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JQA, the Universe, And Everything by goosecommerce
July 11, 2009, 10:56 pm
Filed under: Adams Family | Tags: , ,

Or, For He’s A Quite Dour Fellow, Which Nobody Can Deny

the bouncing birthday boy

the bouncing birthday boy

This blog would be terribly remiss if it failed to note that today, the eleventh day of July, is John Quincy Adams’s birthday. So let’s pour one out for Old Man Eloquent.

Though as Jeremy Dibble over at the MHS blog, The Beehive, demonstrated today, JQA has a certain … knack … for deflating even the happiest of occasions.

Via Jeremy, here’s JQA’s diary entry on the most important birthday of them all, the forty-second, (in 1809; good lord that man lived for ever). Adams, as you’d expect, was his usual lighthearted self :

The year of my life now expiring has been marked by a continuance of that persecution which the combined personal enemies of my father and myself, had unrelentingly pursued the year before. It has appeared in various forms, some of them singular enough; but its effect has been to impel me into more general notice and estimation throughout the country. … I pray for clearness of intellectual vision to see the right path – for the necessary courage to pursue it; and for the Fortitude and the Temperance to bear with equanimity the vicissitudes of its Fortunes, whether adverse or propitious. Grant, O God, that I may do good to my Country and to Mankind! And deal with me, and mine, if it be they gracious will, in Mercy.

Yeah, you can totally see why he rocks that party hat so hard. And that it’s probably no coincidence he shares a birthday week with one Jean Cauvin

In any case, between celebratory toasts of madeira and guilt, you should check out the wonderful things that Jeremy, and the rest of the folks at MHS, are doing with their blog and twitter feed.

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Motto Schmotto by goosecommerce

Well, you learn something new every day.

In this case, that the unofficial motto of the U.S. — E Pluribus Unum — comes from either Virgil … or the late 18th-century version of Newsweek for the bewigged set.
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You Ain’t No Phrend of Mine by goosecommerce
April 15, 2009, 2:50 pm
Filed under: Adams Family, The Past is a Foreign...Something | Tags: , ,

Or, Phrenology Is Silly


At least, so John Quincy Adams, age 74, told his diary on Thursday, October 14, 1841:

Mr. Clother Gifford came to me, as a phrenologist, and proposed to give my head a scientific phrenological examination, which I declined; regarding the whole pretended science as a mischievous humbug, with all the evil tendencies of fortune telling – I did not say so to Mr. Gifford, but merely declined submitting my head to his examination.”

John Quincy Adams diary 41, p. 494 [electronic edition]. The Diaries of John Quincy Adams: A Digital Collection (Boston, Mass. : Massachusetts Historical Society, 2004),

Image citation:
Gaetan Lee, “Phrenology Heads,” Flickr, CC License

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