John Adams’ Diary


The Diary of John Adams on Dr. Susan Rempel's


At Colledge. A Clowdy, Dull morning, and so continued till about 5 a Clock, when it began to rain moderately But continued not long, But remained Clowdy all night in which night I watched with Powers .

At Colledge, the weather still remaining Clowdy all Day, till 6 o’Clock, when the Clowds were Dissipated, and the sun brake forth in all his glory.

At Colledge a clear morning. Heard Mr. Appleton expound those words in I.Cor.12 Chapt. 7 first verses, and in the afternoon heard him preach from those words in 26 of Mathew 41 verse, watch and pray that ye enter not into temptation.

At Colledge, a fair morning, and pretty warm. About 2 o’Clock there appeared some symptoms of an approaching shower, attended with some thunder, and lightning.

At Colledge, a Clowdy morning, heard Dr. Wigglesworth Preach from the 20 Chapter of exodus 8, 9 and 10th. Verses.

At Colledge, a Cloudy morning, about 10 o’Clock the Sun shone out very warm, but about 12 the heat was, in part, allayed By the rising of the wind.

At Colledge, a Clear, warm, morning But about 2 o’Clock came up a very hard shower, acompanied with some thunder and lightning.

At Colledge, a Clear, warm morning, and so Continued.

At Colledge, a fair morning, but, not very warm.

At Colledge, sunshiny — morning, heard Mr. Appleton expound those words in I. Cor. 12 Chap. from 7, to the end of 11 verse, in the afternoon heard him preach from the first Psalm, and first verse.

At Colledge, a warm morning, at 11 ‘Clock read Theses on this question, (viz) antliarum et siphonum phaenomina solvuntur ex gravitate aeris.

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At Colledge, a very warm morning, at 11 Disputed on this question (viz) systema Copernicanum est verum mundi systema.

At Colledge, a most Charming and Beautifull Scene is this morning displayed. All nature wears a Chearfull garb, after so plentifull a Shower as we were favoured with the Last night, receving an additionall lustre from the sweet influences of the Sun. — This Day, I (in the religious Phylosopher) read the following experiment, (viz) that the filings of iron, mix’d with sulphur and kneaded to a Dough By the addittion of Cold water will in a few hours Become warm, and at last Be set on fire. Which is undoubtedly true, and if so I think that it affords a very probable method of solving the phænomina of subterraneous fires. For it is highly probable that there are abundance of the particles of iron, Sulphur, and water which, (By the flux of water perhaps in the subterraneous Caverns,) may Be Brought together, and then it appears By the precedent experiment, that this effect (viz a fire) will Be produced. At 2 o’Clock heard Mr. Winthrop’s lecture in the Hall, in which he was employed in evincing the sphæroidall form of the earth, which he Did, from the vibrations of pendula, the precession of the a equinox, and from actual mensuration of Degrees at the æquinox and the poles. — After which I extracted the following Hydrostatical Laws from the religious Phylosopher (viz) 1st: if a Body is to be Carried upwards in any liquor, an equall Bulk of said liquor must gravitate or weigh more than such a Body.

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2ndly. that in order to Cause a Body to sink in a liquor, an equal Bulk of said liquor must weigh less than the Body. 3rdly. if you would have the Body, neither to rise or fall But preserve it’s place in any part of the liquor, an equal quantity of the said liquor must weigh equally with the Body.

At Colledge, a warm morning, and Something windy, about Sunset Came up a very hard shower attended with some Thunder, and very Sharp lightning.

At Colledge, a Charming, pleasant morning, read Dr. Niewentyts Demonstration Concerning the rays of light emitted from a Burning Candle in a second of time, which he Computes to Be 418660 39 Particles.

At Colledge, a Clowdy morning, and in the afternoon, Came up a Clowd of thunder and lightning. Towards night fell a very hard shower.

At Colledge, a Cloudy morning, heard Mr. Cotton of New-town vociferate from the 19. of Proverbs 2nd verse. In the afternoon, from those words in the 37th. Psalm and 4th. verse, Delight thyself in the Lord and he shall give thee thyDesires.

