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Adams Family Papers : An Electronic Archive

John Adams diary 6, 2 December 1760 - 3 March 1761

Spent the Evening at Coll. Q.'s with Captn. Freeman. About the middle of the Evening Dr. Lincoln and his Lady came in. The Dr. gave us an ample Confirmation of our Opinion of his Brutality and Rusticity. He treated his Wife, as no drunken Cobler, or Clothier would have done, before Company. Her father never gave such Looks and Answers to one of his slaves in my Hearing. And he contradicted he Squibd, shrugged, scouled, laughd at the Coll.in such a Manner as the Coll. would have called Boorish, ungentlemanly, unpolite, ridiculous, in any other Man. More of the Clown, is not in the World. A hoggish, ill bred, uncivil, haughty, Coxcomb, as ever I saw. His Wit is forced and affected, his Manners to his father, Wife, and to Company are brutally rustic, he is ostentatious of his Talent at Disputation, forever giving an History, like my Uncle Hottentot, of some Wrangle he has had with this and that Divine. Affects to be thought an Heretic. Disputes against the Eternity of Hell, torments &c. His treatment of his Wife amazed me. Miss Q. asked the Dr. a Question. Miss Lincoln seeing the Dr. engaged with me, gave her Mother an Answer, which however was not satisfactory. Miss Q. repeats it. "Dr. you did not hear my Question." -- "Yes I did, replies the Dr., and the Answer to it, my Wife is so pert, she must put in her Oar, or she must blabb, before I could speak." And then shrugged And affected a laugh, to cow her as he used to, the freshmen and sophymores at Colledge.
-- She sunk into silence and shame and Grief, as I thought. -- After supper, she says "Oh my dear, do let my father see that Letter we read on the road." Bela answers, like the great Mogul, like Nero or Caligula, "he shant." -- Why, Dr., do let me have it! do! -- He turns his face about as stern as the Devil, sour as Vinegar. "I wont." -- Why sir says she, what makes you answer me so sternly, shant and wont? -- Because I wont, says he. Then the poor Girl, between shame and Grief and Resentment and Contempt, at last, strives to turn

it off with a Laugh. -- "I wish I had it. Ide shew it, I know." --  [illegible Bela really acts the Part of the Tamer of the Shrew in Shakespear. Thus a kind Look, an obliging Air, a civil Answer, is a boon that she cant obtain from her Husband. Farmers, Tradesmen, Soldiers, Sailors, People of no fortune, Figure, Education, are really more civil, obliging, kind, to their Wives than he is. -- She always is under Restraint before me. She never dares shew her endearing Airs, nor any fondness for him.
Talked with Zab about Newton, Bacon, Lock, Martin, Chambers, Rowning, Desaguliers, S'Gravesende &c. I told him I had a low Opinion of the Compilers, Abridgers, and Abstract makers. We had better draw science from its fountain in original Authors. These Writers, the Hirelings of the Booksellers, only vend us the Discoveries of other Philosophers, in another form, and under another Title, in order to get Bread to eat and Raiment to put on. -- Zab says, that Martin has made several Discoveries -- has invented new Machines, improved and perfected old ones, nay has even  [illegible detected Errors in Newton. E.g. Newton always thought, the Moon was surrounded by an Atmosphere, but Martin proved it is not; because the Starrs, that appear all round it above, below and on each side of it, are not diminished in their Lustre, as they would appear, if the Rays passed from them thro an Atmosphere.
Then we transited to Dr. Simpson [Simson], Euclid &c. and he asked me to demonstrate, that the 3 Angles of a Triangle are equal to a Right. I undertook it. Draw a right Line, A.B. Erect the Perpendicular, C.D. Draw the Hypothenuse D.A. Parallel to A.D. draw the Line C.E.

[Figure -- see page image]

Now I say that the 3 Angles ACD., CDA., and DAC are equal to two right Angles. For it is easy to see that DCA., is a right Angle, and that BCE, which is equal to CAD added to ECD, which is equal to CDA, make another right Angle. But how do I know that BCE is equal to CAD? Let the Triangle ECB, be moved along, to the left hand and by the Hypothesis CE will fall upon AD and CB Upon AC, and of Consequence the a Angles are equal. How then do I know that the Angle ECD is equal to ADC? See the [Demonstration] in Euclid.
Then we attempted to demonstrate the 47th of the 1st Book. That the Square of the Hypothenuse is equal to the Squares of both the Legs.

