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Inside Front Cover
BRAINTREE DECR. 18TH. 1765
How great is my Loss, in neglecting to keep a regular journal, through the
last Spring, Summer, and Fall. In the Course of my Business, as a Surveyor of
High-Ways, as one of the Committee, for dividing, planning, and selling the
North-Commons, in the Course of my two great journeys to
Marthas Vineyard, and in several smaller journeys to
Boston, I had many fine Opportunities and Materials for
Speculation. -- The Year 1765 has been the most remarkable Year of my Life.
That enormous Engine, fabricated by the british Parliament, for battering down
all the Rights and Liberties of
America, I mean the Stamp Act, has raised and spread,
the whole Continent, a Spirit that will be
recorded to our Honour
, with all future Generations.
In every Colony, from
New Hampshire inclusively, the Stamp Distributors and Inspectors
have been compelled, by the unconquerable Rage of the People, to renounce their
offices. Such and so universal has been the Resentment of the People, that
every Man who has dared to speak in favour
Stamps, or to soften the detestation in which they are held, how great soever
his Abilities and Virtues
had been esteemed before, or whatever his
fortune, Connections and Influence had been, has been seen to sink into
universal Contempt and Ignominy.
The People, even to the lowest Ranks, have become more attentive to their
Liberties, more inquisitive about them, and more determined to defend them,
than they were ever before known or had occasion to be. Innumerable have been
the Monuments of Wit, Humour, Sense, Learning, Spirit,
Patriotism, and Heroism, erected in the S in the several Colonies
and Provinces, in the Course of this Year. Our Presses have groaned, our
Pulpits have thundered, our Legislatures have resolved, our Towns have voted,
The Crown Officers have every where trembled, and
all their little Tools and Creatures, been afraid to Speak and ashamed to be
This Spirit however has not yet been sufficient to banish, from Persons in
Authority, that Timidity, which they have discovered from the Beginning. The
executive Courts have not yet dared to adjudge the Stamp-Act void nor to
proceed with Business as usual, tho
it should seem
that Necessity alone would be sufficient to justify Business, at present,
the Act should be allowed to be obligatory. The
Stamps are in the Castle. Mr. Oliver has no Commission. The
Governor has no Authority to distribute, or even to unpack
Bales, the Act has never been proclaimed nor read in the Province; Yet the
Probate office is shut, the Custom House is shut, the Courts of justice are
shut, and all Business seems at a Stand. Yesterday and the day before, the two
last days of Service for January Term, only one Man asked me for a Writ, and he
was soon determined to waive his Request. I have not drawn a Writ since 1st.
How long We are to remain in this languid Condition, this passive Obedience
to the Stamp Act, is not certain. But such a Pause cannot be lasting. Debtors
grow insolent. Creditors grow angry. And it is to be expected that the Public
offices will very soon be forced open, unless such favourable Accounts should be received from
England, as to draw away the Fears of the Great, or unless a
greater Dread of the Multitude should drive away the Fear of Censure from
It is my Opinion that by this Timorous Inactivity we discover
Cowardice, and too much Respect and Regard to the Act. This Rest
appears to be by Implication at least an Acknowledgement of the Authority of
Parliament to tax Us. And if this Authority is once acknowledged and
established, the Ruin of
America will become inevitable.
This long Interval of Indolence and Idleness will make a large Chasm in my
affairs if it should not reduce me to Distress and
to answer the Demands upon me. But I must endeavour
in some degree to compensate the Disadvantage, by posting my Books, reducing my
Accounts into better order, and by diminishing my Expences
, but above all by improving the Leisure of this
Winter, in a diligent Application to my Studies. I find that Idleness lies
between Business and Study, i.e. The Transision
from the Hurry of a multiplicity of Business, to the Tranquility that is
necessary for intense Study, is not easy. There must be a Vacation, an Interval
between them, for the Mind to recollect itself.
The Bar seem to me to behave like a Flock of shot Pidgeons. They seem to be
stopped, the Net seems to be thrown over them, and they have scarcely Courage
left to flounce and to flutter. So sudden an Interruption in my Career, is very
unfortunate for me. I was but just getting into my Geers, just getting under
Sail, and an Embargo is laid upon the Ship. Thirty Years of my Life are passed
in Preparation for Business. I have had Poverty to struggle with-Envy and
and Malice of Enemies to encounter-no
Friends, or but few to assist me, so that I have groped in dark Obscurity, till
of late, and had but just become known, and gained a small degree of
Reputation, when this execrable Project was set on foot for my Ruin
as well as that of
America in General, and of
A fair Morning after a severe Storm of 3 days and 4 Nights. A vast Quantity
of rain fell.
