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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

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-03-02-02-0002-0012-0001

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

Thursday November 1st. 1787.

I attended in the morning, and in the afternoon at the setting of the supreme Court. Judge Dana, took his seat, for the first { 313 } time since his illness; from which he has not yet, and I fear never will entirely recover. I dined at his house, and pass'd the evening with my old Clasmate Sam: Williams. The Cases before the Court were not very interesting, except one, which was so intricate, that I could not entirely comprehend it. Sullivan and Lowell spent their lungs, for three or four hours upon the cause, and it was 8 in the evening before it was given to the Jury. Sullivan asserted that in the Courts in this Country it was customary to take parol evidence, in preference to matter of record. This bare-faced falshood, was noticed by all the Court. Sumner1 shook his head. “You are totally mistaken Mr. Sullivan” said Cushing. “They have done so” said Sullivan; “Then” said Sewall, “I hope they will never do so again.” This is not an uncommon practice of Sullivan's; and when the whole Court are thus loudly against him he does not appear in the least abashed, but appears to display a countenance which never knew a blush.
I lodg'd at Packard's chamber.
1. Increase Sumner, a justice of the Supreme Judicial Court (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 16:531–538).

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

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


I breakfasted this morning with Stedman. A number of the lawyers were there; rather nettled at a bill now before the Senate, for the better regulating the fees &c of attorney's and practitioners. The Committee by whom it was drawn up, and presented, was composed of those persons who for these two years past have been the most violent of the Community, in their antipathy to lawyers.1
Blessed Times! I was so much engag'd this forenoon in other matters, that I could not attend at the Court. I called at Mr. Dana's and at Mr. Wigglesworth's, and took their letters for Newbury-Port. Dined at Mrs. Forbes's. Jack, and his brother James, arrived from Boston, just before dinner. It was almost 5 o'clock, when I got on my horse; and took leave of Forbes and Packard. Just after dusk, I got into Boston. Went to Mr. Dawes's, and found Wm. Cranch with whom I went and pass'd the evening at Dr. Tufts's lodgings.
Lodg'd at Mr. W. Smith's.
1. In Feb. 1787, in the aftermath of Shays' Rebellion, the Massachusetts legislature lowered court and attorney fees, an important cause of complaint among the rebels. When legislators attempted to enact further reductions at this time, the { 314 } lawyers were able to gather enough support to defeat the measure (Gerard W. Gawalt, The Promise of Power: The Emergence of The Legal Profession in Massachusetts, 1760–1840, Westport, Conn., 1979, p.65).

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

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


Between 8 and 9 this morning, I cross'd Charlestown, and Maiden bridges. I rode, as far as D'anvers before I stopp'd. There I found Mr. W. Parsons and his wife, Mr. T. Parsons, and Mr. J. Tracey. They started from thence before me, but I, came up with them again in Ipswich, where we dined at Homan's tavern. Parsons was quite witty, but strained rather too-much for it as he frequently does. “John,” said he to Tracey “who made you adjutant general?”—“Mr. Bowdoin.”—“Strange! how the wisest men, will err sometimes!..”1 This kind of wit may I think be compared to a sky rocket, which spends all its force in hissing, and then disappoints us, with such a weak explosion that it can scarcely be heard. But wit to be pleasing, must, I think be unexpected, like the lightening which flashes in our eyes. From Ipswich I rode in Company with them to Newbury, and at about Sun-set I return'd my horse to his owner. I met Thompson in the street, and went with him to Putnam's lodgings. He stay'd only a few minutes, but I tarried there till almost 9 o'clock, when I came home and retired to bed.
1. JQA's ellipses.

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

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


I was so much fatigued in consequence of my yesterday's ride that I did not attend meeting. I wrote some lines at home, and finished reading the first volume of Buffon's theory of the earth.1 I am exceedingly pleased, with the style, and manner of this writer. It is concise, nervous, and elegant. The theory I cannot properly judge of till I get through the other volume.
1. Georges Louis Leclerc de Buffon and others, Histoire naturelle, générate et particuliere, avec la description du cabinet du roy, 44 vols., Paris, 1749–1804.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-05


I attended at the Office. Amory was there. Return'd yesterday from Salem. Townsend went to Boston last week, and has not yet return'd. In the afternoon, we attended the funeral of Mrs. Dav• { 315 } enport a sister of Mr. Parsons. She died of a consumption a few days since. Little, and Thomson pass'd an hour with me in the evening, after which, I went with the latter to Mr. Atkins's. Thomson was much affected, on hearing of the death of one of his school-boys; who died of the Scarlet fever, after a very short illness.
I cannot write yet in the evening, for want of fire.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-06


Mr. Parsons went this morning to Salem, where the supreme Court sits this week. I pass'd this evening with Thomson at the office and had a great deal of Conversation with him upon diverse subjects: I feel my attachment for this young gentleman daily increasing: the more I become acquainted with him, the more my expectation of enjoying great benefit, and satisfaction from an intimacy with him increases. Indeed I have hitherto had reason, to think myself fortunate, in my fellow students, who are all very agreeable although, their dispositions are essentially different.
I pass'd an hour this forenoon very sociably with Miss Jones.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-07


Quite industrious this day in copying forms. Alone in the office a great part of the day. Amory, even when he is in town, is not very attentive at the office. I pass'd the evening with Putnam.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-08


Finished my book of forms, and wrote an index to them. So that henceforth, I shall be able to attend more steadily to Blackstone. Townsend return'd this morning from Boston.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-09


Amory went to Salem this afternoon. They have a ball there this evening, said to be given to the Court. Amory went to attend it. I pass'd the evening at Mr. Bradbury's, where we play'd a number of tunes in concert, besides a cheating game of cards. I got through the theory of the earth. I am more and more pleased with the author. One part of his theory is merely hypothetical, { 316 } and might perhaps be called extravagant. He supposes the earth, and the other planets were originally a part of the Sun, and that they were sever'd from it by the shock of a comett. Yet even in this part his reasoning is very ingenious; the other part of his theory is founded upon facts; he lays very justly much more stress upon this, and his arguments are very strong and convincing. He supposes that the continents and islands which are now inhabited, were covered by the waters of the ocean, and that they will be so again: that at some future period the Alps, the Pyrenees, and the Andes, will be at the bottom of the sea, and that the earth now beneath the atlantic, and pacific oceans, will be the abodes of men, adorned, with splendid cities, and crowned with venerable forests. The phenomena, from which he deduces his strongest, arguments are the continual motion of the Sea from east to west, the correspondent angles of mountains, the horizontal, and parallel position of the different strata of earth, and the innumerable quantities of sea shells and other marine productions, found in all parts of the earth, at a considerable depth under-ground....1 If the author is some times mistaken, he is certainly every where philosophical.
1. JQA's ellipses.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-10


Attended at the office as usual, and read Blackstone: passed the evening with Putnam at his lodgings. Began to read Buffon's natural history of man.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0011

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


Attended meeting, with Townsend, the whole day at Dr. Tucker's: much pleased with this gentleman as a preacher. Little came home with me: in the evening Williams came in: from Salem yesterday. We went with him to Putnam's, and finished the evening.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-12


I had some writing, which I wished to do this day, and I therefore did not attend at the office. Williams and Little dined, and past the afternoon with me. Townsend came in, just before dark: I went with him and spent an hour or two at Mr. Atkins's. This { 317 } family is very agreeable: Mrs. Atkins, is a sociable, cheerful, sensible old lady; Miss A. is handsome, and a favorite of Town-send's.
I went home with Townsend and supped there. The evening was excessively dark.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-13


Williams set out this morning for Cambridge. I at length got me some wood, and had a fire in my chamber, which will enable me hence forth to study more in the evenings. Thompson was with me an hour or two this night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-14


I find I am getting fast into the same unmeaning dull sameness, which has frequently abbreviated the space of a day in these pages. Study does not consist merely, in acquiring the ideas of others but, it is necessary by reflection to endeavour to form some for ourselves: But I am fearful, that I have not yet acquired sufficient knowledge, to derive much advantage from my own speculations. Ars longa, vita brevis, is a maxim, the truth of which I am experiencing daily more and more. There is not one art or science, in which I have any degree of proficiency, and I have now undertaken the study of a profession, which alone ought to employ all the time I can devote to study, for twenty years to come. My eyes and my health begin to fail, and I do not feel that ardor for application, which I should have, to be a man of science. In short the more I do, the more I find to do; and it is almost discouraging, to see one's labour increase, as we proceed in it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-15


Amory, and Thompson went upon a dancing party yesterday. They invited me to join them, but I did not feel disposed. This afternoon I went with Townsend, and attended Mr. Spring's1 lecture. I was much better pleased than I expected to be with this gentleman's preaching. His sentiments are extremely contracted, and illiberal, and he maintains them with the zeal, and enthusiasm of a bigot, but his delivery is very agreeable, and I believe his devotion sincere; although I shall never be a convert { 318 } to his principles, I will not condemn them as impious and heretical. Little, Putnam, and I, spent the evening with Thomson, at his father's. A letter from W. S.2 was canvassed; it was stiff, inelegant and trivial. I gave this as my opinion, and although they charged me with being prejudiced against the writer, yet I found, their sentiments on this point agreed perfectly with mine.
1. Rev. Samuel Spring, minister of the Third Religious Society in Newburyport (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit, 2:85).
2. Presumably from William Stedman.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-16


I finished the second volume of Blackstone, and began upon the third which treats of private wrongs. And this evening I got through Buffon's natural history of man, which is still more entertaining than the theory of the earth.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-17


I set out for Haverhill between 3 and 4. this afternoon, and arrived at Mr. White's, a little after 5. Leonard was at my lodgings last Tuesday, and made me promise I would stay with him the next time I should go to that town. I was inform'd of Mr. Thaxter's marriage. Last tuesday was the day, when he departed the life of a bachelor, and was ushered into a new kind of existence. His friends had expected it would not be till next tuesday, but he fairly gave them the slip.
I went up to Mr. Shaw's this evening, and spent an hour. Lodg'd at Mr. White's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-18


In the forenoon I attended at Mr. Smith's meeting: he preaches without notes, and like all the preachers, who make a practice of this, that I ever heard, often repeats the same sentiments. In the afternoon I went to hear Mr. Shaw. After meeting I went up there and pass'd part of the evening. Mr. Redington and Captain Marsh and Deacon Eames were there.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-19


I lodg'd at Mr. White's again last night; went this morning up to Mr. Shaw's and past an hour; and between 10 and 11, Set off { 319 } for Newbury-Port. Got home at about I. Called at the office. Found Amory was gone to Salem for a week. Mr. Parsons says, he will spoil himself in spite of any thing that can be done. Town-send dined with me. We were not much in the office, in the afternoon. Little spent the evening with me.
Rather unwell.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-20


Proceed slowly in the third volume of Blackstone. As this is the most important author of all those that will occur, I make large extracts from him, which takes me up so much time that I cannot read above twenty or thirty pages in a day. Townsend pass'd the evening at my lodgings. Dull weather. This afternoon there was a town-meeting for the purpose of choosing members to represent this Town in the State convention which is to meet in January, and canvass the proposed federal Constitution. The persons chosen were Mr. King, Judge Greenleaf, Mr. Parsons, and Genl. Titcomb. They are all in favour of the constitution, and the town appears to be very unanimous for it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-21


I this morning requested of Mr. Parsons his opinion, whether it would be most advantageous for me to pursue, the professional study in those hours, when I should not attend at the office; or whether it would be best to devote those of my evenings, which I shall pass at my own lodgings, to other purposes, and a diversity of studies. He answered by observing, that I could not attend to any useful branch of Science, in which I should not find my account; he would rather advise me, to read a number of ethic writers: it was necessary for a person going into the profession of the law, to have principles strongly established; otherwise, however amiable, and however honest his disposition might be, yet the necessity he is under of defending indiscriminately, the good and the bad, the right, and the wrong would imperceptibly lead him into universal skepticism. He advised also Quinctilian, and the best writers upon Christianity; He himself, he said, was convinced of the truth of the Christian religion; he believed revelation, and it was his reason, that had been convinced, for he entered upon the world rather prejudiced against revelation.
{ 320 }
It stormed in the afternoon, I pass'd part of the evening at Mr. Parsons's, and the remainder with Townsend at his lodgings.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-22


Weather remarkably mild for the Season: I have been rather unwell for a week or 10 days back, which prevents me from applying myself with so much assiduity as I should wish to.
I passed this evening with Thompson and Putnam at Little's. We were very sociable, and cheerful. At 9 we return'd to our respective homes. The weather before this, had cleared up, though in the afternoon it had threatened to be stormy.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-23


The events of the day were quite uninteresting. I had however an opportunity to observe the effects of the Passions. How despotically they rule! how they bend, and master, the greatest and the wisest geniuses! T'is a pity! 'tis great pity! that prudence should desert people when they have the most need of it. Tis pity, that such a mean, little, dirty passion as envy, should be the vice of the most capacious souls. Human Nature, how inexplicable art thou! Oh, may I learn before I advance upon the political stage, (if I ever do) not to put my trust in thee! This grave apostrophe, with the lines that precede it may be mysterious to you sir, but if so, remember that it is none of your business. And so I wish you good night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-24


I went in the forenoon, and exhibited my complaints to Dr. Swett, but he told me, they were not worth speaking of; and so I will e'en let them take their chance.
This afternoon Townsend, and I, went down to Mr. Tracey's, upon a disagreeable piece of business, but which we got through quite comfortably. Ben Hooper called on me in the evening. I have again begun upon Gibbon's roman history, and hope, I shall this time go through.1 I read the first volume last Spring; but at that time my avocations were so numerous, that I could not proceed in reading the book. I admire the style, and in general the Sentiment, though I think there is sometimes an affectation of { 321 } wit in the one, and sometimes a glaring tinsel in the other, which are far beneath the majestic simplicity of nature.
1. JQA's 32 pages of MS notes from his rereading of Gibbon, begun on 19 Nov., and 54 pages of sources used by Gibbon, undated but presumably made at the same time, are in M/JQA/46, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241. In addition, there are random notes from Gibbon on blank pages in the almanac JQA used for his line-a-day Diary from 11 Jan.–31 Dec. 1788 (D/JQA/13, same, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-25


I thought I was too unwell to pass two hours in a cold meeting house this forenoon, and staid at home. In the afternoon I ventured out, and went with Townsend to Dr. Tucker's meetinghouse; but finding there was no service there, we went to church. Parson Bass,1 is not much of an orator, and was rather negligent in treating common place topics, in common place language. Drank tea at Mrs. Hooper's,2 and pass'd the evening at Mr. J. Tracy's. Captn. Fletcher was there. Tracy was quite warm upon the subject of the late election. He is a militia officer, and possessed very strongly of the esprit de corps. He was offended that Genl. Titcomb, should come in the last of the four members for this town, and in the course of conversation went rather beyond the bounds of prudence.
1. Rev. Edward Bass, rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Newburyport (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:340–359).
2. Mrs. Mary Harris Hooper, wife of the loyalist Joseph Hooper, and landlady of JQA's fellow law student Horatio Townsend (same, 15:404–406).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-26


I took an additional cold, yesterday, and am still more unwell than I have been. I pass'd the evening at my lodgings; reading Gibbon, and translating a piece from the french.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-27


Better than I have been for these ten days past: all the time again at the office, or at my own lodgings. It is of great advantage to us to have Mr. Parsons in the office. He is in himself a law-library, and a proficient in every useful branch of science. But his chief excellency is, that, no student can be more fond of proposing questions than he is of solving them. He is never at a loss, and always gives a full and ample account, not only of the subject { 322 } { 323 } proposed, but of all matters which have any intimate connection with it. I am perswaded, that the advantage of having such an instructor is very great, and I hope I shall not misimprove, it, as some of his pupils have done. Where nature is deficient, application must supply her place, and if Nature is liberal, there is so much more reason, for turning her partiality to advantage, for

Nature never lends

The smallest scruple of her excellence

But like a thrifty goddess she determines

Herself the glory of a creditor

Both thanks and use.1

1. Measure for Measure, Act I, scene i, lines 37–41.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-28


Finished the third volume of Blackstone, and began upon the fourth, which is upon public wrongs. Took something of a long walk with Thompson. He, and Little and Putnam passed the evening with me. Mr. and Mrs. Smith came into Town this evening, and brought me a bundle.
Mr. Parsons after making much difficulty has finally consented, that we should pass the evenings till 8 o'clock at the office, At Townsend's importunity. It will make at this Season a large addition to the time which we employ in the professional studies, though I do not know that it will be of any great advantage to me.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-29


Thanksgiving day: between 8 and 9 o'clock this morning I set out for Haverhill and got to Mr. Shaw's a little before eleven. I attended meeting: Mr. Shaw preach'd a long sermon, and a good one. Mr. Parker1 and his wife dined with us: I did not admire them, the woman particularly; she has a hard masculine countenance, and black eyes, which express as much softness as those of a tyger. But she is a very good woman: only has rather too much temper, or as it is called in New-England too much stuff. I went down to Mr. White's in the evening, but Leonard was not at home: I was going to Mr. Duncan's, but met all the younger part of the family, in the street. I found Leonard White at Mr. Shaw's, and Mr. Flint who came this day from Lincoln.
1. Benjamin Parker, formerly minister of the Fourth Congregational Church of Haverhill (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:220–222).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0012-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-11-30


I passed the forenoon with Leonard, who has been making two or three unsuccessful attempts to make phosphorus; his glass vials melt in the process.
Dined at Mr. Duncan's. Mrs. Thaxter has got two or three wrinkles on her forehead. I went to see the house in which they are to live. Pass'd the afternoon with him. His honey moon is not yet past. I was at Mr. White's in the evening.

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

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

Saturday December 1st. 1787.

I dined at Mr. White's; after dinner I went to Mr. Shaw's, stay'd about an hour, and just before Sun-set, departed for Newbury-Port. I got into the town just as the clock struck seven. Pass'd the evening with Putnam; and came home at about 9. I found Dr. Kilham, at home: he return'd from Boston on Thursday; and although his conduct during the late session of the general court, upon the subject of the proposed continental constitution, has not met with the approbation of his constituents in general,1 yet I think he is very much to be applauded for that independance of spirit, which disdains to sacrifice, a sentiment, to the breath of popularity. But men are too apt to suspect the motives of those with whom they differ in sentiment, and although in this Country religious bigotry is almost entirely done away, yet the same principle, in another garb, appears in all our political manoeuvres.
1. On 24 Oct. Kilham had spoken in opposition to a resolution calling for a ratifying convention in Massachusetts (Massachusetts Centinel, 27 Oct.). For some Newburyport reaction to the speech, see the Massachusetts Centinel, 7 Nov.

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

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


I attended Mr. Carey's meeting this afternoon, and in the evening I went to Mr. Carter's. Mrs. Smith and Miss Betsey return to Boston to-morrow. Mr. Smith went yesterday. Miss Emery, and Miss Sally Jenkins, were at Mr. Carter's this evening.

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

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


Mr. Moore breakfasted with us. Mr. Parsons is quite unwell, and has been so for two or three days past. This evening White { 325 } called at the office; he came from Haverhill this day. He passed the evening, and lodged with me. Townsend, Thomson and Putnam were like wise here in the evening. I feel neither the inclination nor the power to expatiate, upon the events of the day, which were very uninteresting.

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

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


White returned this morning to Haverhill. At the office all day. Mr. Parsons still very unwell—somewhat vapourish: fears he has the distemper which is now very prevalent in the town.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-05


I pass'd the evening with Little and Townsend at Miss Cazneau's. We play'd Commerce,1 and whist: but it was dull work. Miss Cazneau, has nothing in her person to recommend her, but a very good shape; her complexion is very dark, and not very clear. No feature of her face is peculiarly agreeable, and her eyes are rather unfavourable to her. A capricious, passionate, imprudent character is stamped upon her behaviour. She displays rather too much levity, and a trifling, uninteresting vanity is conspicuous. I call it un interesting vanity, because there is a certain kind of vanity, that I have observed in some women, which is exceedingly interesting, and which is sometimes productive of such pleasing manners, that I should be at a loss whether to call it a foible or an accomplishment. Miss Tucker, who likewise passed the evening there, is fair, rather too large for gentility, with a countenance, which has not sufficient animation or expression to be very strikingly agreeable. Her manners are pleasing; if I could find fault with any part of them; it would be with the appearance of an affectation of softness. This defect is not uncommon; but however amiable a real sweetness of disposition may be, this appearance of it in the manners is not calculated to win my heart. However if I were to judge of the tempers of these two ladies from their behaviour this evening, I should pronounce the latter, infinitely, the most amiable of the two. I came home at about 9. in the evening.
1. A game of cards characterized by exchanges or bartering (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-06


Spent the evening with Thompson and Little, at Putnam's lodgings. We conversed upon a diversity of subjects. Law, Physic, History, poetry, religion and politics, by turns engaged our attention. These meetings renew the recollection of those happy scenes, which we have all gone through in college; and in this manner, I now pass some of my most agreeable hours. But after I came home this evening: and after reading, an hour or two, I felt a depression of spirits to which I have hitherto been entirely a stranger. I have frequently felt dull, low spirited, in a manner out of tune; but the feelings which I now experienced were different from what I ever knew before and such, as I hope I shall never again experience: they kept me awake a great part of the night, and when I finally fell asleep, they disturbed my rest by the most extravagant dreams.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-07


Mr. Parsons, has recovered in a great measure from his illness: so that he was the chief part of this day in the office. I spent the evening in part with him. Play'd Backgammon, and draughts. At the former of these games he beats me; at the latter I beat him. I should suppose him to be a great proficient, at those games which require reflection, and a train of reasoning, which is very much the case with draughts; but much of this skill depends entirely upon practice in which he is deficient. I was fatigued for the want of proper rest, last night, and therefore went to bed, quite early; that is by ten o'clock.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-08


Amory went to Ipswich this afternoon. He cannot yet get entirely over his old habits. He intends however to come back this evening.
I went with Townsend to see Mr. Atkins, but did not find him at home. His Mother and Sister have both been ill of the putrid throat distemper, and are not yet wholly recovered. Townsend came home, and sat an hour with me. We conversed upon several topics, but chiefly upon Ambition, that virtue or vice, according as it is directed. We did not perfectly agree upon the subject, though our sentiments were not very different.
{ 327 }
In the evening I wrote, and among others brought myself down to the present hour in this book, which I have not done before for these last two months.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-09


Attended Dr. Tucker's meeting in the forenoon. He gave us an excellent sermon upon the story of Haman, from which he drew a number of very rational reflections upon the evils of pride, haughtiness and a revengefull disposition. In the afternoon I went and heard Mr. Carey. Townsend called upon me in the evening, and I went with him to Mr. Atkins's where we stay'd about an hour; after which we went to see Thompson, who is quite unwell. We sat half an hour, below with Mr. Thompson. Parson Spring was there; and we conversed upon the topic which is now prevalent. The federal constitution. I came home early and wrote a long letter to W. Cranch.1
1. This letter, dated 8 Dec., was owned by J. Delafield 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-03-02-02-0002-0013-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-10


This forenoon Townsend, sat off for Boston. Mr. Parsons intended to have gone likewise, as the supreme Court, sits by adjournment, there this week. But he was so much troubled with an ague in his face, and the tooth ach, that he could not go.
I pass'd the evening with Little at Dr. Swett's. Mrs. Swett is a pretty woman; and agreeable: not endow'd I believe with great strength of mind; not much of a reasoner nor much of a patriot, and professes to know nothing of politics, which she supposes to be entirely out of the sphere of the female sex.
It would perhaps be as well, if all women thought so, and conducted upon the principle: yet I wish even females to feel some interest in the welfare of their country.
The Dr. is a man of learning, and ingenuity. He went through a course of professional studies in Scotland, and has travell'd in different parts of Europe, but he has a mean idea of human nature, and I should not wonder if all physicians had: for they are incessantly conversant with the physical defects and infirmities { 328 } of mankind: they see humanity in a state of humiliation, and it is no wonder if they have no idea of its glory.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-11


Reading Blackstone all day; and I pass'd the evening, at the office till eight: after which I went and past an hour with Putnam. F. Bradbury was with him. We had some conversation upon the stale topic of self love and disinterested benevolence. A subject, upon which I have very frequently conversed, with many different persons: and notwithstanding every thing that I have heard said upon the subject, I still retain the opinion which I adopted when I first reasoned upon it. I will not venture to say there is no such thing as disinterested benevolence, but I must say that after searching as deeply as possible into my own mind, I cannot find a trace of it there.
Talk'd with Doctor Kilham upon the federal constitution; the elections which have hitherto been made in different parts of the State, appear to be generally favorable to it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0012

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


This day I finished reading the fourth and last volume of Blackstone's Commentaries. This is one of the most important books in the profession, and I have comparatively speaking taken more time in reading it, than I probably shall, for any other book: yet I am very far, from being master of it. And I intend before the end of my three years, if I should live and have my health, to go through this book once or twice more. I began in the afternoon upon Sullivan's Lectures, and read a few pages; but not sufficient to get an idea of the merits of the book. Thompson, has so far recovered, that he was at the office in the afternoon.
I pass'd the evening at my own lodgings, reading, and writing.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-13


The repetition of the same events, from day to day, is the only variety which can supply materials for this record of my transactions. Conversations, are seldom interesting. New characters seldom arise, and I am employed more time in thinking what I shall say for one day, than I am in writing the occurrences of a { 329 } week. Fertility of imagination, might supply the deficiency of materials, but my soil produces no spontaneous fruits.
I passed this evening with Thompson: his father was taken very ill this afternoon with a nervous disorder, and was so sick that we broke up our assembly before eight o'clock.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-14


I was about an hour with Dr. Kilham at his shop, Immediately after dinner; I took up one of the volumes of Junius's Letters,1 and carried it with me to the office; I read the whole afternoon, and was interrupted only by the shadows of the evening. I called upon Little, and brought him home with me, to my lodgings: we pass'd a very sociable evening together: after he was gone I took up again my volume of Junius, and just before I finished it, the midnight Clock reminded me, that the hour of retirement was again come round. This hour, and that of rousing from the night's repose are equally disagreeble to me. My mind seems in this respect to partake of the vis inertiae of matter. I cannot possibly rise early, and I am obliged to run forward into the night for those moments of contemplation, and study which perhaps would be more advantageously taken before the dawn of day.
1. A collection of letters, written between 1769 and 1772, attacking the British ministry, 2 vols., London, 1772. The authorship of these letters has been a source of debate, having been attributed to several dozen different writers.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-15


A violent North-west wind, blew, the whole day, but we have no snow yet. Dined with Amory at Mr. Farnham's.1 Mr. J. Greenleaf, and Mr. J. Carter were the Company besides the family. I saw Mrs. Hay, whom I had not before seen these three years. We did not pass the afternoon there, as Amory was called away soon after dinner. I went for about an hour to the office, and spent the evening with Putnam; who has lately taken a great fancy to digging in metaphysical ground: though he is not perfectly acquainted with the nature of the soil. He has drank just enough of the pierian spring to intoxicate the brain, and not sufficient to sober him again.2
1. William, the second son by that name of Newburyport lawyer and tory sympathizer Daniel Farnham (Currier, Newburyport, 2:229–232).
2. “An Essay on Criticism,” lines 215–218.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-16


I waited upon Parson Cary this forenoon, in expectation of much edification; but he gave us a more indifferent sermon than usual; which in addition to the weather's being very cold, prevented me from going in the afternoon: instead of which I read three or four of Yorick's sermons; Townsend, who returned last night from Boston; was here all day: in the evening I concluded the first volume of Gibbon's history. The two last chapters which treat of the rise and progress of Christianity, are written neither with the indulgence of a friend, nor even with the candor, and ingenuous openness which an enemy ought ever to show. The sentiment, however with which he concludes the volume is a melancholy truth; and it is to the immortal honour of the present age, that no new religious sect, can gain ground, because it cannot find a persecutor.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-17


I have continued reading in Sullivan's lectures. The book is entertaining, and the author so far as he goes appears to be master of his subject. In general he is perspicuous and intelligible, but the Treatise is rather historical than professional: it was a posthumous work, and therefore probably much more imperfect, than it would have been, had the author himself given it to the public. The style is rather harsh and inharmonious, and there are many inaccuracies even of grammar, which are probably nothing more than errors of an uncorrected press. Townsend and I pass'd the evening in the office till about 8, after which I went in and play'd with Mr. Parsons at back-gammon about an hour.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-18


Passed the day at the office; Townsend and Thompson were there in the evening.
The question, what am I to do in this world recurs to me, very frequently; and never without causing great anxiety, and a depression of spirits: my prospects appear darker to me, every day, and I am obliged sometimes to drive the subject from my mind, and to assume some more agreeable train of thoughts. I do not wish to look into futurity; and were the leaves of fate to be { 331 } opened before me, I should shrink from the perusal. Fortune, I do not covet. Honours, I begin to think are not worth seeking, and as for “the bubble reputation,” though deck'd with all the splendors of the rainbow, yet those very splendors are deceitful, and it seldom fails to burst, from the weight of the drop which it contains.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-19