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I am astonished at my own Ignorance in the french tongue. I find I can neither express my own Thoughts, in it, nor understand others, who express theirs readily in it. I can neither give nor receive Thoughts, by that Instrument.
Began Machiavells  [illegible Machiavell
Hunt v. White. Complaint to Coll. Quincy -- of a scandalous Lye, made and published to Hunts Damage.
We appear before your Honour to complain ofone of the most a very slanderous, and malicious Lye, made and published to our Damage. We complain of a Violation of the Law of this Province against Lying and Libelling. The Law runs thus. -- If any Person &c. shall make wittingly and willingly make or publish any Lye or Libel tending to the Defamation or Damage &c., make or Spread any false News or Reports &c., and being convicted before one or more justices, he shall be fined &c. and find sureties. -- The Legislature, knowing the quickness and Violence of human Passions saw the Tendency of the Publication of Lyes and false stories, concerning any Person, to raise his Resentment, and provoke him to break the Peace. They knew what a Provocation it was, to recur to Clubbs and fists and swords, the Remedies of Mohocks and Catabaws

and to the utter Disturbance of the Peace of society. To prevent therefore the Mischifs and Distraction that might ensue from such Provocations and Resentment they enacted this Law -- that Men injured in such a manner might instantly have recourse to a Majestrate and have the Lyar punished for his Malice, and bound to the Behaviour. Now We complain of the Publication of such a Lye and if we can shew that the Defendant has published such a Lye, i.e. any tending to our Defamation or Damage, that he has spread a false Report, with Intent to abuse us and deceive others, we shall expect your Honours will convict of a breach of this Law, fine him, as this Law directs, and bind him to his good Behaviour. In order to this, I beg leave to lay open as concisely as I can, the previous Facts, which gave Occasion to this Lye to use the force of the Province Law to this Lye, this false story.
Mr. Hunt, it seems sometime after last Thanksgiving Day, made his application to Mr. Justice Dyer, for a Warrant to search for stolengood goods.Mr. The justice administered an oath to him and he swore that on last the Night after last Thanksgiving Day, his House was broken and 17 of Money stolen from his Chest. A Warrant of search was granted and dilligent search was made, but the Money not found. This opportunity it seems, Captn. White took to raise and spread a Lye. -- I must be excused, for using these Expressions.

The Law has pointed them out to me, and they are the properest that can be found. -- A Lye, that has a Tendency, totally and irretrievably to ruin Mr. Hunts Character, to destroy all Confidence in his Probity, to expose him to an infamous Punishment, and to make him avoided as  [illegible a Pest to Society.
He seems to have made it his Business to ramble about, and [illegible publish his Tale to every Man he saw almost both in Weighmouth and Braintree. To one man He tells says Hunt never lost any Money. To another He stole his Money himself. To a third he enters into a pretended Proof of his story and says -- Hunt said in Boston, on Thanksgiving Day Night, which was before his Money was stolen as he swore to justice Dyer, had told People the story to which he afterwards swore. To another he is more Particular, and says Mr. Ballard of Boston told me, the morning after Thanksgiving, that Hunt told him of the Breach of his House and the Loss of his [illegible money the Night before. -- Now this we say is the Lye. We never told Mr. Ballard so and Mr. Ballard never told him so. And we say it has a tendency to our Defamation and Damage. If these stories should be believed, every Man will believe us guilty

not only of a fraudulent, lying Disposition, but of Perjury. And if the world should believe us guilty of Perjury we are undone, for ever. We shall be dispised. We shall be detested. No man will have the least Confidence in us. We must become Vagabonds upon Earth. I pray the Witnesses may be sworn to prove what we say.
The Crime that is implicitly charged upon the Complainant, is Perjury. What is Perjury? Is it not the worst of Crimes? Is it not, a open deliberate Defyance of Heaven and Earth? Is it not a Challenge of divine Vengence, and a Contemt of all the Infamy and Misery of [three?] of the most severe of civil Punishments? Is it not a Crime that carries with [it] the last Degree of Reproach? [illegible It does not indeed strip a Man of the Protection of Society? We cannot, lawfully, hunt down and kill a Perjured Person. But does it not strip us of all the Priviledges of society? Does it not disable us to testify, as Witness on all occasions? Does it not prevent all the World from believing and trusting us?