About 12. O Clock came in Messrs. Crafts and
Chase and gave me a particular Account of the Proceedings of
the Sons of Liberty on Tuesday last, in prevailing on
Mr. Oliver to renounce his Office of
Distributor of Stamps, by a Declaration under his Hand, and under his Oath,
taken before justice Dana, in
Hanover Square, under the very Tree of Liberty, nay under the
very Limb where he had been hanged in Effigy, Aug. 14th. 1765. Their absolute
Requisition of an Oath, and under that Tree, were Circumstances,
extreamly humiliating and mortifying, as
Punishment for his [illegible] receiving a Deputation to be
Distributor after his pretended Resignation, and for his faint and indirect
Declaration in the News Papers last Monday.
About one O'Clock came in Mr. Clark, one of the Constables
of the Town of
Boston, with a Letter from Mr. Wm. Cooper their
Town Clerk in these Words
Sir, I am directed by the Town to acquaint you, that they have this day
voted unanimously, that Jeremiah Gridley, James
Otis, and John Adams
Esqrs. be applied to,
as Council to appear before his Excellency the Governor in Council, in Support
'of their Memorial, praying
that the Courts of Law in this Province
may be opened. A Copy of said Memorial will be handed you, on your coming to
Town. I am sir, your most obedient hum. sert.,
Wm. Cooper Town Clerk
Decr. 18th. 1765
John Adams Esqr.
The Reasons which induced
Boston to choose me, at a distance, and unknown as I am, The
particular Persons concerned and measures concerted to bring this about, I am
wholly at a loss to conjecture: as I am, what the future Effects and
Consequences will be both with Regard to myself and the Public.
But when I recollect my own Reflections and Speculations Yesterday, a part
of which were committed to Writing last Night, and may be seen under
Decr. 18th, and compare them with the Proceedings
Boston Yesterday of which the foregoing Letter informed me, I
cannot but Wonder, and call to Mind my Ld. Bacons Observation,
about secret invisible Laws of Nature, [and] Communications
and Influences between Places, that are not discoverable by Sense.
But I am now under all obligations of Honour, Gratitude
and Ambition as well as Honour
, Gratitude and Duty, to
exert the Utmost of my Abilities, in this important Cause. How shall it be
conducted? Shall we contend that the Stamp-Act is void? That the Parliament
have no legal Authority to impose Internal Taxes upon Us?-Because We are not
represented in it? And therefore that the Stamp Act ought to be waived by the
judges, as against natural Equity and the
Constitution? Shall we
use these, as Arguments for opening the Courts of Law? Or shall We ground
ourselves on Necessity only.
DECR. 20TH. 1765.
Boston. Dined with Mr. Rowe in
Company with Messrs. Gridley, Otis,
Kent, and Dudley. After Dinner, went to the
Town House, and Attended with the Committee of the Town of
Boston and many other Gentlemen in the Representatives Room till
about Dark, after Candle Light, when Mr. Adams, the Chairman
of the Committee, received a Message from the Governor, by the Deputy
Secretary, purporting that his Excellency and the Council were ready to hear
the Memorial of the Town of
Boston, and their Council in Support of it. But that no other
Persons might attend.
We accordingly went in. His Excellency recommended it to Us, who were of
Council for the Town, to divide the Points of Law and Topicks of Argument, among ourselves, that Repetition might
as much as possible be avoided. Mr. Gridley answered, that, as
he was to speak last, he would endeavour to avoid
Repetition of what should be said by the two Gentlemen, who were to speak
before him. Mr. Otis added that as he was to speak second, he
would observe the same Rule.
Then it fell upon me, without one Moments Opportunity to consult any
Authorities, to open an Argument, upon a Question that was never made before,
and I wish I could
never would be made again,
i.e. Whether the Courts of Law should be open, or not? My old Friend
Thatchers Officina Justitiae?
I grounded my Argument on the Invalidity of the Stamp Act, it not being in
any sense our Act, having never consented to it. But least that foundation
should not be sufficient, on the present Necessity to prevent a Failure of
justice, and the present Impossibility of carrying that Act into Execution
Mr. Otis reasoned with great Learning and Zeal, on the
judges Oaths, the &c.
