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Adams Family Papers : An Electronic Archive

John Adams diary 28, 6 February - 21 November 1777

Front Cover
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No 28.
[The preceding text was added in the handwriting of Charles Francis Adams]

P.B. [Paper Book] No 28.
[The preceding text was added in the handwriting of Charles Francis Adams]

Inside Front Cover
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Behold the Man who had it in his Power
To make a Kingdom tremble and adore
Intoxicate with Folly See his Head
Plac'd where the meanest of his Subjects tread
Like Lucifer the giddy Tyrant fell
He lifts his Heel to Heaven, but points his Head to Hell.

written under the Metzotinto of G. 3d. [George III]

Lodged last night for the first Time in my new Quarters, at Mrs. Ross'es in Markett Street, Baltimore a few Doors below the fountain Inn.
The Gentlemen from Pensilvania and Maryland, complain of the growing Practice of distilling Wheat into Whisky. They say it will become a Question whether the People shall eat bread or drink Whisky.
The Congress sits in the last House at the West End of Market Street, on the South Side of the Street. A long Chamber, with two fire Places, two large Closets, and two Doors. The House belongs to a Quaker, who built it for a Tavern.
Dined, about half a Mile out of Town at Mr. Lux's, with Dr. Witherspoon, Mr. S. Adams, Mr. Lovell, Mr. Hall, Dr. Thornton, a Mr. Harrison, Dr. and Mr. George Lux, and two Ladies Mrs. Lux and her Sister. This Seat is named Chatworth, and an elegant one it is. Has a large Yard, inclosed with Stone in Lime, and before the Yard two fine Rows of large Cherry Trees, which lead out to the public Road. There is a fine Prospect about it. Mr. Lux and his Son are sensible Gentlemen. I had much Conversation with George about the new form of Government adopted in Maryland.

George is the young Gentleman, by whom I sent Letters to my friends from Philadelphia, when the Army was at Cambridge, particularly to Coll. Warren, whom and whose Lady Lux so much admired.
The whole Family profess great Zeal in the American Cause. Mr. Lux lives like a Prince.
Dined at the Presidents, with Mr. Lux, Messrs. Samuel and Robert Purveyance, Capt. Nicholson of the Maryland Frigate [the Virginia], Coll. Harrison, Wilson, Mr. Hall -- upon New England Salt fish. The Weather was rainy, and the Streets the muddiest I ever saw. -- This is the dirtyest Place in the World -- our Salem, and Portsmouth are neat in Comparison. The Inhabitants, however, are excusable because they had determined to pave the Streets before this War came on, since which they have laid the Project aside, as they are accessible to Men of War. This Place is not incorporated. It is neither a City, Town, nor Burrough, so that they can do nothing with Authority.

Heard Mr. Allison. In the Evening walked to Fells Point, the Place where the Ships lie, a kind of Peninsula which runs out, into the Bason which lies before Baltimore Town. This Bason 30 Years ago was deep enough for large Tobacco ships, but since then has fill'd up, ten feet. Between the Town and the Point, We pass a Bridge over a little Brook which is the only Stream which runs into the Bason, and the only flux of Water which is to clear the away the Dirt which flows into the Bason from the foul streets of the Town and the neighbouring Hills and Fields. There is a breast Work thrown up upon the Point, with a Number of Embrasures for Cannon facing the Entrance into the Harbour. The Virginia Frigate Captn. Nickolson, lies off in the Stream. There is a Number of Houses upon this Point. You have a fine View of the Town of Baltimore from this Point.
On my Return, I stopped and drank Tea at Captn. Smiths, a Gentleman of the new Assembly.

