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1[Parents and Boyhood] (Adams Papers)
My Father married Susanna Boylston in October 1734, and on the 19th of October 1735 I was born. As my Parents were both fond of reading, and my father had destined his first born, long before his birth to a public Education I was very early taught to read at home and at a School of Mrs. Belcher the Mother of Deacon Moses Belcher, who lived in the next house on the opposite side of the Road. I...
Continued November 30. 1804. In my own class at Collidge, there were several others, for whom I had a strong affection—Wentworth, Brown, Livingston, Sewall and Dalton all of whom have been eminent in Life, excepting Livingston an amiable and ingenious Youth who died within a Year or two after his first degree. In the Class before me I had several Friends, Treadwell the greatest Schollar, of my...
At Colledge. A Clowdy, Dull morning, and so continued till about 5 a Clock, when it began to rain m o derately But continued not long, But remained Clowdy all night in which night I watched with Powers. The first day of the first quarter of the 1753–1754 academic year ( MH-Ar : Steward’s Records, Quarterbill Books, 1720–1756). For a discussion of the impulses and influences leading JA to start...
49 Saturday. (Adams Papers)
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.
510 Sunday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge a clear morning. Heard Mr. Appleton expound those words in 1. 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. Harvard students attended services on Sundays in the First Church of Cambridge ( Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of...
6Monday [11 June]. (Adams Papers)
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.
7Tuesday [12 June]. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a Clowdy morning, heard Dr. Wigglesworth Preach from the 20 Chapter of exodus 8, 9 and 10th. Verses. Morning prayers were said regularly in Holden Chapel in the Yard ( Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard , 1636–1936, Cambridge, 1936. , p. 94) Rev. Edward Wigglesworth (1693–1765) , Harvard 1710, was Hollis professor of divinity (...
813 Wednesday. (Adams Papers)
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.
914 Thurdsday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a Clear, warm, morning But about 2 o’Clock came up a very hard shower, acompanied with some thunder and ligh t ning.
1015 Fryday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a Clear, warm morning, and so Continued.
1116 Saturday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a fair morning, but, not very warm.
1217 Sunday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, sunshiny-morning, heard Mr. Appleton expound those words in 1. Cor. 12 Chap, from 7, to the end of 11 verse, in the afternoon heard him preach from the first Psalm, and first verse.
1318 Monday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a warm morning, at 11 ’Clock read Theses on this question, (viz) antliarum et siphonum phaenomina solvuntur ex gravitate aeris. “The phenomena of pumps and siphons are explained by the weight of air.” The theses were outlines prepared earlier by tutors or sophisters, generally of single-page length, listing points relevant to the question posed and thus providing material for...
1419 Tuesday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a very warm morning, at 11 Disputed on this question (viz) systema Copernicanum est verum mundi systema. In preparation for the public disputations at commencement, junior and senior sophisters were expected to dispute twice weekly in class. These recitations or exercises in logic were heard by the tutor of the class in his own room, those of the Class of 1755 by Tutor Joseph...
1520 Wednesday. (Adams Papers)
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...
1621 Thurdsday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a warm morning, and Something windy, about Sunset Came up a very hard shower attended with some Thunder, and very Sharp lightning.
1722 Fryday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a Charming, pleasant morning, read Dr. Niewentyts Demonstration Co n cerning the rays of light emitted from a Burning Candle in a second of time, which he Computes to Be 418660 39/: Particles. In The Religious Philosopher, , “Contemplation XXV. Of the Unspeakable Number, and Unconceivable Smallness of the Particles of which the Universe consists”
1823 Saturday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a Clowdy morning, and in the afternoon, Came up a Clowd of thunder and lightning. Towards night fell a very hard shower.
1924 Sunday. (Adams Papers)
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 thy Desires. John Cotton (1693–1757) , Harvard 1710, had been minister of the church in Newton since 1714; JA ’s language suggests that Cotton’s preaching resembled...
