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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-20


The whole forenoon, I was with my Cousin, down at our house, packing up, furniture, though many articles, are yet to be got. Mr. Cranch went to Boston in the forenoon, and Mr. Tyler, said he was very much mortified, he was obliged to attend the town meeting, but he should be at home in the Evening. It was { 4 } | view { 5 } however so late before he return'd that I could not have the Pleasure of his Company in the Evening.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-21


Cold, disagreeable Weather, all the morning. In the afternoon it storm'd. My Aunt and myself, sat out to go and see Mrs. Warren, in Milton, but it began to storm before we got far; so we turn'd about and went down to Uncle Quincy's. We drank tea with him. I believe he would be much happier than he is, if he was married.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-22


At about 10 o'clock, Lucy and I, set out from Braintree. She came with me to Boston, to purchase, the remainder of the furniture that I shall want. We stopp'd at Milton, and saw Mrs. Warren; she was much affected at the news she lately received, of the Death of her Son Charles, in Spain a few Weeks after his arrival there. Nothing else was to be expected when he sailed from here, but however prepared we may be for the Death of a Friend; the tears of Nature, still must flow from the eye, and the sigh of sympathy from the heart.
As we passed by Milton hall, we saw the Ruins, of the Windows. On the 21st. of March the Junior Sophister Class, cease reciting at 11 in the forenoon; they generally in the Evening have a frolic; yesterday they had it, at Milton-hall, and as they are not by any means at such times remarkable for their Discretion, we saw many fractures, in the Windows of the hall they were in.
We got to Boston at about 1 afternoon; Mr. Cranch, and Dr. Tufts dined out. We dined with Mr. Foster; and soon after dinner, I footed it for Cambridge. When I got here I found all my things had arrived. Immediately after Prayers I went to the President, who said, “Adams, you may live with Sir Ware,1 a batchelor of Arts.” I made a most Respectful Bow, and retired. I was the greatest Part of the Evening, fixing all my things to rights.
1. Henry Ware, Harvard 1785.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-23


I did not hear the Bell Ring this morning, and was tardy at Prayers. Every time a Student is tardy at prayers he is punished a penny; and there is no eluding that Law, so that a Student must prefer not attending prayers at all; to being ½ a minute too Late. After prayers we went in to Mr. James to recite in Terence. The manner of reciting this is, the Persons at the head of the Class, read an whole Scene in the Latin, and then the same into English, and when they have finished the next read another Scene and so on.
Cranch went to Boston in the forenoon. Thursday, is a Day which commonly both Tutors and Students take as a leisure day, and there is seldom, any reciting, except in the morning. After Prayers the President read a Paper to this effect. That on the evening of the 15th. it appeared the Sophimores had assembled at the Chamber of one in the Class, and had behaved in a tumultuous, noisy manner; that at length they sallied out, and were very riotous to the disturbance, and dishonour of the University. But as their conduct till then had been such as deserved approbation, and was submissive and, as they early shew a proper repentance for their fault having, presented an humble petition to be forgiven. Therefore, it had been voted that no further Notice should be taken of it; but it was hoped the Students, would not abuse, the Lenity of the government, but rather show that they were deserving of it. The Fresh men, who are always, as a Class, at Variance with the Sophimores, thought the government had been partial; and the Consequence was, that Mr. James, the Tutor of the Sophimore Class, and who was supposed, to have favoured them, and to have been the means of saving them from severer punishment; had four squares of glass broken in his Windows. Such was the Effect of the Lenity, which was to induce the Students to do their Duty.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-24


No reciting, for any of the Classes, on Fridays, for the whole, Day. I wrote some Problems out of Ward1 to carry to Mr. Williams, next Monday Morning. After Prayers, I declaim'd, as it is term'd. Two Students every evening Speak from Memory, any Piece they chuse, if it be approved by the President. It was this Evening my turn, with the 2d. Abbot, and I spoke, from As you { 7 } { 8 } { 9 } like it. All the world's a stage &c. When I came to the description of the Justice, in fair round Belly with good Capon lined, Tutors and scholars, all laugh'd, as I myself, truly represented the Character. But the President did not move a feature of his face. And indeed I believe, it is no small matter, that shall extort a smile from him when he is before the College. This Afternoon I took from the Library, Montesquieu's Reflections on the rise and fall of the Romans, and an Anacreon.2 The two elder Classes have a right, every second friday to take from the Library, each person three volumes, which he must return at the End of a fort'night.
1. John Ward, The Young Mathematician's Guide. Being a Plain and Easie Introduction to the Mathematicks... with an Appendix of Practical Gauging, London, 1719, and other editions (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 92).
2. Considérations sur les causes de la grandeur des Romains et de leur décadence, Amsterdam and Leipzig, 1759; Works of Anacreon, transl., with the original Greek, by Joseph Addison, London, 1735, and other editions (A Catalogue of the Library of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge, 1830; Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 12).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-25


We had no reciting to day. Saturday mornings commonly the two elder Classes, recite to their own Tutors in Doddridge's Lectures on Divinity;1 but our Tutor did not hear us. The weather, warm and Pleasant. In the Afternoon Mr. Cranch, and my Cousin, came, and brought me the remainder of my furniture; I did but little to day, because the weather being so fine, we were almost all day walking, about.
1. A Course of Lectures on the Principal Subjects in Pneumatology, Ethics and Divinity, London, 1763, by Philip Doddridge. So essential had the lectures become to the Harvard curriculum that the college treasurer ordered thirty sets of them from London to lend to such of the two senior classes as were unable to buy them (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 166; MH-Ar: Corporation Records, 3:199).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-26


Mr. Patten,1 a young Clergyman from Rhode Island, preach'd in the forenoon, from Proverbs III. 17. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are Peace. I never felt so disagreeably, in hearing any Preacher. He look'd as if he had already, one foot in the grave, and appeared plainly, to suffer while he spoke. His diction was flowery, but he spoke, in a whining manner, lowering his voice, about an octave, at the last Sylla• { 10 } ble of every Sentence. I dined at Mr. Dana's. In the afternoon Mr. Everett,2 a Boston preacher, gave us a discourse, from II of Corinthians. I. 12. For our rejoycing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly Sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our Conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you ward [toward you]. The Contrast in the preaching, was as great as that in the men, for Mr. Everett is quite, a large man. He pleased very generally. The weather has been uncomfortably warm all day, and the Evening, has by no means been cool.
1. Probably William Patten, minister at Newport (Historical Catalogue of Brown University, 1764–1904, Providence, 1905).
2. Oliver Everett, minister of New South Church, Boston, 1782–1792, and father of Edward Everett (Sprague, Annals Amer. Pulpit, 1:559).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-27


We recited this day in Euclid, to our own Tutor, Mr. Read, as we shall do all the week. We began, at the 4th. Book, and the way of reciting is, to read the Proposition, and then without the book demonstrate it: but it is by no means a popular, book, and many of the Students, will do nothing with it. At 9 we attended Mr. Williams. He gave each of us two or three problems, to draw the Diagrams: this is a more easy, and more pleasant Study than Euclid. After Prayers, the Senior Class, had a Class meeting, in order to check the freshmen, who they suppose have taken of Late too great Liberties. By the Laws, of the College,1 all freshmen, are obliged to walk in the yard, with their heads uncovered, unless, in stormy Weather, and to go on any errand, that any other Scholar chuses to send them, at a mile distance. But the present freshmen have been indulged very much, with respect to those Laws; and it is said, they have presumed farther than, they ought to have done. The Seniors it is said, have determined to enforce the old Laws, send the Freshmen, and order, their hats off, in the yard.
1. JQA actually means not laws but the college customs, nearly all of which applied only to freshmen. For the most nearly contemporary extant listing, recorded in 1781, see Josiah Quincy, The History of Harvard University, 2 vols., Cambridge, 1840, 2:539–541 (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 4:257).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-28


Mr. Williams, this day, gave us, the first Lecture, upon Experimental Philosophy. It was upon the Properties of Matter, as Extension, Divisibility, Solidity, Mobility, figure, and Vis Inertiae. After the Lecture was over, he told us, the Regulations, which were, that the Door should be lock'd at the beginning of the Lectures; that there should be no whispering, nor spitting on the floor, and some others. After prayers Bancroft, one, of the Sophimore Class read the Customs to the freshmen, one of whom (McNeal) stood with his hat on, all the Time. He, with three others, were immediately (hoisted,) (as the term is,) before a tutor, and punished. There was immediately after, a Class meeting of the Freshmen; who it is said determined they would hoist any scholar of the other Classes, who should be seen with his Hat on, in the yard, when any of the Government are there. After the meeting, several of the Class went and had a high go. In Consequence of which the Librarian,1 had a number of squares of glass broke, in his windows. Drunkenness is the mother of every Vice.
1. James Winthrop.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-29


This forenoon we had a Lecture from Mr. Wigglesworth,1 the Professor of Divinity, upon the Question, whether Some Persons, had not carried their Ideas of the Depravity of human Nature, too far? He appeared to reason very coolly, and without prejudice upon it. He supposed that although mankind, are greatly depraved; yet that the Scriptures, show, he is not so, absolutely in capable of doing any thing good. In the afternoon Mr. Cranch, and Dr. Tufts, stop'd here, on their Road to Lincoln.
1. Edward Wigglesworth, successor to his father as Hollis Professor of Divinity 1765–1791 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:507–517).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-30


My Trunks, which I have been so long expecting, came, at last this morning, from Haverhill. White, and my Brother, went to Boston; this day our Class finished reciting in Euclid. A Lesson was set us in Gravesande,1 for next Quarter; when we go, in to Mr. Read. It would have been best to have gone in to Gravesande { 12 } before Mr. Williams, began his Lectures; but the Class was considerably delayed last year, by Mr. Howard's2 going away, as he was the mathematical Tutor. Mr. Cranch stopp'd here, on his Return, from Lincoln. Weather fair and pleasant all day. The freshmen, are still very high. Sullivan, one of the Seniors had a Window broke, by one of them this Evening.
1. Willem Jacob van's Gravesande, Mathematical Elements of Natural Philosophy, Confirmed by Experiments, Or, An Introduction to Sir Isaac Newton's Philosophy..., transl. John Théophilus Desaguliers, 2 vols., London, 1720–1721. When JQA requested JA to purchase a copy for him in England, he asked for the octavo edition because it was the one “studied here. They are very scarce in this Country, as they can neither be bought, nor borrowed out of College” (JQA to JA, 21 May–14 June, Adams Papers).
2. Bezaleel Howard, Harvard 1781, tutor 1783–1785, had been minister at Springfield, Mass., since 1785 (Heman Howard, The Howard Genealogy: Descendants of John Howard of Bridgewater, Massachusetts, from 1643 to 1903 [Brockton, Mass.], 1903, p. 54; Harvard Quinquennial Cat.).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-03-31


No reciting, this day. I was not in at Prayers, in the morning. Mr. Williams gave us, his second Lecture, upon those Properties of Matter, which though not essential to it, was in a greater or smaller degree common to all. Such were Attraction, which was of 2 kinds, Cohesion, and Repulsion, and Gravitation. The Substance of the Lectures I have taken down on Separate Paper,1 so that I shall not repeat it here. I attended the Junior tea-Club, and signed the Regulations, as I was admitted to it, Last Evening. A Nephew of the President, by the same Name, was this day examined, and admitted, as a Junior Sophister.
1. None of JQA's Harvard lecture notes has been found.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-01

Saturday April 1st. 1786.

After having had a month of March uncommonly pleasant, and warm, the Present one begins with a Snow Storm. From about 2 o'clock afternoon it has snow'd, steadily till late in the Evening. Our Class recited this morning in Doddridge, but I was not in. My Chamber is so situated that the College bell, does, not sound with sufficient force to wake me, in the morning, and I have not of late been used to rise, so early as 6, which is here, the hour for prayers.1
1. For a discussion of JQA's physical surroundings at Harvard, see the Descriptive List of Illustrations, A Westerly View of Harvard College, Circa 1783–1784 140No. 87.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-02


The storm continued all night with unabated violence, and it blew so hard that one of our Windows was burst in. While we were fixing it up again, the bell, rang and toll'd for prayers though neither of us heard it. It continued snowing as much as ever till about noon, and there was no meeting all day. After dinner, I went and spent a couple of hours at Sever's chamber, after which I returned to my own, and wrote something upon surveying.

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

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


We recite this Week, to Dr. Jennison in Greek. Mornings in Homer, and afternoons in the Greek Testament. Willard, first came in to recite; the Dr. ask'd me by what rule λαβων governed γομνῶν H: 6: v. 45. I did not know, and said Verbs of Sense &c. No, it was under that long Rule; I read the long Rule, there was nothing to be found in it, that would apply. He said there was something very peculiar in it, and I sat down. He is not a very extraordinary greek scholar, but they say, he improves, as it is but of late since, he has taken that department. At 11. We had a Lecture from Mr. Williams, upon Motion; that of elastic, and that of nonelastic bodies. The Lecture was not, to me, so entertaining, as the two former. This evening, there were it is said upwards of 100 Scholars out on the common, armed with Clubs, to fight the People, belonging to the Town. A few evenings since, Lovell, a junior, got quarrelling with a man belonging to the Town, about a girl, two or three other juniors being present took Lovell's part, and a few blows were dealt on both sides. Lovell, has told his Story just as he pleased; and has raised almost all college; for this Society like most others thinks that an insult offered to one member, must be resented by all, and as in a well ordered Republic, although, some of the Classes, have of late, been so much at Variance, yet immediately upon a foreign insult they all United. The only thing wanting, to make the scholars highly praise-worthy in this Case, is a good Cause. It appears plainly that the first insult was from Lovell, and the original Cause of the quarrel an infamous girl. There would probably some very severe blows have past had not the Tutors and Professor Williams, interposed, this Evening. They perswaded both { 14 } Parties to disperse; but this will perhaps be only a Suspension of arms: I doubt whether the matter will end here.

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

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


The Seniors this morning, had a forensic disputation, upon the Question, whether a democratical form of Government, is the best of all. The Class in alphabetical order, alternately supported or opposed this Question. I went to Sullivan's chamber. Studied in the 7th. Book of the Iliad. I made tea, for the Club this Evening. They were all here Amory, Beale, Bridge, 3 Chandler's, Cranch, Hammond, Kendall, Little, Lloyd, Mason, Putnam, White, and Williams. After tea, and singing two or three songs, they all retired but Bridge, a very steady, and studious young fellow, who sat and had a couple of hours chat with me.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-05


No reciting this morning. Cranch went to Boston, bought me a flute. We had a Lecture from Mr. Williams, upon Motion proceeding from Gravity. Williams, the Professor's son, made tea for the Club; I was a great part of the Evening, taking off, extracts from the morning Lecture.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-06


Fast day: I was at meeting all day, as indeed all the Students, must be, by Law, unless, excused by a Tutor. The President preach'd two Sermons from Micah VI. 6, 7, 8. Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God? Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old. Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of Rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first born for my transgression, the fruit of my body, for the sin of my soul? He hath shewed thee O man what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God? It is certainly a most noble Subject, and we had 2 good Sermons upon. That in the afternoon especially, I thought excellent. No flowers of rhetoric, no Eloquence, but plain common Sense, and upon a liberal plan. But the President has by no means a pleasing Delivery. He appears to labour, and struggle very much, and sometimes strains very hard. And mak• { 15 } ing faces, which do not render his harsh countenance, more agreeable.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-07


Return'd my books to the Library. We had the 5th. Lecture from Mr. Williams, who informed us, he should not have another till the first Monday in the next Quarter. This was upon projectile Motion, and the central Forces. Deacon Storer pass'd by in a Chaise, and gave me a Letter, from my Sister which was dated December 9th.1 It was very acceptable, as I have not heard before, since, the beginning of January. White returned to Haverhill, by leave from the President, though the Vacation will not begin till next Wednesday. We had no Prayers.
1. Letter not found.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-08


Dined at Mr. Tracy's, in Company, with Mr. Molyneux, Mr. Price, Dr. Cutting, Mr. Mores an Englishman, Mr. Storer and H. Otis,1 and Mr. Hughes. There were two sharp wits present, Mr. Hughes and Dr. Cutting; their bons-mots flew about very frequently. After Dinner I went with Mr. Storer, to Mr. Gannetts for a few Minutes. Went very early to Bed.
1. Harrison Gray (Harry) Otis, who received his master's degree from Harvard in 1786 and shortly thereafter was admitted to the Boston bar (DAB).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-09


Attended the meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preached in the forenoon from Job II. 10. What? Shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil. He inculcated submission to the Divine will both in Prosperity and Adversity: it was occasional, as he lost one of his Children, in the Course of the week. Dined, with Bridge, at Professor Williams's. Mrs. Williams is affable. Miss Jenny, very pretty. Sam: is one of my Classmates. The afternoon Text was from Matthew VI: 33. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness, and all these things, shall be added unto you. We drank tea, and spent the Evening at Bridge's Chamber. I wrote a Letter to my Father.1
{ 16 }
1. No letter has been found written by JQA to JA between 2 April and 21 May. Internal evidence in the letters written on these two dates indicates that no other letter was written or, at least, sent during the intervening period.

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

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


No reciting this Day, because the Government met to examine the reasons of those scholars that are absent, or have been within the two last Quarters. Went over in the Evening with the musical Club, and heard them play a number of tunes, at Mr. Tracy's Summer-house. Spent the Evening with Bridge at his Room.

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

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


We recited this morning in Locke on the Understanding to Mr. Hale. A number of the scholars first read, the Lesson that has been given, and the others in their turns give an account of particular Sections. At about 10 o'clock 2 horses came from Braintree for my brother and myself to go home upon. Mr. Cranch came a little before 11. At about 11 ½ the Government and Corporation came and seated themselves, and the President spoke very audibly, expectatur Oratio in Lingua Latina, per Andrews. It was in praise of Literary Societies, and mentioning the advantages derived from them. The next thing was a forensic dispute upon the Question, whether Error could be productive of good to mankind. Sullivan supported, and Taylor opposed it. Their parts were both very well; but Taylor, though I think he had the wrong side of the Question maintained it best. The English Dialogue, between Scipio Africanus, and Julius Caesar,1 was spoken by Williams, and Waldo, and I thought well. The Greek Oration by Cranch, and the Hebrew by Burge followed, and lastly the Oratio in lingua Vernacula, as the President calls it, by Gardner. It was upon the progress of the Christian Religion; was very well done, and closed with about 20 lines of very pretty, Poetry. The President then called out expectatur Symphonia, and a song was sung, after which, as all the Company was going, the musical Club play'd a number of tunes upon their Instruments which closed the Scene. We soon after went into Commons, and dinner was not quite ready; there was no bread, and there was such a screaming from every part of the Hall, bread! bread! that it might be heard I suppose at a mile's distance.
At about 4 o'clock Beale, my brother, and myself set off to re• { 17 } turn to Braintree. Beale left us about 3 miles from Mr. Cranch's where we arrived just at Sun set. The weather very fine.
1. This was the highly republican dialogue in George Lyttelton's Dialogues of the Dead, 4th edn., London, 1765, p. 353–370 (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:216–217).

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

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


I went down to our Office,1 to see if there was a Gravesande, there, but none was to be found;—while we were at dinner my Cousin came in from Boston, where he went last night from Cambridge. In the afternoon Charles, and I went out fowling, but came home, as deeply laden as we went. We went in the Evening, and Cranch play'd to an Echo; it has a very agreeable effect.
1. That is, JA's law office, a ground-floor room in what is now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-13


Went down and staid part of the forenoon, at the Office. Drank tea at Mr. Apthorp's. A man of a strange character. I intended when I came from Cambridge to have written, a great deal during this Vacation, but I find there is continually something or other happens to prevent me; so that I begin to fear, I shall do but very little.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-14


We went down to General Palmer's at German town. Went to catch fish, forenoon and afternoon, but with little success; It was late before we got home, and I was very much fatigued; I have, not walk'd so much in one day these 6 months.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-15


At home all day; wrote to my Sister.1 Mr. Cranch return'd, in the Evening, and brought a number of English News Papers with him. All, as common, full of nothing.
A Declamation to be spoken on Wednesday June 7th. 1786.
“Varro, the most learned of the Romans, thought, since Nature is the same wherever we go, that this single circumstance was sufficient to remove all objections to change of Place, { 18 } taken by itself and stripped of the other inconveniences which attend exile. M. Brutus, thought it enough, that those, who go into banishment cannot be hindered from carrying their Virtue along with them. Now, if any one judge that each of these comforts is in itself insufficient, he must however confess that both of them joined together, are able to remove the terrors of exile. For, what trifles must all we leave behind us be esteemed, in comparison of the two most precious things which men can enjoy, and which we are sure, will follow us wherever we turn our steps, the same Nature, and our proper Virtue? Believe me, the providence of God, has established such an order in the World, that of all which belongs to us the least valuable parts can alone fall under the will of others. Whatever is best is safest; lies out of the reach of human power; can neither be given nor taken away. Such is this great and beautiful work of nature, the world. Such is the mind of man, which contemplates and admires the world whereof it makes the noblest part. These are inseparably ours, and as long as we remain in one we shall enjoy the other. Let us march therefore intrepidly wherever we are led by the course of human accidents. Wherever they lead us, on what coast soever we are thrown by them, we shall not find ourselves absolutely strangers. We shall meet with men and women, creatures of the same figure, endowed with the same faculties, and born under the same laws of nature. We shall see the same Virtues and Vices, flowing from the same general Principles, but varied in a thousand different and contrary modes, according to that infinite variety of laws and customs which is established for the same universal end, the preservation of Society. We shall feel the same revolution of Seasons, and the same Sun and Moon will guide the course of our year. The same azure vault, bespangled with stars will be every where spread over our heads. There is no part of the world from whence we may not admire those planets which roll, like ours, in different orbits round the same central Sun; from whence we may not discover an object still more stupendous, that army of fixed Stars, hung up in the immense Space of the Universe, innumerable Suns, whose beams, enlighten and cherish the unknown worlds which roll around them; and whilst I am ravished by such contemplations as these, whilst my soul is thus raised up to heaven, it imports me little what ground I tread upon.”
Bolingbroke, Reflections upon Exile.2
{ 19 }
1. Letter not found. One letter, printed in AA2, Jour. and Corr., [3]:106–112, bears the date 15 April – 16 May 1786, but the substance of the letter under the initial date shows that it was begun on 25 April.
2. Henry St. John, Viscount Bolingbroke, Letters on the Study and Use of History, London, 1770, p. 445–448 (MQA).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-16


Mr. Weld1 the Minister in the middle Parish, preached for Mr. Wibirt, and took his text all day from Hebrews IV.11. Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. I have not heard a more indifferent prayer, or Sermon, since I came home. Sermon I say, for although I was all day at meeting, yet I did not hear the afternoon one. We went down to our house in the Evening to get some Papers, and books.
1. Ezra Weld, minister of the First Congregational Church, Braintree, 1762–1816 (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N.E.).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-17


We went out on a shooting party, and were gone all the morning. The weather quite warm all day. Mr. Tyler return'd, but did not come into the House, till 11. at night. It is the last day before the setting of the Court; so that he had a great deal of Business.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-18


My Uncle Cranch, and Mr. Tyler went to Boston in the morning. About noon it began to Storm; at about 5 afternoon, Mr. Tyler came up the yard, with Eliza, just returned from Haverhill and there was nothing, but how do you do? and I am so glad to see you, and when did you come? and how and so on. No news from Haverhill but bad. Mr. Johnny White's wife, after lying in the 6th. of this month, was very well for several days; but caught a cold, which produced a putrid fever, and sent her the night before last to “that Country from whose bourne no Traveller returns.”1 It seems as if misfortunes of the severest kind, were continually the lot of this family.
1. Hamlet, Act III, scene i, lines 79–80.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-19


Drizzling, misty weather all day. Did not stir out of the house. Amused myself with reading, writing, and taking lessons on the flute; which I have lately begun to learn.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-20


The weather continued just the Same, all day. It sets every one yawning, and keeps all within doors. But it is very advantageous for the husbandry, and has already given a great start to the grass.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-21


Same Story over again. Chilly, and misty. This is but a poor way of dragging out an existence; I want much to be doing something: here, every minute something turns up to prevent me, from writing. I could do more in two days at Cambridge, than I have in the whole vacation here. Next Wednesday we shall again return to our Business.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-22


I went to Boston this morning, with a Chaise, for Mr. Cranch to come home. Stop'd at Milton, and bespoke me a writing desk. Dined at Mr. Foster's: and at about 4 o'clock set out again and got to Braintree, just after dark. Convers'd on the road, with Mr. Cranch Who is always entertaining, and always instructive. Continuation of the Storm. The Sun has not appeared this week.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-23


Heard old Parson Wibird, preach from Luke. XIX. 10. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost. Mr. Cranch said he had heard it ten Times before. No one would complain if the Parson would read printed Sermons, But to hear one thing continually repeated over which does not deserve, perhaps, to be said more than once, is very fatiguing.
We had the Pleasure of Mr. Tyler's Company, in the morning, and at noon. It is the first Time I have seen him since I returned to Braintree.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-24


It seems as if there is to be no end of this Stormy weather. It does not look more likely to clear up, than it did, a week agone; Charles and myself lodg'd down at our house; it is almost 7 years since I pass'd a night there before this.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-25


Weather still the same. Mr. Wibird spent the afternoon at Mr. Cranch's. I went with my brother down, and drank tea at my Uncle Adams's. Had some difficulty to get horses to go to Cambridge with to-morrow. Mr. H. Hayden, died last night of a wound he received by a gun going off, while he was fowling, about 3 weeks agone.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-26


The Vacation being at end; Charles and I left Braintree at about 10 o'clock. My Cousin has been unwell, with a bad Cough several days, and therefore intends to stay till Saturday. The weather, for the first Time these ten days was favorable, which was a lucky circumstance to us. We got to College, at about 1. just after Commons. I dined on bread and cheese; there were only 40 scholars, in at Prayers, this afternoon. Put my name in at the Buttery. At the end of each Vacation, every scholar, must go in Person, and give his name to the Butler; any scholar who stays away after the expiration of the Vacancy, unless, he gives good reasons for it, forfeits 1 sh. 6d. every night. Spent the Evening at Mr. Dana's, where I found a Mr. and Mrs. Buckminster, from Portsmouth.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-27


A List of the Present, junior Sophister Class1
William Lovejoy Abbot.
*Abiel Abbot
*John Quincy Adams.
Jonathan Amory
Samuel Angier
*William Amherst Baron [Barron]
*Benjamin Beale
*James Bridge.
*Josiah Burge
John Chandler.
Thomas Chandler
*Gardner Leonard Chandler
Caleb Child
{ 22 }
*William Cranch
*Joshua Cushman
Peter Eaton
*Oliver Fiske
John [Murray] Forbes
Bossinger [Bossenger] Foster
**Nathaniel Freeman
Timothy Fuller
Thomas Hammond
*Thaddeus Mason Harris
Walter Hunnowell [Hunnewell]
Joseph Jackson
Asa Johnson
Ephraim Kendall
Nathaniel Laurence [Lawrence]
Ebenezer Learned
*Moses Little
James Lloyd
James Lovell.
William Mason
Daniel Mayo
Samuel Mead
Ephraim Morton
*Hezekiah Packard
Nathaniel Shepherd Prentiss.
Samuel Putnam
Isaac Rand.
John Sever
Solomon Vose
John Jones Waldo
Francis Welch
Leonard White
Richard Whitney
Samuel Willard.
Samuel Williams.
No reciting this day, nor indeed this week. The Scholars that live near Cambridge, commonly come and enter their names in the Buttery, and then go home again, and stay the remainder of the Week. I went down to the President's in the morning to carry a Letter to him. Spent my Time in writing, reading, and playing on the flute. Lodg'd with my brother.
1. JQA's classmates are identified under the “character sketches” which he included in the diary entries of his senior year. In addition to those listed here, the class of 1787 included three other students—William Samuel Judd, Samuel Kellogg, and John Phelps, who were transfer students from Dartmouth and Yale. They entered Harvard in the months following this entry. The asterisks apparently denote members of the Harvard chapter of Phi Beta Kappa inducted before 11 Dec. 1786. Putnam and White were also members, but their names are unmarked and were presumably missed because the list continues on the verso of the Diary page. The meaning of the double asterisk before Freeman's name is uncertain (MH-Ar: Phi Beta Kappa Records, 1 :passim).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-28


The weather fine, but rather cool.
Somewhat unwell, and had a bad head ache in the afternoon. My Cousin, and Leonard White, both came. We had been anxious for Leonard, as we heard he was sick: he was so in the beginning of the Week, but, has now pretty well recovered. About half { 23 } the College, are now here. The bill at prayers, is not kept,1 till the Friday after the Vacation ends.
1. That is, bills of absence and tardiness. See entry of 19 Aug., note 1 (below).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-29


Went to Mr. Dana's, in the afternoon, upon some business. There were two gentlemen, there, one of which, had a deal of small talk with Miss Almy,1 upon matrimony. Tea, at 3d Chandler's. Most of the Members were there. Few of the Scholars are now absent. Windy Weather.
1. Presumably a daughter of Benjamin and Mary (Gould) Almy, of Newport; Mrs. Elizabeth Dana's family, the Ellerys, were intermarried with the Almys (Vital Record of Rhode Island. 1636–1850. First Series...., ed. James N. Arnold, 20 vols., Providence, 1891–1911, 4: Part II: 80; Joris Janssen De Rapaljé, William Almy, of Portsmouth, Rhode Island, 1630, Chicago, 1897, p. 35, 82).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-04-30


Heard Mr. Hilliard1 all day upon Acts. VII. 9. And the patriarchs moved with envy sold Joseph into Egypt: but God was with him. The Sermons were good, but there is such, a sameness in almost all the Sermons, I hear preach'd, that they are Seldom very entertaining to me. Dined at Mr. Dana's, with his brother in Law Mr. Hastings, Captn. Hobby, and two Seniors, Dwight, and Harris. Mrs. Dana, always sociable and contented. Dwight and Harris, have a very good reputation in College; it is supposed they will have good Parts at Commencement, they will be distributed in about a fort'night. Two young fellows from New Haven, offered themselves yesterday, for the Senior Class; but after examination, were not found qualified for admittance; this was surely losing the Substance by grasping at the Shadow; for they have not only failed getting their degree, here, but have lost the opportunity of having one, at their own College.
1. Timothy Hilliard, minister at the First Church, Cambridge (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 16:59–63).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-01

Monday May 1st. 1786.