Last Evening I supped with my Friends Dr. Rush and Mr. Sergeant at Mrs. Page's over the Bridge. The two Coll. Lees, Dr. Witherspoon, Mr. Adams, Mr. Gerry, Dr. Brownson, made the Company. They have a Fashion in this Town of reversing the Picture of King G. 3d, in such Families as have it. One of these Topsy Turvy Kings was hung up in the Room, where we supped, and under it were written these Lines, by Mr. Throop, as we were told.
Behold the Man who had it in his Power
To make a Kingdom tremble and adore
Intoxicate with Folly, See his Head
Plac'd where the meanest of his Subjects tread
Like Lucifer the giddy Tyrant fell
He lifts his Heel to Heaven but points his Head to Hell.
Yesterday, heard Dr. Witherspoon upon redeeming Time. An excellent Sermon. I find that I understand the Dr. better, since I have heard him so much in Conversation, and in the Senate. But I perceive that his Attention to civil Affairs, has slackened his Memory. It cost him more Pains than heretofore to recollect his Discourse.

Mr. H. [Hancock] told C.W. [Colonel Whipple?] Yesterday, that he had determined to go to Boston in April. Mrs. H. was not willing to go till May, but Mr. H. was determined upon April. -- Perhaps the Choice of a Governor, may come on in May. . . What aspiring little Creatures we are! -- how subtle, sagacious and judicious this Passion is! how clearly it sees its object, how constantly it pursues it, and what wise Plans it devises for obtaining it!
Dined Yesterday at Mr. Samuel Purveyances. Mr. Robert his Brother and Lady, the President and Lady, the two Coll. Lees and their Ladies, Mr. Page and his Lady, Coll. Whipple, Mrs. K. Quincy, a young Gentleman and a young Lady made the Company. A great Feast. The Virginia Ladies had Ornaments about their Wrists, which I dont remember to have seen before. These Ornaments were like Miniature Pictures, bound round the Arms with some Chains.
This Morning received a long Card from Mr. H. expressing great Resentment about fixing the Magazine at Brookfield, against the Book binder and the General. The Complaisance to me and the Jealousy for the Massachusetts in this

Message, indicate to me, the same Passion and the same design, with the journey to B. [Boston] in April.
Took a Walk with Mr. Gerry, down to a Place called Ferry Branch, a Point of Land which is formed by a Branch of the Patapsco on one Side and the Basin before the Town of Baltimore on the other. At the Point is a Ferry, over to the Road which goes to Anapolis. This is a very pretty Walk. At the Point you have a full view of the elegant, splendid Seat of Mr. Carroll Barrister. It is a large and elegant House. It stands fronting looking down the River, into the Harbour. It is one Mile from the Water. There is a most beautifull Walk from the House down to the Water. There is a descent, not far from the House. You have a fine Garden -- then you descend a few Steps and have another fine Garden -- you go down a few more and have another. It is now the dead of Winter, no Verdure, or Bloom to be seen, but in the Spring, Summer, and fall this Sc ne must be very pretty.
Returned and dined with Mr. William Smith a new Member of Congress. Dr. Lyon, Mr. Merriman,

Mr. Gerry, a son of Mr. Smith, and two other Gentlemen made the Company. The Conversation turned, among other Things, upon removing the Obstructions and opening the Navigation of Susquehannah River. The Company thought it might easily be done, and would open an amazing Sc ne of Business. Philadelphia will oppose it, but it will be the Interest of a Majority of Pensilvania to effect it.
This Mr. Smith is a grave, solid Gentleman, a Presbyterian by Profession -- a very different Man from the most of those We have heretofore had from Maryland.
The Manners of Maryland are somewhat peculiar. They have but few Merchants. They are chiefly Planters and Farmers. The Planters are those who raise Tobacco and the Farmers such as raise Wheat &c. The Lands are cultivated, and all Sorts of Trades are exercised by Negroes, or by transported Convicts, which has occasioned the Planters and Farmers to assume the Title of Gentlemen, and they hold their Negroes and Convicts, that is all labouring People and Tradesmen, in such Contempt, that they think themselves a distinct order of Beings. Hence they never will suffer their Sons to labour or learn any Trade, but they bring them up in Idleness or what is worse in Horse Racing, Cock fighting, and Card Playing.

Last Evening had a good deal of free Conversation, with Mr. R. Purveyance. He seems to me to have a perfect Understanding of the affairs of this State. Men and Things are very well known to him.
The object of the Men of Property here, the Planters &c., is universally, Wealth. Every Way in the World is sought to get and save Money. Landjobbers -- Speculators in Land --  [illegible little Generosity to the Public -- little public Spirit.