Mr. Gridley on the great Mischiefs
Inconveniences that would ensue the Interuption of Justice.
The Governor said many of the Arguments used were very good ones to be used
before the judges of the Executive Courts. But he believed there had been no
America of an Application to the Governor and Council, and said
that if the judges should receive any Directions from the King about a Point of
Law, [illegible] they would scorn to regard them, and would say
that while they were in those Seats, they only were to determine Points of
The Council adjourned to the Morning and I repaired to my Lodgings.
DECR. 21 ST. 1765
Spent the Morning in sauntering about, and chatting with one and another-The
Sherriff, Mr. Goldthwait, Brother Sewal
&c. -- upon the Times. Dined with Brother Kent; after
received a Hint from the Committee that as I was of Council
for the Town I not only had a Right, but it was expected I should attend the
Meeting. I went accordingly. The Committee reported the Answer of the Board to
their Petition. Which was, in Substance, that the Board had no Authority to
direct the Courts of Law, in the manner prayed for. That the Memorial involved
a Question of Law, vizt., whether the officers of the Government, in the
present Circumstances of the Government
Province, could be
justified, in proceeding with Business without Stamps. That the Board were
desirous that the judges should decide that Question with
without Apprehension of censure from the Board, and that the Board recomended
it to the judges of the Inferior Court for the County of Suffolk and to the
other judges of the other Courts in the Province to determine that Question as
soon as may be, at or before their next respective Terms.
The Question was put whether that Paper should be recorded. Passed in the
The next Question was, Whether it was a satisfactory Answer to their
Memorial. Unanimously in the Negative.
Then several Motions were made, the first was, that the Meeting be adjourned
to a future Day, and that the Towns Council be desired to consult together, and
Town their Opinions, whether any other legal and
Constitutional Steps can be taken by the Town, towards removing the
obstructions to Justice. The second Motion was, that those of the Towns Council
who were present should then give their opinion. The Third was that Application
should be made to the judges to determine the Question Speedily.
The second prevail'd and I was
call'd upon to give my Opinion first. I agreed with
Kent that an Application to the judges might be out of
Character both for the Town and the judges, and that no Person could be in any
danger of Penalties on the one Hand, or of having Proscesses adjudged void on
the other. But many Persons might entertain Fears, and Jealousies
and and Doubts, which would everlastingly be a grievance. So that I
had heard no Proposal yet made for the future
Conduct of the Town, which had not Difficulties and Objections attending it,
so that I must conclude myself as yet in Doubt. And that I dared not give any
opinion possitively, in a Matter of so much Importance without the most mature
Mr. Otis then gave his sentiments, and declared once for
all, that he knew of no legal and Constitutional Course the Town could take but
to direct their Representatives to request the Governor to call a Convention of
Members of both Houses, as he could not legally call an
Assembly, and if his Excellency would not, to call one [illegible]
themselves, by requesting all the Members to meet. But
concluded with observing, that as one of their Council was not present, and
another was in Doubt, he thought it would be best to take further Time for
Consideration. And the Town accordingly voted an Adjournment to next Thursday,
A Consultation, therefore I must have with Messrs. Gridley
and Otis, and We must all attend the Town-Meeting next
Thursday. What Advice shall we give them?
The Question is "what legal and Constitutional Measures the Town can take to
open the Courts of Law?"
The Town in their Memorial to his Excellency in Council, assert that "the
Courts of Law within the Province, in which alone justice can be distributed
among the People, so far as respects civil Matters, are to all Intents and
Purposes shut up. For which no just and legal Reason can be assigned."
The Record of the Board, sent down in Answer, admits that the Courts of Law
to all Intents and Purposes shut up, and says
that before they can be opened a Point of Law must be decided vizt. whether the
officers of the Government in the present Circumstances of the Province, can be
fied in proceeding in their Offices without Stamps? which
the judges are to determine.
Are the Board then agreed with the Town that the Courts of Law are shut up?