We recite this Week again to Mr. Jennison. This is a young man: indeed much too young, (as are all the Tutors,) for the Place he occupies. Before he took his second degree, which was { 24 } | view last Commencement, he was chosen a Tutor, of mathematics, in which he betray'd his Ignorance often. In hearing the Sophimores recite in Geography, he had occasion to speak, of the alteration of the Style by Pope Gregory. But instead of giving them an account of the fact, and the reasons, for which it was done; he only said (very wittily) I don't know how it happened, but there have been eleven days knocked in the head. Several other Instances equally absurd are told of him. Last fall, he changed departments with Mr. Reed, and took up the Greek. His own Class, the Freshmen, were the first that laugh'd at him in that: for he gave one of them the word γυνη to parse, it was said right, but he was corrected by the Tutor, who said the genitive Case was της γυνης. He has improved since that, but still makes frequent mistakes. It is certainly wrong that the Tutors should so often be changed, and be so young as they are. It would be better to chuse a person immediately after he has taken his degree, than as they do: because, when a youth leaves College, he is obliged to turn his attention to other Studies, and forgets a great deal, of what he studied at College: whereas when he has lately graduated, he has all fresh in his mind. The Dr. affects a great deal of popularity in his Class, and with the help of the late disagreement between the Classes he has pretty well succeeded; but he does not seem to care, what the other Classes think of him.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-02


Our Tutor, gave us this morning, a most extraordinary, construction of a passage in Homer. Abbot 1st. was beginning to construe, the 181st. line of the 6th Book.

πρόσθε λέων, ο̈πισθεν δὲ δράκων, μέσση δέ χίμαιρα1

He said, a Lion, before, but the Dr. corrected him, by saying it meant superior to a Lion; Abbot immediately took the hint, and made it, superior to a Lion, inferior to a Dragon, and equal to a wild boar. I confess I should never have had an Idea, of giving such a Translation of this passage, though it always appeared to me a plain, easy one. I was pretty confident too, that comparative adjectives, governed a genitive; but now it is plain that it is no matter what case, a word is in and with this manner, it is much easier to read the ancient authors; because, you may render, any Latin or Greek word, by any English one you chuse.
{ 25 }
1. “In front a lion, and behind a serpent, and in the midst [middle] a [she-]goat,” a description of a Chimaera, a triple-bodied monster (The Iliad of Homer, Done into English Prose, transl. Andrew Lang and others, London, 1925, p. 116).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-03


Wednesday, and Monday, are our two busiest days in the Week. Every minute is employ'd. This morning at 6. We went into Prayers after which we immediately recited. This took us till 7 ¼. At 7 ½ we breakfasted, at 10, we had a Lecture on Divinity from Mr. Wigglesworth. It was upon the Wisdom of all God's actions, and justifying those parts of Scripture which some, have reproached, as contrary to Justice. At 11. we had a Philosophical Lecture, from Mr. Williams, upon the mechanical Powers, and particularly, the Lever, and the Pulley. At 12 ½ Dinner. At 3. an Astronomical public Lecture upon the planet Mercury, a very circumstancial, account of all its transits over the Suns Disk, since the first discovery of it by Kepler, to this day May 3d. 1786. when it will again pass the disk of the Sun, the 15th. Time since its first Discovery. Unfortunately it will pass in the Night so that it cannot be observed in this Country. Mr. Williams told us of all its different periods which are 6 or 7. from 3 years to more than 260. In the Course of this Century, it will pass twice more, in 1789, and in 1799.
At 4. again we recited, and at 5, attended prayers again, after which there are no more exercises for this day, but we are obliged in the evening to Prepare our recitation for to-morrow morning. This I think is quite sufficient employment for one day, but the last three days in the week we have very little to do. Thursdays and Saturdays, reciting only in the morning, and Fridays, a Philosophical Lecture.
<4th.> A Cart came this day from Braintree, and brought us some things. We had after Prayers a Class meeting, about making a present to our Tutor. It is customary at the end of the freshman year to make a present to the Tutor of the Class: but it has been delay'd by ours to the present Time, and many would still delay it, and lay it wholly aside. The Custom, I think is a bad, one, because, it creates partialities in a Tutor, because it increases the distinction between the wealthy, and the poor Scholars, because it makes the Tutor in some measure dependent upon his Class, and because to many that Subscribe it is a considerable expence but the Salaries of the Tutors, being so low, { 26 } { 27 } and it having been for many years an universal custom, I am sorry to see our Class so behind hand, and several, who could well afford it, and have really subscribed, meanly endeavouring, to put off the matter from Quarter to Quarter, till they leave College. Bridge, was chosen moderator, and it was finally voted that those who chose to give any thing, should deliver it to Kendall, on or before the 20th of this month: and another Class meeting was appointed for the 22d. to consider how the money should be laid out: the meeting was then dissolved.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-04


No reciting this morning, on account of the last Nights Class meeting. This is a privelege, that all the Classes, and joy,1 and I am told there have been in our Class fellows, so lazy, and so foolish, as to call a Class meeting merely for that Purpose.
I went to Boston this morning, with Leonard White. Sauntered about Town; almost all the forenoon. Dined at My Uncle Smith's. In returning, Leonard, and I, were all the Time, disputing, upon Love, and Matrimony. Upon the whole, his System, is the best I believe, though, it might be carried to extremes, that would be very hurtful.
I saw to day in the News Papers, of a duel fought between Mr. Curson, (who is mentioned: p: 115) and a Mr. Burling, in which the former was kill'd.2 The Circumstances, that caused it, were not honourable, to the Person, that fell, and if ever a duel, was justifiable, it is surely, in such a case as this.
1. Thus in MS; probably an inadvertence for “enjoy.”
2. JQA had met Samuel Curson, a New York merchant, on 21 July 1785. Burling, from Baltimore, accused Curson of injuring his family, and pursued him to the West Indies, London, and finally back to New York, where he challenged Curson to a duel. Curson agreed to meet him, but refused to fire because he claimed he had done Burling no injury. After an exchange of words, Burling killed him (Massachusetts Centinel, 3 May).

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

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


We had, this morning, a Philosophical Lecture, from Mr. Williams, in which he concluded the Subject of the mechanical powers. This is not so entertaining a subject, as some others but it is a very important one as all the instruments that mankind make use of: of what kind so ever, are upon the principle, of one or more of these Powers. There was a Lecture, at the meeting { 28 } house in the afternoon; I did not attend: but went, and stay'd at Williams's till about 4 o'clock. Kendall, got quite high. We went to his Chamber with him. I made tea for the Club in the Evening. They stay'd with me, till about 9 o'clock. A number of the Seniors too, got very high this afternoon.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-06


Recited in Doddridge's Lectures on divinity. This is an attempt to refute mathematically all the objections, that have been raised against the Christian religion, and the Bible in general; I wish we studied some other book instead of that. A day or two since, Mr. Hale, the Tutor in metaphysics, gave us out a forensic question, to dispute upon, Tuesday, the 16th. of this Month. I employ'd almost all this afternoon, in writing mine, yet have not written, 3 pages full. We have now Stormy weather.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-07


Sacrament day. Mr. Hilliard, preach'd in the morning from 1st. of Corinthians. I. 30. But of him are ye, in Christ Jesus, who of God, is made unto us, wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification and redemption. I do not remember all his arguments; What I did [remember?], was not so pleasing to me, as his afternoon, discourse, which was from Acts. XI. 26. And the disciples, were called Christians, first in Antioch. This was, I thought, a very good one; he recommended to his hearers, to consider themselves, as Christians and not particularly belonging to any sect. He introduced, very properly, an excellent passage from Scripture, against Schisms. I: Cor: III. 4,5. For while one saith, I am of Paul, and another I am of Apollos, are ye not carnal? Who then is Paul; and who is Apollos, but ministers, by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave to every man? His argument was, if a particular attachment, to such men as Paul, and Apollos, was reproved in the Scriptures, how much then must particular sects at this day, or enthusiasm for the opinions of men, much inferior to Paul or Apollos, be displeasing to God.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-08


We recite this week in Terence, and Caesar to Mr. James. This is the tutor of the oldest standing in College. He is very well ac• { 29 } quainted with the branch he has undertaken, and Persons, that are not Students, say that he is much of a Gentleman. But it seems almost to be a maxim among the Governors of the College, to treat the Students pretty much like brute Beasts. There is an important air, and a haughty look, that, every Person, belonging to the government, (Mr. Williams excepted) assumes, which indeed it is hard for me to submit to. But it may be of use to me, as it mortifies my Vanity, and if any thing, in the world, can teach me humility, it will be, to see myself subjected to the commands of a Person, that I must despise.
Mr. James is also accused of having many Partialities, and carrying them to very great length and moreover, that those partialities do not arise from any superior talents or Virtues, in the Student, but from closer, and more interested motives. There are some in our Class with whom, he has been peculiarly severe, and some he has shown more favour, than any Tutor ought to show to a Student. I wish not his favour, as he might prize it too high, and I fear not his Severity, which he can never display, if I do my Duty. Mr. Williams, gave us a mathematical Lecture at 9. Still on Surveying. About two thirds, of the Class are behind hand, and the rest are obliged to wait for them till they come up.

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

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


We had this afternoon a public1 Lecture upon Divinity. It is a pretty common Custom among the Students, to take their books into the Chapel, and whilst these Lectures are going on they study their next Lessons; those indeed, that do this, are some of the good Scholars of the Class, for there are many, that do not look, into a book, more than once a Quarter, before they go in to recite. Lovell, was punish'd this morning, for carrying to the recitation an English Terence. Was he to punish all, that do so, about 2/3 of each Class would be fined. I was not at reciting this morning, because, the prayer Bell did not wake me. This is only the second Time, that it has happened to me this Quarter, and I hope, I shall soon be so used to early rising, as to be up every morning, a little after five. I find my Time flies away here, as fast as any where. Being engaged now in a multiplicity of Studies, I cannot make, a very rapid progress in any branch. Latin, Greek, Mathematics, natural Philosophy, and Metaphysics, are enough to fill any ones hands at one Time, and I have calculated, that { 30 } about 6 hours every day are taken up in Prayers, recitings, Lectures &c. which are not to be consider'd, as studies. But mathematics and natural Philosophy, are studies so agreeable, that the Time I devote to them, seems a time of relaxation.
1. Public lectures were open to the entire college; private lectures, which JQA mentions in later entries, were given to selected classes.

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

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


We finished the Andria of Terence this morning. The Class began it last Feby. I went through it at Haverhill in 3 Evenings, however it must be said, here they Study it only 1 week in 4, and that week, only 4 mornings, but even in that way, it has taken 12 lessons to go through this one play. At 11. we had a Lecture from Mr. Williams, upon hydrostatics. He keeps exceeding close to Gravesande's. Definitions, experiments; nearly all the same. We recite afternoons, the Latin Week, in Caesar, but I have had nothing to say this Week: the Class is so numerous, that he, cannot hear more than one half of them recite at once, and so he takes turns. Mr. I. Smith and Dr. Welch, were here in the afternoon. There was a Concert, by a number of Performers from Boston; Several of the Ladies and Gentlemen, of the Town were present, as well, as many of the Students, but I did not attend. Bigelow, a Senior came, and spent an hour after the Concert. He told me, that his mother,1 went to school to my father, about 30 years ago.
1. Timothy Bigelow's mother was Anna Andrews Bigelow, the only daughter and heir of Samuel Andrews of Worcester (Chart, “Pedigree of Lawrence,” NEHGR, 10:facing 297 [Oct. 1856]). JA had taught school in Worcester while reading law with James Putnam thirty years before.

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

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


There has been no reciting this day. Cranch, went to Boston, in the morning, and will not probably return this Night. I have been employ'd almost all day in writing off, Mr. Williams's yesterday Lecture; perhaps I spend too much time, at this, but I think it may be of considerable advantage, for the Study of S'Gravesande's; and the whole must be over before the 21st. of June; on that day, the Seniors leave the College. It is Customary, for every Class, as soon as they commence Seniors to choose, among themselves, a person to deliver a Valedictory Oration on { 31 } the 21st. of June. But by the Intrigues of several of the present Seniors, who wanted to have it, and saw no prospect of obtaining it, the Class, had delay'd hitherto, choosing any one, and it was thought there would be None; but they had this afternoon a Class meeting upon the Subject, and at length chose Fowle, to deliver a Valedictory Poem. The President was inform'd of it by a Committee, who also told him it was the unanimous desire of the Class, that Fowle, might, have another Poem, as a Part, for Commencement. He answered that he approbated their Choice, and would consider upon the other matter.
Was Part of the Evening at Waldo's chamber.

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

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

12th. Friday.

We had a Lecture, this day from Mr. Williams upon Hydraulics. Studied Algebra, in the morning; as I have determined to do, a couple of hours every friday, and Saturday morning. Cranch came back to day; he stay'd to hear the Concert, which was given last Night. The musical Society, took it into their heads to Serenade, the Tutors, and a number of the gentlemen, belonging to the Town; they were out till 3 o'clock in the morning.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-13


No reciting, this morning: was employ'd all day in mathematical Studies, of which I begin to grow exceeding fond. After dinner, I had Bridge, Kendall, Little and Sever about an hour at my Chamber. Bridge, and Little are two of the best Scholars in our Class, and moreover very clever fellows. Sever has a strong natural genious, and genuine Wit. But his morals are loose, and he is not by any means fond of studying.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-14


Mr. Thatcher of Boston preached in the forenoon from John XX: 13. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him, and in the afternoon, from Ephesians V and 11. And have no fellowship, with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather, reprove them. This is the best Orator, that I have seen in the Pulpit for a long time—and he has { 32 } a fine Voice; his Composition is good, but nothing very extraordinary; the excellent manner in which he reads it, sets it off to great advantage. There were some expressions, particularly, in the forenoon Sermon, which I thought favoured too much of Conceit. Such for Instance, was his deducing, a long discourse upon atheism, from the expression they have taken away my Lord. Indeed he appeared to be very anxious about infidelity, and libertinism, all day, and finished his afternoon Sermon, with an address to the debauched infidel, whosoever he was.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-15


We recite this week to Mr. Hale, in Locke. This is upon the whole, the most unpopular Tutor in College. He is hated even by his own Class. He is reputed to be, very ill natured, and severe in his Punishments. He proposes leaving College, at Commencement, and I believe, there is not an individual among the Students, who is not very well pleased with it. One of my Class Mates, said the other day, “I do not believe it yet, it is too good news to be true.” Such are the Sentiments of all the Students with Respect to him.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-16


We had this morning, a forensic dispute, upon the Question, Whether the immortality of the human Soul be probable from natural Reason.1 My Inclination coincided, with my duty, and I read the following piece in the affirmative.
“That there is in Man, an interior Power, far different, and vastly superior, to that possess'd by any other being, of the animal Creation, no one I believe will deny to be highly probable from natural Reason. Indeed, it is so obvious, and there are such continual proofs of it, that all Nations seem to consider it as a moral certainty, rather than a probability. Our bodies we have in common, with every other being of the animal Creation, and like them we are subjected to pain, disorders, and to final dissolution by Death. It is therefore natural to Conclude, that the faculty, which we alone possess, and which raises the vast distinction between man, and all other animals, is totally independent of the body; and if so, I know not of one reason, why we should suppose, it began with the body, or that it will end with it. The Soul { 33 } it is true, while it is in Connection, with the Body, has no natural proof of its own immortality. But the supreme Being, in all whose works, an infinite wisdom, is display'd, when he saw that it was best to leave the Soul, thus in Suspense, at the same time has made, all its hopes, all its desires to centre in immortality. We know of no animal in the Creation (man excepted) that has if I may so express myself an Idea of Immortality; man himself neither expects nor wishes, that his body might remain forever; there are indeed frequent instances of his being so weary of it, as to become himself, the willing instrument of its destruction. But, is there a man in Nature, who if he had it in his power, would annihilate his own Soul, unless a consciousness of its crimes, had joined the idea of eternal damnation, to that of eternal existence. For what Reason, can we suppose this abhorrence of a dissolution, and this fond desire for immortality has been implanted in the Soul, if there is no foundation for them?
Perhaps some one may say; if a man had nothing but natural Reason, to assist him in this Enquiry, he would not know, where to draw the line of distinction. There is perhaps a complete gradation of genius from a Newton, to the meanest insect in Creation; where then shall, we stop, or shall we also, grant immortality to the beasts? I answer, that I see not the necessity of this although I confess it will be difficult to distinguish aright. But would it not equally puzzle, the most skilful geometrician, to ascertain the limits between an angle, and a right Line. For although we can make an Angle, verging as near as we please, to a right line, yet a right Line never can be an angle. No two things can be more distinct, than these, yet no one knows where one begins, or where the other ends.
But the most convincing proof of the probability, natural Reason affords, that the human Soul is immortal, is the opinion, of those nations, which having never been favoured with the blessings of a divine Revelation, could have no other standard. The Greeks and Romans, undoubtedly, generally believed in the Soul's immortality: almost all the authors extant in these two Languages, are fully perswaded of it. It may be said, that the opinion of a few, writers, does not in any Country form that of the whole Nation, and that the greatest parts of the Greeks, and Romans, might believe the contrary. Supposing this to be the Case, must we not confess, that men whose Reason was enlightened, and cultivated, were more proper judges of what is proba• { 34 } ble, than the common herd of mankind, who derive but little advantage, from the Soul, that is given them. But these men, were universally admired; their writings were sought for with the utmost eagerness. Homer and Virgil were considered as Oracles, and in many Places, they went so far even as to deify the Greek Poet. They do not raise a doubt concerning the immortality of the Soul: one book of the Odyssey, and one of the AEneid, are founded entirely upon this belief: there is no reason to think, that, when their Countrymen, consulted those Poems as Oracles, they excluded the nth. book of the Odyssey, or the 6th. of the AEneid.
But this perswasion of an eternal future State, is not confined to the Greeks, and Romans: if we look among Nations where Reason had made, but little progress, we shall still find the same belief. The northern parts of Europe, were unknown to the Greeks, and to the Romans in the days of their Republic; they had a System of Religion, and gods peculiar to themselves. As they were continually at War, their delight was, to slaughter their fellow creatures, and they believed that after death, their Souls would enjoy an eternal happiness, in drinking the blood of their enemies, from their skulls. Even at this Day, in the west India islands, the enslaved African, bending under the weight of oppression, and scourged by the rod of tyranny, sighs for the Day, when Death, shall put a period to his woes, and his Soul again return to be happy in his native Country.
But to mention all the Nations that believe in the Soul's immortality from natural Reason, would be to enumerate, almost every People, that is or has been known on Earth. Happy the People, who to confirm this Opinion, have been favoured, with a Revelation from above.”
At 11 o'clock, when the Bell rung for Mr. Williams's Lecture, several had not read their Parts. Angier and Mason who had done theirs, went and requested leave to retire, and attend the Philosophical Lecture. He2 flatly denied them; probably, merely for the sake of showing his tyrannical Power. The Class shew how much they were out of humour, by shuffling with their feet, and when he had kept us there about a Quarter of an hour; and at length dismiss'd us. If Mr. Williams had not waited all that Time for us, we must infallibly have lost a great part of as Important a Lecture, as we have yet had upon Pneumatics. After commons as Hale, was going through the alley, an universal hiss, was { 35 } heard from the juniors. This is almost the only way, that the Students here have, to keep the Tutors within any bounds. With all their pedantic despotism, they affect Popularity, and I believe the fear of hissing, or shuffling often prevents them from being so arbitrary as they would otherwise be. I receiv'd this afternoon Letters from Europe, as late as March 20th.3
1. Questions, varying in quality and interest, were assigned to Adams throughout his junior and senior years by the tutor of logic, metaphysics, and politics (John Hale and, later, Jonathan Burr), who expected his students to write a short essay for delivery in the chapel during the one week each month they studied with the tutor.
2. Tutor John Hale.
3. AA to JQA, 20 March, and probably JA to JQA, 19 March (Adams Papers); any other “European” letters remain unidentified.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-17


I never was so impatient in my Life, as I am now for other Letters from Europe.1 Leonard White, went to Boston in the morning, but did not bring back any Letters. Was employ'd great part of the Day in writing off yesterdays Lecture.
1. JQA's curiosity was aroused after Billy Cranch had received “a hint of a certain Circumstance” in a letter from his mother the previous day, the same day JQA had received AA's letter containing no mention of AA2's impending marriage to WSS (JQA to AA, 15–19 May, Adams Papers). The matter was cleared up the following day when JQA received letters of an earlier date from AA and AA2.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-18


This morning I received two very long Letters from my Mamma, and Sister;1 at length the whole mystery is revealed, and explain'd. We had from Mr. Williams a Lecture of an hour and an half, with which he finished the Subject of air.
1. One of these letters was AA to JQA, 16 Feb. (Adams Papers), in which he was informed of AA2's engagement. AA2's letter “No. 11,” which concluded on 15 Feb. and in which JQA learned on the first page “in the most delicate, manner possible... of the Connection,” has not been found (JQA to AA, 15–19 May, Adams Papers; JQA to AA2, 18 May – 17 June, AA2, Jour. and Corr., [3]:112–120).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-19


I was informed, that Captain []1 will sail to-morrow for Europe; went to Mr. Reed, and requested to be excused from reciting to-morrow morning, in order to write, to my friends. Studied Algebra, and wrote off part of the Lecture. Sullivan a Senior Sophister, spent an hour with me, in the afternoon. The Class are { 36 } in the greatest anxiety, and Suspense, concerning the Parts, which are expected to be given out, every hour.
1. Left blank in MS.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-20


Cranch went to Boston this day, and brought me back, another large packet from my Sister, inclosing a Poem written, by Coll. Humphreys, on the happiness of America, addressed to the Citizens of the States.1 There is a great brilliancy of Imagination, I think display'd in it, and he is somewhat poetical, in describing the happiness, that reigns in this Country; but the poem I take to be a very fine one.
I wrote to my Mamma, and Sister this morning.2
1. Probably AA2 to JQA, 9–27 Feb. (Adams Papers), and 25–27 Feb. (AA2, Jour. and Corr., [3]:120–127). The copy of David Humphreys' A Poem, On the Happiness of America; Addressed to the Citizens ofthe United States, London, 1786, has not been found in the Adams Papers or Adams libraries.
2. Probably JQA to AA, 15–19 May (Adams Papers), and JQA to AA2, 18 May – 17 June (AA2, Jour. and Corr., [3]:112–120). JQA was deeply moved by the news of his sister's forthcoming marriage, and heartily concurred with AA in the “Contrast” between WSS and Royall Tyler. Smith “enjoys a Reputation, which has always commanded my Respect,” JQA wrote to AA, and “I wish henceforth to esteem him as a friend, and cherish him as a brother, as Circumstances have prevented me, from enjoying a personal acquaintance with him, his connection, with a Sister, as dear to me, as my Life, and the Opinion of my Parents, will stand in lieu of it. Will you be so kind,” he continued, “as to remember me affectionately to him?”

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-21


We had to day a Doctor Haven,1 from Portsmouth to preach; to day: he took his text from Psalm XXIII. 1. The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want: in the forenoon, and in the afternoon, from I Corinthians. I: 18. For the preaching of the Cross is to them that perish; foolishness: but unto us which are saved it is the power of God. I did not by any means like him so well, as I did Mr. Thatcher last Week. He is neither an extraordinary writer, nor speaker. 'Tis said he is an humble imitator of the famous Whitfield;2 which does not by any means raise my opinion of him. He talk'd a good deal about shepherds; and the Cross, and those that perish &c. but I heard nothing very edifying to me, in the whole day.
{ 37 }
1. Samuel Haven, minister of the South Congregational Church of Portsmouth, N.H., 1752–1806 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:382–390).
2. George Whitefield, the English evangelical missionary and New Light apostle, who made several trips to America between 1738 and 1769 during the Great Awakening. JQA shared the views of Whitefield that his father had expressed as an undergraduate. Compare JA, Earliest Diary, p. 33.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-22


We recite this week to our own Tutor Mr. Reed, in Gravesande's experimental Philosophy. This gentleman, is not much more Popular, than the rest of the Tutors; he is said to be prejudiced, and very vindictive. He is liked in general by the Class, however; and this may be a Reason why I have not heard, as much said against him, as against the others. We had a Class meeting, this evening about making him a Present: but there had been scarcely anything collected; and it was determined, that it should be put off till next Quarter, and I suppose the Class will go on in this manner, having two or three Class meetings every Quarter, and finally do nothing. We endeavoured to get the Class to recite, to morrow morning, and a number have agreed they would.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-23


We could not recite this morning, because Mr. Reed, was not in at prayers. This morning a number of the Seniors were sent for, by the President, to go to his House at 8 o'clock. They went, and the parts were distributed thus. Thompson+1 English Oration A:M: Champlin Latin Oration A:M: Fowle and Gardner 2d. each a Poem. Blake English and Andrews+ 1st. Latin Oration's P.M. Harris, Dwight+, Hubbard×, and Parker+ a Conference, Bigelow and Crosby+, Lowell and Taylor, Loring and Sullivan Forensics. Lincoln and Warland, a Greek dialogue, Bradford, Norton, Simpkins+, and Wyeth, Respondents in Syllogistics, and all the rest opponents to the same. These Syllogistics, are very much despised by the scholars, and no attention seems to be paid to them by the Company at Commencement. The scholars in general think that the Government, in giving them those Parts write on their foreheads DUNCE in capital Letters. Notwithstanding this some of the most learned men, in the Country, had syllogistics, when they graduated here. The good Parts, as they are called, are more numerous this year, than they ever have been. { 38 } Before this there has been only one English, and one Latin Oration, and no Poems. It is a doubt, whether they intend, to establish this as a Precedent or whether it is only a distinguished favour, to the present Class who pretend2 to be the best Class for learning, and genius that ever graduated here. It is said, that the Parts have been exceedingly well distributed; and all the College, are pleased. There is only one person, who is said to have a part he did not deserve×,3 and one or two are mentioned, as deserving others than Syllogistics. However that may be, the syllogists all got together this Evening, and drank, till not one of them could stand strait, or was sensible of what he did. A little after 9 they sallied out, and for a Quarter of an hour made such a noise, as might be heard, at a mile distant. I was then up in Freeman's chamber, upon a certain affair, he was informing me of. The Tutors went out, and after a short time, perswaded them to disperse. Mr. Reed had two squares of his Windows broke.
1. Thomas W. Thompson, with whom JQA was to study law in Newburyport the following year, was later a New Hampshire lawyer, U.S. representative, 1805–1807, and senator, 1814–1817 (Biog. Dir. Cong.). The names with plus signs, which were placed above the names in the MS, were all members of the A.B. Club (entry for 29 May, below).
2. Probably “profess” (OED).
3. Dudley Hubbard.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-24


It is feared that some bad consequences, will ensue, from the high-go, of the Syllogists last evening. Borland,1 it seems, was the most active of them all; he collar'd Mr. Reed, and threw an handful of gravel, in his Face, and was rather disrespectful to Mr. James; He went this morning to the former, to make an apology for his Conduct, but was told, it could not be received, as the matter was already laid before the Government. Thus those fellows play the Tyrants here; they have no regard, no allowances for youth, and Circumstances; they go out, when they are almost certain of being insulted, and then bring the scholar, for a crime of which he knew nothing, under public censure. They cannot with any face, say that a scholar ought to be so severely punished for depriving himself of his Senses. For there are here, in College persons, who have seen Mr. Reed, <as much> much intoxicated, as Borland was yesterday; and behaving quite as ill. But Compassion is too great a Virtue, ever to be admitted into the breast of a Tutor, here. It is supposed however that Borland's { 39 } punishment will not be very severe, because it requires an unanimous Vote among the Governors of the College to punish a Student, and they are said to be at such Variance one with the other, that they can very seldom all agree.
1. Samuel Borland, son of John Borland, of Boston and Tory Row, Cambridge, the short-lived loyalist (d. 1775) (Edward Doubleday Harris, “The Vassalls of New England,” NEHGR, 17:120 [April 1863]; Paige, Hist. of Cambridge, Mass., p. 167–169).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-25


Government met, and were assembled, almost all this day, to determine what Punishment to inflict upon Borland, he was informed of it in the evening, and the Class petitioned, that it might be mitigated; but probably without much success.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-26


This morning after Prayers, Borland, was called out to read an humble Confession, signifying his repentance of his Conduct &c. The President read, the Votes of the Government; the affair was stated, and it was said, that Borland, had insulted in a flagrant manner, two of the Governors of the University, whereupon it was voted, that he read a Confession, and 2dly. that he be degraded to the bottom of his Class, and that he take his place there accordingly. The other Scholars, were warn'd by this example, not to run into such excesses, and to behave respectfully. I wanted I think neither of these warnings, but the event has warn'd me, to alter my Opinion concerning Reed; I thought him, the best of the Tutors, but now, I do not think he is a jot better than the Rest: Reed said, as I have heard that he should not have complained of any other scholar, but Borland, had always treated him disrespectfully. This makes the blame in the Tutor much greater, for it displays, a partiality, which every governor of the University ought to be free from.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-27


No reciting this morning. I was employed all day in studying mathematics, which are the most pleasing to me, of any of our studies. Spent, a couple of hours at Bridge's chamber after dinner. Rain in the Evening.
{ 40 } { 41 } | view

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-28


Parson Hilliard preach'd us a Sermon in the morning from Isaiah LIV. 14. In righteousness shalt thou be established; thou shalt be far from oppression; for thou shalt not fear, and from terror; for it shall not come near thee, and in the afternoon, from Galatians IV 27: For it is written, Rejoyce thou barren, that bearest not, break forth, and cry thou that travailest not; for the desolate hath many more children, than she which hath an husband. I have heard the substance of one Sermon, with a Variety of texts ever since I have been, here; it is with him, as with most of the preachers I have heard: there is one favourite point, (often self evident) which they labour, to prove, continually; and beyond which they seldom, have much to say.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-29


We recite this week to Doctor Jennison, but he was not in this morning.
Je fus ce soir a l'assemblée, d'une Societé,1 etablie, depuis deux ans, par quelques jeunes gens de la presente premiere Classe, qui voulaient se perfectionner, le stile, et se donner reciproquement des conseils vrais, et sinceres. Les assemblées ordinaires sont une fois dans trois semaines. Chacun y lit une piece de sa composition, et au bout de chaque phrase, les autres membres font des observations, et lui disent, ce qu'ils en pensent. Les membres de la premiere Classe sont, Andrews 1r. Crosby, Dwight, Parker, Simpkins, et Thompson, qui etait president de la Societé, l'année passée. Ils on quitté la Societé parcequ'ils s'en vont bientôt; Les membres de notre Classe sont, Abbot 2d. Bridge, Burge, Chandler 3me. Cranch, Fiske, Freeman, (president) Harris (qui a été admis, à la derniere assemblee en même terns que moi.) Little et Packard. Le President fit un discours, à l'occasion de son election, qui se fit à la derniere assemblée. Ensuite chaque membre lut sa piece; aprés quoi chacun reçut un sujet, pour la prochaine assemblée ordinaire. Enfin chacun se retira, sur les onze heures.
Rain'd almost all day, we had a mathematical Lecture in the morning from Professor Williams.
{ 43 }
1. This is doubtless the A.B. Club, presumably a code for a secret name, which appears to have been a rival to the more famous Speaking Club, begun as early as 1770, of which JQA was not a member. Unlike the Speaking Club, the A.B. did not require its members to speak from memory, as JQA's entry above indicates (Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 138; MH-Ar: Speaking Club Records).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-30


The weather cleared up, in the afternoon. A number of the Class have had leave to be absent till the end of the week, on account of Election day. My Cousin, set off, at about 4 afternoon to go on foot to Braintree, We had a Lecture from Mr. Wigglesworth at three.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-05-31


Election day. This is a day of great festivity throughout the Country. The last Wednesday in May, is appointed, for declaring the choice, of the Governor, Lieutt. Governor &c. It is the only day in the year, in which the Student here is left at his Liberty to do whatever he pleases; and it is most frequently the Case, as it has been this day, that one Party is playing in the yard from 8 in the morning to prayer time in the afternoon: Most of the scholars however go out of Town, on this day. There is a custom among the scholars here, which some of the Classes follow, and others do not. It is choosing a governor and Lieutenant governor, for the Class. They commonly take some rich fellow, who can treat the Class now and then. The Seniors this morning, chose Champlin governor, and Lowell Lieutt. Governor. The Lieutenant Governor treated immediately and they chose their other officers. At commons, they all went into the Hall, in Procession, Thomas, who was appointed sheriff march'd at their head with a Paper cockade, in his hat, and brandishing a Cane, in his hand instead of a sword. He conducted the Governor and Lieutt. Governor to their seats, made his bow, and retired to the other table, for which Jackey Hale, punished him 4 shillings. However he performed his part so well, that the Spectators were much pleased and clap'd their hands. Hale happened to see Baron, the junior, clapping, and sent orders for him to go to him after commons. Baron, not happening to go before 2 o'clock was punished 5 shillings for impudence and 4 for disobedience, that is the way, these modest Tutors tyrannize over us. As there was a little noise in the Hall, Hale, struck the handle of his knife 3 { 44 } times on the table, to still it, but instead of that, almost every knife in the Hall was struck on the table 3 Times. At last the Tutors rose, and as they were going out, about half a dozen fellows hiss'd them, they were enraged, turn'd round, and look'd as if they would devour, us. But they did not discover one Person; which made them look silly enough. When they turn'd their backs again, there was nothing but hissing, and groaning, and clapping hands, and stomping, heard in the Hall, till they got into the yard where, a few Potatoes were sent out to meet them. Hale was in such a fury, that I don't doubt but in Imitation of Caligula,1 he wished, that the whole College, had but one head, and that he might chop it off with impunity. He sent for all the waiters after Dinner, and endeavoured to pump something out of them, but he could not succeed.
This evening I happened to be about half an hour, in Company with Dr. Jennison, and if every thing is in Proportion to his small talk, he is as silly a Tutor, as I should ever wish to see. I smiled several Times this Evening, and it was not without difficulty, once or twice, that I restrain'd myself from laughing out.
1. While at The Hague JQA had translated into French Suetonius' account of the life of Caligula (16 April–22 July 1784, M/JQA/44, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 239) and had made a rough, incomplete translation earlier (ca. 1783, same, Reel No. 240).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-01

Thursday June 1st. 1786.