2025. Monday. (Adams Papers)
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. Joseph Mayhew (1710–1782) , Harvard 1730, tutor to the Class of 1755, had served as tutor...
2126 Tuesday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a very rainy Day, as it has remained since yesterday-morning. By reason of my illness omitted Disputing from this question, generalia aestuum phaenomina solvuntur ab atractione solis et lunae. “The general phenomena of the tides are explained by the attraction of the sun and moon.” This “quaestio” had been one of the “Theses Physicae” disputed at commencement in 1746 and would be...
2227 Wednesday. (Adams Papers)
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. Samuel Locke (1732–1778) , of Lancaster, Harvard 1755, later minister at Sherborn and, from 1770 to 1773, a most ill-fated president of Harvard College ( Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton,...
2328. Thurdsday. (Adams Papers)
At Colledge, a Clowdy-Day.
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 Charlston ferry 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,...
2529 Fryday. (Adams Papers)
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. Attendance at exercises being required of all students other than those in the graduating class until 1 July, and senior sophisters not being allowed, while preparing for their “sitting solstices” or oral examinations, to leave Cambridge between 21...
26[February 1754.] (Adams Papers)
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. In the academic year 1752–1753 there had been no winter vacation at the College. This was because during 1752 the number of instructional days had been greatly diminished, in the spring by the closure necessitated by a smallpox...
27March [1754]. (Adams Papers)
Beg inning of March Had a small flurry of snow. There was snow in Cambridge on 2 March and “a little” on 7 March (John Winthrop, Meteorological Journal, MH-Ar ). Other considerations rather favor the 2d over the 7th of March as the precise date of this entry in the Diary Fragment.
28March 8th. (Adams Papers)
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...
29[17? March 1754.] (Adams Papers)
Kept sabath at Cambridge. March about the middle.
30March 18th. (Adams Papers)
In the Evening we had several very sharp flashes of lightning, attended with a Distant grumbling of thunder.
3119 [March 1754]. (Adams Papers)
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...
32April 1st. 1754. (Adams Papers)
Then, Mr. Winthrop began a Course of Experimental Written in JA ’s experimental hand of 1754–1756, with this fragmentary line canceled and the date heading certainly intended to be. This false beginning of JA ’s notes on Winthrop’s lectures heads p. {7} of the MS and was lined out, presumably at once, because JA supposed that he would need more space than he had left for his (unwritten)...
Mr. Winthrop began a series of Experimental Phylosophy , and in the 1st place he explained to us the meaning, nature, and excellence of natural phylosophy, which is, (he says) the knowledge of those laws by which all the Bodys, in the universe are restrained, it being evident that not only those great masses of matter the heavenly Bodys, but all the minutest combinations of matter in each of...
34April 3d. 1754. (Adams Papers)
The second lecture, which was wholly taken up in explaining the Propertys of the Centers of gravity and motion, which were applyed to the instruments, Cheifly in use in Common life, such as, the lever, pulley, Ballance axis in peritrocheo, &c. But the Ballance was principally insisted on. The reason of it was fully explained and the method of weighing, viz the distances of the Bodys from the...
35April 5th. 1754. (Adams Papers)
The theory of the Ballance, scales, steel-yard &c. and all and the 3 species of lever’s continued to which (viz) the lever he referred allmost all the instruments in life, and universally. To make a aequilibrium, the product of the quantity of matter in the weight multiplyed into its distance from the Center of motion, must be equal to the quantity of matter in the power, multiplyed into it’s...
36April 6th. 1754. (Adams Papers)
The phaenomina of The nature of the Pulley, axis in peritrochaeo, and inclined Plane explained, which all depend on the laws before laid down (viz) that the quantity of matter in the weight bears the same proportion to the quantity of matter in the power, as the distance of the power from the Center of motion, to the distance of the weight from said Center.
37April 8th. 1754. (Adams Papers)
The Theory of simple machines and in particular of the inclined plane, of the wedge and screw, and other machines compounded of these simple ones, finish’d.
