Diary of John Quincy Adams, volume 1

19th. Tuesday. JQA 19th. Tuesday. Adams, John Quincy
19th. Tuesday.

Went to two booksellers shops in the forenoon for some books.1 Mr. Artaud dined out. Fine clear weather all day.

107 1.

None of JQA's extant books is inscribed with this date, though he may be referring to at least one book, Peter Rondeau [i.e., Johann Theodor Jablonsky], Nouveau dictionnaire françois—allemand, Basel, 1739, which he records as having bought on 18 Feb. ( Catalogue of JQA's Books ).

20th. Wednesday. JQA 20th. Wednesday. Adams, John Quincy
20th. Wednesday.

In the forenoon Mr. Wolff came to pay a visit to Mr. D. In the afternoon I went with Mr. Artaud to a booksellers and bought Cicero's catilinaries French and Latin,1 and to the academy to get an almanack. In the evening Mr. Rimbert came to pay Mr. D. a visit.


This is undoubtedly Phillippiques de Demosthene, et Catilinaires de Ciceron . . ., transl. Pierre Joseph Thoulier, l'Abbé d'Olivet, Paris, 1771, now in MQA with JQA's bookplate. JQA apparently used Olivet's French translation of the Catilinaries to compare it with his own, begun on 30 Jan. (above). In a partial, undated translation of the first oration (M/JQA/44, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 239), he wrote out Olivet's translation and footnotes (from Olivet's version, p. 209–214) on even-numbered pages, writing on the odd-numbered pages a fair copy of his own French translation begun on 30 Jan. (M/JQA/45, same, Reel No. 240).

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

Went in the forenoon with Mr. D. to the Hotel of the Marquis de Verac,1 the French minister here. Mr. Artaud dined out. In the afternoon Mr. D. went to take a ride. Finished the 7th. Volume of Hume's history of England. 526. pages. Cloudy weather in the morning, but in the afternoon it cleared up.


Charles Olivier de Saint Georges, Marquis de Vérac, formerly French minister to Denmark, 1775–1777, served as minister at St. Petersburg from 1780 to 1783 ( Repertorium der diplomatischen Vertreter aller Länder , 3:133).

Dana had been instructed to consult the Marquis de Vérac (and through him, French foreign minister Vergennes) with regard to the appropriate time to present his letters of credence to the Court of Catherine the Great. But Dana's efforts got off to a shaky start, as neither he nor Vérac was able to communicate in each other's native tongue, and JQA was judged by the French ambassador as having only a middling ability in the French language. Vérac counseled Dana (and continued to advise him in the months ahead) that this was not the time to present his credentials, but this delay made Dana increasingly suspicious of French motives (David M. Griffiths, “American Commercial Diplomacy in Russia, 1780 to 1783,” WMQ , 3d ser., 27:379–410 [July 1970]; Francis Paul Renaut, La politique de propagande des Américains durant la guerre d'indépendence (1776–1783), 2 vols., Paris, 1922, 1:127, 181–183, 236–237).

22d. Friday. JQA 22d. Friday. Adams, John Quincy
22d. Friday.

Stay'd at home all day. Begun The 8th. Volume of Hume's history of England. Mr. D. wrote a letter to Holland.1 In the after-108noon he went to Mr. Wolff's. Cloudy in the morning, but clear'd up in the afternoon.


Undoubtedly Dana to JA, 21 Feb., the only letter written to Holland at this time in Dana's letterbooks; the letter was sent by post on 22 Feb. (Adams Papers; MHi:Dana Papers).