I spent my time this day, in the same manner that I did the two last. I came home to my lodgings at about 8 in the evening, and not being disposed to study, felt quite dull. When Dr. Kilham is not at home, I am entirely without company; for my landlady is in fact a good woman, but merely a good woman.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-20


The cold weather appears to be for setting in seriously; and indeed it is high time that it should. It snow'd some part of the day. Just after dusk, I walk'd with Thompson and Putnam to Little's home in Newbury, but he was gone to attend the ordination at Byfield. We return'd, and the lads pass'd the evening quite sociably with me, till 9 o'clock. Captain Wyer was here in the evening. He was he says, an enthusiast for liberty in 1775, but finds it all a farce; he is now, no less an enthusiast; and he may chance to find his present object, which is different enough from Liberty, more tragical, than merry. I finished this day with Sullivan's lectures; and am not displeased to have gone through it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-21


I read through Wright's short treatise upon the feudal tenures. I found nothing in it, but what I had before read upon the subject in other writers. In the beginning of the next week, I shall take up Coke upon Littleton, Which seems to be the great magazine for law knowledge but it is one of those unlucky folio's, which appear so formidable to many students in the profession. I set myself down, for three months at this book.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-22


I pass'd the day as usual at the office; but there was scarce a half an hour at a Time, without some visitor who entered into { 332 } conversation with Mr. Parsons, and prevented us from paying any attention to our books. This is too frequently the case, and much of our Time is lost in that manner, luckily this was to me a leisure day, and I only made a few extracts from Blackstone.
Little pass'd the evening with me.
Weather quite moderate.
I should wish in order to give some kind of variety to these pages, to bring in the aid of something more, than a mere insipid narrative of my journeys from the office to my lodgings, and from my lodgings to the office. I have heretofore made free plunder with the characters of persons with whom I had any connections, but on many accounts I have found this a dangerous practice: for as I cannot keep these volumes so secret as I should wish to, and as the models may by some measure get access to the picture, I am obliged either to forfeit my sincerity, even towards myself, or to run the risque of making enemies. My disposition has prompted me to prefer the latter evil and I have sometimes experienced the disadvantages of committing my real opinions to writing. I have been thinking whether the method of recording observations, without exemplifying characters, would not be equally agreeable to me without being dangerous. If my observations are collected from a concurrence of facts, and if they should be upon subjects of any consequence, I might in that manner pluck the rose, without pricking my finger with the thorn. I believe I shall endeavour, though not immediately to practice upon this plan.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-23


I went this forenoon to hear Parson Murray preach. He expatiated somewhat largely upon the seventh commandment. I was not very much pleased with him. His voice is clear and strong, and his delivery agreeable: but I have heard even extempore speakers preach more to my satisfaction. His arguments against a crime which must meet with general abhorrence, were not I think the most forcible that might have been brought, and he extended it further than I thought reasonable. I did not attend meeting in the afternoon. We finally have got a violent snowstorm; which begun this morning, and has been acquiring force the whole day.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-24


Began upon Coke-Littleton, and read about a dozen pages. Pass'd about an hour in the evening with Mr. Parsons, playing back-gammon.
I have often wondered at the blind, unreasonable affection, which Nature has given to parents for their Children. It is so unaccountable upon any principle of ratiocination, that I have thought it was the effect of mere instinct totally independent of the mind. This conjecture is in some measure confirm'd, by the tender affection, which appears universally to influence the brute creation for their young. But it is humiliating that man should be directed by the same mechanical impulse, and therefore with that vanity, which is perhaps the greatest characteristic which distinguishes him from the rest of the animal world, he has converted an involuntary attraction into an amiable virtue. The tender affection which a child owes to his parent, is rational; it proceeds from the best of motives, from gratitude for obligations received. Even The fondness of Lovers, although it is said to be a species of folly, yet is founded upon a mutual benefit, and may be so directed as to be perfectly reasonable; but in this attachment to a man's offspring, all appear to be equally faulty; all equally thoughtless. The infant son of Alcibiades, governed the world: and the power of any other child, is limited only by the situation of the parent.
I would proceed to speculate, but the midnight Clock resounds, and calls me away. Ars longa, vita brevis.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-25


Christmas day. Parson Bass, preached a sermon, but I did not go to hear him. I dined with Townsend, and pass'd the afternoon there. At about dusk, I took a long walk with him, and then returned to my own lodgings. The Dr. this day took a ride out of Town. In the evening I fell to speculating upon political subjects. I regret exceedingly that I have so little time, at my own disposal. A thousand subjects call my attention, and excite my curiosity: most of them I am obliged to pass from without noticing them at all; and the few to which I can afford any leisure, only lead me to regret, that I cannot go deeper. The tedious study of a profession, which requires indefatigable industry, and incessant application, is alone sufficient employment. But the arts { 334 } and sciences in general, and in particular the liberal arts must not be neglected.
I suspect I shall soon drop this journal.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-26


Office as usual. Dr. Kilham, returned to Town this evening. I passed an hour or two with Mr. Tufts.
The most amiable of the roman Emperors, at the close of a day, which had presented no object upon which he might exert his benevolence, exclaimed “I have lost a day.” To a man placed in a situation which enabled him so eminently to be useful to his fellow creatures, it must really be a misfortune, that one day should pass over without offering him an opportunity, to display his virtues: but as this was his peculiar duty in his sphere of life; so has every individual, (however humble the tenor of his way may be,) his own; and every day to him is lost which does not render him more capable of fulfilling the duties for which he was created. Such however have been many, many of my days, and even this among the rest was so barren, both of occurrences, and of observations, that unless I had recollected that circumstance I should have had nothing to say.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-27


St John's Day. An entertainment for the Society of free-Masons.
In consequence of Stacey's exertions, we had this evening a good dance. There were only thirteen gentlemen and fifteen ladies. The diversion was general, and the company spirited: upon such occasions there is almost always somebody who makes peculiar amusement for the rest of the Company. A Captain Casey, was this evening as singular as any of the gentlemen. As a Mason, he had the generosity of his heart, at dinner, rather than the reflections of prudence, and as this like most virtues increases by being put in action, he had not laid any illiberal restraints upon himself in the evening; it increased exceedingly his activity, and after all the Company had done dancing, he retained vigour to walk a minuet, and to skip in reels. In all this there was nothing but was perfectly innocent; yet so fond are the sons of men, to remark their respective foibles, that the Captain, was not totally exempted from the smiles of the company. This { 335 } was the most particular circumstance that took place. In general, I was much pleased. It was between four and five in the morning before we broke up. Putnam came and sat an hour with me and Little, in garrulous conversation. A Little after the Clock struck five, Putnam went home; and I much fatigued retired to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-28


We rose, between ten and eleven in the forenoon. Little took a breakfast with me; after which I went to the office; but felt entirely incapable of doing any thing serious. I pass'd the time therefore till dinner in idle chat. In the afternoon I passed an hour with Dr. Kilham; and again repaired to the office, with as little success as ever. In the evening, all the gentlemen who were last night at the dance, were at Putnam's lodgings. We drank and smoked, and sang there till nine o'clock; but notwithstanding a forced appearance of hilarity was kept up, there was in fact no real mirth. All were fatigued by the last night's siege, and unable to bear another, such as the inexhaustible spirits of Amory, would have relished. At nine therefore we retired, and not long after I got home, I went to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-29


Not entirely recovered yet from the fatigue of Thursday night, but could in some measure attend to reading. Mr. Parsons's students all dined with him. Master Moody1 from Byfield, with a son of Dartmouth by the name of Parish were likewise of the Company. Mr. Parish2 has to perfection the appearance and manners, which have distinguished all the young gentlemen from that seminary, with whom I have had any acquaintance. The same uncouthness in his appearance; the same awkwardness in his manners, and really I am not illiberal if I add, the same vacancy in his countenance. That a man should not at the same time make a scholar and a fine gentleman, that the graces and the muses should refuse to reside in the same mansion, is what I have never thought strange; that they seldom unite is at once my sorrow and my consolation; but the students of Dartmouth, appear determined, to raise no rivalship, between these sets of Sisters, and therefore discard them all. Mr. Moody was extremely full of high flown compliments; the grossest the most fulsome, flattery was incessantly in his mouth. Every virtue and { 336 } every accomplishment he lavished away upon the company, with so little consideration that he seemed to forget that modesty was in the list. He went off however very soon after dinner.
By G. Bradbury, I received a couple of letters from Cambridge,3 which gave me no agreeable news. Bradbury was with me, in the evening; he relieved me in some measure from my fears. The Colleges it seems in the course of the last quarter have been in great confusion and the students are much irritated.4
1. Samuel Moody, the first master of Governor Dummer Academy in Byfield, Mass. (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:48–54).
2. Elijah Parish, who served as minister at Byfield, Mass., from 1787 to 1825 (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit, 2:268).
3. This may include Nathaniel Freeman's letter to JQA, 22 Dec. (Adams Papers), the only extant letter from Cambridge for this period.
4. See note for entry of 2 Feb. 1788 (below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-30


Attending meeting the whole day at Mr. Carey's. Dined at Mr. Hooper's1 in company with Mr. Symmes, who return'd in the afternoon to Andover. In the evening I walkd with Dr. Kilham to Mr. Carter's; found nobody at home. We then went and pass'd the evening with Mrs. Emery. The conversation was agreeable, tho' not extremely interesting.
1. Stephen Hooper, a merchant with interests in Newburyport and Newbury (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:53–56).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0013-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-12-31


In the Evening I went with Townsend, to see Miss Cazneau, and to fulfill a promise, of playing on the flute for her; which I made some weeks ago; and renew'd last Thursday. The character of Miss C. I propose to delineate at a future period; if I should continue to draw any.
At eight I left her and pass'd the remainder of the evening at Mrs. Hooper's.
The night, which puts a period to the revolving year, always presents to my mind a crowd of the most serious reflections. But none are more important than those upon the shortness of human life. A twentieth part of the days of man has nearly elapsed since, I began this journal; yet, how uninteresting the events! how much of that period lost! how much mis-spent! But { 337 } revert the question: how much employed to make me wiser, better and more useful? Ah! how shall I answer?

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-01

Tuesday January 1st. 1788.

Pass'd the day and evening at the office. Read at my own lodgings till one o'clock in the morning.
I feel every day a greater disposition to drop this nonsense. It takes up a great deal of my time, and as it is incessantly calling upon me, I can never have any respite: in the extreme cold of winter I have no convenience, for writing, and was it not for the pleasure of complaining to myself, I believe I should have done long ago. I often get in arrears and then I have as much time to recollect, the circumstances of one day, as at other times I have to write for four. These inconveniences however are most prevalent in the severity of the winter Season. As I have got so far through this, and more particularly as I have now begun the year, I will make an effort to carry it on for one more revolution of the Sun, and if I then feel as averse to writing as at present, I will e'en stop, at least while the events in which I am concern'd are as trivial, as they are at present. One consideration upon this subject, at least affords me some satisfaction: it is that when I look back in these volumes, and peruse, the temporary productions of my pen; I am at least able to say, at the close of the day; that day I did something.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-02


In the beginning of the evening, Putnam called at our office, and invited me to go with him and pass a couple of hours at Mr. Frazier's;1 after debating with myself some time upon the subject, I determined finally to go. We found there a number of young gentlemen and Ladies. After we had sat a little while the infallible request to sing made its appearance. One could not sing, and another could not sing, and a total incapacity to sing, was declared all round the room. If, upon such occasions every one would adhere, to his first assertion, it would be very agreeable; at least to me: for in these mixt companies when the musical powers are finally exerted, the only recompence, for the intolerable tediousness of urging, generally is a few very insipid songs, sung in a very insipid manner. But the misfortune is, that some one always relents, and by singing furnishes the only ma• { 338 } terials for a conversation, which consists in intreaties for further gratifications of the same kind.
When we had gone through this ceremony, and had grown weary of it; another equally stupid succeeded; it was playing pawns: a number of pledges were given all round, and kissing was the only condition upon which they were redeem'd. Ah! what kissing! ‘Tis a profanation, of one of the most endearing demonstrations of Love. A kiss unless warm'd by sentiment, and enlivened by affection, may just as well be given to the air, as to the most beautiful, or the most accomplished object in the Universe.
After going through this likewise, as if the Pope had done us any injury, nothing would do but we must break his neck.2 It is the fate of the poor representative of St. Peter, to be abused at this day. But we were peculiarly cruel, for we persecuted him without any kind of advantage to ourselves. Thus we pass'd the heavy hours till about 10 o'clock, when we all retired.
I did intend to mention the young ladies that were present, and give my sentiments upon their persons and manners; but this day has already usurp'd more than its proportion of the volume, and I will take some other opportunity for delineating: for the present I will quit the pen.
1. Moses Frazier, Newburyport shipowner and town officeholder (Currier, Newburyport, 1:678, 679, 687; Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 70:200 [April 1934]; 71:360 [Oct. 1935]).
2. “Break the Pope's neck” was a game. In Virginia, players formed a semicircle and from their number one was chosen Pope and the others were friars. As the game proceeded, the players found “great Diversion in the respective Judgments upon offenders” who were finally “dismissed” (Philip Vickers Fithian, Journals and Letters, 1767–1776, ed. John Rogers Williams and others, 2 vols., Princeton, 1900–1934, 1:65).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-03


Pass'd the evening at Little's in Newbury. A Mr. Coffin, who graduated two years ago, at Harvard, was there. We spent our time in sociable chat, and in singing; not such unmeaning, insignificant songs, as those with which we killed our time last evening; but good, jovial, expressive songs such as we sung at College, “when mirth and jollity prevail'd.” One evening of this kind gives me more real satisfaction than fifty pass'd in a company of girls. (I beg their pardon.)

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-04


Nothing—It would be a fine theme to expatiate upon. It has been well expatiated on. When I look around me, and see the vices, the follies, the errors of my fellow creatures, when I look into myself and enquire, into the springs and motives of my actions, when I look forward, and ask, what am I to do, what am I to expect, an involuntary sigh, acknowledges that nothing, is the only answer. In the physical world, what are sensual gratifications, what is the earth, and all it contains, what is Life itself—nothing. In the moral world, what is honour, what is honesty, what is religion?—nothing. In the political world, what is Liberty, what is patriotism, what is power and grandeur?—nothing. The universe is an atom, and it's creator is all in all. Of him, except that he exists, we know nothing, and consequently our knowledge is nothing.
Perhaps the greatest truth of all is, that for this half hour, I have been doing nothing.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-05


I have this week been reading Cecilia,1 a novel of some reputation; it was written by a Lady, and does not exhibit that knowledge of human nature, which is the greatest excellency, perhaps of novels. Some of the characters however are well drawn; they are generally exaggerated, and appear rather too strongly marked for perfect imitations of nature. The characters of Miss Larolles and of Meadows, appear to me, original, and true: that of Lady Pemberton, is pleasing, but merely an imitation. The story in general is well told, and the interest is preserved; but in many places probability is not sufficiently consulted, and the repetitions of the mistakes at Belfield's lodgings, become tedious, and wearisome; the catastrophe is not just as I should wish it, yet perhaps it is more judicious than it would have been to have preserved her fortune. If the book, was made shorter by two volumes, I think it would be much better than it is; but even now it is infinitely superior to the common herd of novels, which are mere nusances to Literature.
I passed the evening quite in a solitary way at my own lodgings. The weather has this week been extremely cold.
1. Frances (Burney) d'Arblay, Cecilia, or, Memoirs of an Heiress, 5 vols., London, 1782.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-06


Heard Mr. Carey preach two sermons this day; but the weather was very cold. In the afternoon the Parson was extremely vehement; in an occasional discourse upon the renewal of the year, he complained exceedingly that the language of the people was “the time is not come.” And with all his powers of eloquence, and of reasoning, he exerted to prove that the time is come. He was rather too violent: his zeal was so animated that he almost had the appearance of being vexed and chagrined. But he said he was not aiming at popularity.
Passed the evening with Dr. Kilham, at Mr. Carter's, where we had a whole magazine of antiquity. Miss Sally Jenkins was there; I was pleased with her manners: she is of the middling female size, and has a fine form, the features of her face, are regular, and were not the nose, too much inclined to the aquiline, would be very handsome. Twenty two, I should think her age; but perhaps she is two or three years younger. She conversed not much, and indeed, in the State of female education here there are very few young Ladies, who talk, and yet preserve our admiration. For my own part, the most difficult task that could be assigned me, would be, to carry on a conversation with one of our fine Ladies. The topics upon which they are able to be fluent, are so totally different, from any of those with which I have ever been conversant, that I feel the same embarassment, that I should with one, whose Language I should be wholly unacquainted with. This is not meant however to apply to Miss Jenkins, who is I hope of a different cast: perhaps I shall discover upon a better acquaintance, attractions in her, besides those of person, and they will appear the more amiable, as they are the more rare.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-07


In the beginning of the evening I wrote a Letter to W. Cranch requesting of him an explanation, of something he wrote me, which was plain enough to alarm me exceedingly, but not sufficiently explicit to ascertain my suspicions.1 At eight o'clock I left the office, and went to Dr. Swett's; where I found Little very agreeably situated. He had been writing part of a Letter to Freeman. I join'd with him, and scribbled, about half a page upon the subject of Miss Cazneau.2 I know not, but I should have done { 341 } best to adopt the prudent stile of panegyric; but what is done cannot be helped; and I must run my chance of incurring the tremendous resentment of an offended female. If she should discover what I have written, my only resource would be to flatter her. This I believe would be an infallible recipe, for appeasing her.
While I was sitting with Little, the Sexton came in. “You mentioned a matter to me the other day” said he; “and I met with one yesterday; all entire. He has been there but a few years. The flesh has sunk away not much. Rather dirty, as the clods fell on him as I was digging; but it's easy to wash that away. If you want one now, you may have him early to morrow, morning.” Little told him such an one would not answer his purpose, not being fresh enough. I bless'd myself for not being a student in physic, and for being exempted from an application to any art, by means against which humanity revolts.
How much is an honest and a humane physician, to be respected and esteemed! No man certainly can render himself useful to his fellow creatures in a manner, more painful and disgusting to himself, and few men, have a poorer prospect of obtaining the reward of their labours; in this Country especially.
I sat about an hour with Little, after which I retired to my own lodgings.
1. Neither letter has been found.
2. Not found.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-08


It snow'd all the forenoon; but as the weather kept continually moderating, in the afternoon it began to rain, and before the weather cleared up, the snow was almost gone. I went with Townsend, and drank coffee at Mr. Thompson's. His son goes to Boston to-morrow. I gave him my letter for Cranch: after we went from there, we called in at Putnam's lodgings and found Captain Noyes there. Mr. Townsend soon went away. I sat there till after nine o'clock; and heard the doleful story of the Clock upon Mr. Murray's meeting house, which the other night, kept striking without ceasing almost the whole night; and how it is an indisputable omen, foreboding the death of the Parson, who is very sick.
Superstition and bigotry, will ever be inseperable compan• { 342 } ions: and they are always the tyrants of a mean and contracted mind.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-09


This day our State convention is to meet in Boston for the purpose of assenting to and ratifying, the federal Constitution. The members from this Town, went for Boston yesterday, except Mr. Parsons, who will go to-morrow. The conjectures concerning the issue of their debates, are different, according to the dispositions of the speculators. Some think there will be a great majority for adopting the Constitution, while others hope, the opposite party will greatly preponderate. In the evening I play'd with Mr. Parsons at back-gammon, and was beat by him. After leaving the office, I pass'd the remainder of the evening with Townsend, at Mrs. Hooper's.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-10


Between eleven and twelve Mr. Parsons, went for Boston; Amory goes with him in a Chaise as far as Salem: from whence he will proceed in the Stage. I went this evening to Dr. Swett's with the Intention to pass the evening there, but neither the Doctor nor his Lady were at home; I called upon Putnam, and would have gone with him to Mr. Bradbury's; but they were all out. I met Little in the Street, he came home with me, and sat half an hour.
The convention, met at Boston yesterday. About 300 members present; They chose Mr. Hancock president, and as his infirmities are such as will probably prevent him frequently from attending, Judge Cushing was chosen vice-president. But they have not yet proceeded to business of any consequence. Nor does it appear, which party is most likely to prevail: from which we may perhaps infer that in either case, the majority will be small.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-11


From the office this afternoon I went with Townsend to his lodgings, and there past a couple of hours; after which I went in to Mr. Tufts's, spend the remainder of the evening, and supp'd there. I found Mr. I. Smith there, and conversed with him upon the subject of the late disturbances at college. He hinted to me, { 343 } that one of my brothers, had been much irritated, and that he was suspected of being peculiarly active upon some of the late occasions.1 I hope however there was no just ground for their suspicions.2
1. See entry for 2 Feb. (below).
2. Beginning on this date and continuing until 31 Dec., JQA also wrote in another Diary, designated by the Adams' editors as D/JQA/13, consisting of line-a-day memoranda written on blank pages in his copy of Fleet's Pocket Almanack and Massachusetts Register for 1788, Boston, [1788]. This leather-bound volume, measuring 3¼ × 5½, also contains notes from JQA's readings and lines of poetry. These entries occasionally add some small detail to the fuller entries contained in D/JQA/12. Significant additions are mentioned in the notes.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-12


Saturday evening. I was as usual, all the evening at my own lodgings: I spent my time in reading Gibbon's roman history, 2d volume, and now at 12 at night, upon compulsion I am to say something for myself. And I know nothing better than to testify, that at Mr. Parsons's office, I have lost a great part of this week, by conversing with him and with Townsend.
Mr. Parsons is now gone to Boston, and I hope to god, I shall not go on in this way squandering week after week, till at the end of three years I shall go out of the office, as ignorant as I entered it. I cannot, must not be so negligent: all my hopes of going through the world in any other, than the most contemptible manner, depend upon my own exertions, and if I continue thus trifling away my time, I shall become an object of charity or at least of pity. God of Heaven! if those are the only terms upon which life can be granted to me, oh! take me from this world before, I curse the day of my birth—Or rather give me resolution to pursue my duty with diligence and application, that if my fellow creatures should neglect, and despise me, at least I may be conscious of not deserving their contempt.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-13


This morning Townsend called on me; and invited me to go and hear Parson Tucker. We met Little in the street who turn'd about, and walk'd that way with us. When we got to the meeting house we found there was to be no service there in the forenoon, and as it was then too late to go any where else, we turn'd back and went home. Dined, with Dr. Kilham, at Dr. Swett's, and { 344 } Little dined with us. We spent the afternoon, and drank tea there. Mrs. Swett is handsome, and like most of our Ladies, is perfectly acquainted with the various forms of propriety in company, which have been established here. She has too much good breeding to know any thing upon speculative subjects, and she has a proper aversion to politics. She has however I believe a good understanding, and is infinitely superior to many of our female beauties who flutter, in all the pride, of variegated colours. After I return'd home, Thompson called and delivered me a letter from W. Cranch.1 I went with the Dr. to see Mr. Jackson, but he was not at home, and we called in at Mrs. Emery's. This Lady and her Daughter converse more to my satisfaction than the generality of my female acquaintance. In their company my time passes away fast; and I am not often able to say as much.2
1. Not found.
2. According to his line-a-day entry for this date, JQA refers to Mrs. Parsons whom he presumably also saw (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-14


Last night Mr. Parsons' family was increased by an additional daughter; Mrs. Parsons as well as to be expected. This evening I went with Townsend; in the first place to Mr. Atkins'; this too is an house, where I always visit with pleasure: as I am always sure, to meet with good sense and sociability. From thence we went to Mr. J. Tracey's, where we found three Ladies, all drest in the deepest mourning, and Captn. Farris, who lately lost his wife. Mrs. Tracey, is much such a Lady as Mrs. Swett, though there are a few distinguishing characteristics. Her husband is a singularity. But he is a justice of the peace, and deputy adjutant general of the militia; and with equal importance and dignity he wields the scales of justice, and the sword of Bellona. He frequently tells of his judicial performances, and takes pleasure in boasting that to do his duty he must see every man in the County once a year. But he is friendly and hospitable, and indeed except when mounted on one of his two hobby-horses, a very good companion.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-15


After passing the day as usual at the office, Townsend, came spent the evening and supp'd with me. The weather for these { 345 } three or four days past has been excessive cold; but has moderated greatly this evening.
After supper I amused myself an hour or two with writing. And I have been reading two or three of Shakespear's historical plays. I believe I should improve my reading to greater advantage, if I confined myself to one book at a time; but I never can. If a book does not interest me exceedingly it is a task to me to go through it: and I fear for this reason, I shall never get through Gibbon. Indolence, indolence, I fear will be my ruin.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-16


It snow'd all the forenoon; but the weather continued moderating and in the afternoon, a steady rain took place of the snow: and when I came this evening from the office, the ground was covered all the way with one continual glare of ice. It was dangerous walking, and I came as much as half the way, without lifting my feet.
I spent the evening at home; writing to make good the time which I have lately lost; but I accomplished my purpose only in part.
It may be observed that I say of late, little, but of what I do in the evening; and the reason is, that the only varieties of any kind, that take place, are in that part of the day. At about nine in the morning, I regularly go to the Office, and when, I do not lose, my time in chat, with Amory or Townsend, I take up my lord Coke, and blunder along a few pages with him. At two I return to dinner. At three again attend at the office, and again consult my old author. There I remain till dark, and as Mr. Parsons for special reasons, to him best known, objects to our having a fire in the office, in the evening, while he is absent, as soon as day-light begins to fail, we put up our books, and then employ the remainder of the day, as best suits our convenience, and the feelings of the moment. I go but little into company, and yet I am not industrious. I am recluse, without being studious; and I find myself equally deprived of the pleasures of society, and of the sweet communion with the mighty dead. I am no stranger to the midnight lamp; yet I observe not that I make, a rapid progress in any laudable pursuit. I begin seriously to doubt of the goodness of my understanding, and am not without my fears, that as I increase { 346 } in years, the dulness of my apprehension likewise increases. But we are all mortal.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-17


Putnam called at our office this forenoon, and return'd Sullivan's Lectures, which he borrow'd about a fortnight ago. I pass'd the evening till 9, with Little and Putnam at Thompson's. We convers'd upon the subject of originality. Thompson opposed my sentiments upon that head, though, I believe he does not differ very widely from me.
I told him I was fond of novelty in characters, and was even pleased with excentricity if it was not affected. I cannot bear your people, who have no characters at all. And yet I could name many young gentlemen, who being merely blest by nature with a good memory, and by art with diligence and application; bustle through the world, and even find people, who will call them men, of genius. These fellows will always secure the favour of their superiors by an hypocritical kind of modesty. They will treat their equals equivocally, and suit their conduct to circumstances: but from those whom they consider as their inferiors, they will claim the same veneration which they themselves pay to men from whom they have any thing to expect. I have sometimes been fatigued to death, with a coxcomb of this kind, in hearing him deal out for an half an hour together, a parcel of common place thoughts, with as much pomposity, as if he was all the time delivering aphorisms. And this he will do in the company of three or four women, who will all the time wonder at the immensity of his abilities. But of such an one, I can neither disguise nor conceal my contempt. His genius is imitation, and his skill is cunning. I had much rather see a person, who can invent, who can create, even though the production, should be more imperfect.1
1. In JQA's line-a-day entry, he adds, “Putnam went off” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-18


This afternoon I wrote a couple of letters to send by Mr. Atkins, who goes to Boston to'morrow. One for N. Freeman, and the other from [for] Wm. Cranch,1 and as I could not finish before dark, I ventured to stay in the office till seven o'clock. I then { 347 } went with Townsend, to Mr. Atkins's, to give him the letters: Miss Dashwood was there: a young Lady from Boston. She speaks thick, and quick, which is at present all I have to say of her; except that by candle-light, she looks handsome. I came home, and then went with the Doctor to Mrs. Emery's. There we found Mrs. Jackson, and Miss Fletcher. Mrs. Jackson, looks better than I ever saw her, and was in high spirits. She talk'd almost all the time, and would have talk'd well, had she not appeared rather too fond, in repeating some gentleman's speeches, to render every word, even those which are most superfluous; words which if used before women, even by a man, at least argue ill-breeding; but which the lips of every woman, ought to be ignorant of pronouncing: Miss Fletcher sat two hours, and scarcely opened her mouth. The poor girl is in love, and when her friend is absent,2 she can utter nothing but sighs. This evening it is true, she had no chance to speak, but she was not only silent but absent. She did not appear to enjoy the conversation, and all Mrs. Jackson's wit, could scarcely soften her features to a smile.
After they were gone, we sat there about half an hour in chat with Miss Emery: she is Thompson's favorite, and in this as in many other instances, he shows the goodness of his taste.
1. Neither letter found.
2. Presumably JQA's fellow law student William Amory, whom Lucy Fletcher later married.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-19


At home all the evening. Master Moody, called to see me; “Don't you think said he, that I am very condescending, thus to come and visit you.” It might be very true, considering the dignity which his years have given him: but the address was very much that of a schoolmaster, whose habits of commanding give him a prescriptive title to importance. He sat with me about an hour, and then departed.
I have been more attentive to studies this week, than I was the last. I have made considerable progress in my folio, and have got some insight, into one or two particulars, which had hitherto been involv'd in intricacy and obscurity. I have spent three evenings this week in my own room, and have in some measure retrieved my particular arrearages: The weather has been very fa• { 348 } vorable, so that I have not been forced to drop my pen from the stiffness of my fingers. The winter is already far advanced, and is now rapidly passing away. I can afford, if the severity of the weather should require it, to fall back once or twice more, and the extremity cannot I think last so long as to make me lose the thread of my adventures.
It seems as if we were fated to have no lasting snow this winter. It snow'd again all this forenoon; but so soon, as a sufficient quantity had fallen, to make good sleighing; it turn'd to rain; which I suppose, will sweep it all away again.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-20


I attended at Parson Carey's meeting. We had two Sermons, in continuation of a subject upon which he preached last Sunday; the excellency of Christianity. I pass'd the whole evening in writing very industriously; not a little to the increase of this volume.
It thaw'd all last night, but not so as to carry off all the snow. The streets, were like a river the chief of the day, but at about five the wind got round to the North-west, and blew with some violence. In two hours time the streets were dry, and the ice strong enough to bear a man. I think I never saw a more sudden, or a greater alteration in the weather. The wind subsided to a degree, before midnight; but left it very cold.
And now I bid adieu to my pen, and to my book.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-21


I began upon the third book of the first part of the Institutes and read a few pages as usual. In the evening I again look'd into Gibbon, and made some progress in his second volume. I have also been reading for these two or three days past, the letters from a Chinese philosopher;1 which are a number of essays upon various subjects, wrought into a kind of a novel: they are entertaining, and exhibit no bad picture of english manners.
The accounts from Boston this evening are disagreeable. The opposite parties in the convention grow warm, and irritable; Mr. Dana and Mr. Gerry it is said have come to an open and public rupture.
Mr. B. Lincoln, the general's son, and Dr. Adams, son to the president of the Senate, died last week.
{ 349 }
1. Oliver Goldsmith, The Citizen of the World; Or, Letters from a Chinese Philosopher..., 2 vols., London, 1762.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-22


This afternoon, Leonard White called on me; and sat about half an hour. He came from Haverhill, this morning, and returns to night. Between four and five I received an invitation from Putnam, and F. Bradbury, to join them for a party at sleighing. Though not particularly desirous to go I did not refuse; and at about 6 o'clock we started. We went to Sawyer's tavern, about three miles off, and there danced till between 12 and 1. The company was rather curiously sorted, but the party was agreeable. I Danced with the eldest Miss Frazier, with Miss Fletcher, and with Miss Coats.
Miss Fletcher appears to be about 20. She is not tall, but has, what is called a very genteel shape. Her complexion, is fair; and her eye is sometimes animated, with a very pleasing expression; but unfortunately she is in Love; and unless the object of her affections is present, she loses all her spirits, grows dull, and unsociable, and can be pleased with nothing. This evening she was obliged to dispense with his company; and the usual effect took place. I endeavour'd as much as possible, to bring on a conversation; but all to no purpose.