At Colledge, a very rainy, morning, at 11 o’Clock Disputed from the question assigned us last tuesday But on which we Did not then Dispute By reason of Mr. Mayhews Being employed in taking an account of the Books and other things, Contained in the Library in order to the Printing a new Catalogue thereof.

At Colledge, a very rainy Day, as it has remained since yesterday — morning. By reason of my illness omitted Disputing from this question, generalia æstuum phaenomina solvuntur ab atractione solis et lunæ.

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At Colledge. A Clowdy morning. Afternoon, together with Lock, took a ride to Watertown — Bridge and from thence round through Brookline Back to Colledge again.

At Colledge, a Clowdy– Day.

At Colledge, a Clear morning. Heard the valedictory oration, pronounced, By Oliver. 2 o Clock set out for Boston, Designing to go from thence home.

Sat out from Boston, home where having tarried 7, or 8 Days I set out on a journey together with Mr. Adams to Piscataqua, to which I went By way of Litchfeild, going firstly from Boston over Charlstonferry through Charlestown, Mistick, Menotomy, Lexington, Bedford, Bilerica, Chensford, Dracut to which I passed from Chensford over the river. From Dracut I proceeded to Nottingham, Londonderry, Hamstead, Kingston, Kensington, Hampton, Greenland, Newington where having tarried about a fortnight and vizitted Portsmouth, I returned home and at the appointed time return’d to Colledge where I have been ever since, save that I went home once for a fortnight.

This winter, we had a vacation. In the winter of 1754 we had no snow at all save a smattering or two, But perpetuall rains and warm weather thro’ought the whole.

Beg. Had a small flurry of snow.

A Clowdy morning. I am now reading my lord Orrerys letters to his son Concerning Dr. Swift and his writings, which for softness and delicacy of style, accuracy and serenity of sentiment, are absolutely inimitable. Reading also the last volume of Monsieur Rollin’s Belles Lettres which are worth their weight in gold. — for his excellent reflections on every remarkable event that occurs in history he informs his readers of the true source

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of every action and instructs them in the method of forming themselves upon the models of virtue to be met with in History.

Kept sabath at Cambridge. March about the middle.

In the Evening we had several very sharp flashes of lightning, attended with a Distant grumbling of thunder.

This morning is beyond description, Beautyfull, the Skie bespangled with Clouds which shed a lustre on us by the refraction of the rays of light, together with the healthy and enlivening air, which was purifyed By the thunder, afford most spirited materials for Contemplation. The gaiety of the weather is equally delightfull to the phylosopher, Poet and the man of Pleasure. The Phylosopher finds his passions all Calm,and serene, and Pliable so that he finds no Difficulty in subjecting them to the subserviency of his reason, he can now contemplate all the gaudy appearances of nature and like Pythagoras bring Phylosophy down from heaven and make her conversible to men. The Poet thinks this the Best time to Converse with his muse and Consequently gives himself up wholly to her directions. His whole soul is at her disposall and he no more retains the government of himself. While the man of pleasure find such delicacys arising from the objects of sence as are adapted to produce the highest sensations of delight in him.

NOVEMBER 18TH. 1755. We had a severe Shock of an Earthquake. It continued near four minutes. I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it. The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter’d by it within one mile of my Fathers house.

JANUARY THE 14TH. 1756. At Worcester. A very rainy Day. Kept school in the forenoon; but not in the afternoon, because of the weather and my own indisposition. 15. A fair morning and pretty warm. Kept school. Drank Tea at Mr. Swan’s, with Mr. Thayer.

16 FRYDAY. A fine morning. A large white frost upon the ground. Reading Hutcheson’s Introduction to moral Phylosophy. A beautiful Day and Evening. Din’d with Major Chandler.

17 SATURDAY. A clowdy, dull, Day. Some snow about noon, and rain towards night.

18 SUNDAY. A fair morning. Heard Mr. Maccarty.

19 MONDAY. A rainy Day.

20 TUESDAY. A fair, warm spring like Day. Drank Tea and supped at Mr. Greenes.

21 WEDNESDAY. A very rainy day. Dined with Coll. Chandlers Jur. Spent the Eve at Mr. Maccarty’s. Kept school. Nothing more.

