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1778. February 13. Friday. Captain Samuel Tucker, commander of the frigate Boston, met me at Mr. Norton Quincy's, where we dined, and after dinner I sent my baggage, and walked myself with Captain Tucker, Mr. Griffin, a midshipman, and my eldest son, John Quincy Adams, between ten and eleven years of age, down to the Moon Head, where lay the Boston's barge. The wind was very high, and the sea very rough; but, by means of a quantity of hay in the bottom of the boat, and good watch-coats, with which we were covered, we arrived on board the Boston, about five o'clock, tolerably warm and dry. On board I found Mr. Vernon, a son of Mr. Vernon of the navy board, a little son of Mr. Deane of Wethersfield, between eleven and twelve years of age, and Mr. Nicholas Noel, a French gentleman, surgeon of the ship, who seems to be a well-bred man. Dr. Noel showed me a book which was new to me. The title translated is, “ The Elements of the English Tongue, developed in a new, easy, and concise Manner, in which the Pronunciation is taught by an Asemblage of Letters, which form similar Sounds in French. By V. J. PEYTON.
"Linguarum diversitas alienat hominem ab homine, et propter 1 The following special instructions were given to Captain Tucker, by the commissioners of the navy board.
TO SAMUEL TUCKER.
Navy Board - Eastern Department,
Boston, February, 1778. Sir:- Notwithstanding the general instructions given you, you are now to consider the Hon. John Adams, Esq. (who takes passage in the Boston) as one of the commissioners with the Hon. Benjamin Franklin and Arthur Lee, Esquires; and therefore, any applications or orders received from him, as valid as if received from either of the other two. You are to afford him, on his passage, every accommodation in your power, and to consult him, on all occasions, with respect to your passage and general conduct, and the port you shall endeavor to get into, and on all occasions have great regard to the importance of his security and safe arrival. We are your humble servants,
solam linguarum diversitatem, nihil potest ad consociandos homines tanta similitudo naturæ."
St. August. De Civit. Dei.
14. Saturday. A very fine morning; the wind at north-west. At daybreak, orders were given for the ship to unmoor. My lodging was a cot, with a double mattress, a good bolster, my own sheets, and blankets enough; my little son with me. lay very comfortably, and slept well. A violent gale of wind in the night.
15. Sunday. This morning, weighed the last anchor, and came under sail, before breakfast. A fine wind and a pleasant sun, but a sharp, cold air. Thus I bid farewell to my native shore. Arrived and anchored in the harbor of Marblehead about noon. Major Reed, Captain Gatchell, father-in-law of Captain Tucker, came on board, and a Captain Stephens, who came to make me a present of a single pistol. (He made many apologies for giving me but one. He had no more. He had lately presented to Mr. Hancock a beautiful pair, and this was all he had left. I understood they had been taken from the English, in one of the prize ships.]
16. Monday. Another storm for our mortification; the wind at north-east, and the snow so thick that the captain thinks he cannot go
Our excursion to this place was unfortunate, because it is almost impossible to keep the men on board ; mothers, wives, sisters, come on board, and beg for leave for their sons, husbands, and brothers, to go on shore for one hour, &c.; so that it is hard for the commander to resist their importunity. I am anxious at these delays; we shall never have another wind so good as we have lost. Congress and the navy-board will be surprised at these delays, and yet there is no fault that I know of. The commander of the ship is active and vigilant, and does all in his power, but he wants men. very few seamen indeed. All is as yet chaos on board. His
1" Seeing no probability of going to sea, I gave two midshipmen, two mates, and the purser, liberty to go on shore. At two, P. M., the wind got round to the northward.' I ordered preparation for sea, fired several signal guns, for my officers on shore to come on board, but without effect. I was obliged to go myself and get them on board, not without a great deal of trouble.” Extract from the Log Book.
men are not disciplined; the marines are not. The men are not exercised to the guns; they hardly know the ropes. My son is treated very complaisantly by Dr. Noel, and by a captain and lieutenant of artillery, who are on board, all French gentlemen. They are very assiduous in teaching him French. The Doctor, Monsieur Noel, is a genteel, well-bred man, and has received somewhere a good education. He has wounds on his forehead and on his hands, which he says he received, last war, in the light-horse service. The name of the captain of artillery is Parison, and that of the lieutenant is Bégard. Since my embarkation, Master Jesse Deane delivered me a letter from his uncle Barnabas Deane, dated 10th February, recommending to my particular care and attention the bearer, the only child of his brother, Silas Deane, Esq., now in France, making no doubt, as the letter adds, “that I shall take the same care of a child in his situation, which I would wish to have done to a child of my own, in the like circumstances. It is needless to mention his youth and helplessness, also how much he will be exposed to bad company, and to contract bad habits, without some friendly monitor to caution and keep him from associating with the common hands on board.” About the same time, another letter was delivered to me from William Vernon, Esq., of the Continental Navy Board, dated February 9, in these words: “I presume it is unnecessary to say one word, in order to impress your mind with the anxiety a parent is under in the education of a son, more especially when not under his immediate inspection, and at three thousand miles distance. Your parental affection fixes this principle. Therefore I have only to beg the favor of you, sir, to place my son in such a situation, and with such a gentleman as you would choose for one of yours, whom you would wish to accomplish for a merchant. If such a house could be found, either at Bordeaux or Nantes, of Protestant principles, of general and extensive business, I rather think one of those cities the best. Yet, if it should be your opinion that some other place might be more advantageous to place him at, or that he can be employed by any of the States' agents, with a good prospect of improving himself in such manner that he may hereafter be useful to society, and in particular to these American States, my views are fully answered. I have only one observation more to make,
namely, in respect to the economy of this matter, which I am persuaded will engage your attention, as the small fortune that remains with me I would wish to appropriate for the education of my son, which I know must be husbanded; yet I can't think of being rigidly parsimonious, nor must I be very lavish, lest my money should not hold out.
