however an handsome compliment upon the uniform propriety of conduct which had ever distinguished the Class, and concluded by exhorting the following Classes to imitate so laudable an example.
I wrote a letter this evening to Freeman;1 in answer to one which I receiv'd from him yesterday.
1. JQA to Nathaniel Freeman Jr., 16–[17] June (owned in 1963 by H. Bartholomew Cox, of Maryland); Freeman's letter has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-18


Took a long walk with Cranch this afternoon.
Foster took charge of the theses and of my letter, and promised to deliver them to Mr. Freeman in Boston.
I went with Amory, Cranch, Mason, and White and supped at Bradish's. They pass'd the remainder of the evening with me.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-19


This forenoon Mr. Cranch pass'd through here on his way to Boston. We are to return to Braintree in the chaise. Billy went with his father to Boston, and brought back the Chaise this evening. The idea of leaving College threw me into a train of gloomy and disagreeable reflections; which however in the evening were dissipated by conversation.
Samuel Williams of Cambridge, son to our professor of Mathematics, and natural Philosophy, will be 17 the 6th. of next Octr. His being introduced so young into the world has been essentially injurious to him. An immoderate share of Vanity appears to be one of the characteristics of this family, and Sam, appears more particularly influenced by this passion. His vanity is so extensive that it not only inspires him with a great admiration for his useful abilities whether natural or acquired, (and of these he has no great reason to be vain) but he likewise descends to self approbation upon every trivial, and even useless accomplishment. He is so fond of hearing himself talk that he seldom suffers any one with whom he is [in] conversation to say much; and yet I do not recollect ever hearing him discourse, unless he himself was his theme,

“And I the little hero of each tale.”

Of his genius he does not talk often, and only by modest hints: of his knowledge, he gives information by telling what he has done; his spirit he discovers by relating, how many times he has insulted the president and the tutors, particularly Mr. Read, and by declaring how he would have treated such a fellow, if he had received such an insult from him, as another fellow did, without resenting it. He values himself much upon drinking hard, and never getting drunk, but at shooting, wrestling, playing ball, and boxing he supposes himself perfectly irresistible. He damns Mr. Read, for being partial towards those, who have always treated him with respect, and against those, who have always made it a practice to insult him: and he knows the president has a personal pique against him: his opinions change like the wind, and he adopts affections and aversions, equally without knowing why or wherefore. I have at different times heard him express the most exalted ideas, of Bridge, Little, Barron, Freeman, Lloyd and Cranch; and at other times I have heard him speak with per• { 243 } fect contempt of the same persons, the last excepted. In short he has not yet any fix'd principles; and untill he has, he never will be a respectable character.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-20


The weather was extremely warm: I had a long contest with Johnson, in the barber's shop. We finally agreed to drop the subject: for we were perswaded that we should each retain his own sentiments let the dispute be ever so long. Williams, Mason, and Cranch were at my chamber till commons' time: in the afternoon I pack'd up some of my things. As Mr. Read had desired, that those of the Class who should still be here, might stop in the chapel after prayers this evening, we determined to wait and hear his address. He had committed it to memory: it was friendly, and contained some very good advice. Soon after we came out; Cranch and I set off for Braintree, where we arrived at about 10 o'clock.
It is not without many melancholy reflections that I bid a last adieu to the walls of Harvard! The scenes through which I have past since my entrance at the university have been for the most part agreeable, I have formed an intimacy, with a number of amiable and respectable characters of my own age, and with dispositions corresponding to my own. I have never once regretted, but have frequently rejoyced that I left Europe, to come and pass a twelve-month here. It has been productive of very good effects; particularly, in reducing my opinion of myself, of my acquirements, and of my future prospects, nearer to the level of truth and reality. I hope, that in two or three years more, I shall have taken down, without any violence, all the elegant castles which my imagination had built in the air, over my head, and which for want of a foundation, were liable, to be overset, and crush the builder, if any accident had happened. And I believe that even now, (making allowance, for a little vanity, which has frequently been flattered,) I do not exaggerate my prospects, more than other young people of my age, and circumstances, do.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-21


This is the day, when our Class should by rights, have quitted college; but they have been dropping off by degrees, these three weeks, so that there were not left more than three or four to go { 244 } away, to-day. For my own part I have been dull and low spirited; the whole day. We took a walk this evening with the two young ladies.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-22


My Cousins went in the morning down to Mrs. Quincy's, and in the afternoon to Milton. I remain'd at home all day. The young folks did not return till after ten this evening. I idle away my time here, pretty much as I did the last three weeks at College: nothing to do; eating drinking and sleeping are the chief of my employments.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-23


Mr. Cranch and Dr. Tufts came from Boston this afternoon. The Dr. informs me, that Mr. Parsons, has agreed to receive me; and consequently I expect to go in August or September, to Newbury Port. The papers mention the death of young Sullivan who graduated last year: this is another victim added to the millions that have been destroy'd by debauchery. He was not yet 19, and had been blest by nature with a very good genius; but the fashionable vices, (not of this age in particular, but of all ages) have cut him down, in the early dawn of life, and have laid in the dust, the head which wisdom might have inspired, the heart which patriotism, might have animated, and the tongue upon which Eloquence might have dwelt.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-24


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Shuttlesworth preach'd; I was much better pleased with him, than I had expected to be. His language is not perfectly correct, nor his stile remarkably accurate; but his delivery is agreeable, and his composition cannot be called bad. I was much pleased with his manner of praying. I walk'd with Mr. Cranch and his son, this evening, and ascended the highest hill within several miles. We had a view of the harbour, the sea, and the cluster of islands, which are spread about thick in the bay; the prospect is beautiful: but a prospect pleases only for a few moments, and affords no satisfaction to a man, when it has once lost its novelty: near the top of this hill, we found a living spring, which it is said, in the driest Seasons, is { 245 } always supplied with water. Mr. Cranch started doubts concerning the common theory, by which this phenomenon of springs is accounted for: it does not perfectly satisfy him: and indeed I think his objections very just.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-25


My Cousin and his mamma, went to Milton this afternoon. I went to see my Grandmamma. Miss N. Quincy, was here when I return'd: she proposes passing the week here. Two thousand pound, and an amiable disposition have not yet married her. It is strange how some girls, without either fortune, beauty, or any amiable qualities, have a talent at engaging a man's affections, so as to escape, the name of an old maid, which next to death is most dreaded by a female: and yet others with every qualification of the heart, which could promise happiness to an husband, with sense, and fortune, are forced to enter the ridiculous sisterhood; but there is no accounting for the opinions and caprices of mankind; they must be taken as they are; for better, for worse.1
I read the beggar's Opera,2 this evening, for the first time.... did not admire it.
1. In 1790 Nancy married Rev. Asa Packard, minister at Marlborough, Mass. (Joseph Allen, The Worcester Association and Its Antecedents: A History of Four Ministerial Associations: The Marlborough, The Worcester (Old), the Lancaster, and the Worcester (New) Associations..., Boston, 1868, p. 114–116). After Nancy's marriage, which, according to JQA, “blasted even before the bud” AA's “darling project for the advancement” of her eldest son, JQA refined his ideas on the role of fortune in a prospective bride. Your son “never will be indebted,” he wrote to his mother, “to his wife for his property. I once seriously thought that I should easily be enabled to make matrimony an instrument of my Avarice or my Ambition. But really it is not so, and I am fully persuaded like Sancho, that if it should rain mitres in this way, there would be never an one to fit my head” (JQA to AA, 14 Aug. 1790, Adams Papers).
2. John Gay, The Beggar's Opera, London, 1728.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-26


Mr. and Mrs. Boyes [Boies] with Miss Lucy, came over and dined here. After dinner we went to Squantum, to Mr. Beale's:1 there was a large company. Mr. and Mrs. Woodward, Mr. A. Alleyne, and his mother, Mrs. Quincy, Mr. Woodbridge and his Sister from Salem, with Miss Robertson and Miss Peale. Miss Woodbridge is called very handsome, but her features are too regular: She has a very fine set of teeth, which every body must know who has ever seen her. She appears sociable, and of an { 246 } open, frank disposition. Miss Robertson, would not generally be called so handsome, nor has she so amiable a countenance; but her complexion is still fairer, and there is an expression in her features which the other wants. She wears a small patch of court-plaister on her cheek, which has a pretty effect. But, when I see a patch of this kind, on a Lady's cheek, I consider it as I do a brand on a man's forehead; the one convinces me that the man is a rogue; the other that the woman is a coquet; and I endeavour equally to avoid them. After tea we walk'd down to the chapel, form'd by the cavities between the summits of several sharp rocks. These rocks are broken off, so that the sea, bathes their foundation, and the perpendicular descent is not less I suppose than 50 feet. The perpendicular surface is not smooth, as at the cliffs of Dover, but craggy, and rather concave. The tops of the rocks are sharp and verge to a point. From this place, it is said, one of the female leaders of the indians, in former days, plunged into the sea, after the loss of a battle; preferring this death to captivity, like the bard of Snowdon.2 But what foundation there may be for this tradition, I have never heard. After a pretty long ramble, we set out and return'd home, in the evening. Miss B. Apthorp, stopp'd for a few minutes at my uncles.
1. Benjamin Beale, a merchant with trading interests in Liverpool, where he married and had a family. He was the father of JQA's classmate and later was JA's neighbor (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 241; AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:124).
2. Probably a reference to Thomas Gray's Pindaric ode, The Bard, about the Welsh bard who jumped to his death rather than face execution at the hands of the conquering English (Thomas Gray, Poetical Works of Mr. Gray, new edn., London, 1785, p. 33–39, at MQA).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-27


Two Miss Greenleaf's1 came here this forenoon, and still remain. Mr. Cranch went to Boston this morning. Mr. Weld and his lady, and Parson Wibird drank tea here, and we had a quantity of music in the evening.
1. Probably Rebecca, who later married Noah Webster, the lexicographer, and Anna (Nancy), who married William Cranch, JQA's cousin, in 1795; they were daughters of William Greenleaf, the Boston merchant (James Edward Greenleaf, Genealogy of the Greenleaf Family, Boston, 1896, p. 218, 222).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-28


Took a long walk in the morning with my Cousin and the Ladies. When we return'd we found, my brother Charles, with { 247 } Mrs. Hillard and her daughter; who dined here, and return'd to Cambridge in the afternoon.
We all drank tea, at Mr. Apthorp's, and pass'd the evening there: this man is certainly a little crack-brain'd; his conversation, is ingenious, but he flies from one topic to another, with the utmost rapidity, and some of his speeches are extravagant. The least that can be said of him is that he is very singular, and between singularity and positive madness the distinction is but small.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-29


I intended to have gone to Cambridge this afternoon, but could not get an horse. My Cousin went and will return to-morrow night. Wrote a letter to my father.1
I do not relish this life of idleness and expectation. I am very desirous that Commencement should be over, and shall certainly, not feel easy, till then. And indeed after that, till I get settled at some business, I shall not be contented.
1. JQA to JA, 30 June, which enclosed a copy of JQA's speech on law, given 10 April at Harvard (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-30


Mr. Cranch and his son, return'd from Boston, this afternoon. Dr. Tufts stopp'd here on his way home. Mrs. Quincy drank tea here, and soon after went away with Nancy, who has pass'd the week here. Her mamma, has been so extremely careful to prevent her being a coquet, that she has in fact made a prude of her. If she should live to be an old maid, she will be terrible to all young ones. It is a pity, that it should be so difficult to avoid one extreme, without falling into its opposite.
Wrote a letter to my friend Bridge,1 and read a little in Lord Bolingbroke's philosophical works.2
1. Letter not found.
2. The Philosophical Works of the Late Right Honorable Henry St. John, Lord Viscount Bolingbroke, 5 vols., London, 1754 (Catalogue of JQA's Books).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-01

Sunday July 1st. 1787.

Attended Mr. Wibird all day: in the afternoon, four children were baptised. We remain'd after meeting to hear the singing. { 248 } Read some of Bolingbroke's metaphysical speculation in the evening. Dull times.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-02


Miss Betsey and her brother pass'd the afternoon at Mrs. Quincy's. I was quite indolent and idle almost all day.
I was walking alone in the church-yard, rambling through the grass which waves unmolested over the alternate hillock, and reading or endeavouring to read the inscriptions, which love and friendship have written on the simple monuments, which the indefatigable hand of Time, had nearly worn out, and as if envious even of their humble pretence to fame, had scatter'd over with moss. I was startled by a rustling noise, look'd round and saw a large snake, winding himself along between the bending blades. I pursued him, but he soon found his hole, into which he slip'd and escaped my pursuit. Was it the genius of the place? Or was it the guardian spirit of any one whose bones are here deposited? Yet methinks, if it were a gentle spirit, some more amiable shape than that of a serpent might have been assumed; some shape, which might engage the affections, and call forth the soft and pleasing passions.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-03


At about 8 this morning I went set off with my Cousin, for Cambridge, where we arrived, just after 10. At 11 the exhibition began, with the Latin Oration by Prescott. It was upon the military art, and the composition appeared to be very good, but it was not very well deliver'd: this person indeed was never form'd for an Orator. This part was followed by a forensic disputation, upon the question, whether the conduct of mankind in general is much influenced by a prospect of future reputation? between Grosvenor and Baxter. The former appeared to much better advantage than his opponent. Both introduced perhaps more scripture than was necessary. The syllogistic dispute came on next by Weld respondent. Bradbury, Churchill and Payne opponents. The question was, whether the approbation of conscience makes any action virtuous. This was followed by the dialogue between Haven and Thayer both of which spoke very well. Cutts delivered the greek Oration and Kirkland the Hebrew, and both were approved; the literary performances closed with the English Oration, by Gordon, the subject was patriotism. It was well { 249 } written, and well spoken; though he took rather too high a pitch of voice, and imitated Mr. Otis rather too much. An anthem was sung, and several pieces of music perform'd extremely well.
I dined with Mr. Andrews in company with a number of other gentlemen; among the rest several of his class mates. Cranch went over to Mystic, and pass'd the evening there, but as I had some business to transact I remain'd at Cambridge.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-04


Breakfasted with Forbes, and at ten o'clock set off for Boston in company with Clark: as soon as I got into town I went to the chapel, where Mr. Dawes was delivering the anniversary Oration;1 but he had almost finished, when I got there. He closed very prettily: after which his ode to independence, set to music by Mr. Selby2 was perform'd: from thence I went immediately to the old brick meeting house, where another Oration3 was deliver'd by Genl. Brooks, for the Society of the Cincinnati. It was cautious and well guarded: but although the claws of the eagle may be concealed or withdrawn, they are always ready as a weapon to attack or to defend, whenever an opportunity shall present itself. After he had done, I went up to the common, in order to see the military parade. It is surprizing what a martial spirit has been raised in this capital within these twelve months; on the last anniversary of independence; a few undisciplined militia, with as many colours of dress as there were men, would scarcely have been collected; whereas this day, there appeared, no less than six independent companies besides a regiment of militia, all in their respective uniforms. They paraded and exercised on the common till four o'clock. It was three, before I went off, to dinner with Mr. E. Freeman. I was with him the greater part of the afternoon; saw the Companies again, who at about 5 o'clock, march'd down State street, and up again, with which they closed their exercices. I drank tea at Mr. Foster's and at seven o'clock, we mounted our horses, and return'd to Braintree: we got home just after nine.
1. Thomas Dawes, An Oration Delivered July 4, 1787, at the Request of the Inhabitants of the Town of Boston .. ., Boston, 1787. Dawes was a Boston lawyer (Hist. of Suffolk County, Mass., 1:246).
2. William Selby, British-born composer and organist at King's Chapel (David McKay, “William Selby, Musical Émigré in Colonial Boston,” Musical Quarterly, 57:609–627 [Oct. 1971]).
3. John Brooks, An Oration, Delivered to the Society of the Cincinnati..., Boston, 1787.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-05


Mrs. Cranch and Miss Betsey, went to Boston this morning, and propose not to return till Saturday. I read partly through, Wraxall's tour into the northern parts of Europe1 which is much inferior to Moore and Brydone.2 These letters are full of incidents which however interesting they may have been to the author, are not so in the least, to the public. His observations appear very superficial, and such as any youth might naturally make at the age of 19. We were going to walk in the evening, but were called back by the arrival of Mr. Tufts, and Miss Lucy Jones.3 They stay'd however but about a quarter of an hour, and proceeded to Weymouth.
1. Nathaniel William Wraxall, Cursory Remarks Made in a Tour through Some of the Northern Parts of Europe..., London, 1775.
2. Patrick Brydone, A Tour through Sicily and Malta..., 2 vols., London, 1774 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 73).
3. A niece of Cotton Tufts, who later married Joshua Cushman, one of JQA's classmates (Henry Wyles Cushman, A Historical and Biographical Genealogy of the Cushmans..., Boston, 1855, p. 185).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-06


Finished Wraxall's tour, and am confirm'd in the opinion I had formed of it: the poor young man, is really to be pitied, when the tenderness of his heart, is always ready to overflow at the sight of a female. His great ardor in the pursuit of knowledge is very laudable, and would be equally meritorious if he had not said so much of it.
The weather was extremely warm.
Miss Charlotte Apthorp came in the evening and pass'd a couple of hours here.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-07


Mrs. Cranch and Miss Betsey return'd from Boston this evening.
A ballad, founded on fact.1

Now ponder well, ye students sad,

The words which I shall write,

The people of the town are mad,

And ready for the fight.

