Inside Front Cover
GROSVENOR SQUARE WESTMINSTER MARCH 27.
March 26. Sunday,
in Bolton Street Piccadilly, at the Bishop of St. Asaphs.Mr.
and Mrs. Sloper, the Son in Law and Daughter of the
Bishop; Mrs. and Miss Shipley the Wife and
Daughter; Mr. and Mrs. Vaughan,Mr.
Alexander and Mrs. Williams, Mr. Richard
Peters and myself, were the Company. In the Evening other Company came
in, according to the Fashion, in this Country. Mrs. Shipley at
Table asked many Questions about the Expence
Philadelphia and Boston. Said she had a Daughter,
who had married, less prudently than they wished, and they thought of sending
WEDNESDAY [29 MARCH].
Dined at Mr. Blakes. Mr. Middleton and
Wife, Mr. Alexander and Mrs.
Williams,Mr. Jefferson. Coll.
Smith [William Stephens Smith] and my Family.
LONDON THURSDAY MARCH 30.
Presented Mr. Hamilton to the Queen at the Drawing Room.
Dined at Mr. Paradices. Count Warranzow
and his Gentleman and Chaplain,
M. Sodorini the Venetian Minister, Mr.
Jefferson, Dr. Bancroft, Coll.
Smith [William Stephens Smith]
and my Family.
Went at Nine O Clock to the French Ambassadors Ball, where were two or three
hundred People, chiefly Ladies. Here I met the Marquis of
Landsdown and the Earl of Harcourt. These
two Noblemen ventured to enter into Conversation with me. So did Sir
George Young [Yonge]. But there is an
Aukward Timidity, in General. This People cannot
look me in the Face: there is conscious Guilt and Shame in their Countenances,
when they look at me. They feel that they have behaved ill, and that I am
sensible of it.
[NOTES ON A TOUR OF ENGLISH COUNTRY SEATS, &C.,
WITH THOMAS JEFFERSON,
Mr. Jefferson and myself, went in a Post Chaise to
Edghill, Stratford upon Avon,
High Wycomb, and back to Grosvenor Square.
Worcester were curious and interesting to us, as
Scaenes where Freemen had fought for their Rights.
The People in the Neighbourhood, appeared so
ignorant and careless at
Worcester that I was provoked and asked, "And do Englishmen so
soon forget the Ground where Liberty was fought for? Tell your
Neighbours and your Children that this is holy
Ground, much holier than that on which your Churches stand. All
England should come in Pilgrimage to this Hill, once a Year."
This animated them, and they seemed
[Some of the lines of the original diary are preceded by what appear to be
quotation marks. Refer to the page image.]
much pleased with
it. Perhaps their Aukwardness
before might arise
from their Uncertainty of our Sentiments concerning the Civil Wars.
Stratford upon Avon is interesting as it is the
Scaene of the Birth, Death and Sepulture of
Shakespear. Three Doors from the Inn, is the House where he
was born, as small and mean, as you can conceive. They shew Us an old Wooden Chair in the Chimney Corner, where He
sat. We cutt off a Chip according to the Custom. A
Mulberry Tree that he planted has been cutt down, and is
carefully preserved for Sale. The House where he died has been taken down and
the Spot is now only Yard or Garden. The Curse upon him who should remove his
Bones, which is written on his Grave Stone, alludes to a Pile of some Thousands
of human Bones, which lie exposed in that Church. There is nothing
preserved of this great Genius which is worth knowing -- nothing
which might inform Us what Education, what Company, what Accident turned his
Mind to Letters and the Drama. His name is not even on his Grave Stone. An ill
sculptured Head is sett up by his Wife, by the Side of
his Grave in the Church. But paintings and Sculpture would be thrown away upon
his Fame. His Wit, and Fancy, his Taste and Judgment, His Knowledge of Nature,
of Life and Character, are immortal.
Birmingham, We only walked round the Town and viewed a
manufactory of Paintings upon Paper. --
The Gentlemens Seats were the highest Entertainment, We met with.
Blenheim, are superb.
Caversham and the
Leasowes are beautifull.