“She sat like Patience on a monument.

Smiling at grief.”1

And as I found she could talk only in monosyllables, I was glad to change my partner. Miss Coats is not in Love, and is quite sociable. Her manners are not exactly what I should wish, for a friend of mine; yet she is agreeable: I am not obliged with her, both to make, and support the conversation: and moreover what is very much in her favour; she is an only daughter and her father has money.
We return'd to town a little after twelve: but the weather was not very agreeable, as it snow'd violently.
After we had carried home the Ladies, Putnam came to lodge with me. We sat and chatted about an hour and then retired to bed.
1. Twelfth Night, Act II, scene iv, lines 117–118.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-23


I took a violent cold by our party last night, and as I felt rather unwell, and extremely indolent; I did nothing at the office.
Amory very unwell with a cholic, to the great affliction of Miss F. I suppose.
I pass'd the evening at Dr. Swett's. Mrs. and Miss Cazneau were there. We had some agreeable, and entertaining conversation, but singing soon came on to the Carpet, and then the usual nonsense succeeded.
I believe I will try one of these days and see if I cannot stop the career of this same singing at least for one evening. I even got quit this time with singing once; In order not to appear singular, I was in the common way urging Miss Cazneau to sing; she told me she would upon condition that I should sing first. I humm'd over a tune; but avoided claiming the fulfilment of Miss C's promise, and so she would not sing; which happened very much to my satisfaction. A Short time before nine I left them.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-24


Mr. Atkins returned from Boston, but brought me no letters which is somewhat surprizing to me. The quaternity pass'd the evening at Putnam's lodging's. Little left us however at about 8 o'clock. Townsend came in soon after, and between 9 and 10, I walk'd with him. I began yesterday upon another attempt, to ascend Parnassus; and this time I am determined to take it leisurely. I have frequently made a trial of my strength in this way; but my patience has always been overcome, after proceeding but little. I have I suppose begun an hundred times to write poetry. I have tried every measure and every kind of strophe but of the whole, I never finish'd but one of any length, and that was in fact but the work of a day.1 It is contained in a former volume of this Journal. I fear I shall end this Time, as I always do.
The convention are now proceeding in the examination of the proposed constitution by sections: but we cannot yet presume how the scale will turn.
1. Presumably this was “A ballad, founded on fact,” which was written into JQA's entry for 7 July 1787 (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-25


Leonard White came from Haverhill again yesterday and called to see me this morning. He informed me that both my brothers were at Haverhill. In the evening I went with him to Dr. Swett's, and pass'd an hour with Little.
I communicated to Little my design of drawing a number of female characters, but I doubt whether it will ever be any thing more than a design.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-26


At home as usual all the evening. Read a little in Gibbon; wrote in the same slavish way as I have done now for more than three years.
But I feel dull, and low spirited. I have neither, that insatiable ambition, nor that ardor for pursuing the means to gratify it, which not long ago, was an argument which my vanity offered my mind, to prove, that if life should be given me, it would not be, to live unknowing and unknown. I feel no extraordinary inclination for study of any kind. Putnam, reads law as fast, or faster than I do, and if there is to be no alteration in the situation of my mind; he will make greater improvements in his three years, than I shall in mine. Before the cold weather came on, I expected to derive great advantage, from the long winter evenings which were approaching. In my imagination, I had written volumes, and read books without number. Yet so totally different has been the event, that I have written scarcely any thing except what this book contains, and, though I began Gibbon three months ago, I have not got half through the second volume. In my lord Coke, I trudge along, at the rate of about 80 pages a week, and do not understand, a quarter part of that. Yet when I call myself to an account and enquire how I mis-spend my time I do not find a spirit of dissipation in my conduct. I have I believe upon an average, spent one half of my evenings this winter at home; and when I do, I almost always hear the morning Clock. I somewhat suspect, that irregularity is one great cause of my poor success, and as I am peculiarly fond of trying experiments; I will attempt soon to be periodical in my visits at home, and abroad: if this will not do, I can only submit to my fate.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-27


Heard Parson Carey, the whole day. In the forenoon he was intolerably lengthy, as the weather was very cold. I intended to have visited somewhere this evening, but got engaged in writing to Packard,1 which employ'd me till ten o'clock.
1. Letter not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-28


Mrs. Hooper's family are in great distress. Ben, was brought home dead, last night between twelve and one o'clock, and to make the misfortune as great as possible, there is every reason to suppose, that he was the wilful author of his death. He had been from Town, more than a week, and on Saturday night, he took a quantity of liquid laudanum, at Robertson's tavern in Salem; he died in violent convulsions in the course of the same night. The verdict of the Coroner's jury, it is said, was wilful self murder, but the information is indirect, and therefore not entirely to be depended upon. To his mother the shock must be dreadful. Indeed she seems to have been marked out for misfortune. Her father was formerly one of the wealthiest merchants in this Town; and her education was suitable to his fortune. She married a Mr. Hooper,1 whose circumstances were no less advantageous, and entered, but little more than twenty years ago, upon the stage of the world, with the most pleasing prospects. But her husband, was a man of pleasure, and dissipation, and moreover, opposed to the late revolutions; wherefore he left the Country at the beginning of the late war; and went to England, where he still remains: since that time she has been reduced to the necessity of supporting herself and her three children, by taking boarders. For although several of her husband's nearest connections, are still persons of the greatest affluence, that are in the Town, yet she has never received much assistance from them

Donec eris felix, multos numerabis amicos:

Tempora si fuerint nubila, solus eris.2

She endeavoured to educate her children as well as possible: but a father's care was wanting, and indulgence is the defect even of the most accomplished women. Ben, for several years had followed the sea, and in the fall, was disappointed of sailing with { 353 } Callahan for London. He had been very dissipated and debauched: he found himself destitute of employment; his reputation lost, his means of continuing in the course of life, which he was pursuing, gone, and his resolution insufficient to reform his conduct, he determined to put an end to all the disagreeable feelings, of his mind, and to “die in the bed of honour” as he expressed it. He was scarce nineteen years old.
Such was the deplorable fate of a youth, whose disposition, was such that he would have injured no one but himself, and who might have been an ornament to society, had he been educated under the prudent severity of a judicious father.
They intend to bury him to-morrow, but it is doubtful whether the unfeeling passions of the multitude, will suffer them to make a public funeral.
My brothers Charles and Tom, came into Town this forenoon. After dinner, I took a ride in a sleigh up to Sawyer's, with three of the Bradbury's and Charles: drank tea at Mr. Tufts's. I pass'd the evening and supped at Mr. Jackson's. Dr. Kilham was there, and as usual conversed upon political subjects. Charles spent the evening at Mr. Frazier's but came and lodged with me.
1. Joseph Hooper ended his financial problems by contracting a second—and bigamous—marriage in England. Mary Hooper, whom JQA regularly visited while living in Newburyport, sued for divorce in 1790 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:404–406).
2. “So long as you are secure you will count many friends; if your life becomes clouded you will be alone,” Ovid, Tristia, Bk. I, chap. 9, lines 5–6 (Tristia and Ex Ponto, transl. Arthur Leslie Wheeler, Cambridge, 1959, p. 44, 45).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-29


It snow'd part of the forenoon; then turn'd to rain, and after making the streets very disagreeable, cleared up in the afternoon. I dined with my brothers at Mr. Bradbury's; we had some conversation upon the subject of Ben Hooper's funeral. I could not agree in sentiment with Mr. Bradbury. I told him that although I abhorr'd the action itself, as much as any one, yet after a man was dead to refuse to attend his funeral, would only be an insult upon the feelings of his friends without being any kind of punishment to him. And indeed I cannot but think that Laws against suicide, are impolitic and cruel for how can it be expected, that human Laws which cannot take hold of the offender personally, should restrain from the commission of this crime, { 354 } the man, who could disregard, the natural and divine Laws, which upon this subject are so deeply imprinted upon the heart? When we consider too how easily such a Law may be evaded, how many ways a man might put a period to his own existence, without exposing himself to the severity of any law that the human fansy could invent, we can only suppose, that these punishments must fall merely upon a thoughtless youth, or upon one ignorant of the existence of such regulations. Mr. Bradbury however thinks differently and is perhaps in the right.
I pass'd about an hour in the evening with Putnam; he then went with G. Bradbury and my brothers, into a company of young Ladies, and I cross'd the street and sat till nine o'clock, with my friend Thompson. Tom lodg'd with me.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-30


I went up to the office, in the morning, and sat a couple of hours; but I felt restless and dissipated: I could not study, and therefore walk'd down in town and saunter'd about. Dined with G. Bradbury and Charles at Mr. Hooper's. He is very sanguine in his hopes for the adoption of the Constitution.
Pass'd the evening at Mr. Bradbury's. Dr. Smith and all his family were there. We had some music in the beginning of the evening, and afterwards play'd a number of very amusing sports, such as start; what is it like; cross questions, I love my love with an A, and a number more. My opinion of such diversions I have already given: when it was confined to a number of young persons; but that the most inexcusable levities of youth should appear in the garb of old-age is something that calls for more than disapprobation: nor will a grey hair'd trifler excite our pity merely; but must raise our indignation and contempt. Mr. Bradbury however is a very respectable man, and as this conduct has here the sanction of custom, it is not him but the manners of the times that I blame.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0001-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-01-31


The weather somewhat cold. My brothers dined with me and between 3 and 4 o'clock, we all set off for Haverhill. We got there just after five, a little fatigued. The riding was not bad but in some places the cold had not been strong enough to harden the snow; and the road was sloppy.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-01

Friday February 1st. 1788.

Pass'd a great part of the fore noon at Mr. Thaxter's. He is now quite in the family way: he dined with us at Mr. Shaw's; as did Leonard White and Sam Walker. In the afternoon we rode in a couple of sleighs about 6 miles down upon the river, and return'd just after dark. The party was agreeable; but Walker was an object of great pity. He has ruined his reputation irrevocably; the fairest Life henceforward, could only heal the wound; but the treacherous scar, must forever proclaim in indelible characters, that he once fell. Nor can his dearest friends help acknowledging to themselves, that this is viewing the prospect in its fairest light. To consider the appearances such as they must present themselves to the imagination of one disposed to see objects in their most unfavorable colours, must be shocking to the feelings of every one who was once his friend. He appears to be in a perpetual state of humiliation: he can enter into no satisfaction express'd by the company in which he appears. He can enjoy no amusement, and must feel a conscious inferiority to every one with whom he associates. Yet if he can be recovered at all it must be by softening measures. And those persons who wonder why people keep company with him, and wish rather to insult him, in his distress, are in my opinion to be esteemed but little better than himself. The disposition in human nature, to sink a man that has fallen, still lower than he is, would afford one of the richest themes for a misanthropist.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-02


I dined with Walker at Mr. Thaxter's. My brother's both dined at Mr. White's. In the afternoon, we rode again in sleighs upon the river as far as we went yesterday. We had a number of songs, somewhat in the Collegiate stile; but in order to be exemplary return'd home quite early in the evening. Mr. Thaxter lives very agreeably, and has retracted his theory with respect to matrimony: and indeed I believe our sex are not less prone than the other to profess a System, which in fact, we wholly disbelieve.
Mrs. Shaw shew me a letter which she has been writing to Walker; and I am in hopes it may have a good effect upon him. If he has any sensibility, or any principles remaining he must be affected by it.
I had with Mr. Shaw some conversation upon the subject of { 356 } the disorders which happened at College, in the course of the last quarter: his fears for my brothers are greater than mine: I am perswaded that Charles did not deserve the suspicions which were raised against him: and I have great hopes that his future conduct, will convince the governors of the University, that he was innocent.1
1. On 29 Nov., after Thanksgiving dinner, a number of students engaged in a disturbance in the college dining hall in which they broke windows and furniture. All students who could not prove that they had left the hall were charged for the damages. Several students, including CA, who served as waiters in the dining hall were especially singled out for not giving evidence against their fellow students concerning the disorder and were dismissed from their jobs (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:278–279).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-03


I attended meeting twice this day. Mr. Shaw as usual had company in the evening. I conversed with Madam. Charles and Tom went out in the evening.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-04


This morning between seven and eight o'clock my brothers set out to return to Braintree and from thence to Cambridge, as the vacation closes next Wednesday. In the forenoon I went down to see Leonard White, who was not at home. I met him however in the street with Mr. McHard, to whose house we went and sat an hour. I dined at Mr. Shaw's, and at about 4 was on my horse. I got home by dark: though the roads were much worse, than when we went to Haverhill. I found my old Lady, had some company, but they soon went away. I pass'd all the evening at home, quite in low spirits as indeed I have been for a week or ten days past. Not even dissipation has been able to support me. My nerves have got into a disagreeable trim, and I fear I shall be obliged to pay still less attention to books than I have of late. And if that be the case I am sure I must be very ignorant, when I leave the title of a student. It seems very unfortunate that there should be no medium that a man must be a fool or an invalid.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-05


The weather this day has been extreme cold: I have not experienced the severity of the Season, so much since the winter I pass'd in Sweeden. I pass'd the evening with Townsend and { 357 } Amory at Dr. Smith's. The old man is very fond of telling long stories, and indeed it is quite necessary to attend to him. There are however two young ladies in the house, to whom we attend with much more pleasure. Miss Smith may be 20 years old; She is not handsome; but has a great degree of animation in her eye, and as the want of it appears conspicuous in every other feature the mixture of opposites has a singular effect upon her countenance. Her person is not elegant, nor is her taste in dress such as suits my mind: she has a satyrical turn, and is fond of being esteemed witty. So much I think I can judge from the short acquaintance I have with her. Perhaps at some future period I may be able to say more. Miss Putnam I will mention the next time I fall in company with her.
We play'd at whist about a couple of hours; after which we sung; or attempted to sing; for of all the company Amory, was the only one that could sing so as to give any kind of entertainment.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-06


The weather has moderated very considerably. In the evening, I walked with Thompson and Putnam, to Little's where we past the evening till 9 o'clock: Quite agreeably without ceremony or restraint.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-07


This day at about noon, the news arrived in this Town, that the federal Constitution, was yesterday, adopted and ratified by a majority of nineteen members in our State convention.1
In this town the Satisfaction is almost universal: for my own part, I have not been pleased with this System, and my acquaintance, have long-since branded me with the name of an antifederalist. But I am now converted, though not convinced. My feelings upon the occasion have not been passionate nor violent, and as upon the decision of this question I find myself on the weaker side, I think it my duty to submit without murmuring against what is not to be helped. In our Government, opposition to the acts of a majority of the people is rebellion to all intents and purposes; and I should view a man who would now endeavour to excite commotions against this plan, as no better than an insurgent who took arms last winter against the Courts of Justice.
{ 358 }
This afternoon I went in company with a number of young Ladies and gentlemen of this town, upon a sleighing party. We rode about 8 miles into Newbury, and by dark return'd to Sawyer's tavern. After drinking tea, we went to dancing, and excepting supper, continued so till about mid-night. I danced with Miss Coats and Miss Smith; both of whom were very agreeable partners. At twelve we broke up, and return'd home. Thompson came and lodg'd with me. Mr. S. Cutler, came and sat about half an hour with me: he was exceedingly mortified at having overset his sleigh: some of the ladies were affronted, and some affrighted, so that in returning he had somewhat of an uncomfortable time, sweating between two fires. In the company was an Irish gentleman by the name of Hutchinson, a man of genuine wit and humour: and a person of much reading and information. He has a vessel here loading, and expects to sail for Ireland in a week or ten days.
1. The ratification of the Constitution in Massachusetts was a crucial contest between federalist and antifederalist forces; “Had the Constitution lost in Massachusetts,” according to one historian, “it would never have been ratified.” With a few important exceptions, the battle was between the commercial interests along the coast and in towns bordering the Connecticut River that supported the Constitution, and the backcountry, Shaysite sympathizers who wished to defeat ratification. At the beginning of the convention, the antifederalists clearly held a majority of delegates, but eventually, enough were persuaded to vote for ratification or abstain from voting. In the contest federalists gained support by making effective use of their debating skills (their speeches were printed in newspapers throughout the state), using town meetings of ratification sympathizers to help persuade less committed antifederalist delegates, and allowing moderate antifederalists the opportunity to submit to the convention amendments in the form of nonbinding recommendations (Jackson Turner Main, The Antifederalists: Critics of the Constitution 1781–1788, Chapel Hill, 1961, p. 200–209).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-08


This afternoon the delegates from Newbury, and from this town, returned home from Convention. A number of very respectable citizens, and a number, who were not very respectable, went out on horse-back to meet the members and escort them into Town; as they came along, the bells at the different churches were set to ringing, and this noisy expression of joy, was continued with some intermissions till 8 o'clock in the evening. The mob huzza'd and one would have thought that every man from the adoption of the Constitution had acquired, a sure expectancy of an independent fortune.
I pass'd the evening at home in reading and writing.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-09


Mr. Parsons gave me this morning a packet of Letters, which I have been expecting these five weeks. There was however but one short Letter from Europe.1
In the afternoon Amory went for Salem. I took a ride with Townsend, S. Cutler, J. Greenleaf, Prout, Thompson, and three or four Ladies in a sleigh: we rode out as far as Mr. Dalton's farm: and after taking something of a circuitous rout, return'd and took tea at Sawyer's. After passing an hour we all return'd to Town. I spent the evening at Mrs. Hooper's. It was the first time I had been there since her misfortune. She bears it well, though frequent sighs rise deep from her breast. Mr. L. Jenkins was there; a good, honest, simple soul, without the least kind of harm in him. Miss Lucy Knight was there too. She has a very amiable countenance, a fine form and a benevolent disposition. Townsend says she has no sensibility, and I think her countenance wants some of that expression, which communicates the charm of sympathy to our souls. She may be possessed of many virtues, and if so will attract my esteem, and respect; but she is incapable of loving, and therefore could never be an object of love to me. A young fellow by the name of Rogers, for a year and a half paid the closest attention to her; and when it was daily expected that they would be published, he suddenly left her, and neglected her entirely; she wrote him a letter containing a dismission, and appears not to have had a disagreeable sensation upon the subject ever since. A disposition like this certainly smooths the path of life; but at the same time it certainly serves to make it narrow and contracted.
1. These letters probably included William Cranch to JQA, 22–27 Jan.; John Murray Forbes to JQA, 19 Jan.; Nathaniel Freeman to JQA, 27 Jan.; and possibly AA to JQA, 12 Oct. 1787, the only extant letter from Europe at this time (all Adams Papers). Any others remain unidentified.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-10


I went with Townsend in the forenoon to hear Parson Tucker; he gave us an excellent discourse from, Ecclesiastes VII. 17. Be not over much wicked. Neither be thou foolish. Why shouldest thou die before thy time? Without alluding to the late circumstance of Hooper's death, it appeared plainly that the sermon was dictated by that occasion; and it was very well adapted; he particularly exhorted his hearers to avoid scenes of debauchery, { 360 } of lewdness and intemperance, and with his usual liberality and ability, recommended the opposite virtues. I did not attend meeting in the afternoon; but wrote a little, and read a great deal as very frequently happens with me.
Townsend past the evening and supp'd with me. I have done keeping late hours. I find they are wholly incompatible with my health. I have of late, several times, after setting up at writing till one or two o'clock in the morning, been utterly incapable of getting any sleep the whole night. My nerves have got into an unhappy tone, and I am obliged to desist from continued application. My spirits for sometime have been low, and I have felt an incapacity of enjoyment, but that is now wearing off, and I am in hopes, that before long I shall again be able to resume at least as much diligence as I have been used to.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-11


We have had this day very little studying in the office. Mr. Parsons is so fond of telling of all the manoeuvres which they used in and out of convention, that he has given the same story to every body that came into the office through the course of the day. He mentions with great complaisance, the formidable opposition that was made, as it naturally enhances the merit of the victory. He speaks with pleasure of every little trifling intrigue, which served to baffle, the intentions of the antifederalists; though many of them to me exhibit a meanness which, I scarcely should expect a man would boast. Mr. Parsons makes of the science of politics the science of little, insignificant intrigue, and chicanery. These principles may possibly meet with success sometimes; but it is my opinion that fair, open and candid proceedings, add an influence, as well as a lustre to the most brilliant capacity.
I called just before dark to see Mr. Hutchinson, but he was not at his lodgings: I then went home, took my flute, and went to see Putnam: with whom I play'd a number of tunes: Frank Bradbury was there. Between 9 and 10 we both came away. I got home with some difficulty, as the walking in the streets is excessively slippery.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-12


In the beginning of the evening I called upon Mr. Hutchinson, and look'd over his music: he plays on the flute, and has a good { 361 } collection of musical books: I found Townsend and Amory there. Between 7 and 8 I went to Mr. Bradbury's where I found a number of the young gentlemen and Ladies dancing: I took a share in the diversion, which we continued till midnight, when I returned home. I danced with Miss Nancy Jenkins, a very pretty girl, about 17. Not entirely free from affectation.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-13


This afternoon I had something of a long conversation upon the subject of the ball, which is intended to be on Thursday. He had determined not to go; but upon consideration of several circumstances, which I mentioned to him, he came to an alteration in his sentiments: he was something piqued, at not having an invitation to join our party last week: but when I informed him of the reason, for which he was neglected, he was satisfied with its validity. He1 and Thompson pass'd the evening with me; Little ought to have been of the party; but Miss Cazneau, had engaged him to go with her to Captain Fletcher's.
1. “Thompson and Putnam with me” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-14


I attended at the office only in the forenoon; the after part of the day being employ'd in rigging for the ball.1 I had sent a billet to Miss H. Greenleaf requesting the honor of waiting upon her. She was not engaged, and I was taken at my word; which will teach me to be sincere. It was late before I could get a carriage, and when I went for my Lady, I found, all the rest of the family were gone: which was against me again.
The ball rooms were too small. Not one quarter of the Ladies could dance at a Time. I danced enough myself, and made out to affront three or four Ladies, which is much in my favour. Townsend took cold in making the preparations for this ball, and was so unwell, that at about 11 o'clock, he went home and consigned his Lady, Miss L. Knight, to me. She being very agreeable, was upon the whole I believe, more the object of my attentions than another Lady: this cannot now be helped and whatever is, is right.2
Between 3 and 4 in the morning, the remainder of the com• { 362 } pany retired; Putnam lodged with me. The party was perfectly agreeable.
1. The Federal Ball (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).
2. “And, spite of Pride, in erring Reason's spite,/One truth is clear, Whatever is, is right” (“An Essay on Man,” Epistle 1, lines 293–294).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-15


We indulged ourselves this morning till almost twelve o'clock before we rose.
I called at the office; and pass'd about half an hour there. I felt rather dissipated, and somewhat indisposed for study. In the afternoon when I called at the office, I found Mr. Wendell there. A singular eccentric character with whom I was acquainted, while I was in College, and whom I have probably mentioned before now. He still persists in his singularities, and in walking from Boston the day before yesterday froze, one of his feet.
Townsend is quite unwell; has an uncomfortable cough, and sore throat, but he went with me to visit several of the Ladies, who were of the company last evening. We first called at Captain Coombs's, where we found only Miss Nancy Jenkins. She holds her head too stiff for elegance, and has read too many novels; which render her manners rather fantastical and affected. We stopped a few moments to see Miss Coats; who was well, and we then went to Judge Greenleaf's, where we drank tea. Here were young Ladies, I had almost said innumerable: a choice, of every complextion, and probably of every disposition, among them all Miss Derby has the most promising appearance, but she, in company is reserved. The Judge talk'd about religion and politics, and Mrs. Greenleaf pass'd encomiums upon the british Constitution; but the young Ladies were all silent. We took our departure quite early, and I pass'd the remainder of the evening at Mrs. Hooper's, where I found Miss Knight and Mr. Cutler.
Learnt to play quadrille.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-16


The most violent snow storm, that has appeared in the course of the winter, it began in the night, and continued, all this day. In the evening it cleared up.
Townsend was not out. Amory and I dined with Mr. Parsons. Captain Hodge likewise was of the company.
{ 363 }
I wrote a Letter in the afternoon; or rather part of a Letter to W. Cranch.1 From the office, we went, and pass'd an hour with Mrs. Jackson; where we found Mr. Wendell, feasting upon his apples and nuts. He slept last night in Mr. J. Tracey's green house; which is entirely unprotected from the inclemency of the Season; and the better to enjoy the benefits of the open air, he stripp'd himself entirely naked. He converses in the same style, that he did a year ago; and appears to me, too consistent for a distracted person, as many suppose him to be.
We spent the remainder of the evening at Dr. Smiths. I made an apology to Miss Smith, for a blunder, which took place at the ball: she appeared plainly to be offended, but was satisfied after I had made my explanation: I know not whether to like or to dislike this girl: but perhaps Time will supply me with the means of information.
At supper Amory was excessively diverted with the appearance of a Bologna Sausage, which the Doctor introduced, and which Mr. Cutler observed would be ripe in June. After Supper I got seated next to Miss Putnam, and entered into Conversation with her. I found her inclined to flattery, a defect, not uncommon, among our young Ladies; and I answered her in her own way, as I always do. When a Lady pays me a compliment, I always consider myself indebted to her untill I return one, at least of equal value; and I am generally so good a creditor, that I pay with large interest. I have even once or twice in my life so far surpassed a Lady in that way, as to silence her, and make her ashamed of attacking me with those weapons: but I never flatter a Lady that I esteem.
1. Dated 16 Feb. (owned by Dr. Eugene F. DuBois of New York in 1957).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-17


Parson Carey is very sick; and consequently we had no meeting: so I staid at home; wrote a long Letter to my friend Fiske,1 and a page or two some ways back in this book. In the evening I went to Mrs. Hooper's to see Townsend, whom I found very hoarse, and with a bad cough. I pass'd the evening there, as likewise did Mr. S. Cutler. Within these two years Townsend has lost two brothers and a Sister by consumptions, and it is much to be feared that he himself will be subject to the same misfortune: I am in hopes however, that by their fate, he will be warn'd to { 364 } take such care of himself, as will preserve his life and lengthen his days; for I feel a great degree of friendship for him.
1. Letter not found.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-18