{ 251 }

T'was once upon a sabbath day

A day, which you shall rue

That parson H——d2 could not pray

And laid the fault to you,

And when with melody of heart,

The people rose to sing

A noise was heard from every part,

Which made the Church to ring.

And, what can scarcely be believ'd

Though I the truth attest

E'en Foxcroft's3 voice was scarce perceiv'd

Discordant with the rest.

No wonder then his pious rage

Burst forth into a flame,

He vow'd an holy war to wage,

And Winthrop4 did the same.

Thus by the hand of mighty power

Which good from evil draws,

Men who were ne'er devout before

Espouse religion's cause.

“A seperation must ensue,

Cries Winthrop all on fire,

Or I will surely quit my pew,

And from the church retire

“What satisfaction can I reap

From either pray'r or sermon

If I am thus bereft of sleep,

By this audacious vermin.”

“My voice, no longer will I raise”

The worthy Foxcroft said

“The lord, no longer will I praise,

If such a noise be made

“No more the accents of my tongue,

Shall you, with rapture hear

No more the harmony of song

Shall please the ravish'd ear.”

{ 252 }

“Oh spare, (cried Winthrop,) spare that threat

For should it once, be known,

They soon would make a noise as great

Or greater than your own.

“Refer the matter to the laws

And I can surely find,

A Witness in the pious cause

Just suited to my mind

“On any two that we shall name,

The punishment must fall,

To save religion's injur'd fame

Let them atone for all.”

Yet after all, our pious friends,

The people of the town,

Found they could not obtain their ends

And laid the matter down.

A mountain once, as I am told,

The pangs of child-birth felt,

Her moanings frighten'd young and old

Who near the borders dwelt.

Full long the mountain had remain'd

In this distressful plight,

And when her pains were at an end,

A mouse was brought to light.

1. Presumably this was written by JQA and is the piece to which he refers in his entry for 24 Jan. 1788 (below).
2. Rev. Timothy Hilliard, minister of the First Church in Cambridge.
3. John Foxcroft, a justice of the peace and county registrar of deeds, whose suspected sympathy for the British lost him his positions. Foxcroft continued to live in Cambridge a life of “luxurious idleness,'' and students remembered his loud voice while singing hymns and psalms in services at Hilliard's church (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:268–270).
4. James Winthrop, the college librarian. On student antipathy toward Winthrop, see his sketch in the Descriptive List of Illustrations, James Winthrop, Harvard College Librarian 7No. 32.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-08


I did not attend meeting this day.
We had a thunder shower in the afternoon. Tired to death of living thus doing nothing. On many accounts I wish Commencement was over.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-09


Mr. and Mrs. Cranch went to Boston this morning, and return'd in the evening.
Arose at 8 o'clock, breakfasted at 9; after which I loiter'd and rambled about till 1. Dined; after dinner, smoked a pipe; slept till 6. Drank tea: play'd upon the flute, and sung all the evening. Supped at 10. Went to bed.
This is my history at present: is it not an edifying manner of passing one's time.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-10


All the forenoon out, shooting birds. Much fatigued. At about three this afternoon, we had the smartest thundershower, that I have seen within these two years. Clear'd up again in the evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-11


This day completes my twentieth year: and yet I am good for nothing, and cannot even carry myself forward in the world: three long years I have yet to study in order to qualify myself for business: and then—oh! and then; how many more years, to plod along, mechanically, if I should live; before I shall really get into the world? Grant me patience ye powers! for I sicken, at the very idea: thus is one third of a long life employ'd in preparing to act a part during another third; and the last is to be past in rest and quiet waiting for the last stroke, which places us just where we were 70 years before. Vanity! Vanity! all is vanity and vexation of spirit.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-12


Mr. Cranch and his Son went to Boston this morning: my Cousin proposes to go this night to Cambridge, and return home to-morrow. For my own part I have spent my time this day as usual. I have even discarded thought, and live more like any of the domestic animals, than like a man.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-13


I found something to do, this forenoon, and have pass'd it with less tediousness, than any for several weeks.
{ 254 }
Went over to Weymouth and dined with Doctor Tufts. Conversed with him upon a variety of subjects. Came away just after Sunset: I found the two Miss Apthorp's at my uncle's and my Cousin return'd, when I got home.
There was a bright northern light this evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-14


Went with my cousin in the forenoon to the meeting house, in order to exercice ourselves in speaking our pieces.
This evening, our classmate Willard came here from Cambridge, and proposes passing Sunday with us.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-15


I attended meeting the whole day, and heard Mr. Everett of Dorchester. He prays well and preaches good sermons, but is destitute of the smallest spark of animation. Willard after meeting went this evening to the upper parish, whence, he intends to return to Cambridge to-morrow morning.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-16


This morning at about 10 o'clock, in the midst of the rain, I mounted on horse-back and went to Cambridge: here I arrived at about half after twelve. Found several of my Class-mates already arrived: dined at Braddish's: after dinner I went to Freeman's chamber and found him and Little, both there. We went down to get the key of the meeting house; in order to speak our parts: we could not find a key: as we were returning to College, we met Mr. Pearson, near the meeting-house. He said he was just going to college to find some one of our Class upon a subject of some consequence, and desired us to go with him to his house. When we were there he told us, he had just heard that our classmate; Burge, was here last week, and inform'd the President he should not be able to pay his bills, nor should he come to Commencement. Mr. Pearson, said he felt particularly interested in the case of Burge, whose circumstances were peculiarly unfortunate, and who had formerly been one of his pupils; after premissing these, and several observations he finally told us, that if we would engage, to send for burge, and have him here before { 255 } commencement, he would advance the money for the payment of his bills.
In the midst of a violent thunder shower we immediately went up to college, and endeavoured to discover, which direction Burge had taken when he went from here; but of this no-body could inform us: upon this Freeman gave up all further hopes and left us: but as soon as the shower was over I went with Little and endeavoured to find a person, who would undertake to go immediately to Hollis; where we think it probable that Burge is at present. Blake 1st. the Sophimore, finally agreed to go, and we immediately set about getting an horse: after some difficulty, we found one; and notwithstanding several other delays, Blake finally set off for Hollis at just 9 this evening: he has to go 45 miles, and then there is a chance, that he will not find Burge, who must be here within 36 hours, and have all his bills paid, in order to get his degree. The probability is not much in our favour: but any thing ought to be done, when there is a prospect of saving a classmate.
I was employ'd this evening in preparing for Commencement.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-17


Breakfasted and dined with Mr. Andrews, in company with Mr. Thomson, who is studying law, with Mr. Parsons.
Mr. and Mrs. Shaw were at our chamber this afternoon, and lodge in town to-night. Very busy all the afternoon and evening, till Mid-night, in preparing for Commencement. At about 7 o'clock Blake arrived here with Burge, after riding 90 miles in 22 hours: this success affords me inexpressible pleasure; the satisfaction I feel, in having been instrumental to save a worthy and unfortunate class-mate from losing a degree, would be sufficient to compensate for thrice the trouble and expence I have been at, in this case: happy should I be, if I were in a situation to relieve several other class-mates who are so much indebted that they have not the least prospect of paying their bills: four or five, I fear will fail.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-18

Wednesday July 18th. Commencement Day.