The Foundation of this Law, is the Tendency of such scandalous stories to the Disturbance of the Peace. The Legislature knew the quickness and Violence of Mens Resentment.
Attended the Tryal all day, between Hunt and White before Coll. Quincy, at James Bracketts.
What will be the Consequence of this Tryal?with my to me, to Hunt, and to White? White has been punished, for his licentious Tittle tatle, but Hunt has [illegible gained neither Recompence nor Credit. Benja. Thayer is enraged and Prat and Pitty [Pettee] were enraged at me for abusing them, by asking them their Thoughts. Ben. Thayer continues so, for aught I know, or care. I fear this unsuccessful Prosecution connected with that of Lovel and Reed, will occasion squibbs, and injure my Reputation in Weighmouth. However in both I am well assured I had good Cause of Action. Lovel and Reed had good Right,tho the justice was, I dont know what, enough to give his judgment against them. And stories have been propagated, zealously, industriously propagated by White, with Design I believe to convince Mankind that Hunt had been guilty, or at least from a vain trifling Inclination to shew his Penetration at Hunts Expence; altho the Circumstances of suspicion against Hunt have taken such hold of Mens Minds, that no Conviction of White would have retrieved Hunts Character at all.

It would have been much better, never to have stirred, in this Affair. The more He stirs the worse he stinks. -- A Prosecution commenced with so much Temper, pursued with so much Resolution, andthensupported by so little Evidence and terminated by Agreement,tho in his favour, yet with so small Advantage, will give occasion and for Weighmouth Tongues to wanton in obloquy, and to their sides to riot in Laughter.
Virtues, Ambition, Generosity, indulged to excess degenerate in Extravagance which plunges headlong into Villany and folly.
Yesterday spent in Weymouth, in settling the Disputes between old Thos. White and young Isaac French. White has the Remainders of his habitual Trickish lying, cheating Disposition, strongly working to this Day -- an infinity of jesuitical Distinctions, and mental Reservations.
He told me he never lost a Cause at Court in his Life-which James White and Mr. Whitmarsh say is a down right Lye.
He owned to me that his Character had been that of a Knave and a Villain: and says every Man of Wit and sense will be called a Villain.
-- My Principle has been, to deal upon Honour with all men, so long as they deal upon Honour with me, but as soon as they begin to trick me, I  [illegible think I ought to trick them.

Thus every Knave thinks others, as knavish or more knavish than himself.
What an Intrenchment, is this against the Attacks of his Conscience, is this, "the Knavery of my Neighbours, is superiour to mine."
An old withered, decripit Person, 87 years of Age with a Head full of all the Wiles, and Guile and Artifice of the Infernal serpent, is really aPhenomenon melancholly sight. Ambition of appearing sprightly, cunning, smart, capable of outwitting younger Men. In short I never saw that Guile and subtilty in any Man of that Age. Father Niles has a little of that same serpentine Guile. I never felt the meaning of the Words, Stratagem, Guile,Subtilty, Cunning, Wiles &c. that Milton applies to the Devil [in?] his Plan to effect the Ruin of our first Parents so forcibly, as since I knew that old Man, and his grandson Isaac, who seems to have the same subtilty, and a worse Temper, under a total secresy, and dissembled Intention. He has a smiling face, and a flattering Tongue with a total Concealment of his Designs,tho a devilish malignant, fiery temper appears in his Eyes. He's a Cassius, like Ben. Thayer. hopes to Sees thro the Characters of Men, much further, and clearer, than ordinary, never laughs, now and then smiles, or half smiles. Father White, with all his subtilty and Guile, may be easily over reached by  [illegible Men like him self. He is too open, too ostentatious of his Cunning, and therefore is generally, out witted, and worsted.