But I hope the Town will not agree with the Board that the judges are the
proper Persons to decide whether they shall be open or not. It is the first
Time I believe, that such a Question was ever put, since Wm. the
Conquerer, nay since the Days of King Lear. Should
the twelve judges of
England, and all other officers of Justice Judicial and
Ministerial, suddenly stop and shut up their offices, I believe the King, in
Council, would hardly recommend any Points of Law to the Consideration of those
judges. The King it is true of his Prerogative could not remove the judges,
England a Judge is quite another Thing from what he is here. But
I believe the Commons in Parliament would immediately impeach them all of high
My Advice to the Town will be, to take the Board at their Word, and to
a Committee immediately, in the first Place to
wait on the Governor in Council, as the Supreme Court of Probate, and request
of them a determination of the Point, whether the Officers of the Probate
Courts in the Province, can be justifyed, in Proceeding with Business without
Stamps, in the next Place
to wait on the honorable the judges of
Court to request their Determination
of the same Question, and in the Third Place to wait on the judges of the
Inferior Court for the County of Suffolk with the same Request-- in Pursuance
of the Recommendation of the honorable Board- and unless a speedy Determination
of the Question is obtained in all these Courts in this Way, to request of the
Governor a Convention of the two Houses, and if that is refused to
to call one, themselves.
What are the Consequences of the supposition that the Courts are shut up?
The King is the Fountain of Justice by the Constitution-- And it the
it is a Maxim of the Law, that the King never dies.
Are not Protection and Allegiance reciprocal? And if We are out of the Kings
Protection, are we not discharged from our Allegiance. Are not all the
Ligaments of Government dissolved? Is it not a Declaration of an
Abdication of the Throne? In short where will such an horrid Doctrine
terminate? It would run us into Treason!
At Home, with my family. Thinking.
DECEMBER. 23D. MONDAY.
Boston. After Dinner rambled after Messrs.
Gridley and Otis but could find neither. Went
into Mr. Dudleys, Mr. Dana's, Mr.
Otis's office, and then to Mr. Adams's and went with
him to the Monday night Clubb. There I found
Otis, Cushing Wells,
Pemberton, Gray, Austin, two
Waldo's, Inches, Dr.
Parker-And spent the Evening very agreably, indeed. Politicians all at this
Clubb. We had many curious Anecdotes, about Governors,
Councillors, Representatives, Demagogues, Merchants &c. The
Behaviour of these Gentlemen is very
[illegible] familiar and agreabl and friendly to each
other, and very polite and complaisant to Strangers. Gray has
a very tender Mind, is extreamly timid -he says
when he meets a Man of the other Side he talks against him, when he meets a Man
of our Side he opposes him, so that he fears, he shall be thought against every
Body, and so every Body will be against him. But he hopes to prepare the Way
for his Escape at next May from an Employment, that neither his Abilities, nor
Circumstances nor turn of Mind, are fit for.
Cushing is steady and constant, and
busy in the Interest of Liberty and the Opposition, is famed for Secrisy, and
his Talent at procuring Intelligence.
Adams is zealous, ardent and keen in the Cause, is always
for Softness, and Deli
cacy, and Prudence where they will do, but
is stanch and stiff and strict and rigid and inflexible, in the Cause.
Otis is fiery and fev'rous. His Imagination flames, his
Passions blaze. He is liable to great Inequalities of Temper-sometimes in
Despondency, sometimes in a Rage. The Rashnesses and Imprudences, into which
his Excess of Zeal have formerly transported him, have made him Enemies, whose
malicious watch over him, occasion more Caution, and more Cunning and more
inexplicable Passages in his Conduct than formerly. And perhaps Views at the
Chair, or the Board, or possibly more expanded Views, beyond the Atlantic, may
mingle now with his Patriotism.
The 11 Penseroso, however, is discernible on the Faces of all four.
Adams I believe has the most thourough Understanding of
Liberty, and her Resources, in the Temper and Character of the People,
not in the Law and Constitution, as well as the
most radical habit
habitual, radical Love of it, of any of them-as
well as the most correct, genteel and artful Pen. He is a Man of refined
Policy, stedfast Integrity, exquisite Humanity, genteel Erudition, obliging,
engaging Manners, real Piety
as well as professed Piety, and
a universal good Character, unless it should be admitted that he
is too attentive to the Public and not enough so, to himself and his
The Gentlemen were warm to have the Courts opened. Gridley
had advised to wait for a judicial Opinion of the Judges. I was for requesting
of the Governor that the general Court might assemble at the Time to which they
stood prorogued-and if the Town should think fit to request the Extrajudicial
Opinion of the Judges. I was for petitioning the Governor and Council to
determine the Question first as Supreme ordinary. Gridley will
be absent, and so shall I. But I think the apparent Impatience of the Town must
produce some spirited Measures, perhaps more spirited than prudent.
