Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

Sunday Octr. 26th. JQA Sunday Octr. 26th. Adams, John Quincy
Sunday Octr. 26th.

We came away from Dartford at about 8. o'clock; and arrived at London at about 11: the distance from Dover is. 72, miles: we took up Lodgings at Osborn's Adelphi Hotel John Street; in the Strand. 1


Osborne's Hotel was in the Adelphi Buildings, extending from the Strand to the Thames, which were constructed in 1768 by the Adam brothers and used as dwellings and warehouses; John Street, off the Strand, was created by this development (Wheatley, London Past and Present ; Walter Harrison, A New and Univer-197sal History, Description and Survey of the Cities of London and Westminster, The Borough of Southwark, and Their Adjacent Parts . . ., London, 1775, p. 525 and illustration facing that page).

Tuesday. 28th. JQA Tuesday. 28th. Adams, John Quincy
Tuesday. 28th.

The forenoon we went to see the Monuments in Westminster Abbey: we saw a great Collection of tombs of Kings, Heroes, Statesmen, and Poets. There are some very ancient monuments: a number of figures in wax and the chairs in which the kings and Queens of England are crowned: they are said to be more than 1400. years old: we had not time to examine very attentively this building: and shall probably pay it another visit: At 6 o'clock. P.M. I went to the Drury Lane Thêatre, where was represented the Tragedy of Hamlet, with the Citozen.1 I must confess; I do not think they act Tragedy so well here as in Paris: the Tragedy was not acted, as I expected it would be: there is I think something like affectation; throughout the actors. They lay an emphasis upon almost every word; yet in some places they speak, both too low and too slow. For Instance, when the Ghost first appears to Hamlet he starts and cries out

“Angels and ministers of Grace defend us,” &c.

and speaks a speech of about 20 lines: which the actor is above full a quarter of an hour delivering; continually in the same situation; which makes the action of the stage languish a great deal. As for the small piece they play'd that, I think as well as they do in France, but if I judge by this one play they do not equal the French in Tragedy.


The Citizen, by Arthur Murphy, was published in 1763 ( Biographia Dramatica ).

Wednesday 29th. JQA Wednesday 29th. Adams, John Quincy
Wednesday 29th.

Took private lodgings; at Mr. Stockdale's,1 opposite Burlington House Piccadilly.


John Stockdale, London publisher and bookseller, became a long-time friend and correspondent of JA and later of JQA. He began shortly hereafter to publish works of American authors, including a reprint of John Almon's edition of JA's Novanglus letters, History of the Dispute with America . . ., in London, 1784 ( DNB ; JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:149, 189, 313–314).