We had this forenoon a Lecture from Mr. Williams. Upon the reflection and the refraction of light. It is not usual for him to give Lectures on Thursdays, as many of both the Classes, are always absent on that day; as was the Case to day, not above half being present. But he has been so long prevented, by the weather, from giving any, that he is obliged to take the first fair day that happened: he has yet given but fourteen Lectures, it is said he has ten more to give, and must finish before the 21st. of this month. The Lecture was not to me so entertaining as some have been.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-02


We had another Lecture from Mr. Williams to day, with an explanation of the different optical Instruments, that are most commonly made use of. But there was such, a flocking to see { 45 } through the microscope, and the magic Lantern, and the camera obscura, that something got broke, and Mr. Williams, shew nothing more after it. Weather very warm, several of us, bath'd in the River this afternoon.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-03


We had a Lecture this morning upon Electricity; we received two small shocks, which however, gave me such a stroke in the joints at my elbows that I could not write after it; The weather very warm indeed. Fahrenheits' thermometer I am told was at 87: 80 is the common summer heat. We did not recite in Doddridge, this morning.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-04


Attended meeting all day. It was very uncomfortable, the weather being so warm, and we are crowded there so thick. The Parson for our Comfort was very short. In the forenoon he preach'd from I Ep: John V. 11. And this is the record, That God, hath given to us eternal Life, and this Life is in his Son, and in the afternoon from, I Corinthians VII. 31. And they that use this world, as not abusing it: for the fashion of this world passeth away.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-05


We had a Lecture from Mr. Williams, concerning heat, proper Lecture for the weather. Je fus le soir à l'assemblée de nôtre petite Societé,1 ou nous eûmes, Burge, Chandler, Harris, et moi une petite dispute impromptue, sur la Question, si l'Europe est plus favorable au genie que l'amerique. Moi, je soutins, le contraire, et je le soutiendrai toujours. Après avoir fait quelques autres petites affaires, chacun se retira.
1. The A.B. Club. See entry for 29 May (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0006

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


Mr. Williams gave us another Lecture upon heat; and introduced a new System of his own. But the heat being increased in the Chamber, by a small fire, which was necessary for making the experiments, and by the breath of an hundred Persons, as• { 46 } sembled in it, became almost insupportable, Thompson fainted completely, and was carried away to his chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-07


We had this morning a continuation of Mr. Williams's System; by which, he pretends to account for the aurora borealis, in a manner different from any that has yet been started. His Hypothesis appears to be very plausible, and I hope, that if it is not wholly true, it may lead on to further discoveries concerning a Phenomenon, which has not yet been well accounted for.
I declaim'd in the Chapel this afternoon. (See page 318.)1
Immediately after prayers, the Parts for exhibition, were given out. Little, has the English Oration, Beale, the Latin, Abbot 1st. and Burge the Forensic. It is a matter of surprize, that Beale, should have an Oration as he is not considered, as very extraordinary either as a scholar or, a speaker.
1. That is, in entry of 15 April (above).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-08


A very warm day again. I was in the morning with Mr. Williams, at the Philosophy Chamber. I made tea for the Club this afternoon. We were at Beale's chamber in the afternoon.

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

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


Quite unwell almost all day. We had a Lecture from Mr. Williams, upon magnetism. The weather has altered so much that it is now very cool.

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

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


The Course of Philosophical Lectures was closed, with one, giving an explanation of the Orrery, and as an Introduction, to the astronomical Course, which we shall have next Quarter. I went also, and heard a Lecture from Dr. Waterhouse, upon digestion. I have nearly Lost this day; strol'd about with White in the afternoon. Cranch went to Boston. After Tea, we walk'd, half, an hour and then return'd and spent the rest of the Evening at Bridge's Chamber.
Mr. Williams closed his Lectures, with these Verses from Pope
{ 47 }

All are but parts of one stupendous whole,

Whose Body, Nature is, and God, the Soul;

That, chang'd through all, and yet in all the same;

Great in the Earth, as in th'aethereal frame;

Warms in the Sun, refreshes in the breeze,

Glows in the stars, and blossoms in the trees,

Lives through all Life, extends through all extent,

Spreads undivided, operates unspent;

To him no high, no low, no great, no small;

He fills, he bounds, connects and equals all.1

1. “An Essay on Man,” Epistle I, lines 267–274, 279–280.

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

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


Mr. Howard1 a Minister from Boston, preach'd in the forenoon from, Proverbs I. 20. Wisdom crieth without; she uttereth, her voice, in the Streets. 21. She crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates: in the City she uttereth her words saying. 22. How long ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity?, and the scorners delight in their scorning, and fools hate knowledge? And in the afternoon from Luke XII. 48. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required. I like the last much the best. There was a liberality of Sentiment, in his System, which is very seldom, found among preachers in this Country. Those of Boston, however are distinguished, in general for this Quality.
1. Simeon Howard, minister of the West Church, Boston, 1767–1804, and holder of Arian and Arminian views. JQA described another sermon of his as “excellent... full of candor, benevolence, and piety, with the most liberal sentiments”; attending the Dudleian lecture given by Howard in Sept. 1787, he found the minister's views “replete with sound sense and a wholesome doctrine, as all the sermons that I ever heard from this gentleman, have been” (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:279–288; entries for 18 April, 5 Sept. 1787, below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0012

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


Recite this week to Hale, who was absent this afternoon. Je n'ai rien fait de toute la journée, qu'ecrire pour nôtre Societé, voici une piece, que je finis hier.
A. B. N. 1.1
“Nil tarn difficile, quod non Solertia vincat.”
I must inform those of my hearers, that have never studied, the Latin Language, that the meaning of this is “nothing is so difficult, but it may be overcome by Industry.”
{ 48 }
In a litteral Sense this Proposition is false. There are doubtless certain bounds, which the supreme being has placed to the faculties of man, and beyond which, it must always be impossible for us to penetrate. A man who should endeavour by industry, to live upon air, or to be immortal, would not succeed better, than the monks of a Certain Convent, who having read in Scripture, that faith as big as a grain of mustard seed would be sufficient to remove a mountain, were determined to pray without ceasing, untill a very inconvenient hill, that stood before the Convent should disappear. After they had spent, 3 or 4 days in displaying their faith; they were greatly surprized to see the mountain standing as firm as ever. They consulted together, to know what was the Reason, of their being so unsuccessful; one of them finally said, he imagined there was some mistake in the Translation, and that it ought to be, Faith, as big as a mountain, would be sufficient to remove a grain of mustard seed: But had those monks ever studied the writings of celebrated authors in any Language, they would often have met with this figure of rhetoric.
Nor is this Proposition strictly true, in a moral Sense; for if a man, is born with small abilities, the utmost stretch of Industry, will not enable him to equal one, who, possess'd of more genius, does not cultivate it, with so much assiduity. But when we consider that Industry without genius, is sufficient to carry a man thro' Life, with honour, that Genius without Industry, serves only to increase the fault of the Person, who is possess'd of it, and that they produce such surprizing Effects, when they are united, we must conclude, that the Poet has Reason to say, Industry, can overcome all Things.
If we look into history, we shall find; that this Virtue, has been productive, of greater effects, than any other. Those stupendous works, which struck every beholder with amazement, and which for that Reason were styled the wonders of the world, display'd, and those of them, that are yet extant, still display, the Industry of mankind, in the Infancy of Creation. But, while we admire the Principle, which enabled them, to execute such surprizing undertakings, we must lament their want of judgment for spending so great a portion of their Time, in erecting a Colossus, a mausoleum, and Pyramids, which could afford only a momentary pleasure to the Eye of the beholder, who could acquire neither wisdom nor Virtue from the contemplation of them. It is not necessary to mention, that the republics of Greece, and Rome, { 49 } owed their grandeur, more to their Industry, and Perseverance, than to any other Cause; but the Republic of Holland, furnishes perhaps, the most striking and most brilliant advantages, produced, by these Virtues. Placed on a small, insignificant portion of the Earth, which is continually subjected to the impetuous attacks of the Ocean, and which cannot produce even the necessaries of Life, for a tenth part of its Inhabitants; they have been enabled by their Industry not only to withstand the encroachments of the Sea, but to rise to the Summit of national glory, and take their Seat among the most powerful Empires on Earth. Such are the benefits, which accrue, from Industry, to nations. Its benign Influence, is not less advantageous to Individuals. It is one of those Virtues, which is equally to be esteemed and admired, in all ages, in all places, and at all Times, and next to Innocence, it is perhaps the most amiable quality, that can adorn the characters of Men.
1. That is, JQA's first speech before the A.B. Club.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-13


No reciting this morning.
This reciting in Locke, is the most ridiculous of all. When the Tutor enquires what is contained in such a section; many of the Scholars repeat the two first Lines in it, which very frequently [say??] nothing to the Purpose, and leave the rest for the Tutor to explain, which he commonly does, by saying over again the words of the author. The only advantage, which can, I think be derived from this, is that it forces some of the Students, whether they will or not, to know, the opinion of the author, whom they are presumed to study: this, may be of some use to the idle, but can be of none, to any youth, who is fond of study.
I began Robertson's History of Scotland,1 which I took last Friday from the Library.
1. William Robertson, The History of Scotland During the Reigns of Queen Mary and of King James VI till his Accession to the Crown of England..., 2 vols., London, 1759.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-14


The Freshmen, by their high Spirit of Liberty, have again involved themselves in difficulties. The Sophimores, consider themselves as insulted, by them, and in a Class meeting, last { 50 } evening determined, to oblige all the Freshmen, to take off their hats in the yard, and to send them [on errands??]. There has been a great deal of business between them to day; Mr. Hale, has had several of them before him. Isaac Adams among the rest, a daring, insolent fellow, who has too much Influence in that Class, and who will not, perhaps, take his degree with them.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-15


We did not recite this morning. The struggle between the Freshmen and Sophimores still continues. They have been mutually hoisting one another all day. I went with Andrews 1st and Dwight, and spent, part of the Evening at Mr. Dana's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-16


Warm weather. Nous eûmes une assemblée extraordinaire de nôtre Societé; Dwight y fit un discours, au nom de sa Classe, en prenant Congé de la Societé. C'est une Loi que lorsqu'une Classe, quitte l'Université, un membre de la Societé et de cette Classe, fera un discours; on le choisit un an d'avance; mais comme, ce furent les membres de la presente premiere Classe, qui ont institué le Societé, le discours de ce soir, fut le premier dans ce genre. Le Discours fini ces messieurs, se retirerent, et nous fimes Choix, de Freeman, pour faire le discours de l'anniversaire, l'année prochaine, et de Bridge, pour celui du Congé. Aprés avoir fait quelques autres affaires nous nous retirâmes, chéz nous.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-17


This day, the Bridge over Charlestown Ferry was compleated, and as the same day 11 years agone, was mark'd at Charlestown, with dreadful Scenes, of Slaughter and Destruction,1 the managers, and directors of the Bridge, determined, that this day should be mark'd with Pleasure and festivity. I do not think however that the scheme, was good. A Dinner was provided for 600 People, on Bunker's hill: the havoc of oxen, sheep, and fowls of all kinds, was I suppose as great to day, as that of men upon the former occasion and I dare say, there was as much wine drank now, as there was blood spilt then, and to crown the whole, The head of the table, was I hear placed on the very spot { 51 } where the immortal Warren fell. I think however, that the ground which had been the scene, of such an awful Day, should [not], be made a scene, of revels, and feasting. What must be the feelings of a man of Sensibility, who, would naturally say to himself “perhaps, I am now seated on the grave of my dearest friend. Perhaps this is the Spot where he drew his last gasp; and I may now be treading down his bones.” All this may be called prejudice, but they are feelings natural to the heart, and such as ought not I think to be rooted from it. Three or four Songs were composed upon the occasion, by different persons, in every one of which Charlestown was compared, to a Phoenix, rising from its ashes.2 All the Tutors were gone, so that we had no Prayers in the afternoon, and there were not more than 30 persons in to Commons. For my Part, I did nothing all day in Consequence of it. After dinner we bathed in the River.
1. The Battle of Bunker Hill, which JQA viewed from Braintree, and the death of Dr. Joseph Warren left a vivid impression on JQA which remained throughout his life. As late as 1846, he wrote of the events of that day: “I saw with my own eyes those fires, and heard Britannia's thunders in the Battle of Bunker's hill and witnessed the tears of my mother and mingled with them my own, at the fall of Warren a dear friend of my father, and a beloved Physician to me. He had been our family physician and surgeon, and had saved my fore finger from amputation under a very bad fracture” (Adams Family Correspondence,1:29, 223–224; JQA to Joseph Sturge, March 1846, Dft, Adams Papers).
2. For an account of the opening of the Charles River Bridge, which attracted a crowd of 20,000, see the Boston Independent Chronicle, 22 June.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-18


The Weather extremely warm, all day. I Dined at Mr. Dana's. Parson Hilliard gave us two Sermons, from Philippians II. 15. Among whom ye shine as lights in the world. It is customary for the minister to preach an occasional Sermon, to the Senior Class, the Sunday preceding the 21st. of June, and this was such. By changing the indicative mood ye shine into the Imperative shine ye: he made it quite applicable; in the afternoon he addressed them in particular, and they all rose, as is customary. He paid them many Compliments, and concluded with many good wishes for their welfare. The only fault, I heard found with his address, was that he dwelt too much upon divinity, and too little upon the other Professions.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-19


Doctor Waterhouse gave, what he called his Valedictory Lecture containing a comparative view of Reason, and Instinct. I thought it an exceeding good one; and it pleased very generally. We had a meeting of the A B this Evening. Only four members attended. Three of them read their Pieces, I did not, on account of my speaking one next Monday; at one of the last meetings it was enacted, that one member at every meeting should speak an Oration, and two at every occasional meeting, read a forensic disputation. It is to go round alphabetically, and the first Oration fell to me; but by this Law, the person that speaks at the occasional meeting shall be excused from reading a piece the meeting before. The weather being rainy, prevented I suppose, many of the Society from attending.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-20


Bridge obtained leave of absence till Commencement. He intends to pass the Summer Vacation here, and supposes he shall be able to Study with much more advantage, when he is not continually called away by the College exercises, than he can now: and I think he is quite right.

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-26


A. B. N 2.1 (but was spoke first).
Destitute of Abilities which might induce you gentlemen, to overlook my want of experience, and of experience to conceal my want of talents; it is with the utmost Diffidence, that I address a number of Characters so respectable, as those that are now before me. But I have frequently observed, that those Persons, who excel the most in any art or Science, are possessed of the greatest share of Candour, and are the readiest to encourage those who endeavour to follow their example; my greatest fear therefore is that not only your candour, but your Patience also, will be put to trial.
The advantages which are derived from Education is one of the most important subjects that can engage the attention of mankind; a subject on which the welfare of States and Empires, as well as of small Societies, and of individuals in a great measure depends. It has long been an opinion generally received, that the Situation which should afford the greatest degree of happiness to mankind, would be the most eligible; and the Poet appears to be of this Opinion when he says

“For forms of government let fools contest

Whate'er is best administer'd is best.”2

But with due reverence, to the Sentiments of mankind in general, and of a person so celebrated in particular I must beg leave to think otherwise, and to suppose, that happiness, should not be the criterion by which to judge of the excellency of a government or of the Situation of men. I do not know whether I am singular in the Idea; but I believe there is nearly an equal Sum, of felicity, and of unhappiness, as to Individuals, spread all over the Earth; and that whatever difference there may be is in a great measure owing to the difference of dispositions which in some men, are much easier and happier than in others: but that it depends neither upon a good form of Government, nor upon civilization.
{ 55 }
We who have had the good fortune to be born under a free government frequently exclaim, with Reason, against despotism. Yet in one of the most despotic monarchies on Earth, I have seen more sprightliness, more cheerfulness, and contentment, than in any other Country in Proportion: because, as they have no Ideas of the blessings of Freedom, they can neither desire to possess it, nor lament their being deprived of it, and I am perswaded that a man perfectly in a State of Nature, would enjoy as much, and perhaps more real happiness, than another with all the learning of a Newton. Ideas of happiness appear always to be local, and always adapted to the Situations of men. The inhabitants of the East naturally of warm Constitutions, place the Summit of felicity in being forever buried in the Embraces of perpetual Virgins, without ever finding their Vigour impaired. The North american Savage, whose Life is one continued Scene, of slaughter and destruction, considers it, as his supreme delight to prolong the Torments of a Captive enemy, and his pleasure is always increased in proportion to the Pain which he Causes. The original inhabitants of the West India Islands, placed their chief happiness, in being stretch'd from morning to night, under the shadows of their Trees, and enjoying a Perpetual and undisturb'd repose. In short it appears plain that what would be the Summit of bliss to one man, would make another very wretched.
Civilization is to a State what Education is to an Individual. When men become civilized they alter their Ideas of happiness, their object is more noble, more exalted, and more reasonable; but desires remain, and as they are more refined, and have their Source in the mind, they are not so easily gratified, as the desires of Sense and thus in the progress of human Life. The youth despises the Pursuits of the Child; the man slights the desires of the youth; and he whose forehead is furrow'd by the brazen finger of Time, and whose head is sprinkled with the Snow of the winter of Life, looks to his God, as the object of his happiness, and concludes with Solomon, that all else is but vanity and Vexation of Spirit. May we not therefore conclude, that civilization does not increase the Sum of happiness among Men? And if this is to be the Standard by which we must judge, it appears to me Clear that education can be of little or no Service to mankind, and that it were better to be a beast of the Fields than the Lord of the Creation.
But Nations and Individuals, are I think to be esteemed and { 56 } admired, according as they fulfill the Purpose of the Deity in creating them; according as their Virtues are great and numerous, and their Vices small and few. And here we shall find that all depends entirely upon civilization and Education: for it is I suppose beyond all doubt, that the progress of every virtue, and of every amiable Quality in a Nation, or an individual, is always in Proportion to the progress of civilization. If we take a view of Man, merely as nature forms him, what a despicable figure will he make, in comparison with man in a State of civilization. Endowed by nature with abilities greater than those of any other animal, he soon extends his Empire over them all: his ingenuity furnishes him, with arms to destroy them, and by this means he accustoms himself to view with indifference, the agonies of Death in another. Bound to his fellow Creatures by no tie of Society, whenever his Interest or his Passion prompts he is as ready to kill a man as any other animal. Violent in his Passions as all men naturally are, and never having been taught that it was his Duty to restrain them, the least irritation hurries him on to the highest pitch of Fury, and he commits the greatest outrages, without being troubled with a Conscience which might reproach him, when his Passion subsides. Society first lays him under restraints, and in Proportion as he advances in that he learns the Duties which he owes to those that surround him, and his heart improves with his understanding.
I have neither Time, nor a Capacity sufficient to trace the progress of civilization, to the pitch, at which it has arrived in most parts of the Earth at present. The advantages of Education are so well known that they need not to be mentioned: nor is it necessary to observe that youth is the Time for the improvement of the heart, and of the understanding. At that time of Life the mind, like wax readily receives every impression that is applied to it: A Good Education inspires the Soul with those exalted, and divine Sentiments, which form, the Patriot and the Sage; which warm the breast of the Hero, cause him to spurn every Idea of fear, and to think with the Roman Poet, “Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori,”3 which raise the voice of the Orator to speak in thunder, for the Cause of his Country, and which shew Man, at the highest degree of Perfection, to which the supreme being is pleased he should arrive. Or as it has been beautifully expressed in Verse.
{ 57 }

In the pure mind at those ambiguous Years,

Or Vice, rank weed! first strikes her poisonous Root

Or haply, Virtue's opening bud appears,

By just degrees, fair bloom, of fairest Fruit.

For if on youth's untainted thought imprest,

The generous Purpose still, shall warm the manly breast.

Besides this we had an extempore disputation on the Question; whether a public Education, was more advantageous, than a private one?
We had this morning a mathematical Lecture from Mr. Williams, and a public one from Mr. Pearson, in the afternoon, on the origin of Language.
1. In the speech which follows, JQA's second before the A.B. Club, paragraphing has been editorially supplied.
2. “An Essay on Man,” Epistle III, lines 303–304.
3. “’Tis sweet and glorious to die for [one's] fatherland.”

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-27


No reciting this afternoon. A number of the Scholars are forming themselves into a military Company, and sent a Committee to the Governor, for some arms.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-28


I received a letter from Mr. W. Smith, informing me of my aunt Smith's Death.1 She was here this Day week. Coll. Thatcher, the representative, for this Town, fell instantaneously dead, yesterday in Boston Streets. I went to Mr. Wigglesworth, to Mr. Sewall,2 and to Mr. Pierson, in the afternoon. Almost all the Class met at Amory's chamber this morning.
1. Letter not found; Mrs. Elizabeth Storer Smith, wife of Isaac Smith Sr. and sister of Deacon Ebenezer Storer, had died the previous day (Malcolm Storer, Annals of the Storer Family, together with Notes on the Ayrault Family, Boston, 1927, p. 48; Isaac Smith Jr. to AA, 8 July, Adams Papers).
2. Stephen Sewall had been Hancock Professor of Hebrew and Oriental Languages from 1764 until 1785, when he was dismissed for intemperance. TBA lived at his house during his freshman year (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 15:107–114; JQA to JA, 30 Aug., Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-29


Went to Boston, and attended my aunt Smith's funeral. Sat about an hour with my old Companion Johonnot who shew me some more of his Poetry. We returned to Cambridge, in the midst of the Rain in the Evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0004-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-30


Mr. and Mrs. Cranch, Mr. W Smith, and Miss Betsey, came up here this afternoon and drank tea.
Fine Weather.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-06-30


Nil tam difficile, quod non Solertia vincat.1

1. This Latin proverb originally appeared at the beginning of JQA's first discourse before the A.B. Club (entry for 12 June, above).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
DateRange: 1786-07-01 - 1787-10-31


Vol II.1
From July 1st. 1786 to October 31st. 1787.

Tempora labuntur, tacitisque senescimus annis,

Et fugiunt, fraeno non remorante dies.

[signed] Ovid.2
1. Titlepage for D/JQA/11, covering the inclusive dates inscribed. The top line on this page is written in an earlier hand, presumably the date on which he purchased the blank Diary book. This same inscription appears on the top of titlepages of D/JQA/10 and 12, which are identical 380-page leather-bound books, all measuring 4¼″ × 6¾″.
2. “Time slips away, and we grow old with silent lapse of years; there is no bridle that can curb the flying days,” Fasti, Bk. VI, lines 771–772 (Opera, 5 vols., London, 1745, 1:[134], at MQA; Publii Ovidii Nasonis Fastorum Libri Sex, transl. Sir James George Frazer, 5 vols., London, 1929, 1:352–353). JQA purchased his own edition of Ovid, cited above, on 15 March 1785.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-01

Saturday July 1st. 1786.

The military company, having obtained a promise of 60 stand of arms, met immediately after Dinner, and chose their officers, { 59 } and agreed to a Code of Laws. They were upon the business more than two hours. Vose, was chosen Captain, Fiske, and Packard lieutenants, and Chandler 1st. Ensign.1
1. This was the college military company, founded in 1770, and named the Marti-Mercurian Band because of its motto, “tam marti quam mercurio.” It was an association for exercise and recreation which marched and maneuvered with fife and drum, though it did not see service in the Revolution. The company was reformed in 1786, procured arms on loan from Gov. Bowdoin, and flourished for a year before it died away again. It was not reestablished thereafter until 1811. During the Shays' uprising the arms loaned to the band were returned and used by a regular infantry company against the insurgents (Columbian Centinel, 2 April 1828; Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 141).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-02


I was unwell, and obtained leave of absence from meeting. The weather was so warm, I could not do much. I only wrote a Letter to my Sister.1
1. Letter not found.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-03


We had our private exhibition this morning. The Orations by Little and Beale, were both upon Education; that of Little was excellent, generally allow'd to be equal to that of Thomson, who has the greatest character as a composuist of the Senior Class. Beale's being in a dead language, was not so well understood but I thought it good; the Forensic, between Burge, and Abbot 1st. was on the Question, whether habit increases the criminality of an action. Burge appeared to have the best side of the Question. The Syllogistic on the Question, whether a promise extorted by force is binding, was read by the Sophimores, Abbot, Bancroft, Lincoln, and Prescott. The English Dialogue1 was spoken by, Cabot, and Philips, the greek Oration by Sohier, and the Hebrew by Tappan.
We recited in the afternoon, but there were not more than a dozen of the Class, that attended.
1. The dialogue between Apicius and Darteneuf, from George Lyttelton, Dialogues of the Dead, 4th edn., London, 1765, p. 212–227 (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:226).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-04


Anniversary of American Independence; an Oration was delivered in the morning at Boston, by Mr. J. Loring Austin;1 many { 60 } scholars went to hear it, I was not of the number. It was said to be very good.
We have had fair weather several days, and the ground begins to be very dry. This morning Borland was restored, because, as the President, said his conduct had been circumspect, and he had shown a due sense of the Enormity of his Crime. This was indeed enormous.
1. An Oration, Delivered July 4, 1786, Boston, [1786].

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-05


Dull, and low spirited, somewhat, but it did not last long.
Mr. James, gave us a piece of Latin to make: the first the Class have had since I have been here. This is the last week that we attend the Latin Tutor, and last week we closed with Mr. Jennison. In the Senior year there are no languages, studied in College. It is very popular here to dislike the Study of greek and Latin, but it appears to me, that the recitations in these branches are much easier than in S'Gravesande's.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-06


ΦΒΚ Ν: 1.
Whether civil discord is advantageous to Society.
There cannot be perhaps a Question, which at first view presents an aspect so unfavourable, as this does to the Person, who must support the affirmative. That discord, so frequently term'd a fiend of Hell, so heartily execrated by all mankind, though she possesses the breasts of so many of them; so generally allowed to be one of the greatest evils to which human Nature is subjected; that discord I say should be advantageous to Society, is what a superficial observer, must conclude to be impossible. It would be perhaps, to the honour of human Nature, if all the benefits which Society enjoys, were produced by good and virtuous Causes; but continual, nay, I may say perpetual experience, convinces us, that this is not the Case, and as it sometimes happens, that the best intentions are attended with very unhappy Circumstances, so, it is very common, that the most detestable principles are productive of the most beneficial effects.1
Whatever is, is right. This maxim, I take it, holds good in the moral, as well as the physical world; there is no Passion, however base, that has been planted in the mind of man, which was { 61 } not placed there to answer good Purposes; and when man was made, so prone to disagree with his fellow creatures, it was intended, that this Quality like all the rest should work for his general good: but men being seldom blessed with judgment, sufficient to Point out to them, how far they may suffer their Passions to lead them, without being detrimental to them, are in this Case, as in many others, sometimes hurried on to such a degree of discord, and hatred, as becomes highly prejudicial.
A Ship has frequently been used as the Emblem of an Empire, and the metaphor is very applicable here. When the Serenity of the ocean is ruffled by a moderate gale, the vessel pursues its course steadily, and is in perfect Security; but a total Calm, is almost always the forerunner of an outrageous tempest. In a State where the opposite Parties have any moderation; the heads of Government are never wholly in Peace, but the Empire is safe. But the Nation in which a perfect unanimity prevails is always threatened, with most violent commotions. Where there is no discord, there is no jealousy; and where there is no Jealousy, an ambitious intriguing man, and such there always are in all Nations, may pursue his schemes, without meeting any obstacle to prevent the execution of them. But where there are two parties, or more, continually watching each others Conduct, always endeavouring to pry into each others secrets, and the interest of each of which is to detect and bring to light, any evil design that may be form'd by the other, it will be very difficult to carry on an intrigue against the State, without being discovered. Which so ever of the Parties, is at the head of government, is sensible, that the other will take advantage of every error, every mistake, and even every ill success, that may attend the administration; and will consequently make more exertions to preserve, and increase the favour of the People in general, than if it was perfectly secure in Power. Besides this; emulation which in a well ordered government, is the primum mobile of all that is good and virtuous, will inspire the members of each party, with the desire of distinguishing themselves, by their Services to their Country; and every great action on one side lays an obligation on the other to equal it. Thus far Reason can teach us; if we consult facts, I believe they will coincide with these observations.
Let us single from ancient History, the Romans, whose fame has been extended further than that of any other Nation. From the expulsion of the Kings to the establishment of Augustus at { 62 } the head of the Empire, we have one continued scene, of discord, and strife between the two great bodies which composed the republic, the Patricians, and Plebeians. In fact it was not civil discord, which brought such evils upon the republic, under the usurpations of Marius, of Sylla, and finally of Caesar; there were two Parties it is true; but each was violent against the other only because, it was too much attached to one individual. They acted as Puppets, as mere machines; set to work, by their leaders; and there was therefore no more discord between them, than there is between two sticks, which are struck one against the other. Any more Instances would be unnecessary; but I suppose the same Conclusion might be drawn from the history of every Nation antient and modern, and I think it may be inferred that as discord, sometimes proceeds so far as to be very injurious to Society, so when it is kept within proper bounds it is productive of the happiest Consequences.
There were only five of us present. Burge read a dissertation on the theme γνωθῖ σέαυτον,,2 like most other People severe upon the Lawyers. While we were about it Mr. Packard came in. He affects to be very easy in his manners, but it is not natural ease. I made tea this Evening for the Club.
1. After this point, paragraphing has been editorially supplied.
2. Know thyself.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0007

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


The Palladian band,1 have begun to exercise, and Captain Vose, feels quite important. I do not know, that I ever saw a man more gratified, with a distinction, of so little Importance. But ambition has almost always a trifle for its aim, and rattle for rattle, I do not see why this should not be as good as any other. I have not join'd this Company, because I fear there will be such disputes, and disorders, arising from it, as will make it disagreeable, if not wholly abolish it in a short Time: another Reason is, that it will employ more time, than I should wish to spend in mere amusement.
1. That is, the Marti-Mercurian Band. Palladian, a reference to Pallas Athena, goddess of war and wisdom and guardian of cities, is probably JQA's own characterization of this college-based military company.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-08


At length we have some rain, the fruits of the Earth, have long been drooping for the want of it. There were two or three showers, in the morning after which it cleared up; but at about 5 in the afternoon, there arose some of the blackest Thunder clouds that I ever saw. Mr. Ware, who read a dissertation after prayers could scarcely distinguish, his own writing, it was so dark. There was no heavy thunder, but a very fine shower, which lasted about an hour; in the evening it cleared up again.