After passing the day at the Office, I went and pass'd the evening at Mrs. Hooper's. Townsend's cough hangs upon him, but he is getting better. We play'd quadrille till supper time. Miss Knight is still there; she is very handsome, and very amiable; yet not very interesting.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-19


Called upon Putnam after leaving the office, and passed the evening at his lodgings: I have a greater regard for this young fellow than I had when at College. He is friendly and good-natured, and pursues his studies with diligence and attention. Perhaps indeed that now the warmth of emulation has subsided, and we can in no instance be rivals neither he nor I view each other in the same light, that we did nine months ago.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-20


Mr. Parsons went yesterday to Boston, to attend the supreme Judicial Court.
This evening I past with Thompson, at Mrs. Emery's. Miss Smith and Miss Putnam were there. We play'd cards about an hour; after which Miss Emery play'd us a number of tunes very agreeably upon the harpsichord. I had another match with Miss Putnam at complimenting, and succeeded tolerably well.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-21


Mrs. Emery and her daughter were going to Exeter this morning in a single sleigh. Dr. Kilham and I after greatly debating the question had likewise determined to go: so we agreed to divide; the Doctor went with Mrs. Emery, and I with the young lady. It was just eleven o'clock when we started; and the roads were so difficult, that we did not get to Exeter till three. Nor the other sleigh till five. After sitting down my companion I went and dined, and then immediately proceeded to the meeting-house { 365 } where the State Convention for the State of New-Hampshire were debating upon the subject of the federal Constitution. I found Mr. Pickering a member from Portsmouth zealously, though I cannot add very forcibly arguing for the good cause. Several other members spoke; but none of them, in my opinion much to the purpose: They have gone through the System by paragraphs: and are now considering it generally.
I found Mr. Shaw, Mr. Thaxter and a number more of our Haverhill friends there, and pass'd the evening with them at Mr. Peabody's; a friend of the Doctor's; where we lodg'd; for there was not a bed to be had at any of the public houses. We were disappointed of an assembly this evening as we expected; and the debates I really think were not worth the ride, in a cold day; but the satisfaction of riding with an amiable girl; and the novelty of the town which I never saw before, will in some measure compensate for the failure of my expectations.1
1. In JQA's line-a-day Diary at the bottom of the page after the entry for 22 Feb. is a second entry dated 21 Feb.: “Mr. Atkins. Sci: fa: bail” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-22


I attended to hear the debates in convention again, this forenoon. Mr. Langdon1 began by making a motion that the Convention should adjourn to some future day: But said he would waive his motion if any gentleman had further observations to make upon the System. Mr. Atherton,2 the leader of the opposition rose, and in a speech of more than an hour recapitulated every objection that he could invent against the constitution. He observed that confederation was derived from the Latin word foedus; and that consolidation was a metaphorical expression borrowed from the operations of chemistry; these were two of his most ingenious ideas, and upon the whole I think he may candidly be pronounced a miserable speaker, and a worse reasoner.
A reverend Parson Thirston3 spoke as long, and as little to the purpose on the other side. He talk'd of France's demanding her money with the dagger in her hand; and of Britain's sending 50 sail of the line and 60,000 men to take New Hampshire But did not even attempt to support the plan, upon the fair and honourable basis of rational argumentation. When these two gentlemen had exhausted the resources of their lungs, the motion for an ad• { 366 } journment was again brought upon the carpet. This was the offspring of the fears of the federal party; and was faintly opposed by the other faction, who appeared to be equally fearful of the event; though more confident in their numbers. The vote for adjournment however was carried by a trifling majority. The time and place at which they should meet again, was a subject of some conversation; but finally the third Wednesday in June, and Concord were agreed upon.
We dined at Mr. Peabody's. Dr. Kilham was troubled with the impertinence of one Hopkinson, a distracted fellow, who came, and pretended to call him to an account for coming and intermeddling with concerns, in which he was not interested. A little after three we got into the sleigh, and between 6 and 7. cross'd the river from Salisbury.
I immediately went to Thompson's: I found Little there, and Putnam came in soon after: we pass'd the evening in sociable chat till 9 when I returned home.
1. John Langdon, delegate to the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia (DAB).
2. Joshua Atherton, a lawyer from Amherst, N.H. (Joseph B. Walker, A History of the New Hampshire Convention for the... Federal Constitution..., Boston, 1888, p. 15).
3. Rev. Benjamin Thurston, minister at North Hampton, N.H. (same, p. 9).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-23


When I went to the office this morning I found young Pickman of Salem there. I was acquainted with him somewhat in Europe, and I believe he is mentioned in the first volume of this repository.1 (repository!) He has been studying more than two years in Mr. Pynchon's office; and proposes now to pass five or six months in Mr. Parsons's. And I shall be very happy in this additional companion, as Townsend and Amory are both soon to leave the Town.
I pass'd the evening at home, and my friend Little spent it with me.
Wrote nothing, though it was very necessary.
1. See entry and note for 27 Feb. 1785 (above).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-24


Mr. Carey is still very sick, and we had no divine service this day at his meeting. I again pass'd the whole day at home; I was { 367 } tired in the evening, and took a walk as far as Deacon Thompson's; and desired Tom, to come, and pass an hour with me which he did.
I called at Putnam's, but he was not at home....1 I wrote diligently in the course of the day, and acquired some little credit.
1. JQA's ellipses.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-25


Pass'd the evening at Merrill's, with Mr. Hutchinson: and had some very agreeable musical entertainment. Mr. H. is a performer upon the flute, and has a good collection of books. He has been waiting a fortnight or three weeks for favorable winds to sail for Ireland. Captain Cazneau, and Captain Casey were there part of the evening.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-26


This forenoon while I was at the office I received a billet from Mr. Dalton, with an invitation to spend the evening at his house. Between six and seven I went, and was introduced into a room full of Ladies, with no other gentleman, but the master of the house. The situation was not perfectly agreeable, but I was relieved by a proposal of cards. I sat down to a game of whist with Mrs. Jones, a Lady from Boston, Mrs. Marquand, and Fanny Jenkins, who soon after resigned her seat to Miss Dalton, emphatically so called even by her parents which is rather unusual, but a custom which is claiming introduction. Major Greenleaf and Mr. Hooper came in before supper; which was at about ten o'clock, and which was formal, cerimonious, and consequently elegant. The company gradually retired after supper, and between eleven and twelve, Mr. Hooper gave me a place in his sleigh and I came home. The narrative is about as uninteresting as the scene. I found myself in the midst of a large company of Ladies, with none of whom I had an acquaintance sufficient to warrant an agreeable familiarity. I soon got seated at a card table, with Ladies whom I did not sufficiently admire. Mrs. Jones,1 is young, uncommonly handsome, and having received her education in Europe, is the arbiter of taste, and propriety in the complicated science of female fashions. To be insensible to all these advantages would have the appearance of stupidity or { 368 } of ingratitude; and Mrs. Jones takes every opportunity to show how free she is from such vices. Soon after we sat down she complained that her gloves pinched her arm excessively; and with some difficulty pulling one of them off, she exhibited, an arm, the beautiful contour and snowy whiteness of which, might fire the imagination of a sensual voluptuary, but which I unfortunately did not think of admiring till it was too late; on the forefinger of the hand; sparkled, a costly diamond, which demanded its share of observation, and perhaps in the mind of a polite spectator might revive a question often debated, upon the mutual pretensions of Nature and of art, to the superiority of beauty. Mrs. Marquand equally professes, to dictate the laws of fashion; but could not stand her ground against the irresistible power of the other Lady, who could silence her in a moment, by the resources which she drew from her English Education.
Miss Jenkins, she observed, looked very much like Mrs. Siddons; and if there is in fact not the most distant likeness, yet the remark might convince us that Mrs. Jones had seen that justly celebrated actress. The only particular in which she varies from the manners of the english Ladies, is in her ardent affection for her husband. He left her here yesterday being called by his business to Boston; but is expected here again to-morrow. Yet though this absence is so short, yet she could not hear his name mentioned without fetching a deep sigh: she anxiously enquired for an opportunity to send a Letter to him: and when somebody imprudently suggested that perhaps Mr. Jones would not return till Thursday; she held her handkerchief to her eyes, to conceal the involuntary tear, which was undoubtedly excited by the distressing idea.
A number of other circumstances similar to those related, concurred to form the opinion which I entertain of Mrs. Jones's character, and these anecdotes may exhibit it perhaps better than the most laboured description that I could write.
This Lady has taken so much of my time and of my volume; that I must really wait for other opportunities to speak of the other Ladies; who were Judge Greenleaf's daughters, Miss Prince, and Miss Derby; Mrs. Coffin, and Miss S. Jenkins, besides Mr. Dalton's own daughters, who tell up, well.
1. Possibly Abigail Grant Jones, wife of John Coffin Jones, a Boston merchant formerly of Newburyport (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:49–54).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-27


Mr. Hutchinson sailed yesterday for Ireland. The weather for several days past has been quite moderate; but this afternoon blew up very cold again. I pass'd the evening with Townsend and Pickman at Dr. Sawyer's. Play'd quadrill with Mrs. Sawyer and Mrs. Hay; the family is very agreeable.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-28


The severity of the weather has been increasing, and is this night but little inferior to the greatest extremities of the winter. Our social club, met this evening at Little's. The walk was rather long, and bleak; but our enjoyment was sufficient to compensate for that. Notwithstanding Mrs. Jones's opinion, I confess I do not dislike clubs. I think they may be sociable and friendly without being slavish.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-02-29


A number of us spent the evening at Dr. Swett's. I play'd on the flute, an hour or so.
I have heretofore mentioned Mrs. Swett. The Doctor perhaps may come under the denomination of a reformed rake: in his youth he was wild; but he has become quite a useful man: Such instances are rare!

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-01

Saturday March 1st. 1788.

The weather is very severe: The month comes in like a Lion, and according to the farmer's proverb it must go out like a Lamb. I passed my evening in contemplation, and in writing at home; and have very Little to say for this day.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-02


We had no meeting at Parson Carey's. I was employ'd in writing all the forenoon; but after dinner, went to hear Mr. Spring. The speculative sentiments of this gentleman, upon religion, are not such as I should admire. They may I think safely be called illiberal; though I am sensible such charges, are not in general very liberal. He has adopted all the fancies of the Hop• { 370 } kintonian sect1 as they are called. These people while they profess to found their system entirely upon disinterested benevolence, by what appears to me a strange inconsistency, suppose that it may be agreeable to the general plan of the supreme being, to condemn to eternal torments all the human race except such as have experienced the effect of saving grace; The point upon which Mr. Spring continually harps; is that holiness consists in a total exemption from all selfish ideas, and that all sin originates in selfishness. I suppose he has not preach'd a sermon these ten years without introducing those favorite sentiments: his repetitions are so frequent; that they become very tiresome, to one whom they cannot convince. But his delivery is very agreeable; there is an earnestness and a solemnity in his manner which I wish I could find in preachers whose doctrines are more comformable to my ideas of truth.
1. Named after Samuel Hopkins, minister at Newport, R.I., and a disciple of Jonathan Edwards; Hopkins' conservative religious doctrines were an important foundation of the New Divinity theological tradition in the latter part of the 18th century (Sydney E. Ahlstrom, A Religious History of the American People, New Haven, 1972, p. 407–409).

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

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


The weather continues extreme cold. The river is fast as low as this Town, and many persons have this day cross'd it upon the ice. Townsend set out to go with me this evening to Mrs. Emery's; but would not go in when he found there was company there. It was Judge Greenleaf s family. We play'd at cards and backgammon as usual; and between ten and eleven, I came home. Miss Prince, is not handsome, but sociable: she is generally called sensible and very agreeable; but I have imbibed an unaccountable prejudice unfavourable to her, from the appearance of her person and manners: perhaps I ought not to commit such a weakness to writing; but indeed it is a weakness from which I believe very few persons can boast of being free. Miss Derby is handsome: but her beauty is stern and forbidding: she is reserved and unsociable: her manners are not wholly exempt from the appearance of pride. But the effects of this passion, and of modest diffidence, so different from it, are similar in appearance, and when the causes of conduct, may be various the most { 371 } favourable construction is always the best. The Miss Greenleaf's ——.1
1. Thus in MS.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-04


Doctor Kilham, went to Boston this day to attend the general court. His opposition to the federal constitution, has made him so unpopular in this town, that I do not expect he will be chosen as representative at the next election, and he may I think with this Session, take his leave of the legislative body for the present. I passd the evening with Townsend and Thompson at Mrs. Atkins's. The justice was not at home: between 7 and 8 o'clock, we were alarm'd by the cry of fire; but it was extinguished, before we got to the house.
While the Doctor is absent, I shall read more than I can when he is here: The intervals between the hours which I pass at the office, I usually spend in conversation with him; when he is gone I devote them to reading. I have taken up the second volume of Gibbon, which I have for a long time laid aside; and I am determined to try again to get through this book. I have possessed it several years, and have been all the time just about to read it, but it has been like the hinge of Tristram Shandy's door. Never done, because it could be done at any time.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-05


I pass'd the evening with Thompson and Putnam at Mr. Bradbury's. Frank came from Boston this morning, and bro't an account of the interment of his Honor Thomas Cushing Esqr. who died last week. He has been lieutenant governor of this Commonwealth, ever since the establishment of the Constitution; and it is probable, there will be a vast deal of electioneering intrigue, for the diverse candidates for the place.
The paper also contains an extract from the concluding Letter of the third volume in defence of the american Constitutions, which speaks very favourably of the System proposed by the federal Convention... I did not expect it, and am glad to find I was mistaken, since, it appears probable, the plan will be adopted....1 We play'd cards an hour or two and then amused { 372 } ourselves with music. There were several young Ladies present, Miss Harriet's companions; a sett that are almost always together, and who have at least more personal beauty, than any equal number of other unmarried Ladies in this town.
Miss Wigglesworth,2 is about 17. Her stature is rather diminutive; but smallness is said to be one of the essential requisites of prettiness; Her features are regular, and her shape admirably proportioned. Her disposition is said to be amiable; but she talks very little. The greatest defect which I have observed in her is a frequent smile, which is certainly either unmeaning, or insulting. The only method I can pursue, when I catch her eye is to smile too; and by this means put her out of countenance. Thus much for the present; I will take some other opportunity to mention the other stars that form this constellation.
1. JQA's ellipses here and above. Written by JA to WSS on 26 Dec. 1787, the letter appeared in the Massachusetts Centinel printed on this date (JA, A Defence of the Constitutions of Government of the United States of America, 3 vols., London,1787–1788,3:502–506).
2. Probably Sarah Wigglesworth, the daughter of Col. Edward Wigglesworth of Newbury port (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:129–133).

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

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


We met in the evening at Putnam's chamber. I did not pass my time so agreeably as I usually do these evenings. Townsend and Amory were there, and instead of devoting our hours to free and unrestrained conversation, we lost them in playing on the violin, and flute. Between 9 and 10 we retired.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-07


The weather begins to abate of its severity; yet people cross'd the river on the ice all this day. Townsend and Pickman this afternoon went to Salem. I was at home all the evening and Thompson spent part of it with me. He intends to quit his school, in three or four weeks; and I hope I shall then enjoy more of his company.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-08


I this day got through, my folio of Lord Coke, which has been hanging heavy upon me, these ten weeks. It contains a vast deal of Law learning; but heaped up in such an incoherent mass that { 373 } I have derived very little benefit from it. Indeed I think it a very improper book to put into the hands of a student just entering upon the acquisition of the profession. I am perswaded I might have spent the Time which has been employ'd in reading this book, to much better advantage, and that a twelvemonth hence I could have read it in less time and with more profit: but if this be the case how much more laborious must the study have been, when this was the only elementary book of the profession. The addition of Wood's Institutes and more especially of Blackstone's commentaries, has been an inestimable advantage of the late students in the profession.
In the afternoon I read a few pages in Blackstone and the contrast was like descending from a rugged, dangerous and almost inaccessible mountain, into a beautiful plain, where the unbounded prospect on every side presents the appearance of fertility. I read with more advantage than usual, as I was wholly alone in the office, all day. I spent the evening in my own room, uninterrupted by any intrusion. I proceed in the second volume of Gibbon, about fifty pages a day.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-09


Parson Carey got out to meeting this forenoon; but he was still so weak, that the effort was too great: he was scarcely able to get through the morning exercises: and in the afternoon the church was again destitute. I went to hear Parson Spring rattle away upon disinterested benevolence, and pass'd the evening at home.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-10


Pass'd the evening and supped with Thompson at Dr. Sawyer's. Mr. Russell was there: he came from Portsmouth this morning and returns to Boston with Mrs. Hay, to'morrow. We play'd Quadrill. Mr. Farnham took an hand; and is skilled, in all the trifling conversation of a card-table. Every one, it is said possesses1 his peculiar excellence. Mr. Farnham's talent lies in the science of politeness. He understands to perfection all the nice and subtle distinctions between confidence and assurance, between ease of behaviour and familiarity, between elegance, and foppery &c. A science in which I am very ignorant, as in all others.
1. That is, is acquainted with (OED).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-11


Townsend and Pickman, returned, this afternoon from Salem. Townsend, has been on to Boston and to Medfield; he brought me two or three Letters.1 I passed the evening with Thompson at Captain Coombs's. Mr. Cutler came in, soon after us. There are several young Ladies there. The Miss Coombs's are neither of them handsome, and I have not sufficient acquaintance with them to form an accurate opinion. Fanny Jenkins is perhaps twenty one. A countenance more amiable than beautiful is her greatest personal ornament, she is not tall enough to have an elegant form, but when she smiles such a lovely disposition beams in her eyes that no one could wish her more handsome: she talks much, and tolerably well, but when a young Lady has so excellent a temper,

“Let her speak and whatever she say,

Methinks I should love her the more.”

Her sister Nancy, is about seventeen. She is tall and beautiful in countenance and in the form of a person, not less sociable, but less sensible than Fanny. She has read too many novels; her expressions are romantic, and her ideas are far otherwise. Her disposition is I believe good; and a few years may cool her down, to an agreeable sensible girl: now, it may suffice to say she is young: But after all, the best object for description is Mr. Cutler. He is somewhat singular, but it requires a much longer acquaintance, to form a just opinion of the character of a man, than of a woman: the distinguishing traits are deeper and much more numerous. For which reason and some others I will defer speaking of Mr. Cutler, to some future opportunity.
1. Among these may have been Cotton Tufts to JQA, 5 March (Adams Papers).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-12


I Dined with Townsend at Mrs. Hooper's. Amory went to Portsmouth on Monday, with several of his friends. They return'd this day to dinner at Davenport's. We called to see them; and sat with them drinking and singing till five o'clock, when they went for Ipswich. I pass'd the evening with Pickman, at Doctor Smith's. Townsend, went there with us, but found himself so unwell, that he went home very early. His cough has re• { 375 } turn'd, with several disagreeable symptoms. I fear exceedingly, that he is not long for this world.
We play'd whist an hour or two at Dr. Smith's and between 10 and 11. retired.1
1. JQA also mentions a “Perkins” in his line-a-day entry (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-13


Thompson, Pickman and Little, pass'd the eve at my lodgings: Townsend, was so unwell, that he could not come, and Putnam, went home some days since, and has not yet return'd. The office, for a week past, has been tolerably clear; and I have made considerable progress in Blackstone.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-14


Mr. Parsons return'd this afternoon from Boston, where the supreme judicial Court, and the general assembly are now sitting. I called with Pickman, to see Townsend, who is now confined to the house; and pass'd an hour or two with him: And for this day I have nothing more to say.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-15


I called this evening at Putnam's lodgings, and pass'd an hour or two with him. He went home last Sunday intending to be absent about a week; but he return'd yesterday, without compleating his visit. I told him some time ago, that I expected he would not be absent long from this town with any satisfaction to himself. He says he is happy as the day is long. He admires Newbury-Port exceedingly, and never enjoy'd himself more, than he has for the six months past. He says he is not in Love, and that is not the least reason, from which I conclude that he is. A young Lady similar in her manners, and perhaps in her disposition to him, has engaged his affections; and the schemes which he forms to be in company with her, and the manifest fondness which appears when he is with her, more than outweigh his declarations, which in cases less justifiable than the present, are not always consistent with truth.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-16


In the forenoon I attended at Mr. Carey's meeting. The man that appeared in the pulpit I concluded very soon, was a son of Dartmouth. All was common-place: his ideas were trifling, his language was inelegant and his manner, was an unsuccessful attempt to the florid. He apostrophised Innocence, and said she was charming. In short he appeared to me to have all the defects without one of the excellencies of a youthful irregular imagination. After meeting was over I heard his name was Oliver,1 and that he is settled at Beverley. I had quite enough of him in hearing him once, and therefore in the afternoon I went to hear Mr. Spring, who entertained me much better, though, I am not a great admirer of his doctrine.
1. Daniel Oliver, Dartmouth 1785, minister at the Second Church of Beverly (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit, 2:43).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-17


Mr. Parsons held a court this forenoon at ten; and at the same hour I attended at Mr. Atkins's, with several actions, brought before him. Mr. Parsons in the afternoon went from home to return to Boston. I pass'd the evening at Mrs. Hooper's. Play'd quadrill as usual.1
1. JQA adds, in his line-a-day entries, “Townsend unwell” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-18


I am sinking again into the same insipidity which I have so often lamented. The circumstances which daily occur, are now more than ever alike, for I not only spend the whole day in the same occupation at the office; but as Townsend is unwell, and confined to his lodgings I pass almost all my evenings with him: We have no news stirring of any kind, and as Dr. Kilham said to me, a short time before he went to Boston, “I am tired to death, of seeing one day only the dull duplicate of another.”

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-19


The weather was dull, gloomy, and part of the day rainy. Amory invited me to dine with him and Stacey and Azor Orne at Davenport's, but I did not feel inclined that way. I call'd at Mrs. { 377 } Hooper's in the evening and spent a couple of hours with Townsend. The lads who dined at Davenport's warm'd themselves so well with Madeira, that at about seven o'clock this evening, they all set out upon an expedition to Cape-Ann, to attend a ball there this night. Twenty seven miles in such weather and such roads after seven o'clock at night, to attend a ball, would look extravagant in a common person; but it is quite characteristic of Amory.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-20

20th. Thursday.

We met this evening at Thompson's. Pickman came; but rather late in the evening. Young Sawyer was there likewise: he spends the present quarter at home, by order of the college government.1 I have not a very high opinion of his abilities; still less of his improvements, and least of all of his moral character. One thing however may be said in his favour. He is handsome in his person. His father is a very respectable, worthy man, and the family to which he belongs is very agreeable.2
1. Sawyer had been rusticated since December for disorderly behavior at the college, but was restored in May (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:289–290, 302).
2. On the top of the following page in the Diary, JQA has written: “N B. this opinion of Sawyer did him great injustice. April 1790.”

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-21


I can read tolerably well when I am alone in the office, and make as much progress in one day, as I can sometimes in a week, when all the other gentlemen are here. I have read through the first volume, and have made some progress in the second of Blackstone...1 And I read it I think with more advantage, than I did the first time; but my progress is slow; too slow.2
1. JQA's ellipses.
2. In his line-a-day entry, JQA mentions “Mrs. Hooper's. Evening” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-22


Amory and Stacey, return'd from their expedition: They got to Cape-Ann at about twelve on Wednesday night, and were about two hours at the ball. On Thursday they proceeded to Marblehead, and attended at the assembly which was held there: Last Night they patrol'd the streets of Salem, serenading the houses, and came home this afternoon compleately fatigued. { 378 } Mr. Parsons arrived in town too this morning from Boston, and held a court, for taking cognizance of Mr. Atkins's actions.
Pickman, pass'd the evening with us at Mrs. Hooper's. Mr. Cutler was likewise there.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-23


Pickman had agreed to go with me, and hear Parson Tucker preach this forenoon; but some circumstance prevented him; so I went alone. The Dr. gave us a very good sermon upon the education of children. I went home with Mr. Tracey to dinner, and Pickman soon came in. We dined and pass'd the afternoon with Mr. Tracey. This gentleman, was in the course of the war, peculiarly fortunate and accumulated, an immense fortune; but he has since been equally unluckily, and is now, very much reduced. The generosity of his heart is equal to any estate whatever: and although he has not been so prudent, as might be wish'd, yet every one who is acquainted with him, must lament his misfortunes, and heartily wish he may retrieve his affairs. We rode in to town in the beginning of the evening as the weather was rainy. We stop'd at Mrs. Hooper's. We found Miss Cazneau there; and Thompson and Putnam came in soon after. The evening was dull. Miss Cazneau, would sing; and murdered two or three songs. A specimen of Townsend's wit, set us to laughing. Mr. Parsons, set out this morning, to go to Boston, but the weather being disagreeable, he return'd home after proceeding three or four miles. I have undertaken a task1 which possibly at some future day, may serve to fill part of this volume; but which at present takes up much of my time.
1. JQA is referring to his poem “A Vision.” See note for entry of 30 Jan. 1787 (above), and entry of and note for 28 March (below).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-24


I attended at Mr. Atkins's Court; and appeared to the actions. Mr. Marquand who had been summoned there, appeared, and somewhat diverted us by his impetuosity. I met young Thomas in the street who gave me some information from Cambridge.
This being the last day of service, we have been uncommonly busy in the office in copying the writs and making out records, according to the Justice's act,1 which is useless and even trouble• { 379 } some on every account. I this day finished reading Gibbon's History, which I have had a long time without perusing. It has given me much information upon a part of history with which I was but little acquainted. The style upon the whole I think is elegant, but his manifest partiality against the Christian religion; is equally injurious to his character as a philosopher, and as an historian. He affects to despise those men who from a zealous attachment to their religion, have adopted the effusions of enthusiasm, as readily as the pure and indisputable relations of history; while he is himself guilty of the other extreme, which in my mind is much less excusable. Knox however is I believe too severe when he says, that this writer by a meretricious and affected stile, far beneath the native dignity and simplicity of the ancients has caught the transient applause of the public, and indeed the occasion upon which he passes this judgment renders the censure very reprehensible:2 The reflection upon Julian's leaving Paris, was to me one of the most ingenious passages in the book: And Knox, by setting himself up as the Champion of english prejudices, cannot be quoted by a neutral person as an authority of great weight.
1. Perpetual Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, 1780–1800, 3 vols., Boston, 1801, 1:146–149.
2. Vicesimus Knox, Liberal Education; Or, A Practical Treatise on the Methods of AcquiringUseful and Polite Learning, 10th edn., 2 vols., London, 1789, 2:307–309.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-25


Copies of all the actions which are to be entered at the next Court of Common Pleas were this day sent to Salem, to be filed in the clerk's office; seven days before the sitting of the court, as the law directs: And as we have now got through the hurry of business, we have this day been very idle: Mr. Parsons has been talking all day with some one or other who came to the office: much of our time is lost in this manner; and if we complain, we are told we must learn to read without suffering ourselves to be interrupted by any noise whatever, a direction with which I believe I shall never be able to comply. And It would be much more agreeable to me, if he would receive his company in the other room, and spare us the trouble of an apprenticeship to an art which we cannot acquire.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-26


I took a long walk, this afternoon with Putnam, and as we came back we stop'd at Mrs. Hooper's. Townsend is still there the weather being so unsettled, that he has not ventured to go much from the house yet; He must however go in a few days to Ipswich as he is to be sworn in at that Court. We play'd quadrill. Miss Knight and Miss Phillips were there. With the latter of these Ladies I have never hitherto had any acquaintance. I went a mile with her, after ten to wait on her home, and on the way met Master Thompson, but as I returned I could not overtake him.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-27


I went with Pickman, Amory Stacey and Putnam to Salisbury, to see a vessel launch'd: She stuck as she went off. We dined there but the party was very far from being agreeable. A. Orne, is an habitual debauchee, who at the age of five or six and twenty has brought upon himself the infirmities of old age. He is one of those human beings whom to see is to despise. The description in the choice of Hercules1 beautifully expresses the character.
At about five in the afternoon, I return'd with Pickman and Putnam, to Newbury-Port, and from thence walk'd up to Little's; where we found Thompson and Sawyer: we pass'd the evening agreeably; and much more to our Satisfaction than we could have done with those other Lads whom we left at Salisbury.

“Vast Happiness enjoy thy gay Allies!

A Youth of Follies; an old age of Cares:

Young, yet enervate; old yet never wise;

Vice wastes their vigour, and their Mind impairs.”

1. That is, the choice presented to Hercules by female representations of Virtue and Vice, each of whom urged him to follow the path she pointed out. JA suggested the fable as a theme for the United States seal (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:ix–x, 96–98).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-28


The weather was pleasant. Townsend rode, this day. I pass'd the evening with him: and found Miss Knight at Mrs. Hooper's. After having dismiss'd two or three inconstant suitors, she is { 381 } now address'd by a Mr. Gregory from Boston, to whom she will probably soon be united.

With all the charms of beauty richly fraught,

Lucinda's form my fond attention caught.