“ I imagine a gratuity of one hundred pounds sterling may be given to a merchant of eminence to take him for two or three years, and, perhaps, his yearly board paid for. I shall be entirely satisfied, in whatsoever may seem best for you to do, and ever shall have a grateful remembrance of your unmerited favors. And sincerely hope, in future, to have it in my power to make compensation. I wish you health, and the utmost happiness, and am, with the greatest regards, &c.”
Thus I find myself invested with the unexpected trust of a kind of guardianship of two promising young gentlemen, besides my own son. This benevolent office is peculiarly agreeable to my temper. Few things have ever given me greater pleasure than the tuition of youth to the bar, and the advancement of merit.
[I was soon relieved from the principal care of it, however, for Mr. Vernon chose to remain at Bordeaux; and Mr. Deane, by the advice of Dr. Franklin, was put to Le Caur's pension, at Passy, with my son, J. Q. A., and his grandson, Benjamin Franklin Bache, since that time, famous enough as the editor and proprietor of the Aurora.)
17. Tuesday. I set a lesson to my son, in Chambaud's French Grammar, and asked the favor of Dr. Noel to show him the precise, critical pronunciation of all the French words, syllables, and letters, which the Doctor very politely did, and Mr. John is getting his lessons accordingly, very much pleased.
The weather is fair, and the wind right, and we are again weighing anchor in order to put to sea.
Captain Diamond and Captain Inlaker came on board and breakfasted; two prisoners taken with Manly in the Hancock, and lately escaped from Halifax. Our captain is an able seaman, and a brave, active, vigilant officer, but I believe he has no great erudition. His library consists of Dychè’s English Dictionary, Charlevoix's Paraguay, The Rights of the Christian Church Asserted vs. The Romish and other Priests who claim an VOL. III.
Independent Power over it, the second volume of Chubb's Posthumous Works, one volume of the History of Charles Horton, Esq., and one volume of the Delicate Embarrassments, a novel. I shall, at some other time, take more notice of some of these books.
18. Wednesday. Last night, about sunset, we sailed out of Marblehead harbor, and have had a fine wind from that time to this, twenty-four hours. The constant rolling and rocking of the ship, last night, made us all sick. Half the sailors were so. My young gentlemen, Jesse and Johnny, were taken about twelve o'clock last night, and have been very sea-sick ever since. I was seized with it myself this forenoon. My servant, Joseph Stevens, and the captain's Will, have both been very bad. 19. Thursday.
Arose at four o'clock. The wind and weather still fair. The ship rolls less than yesterday, and I have neither felt nor heard any thing of sea sickness last night, nor this morning. Monsieur Parison, one of General Du Coudray's captains, dined with us yesterday, and made me a present of a bottle of a nice French dram, a civility which I must repay. He seems a civil and sensible man.
The mal de mer seems to be merely the effect of agitation. The smoke, and smell of sea-coal, the smell of stagnant, putrid water, the smell of the ship where the sailors lie, or any other offensive smell, will increase the qualminess, but do not occa. sion it.
Captain Parison says, that the roads from Nantes to Paris are very good, no mountains, no hills, no rocks, all as smooth as the ship's deck, and a very fine country; but the roads from Bordeaux to Paris are bad and mountainous.
In the morning we discovered three sail of vessels ahead; we went near enough to discover them to be frigates, and then put away. We soon lost sight of two of them ; but the third chased us the whole day; sometimes e gained upon her, and sometimes she upon us.
1 " At 6, A. M., saw three large ships bearing east, standing to the northward. I mistrusted they were cruising for me. I hauled my wind to the southward; found they did chase me. I consulted my officers whether it was not best to give them chase. We agreed in opinion. Wore ship to the north, and gave them chase one hour. I then discovered one of the ships to be as large as myself; the other a twenty gun ship; the third out of sight almost. A man at the mast head cried out, A ship on our weather-quarter;' the other two under our lee, and I under small sail. I then consulted the Honorable John Adams and my officers