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

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


The most comfortable Sunday, we have had, for many weeks past. Parson Hilliard preach'd in the forenoon from I Peter I, 3 and 4. “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the Dead. To an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you.” The text was enough for me; I heard nothing of the Sermon. It is the old Story, over and over again so repeatedly that I am perfectly weary of it. The afternoon text was from Proverbs IV. 23. “Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of Life.” Sin, and Salvation through Jesus Christ seem to be Mr. Hilliard's favourite topics, and he uses them so often, that they become words without any signification at all, like oaths in the mouth of a swearer. Walked two or three miles, over the bridge in the Evening.

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

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


We recite this week to Mr. Hale; with whom we shall probably finish Locke: and next Quarter we begin in Reid on the mind.1 It is said at present that Mr. Hale, does not intend to leave College: and he is determined to see what direction the Storm, that has lately been raised by Honestus,2 will take, before he goes upon the practice of the Law. It is not very agreeable news here; though there will never be a Tutor I believe, who will be so easily satisfied at recitations, as he is. Mr. Williams brought some Letters for me, up, from Boston, dated as late as May 26th.3
We had a meeting of the A B. Gardiner Chandler, gave us an { 64 } Oration on Patriotism. Harris read an indifferent piece of Poetry, and the others read essays. There were only six of us Present.
1. Thomas Reid, An Inquiry into the Human Mind, On the Principles of Common Sense, 4th edn., corrected, London, 1785. This is JQA's copy, now at MQA, which he may have owned at this time or used in his senior year.
2. Under the pseudonym “Honestus,” Benjamin Austin had published articles in the Boston Independent Chronicle, between March and June which attacked the legal procedures in the Commonwealth and called for the abolition of lawyers, a profession which had become prosperous, it was alleged, during a period of economic hardship for others.
3. Probably AA to JQA, 22 May; JA to JQA, 26 May; and possibly AA2 to JQA, 25–29 April (Adams Papers).

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

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


We did not recite this day. As the quarter draws near to a close, the Students are falling off quite fast. A third of our Class are absent now. This day completes my 19th. year. I finished studying for this Quarter.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0012

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


The freshmen carry their enmity against the Sophimores, a great deal too far. They injure themselves both in the eyes, of the other Class, and in those of the government. This afternoon while Cabot, was declaiming, they kept up a continual groaning, and shuffling, and hissing as almost prevented him from going through. The freshmen, in the end will suffer for their folly, and before they get out of College, will repent it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-13


We finished with Locke this morning, and were told to begin next Quarter, in Reid. In the afternoon we set off for Braintree, where we shall remain till commencement. All the Scholars, are put out of commons every year, the Friday before, so that the dinner may be prepared. We got home at about 6 o'clock. We found Mr. Weld, and Mr. Wibird here, and Miss Hannah Hiller, a friend of Miss Betsey's. About 15 I fancy, a beautiful countenance, and fine shape; but very unsociable owing either to too much diffidence, or to a phlegmatic constitution; which her countenance seems to express. The generality of our young Ladies are so apt to fall into the other extreme, that this now { 65 } pleases me because it gives some variety, and furnishes matter for observations of a different kind.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-14


Gunning all the forenoon. Received this afternoon several Pamphlets,1 from my Sister. Read the heiress;2 a good play; much more regular, and more chaste, than those that are acted on the English stage generally are.
1. Neither found nor identified except, presumably, The Heiress, mentioned in note 2 (below).
2. London, 1786, a comedy in five acts by John Burgoyne, the defeated British general turned playwright. The Heiress met with enthusiastic popular success and went through ten editions in a year (James Lunt, John Burgoyne of Saratoga, N.Y., 1975, P. 324).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-15


Read part of the volume of anecdotes concerning Dr. Johnson.1 He appears to have been a brute; a mere cynic, who thought himself the greatest Character of the age, and consequently, that he was entitled to do just as he pleased and to assume the lawgiver in Sentiments and opinions as well as in Literature, but neither his good opinion of himself, nor all his writings put together will ever place [him?] in the first rank of authors. He is represented as very charitable, and doing much good to People in Want, but the principle, seems to be no better motive than fear: and in one particular he was very remarkable; he could pity the poor and relieve them; but if a rich man, was upon any occasion peculiarly unfortunate, Johnson would sooner insult his distress than feel for it. He is represented as being in certain cases greatly biass'd by prejudices which would disgrace a school boy, and his Soul had not a spark of generous liberty in it. In short from what I have before heard of this man, and what I have now read of him, my opinion with respect to him, is a mixture of admiration and contempt.
We walk'd in the evening about a couple of miles with the young Ladies. Mr. Cranch returned this Evening from Boston.
1. Hester Lynch Salusbury Thrale Piozzi, Anecdotes of the Late Samuel Johnson, LL.D., during the Last Twenty Years of His Life, London, 1786, which AA2 had sent to JQA. JQA's opinion of Dr. Johnson echoed that of other Americans and stemmed from the Englishman's prejudices against Americans and his antipathy for their revolution (AA to JQA, 21 July, Adams Papers; Boswell's Life of Johnson, ed. George Birkbeck Hill, 6 vols., Oxford, 1887, 2:312–313; 3:200–201; 4:283).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-16


Mr. Wibird preached all day upon the Same Subject. His text was in I Corinthians XV. 55, 56, 57. O! Death! where is thy sting? O grave where is thy victory. The sting of death is sin; and the strength of Sin, is the Law. But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. I did not hear much of it: and indeed I very seldom do. However it was said, that Mr. W. has not preach'd this Sermon so often, as he does some others.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-17


Mr. Cranch went to Boston. Miss P. Storer, N. Quincy and B. Apthorp, pass'd the afternoon, we play'd on the flute, on the harpsichord, and sung. There is always some fine music of one kind or another, going forward in this House. Betsey, and Miss Hiller finger the harpsichord Billy scrapes the Violin, Charles and myself blow the flute. Parson Wibird, was here all the evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-18


Rain'd a great part of the Day. Miss Hiller is only fourteen, her person comes very near to my ideas of a perfect beauty. A pair of large black eyes, with eyelids, an inch long, and eye brows forming beautiful arches, would be invincible if they had a greater degree of animated,1 and if she was conscious enough of their power, to make use of it. She has not yet I believe been much into Company, and is therefore very silent: to an uncommon degree. I have not heard her speak three times in a day since I have been here. In short she does not appear to have sufficient sensibility

her face is as white as the Snow

And her bosom is doubtless as cold,

but she is not yet arrived to the age, where Sensibility is called forth, and when animation is necessary; the Time will come, when her eyes will be as sparkling, as they are pretty; and her countenance as expressive as it is beautifull.
1. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-19


At about 7 1/2 in the morning I set out for Cambridge, and arrived there just as the Clock struck ten. I found the Crowd large. At about half after eleven the procession arrived and took their Seats in the meeting house. The performances began, with a Salutatory Latin Oration by Champlin, which was followed by a Poem on Commerce by Fowle, which was very good. A Syllogistic on the Question whether the Soul thinks between Death and resurrection. Bradford respondent. A Forensic, “whether religious disputation promotes the interests of true Piety,” supported by Crosby, and denied by Bigelow extremely well. A Poem, containing a sketch of the history of Poetry, by S. Gardiner, well written, and well delivered. A Syllogistic, “whether virtue consists in benevolence alone,” Norton respondent. A greek dialogue, between Lincoln, and Warland. A Forensic between Lowell and Taylor. “Whether the happiness of a People depends upon the Constitution, or upon the administration of it.” Lowell had as many antic tricks, and made as many grimaces, as any ape could have done. A Syllogistic, whether the mosaic account of the creation respects the solar System only. Simpkins respondent. A Conference upon History, Metaphysics, Poetry and natural Philosophy, between Parker, Dwight, Harris, and Hubbard, this Closed the morning performances, though it was past 3 o'clock.1 I returned to the meeting house, at half past four, but the procession did not come till near 6. There were then. A Latin Oration by Andrews,2 a Forensic “Whether the Powers of Congress ought to be enlarged” between Sullivan and Loring, who maintained the wrong side of the Question by far the best.3 A Syllogistic Whether the heavenly bodies produce certain changes upon animal bodies. Wyeth respondent. Part of this was omitted which caused a pretty general clap, and finally an English Oration by Blake;4 which did him credit.
The candidates for Master's degrees then came on, and an English Oration upon the present situation of affairs, was delivered by Mr. H. G. Otis, and after they had gone through the ceremony of receiving the degrees, a valedictory Latin Oration was spoken by Mr. Townsend.5 The president then wound all up with a prayer. The house was as full as it could hold, and there was a little disturbance happened in the afternoon about some places. The Class are rather disappointed by the absence of their favor• { 68 } | view ite Thomson who is so unwell, as prevented him from appearing this day.
I spent great part of the evening with Bridge. The new Sirs, got quite high, at Derby's chamber, and made considerable of a noise.
1. The English oration by Thomas Thompson, which was to follow, was canceled because of his illness. Thompson's subject was “The obligation nations are under to keep their faith, fulfill their engagements and in all respects govern themselves by the strictest rules of justice; and the influence of such a conduct upon the public prosperity and happiness; with wishes that the United States of America may thus distinguish themselves” (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:230–231).
2. Upon “The importance of the Public's doing every thing in their power to promote the interests of the University; in which oration our political Fathers were particularly addressed, and their patronage warmly bespoken” (same, p. 231).
3. The faculty records list Joseph Loring's name first, presumably taking the affirmative (same).
4. Upon “The love of true glory, and its happy tendency, when united with public Spirit in virtuous men, to excite and engage them to accomplish themselves for great usefulness in the world—and the importance of fostering such a disposition” (same, p. 232).
5. Horatio Townsend, of Medfield, who studied law with JQA in the Newburyport office of Theophilus Parsons and later practiced in Norfolk co. (History of Norfolk County, Massachusetts, With Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, comp. D. Hamilton Hurd, Phila., 1884, p. 15).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-20


A List of the Class that graduated yesterday.
  John Andrews   Divinity.1  
  Samuel Andrews   Law  
x   John Bartlett  died in 1786.    
  Timothy Bigelow   Law  
  Joseph Blake   Do.  
  Samuel Borland    
  Nathaniel Bowman   Physic.  
  Alden Bradford   Divinity  
  Christopher Grant Champlin    
  Daniel Colt    
  Amos Crosby +    
  William Cutler   Physic.  
  John Derby   Commerce  
  William Dodge   Sea  
  Josiah Dwight    
  Robert Fowle   Divinity.  
  Elias [Elisha] Gardener    
  Samuel [Pickering] Gardener   Commerce  
{ 69 } | view
  John Gibaut   Sailor  
  Robert Gray Settled at Dover   Divinity.  
  James Gray    
  William Harris   Divinity.  
  Ebenezer Hill    
  Nathaniel How[e]    
  Dudley Hubbard   Law  
  Jonathan Leonard    
  Henry Lincoln   Divinity  
  Joseph Loring   Physic  
  John Lowell   Law  
  Porter Lummus    
  Jacob Norton + Settled at Weymouth   Divinity.  
  Isaac Parker   Law  
  David Pearce   Commerce.  
  Thaddeus Pomeroy    
  Jonathan E[dwards] Porter    
  Isaac Rand    
  John Simpkins   Divinity  
x   James Sullivan + died in 1787.    
  John Taylor   Law  
  Joseph Thomas    
  Thomas Thompson   Law  
  John [Eugene] Tyler    
x   John Warland died in 1788    
  Joseph Warren    
  Tapley Wyeth +   Physic  
I set out from Cambridge between eight and nine. Stop'd and dined at General Warren's in Milton; and got home at about 4 o'clock. Mr. Shaw and my brother Tom, arrived soon after me.
1. Death dates and occupations were probably added on at least two separate occasions. The reason for the crosses after the names of Crosby, Norton, Sullivan, and Wyeth is uncertain.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-21


Spent great part of the day in my fathers library, reading, and writing.
This day and to-morrow the Government of the College, are employ'd in examining, those that intend to enter the University this year. Tom waits till the end of the vacation.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-22


Mr. Shaw went over to Weymouth. Mr. Cranch returned from Boston, and Mr. Standfast Smith came with him. My brothers and myself pass'd the night at the bottom of the hill.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-23


Mr. Davies preach'd in the forenoon from Matthew V, 20. For I say unto you, that except your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the kingdom of heaven, and in the afternoon from I Corinthians I, 23, 24, 25. But we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumbling block, and unto the Greeks foolishness; But unto them which are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God. Because the foolishness of God, is wiser than men; and the weakness of God, is stronger than men. This gentleman's composition appears to be very good, and his delivery, tho' not excellent, better than the common. He is the first preacher who has engaged my attention these many weeks. Coll. Waters and Mr. Foster came from Boston in the morning. The Coll. has a Son who entered College yesterday. There have been 35 admitted; two turn'd by for the vacation, and one for the year. We had a thunder shower came up, in the Evening, quite refreshing to the fields.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-24


The young gentlemen went down to Germantown: it was too hot for me. I spent almost the whole day in the library. Mr. Shaw and Miss Lucy went for Haverhill, in the morning; Mr. Smith, and Mr. Cranch for Boston after dinner.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-25


My Grandmamma spent the Day at Mr. Cranch's. General Palmer was up in the afternoon. I wrote part of a Letter to my Sister.1
1. Not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-26


At about 6 this morning we set out I on horseback, Charles and Tom in a Sulkey; we got to Cambridge, at about 9. Went down to { 71 } the President's to know what Chamber they had given me; he told me I could not have that which I have hitherto occupied because I was going to live with a Sophimore; so that I must put up with N: 6 which was held last year by Bigelow and Lowell, a senior Chamber, but a poor one in comparison, with that I am obliged to give up to Bridge, and Foster. I do not consider it as a mark of politeness in them to have petitioned for it; and I should have suspected almost any one in the Class rather than Bridge.
N. B. Bridge and Foster did not petition for the Chamber.1
Stay'd about an hour in Cambridge, after which we proceeded on our Journey, and at about half past two got to Wilmington, where we dined, at about 9 in the evening we arrived at Haverhill; with our horses almost tired out in coming 46 miles, a long day's Journey for this Country, and in this hot Season.
1. Squeezed into the text and presumably added later.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-27


I perceive Charles has been guilty of a trick which I thought he would despise; that of prying into, and meddling with things which are nothing to him: and ungenerously looking into Papers, (which he knew I wished to keep private,) because I could not keep them under lock and key. If he looks here, he will feel how contemptible a spy is to himself, and to others.
I visited Mr. Thaxter and Mr. White's. Mrs. Allen, and Mrs. Welch, and Mr. Smith dined at Mr. Shaw's with us. There was a Company of Ladies drank tea here. Mr. Thaxter came in the Evening.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-28


Captain Wyer,1 arrived a few days since from Ireland, and had caught a couple of Turtles in the course of his voyage; he presented one of them to the owners of his ship, Mr. White, and Captain Willis. They invited a large Company to dine upon it, in an island about two miles down the River. A little after one o'clock, we all went on board a flat bottom'd Boat, which had been prepared for the purpose, with a Tent over it, and we row'd to the Island where we landed at about 2. At about 30 Roods from the Banks of the River We found an elegant arbour about 50 feet long and 20 wide, with 14 arches form'd with boughs of trees, in { 72 } such a manner that the leaves only could be seen. A number of flowers and grape vines were entwined with them, so that clusters of grapes were hanging over our heads. Beneath this romantic booth, four tables were spread with 20 plates at each. A number of stakes driven into the ground, with planks lain upon them served as seats. We sat down just before 4. Besides the Turtle, there were cold roast fowls and sallads. 74 Persons were seated at the Tables. One Toast only was drank after dinner, (“Captain Wyer, and all generous commanders at Sea”). By 5, all the company rose, rambled over the island, after which they returned to the Tables, and a number of songs were sung. Before 7 o'clock the whole Company returned to the Boat, several songs were sung on the way, and just after Sunset we landed at the Bottom of Christian Hill. There certainly never was a Party, composed of more than 70 Persons, conducted, with more decency and regularity; no one circumstance turn'd up, that could be disagreeable to the company, or any person in it, and I believe every individual return'd well pleased with the day.
I went to Mr. White's where I found Mr. Andrews who is going to Newbury to-morrow.
1. Presumably Capt. William Wyer, shipmaster of Newburyport (Life in a New England Town: 1787,1788. Diary of John Quincy Adams, While a Student in the Office of Theophilus Parsons at Newburyport, Boston, 1903, p. 46).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-29


Dined at Mr. White's, in Company, with Mrs. White of Boston, Mrs. Willard, Mrs. Parkman, and My Classmate Bil: Abbot, who belongs to Andover. Walk'd in the afternoon, and at Mr. Shaw's heard crazy Temple, talk an hour or two. He will not talk long to any body.
Fine weather.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-30


Mr. Shaw preach'd in the forenoon from Proverbs I. 5. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning, and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels. A great deal was said about neglect in attending public worship on the Sunday. I rather doubt whether it be a matter of so much consequence as was supposed. It is however very proper for a minister to remind his People of their Duties from time to Time. The Sermon in the { 73 } afternoon, was from Job I. 1. There was a man in the land of Uz, whose name was Job; and that man was perfect and upright, and one that feared God, and eschewed evil. As Job is here said to be perfect, Mr. Shaw proved, that no man ever was perfect, and shew that Job, himself, had grossly failed. He explained what was to be understood by the word perfection here; and that it was the Duty of every one to endeavour at attaining it.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0006-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-07-31


I paid a few visits in the morning. Dined with a pretty large Company at Mr. Duncan's. After Dinner I went with Mr. W. White, and Leonard, and paid a visit to Mrs. Stoughton. Miss N. Sheaffe,1 was there, a celebrated Belle. Her appearance does not strike me; as extraordinary; she has a fine eye which gives her countenance a degree of animation. But her complexion is not clear, and she has no colour at all. She is supposed to be married to a Mr. Irving, but it is kept secret, because he depends upon an old uncle, who would not approve of the marriage at all. We drank tea at Mr. Harrods.
There appears a very considerable alteration in the behaviour of P. White within these 4 months. She is soon to be married to Mr. Bartlett, and has already adopted the course of behaviour which will be necessary: there is such a material difference in the manners of married and unmarried Ladies, that in a numerous company a person might I suppose easily distinguish them, though he should not be personally acquainted with any.
1. Ann (Nancy) Sheaffe, of Boston, married John Erving Jr., mentioned later in the entry, on 30 Sept. (Boston Record Commissioners, 30th Report, p. 413).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-01

Tuesday August 1st. 1786.

There was a meeting of an association of ministers here this day; but there were only three present. Mr. Adams preach'd the Lecture, and was a whole hour in Sermon, endeavouring to prove, the Trinity, and the existence of hell. After all I believe he left all his hearers where he found them, and he was certainly much too long. After dinner I went with Mrs. White, Miss P. M'Kinstry, and Leonard to Hamstead [Hampstead, N.H.], a clever1 ride although the road is bad for a Carriage.
1. Nice, pleasing (OED).

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-02


We Lodged at Hamstead last night: it storm'd so all this morning, that, we could not think of returning. After dinner it was not quite so bad and we all return'd to Haverhill.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-03


Spent part of the forenoon at Mr. Thaxter's Office. Mr. Dodge was there. I went with Mr. Thaxter and paid a visit at Judge Sargeant's. The young Ladies lately return'd from Rye, where they went last week to accompany their new married Sister Mrs. Porter. Mr. T. Leonard White and S. Walker dined at Mr. Shaw's. In the afternoon Mrs. Shaw and B: Smith, Mr. Thaxter and Miss Duncan, Leonard White and P. Stevenson, Miss Lucy and myself took a ride in four chaises, round the great Pond, Charles and Tom went on horseback. Miss Duncan and Miss Stevenson, pass'd the remainder of the afternoon at Mr. Shaws. We went down in the evening for an hour to Mr. White's. P. Stevenson, is not more than 16 I imagine, slender, not tall, a fine complexion, rather, too large a mouth, black eyes not quite enough animated, and a tout ensemble, which shows all the candour, and modest assurance of Innocence. But this is all outside. One trait only in her character I think I have seen more than once, which differs very much from her looks and indeed from her reputation, a contemptuous disposition, apt to ridicule small defects in the person or behaviour of other People. But this may be mere conjecture.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-04


Went in the forenoon, and pick'd blackberries with the young Ladies. Lucy Cranch tells me I have no Complaisance in me, and I suspected as much before. And for a person who has it not naturally, it is much too hard a task to undertake to be complaisant. Visited Dr. Saltonstall, and Mr. Bartlett in the afternoon. Drank tea at Mr. White's. Mr. N. Blodget was there; I knew him formerly but have not seen him before, these seven years.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-05


We were up at four in the morning; but were so long in preparing our things that we did not set out till the Clock had struck { 75 } six, and before we started from the banks of the river on the Bradford side the clock had struck seven. Mr. C. Blodget was going to Boston on horseback, and we rode together as far as Mystic. He was in the army, almost all the late war, and told a number of anecdotes, which he was witness to in the course of it. I dined at Captain Brooks's in Mystic. Stopp'd about half an hour at Cambridge, and got to Mr. Cranch's at Braintree at about half after eight in the evening, as much fatigued as I ever was in my life.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0007-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-06


I felt so stiff all day that I did not go to meeting. I was unfit for almost every thing, and only read a few pages in the course of the day.

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-08-07


I could not sleep last night. Lay restless till about 3 in the morning. Then got up, and read one of Bishop Berkeley's Dialogues against matter,1 a curious System, and rather a new one to me. At day light I went again to bed, and slept till eleven o'clock. In the afternoon I went down to see my Grand-mamma, but she was not at home.
1. Presumably George Berkeley, Three Dialogues Between Hylas and Philonous..., London, 1713.

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

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


Read through the remainder of the Dialogues, which Reid says, “prove by unanswerable arguments, what no man in his Senses can believe.”1 There are however, great objections to the System which are not mentioned. This work appears to me, to confound the cause with its effect for ever. Thus if I burn my fingers, they say, the fire by which I burnt them is in my mind, because, the Sensation which it produced is there. Reasoning in the same manner might I not conclude, that there is a Bottle in this wine glass, because the wine that is in it was poured from a bottle? Every one readily agrees that the Sensations, which heat or cold, hardness or softness, solidity, extension, motion &c, raise in his mind, are not in the inanimate matter, which causes them but they are causes which produce those effects in our { 76 } mind. But says Bishop Berkeley, no being, can communicate that which it hath not, which is as much as saying that a hone, cannot whet a razor, because, it is not sharp itself: in short if the ideal System be true, either every animal in creation has an immortal Soul, or else, man must have two; for I take it a horse, and a dog, have as clear ideas of heat and cold, and even of a tree or a river as man. The conclusion is evident, and for my Part, if ever I doubt of the existence of matter, I will likewise doubt of my own existence, and of that of every thing else, nor do I see, how one can be given up with out the other.
I went down in the afternoon, and drank tea at my uncle Quincy's. Charles Went to Cambridge yesterday to move our things, and returned this afternoon. Mrs. Apthorp and her Daughters spent the afternoon at Mr. Cranch's.
1. Thomas Reid, An Inquiry into the Human Mind, p. 21–22.

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

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


All the forenoon down in the Library; reading and writing. Pass'd the afternoon at my uncle Adams's. There was some conversation concerning Mr. T——r.1 He has not many friends I believe in Braintree. I believe him at best a very imprudent man, or as Horace says of a character something like him

Nil fuit unquam, sic impar sibi.2

1. Royall Tyler.
2. “Never was a creature so inconsistent,” Horace, Satires, Bk. I, Satire 3, lines 18–19 (Satires, Epistles and Ars Poetica, transl. Fairclough, p. 32–33).

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

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


Spent the whole day in my father's library; wrote but little, I cannot indeed write half so much as I wish to, for if I leave off two minutes, I take up some book as if by instinct, and read an hour or two before I think what I am about. I intended to have written a great deal this vacation; it is now almost gone and I have not written twenty Pages.

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

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


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

Her grisled locks assume a smirking grace,

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

Her strange demand no mortal can approve,

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

For what's a Sermon, good or bad

If a man reads it like a lad,

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Trifles light as air

Are to the jealous Confirmation strong

As proofs of holy writ.1

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

“Run from her guardage to the sooty Bosom

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

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

“My Story being done

She gave me for my pains a world of sighs,

She swore in faith twas strange, twas passing strange

Twas pitiful, twas wondrous pitiful.

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

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

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

I should but teach him how to tell my Story

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

She loved me for the dangers I had past

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

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

“The tyrant custom

Hath made the flinty, and steel couch of war

My thrice driven bed of down.”5

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

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

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

But he that filches from me, my good name,

Robs me of that, which not enriches him

And makes me, poor indeed.”6

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Friday September 1st. 1786.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

If it be a Sin to covet Honour

I am the most offending Soul alive.1

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

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

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


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

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

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

Sunday October 1st. 1786.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Wednesday November 1st. 1786.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Without a sign, his sword the brave man draws

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Refuse, her guidance, violate her Laws,

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

And bend before, a haughty despot's throne:

Should liberty, desert this wretched land,

And fly from fierce oppresion's iron hand;

Secure, I follow where she leads the way,

To shun a tyrant's arbitrary sway,

Where'er the goddess chuses her abode,

There too shall dwell, my tutelary god;

Ignoble slavery, my soul disdains,

My only country, is where freedom reigns.”

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Friday December 1st. 1786.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Monday January 1st. 1787.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

____ incerta haec si tu postules

Ratione certa facere, nihilo plus agas,

Quam si des operam, ut cum ratione insanias.1

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

For all the gifts which nature can impart,

Are vain without the virtues of the heart.1

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

Dum vitant stulti vitia, in contraria currunt.2

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

In fairest forms can evil passions dwell?

The virgin breast, can envy's venom swell?

Can malice dart her rage from beauty's eye?

And give the snow white cheek, a crimson dye?

Where then are all the tender virtues flown?

And why was strength dispensed to man alone?

The lamb, to vye with Lions neer pretends,

The timid dove, with eagles ne'er contends,

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

The surest female weapon is a tear.1

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

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

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


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

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

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

Thursday February 1st. 1787.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Views with indifference another's grief

Without a sigh, afflictions voice can hear

And even mock misfortune with a sneer!

The human lot is misery and woe

And evils, from unnumber'd sources flow.

When dire misfortune with her baleful train,

Oerwhelm a mortal with excessive pain,

The kind emotions of a tender heart

Command the sympathetic tear to start.

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;

This sensible, warm motion, to become

A kneaded clod, and the delighted spirit,

To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside

In thrilling regions of thick ribbed ice,

To be imprison'd in the viewless winds

And blown with restless violence round about

The pendent world;—'tis too horrible!

The weariest, and most loathed worldly life,

That age, ache, penury, imprisonment

Can lay on nature, is a paradise

To what we fear of Death.2

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Thursday March 1st. 1787.