A faultless person and a lovely mind,

I found with wonder, were in her combin'd

Deficient only in a single part,

She wanted nothing but a feeling heart.

Calm and unruffled as a Summer Sea,

From Passions gale's Lucinda's breast is free,

A faithless lover she may well defy

Recall her heart nor breathe a single sigh

And should a second prove inconstant too

She changes on till she can find one true.1

Such a character may be esteemed; it may likewise be beloved, for she has had more than one Lover; but their unsteadiness may possibly derive some excuse from this very disposition of her's: for my own part, I never could conceive such sentiments with respect to her, as would enable me to be inconstant.
1. This stanza and the one recorded in the entry for 8 April (below) were later incorporated in “A Vision.” This work, begun as early as 30 Jan. 1787 but not completed until June 1790, became a satirical sketch of nine young women whom JQA knew during his years in Newburyport. It remained unpublished until Dec. 1839, when Brother Jonathan, the weekly edition of the New York Evening Tattler, printed it from an MS copy. Later the poem was published in JQA's Poems of Religion and Society, Auburn and Buffalo, N.Y., 1853, and Currier's Newburyport, 2:541–547. The only known MS copy of the work in JQA's hand is in M/JQA/28, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 223. Upon rereading the printed version in 1839, JQA regarded it as an unequaled effort. “As a Poet I have never surpassed it,” he wrote; “My summit level as a Statesman, Orator, Philosopher and Proser is of about the same elevation” (William Cranch to JQA, 10 June 1790, Adams Papers; JQA, Diary, 25, 28 Dec. 1839, Memoirs, 10:176–177).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-29


I received two or three Letters for Little, and after finishing the day at the office, I went and delivered them. He went with me and pass'd the evening with Townsend: Mr. Morland came in to wait on Miss Knight home; but she preferr'd staying a day or two longer where she was. Mr. Cutler was an hour or two with us. Sometime after ten I came home.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-30


Parson Toppan of Newtown1 preach'd at our meeting this day. I attended all day and was very much pleased with his ingenuity: he is quite orthodox enough, although he has contended with Mr. Spring upon some very knotty points. His delivery is not graceful, nor even agreeable; but the sound sense, and ingenuity, which appear in his sermons, more than compensate for defects which are so common.
I have read through Knox's treatise upon Education, and in general am much pleased with it. If his censures of the present times, did not sometimes border upon ill-nature, and if he had not profess'd to maintain the advantages of prejudice, and partiality I should place much greater confidence in his opinion; but his complaints in many cases are but too just, and too applicable to the manners of this Country.
1. Probably David Tappan, minister at the Third Parish of Newbury, now West Newbury.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-03-31


Mr. Parsons held a Justice's Court for the trial of a trifling action of trover and conversion. The dispute was about 600 feet of pine boards. The witnesses on both sides were examined and after a trial of two hours; Mr. Parsons advised them to settle the matter between themselves without any judgment; which they accordingly did. The weather for a day or two past has been very mild and pleasant; verifying, the vulgar saying, mentioned at the beginning of the month. I walk'd with Putnam this afternoon and pass'd the evening with Townsend.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-01

Tuesday April 1st. 1788.

The Court sits this day at Ipswich. Mr. Parsons went in the afternoon, I dined with him. Pickman gone to Salem: so that for two or three days I have been wholly alone at the office: Putnam took a long walk with me; he has been amusing himself with Stacey this day by the prescriptive privilege of deceiving. The manner was imprudent, and the thing itself beneath his years: but there is a pleasure in playing the fool at times; and perhaps these are peculiarly excusable. As we returned from our walk, I stop'd in at Mrs. Hooper's to pass the last evening with Town• { 383 } send. Parson Bass was there but soon went off. Amory took his usual rout; a Mr. Gartz, who belongs to Baltimore; Mr. Cutler and Thompson were with us all the evening: and we left them a little after ten.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-02


This day Townsend and Amory finally left us and were to be sworn in to the Court of common-pleas at Ipswich. They entered the office both nearly at the same time, and have both continued here, more than three years. Their characters and dispositions, are essentially different. With Townsend I have been very intimate ever since I came to this town; but my acquaintance with Amory, has only been such as necessarily followed, from being so frequently with him. Townsend is in his twenty fifth year. His genius is very good, and somewhat eccentric. While at College, and for some time after he laboured under great disadvantages from his narrow circumstances; but for three or four years past he has been well supported, by a wealthy uncle, who has no children, and who will probably leave him something. Since he came here his studies have repeatedly been interrupted; and he has been obliged to attend for months together upon his brother, who died last summer in a consumption. The time which he could spend here was generally well employ'd. His disposition was easy and contented; rather apt to contract prejudices either favourable, or unfavorable to persons, from their first appearance; his friendships were very strong and his aversions rather severe. He was attached to his opinions, and would defend them with warmth: so that many of his acquaintance think him obstinate. But he has frequently said and I believe justly, that obstinacy consists in persevering in an opinion, without being willing to defend it when attacked; not in being unwilling to give it up without sufficient grounds to conclude it erroneous: and if his definition be true, I do not think he can properly [be] called obstinate. Upon general subjects his sentiments coincided very well with mine; but we differed very frequently in descending to particulars.
Generosity, humanity and benevolence, are the ornaments of his heart, and in short from his whole character I have such an attachment for him, that I shall regret much his leaving this Town: my anxiety for his health increases this regret; his disor• { 384 } der is alarming, and by so much the more as it has been peculiarly fatal to his family.
Amory I will mention to-morrow.
I took a walk with Putnam this afternoon, and as we returned Putnam urged me to go in to Dr. Smith's; to which I finally agreed: Putnam pass'd a number of high encomiums upon Miss Smith; but as soon as we went into the house I found Miss Bradbury there; which explained Putnam's eagerness. I sat and conversed till about nine o'clock, and then came off leaving my companion with his Dulcinea there.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-03


Thompson went yesterday morning to Ipswich and returned last evening. I dined with him to day. Frank Bradbury and Putnam were likewise there. Amory and Townsend were sworn into Court yesterday in the afternoon, and immediately went on to Salem. Amory, whom I promised to mention this day is about twenty three. At a very early period of life he was engaged in scenes of intemperance and debauchery; and contracted a fondness for them, which he has not yet conquered. His imagination is lively and his apprehension uncommonly quick: but a great degree of volatility and unsteadiness, render all his reforming resolutions abortive. With any particular object before him he is indefatigably active, and industrious; but when it is once accomplished, he too often relapses into dissipation and inattention. Of almost three years and an half which have past since he entered Mr. Parsons's office, he has not I suppose spent two in this Town, and of that Time perhaps he has not employ'd one half in the office. Yet such are his natural advantages for improvement, that in the short Time which he has devoted to study, he has acquired almost as much knowledge of the Law as a common person would, who should have been attentive through the whole period. Notwithstanding his habits of intemperance he has formed a tender connection with a young Lady in this Town, who is undoubtedly firmly perswaded that he will marry her. It will certainly be a great misfortune to her, should she be disappointed: for after so long, and so great an intimacy, with a young fellow whose principles and practice, are so repugnant to the general ideas of morality, and religion; it must be supposed that any other young gentleman, would be somewhat punctilious be• { 385 } fore he would venture to pay his addresses to her. Unfortunately, the same causes, which are prejudicial to her reputation, will tend to render him faithless and inconstant. All that can be hoped is (and it is devoutly to be wished) that his native good sense, and strength of mind, will rise superior to all his youthful follies, and that of all the heterogeneous qualities which compose his character, the good only will remain. His manners and address are remarkably agreeable, and insinuating, and, he possess candour to applaud in others even those virtues of which he is most destitute. In short we may fairly say, that without an essential alteration in his course of life, he will ever be a worthless character; but that with such alterations as time and experience may very well produce, he may become one of the best and most useful men in the Commonwealth.
Dr. Kilham returned this afternoon from Boston and Mr. Parsons from Ipswich.
I took a long walk after dinner, with Putnam, F. Bradbury, and Thompson, and we passed the evening at Putnam's lodgings.

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

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


The weather has been rather disagreeable this day.1
In the evening I went with Thompson and Putnam, to Mr. Bradbury's, where we found a large company. Mr. W. Parsons and his wife; Mr. Sigourney, and his enamorata and an innumerable quantity of Miss Greenleafs'. We pass'd the evening as usual: singing, playing cards &c. Mr. Sigourney, has a very good voice, and entertained the company much more than such exercises generally do.
We retired between 10 and 11 o'clock.
1. “Rain” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-05


Rain'd again a great part of the day. Putnam pass'd the evening at my lodgings. We conversed upon a variety of Subjects. I am more pleased with him, than I was while we were, Classmates: he is not exempt from that puerility which I mentioned as constituting his character;1 and I have sometimes seen him exert a degree of little cunning, to obtain an end, in trifles where it was totally unnecessary even to serve his own purpose; But he { 386 } is good-natured, and friendly; willing and ready to oblige; easy and contented; enjoying the present, and looking forward to futurity without sufficient anxiety to embitter his happiness. I often envy him his feelings. For “who by taking thought can add one cubit to his stature.”2 The prospects of life which are before me, are by far the most frequent employment of my thoughts: and according to the different temperature of my Spirits, I am sometimes elated with hope, sometimes contented with indifference, but often tormented with fears, and depressed by the most discouraging appearances. Such reflections serve only to deprive me of my present enjoyments; after all, the events which Time is to produce, must take their course, and “sufficient surely,” to the day is the evil thereof.3
1. JQA's earlier sketch of Putnam is in the entry for 27 May 1787 (above).
2. Matthew, 6:27.
3. Same, 6:34.

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

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


A Parson Allen preach'd this day for Mr. Carey. I went to hear him in the forenoon. His Sermon was sensible, but his delivery was quite disagreeable: his manner of speaking was so singular that several times it was with difficulty I restrained myself from laughing. I did not feel a great inclination to hear him again, and I therefore, went in the afternoon, and heard Mr. Murray. He is an orator; but if he did not betray such a consciousness of his own powers, while in the pulpit, he would be much more pleasing to me. There is no situation perhaps in which that consummate art of concealing art, is more requisite, than in the desk. Art is undoubtedly necessary in speaking to command the attention of an audience; but if that art is apparent, the solemnity of the occasion, greatly tends to increase the disgust which I always conceive, against affectation. For when a preacher appears so wholly occupied with the admiration of his own rhetorical talents; it seems he can have but little concern for the important subject, of which his eloquence is only the instrument, and which ought to be the chief, I had almost said the only object of his thoughts.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-07


I went with Thompson, to Mr. Atkins's, to answer to an action which we had brought before him this day.
{ 387 }
The first Monday in April, being the day appointed by the Constitution for the choice of Governor, Lieutenant Governor and Senators The Town meeting here began at ten in the morning, and the poll was closed at four in the afternoon. Mr. Hancock and General Lincoln, had a great majority in this Town, as well as in Newbury. And a federal List of Senators; for. Fed and anti; are the only distinctions at this day. Mr. S. Adams had a <great> number of votes for Lieutt. Governor; but, for what reason, I cannot tell, all the influence was against him. The revolution that has taken place in sentiments within one twelve month past must be astonishing to a person unacquainted, with the weaknesses, the follies, and the vices of human nature. The very men, who at the last election declared the Commonwealth would be ruined if Mr. Hancock was chosen, have now done every thing to get him in, and the other side are equally capricious. We have not yet got sufficiently settled to have stated parties; but we shall soon I have no doubt obtain the blessing.
I pass'd an hour or two this evening with Thompson at Mrs. Emery's: and he spent half an hour with me, till nine o'clock.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-08


Pickman returned last evening from Salem. The votes in that Town, and in several others from which accounts have been received, are equally favorable or more so, than they were in this Town, to Mr. Hancock, and General Lincoln. I called and passed an hour or two at Mrs. Hooper's in the evening: Miss Cazneau was there. Came home early in the evening.

Belinda next advanc'd with rapid stride

A compound strange, of Vanity and Pride

Around her face no wanton Cupids play,

Her tawny skin, defies the God of Day.

Loud was her laugh, undaunted was her look,

And folly seem'd to dictate what she spoke.

In vain the Poet's and musician's art,

Combine to move the Passions of the heart,

Belinda's voice like grating hinges groans,

And in harsh thunder roars a lover's moans.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-09


Dined with Pickman and Thompson, at Mr. Parsons's upon Salmon, which begin now to be caught in the river. We did not do much business in the afternoon. I called upon Putnam, after taking a walk with Thompson, but Putnam was engaged for the evening; so that I soon came home to my lodgings.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-10


From the divers interruptions which we met with in the course of the day, we did but little at the office. We met this evening at Pickman's chamber: he has joined us and is regularly with us. Stacey likewise pass'd the evening with us; and Mr. W. Farnham; I agreed to go with Pickman to Haverhill to-morrow. From thence I intend in the beginning of the next week, to proceed to Cambridge; attend at the exhibition there; and then go to Braintree and spend a few days. And I shall probably meet my brothers there. I have sometimes intended to wait for my father's arrival; before I should go that way; but it is almost six months since I saw my friends in Cambridge, Braintree &c. which makes me somewhat impatient; and if I wait for my father I know not whether I shall go in one month or two: as I have been so little absent through the winter, I may venture now to indulge myself for a fortnight.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-11


I set out with Pickman this morning at about nine o'clock: the weather was clear though rather windy: before twelve we arrived at Haverhill. I went immediately to Mr. Shaws; and Pickman, went to the tavern to meet a carriage, which he expected from Salem; but very unfortunately he found the Carriage, had past through the Town, not more than a quarter of an hour before he got there: such disappointments, are peculiarly teazing to Lover's, and felt perhaps more keenly than greater misfortunes. After dinner I went down to Mr. White's, and was sorry to find, that Leonard was gone to Hamstead with his mother. I call'd likewise at Mr. Thaxter's, but he was not at home. I sat, half an hour with Mrs. Thaxter, who has met with a misfortune, and been very unwell for some time past.
I thence went up to Judge Sargeant's to pay a visit there; And I { 389 } found Mr. Thaxter with him; I returned soon and drank tea at Mr. Thaxter's; and soon after; went back to Mr. Shaw's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-12


In the forenoon I went down, and spent a couple of hours with Mr. Thaxter: the rest of the day I employ'd in reading, upon several subjects. I took up Hudibras in the afternoon, and diverted myself with it for an hour or two.1
1. JQA adds, in his line-a-day entry, “Mr. Shaw's. All day” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-13


Attended meeting all day. Dined at Mr. Thaxter's with Mr. J. Duncan. And in the afternoon, after service: we took a long walk. When we return'd to Mr. Thaxter's we found Mr. Bartlett and his wife and Leonard White there. Mr. Parsons came in soon after. He is going to attend the Supreme Court, who will sit this week at Concord. The conversation soon turned upon political subjects; I knew we should have over again, what I have heard twenty times; and therefore I took a walk with Leonard White; and went home between 9 and 10 in the evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-14


I met with several impediments in the morning so that it was eleven o'clock before I cross'd the river: the weather was very good, but growing Cloudy. I got to Doctor Kitteridge's house at Andover, before one. I stop'd to see my Class-mate W. Abbot and dined there. Bowman and Wyeth were likewise there. I would say something of Mrs. Kitteridge, but it would be now a very improper time to give an account of such impressions. I left the House before three; and soon after it began to rain, and continued without intermission untill I arrived at Cambridge; I got there at about six. I rode, eight or ten miles with an Almsbury man, who is going to Concord court upon business. Mr. Parsons is engaged in his cause, and the man had a deal to say about lawyer's.
I found my brothers at our old chamber, and after sitting with them half an hour, went over, and pass'd the remainder of the evening with Packard. I found Cushman, at his chamber, and we { 390 } spent the eve very sociably. Clarke had been riding in the rain as well as myself, the greatest part of the day. He came from Harvard, where he went to accompany Grosvenor, who went home very sick a few days ago.
Cushman is apprehensive that he will not be able to obtain his degree1 before next Commencement. He tells me he has not yet preached, as had been reported: Child, Kellogg and Mead are, he says the only Classmates of ours who have yet appeared in the pulpit.
1. Cushman had not received his bachelor's degree in the commencement of 1787 because of unpaid college bills.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-15


The weather was quite disagreeable, for exhibition; in consequence of which there was but little company. Phillips began the performances, with a Latin Oration. His subject was General Washington; a subject which must be inexhaustible or it would long since have been exhausted. He spoke well. Treadwell and Gardner, next came upon the stage, in a forensic disputation. Their question was something like this. “Whether mankind have any natural right to authority over one another.” They quibbled about words, and said on neither side much to the purpose. Treadwell however did better than I expected of him. In the Syllogistic dispute Cutts was respondent, Blake 2. and Wigglesworth opponents. I have forgotten the question upon which they exerciced their ingenuity. Bradbury and Hooper, personated Plato and Diogenes; in a dialogue, upon the conduct of courtiers: the only fault that could be found, was that Hooper's delicacy of person, and neatness of dress, contrasted rather too much with our ideas of Diogenes, and indeed, with what he said in that Character. Paine and Shaw spoke a greek dialogue, in which I did not feel myself greatly interested; and Abbot closed with an English Oration, upon the slave-trade. The Composition was very good, and it was well spoken, though, the natural disadvantage of a weak voice, injured the effect of his delivery. I do not recollect having heard any performances upon this subject, at College, and it will afford a fruitful source for declamation....1 The governor then arose, and made a speech addressed to the Students, in which he congratulated them upon their proficiency, and exhorted them to go on in the ways of well-doing. { 391 } The music which succeeded was but indifferent. They had no violin: and Fay their best performer, was unwell, and did not attend.
After the exhibition was over I went down to Judge Dana's, and dined in company with a number of Ladies. Stedman and Harris, the butler, dined there too. There was a Miss Patten from Rhode Island; Almy Ellery is fond of her; and I will trust to her judgment; but was it not for that I should not be much prepossessed in the Lady's favour: She is very tall, very young, and very diffident. Miss Badger I have seen before; but there are three or four Miss Clarke's of whom I have heard much said; and whom I this day saw for the first Time. They are all agreeable; and none of them handsome: Patty is the most comely, me judice.
After dinner I called at Dr. Wigglesworth's, but the young Ladies were gone over to the College, to drink tea. We went to Phillips's chamber. It was full of Company. Between seven and eight we went to Brown's Rooms, and danced till between Twelve and one.2 I was completely fatigued, and glad that the company then dispersed. I pass'd the evening very agreeably; and after breaking up went with my Classmate Foster, and lodg'd at my brother's Chamber; where by priority of possession I still claim a right.
1. JQA's ellipses.
2. “Senior dance” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

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


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

C—ould all the powers of rhetoric combined

A—ssist to show the beauties of her mind

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

H—er mind is fair, without one single stain

A—11 the soft Passions which improve the heart

R—eign in her breast, and every thought impart

I—n such a breast no foible can reside

N—o little art, for prudence is her guide

E—ach moral beauty, which adorns the soul

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

O—f Siren charms, the poets often tell,

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

E—nvy itself must drop a tear to find,

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

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

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-17


Fast day. In the forenoon I remained at home, and spent my time in writing and reading. In the afternoon, I heard Parson Wibird. Mrs. Cranch and Miss Lucy came home this evening; a person from Boston brought us some Letters which came from Europe.1 Callahan was to sail, about the first of this month; which will probably be extended to the fifteenth.
By this time I suppose my friends will be at Sea.2
1. These may have included JA to JQA, 23 Jan., and AA2 to JQA, 10 Feb., the only letters for the period sent to JQA from Europe and surviving in the Adams Papers.
2. John Callahan's Lucretia, in which JA and AA were traveling, was delayed off Weymouth, England, by winds until 27 April; the Adamses eventually arrived at Boston on 17 June. On 5 April, AA2 and her husband sailed from Falmouth in the Tyne packet, reaching New York in mid-May (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:214–216).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-18


A cold north east storm, confined us to the house all day. I read a few pages in one of Gilbert's treatises and wrote a little, likewise. The time however was spent without much improvement; Doctor Tufts was over here Yesterday and this day. He was attending upon Miss Quincy, who has been very ill in consequence of making a mistake in taking medicine, by swallowing salt petre instead of salts.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-19


The weather has been rather better this day than it was yesterday. I went with both my brothers on a shooting party, an amusement which I follow no where except at Braintree though, there could not perhaps be a more miserable place, for sport. Dined with W. Cranch, and my brothers at Dr. Tufts's in Weymouth; and saw Mrs. Tufts for the first Time since her marriage: last fall she was at Newbury-Port, when Mr. Odiorne, was married; and at that time had no thoughts, or at least no expectation, of changing her situation soon. But Mr. Tufts, who had always been remarkably backward, in affairs of this nature; was equally expeditious, when he was once engaged: he could not even wait, till he had got an house ready; but married immediately and lives for the present with his father. We return'd, so as to get home just before dark.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-20


I pass'd the forenoon at home in writing. In the afternoon, I attended meeting and heard Mr. Wibird. After meeting, I went down to view the house, which they are repairing for my father:1 I was not perfectly pleased with it; but it now appears in a very unfavourable light: they are obliged to make the most necessary repairs very hastily expecting my father in a few weeks. I am in hopes, that after my parents return; this place will be more lively and agreeable to me than it is at present. I think I shall never make it the standing place of my residence: but I shall wish to pass much of my time here, and hope the change may be for the better.
1. The Vassall-Borland place was an abandoned loyalist estate in Braintree. Several individuals occupied the house during the Revolution and afterward, until it was finally purchased for JA in Sept. 1787 through the agency of Drs. Cot• { 394 } ton Tufts and Thomas Welsh. Long known as the Old House, four generations of Adamses lived in it until 1927. In 1946 it was deeded to the federal government and became the Adams National Historic Site. For additional details, consult the notes in Adams Family Correspondence, 3:264–266, and JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:217; the Old House is illustrated in JA, Diary and Autobiography, 4:facing 195.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-21


We were again confined all day to the house, by the badness of the weather. Mr. Cranch however went to Boston. I find, as I always have found, great inconveniences in writing here, and indeed, there are no small inconveniences in thinking; I wrote however a little, and read a few pages in Gilbert's treatise of Evidence,1 it being a Law book. W. Cranch is reading Bacon;2 but makes no great progress in it at Braintree. It is a book which many instructors recommend to be read through in course; but Mr. Parsons says it is calculated, only to make matter of Fact lawyers; men, who without knowing the true principles upon which the Science is grounded, or the reasoning by which it is supported; will be confined in their knowlege to ita lex scripta est, and will be incapable of applying the principles to new cases, or to circumstances different from such as have already taken place.
1. Geoffrey Gilbert, The Law of Evidence..., London, 1717, and later revised and corrected editions.
2. Matthew Bacon, A New Abridgment of the Law..., 5 vols., London, 1736–1766.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-22


I took a ride in the forenoon with W. Cranch. Mr. Cranch came home from Boston, and brought young Waters with him. Mr. Weld, with his wife and her Sister pass'd the afternoon here; and when I return'd from my father's Library, where I went to take a list of his Law-Books; I found Mr. Norton here: he has some thoughts of going to Menotomy to-morrow, to Mr. Fiske's ordination; and made this a stage on his way. He is paying his addresses to Miss Betsey Cranch, and will, I suppose marry her, unless some particular accident should intervene. He was ordained last fall, at Weymouth, in the parish where, my grandfather Smith was settled; and he is said to be a young man of good sense, and a good disposition.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-23


The weather was so disagreeable, that Mr. Norton gave up the thoughts of going to Menotomy, and return'd to Weymouth. It has been very dull, a great part of this month. March was much more agreeable. My Brothers however went over to Milton in the afternoon, I intended when I came here to have returned yesterday to Cambridge; but I have deferr'd it, and shall probably still defer it till friday. On Saturday, I must certainly get home to Newbury-Port; where by my diligence I must repair the loss of time which I have sustained in this tour.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-24


Charles went to Boston this morning, and brought me back some letters from Europe.1 I went in the forenoon with Miss Betsey Cranch, down to Mrs. Quincy's where she intends to spend a few days: but I did not see either of the ladies there: Miss Quincy, has in some measure recovered from the illness occasioned by a mistake in taking a medicine. I spent my time this day as I have every day since I came here, somewhat miscellaneously.
1. See entry for 17 April, note 1 (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-25


I left Braintree between 9 and 10. and stoppd, about half an hour at Genl. Warren's, he was gone to Plymouth but Mrs. Warren was at home. The Genl.'s political character has undergone of late a great alteration. Among all those who were formerly his friends he is extremely unpopular; while the insurgent and antifederal party (for it is but one) consider him in a manner as their head; and have given him at this election many votes for lieutenant governor. Mrs. Warren complained that he had been abused shamefully, and very undeservedly; but she thought me too federal to talk freely with me.
I called for a few minutes at George's Office, which he has lately opened. I got to Cambridge, a little before one, and called at the Butler's room: where I found Mr. Ware, and Packard. Dined at Judge Dana's. Miss Jones was there, and agreeable as usual. In the afternoon, I went to Dr. Williams's. Sam has been { 396 } gone about two months to Sea; Jenny is still losing her beauty, and will soon, have none to lose.
I was at Abbot's chamber an hour or two. And return'd to Mr. Dana's with Packard to tea. Stedman, and Harris, and my very good friend and Classmate O. Fiske, pass'd the evening there; and it was uncommonly sociable.
I had promised Pickman to meet him this day in Salem, but was prevented by the weather as it rain'd all the afternoon.
I forgot to mention, that my Classmate Harris dined with us at Judge Dana's. He came a day or two ago, from Worcester, where he is now keeping school. It was feared, that he was in a decline, but I think he looks better than he did when we left College.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-26


Between five and six this morning, I left the judge's house, with Mr. Andrews who is going to preach at Newbury-Port. We stopp'd at the Colleges, to take their Letters, but they had not risen. The Clock struck six, as we went out of the College yard. We breakfasted at Newells tavern, and got into Salem at about ten o'clock: I paid a visit to Mr. Read; he is going to be married; and to a young Lady with a large fortune, which is rather surprizing.
I met Pickman in the street, and went home with him. After sitting a few minutes we walk'd about the Town; I went to see Miss Hazen; who appears just as she did two years ago. Dined with Pickman; and at about two o'clock Andrews called me, to proceed. The weather was so windy, and the surf so great that we had some little difficulty in getting over Beverley ferry. We arrived in Newbury-Port at about seven. I went and pass'd a couple of hours with Putnam. I then came home, and soon retired as I was exceedingly fatigued, and felt very stiff.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-27


I attended meeting all day, and heard Mr. Andrews. He speaks very well, and his composition was I believe generally pleasing. I sometimes think that he mistakes his genius, and imagines that his fansy is lively and his first thoughts the best; while in truth his conception is naturally slow, and he ought to study greatly his writings. He was this day very brilliant in his expressions, and flowery in his periods, but his thoughts were rather too { 397 } much in the common run, and this fault, I have frequently observed, in his pieces.
In the beginning of the evening, I called at Mr. Tufts's, to give him a watch which I brought for him; I spent the remainder of the evening and supp'd at Deacon Thompson's. Walk'd with Mr. Andrews up to Mrs. Farnham's, where he lodges; he proposes to return to-morrow to Cambridge.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-28


Dull weather. Wind Northeast. It began to rain a little after noon, and continued all the rest of the day. I pass'd the evening at Dr. Swett's. We play'd whist, and I was somewhat unfortunate. Little came home and lodg'd with me; the weather being so bad, that he could not conveniently go to Newbury.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-29


The weather this day was tolerable. I went in the evening with Thompson to Captain Coombs's, where we found the young Ladies. Polly Coombs, is very sick; they fear in a Consumption. Nancy Jenkins too has been unwell, and still looks thin. Mr. Farnham and J. Greenleaf were there; and Mr. Cutler. We had singing as usual.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0004-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-04-30


Very agreeable weather. After we had done at the office, I took a long walk with Thompson.1 We then went to Mrs. Emery's where we found Miss Roberts. We there pass'd a couple of hours, and from thence went to Mr. Frazier's. We found ourselves in the midst of a large Company of young folks. All the College lads, and all the young Misses of that sett. We past about an hour with them, and then without much reluctance left them.
1. JQA notes in his line-a-day entry that he “could not study” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-01

Thursday May 1st. 1788.