N.B. Lord Clarendon to William
Pym. [This is the first of a number of fragmentary drafts of JA's
three letters signed "Clarendon" published in the Boston Gazette in
which one Century has
produced in your Principles is not quite so surprizing
to me, as it seems to be to many others. You
know very well that I always had a jealousy of the
Integrity was not [illegible] , and that
counterfeit, your Ardor for Liberty canker'd with simulation and your
Integrity, problematical at least. Yet I confess, that so sudden a transition
from Licentiousness to Despotism, so entire
a transformation from
a fiery Declaimer against arbitrary Power, to an abject Hireling of Corruption
and Tyrany, gives me many painful Speculations on the frailty of human Nature,
as well as a Clue to the Center of the great Labyrinth of your
in 1641-- It has confirmed in me, the
Belief, of what was formerly suspected, vizt., that your Principles were very
wicked and depraved, tho
your Cunning was exquisite
enough, to conceal your Crimes from the Public scrutiny. I am now brought to
believe what was formerly only suspected, vizt. your subornation of Witnesses,
your Perjuries, and your Briberies as well as your Cruelty.
Can any Thing less abominable, have prompted you, to commence an Enemy to
human Liberty-an Enemy to human Nature-- an Advocate for Courts, more
frightful, infamous and detestable than the star Chamber and high Commission,
for Taxations more grievous, arbitrary and unconstitutional, than ship Money;
on which you and your Hampden, were known to ring eternal Changes, and indeed,
of which you had so much Right to complain. If ever an Infant Country deserved
cherished it is
America, if ever a People merited Honor
Happiness, they are her Inhabitants. They have the high sentiments of Romans in
the most prosperous and virtuous Times of that Commonwealth: Yet they have the
tenderest feelings of Humanity and the noblest Benevolence of Christians. They
have the most habitual, radical sense of Liberty, and the highest Reverence for
Virtue. They are descended from a Race which, in a Confidence in Providence,
set the seas and the
skies, Monsters and savages, Tyrants and Devils
, for the sake of their Liberty and
Religion. Yet this is the People on whom you are contributing, for Hire, to
rivit and confirm everlasting Oppression.
Boston. Spent the afternoon and Evening at Home.
25TH. 1765. CHRISTMAS.
At Home. Thinking, reading, searching, concerning Taxation without Consent,
concerning the great Pause and Rest in Business. Justice flows on without
obligation, By the Laws of
England justice flows, with an uninterupted Stream: In that Musick, the Law knows of neither Rests nor Pauses. Nothing
but Violence, Invasion or Rebellion can obstruct the River or untune the
Concerning a Compensation to the Sufferers by the late Riots in
Boston. -- Statute of
Winchester. chap. 2. if the County will not answer the Bodies of
the offenders, the People there shall be answerable for all the Robberies done,
and also for the Damages. -- Wingates Ab. [Abridgment] Title
Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus, aut deferemus Iustitiam. Every Writ
supposes the King present in all his Courts of Justice.
Ld. Coke says, Against this ancient and fundamental Law,
and in the face thereof, I find an Act of Parliament made, that As well
Justices of Assize as Justices of Peace, without any finding or Present ment
[by the verdict ] of 12 Men, upon a bare Information for the
K. [King] before them made, should have full Power and
Authority, by their Discretions, to hear and determine all offences and
Contempts, vs. the form, ordinance and Effect of any
stat. [statute] by Colour of which
Act shaking this Fundamental Law, it is not credible what horrible Oppressions
and Exactions were committed by Sir Richard Empson and
Edmund Dudley. And upon this unjust and injurious Act a new
Office was created, and they made Masters of the Kings Forfeitures. But at the
Parliament 1 H. 8. this Act I I H. 7. is recited, made void and repealed. The
fearful End of these two Oppressors, should deter others from committing the
like, and admonish Parliaments, that instead of this ordinary and precious
Tryal Per Legem Terrae, they bring not in absolute and
partial Tryals by Discretion.