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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


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

In AMORE, haec omnia insunt vitia, injuriae

Suspiciones, inimicitiae, induciae,

Bellum, pax rursum: incerta haec si tu postules

Ratione, certa facere, nihilo plus agas

Quam si des operam, ut cum ratione insanias.2

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-08


In the forenoon, I went and paid a number of visits, to my old acquaintance in this place; Mr. Thaxter; I pass'd a couple of hours with. Was at Mr. Osgood's, Mr. Duncan's, and Mr. Bartlett, who has sacrificed to Hymen,1 since I saw him last. “Cupid by Hymen was crown'd,” but at 37 it is to be supposed a man of sense, would be able to repel the attacks of the young tyrant, whose empire is generally composed of more youthful subjects. The flame, by which the torch was lighted, was not I imagine very ardent, but it will probably be lasting. It was not like the impetuous, crackling blaze of the faggot, but like the mild, and constant heat of the walnut.
I finished my visits, at Miss Hazen's; she has lately been a journey with her brother, to a remote part of the State, and return'd last week. She appears not quite so handsome, as she used to be, fourteen months since; though she is yet too young to begin to fade. We conversed about half an hour, but rather in a distant ceremonious manner.
Dined at Mr. White's. At about 4 afternoon, I went with Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett, two Miss Codman's, Miss Hazen, and her brother, Foster and White, in two double sleighs down upon the river, to Russell's tavern. Just before we went upon the ice, in going down a steep descent, one sleigh overset, men and women, all pell mell one on the other: no person however was hurt: not two minutes after; one of our horses went through the ice, just off the banks of the river: we thought the sleigh would follow; the ladies screamed, and leapt out; but we soon extricated ourselves from that difficulty likewise: we then cross'd the river, stop'd an hour at the tavern; then rode, up on the river 4 or 5 miles, and return'd just before dark: drank tea, and pass'd part of the evening at Mr. White's, and at 8, went up the hill.
1. See entry for 10 Sept. 1785, note 2 (above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-09


Walk'd about the town, with Mr. Hazen, White and Foster. Went to see Miss Hazen, the Miss McKinstry's, Mr. Thaxter, { 174 } and Judge Sargeant, who was very much fatigued by riding from Boston yesterday. He proposes going into Berkshire next week, and is already imagining all the difficulties of travelling that way, with terror. His journey thither will probably be more fatiguing than his jaunt from Boston. We drank tea, with Miss McKinstry, went to Mr. Duncan's to show Foster the beauty;1 and spent the evening at Mr. Bartlett's, in singing, playing cards &c.
Snow'd and rained the greatest part of the day.
1. Elizabeth Duncan.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-10


We had not obtained leave to be absent from College, and were therefore obliged to be at meeting, in Cambridge, to-morrow, or to submit to the fine. This morning therefore, between 9 and ten, we left Haverhill, with beautiful weather, but sloppy riding, as a great deal of snow, was melted by the rain last night: we got to the half way tavern by twelve, we stop'd and dined there, after which we again proceeded; and arrived at College while the prayer bell was tolling, just before Sun Set. Foster quitted us in Mystic, and went to Boston. Soon after prayers I heard with equal grief and surprize, that Judge Dana was seized with an apoplectic, and paraletic fit, on thursday in the forenoon: that his life was for sometime despaired of, and that he is still in a very dangerous situation. To me, he has been a second father, and his instructions, though too much neglected at the Time when he gave them, have since been more attended to; and have at least check'd some of my failings, and were calculated to reform them entirely. I have therefore reason to revere him in a peculiar manner: but a man of his Talents and virtues, filling one of the most important offices in the State, is precious to the whole Commonwealth; and should his disease prove fatal, his loss will not be easily repaired.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-11


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preach'd; but not very much to the purpose: what with the fatigue of my yesterday's ride, the little sleep I had last night, and some soporific qualities in the discourses which were read, I was much refreshed by a { 175 } couple of naps which I took; one beforenoon and the other after. In the evening I went down to Judge Dana's, but did not see him: the president was there: stiff as ever. Mr. Dana, had a second attack last night; but not so violent as the first: they have some hopes, and many fears with respect to his recovery.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-12


This morning the parts for the ensuing exhibition were distributed. Foster has the English Oration, Waldo the Latin: Freeman, Little, and Adams, a conference in English, upon the comparative utility of Law, Physic, and Divinity,1Eaton and Harris, a forensic dispute, upon the Question, whether the destruction of inferior animals by Man, be agreeable to the Laws of nature. Bridge, Cranch, White and Adams; the mathematical parts. Waldo, who proposes obtaining leave in about a month, to go to Europe, requested to be excused from performing.2
Mr. Pearson gave us a lecture this afternoon, upon the noun: rather abstruse. Judge Dana, had another fit of his disorder. I fear exceedingly, that he will not recover. Drank tea at Williams's Chamber.
1. The parts were actually assigned as follows: Little on physic, Adams on law, and Freeman on divinity.
2. Waldo was granted this request, and the part was reassigned to William Amherst Barron (MH-Ar: Corporation Records, 3:280–281).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-13


Somewhat idle, the greater part of the day: rather dull, and low spirited: the Sophimores this evening got more than half seas over, in Wilson's chamber, directly under mine, and made, a most outrageous noise till almost 9 o'clock. Weather moderate.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-14


Was employ'd almost all day, in thinking upon the subject of my conference; wrote a few Lines, with much difficulty. Did not like the subject. Wished the conference to the devil: the junior Class being displeased with the distribution of parts for exhibition; so far as respected their Class; assembled this evening at Prescott's chamber, and made a great deal of noise. The Sodality met at my chamber this evening.
Thomas Chandler1 of Worcester, was 19 the 11th. of last Jan• { 176 } uary. His father was formerly one of the most opulent individuals in N. England; but in consequence of his siding with the british, in the late war, a large part of it was confiscated; he had 15 or 16 children, so that Tom has not the prospect of a very great estate. His disposition is good; he is extremely irascible, but

he carries anger, as the flint bears fire.2

A trifle will throw him off his guard, but a moment's recollection, reforms him. In the space of five minutes I have seen him calm, raging violent and repenting: excepting at such times his temper is easy, and contented: his happiness however proceeds chiefly from want of thought, and reflection: in short, he appears to be influenced so entirely by his Passions, that I should think him rather an instrument of action, than a moral agent.
1. “Chandler 2d,” son of John, was afterward a merchant at Chester, Vt., and Worcester, Mass. (George Chandler, The Chandler Family, Boston, 1872, p. 140, 526–527, 255–259).
2. O Cassius! you are yoked with a lamb/that carries anger as the flint bears fire (Julius Caesar, Act IV, scene iii, lines 109–110).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-15


All day, engaged again, in writing my part of the conference; I do not know that I ever found so much difficulty, to write upon any subject: Little, and Freeman, are not much better pleased: in the night however, between 12 and 2 o'clock, I began to have something like a flow of ideas; I wrote more, than I had done, in two whole days. I Dined, with Freeman and Little, Cranch, and Lloyd at Mrs. Forbes's. Charles brought me a letter this evening from Boston; it was from my Sister, but dated so long agone, as last July.1

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-16


Attended the library.
After prayers we had a Class meeting. It seems reports have been spread about, that many of the Class are in reality desirous to have a public Commencement, and were induced merely out of complaisance, to sign the petition, which was presented; as we conceived this might be injurious to our Cause, we voted that an additional petition should be presented to the corporation, in { 177 } order, to prevent any suspicions of our sincerity. Freeman was chosen to draw it up but declined: I wished not to be alone, and finally, Fiske Little, and Adams, were chosen, to draw up the petition and present it to the Class, for approbation;1 after which the meeting was dissolved.
Gardner Leonard Chandler2 of Worcester was, 18, the 29th. of November. Notwithstanding his youth, his fortune, (which is supposed to be greater than that of any other student in College,) and the unbounded indulgence which his mother has always shown him, he is neither vain, extravagant nor idle; without being considered as in the first rank, either for natural or acquired abilities, he is however respectable for both: his disposition is amiable, and his moral character is without a blemish: he may be a great man; but will certainly be a good one. He intends to follow the profession of the Law.
1. Not found. See note for entry of 4 Dec. 1786 (above).
2. “Chandler 3d” studied law in the office of Levi Lincoln Sr., of Worcester, but soon abandoned his practice to become a Boston merchant (George Chandler, The Chandler Family, Boston, 1872, p. 259, 263, 530).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-17


I at length finished my part of the conference, this forenoon, and was employ'd all the afternoon in transcribing it; Although I have not been able, even to please myself; yet I now feel, as if an heavy burden had been taken from my shoulders. I have still however a great deal of business, upon my hands. Late up this evening. The Government met this forenoon to make enquiries concerning the noise at Prescott's and at Wier's chamber: Cabot it seems receive'd from them a private admonition; and something further is expected for the others.
Caleb Child1 of Brookline was 26 the 13th. of last May; his name, and his years for a student at College, do not by any means agree. He has been absent a great part of the Time since I entered so that I have but very little acquaintance with him. Those who know him, say, that were it not for a considerable degree of envy his disposition would not be bad. As a scholar he is not remarkable; and although he has endeavoured more than once to display his genius by declaiming his own composition, yet the most common opinion is that he has not succeeded. Divinity will be his profession, and he has already acquired a ministerial cant, which is such an essential quality to a preacher.
{ 178 }
1. After graduation, Child taught school in Boston and preached in Roxbury; he later moved to New York, where he was a preacher, physician, and apothecary in Poughkeepsie and Troy (Alfred B. Page, “Some Graduates of Harvard College,” Dedham Historical Register, 4:48 [Jan.1893]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-18


Mr. Hilliard preached for us the whole day: his text in the afternoon was in these words, “righteousness exalteth a nation.”1 A political Sermon; upon the present situation of affairs; the first Mr. H. has delivered since I became one of his hearers.
We had this evening a meeting of the A B. for the first time this quarter. We chose officers, to continue, untill our Class shall cease to meet at the Society. A couple of essays were read; and it was voted that, Adams 3d. Barron, Gardner, Grosvenor, and Phillips, of the junior Class, should be admitted: after which the meeting should be adjourned till next Sunday evening, at half after seven.
1. Proverbs 14:34.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-19


This morning the junior's Prescott, and Wier, were publicly admonished for having had riotous noises at their chambers, last week. The sentence is considered all over college, as uncommonly severe, and by many as wholly unmerited, at least on the part of Prescott.
We had in the evening a meeting of the ΦBK. at Fiske's chamber. A dissertation was read by Freeman, but the other exercices were omitted: it was voted that a number of books should be bought to add to the library belonging to the Society. Andrews and Fiske, were chosen as a committee to purchase them.
William Cranch of Braintree, was 17 the 17th. of last July. The ties of blood, strengthened by those of the sincerest friendship, unite me to him, in the nearest manner. Our sentiments upon most subjects are so perfectly similar, that I could not praise his, without being conscious of expressing a tacit applause of my own. His manners I can however pronounce amiable; his spirit, nobly independent: his judgment sound, and his imagination lively. His thirst for useful knowledge, and his fondness for study is not surpassed by that of any individual in the Class: { 179 } happy were it for me; if with a perfect coincidence with his opinions in general, I could unite, the same talents, and the same accomplishments.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-20


Lines, upon the late proceedings of the College Government.
By a Student.1

The government of College met,

And Willard rul'd the stern debate.

The witty Jennison declared

That he had been completely scared.

“Last Night, (says he) when I came home,

I heard a noise in Prescott's room:

I went and listen'd at the door,

As I have often done before;

I found the junior's in a high rant.

They call'd the President a Tyrant.

They said as how, I was a fool,

A long ear'd ass, a sottish Mule,

Without the smallest grain of spunk;

So I concluded they were drunk.

From Xenophon, whole pages torn

As trophies, in their hats were worn

Thus all their learning, they had spread

Upon the outside of the head,

For I can swear without a sin,

There's not a line of greek within.

At length I knock'd, and Prescott came;

I told him t'was a burning shame,

That he should give his Class mates wine,

And he should pay an heavy fine.

Meanwhile; the rest grew so outrageous,

That though I boast of being courageous,

I could not help being in a fright,

For one of them, put out the light.

And t'was as you may well suppose

So dark, I could not see my nose.

I thought it best to run away

And wait for vengeance till to day:

For he's a fool at any rate,

{ 180 }

Who'll fight when he can rusticate.

When they found out, that I was gone

They ran through college, up and down,

And I could hear them very plain

Take the Lord's holy name in vain!

To Wier's chamber they repair'd

And there the wine they freely shared,

They drank and sung till they were tired,

And then they peacefully retired.”

When this Homeric speech was said,

With drawling tongue, and hanging head,

The learned Doctor, took his seat,

Thinking he'd done a noble feat.

Quoth Joe “the crime is great I own

Send for the junior's one by one;

By this almighty wig I swear,

Which with such majesty I wear,

And in its orbit vast contains

My dignity, my power and brains,

That Wier and Prescott both shall see

That College boys must not be free.”

He spoke and gave the awful nod

Like Homer's Dodonean god.

The College to it's center shook,

And every pipe, and wine glass broke.

Williams, with countenance humane,

Which scarce from laughing could refrain

Thought that such youthful scenes of mirth

To punishments should not give birth.

Nor could he easily divine

What was the harm of drinking wine.

But Pearson with an awful frown

Full of his article and noun:

Spoke thus. “By all the parts of speech,

Which with such elegance I teach,

By all the blood which fills my veins,

By all the power of Handel's strains

With mercy I will never stain

The character which I maintain:

Pray tell me why the laws were made

If they are not to be obey'd,

{ 181 }

Besides, that Wier I can't endure

He is a wicked rake I'm sure.

But whether I be right or not

I'll not recede, a single jot.”

James saw twould be in vain t'oppose,

And therefore to be silent chose.

Read, with his two enormous eyes

Enlarg'd to thrice their common size,

And brow contracted, staring wild,

Said, government was much too mild.

“Were I, (said he) to have my will

I soon would teach them to be still:

Their wicked rioting to quell,

I'd rusticate, degrade, expel;

And rather than give up my plan,

I'd clear the college, to a man.”

Burr, who has little wit or pride,

Preferr'd to take the strongest side;

And Willard soon receiv'd commission

To give a public admonition.

With pedant strut, to prayers he came,

Call'd out the criminals by name:

Obedient to his dire command;

Before him Wier and Prescott stand.

“The rulers, merciful and kind,

With equal grief and wonder find

That you should laugh, and drink and sing,

And make with noise the college ring:

I therefore warn you to beware

Of drinking more than you can bear:

Wine, an incentive is to riot

Destructive of the public quiet:

Full well your Tutors know this Truth,

For sad experience taught their youth:

Take then this friendly exhortation,

The next offence is rustication.”

This afternoon Dr. Welch, and Deacon Smith came up from Boston, and were here about half an hour: This evening we danced for the last Time, at Lovell's chamber. After which I was some time at Mead's.
{ 182 }
1. Since its publication in Benjamin Homer Hall's A Collection of College Words and Customs, Cambridge, 1856, the first known printed version, this poem has been attributed to JQA, partly because JQA's Diary entry is still the only known contemporary MS version. Hall claimed that he published the poem “from a MS. in the author's [JQA's] handwriting, and in the possession of the editor of this work” (p. 233–235). Hall, Harvard 1851, a lawyer of Troy, N.Y., had no known contact with the Adams family, although he may have been acquainted with JQA2, who graduated in 1853. He provides no documentation for JQA's authorship, and the MS he used has not been found. Many of the poem's sentiments about college officials, tutors, and the incident itself mirror JQA's own, but the severe judgments on Harvard officials and the benign condonation of the students' behavior seem out of character. Moreover, the style of “The Late Proceedings” is untypical of JQA's productions. Until new evidence is forthcoming, JQA's authorship should be accepted with some reservation.
A partial answer for these doubts may come from another copy of the poem, transcribed in the late 19th century and among the Charles Grenfill Washburn papers at the American Antiquarian Society. (See also Harvard Graduates' Magazine, 26:343–344 [Dec. 1917].) Unlike Hall's version, which was a looser rendition containing freer punctuation and many small word changes, the Washburn copy is a truer, though far from an exact, reproduction of JQA's, or JQA's version as published in the late 19th century by HA (“Harvard College. 1786–1787,” in Historical Essays, N.Y., 1891, p. 118–121). In an endnote to the Washburn transcription the poem is assigned to “J. Q. Adams and J. M. Forbes, March 1787” Such a collaborative effort was not impossible. JQA described Forbes as having “an uncommon share of wit” and a classmate who “always found his fellow students ready to laugh at his satirical wit”; he had been a close friend since JQA entered college (entry for 28 March, below). Moreover, the two remained friends well past their college days, both studying law and practicing their profession in Boston, and eventually leaving their country for foreign service. So, while the Washburn copy sheds no new authoritative light on the authorship of “The Late Proceedings,” it provides a clue, albeit unsubstantiated, which may better explain JQA's role in the poem's development.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-21


This usually an holiday to the junior Class who now cease reciting at eleven in the forenoon. The greatest part of the Class generally join and go to some tavern at a distance from Cambridge, where they spend the evening, in mirth, and festivity: but several circumstances have induced the present juniors to omit this custom; and the President a few mornings since read in the chapel, a vote of the corporation, expressing their approbation of the conduct of the young gentlemen in that respect, and recommending to the ensuing Classes to imitate their example: several of the Class however, determined to adhere to the good old cause; in consequence of which a number of the windows in the Philosophy chamber were broken.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-22


Fast day. Attended Mr. Hilliard the whole day; but to no great purpose: in consequence of the late severity of the College Gov• { 183 } ernors, there has been yesterday and this day, a subscription paper handed about among all the Classes, to procure a meeting of the whole college to-morrow evening in the chapel, every person having a pipe, a glass and a bottle of wine, and there to convince the government that the Students are possess'd of “a noble spirit, a spirit which shall nip the bud of tyrannical oppression,” they will get as drunk as beasts, and probably break every tutors window in College: this absurd, and ridiculous plan has found so many votaries, that a large majority of every Class except ours have already subscribed; but I am happy that in our Class; there are but few who have joined the association, and as it is to take place only upon condition that there be a majority of every Class, the plan will most probably fail.
I went down this evening to Mr. Dana's: I saw him for the first Time since his illness. They say he is much better, and recovering fast; but I was shock'd at seeing him; pale, emaciated and feeble, he scarcely looks like the same man he was three weeks agone.
Beautiful weather, and the warmest we have yet had, this Season.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-23


Charles went down to Mr. Dana's this evening; the judge is mending but quite slowly:
I had thoughts of carrying up some algebraic calculations, for the mathematical performance at exhibition, but, Cranch takes the next transit of Venus. Bridge and White, who do not choose, to take much trouble, have both taken lunar eclipses; and as there was no solar eclipse presented at the last exhibition I determined to project one, for the next. I went to Mr. Read to find out, when there will be a large one, and finally calculated the elements for that which will happen, May 15th. 1836.
Joshua Cushman1 of Bridgewater will be 23 the 11th. of next month. Poverty appears to be his greatest enemy; she opposes his progress, and he has a very great struggle with her, to go through College. For genius he is neither at the Zenith nor at the Nadir; but somewhere about half way between. For improvements, he has made as many perhaps, as his circumstances would allow him. In composition, an admiration of beautiful periods, and elegant expression, have taken from the natural taste { 184 } | view for that simplicity in which alone true beauty and elegance consist. His conversation sometimes degenerates into bombast; to express that he wants a glass of water he will say, that within the concave excavation of his body, there are certain cylindric tubes which require to be replenished from, the limpid fountain or the meandering rivulet. In the public exercices of composition his greatest fault is prolixity. He will write two sheets of paper full, for a forensic, while scarcely any other of the Class will scarcely fill half one. He is however esteemed by the Class in general, as an amiable character, if not as an uncommon genius.
1. Cushman studied theology and was ordained at Winslow, Mass. (now Maine), where he was minister from 1795 until 1814. His contract was not renewed, possibly because of his liberal religious views. While still a minister, he sat for two terms in the Massachusetts legislature. He later served in the U.S. House of Representatives, 1819–1825. Afterward he served in the Maine legislature (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-24


We had last evening a Class meeting; a petition drawn up by Little, as additional to that already presented, was read to the Class, and approved by them: the Committee, were ordered to carry it down to the President. I was employ'd the greatest part of this day in projecting my Eclipse for exhibition. The elements are as follows.
  for a solar Eclipse. May 15th. 1836.   D.   H.   M.   S.  
1.   True time of New Moon at Cambridge, in May 1836.   15:   9:   29:   13  
      °   '   "  
2.   Semidiameter of the Earth's Disc     0:   55:   0  
3.   Sun's Distance from the nearest solstice     35:   17:   42  
4.   Sun's Declination, North     18:   58:   0  
5.   Moon's latitude, north ascending     0:   26:   26  
6.   Moon's horary motion from the Sun     0:   28:   14  
7.   Angle of the Moon's visible path with the ecliptic     5:   35:   0  
8.   Sun's Semidiameter     0:   15:   55  
9.   Moon's Semidiameter     0:   15:   0  
10.   Semidiameter of the Penumbra     0:   30:   55.  
Charles watch'd at Mr. Dana's this night.
Peter Eaton1 of Haverhill was 22 the 15th. of this month. I have { 185 } not the pleasure of an intimate acquaintance with him; but all those who have, speak well of him. As a speaker he is distinguished, and as a scholar respectable; his public exercices have been in general equal if not superior to any in the Class since I belonged to it: but he is very modest and diffident, so that he has not brought himself so much into notice, as several others in the Class, who without his abilities have a much greater share of confidence.
1. Eaton was ordained at West Boxford in Oct. 1789 and remained there as minister throughout his life (Sidney Perley, “The Dwellings of Boxford,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 29:85–86 [April–June 1892]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-25


We heard Mr. Evans preach, all day: he attempted to be quite pathetic in the afternoon; but when art is seen through it must be disgusting; and when a person appears deeply affected upon a subject, which cannot be very interesting, we must conclude, that he grieves for the pleasure of grieving.
This night I watch'd at Mr. Dana's. I read a couple of novels in the course of the night; both of them perfectly insipid.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-26


Breakfasted at the judge's, and then returned to College. Finished the projection of my eclipse, for exhibition. Mr. Read gave out this morning to the Class, the calculation of a solar Eclipse for 1791 as the last exercice, on that score. This afternoon I calculated the elements for it.
Oliver Fiske1 of Brookfield, will be 25. the 2d. of Septr. next. Solidity of judgment; independence of spirit, and candour of disposition, are the chief characteristics of this gentleman; as a scholar, he stands on the first line in the Class; and his honour is unblemished: his circumstances are not fortunate, and he has been often absent from College. He was with General Lincoln in Berkshire the greater part of the last winter: and wishes to follow a military life, after leaving the University: he would make I believe a very good officer, and whatever his profession may be, he will be certainly an excellent man.
1. Fiske was a volunteer in the Revolution, and at Harvard he was instrumental in reorganizing the Marti-Mercurian Band. He studied medicine and practiced throughout his life in Worcester (William Lincoln, History of Worcester, Massachusetts, From Its Earliest Settlement to September, 1836..., Worcester, 1837, p. 259–260).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-27


It was late before I retired last night, and this morning I arose between 10 and 11. Little called me up to go to the President with our petition. We called Fiske and went all together. Mr. Willard conversed with us upon the subject of a private Commencement; but from what we could collect we rather suppose the Corporation will deny the favour which we requested. He said however, there would be next week a meeting of the Corporation, when they would probably give their final decision.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-28


Employ'd, part of the day in projecting the Eclipse for April 1791. We had a meeting of the musical society this evening at Foster's chamber. It was after 8 before we could make the instruments accord; and at 9 we were obliged to break up; this indeed is most frequently the case. It would not be easy to collect a set of worse instruments than we have, among eight or ten violins and as many flutes there are not more than two or three that will accord together, without scraping and blowing an hour or more, so that we can seldom play more than three or four tunes at a meeting. Wrote a little after I came from Foster's, and retired a little after ten.
John Forbes1 of Cambridge was 15. the 13th. of last August. He is the youngest person in the Class, and his entering the university at so early a period, has been an essential injury to him; by being left so much to his own direction at twelve years of age, he acquired habits of indolence, and idleness, which are not easily shaken off. He has an uncommon share of wit, and an extraordinary memory: but he has not sufficiently learnt to respect himself; as he has always found his fellow students ready to laugh at his satirical wit, he has acquired a great degree of impudence, and rather then miss a joke fills his conversation frequently with the most low lived scurrility: as he seldom loses much of his time in thinking he is not sensible, that the very persons who applaud his satire despise the speaker, or that the reason why no notice is taken of his insults, because he is supposed to have no meaning in what he says, his mind like the sand will receive any impression; and the impression will last about as long. All these foibles however may be attributed to his youth, and it is to be hoped a few years of experience, will correct them; he is always { 187 } { 188 } good-natured, and has a great deal of sensibility; with an excellent genius which wants nothing but cultivation to make it flourish among the first. I have been intimate with him, since I entered College, and have always endeavoured to retain the same Sentiments concerning him though his friendship for me, appears to ebb and flow as frequently as the tide: if he should throw off those childish follies which now disgrace his character, and apply with diligence to study, he would be an honour to his friends and an ornament to Society.
1. Forbes studied law following graduation and practiced in Boston until about 1796, when he went to Europe. Five years later he was appointed consul, living at Hamburg and Copenhagen until 1819; the following year he went to Buenos Aires as commercial agent and eventually rose to chargé d'affaires (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-29


I went this evening with Bridge, and pass'd half an hour at Mr. Wigglesworth's. Ned is very ill of a pleurisy fever, and Peggy looks low spirited. The Professor has been all along, and still is much opposed to a private Commencement, and when he has once adopted an opinion, I believe it would require supernatural powers to convince him that it is erroneous.
Dr. Jennison had one or two square of glass in his windows broken this evening, and has lately received several other insults of the same kind: it was owing to a complaint made by him that Prescott and Wier were admonished, and this Circumstance has made him very unpopular.
Bossenger Foster1 of Boston was 19. the 9th. of last December. Of him I can say but little: he is a very good speaker, and has a good natural genius, but has not been very assiduous in improving the talents entrusted to him by nature: his conversation and manners are often puerile, and very seldom show him to great advantage: his chief excellency lies in declaiming an elegant piece of composition, and in playing on the violin: in these particulars there is not, perhaps his superior in College. He is remarked by some, as being of a narrow disposition, but this stigma is cast by certain characters upon every person who keeps within the bounds of common frugality. And if this were Foster's only fault I should set him down, as an excellent character.
1. Foster later studied law in Theophilus Parsons' office with JQA (entry for 20 Sept. 1788, below).
{ 189 }

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-30


Charles went to Boston this forenoon.
I have been somewhat idle for several days: and expect to continue so till the exhibition is over; for so long as that is before me I can pay very little attention to any thing else. I found this to be the case last fall, and do now, still more so but, thank fortune I have only one more trial at the worst, of this kind to go through; which will be at commencement unless we should obtain a private one. Distinctions of this kind are not, I think, very desirable; for besides the trouble and anxiety which they unavoidably create they seldom fail of raising the envy of the other students. I have oftentimes witnessed this with respect to others and I am much deceived if I have not lately perceived it, with respect to myself.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0003-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-03-31


The Class recited in Doddridge this morning, but I did not attend, being rather unwell. The weather has been very pleasant for several days: and indeed the whole month has been much more agreeable than March generally is.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-01

Sunday April 1st. 1787.

Attended meeting the whole day, to hear Mr. Hilliard; and had moreover the supreme felicity of waiting on the amiable Miss Williams to her home. After meeting, at night, I wrote part of my forensic, for next Tuesday. Attended the meeting of the A B. in the evening: not many of the members present. Two or three pieces however were read, and a forensic dispute between Abbot 3d. and Dodge, upon the curious question, whether wine be beneficial to mankind. A little after nine, we dispersed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-02


Recite this week in Burlamaqui: This is the day on which the election of a governor is made throughout the Commonwealth: in this Town, there were only 37 votes for Mr. Bowdoin, and 154 for Mr. Hancock: this gentleman has likewise a majority of 50 votes in Boston; indeed it is supposed he will have a consider• { 190 } able majority throughout the State. Mr. Cushing has the majority of votes, as lieutenant Governor, both here, and at Boston.
The Martimercurian band assembled this afternoon to choose their officers for the ensuing year. Gardner was chosen Captain, Gordon lieutenant, and Barron ensign.
We had this evening a meeting of the ΦBK, at Cushman's chamber; he read a Dissertation, but the dispute was omitted. Little business was done; and after appointing writers for the next meeting, we all retired. I pass'd the remainder of the evening at White's chamber.
Up late.
Nathaniel Freeman1 of Sandwich, County of Barnstable, was 21. the 1st. of last month. Few persons are so liberally gifted by nature as this gentleman. He is of a middle size, but extremely well proportioned, his countenance is very handsome, and full of dignity: as an animated speaker he shines unrivaled in our Class, and for brilliancy of imagination he is inferior to none of his fellow students. He appears to be well acquainted with his peculiar excellence, and has therefore chiefly attended to composition; perhaps he has gone too far in this respect, so as to neglect other studies equally useful. In the languages, in the mathematical, and philosophical pursuits, and in metaphysics; though superior to the generality of the students, he is however surpassed by many individuals. He was formed for an orator,2 and as such he will be distinguished whether he plead at the bar, or administer at the altar. With great sensibility he unites great ambition; but notwithstanding his numerous advantages he is as free from vanity as any person of my acquaintance. He is warm in his friendship, and perhaps rather too keen in his resentments. His passions are strong, but their violence is counteracted by the generosity of his heart. He has many imperfections, which are the concomitants of humanity; but upon the whole it would be difficult to find at this university a more promising character.
1. Freeman later studied law and practiced in Sandwich, served as brigade major in the militia, and was a representative in the congress 1795–1799 (Freeman, Hist. of Cape Cod, 1:561–562; 2:137).
2. Freeman, the “preferred rival” to JQA in oratory at commencement, was described as “superior in style, elegance and oratory” to JQA by the Massachusetts Centinel, 21 July. “Freeman was not deficient in elegance of diction; in mellifluousness he was unequalled. He has happily imitated the plain and just model of eloquence which has been attended with the most flattering success in this country” (JQA, Memoirs, 6:77).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-03


At nine this morning the Class in two divisions read their forensics one part upon the Question “Which is the best form of government;” and the other upon that “Whether the introduction of Christianity has been serviceable to the temporal interests of mankind:” on this question, I read the following piece in favour of the affirmative:1
It is a subject of astonishment to me, that, at an University, where a liberal system of religion is generally professed, a question should be proposed which implies a denial, either of the goodness, or of the wisdom of omnipotence. In a Country where the forcible arguments of an infallible inquisition, reduce the opinions of all men to one standard, this question might with some decency be debated; because, those who deny the temporal advantages, which Christianity affords, might shelter themselves, under the protection of a future world; and this would be entirely consistent with the practice of putting a man to Death, in order to insure his eternal salvation. But here, thank Heaven!, religion does not stifle every sentiment which can counterbalance the vices and follies of humanity: here, without the dread of momentary, or of eternal flames, a man can affirm as his opinion, that all those who fear god and love their neighbours as themselves, will enjoy an equal share of felicity in a future State, whatever their mode of worship, may be. I am happy to say I have heard this sentiment inculcated from the sacred desk; and sorry I am to hear it now, publicly called in question. For if it be doubted whether Christianity be of service to mankind in this world, it must either be supposed necessary for salvation in the world to come, or acknowledged entirely useless and even injurious to the welfare of men.
I am sensible, however, that those persons who maintain the negative of this question, will have a rich plunder of argument from the history of the civilized part of the earth, ever since the introduction of Christianity: From the days of Nero to those of Constantine, the bloody banner of Persecution was almost continually display'd, against the peaceful standard of Christ: a short lucid interval ensued, after which the divine institution was again attacked by the absurd imposture of Mahomet and his followers: The enthusiastic spirit of crusading, which was calculated to maintain and support the faith, increased the impor• { 192 } tance of religion, by the murder of millions; and when the Christian world grew weary of contending with foreign enemies, they soon discovered, that they had sufficient to do, to defend the glory of Christ against one another: Every trifling deviation of sentiment was supposed sufficient to corrupt the whole System, as the imperceptible sting of an asp is sufficient to taint the whole mass of the blood. The different sects of Christians persecuted one another with such envenomed fury, and such unbounded malice, that an impartial observer would suppose, the principles by which they were actuated had been delivered by a fiend of hell, rather than by the Son of God.
All this I say, may be urged by our opponents with a very specious appearance of truth. But even admitting all these facts to be incontestible, I cannot for my part, see, what they prove against Christianity. I would ask, have there been more wars, and have those wars been more cruelly conducted since the introduction of this religion, than before that aera? Certainly not: and therefore we must attribute the discord of men, to an infernal spirit which cannot be rooted from their hearts, and not to a religion whose main object is to oppose that spirit. Christianity, it is true, has been the immediate object of many contests: but when mankind have an inclination to quarrel with one another, a motive is easily found; the causes of dispute are innumerable, and had Christianity never appeared; the power of Discord would probably have been much greater than it has been. Every candid reader of history will acknowledge that the Christian institution, has gradually inspired into the hearts of men, sentiments of compassion, benevolence and humanity even towards their enemies, which were entirely unknown to the savage barbarians of antiquity. Nero and those who imitated his persecutions, would still have been tyrants, had the religion never appeared; and the innocent victims of their execrable despotism, would have been equally numerous, without acquiring the glory of martyrdom: the Saracens would equally, have borne desolation through the Earth: and conquest would have been a sufficient motive for crusading, if devotion had failed but mercy would have been unknown among the conquerors, and perpetual slavery would have been the mildest lot of a vanquished army. If from these considerations we conclude, that Christianity has been beneficial to mankind collectively, how much more reason have we to think it has promoted their happiness individually: it { 193 } has strengthened the influence of every sentiment of humanity and benevolence: it has taught us, our real duties towards one another, and towards ourselves. It has vindicated the rights of nature, which before its introduction had been violated, even by the principles of civil Society: it has restrained within proper bounds, even the sacred rights of parental authority, and shewn the cruelty, and the absurdity of abandoning an infant to destruction for any deformity in its bodily frame: it has enlarged our views, and taught us, not to confine our goodwill and friendship, to the small circle from whom we have received, or to whom we have granted favours, but to embrace in the arms of our affection the whole human race: it has inculcated the sublime maxim of loving our enemies, and of praying for those who persecute, and in short, if it does not enable us to reach the summit of perfection, it is because we wilfully depart from its guidance and direction.
At 11 o'clock Mr. Williams, began his course of experimental philosophy, by a lecture on the properties of matter.
1. JQA's draft, dated 2 April, contains only minor variations (M/JQA/46, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-04