Pickman returned this afternoon from Salem. The Club were in the evening at my room: Young Fowle, Thompson's poetical Class-mate spent the evening with us. Pickman went off quite early. He attended a ball in Salem, last evening, and what with { 398 } the fatigue of dancing, and that of riding this day he was tired out.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-02


After passing the day at the Office, I stroll'd with Pickman, as far as Sawyer's tavern, where we stopp'd and took a dish of tea. When we set out to return there was a little sprinkling of rain, which we thought was not sufficient to stay our progress: but it kept continually increasing till it became quite a smart rain, and by that time we were so much soak'd that we concluded the sooner we should get home would be the better. As soon as I got home I was obliged to change from head to foot. Pickman said, it was one of the agreeable rubs of life.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-03


I this day got through the 4th. volume of Blackstone's Commentaries a second time, and I imagine I have derived no less benefit from a second perusal, than I did from the first. I have been longer about it than I wish'd, but the interruption of an whole fortnight by a Journey prolonged the time which I took for reading this book, greatly.
In the evening I took a long walk with Pickman and Thompson, and as we were returning, we met Mr. Andrews who was coming from Cambridge.
Nothing new. Dull weather.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-04


I heard Mr. Andrews preach, his sermons were both very short; but better I think than those he delivered last Sunday; his text was, “If they believe not Moses and the prophets, neither would they be perswaded though one rose from the dead.” Pickman observed, that there was a Sermon of Archbishop Tillotson, from the same Text, and the similarity is such as proves that Mr. Andrews had read it; though not so great as to charge him with plagiarism. However, the people in this Town, are so bigotted that a Man of Mr. Andrews's liberal religious sentiments will not be half so popular a preacher, as one who would rant and rave and talk nonsense for an hour together in his Sermon. I wrote a long Letter to my brother Tom;1 which I gave to Mr. An• { 399 } drews; with whom I pass'd the evening at Mr. Bradbury's. Dr. Sawyer, and Mr. Farnham, were likewise there. Parson Carey is still very unwell, insomuch, that there are but little hopes of his ever recovering, so as to attend constantly to the duties of his profession. Mr. Andrews is engaged to supply our pulpit three Sundays more. After which he is under other engagements till Commencement.

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

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


I began this morning at the Office upon Foster's Crown Law,1 a book admirably written I am told, and notwithstanding the barrenness of the subject as entertaining as it is instructive. I pass'd an hour in the beginning of the evening at Mrs. Hooper's and then went with Thompson to Mr. S. Hooper's. Miss Roberts was there; I think I have already mentioned this Lady; she is uncommonly sensible, and if she has not the advantages of youth and beauty, neither is she chargeable with its thoughtlessness, and nonsense. Mr. Hooper as usual, talk'd rather more of himself, than of any body, or any thing else; but was very complaisant.
1. Michael Foster, A Report of Some Proceedings on the Commission of Oyer and Terminer and Goal Delivery . . . To Which are Added Discourses upon a Few Branches of the Crown Law, Oxford, 1762. A copy is in JA's library at MB.

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

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


In the beginning of the evening, I took a walk with Pickman, up to Mrs. Atkins's. We found only the old Lady at home; and she was so unwell, that we supposed Company would not be very agreeable to her; and soon came away: we met Thompson just as we were coming out; he turn'd about and came back with us.
I have little to say. That part of my Time which is best improved is productive of nothing, which may properly be recorded here; and as these volumes, or the greater part of their contents, are only an account of the occurrences of my idle hours, they must be proportionably trifling and insignificant. While I was in College these books were useful, as they contained copies of all my compositions, which I wished to pre• { 400 } serve but since I graduated, I have scarcely composed any thing, and indeed I have been much too negligent in that respect; but with so many other objects to engross my attention and employ my time, I have perhaps some excuse.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-07


The weather was very fine; I took a long walk in the evening with Thompson and Putnam. Thompson left us, and went to see Parson Spring. Putnam came home, and past the remainder of the evening with me. I have used myself for several days past to rise very early, and should wish to do so through the Summer: but my propensity to sleep is so great, that it is almost always impossible for me to awake so soon as I wish.1
1. In his line-a-day entry, JQA refers to Michael Foster's Discourses upon a Few Branches of the Crown Law (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-08


The town met this afternoon to make choice of representatives for the ensuing year. Jonan. Greenleaf Esqr. Theop Parsons Esq. Captn. W. Coombs, and Mr. Jonan. Marsh, were the persons elected. We met in the evening at Putnam's lodgings. Stacey desired to join the Club, and was accordingly received. Little did not come; and as we began to be impatient we sent over to Dr. Swett's for him. But they sent us word that he was gone to be inoculated for the small pox. This disorder was introduced by a mistake of Dr. Smith; in consequence of which a number of persons have been inoculated, and removed to the Pest house. Little went without leave or licence; and is liable to prosecution for so doing;1 but in his circumstances I think he was very excusable in running the risk.
1. Although the town of Newbury on 8 May had authorized the use of the hospital in “Common Pasture” for inoculation, the selectmen of Newburyport promptly declared that the use of the building for inoculation was illegal and a threat to public health. On 16 May the town voted that those who inoculated others or were themselves inoculated should be prosecuted (Currier, Newburyport, 1:75).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-09


Violent North-east storm, all day.
We all dined with Mr. Parsons. Thompson pass'd the evening { 401 } with me. This storm gives me some anxiety, as possibly Callahan may be now upon the Coast. I would hope however for the best.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-10


The storm continued all this day, and rather with increasing violence. Thompson and I again dined with Mr. Parsons.
I passed the evening with Putnam at his lodgings: I this day got through Foster, and have been more pleased than with any professional book I have hitherto read; not even Blackstone excepted. The subject indeed being the pleas of the Crown, is not so immediately connected with a young lawyer's practice as many other books; but as Foster always ascends to first principles, his reasoning, may by analogy apply to very different branches. The style is nervous and elegant suitable to the dignity of the author; and the “pride of virtue,” as he himself expresses it, shines forth in every page of the performance. What increases greatly the pleasure with which this book is read, is that the writer appears, not only a learned and judicious lawyer, but an excellent man. The encomiums which he justly bestows upon Sir Thos. Abney, are said to be applicable in a still more eminent manner to himself. And after all, the virtues of the heart have a greater claim even to our veneration and esteem, than all the splendid appendages of genius. The compliment which Thompson pays to Pope,

For though, not sweeter his own Homer sings,

Yet is his Life the more endearing song,1

is more to his Honour than the most laboured panegyric, that ever was composed, of his talents.
I have undertaken to read Hume's History of England again: It is almost seven years since I read it, and the connexion of important events in that kingdom has almost been obliterated from my memory.
1. James Thomson, The Seasons: Winter, lines 553–554.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-11


I attended meeting to hear Parson Barnard of Salem. He gave us two very excellent Sermons. And his prayers were admirable; which is something very uncommon. I am told indeed that he { 402 } regularly composes this part of the service; as well as his Sermons; an example worthy of imitation. His address for Mr. Carey, was tender and affectionate, and the manner in which he spoke it was truly affecting.
Thompson and Putnam pass'd the evening with me.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-12


I have been quite unwell, these two or three days past; a disorder recurs with which I have been troubled in the Spring, the two years back; and it is more inconvenient this time than it ever has been before.
At Mr. Parsons's recommendation, I have this day taken up Hawkins's pleas of the Crown.1 I think I should not now have selected this book, had it been left at my option. This branch of the Law, will be of no service to me, within these seven years, and there are many subjects which will be more immediately necessary. The theories relating to civil actions, will surely be sufficient to employ all my time for the remainder of my three years, and I shall certainly have enough leisure time afterwards to acquire a competent knowledge of the criminal Law, before I get to the supreme Court, if I ever do. However Mr. Parsons must know better than I, what is to be done in this case; and I therefore cheerfully submit to his directions.
I took a long, solitary walk this evening, and then came home, and amused myself, for a half an hour, with my flute.
1. William Hawkins, A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown .. ., London, 1716. A copy is in JA's library at MB.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-13


I took a walk with Pickman up to Sawyer's tavern, and drank tea there. The evenings are now so short that it was nine o'clock before we got back. Our Future prospects in life were the Subject of our conversation. The appearance before him is very fair: his father is a man of large fortune, which although divided among several children, gives each of them a sum sufficient for starting forward: He will now in a few months be ready to enter upon the profession: he is paying his addresses to a young Lady whose fortune will probably be amply sufficient; and from appearances I should judge he will be married ere long. Yet even he is anxious for his future welfare; and how much greater reason { 403 } have I to look forward with terror. I have two long years yet before me, which must be wholly employ'd in Study, to qualify myself for any thing. I have no fortune to expect from any part, and the profession is so much crowded, that I have no prospect of supporting myself by it for several years after I begin. These are great causes of discouragement; but my only hope and comfort is, that diligence, industry, and health may overcome them all.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-14


I walk'd with Thompson up to Mrs. Atkins's. The old Lady is gone to Boston to spend a fortnight. Mr. and Mrs. Searle were there; and Mr. Atkins came home soon after. Atkins is a man of abilities; but of strong passions; and as he was cramped in his youth, by his penurious circumstances, his disposition was soured, and he is now excessively irritable, and his natural frankness has degenerated to the unfeeling bluntness of a cynic. He has now the expectancy of a considerable fortune, at the decease of an aged relation; and it is to be hoped that when that circumstance takes place, it may soften his temper and reconcile him more to his fellow mortals.
I still continue quite unwell; it has had one good effect at least; that of making me rise early for several days past.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-15


Club met this evening at Pickman's. All there but Little, who is going through the small pox. Mr. Farnham was there; the evening was agreeable. Pickman left us at half after eight, to call on a Lady, who came this afternoon from Salem. After nine we took a walk of a mile or two before we retired; just as I got home I met a number of people; who had just come from the town-house, where it seems they were entertained with a concert this evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-16


Took a walk after leaving the office, with Thompson and Putnam. We were for calling in at Mr. Frazier's, to see the young girls, but upon the presumption they were not there, I would not stop; accordingly we proceeded. Thompson left us: Putnam, was very impatient, but just as we had turn'd the corner into high { 404 } street, both Miss Frazier's, and Putnam's own Harriet appeared. He was as happy as present enjoyment can render any one. We walk'd with the girls, and after conducting them home, took our leave. Putnam afterwards called to see me. He had no idea of meeting the girls, nor did he even suspect, that Harriet could be with them. The most exceptionable part of this young fellow's character, is a spirit of deception, a disposition to be cunning, even in the most trifling occurrences of life: in which a complicated policy, would require an appearance of the greatest candour and frankness. He is deeply smitten with his Harriet; every look, and every action afford demonstration strong of this. Yet he pretends to deny it. He is sure to meet her every evening; and yet he boldly declares that it never happens but by accident. Upon this subject it is true his friends have no right to catechise him; but he himself leads the way by making declarations, which any person of common sense, and any ways conversant with him, must know to be totally repugnant with the truth. We laugh at him for this conduct, but he does not appear sensible, how much it lessens our esteem for him. And he still attempts to carry on a deception, which we have told him was long since detected.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-17


Dined at Judge Greenleaf's with Pickman and Thompson. Two Miss Dalton's were there; and Miss Deblois a young lady whose brother is paying his addresses to the eldest Miss Dalton. Miss Deblois has been much celebrated, as a beauty; and she may still be called very handsome: though she be as much as 27. She is sociable and agreeable: Though she is not yet wholly destitute of that kind of vanity, which is so naturally the companion of beauty. She puckers her mouth a little, and contracts her eyelids a little, to look very pretty; and is not wholly unsuccessful. The Miss Dalton's, as usual talk'd more about themselves and the family, than any thing else. The eldest is said to be blest with a very amiable disposition, and as for Polly, Miss Deblois said, she made her laugh yesterday beyond measure, and it is well she has the talent of exciting laughter, in others; for unless her countenance very much belies her she is seldom, guilty of such a trick herself. Judge Greenleaf's daughters', are always so much addicted to silence, that although I have been in company with { 405 } them a number of times, I know not what opinion to form of them.
In the afternoon I took a long walk with Thompson and Putnam. The weather was very dull and disagreeable. Thompson stopp'd at Mrs. Atkins's. I pass'd the evening with Putnam at his lodgings.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-18


Mr. McKeen of Beverley preached at Mr. Carey's this day. I attended to hear him. His discourses were, though sensible, calculated to please the generality of the audience; I did not like them so well as those of Mr. Barnard, the last Sunday. After meeting Pickman called upon me, and I went up with him to see Mr. Jackson, where we drank tea, and pass'd the evening. Mr. McKeen, and Mr. Farnham were there; but went away soon after tea. Miss Wendell was likewise with Mrs. Jackson. She is not handsome, but is said to be very amiable. A little after nine I came away; Pickman still remaining there.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-19


Began upon the second book of Hawkins. The first treats of all offences, against the public; and this of the punishments to which they are liable.
I walk'd with Thompson in the evening: we called at Mrs. Hooper's, and pass'd an hour there; after which we went to Mr. Carter's. Miss Polly goes to Boston to-morrow.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-20


Mr. Parsons had the frame of his House raised, and was consequently very busy. Walk'd with Pickman. We met Thompson, and all went to see Mr. N. Carter who was lately married. His wife is not quite so stiff in her manners, as she used to be, a year and an half ago; but she has already adopted other airs; and appears no less affected than formerly. De gustibus non est disputandum; There's no disputing about the choice of a wife. Nancy Cutts, Mrs. Carter's sister, appears much more agreeable; and upon the whole I think her the handsomest of the two: however Mrs. Carter was abundantly complaisant, and we pass'd the evening tolerably.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-21


I walk'd with Pickman in the evening to Sawyer's; where we drank tea; and made it almost ten o'clock before we got home. I then went up with my flute to Stacey's lodgings, our general head quarters. About a quarter before twelve, Stacey, Thompson, Putnam, with a couple of young lads by the name of Greenough and myself sallied forth, upon a scheme of serenading. We paraded round the Town, till almost four in the morning; the weather which was not very agreeable, when we first set out: and was growing worse continually: at length it began to rain smartly; upon which we all separated; and respectively retired.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-22


I was up before eight, and had not slept well, even the short Time I was in bed; I felt stiff and unfit for almost every thing. I read but little at the Office; and omitted one thing, which for three weeks past has claimed my attention, very constantly: The Club, were at my lodgings this evening; Stacey however went away somewhat early; to meet some of his friends from Andover, and we were all too much fatigued, by the last night's jaunt, to be very sociable, or gay. At nine we separated as usual.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-23


Continual North east winds have prevailed for a week past. This evening, I past, with Thompson at Captain Coombs's. We found Mr. Porter and Mr. Kellogg, two young Parsons there. The evening was tolerable; and something more. Fanny Jenkins was as easy, as good natured, as talkative as usual. Jenny Coombs is sensible and clever. Her Sister Polly it is feared, is in a consumption: a disorder by which Captain Coombs has already lost two of his children...1 Poor, miserable beings we are! Dependant for our happiness, not only upon our own conduct, but equally upon the caprices of fortune, and the casual occurrences of a day. What must be the feelings of a Parent, who after rearing a numerous family of promising children, just as they are entering upon the Stage of Life; and when he begins to reap the rewards for his pains in educating them, by being witness to their usefulness in the world; when he fondly hopes to leave them in the enjoyment of prosperous circumstances; to see them drooping, and { 407 } dying under the operation of a long, lingering disease, in which the terrors of death are increased, by its slow and gradual approaches. Yet, this is the situation of many Parents. And if the causes of misery are thus distributed, as well to the virtuous and the good, as to the abandoned and unprincipled, what is the lot we have to expect in the world? I look forward with terror; and by so much the more, as the total exemption from any great evils hitherto, leads me to fear, that the greatest are laid up in store for me.
1. JQA's ellipses.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-24


Pickman went to Salem this morning. In the evening, I took a long walk with Thompson, down towards Newbury Bridge, in hopes of meeting Mr. Andrews; we were however unsuccessful. When we returned, I stop'd and past an hour with Putnam. He told me they had received a letter at Mr. Bradbury's from Andrews informing them, that his health, would necessarily prevent him, from coming to-morrow, but that he will send somebody if he can to supply his place.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-25


Mr. Webber preach'd here, for Mr. Andrews; and I was much pleased with his discourses. They were quite argumentative; and his manner of reasoning was such as shewed him to be an acute metaphysician. He has always had a peculiar attachment to mathematical studies; and has acquired great knowledge in that branch of Science, which has at the same time habituated him to a degree of precision in his reasoning, which few people possess. After meeting this afternoon Putnam called at my room, and urged me to go to Mr. Spring's, where it seems they were not contented with two Services, but were going upon a third. Putnam went I believe, rather from the motive of seeing certain young Ladies there, than from an excess of piety. But as I wished to write a Letter to W. Cranch, and as Mr. Parsons will go for Boston early to-morrow morning, I declined going with Putnam.
After writing my Letter1 I went and took a long walk quite alone the weather being very fine; and as I return'd I stopp'd an hour at Mrs. Hooper's. Thompson came in soon after me.
{ 408 }
We walk'd again, and as we were passing before Mr. Frazier's door, the young Ladies were standing there: we stopp'd, and went in. Mr. and Mrs. Frazier return'd home, a few minutes after; with Miss Phillips of Boston; a Lady whom I saw at Hingham last fall; who has play'd the coquette, for eight or ten years past, with a number of gentlemen, but who has now a prospect of being married shortly. We soon came away; Thompson pass'd an hour at my lodgings.
1. Letter not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-26


In the afternoon, I took a walk with Thompson, to see Little. He has the small pox full, upon him at this time.1 We returned, and I pass'd the evening at Mrs. Emery's. Judge Greenleaf's daughters, and Miss Smith and Miss Wendell were there. The evening was not agreeable; there was too much ceremony and too little sociability: we conducted the Ladies home, and retired.
1. JQA was inoculated in July 1776, along with his mother, sister, and brothers (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:45–46).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-27


Mr. Jackson, sent one of his sons to inform me, that he heard last evening at Beverly, that Callahan had arrived, in Boston. The report I find is all over the Town; and I have received the congratulations of almost all my acquaintance here.
This evening, by means of an accident which was contrived in the morning a number of gentlemen and Ladies happened to meet, at Mr. Brown's house, where we danced till about twelve o'clock. The weather was rather too warm; otherwise the party was agreeable. We often changed partners. And as there were several more Ladies than gentlemen; one or two of the young misses, thought they were not sufficiently noticed, and so much mistook the intrinsic value and importance of their resentment, as to display it, in a manner, which raised an involuntary smile: involuntary I say; because no one surely could willingly smile at the resentment of a Lady. I escorted Miss Newell home; and then retired likewise, myself.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-28


Election Day. And there is not a poor Devil, who has lost his election, in the Commonwealth, that feels half so much vexed, and disappointed as I do. After enjoying the satisfaction of supposing my friends all arrived safe; I find this day that the report was without any foundation. That Callahan has not arrived, and has not even been spoken with, as has been said.
I walk'd in the evening with Stacey, and called afterwards, for half an hour at Mrs. Hoopers.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-29


Club at Thompson's this evening. Putnam inform'd us, he must leave us at a quarter before nine. I told him he must make no appointments for Thursday evenings. It was no appointment he said; but he was under an indispensible obligation to write a letter this evening: accordingly he left us. At nine we likewise came away. I took a walk with Stacey in high street, with the expectation of meeting Putnam; nor were we disappointed. He was walking home with the young Ladies, that he is generally most attentive to.
After we had ascertained the matter sufficiently, we continued a walk, and, I came home at about ten. I found a bundle, for me which Mr. Carter brought from Boston, but there was no Letter with it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-30


I called this morning at Mr. Bradbury's office, and affronted Putnam by rallying him upon his deception last night. In the afternoon I walked with Thompson: we overtook Mr. J. Tracy and his Lady; and accompanied them. As we were passing by Mrs. Atkins's she arrived, with her son from Boston. We stopp'd there a few minutes. Genl. Lincoln is Lieutt. Governor, &c.
We spent the remainder of the evening at Mr. Carter's with the old gentleman; as none of the young folks were at home.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0005-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-05-31


Finished, this forenoon with Hawkins. Dined at Mr. N. Carter's. As did Mr. Farnham and Thompson: called at the office in the afternoon; but did nothing. Walk'd with Thompson. { 410 } Went in to Mrs. Hooper's and drank tea there. Miss Emery was with her. I soon came out and left Thompson there. I took a solitary walk of two or three miles into Newbury: was surprised by the rain, and quite sprinkled before I got home. We have had a great deal of rain this Season, but very little warm weather. Fruits rather backward.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-01

Sunday June 1st. 1788.

Mr. Allen preached for us this day; and I attended to hear him. His Sermons are judicious and sensible; but his manner of delivering them is very disagreeable.
In the evening I took a long walk with Doctor Kilham; and pass'd the remainder of it at home.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-02


Pickman returned this day from Salem, where he has been for ten days past.
I began to read Wood's Institutes;1 a book written upon a similar plan, to that of Blackstone; but much inferior in the execution.
I took a long walk this evening alone, musing and contemplating upon a subject which at this time engrosses all my attention.
1. Thomas Wood, An Institute of the Laws of England; Or, The Laws of England in TheirNatural Order, According to Common Use..., London, 1720.

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

[salute] Gentlemen

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

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

[salute] Adieu.

[signed] S.P.
The Answer

[salute] Sir

The formal and ceremonious manner in which you have been pleased to address the members of the club, constrains me to adopt a stile, which to a Class-mate and an intimate, I cannot but use with reluctance.
The charges of unkindness, of severity and illiberality, which your letter contains, were considered by Stacey and Thompson, so far as they respected them, as unmerited. To me alone, we supposed they could in any manner be applicable. That my observations upon the Subject were severe, I freely acknowledge, since, whatever the truth might be, the occurrence, was not of sufficient importance, to me to justify the strength of my expres• { 413 } sions: they might therefore bear the appearance, of unkindness, but if unkindness consists in the intention, I can sincerely declare, that nothing was more foreign to my heart. But Sir I am not conscious that even my treatment of you, could be justly charged with illiberality. For the repeated instances of equivocation in your conduct upon the same subject, which you have acknowledged, might I conceive excuse my doubting the truth of assertions, which upon similar occasions you had always made with equal seriousness; if however you still consider yourself as injured, I am ready to make any acknowledgment which you may think your honour can require. At the same time I would submit to your consideration, whether your leaving thus abruptly a society which among our acquaintance is generally known to exist, might not excite their curiosity; and whether if the occasion of your quitting us, should accidentally transpire, it might not be productive of consequences equally mortifying to us all; as, to every impartial person the original cause of separation must appear trifling and puerile.
Your proposal “that the affair may be considered as relating only to the club,” I am perswaded, you, will acknowledge upon further reflection, to be impracticable. For if the injury which you have received is sufficiently great to induce you to dissolve your connection, with a Society “whose pleasures you once eagerly sought, as eagerly wished to deserve, as richly enjoyed” how can you upon all other occasions, retain that friendship and confidence, from which alone those pleasures were derived. I trust you will suffer these considerations to have their weight in your mind, and as you say you write not “under the influence of passion and resentment,” I hope you will be induced to drop your present intentions, and not give us reason at every subsequent meeting to regret the loss of one of the original members of the institution.
If however, you should persist in your present sentiments, we must decline waiting on you at your lodgings, as the meeting would necessarily be attended with a great degree of that restraint, an exemption from which is one of those charms whence we derive our greatest enjoyments. As Pickman expects to be absent the week after next he has desired us to call next Thursday evening at his lodgings. There we shall be happy to see you: to renew over a friendly glass the social intercourse which has thus { 414 } unfortunately been interrupted, and to bury in oblivion a dissention which we sincerely hope may never be revived.
[signed] J. Q. A.
1. None of the original correspondence copied in the entries for this and the following day has been found.
2. JQA indicates in his line-a-day entry that he took a walk between his club meeting and letter-writing (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

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


In the forenoon I sent my letter to Putnam, and in about an hour received the following reply which crowns the whole. It is inserted to complete the Story, and because it shows the characteristic consistency of the person.

[salute] My dear friend

The idea of my past follies and imprudences affords me Sensations inexpressibly disagreeable. Had I reflected with an eye of impartiality, on my conduct, I am confident I never should have charged you with illiberality. No, my friend, I confess I have had so many proofs of your candour and openness that I blush to have ever insinuated an Idea, so different from that which on reflection I find to be the real sentiment of my heart. O how fickle and weak must be that mind, which sees only the favourable side of a question wherein self is a party. I trust your candour to bury this, together with the unhappy cause of all.
You will be pleased for a moment to put yourself in my situation. You must conceive that with the Sentiments I last evening entertained, I must have been unhappy, had I been present. This must excuse my addressing you in the manner I did. I think Thomson and Stacey were equally concerned with you;—'tis true they did not say so much as you did, but they assented to all you advanced. At the time I proposed leaving the Club, I was sensible, I deprived myself of a source of choicest pleasure—but when I reflected that pleasure was to arise at your expence—I could not persuade myself to make the purchase at so great a price—I will call at Pickman's as you request—May more than egyptian darkness intercept from light the unfortunate event— May we once more taste the joys of sociability—Bacchus I am sure will lend his assistance—May we renew our friendship over the pipe of peace and banish discord far away.

[salute] Believe me dear John to be your real friend.

[signed] S. P.
{ 415 } These Letters shall be without a comment, as in my opinion they speak enough of themselves.
In the evening I was walking with Thompson; as we were passing before Mr. J. Tracy's, he invited us in: we pass'd the evening there; it was club night; and there were eight or ten such smoakers that we were almost suffocated. The evening however was agreeable; and after supper I completed my walk before I returned home.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-07


Mr. Parsons came home from Boston this evening; where he has been attending at the general court; but he brought no news for me. I went with Pickman up to Sawyer's tavern and drank tea there. This walk is very agreeable, and employs the evening well.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-08


Mr. Webster1 from Salisbury preached for us this day: a venerable old gentleman who has been subject to many misfortunes, and whose countenance is expressive of the sensibility which has so often been wounded.
I took a long walk in the evening with Stacey; a young fellow who has been very imprudent; but whose disposition is I believe very good.
1. Rev. Samuel Webster, minister of the West Parish, Salisbury (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:250–259).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-09


Mr. Parsons had so much information to give every one who came into the office this day that, we could not attend much to the regular course of our reading. I took a long lonely walk in the evening, as I often do at present; and I find the practice advantageous both to my health and spirits.1
1. In his line-a-day entry, JQA notes that the weather was cold (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-10


Stroll'd a mile or two with Pickman: he has the appearance of a true and faithful Lover, and acknowledges that he takes but { 416 } very little satisfaction in this Town: he proposes spending but a few weeks more here, and then to open an office in Salem.
As I came home I stopp'd and past an hour at Mrs. Hooper's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-11


I walk'd this evening with Stacey. The weather was very beautiful, and we proposed to form a party for a Serenade, as soon as may be convenient.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-12


Townsend arrived in town this forenoon: I called at Mrs. Hooper's to see him immediately after dinner: he looks better than he was when he left this Town; but his situation still appears to me to be critical. Club met at Pickman's. Putnam appeared rather sober. Townsend was obliged to retire just before Sun-set. Farnham too was not in the highest Spirits, for Mr. Prout marries Miss S. Jenkins this evening. At nine we separated and at ten met again at my room. We sallied out at about eleven, and serenaded the Ladies in Town till between three and four in the morning.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-13


Townsend, and one or two more of my friends dined with me this day. He went in the afternoon to see Mrs. Emery, and found there, a Miss Taylor who came there last evening from Boston: she was going to Exeter, and as Townsend was going to take a ride; he proposed to go in company with her as far as the ferry. This Miss Taylor is handsome, and remarkably sociable; and although she has been in a declining State of health, for more than a year past, and came very lately from Halifax, to Boston merely to recruit her strength, yet by some unaccountable deception she looks in the finest bloom of Health. It seems indeed to be an uncommon felicity attending many young Ladies at this day, that they can enjoy all the benefits of ill health without, being much afflicted, with its cruel pains.
We accompanied the Lady to Amesbury; and after seeing her into the boat took our leave. Returning home we stopp'd and drank tea with Mrs. Atkins. Mrs. Bass and Mr. Atkins had just arrived from Dunstable. I pass'd the evening with Townsend at { 417 } Mrs. Hooper's; but came home quite early, as I was somewhat fatigued by the last night's expedition.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-14


Finished reading in Wood's Institutes; a book which has been rendered almost useless by the publication of Blackstone's commentaries. Dined with Mr. Parsons. Took a long walk in the afternoon, and pass'd the evening with Townsend at Mrs. Hooper's. Pickman went to Salem this morning.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-15


Mr. Allen preach'd; and as usual delivered a good Sermon, in a very bad manner. After meeting; I went up to Mr. J. Tracy's; I found Townsend there, and rode a few miles with him. We return'd and drank tea at Mrs. Atkins's. Townsend's health not permitting him to be out after Sun-set, we came home early, and I was with him all the evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-16


Townsend intended to have set away this morning; to go to Medfield; but the weather was so chilly and disagreeable that he thought it would be best to wait another day. Thompson and I dined and pass'd a great part of the day with him. I was again disappointed upon the arrival of the stage, as I have been so often heretofore; by hearing no news from Boston.
I began upon Bacon's pleas and pleadings; a subject which demands great attention.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-17


Townsend left Town this morning, but as the wind soon got easterly, I imagine he did not go far. Mr. Parsons went over to Ipswich where the Supreme Court are this week in Session. In the beginning of the evening the weather cleared up, and I took a long solitary walk. I had turn'd round, and was coming home, when I heard a horse coming upon full galop and somebody called me by name. I stopped and found it was Stacey, who congratulated me upon my father's arrival. He came from Ipswich on purpose to give me the Information. Just as I had pass'd by Mr. Tracy's, one of his Servants gave me a Letter,1 with a re• { 418 } quest that I would go down to his House: I went accordingly, and found Mr. Hichborn there; the Letter was from Mr. Thaxter,2 and contained the same joyful tidings that Stacey had brought me. It seems Judge Sullivan left Boston this day at about twelve o'clock; and when he came away Callahan was coming up the Harbour: after passing an hour at Mr. Tracy's I came home, with a light heart; but not wholly without fears that this information like that of a similar nature which has been given me three or four times within a month past, should be founded upon a mistake of one vessel for another.3
1. Letter not found.
2. Not found.
3. In his line-a-day entry, JQA mentions Putnam's name between references to his walk and to Mr. Tracy (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-18


I went to the Office in the forenoon; but found myself incapacitated to do any thing, and therefore lost the morning in conversation. Just before two I went with trembling hope to the post office: and as I went into the door my heart almost failed me: but I was soon made happy by a letter from my brother Tom,1 which confirms the arrival of my Parents. In the afternoon I did nothing more than prepare to go to Boston in the Stage to-morrow morning. I called in the evening at Mrs. Hooper's, and at Mr. Carter's, to take their commands.2
1. Letter not found.
2. In his line-a-day entry, JQA refers to a walk with Thompson before making his visits (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-19


The Stage was full from Portsmouth and consequently I could not obtain a seat. I could not think of waiting till Saturday with a chance of being again disappointed. So I sent forward my little trunk by the Stage, and engaged a horse; at about ten in the forenoon, I left Town, and arrived at Ipswich just before noon. The Supreme Court are sitting there, and I went to the Court house where I saw a number of my friends: among others my classmate Kendall who is going to the Ohio in a short Time. I found likewise at Ipswich a number of the young Ladies from Newbury-Port, who to be sure were gallanted by their fathers. It was { 419 } near four o'clock when I left Ipswich; and Pickman at the same time returned to Salem. It was so late when we got there that I could not think of reaching Boston this night, and I therefore accepted of Pickman's invitation to lodge in town. He went with me to Mr. Derby's; but the young Ladies were not at home, so that I had not the pleasure of being introduced to his Dulcinea. Learned, who is upon the study of physic in this town, pass'd the evening with us.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-20


I was up early in the morning, and mounted my horse at about seven. It was ten when I got into Boston. I went to Mr. Smith's, and found my father was gone to Braintree but my Mamma was at the Governor's: I immediately went there and enjoy'd all the satisfaction that can arise from the meeting so near and dear a friend after a long absence. We dined at Deacon Storer's. Old Mrs. Edwards was there (v. Vol 2. p. 27.)1 and Dr. Waterhouse, &c. Between five and six we set out for Braintree. As I was already somewhat fatigued, my Cousin Cranch gave me up his seat in the Chaise with my Mamma, and took my horse. At about eight we got to Mr. Cranch's, and there my Satisfaction and pleasures were again renew'd at finding my father in good health. And here I must stop for the present.
1. See entry for 11 Aug. 1786 (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-21


The weather was very warm. I went down to my uncle Quincy's, and from thence on the shore. One lighter arrived in the afternoon, with part of the goods and furniture, and the other is expected to-morrow.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-22


Parson Wibird preached in his usual dull unanimated strain. Of late indeed he has lost it is said his only claim to merit by declining wholly to change with the neighbouring ministers. After meeting this evening, I went with W. Cranch down to Mrs. Quincy's and drank tea. Mrs. Quincy of Boston1 was there, and very agreeable: I had never been in company with her before.
1. Abigail Phillips Quincy (1745–1798), wife of Josiah Quincy, “The Patriot.”