At about 11 o'clock the procession began from the door of Harvard. The succeeding Classes went before us; and we preceded the President and fellows of the University, who, were follow'd { 256 } { 257 } { 258 } by the governor and council of the Commonwealth: the company of light horse, headed by Coll. Swan, were drawn up before the meeting house. As soon as we all got placed, the president opened the Ceremony by prayer: the performances then were delivered, in the order, in which they are mentioned, (page 242)1 except that Cranch spoke an Oration instead of a forensic. When it came to my turn to speak I delivered the following piece.
An Oration.
Upon the importance and necessity of public faith, to the well-being of a Community.
The solemnity of the present occasion, the numerous concourse of this brilliant audience, and the consciousness of my own insufficiency, all conspire, to fill my breast, with terrors hitherto unknown, and although my heart would fondly cherish the hope, that the candor, and indulgence, which have ever been the distinguished characteristics of this assembly, will at this time be exerted, yet, this involuntary palpitation expresses fears which cannot be subdued.
Suffer me however, while the united powers of genius and of science are here display'd by others for your entertainment, to call your attention for a few moments to a subject of the utmost importance to our country, and to every individual as a citizen.
To every reflecting mind the situation of this Commonwealth, for some months past, must have appeared truly allarming. On whatever side we turn our anxious eyes, the prospect of public affairs is dark and gloomy: the distressing scarcity of a circulating medium has been continually increasing: the violent gust of rebellion is scarcely dissipated, and threatning clouds of sullen discontent are still lowering round the horizon; luxury and dissipation, like baneful weeds have obstructed the growth of all our useful virtues; and although the hand of patriotism, has of late been stretch'd forth to crop the noxious plant, yet the fatal root, still lies lurking beneath the surface:2 the bonds of union which connected us with our sister States, have been shamefully relaxed by a selfish and contracted principle, and the sails of commerce furled within our ports, witness the lamentable declension of our trade.
At this critical period, when the whole nation is groaning under the intolerable burden of these accumulated evils, and while the most tremendous calamities are suspended, by a slender thread over our heads, it is natural to enquire, what were the { 259 } causes which tended to reduce the commonwealth, from a state of happiness and prosperity to the deplorable situation in which we now behold it placed, and what measures might still be adopted, to realize those happy days of national wealth and honour, which the glorious conclusion of a just and successful war, seemed to promise.
In this enquiry, the first question which will naturally occur must be, what is the situation of our national credit? and what are the dispositions of our fellow citizens, with respect to the fulfillment of those engagements, which in times of difficulty, and danger, in times “when the souls of men were tried” they were under a necessity of contracting? And let me ask, can any man whose generous soul disdains every base sentiment of fraud or injustice, answer these questions without dropping a tear of shame, or uttering an expression of indignation? Will he not be constrained to acknowledge, that the divine enthusiasm, and the undaunted patriotism, which animated the bosoms of his countrymen, in their struggle for liberty, has abandoned many so soon as they had attained the darling object of their wishes? But what is liberty, and what is life, when preserved by the loss of honour? Would not the most abject state of slavery to which tyranny and oppression could have reduced a people, have been preferable to standing as an independent nation exposed to the scorn, the reproach, and the derision of mankind. Forbid it Heaven, that this should be our fate! From the well known honour and integrity of the distinguished patriot, who by the suffrages of a free people, has repeatedly been called to fill the seat of government, and from the present dispositions of the majority, of my countrymen, I would still hope, that they will adhere inviolably to every maxim of justice and equity;3 yet, an indolent carelessness, a supine inattention to the solemn engagements of the public are but too conspicuous among us: numbers indeed, without even assuming the mask of dissimulation, openly avow their desire to evade the performance of those engagements, which they once esteemed supremely sacred.4
It is frequently suggested, that nations are not subjected to those laws which regulate the conduct of individuals; that national policy commands them to consult their own interests; though at the expence of foreigners, or of individual citizens; that it is the duty of every government to alleviate the distresses of the people over whom it is placed, and in short that a violation { 260 } of the public faith could not subject any individual to censure: but an idea, so palpably absurd can be formed upon no other principle, than the probability of escaping the punishment due to the most flagrant enormities: one of the basest principles which can blacken the human heart: the principle, which impels the hand of the lawless ruffian, and directs the dagger of the midnight assassin. Can it be pretended, that there be more than one kind of justice and equity? Or that honour and probity be qualities, of such an accommodating nature, that, like the venal sycophants of a court, they will suit themselves at all times to the interest, of the prevailing party? Does not the very idea of a right whether possest by an individual or by a Society, imply that of a correspondent obligation? And can a nation therefore, have a right to form treaties or enter into contracts of any kind, without being held by every bond of justice to the performance?
The contracted bosom, which was never expanded, by the warm and generous feelings of benevolence and philanthropy, may slight all public engagements for the sake of a paltry profit, but to a mind not bereft of every virtuous sentiment, it must appear that if any obligations can be more peculiarly solemn than others, they must be those for the performance of which, the honour, not of one individual, but of millions has been pledged: and to a person whose views extend beyond the narrow compass of a day, every breach of public faith must appear equally repugnant to every principle of equity and of policy. Survey the faithful page of history, peruse the annals of the civilized world, and you will always find, that the paths of rectitude and justice, have ever been to a nation the paths of wealth and greatness, as well as of glory and honour: that public credit has ever been the foundation, upon which the fabric of national grandeur has been erected.
So long as the grecian states adhered inviolably to the bonds by which they were connected, the innumerable armies of the Persian despot, only served as trophies to adorn their victories: when a disregard to their public faith, with its inseperable companion, Discord, crept in among them, they soon fell, an easy prey to the ambition of a less powerful tyrant.
Rome, the imperial mistress of the world, exhibits to our view the most illustrious example of the grandeur to which a nation may arrive, by a sacred regard to public faith: it was not by the { 261 } splendor of her victories, it was not by the pageantry of her triumphs that she extended her dominion over the submissive world: but it was by her insuperable attachment to the laws of justice and equity; and her punctilious observance of all the contracts in which she engaged. On the other hand, the disastrous fate of Alba,5 and of Carthage, the faithless rival of the roman power displays the melancholy consequences of an unjust system of policy in a Nation.
In modern times, Britain attacked at once, by the united power of four mighty nations, and born down by the load of an enormous debt, exhibits an example, of national honour, for the admiration of the world, and for the imitation of the american States. The punctual observance of every agreement, and the scrupulous fulfillment of every contract are the only props which have supported, the sinking reputation of that ill fated kingdom.6 This alone has arrested the progress of threatening conquest, and suspended the uplifted arm of ghastly Ruin.7
In this country, I am persuaded there yet exists a spark of patriotism, which may still rekindle a vivid flame. On you, ye lovely daughters of Columbia, your country calls to revive the drooping public spirit: Without recurring to the examples of distant ages, let me only recommend to you, to imitate yourselves: you have already given ample proofs that the patriotic virtues, are not confined to man: Nature it is true, has not formed you, to tread the rugged paths of active life: but your's is the nobler influence of the mind: tis your's to encourage with the smiles of applause every virtuous undertaking, and when the warrior returns from the field of battle with the laurel in his hand, 'tis your's to twine it round his head. Oh! may you every instill into the tender mind the principles of liberty and of patriotism; and remember that the man who can violate his country's faith, must ever be regardless of his own.
Suffer me, my friends and class-mates to address you upon this interesting subject. Warm'd by that friendship, which will ever be the pride, and comfort of my life, I can attest the sentiments of honour and integrity which I have ever heard you express. To recommend to you a spirit of patriotism, and of public zeal would be needless; I can therefore only exhort you, when you shall be advanced upon the theatre of the world; when your Country shall call upon you, to assist in her Councils, or to defend her, with your fortunes and your lives against the sword of { 262 } Invasion, or against the dagger of Oppression, to retain those severe republican virtues, which the pamper'd minion of a tyrant may deride, which the debilitated slave of luxury may dread, but which alone can effectually support the glorious cause of Freedom and of Virtue. Above all, may your ruling passion ever be to preserve pure and immaculate the reputation of your Country. May an insuperable attachment to this, ever shine forth in your actions, ever be the favourite theme of your discourse: for it may safely be asserted, that all the distresses in which the commonwealth is involved, are immediately connected, with the loss of our national credit, and that of an invincible resolution to abide, by all the agreements to which we have consented, were display'd in the conduct of our citizens in general, we should soon rise superior to every temporary evil: gentle Peace, and smiling plenty would again appear and scatter their invaluable blessings round the happy land: the hands of Commerce would recover strength and spread the swelling sail: arts and manufactures would flourish here, and soon would vie with those of Europe, and, Science here would enrich the world, with noble and useful discoveries.8 The radiant Sun of our union would soon emerge from those thick clouds, which obscure his glory, shine with the most resplendent lustre, and diffuse throughout the astonished world, the brilliant light of Science, and the genial warmth of freedom. Our eagle, would soon extend the wings of protection to the wretched object of tyranny and persecution in every quarter of the globe.
The Muses, disgusted, with the depravity of taste and morals which prevails in Europe, would soon take up their abode in these blissful seats of liberty and peace: here would they form historians who should relate, and poets who should sing the glories of our country.
And shall we from a sordid motive of self-interest forego all these advantages? Shall we draw upon our country the execrations of injured foreigners? Shall we deprive the man, who nobly fought and bled to establish our freedom, of that subsistence which he no longer can procure? Or shall we reduce his mourning widow and his orphan child to beggary, as a reward for his services? Forbid it ye powers, who are the protectors of innocence and virtue! May a detestation of so base a principle, be engraved upon the heart of every american! May it be expressed in the first accents of the lisping infant, and in the last words pro• { 263 } | view nounced by the faltering voice of age! And may national honour and integrity distinguish the american commonwealths, till the last trump shall announce the dissolution of the world, and the whole frame of nature shall be consumed in one universal conflagration!9
The performance, as well as several others, was honour'd with a mark of approbation from the audience: after the conference, between Amory, Lloyd and White, the four following parts were omitted: the mathematical performers then delivered up their parts to the governor, and the morning exhibitions were closed with the english Oration by Freeman, who perform'd extremely well, and with general applause. We then return'd in procession to the hall, where the dinner had been provided, and where according to custom, we attended them: after dinner a psalm was sung, and Bil: Abbot served as deacon: after the ceremony was over I return'd to my chamber, where I found some of my company at dinner. It was near three when we left the meeting house before dinner: and at about five, we return'd thither in procession again, but with the candidates for masters degrees. The president spoke a farewell address to our class in latin which was clap'd: this was followed by Mr. Stedman's english oration, which was as good as I expected from him. We then proceeded to the ceremony of taking our degrees. That of batchelor of arts was conferr'd on the following persons.
William Lovejoy Abbot.
Abiel Abbot
John Quincy Adams
Jonathan Amory
Samuel Angier
Benjamin Beale
James Bridge
Josiah Burge
John Chandler
Thomas Chandler
Gardner Leonard Chandler
Caleb Child
William Cranch
Peter Eaton
Oliver Fiske
John Forbes
Bossenger Foster
Nathanael Freeman
Timothy Fuller
Thomas Hammond
Thaddeus Mason Harris
Walter Hunnewell
Joseph Jackson
Asa Johnson
William Samuel Judd
Samuel Kellogg
Ephraim Kendal
Nathanael Laurence
Ebenezer Learned
Moses Little
James Lloyd
James Lovell
{ 264 } | view
William Mason
Daniel Mayo
Samuel Mead
Ephraim Morton
Hezekiah Packard
John Phelps
Nathanael Shephard Prentiss
Samuel Putnam
Isaac Rand
John Sever.
Solomon Vose
John Jones Waldo
Francis Welch
Leonard White
Samuel Willard
Samuel Williams.
Barron, Cushman and Whitney, will be obliged to wait till they can get money to discharge their bills. Bridge, John Chandler, Lovell, Waldo, and Williams, were declared to be necessarily absent so that in fact there were only 43 of us who really went through the ceremony. When we had return'd to our seats, the candidates for the master's degree went through in the same manner; after which the latin valedictory Oration was pronounced by Mr. Timothy Williams. The whole was closed by a prayer from the President. We then conducted the government of the State and of the University, to the President's house, where we left them; and return'd to college. I found our chambers as full of company as they could hold and was complimented and flattered on every side.
One such day every year, would ruin me. However; I still think that all the advantages of a public Commencement proceed from a gratification of vanity: and if this passion is foster'd in two or three persons it must be mortified in many others; and may therefore very probably do more harm than good.
All our company was gone at about 9 this evening; and at about 10, I retired to bed.
1. See entry and notes for 17 May (above).
2. In JQA's draft, the lines “luxury and dissipation... beneath the surface” read as follows: “and altho' the spirit of extravagance and luxury, which <had disgraced> was advancing with such rapid strides in this Commonwealth, has been checked, by the infallible hand of Necessity, yet it <is far from being progress>'s baneful influence is rather impeded[“obstructed” is written above “impeded”] than effectually <stopped> suppressed” (M/JQA/46, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241).
3. Followed in JQA's draft by these words: “which serve to promote not only the honour, but the real prosperity of nations as well as of individuals” (same).
4. The draft version reads: “without affecting the dissimulation of hypocrisy” and “promises” for “engagements” (same).
5. Alba Longa, an ancient city near Rome which lost its primacy in Latium when it was destroyed by the Romans in the 7th century B.C.
6. Followed in the draft with <and this alone, has as yet prevented their final and total ruin> (same).
7. The following two paragraphs and part of the third are not in the draft, which reads: “But without going any further than our own Country, it may safely { 265 } be asserted, that all the distresses in which this commonwealth is involved . . .” (same).
8. The remainder of this paragraph and the next are not in the draft (same).
9. Besides the copy printed here and the draft already mentioned, the Adams Papers contain two other copies of this oration: one, separately filed under the date of 18 July, endorsed by JA in advanced age, which was possibly enclosed in JQA's letter to AA, 1 Aug. (Adams Papers); and another undated copy (M/JQA/46) with MS changes and additions which indicate that it was the copy JQA enclosed with his letter of 30 July to Jeremy Belknap (MHi: Belknap Papers) in reply to Belknap's proposal to print the oration in the Columbian Magazine. Only the original draft has substantive differences from the others, as indicated in the notes above.
Almost immediately after hearing JQA's commencement oration, Belknap asked to have the oration published in the Philadelphia periodical. “Highly honoured” by Belknap's solicitation, JQA sent him a copy and seemed willing, albeit cautiously, to have it published, provided that the commencement poem of his classmate Thaddeus Mason Harris also be included, since “it might with reason perhaps be considered a mark of presumption in me to assume a distinction, which others, much more meritorious, had declined through modesty.” He also requested that Belknap have it printed anonymously. Unable to secure a copy of Mason's poem, Belknap asked JQA to soften his restrictions. “Can your Modesty suffer by yielding to a proper solicitation, especially if the publication be prefaced with a hint of the difficulty with which a Copy was obtained for the Press?” Belknap also urged him to reconsider suppressing his' name, arguing that Harvard would be denied its honor, that “the friends of Liberty and Virtue will have the farther Satisfaction to see the features of the Parent in the Son,” and that the “Country will have a pledge of a succession of abilities in the same Family still to aid her Cause and espouse her Interest” (3 Aug., Adams Papers). After several days of reflection JQA wrote to Belknap reaffirming his desire not to be singled out from among his classmates, but in the end left the whole matter up to Belknap. Again he raised the objection of using his name and of the difficulty in obtaining a copy, but then, as before, expressed confidence in the minister's judgment (6 Aug., MHi: Belknap Papers). In his Diary that day, he fatalistically observed that he had “ventured upon a step, which perhaps some persons may censure,” but one which he felt he could, with justification, take. The piece was published in the September issue and appears at 1:625–628, with only minor changes in spelling and grammar from the Diary copy.
Belknap's gentle cajolery contrasted sharply with the adverse comments JQA received at the hands of two Boston newspapers. The Massachusetts Centinel of 21 July described JQA's oration “upon a well chosen subject” as performed “in a manly sensible and nervous style of eloquence,” but found that “the publick expectations from this gentleman being the son of an Ambassador, the favourite of the officers of the College, and having enjoyed the advantages of European instruction, were greatly inflated.” “The performance justified the preconceived partiality,” it noted; “He is warmly attached to the republican system of his father and descanted upon the subject of public justice with great energy.” Still the Centinel found Freeman “superior in style, elegance and oratory.” Indirectly more damning, however, was a remark in the Boston Gazette of 23 July. While finding JQA's adherence to the republicanism of his father not unusual and defending the young orator from the “bombastic, inflated and ridiculously partial account” of the Centinel, Aristides, the Gazette's writer, concluded his article with apparent reference to JA's recently published A Defence of the Constitutions of the United States of America by stating that “it is truely singular to see certain people whose whole importance has been created by the partiality of their countrymen, affect to decry the merits of a democracy because forsooth they cannot be noblemen.” JQA's oration could not escape the criticism reflected in the worsening social, economic, and political conditions of what he himself described as the “critical period.”
In spite of the political crossfire, JQA long maintained that the delivery of his { 266 } commencement oration was “one of the most memorable events of my life.” When George M. Dallas, son of the former editor of the Columbian Magazine, returned the Belknap copy to JQA in 1822, the author “reperused” it, “now with humiliation; to think how proud of it I was then, and how much I must blush for it now” (JQA, Diary, 7 Oct. 1822, Memoirs, 6:77).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-19


Rose early this morning.
The booths and tents before the colleges continue standing as yet, but the chief of the genteel company is gone. From the contrast between the appearance of objects yesterday and this day, every thing looks at present dull: and the idea of bidding a long and last adieu to all my classmates and fellow students, and of quitting these scenes so pleasing to the heart; presses upon me with double force at this time: I endeavoured however to shake off these unpleasing Sensations, by frequently changing the scene and the company. Breakfasted and dined with Mr. Andrews, and pass'd a sociable evening at Mr. Wigglesworth's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-20


Very few of the Class remain yet in town. At about 11 I went with Willard, and took a cold breakfast with Forbes: between 12 and 1.1 set out for Boston. Mr. Pickman was at my chamber for about an hour before I came away; he has a brother who passes examination this day for admission.
Dined at Mr. Foster's in Boston; and after paying several visits, set off for Braintree, at about 5 o'clock, and arrived there between 7 and 8. Found Parson Wibird and Mr. Tufts at Mr. Cranch's.
And thus the great business of Commencement is compleated; and as happily as I could have expected personally; though I feel for my three classmates who were obliged for the present to forfeit their degrees. Charles and Tom, are to return to-morrow.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-21


Pretty much fatigued, after all the business of the week. Charles and Tom came from Cambridge this afternoon: my { 267 } Cousin, went to Boston in the morning, and return'd with his father at night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-22


Staid at home from meeting the whole day, and was busily employ'd in writing; and yet have not been able to get letters ready to sail by Captain Folgier, who proposes sailing very soon for London.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-23


Beale paid us a visit this forenoon, and dined with us all at Mr. Apthorp's: where we likewise past the afternoon. There is a degree of singularity, running through all this family: I never feel myself under so much restraint any where as in that house: Mr. Apthorp, is disgusting by his eternal admiration of every thing that is english. His lady is agreeable; but perhaps too pointedly civil and polite, to make company perfectly easy: Betsey is sensible and amiable; but extremely diffident and remarkably silent. I know not why, but I believe I never could be sociable with her: Charlotte is more talkative, and at first view more pleasing: but she is affected and fantastical, and in her manners amazingly stiff, and unpliant. In short they are different from the rest of the world and as such I must always view them.
George Blake was over here this afternoon.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-24


Went out in the morning with young Quincy,1 and My brother Tom, on a shooting party: we went down on the marshes and had very good sport.
Lost the afternoon in idleness: Charles went over to Weymouth.
1. Probably Josiah Quincy III, a classmate of TBA's, later a congressman, mayor of Boston, and president of Harvard (Robert A. McCaughey, Josiah Quincy, 1772–1864: The Last Federalist, Cambridge, 1974).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-25


Was all the forenoon again on the marshes, with my cousin and my brother Tom: Charles set out this morning for Haverhill. I wrote but little this day, and lost all the afternoon.
Rainy and foggy weather.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-26


Employ'd myself the whole day in writing. Dr. Tufts was here in the forenoon. I am now waiting here, and preparing for a tour of three or four weeks, before I take up my final abode at Newbury.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-27


Wrote all the forenoon. In the afternoon I read a novel, which arrived from England by the last vessel. The title is Louisa, or the cottage on the moor.1 It is light and airy like most novels. The stile is rather unequal; in some places pretty, and in others very defective: it appears to be a lady's stile. There are no marked characters in it; and very little acquaintance of human life. In short this novel cannot give instruction but it will, entertainment: the story is interesting, and affecting. The incident of Danvers' carrying off Louisa, from Dover is theatrical, and related with more circumstances of probability than are usual in Scenes of that kind, but it must be confest that probability is but little consulted in the general course of the story. I imagine it is the production of a lady, and that is sufficient to screen it from the severity of criticism.
1. By Elizabeth Helme, 2 vols., London, 1787.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-28


Writing all the forenoon. In the afternoon I went out, with my brother Tom, upon a shooting party: indifferent sport. Somewhat fatigued in the evening. I sit down every day to write journal, but here events in general are so trifling, that a relation of them is not worth committing to paper: and as to sentiment, there is nothing here to raise it in the mind; if I had a brain as fertile as that of some of my friends I could write without a subject, and fill up page after page, upon nothing: but gifts of this kind are very partially distributed; and I was never yet able to write without knowing upon what. I frequently think hour after hour, and with a great deal of pains endeavour to call up some wise reflection or observation, but so sure as I attempt this I always find, that some wild association of ideas, will carry me off in a tangent, and after half an hour's reverie, I awake, and am almost ready to ask myself where I am. At present I am a mere { 269 } cypher in creation; without any employment and without any character: when I get to Newbury I expect the study of the Law, will furnish me with something to say.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-29


Attended parson Wibird the whole day. He recommended very highly humility, or spiritual poverty; his sermons were I thought, better than usual. Miss Sarah Taylor, a young lady between 60 and 70 years old dined here this day. I have seen, when I was a child in books of fairy tales, figures very much like this lady, astride upon a broomstick riding Jehu-like through the air. This is a sufficient description of her person, and as to her mind, it will be enough to say that she has been a genuine old maid, these forty years.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0007-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-30


Writing all day. Dr. Tufts was over here in the afternoon. Weather very cold; a fire in dog-days seems quite unnatural; but is very comfortable at present.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-07-31


A cold north-east storm.
Reading and writing all day. Wrote a letter to my mother, and one to my Sister.1 Read some pages in Bolingbroke's philosophical works: the stile and matter both inferior to his political writings.
1. JQA to AA, 1 Aug. (Adams Papers); his letter to AA2 has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-01

Wednesday August 1st. 1787.