Yesterdays Transaction was intended as the final Determination of all Disputes and Concerns between Mr. White and Mr. French -- that White should deliver up, or burn all Bonds, Notes, Leases, Indentures, Covenants and Obligations whatever, and that  [illegible French on his Part should deliver up, or burn, all Indentures, Leases, obligations &c., in his Hands. But  [illegible as the Indentures and Leases were not destroyed, and some Notes in father Whites Hands not delivered up,  [illegible I fear, from French's outrageous, and barefaced Declaration, as soon as affairs were over, "that he had got it settled exactly as he would have it," and that "the Receipt did not cut off his Indentures, which would not be in force till his Grandfathers Decease and that he would sue the remaining Notes, out of his Grandfathers Hands" &c., that more Difficulties will yet arise between them. I fear too that my burning of the Arbitration Bonds, and Awards, was a mistaken step, for they might have remained, as Evidence. However, French declared to me, that he would surrender all his Writings, if his Grandfather would surrender his; afterwards in the Evening, at [illegible] But he told me he did not see the Importance of those  [illegible Indentures.

Five strange Characters I have had Concerns with very lately Josiah White, Saml. Hunt, old Thomas White, and Isaac French. Two Fools, and two Knaves -- Besides Daniel Nightingale, a Lunatick.
French's joy, like that of the Devil, when he had compleated the Temptation and fall of Man, was extravagant, but he broke out into too violent a Passion. He broke his own seal of secresy and betrayed his villanous Designs to me. On my Resenting his declared Intention, he grew sensible of his Error, and attempted by soothing to retrieve it. "He was sorry he had broke out so." -- "The treatment he had suffered made him in a Passion." -- "I raised your Temper too prodigiously."
There is every Year, some new and astonishing scene of Vice, laid open to the Consideration of the Public. Parson Potters Affair, with Mrs. Winchester, and other Women, is hardly forgotten. A Minister, famous for Learning, oratory, orthodoxy, Piety and Gravity, discovered to have the most debauched and polluted of Minds, to have pursued a series of wanton Intrigues, with one Woman and another, to have got his Maid with Child and all that. -- Lately Deacon Savils Affair has become public. An old Man 77 Years of Age, a Deacon, whose chief Ambition has always been Prayer, and religious Conversation, and sacerdotal Company, discovered to have been the most salacious, rampant, Stallion, in the Universe -- rambling all the Town over,

lodging with this and that Boy and Attempting at least the Crime of Buggery. [Now think affair ?]Thus Adultery, Buggery, Perjury, are-
Justice Dyer says there is more Occasion for justices than for Lawyers. Lawyers live upon the sins of the People. If all Men were just, and honest, and pious, and Religious &c. there would be no need of Lawyers. But justices are necessary to make keep men just and honest and pious, and religious. -- Oh sagacity!
But, it may be said with equal Truth, that all Magistrates, and all civil officers, and all civil Government, is founded and maintained by the sins of the People. All armies would be needless if Men were universally virtuous. Most manufacturers and Tradesmen would be needless. Nay, some of the natural Passions and sentiments of human Minds, would be needless upon that supposition. Resentment, e.g. which has for its object, Wrong and Injury. No man upon that supposition would ever give another, a just Provocation. And no just Resentment could take Place without a just Provocation. Thus, our natural Resentments are founded on the sins of the People, as much as the Profession of the Law, or that of Arms, or that of Divinity. In short Vice and folly are so interwoven in all human Affairs that they could not possibly be wholly separated from them without tearing and rending the whole system of human Nature, and state. Nothing would remain as it is.

I am an old Man seventy odd, and as [I] had my Education, so I have passed nay whole Life in the Country, &c.
This day and Tomorrow are the last. I have but one Blank left that I can use.
Governor Bernards Speech to the  [illegible two Houses, at the opening of the present sessions, has several Inaccuracies in it. "The glorious Conclusion of the North American War." -- The N. American War is not yet concluded, it continues, obstinate and bloody, with the Cherokees, and will be renewed probably, against the french  [illegible in Louisiana. However with Regard to this Province, whose Legislature, the Governor was congratulating, it may not very improperly be called a Conclusion.
"The fair Prospect of the security of your Country being settled, upon the most sure and  [illegible lasting foundations." -- Is not this sentence filled with Tautology? The security, being secured upon secure foundations? Emendation --"and the fair Prospect that now Presents itself, of Tranquility, established on lasting foundations." -- But it is not Tranquility nor safety, nor Preservation, nor Peace, nor Happiness: but it is security. Then it is not established, fixed, placed: but it is settled: and then it is not stable, permanent: but sure: Here are certainly Words used, mearly for sound.
"This great Contest" &c. Q. -- what does he mean, the War, or the Conclusion of the War? If the latter, Conquest should have been his