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-23


A second lighter came up this day with things from the ship. We were very busy in unpacking during the whole day. A bed was set up in the house in which I lodg'd, but we have done sufficient to make a great deal of work before we get at rights. There is yet a great deal to be done to the house. When I came from Newbury-Port, I intended to have studied as much here as I should have done there; but I begin to suspect that I shall find it utterly impossible. At least I have given up all thoughts of doing any thing in that way for the present.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-24


This day we got so far in order as to make a home of the house. I dined at my uncle Cranch's. The remainder of the packages are expected to-morrow; but those that are already here, are not all unpack'd. Much damage was done on the voyage.1
1. JQA writes, in his line-a-day entry, “Folks got down to the house. I <lodg'>dined out” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-25


This afternoon Mr. and Mrs. Shaw came in from Haverhill; they found us still in great disorder: we began this day to unpack the books; though we have at present no room to stow them in, properly. They were moist and some what mouldy, but not injured at all.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-26


We all dined at Mr. Cranch's. Charles came from Cambridge to spend a day or two with us. I continued this whole day quite industriously, to unpack, and place the books, yet did not get half through with the business. There are a great many books which I wish very much to peruse, but I have not the time at present, and must certainly for some years be separated from them.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-27


The day was spent like the preceding ones. There was some company here in the afternoon.1 I give as much of the little lei• { 421 } sure time I have, as I can conveniently to some lectures upon History and general Policy a new publication of Dr. Priestley,2 whose literary powers may be truly called athletic. There are several other late performances, which I am desirous of reading, but more particularly Mr. Gibbon's continuation of his History of the decline and fall of the roman Empire: which is not however, yet completed.3
1. JQA adds, in his line-a-day entry, “Folks from my uncle's” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).
2. Joseph Priestley, Lectures on History, and General Policy; To Which is Prefixed, An Essay on a Course of Liberal Education for Civil and Active Life, Birmingham, England, 1788 (MQA).
3. The final three volumes were published in 1788 (DNB).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-28


Mrs. Welch and Betsey Smith came from Boston this morning; we all went to Weymouth and dined at Doctor Tufts's. In the afternoon I went over to Mr. Norton's house; where in my Infancy I have spent many days, which I scarcely remember even as a distant dream; but before this day I had not been in the house these nine years.1 As I returned from Weymouth I was overtaken by the rain, and stop'd at Mr. Cranch's; but it did not abate, and I went home in the midst of it.
1. Jacob Norton, the minister at Weymouth, was living in the parsonage previously occupied by JQA's grandfather, Rev. William Smith.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-29


I attended at meeting and heard Mr. Wibird. The weather was rather dull and somewhat sultry. I am still undetermined whether to return this week to Newbury-Port, or wait till after Commencement: I believe however I shall determine upon the latter.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0006-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-06-30


Mr. and Mrs. Shaw return'd to Haverhill this morning: and this day I finished unpacking the books; which however must continue for some time in great disorder.1
{ 422 }
1. At the bottom of JQA's line-a-day entries for June in D/JQA/13, he has written a phrase in shorthand, followed, on the line below, by the date “June 17.” The inscription is JQA's earliest recorded use of John Byrom's shorthand system, antedating other shorthand specimens in his papers by twenty years, and the first of about a half-dozen examples he entered into this Diary before the end of the year. Byrom's characters here are rendered “year on the 25th August.” The significance of either date to JQA is not known to the editors. In 1794, while en route to his diplomatic post in the Netherlands, JQA mentioned having once attempted to learn shorthand, “but soon gave over the pursuit; not having a very high opinion of the utility of the art, and being very early weary of the labour to acquire it.” He briefly resumed his study of it, but abandoned it until the following decade (Thomas Molineux, An Introduction to Byrom's Universal English Short-Hand, 5th edn., London, 1821; JQA, Diary, 3 Oct. 1794).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-01

Tuesday July 1st. 1788.

It was nine o'clock before I could get away from Braintree this morning, and I arrived at the Colleges just before the exhibition began. A Latin Oration was spoken by Kirkland and was very well. The Forensic between Palmer and Waterman was tolerable, but I forget the subject. The english Dialogue between Thacher and Gray was well spoken, but rather stiff. The greek Dialogue between the youngest Sullivan and my brother Tom, was quite short and not the worse for that. The English Oration was by Blake; the subject agriculture. It was in my opinion very flimsy and superficial: but as we came out I heard a young fellow, who had something of the appearance of a would-be fop, exclaim “upon my soul Blake has given us one of the genteelest Orations I every heard.” In former days, gentility with respect to composition, consisted in bad spelling and bad grammar, under which sense the description would not be wholly unjust. But what the expression means at this day I know not; and therefore its singularity was what I chiefly remarked. I was agreeably surprized to meet my friend Thompson here; but saw him only for a few minutes. I went down and dined at Judge Dana's. Mr. Ben. Ellery was there; an uncle to Mrs. Dana; a rich old gentleman; and somewhat singular in his character. In the afternoon I called at Mr. Wiggles worth's, and past an hour agreeably with them. I went to Mr. Gannett's; and at about seven in the evening called at the President's. He was not at home, and as I knew not what to do with myself for the remainder of the evening, I thought I might as well go home; I immediately went to Bradish's, mounted my horse, and after nine arrived safe in Braintree; somewhat fatigued with my day's work; but well satisfied with my jaunt.
{ 423 }

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-02


The weather was extremely warm. I amused myself part of the day in reading, and part in shooting. The cherry trees which are quite full at present, are so inviting to the birds that, there is very good sport with little trouble.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-03


Between nine and ten I went with my father from Braintree. We got into Cambridge at about twelve. After stopping a few minutes at College, we first went down and called upon Judge Trowbridge:1 He is very old; and although active for his years, yet the depradations of time are conspicuous upon him. We dined at Mr. Dana's. Mr. and Mrs. Channing from Rhode Island, were there; they are agreeable. In the afternoon we first called at the Presidents, and drank tea there: from thence we went to Mr. Gerry's and past the evening: we found Mrs. Warren there, and were in the midst of antifederalism: but quite in good humour. My father had promised to take a lodging, at Judge Dana's; but at Mr. Gerry's invitation I past the night at his house.
1. Edmund Trowbridge, loyalist and former judge of the pre-Revolutionary Massachusetts Superior Court of Judicature, and uncle of Francis Dana (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:507–520; 15:204).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-04


We left Cambridge by nine o'clock, and got into Boston in the midst of the bustle. We went immediately to Bracken's tavern. After dressing, I walk'd out; and met with a number of my very good friends. At about eleven we went to the old South meeting house, and heard Mr. Otis deliver an Oration.1 The composition and the delivery were much superior even to my expectations, which were somewhat sangwine. It was greatly superior in my opinion to that which he delivered when he took his second degree; the only public performance, that I had heard before from him. I saw my good friend Bridge for a few minutes only: he told me he expected to be at Newbury-Port in about three weeks from this. I likewise met with Townsend as I was going out of the Church; and we went together to the old brick; to hear General Hull's Oration to the Cincinnati;2 it appeared to me rather indifferent; and the effect upon me was the greater from the in• { 425 } voluntary comparison with that which I had just heard. However I found afterwards there were many persons who thought or pretended to think this Oration better both in matter and manner than the other: and they have certainly a right to enjoy their opinions: I dined at Deacon Storer's. Parson Wibird was there and some other company. In the afternoon I walk'd up on the common, to see the military parade, which was not however so spirited as at the last anniversary: but in the middle of the afternoon, the news arrived that Virginia had acceded to the federal Constitution, and immediately the bells were set to ringing, and the guns to firing again, without any mercy, and continued all the remainder of the afternoon. In the evening a number of young fellows paraded round the streets with candles lighted in their hands, and a drum before them, not much to their own credit or to the honour of the day; but they did no damage. I spent part of the evening with several of my classmates; but not finding Bridge, I returned early, and took my lodging at Brackett's.
1. Harrison Gray Otis, An Oration Delivered July 4, 1788 . . ., Boston, 1788.
2. William Hull, An Oration Delivered to the Society of the Cincinnati . . . July 4, 1788, Boston, 1788.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-05


We called this morning at Dr. Welch's, and at Mr. Guild's; but left town at about ten o'clock: It was almost one when we got to Braintree. I amused myself as I could in the afternoon: Mrs. Warren,1 with her son Harry stop'd here this night on their way to Plymouth; to which place General Warren has removed back, after living about eight years at Milton. He was formerly a very popular man, but of late years he has thought himself neglected by the People; his mind has been soured, and he became discontented, and querulous: he has been charged with using his influence in favour of Tender acts and paper money; and it has even been very confidently asserted, that he secretly favoured the insurrections and rebellion of the winter before last. Whether his conduct has been misrepresented or not, is a point that must for the present remain undetermined. But he has certainly given some reason for suspicion by his imprudence; and when in a time of rebellion a man openly censures the conduct in general, and almost every individual act of an administration, an impar• { 426 } tial public will always judge, that such a man cannot be greatly opposed to a party who are attacking the same measures.
Mrs. Warren however positively declared there was no truth in those allegations, and was very confident, that they were nothing more than the suggestions of the general's enemies, whose malignity, was unaccountable, but whose utmost spite and envy could not disturb his happiness

“For all the distant din this world can keep

Rolls o'er his grotto and but sooths his sleep.”

1. Mercy Otis Warren, historian and dramatist, wife of James Warren. The Adamses and Warrens had maintained a close friendship for many years.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-06


The weather was rather disagreeable in the morning, and Mrs. Warren was disposed to stay and pass the Sunday with us. But her Son was so anxious to get home, that she finally determined to go; and they went away at about nine. I attended at meeting, and heard Parson Wibird dose over a couple of Sermons. There is none of my time that I regret more than that I spend in hearing him: were it not for the propriety of attending public worship abstracted from all considerations of improvement or entertainment, I should seldom enter within the walls of that house while he continues to slumber there.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-07


W. Cranch went to Boston this morning; and I suppose, I shall have but very little of his company for the Future, as he is to be fixed henceforth for some time to his office. I amused myself as I have done for several days past, in diverse manners. In the evening my two brothers arrived from Cambridge; having obtained leave to be absent till friday when the scholars will all be dismiss'd.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-08


I past the greater part of the day in gunning,1 with my brothers. The weather was as it has been for several days past extremely warm; and the fruits of the earth at present greatly require heat.
1. “Shooting robins” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-09


Doctor Leonard1 came here in the morning: this gentleman came as a passenger with Callahan. He underwent a violent prosecution two or three years ago in England, for endeavouring to come to America with some models of manufacturing machines. But after being two years in prison he was released and immediately resumed his original intentions; but he is now come over without his models; and he rather purposes at present to practice in his original profession as a physician and surgeon.
I bath'd in the Sea, this afternoon; the first time I have done so this Summer; indeed it is rather troublesome here, on account of insects which are almost innumerable.2
1. William Leonard practiced medicine in Newburyport and later in Ohio (S. P. Hildreth, “Biographical Sketches of the Early Physicians of Marietta, Ohio,” NEHGR, 3:137–138 [April 1849]; same, 5:357 [July 1851]).
2. In his line-a-day entry JQA adds, between notes on Leonard and bathing, that he “Read a little” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-10


George Warren came over from Milton this forenoon, and paid us a visit. He opened an office in Milton last winter, and has done as much business, as a lawyer generally does for the first six months after he begins; but the prospects are far from being encouraging. When I am in spirits this circumstance strikes me only as an incentive to more strenuous exertions: and at such times I feel such a resolution to overcome difficulties, that I seem already in a fair way of acquiring reputation and property. My father says, that when he was a student, he heard, an old lawyer tell the present Judge Sewall, who was then a student likewise, “that he never knew a lawyer that studied, who did not grow rich.” The observation made an impression, and his own experience has confirmed it.1
1. JQA adds, in his line-a-day entry: “Rather idle. Time lost” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-11


This day completes my twenty first year; It emancipates me from the yoke of paternal authority which I never felt, and places me upon my own feet, which have not strength enough to support me. I continue therefore still in a state of dependence. { 428 } One third of the period of my professional studies has also now elapsed; and two years more will settle me, should life and health continue; in a situation where all my expectations are to center. I feel sometimes a strong desire to know what my circumstances will be in seven years from this: but I must acknowledge, I believe my happiness would rather be injured than improved by the information.1
1. In his line-a-day entry, JQA adds: “Mr. Cranch. Shooting” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-12


In the diverse amusements of reading, of shooting birds, and playing upon our flutes we past the present day.1 The weather is and has for a fortnight past been such that fatiguing occupations cannot be attended to: I read very little; and that of a light kind which does not greatly engage the mind; and as for writing, I have so much abandoned it that I have not written three pages since I left Newbury-Port. My brothers are much in the same way.
1. JQA mentions “Priestley on history. Bathing” in his line-a-day entry (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-13


Weather still extremely warm. I heard Parson Wibird. Mr. Q. Thaxter was at meeting in the forenoon; and went and dined with us. In the afternoon, Madam, went down to my Uncle Quincy's, and I drank tea with my brothers at my Uncle Adams's. And we bath'd at the creek in the evening.1
1. JQA notes, in his line-a-day entry, “Parson Wibird all day,” presumably referring to his attendance at meeting in the morning and afternoon (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-14


Ben Beale came from Taunton this morning; he did not stop, but promised to come and see us ere long. When I came in from shooting, which still continues to be my sport and my occupation, I found a Parson West1 here, an old gentleman, who was three years in college with my father, and at that time very intimate with him. He is very sociable and very sensible. He spent { 429 } the day here, and passes the night likewise. He keeps late hours and entertained me with conversation upon language, till between twelve and one o'clock. Doctor Leonard left us this morning, after having past almost a week with us. He appears to be a very clever well disposed man; but possessing no great learning nor even much information.
1. Samuel West, Harvard 1754, minister of the First Congregational Society, New Bedford, for whom JA had a life-long “strong affection” (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:501–510; JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:261).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-15


Mr. West went away this morning; My Father and my brother Charles, went to Boston; whence they will proceed tomorrow to Cambridge. Beale came here this forenoon, and took a dinner with us. He is studying law, with Mr. Barnes at Taunton, but spends much of his time at home. Mr. Wibird pass'd the afternoon and evening here. Dr. Tufts called here on his way to Boston, and my brother Tom went to Cambridge this afternoon; for my own part, I preferred waiting till tomorrow morning. And I have finally determined to return here after Commencement, at least for a day or two.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-16


Commencement day. I mounted my horse, somewhat early, and arrived at Cambridge by nine o'clock. The first Salutation I received as I was going into the College yard was “repent: for the kingdom of Heaven is at hand.” It was a crazy man; but without any great share of enthusiasm, for that sentence was the only thing he said; and he repeated it every two or three minutes during the whole forenoon: and I could not help reflecting with pleasure upon the happy liberality of sentiment, which prevails so much that a man of this kind, so far from attracting the notice of the executive power, could not even draw a crowd around him. I saw my Classmates in abundance; there were more than thirty of us here. At about eleven we went to the meeting house; and I got a seat in the foremost gallery, next to Townsend. The procession soon came on, and the president after making a prayer, and informing the audience it was the desire of the overseers and corporation that there might be no “clapping applause,” called For the Salutatory Oration, which was spoken by Phillips, and { 430 } was pretty well delivered. An English poem, on the prospects of America, by Dodge, was not without its merit; but would not bear comparison with that spoken last Commencement by Harris. The order in which the other performances came on was as follows.
A forensic disputation upon this question. Whether the balance would be in favour of our existence were there no state but the present. By Sanders and Tappan.
A greek Conference upon the evil effects of avarice, and of prodigality, upon Society. By Gardner and Jackson.
A forensic disputation. Whether a republic is more secure of the continuance of its liberties, where the officers in the higher branches of government are elected for several years, than when they are annually elected? By Gordon and Lincoln.
An English conference. Whether a large emigration from Europe into the United States of America, would upon the whole be for the real advantage of the States. By Adams 2d. and Cabot.
An English Oration. By Abbot.
The syllogistics were omitted, and these performances were finished by two o'clock. I went and dined at Judge Dana's, and at about four returned to the meeting house. An English Oration was delivered by Mr. Ware upon the effects of religion, upon civil government and Society. It was an excellent Oration, and notwithstanding the president's Caution in the morning, there was something like a clap; which proceeded chiefly I imagine from the Students that were present. The president with his peculiar elegance of expression said “I am sorry that the desires of the Corporation and Overseers should be infringed upon,” and proceeded to give the degrees. There was a new ceremony, of giving a degree of bachelor in physic. Two young fellows by the name of Hall and Fleet received these diplomas, and even the president in giving them seemed to have the awkwardness of novelty about him. A valedictory Oration was spoken by Mr. Allyne, and the president made a concluding prayer, which concluded the public ceremonies of the day. I forgot to observe that after the forenoon performances were finished, the governor got up, addressed the president who was likewise standing, by the title of “reverend and learned Sir,” and made a long speech in which he blest his Stars for being born in a land of Liberty and Science &c. Some people thought his performance was equal to any in the course of the day; but opinions on that subject were { 431 } divided. It was prepared before hand, though it bore ample testimony of the genius and learning which the young gentlemen had display'd.

“Wherein all prophets far out went he

Though former days produced a plenty.

For any man, with half an eye

What stands before him can espy,

But optics sharp it needs, I ween

To see what is not to be seen.”1

To return. After we came out of the meeting house I stroll'd about for some time, greeting one friend and another as I met them. I went with Forbes and Little, and drank tea at Dr. Wigglesworth's. I returned to College, and spent the evening in diverse places. I finally found young Phillips, and took a supper with him at his chamber where I found also a number of his classmates. I retired at about eleven o'clock having enjoy'd the day very highly; but my spirits had been so much raised that I could get but little sleep.
1. John Trumbull, McFingal, Phila., 1775, p. 3 (lines 65–70).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-17


The young gentlemen who graduated yesterday were.
Benjamin Abbot
Solomon Adams
Thomas Adams
Thomas Bancroft
Oliver Barron
Stephen Baxter
Joseph Brigham
Joseph Cabot
George Caryl
Edward Clarke
Oliver Dodge
James Gardner
Adam Gordon
William Hill
Charles Jackson
Abner Lincoln
Henry Phelps
John Phillips
James Prescott
Daniel Clarke Sanders
William Sawyer
Amos Tappan
John Dexter Treadwell
Charles Turner
Nathan Underwood
Samuel West
Robert Wier
Jacob Kimbal's name is inserted in the Theses and Catalogue but he could not obtain his degree being unable to pay his bills.
{ 432 }
This morning Mr. Andrews called me at College, before six o'clock, and we soon departed together towards Braintree where we arrived at about nine. Mr. Andrews breakfasted with us, and then proceeded to Hingham. My Spirits were so much exalted yesterday, that a contrary effect seems this day to take place; the bow-string by being too much distended cannot regain its usual position without an intermediate relaxation; the weather was sultry and I felt much fatigued.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-18


Upon the warmest day we have had this Summer I was obliged to go to Boston, upon a hard trotting horse; with the Sun blazing in my face all the way. I do not know that I ever suffered more, from the heat. And when I got into Boston I was obliged to bustle about almost all the day. I had to call three times at Mr. Green's Store before I could get the payment for a bill of exchange, which I think is a very irregular manner for a merchant to transact business. I got the money however in the afternoon. I dined at Mr. Dawes's. He was not at home himelf; but Mrs. Dawes is a charming woman. She is handsome, but there is an amiable sweetness in her countenance and manners, far more pleasing, than the most perfect beauty could be without it. W. Cranch accompanied me in all my excursions. We went together on the top of Beacon hill; and greatly enjoyed the fine prospect, and the refreshing breeze. At about seven o'clock the wind got round, and it grew quite cool. I mounted, and rode about a quarter of an hour in the rain, after which I had a tolerable ride, and got home, by nine o'clock. I had taken some letters from the post-office, which were from my Sister at New York.1
1. Possibly AA2 to JQA, 8 June (Adams Papers); and AA2 to AA, 15–22 June, in AA2, Jour. and Corr., 2:80–84||, and Adams Family Correspondence, 8:273–275.||

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-19


I was considerably fatigued by my jaunt of yesterday, but made out however to read something, in the course of the day; and in the slow progress which I have made since I came to Braintree, I have at length got through the volume of Doctor Priestley upon history and general policy, which I take to be an excellent work; I shall take as early an opportunity as possible to peruse it again.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-20


I tarried at home this forenoon, in order to write a Letter to my Sister.1 In the afternoon I attended at meeting.2 Went up to Mr. Cranch's after meeting and pass'd an hour there. I took my leave of them, and went home to prepare for returning to Newbury-Port. I know not that I ever left Braintree with so much regret. I have past my time most agreeably here these five weeks, and have had almost all my nearest connexions and dearest friends about me: but otherwise, almost all the Time has been lost to me, and I must return to those pursuits which are to be the support of my future Life. In the winter I hope, to spend some weeks here, and then I shall endeavour to join the utile dulci.
1. Letter not found.
2. “Heard Parson Wibird” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-21


This morning I left Braintree in company with my brother Tom, who was going to Haverhill; and in order to have company, so great a part of the way, I determined to go there with him. We stopp'd a short time at Cambridge, and I went to Dr. Rand's to take a Letter from Miss Newhall, as I had promised her at Commencement. She was gone out but had left the Letter. We dined in Wilmington, and got to Haverhill between seven and eight o'clock.1 In Woburn, we saw young Bartlett who had thoughts some time since, of opening an office in Braintree, but got discouraged there and finally determined upon Woburn, where from the appearance of the place, I should doubt somewhat of his succeeding very much; but in the present state of the profession, there can be but little choice of place for a young man.
1. JQA adds, in his line-a-day entry, a reference to Mr. Shaw, at whose house he presumably stayed (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-22


I went to see Leonard White this forenoon. His father has been unwell for some days past. His complaints are of a lethargic nature, and his habit is such, that such disorders must probably prove in the end fatal to him. He now sleeps as much as half his time, and is consequently half dead. I went to see Mrs. Bartlett, and saw Mr. S. Blodget there: his brother Caleb, and young Mr. { 434 } Breck I met with yesterday on the road from Boston; at the tavern, and they came forward before us. I pass'd the afternoon at Mr. Thaxter's, and the evening at Mr. Shaw's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-23


I had almost promised Mr. Thaxter to wait till the afternoon; but as there was an appearance of a probability that the weather would be disagreeable, I thought it would be safest to come home before dinner. My Brother Tom, rode with me about four miles to the ferry. I got to my lodgings between twelve and one. I called at Dr. Kilham's shop: and there received an invitation from Mr. Marquand to dine with him. There was some company there; but persons with whom I had no acquaintance. I called at the office in the afternoon: and returned to Mr. Marquand's to tea. In the evening, I went and delivered to Miss Coats the letter which Miss Newhall left for her, and came home quite early.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-24


I returned, and once more took my seat in the office: but did little this forenoon. Thompson was unwell, and did not attend. I went with Putnam to club at Little's; there were only three of us. Thompson being indisposed, and Stacey out of town. I was this day inform'd that Pickman has lain aside all thoughts of practising Law, and has already opened a Store in Boston. The determination was rather sudden; for it is but a fortnight, since he was sworn in to Court at Salem; where he then intended to open an office immediately. But he never was fond of the profession, and while he was studying with us I suspected, that he would never do much business as a lawyer.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-25


Mr. Andrews came to town last night, and called to see us at the office this forenoon. They have engaged him to preach here at Mr. Carey's for six Sundays and will probably employ him longer still. I returned this day to Bacon's pleas and pleading, which I left when I went to Braintree. But could not proceed with great advantage, as I left my extract book,1 in a small trunk which was to come this day in the stage; but has somehow failed. I shall make some alterations for the future in my plan of study: { 435 } I shall not confine myself so closely and exclusively to the law; but shall devote some part of the day to studies of a lighter and more entertaining kind.
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-26


I went to pay a visit to Mrs. Hooper: but disappointed her by having no news from her son Jo, who is now with Mr. Townsend. Took a long walk quite alone.
We have a new boarder at my lodgings; a Mr. Romain, a frenchman; who came, a few days after I went from here last. I have not seen him yet: as he went on a fishing party the day that I came home; and is not yet returned.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-27


Mr. Andrews preached for us this day; and was somewhat longer than usual to the great satisfaction of some people who cannot easily be contented. Mr. Spring, and Mr. Murray, both had a third meeting in the evening; it was occasional at Mr. Murray's, but Mr. Spring is determined henceforth to make a practice of giving a lecture on Sundays; besides, one in the evening, on Thursdays. As Mr. Carey's parish may now be considered as vacant, an opportunity presents to attract some of those who belong there. The spiritual welfare of the individuals may charitably be supposed the only motive which Mr. Spring will acknowledge even to himself. But says the duke de la Rochefoucault, (who was as fully convinced of the depravity of the human heart as Mr. Spring, and who was much better acquainted with it.) 'Tesprit est toujours la dupe du coeur.” The head is ever the dupe of the heart. And when the passions assume the form of principle, the disguise will be discovered by every body else sooner than by the man who is directed by them. Mr. Spring's interest will be promoted should he make converts, for his parish is small and poor: his vanity will be flattered, by bringing people over to his opinion; and when in addition to this, his imagination fondly perswades him, that his cause is likewise the cause of God, it is not to be wondered that he can reconcile himself to contradictions, and that his practice is openly at variance with his theory, which condemns the use of means for bringing sinners to repentance.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-28


I finished reading Bacon's pleas and pleading: but the subject is so knotty that I must at some future period, read this over once or twice more. I began a third time upon Blackstone, a book which a lawyer cannot possibly read too much. In the evening I walk'd into Newbury with Stacey. I have been engaged for some days upon a matter which takes all my leisure time: it is in writing a piece for the 5th. of September. The Society at Cambridge, have ordered me to speak on that day; and I shall obey, if I can possibly attend.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-29


After spending the day as usual, I walk'd with Stacey and Putnam. After going some way into Newbury we return'd, and walk'd upon a sort of a terrass in high Street.1 We there saw a number of young Ladies who seemed to expect to be accosted; and some of whom finally sat down on the grass, perhaps to see if that would not call our attention to them; but we were really inexorable: notwithstanding Miss Bradbury was there: indeed it has been observed that Putnam has of late wholly altered his conduct towards her; and there have been many speculations concerning the cause or the causes of this difference. Some of these young Ladies were so much piqued at our apparent neglect of them that they revenged themselves with proper Spirit by laughing loud at us as we past by them: and what punishment could possibly be more severe than the ridicule of a young Lady?
1. Presumably at the “Frog pond” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-30


This afternoon Mr. Cutler called at our office, and perswaded me to ride with him up to Mr. Brown's farm; where we found a number of young Ladies. The afternoon was tolerably insipid: we drank tea there; and afterwards escorted the Ladies. I rode with Miss Jones, and left her at Captain Fletcher's. I afterwards returned there, but she was already gone. There was a very brilliant northern light in the evening.
Mr. Cutler is one of the most complaisant persons with whom I am acquainted. The ladies employ him upon almost every occasion; and yet behave to him in such a manner as does not express { 437 } a sense of obligations received. They even slight and disregard him for performing those services by which he renders himself useful to them. There are problems in the female character, which are not easily solved.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0007-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-07-31


I amuse myself in reading Junius's letters; which though the factious productions of a partizan, contain many excellent observations upon men and manners.
We met this evening at Putnam's. Thompson left us to go to Lecture!1
1. Below JQA's line-a-day entry for 31 July in D/JQA/13, he has written in Byrom's shorthand method “year August 28th,” the significance of which is unknown to the editors, but may be related to his earlier notation in Byrom's shorthand. See entry for 30 June, note 1 (above).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-01

Friday August 1st. 1788.