Went not to Christmas. Dined at Home. Drank Tea at
Grandfather Quincys. The old Gentleman,
inquisitive about the Hearing before the Governor and Council, about the
Governors and secretaries Looks and Behaviour, and
about the final Determination of the Board. The old Lady as merry and chatty as
ever, with her Stories out of the News Papers, of a Woman longing to throw beef
Stakes in a Mans Face and giving him a Pipe of Madeira for humouring of her,
and of the Doctor who could tell by a Persons Face all the Disorders he or she
had suffered and would suffer.
Spent the Evening at Home, with my Partner and no other Company.
Mr. S. Adams told me he was glad I was nominated for
several Reasons. -- 1st. Because he hoped that such an Instance of Respect from
the Town of
Boston, would make an Impression on my Mind, and secure my
Friendship to the Town from Gratitude. 2dly. He was in Hopes such a Distinction
Boston, would be of Service to my Business and Interest.
3d. He hoped that
Braintree, finding the Eyes of
Boston were upon me, would fix their's on me too, next May. His
Hopes, in the two first [illegible] Particulars, may be well
grounded, but I am sure not in the Third.
Clarendon to Pym. [The following
fragment contains part of the text of "Clarendon's" second letter to "Pym" as
printed in the Boston Gazette, 20 Jan. 1766.]
Pray recollect Mr. Pym, the cruel Exactions of
Empson and Dudley, under an Act of
Parliament, far less extravagant
dangerous to Liberty than those
which you defend. Recollect the old Sage Coke, and recollect
Magna Charta which your Tribe used to think more sacred than scripture.
Consider once more this hideous Taxation, more cruel and ruinous than Danegeld
of old, which Speed says
emptyed the Land of all the Coigne, the
Kingdom of her Glory, the Commons of their Content, and the sovereign of his
wonted Respects and Observance. Recollect, Mr. Pym, a scene in
the Tragedy of K. [King]
8th. I think you was once an Admirer of Shakespear.
Vid. V. 5. 284. 285. 286. A scene which may be very properly recommended to
modern Monarks, Queens, and Favourites. I will repeat it, Mr.
Pym, for the Comfort of your Soul, for you always delighted in Ruin
and Confusion--an hundred Years past you endeavoured to embroil as an Advocate
for Liberty. Now it seems you are aiming at the same delightful object by
enlisting under the bloody Banners of Tyranny.
You tell us that a Resolution of the B. [British]
Parliament can at any Time anull all the Charters of all our
. But would such an Act of Parliament do no
wrong? Would it be obeyed? Would one Member of Parliament who voted for it,
return to his Country alive? No You would have been the first Man in the
Kingdom, when you was in the flesh, to have taken Arms against such a Law. You
would have torn up the Foundations and demolished the whole Fabrick
of the Government, and have suffered Democracy,
Aristocracy, Monarchy, Anarchy, any thing
or nothing to have
arisen in its Place.
26TH. 1765 THURSDAY.
At Home by the Fireside viewing with Pleasure, the falling Snow and the
Prospect of a large one. [illegible]
Clarendon to Pym. [This fragment
contains portions of the second "Clarendon" letter as printed in the Boston
Gazette, 20, Jan. 1766.]
The gallant Struggle in
America, is founded in Principles so indisputable, in the moral
Law, in the revealed Law of God, in the true Constitution of
great Britain, and in the most apparent Welfare of the Nation as
well as the People in
America, that I must confess it rejoices my very Soul. For you
know, that altho
I was always of the Royal Party,
and for avoiding Violence and Confusion, and was oftentimes transported by my
Loyalty and Zeal for the nations Peace, to some Excesses, Yet I never defended
the real Infringments on the Constitution. I was as heartily for rectifying all
those Abuses, and for procuring still further security of Freedom as any of
you. For my Education had been in the Law the Grounds of which were so rivited
in me that no Temptation could make me swerve from them: Besides you very well
remember the surprizing
Anecdote relative to my
father and me. That Scene will remain with indelible Impressions on my soul
throughout Duration. I see the good old Gentleman even at this
Distance of Time. I see in his aged venerable Countenance that ardent parental
affection to me, that Zeal for the Laws of his Country, that fervent Love of
his Country, and that exalted Piety to God and good Will to all Mankind, which
constituted his Character. I was upon one of the Circuits, which lead me down
to my native Country, and I went to pay a Vizit to my Aged Father. He gave me
an Invitation to take a Walk with him in the Field. -- Says he, my Son, I
have Your Welfare near my Heart
I am very old and this will probably be
the last Time I shall ever see your Face. Your Welfare is near my Heart. The
Reputation you have gained, for Learning, Probity, Skill and Eloquence at
in your Profession will in all Probability call you to manage the
great Concerns of this nation in Parliament, and to Council your King in some
of the greatest Offices of State. Give me Leave to warn you, against that
Ambition which I have often observed in Men of your Profession, which will
sacrifice all [illegible]
to their own Advancement.
