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Begin Mike Church Show Transcript
Mike: Yesterday I read to you from the diary of John Quincy Adams. I read to you about how he had jumped into Tiber Creek and the story of how he’d almost drown because he had all his clothes on. He went to take a swim there every morning. Something happened and he wound up jumping in with his clothes on. His son and valet basically had to rescue him and pull him from the creek. I went back and found the actual diary entries from Quincy Adams. I translated them myself. Lo and behold, the guy that translated the diary entries didn’t translate them correctly. Part of what I read to yesterday is actually incorrect. The one that stood out the most to me that was incorrect was that they guy, William Seale, who wrote the essay about how the president had jumped into the river and had been whisked away, his closing statement was that Quincy Adams wrote in his journal something about how “if it weren’t for the mercy of God.” Well, that’s not what Quincy Adams wrote.
I’ll show you the pages here. I’m not allowed to reproduce them because the Massachusetts Historical Society claims ownership of these. I’m only showing them to you and giving credit and thanking the Massachusetts Historical Society for gathering these and scanning these pages of John Quincy Adams’ diary and making them digitally available. That’s what they look like. If you could zoom in on that, you could see that that handwriting is almost impossible to read. It’s almost like you’re in one of those Hollywood movie where you’re trying to translate some hieroglyphics and if you don’t translate them in time the mummy is going to kill you. I translated the hieroglyphics. I want to read to you what Quincy Adams’ actual diary entry for the day — as translated by yours truly with a magnifying glass — of what Quincy Adams actually wrote in his diary about his dip into the Tiber Creek that almost drowned him. This is verbatim, or as they say in Latin verbatim.
13 June 1825
Attempt to cross the river with Antoine in a boat. She filled with water and swamped. We swam to the opposite shore, I with my pantaloons, drawers, shirt and hat, Antoine naked. John, Jr. across the river to meet us as we intended to have a swim back, but he came to me on the other shore. Antoine crossed the bridge with my wet shirt and pantaloons and brought back John’s clothes and my watch and umbrella which I had left with him. He had also gone with a boat and found his own hat floating with his shirt and breeches in it and one of my shoes. [Mike: This is the President of the United States at the time, John Quincy Adams, writing about his near brush with death with Tiber Creek.] He had also sent a carriage to the house to enlist the coachman, John, to come for us in the carriage. Whilst Antoine was gone for the clothes, John and I were walking and swimming up and down the other shore. Getting naked on the banks, John walked over the bridge home. The carriage came and took us and Antoine home half-dressed. We got home about a quarter before nine. I lost an old swimming coat and white waistcoat, two napkins and two pocket handkerchiefs, and one shoe. Antoine lost his watch, jacket, waistcoat and pantaloons and shoes. The boat was also lost. By his blessings of salvation, our lives were spared.
Mike: Seale filled a lot of the gaps in with other contemporary accounts of people that had heard of the event, but that’s actually how John Quincy Adams had written it in his diary. When I was translated it yesterday, Picard and I were laughing about it. What John, Jr. had done, he had one of those top hats, a big one, and he had taken his clothes off and stuffed them inside the hat. The hat was what was floating down the river. He went to go get the hat because the hat had all his stuff in it. He did recover the hat. Just a little update from yesterday’s Founders TV.
End Mike Church Show Transcript