Employ'd great part of the day in collecting the theses. I have now as many as I shall want excepting five or six in fluxions1 which I cannot easily find, as I do not understand the doctrine enough for my own satisfaction: in the evening the sodality met at Mayo's chamber, and play'd till 9.
I was very much fatigued and retired to bed quite early.
Timothy Fuller2 of Needham, Suffolk County, will be 22. the 26th. of next July. I have very little acquaintance with this person, and his character is such as will not induce me to cultivate an intimacy with him. His countenance is perfectly stupid, and has no other expression than that of gin or brandy, his chief talent lies in drinking largely of these liquors without apparent intoxication, and in smoking tobacco; and this talent he improves by incessant application; as a classmate I insert his name, and my plan obliges me to give the traits which distinguish his character. I would fain mention his virtues; but if he possesses any they are too deep to be perceived by common observation.
{ 194 }
1. That is, differential calculus (OED).
2. Fuller became a physician in Needham (Francis H. Fuller, “Descendants of Ensign Thomas Fuller, of Dedham,” Dedham Historical Register, 5:128 [July 1894]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-05


At eleven this forenoon, Mr. Williams gave us, the second, philosophical lecture: it was upon the incidental properties of matter, and excepting very few deviations, was expressed in the same terms with that we had last year upon the same subject: indeed, whether the professor's time is taken up by other studies, or whether he is too indolent to make any improvements in his lectures, it is said he gives every year the same course, without adding or erasing a line.
However interesting the subject may be, there are many students who find no entertainment in the repetition of what they have already heard and frequently read; and I must myself confess that these lectures which were highly entertaining last year, afford me little amusement or instruction at present: if the experiments and the observations upon them were somewhat varied, I should now attend the lectures with as much satisfaction as I received from them last year.
Drank tea at Foster's chamber. Mr. Bissi was there. In the evening I went with Cranch, and Mead to Mr. Pearson's; I invited the ladies to my chamber exhibition day: the professor himself was not at home. We also went and passed about an hour at Mr. Hilliard's.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-06


We this day returned our books to the library.
I went immediately after prayers to Mr. Wiggles worth's; where I found only Mr. Ellery and Miss Peggy: I waited there a short time and went from thence to Mr. Williams's, but did not find a soul at home. I spent a couple of hours in the evening with Sever at Mr. Gerry's. Mrs. Gerry was quite unwell, so that we neither saw her nor her Sister.
Thomas Hammond1 of Rochester, Plymouth C: was 20 the 17th. of last August. He has a mixture of good and bad qualities, so equally poised, that it is difficult to determine, whether his character may be called good or bad. He has it is said an independent spirit; but I believe few students at this place distinguish properly between independence and impudence: it is certain { 195 } that Hammond, by this same independent spirit has indisposed every governor of the university against him; and whether this circumstance is much to his credit, an impartial world may determine: he is studious, and has a good knowledge of the Latin Language in particular. As a metaphysician some think him acute, but I have more frequently known him to dispute about words, and dabble with trifles, than to reason with superior judgment or genius. His moral conduct is not wild or extravagant, but at times his profanity, will make the most abandoned, stare. In short if he has any principles they are certainly not such as I should wish a friend of mine to adopt.
1. Hammond became a lawyer and settled in New Bedford (Fleet's Pocket Almanack and Massachusetts Register, 1794).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-07


Mr. Williams gave us this forenoon a lecture upon motion: the same which we heard a twelve month past; upon that subject. Fine weather.
I have been this day chiefly employ'd in making preparations for exhibition. White brought me some things from Boston. Spent great part of the afternoon at Cranch's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-08


Mr. Burr preach'd to us this afternoon, a pretty good Sermon. In the evening I attended the meeting of the A B. and read an essay. Several other pieces of the same kind were presented but the Oration and forensic were omitted. Freeman requested a dismission from the Society, and it was granted: Cranch was chosen in his stead to deliver the anniversary Oration on the 12th. of next month. It was 10 o'clock before we had perform'd all our business.
A B. N. 7.

Oh! sovereign of the willing soul,

Parent of sweet, and solemn-breathing airs,

Enchanting shell! the sullen cares

And frantic Passions, hear thy soft controul.

[signed] Gray.1
The influence of music and Poetry, upon the human mind, have so frequently been expatiated upon, that it would be needless to { 196 } attempt producing any new ideas on the subject: but we may derive entertainment and instruction, from the repetition of what has already been said, and this exercice of the mind preserves its health, and enables it to execute greater projects.
There is something unaccountable in the human mind, by which it is obliged (if I may so express myself) to receive pleasure from harmony. It is certainly involuntary, nor can it be subjected to the laws of reason. It appears to be peculiar to the mind of man, for notwithstanding all the splendid tales told of Orpheus and Amphion, it is plain that none of the beast creation are sensible to the charms of music: if any of the domestic animals, received pleasure, from a concert of instruments, many of them have a faculty of manifesting their sensibility which certainly, would not lay dormant upon such Occasions. Sound it is well known, has a great effect upon many animals, but seldom otherwise than to strike them with terror. The generous horse, is startled at the rumbling of the drum, and roused at the clang of the trumpet: but he does not appear at all affected by instruments which convey gentler sounds, and it is plain, that martial music, instead of affording him pleasure, always terrifies him. It is not the harmony, which actuates him, but the noise.
There are indeed birds, which by the mere strength of nature, will warble strains, scarcely to be surpassed by the most admired compositions of art. But it must be supposed that these powers are only mechanical, for those birds, that utter only harsh, disagreeable notes, are as fond of hearing themselves, as the nightengale. It is not necessary to produce many arguments in favour of a proposition, which perhaps no one would deny. Enough therefore has been said, to this Point.
This fondness for harmony is then one of the characteristics which distinguish man from the brute creation: and it is one of the richest sources of enjoyment, that an indulgent providence has granted him. Harmony, under various forms can rouse, soften or restrain all the passions in the human breast. There is scarce a sensation in the heart, but there may be found a musical note in unison with it. I appeal to the experience of every person, whether all their passions have not been influenced by the power of harmony?

“If in the breast tumultuous joys arise,

Music her soft assuasive voice applies.

{ 197 }

And when the soul is prest with cares

Awakes it with enlivening airs.

Warriors she fires, with animating sounds,

Pours balm into the bleeding lovers wounds.”2

It is remarkable that this charm is rather falsified, and corrupted, among civilized nations, than perfected: its efficacy appears to be diminished in proportion to the advancement of civilization. If we carry our researches so far back as the fabulous ages of antiquity, we shall hear of its influence not only over lions, and tygers, not only over rocks and Forests, but even over the stern, unrelenting tyrant of the infernal regions. We know how far these accounts are to be credited; but at the same Time, it must convince us, to what a degree of enthusiasm the fondness for harmony was carried in those days. As soon as the light of history begins to dawn, we find the effects of music to be much diminished. Still however we hear of a Tyrtaeus, who by a song, rallies the retreating forces of Sparta, and turns the scale of victory: still we hear of an Homer deified for his verse, and that verse, consulted as an oracle upon all occasions; still we are told of a Timotheus, who “bids alternate passions, fall and rise

While at each change, the son of Libyan Jove,

Now burns with glory, and then melts with Love,

Now his fierce eyes, with sparkling fury glow,

Now sighs steal out, and tears begin to flow

Persians and greeks, like turns of nature found,

And the worlds victor stood subdued by sound!”3

Yet if we examine the subject, with attention, I believe we shall have reason to conclude, that the power of music has been gradually declining to our own times. There is but one modern story which is any thing like those of antiquity concerning the influence of harmony: it is told by Dryden, in his ode to St. Cecilia.

When to her organ, vocal sounds were given

An Angel heard, and strait appear'd

Mistaking Earth for Heaven.4

If such always have been, and such always must be the effects of music, what can be said of the man, who is not affected by it? Let us conclude with the great master of human nature.
{ 198 }

“The Man that hath no music in himself

Nor, is not moved with concord of sweet sounds,

Is fit for treasons, stratagems and spoils,

The motions of his spirit are dull as night,

And his affections dark as Erebus.”5

1. Thomas Gray, “The Progress of Poesy,” lines 13–16 (Poetical Works of Mr. Gray, new edn., London, 1785, p. 25, at MQA). This poem was copied by JQA as early as Sept. 1782, while he was living in St. Petersburg (M/JQA/26, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 221).
2. “Ode for Music on St. Cecilia's Day,” lines 24–29. JQA copied Pope's poem into another of his commonplace books in Aug. 1782 (M/JQA/24, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 219). The poet's lines 26–27 read: “Or, when the soul is press'd with cares,/Exalts her in enlivening airs.”
3. “An Essay on Criticism,” lines 376–381.
4. “A Song for St. Cecilia's Day,” (1687), lines 52–54—also copied by JQA in Aug. 1782 (M/JQA/24, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 219). In the first line JQA substituted “sounds” for “breath.”
5. The Merchant of Venice, Act V, scene i, lines 84–88.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-09


This is the last week in which our Class attend recitations; and, this morning Mr. Burr gave us the last 30 pages of Burlamaqui for to-morrow morning.
Preparing for exhibition; wrote a little.
In the evening the two musical Societies met together in Putnam's chamber, and perform'd the anthem. Not in the best manner possible.
Thaddeus Mason Harris1 of Maiden, Middlesex, will be 19 the 7th. of next July. As a scholar he is respectable, and his natural abilities are far from contemptible; he has a taste for poetry and painting which wants cultivation, and a benevolent heart, which wants judgment to direct it. He has a great share of sensibility, which has led him into an excessive fondness for pathetic composition; so that all his exercises appear to be attempts to rouse the passions; though frequently the subject itself will not admit of passion. His speaking is injured by the same fault; for in endeavouring to call up the affections of his hearers, he runs into a canting manner, which disgusts instead of pleasing: this failing is however amiable, because it proceeds from the warmth of his heart. His disposition I believe to be very good; and if the picture is a little shaded by Vanity, a foible so universal ought to meet always with our indulgence, his constitution is feeble, and his Circumstances are penurious, but his spirit is independent, and his mind is cheerful.
{ 199 }
1. Harris afterward studied divinity, but served as Harvard Librarian from 1791 to 1793 before holding the pulpit at the First Church, Dorchester, from 1793 to 1838 (Nathaniel L. Frothingham, “Memoir of Rev. Thaddeus Mason Harris, D.D.,” MHS, Colls., 4th ser., 2 [1854]:130–155).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-10


The weather in the morning was disagreeable, but cleared up, at about ten. Had company at my chamber. Major Cabot and his Lady, Miss Bromfield, Miss Thomson, and Miss Fayerweather, Miss Williams, and Miss Wigglesworth; Mr. Ellery, Mr. Ware, and Miss Andrews, with several of my Classmates. It was almost twelve before the president made his appearance, immediately after which the performances began. The Latin Oration was omitted: B Barron, has been prevented by indisposition from writing it: the forensic dispute between Eaton, and Harris, came on, first. It was upon the question, “Whether Man, has a natural right to destroy inferior animals” very well supported on both sides: Though Harris in one or two passages, could not help indulging, his fondness for the pathetic: the next thing was the syllogistic dispute, by Treadwell respondent, Hill, Underwood, and West, opponents. The two first only performed, and Hill, blundered a little. The Question was, “whether the origin of all our ideas may be referred to the senses.” The Dialogue between Tamerlane and Bajazet1 was next spoken by the juniors Barron and Abbot. The greek oration, by Phillips, followed; after which I mounted the stage with Freeman and Little. I read the following piece. Little spoke immediately after me, upon Physic, and Freeman, closed, with a panegyric upon Divinity, which he performed so well that we were honoured with a clap.
A Conference
Upon the comparative utility of Law, Physic, and Divinity.
At a time when the profession of the Law, labours under the heavy weight of popular indignation; when it is upbraided as the original cause of all the evils with which the Commonwealth is distressed; when the legislature have been publicly exhorted by a popular writer3 to abolish it entirely, and when the mere title of Lawyer, is sufficient to deprive a man of the public confidence, it should seem, this profession would afford but a poor subject for panegyric: but its real utility is not to be determined by the short lived frenzy of an inconsiderate multitude, nor by { 200 } the artful misrepresentations of an insidious writer: with this consideration, I shall rely upon the candor of the audience, without being terrified by the prevailing prejudice of the day.
It is a melancholy reflection, that the utility of all the learned professions, depends entirely upon the errors, the infirmities, and the vices of mankind: Were the conduct of men towards one another directed by the invariable and eternal rules of reason, and equity, there would be no occasion for the laws of Man: if the human frame were not subject to disorders and convulsion, the skill of the physician would not be required; and if our passions were never to lead us astray from the duties which we owe to the creator, and to our fellow mortals, an order of divines would be wholly unnecessary. Unfortunately these very institutions, which were calculated to correct the frailties, and to supply the deficiencies of humanity, afford striking examples of its weakness. The lawyer depends for his subsistence, upon the breach of those Laws, whose dignity his profession obliges him to maintain; the interest of the Physician, is benefited, by the loss of that health which he is employ'd to restore; and were those vices and follies to cease, which the preacher condemns with abhorrence, and laments with pathetic eloquence, his welfare would not be promoted so much as that of religion: I am sensible, gentlemen, that the profession of the law, has been charged with this defect in almost all nations, and under all governments, whilst the physician, and the divine, have more frequently escaped the imputation. The law, labours under peculiar disadvantages in this respect. Whenever two individuals appeal to the Laws of their country to decide a dispute between them, one of them, must necessarily be in the wrong; yet such is the influence of the passions, that very frequently each of the parties is confident in the justice of his cause; and consequently, whatever the judgment may be, one of the parties, at least will consider himself injured: instead of imputing his misfortune to his own imprudence or folly, his passion will immediately suggest that it was owing to the ignorance or negligence of his lawyer, or to the sophistical refinements of the pleader for his adversary: to circumstances of this nature, more than to any peculiar depravity of the lawyers, is owing the general odium which the profession has incurr'd: The physician has the same temptation to lengthen out a disease, that the lawyer has to protract the final issue of a cause; but if it should overcome his virtue, he is not in { 201 } an equal danger of being detected; because he can easily convince his patient that the obstinacy of the disease is invincible: and should the patient die, such is the discretion and politeness of the dead, (as a dramatic author has observed) that they are never heard to complain.4 The opposite interests of religion, and of the preacher are still less exposed to public view: the Divine may continue year after year in the same round of exhortation: he may point out to his people the evil tendency and pernicious consequences of sin: with the most ardent zeal, he may recommend to them to practice humility, moderation, sobriety, and every other Christian virtue: so long as he addresses his discourses to men, he will never be in want of fruitfull topics for declamation; and so long as he performs all that is enjoined him by his profession, his people can never censure him, because they do not reform their manners.
But, gentlemen, general reflections against any particular order of men, are as false as they are illiberal; and while I freely acknowledge the abuse which may be made of the learned professions, with the most heartfelt satisfaction, I can affirm that in this country they are generally filled with men incapable of using base and ignoble arts; men, whose virtues place them beyond the reach of malice, and whose talents must always command respect.
I shall not attempt to prove the superior utility of this profession over the others; they are all absolutely necessary for the happiness, nay for the very existence of a civilized Society; and therefore I conceive their utility to be equal: their objects are to secure the possession of the three greatest blessings which contribute to the felicity of mankind, health, liberty, and innocence. Deprived of either of these, a man must necessarily be wretched; but so long as he possesses them all, he will never be overwhelmed by the torrent of other misfortunes. I shall leave it to you, gentlemen, to expatiate with superior elegance upon the utility of Physic and divinity, and shall only beg leave to mention some of the particular advantages, which are derived to Society from the profession of the law.
Before the establishment of Society, the only law by which the conduct of men towards one another could be directed, was that of benevolence, which nature has implanted in the human heart, and the influence of this amiable virtue, was frequently overpowered, by the irresistible violence of unrestrained passions. { 202 } When men first began to unite in small communities, it was necessary, that the rights and obligations of every individual, should be ascertained, by some permanent regulations: the Societies being neither extensive nor numerous, the laws at first were simple and few in number: but in proportion as the wealth the prosperity and the numbers of the Society increased, the duties and the rights of every citizen increased with them: as soon as an intercourse was opened between different States, an additional System of Laws was requisite, to regulate the communications between different nations; and finally by a continual and unavoidable multiplication of the laws, the system became so complicated, that a perfect knowledge of it, could not be obtained, without assiduous attention and laborious application: the greatest part of the community engaged in other pursuits, could not attend sufficiently to this study: it was however necessary that the laws should be executed: judges were therefore necessary who should know exactly what proportion had been established by the laws, between the punishment and the crime: it was necessary that the man to whom nature and fortune might have dispensed their gifts with liberality, should in a court of Law, have no advantage, over him, whose mind should be neither enlightened by science, nor dignified by genius: it was necessary that wealth and talents should not be taken as proofs of innocence, nor poverty and ignorance of guilt: hence arose the necessity of this profession, and whatever may be the insinuations of Envy, or the aspersions of Malice, it has certainly been the means of placing men upon a more equal footing in the courts, than they would be if every man, were obliged to plead his own cause. What employment can in fact, be more truly respectable and useful, than to defend the cause of innocence, and to vindicate the rights of injured justice: to protect the feeble, and defenceless son of poverty, from the cruel5 fangs of Oppression, and to detect the villain who either publicly or in secret violates the laws of Society, or endangers the safety of individuals.
The intimate connection between the science of the laws, and that of government must be obvious to everyone. The liberty of a State consists in the unlimited obedience of its citizens to the laws alone: every breach of a law, is therefore a breach of the liberties of the Community: and consequently, the man, whose { 203 } profession obliges him to enforce the execution of the laws, must naturally be jealous, and tenacious of the liberty of his Country.
In free governments, lawyers have been more frequently admired by posterity, than rewarded by their contemporaries, for their ardent patriotism, and their generous spirit of freedom. The name alone of a Demosthenes or a Cicero conveys the idea of the father of his Country; yet, it is well known, that one of these exalted patriots, to avoid being given up by his ungrateful countrymen to the tyrant of Macedon,6 was obliged to put a period to his own existence: the other was banished from the very city, which by his vigorous exertions, and indefatigable vigilance, had been saved from impending destruction; and was finally murdered by the unhallowed hands of an execrable miscreant7 whose life had been preserved by his eloquence.
In absolute monarchies, where the physician has not the most distant connection with public affairs, and where the clergy, are frequently used as the blind but powerful instruments of despotic sway, the lawyers, are the only set of men, who oppose any barrier to the arbitrary proceeding of tyranny. “The parliaments of Paris” says Dr. Moore “can remonstrate to the throne; and have done it, with such strength of reasoning, and energy of expression, that if eloquence were able to prevail over unlimited power, every grievance would have been redressed. Some of these remonstrances, not only display examples of the most sublime and pathetic eloquence, but also breathe a spirit of freedom which would do honour to a british house of commons—indeed the lawyers in France, have display'd more just and manly sentiments of government, and have made, a nobler struggle against despotic power than any set of men in the kingdom.”8 Such was the testimony of a writer who was not a lawyer and who was an Englishman. Yet he adds with equal truth that they are both in private society, and upon the stage, the objects of continual ridicule. The only inference that I can draw from this is, that the man who undertakes to promote the welfare of his fellow creatures, must be actuated by some nobler motive, than the desire of obtaining their gratitude and applause.
But, gentlemen, I must repeat, that notwithstanding my partiality in favour of this profession, I have the highest veneration for those, in praise of which you are about to speak: a bigoted attachment to one course of life, joined to a contempt or hatred, { 204 } of any other, is the sure characteristic of a trifling genius, and a contracted mind: and you will acknowledge with me, that the man, who unites the talents of the mind to the virtues of the heart, will always render whatever profession he embraces, respectable, and useful.
After the conference, Prescott delivered the Hebrew Oration; but had not got it by heart. Foster then spoke the english oration, which was applauded by a clap. It was upon the political situation of affairs: but in the old stile of invective against luxury, and foreign gewgaws.
After the performances closed, the company escorted the Corporation and overseers to the stewards. It was after 3, before they finished their exercices. Charles and I dined at Mr. Williams's, in company with Mr. Ward, a young gentleman who graduated at this university, a few years agone; a Miss Miranda Woodward, and my classmate Phelps: the professor himself was not at home: but came in before we went away: He was uncommonly merry and witty: he had several spats with Dr. Waterhouse who called there after dinner.
I pass'd the evening at Judge Dana's: he recovers but slowly.
1. Nicholas Rowe's play Tamerlane, A Tragedy, first produced in 1702, in which the Mongol Tamerlane defeated Bajazet, leader of the Turks, was very popular throughout the 18th century as a result of its political allegory, “an unsubtle presentation of the struggle between William III and Louis XIV abroad and the Whigs and Tories at home” (Tamerlane, a Tragedy, ed. Landon C. Burns, Phila., 1966, p. 5, 6). Harvard had two copies of Rowe's Tamerlane, which appears in the second volume of his Miscellaneous and Dramatick Works, 3 vols., London, 1733 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 131).
2. Two other copies of JQA's piece, with minor variations, exist among the Adams Papers: one, enclosed with JQA's letter to JA, 30 June; the other, a draft copy, in M/JQA/46 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 241).
3. Honestus, or Benjamin Austin. See entry for 10 July 1786, note 2 (above).
4. The draft version reads: “the descretion, and the prudence of the dead, (as a <witty french> dramatic writer has <said> observed,) <is surprising: for> is so great that they are never heard to complain of the physician, by whom they were destroy'd.” This comes from Molière, Le Médecin malgré lui (1666), Act III, scene i. JQA purchased Molière's works in St. Petersburg in Sept. 1782 (Oeuvres, vols. 1–4, 6–7, Paris, 1760, vol. 8, 1753, at 4:167; Catalogue of JQA's Books).
5. Unclear in Diary, but rendered as “cruel” from both copies of JQA's speech.
6. Philip II (382–336 B.C), King of Macedon and father of Alexander the Great.
7. JQA is apparently referring to Octavianus, or Augustus (63 B.C.–A.D. 14), who did not oppose Antony's nomination of Cicero as victim of proscriptions under the new triumvirate of 43 B.C., composed of Antony, Lepidus, and Augustus. Cicero was murdered by soldiers shortly thereafter (Harper's Dictionary of Classical Literature and Antiquities, ed. Harry Thurston Peck, N.Y., 1898).
8. John Moore, A View of Society and Manners in France, Switzerland, and Germany: With Anecdotes Relating to Some Eminent Characters, 6th edn., 2 vols., London, 1786, 1:102 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 75).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-11


I went down this morning to the president to know the determination of the Corporation with respect to a private Commencement; and was told that the petition of the Class was rejected: because they supposed that if public Commencements were lain aside, there would be no stimulus to study among the scholars: and they are afraid, that by granting our petition, they might establish a precedent which the following Classes, would take advantage of, and claim as a right, what we only request as a favour. Another reason which Mr. Willard said, had weight, although the gentlemen did not choose to avow it publicly, was their fear of offending the future governor by depriving him of that opportunity to show himself in splendor and magnificence.1
I walked down to Boston with Forbes. The weather was very fine. Dined at Dr. Welch's, and soon after dinner set off, for Braintree: drank tea at My Uncle Adams's, and got home, at about 7 in the evening.
1. Relations between the College and John Hancock were uneasy because of the unsettled problem of Harvard's finances arising from Hancock's tenure as treasurer. Hancock, who had been appointed in 1774, neglected to receive or pay the College accounts. Finally, in 1777, he was eased out of office, which he considered an insult, and Ebenezer Storer was appointed in his place. Hancock was slow to clear up the overdue accounts, and in 1780 Harvard renewed its request for a settlement to no avail. Four years later Hancock took fresh offense over the seating plan of the Lafayette dinner, but nevertheless paid up some of the debt shortly thereafter. The whole matter, however, was not settled until 1795, two years after Hancock's death. His heirs even then paid only simple, not compound, interest on the arrears (Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 153–156).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-12


By using so little exercice, as I have done for these 18 months; and leading a sedentary life; I have got into a very indifferent state of health: and have determined to attend to nothing further this vacation, than to get into a better way: for this purpose I have begun to take much exercice, from 9 to 1, and from 3 to 6, I was rambling about with my gun. Mr. Gannett and his Lady, got here just before dinner, on their road to Sandwich; and the weather being rather disagreeable they will tarry here this night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-13


Mr. and Mrs. Gannett went away at about 11. this forenoon, and left their daughter here. I pass'd the greater part of the day { 206 } again in strolling: I wrote however a little. I am much afflicted with the heart burn, and have always been in the vacations at Braintree, much more than at any other time.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-14


Spent the day very much like the two former. We have destroy'd almost all the birds within five miles about: I am reduced to neglect the improvement of the mind for the sake of the body. This is as dull and insignificant a manner of doing away a man's life, as any that could possibly be invented.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-15


Went to meeting in the forenoon, and heard Mr. Wibird preach. That most pleasing part of his performances is his reading the psalms: I never heard any person read Poetry with so much propriety, and energy. He appears inspired at those times, though never in his own discourses. I did not go in the afternoon.
Mr. and Mrs. Gannett pass'd by in the afternoon, on their return to Cambridge. When they got to Hingham, Mrs. Gannett found herself so ill, that she could not proceed any further, and therefore determined to come back.
We went in to Mrs. Apthorp's with the young Ladies this evening. Miss Charlotte, who but a twelve month agone, was as stiff as buckram, and speechless as a Statue, has been for a few months at school in Boston, and is become quite a prateapace, full of airs and laughter: a few years more however may give her judgment, and they say she is not destitute of sense.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-16


A very fine day. At about 10 this morning, the president and his Lady, Mr. and Mrs. Hilliard, Mr. Tucker and Mr. Ware, arrived here on their way to Sandwich. They breakfasted here, and proceeded forward, at about eleven. I was just mounting with my Classmate Vose when Foster and Lloyd came up, in company with Dr. Howard and Mr. Foster. They stopt to refresh their horses; we waited for them, half an hour, and finally set off without them at half past eleven. A little after one, we arrived at Hingham and all dined there. After dinner I went with Vose and Lloyd as far as Plymouth.
{ 207 }
We stopped a few minutes at Kingston where we found Fiske and Sever. Mr. Tucker and Mr. Ware came on with us. Dr. Howard and Mr. Foster came no further than Pembroke, 11 Miles back. The president and Mr. Hilliard stopped at Kingston, so that we were sufficiently divided, not to be inconvenient to one another. The roads in general were pretty good: but very dusty, the weather being very dry: the soil is not very good, especially on this side of Pembroke. The last 8 miles shew us a large proportion of pine trees and barren sands.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-17


The whole company arrived here early this morning: we went up into the burying ground and saw the ruins of the first fort built by our ancestors in this part of the world.1 We found several ancient grave stones but none dated prior to the commencement of the present Century. Between 9 and 10 this morning the Cavalry set off; Mr. Ware, Mr. Tucker, Mr. Gannett, Mr. Whitman, Mr. Haven, Vose, Lloyd, and myself. The President had been very careful to desire almost every individual, that proceeded forward, to bespeak a dish of clams for him at Ellis's a tavern about 9 miles from Sandwich, famous for the excellency of the shell fish which abound there; but alas! how uncertain are the hopes of men, how liable to disappointment: when we got to the tavern the tide was high and no clams could be got: we left the President to comfort himself with his own reflections, and before two o'clock we arrived at Mrs. Fessenden's tavern at Sandwich: we found Freeman and Little, just mounting their horses to go and meet the Company. We drank tea and supp'd at Mr. Freeman's, and returned to the tavern to lodge. Parson Whitman, of Welfleet, a man that professes to be a wit, Mr. Damon, a young clergyman, and a Mr. Green, supped with us, and endeavoured as much as possible to make us merry.
1. The fort at Plymouth, built in 1622 in response to the news of the Indian massacre of settlers in Virginia that year, was repeatedly repaired and extended (James Thacher, History of the Town of Plymouth..., Boston, 1835, p. 48, 72, 77).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-18


At about 11, this morning, we went from Mr. Freeman's to the meeting house: it was much crowded: a number of anthems were sung by the People of the town, and the buxom beauties of { 208 } the Cape, had collected together in one gallery. By twelve the young candidate made his appearance preceded by the gentlemen who were to consecrate him to the service of God: Mr. Hilliard began the ceremony with prayer: Doctor Howard then delivered an excellent Sermon, to the general satisfaction; full of candor, benevolence, and piety, with the most liberal sentiments. Mr. Shaw1 of Barnstable then gave the charge, and spoke very curiously; his language and ideas, however, were good; a Mr. Stone gave the right hand of fellowship, in such a manner that he appeared to me to be a man destitute of all feeling. Mr. Reed of Bridgwater made the last prayer, and the whole ceremony was concluded by another anthem; it was past 2 before they finished: all the students returned then to Mr. Freeman's, where we dined. In the afternoon we went to Mrs. Williams's,2 who is the widow of the late minister of this place, and at whose house Mr. Burr entertained his Company. The house was full; but we crept in with the crowd. After tea, we went with a number of Ladies to a certain house where we were to have had a dance, but we were so much crowded there was no room left to move in, not till after 11. Here was an odd scene: at about two we conducted the ladies to their homes, and then retired to our own lodgings. A young lady by the name of Caroline Williams is the celebrated beauty of Sandwich; she is fair extremely delicate, and her features are regular and well proportioned: but I cannot think her so uncommonly beautiful, as many persons suppose, and as she appears convinced herself: her Sister Patty is more agreeable.
1. Oakes Shaw, minister of the West Parish Church and elder brother of John Shaw, JQA's uncle (Nahum Mitchell, History of the Early Settlement of Bridgewater, in Plymouth County, Massachusetts, Including an Extensive Family Register, Boston, 1840, p. 291).
2. Anne Buckminster Williams, wife of Abraham Williams, who had been minister at Sandwich from 1749 until his death in Aug. 1784 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:498–501).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-19