And I charge you, on my Blessing, never to forget this Nation, but to stand by
the Law, the Consti
tution, and the real Welfare and Freedom of
this Nation vs. all Temptations, &c.
--The Words were scarcely pronounced before his Zeal and Conscience were
too great for his strength and he fell dead before my Eyes. His Words sunk deep
into my Heart, and no Temptation, no Byass or Prejudice could ever obliterate
them. And you Mr. Pym are one Witness for me, that I never
even excused the Nations real Grievances, while I sat in Parliament with you.
And after the Restoration, when the Nation rushed into Madness with Loyalty, I
was obliged to make a stand to Preserve even the Appearance of the
Constitution: And in the Reign of my infamous and detestible
royal son in Law
I chose to go into
Banishment, rather than renounce the Liberties of the Nation.
You may easily believe therefore that the Conduct of the Americans, is quite
agreable to me. My Resentment and Indignation is
unutterable, when I see those worthy People chain'd and fettered by a few aban
doned Villains in the Interest of
Hell and even in the Reign of a wise, and good King.
Mr. Smith and Dr. Tufts came in
Boston. Nothing remarkable. Dr. Savil spent the
Evening here. Chat about the Memorial and the Hearing.
A Dissertation Upon Seekers-of Elections, of Commissions from the
Governour, of Commissions from the Crown .
Of Elections when they give your 100 1.M. towards building a new
Meeting House, and an 100 Old Ten. towards repairing one, or 50 dollars,
towards repairing High Ways, or Ten Dollars to the Treasury, towards the
support of the poor of the Town--or when they are very liberal of their drams
of Brandy, and lumps of Sugar, and of their Punch, &c. on May meeting days.
These are commonly Persons, who have some further Views and Designs. These
Largesses aim at something further than your Votes. These Persons aim at being
justices, Sheriffs, judges, Colonells, and when
they get to Court, they will be hired and sell their Votes, as you sold yours
to them. But there is another Sort of seekers worse than the other two,-such as
seek to be Governors, Lt. Governors, secretaries, Custom-House-Officers of all
Sorts, Stamp officers of all sorts, in fine such as seek Appointments from the
Crown. These Seekers are actuated by a more ravenous sort of Ambition and
Avarice and they merit a more aggravated Condemnation. These ought to be
avoided and dreaded as the Plague, as the destroying Angells. And the evil Spirits are as good Objects of your
Trust as they. Let no such Man ever have the Vote of a Free holder or a
Rep. [Representative] Let no such Man be trusted.
27TH. 1765. FRYDAY.
In unforeseen Cases, i.e. when the State of things is found such as the
Author of the Disposition has not foreseen, and could not have thought of, we
should rather follow his Intention than his Words, and interpret the Act as he
himself would have interpreted it, had he been present, or conformably to what
he would have done if he had foreseen the Things that happened. This Rule is of
great Use to judges. Vattell. Page 230. B. 2. C. 17. .
297. If a Case be presented, in which one cannot absolutely apply the well
known Reason of a Law or a Promise, this Case ought to be excepted. B. 2. C.
17. . 292. Every Interpretation that leads to an Absurdity, ought to be
rejected. Page 222 B. 2. C. 17. . 282. Every Impossibility, physical and
moral is an Absurdity.
At Home all day. Mr. Shute call'd
in the Evening, and gave us a Number of Anecdotes, about Governor
Rogers and Secretary Potter, their Persecution in
Boston, their flight to
Rhode Island, their sufferings there; their Deliverance from
Goal, and Voyage to
Ireland without Money, their Reception in
Ireland, and Voyage to
England, their Distresses in
England till they borrowed Money to get
journal printed, and
present it to his Majesty; which procured Each of them his Appointment at
Michilimachana. -- Shute is a jolly, merry,
droll, social Christian. He loves to laugh-tells a Story with a good
Grace-delights in Banter. But yet reasons well, is inquisitive and judicious.