The day was spent in the usual uninteresting manner: indeed it may be generally observed that the more advantageously the day is employed for myself; the less I have to say at the close of it.1 I walk'd in the evening with Stacey till after nine o'clock.
1. JQA notes, in his line-a-day entry, Blackstone's Commentaries, which he presumably read this day (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-02


Mr. Farnham proposed to me this morning to join a party, which was formed to go in the afternoon to the grove; a romantic spot, where the young people are fond of visiting. I declined however: and they finally gave up the scheme, as they were informed the proprietor of the land had some objections. I have been this week tolerably industrious.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-03


I heard Mr. Andrews preach. About as long as he was last Sunday. I think he is gaining ground in the parish. And am in hopes that he may be finally settled, without much opposition. Which would greatly disappoint some flaming zealots, who like all zealots justify unworthy means by the sanctity of the end.
I walk'd in the beginning of the evening with Stacey: and af• { 438 } terwards called at Mrs. Hooper's. Betsey gratified her temper by the most unlimited severity upon a number of young Ladies who usually associate together. There appears by her conversation to be some peculiar enmity against them: her mother always reproves her, and always follows her example. There appears a singular pleasure in observing the trifling and silly conduct of that circle; and thus throughout Society, the follies of one, always contribute to the gratification of many others.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-04


Blackstone still furnishes me with employment for my forenoon hours; and I this day took up the fourth volume of Hume's History, which I was reading when I last went from here. This author's manifest partiality in favour of the Stuarts, his unceasing labours to palliate their faults, and his blindness to their crimes, must be overlook'd or forgiven in favor of the great entertainment which he affords.
I pass'd the evening with Thompson, at Mr. Carter's. The Conversation was not uncommonly interesting, though the old gentleman, is always agreeable to me. Betsey Smith of Boston was there and has been with them for several weeks.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-05


This forenoon A Doctor Young came to our office, for a writ against a number of insurgents. It seems he was a volunteer in the service of government, the winter before last; and being upon a party against several of them received a ball in his knee, which has made him a cripple for Life. He brought an action against them some time since at Worcester, but his jury were one half of them insurgents, who were for giving him no damages, and the other half thought he should have a thousand or fifteen hundred pounds, they could not agree: upon which he discontinued his action, and is now determined to bring one forward in this County, where he hopes to find a more impartial jury. The cause will, I doubt not, be very interesting, and Mr. Parsons will exert himself.
I walk'd in the evening with Stacey.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-06


Putnam went last week to Danvers, and return'd this forenoon. He brought me a Letter, which came from Townsend,1 enclosing one for Mrs. Hooper. Amory it seems has suddenly determined to open an office in Salem; and has already put his determination into execution. He had concluded to take a trip, either to Georgia, or Carolina; but upon being informed that Pickman had altered his scheme; he thought it would be best to try his fortune first in this part of the Country. I went in the evening with Thompson, up to Mrs. Atkins's. I told them that Townsend was coming here next week. Becca said she hoped he would make himself welcome by bringing Jo. Hooper with him: it was conjectured while Townsend lived in this Town, that he had a partiality for this lady. He frequented the house very much; and there appears now a coolness in them bordering upon the resentment of disappointment. Mrs. Atkins said that a man must generally be a good judge of his own compositions, and ask'd me if I was of that opinion; I was not and endeavoured to avoid answering directly; but she would not suffer it; and I was finally obliged to agree, to the truth of her observation; protestando to myself that it was only from complaisance to a Lady, that I agreed; which will always excuse a little self-denying as Hudibras calls it.
1. Letter not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-07


Thompson did not attend this day at the Office. Phillips called to see us this afternoon. He has been to Portsmouth, and is now upon his return to Boston: he expects to read law in Mr. Dawes's office. I walk'd into Newbury this evening with Stacey. The evenings grow long to my great regret. At present I can employ the evening from dusk till nine o'clock in walking; and as I am not over fond of visiting, this is the most agreeable, as well as to me the most useful method of spending my Time. I am not upon familiar terms in one house in Town; and upon the cold formality of ceremony, with which all my visits must be accompanied, I confess I wish not to be extensively acquainted.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-08


We met this evening at my lodgings, as we have changed the evening in order to accommodate Thompson who wishes to attend Mr. Spring's lectures. This young fellow, who is possessed of most violent passions which he with great difficulty can command, and of unbounded ambition, which he conceals perhaps even to himself has been seduced into that bigoted, illiberal system of religion which by professing vainly, to follow purely the dictates of the bible, in reality contradicts the whole doctrine of the new testament, and destroys all the boundaries between good and evil, between right and wrong. But like all the followers of that sect, his practice is at open variance with his theory. When I observe into what inconsistent absurdities those persons run, who make speculative, metaphysical religion a matter of importance, I am fully determined never to puzzle myself in the mazes of religious discussion, to content myself with practising the dictates of God and reason; so far as I can judge for myself; and resign myself into the arms of a being whose tender mercies are over all his works.1
1. To this account JQA adds, in his line-a-day entry, “Walk'd after nine. Journal” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-09


Thompson went to see Miss Roberts at Newtown. I cannot read with so much satisfaction for some days past, as I usually do, as my eyes are very troublesome. Walk'd in the evening, but quite alone: I finished a day or two since, my performance for the 5th. of next month;1 and am now very closely engaged in a matter which has been accumulating upon me these two months.
1. According to JQA's draft copy of the Phi Beta Kappa speech, he had completed it on 6 Aug.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-10


Mr. Kimball supplied the place of Mr. Andrews this day. I observed none of Captn. Coombs's family were at meeting, and heard in the afternoon that his Daughter Polly, had left this world; and I trust for a better, this morning; after an illness of four or five months. In the afternoon I went to Mr. Spring's, meeting and heard a Mr. Story1 preach there hammering away in { 441 } the true stile upon predestination and free-will. None but an atheist he said could doubt of the former; and no man that had common sense of the latter. He endeavoured to soften his system as much as possible; hoping thereby, I suppose, that he might be employ'd in the other parish.
I walk'd with Stacey and Romain, in the evening. We met Amory who was returning from Cape Ann with Miss Fletcher. After he had carried her home, he went at about 9 in the evening with Stacey to Ipswich.
1. Probably Isaac Story, minister of the Second Congregational Church of Marblehead (James McLachlan, Princetonians, 1748–1768: A Biographical Dictionary, Princeton, 1976, p. 655–657).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-11


Thompson watch'd last evening;1 in consequence of which he felt not much disposed to study closely this day, and was but little at the office. Walk'd in the evening with Putnam.
1. For protection against fires and other disorders, the town of Newburyport required the services of two night watchmen, chosen by the constables from a list of all able-bodied townsmen (Currier, Newburyport, 2:46).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-12


I called in the afternoon for about half an hour, at the office. Attended Miss Coombs's funeral. It was very long. I walk'd with Putnam. As we were returning we accosted Miss Jones and Miss Fletcher; and waited on them home. After which we went to see Townsend Who came in town this forenoon; we past an hour or two there and afterwards walk'd till between nine and ten. Townsends cough, still hangs upon him; and although he fansies himself essentially better, his situation appears to me more dangerous, than it did four months ago. His spirits however are as brisk and lively as they ever were; and he talks as much as ever; which I believe is rather injurious to him.
My Time flies from me with the rapidity of a whirlwind. Every hour is precious, and every moment unemployed becomes a subject of regret. This afternoon has been lost to me; unless the view of the object before me, be turned to some profit; though even that by showing more forcibly the brevity and uncertainty of Life, should rather condemn me, for neglecting to improve every minute to the best purposes.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-13


Mrs. Emery who has been very ill these four or five weeks, died last night, leaving to the wide world two orphan children, who three years ago had the fairest prospects of sharing a fortune of ten thousand pounds sterling; but who in consequence of Mr. Tracy's misfortunes, are now almost destitute of support.
I walk'd in the evening with Stacey and Little. Stacey left us. We met Putnam walking with some young Ladies. I joined them, and pass'd the remainder of the evening at Mr. Frazier's. These young Misses have assumed an importance rather above their years, and to the trifling conduct and conversation of childhood, unite the punctilious formality of riper years. I receive not much satisfaction in their company, and as they are handsome, I had rather look at them for five minutes than be with them five hours. Putnam is not so difficult to please. He can conform to their manners, and enter into all their debates: he is consequently a favourite.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-14


This was a day of humiliation and prayer at Mr. Carey's: on account of his sickness; and to implore the assistance of providence in choosing a colleague to supply his place. Mr. Webster of Salisbury preached in the forenoon; and performed very well. But Dr. Tucker in the afternoon was very interesting and pathetic; in showing how good and pleasant a thing it is for brethren to dwell together in unity. I attended Mrs. Emery's funeral. Mr. Andrews made the prayer; and performed even better than was expected. I passed part of the evening with Townsend; called at Mr. Tufts's, to see Mrs. Shaw; but she was gone out. Mr. Shaw called to see me in the morning. They came in town last night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-15


I called in at Mr. Tufts's to see Mrs. Shaw this morning. I found old Mr. Carter there. Geneological as usual. I dined at his house, with my friends from Haverhill. He asked me to return to tea: I excused myself. He said that tippling business would be going on, every afternoon at six o'clock; if I would call there, I should be welcome. I returned to the Office but felt so much dis• { 443 } sipated, that I could not attend with much application. We met this evening at Stacey's lodgings. Townsend went away just before Sun-set. Lincoln1 a classmate of Thompson's, pass'd the evening with us. Though a young preacher, he is not so rigid in his principles as many others are. In the close of the evening we took a walk.
1. Rev. Henry Lincoln, minister at Falmouth, Mass. (History of the Town of Hingham, 4 vols, in 3, Hingham, 1893, 2:467).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-16


Dined with Townsend, in company with Mr. Andrews, and Thompson. After dinner we took a ride: went down to Mr. N. Tracy's, but he was not at home. On the road we met the governor, who was coming into Town. We went to Mrs. Atkins's. She was in fine spirits and consequently very good company. We were however obliged to come away early as the weather was rather disagreeable. I spent the evening at Mr. Hooper's. Mr. Cutler was there. We stroll'd about, an hour or more after we came away.
The week has disappeared in a very singular manner; some thing or other has taken me from my studies every day; and at the close of the week I regret the Time lost without being able to repair it. This is not the first time that I have experienced this effect since I came into this Town, and I greatly fear it will not be the last.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-17


Mr. Andrews preach'd for us; this forenoon he was lengthy in his prayer upon the late misfortunes in the several families. In his Sermon he likewise touched upon the subject, in recommending to us, so to number our days, that we might apply our hearts unto wisdom. I past the evening with Townsend. There fell a considerable quantity of rain, in the course of the last night, and of this day. And it will be very useful, as the fruits of the ground were languishing for want of moisture.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-18


This morning I perceived a deal of stirring in the Streets; and was finally informed that the governor was reviewing the troops { 444 } of this Town; after which a number of officers, and other gentlemen escorted his excellency to Haverhill; where he intends to dine; and then I suppose he means to show himself some where else. I passed the day at the Office. And the evening, at home in writing; I intended to have taken my usual exercice; but upon leaving the office, I found it was raining, and it continued all the evening. I amused myself tolerably well at home. I have indeed had for some time past almost as much business to do at my lodgings as at the office; but I hope to be gradually relieved.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-19


Several of the gentlemen who accompanied the governor, yesterday to Haverhill, went on to Salem with him, and did not return till this evening. I was with Townsend.1
1. JQA's line-a-day entry for this day reads: “Stacey return'd. Rain. Walk with Putnam. Townsend” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-20


I was walking with Putnam in one of the Streets in Town, this evening, when we heard a strange noise in a house, and a number of people standing round it. We went up to the window and heard a man exhorting as they call it. That is calling upon God, in every tone of voice, and repeating a number of texts of scripture, incoherently huddled together, so as to make an unintelligible jumble of nonsense, which they think is a proper method of seeking the Lord.1
1. JQA adds in his line-a-day entry, “Busy doing nothing” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-21


Upon Stacey's invitation I went with him and Putnam, and two young lads by the name of Greenough, to Mr. Greenleaf's; where we had something like a concert of music. The house was soon filled with people; it seemed as if there was nobody within five miles that had ever heard the sound of a violin before. Some of the young Ladies thought it would be pretty to join with their voices in the music; and the concert thenceforth became both vocal and instrumental. I was fatigued by ten o'clock; and could blow no more: and finding that Stacey and Putnam had got so { 445 } much engaged, with a lovely songstress, (or one that might be lovely) as shew no prospect of an intention to quit, I came off and left them at about eleven o'clock.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-22


We assembled this evening at Thompson's. Mr. Greenleaf called in and past an hour with us. He was apprehensive that we were disgusted with the crowd last evening; but we undeceived him. He talk'd about the war; for he was an officer in our army.

“And little of this great world can he speak

More than pertains to feats of broils and battle.”1

Putnam has not yet got over his trick of leaving us to join the young Ladies; but this evening he acknowledged, he was going to Mr. Frazier's. We likewise walk'd in the evening, and stroll'd about till ten o'clock.
1. Othello, Act I, scene iii, lines 86–87.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-23


Dined at Thompson's, with Mr. Andrews and Townsend. In the afternoon I took a ride with Little to Haverhill. I endeavoured to persuade him to go with me the week after next to Cambridge; but my labour was in vain. We had a very smart thunder shower, while we were on the road, but it was very soon over.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
DateRange: 1788-08-24 - 1788-09-02

[24 August–2 September]

Here, this journal very abruptly breaks off. I had long doubted whether the utility attending the method which I have pursued were adequate to the time I have devoted to it. But an indisposition, which for two months has prevented me from writing has finally turned the wavering scale.
I will not however immediately drop all memorials of my transactions; but the remainder of this volume will probably contain a space of time as long as that recorded already in more than two vols, and an half.1
1. This entry appears immediately after the previous one. Handwriting and the lighter ink suggest that it and the entries for 23 Aug. and 3 Sept. were probably written at the same time. After this entry, with scattered exceptions, the only Diary entries for the remainder of the year come from line-a-day memoranda in D/JQA/13. The exceptions, from D/JQA/12, are 3, 4, 5, 7, 10, 12, 13, 14, 20, 24, 27, 30 Sept. and 1, 2, 3, 7, 14 Oct.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-24


Parson Dutch preach'd. L. White and Mr. Thaxter.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-25


Return'd from Haverhill. Somewhat interrupted.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-26


Office business. Takes from reading. Dined with Mr. Parsons.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-27


Mr. Parsons went to Boston. Wrote. Mr. Cabot &c.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-28


Walk'd with Stacey. Curious conversation. Greenough's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-29


Funeral. Mr. Atkins. Met in the evening at Putnams.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-30


Rain. Little past the evening with me.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0008-0032

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-08-31


Heard Mr. Prince. Mr. Marquand's. Mr. Jackson's. Religious tattoo.1
1. At the bottom of the page of line-a-day entries for Aug. 1788, but not necessarily referring to the date of 31 Aug., appears the following note: “Memorandum: Stacey borrow'd book, for Ipswich.”

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-09-01

September 1. 1788.

Rain. Pass'd the evening with Stacey.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-09-02


Finished Hume and Blackstone. Little &c.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-09-03

Wednesday September 3d.

I went over the river with Stacey and Romain upon a shooting party. We had tolerable success. It was very windy; and with a heavy boat and only one oar, we had some difficulty to get across the river. Bridge arrived this day in town. I proposed to him to go with me to-morrow: and he has partly promised to accept my proposal. I this evening informed Mrs. Leathers of my intention to change my lodgings.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0009-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-09-04

Thursday September 4th.

Left Newbury-Port this morning with Bridge: we dined at Putnam's in Dan vers. Very indifferent entertainment. After mistaking our road, and going to Winisimet ferry, we finally got to Cambridge a little before 9 o'clock. Lodg'd at Bradish's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0009-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-09-05

Friday September 5th.

The assembly at the anniversary of the Ф.B.K. was more numerous than I have known it. There were near forty members present, among whom were two from Dartmouth college. Lincoln, who was to have been one of the speakers obtained leave to be excused on account of ill health. The governor, happening to be here with the admiral, and some other officers of the french squadron, now in Boston harbour, honoured us with his presence; as did all the college officers.
I spoke the oration which is hereto annexed,1 after which we retired to the butler's chamber: the french Consul, who had likewise attended came there to compliment me &c. After doing what business was necessary, we all went down to Warland's and dined together; and the festive board crowned the enjoyments of friendship.
An Oration.
Spoken, at the request of the ΦBK Society at Cambridge, September 5th. 1788.
Among the various objects which attract the attention of a youth about to enter upon the scenes of active Life, a view of the prospects before him, and of the Fortunes which expectation leads him to imagine will attend him affords one of the most fruitful sources of contemplation. From an anticipation of futurity, and from the recollection of the past, we chiefly derive the variety of mental enjoyment; and at an early period of life, as { 448 } we are necessarily precluded in a great measure from the satisfaction arising from the one, the mind naturally recurs more frequently and with a firmer confidence to the other. It must however be acknowledged that we are often prone to view the distant objects through the deceptive medium of fansy, or of the passions.
Should a concurrence of agreeable circumstances, lead us to the contemplation of this subject, at a time when the spirits are elated by the temporary impulsion of successful satisfaction, we soar rapidly upon the wings of a flattering imagination, and soon lose ourselves bewildered amidst the magnificent objects with which we have adorned the road around us. Unmindful of the precarious tenure by which all human enjoyments are held, we behold Fortune and Fame emulously striving to invest us in the possession of all the blessings which they can impart, and in the ardor of juvenile exultation eastern opulence is scarcely competent to the satisfaction of our avarice, eastern grandeur to that of our ambition. But should some untoward event occur, to awaken us from these fantastic dreams, we descend with rapidity from the visionary elevation, and sink as far beneath the level of rational probability, as we had before been raised above it. The path of life becomes rugged with thorns: a thousand obstacles apparently stand before us, and the approach to the seats of happiness, like that to the garden of the Hesperides seems under the perpetual custody of fiery dragons. We dwell with involuntary terror upon the ideas of the malice, the treachery and envy which we expect from our fellow mortals untill we are ready to imagine that our Life is to be a state of continual warfare with the whole human race. The baseless fabric of our hopes vanishes like the phantom of a fairy tale, and the mind oppressed by the contemplation of these gloomy objects is almost ready to settle in a state of sullen despondency.
I presume your own feelings, my worthy friends, will testify that this representation can scarcely be charged with exaggeration: and yet, why on the one hand, should we ever indulge ourselves in expectations which never can be realized; why on the other, anticipate evils, which can surely never come too late.
Egregiously indeed should we deceive ourselves were we to imagine that in the course of a life of ease and contentment, we could obtain the enjoyments of riches or of honour. It is by a combination of indefatigable industry and rigid oeconomy that { 449 } great wealth is acquired; for when we have done all that can depend upon ourselves, when we have laboured without intermission, and been sparing even to parsimony, still we frequently experience that “bread is not always to the wise nor yet riches to men of understanding.” Great honours we must remember are the reward of great exertions. The reputation of a Statesman or a Warrior is generally proportioned to the distresses from which he relieved or attempted to relieve his country; and the defeats of Thrasymene and Cannae are monuments erected to the fame of the elder Scipio, no less glorious than the victory of Zama.
When we contemplate the atchievements of the numerous train of heroes whose names, through the successive revolutions of four hundred years, adorn the annals of the roman republic our bosoms are animated with an ardent desire to emulate their virtues. We admire the undaunted fortitude with which every danger was braved, we admire the invincible resolution and perseverance, with which every difficulty was overcome, in the defence of their country: and when these virtues are recommended by such illustrious examples, the most exalted minds will fervently wish for opportunities to display those qualities which command the admiration of mankind. But when we consider, that those atchievements could never have been performed had not their Country during the same period been engaged in a perpetual struggle to maintain her very existence against her hostile and surrounding neighbours; when we reflect upon the dreadful calamities which the republic underwent, and how often she was brought to the brink of destruction, the rude and imperious calls of ambition must yield to the soft, persuasive eloquence of humanity, and a sentiment of real patriotism, must forbid us from pursuing the painful preeminence.
But if we should carefully avoid a delusion which by promising unreal advantages exposes us to the mortification of disappointment, how much more reason have we to shun another, which by threatening future distresses, embitters the present moment with the reality of woe. If we can circumscribe our desires within rational bounds; if we can be contented with a situation which affords the most essential enjoyments, we may safely conclude ourselves in a great measure, independent of external circumstances. There is a certain station in life, which if well filled will entitle us to the respect and esteem of our fellow citizens, without holding us up exposed to the envenomed shafts { 450 } of rancorous envy. The rewards of Reason are proportioned rather to the improvement than to the magnitude of the trust; and in her impartial eye we may presume that the man whose usefulness is confined only by the limits of his opportunities to serve his fellow mortals, is no less meritorious than the founder of an empire or the discoveror of a world.—Such is the Divine, whose paternal labours are calculated to instruct, to enlighten and to improve the minds of the flock committed to his charge: whose periodical precepts teach the importance of the great duties of morality and religion, and whose exemplary sanctity of manners endears the virtues which from the sacred desk he earnestly recommends.—Such is the patriotic merchant whose industrious activity is exerted to promote the public interest in connexion with his own, and who by encouraging the agriculture and manufactures of his Country, enlarges the sphere of her beneficial commerce, and liberates her from the humiliating shackles of european dependency.—Such is the lawyer, who, disdaining the base and servile arts of chicanery and intrigue, uniformly exerts his learning and his talents in the cause of injured innocence and of truth.—And such is the humane physician, whose skill and benevolence are directed to the alleviation of the complicated miseries with which humanity is burthened; who, called to the assistance of human nature in all the variety of physical distress, administers not only the restoring preparation to the languishing body; but the balm of consolation to the wounded mind.
The combined advantages of utility and respectability, are not however confined to these professions. In a free country where honour consists not in idleness, the farmer, the mechanic, and the tradesman maintain the dignity due to their station, and become active constituent parts of the political body.
As the regulation of our conduct must in some measure, depend upon the sentiments which we form in the anticipation of our future appearance in life, it may be of some importance to lay a restraint upon the freedom of a wanton imagination, and to view ourselves seated for life, in one of these intermediate stations where removed “Far from the madding crowd's ignoble strife”2 we may spend our days with happiness to ourselves, and with usefulness to our fellow mortals. If notwithstanding all our precautions we are destined to become the sport of adverse Fortune, and to undergo evils against which no human prudence can { 451 } guard, at least the cruel stings of disappointed ambition will not add a poignancy to our woes. If on the other hand the blind capricious deity should bestow upon us unexpected favours, we shall be better enabled to improve the advantages which she may offer; to follow her with cautious steps, and to stop without disgrace wherever she may show a disposition to forsake us.
There is indeed one form under which Ambition assumes not merely the form, but with it all the amiable attractions and all the conscious dignity of Virtue. It is in the desire to appear conspicuous in the walks of literature and Science. An ambition, which to the members of the institution, at whose request I appear in this place, which to the sons of Harvard in general, must present itself under an aspect peculiarly engaging. Its gratification depends, not upon the destruction, but upon the improvement of mankind. The trophies erected to the Muses are not upon plains drenched in human gore, but in the hearts of the virtuous and the wise: and although the vulgar of mankind will always bestow more liberal applause upon their destroyers than upon their benefactors, yet the generous and humane will ever esteem the passage through the portico of Science, to be the most honourable avenue to the temple of Fame.
The situation of an infant country is necessarily unfavourable to an extensive encouragement of literary genius: the equality and mediocrity of fortunes renders an active profession necessary for the support of every individual: even those who are the most attached to the pursuits of Literature can view them only as a secondary object: in the ordinary course of human transactions the noblest faculties of the mind must droop and languish for want of culture and improvement.

“Full many a flower be born to blush unseen

And waste its sweetness on the desart air.”

We find accordingly, that previous to the late revolution, America had produced so few men of great eminence, that European philosophers of no small note, arguing from this single fact, which is otherwise so well accounted for, have ventured to affirm, that Nature, like a partial step-mother had distributed her favours very unequally between the inhabitants of the two hemispheres: that a smaller portion of the etherial spirit had been allotted to man, on this than on the other side of the atlantic; and in the presumptuous pride of human reason, they have been al• { 452 } most tempted to deny us the honours of the species, and to assign us a station among the inferior animals of creation. This humiliating theory is ere this well exploded. The late revolution has brought forth american characters in arts and arms whose reputation is limited only by the boundaries of the civilized world: one of our most illustrious countrymen has successfully combated the insulting system in all its connections: and his performance3 carries an internal evidence in favour of his opinions; as unanswerable, as the arguments and the facts which he adduces.
It becomes then incumbent upon the rising generation to maintain in all its lustre the splendid reputation which our country has acquired. To you therefore who are conscious of possessing the divine spark of transcendent genius, suffer me to express my ardent desire, that you may cherish the generous flame: that, in the various departments of Philosophy and History; of Oratory and Poetry, you may extract from this blooming garden of Science, such fragrant sweets, as shall hereafter diffuse their salutary influence throughout this extensive continent: that you may live to enjoy the fruits of a reputation founded upon your extensive usefulness to mankind; and that, after treading honourably the theatre of human life, when the scene shall close, and the curtain drop, you may be dismissed from the stage of action, with the unbounded plaudits of a grateful and admiring universe.
We separated early in the afternoon, and I went and paid a visit at Dr. Waterhouse's, and at Mr. Williams's. I went to Boston; where Bridge left me; and I took up my brother Tom. We met my classmate Tom Chandler, who just came from Hallifax: we got to Braintree between 7 and 8 o'clock, where I found Mr. Parsons, who pass'd the evening with us but lodg'd at Mr. Woodward's.
1. Two other contemporary MS copies of JQA's Phi Beta Kappa speech are in the Adams Papers. These include his draft copy, dated 24 July-6 Aug., and a loose copy, presumably made from the draft. Excluding the one exception noted below, these two copies contain only minor stylistic changes from the Diary copy (M/JQA/46, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241; “An Oration,” originally microfilmed under the date [1786–1787]).
2. This and the next quotation are from Thomas Gray, “Elegy written in a Country Churchyard.”
3. At this point JQA made the following notation: “Notes upon Virginia, by Thomas Jefferson Esqr.” The whole passage at the end of this paragraph, beginning with “one of our most illustrious countrymen,” was added to the speech after JQA wrote his draft copy.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0009-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-09-06


Saltmarsh. Read. Mr. Cranch's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0003-0009-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1788-09-07

Sunday September 7th. 1788.

The Marquis to Sainneville, commander of the french Squadron now in the harbour, and the Chevalier Maccarty de Martegues captain of the Achille, dined here to day. Several other officers were detained by the badness of the weather.1
1. In his line-a-day entry, JQA mentions “Meeting, forenoon” (D/JQA/13, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 16).