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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

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.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.