Tom set out this morning for Haverhill. I expected to be there before now; but one thing and another has prevented me from going, and I suppose I shall be kept here as much as a week longer. I wrote a short essay this forenoon,1 but was not pleased with it, when I had done. Ben. Beale, was here in the afternoon, and drank tea with us; I proposed to him to go with me to Haverhill next week, but he said he could not make any positive promise.
{ 270 }
We pass'd the evening as usual in playing on the flute and singing.
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-02


One of the Miss Greenleaf's and a married sister of her's dined here, and withal Miss Taylor, the amiable lass that I mentioned, two or three days ago. She is an original character, with a good deal of natural sense, but a brain, which has been some how out of order, and does not at present appear to be wholly right: she is an incessant talker and like most other persons who bear that character, she says a great many foolish things, and makes now and then a very good observation. She is the daughter of a lieutenant governor of this Colony, but the family is greatly reduced. The revolutions in private families are similar to those of States and Empires. There is scarce one family in Boston possest of great wealth, or having much political importance that can trace a genteel ancestry, or even such as lived comfortably and creditably, for three generations past. But nothing is more common than to see the descendants from honorable, and opulent families now in the greatest obscurity and poverty. It seems as if fortune herself was resolved to put the republican system into practice here. I could name many families now in high repute for wealth, or political trust, that appear to me to be upon the decline, and the younger branches of which are I think in a fair way to be at the lowest ebb within thirty years; and there is a great chance, that I myself shall at some future period serve as an additional example of this truth.
Mr. Tufts came over this afternoon in company, with Miss Brookes1 and Miss Jones, and drank tea here: they return'd to Weymouth just after Sun-set.
1. Presumably Mercy Brooks (1763–1849), of Medford, who later married Cotton Tufts Jr., JQA's cousin.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-03


I went over to Milton this forenoon, and dined at General Warren's. I found my Class-mate Sever there, and his mamma. They left Milton at about 4 in the afternoon, and proceeded to Boston. Soon after they were gone Mrs. Scott, and Miss H. Otis, (a sister { 271 } to Mrs. Warren,) Mrs. Parsons and Miss Nancy Russell of Plymouth, came in, and drank tea. I had never before seen either of these ladies, except the last, who has one of the most amiable countenances that ever I beheld

Fair as the blooming flowers that cheer the vale,

And lend their fragrance to the gentle gale,

Her cheek with lilies and with roses vies,

And innocence adds lustre to her eyes.

It is impossible that such an heavenly form, should contain any other than a good mind. How was I disgusted, how much was I griev'd in the spring to see what this young lady and her sister were subjected to! To endure the language and sentiments of professed rakes, destitute of every delicate feeling, and of every spark of amiable sensibility—May heaven protect her from a connection which would infallibly render her completely miserable!
When tea was over I left the ladies there, and after doing my business at Milton return'd to Braintree; I got home a little after eight o'clock.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-04


The weather was extremely warm, all the forenoon.
Rambled about, upon Mr. Cranch's farm with my cousin.1 In the afternoon, I went into the water with him: towards evening the weather began to grow more comfortable: a letter was brought me, from Mr. Belknap2 in Boston.
1. Terminal punctuation has been supplied.
2. On this letter and JQA's reply of the 6th, see entry for 18 July, note 9 (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-05


Mr. Wibird preach'd this day, upon two different subjects which for him, was something very extraordinary. In the forenoon the subject was the shortness, the uncertainty and instability, of human life; occasioned by the death of one of the parishioners in the course of the last week: but in the afternoon he spoke with much animation, with great judgment, and sound reasoning, upon the excellency of the sacred writings. It was one of the best Sermons that I ever heard him preach.
After meeting Mr. Wainwright and Ben Beale, came and { 272 } drank tea with us. Mr. Wainwright is a young englishman; who to elegance of person appears to unite great softness of manners: I should from this cursory view rather judge him an amiable, than a great man.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-06


Down upon the water side, and along upon the marshes with my cousin all the forenoon, but we were obliged to retire before we wished. In the afternoon I wrote an answer to Mr. Belknap. I have ventured upon a step, which perhaps some persons may censure; but as the circumstances are I know not what else to do, and if I am justified in the minds, of men, possessed of candid and liberal sentiments, I feel very indifferent to whatever may be said by people of another description.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-07


My Cousin went to Boston in the morning, and did not return till night. I had an opportunity by the law of retaliation to discover one of his secrets: but as a secret it shall remain. This evening Emerson arrived here with Polly Smith from Lincoln, who is going to pass sometime here, and Betsey, will return in a day or two to her mamma.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-08


This morning Emerson went to Hingham, and I walk'd over to Weymouth, and dined with Doctor Tufts. I found Miss Brookes there and had a long conversation in order to remove from her mind some impressions very unfavorable to me, which a classmate of mine was so kind as to raise, by telling her a number of absolute falsehoods.
There are among mankind numbers who have such a trifling defect as to propagate such fictitious stories which are calculated only to ruin the character of a person for whom they profess uncommon friendship. And yet I have seen many a good soul, with more benevolence and sincerity, than knowledge of human nature, complain, that he had been injured without ever giving any cause, that misrepresentation had been employed to destroy his reputation, and break out with the utmost indignation against a man, who was capable of what he would call, so { 273 } base an action. But the man who expects that all mankind, or the circle in which he moves will treat him according to his real merits, must have very little experience in the ways of men. It is not worth while I think, upon such occasions to make a noise about a trifle: but say with the Poet

To virtue only, and its friends, a friend,

The world beside may censure or commend.

If the good opinion of the world can be obtained in an honorable manner, it is not to be slighted: but the roar of the million would be dearly bought by one unjust, or ungenerous action.
At about 4 o'clock I mounted my horse, and rode to Braintree, where I found a numerous company of gentlemen and Ladies from Boston, who had dined there. It was almost half past 6 when I left my uncle's house, and at 9 I arrived in Cambridge. I found my classmate Packard here, and lodg'd with him.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-09


I breakfasted this morning with Mr. Andrews, and after breakfast called upon Jack Forbes; in their company I past my time away till near eleven o'clock. I then mounted, and after stopping a few minutes at Medford, I proceeded, and at about 2, arrived at the tavern in Wilmington, where I found my two brothers who were returning from Haverhill: both of them much pleased with their tour.
Between 4 and 5. we parted, they went towards Cambridge, and I came on to Haverhill, where I arrived, at about 8 in the evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-10


Spent the whole of the forenoon at Mr. Thaxter's office. Dined at Mr. Shaw's. In the afternoon I went down to Mr. White's, and found Leonard just going to ride out with his mother. Mr. White went with her himself, and Leonard remained with me. I passed the evening there till almost 9 and then return'd to Mr. Shaw's. Mrs. White is very unwell, and Mrs. Bartlett carries a very heavy burden about with her.1
1. Mrs. Bailey Bartlett, Leonard White's sister, was pregnant (Haverhill, Vital Records).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-11


This forenoon, I took a ride with Mr. Shaw, to see my classmate Welch, who lives about four miles from hence. After I return'd, I called in, at Mr. Bartlett's, where I found Mr. and Mrs. Dalton, with their two eldest daughters, and Miss Hazen. They all dined at Mr. White's, and in the afternoon all returned to Mr. Dalton's seat at Newtown.1 The eldest daughter is very much as she was two years ago, blooming as a rose, and, they say, in a fair way to be married. The younger has grown since I last saw her, and appears to better advantage. Miss Hazen appears to have altered but very little since the Time when I lived here with her: she is indeed now two years older, and must necessarily possess more prudence and steadiness; but her manners are still the same. I passed the evening with White and returned home just before 9.
1. That is, Newbury.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-12


Mr. Tappan,1 from Newbury preach'd here the whole day. Both his sermons were doctrinal, but very ingenious. This gentleman is much celebrated in this part of the Country, for his abilities, both natural and acquired. I was much pleased with the little conversation I had with him in the course of the day: but his public speaking is far from being graceful. Elocution indeed has not till very lately been considered, as claiming a right to much attention in the education of youth; and consequently there are but very few preachers who had finished their education before the last war, that make any figure at all, as speakers: and even those who are acknowledged to be men of great genius and learning, are with respect to the delivery far inferior to many modern preachers, who have not half their talents.
1. David Tappan was minister from 1774 of the Third Parish of Newbury, and from 1793, Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:638–645).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-13


I intended to have gone this day to Newbury-Port, but the weather was so excessively warm, that I determined this morn• { 275 } ing to omit going, till to-morrow. I paid a visit to Judge Sargeant in the forenoon and spent a couple of hours there. Conversed upon political subjects. Saw Mr. Thaxter a few minutes. After dinner I went with Mr. and Mrs. Shaw, to see my classmate Eaton, but he was not at home. On our return we stop'd at Parson Adam's, but neither was he to be found so that we then came home, and I passed the evening with my uncle.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-14


It was so warm again this day, that I did not set out from Haverhill, till between 3 and 4 in the afternoon. On the road I met at different times Mr. Tappan, Stedman and Thompson, and Tom Hooper. I arrived at Mr. Tufts's in Newbury-Port, just before sun-set. I did not enter the town with the most favorable impressions: about three weeks hence I am to become an inhabitant of the place; without friends or connections, I am to stand on my own ground, and am in all probability To live here three years; whether agreeably or, not time only must discover; but the presages within my breast are not such as I should wish realized.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-15


In the forenoon I went to see Mr. Parsons, and inform'd him that I should probably attend at his office in about three weeks: Stedman and Thomson are there now, but the former of these will leave the office, by the latter end of next month. My classmate Putnam has applied for admission, and intends, I am told to enter the office in November. Two at once would be full sufficient, but if there are half a dozen it cannot be helped. I went accompanied by Stedman, and paid a visit to Miss Jones, the young lady who was at Mr. Wiggles worth's when Bridge, and I boarded there, last winter. She looks very unwell, and they fear she is in a consumption.
Dined at Mr. Tufts's, and soon after dinner I went to see my friend and Classmate Little. I found Thomson there, but he soon after proceeded on his way to Wenham. We had several smart showers in the course of the afternoon. Just before dark I returned to Mr. Tufts's at the port. In the evening, between 9 and 10, we had a very heavy shower, with a violent gust of wind.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-16


I went again this forenoon to see Miss Jones, and offered to call in the afternoon and take a letter for Miss Wigglesworth, but when we set out I entirely forgot my promise, and did not recollect it till I had got some way out of town. Mr. Thaxter arrived in town this morning, and dined at Mr. Tufts's.
In the forenoon I engaged a place where I am to board; which is at a Mrs. Leathers's.1 It is not so convenient as I should wish; but I must put up with it for a Time, and when I get here I shall be able to look out for myself.
Soon after dinner, I set off in company with Mr. Thaxter; stopp'd a few minutes at Mr. Dalton, where I found a large company from town, and arrived at Haverhill at about sun-set.
1. Mrs. Martha Leathers, widow of Newburyport shipwright Joseph Leathers, in whose house JQA lodged until September 1788. JQA described her as “a good old woman, who even an hundred years ago would have stood in no danger of being hang'd for witchcraft: she is however civil and obliging, and what is very much in her favour, uncommonly silent so that if I am deprived of the charms, I am also free from the impertinence of Conversation” (Currier, Newburyport, 2:262–263; JQA to AA, 23 Dec., Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-17


At home all the forenoon, reading Tom Jones, one of the best novels in the language. The scenes are not only such as may have taken place, but they are similar to such as almost every person may have witnessed. This book cannot lead a person to form too favorable an opinion of human nature, but neither will it give a false one.
Pass'd the afternoon and part of the evening at Mr. White's. The papers of this day, give an account of a violent hurricane, which did a vast deal of injury in the towns of Framingham, Sudbury, Marlborough and some others in the County of Worcester; on Wednesday in the afternoon. It was not perceived in these parts of the Country, where there were only two or three heavy showers of rain in the course of that day.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-18


This forenoon I took a ride, with White, to see our class mate Eaton. We spent about an hour with him and return'd before dinner. Dined at Mr. White's, and the afternoon went to see his { 277 } pearl ash works: the sight of these and the account of all the process in making pot and pearl ash, was pleasing because it was new. Leonard complains very much of the stagnation of business; and indeed commerce, as well as the other professions, offer but a miserable prospect to young persons: it is however to be hoped, that the scene will brighten within a few years. And when we have nothing more substantial to support us, we must place our dependence upon hope.
When I return'd home, I found Mr. Shaw gone to Newbury; where he is to preach to-morrow for Mr. Kimball.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-19


Mr. Kimball1 preach'd a couple of practical discourses, the subjects of which I liked better than those of Mr. Tappan, last Sunday: his manner of treating his subjects though good was not I think equal to that of the other gentleman.
After meeting I convers'd with him, chiefly upon political topics. He has a most tremendous frown and appears upon so short an acquaintance, to be possess'd rather of a peevish, difficult temper; which I judge not from his conversation but his countenance; and I am inform'd that this opinion is not erroneous. It was almost Sun-set when Mr. Shaw came home. Leonard White pass'd part of the evening here, and I took a walk with him down upon the banks of the river. The weather very fair, but looks as if it would not continue so, long.
1. Rev. True Kimball was minister of the Second Church in Newbury, now the First Church in West Newbury, 1782–1797 (Joshua Coffin, A Sketch of The History of Newbury, Newburyport, and West Newbury, From 1635 to 1845, Boston, 1845, p. 370).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-20


I had some thoughts of leaving Haverhill this morning; but it rain'd all the forenoon; and as I am not in any particular haste, and my friends here are still willing I should remain with them: I determined to defer my departure a day or two longer. I staid at home the whole day. Mr. Thaxter spent the evening with us. He finally declared that he intended if no unforeseen event should take place, to be married before next December, and I am heartily glad of it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-21


Hazy weather again all the forenoon.
I went and pass'd an hour with my friend White before dinner. Spent the afternoon with Mr. Thaxter at his office. Mr. Dodge was there, a great part of the Time. We conversed upon various subjects. Mr. Thaxter whose feelings are very warm, express'd his sentiments quite openly with respect to a gentleman, whose political conduct has been of late somewhat suspicious. I drank tea at Mr. B. Bartlett's: Parson Smith with his lady, Captain Willis and his wife were there and Mr. and Mrs. Lee from Cambridge. It was the first time I had ever been in company with Mr. Lee. He has, I am told much more show than solidity. He does good however with his fortune; and this is meritorious, though the motives by which he is actuated, may not be the most noble and generous.1
Return'd home at about 7 o'clock, and received an invitation from Judge Sargeant, which will detain me here one day more.
1. Joseph Lee, the Cambridge merchant and investor whose appointment to the Mandamus Council in 1774 and dramatic resignation from that body in the face of a mob marked him as a loyalist in the eyes of many. After the start of the Revolution Lee was dropped as a judge from the Middlesex co. court of common pleas, but his property was not confiscated (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:592–598).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-22