Word: if the former,  [illegible what follows is not true vizt. we may date the firm Establishment of the british Empire in N. America. -- From our late successes and Acquisitions, we may date that Establishment, but not from our Misfortunes and Losses which made no Unmemorable Part of this great Contest.
"We form these Pleasing assurances, not only from the more striking Instances of the superiority of its Power, but also from the less obvious observation of the Improvement of its Policy." -- Its Power, i.e. the british Empires Power. Instances i.e. Particulars in which it has appeared. Obvious observation, has a good Meaning, but an inelegant, inartificial sound. A Defect of Elegance, Variety, Harmony, at least.
"The improving a Country is a more pleasing Task than the defending it: " -- Improving and Defending Participles, used as substantives with the Article the before them, will never be used by a grammarian much less by a Rhetorician. I never could bear such Expressions, in others, and never could use them, myself, unless in Case of absolute Necessity, where there is no substantive to express the same Idea.
"As I have consulted your Convenience in deferring calling you together untill this, the most Leisure time of your whole Year, &c." "In deferring calling," would never have been used together, by a discerning Ear. He might have said "in deferring this session,untill," &c. -- Your whole Year! Why yours, any more than mine or others? Answer. It is not the most Leisure time of every mans whole Year. It is the most busy time of some Mens year.
Deacon Palmers Observation upon this speech, that "he talks like a weak honest Man," is childish. Tis superficial: Tis Prejudice: Tis a silly thoughtless Repetition of what he has heard others say.

For, tho there are no Marks of Knavery, in it: there are marks of good sense I think. Grammatical and Rhetorical Inaccuracies are by no means Proofs of Weakness, or Ignorance. They may be found in Bacon, Lock, Newton, &c.

The Representatives in their Address to the Governor, have told him that "Great Britain is the leading and most respectable Power in the whole World." -- Let us examine this. -- Is she the Leading Power, either in War or Negociation? -- In War? She has no Army, not more than 50 or 60 thousand Men, whereas France has a standing Army, of 250,000 men in Camp and in Garrison. And their officers are as gallant and skillful, their Gunners and Engineers, the most accomplished of any in Europe. Their Navy indeed is now inconsiderable, And our Navy alone has given us the Advantage. But our Navy alone will not make us the leading Power. How we can be called the Leading Power I cant see. Holland, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and all Italy has refused to follow us, and Austria,  [illegible Russia, Sweeden, and indeed almost all the states of Germany, the Prince of Hesse excepted, have followed France. The only Power, independent Power that has consented to follow us is Prussia, and indeed upon Recollection it seems to me we followed Prussia too, rather than the Contrary. -- Thus we are the Leading Power without Followers.

 [illegible And, if we are not the leading Power, in War, we never have been the Leading Power in Negociation. -- It is a common Place observation that the French have regained by Treaty, all

the Advantages, which we had gained by Arms. Now whether this arose from the superior Dexterity of the french Plenipotentiaries, or from the universal Complaisance of the other Plenipotentiaries of Europe to France and frenchmen, it equally proves that England is not the leading Power, in Councils.

How are we the most respectable? -- The most respected, I am sure, we are not! -- else how came all Europe to remain Neuters, or else take Arms against us-how came foreigners, from all Countries, to resort to France, to learn their Policy, Military Discipline, fortification, Manufactures, Language, Letters, Science, Politeness &c. so much more than to England? How comes the french Language to be studied and spoken as a polite Accomplishment, all over Europe, and how comes all Negociations to be held in french.

And if we consider every Thing, The Religion, Government, Freedom, Navy,Merchandize, Army, Manufactures, Policy, Arts, Sciences, Numbers of Inhabitants and their Virtues, it seems to me, that England falls short in more and more important Particulars, than it exceeds the Kingdom of France.

To determine the Character of "Leading and respectable," as Dr. Savil does, from a few Victories and successes, by which Rules he makes Charles 12th to have been in his day, the leading and most respectable Power, and Oliver Cromwell in his, and the K. of Prussia in this, is most ignorant and silly.

In short, "Leading and Respectable," is not to be determined, either by the Prince, the Policy,

the Army, Navy, Arts, Science, Commerce, nor by any other national Advantage, taken singly and abstracted from the rest. But that Power is to be denominated so, whose Aggregate, of component Parts, is most.

