Adams Papers

Wednesday June the 27th 1781.

Wednesday June the 27th 1781.

This morning I went to take a walk with Mr. Bordly met in the street two of my old schoolmates; went to Madam Chabanel’s. We did not Stay there long; din’d at home; after dinner brother Charles and I went out of the Leyden Gate, and from thence to the Haerlem Schout with an intention of going to Leyden this day. When we got to the Schout we found the Roof was hir’d and some were obliged to go in the Ruim.1 We had a number of fellow travellers, but one of them who was some peasant or other, and who had drank full his portion, thinking himself very wise took all the conversation to himself and pleas’d us very much by his talk. When we had got half ways to Haerlem we chang’d boats, and our Boor2 took a<nother> glass of gin which made his tongue run about half as fast again as it did before. We got to Haerlem at about half past five o’clock; we found that the fair is at Haerlem at present; We passed through the city and went out to the Leyden Boat; but found that the Roof was hir’d again and so we were oblig’d to go again in the Ruim; Our Boor did not go to Leyden with us; we arriv’d at Leyden at about half past ten.

Fine weather all day.

Chapter 6th. From Pope’s works. Messiah. a sacred eclogue, in imitation of Virgil’s Pollio.3

1Schout (schuyt or schuit): a boat or barge; roof (roef): the cabin of a small vessel; ruim: the hold of a boat (William Sewel, Nieuw Woordenboek Der Nederduytsche en Engelsche Taale, Amsterdam, n.d.). “A treckscuit [covered boat] is divided into two different apartments, called the roof and the ruim; the first for gentlemen, and the other for common people, who may read, smoke, eat, drink, or converse with people of various nations, dresses, and languages” (Guthrie, Geographical Grammar description begins William Guthrie, A New Geographical, Historical, and Commercial Grammar; And Present State of the Several Kingdoms of the World..., London, 1779. description ends , p. 404, which JQA copied into his Diary entry of 20 June, above).

2That is, a boer, or Dutch peasant.

3Here follows, on five and one-half pages in the Diary, Pope’s “Messiah . . .,” which had been copied in JQA’s entry of 12 Sept. 1780 from The Spectator. It is likely that here JQA was using the J. Balfour edition of The Works of Alexander Pope, Esq., Edinburgh, 1764. The JA Library contains an incomplete set of this six-volume edition. Three of the four extant volumes contain JQA’s earliest bookplate and classification numbers, which indicate that the volumes were probably purchased sometime in 1781 (Catalogue of JA’s Library description begins Catalogue of the John Adams Library in the Public Library of the City of Boston, Boston, 1917. description ends ). In the Balfour edition this poem is at 1:37–43.

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