Dined at Judge Sargeant's, with Mr. and Mrs. Shaw. Mr. Porter and his lady are there upon a visit from Rye: with a child about six weeks old, which forsooth immediately after dinner must be produced, and was handed about from one to another; and very shrewd discoveries were made of its resemblance to all the family by turns, whereas in fact it did resemble nothing but chaos. How much is the merciful author of nature to be adored for implanting in the heart of man a passion stronger than the power of reason, which affords delight to the parent at the sight of his offspring even at a Time, when to every other person it must be disgusting. Yet it appears to me, that parents would do wisely in keeping their children out of sight at least untill they are a year old, for I cannot see what satisfaction, either sensual or intellectual can be derived from seeing a misshapen, bawling, slobbering infant, unless to persons particularly interested.
{ 279 }
We drank tea likewise at the judge's, and return'd home between 7 and 8 in the evening.
Leonard White came up to give me a letter for his chum.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-23


I left Haverhill this morning at about 9 o'clock; and at 12 arrived at the tavern in Wilmington, where I dined. At about 2 I again set off, and got to Cambridge a little before six. I came through Mystic and called at Mrs. Tufts's,1 to see my friend Freeman, but he was gone to Boston. When I got to Cambridge I found great alterations had taken place since I left College, Mr. Reed, and Mr. Burr have resigned, and likewise the librarian. Mr. Webber and Mr. Ware, were chosen as Tutors, but Mr. Ware declined accepting as he has an unanimous call to settle at Hingham, and will probably soon be ordain'd. Mr. Abbot has since that been chosen, and Mr. I. Smith was elected librarian, but has not yet accepted.
I passed the evening at several chambers among my old acquaintance, Phillips, Clarke, Lincoln, and my classmate Packard; the only one now in town. Indeed it seemed extraordinary to walk through the college yard and the town, finding scholars every where, yet without seeing one of those with whom I was the most closely connected. It made me quite dull.
1. Probably Elizabeth Hall Tufts (1743–1830), the second wife and widow of Dr. Simon Tufts, an older brother of Dr. Cotton Tufts and a cousin of AA.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-24


I lodg'd last night with Lincoln, the senior, whose chum was out of town. Breakfasted this morning with Mr. Andrews, who returned from Hingham last evening. I visited Mr. James and Doctor Jennison: both were very polite. The Doctor informs me, that several material alterations are about to take place, with respect to the plan of studies pursued here. Doddridge, is to be put entirely into the hands of the theological professor, which is its proper place, and some attention to History is to be called forth by the recitations on Saturday mornings. The mathematics will be taught in better order than they have been heretofore, and indeed it always appear'd absurd to me, that Sophimores should study Euclid, and learn common arithmetic after they com• { 280 } mence Juniors. Henceforth arithmetic, with some little practical geometry, surveying, trigonometry &c are to be taught them before they begin upon Euclid—All the changes, which the doctor mentioned, will I think be for the better.
Dined with Mr. Andrews, and passed the afternoon at college.
Just as I was going in to prayers, I was stopped by a couple of french officers from on board the fleet now lying in Boston Harbour. They desired to see the colleges. I waited on them into the library, the museum and the philosophy chamber. After they had satisfied their curiosity, they set out for Boston, and I for Braintree. It was between six and seven o'clock before I got away, at about nine I arrived at Braintree, where I found all my friends well.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-25


In the forenoon I went to Weymouth, to return Dr. Tufts's horse. Dined at the Doctor's, and pass'd the afternoon there. Walk'd leisurely home, and arrived at about Sun-set.
This morning Mrs. Cranch and her son, went to Boston. My Cousin intends to read law with Mr. Dawes, and will enter his office next monday.
Very damp, sultry weather.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-26


I did not attend meeting this day—Employ'd myself chiefly in reading and writing. Mr. Weld preach'd for Mr. Wibird, and dined here. Miss Street and one of Captn. Beale's sons, with Mr. J. Warren dined with us likewise. In the evening Mrs. Cranch and Dr. Tufts return'd from Boston. My uncle Smith has been for some time very ill of a complication of disorders. The Doctor thinks he is at present better than he has been, but that the symptoms are yet dangerous.
Up late in consequence of an afternoon nap: read some poetry and some prose, in a cursory manner.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-27


I employ'd myself in the forenoon with making some necessary preparations before my final departure for Newbury-port. In the afternoon I accompanied the ladies to Mrs. Quincy's. Miss { 281 } Nancy has been very ill, and is much thinner than when I saw her last. She is however recovering.
Pass'd an agreeable afternoon, and return'd home just after dark.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-28


Rode out in the morning with Mrs. Cranch. It rain'd hard all the afternoon—chilly north-east wind. The fruits of the earth are at this time extremely backward, on account of the little heat, and the great rains that have prevailed this summer. The productions of our lands require frequent, rather than plentiful rains, and great heat, as the summers are so short.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-29


Rain'd in the fore part of the day but cleared up in the afternoon: I went with my gun down upon the marshes; but had no sport. Game laws are said to be directly opposed to the liberties of the subject: I am well perswaded that they may be carried too far, and that they really are in most parts of Europe. But it is equally certain that when there are none, there never is any game: so that the difference between the Country where laws of this kind exist, and that where they are unknown, must be that in the former very few individuals will enjoy the privilege of hunting, and eating venison, and in the latter this privilege will be enjoy'd by nobody.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-30


Staid at home the whole day. Doctor Tufts was here in the morning, on his road to Boston, and in the evening on his return. I took a nap in the afternoon, and had a strange dream. I cannot conceive where my imagination ransack'd the ideas, which prevailed at that time in my mind. This part of the action of the human soul, is yet to be accounted for: and perhaps has not been scrutinized with so much accuracy as it might have been.
In the evening I read about one half of Mr. Jefferson's notes upon Virginia,1 and was very much pleased with them. There is a great deal of learning shown without ostentation, and a spirit of philosophy equally instructive and entertaining.
1. Notes on the State of Virginia; Written in the Year 1781, Somewhat Corrected and Enlarged in the Winter of 1782..., [Paris, 1784–1785], and subsequent editions.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0008-0032

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-08-31


A very warm day. Rambling all the morning; I met a couple of french officers gunning on my uncle's farm. In the afternoon I went with the ladies, to see my Grand-mamma: return'd at about dusk; and closed the last day, which I proposed to spend in Braintree for some time.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-01

Saturday September 1st. 1787.

Between 9 and 10 o'clock this morning I departed from Braintree with Mrs. Cranch: we got to Mr. Foster's at about 12. I went to Mr. Dawes's office, where I found Cranch and Forbes. Dined with the former at Mr. Foster's. Stroll'd about town all the afternoon and just before Sun-set: I took a walk to Cambridge: where I arrived at about 8 o'clock.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-02


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preach'd; much in the old way. The meeting house however did not look as it was wont. The same deficiency I found there, that I had perceiv'd, in the colleges, and every where in this Town. All my classmates gone. I dined at Mr. Wigglesworth's with Packard. Peggy appears as amiable as ever.
I pass'd the evening with my brothers, and lodg'd with Tom.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-03


I pass'd about an hour, before dinner with Mr. Winthrop, the late librarian. He is much of a politician; his opinion with respect to the situation of the country is always favorable.
Dined with Mr. Andrews. Lincoln, the senior was there; a young lad of good abilities, and of great application: In the afternoon I met a couple of french officers in the College yard; who wish'd to see the library and museum; but the butler was not to be found; and they were obliged to defer the gratification of their curiosity, to some future opportunity. In the evening I sat about an hour in my brothers' chamber. A number of Junior's were collected in a chamber near there, and were enjoying all the pleasures of conviviality: it brought to my mind the frequent scenes of a similar nature, at which I was present, a short time ago. An involuntary sigh arose in my breast; I left the chamber to put a { 283 } stop to melancholy recollection, and, went to the butler's room: I found Mr. Stedman, and Mr. Andrews with him, and pass'd the remainder of the evening very agreeably. Stedman and Harris exerted their talents at telling stories, and diverted us very much: between 9 and 10, I retired with Mr. Andrews and lodg'd with him.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-04


After breakfast I return'd to College, and on the way stopp'd at the President's. He was not at home, but Mrs. Willard desired me to take a letter for Sophy, who is now on a visit at Newbury-Port. At about 10 o'clock I went with a number of scholars in the stage carriage, for Boston: just as we were going off we met Cranch who had walk'd up from Boston expecting there would be a meeting of the ΦBK this forenoon, but as it is deferr'd till to-morrow, he return'd with us.
I attended Court, but there were no causes of any great importance argued.
Dined with Mr. Dawes, in company with Mr. Gardiner, who was once an orator on the 4th. of July. He is an original character, but shows much more wit in his private conversation, than in his public performances.
I had engaged a place in the stage to go to Newbury Port to-morrow, and I found some difficulty to disengage myself: however another person applied in the afternoon, and I retain'd my place for Friday.
Passd the evening at Mr. Smith's, with Mr. and Mrs. Otis, and Dr. Welch and his lady; lodg'd with my cousin at Mr. Foster's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-05


Took an early breakfast, and walk'd with Cranch to Cambridge. We got to Packard's chamber, just after 9 o'clock. There was a meeting of the ΦBK. The president and vice-president being both absent, Mr. Andrews presided for the meeting: a number of new regulations were introduced; the resignation of the president was read and accepted. Just before 12 The officers for the ensuing year were ballotted. Mr. Ware, (who arrived just before the choice) was elected president; Mr. Harris vice-president; Abbot secretary, and Phillips treasurer.
Immediately after this business was finished, we walk'd in { 284 } procession to the chapel, preceded by the two orators. (Lowell and Freeman.) Freeman gave us an Oration containing miscellaneous observations, without any professed subject; and this like all his other performances was extremely well written, and equally well deliver'd. Lowell, gave us an encomium upon history, which contained a number of very good observations, but his delivery was not without a share of that affectation, which if I may so express myself, is natural to him. The students attended very generally except those of the Senior class; who kept off, from a spirit of envy, all except Dodge.
We return'd to the butler's room, and soon after proceeded to Mr. Warland's, where we had an excellent dinner provided for us. Besides the members, of the present senior class, there were present Mr. Kendall, and Mr. B. Green, Mr. Ware; Mr. Andrews, Mr. Harris: Packard, Cranch, Freeman, and myself: after passing a couple of hours, in friendly mirth and festivity, at three o'clock, we adjourn'd again to Packard's chamber, where we voted to admit Mr. Bancroft, a minister of Worcester; Mr. Packard of Marlborough, and Dr. Barker of Hingham, as members of the Society without the usual forms. On account of the Dudleian lecture we adjourn'd the meeting till five o'clock; when we again met, but there being no further business, the meeting was then dissolved.
The lecture was preach'd by Doctor Howard. The subject was natural religion and his text was from []1 And we also are his offspring. The sermon was replete with sound sense, and a wholsome doctrine, as all the sermons that I ever heard from this gentleman, have been.
In the evening I called at the president's and at Mr. Wigglesworths', and took their letters for Newbury-Port. Lodg'd at college, with Clarke.
1. Acts 17:28, but left blank in MS. The lecture was given by Simeon Howard.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-06


This morning after breakfasting with Mr. Andrews I walk'd leisurely to Boston. Just before I left Cambridge the parts for exhibition were distributed: Charles has a dialogue with Emerson: the circumstance gave me more pleasure than any allotment that I ever had, myself.
As soon as I arrived in Boston, I immediately went to Court, { 285 } and found them engaged upon the trial of one John Shehane for burglary. The attorney general1 began, in behalf of the commonwealth. He examined his witnesses and said but little, observing that he should wait to see what defence the counsel for the prisoner, had to make.
Mr. Wetmore2 spoke first for the prisoner; at the first outset, he attempted to address the passions of the jury, Mr. Dawes who sat next to me observ'd that this was a bad omen. The pathetic he said should always be reserved for the latter part of the plea: a man should gradually grow warm (said he) as he advances in his subject; like a wheel, which acquires heat by rolling.
The evidence which Mr. Wetmore produced, was very favorable to the prisoner. If true it proved an alibi; and it proved likewise that Shehane, had bought the articles, which he was charged with stealing: but they told so many different stories, and the attorney general produced such evidence, that they were perjured; that I think no stress could be laid upon it.
Mr. Tudor spoke much at length in the afternoon; and very ably: Mr. Paine, closed for the Commonwealth, at about 7 in the evening. All the judges (there were four present) appeared to be of opinion that the prisoner was guilty. At half past 8, the jury was pack'd,3 and the court adjourn'd for an hour: but the jury had not then agreed upon a verdict; upon which the court adjourn'd till 9 o'clock to-morrow morning.
I was so entirely engaged the whole day in hearing this trial, which was very interesting; that I had no time, to go any where else. Between 10 and 11 at night I carried my bundle to Mr. Colman's, from whose house the stage setts off, and I took a bed there, in order to be ready to go very early in the morning.
1. Robert Treat Paine, attorney general from 1777 to 1790 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:462–482).
2. William Wetmore, a Boston attorney (same, 17:447–451).
3. In this sense, sent out to deliberate upon a verdict.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-07


At three in the morning I was roused, and got into the carriage in company with, a merchant of Portsmouth, and a Sea captain of Newbury-Port; lately arrived from South Carolina. Nothing very interesting occurred in the course of our Journey. We dined at Ipswich and reach'd Newbury-Port, between 2 and 3 in the afternoon. After taking possession of my room, at Mrs. Leath• { 286 } ers's; I went to Mr. Parsons's office, where I found Thomson, and Townsend. I soon went to see my friend Little, whom I found at Dr. Swetts',1 I pass'd an hour there, and then went, with Little, and deliver'd the chief of the letters with which I was charged. Little came home with me to my lodgings and pass'd part of the evening with me. As I was up so early in the morning, and was somewhat fatigued with my Journey, I retired early to bed.
1. Dr. John Barnard Swett, a Newburyport physician (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:635–638).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-08


I arose in the morning quite refresh'd, and immediately after breakfast went and took my station in the office. I began upon the first volume of Robertson's history of Charles the V. which Mr. Parsons recommended as containing an account of the feudal institutions, from which were derived many of the laws which are now established in different parts of Europe.
I have already read the book; but thought it would be best to peruse it again.
I was no where this day, except at the office and my lodgings.
Saturday evening: rather tedious.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-09


I did not attend meeting this day for several reasons. At home the whole day; it was extremely long and tedious. I amused myself with reading in the first volume of Blair's lectures: I have already perused the work; but I think it deserves a second reading.
Retir'd early to bed, merely from ennui.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-10


Attended at the office the whole day. Continued Robertson. Thomson engaged this morning to take the charge of one of the town schools, for a year. It will interfere very much with his attendance at the office. His father, who is very rigid in his religious opinions, and probably entertains an unfavourable idea of the profession of the law, is very averse to his son's engaging in it; and takes every opportunity he can, to discourage his son { 287 } from the study; and it is supposed he took this method among others to draw off his attention from this pursuit: but he will certainly fail in the attempt, and I doubt whether Thomson will keep the school, more than half the year through. In the afternoon we walk'd to Mr. Atkins's,1 and found Mr. John Tracy with him: we pass'd part of the evening at Mr. Tracy's house: I there met with a french gentleman with whom I conversed about half an hour. Return'd home between 8 and 9 in the evening.
1. Dudley Atkins Jr., a Newburyport justice of the peace at this time (Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 85:160 [April 1949]; Fleet's Pocket Almanack and Massachusetts Register, 1788).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-11