Fryday the 12, I removed from Captn. Duncans in Walnutt Street to the Revd. Mr. Sprouts in Third Street, a few doors from his Meeting House. Mr. Merchant from Rhode Island boards here, with me. Mr. Sprout is sick of a Fever. Mrs. Sprout, and the four young Ladies her Daughters, are in great Distress on Account of his Sickness, and the Approach of Mr. Howes Army. But they bear their Affliction with christian Patience and philosophic Fortitude. The young Ladies are Miss Hannah, Olive, Sally and Nancy. The only Son is an Officer in the Army. He was the first Clerk in the American War office.
We live in critical Moments! Mr. Howes Army is at Middleton and Concord. Mr. Washingtons, upon the Western Banks of Schuylkill, a few Miles from him. I saw this Morning an excellent Chart of the Schuylkill, Chester River, the Brandywine, and this whole Country, among the Pensilvania Files. This City is the Stake, for which the Game is playd. I think, there is a Chance for saving it, although the Probability is against Us. Mr. Howe I conjecture is waiting for his Ships to come into the Delaware. Will W. attack him? I hope so -- and God grant him Success.

No Newspaper this Morning. Mr. Dunlap has moved or packed up his Types. A Note from G. Dickinson that the Enemy in N. Jersey are 4000 strong. How is about 15 miles from Us, the other Way. The City seems to be asleep, or dead, and the whole State scarce alive. Maryland and Delaware the same.
The Prospect is chilling, on every Side. Gloomy, dark, melancholly, and dispiriting. When and where will the light spring up?
Shall We have good News from Europe? Shall We hear of a Blow struck by Gates? Is there a Possibility that Washington should beat How? Is there a Prospect that McDougal and Dickinson should destroy the Detachment in the Jersies?
From whence is our Deliverance to come? Or is it not to come? Is Philadelphia to be lost? If lost, is the Cause lost? No -- the Cause is not lost -- but it may be hurt.

I seldom regard Reports, but it is said that How has marked his Course, from Elke, with Depredation. His Troops have plunderd Henroosts, dairy Rooms, the furniture of Houses and all the Cattle of the Country. The Inhabitants, most of whom are Quakers, are angry and disappointed, because they were promised the Security of their Property.
It is reported too that Mr. How lost great Numbers in the Battle of the Brandywine.
The violent N.E. Storm which began the Day before Yesterday continues. We are yet in Philadelphia, that Mass of Cowardice and Toryism. Yesterday was buryed Monsr. Du Coudray, a French Officer of Artillery, who was lately made an Inspector General of Artillery and military Manufactures with the Rank of Major General. He was drowned in the Schuylkill, in a strange manner. He rode into the Ferry Boat, and road out at the other End, into the River, and was drowned. His Horse took fright. He was reputed the most learned and promising Officer in France. He was carried into the Romish Chappell, and buried in the Yard of that Church.

This Dispensation will save Us much Altercation.

At 3 this Morning was waked by Mr. Lovell, and told that the Members of Congress were gone, some of them, a little after Midnight. That there was a Letter from Mr. Hamilton Aid de Camp to the General, informing that the Enemy were in Possn. of the Ford and the Boats, and had it in their Power to be in Philadelphia, before Morning, and that if Congress was not removed they had not a Moment to loose.
Mr. Merchant and myself arose, sent for our Horses, and, after collecting our Things, rode off after the others. Breakfasted at Bristol, where were many Members, determined to go the Newtown Road to Reading. We rode to Trenton where We dined. Coll. Harrison, Dr. Witherspoon, all the Delegates from N.Y. and N.E. except Gerry and Lovell. Drank Tea at Mr. Spencers, lodged at Mr. S. Tuckers, at his kind Invitation.
Breakfasted at Mrs. J. B. Smiths. The old Gentleman, his Son Thomas the Loan Officer, were here, and Mrs. Smith's little Son and two Daughters. An elegant Break fast We had of fine Hyson, loaf Sugar, and Coffee &c.