Wotton is both great and elegant tho
neglected. Architecture, Painting, Statuary, Poetry are all employed in the
Embellishment of these Residences of Greatness and Luxury. A national Debt of
274 millions sterling accumulated by jobs, Contracts, Salaries and Pensions in
the Course of a Century might easily produce all this Magnificence. The
Pillars, Obelisks &c. erected in honour of Kings,
Queens and Princesses, might procure the means. The Temples to Bacchus and
Venus, are quite unnecessary as Mankind have no need of artificial Incitements,
to such Amuzements. The Temples of ancient
Virtue, of the British Worthies, of Friendship, of Concord and Victory, are in
a higher Taste. I mounted Ld. Cobhams Pillar 120 feet high, with pleasure, as
his Lordships Name was familiar to me, from Popes Works.
London April 1786
Ld. Littletons Seat interested me, from a recollection of his Works, as well
as the Grandeur and Beauty of the Scaenes. Popes
Pavillion and Thompsons [Thomson's] Seat, made the Excursion
poetical. Shenstones Leasowes is the simplest and plainest, but the most rural
of all. I saw no Spot so small, that exhibited such a Variety of Beauties.
It will be long, I hope before Ridings, Parks, Pleasure Grounds, Gardens and
ornamented Farms grow so much in fashion in
America. But Nature has done greater Things and furnished nobler
Materials there. The Oceans, Islands, Rivers, Mountains, Valleys are all laid
out upon a larger Scale. -- If any Man should hereafter arise, to embellish the
rugged Grandeur of
Pens Hill, he might make some thing to boast of, although there
are many Situations capable of better Improvement.
Since my Return I have been over Black Fryars Bridge to see Viny's Manufacture of Patent Wheels made of bent
London April 1786.
Viny values himself much upon his mechanical Invention. Is
loud in praise of Franklin who first suggested to him the Hint
of a bent Wheel. Franklin once told me, he had seen such a
Holland, before he set Viny to
work.Viny says that Franklin said to him,
"Mankind are very superficial and very dastardly. They begin upon a Thing but
meeting with a difficulty they fly from it, discouraged. But they have
Capacities if they would but employ them." "I," says Viny,
"make it a Rule to do nothing as others do it. My first Question is how do
others do this? and when I have found out, I resolve to do it, another Way, and
a better Way. I take my Pipe and Smoke like a Limburners Kiln, and I find a
Pipe is the best Aid to thinking." This Man has Genius, but has Genius always
as much Vanity? It is not always so open. It is really modest and humble
sometimes. But in Viny it is very vain. His Inventions for
boiling and bending his Timber, and for drilling his Irons, are very ingenious.
The force requisite for bending a Stick of Ash into a hoop, suitable for a
large Wheel, or a small one, is prodigious. [Some of the lines of the
original diary are preceded buy what appear to be quotation marks. Refer to the
SATURDAY AP. 15.
Dined with Mr. Brand Hollis in Chesterfield Street. His
Mantle Trees are ornamented with Antiques. Penates. Little brazen Images of the
Gods. Venus, Ceres, Apollo, Minerva &c. Hollis is a Member
of the Antiquarian Society. Our Company
and another besides Jefferson,Smith and
Yesterday dined here, Mr. Jefferson, Sir John
Sinclair, Mr. Heard, Garter King at
Arms,Dr. Price, Mr. Brand Hollis, Mr.
Henry Loyd of
Boston, Mr. Jennings, Mr.
Bridgen, Mr. Vaughan, Mr.
LONDON APRIL 19. 1786.
This is the Anniversary of the Battle of
Lexington, and of my Reception at the
Hague, by their High Mightinesses. This last Event is considered
by the Historians, and other Writers and Politicians of
France as of no Consequence: and Congress and the Citizens of
United States in General concur with them in Sentiment.
I walked to the Booksellers, Stockdale, Cadel, Dilly, Almon, and
met Dr. Priestly for the first Time. -- The Conquest of Canaan,
the Vision of Columbus, and the History of the Revolution in
S. Carolina, were the Subject. I wrote a Letter to Jn.
Luzac, for Dilly.
This Day I met Dr. Priestly and Mr.
Jennings, with the latter of whom I had a long Walk. I spent the Day
upon the whole agreably enough. Seeds were sown,
this Day, which will grow.
LONDON APRIL 20 1786
Went with Mr. Jefferson and my Family to
Osterly, to view the Seat of the late Banker Child. The House is
very large. It is four Three Houses, fronting as many Ways --
between two is a double row of Six Pillars, which you rise to by a flight of
Steps. Within is a Square, a Court, a Terrace, paved with large Slate. The
Green House and Hot House were curious. Blowing Roses, ripe Strawberries,
Cherries, Plumbs &c. in the Hot House. The
Pleasure Grounds were only an undulating Gravel Walk, between two Borders of
Trees and Shrubs. All the Evergreens, Trees and Shrubbs were here. There is a Water, for Fish Ponds and for
Farm Uses, collected from the Springs and wet Places in the farm and
neighbourhood. Fine flocks of Deer and Sheep,
Wood Doves, Guinea Hens, Peacocks &c.