38April 9 1754. (Adams Papers)
Sir Isaac Newtons three laws of nature proved and illustrated, together with the application of them to the planets, which are kept in their orbits by two forces acting upon them, viz that of gravity and that which is call’d their Centrifugal force whereby it they strives to recede from the Center of their orbits, and fly off therefrom in tangents.
39April 10, 1754. (Adams Papers)
The theory of Centrifugal forces, continued; and aplyed to the Cases of the planets; and from this Centrifugal force, Mr. Winthrop confuted the hypothesis of vortices, from this also arises the spheroidal form of the earth.
40April 11 1754. (Adams Papers)
Some thing’s observed concerning gravity, which encreases as you approach the Center of the earth in a reciprocal proportion of the squares of the distances, and under this head were introduced pendula and we saw that all pendula of equall length oscilated in equal time whether the arches they described were greater or less. We were also inform’d that bodys falling in Chords of a Circle will...
Harvard College(?) and Worcester, mainly compiled in 1755–1756 , with some possibly earlier entries and one (not in JA ’s hand) much later. This is a MS book ( Adams Papers , M/JA/8; Microfilms , Reel No. 187), measuring 8″ x 6″, bound in vellum and containing 182 (unnumbered) pages, including occasional blank leaves or pages and a folded sheet of four pages laid in loose at the back that may...
The two last years of my Residence at Colledge, produced a Clubb of Students, I never knew the History of the first rise of it, who invited me to become one of them. Their plan was to spend their Evenings together, in reading any new publications, or any Poetry or Dramatic Compositions, that might fall in their Way. I was as often requested to read as any other, especially Tragedies, and it...
The Favour you granted me on aug. 12 was unluckily packeted with a number of Letters and carried to Leicester, but a certain kind Gentleman has just brought it to hand. I will not lessen the pleasure it gave by a Description. But one detestable quality that usually attends your Letters, I find has stain’d it. I think Phylosophers call it, brevity. But, on second reflection I am not surpriz’d....
I promised to write you an account of the scituation of my mind. The natural strength of my facultys is quite insufficient for the task. Attend therefore to the invocation. Oh! thou goddess, Muse, or Whatever is thy name who inspired immortal Miltons pen with a confusion ten thousand times confounded, when describing Satan’s Voyage thro’ Chaos, help me in the same cragged strains, to sing...
All that part of Creation that lies within our observation is liable to Change. Even mighty States and kingdoms, are not exempted. If we look into History we shall find some nations rising from contemp­ tible beginnings, and spreading their influence, ’till the whole Globe is subjected to their sway. When they have reach’d the summit of Grandeur, some minute and unsuspected Cause commonly...
46[November 1755] (Adams Papers)
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. First entry in “Paper book No. 1” (D/JA/1), which is the first in the series of...
47November 18th. 1755. (Adams Papers)
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. First entry in “Paper book No. 1” (D/JA/1), which is the first in the series of...
I receiv’d your favour of Decr. 29. about 3 or 4 Days after it was wrote. The bearer left it at the Tavern and proceeded on his journey, so that I despair’d of ever getting an opportunity of answering it, till this moment. I heartily sympathize with you in your affliction, which I am the better qualified to do as I am confined myself to a like place of Torment. When I compare The gay, the...
49[January 1756] (Adams Papers)
At Worcester. A very rainy Day. Kept school in the forenoon; but not in the afternoon, because of the weather and my own indisposition. JA had come to Worcester “about three weeks after his commencement” at Harvard to keep a school. (Commencement in 1755 fell on 16 July.) The circumstances of his appointment are related in his Autobiography. The school he kept was the “Center School,” built in...
50January the 14th. 1756. (Adams Papers)
At Worcester. A very rainy Day. Kept school in the forenoon; but not in the afternoon, because of the weather and my own indisposition. JA had come to Worcester “about three weeks after his commencement” at Harvard to keep a school. (Commencement in 1755 fell on 16 July.) The circumstances of his appointment are related in his Autobiography. The school he kept was the “Center School,” built in...