Dined at Williams's, the Sign of the Green Tree. Drank Tea, with Mr. Thompson and his Lady at Mrs. Jacksons. Walked with Mr. Duane to General Dickinsons House, and took a Look at his Farm and Gardens, and his Greenhouse, which is a Sc ne of Desolation. The floor of the Greenhouse is dug up by the Hessians, in Search for Money. The Orange, Lemon and Lime Trees are all dead, with the Leaves on. There is a spacious Ball Room, above stairs a drawing Room and a whispering Room. In another Apartment, a huge Crash of Glass Bottles, which the Hessians had broke I suppose. -- These are thy Tryumphs, mighty Britain. -- Mr. Law, Mr. Hancock, Mr. Thompson, Mr. were here. Spent the Evening at Williams's and slept again at Tuckers.
Mrs. Tucker has about 1600 st. in some of the Funds in England, which she is in fear of loosing. She is accordingly, passionately wishing for Peace, and that the Battle was fought once for all &c. Says that, private Property will be plundered, where there is an Army

whether of Friends or Enemies. That if the two opposite Armys were to come here alternately ten times, she would stand by her Property untill she should be kill'd. If she must be a Beggar, it should be where she was known &c. This kind of Conversation shews plainly enough, how well she is pleased, with the State of Things.
It was a false alarm which occasioned our Flight from Philadelphia. Not a Soldier of Howes has crossed the Schuylkill. Washington has again crossed it, which I think is a very injudicious Maneuver. I think, his Army would have been best disposed on the West Side of the Schuylkill. If he had sent one Brigade of his regular Troops to have heald the Militia it would have been enough. With such a Disposition, he might have cutt to Pieces, Hows Army, in attempting to cross any of the Fords. . . How will not attempt it. He will wait for his Fleet in Delaware River. He will keep open his Line of Communication with Brunswick, and at last, by some Deception or other will slip unhurt into the City.

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Burgoine has crossed Hudsons River, by which Gen. Gates thinks, he is determined at all Hazards to push for Albany, which G. Gates says he will do all in his Power to prevent him from reaching. But I confess I am anxious for the Event, for I fear he will deceive Gates, who seems to be acting the same timorous, defensive Part, which has involved us in so many Disasters. -- Oh, Heaven! grant Us one great Soul! One leading Mind would extricate the best Cause, from that Ruin which seems to await it, for the Want of it.
We have as good a Cause, as ever was fought for. We have great Resources. The People are well tempered. One active masterly Capacity would bring order out of this Confusion and save this Country.
Breakfasted at Ringolds in Quaker Town, dined at Shannons in Easton at the Forks, slept at Johnsons in Bethlehem.
Mr. Okeley [Okely], Mr. Hassey [Hassel] and Mr. Edwine [Ettwein] came to see me. Mr. Edwine shewed Us, the Childrens Meeting at half after 8 o Clock. Musick, consisting of an Organ and Singing in the German Language. Mr. Edwine gave a Discourse in German and then the same in English.

Mrs. Langley shewed Us the Society of Single Women. Then Mr. Edwine shewed Us the Water Works and the Manufactures. There are six Setts of Works in one Building. An Hemp Mill, an Oil Mill, a Mill to grind Bark for the Tanners.
Then the Fullers Mill, both of Cloth and Leather, the Dyers House, and the Shearers House. They raise a great deal of Madder. We walked among the Rowes of Cherry Trees, with spacious orchards of Apple Trees on each Side of the Cherry Walk. The Society of Single Men have turned out, for the sick.
Fine Morning. We all went to Meeting last Evening, where Mr. Edwine gave the People a short discourse in German, and the Congregation sung and the organ playd. There were about 200 Women and as many Men. The Women sat together in one Body and the Men in another. The Women dressed all alike. The Womens Heads resembled a Garden of white Cabbage Heads.

