Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

9th. JQA


9th. Adams, John Quincy

Dr. Witherspoon1 visited the President in the morning. I went with Mr. Söderström out of town about a mile, to Mr. Bayard's, who has two fine Daughters, the eldest, to whom I was introduced last evening by Miss Livingston, was gone to Town; the other was there. I see with much pain that the connections of almost all the finest girls in and about N. York, were of the british party during the late war. It has been said that women have no Country at all; I hope, for the friendship I bear to them that this odious reproach is not true; I am sure it is not universally so. But their Sentiments must naturally depend upon those of their Connections: and I therefore think the Ladies here are excusable, for having sided with the British: their fathers, husbands, and brothers are not so.

Dined at the Presidents with Mr. Harrison, Mr. Heuston2 and Mr. de Chaumont. The President himself dined out. After dinner I took a ride with Mr. Chaumont about 3 miles out of town. Drank tea with Mrs. Smith, with a considerable Company. I there saw the two Miss Thomson's3 who appear to me to have more celebrity than Beauty. Congress this day adjourned till 301next monday:4 as there are only 8 States on the floor; which is not sufficient to do business.


John Witherspoon, Presbyterian minister, president of the College of New Jersey from 1768, and delegate to the congress from that state, 1776–1782 ( DAB ).


Probably William Houstoun, delegate from Georgia, 1784–1787 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ).


One was probably Ann, daughter of New York merchant James Thompson, who married Elbridge Gerry the following year {Massachusetts Spy, 26 Jan. 1786).


That is, 15 Aug.

10th. JQA


10th. Adams, John Quincy

In the forenoon I went, and sat about an hour with Mr. King. Mr. Gerry was sitting at the grand Committee of Congress in the City Hall. I left 50 french louis d'ors, which Mr. Gerry wishes to have for bank Bills on Boston. Dined at the Presidents in a large Company, Mr. van Berkel, Mr. Jay, Mr. Paine,1 Dr. Gordon,2 Dr. Witherspoon, &c. After Dinner young Mr. van Berkel, and Major L'Enfant, went out to drink tea with the Miss Bayard's. Mr. Harrison went and introduced me to the two Miss Kortright's, who I find, are the Sisters of Mrs. Heiliger, whom I was well acquainted with in Copenhagen, and to whose Husband I was under many obligations, while I was there. These young Ladies are very agreeable, and the youngest (Eliza)3 is beautiful. I afterwards left Mr. Harrison, and pass'd the evening in Company with the officers of the Packet and Mr. Fontfreyde, who intends to leave town to-morrow at noon, for Albany where he is settled.


Thomas Paine, who was living in Bordentown, N.J., and New York until his return to Europe in 1787 ( DAB ).


William Gordon, historian of the Revolution, who had left England in 1770 out of sympathy for the American cause and returned there in 1786 ( DAB ).


Elizabeth Kortright, daughter of New York merchant Lawrence Kortright, married James Monroe in Feb. 1786 (Edward T. James and others, eds., Notable American Women, 1607–1950: A Biographical Dictionary, 3 vols., Cambridge, 1971).

11th. JQA


11th. Adams, John Quincy

Breakfasted on board the Packet, which is to sail for L'orient next monday; from thence I went a shore on Long Island, and paid a visit to Madam de Marbois, which I ought to have done before. People here are much more attached to ceremony and etiquette than I expected to find them. I found Mr. Chaumont there and we read part of Phedre 1 together. Mm. de Marbois speaks french very prettily: I return'd from the island with her husband. They were to dine at Genl. Knox's. Dined at Mr. Gerry's, 302 303 and at five o'clock went with Mr. Chaumont and visited Genl. Knox; who was vastly polite: told me he would have sent me a Card had he not supposed I was gone to Boston, and said I should have come without ceremony, and dined. There was a great deal of company there. Baron Steuben,2 a number of the delegates, and the president of Congress, the Dutch, Spanish, and French Ministers &c. Miss S. Livingston, is a wild girl. Mr. Chaumont went with Mr. de Marbois, and I return'd to town in his chaise; after which I went and spent the evening with several of our officers.


Presumably Racine's Phédre (1677).


Baron von Steuben became a prominent and popular social figure in New York in the years after the Revolution ( DAB ).