22 THURDSDAY. A fair morning. Fresh and lively Air. Drank Tea and supped at Mrs. Paine’s.

23 FRYDAY. A fair and agreable Day. Kept School. Drank Tea, at Coll. Chandler’s Jur. and spent the Evening at Major Gardiners.

24 SATURDAY A very high west Wind. Warm and cloudy. PM. warm and fair.

25 SUNDAY. A cold Weather. Heard friend Thayer preach two ingenious discourses, from Jeremy 10th 6. and 7. Supped att Coll. Chandlers.

26 MONDAY. A sharp piercing Air. Sat out for Uxbridge, arrived 2’O clock.

27 TUESDAY. Att my Uncles.

28 WEDNESDAY. Ditto. Thick weather, and some rain.

29 THURDSDAY. Still, cloudy Weather. Set out for Worcester, Drank Tea in Sutton, with my class mate, Wheeler and arrived at Worcester about 7 o clock. Supped with Major Chandler. Very miry Roads.

30 FRIDAY. Still, foggy, damp Weather. Kept School and dined at Mr. Greenes.

31 SATURDAY. A warm, spring-like Day. Kept School. Lodged at Mr. Maccartys, at night.

FEBRUARY. 1756. 1 SUNDAY. Pretty cold. Staid at Home, A.M. P.M. heard Mr. Maccarty. Lodg’d with him at night.

2 MONDAY. Wrote to John Wentworth by Coll. Josiah Willard. Spent the Eve, sup’d and lodg’d at Major Chandler’s, with that universal Scholar, gay Companion, and accomplish’d Gentleman Mr. Robert Treat Pain. Misty, thick Weather.

TUESDAY. Breakfasted at Gardiners. This morn the Weather clear’d away. As warm and brilliant as May. Kept School all Day.

4. WEDNESDAY. A charming warm Day. Dined at Coll. Chandler’s with Mr. Pain, Abel Willard and Ebenr. Thayer. Drank Tea at Mr. [Timothy?] Paines and supp’d and spent the Eve at Major Chandlers with the same Company, very gaily.

5 THURDSDAY. A fair morning but some symptoms of a Change of Weather. Kept School. Spent the evening with Messrs. Paine, Putnam, Willard, Thayer, partly at home and partly at Mr. Putnams.

6 FRYDAY. A cloudy morning. About 10 the sun brake out. A warm Day. Dined at Mr. Paines. Kept school. Spent the Evening at home. A windy Evening.

7 SATURDAY. A Fair warm, day. Dined at the judges. Drank Tea at Major Gardiners.

8 SUNDAY. Heard Mr. Maccarty. Fine Weather.

9 MONDAY. Fine Weather. Settled roads. Drank Tea and spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers, very gaily, with much Company.

10 TUESDAY. Fair Weather. Spent the Evening at Major Chandlers, with Major Greene and Mr. Maccarty. Charming Weather. Roads Settled.

11 WEDNESDAY. Serene Weather, but somewhat cool. I am constantly forming, but never executing good resolutions. — I take great Pleasure, in viewing and examining the magnificent Prospects of Nature, that lie before us in this Town. If I cast my Eyes one Way, I am entertained with the Savage and unsightly appearance of naked woods and leafless Forests. In another place a chain of broken and irregular mountains, throws my mind into a pleasing kind of astonishment. But if I turn my self round, I perceive a wide extensive Tract before me, made up of Woods, and meadows, wandring streams, and barren Planes, covered in various places by herds of grazing Cattle, and terminated by the distant View of the Town.

12 THURDSDAY. A cool, but pleasant morning. Heard Mr. Welman preach the Lecture, and drank Tea, with him, at home where he made this observation, (viz.) That Dr. Mayhew was a smart man, but he embraced some doctrines, not generally approved.

13 FRYDAY. A pleasant morning. Saw my classmates Gardner, and Wheeler. Wheeler dined, spent the afternoon, and drank Tea with me. Supped at Major Gardiners, and ingag’d to keep School at Bristol, provided Worcester People, at their insuing March meeting, should change this into a moving School, not otherwise. Major Greene this Evening fell into some conversation with me about the Divinity and Satisfaction of Jesus Christ. All the Argument he advanced was, “that a mere creature, or finite Being, could not make Satisfaction to infinite justice, for any Crimes,” and that “these things are very misterious.”