Nathl. Bayley [Administrator] v. Nathll. Niles. -- Plea in Abatement. Defendant lives on the Castle, [illegible within the Town of Boston but is called of Braintree. It seems he was born in Braintree, owns a House And Land in Braintree, and for about six Weeks past his Wife and family have lived in Braintree. The Question is therefore whether his Non Residence is a good Plea? He has not lived in Town these ten Years, but has been for all that Time, constantly resident, and employed as a serjeant, and a Matross, on Castle William. His Wife has lived and family have lived, in the Town of Dorchester, for some Years past, till about six Weeks ago when removed they removed to Braintree and at the House where his Wife and family live, this the Copy of this Writ was left. -- We are not the Man, that is sued in this Writ. We are not the Defendant in this Action. Mr. Nathl. Niles, the young Gentleman now study in study with Mr. Marsh, in Preparation for Colledge, is the Man. -- And let him Answer. -- For

We are called Nathl. Niles of Braintree. Now it has been adjudged, that, when a Man is called of such a Town, the meaning is that he is an Inhabitant of that Town, a legal

Inhabitant of that Town, entituled to all the Priviledges,  [illegible and compellible to bear all the Burdens of that Town. Every Man who is of Braintree i.e. an Inhabitant of Braintree, is to be rated by the assessors of Braintree for his Head.  [illegible But, my Client never  [illegible has been rated by our Assessors, for many Years. Suppose my Clientshould was poor, should become a cripple or fall sick, what Town must maintain him? Not Braintree most certainly, but Boston. And why? because he is an Inhabitant of Boston and not of Braintree. [illegible There is a Difference between of Braintree and in Braintree, And in Case my Client had come into this Town with his Wife and lived here to this day,tho he could not be called of Braintree because he is no Inhabitant and liable to be warned out every day, yet if he had been styled resident in Braintree that would have done. And this is the style they give the Regular officers, for 3 Winters past several Regular officers have wintered in Boston. Several of these Gentlemen have been sued, but they are never styled of Boston, but only resident in Boston. There's an Instance in this Town.Miss Glidden Mr. Gliddens Wife and family, it is well known have lived in this Town chiefly for some Years,tho not constantly, but Mr. Glidden has not. Well now if Mr. Glidden sues any Man must he style himself of Boston Braintree

because his Wife and family live here and he comes up, once a fortnight to lodge with her. His Writt would abate, if he should. And I have seen several Writts, wherein he has been concerned as Party, and he has been always styled of Boston. Other Instances innumerable might be quoted.Coll. Brattle is a remarkable one. He did belong to Cambridge. He married a Wife in Boston, and lived with her there in her House, and with her family, so long that People began to take him for a Boston Man and they sued him, several of them sued him by the Name of Wm. Brattle of Boston. He pleaded in Abatement of their Writts, that he was of Cambridge and not of Boston, and he shew'd that [he] had, once or twice a Year, gone up to Cambridge with his family and stayed a month or two. And therefore as an uninterrupted Inhabitancy is necessary to gain a settlement in any Town and he had not Inhabited constantly in Boston, he abated their Writts, a 10 times stronger Case than this.

The Castle Men are all considered as Inhabitants of Boston, so that No Minister will marry a Castle Man, till a Certificate is produced that he has been published in Boston.


Last Monday, had a passionate Wrangle, with Eb. Thayer, before Major Crosby. He called me, a petty Lawyer. This I resented.

The Justice upon the first appearance.

The Defendant Niles appeared by 10 o'clock, and had his Costs allowed, is: 6d, for attendance, but nothing for Travel, tho he lived 8 miles off. Upon the first Appearance of the Defendants Daniel White, and Neh. Hayden, the justice pronounced that they should have no Costs,altho no Plaintiff appeared -- because they did not appear by Eleven O Clock. Now in answer to this, I say, that he never made it his Rule to allow no Costs to Defendants, appearing after 11 when no Plaintiff appeared. He has made it his Rule to call out Actions, when the Plaintiffs have appeared, upon the Non Appearance of Defendants after waiting an Hour for them. And he has made it his Rule, to allow Costs to defendants appearing at the time or within the Hour upon the Non Appearance of the Plaintiffs, after waiting an Hour for them. But I believe, he never made it his Rule till that day, to refuse Costs to Defendants appearing soon after the Hour expired when no Plaintiff appeared -- so that, had it been certain that these Defendants did not appear within two Hours, he would not have been obliged byhisany Rule of his own Practice to refuse them Costs. But admitting his Rule had been established

