Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1



30th. JQA


30th. Adams, John Quincy

This day the Supreme Judicial Court met, and I went and heard the chief justice, Mr. Cushing1 deliver the charge to the grand Jury. He spoke with much dignity, and animadverted peculiarly upon the neglect, which many of the towns in the Commonwealth, have shown of late with respect to public schools. After the charge was deliver'd Mr. Thatcher2 was called upon for a prayer, and although he had not a minute's warning spoke very well, and without the least embarassment. I dined at Deacon Smith's, and after dinner waited upon Miss Betsey Cranch, to her lodgings. I afterwards mounted my horse, and went to Cambridge where I shall pass the night with my brother. I was caught in the rain, on the road and was almost wet through and through. Charles is much pleased with his situation; and has acquired an additional importance since he enter'd College.3


William Cushing, chief justice of the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court from 1777 and later an associate justice of the United States Supreme Court for twenty-one years (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 13:26–39).


Peter Thacher, well-known for his orations and addresses during the Revolutionary era, was pastor of the Brattle Street Church from 1785 to 1802. He recorded in his diary this day that he gave a “prayer unexpectedly in the Supreme Court” (same, 17:237–247; MHi:Thacher Papers).


JQA probably is commenting upon CA's good fortune in acquiring a college room and showing promise as a scholar since entering Harvard earlier in the month. He elaborated to AA2 that “Charles is very much pleased with his situation here: and comes on well with his Studies. His Class is one of the most numerous of any that have entered” (JQA to AA2, 29 Aug.–7 Sept., Adams Papers). Unlike many of his classmates who were forced to live in town, CA roomed in Hollis Hall, where “cousin Billy” also lived (Mary Smith Cranch to AA, 14 Aug.–15 Sept., Adams Papers). JQA seemed pleased with CA's “Chambermate,” Samuel Walker, “a youth, whose thirst for knowledge is insatiable. . . . I am perswaded it will afford peculiar Satisfaction to our Parents, who well know how much benifit is derived from the Spur of Emulation” (JQA to AA2, 20–28 Aug., Adams Papers).