Diary of John Adams, volume 3

July 29 i.e. 28. 1786. Fryday.


Fryday July 20 1787 London. AA


Fryday July 20 1787 London. Adams, Abigail
Fryday July 20 1787 London.

This day three years I landed at Deal. Since that time I have travelld to France, to Holland and several parts of England but have never kept any journal, or record except what my Letters to my Friends may furnish nor have I ever perused this Book since it was first written till this Day when looking into the first page, it excited all my former emotions and made the Tears flow affresh. I have now determined on this journey to keep a journal. This Day we set out from Grosvenour Square on a Tour to Plimouth. Mr. Adams, myself, Mrs. Smith and Son about 3 months old, her Nursery maid, Esther my own maid and Edward Farmer a footman, our own Coachman and a postilion. Our first Stage was to Epsom in the county of Surry where we dinned. This place is famous for the races which are held there. From Epsom we proceeded to Guilford where we put up for the Night. This is an agreeable road and a highly cultivated Country.


From a MS designated as M/AA/r (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 197), described in note 1 on the entry of 20 June 1784 in AA's Diary, above. Though AA, JA, and AA2 all kept journals at times during their excursion to the west of England, the results, even when combined, are meager and leave numerous gaps. JA's few fragmentary notes have been placed after AA's journal entries, which cover only the first nine days of a month's trip of some 600 miles. AA2's record is longer than either her mother's or her father's, but since the MS has not been found and the text as published (AA2 Jour. and Corr. , 1:84–94) is not trustworthy, it has not been included in the present edition, though it has been occasionally quoted or cited in editorial notes.

The excursion had been recommended by the Adamses' physician, Dr. John Jeffries, because AA's health had been poor throughout the winter and spring (AA to Mrs. Cranch, 16 July 1787, owned by Dr. Eugene F. DuBois, N.Y. City, 1957). JA and AA had also been warmly and repeatedly urged by John Cranch of Axminster, nephew of AA's brother-in-law, Richard Cranch, to visit Devon, the county from which the Cranches and Palmers of Braintree, Mass., had emigrated. JA having completed the second volume of his Defence for the printer (though only just in time), and WSS being absent on a mis-204sion for Congress to the Queen of Portugal, the moment was opportune for a family excursion. (On WSS's mission to Portugal, April–Aug. 1787, see his report to Jay, 12 Sept., with enclosures; Dipl. Corr., 1783–1789, 3:69–84.)