Thomson began his attendance upon the school this morning, and attended at the office, all the leisure time he had: if he should make a practice of this it must necessarily be essentially injurious to his health. I Dined this day with Townsend and pass'd the evening at home in reading and writing.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-12


Training day for the alarm list. From 16 to 60 years the inhabitants of this Common-wealth, are subjected to the duties of militia-men: As a student of Harvard University, I shall be exempted for three years: for all the sons of Harvard are considered as students at that seminary untill they commence masters of arts.
This forenoon I finish'd the first volume of Robertson's Charles V. and as I read now in connection with my studies, I shall not proceed with the other volumes. In the afternoon I took up Vattels' law of nature and of nations.1
1. Emmerich de Vattel, Le droit des gens; ou, principes de la loi naturelle, appliqués à la conduite et aux affaires des nations et des souverains, Leyden, 1758, and subsequent English translations. Presumably in this and other cases, JQA was using Parsons' law books. The copy known to have been owned by an Adams at this time was a French edition, Amsterdam, 1775, given to JA by C. W. F. Dumas in 1781.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-13


Dined with Dr. Kilham1 at Mr. Carter's.2 This is a very friendly, obliging old gentleman, about 73 years of age, as I collected from his conversation: he is very sociable, and is a great genealogist. He gave me a much more circumstantial account of { 288 } my ancestry, for four or five generations back, than I had ever known before, and I am told he can give the same kind of information to almost any body else. He has two sons with him, both I believe between 25 and 30 years old and one daughter: one of his daughters was married in the beginning of the summer, to Mr. W. Smith of Boston:3 and his eldest son, proposes to be married in the spring to Miss Eppes Cutts, who has made her appearance heretofore in this journal. Her sister, Miss Nancy Cutts is now upon a visit at Mr. Carter's, and dined with us. I think she is handsomer, and that her manners are easier than those of her Sister. How the comparison might be, in mental qualifications I am not able to decide. I was alone this afternoon in the office, as Townsend and Thomson, were both gone to see the manoeuvres of the four companies of militia of the train band, who were this day forming themselves for soldiers.
In the evening I pass'd an hour at Mr. Tufts's. Mrs. Tufts is very unwell.
1. Dr. Daniel Kilham, Newburyport apothecary and fellow boarder with JQA at Mrs. Martha Leathers' and a representative in the General Court (Russell Leigh Jackson, “Physicians of Essex County,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 84:83 [Jan. 1948].
2. Nathaniel Carter Sr., a wealthy Newburyport merchant (Cecil Hampden Cutts Howard, “Thomas and Esther (Marlowe) Carter and Their Descendants,” same, 65:502–503 [Oct. 1929]).
3. Boston merchant William smith, JQA's cousin, married Hannah Carter (same).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-14


The weather for this week past has been from day to day alternately very warm and very cold. These sudden transitions, which in this Country are very common, are almost too powerful for our constitutions: to foreigners they are almost intolerable, and I believe even the inhabitants, who from their birth have been used to them, suffer more from them than they are aware. This forenoon I received a letter from my friend Forbes,1 enclosing one for Miss Jones, and in the evening I called and delivered that which was consigned to my care. Mr. Parsons arrived just before dark from Boston, and was the bearer of a short letter from Cranch.2 The supreme court have adjourn'd from Boston till some time in December. Shehane the fellow whose trial I attended, was found guilty, and is now under sentence of Death. But all the prisoners who were convicted of treason have received a full and free pardon:3 is it much to the credit of our gov• { 289 } ernment that a man who has stole 30£ worth of plate should die for the offence, while others commit treason and murder with impunity?
I pass'd the evening and supp'd with Townsend. We amused ourselves by playing back-gammon. At about 10 I retired home.
1. Not found.
2. Not found.
3. Here JQA is referring to the treatment given to the Shays rebels.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-15


Dined with Townsend and Thomson at Mr. Parsons's. I finished this day the first volume of Vattel. The first book treats of the duties of a nation with respect to itself: the second of its obligations towards others. His sentiments and principles appear to be dictated by good sense and real virtue. They appear all to derive from that law of nature, which every person of common sense and common honesty must wish to prevail, Do as you would be done by.
Mr. Parsons endeavoured to perswade Thomson to give up his school; he told him it would infallibly either murder his health or his studies: he himself had tried it for two years and it had almost ruin'd him.
My trunks at length arrived from Boston, and I shall at least have more convenience than I have as yet had here. Little pass'd the evening with me at my lodgings; and his company is always agreeable.
I received a letter from Braintree.1
The french fleet have received orders to sail immediately for Brest, and it is added they are enjoined to avoid all english fleets'. It is conjectur'd that the affairs in Holland are now arrived at a crisis, and it is not improbable that England and France will support the opposite parties.2
1. Not found.
2. A reference to the ongoing struggle between the Dutch Patriots and the Prince of Orange (the Stadholder) in the Netherlands. The Patriot Revolt had achieved an alliance with France in 1785 and had deprived the Stadholder, the country's hereditary ruler, of certain powers. The English, who sided with the Stadholder, and the French managed to avoid open conflict. Through the military intervention of the Stadholder's brother-in-law, Frederick William II of Prussia, culminating with the surrender of Utrecht on 16 Sept., Great Britain and the Orangists regained predominance in Holland. The French fleet sailed from, not for, Brest (Simon Schama, Patriots and Liberators: Revolution in the Netherlands, 1780–1813, N.Y., 1977, p. 100–132).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-16


I took a walk this morning as far as Dr. Tucker's1 meeting house; but it was to little purpose, unless the exercice of the walk was sufficiently beneficial to me to compensate my trouble: for Mr. Kimball happened to preach; and delivered the same sermon, which I heard him read at Haverhill four weeks ago. As I did not incline to hear the afternoon sermon twice, I attended at Mr. Carey's:2 this gentleman is a good preacher; but appears extremely indolent: his manner is also far from being graceful. After meeting I went with Dr. Kilham to his shop; and he lent me a number of Pieces of good music. He has a very pretty taste in this art, though he does not perform upon any instrument. Just before dark I took a walk with Townsend, and called in at Mr. Atkins's. He himself was not at home: his mother and Sister were. Mrs. Atkins is a very sensible, agreeable old lady, whose conversation unites the vivacity of youth, with the sound judgment of experienced age. Her daughter appears to be about 20. She may be more, or less, for near that period of life the countenance retains nearly the same appearance longer perhaps, than at any other age: she has fine eyes, and a very pleasing symmetry of features; but not an handsome set of teeth. We past about an hour there; Townsend stopp'd at my lodgings and tarried the remainder of the evening here.
I received a couple of letters from Cambridge:3 one from Packard, and the other from Clarke, who is now a senior.
Retired late.
1. Rev. John Tucker, minister of the First Congregational Church of Newbury (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:78–89).
2. Rev. Thomas Cary, minister of the First Congregational Church of Newburyport (same, 15:29–33).
3. Neither letter found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-17


Three of us in the office were employ'd the whole day, in taking copies of the writs which are to be entered at the next Court; which will sit in this town next week. General Freeman pass'd through Town this day, and came to visit Mr. Parsons. In the afternoon I took a walk with Little. At home all the evening. Weather very cold.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-18


We had some more writing to do this forenoon. Mr. Parsons, went to Exeter, where the supreme court for the State of NewHampshire are now sitting. At 12 o'clock, I attended Townsend before Mr. Justice Tracy. One M'Intier had prosecuted a Sarah Bayley for defamation in saying that he was a thief. The parties could not agree: they had not their evidence ready, and the court was adjourned till three o'clock. Townsend and I dined with his worship: Mrs. Tracy is an agreeable woman: still handsome; but with her share of Vanity: at three o'clock the Court was again opened: the parties had agreed to compromise the matter, and Bayley is to pay the costs: neither of them I believe could be easily defamed, but had the case been tried I suspect the plaintiff would have recovered damages. After this weighty affair was brought to a conclusion, I took a walk with the Squire and Townsend, about 3 miles out of Town to one Sohier's; where we eat a couple of fine musk-melons; it was dark before we got back to Mr. Tracy's. We stopp'd there, and play'd backgammon, about two hours; after which Townsend and I returned to our homes.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-19


The equinoctial storm, which has been gathering in the heavens for a week past, has now appeared, with all its violence and rage. Stedman arrived in town last evening, and has attended in the office this day. He brought me no letters from Cambridge, but left all friends well: we had a violent debate in the office, between Stedman and Townsend upon a point of law. The contest began by a difference of opinion between Townsend and me. Stedman was on my side of the question, and the dispute soon center'd in them; books were produced and authorities brought which both parties declared to be plump1 in their favour respectively.
Townsend at last finding three against him, (for Thomson had sided likewise) got out of patience, and hinted to us, that we could not understand the meaning of the terms, as we had been so short a time in the office: so we left him to battle it with Stedman. An appeal was agreed upon to Mr. Parsons: Townsend however after shifting his ground several times, at length discovered that there was nothing in the case but a misunderstand• { 292 } ing of words; and appears at present to give up the point. But he is fond of these debates, and fonder of his own opinion. Thomson did not appear in the afternoon: this however was quite peaceable: The weather was such as rendered a fire in the office, very comfortable. I was at home all the evening, reading Rousseau's confessions.2 This is the most extraordinary book I ever read in my life.
1. Without qualification or uncertainty (OED).
2. The Geneva, 1782, edition in two volumes is at MQA.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-20


I expected this morning when I waked up, to hear the winds whistle and the tempests roar: but all was still and calm: the storm was violent but short. We were pretty still this day at the office; but four at a time, is certainly too many. Some one or other of us, is talking almost all the time, and consequently, reading does not proceed rapidly.
Little came and pass'd half an hour with me in the evening: but was engaged for the remainder of it.
I copied some extracts, and wrote a letter.1
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-21


Quite still in the office this day. I read a good deal.
This afternoon Amory1 arrived; and thus we are all five here.
I called at Mr. Carter's and desired him to take charge of a letter to W. Cranch.2
I pass'd an hour or two with Mr. Tufts.
A very beautiful evening.
1. William Amory, who briefly practiced law in Boston and Salem after leaving Parsons' office the following spring (Fleet's Pocket Almanack and Massachusetts Register, 1789, 1791).
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-22


This forenoon I finish'd Vattel. The third book treats of War, and the fourth of Peace; much in the same manner as he treats the other parts of his subject. “Honesty is the best policy,” says nature; and so says Vattel.
{ 293 }
Mr. Parsons returned from Exeter before dinner. I intended to have gone to Haverhill this afternoon, to spend the Sunday there: but the weather was such as threatened a storm; and I gave up my plan. I went up with Townsend, Stedman, Amory and Stacey1 to Sohier's tavern about three miles out of town, where we had some fine melons. We return'd in the dark: I pass'd the evening, and supp'd with Townsend.
1. George Stacey was apparently also studying law in Newburyport, perhaps with Theophilus Bradbury. Stacey practiced briefly in Biddeford, Maine (MH-Ar; George Folsom, History of Saco and Biddeford, . . . Maine..., Saco, 1830, p. 302).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-23


Attended upon Mr. Carey the whole day. His manner is not very agreeable; but his stile is much better than common.
Townsend called here in the evening.
Amory set off this morning for Boston. They say it is impossible for him to stay three days at a time in one place. He has been absent 6 or 8 months, and promised Mr. Parsons some time ago that he would come, and be very steady all through the winter. He arrived here on friday, has not yet been ten minutes together at the office, and now is gone again. He is gone however upon business, and intends to return to-morrow.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-24


Townsend went to Topsfield to hear a cause tried before a justice. Stedman has been hunting all over the neighbourhood for his horse, who disappeared on Saturday. Thomson has an whole week respite from his school; but did not come to the office in the afternoon: I was there alone: Amory return'd from Boston between 4 and 5, and at about 6 set off for Exeter. Tomorrow he goes to Portsmouth and Wednesday morning he intends to be here again.
Amidst the noise of the Office, which was greater than usual because this is the last day, before the sitting of the court of common-pleas in this town, I made out however to read about 80 pages of Blackstone's Introduction, and making a few extracts.1 I copied others in the evening till quite late; and at this moment my fingers are so fatigued with writing, that I positively, must throw by, my pen.
{ 294 }
1. William Blackstone, Commentaries on the Laws of England . .., 4 vols., Oxford, 1765–1769, and subsequent editions. JQA's extracts have not been found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-25


I have given up all pretences to study any more this week. The Court of Common-pleas sits here; and I shall attend that. It was near one o'clock this day before they met and then they immediately adjourn'd till the afternoon. I was there after dinner. Nothing was done but calling over the actions. Judge Greenleaf1 gave a very short charge to the grand Jury, in which he observed to them, that frequently persons were charged, by malicious enemies, of crimes whereof they were entirely innocent; and he recommended to them to be upon their guard, so as not to be deceived by false accusations, of that nature. The court adjourned by five o'clock. I went and took a walk with Mr. Symmes and Townsend. Symmes was sworn in at the Court of common-pleas, this time last year: but has not I believe an immediate prospect of making his fortune in the profession. I was with Townsend at his lodgings till between 7 and 8 o'clock.
Mr. Bradbury2 this afternoon told me a piece of news which shock'd me exceedingly. That Sam. Walker was rusticated; and for a crime, which is the more infamous, because it can be attributed neither to youthful levity, nor to the extravagance of ebriety.3
1. Benjamin Greenleaf, chief justice of the Essex co. court of common pleas and father-in-law of Theophilus Parsons (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:86–90).
2. Theophilus Bradbury, a Newbury-port lawyer, in whose office Theophilus Parsons had studied law (same, 14:143–146).
3. Several days earlier Walker had been found guilty of stealing money and a shirt from another student's room. He served out his year of rustication and in Sept. 1788, after a humble confession, was restored. He eventually graduated in the class of 1790 (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:270–271, 319–321).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-26


Attended court the whole day. Little was done in the forenoon except calling over the cases. But in the afternoon, a cause was tried by Jury, between one Smith and James Brown. Smith had attached certain lands as the estate of Brown's father, to satisfy a debt due to him: Brown claim'd those lands, as his property, and produced in court two deeds, by which his father had made over the lands to him. The question to be tried by the Jury was, { 295 } whether those deeds were valid, or whether they were given merely to evade the payment of the father's debts and in order to secure himself a maintenance during the remainder of his life. Mr. Parsons for the plaintiff proved, that for the real estate of the father, which at that time was assessed at £450. James had only allowed him about 230, and that the chief of this was by paying debts for which he had been previously bound with his father. Mr. Sullivan1 for the defendant, endeavoured to show that such deductions were to be made from this estate as would reduce it to about 280£, and that some other charges ought to be added, to what James had allowed his father, which would make his contract quite equitable. The pleadings were very interesting, and it was after 7, in the evening, before the case was given to the Jury.
The Court then adjourned till the morning, at 9 o'clock.
1. James Sullivan, former superior court judge, legislator, newspaper polemicist, and later governor of Massachusetts (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:299–322).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-27


