Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

20th. Wednesday.

22d. Friday.

115 21st. Thursday. JQA 21st. Thursday. Adams, John Quincy
21st. Thursday.

This morning our German master1 came to give us a lesson for the first time; Mr. Rimbert came to pay a visit to Mr. D. Dined at Mr. Rimbert's with Mr. D. and Mr. Artaud. After dinner we went to see Mr. Colombi. Mr. Artaud supped out.


The extent of JQA's German language instruction while he lived in St. Petersburg was limited, and the name of his master is unknown. Believing that JA would prefer that JQA learn German rather than Russian, Dana hired an instructor who gave young Adams three lessons a week at about a guinea a month (Dana to JA, 28 March O.S., Adams Papers; Adams Family Correspondence 4:302–303). As later Diary entries indicate, JQA did not long pursue this study, although sixteen years later, while serving as minister to Berlin, he again “began an attempt to acquire the practice of reading German” ( JQA, Diary, 12 March 1798). He soon obtained a mastery of the language. The only remnant of JQA's early German education, completed on 17/28 Aug. 1782, is a transcription, in German script, of Ludwig Holberg's play, Der Geschwätsige Barbierer (The Talkative Barber), M/JQA/25, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 220.