Rode from Bethlehem through Allan Town, Yesterday, to a German Tavern, about 18 Miles from Reading. Rode this Morning to Reading, where We breakfasted, and heard for certain that Mr. Howes Army had crossed the Schuylkill. Coll. Hartley gave me an Account of the late Battle, between the Enemy and General Wayne. Hartley thinks that the Place was improper for Battle, and that there ought to have been a Retreat.

At Willis's at the Log Goal in New Jersey 28 miles from Easton.
Sett off from York Town -- reached Lancaster. From Lancaster to Reading. Slept at Gen. Mifflins. Reached Strickser's. Dined at Bethlehem. Slept at Easton at Coll. Hoopers. Supped at Coll. Deans.
Met Messrs. Elery and Dana and
Coll. Brown
on the 15 a few miles on this Side of Reading.
We have had 5 days of very severe Weather, raw, cold, frosty, snowy. This cold comes from afar. The Lakes Champlain and George have been boisterous, if not frozen. Will the Enemy evacuate Tia. [Ticonderoga]? Are they supplied with Prov. [Provisions] for the Winter? Can they bring em from Canada? by Water or Ice? Can they get them in the Neighbouring Country?
Can We take Mt. Independence in the Winter?

Rode Yesterday from Logg Jail, Willis's, breakfasted at Hoffmans, at Sussex Ct. House, and supped and lodged at David McCamblys, 34 miles from Willis's. -- The Taverners all along are complaining of the Guard of Light Horse which attended Mr. H. [Hancock]. They did not pay, and the Taverners were obliged to go after them, to demand their Dues. The Expence, which is supposed to be the Countrys, is unpopular. The Torys laugh at the Tavern keepers, who have often turned them out of their Houses for abusing Mr. H. They now scoff at them for being imposed upon by their King, as they call him. -- Vanity is allways mean. Vanity is never rich enough to be generous.
Dined at Brewsters, in Orange County, State of New York. Brewsters Grandfather, as he tells me, was a Clergyman and one of the first Adventurers to Plymouth. He died at 95 Years of Age, a Minister on Long Island, left a son, who lived to be above 80 and died leaving my Landlord, a son who is now I believe between 60 and 70.

The Manners of this Family are exactly like those of the N.E. People. A decent Grace before and after Meat -- fine Pork and Beef and Cabbage and Turnip.
Lodged at Brooks's, 5 Miles from the North River. Rode to the Continental Ferry, crossed over, and dined at Fish Kill, at the Drs. Mess, near the Hospital, with Dr. Sam. Adams, Dr. Eustis, Mr. Wells, &c. It was a feast -- Salt Pork and Cabbage, roast Beef and Potatoes, and a noble suit Pudding, Grog and a Glass of Port.
Our best Road home is through Litchfield and Springfield.
Morehouses is a good Tavern, about 24 Miles, 3 or 4 Miles on this Side of Bulls Iron Works. 50 Miles to Litchfield.

Captn. Storms 8 Miles. -- Coll. Vandeboroughs 5. -- Coll. Morehouses 9. -- Bulls Iron Works 4. no Tavern. -- Cogswells Iron Works 10 -- a Tavern. -- Litchfield, 8. -- Cross Mount Tom to get to Litchfield.
Dined at Storms, lodged last night and breakfasted this Morning Loudouns at Fish Kill. Here We are at Coll. Morehouses's a Member of Assembly for Dutchess County.
To Harrwington [Harwinton] Phillips's 5 Miles. -- To Yales in Farmington 5. -- To Humphreys in Simsbury 7 miles. -- To Owens in Simsbury 7 miles. -- To Sheldons in Suffield 10. -- Kents in Suffield 5. -- To Springfield 10.

To Hays's Salmon Brook 5. miles. -- To Southwick, Loomis, 6. -- To Fowlers 3. miles. -- To Westfield, Claps, 4 miles. -- To Captn. Claps, 4 miles this Side N.H. -- To North Hampton, Lymans or Clarks.

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Inside Back Cover
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Cite web page as: John Adams diary 28, 6 February - 21 November 1777 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society.
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams diary 28, 6 February - 21 November 1777. Stitched sheets with paper covers (25 pages, 63 additional blank pages). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 2. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.