The Verdure is charming, the Music of the Birds pleasant. But the Ground is
too level. -- We could not see the Apartments in the House, because We had no
Tickett. Mrs. Child is gone to New
Markett it seems to the Races.
The beauty, Convenience, and Utility of these Country Seats, are not enjoyed
by the owners. They are mere Ostentations of Vanity. Races, Cocking, Gambling
draw away their attention.
On our Return We called to see Sion House belonging to the Duke
of Northumberland. This Farm is watered, by a rivulet drawn by an
artificial Canal from the Thames. A Repetition of winding Walks, gloomy
Evergreens, Sheets of Water, Clumps of Trees, Green Houses, Hot Houses &c.
The Gate, which lets you into this Farm from the Brentford Road, is a
beautifull Thing, and lays open to the View of
the Traveller, a very beautifull green Lawn interspersed with Clumps and
The Duke of Marlborough owns a House upon
Sion Hill, which is only over the Way.
Sion Place and
Sion Hill are all in
Brentford, within Ten Miles of Hide Park Corner. We went
through Hide Park and
Brentford. We passed in going and returning, by Lord
Hollands House, which is a Modern Building in the gothic manner.
Heard Dr. Priestley at Mr. Linseys in
MONDAY [24 APRIL].
Viewed the British Musaeum. Dr.
Grey who attended Us spoke very slightly of Buffon. Said "he was full
of mauvais Fois. No Dependence upon him. Three out of four of his Quotations
not to be found. That he had been obliged to make it his Business to examine
the Quotations. That he had not found a quarter of them. That Linnxus was
quoted from early Editions long after the last Edition was public of 1766 the
12th, which was inexcuseable. He did not think Buffon superiour to Dr. Hill. Both had
Imagination &c. -- This is partly national Prejudice and Malignity, no
LONDON JUNE 26. 1786.
On Saturday night returned from a Tour to
Portsmouth, in which We viewed Paines Hill in
Surry, as We went out; and
Windsor as We returned. We were absent four days. Paines Hill is
the most striking Piece of Art, that I have yet seen. The Soil is an heap of
Sand, and the Situation is nothing extraordinary. It is a new Creation
of Mr. Hamilton. All made within 35
Years. It belongs to Mr. Hopkins, who rides by it, but never
stops. The owners of these enchanting Seats are very indifferent to their
Beauties. -- The Country from
Portsmouth, is a barren heath, a dreary Waste.
LONDON JULY 1. 1786.
Last night, Coll. Smith and
his Lady, took their Leave of Us, and went to their House in Wimpole
Yesterday visited Desenfans's Collection of Pictures. A Port in
Italy by Claude Lorraine, is the best Piece
that remains. A Sampson sleeping in the Lap of Dalilah, while the Philistines
cutt of his Locks, is said to be by Rubens, but
Mr. Copely who was present doubts it.
Supposes it to be by some one of Reubens's School. Fine Colours and the Air of one of Reubens's Wives, is given to
This Art shews Us Examples of all the various Sorts
of Genius which appear in Poetry. The Epic Poet, the Trajedian, the Comedian,
The Writer of Pastorals, Elegies, Epigrams, Farces, and Songs. The Pleasure,
which arises from Imitation, We have in looking at a Picture of a Lanscape, a
Port, a Street, a Temple, or a Portrait. But there must be Action, Passion,
Sentiment and Moral to engage my Attention very much. The Story of the Prince,
who lost his own Life in a bold attempt to save some of his Subjects from a
flood of Water is worth all the Paintings that have been exhibited this
Copleys Fall of Chatham or Pierson, Wests Wolf,
Epaminondas, Bayard &c. Trumbulls Warren and Montgomery, are interesting
Subjects, and useful. But a Million Pictures of Flours, Game, Cities, Landscapes, with whatever Industry
and Skill executed, would be seen with much Indifference. The Sky, the Earth,
Hills and Valleys, Rivers and Oceans, Forrests
and Groves, Towns and Cities may be seen at any Time.
JULY  THURSDAY.
Dined at Clapham, at Mr. Smiths. Dr.