The jury upon the case of Smith and Brown, gave their Verdict in favour of the Plaintiff, and declared the deeds fraudulent. The next Jury case which came on, was between William Bartlett and Daniel Dodge both of this Town. Dodge who is a Mason, engaged to build and plaister a brick house for Bartlett at a certain price, in the year 1778. In the course of his doing the work, the paper currency, depreciated considerably, and the question now is, whether Dodge is to be held to the original sum, or whether, the monies he received at different times is to be reduced by the scale of depreciation at those times. Parsons was for the plaintiff, Bradbury for the defendant. Parsons in the midst of his plea, broke off and proposed to leave the matter to a reference.1 The parties agreed, and the Jury, after being employ'd four or five hours upon this cause, were entitled only to half-fees. However they were probably gainers by the circumstance, for the case was so difficult and intricate, that they would have found it very difficult to agree upon a verdict.
After this was over two negroes, and two white men were arraigned for different thefts; all of them pleaded guilty; and were sentenced to whipping, hard labour &c. At about dusk the court adjourned to 9 in the morning. I dined at Mr. Tufts's. Thomson, { 296 } Little, and Putnam passed the evening with me. Putnam came to apply again for admission into Mr. Parsons's office. There was a bar meeting this evening, and the matter was to be laid before them, I saw Mr. Thaxter after the meeting was over, but he would not tell me what their determination was.
1. That is, to submit their dispute to an arbitrator or referee, a practice often followed in cases involving difficult factual issues or large quantities of evidence (JA, Legal Papers, 1:xliii).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-28


I learnt this day that the bar determined last evening to abide by the rule, which they had adopted some years ago, which was that there should not be more than three students in an office at once. Putnam therefore cannot be received by Mr. Parsons. I understand he has this day applied to Mr. Bradbury, who will receive him immediately. Court sat all day, but finally adjourn'd this afternoon, till next April, when they will sit at Ipswich. There was one trial by Jury this forenoon. It was between Parson Murray1 of this town, and the inhabitants of Salisbury: One of the people of Salisbury attended always at Mr. Murray's meeting; but was assessed in his own town: the question was whether his tax should be paid to Mr. Murray, or whether it should go to the support of the minister of Salisbury. The jury brought in a verdict, in favour of Mr. Murray; a similar case has two or three times been determined in the same manner; I think very improperly; and so thinks Mr. Parsons.
In the afternoon, a man was convicted of stealing a couple of sheep; for which he was fined 30 shillings. Parsons, said in England he would have been hung, but I a little doubt. I dined at Mr. Carter's. Mr. and Mrs. Smith from Boston were there. Mr. Smith brought me a letter from W. Cranch,2 which gives me an account of the rustication of Walker. The circumstances are much to his disgrace. I had likewise a letter from my father, and one from my mother, of the 18th. and 20th. of July.3 Some letters are yet remaining. Little was with me about half an hour this evening.
1. John Murray, minister of the First Presbyterian Church, Newburyport (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).
2. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-29


I attended at the office the whole day, and resumed Blackstone, whom for three or four days, I had laid aside. I did not however read a great deal. In the evening I took something of a long walk with Townsend; and as I return'd stopp'd to sup; upon the birds, which Amory and Stacey, had been hunting for in the course of the day. There were three other gentlemen there, Mr. Coffin, Mr. Winslow, and a Captain Cochran. We got to singing after supper, and the bottle went round with an unusual rapidity, untill, a round dozen had disappeared. I then thought it was high time to retreat, and with some difficulty slip'd away from those of the company, who appeared to be the most inspired, and took a walk with Townsend; it was after one in the morning when we got to my lodgings: after setting there about an hour and smoking a pipe or two we both went to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0009-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-09-30


Although I had not last night, been guilty of an excess so far as to be intoxicated, yet I had not sufficiently consulted what my feelings would be this day, to be entirely prudent. I therefore arose this morning, with a very disagreeable head-ache, which continued the whole day. I could neither attend meeting nor read, nor write; and pass'd the day with much tediousness. In the evening however I took a walk with Townsend; and after returning, pass'd an hour at Mr. Tufts's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-01

Monday October 1st. 1787.

I have not yet got over the consequences of our frolick on Saturday evening. Three whole evenings I have by this means entirely lost, for I cannot yet write with any comfort. How inseparably in all cases of intemperance, is the punishment allied to the fault!
Stedman went this day for Portsmouth, will return here to-morrow, and take his final leave on Wednesday. He is going to open an office at Cambridge, where I heartily wish him success.
In the afternoon I went with Townsend and Thomson and Little, up to Sohier's, and had the usual fare. We return'd leisurely in the evening. I was too much fatigued to write much; having withal a little of the head ache. Putnam arrived in town { 298 } this afternoon; and I suppose will enter Mr. Bradbury's office immediately.
I shall find I believe very much the want of Mr. Parsons's presence, when he goes off. His attendance upon the genl. Court, will engross his time very much. Next week he will go to Boston, and will be gone I suppose nearly two months. There are a thousand questions which I shall want to propose to him from time to time; but which I shall be reduced to find out by my own industry, and what assistance Townsend and Amory can give me.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-02


I have at length recovered my usual tone, and have been able this day to attend to business with as much satisfaction as common. Stedman came back from Portsmouth this afternoon: in the evening I carried a packet of letters to his lodgings, for Cambridge.
I began to copy off, not a small volume, of forms for declarations.1 This is a piece of drudgery, which certainly does not carry its reward with it. But it is a necessary piece of work, for which reason I think the sooner it is finished, the better. I was in hopes before I came here, that I should have time for reading books of entertainment: but after passing eight hours a day in the office, and spending four more in writing minutes, and forms at home, I am not husband of time sufficient to set any more apart for any kind of mental application, and indeed if for three years I can proceed with as much industry, as I have done since I entered the office, the de——l [devil?] will be to pay, if I have not some stock of law. Health is all I shall ask.
1. A collection of various pleading forms used by a plaintiff's lawyer in actions at law. These and other pleadings were often copied by law students to serve as models for future drafting. JQA's volume of forms has not been found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-03


Continued in the first volume of Blackstone. In the course of my reading this day; I came across a paragraph, which surprized me; it was this. “It is a principle of universal law, that the natural-born subject of one prince, cannot by any act of his own, no, not by swearing allegiance to another, put off or discharge his natural allegiance to the former: for this natural allegiance was { 299 } intrinsic, and primitive and antecedent to the other: and cannot be devested without the concurrent act of that prince to whom it was first due.”1 I enquired of Mr. Parsons his opinion upon the subject. He said that if instead of universal law, it was common law the assertion would be just; but that in his opinion, by the law of nature every man had a right to put off his natural allegiance, for good cause, and this I think much more reasonable, than to say, that a man is obliged to serve and assist his sovereign however cruel tyrannical and unjust he may be. The doctrine of Blackstone must I think imply that of passive obedience; which is not now to be refuted. It may indeed be said that every unjust act, is a tacit consent to the discharge of the subjects allegiance; but this is straining the meaning of words, a great length; and I think it is much the best to cut the gordian knot, as Mr. Parsons did.
I wrote along in the evening till late.
1. Commentaries on the Laws of England, 11th edn., 4 vols., London, 1791, 1:369–370.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-04


I this day concluded the first volume of my author: and employ'd all the afternoon in copying from it, under heads. As Parsons goes to Boston next week and will stay there so long, that I shall probably finish the book I am now reading before he returns; I enquired of him, what would be best to take up next. He recommended, Sullivan's lectures, then Wright's tenures, and then Coke Littelton.1 This evening I was at Mr. Tufts's; present at the marriage of his daughter Dolly to Mr. Geo. Odiorne of Exeter. Mr. Cary perform'd the ceremony. I staid there to supper, but came away soon after that, as I spent my time rather tediously. Mercy Brooks from Medford was there: she is one of the very few unmarried women, with whom I can be sociable, after a short acquaintance: whether it is owing to some peculiarity of circumstances, or of character I know not, but the fact I am sure of.
Two pages since I return'd is quite decent, I can now fairly close my book.2
1. Francis S. Sullivan, An Historical Treatise on the Feudal Law, and the Constitution and Laws of England . . . In a Course of Lectures Read in the University of Dublin, London, 1772; Martin Wright, Introduction to the Law of Tenures..., London, 1729; Edward Coke, The First Part of the Institutes of the Laws of England. Or, A Commentary upon Littleton..., London, 1628, and subsequent editions. A copy of Sulli• { 300 } van's Lectures, containing the bookplate of JQA and the signature of JA on the titlepage, is at MQA.
2. Presumably JQA wrote his entries for 3–4 Oct., which appear on two pages in the Diary, after returning from Samuel Tufts' house.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-05


After writing a few lines in my common place book,1 I took the second volume, of Blackstone, which treats of the rights of things. I did not read much, and with the extracts which I make, I shall not be able to proceed with very rapid progress. Thomson notwithstanding he keeps schools holds an equal pace with me. However he reads in the evening, while I am employ'd in copying off the forms. This he has already done, having been more than four months in the office. I dined at Mr. Tufts's. The new married pair appeared quite calm and composed, though they looked as if they had been broken of their rest. Whether it be really so is well known to those whom it may concern. In the afternoon before it grew dark, I went down with Thomson, and found Putnam; with him we went to Dr. Swett's and found Little. From thence we retired very abruptly, and went home with Moses. We spent the evening there and supped, after which we all returned respectively to our homes: here I sat a few minutes with Dr. Kilham, my very worthy fellow boarder; and then retired to my room; where, what with copying forms, and what with relating the business of the day, I have almost brought it to 1. in the morning.
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-06


I alter'd my plans of study, and determined to copy forms in the day time because, I can do it notwithstanding all the noise that may be going forward in the office, and read at my own lodgings. I extract a great deal, and am almost tired with it, but Mr. Parsons advises me by all means not to give it up.
In the evening I received a long letter from my Sister,1 and likewise one from W. Cranch.2
2. The only extant letter at this time from Cranch, dated 5 Oct., was probably the one JQA received on 9 Oct. (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-07


I attended at Mr. Carey's meeting, all day. In the forenoon he was quite severe upon all persons who either did not attend divine services so steadily as they might, or who being at the house of the Lord do not behave with proper decorum and respect. No person said Mr. Carey who is going into the presence of an earthly prince, will appear in a loose, neglected, attire; as it would be considered as a mark of contempt, and as an insult to the dignity of the sovereign. Hence he deduced the necessity of a serious, devout, attentive mind, at times when we go more immediately into the presence of god. His conclusion, were it placed as a distinct proposition, no one I presume would deny; but his perfectly stale and hackney'd allusion, is in my opinion not only false, but impious. I would ask Mr. Carey's, why, it is necessary to appear with such an accurate precision of dress at the Court of an earthly prince? What other cause can be assigned for the importance of a thing so very indifferent in itself, but the ridiculous vanity and fantastic foppery of the great? It is impossible to deduce an argument from similarity of effect, unless a like similarity of cause exists, and in this case, the supposition is not to be made.
In short if our preachers in general, would not take so much pains as they do, to prove facts which no man in his senses can deny, they would save themselves much exertion of thought, without injuring their reputation's.
In the evening I went with Dr. Kilham, and past an hour or two at Mr. Carter's: the family are all of them exceedingly agreeable: Miss H. Emery was there a young lady with a beautiful countenance, an elegant person, and (I am told) an amiable mind. What more could any person wish to find in a female? A fortune?—Ah! can a vile metal drag'd by the hands of slavery from the bowels of the earth, be put in competition with charms like those. The wretch who could harbour the idea, deserves to be barred forever from the pleasures of friendship and of love.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-08


Attended at the office; and wrote diligently, all day. Cold weather coming on apace. Thomson and I had some conversation, before we left the office at night. He is in low spirits, and sees gloomy prospects. I hope he will realize more happy ones, { 302 } for he is an amiable worthy youth, with a clear head and a sound heart. From the office we went to Putnam's lodgings. There Sam, and I, play'd, to-gether, he on the violin, I on the flute, for a couple of hours. After which, we sat with him till 9 o'clock, and then respectively retired.
I sought my bed quite early this evening. I cannot study now much in my own room for want of a fire.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-09


I received a short letter from W. Cranch.
I make a pretty rapid progress with my book of forms, and if I am not interrupted, I hope to finish it by the latter end of next week which will take one heavy load from my shoulders: Putnam came to our office this afternoon; he and Little pass'd the evening with me. I intended to walk with Little but found it was raining hard. I proceed very slowly with Blackstone.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-10


A very fine day. Amory and Townsend with a number of other lads went out of town this afternoon upon a party: But I did not feel disposed to join them. Thomson spent part of the evening with me.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-11


This afternoon I took a ride with Dr. Kilham, as far as Newtown to see Mr. Dalton, but neither he nor his lady were at home. We rode a mile or two beyond that, and returned just after dark: that road is very good and the prospects all around are very beautiful; but the leaves begin to fall, and the year appears to proceed rapidly on a decline. Amory was with me part of the evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-12


The day pass'd as usual, except, that I had some political chat with Mr. Parsons. He favours very much the federal constitution, which has lately been proposed by the Convention of the States. Nor do I wonder at all that he should approve of it, as it is calculated to increase the influence, power and wealth of those who have any already. If the Constitution be adopted it will be a { 303 } grand point gained in favour of the aristocratic party: there are to be no titles of nobility; but there will be great distinctions; and those distinctions will soon be hereditary, and we shall consequently have nobles, but no titles. For my own part I am willing to take my chance under any government whatever, but it is hard to give up a System which I have always been taught to cherish, and to confess, that a free government is inconsistent with human nature.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-13


Captain Wyer was in the office this afternoon, a couple of hours; very zealous for the new Constitution. Was desirous of having a town-meeting, to instruct their representatives upon the occasion. Quite enthusiastic, and so are many other people. This afternoon I went, and requested the favor of waiting upon Miss Jones, to the ball next monday; she will go if her health will permit. Little pass'd the evening with me. There was a very brilliant northern light.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-14


I wrote two long letters this day. One to J. Forbes,1 and the other to W. Cranch.2 Went with Putnam in the afternoon to Mr. Tucker's meeting, and was much pleased with the doctor's preaching. Putnam spent an hour or two with me after meeting.
1. Not found.
2. Owned by Miss Margaret DuBois of New York in 1957. A transcript, possibly in the hand of Mrs. JA2MCHA, is in M/CFA/31, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 327.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-15


Rather dissipated the whole day. Could not study with proper attention, and indeed gave the matter up in the afternoon. At about 7 o'clock we met at the dancing hall, and from that time till between 3 and 4 in the morning we were continually dancing. I was unacquainted with almost all the company, but I never saw a collection of ladies where there was comparatively so much beauty. Two or three gentlemen got rather over the bay; but upon the whole the proceedings were as regular and agreeable as might be expected. Little lodg'd with me, and the Clock struck four, just before we went to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-16


We rose at about nine o'clock. Dr. Kilham, was just going to take his seat in the Stage for Boston. The Dr. represents this town in the genl. Court; and goes to Boston now, to attend at the Session, which opens to-morrow. I was at the office in the forenoon, but could not attend much to any study. I took a walk with Townsend. Return'd again to the office, and just as I had got ready to sit down to business, in came W. Cranch and Leonard White from Haverhill: who insisted upon it that I should go there with them this afternoon; and in such a positive manner that I could not deny them. They dined with me at my lodgings, and at about four in the afternoon, we all mounted our horses for Haverhill. The wind was very high, and scattered the dust so much that the riding was very disagreeable. We drank tea at Russell's, and were almost half an hour crossing the river, though the wind had considerably abated. At about seven we got to Mr. Shaw's house. Miss N. Quincy, and Miss B. Cranch came in from Mr. Duncan's soon after. Mr. James Duncan, invited, W. Cranch and me to dine with him to-morrow. The troop of horse, of which he is 1st. lieutenant are to parade in the morning, and he makes an entertainment for them.
It was past 11 this evening when we retired.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-17