Between 10 and 11 this morning I set off with Vose and Lloyd, and Clark, and arrived at Plymouth, before 2 in the afternoon. We found Sever and Henry Warren as soon as we arrived, and dined with them at a Mr. Russells; I paid a visit to Mrs. Thomas, and pass'd the afternoon at Warren's chamber. We drank tea at Mr. Russell's: he has two fine Sisters; one of them remarkably { 209 } handsome. After tea we adjourned to Bartlett's tavern, where we amused ourselves with cards till 11 at night and then went to supper. The company consisted of Captain Thomas, Mr. Russell, H. Warren, Sever, Vose Lloyd, and me. After supper the glass circulated so briskly, that one of the Company, became immensely foolish. Cards were again proposed; at three in the morning the travellers retired, and left the other four at whist, where they continued, till an hour after Sun rise.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-20


At nine this morning we left Plymouth, and proceeded with Sever, and Warren, to Kingston. They had been up the whole night, and we were upon the run, the greatest part of the two last nights; we were consequently very much worn out and fatigued. Just as we arrived at Mr. Sever's in Kingston, we found the President and his Lady, going from there. We rambled about before and after dinner: and finally kept ourselves awake, with backgammon and whist till 9 o'clock, after which we retired to bed.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-21


Snow'd quite fast this morning, and the weather was very cold. Between 10 and 11 however we departed from Kingston, and arrived a little before two at Cushing's tavern in Hingham, where we dined, after which we proceeded forward; I stopp'd at Dr. Tufts's, where I found, my brothers and Cousin. At about Sunset I started again, and got home, just after dark. I then heard of a terrible fire, which happened in Boston last night,1 and consumed an hundred buildings among which three or four belonging to Mrs. Amory, the mother of an amiable classmate of mine, whose misfortune I peculiarly lament.
1. The fire was centered along Orange (now Washington) Street near Beach Street in what was then the southern part of Boston. The fire's destructiveness was eclipsed up to that time only by the great fires of 1711 and 1760 (Independent Chronicle, 26 April).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-22


Somewhat fatigued in consequence of my journey: for which reason, I did not go to meeting to hear Mr. Taft1 comment upon the scriptures. Was at the office, writing the greatest part of the day.
{ 210 }
1. Moses Taft, minister of the south precinct of Braintree (now Randolph) (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:135–136).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-23


Rambling about with my gun all the forenoon; but with little success: went and dined at my uncle Quincy's and pass'd the afternoon there: when I return'd I found Mrs. Warren, had been at Mr. Cranch's; with her Son.
Weather very dry.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-24


Very warm this forenoon. After dinner, I had just set out with my aunt to go down to Mr. Beale's in Dorchester, when we met Mrs. Williams, and her daughter in a Chaise; we returned, and about ten minutes after Mrs. Beale, and Miss Mayhew, with Ben and Miss Street, came in. Mrs. and Miss Williams propose passing the night here.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-25


The other young gentlemen, went off at about 8 o'clock: I waited about an hour longer, in order to accompany Mrs. Williams. Stopp'd about a quarter of an hour at Genl. Warren's, and arrived at College before 12: found very few of the students arrived; pass'd the evening at Mr. Dana's: he is still upon the recovery, but not very fast.
Walter Hunnewell,1 will be 18 the 10th. of next August. His misfortune is to have been born in low life, and to have been kept in it to this day. The company which his education necessarily led him into has been such as students are not used to keep; and his Classmates, consequently treat him with the most perfect neglect: as a scholar he is remarkable on neither side; and his genius appears suited to the condition in which he was born; he is a mere cypher in the Class, and was it not for the public exercices which he is obliged to attend; I should never have known there was such a person in College.
1. Hunnewell later became a physician and practiced in Watertown (James Frothingham Hunnewell, Hunnewell: Chiefly Six Generations in Massachusetts, [Cambridge], 1900, p. 30–31).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-26


The students return, slowly. Cranch went back to Braintree last night. Clark arrived from Plymouth, where he left Sever and Fiske. Rain'd almost all the forenoon, and cleared up at about dinner time.
Joseph Jackson1 of Brookline was 19 the 27th. of last October. His countenance is of a brown inexpressive cast, and his face is as perfect a blank, as his mind. His eyes are black, and always in an unmeaning stare. He is extremely dull of apprehension, and possesses no other talent, than that of pouring forth with profusion the language of Billingsgate. If I was called to point out the smallest genius in the Class, I should show him: if the most indolent and negligent student, he would be the man: but at the same time I must do him the justice to say he is not vicious; and when all the faults which a man has, may be attributed to nature, perhaps we ought not to find fault with him. Died. August. 1790.2
1. Jackson later studied medicine with his uncle, Dr. Clement Jackson, and with Ammi Cutter in Portsmouth, N.H. (John Pierce, Reminiscences of Forty Years . . . in Brookline, Boston, 1837, p. 33; Russell Leigh Jackson, “John Jackson and Some of His Descendants,” NEHGR, 97:9 [Jan. 1943]).
2. Added at a later date.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-27


Went into the library, and took out one Volume of Wolff's mathematics.1 Charles went to Boston: this evening Cranch returned from Braintree: we had a class meeting this evening, and voted to present a petition for a private Commencement to the overseers, who are to meet next Tuesday. I was desired, with Barron and Packard to draw up the petition. The meeting was adjourned to monday night.
1. Christian Wolff, Elementa Matheseos Universae, 5 vols., Geneva, 1743–1754 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 92).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-28


The Boston Scholars come up this evening, after entering their names at the buttery on Wednesday.
I drew up the petition, this day, but it was little more than a repetition, of what has been said in those which were presented to the Corporation.
{ 212 }
Asa Johnson1 of Bolton, Worcester County, was 28 the 6th. of this month. He is the oldest person in the Class, and without possessing a superior genius, he is literally mad with ambition:

What shall I do to be forever known?2

appears to be the question he has frequently asked himself: but unfortunately he has hit upon a method which will not succeed: he has determined never to be of the same opinion with any other person; and to set the world at defiance: the first point which he establishes is, that the existence of a God is an absurd chimaera, which little minds only can conceive: and such a violent antipathy, has Johnson to the idea of a supreme being that no one can even hint an idea which has the most distant connection with religion, without being flatly contradicted by him: if you pretend to reason with him, he will not argue, but by cavilling upon words, and pouring forth round assertions, he keeps to his point, and never acknowledges himself in an error: Upon all other subjects he has likewise peculiar ideas; and if any one expresses an opinion, similar to that of the generality of the world; he must submit to contradiction from Johnson, as he would from a parrot, without noticing it: but the gentleman is not content with opposing the opinions of men, he must likewise follow different customs: this is a late improvement upon his System: and as his Circumstances are rather penurious, he must go upon an economical plan: last winter he cut off the tops of his boots, and they served as the upper leather for a pair of shoes: his coat was longer than necessary and folds in the skirts were entirely useless; he therefore cut them off, and had a waistcoat made with them. His hair he has cut short, but in the winter, he suffers it to grow; so that it may keep him warm. But it takes whatever direction chance may give, and

Each particular hair does stand on end,

Like quills upon the fretful porcupine.3

He even carries his singularity so far, that in eating a piece of bread and butter he holds the butter downwards, so that it may come upon the tongue. In short he is determined to be distinguished from the rest of the world, and he has succeeded: but he will always find I believe, that the world, will not respect the notions of a man, who pays no respect at all to theirs.
{ 213 }
1. Johnson was later a Worcester co. lawyer and, for a short time, postmaster of Leominster, Mass. (Hist. of Suffolk County, Mass., 1:523; Fitchburg Historical Society, Procs., 1 [1892–1894]:91).
2. “What shall I do to be for ever known, / And make the age to come my own?” (Abraham Cowley, “The Motto,” lines 1–2, Works, 11th edn., 3 vols,, London, 1710–1711, 1:1, at MQA).
3. Hamlet, Act I, scene v, lines 19–20.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-29


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preach'd in the forenoon, and Mr. Willard,1 brother to my Classmate, after dinner. Quite a young man; and his sermon was a proof of it. It was upon justice, temperance fortitude, godliness brotherly kindness, and charity: and not contemptible: his pronunciation however was not perfectly accurate, and there were some little improprieties in his language. Mr. Hilliard and he, very devoutly pray'd for one another.
William Samuel Judd2 of Hartford, in Connecticut, was 21, the 10th. of January last. He was almost three years at New-Haven College, and entered this University, since last Commencement, he has boarded out of college till this quarter, and I have consequently had but little opportunity to be acquainted with him. As a scholar he is not very conspicuous, if we judge from his public exercices. He appears rather to have a disposition towards low-life, and trades, with hair dresses and tailors, in fiddles and old cloaths. This however I only have from common report; as I have never seen any thing in him, of that kind: but there is not one of the scholars from any other College, in our Class, that leads us to suppose their method of education better than that which is pursued here.
1. Both brothers of Samuel Willard were ministers; but this one presumably was Joseph, minister at Wilbraham, Mass. (Joseph Willard and Charles Wilkes Walker, Willard Genealogy: Sequel to Willard Memoir, ed. Charles Henry Pope, Boston, 1915, p. 91, 176).
2. After graduation, Judd returned to Connecticut, where he entered trade in New Britain (Sylvester Judd, Thomas Judd and his Descendants, Northampton, Mass., 1856, p. 19–20, 28).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0004-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-04-30


Cranch and my Chum went to Boston this morning to see a pompous funeral of one Mr. Webb, who was grand master of the lodge of free-masons at Boston.
We had a philosophical Lecture this forenoon, upon the central forces, with an explanation of some of the conic sections. { 214 } After prayers this evening we had a class meeting. The petition to the overseers was read, and signed by those of the Class that were present. We had a thunder shower in the afternoon. It cleared up in the evening and was very pleasant. After ten o'clock I walk'd with Cranch and Foster across the common.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-01

Tuesday May 1st. 1787.

It thundered this morning from seven to nine, with some rain. I went with Barron to Mr. Hilliard's, and gave him the petition, which we desired him to deliver to the board of overseers. He told us we should not be so likely to succeed as we might if the Senate were to attend; they are detained by Boston by public affairs, as this is the last day on which the general Court propose to sit.1 However, the matter was not determined this day; but the gentlemen adjourned till Friday, at Boston when some of the Senators may attend.
Samuel Kellogg2 of Hebron, in Connecticut will be 26 the 7th. of this month. After having spent some time both at New Haven, and at Dartmouth Colleges, he entered here just before last Commencement: he proposes preaching, and is very superstitious and bigoted: he agreed after last Commencement to chum with Child; but before they had lived together three months, Child gave him six dollars to renounce his right to part of their chamber. Sever was the first person who noticed him, when he came to College, and he rewarded him by telling some lies concerning Sever, to a young lady, and in consequence of this he had a violent dispute with him. He introduced himself to several of the best families in town, and desired Mr. Read to introduce him to the worthy lads in our Class, because, said he, “I wish to be intimate with those only that bear good characters.” A character thus compounded of Superstition, impudence, hiprocrisy, and Avarice, will not probably be popular any where: here he is universally despised or hated.
1. Under a provision of the Massachusetts Constitution, the governor, deputy governor, governor's council, and the senate of the Commonwealth, together with the ministers of Cambridge, Watertown, Charlestown, Boston, Roxbury, and Dorchester, were all members of the Harvard Board of Overseers (Ch. V, Sect. I, Art. III).
2. Kellogg returned to Hebron to study divinity and later lived in Westfield, Mass., and Wethersfield and Hartford, Conn. (Timothy Hopkins, The Kelloggs in the Old World and the New, 2 vols., San Francisco, 1903, 1:171, 364).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-02


This morning I went out with Forbes and Mason, on a gunning party. The game was very scarce, but among us all, we kill'd a large variety of birds. We dined at one Richardson's, living beyond the fresh pond, and did not return till almost six o'clock; pass'd the evening with Cranch, and was much fatigued.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-03


Cranch went to Braintree this morning. I pass'd the greater part of the day in writing. I do not expect to get properly at the study which for one fortnight I wish to pursue till next week; and then I must attend to it with great diligence.
Weather fine.
Ephraim Kendall1 of Ipswich, Essex C. was 20 the 28th. of last Novr. There is something peculiar in this character. He is said to be one of the hardest students and one of the poorest scholars in the Class: his natural abilities are so small, that they can scarcely be improved even by cultivation. He appears to be totally destitute of literary judgment at least; for I have heard him declaim a piece in very plain english, which I was convinced he did not understand. At recitations he was never distinguished for taking the meaning of an author, and in short all his public exercices have been inferior to the common run. Yet he is possess'd of extreme sensibility, and his temper is very irascible. His person is handsome, but there is an unmeaning stare in his eye, which is too expressive of the vacancy in his mind. It would require a very metaphysical genius to prove this to be a good or a bad character; but it is not certainly one, which any person would wish to possess.
1. Kendall became an Ipswich merchant and, presumably, owner of several ships (Columbian Centinel, 12 Sept. 1798; Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 40:232, 333 [July, Oct. 1904]; 41:376 [Oct. 1905]; 70:86 [Jan. 1934]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-04


Mr. Williams at 11 o'clock gave us a philosophical lecture in which he blended two of those he gave last year; upon the centripetal force; and upon the lever.
Wrote a great deal this day. Mrs. Cranch, and Miss Lucy, were here this afternoon.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-05


A sultry, disagreeable day. Mr. Williams gave a philosophical lecture this morning; but I had forgotten his announcing it, and when the bell rung, supposed it was for some other exercice; this is the first lecture of any kind which I have not attended, since I entered the university; after dinner several of the Class went a fishing: I set out with them; but turn'd back as there was too much wind, for sport. Cranch returned from Braintree this evening.
Nathaniel Laurance1 of Woburn, Middlesex C. was 21 the 21st. of last July. I have not much acquaintance with him; but those who know him are not enthusiastic in their praises. He professes a vast deal of independence, and assurance; his heart he says never palpitated at the presence of man: and the heart which never palpitated with fear, cannot surely beat for joy. As a scholar, and as a speaker he is not conspicuous; though in his declamations he has frequently display'd that matchless impudence, of which he is so fond of boasting. His moral character is good I believe, and it is said, he has assisted his chum (Jackson) very much in the article of composition.
1. Lawrence became a minister at Tyngsborough, Mass., 1790–1839 (History of Middlesex County, Massachusetts, with Biographical Sketches of Many of Its Pioneers and Prominent Men, comp. D. Hamilton Hurd, 3 vols., Phila., 1890, 2:372).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-06


Attended Mr. Hilliard all day. He preach'd rather better than usual, I think.
Dined with my brothers at Judge Dana's. He looks much better, than I have seen him at any time since he has been sick. The weather in the course of the day was disagreeably warm; more so than it has been at any time this Season, but in the evening it grew cooler, and, rained very plentifully. Pass'd the greatest part of the evening at Mason's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-07


This morning I went up, with Cranch, Learned, Lloyd, Mason, Phelps and Putnam, to the fresh pond, on fishing; and did not return till after four in the afternoon: we caught only a few small fish; and had the pleasure of rowing a clumsy boat all over the pond.
{ 217 }
I miss'd two lectures by this party: one from Mr. Williams at 11. and the other from Mr. Pearson at 2.
Pass'd the evening in Angier's chamber.
Ebenezer Learned1 of Medford, Middlesex C: will be 25 the 30th. of next Octr. Without possessing a superior genius; by mere dint of application he has become a respectable scholar: his mind is perhaps more attentive to matters of small moment, than is necessary: he has candour enough to confess himself envious, but says he cannot help it: he appears to be sensible that his abilities, are not of the first rate, yet he acknowledges, that his soul is tortured with ambition. I would not give a fig for life said he, one day to me, if I could but plant immortality upon Ebenezer Learned: There is not at present any prospect that his name, will obtain immortality. But he intends to be a preacher, when he may comfort himself with the idea, that his soul, must be immortal. He was as he says himself too old when he entered the University. From 14 to 18 I should suppose the best age for entering. The studies which are pursued here, are just calculated for the tender minds of youth; but the degree of liberty that is enjoyed, renders it dangerous to young persons, before they have acquired a certain degree of judgment.
1. Learned studied medicine with Edward Augustus Holyoke in Salem and briefly practiced in Leominster, Mass., before moving in 1793 to Hopkinton, N.H., where he resided for the rest of his life (C. C. Lord, Life and Times in Hopkinton, N.H...., Concord, N.H., 1890, p. 248, 426, 427).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-08


Began to pay some attention to my theses. Studied fluxions, a little in the forenoon: and the afternoon, translated a few. Was at Putnam's chamber before dinner. Leonard White returned from Haverhill, this day, and brought me a letter:1 at prayers Mr. Ware read a latin theological dissertation. We had a meeting of the ΦBK at Freeman's chamber. The usual performances were exhibited, and it was voted to admit the juniors Abbot, Bancroft, and Lincoln.
1. Letter not found.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-09


Mr. Wigglesworth gave a private lecture this morning, and we had likewise a philosophical lecture from Mr. Williams; the sub• { 218 } ject was fire; and there were a number of curious observations, which, I do not recollect having heard last year: Charles pass'd part of the evening with me, at my chamber.
Moses Little1 of Newbury, will be 21 the 4th. of next July. Great application, joined to very good natural abilities, place him in the first line, in the class as a scholar: he has been attentive to all those parts of Science which are pursued here, and in all, he has made considerable proficiency: as a speaker, he is inferior to several, but his composition, is perhaps rather too flowery: to a large share of ambition he unites great modesty, and he has the peculiar talent of being favour'd by the government of the College, without losing his popularity with his Classmates. His disposition must of course be amiable, he seldom contradicts the opinions of any one, yet when he is obliged to declare his own sentiments, he can shew, that he thinks for himself. But notwithstanding all of his good qualities; he is sometimes censured, and such is the instability, of all populaces, that a small trifle might induce two thirds of the Class to deny the improvements and the abilities even of this person.
1. Little after graduation studied medicine with John Barnard Swett in Newburyport, at the same time JQA was pursuing his legal studies there; afterward he practiced in Salem (Russell Leigh Jackson, “Physicians of Essex County,” Essex Inst., Hist. Colls., 84:89 [Jan. 1948]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-10


A violent north east storm continued the whole day, with copious rain: there has fallen more this day, than in any other two for a twelve-month past: and it will be very serviceable to the ground: Mr. Thaxter and Mr. Greenleaf were here this afternoon from Haverhill; but notwithstanding the storm, they proceeded to Boston.
Pass'd the evening with Cranch.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-11


Storm'd again the whole day: we had a lecture from Mr. Williams, upon heat, in which he introduced his own system, which he first made public last year. Charles declaimed this evening in public, for the first time. Pass'd the evening with Mead.
James Lloyd1 of Boston, was 17 []. He is said to be a good scholar, and a hard student; but his disposition is far from ami• { 219 } able. He is an only son, of a physician of eminence, and fortune in Boston; and has been too much indulged in every childish caprice, to make him studious to please others: his ideas appear to be, that the beings which surround him were created to administer to his pleasures, but that he was born wholly independent of them: whatever he sees, different from his own taste, he honours with a sneer, but when any person has boldness enough to return the sneer

Then his fierce eyes, with sparkling fury glow.2

He has not the least command of his passions, and any person of coolness might play upon his mind, and direct his rage, just as he should please.
But he can never be an agreeable companion; I was with him continually, for one week; and I should never wish to be with him again. His chum (Amory) is the only person that could live with him without quarreling, and he preserves peace only by giving way in every particular: a greater contrast of characters could not be found. Amory has every virtue which conspires to win the hearts of men, and Lloyd would be discontented, if he was placed at the right hand of omnipotence.
1. Lloyd became a Boston merchant, and, after JQA's resignation, served in the U.S. Senate from 1808 to 1813 and from 1822 to 1826 (Boston Directory, 1796; Biog. Dir. Cong.).
2. “An Essay on Criticism,” line 378.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-12


The storm continued the whole day with unabated violence. Mr. Williams gave a philosophical Lecture upon hydrostatics, something different from that which we had on the same subject last year. Indeed several of the late lectures have been much diversified; and are the more agreeable on that account.
We had in the evening a meeting of the A B. Cranch gave us the anniversary Oration, which was well written and delivered. After this a subject of importance was discussed; and then, the officers for the next quarter, were chosen from the junior Class: Abbot was elected president, Barron secretary, and Gardner deputy secretary. The members from our Class, then took their leave; and for the future are to attend only as spectators, and at their option.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-13


The storm continued violent through the whole day. The rain pour'd down, with as much force, as if there had not fallen a drop before. I felt dizzy in the head, and therefore did not attend meeting: in the evening at half past eight we met by adjournment from last night, at Fiske's chamber; we finally concluded, the business which we met upon by the expulsion of the person, who had betray'd the Society; after which we returned all to our Chambers.
James Lovell1 of Weymouth, Suffolk C. was 19. the 1st. of January last. It would be almost impossible to trace, the sources of this person's principles of action: it might perhaps be said with truth that he has none: his natural abilities appear to be good, but they have never been improved by much cultivation: his education before he came to this university was not brilliant, and he now exhibits the mingled qualities of a buck and a clown. His passions rule him, with unrestrained sway; yet his mind is so pliant that it is easily directed by any kind of reasoning: such a disposition cannot be perfectly amiable: and accordingly he has lived with five different Chums, since his admission to College: and, if he had to remain here any longer, he would certainly change again at Commencement. He might make a good military officer; but I believe he will never shine very conspicuous, in any other capacity.
1. Lovell later practiced medicine in Weymouth (History of Weymouth, Massachusetts, 4 vols., Weymouth, 1923, 3:399–400, 402–403).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-14


We had a philosophical lecture at 11. A Class meeting was called this evening, to determine, whether the Class should take any further measures, upon the ill success of our petition for the overseers: it was proposed that the whole Class should refuse to perform the different parts that may be allotted to them for Commencement. A Committee of three was appointed, (Barron, Freeman and Packard,) to draw up a solemn declaration to be signed by all the Class. After an adjournment of one hour, we returned to the chappel: the declaration was read, and signed by 29 members of the Class: some requested time to reflect upon the subject, and some peremptorily refused to sign: it was finally voted to adjourn the meeting till to-morrow morning, that those { 221 } who wish for time to think on the matter, may then insert their names. I, opposed the measure, because, I perceived that more than half of those who signed, were influenced merely by the fear of being thought desirous of honourable parts: and I am morally certain an engagement of that kind, when contracted with so much reluctance, would never be regarded, if the person who contracted it should find it for his interest to violate the agreement.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-15


Mr. Williams gave us a lecture upon pneumatics: The parts for Commencement were not given out this morning as was expected: but the Class met by adjournment and tore up the agreement, as they found there was not sufficient unanimity, to carry the measure into execution.
William Mason,1 of Salem, Essex C. will be 19 the 12th. of next September. His natural abilities are very good, and he has a peculiar taste for the Science of natural philosophy: this he has cultivated much by reading, and observation: but in all the other branches of learning, he has been rather remiss, and to all the college exercices, he has been very inattentive; his moral principles are not very severe, and in general since he has been a member of this university, he has been as indolent, and dissipated as any in the Class: his disposition is naturally good, and he is possessed of an innate generosity of soul, which even when it is carried to an excess, is at least an amiable failing: but he has not that command over his passions, which is requisite to a man, who wishes to be popular in the world; and he has always borne the character of a buck: his faults however may all be attributed to youthful imprudence; and a few years may probably render him a very useful member of Society.2
1. Mason later became preceptor at “Smith's Academy” in Charleston, S.C. (Bentley, Diary, 1:178, 182, 322; 3:147).
2. Found at this point in the Diary on a loose sheet of paper are ten lines of poetry in JQA's hand about JA which were copied from Joel Barlow's The Vision of Columbus; A Poem in Nine Books, Hartford, 1787, p. 165.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-16


The parts for Commencement have been expected for a day or two, with some degree of impatience by the Class: they have not { 222 } yet, however been delivered. I pass'd last evening with Freeman at the Butler's chamber: he said he had seen the different parts at the president's; and that there were several of a different kind, from what have been usual in former years. Mr. Williams gave us another lecture this forenoon, upon pneumatics; he proceeds faster this year than he did last, and may close sooner, although it was a week later, when he began.
Daniel Mayo1 of Roxbury, Suffolk C. will be 25 the 30th. of next September. Little can be said of this person, except that his disposition, is very amiable: as a scholar, and as a speaker he is neither contemptible nor excellent: his chief attention has been turn'd to the study of geometry, Surveying, trigonometry, and those parts of the mathematics which are usually studied here. In these he has made some proficiency: but his virtues are more the objects of our esteem, than his abilities of our admiration: he will certainly be a good man: and that reputation is much more meritorious than the fame of extraordinary talents; because the qualities of the head are given to us, by nature; but those of the heart depend chiefly upon ourselves.
1. Mayo went west in 1788 with Col. Ebenezer Battelle, Harvard 1775, to Belpre, Ohio, where he taught school for a few years. Eventually he settled in Newport, Ky. (Clara Paine Ohler, “Frontier Life in the Old Northwest,” Journal of American History, 2:305 [1908]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-17


This morning the different parts for Commencement were distributed by the president, in the following order.
1. A Latin Salutatory Oration, by Little.
2. An English Poem by Harris.
3. A Syllogistic disputation upon the question—“Whether thought be the essence of the soul”? by Hammond, respondent. Whitney,1 Phelps, Mason, and Lovell opponents.
4. A Forensic disputation, upon the question,—“Whether it be possible for civil liberty long to subsist in a Community, without three orders in the government, vested with such powers as to make them mutualy checks upon, and balances to each other? by Bridge, and Cranch.2
5. A Latin conference, upon the happy effects of industry and Economy in a Community. By Abbot 1st. and Abbot 2d.
{ 223 }
6. A Forensic disputation, upon the question—“Whether the world has been and is, continually increasing in useful knowledge and morality. By Chandler 3d. and Fiske.
7. A Syllogistic disputation, upon the question—“Whether any man be so depraved as to have left all sense of virtue”? by Johnson, respondent. Judd, Jackson, Hunnewell and Fuller, opponents.
8. An English Oration, upon the importance and necessity of public faith, to the well-being of a Community, By Adams.3
9. A conference in greek, upon the excellencies of some of the greek writers. By Eaton and Vose.
10. An English conference, upon this question,—“Whether, to attain the end of civil government, it be as necessary to reward the virtuous as to punish the vicious? By Foster and Putnam.
11. A Latin Oration, upon agriculture, by Beale.
12. An English conference, upon this query—“Whether mankind in general are most influenced in their conduct, by a desire of wealth, power, or fame. By Amory, Lloyd and White.4
13. A Latin conference upon this topic—Whether learning, really promotes the happiness of those who possess it? By Chandler 1st. and Mead.
14. A Forensic disputation, on the question—“Whether self-love be the ultimate spring of all human actions. By Burge and Packard.
15. An Hebrew Oration. By Learned.
16. A greek Conference upon the advantages of Peace, for cultivating the arts and Sciences. By Morton and Welch.
17. Astronomical calculations, and projections, algebraic deductions, geometrical demonstrations, solutions of problems in conic Sections, and in Trigonometry—Surveying &c. By Angier, Barron, Chandler 2d., Child, Cushman, Forbes, Kellogg, Kendal, Laurance, Mayo, Prentiss, Rand, Sever, Willard, and Williams.5
18. An English Oration. By Freeman.
The distribution of the parts, is generally approved: some indeed who are disappointed in receiving such as they suppose, less respectable than what they expected, complain, and Eaton I think is with reason displeased. On the other hand Amory, who was so certain himself of having an opponent's part, that he had engaged Hammond to write his syllogisms, for him; was agreeably disappointed, with an english conference. All the Class { 224 } agree that he deserves it not, as a student, but all are pleased with his allotment because his disposition is so uncommonly amiable.
I pass'd the evening at Mr. Dana's; in company with Mr. Reed and the librarian. The Class this evening confirmed their reputation for propriety of behaviour, by avoiding all those excesses, which have frequently disgraced the characters of the students. There were no disorders of any kind.
1. Whitney did not perform in the commencement ceremonies, apparently because his unpaid college bills kept him from graduating with the others (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:259; entry for 18 July, below).
2. Bridge was excused from the commencement, and Cranch read an oration on the same subject (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:259–260).
3. A slip of paper assigning JQA's part, written by Willard and limiting him to ten minutes, is inserted between pages 290 and 291 of the Diary.
4. In the Diary nos. 1, 2, and 3 are placed above “wealth, power, or fame,” respectively. Above “Amory, Lloyd and White” are nos. 2, 3, and 1, in that order.
5. Barron and Cushman did not perform, presumably because they had not yet paid their bills; Williams was officially excused from the ceremonies (MH-Ar: Faculty Records, 5:261; entry for 18 July, below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0018

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-18


Concluded my theses, and carried them to him1 for examination. Began my part for commencement, and wrote about one page. The good parts as they are called, are so much more numerous this year, than they ever have been before, that the president was obliged to limit the time, to be taken up by the different performances. Mine is restrained to ten minutes; so that I shall not be able to write much.
Samuel Mead2 of Harvard, Worcester C. will be 25 the 30th. of this month. His oratorical and scholastic talents, are not remarkable on either side; he has a command of his countenance, which gives him a great advantage in declaiming humorous pieces. He is an exceeding kind neighbour, and I have lived, in the chamber adjoining his, upon very friendly terms, this year: but his politeness, I fear goes too far, for it appears to me, he is always of the same opinion with his Company however opposite that may be at different times. He has even been accused of hypocrisy; this charge however I hope is entirely without foundation, and I have no reason, to doubt of his honour or of his sincerity. The greatest defect which I have observed in him, has been, a jealousy, and suspicion, of what others have said of him: this circumstance has set him at variance with several of his class-mates; and has { 225 } | view probably been the cause of those reports which have been spread, injurious to his honour.3
1. President Joseph Willard.
2. Mead was ordained minister at Alstead, N.H., in 1791, but his congregation grew dissatisfied with his Unitarianism and dismissed him in Aug. 1797. He then went to Walpole, N.H., where he occasionally preached, but he was never again settled in a pulpit (George Aldrich, Walpole . . . Containing the Complete Civil History of the Town From 1749 to 1879..., Claremont, N.H., 1880, p. 327–328).
3. Found between pages 244 and 245 in the Diary is a loose scrap of paper with the following words: “Ε᾽χδρος γάρ μοι κεῖνος ὁμῶς ἀΐδαο πυλῄσιν / ὅς χ᾽ ἕτερο ν μὲν κεύθει ἐνὶ φρεσὶν, αλλο δὲ βάζει.. Iliad: 9. v: 312. Who dares think one thing, and another tell,/My heart detests him as the gates of Hell. Pope.”
Evidently JQA was comparing with Pope's the original version (lines 312–313), rendered as “for hateful in my eyes, even as the gates of Hades, is that man that hideth one thing in his mind and sayeth another” (Homer, The Iliad With An English Translation, transl., Augustus T. Murray, 2 vols., London, 1924, 1:404, 405; Iliad, transl. Pope, Bk. IX, lines 412–413).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0019

