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JQA Diary, volume 46 31 October 1846


Neal Millikan
83 Quincy Saturday 31. October 1846.

31. I. IV.15. Fahrenheit 44. at Sunrise 6.2

And the word of the Lord came unto me saying 5. Go thy way, and show my people their sinful deeds, and their children their wickedness, which they have done against me; that they may tell their children’s children— 2. Esdras 1.4–5

On the 30th. of September 1845. I was compelled to desist from the practice which I had maintained with some four intervals of exception for more than half a century of keeping in my own hand a daily journal of the incidents of my life— Unwilling to give it up entirely, I continued with the assistance of my two daughters, and especially of my grand daughter Mary Louisa, through the last winter, and until the close of the Session of Congress on the 10th. of August— As the Summer came on I recovered partially the use of my right hand, and with untiring labour have brought up my Diary to this day— But I have lost again the command of my right hand and cannot hope to recover it again— I have but a few days more to live, and the record of that remnant can be of little interest even to my Son, and to those of my family whom I am about to leave behind— There has perhaps not been another individual of the human race of whose daily existence from early childhood to four score years has been noted down with his own hand so minutely as mine— At little more than twelve years of age I began to journalize, and nearly two years before that on the 11th. of February 1778. I embarked from my maternal uncle, Norton Quincy’s house at Mount Wollaston on board the Boston Frigate Captain Samuel Tucker then lying in Nantasket roads, and bound to France— I was then ten years and seven months old, and the house whence I embarked had been built by my great grandfather John Quincy—upon his marriage with Elizabeth Norton in 1716. There he lived to the age of 77 years, and there he died on the 13th. of July 1767—the day after I had received his name in baptism— If my intellectual powers had been such as have sometimes committed by the creator of man to single individuals of the species my diary would have been next to the holy scriptures the most precious and valuable book ever written by human hands, and I should have been one of the greatest benefactors of my Country and of mankind— I would by the irresistible power of Genius, and the inexpressible energy of will and the favour of almighty God, have banished War and Slavery from the face of the earth forever—but the conceptive power of mind was not conferred upon me by maker, and I have not improved the scanty portion of his gifts as I might and ought to have done. May I never cease to be grateful for the numberless blessings received through life at his hands—never repine at what he has denied—never murmur at the dispensations of his Providence, and implore his forgiveness for all the errors and delinquencies of my life—