Has an Eye that plays its Lightnings-sly, and waggish, and roguish. Is for
sinking every Person who either favours
the Stamps or Trims about them, into private Station--expects a great Mortality
among the Councillors next May. In this I think he is right. If there is any
Man, who, from wild Ideas of Power and Authority, from a Contempt of that
Equality in Knowledge, Worth, and Power, which has prevailed in this Country,
or from any other Cause, who can upon Principle, desire the Execution of the
Stamp Act, those Principles are a total Forfeiture of the Confidence of the
If there is any one, who cannot see the Tendency of that Act to reduce the
Body of the People to Ignorance, Poverty, Dependance, his Want of Eyesight is a
Disqualification for public Employment. Let the Towns and the Representatives,
therefore renounce every Stamp man and every Trimmer next May.
28TH. 1765. SATURDAY.
Weymouth with my Wife. Dined at Father Smiths.
Heard much of the Uneasiness among the People of
Hingham, at a sermon preached by Mr. Gay, on
the Day of Thanksgiving, from a Text in James, "Out of the
same Mouth proceedeth Blessing and Cursing," in which he said that the ancient
Weapons of the Church, were Prayers and Tears, not Clubbs, and inculcated
Submission to Authority, in pretty strong Expressions. His People said that
Mr. Gay would do very well for a Distributor, and they
believed he had the Stamps in his House, and even threatned
&c. This Uneasiness it seems was inflamed
by a sermon preached there the Sunday after by Mr. Smith,
which they admired very much, and talk of printing as the best sermon, they
ever heard him preach. This sermon of Mr. Smiths was from
to Caesar, the Things that are
Caesars and unto God the Things that are Gods." The Tenor of
it was to recommend Honour
, Reward, and Obedience to
good Rulers; and a Spirited Opposition to bad ones, interspersed with a good
deal of animated Declamation upon Liberty and the Times.
It seems there is a Clubb, consisting of
Coll. Lincoln, the two
Captain Barkers, one of them an half Pay Officer,
Coll. Thaxter &c. who visit the
Parson (Gay) every Sunday Evening, and this
Clubb is wholly inclined to Passive Obedience-as the
best Way to procure Redress. A very absurd Sentiment indeed! We have
tryed Prayers and Tears, and humble Begging and timid
tame submission as long as trying is good-and instead of Redress we have only
aggravated increased our Burdens and aggravated our
Returned and spent the Evening at Home.
29TH. 1765. SUNDAY.
Heard Parson Wibird. Hear O Heavens and give Ear O Earth,
"I have nourished and brought up Children and they have rebelled against me."-I
began to suspect a Tory Sermon on the Times from this Text. But the Preacher
confined himself to Spirituals. But I expect, if the Tories should become the
strongest, We shall hear many Sermons against the Ingratitude, Injustice,
Disloyalty, Treason, Rebellion, Impiety, and ill Policy of refusing Obedience
to the Stamp-Act. The Church Clergy to be sure will be very eloquent. The
Church People are, many of them, Favourers of the stamp Act, at present.
Major Miller, forsooth, is very
Inside Back Cover
they will be stomachful
at Home and angry and resentful.
Mr. Vesey insists upon it that, We ought to pay our Proportion
of the public Burdens. Mr. Cleverly is fully convinced that
they i.e. the Parliament have a Right to tax Us. He thinks it is wrong to go on
with Business. We had better stop, and wait till Spring, till we hear from
home. He says We put the best face upon it, that Letters have been received in
Boston, from the greatest Merchants in the Nation, blaming our
Proceedings, and that the Merchants dont second us. Letters from old
Mr. Lane, and from Mr. Dubert [De
. He says that Things go on here exactly as they did
in the Reign of K. [King]
1st. that blessed
Thus, that unaccountable Man goes about sowing his pernicious Seeds of
Mischief, instilling wrong Principles in Church and State into the People,
striving to divide and disunite them, and to excite fears to damp their Spirits
and lower their Courage.
Etter is another of the poisonous Talkers, but not equally so.
Cleverly and Vesey are Slaves in Principle.
They are devout religious Slaves and a religious Bigot is the worst of Men.
Cleverly converses of late at Mr. Lloyds
with some of the Seekers of Appointments from the Crown-some of the Dozen in
the Town of
Boston, who ought as Hanncock says to be
beheaded, or with some of those, who converse with the Governor, who ought as
Tom Boylstone I says to be sent Home with all the
other Governors on the Continent, with Chains about their Necks.
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