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-19


Mr. Thaxter was here, about half an hour, on his return to Haverhill. Mr. Williams, gave us yesterday a lecture; still upon the subject of air: in the afternoon, I carried down my theses to the president, for approbation: I went with Mrs. and Miss Williams, and Miss Betsey Cranch into the Museum, where the professor diverted them, with a number of experiments. He was very sociable, and full of wit upon the effect of the pulse-glasses.1 We returned just before prayers, and drank tea, at Mr. Williams's: he conversed much, upon the distribution of the parts, and upon the opinions of the students, with respect to the transactions of the government of the University. White pass'd the evening with me.
1. Pulse-glasses: Glass tubes filled with rarified air and enclosed at each end with a bulb “which when grasped by the hand exhibits a momentary ebullition, which is repeated at each beat of the pulse” (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0020

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-20


Attended meeting all day. Dined at Mr. Dana's, with the butler.1 The weather was warm, the fore part of the day, but in the afternoon, got round to the east.
Ephraim Morton2 of Boston was, []. He has been absent from college, on account of sickness, ever since Commencement, till this quarter; so that I have had less opportunity to form any acquaintance with him, than with any other person belonging to { 226 } the Class. His character however is not very conspicuous in any line; he is said to be a very good scholar in the Latin and greek languages; but even when he is here, he is little noticed by the Class in general, and I have seldom been in Company with him: his disposition is good, and he has at least the merit, of not being the author of any mischief.
1. William Harris served as butler from July 1786 (MH-Ar: Corporation Records, 3:260).
2. Morton afterward studied medicine and became a surgeon in the East India Company's service (Massachusetts Centinel, 16 Dec. 1789).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0021

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-21


Mr. Williams this forenoon closed the subject of Pneumatics, with an account of the different kinds of air. Was employ'd, the chief part of the day in writing my part for Commencement, and have not yet finished it. As I am conscious, of having no talent at rhetorical composition; this allotment has given me a vast deal of anxiety. As my part is of the same kind with that of Freeman, whose chief talent, among many others, lies in this kind of Compositions; I dread the comparisons which may be made; and although my friendship for him is such, that I shall rejoice to see him perform his part with universal approbation, and unbounded applause, yet I cannot help fearing that contrasts may be drawn, which will reflect disgrace upon me.1
1. Even after four decades, the signs of competitiveness with Freeman over the commencement orations were still evident. JQA wrote: “The incidents attending it were of a nature to make and leave a deep impression upon my mind. The appointment to deliver it was itself a high distinction. Yet it was but the second honour of the Class; and he who took the first, the preferred rival [Freeman], sunk at the age of 35, to be forgotten” (JQA, Diary, 7 Oct. 1822, Memoirs, 6:77).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0022

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-22


Our lecture this day, was upon magnetism; but I think it was nearly or exactly the same with that which was delivered last year upon that subject: I concluded my piece this afternoon, and propose to lay it by for some time; and to make such alterations from time to time, as shall appear proper. This afternoon Mr. Wiggles worth gave us a lecture; but was scandalously interrupted.
Hezekiah Packard,1 of Newtown, Middlesex C. was 24, the 6th. of last December. He has a good share of original wit; but his ge• { 227 } nius is not uncommon: his improvements are greater than those of the students in general, but not such as to place him in the first rank of scholars. As a speaker he is too much addicted to a monotony, whatever his declamations are. His disposition is good, and his moral character is unimpeachable.
1. Packard became mathematics tutor at Harvard, 1789–1793, and later served as minister in Chelmsford, Mass., in Wiscassett, Maine, and in Middlesex Village (Lowell), Mass. (Samuel P. Hadley, “Boyhood Reminiscences of Middlesex Village,” Contributions of the Lowell Historical Society, 1:216 [July 1911]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0023

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-23


This day, we had a lecture upon electricity: we received a shock, which was much more violent than that given us last year. I felt it only by a very disagreeable twitch in the joint at both elbows; but it was a kind of pain different from any thing else I ever felt. It is so instantaneous, that the sensation is known only by recollection: it was over before I was sensible of the stroke: it had however a powerful effect upon my nerves, as indeed I recollect, the small shock which we received last year, had likewise: Mr. Williams informed us, that for the future his lectures would depend upon the weather; as the optical experiments could not be exhibited, unless the sky were clear. Cranch went to Braintree with his Sister to-day: she intended to have spent a week more here; but was taken ill on Sunday, and is still so unwell, that she wishes to be at home.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0024

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-24


Weather was so cloudy all day, that we had no philosophical lecture. Tuesday evening we had a meeting of the ΦBK. Admitted Abbot, Bancroft, and Lincoln, and yesterday morning, we met again at Packard's chamber, and voted to admit Barron, Gardner and Grosvenor. Our Class having no college exercices to attend to, and many of them having now finished their parts for Commencement, are generally very indolent. Riding, and playing, and eating and drinking employ, the chief part of their time.
John Phelps1 of Westfield, Hampshire C, will be 19 the 16th. of next month. He entered this University, with Judd, since last Commencement and has not made a conspicuous figure in the Class. This College indeed cannot boast much of the acquisitions it has made from New-Haven and Dartmouth. Angier, Kellogg, { 228 } Judd, Phelps and Willard are all either harmless and inoffensive, or malicious, and hypocritical characters. Phelps however would come under the first description; for no body ever complains of being injured by him. He is I believe one of those indifferent characters, which are neither virtuous nor vicious.
1. Phelps studied law and practiced in Granville, Mass., where he also became a town officer, state representative, and sheriff of Hampden co., 1813–1831 (Oliver Seymour Phelps, The Phelps Family of America and Their English Ancestors..., 2 vols., Pittsfield, Mass., 1899, 1:184; Albion B. Wilson, History of Granville, Massachusetts, [Hartford, Conn.], 1954, p. 126–129).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0025

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-25


Rain'd all day; but cleared up in the evening. We had last night a class meeting, to determine, concerning the printing of our theses; and notwithstanding the vociferous clamour of certain characters, who always glory in creating confusion, it was finally determined, that Mr. Freeman should print 2000, and a Committee was chosen, to make the agreement with him: it was then voted, that the sum which has been subtracted from the usual expence for a Corporation dinner at Commencement, be applied to the relief of the indigent scholars in the Class: a Committee was chosen to collect the money on or before the 18th. of next June, after which the meeting was dissolved. I pass'd this evening at Freeman's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0026

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-26


The weather was fair this forenoon, and Mr. Williams gave us a lecture, upon the nature, reflection, and refrangibility of light. Took a long walk this evening after prayers. Sever spent the evening at my chamber.
Nathaniel Shepard Prentiss1 of Charlestown, will be 21, the 7 th. of next August. He is a pretty good speaker, but as a scholar he is not conspicuous; notwithstanding his age, his countenance and his manners have a puerility, which indicates a boy, rather than a man: his disposition however is good: he has none of those distinguished traits of character, which bespeak a man extraordinary, whether in a good, or in an evil sense. His abilities are such as may carry him through the world with decency, if fortune should not be unfriendly; but he never will be a Cromwell nor an Hampden.
{ 229 }
1. Prentiss, sometimes spelled Prentice, practiced medicine in Marlborough, Mass., and from 1801 in Roxbury, Mass., where he combined the role of doctor with that of principal of the grammar school. He also served as town clerk and town representative in the General Court (Harrington, Hist. Harvard Medical School, 1:193–194).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0027

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-27


Attended Mr. Hilliard, the whole day: he preach'd in the afternoon a Charity Sermon, and a contribution was made, for the benefit of the unfortunate sufferers, at the late fire in Boston. There was a scandalous stamping, by some of the students, at the time of singing. Such conduct must always bring disgrace upon the University itself.
Samuel Putnam,1 of Danvers, Essex C, was 20, the 13th. of this month. To the stature, he unites the manners and the behaviour of a boy: he is a pretty good speaker, but as a scholar he is extremely superficial: his vanity, which was puffd up in the winter, by the allotment of an english Oration at an exhibition, has of late received considerable mortification. The circumstance, at the time surprized every one in the Class himself excepted, but the late allotment to him was a subject of astonishment to no one but himself. He sometimes proposes to pursue the study of the Law, and sometimes, to turn his attention to physic: and in this indecision as in all the rest of his conduct, he exhibits the weakness and instability of his mind. Unless years bring wisdom to him, he can never make a respectable figure in life.
1. Putnam eventually decided to study law, but went to Judge Theophilus Bradbury's office in Newburyport, for Parsons' was full. There JQA noted that “he is not exempt from that puerility which I mentioned as constituting his character,” a reference to this earlier character sketch, but was “more pleased with him than I was while we were classmates.” Putnam opened his law office in Salem, married into the Pickering family, served as state senator from Essex co., and judge of the state supreme court from 1814 to 1842 (Elizabeth Cabot Putnam and Harriet Silvester Tapley, “Hon. Samuel Putnam, LL.D, A.A.S....,” Danvers Historical Society, Historical Collections, 10 [1922]: 1–5, 13–15; entry for 5 April 1788, below).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-28


I wrote off my piece for Commencement this forenoon, and carried it to Mr. Reed for his examination: and henceforth I believe I shall be very idle till Commencement. Having got through the business of my theses, and being prepared for the important day, I shall now be at leisure, and shall attend in some measure to my health which has been in a declining state for this twelve• { 230 } month a sedentary life, and the little exercice which I have used, have been attended with their usual consequences, and now my principal business, will be to recruit.1 Mr. Pearson gave us a lecture this afternoon, in which he attempted to prove the non-existence of complex ideas.
1. To recover one's health and vigor (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-29


The junior's, this forenoon read a forensic in the chapel, upon the question, whether the soul be material: I pass'd the whole day, in indolence, and amusement. Pass'd the evening with Fiske at Mr. Hilliard's. Mr. Reed and Mr. Ware were there.
Isaac Rand, of Cambridge, was 18 the 8th. of this month. He has been if common fame may be believed very idle and dissipated. As he lives not in College, I have had no opportunity to become much acquainted with him. His disposition I believe is very good, and his natural abilities are not despicable: his youth may be an excuse for his levity; and every one has not even that.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-30


Election day. About two thirds of the Students went to Boston. Those of us who remain'd pass'd the day, in amusement; I was at Cranch's chamber the whole day. The Sophimore Class with their civil Officers at the head march'd in procession to the Hall, and as soon as they came in a pistol was fir'd by their governor. The same ceremony was repeated after commons were over. In the evening they were at Thomas's chamber, much intoxicated and very noisy. Dr. Jennison paid them a visit at nine o'clock, and sent them all to their chambers.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0005-0031

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-05-31


The Sophimores are very fearful that their yesterday's conduct has brought them into difficulties. Mr. Reed, who found his door broken through, when he return'd from Boston, is very much incensed and will probably, take measures to discover the persons who offered the insult. Mr. Williams gave us a lecture upon a number of optical instruments. I trifled away this day.
John Sever1 of Kingston, Plymouth C, was 21 the 7th. of this month: His genius is very good; but he is destitute of all moral { 231 } principles; and he has ever been remarkable for dissipation and disregard to the laws of the University: he is however ambitious of ruling and had when he first came to college so great influence, that he led the Class as he pleased: his imprudence has since that made him as unpopular as any individual in the Class.
1. Sever after graduation returned to Kingston, where he became a merchant (Columbian Centinel, 19 Nov. 1803).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-01

Friday June 1st. 1787.

At 11, we had another lecture upon the optical instruments; the solar microscope,1 the telescope, the cylindric mirror,2 and the magic lantern came under consideration; we should have seen likewise the camera obscura, but the Clouds overshadowed the Sun so much, that the effect could not take place. I carried down my part to the president, for approbation: was not quite so indolent the whole day, as I have been two days past.
1. The solar microscope was mounted on a window shutter and used in a darkened room; a mirror reflecting sunlight through the instrument projected the image of the specimen on the wall (David P. Wheatland and I. Bernard Cohen, A Catalogue of Some Early Scientific Instruments at Harvard University Placed on Exhibition in the Edward Mallinckrodt Chemical Laboratory, February 12, 1949, Cambridge, 1949, p. 31).
2. Probably an anamorphoscope, or semicircular mirror. When purposefully distorted drawings were viewed through the mirror, they appeared regular and properly proportioned. The instrument was used for demonstration rather than practical purposes (David P. Wheatland, The Apparatus of Science at Harvard, 1765–1800, Cambridge, 1968, p. 124–125).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0002

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-02


This day the government met, upon the subject of the disorders of which the Sophimores were guilty, last Wednesday. I was examined, but could give no information, upon the subject. Wilson is in sad terrors, and will I think probably come under censure: I past an hour or two with Mr. Ware, this evening after prayers.1
Solomon Vose2 of Milton, Suffolk C, was 20 the 22d. of February; a vain, envious, malicious, noisy, stupid fellow, as ever disgraced God's Creation; without a virtue to compensate for his Vices, and without a spark of genius to justify his arrogance; possessing all the scurrility of a cynic with all the baseness of a coward

A Dog in forehead, but in heart a deer.

{ 232 } A soul callous to every sentiment of benevolence, and incapable of receiving pleasure, but from the pain of another. This severity of description is not dictated merely by personal resentment: he has done all in his power to injure me it is true, but his attempts have been made with the concealed, poisoned arrows of dastardly envy, not with the open arms of a generous enemy: independent however of every selfish sentiment I cannot help despising him, and his injuring me, has only added a sentiment of aversion, which I never will disguise.3
1. Written later in JQA's more mature hand, enclosed in parentheses, and placed just before the sketch of Vose is “carried too far.”
2. Vose studied law and set up his practice at Northfield, Mass.; in 1805 he moved to Augusta, Maine (Albert K. Teele, The History of Milton, Mass., 1640 to 1887, Boston, 1887, p. 511).
3. Written at the end of the entry in a different hand and encircled: “rather warm John.” This was possibly written by CA, who not only roomed with JQA but also had a history “of prying into, and meddling with things which are nothing to him” (entries for 27 July 1786, and 17 Jan. 1787, above).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-03


Attended meeting in the forenoon. Sacrament day: I went to dine at Judge Dana's: soon after I got there, he was taken ill, and thought it was with his old disorder. He sent immediately to Boston, for Doctor Lloyd,1 and Dr. Danforth;2 and for Dr. Jennison at College. We rubb'd him with a flesh brush, and with blankets, for two hours without intermission: he recover'd and the Physicians supposed this attack was only the consequence of a cold which he has caught. It rain'd hard all the afternoon, and evening. I remain'd at Mr. Dana's and lodg'd there.
1. Dr. James Lloyd, a popular and successful Boston physician trained in London, who maintained strong loyalist sympathies and ties during the war as well as warm friends among Boston whigs; his son James was one of JQA's classmates (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:184–193).
2. Dr. Samuel Danforth, another popular Boston physician, who also had maintained tory views, albeit less outspoken, and served as president of the Massachusetts Medical Society, 1795–1798 (same, 14:250–254).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0004

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-04


The judge was much better this morning. At 11 o'clock I came up to College. Mr. Williams closed his course, with a lecture upon astronomy. He finished with an affectionate farewell to the Class, advising them to carry into life the spirit of Philosophy, which was the spirit of business: a spirit which could not fail to { 233 } make useful members of Society. I return'd and dined at Mr. Dana's. Pass'd part of the afternoon there, and just before college1 came up to college again.
John Jones Waldo,2 of Boston will be 19 the 15th. of September. He has had his education till within these two or three years in England, and seems to pride himself upon his european acquisitions. He has seldom associated much with any of the Class, which some have attributed to haughty arrogance, and some to an independent disposition. His talents, natural and acquired, are very good but he has not always improved his time to the best purpose. He is not popular throughout the Class, but has one enthusiastic admirer, whose name is among the first in the Class. Waldo, at the latter end of the last quarter obtain'd leave to be absent from that time till Commencement, as he wished to embark soon, for Europe; and he has not appeared, this quarter.
1. Thus in MS.
2. Waldo was later a merchant in Bordeaux (John J. Waldo to JQA, 10 April 1797, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-05


This morning after Commons we had a meeting of the ΦBK, at Cranch's chamber: We began by admitting the junior's Grosvenor, Gardner and Barron, after which the performances for the day came on; I read the following Essay.

A Maid unask'd, may own, a well-plac'd flame,

Not loving first, but loving wrong is shame.

This proposition, though it be strictly true, will not obtain the assent of mankind in general. Very few persons, can so far overcome the prejudices of Education, as to think that a young lady of strict virtue and chastity, can, with propriety make the first advances in what is term'd courtship: but if we submit the Question to the judgment of Reason, it will perhaps be found that the opinion of the generality of mankind is erroneous and unjust.
Let us take a view of the situation of the female sex, with respect to man, which is nearly the same, in all the civilized nations on Earth: they are taught that it is their duty, to submit implicitly to the will of their lord: this is but reasonable; he is bound to protect and defend them: and his mental and bodily { 234 } strength is so much superior, that he may with propriety claim the right of commanding: But this is only one point among many, in which they are made sensible of their inferiority: they are always told that their studies should be confined to domestic life, that their science should be to take care of their families, that they should never aspire to any distinctions, military, civil, or even literary, that they should deny themselves frequently, the pleasures of society, and in short that they were made scarcely for any thing else, but nursing children, and keeping an house in order. This too if it were not carried to an extreme would be reasonable: but this is not all. From their childhood, they have the idea inculcated in their minds, that honour, virtue, reputation, and in short every thing good and great with respect to them is comprized in chastity: they are led to suppose that a woman if she has only such a command over her passions, as to resist all the temptations that assail her chastity, she is then perfect, though her disposition be ever so bad: and that, however numerous the good qualities of a female may be, they can be accounted for nothing, if she has not chastity. Now if the real virtue was inculcated, if the chastity of the mind could be taught them, the System might be justified: but this, is scarcely attended to. The purity of the Body is considered as all, and if a woman preserves that, she claims esteem and respect, though her mind, should be corruption itself. From this System has arisen the maxim, that no woman should first disclose an affection for a man. Now if we reflect, that the female sex, is form'd with a deeper sensibility, and with warmer passions than the other; that the power of those passions is not weakened by the pursuits of an active life, that the retirement from the hurry and bustle of business increases them, and suffers them to prey with more violence upon the heart, and that nature, as well as the laws of society obliges them to be collected and fixed on one object, is it not most absurd, unnatural and cruel to condemn them to silence and to deprive, a young woman even of the small satisfaction of expressing those feelings which are so deeply imprinted on the heart? The sexes were created the one for the other. Nature has made an union between them equally necessary to both: but a number of circumstances arising from society, concur in making the necessity greater on the female side.
A Man is always able to support himself: he can go through life honourably by means of his own industry, nor does he (com• { 235 } paratively speaking) require the assistance of others: but a woman, whatever her station in life, may be, is still a dependent being. She must trust either in a parent, or an husband, for protection and support. The latter must be preferred because she is enabled to return the obligations she is laid under and acquit herself of the debt: but a father's care, she cannot repay; and the dependence must consequently be greater and more burdensome: add to this that an old maid is despised and neglected by all the world: she no longer possesses those charms, which formerly had engaged the affections of men; nor can she command respect for being of service to the world. A married woman, who has a family lays society under obligations to her by bearing and educating her Children: she fulfills the design of the great author of nature: but an unmarried woman, is a mere dead weight upon the community; she must be maintained; and yet she cannot be useful to Society. Most women are sensible of this, and the male part of mankind, are all united in the opinion: but a man is not the less respected for being unmarried. He can serve his friends, or his country equally well, and perhaps better; he has many other inducements to continue single, and few that engage him to marriage. Is it not therefore consistent with reason and justice, that the fair sex should have a right to express the tender passions, of which they are so susceptible? And if so, the customs of most Nations in this respect are erroneous, and it would be the duty of a wise legislator, to establish a more equitable System.
Cranch and Fiske read a disputation, on the Question, “Whether Agriculture or Commerce, should be most cultivated in this Country.” Mr. Abbot, and Mr. Ware, disputed ex tempore on the same subject. After this we proceeded, to choose, according to Law, two anniversary orators. Thomson was chosen for the first, and Freeman for the other. We then chose Barron for secretary, and Abbot for treasurer from the junior Class; to serve till the 5th. of September. A committee was appointed to examine the books of the treasurer and secretary. Adams 3d., Clarke, and Phillips, were ballotted, for admission, and the votes in their favour were finally unanimous. After being assembled more than two hours, the meeting, was adjourn'd for a fortnight, and I went with Mr. Andrews to Judge Dana's. Return'd and dined at College, and pass'd the afternoon in Clarke's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0006

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-06


Past the day at Judge Dana's. It rain'd almost all day. Miss Peggy Wigglesworth was there; amiable as usual. Mrs. Dana read some pages in the sorrows of Werter.1 Women are better judges of sentiment than men: the ladies were pleased with parts of these letters, which to me appeared very trifling. The arguments in favour of suicide, are sophistical; and subtile, but when well examined, they must appear false: as all arguments that can be brought in favour of this unnatural crime ever must.
Francis Welch2 of Plastow in New Hampshire was 21 the 31st of last month. His talents are not striking, and his mind is contracted. His disposition is very unamiable, and his heart is not good. Envy of the worst kind has established her dominion in his breast, and her snakes appear to play around his head. His eye, is the eye of the basilisk, and his every feature expresses the base passions which reign in his soul. His disposition renders him miserable, and cannot fail to make unhappy all those who are connected with him.
1. Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, The Sorrows of Werther, transl. Daniel Malthus, 2 vols., London, 1779, and subsequent English translations; first published in German in 1774.
2. Welch became minister of the West Parish, Amesbury (later Merrimac), Mass. (William Prescott, “Philip Welch of Ipswich, Ms., and His Descendants,” NEHGR, 23:421 [Oct. 1869]).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0007

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-07


North-east winds, still chill the blood, and with a dull cold principle affect our spirits. This evening, immediately after prayers, the Martimercurean band paraded; the members belonging to our Class appeared for the last Time. They performed the manual exercices, and the different evolutions, very well. Supp'd at Bradish's with Bridge and Foster: the former has obtained leave to be absent at Commencement, and expects to go, in a few days: more than twenty of our class are already gone.
Otis, Upham and Wilson were admonished yesterday morning.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0008

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-08


Took books from the library for the last time. I took Mason's Poems and Abbadie, upon the truth of the Christian religion.1 This afternoon the president returned me, my part for Commencement! I feel quite low-spirited, at seeing my Class-mates { 237 } falling off, one by one: we shall never meet again, all together; and these youthful scenes which now are so delightful, will soon be remembered, with sensations of mingled pain and pleasure. Here void of every care, enjoying, every advantage, for which my heart could wish, I have past my time, without the perplexities with which life is surrounded, here without the avocations of business or the hurry of affairs, I have pursued those studies, to which my inclination led me. Soon, too soon I shall be obliged to enter anew upon the stage of general Society on which I have already met with disgust, and which with satisfaction I quitted. These disagreeable reflections haunt me continually and imbitter the last days, of my college life.
Leonard White of Haverhill was 20 the 3d. of last month. As I lived at Haverhill some time, and as he Chums with my cousin, I was acquainted with him before I came to the University, and have been very intimate with him since: his natural abilities without being very great, are such as will enable him to go through life with honour, and his disposition is amiable. His virtues are numerous, but among them all modesty is the most conspicuous. I never knew any other person so intimately as I am acquainted with him, without having perceived in him some sparks of Vanity: but I believe he never experienced the feeling. A remarkable neatness of person is likewise one of his characteristics, and is the more extraordinary because he has so few imitators here. He has so much candor2 that I never heard him speak ill of any one of his Class-mates, and very seldom of any one: his defects are only trivial foibles, and he will certainly be an useful member of Society.
1. Jacques Abbadie, A Vindication of the Truth of Christian Religion, Against the Objections of All Modern Opposers..., transl. H[enry] L[ussan], 2d edn., 2 vols., London, 1694 (Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 151).
2. Freedom from malice (OED).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0009

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-09


This morning the president returned my theses to transcribe a fair copy for the press. I past the day at Judge Dana's. Mr. W. Ellery is there: his first address is certainly not in his favour. He talks too much about Newport; and our State, and his State; First impressions if they are not favourable, should not be attended to; but unless I am much mistaken this gentleman, is very far from being either a Statesman, or an hero. The wind has { 238 } finally quitted its corner in the east, and this day has been fair, with two or three showers.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0010

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-10


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Burr, preach'd two very good sermons. Dined at Mr. Dana's, in Company with Mr. Parsons of Newbury-Port: a man of great wit, as well as of sound judgment and deep learning.1
I was at Mr. Wiggles worth's in the evening with Beale; but Peggy was not at home.
The weather has been very warm this day. The thermometer was at 83.
1. After graduation, JQA studied law with Parsons in Newburyport.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0011

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-11


A very warm day. I loitered away my time, as I have, every day for these three weeks.
Classmates dropping off. Very few will be left by the 21st. This evening the sodality went serenading and at 3 in the morning they play'd in our entry.
Richard Whitney1 of Petersham, Worcester C, was 20, the 23d. of last February. His circumstances are low and he will find it very difficult to get through College; this situation distresses him, and affects his spirits: notwithstanding which his native humour, and his originality of genius, frequently break out; and appear conspicuous. I am fond of his character because there is some thing new in it: he has manners and ideas of his own, and does not keep forever in the old and beaten track; the generosity of his soul is admired, although it is cramped by poverty. His heart is benevolent and his disposition is amiable. As a scholar, the disadvantages under which he has laboured have prevented him from appearing to so great advantage, as he would if he could have spent all the time here, since his admission. As a speaker I know but little what improvements he has made; for he has been so much absent that I never heard him declaim but once.
1. Whitney, the son of Dr. Ephraim Whitney, whose strong tory sympathies apparently led to the confiscation of his property. Young Whitney became a lawyer in Brattleboro, Vt., and served as clerk of the Vermont House of Representatives, 1793–1797, and secretary to the governor and council (Frederick Clifton Pierce, De• { 239 } scendants of John Whitney, Chicago, 1895, P. 81; Zadock Thompson, History of Vermont, Natural, Civil, and Statistical..., Burlington, 1842, pt. 2, p. 118; Records of the Governor and Council of the State of Vermont, 8 vols., Montpelier, 1873–1880, 5:92).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0012

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-12


Went to Boston this morning with Bridge, Cranch, White and Whitney in the stage. I attended the debates in the house of representatives; they were debating upon the subject of the instructions to the different members. I dined at Mr. Jackson's, with Mr. Lowell,1 and Mr. Brimmer. They conversed much upon gardening.
At half past 6 in the evening we return'd to Cambridge, and past the evening at Cranch's chamber.
1. John Lowell, former member of the congress and a judge on its Court of Appeals in Cases of Capture, 1783–1789. Later he was United States district court judge for Massachusetts (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:650–661).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0013

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-13


Mr. Wigglesworth gave a lecture this forenoon, but I did not attend; engaged the chief of the time in writing off my theses: read Mason's Caractacus, and was much pleased with it. I think he has made it more interesting than his Elfrida. The Catastrophe it is true is not more tragical; but the speech of the Chorus which closes the Poem of Elfrida, is cold and inanimate, and that of Caractacus is noble and pathetic.1
Weather very fine and warm, all day.
1. William Mason, “Caratacus. A Dramatic Poem: Written on the Model of the Ancient Greek Tragedy” and “Elfrida. A Dramatic Poem: Written on the Model of the Ancient Greek Tragedy” (Poems, London, 1764, p. [169]–289, [75]–168; Harvard, Catalogus Bibliothecae, 1790, p. 142).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0014

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-14


Return'd a copy of my theses to the president, who informed me, that they would all be ready to send to Boston in a day or two. Cranch and Amory, and Beale, went over to Mystic with Learned, who took his final leave of College.
The weather was very warm all day; but in the evening, a beautiful thunder shower refreshed the air very greatly. Pass'd the evening at Foster's chamber.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0015

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-15


A warm day, but the air has been much more pure, than for several days past. Yesterday Mr. Dana set off for Newport where he proposes tarrying till after Commencement. Drank tea with Bradbury, and my Chum, at Mr. Williams's. After tea, we walk'd with the young ladies. Jenny has been handsome, but at the age of nineteen she has lost all her beauty, and must henceforth charm only by the sweetness of her disposition: after returning from our walk, we past a couple of hours there, chatting, and singing songs, after which we retired.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0016

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-16


Charles went to Boston this morning, and return'd at night. After prayers I went with Cranch to Mr. Williams's. We walk'd with the young Ladies. Miss Frazier from Boston1 was of the party: she appears sensible and agreeable. We went and viewed Mr. Brattle's gardens, and ponds and other conveniences,2 which his ingenuity has invented for the gratification of his sensuality. This man, who enjoys an handsome estate has pass'd his whole life in studying how to live; not in a moral but in a physical sense. The ladies were disappointed when they found he had very few flowers in his garden, but it was observ'd that he was so much engaged in the service of his palate, that he could have no leisure to give his attention to any one sense in particular.
After we return'd to College I pass'd the remainder of the evening at Cranch's chamber.
Samuel Willard3 of Stafford in Connecticut, will be 21 the 26th. of next December. He was about two years and an half at Dartmouth college, and entered at this University, about a fortnight after me. He has never been much used to what is called genteel company, and is somewhat awkward in his address, which sometimes makes him an object of merriment among his satirical class-mates. His genius is not of the first rate, and his acquirements are not very extensive; he is said how ever to be a very good mathematical scholar: and in the languages he is not deficient. If he is not in wit, a man, he may at least be said to be, in “simplicity a child.” Mediocrity is his sphere and will ever remain so.
{ 241 }
1. Perhaps Rebecca, the only unmarried daughter of Boston merchant Nathan Frazier (Thwing Catalogue, MHi).
2. The estate of loyalist William Brattle, JA's newspaper antagonist in the early 1770s, was willed to his son, Maj. Thomas Brattle. The house still stands on Brattle St., just up from the square. The father's death in 1776 improved the title, but Thomas, then a refugee in England, was formally proscribed and the estate was confiscated in 1778. After six years' effort he regained title. His interest in horticulture aroused during his stay in England, Brattle planted his spacious grounds, which extended to the Charles River, with flowers and fruit trees and had a small pond, shaded by willows, stocked with fish. For the benefit of Harvard students he laid out a long walk bordered with trees and built a bathing house on the river, where students might learn to swim (Paige, Hist. of Cambridge, Mass., p. 170, 203; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 14:568–572; “Old Cambridge and New,” NEHGR, 25:233 [July 1871]).
3. Willard, the nephew of President Willard, afterward studied medicine and practiced in Stafford (Joseph Willard and Charles Wilkes Walker, Willard Genealogy: Sequel to Willard Memoir, ed. Charles Henry Pope, Boston, 1915, p. 46, 176–177).

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0002-0006-0017

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1787-06-17


Attended meeting all day. Mr. Hilliard preach'd us two good occasional sermons from Proverbs II. 3. 4. 5. If thou criest after knowledge, and liftest up thy voice for understanding. If thou seekest her as silver, and searchest for her as for hid treasures: Then shalt thou understand the fear of the Lord; and find the knowledge of God. The