This day a regiment of foot, and a troop of about 60 horse-men paraded, and were review'd by Genl. Titcomb. The weather was rather disagreeable, though not so windy as it was yesterday. One of the foot companies was drest in the rifle uniform. That of the horse was red faced with green: the horses in general were good, but the company has not been formed long, and are not yet perfect in their exercices. We dined at Mr. Duncans. I chatted with Mr. Symmes upon the new Constitution. We did not agree upon the subject. While we were talking Mr. Bartlett came in, and was beginning to attack me. I told him I wish'd to change the subject; as I felt utterly unequal to the task of opposing two persons of whose judgment I had so high an opinion, as Mr. Symmes and Mr. Bartlett. Bartlett laugh'd and said I was very polite. “Adams,” says Symmes, “you shall go home with me, and take a bed to-night.” And I found that France is not the only Country where Yorick's secret1 has its influence. We walk'd up the hill { 305 } where the regiment was parading in the afternoon; but the weather was so cold that I return'd back some-time before they finish'd. The general was drest and mounted rather shabbily: he has never been employd in military life; and nobody knows how he came to be a major general.
Pass'd part of the evening at Mr. White's.
Found Mr. Allen, and Mr. Tucker at Mr. Shaw's: they staid till about 9 o'clock; and then return'd to Bradford.
1. That is, flattery (Laurence Sterne, A Sentimental Journey through France and Italy, in Works, 10 vols., London, 1788, 5:210).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-18


We dined this day at Mr. Bartlett's. Captain Wier, was there, and Miss S. McKinstry, who is upon the point of being married to Major Starke, and Miss Barrell, a young Lady from Boston whose countenance indicates misfortune. She had a lover, who forsook her upon discovering that she had not a fortune as he had expected. Townsend came into Town yesterday with Miss P. Greenleaf; and return'd this afternoon to Newbury.
The young ladies drank tea at Judge Sargeant's. I spent the evening till between 8 and 9 o'clock at Mr. White's.
I had in the course of the day, and have had every day since I came here a great deal of conversation with Mr. Shaw concerning Sam Walker, who still persists in declaring himself innocent, though every one who is acquainted with the circumstances, must be as fully convinced of his guilt, as if he had seen him do the deed himself: Mr. Shaw was much afflicted. He had great expectations from Walker, who had been his pupil, and whose reputation would in some measure have reflected honour upon his instructor. But “how art thou fallen Lucifer, son of the morning”!1
1. A partial rendering of Isaiah, 14:12.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-19


W. Cranch, and the two young ladies set off this morning for Boston. The weather is much milder for them than it has been for several days past.
I spent the forenoon with Mr. Thaxter at his office. He is to be published1 next Sunday.
{ 306 }
Dined at Mr. Shaw's. Just after dinner Mrs. Allen came in from Bradford, and inform'd us of Deacon Smith's death.2 He died on Tuesday morning. The news came by Dr. Williams, who lodg'd at Bradford last night.
Between 3 and 4, I set out to return home, and overtook, F. Bradbury and Winslow in a chaise going the same way. At about half past five I got home; and went and pass'd the evening with Townsend. Amory is quite unwell. Return'd this day from Portsmouth.
1. That is, his marriage banns with Elizabeth Duncan, of Haverhill, were to be published.
2. Deacon Isaac Smith, of Boston, JQA's great-uncle, who died on 16 Oct.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-20


I was more attentive at the office than I expected to be between two sallies. I had determined before I went to Haverhill, not to go so far as Boston till the spring; but I have now altered my resolutions, and shall go from hence next monday, for a fort night. This is not the way to acquire the science of the law, but dissipation is so fashionable here that it is necessary to enter into it a little in order not to appear too singular, and as Mr. Parsons will probably be absent for three weeks to come, I know not that I can take a more eligible time for a vacation.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-21


I attended Mr. Carey in the forenoon, and went with Putnam to hear Dr. Tucker in the afternoon. He is a very good preacher, but the generality of his hearers look, as if they were form'd of the coarsest clay. A number of female figures in particular seem to charge nature with having made gross mistakes.
I passed the evening till almost 9 o'clock with Putnam. Townsend took me from there and carried me volens nolens to sup with him. I intended to have written a great deal this day, but all my schemes vanished with the fleeting hours, and I must now refer this matter, till I return from my intended Journey.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-22


The weather yesterday did not look promising, but is this day very clear, and for the season uncommonly warm. At about half past nine I mounted my horse, and Townsend said he would take { 307 } an airing and ride a few miles with me: the pleasantness of the weather led him on till he finally agreed to go as far as Haverhill, intending to return in the afternoon. We rode part of the way with Sohier, the Collegian,1 who was on his way to Groton; and we got to Haverhill just before twelve o'clock. I found Mr. and Mrs. Shaw had set out this morning for Hingham. At twelve we went to Mr. Thaxter's lodgings, and found fifty or sixty people heartily at work, in which we very readily joined them.2 At about 2, there were 18 or 20 left who sat down to a table covered with “big bellied bottles.” For 2 hours or more Bacchus and Momus joined hands to increase the festivity of the company. But the former of these deities then of a sudden took a fancy to divert himself, and fell to tripping up their heels. Momus laugh'd on, and kept singing, till he finally grew hoarse and drowsy, and Morpheus to close the scene sprinkled a few poppies over their heads, and set them to snoring in concert. This is I believe the first time that I have dived any depth into the pagan mythology since I undertook the direction of these very interesting memoirs. I have always had the precept of Horace in my mind.

Noc Deus intersit nisi dignus vindice nodus.3

and I trust the gentle reader will not think I have in this instance violated that rule. But to return to plain insipid narration, by five o'clock they were all under the table except those who had been peculiarly cautious, and two or three stout topers. I had been very moderate, yet felt it was necessary to walk, and take the air. I rambled with Leonard White, over the fields, and through the streets till near 7 o'clock. Then went home with him and after passing a couple of hours in chat, retired quite early to bed.
1. William Sawyer, Harvard 1788, of Newburyport (Currier, Newburyport, 2:292).
2. Presumably to celebrate the marriage banns announced the day before for Thaxter and Elizabeth Duncan.
3. “Nec deus intersit, nisi dignus vindice nodus inciderit,” De Arte Poetica, lines 191–192: “And let no god intervene, unless a knot come worthy of such a deliverer” (Horace, Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, transl. Fairclough, p. 466, 467).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-23


Rose at about 8 this morning, and felt no inconveniency from the scene of yesterday. Townsend, who got so much engaged as { 308 } to give up all thoughts of returning last night to Newbury-Port, breakfasted with us this morning; and then mounted his horse.
It was a little after nine, when I started from the opposite shore of the river, and it was about twelve when I got to the tavern in Wilmington. Mr. Thaxter, and Miss Duncan, and her brother James, a Mr. Howe, and two or three other ladies dined at Wilmington. The landlord is opposed to the proposed Constitution. I stopped about a quarter of an hour at Medford to see my friend Freeman, and delivered him a couple of letters. I expected to have seen him at the ordination to-morrow, but his school retains him at Medford. We got into Boston just before Sunset. We stopp'd an hour there to get dress'd, and take a dish of Coffee. It was quite dark before we got out of Town; and we arrived at Braintree between 8 and 9. We found that the young ladies and all the company that was disposed to attend the ordination1 had gone to Hingham this afternoon. I was very much fatigued. I once before rode this journey in a day; (v: p: 25)2 and was still more fatigued, but that was in the middle of Summer, when the weather was very warm, which made it more tedious to ride on horseback.
Kirkland and my brother Tom were both here, and could not go on to Hingham for want of horses.
It was almost 11. before we retired.
1. The ordination in Hingham of Henry Ware, JQA's former roommate at Harvard.
2. Entry for 5 Aug. 1786 (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-24


At about 10 this morning I set off for Hingham. Mr. Thaxter and Miss Duncan, went somewhat earlier. I got there between 11 and 12, and went immediately to the meeting house: it was very much crowded, and I found great difficulty to get in, I finally obtained however a very good place. They began by singing a good anthem extremely well. The first prayer was made by Mr. [].1 Mr. Hilliard then preach'd a sermon from II Corinthians, I, 24. Not that we have dominion over your faith but are helpers of your joy.2 He delivered his Sentiments very freely though many of them were in oppositions, to the prevailing customs. It was the best sermon I ever heard him preach, and upon this occasion it was natural that he should exert himself. Mr. []3 gave the { 309 } charge; Dr. Hitchcock made the ordaining prayer, Mr. Shute gave the right hand of fellowship, and Mr. Haven made the last prayer.4 The ceremonies were then concluded by another anthem as well perform'd as the first. From thence the company retired, I went to pay my compliments to Mr. Ware, my old chum; and to tell him how happy I am to see him so well settled already. I intended to dine there but was called away with Mr. Gannett by Mr. Caleb Thaxter, where we went and dined. There were between thirty and forty persons at table, but chiefly young gentlemen. After dinner we had two or three songs and then walk'd. We went to Coll. Rice's,5 where we found a similar company, smoking and singing.
We rambled about till almost seven o'clock; and I then went to Mrs. Derby's Hall, where, it was said there was to be a dance. We found here a scene of confusion similar to that which we had last spring at Sandwich:6 however by a manoeuvre, which pack'd off about one half of the company, our numbers were so much reduced, that we were able to maintain a degree of order and regularity. I was so lucky as to draw Miss S. Smith of Sandwich for a partner, and danced with her, a great part of the evening. It was between two and three in the morning before we broke up. I then went to Coll. Thaxter's,7 supp'd and, at about half after 3, went to bed with Charles.
1. Left blank in MS.
2. Timothy Hilliard, A Sermon Preached October 24th, 1787, at the Ordination of the Rev. Henry Ware, to the Pastoral Care of the First Church in Hingham, Salem, 1788.
3. Left blank in MS; the charge was given by Rev. John Brown, minister of the First Congregational Society of Cohasset (same, p. 26).
4. Probably Rev. Gad Hitchcock, minister of the second parish of Pembroke (now Hanson); Daniel Shute, minister of the Second Congregational Church at Hingham; probably Jason Haven, minister of the First Congregational Church at Dedham (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit, 8:29–31; Hilliard, Sermon, p. 27; Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).
5. Col. Nathan Rice, one of JA's former law clerks (JA, Legal Papers,1:cviii).
6. See entry for 18 April (above).
7. Col. John Thaxter Sr. (1721–1802), uncle of AA by marriage to Anna Quincy, and father of John Thaxter Jr. (History of the Town of Hingham, Massachusetts, 4 vols. in 3, Hingham, 1893, 3:232).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-25


The town is not so much crowded this day; as it was yesterday. That Class of people which is called by some persons the rabble, (by which word is meant people, who have neither a fortune nor an education at our university, alias a liberal education) went off chiefly last night: and there now remains nothing but { 310 } the genteel company, or otherwise people who have no business, to call them from scenes of dissipation. I walk'd in the morning with Mr. Ware, and Coll. Rice down to the landing place where I found a number of people employ'd in preparing fish. There is some little business of this kind done here.
After returning into Town I saunter'd about till dinner time.
Foster, Learned, and Vose with his Sisters went away before dinner. Dined at Coll. Rice's. The Company was not large; the character that I remarked the most was a Captain Clap, who is all, soldier. He appears to delight in whatever is military; Coll. Rice's son, a lad of 7 years old, committed some little impropriety; “You rogue,” Says Clap, “nothing but your age can excuse and protect you.” Who but a genuine Son of Mars, would have thought of correcting, in that manner a boy of 7 years?
It was proposed that we should have another dance this night, and Blake and Perkins a couple of young fellows, both strangers in town, undertook to be managers. We drank tea, a number of us, at Mr. Caleb Thaxter's, and at about 7, went again to Mrs. Derby's Hall, where a partition between two chambers had been taken down which made it much more convenient than it was the night before. There were about 30 gentlemen and forty ladies: about 20 couples could stand up at once, and the rest amused themselves either with conversation, or with playing at cards. Between 2 and 3, we broke up, and I retired with our young ladies. We sat about half an hour at Col'l Thaxter's, and I then went to bed. But a number of the lads, after conducting their ladies home retained the music, and went a serenading all over the Town; till day-light.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-26


We went and escorted a number of ladies to the packet: and by eleven o'clock, almost all the company was gone, and the town look'd as solitary as a deserted village.
I took a walk with Mr. Q. Thaxter,1 and Mr. Andrews down to Genl. Lincoln's Mills. It was half past twelve before I got back to Mr. Thaxter's. Of all the company that had been there Charles and I, only remained at dinner.
At about 2 we mounted, and arrived at Mr. Cranch's in Braintree at about half after three. The young ladies had got home before dinner, and were much fatigued. I was not so much so, as I { 311 } expected to be, from keeping so constantly on the go, since the beginning of the week. In the beginning of the evening Judge Sargeant came in; he came from Taunton where the supreme Court have been sitting this week, and completed their business last evening.
1. Quincy (1762–1837), brother of John Thaxter Jr. and cousin of AA.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-27


Judge Sargeant, went away this forenoon proceeding on his way to Cambridge.
Tom went to Lincoln. In the afternoon, I went with Charles and Kirkland to see my uncle Quincy.
Mr. Wibird was here in the evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-28


I attended upon Mr. Wibird in the forenoon. And pass'd the afternoon down at my father's library. W. Cranch came from Boston last evening, and returned there to'night after meeting. I was very much entertained in reading some journals of my father's, from 1769, to 1776.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-29


At about 10. o'clock Mr. Thaxter came in from Hingham on his way to Boston: he stay'd but a few minutes, and I set off with him. We got into Town before one. I dined with Miss B. Smith,1 who still lives in the house that was her father's. Mrs. Cranch was there, and went for Braintree soon after dinner. I went and spent the evening with Dr. Kilham at his lodgings: he has made himself rather unpopular, by opposing the submission of the federal Constitution, to a State Convention, and I think he is perfectly right, in preferring his independency to his popularity.
1. Elizabeth (1770–1849), daughter of Isaac Smith Sr. and cousin of AA.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-30


Sauntered about town, the chief part of the day: attended in the gallery of the house of representatives but there was no matter of any great importance before them. Dined at Deacon Storer's with Mr. Thaxter, who is very busy in making prepara• { 312 } tions for his marriage. I drank tea at Mr. Dawes's, and pass'd the evening at Mr. Foster's with Dr. Tufts. Lodg'd at Mr. W. Smith's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0010-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-10-31


Saw Charles in Boston, on his way to Cambridge, as the vacation closes this day. At about noon I set out for Cambridge myself. The supreme Court sits there this week. I dined and lodg'd at Judge Dana's. I attended the Court in the afternoon, but no case came on, of any consequence. Saw Stedman there. He has not yet opened an office, but proposes to do so very soon. The House of Representatives this day rejected a report of a Committee, for erecting a bridge over Beverly ferry, in the evening I called at Mr. Wiggles worth's and pass'd an hour. Peggy is as sociable and agreeable as ever.
Here endeth the second Volume.

Heu mihi praeteritos referat si Jupiter annos!1

1. “O if Jupiter would bring me back the years that are sped,” Aeneid, Bk. VIII, line 560 (transl. H. Rushton Fairclough, 2 vols., London, 1930, 2:98, 99).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0011-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787


Vol: III.1
1. Titlepage of D/JQA/12, the third of three leather-bound blank books that JQA presumably purchased in Paris on 20 Aug. 1783. For a fuller physical description of these volumes, see the note for the titlepage of D/JQA/10, ante 1 Jan. 1785 (above). This Diary volume contains entries from 1 Nov. 1787 to [24 Aug.–2 Sept. 1788], followed by scattered entries, twelve for September and five for Oct. 1788, and thirteen for Sept. 1789. See entry for [24 Aug.–2 Sept. 1788], note 1 (below). The volume concludes with line-a-day memoranda for Aug. through Dec. 1788, and all of 1789 and 1790, copied over from the later Diaries 13, 14, and 15.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-000