Kippis, Dr. Reese, Dr. Harris,
Mr. Pais, Mr. Towgood and his two Sons,
Mr. Channing and were the Company.
Mr. Pais told a Story, admirably well of a Philosopher, and
a Scotsman. The Wit attempted to divert himself, by asking the Scot if he knew
the immense Distance to Heaven? It was so many Millions of Diameters of the
Solar System, and a Cannon Ball would be so many Thousand Years in running
there. I dont know the Distance nor the Time says the Scot, but I know it will
not take you a Millionth part of the Time to go to Hell. -- The Scottish
Dialect, and Accent was admirably imitated. The Conversation was uniformly
agreable. Nothing to interrupt it.
JULY 8. SATURDAY.
In one of my common Walks, along the Edgeware Road, there are fine Meadows,
or Squares of grass Land belonging to a noted Cow keeper. These
Plotts are plentifully manured. There are on the Side
of the Way, several heaps of Manure, an hundred Loads perhaps in each heap. I
have carefully examined them and find them composed of Straw, and dung from the
Stables and Streets of
London, mud, Clay, or Marl, dug out of the Ditch, along the
Hedge, and Turf, Sward cutt up, with Spades, hoes, and
shovels in the Road. This is laid in vast heaps to mix. With narrow hoes they
cutt it down at each End, and with shovels throw it into
a new heap, in order to divide it and mix it more effectually. I have attended
to the Operation, as I walked, for some time. This may be good manure, but is
not equal to mine, which I composed in similar heaps upon my own Farm, of Horse
Dung from Bracketts stable in
Boston, Marsh Mud from the sea shore and Street Dust, from the
Plain at the Foot of
Pens hill, in which is a Mixture of Marl.
LONDON JULY 16, 1786.
At Hackney, heard a Nephew of Dr. Price, who is settled at
It may be of Use to minute miscellaneous Thoughts like Selden, Swift
It is an Observation of one of the profoundest Inquirers into human Affairs,
that a Revolution of Government, successfully conducted and
compleated, is the strongest Proof, that can be
given, by a People of their Virtue and good Sense. An Interprize of so much difficulty can never be planned
and carried on without Abilities, and a People without Principle cannot have
confidence enough in each other.
Mr. Langbourne of
Virginia, who dined with Us on Fryday
at Col. Smiths, dined here Yesterday. This Gentleman who is
rich, has taken the Whim of walking all over
Europe, after having walked over most of
America. His Observations are sensible and judicious. He walks
forty five or fifty miles a day. He says he has seen nothing
superiour to the Country from
N. York to
Boston. He is in Love with
N. England, admires the Country and its Inhabitants. He kept
Company with the King of Frances Retinue, in his late journey to Cherbourg. He
says the Virginians have learned much in Agriculture as well as in Humanity to
their Slaves, in the late War.
LONDON JULY 20. THURSDAY.
"Every Act of Authority, of one Man over another for which there is not an
absolute Necessity, is tyrannical."
"Le Pene the oltre passano la necessita di conservare il deposito della
Salute pubblica, sono ingiuste di for natura." Beccaria.
The Sovereign Power is constituted, to defend Individuals against the
Tyranny of others. Crimes are acts of Tyranny of one or more on another or
more. A Murderer, a Thief, a Robber, a Burglar, is a Tyrant.
Perjury, Slander, are tyranny too, when they hurt any one.
LONDON JULY 21. FRYDAY.
Maj. Langbourne dined with Us again. He was lamenting the
difference of Character between
N. England. I offered to give him a Receipt for making a
New England in
Virginia. He desired it and I recommended to him Town meetings,
Training Days, Town Schools, and Ministers, giving him a short Explanation of
each Article. The Meeting house, and Schoolhouse and Training Field are the
New England men were formed. Col. Trumbul, who
was present agreed, that these are the Ingredients.
In all Countries, and in all Companies for several Years, I have in
Conversation and in Writing, enumerated The Towns, Militia, Schools and
Churches as the four Causes of the Grouth and
N. England. The Virtues and Talents of the People are there
formed. Their Temperance, Patience, Fortitude, Prudence, and justice, as well
as their Sagacity, Knowledge, Judgment, Taste, Skill, Ingenuity, Dexterity, and
Industry. -- Can it be now ascertained
Winslow,Saltonstall, or who, was the Author
of the Plan of Town Schools, Townships, Militia Laws, Meeting houses and
Pages 19 - 44
[Blank pages -- no images available]
Inside Back Cover
[Blank page -- no image available]