Adams Papers



Charles went to Boston this morning, and return’d at night. After prayers I went with Cranch to Mr. Williams’s. We walk’d with the young Ladies. Miss Frazier from Boston1 was of the party: she appears sensible and agreeable. We went and viewed Mr. Brattle’s gardens, and ponds and other conveniences,2 which his ingenuity has invented for the gratification of his sensuality. This man, who enjoys an handsome estate has pass’d his whole life in studying how to live; not in a moral but in a physical sense. The ladies were disappointed when they found he had very few flowers in his garden, but it was observ’d that he was so much engaged in the service of his palate, that he could have no leisure to give his attention to any one sense in particular.

After we return’d to College I pass’d the remainder of the evening at Cranch’s chamber.

Samuel Willard3 of Stafford in Connecticut, will be 21 the 26th. of next December. He was about two years and an half at Dartmouth college, and entered at this University, about a fortnight after me. He has never been much used to what is called genteel company, and is somewhat awkward in his address, which sometimes makes him an object of merriment among his satirical class-mates. His genius is not of the first rate, and his acquirements are not very extensive; he is said how ever to be a very good mathematical scholar: and in the languages he is not deficient. If he is not in wit, a man, he may at least be said to be, in “simplicity a child.” Mediocrity is his sphere and will ever remain so.

1Perhaps Rebecca, the only unmarried daughter of Boston merchant Nathan Frazier (Thwing Catalogue, MHi).

2The estate of loyalist William Brattle, JA’s newspaper antagonist in the early 1770s, was willed to his son, Maj. Thomas Brattle. The house still stands on Brattle St., just up from the square. The father’s death in 1776 improved the title, but Thomas, then a refugee in England, was formally proscribed and the estate was confiscated in 1778. After six years’ effort he regained title. His interest in horticulture aroused during his stay in England, Brattle planted his spacious grounds, which extended to the Charles River, with flowers and fruit trees and had a small pond, shaded by willows, stocked with fish. For the benefit of Harvard students he laid out a long walk bordered with trees and built a bathing house on the river, where students might learn to swim (Paige, Hist. of Cambridge, Mass., description begins Lucius R. Paige, History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630-1877. With a Genealogical Register, Boston and New York, 1877. Supplement and Index..., by Mary I. Goz- zaldi, Cambridge, 1930. description ends p. 170, 203; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873- . description ends , 14:568–572; “Old Cambridge and New,” NEHGR description begins New England Historical and Genealogical Register. description ends , 25:233 [July 1871]).

3Willard, the nephew of President Willard, afterward studied medicine and practiced in Stafford (Joseph Willard and Charles Wilkes Walker, Willard Genealogy: Sequel to Willard Memoir, ed. Charles Henry Pope, Boston, 1915, p. 46, 176–177).

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