and absolute to allow no Costs to any Party not appearing within the Hour -- It was not clear in this Case, that the Hour was out. By Captn. Thayers Watch indeed and by mine, it was after 11 But my Watch was set by Guess that morning, and by the Justices own Dial it was not yet Eleven, and by Athertons and several other Persons Judgment of Time, it was not yet Eleven; and some Allowance ought to be made, for the Difficulty of the Weather and the Travelling.

But thirdly, the justice ought not to establish any such unalterable Rule. The Law has made Provision that the Parties shall be paid for the whole Days Attendance. And these Defendants lived at seven 9 or 10 miles distance and could not therefore without great Difficulty, in that severe Weather, and almost impracticable Travelling, have reached the justices House, by ten O clock:

And to refuse them Costs for Non Compliance with such a rigorous Rule, when those suits had been commenced by Deputy Sheriffs, some of the suits vexatious, and all the Writts abateable; after they had been compelled to ride thro Cold and snow, so many miles, wasting their own and their Witnesses' Time, and bearing their own Expences, when no Plaintiff appeared and no Body for him dared to enter his Actions; was a Peice of Oppression like that of the Bashaws in Turkey.

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I am an old Man, seventy odd, and as I had my Education, so I have spent my whole Life, a few months Weeks in a Year excepted, when I commonly took a journey, in the Country. I was naturally inquisitive, and a little too talkative, in my Youth, which Qualities have perhaps increased with my Age, but as I remember, I used to  [illegible swear at theimpertinence vanity and Impertinence of old Nestor whose Speeches I have often read formerly in Popes Homer (a Book of which I was then, and am still very fond) I expect that younger Men will laugh at the like Vanity and Impertinence in me, which it shall be my Care therefore in this Paper, at least to avoid, because I would have the subject of it, candidly weighed.

Indeed, scarcely any Thing that I have observed, in the Course of a long Life, deserves more Attention has a greater Influence on the Religion, Moralls, Health, Property, Liberties and Tranquility of the World. I mean public Houses.

The Tempers, and Passions, The Prophaneness and brutal Behaviour inspired by the low sort of Company that frequents such Houses, and by the Liquors they drink there; are not very compatible with the pure  [illegible and undefiled Religion of Jesus, that Religion whose first Principle is to renounce all filthiness and superfluity of Naughtiness. That Inattention  [illegible and to the public ordinances of Religion

as well as to private Devotion which I have Reasons to think is prevalent, in these Times is no unnatural Consequence, of the very generall Resort, to these licentious Houses.

The plentiful Use of spirituous Liquors, produces a strange confustion of Mind and begins with producing a strange Confusion of Mind, appetite and Passions, too violent for the Government of  [illegible of Reason; proceeds to involve Men in Debt, and of Consequence, in Lying, cheating, stealing, and sometimes in greater Crimes; and ends in a total, and incurable Dissolution of Manners.

Such men of  [illegible

The Effects of such Intemperance upon Health are of two Kinds. It either throws them into some acute and inflammatory  [illegible fever, which carries them from the Midst of their Vices and their follies, the Mischiefs they do and theMiseriesDistresses they suffer, at once into their Graves, or else it leads them by insensible Degrees, thro all the [illegible Gloom and Languor of a Chronical Distemper,despized by many, hated by more and [pitied?] by a few, to a long expected, and desired death. Thousands, and thousands, are every Year expiring in Europe, and proportionable Numbers in America, the miserable Victims of their own Imprudence, and the ill Policy of Rulers in permitting the Causes of their Ruin to exist. Allured by the smell of these infernal Liquors, like the Ghosts, in Romances, allured by the scent

of human Blood, they resort to these Houses, waste their Time, their strength and their Money, which ought to be employed in the Management of their own Affairs and families, till by degrees, much expended, little earned, they contract Habits of Calesness, Idleness, and Intemperance; their Creditors demand, they promise to pay but fail; Writts issue, Charges are multiplied, for the Maintenance of others as idle as themselves, and Executions strip them of all they have, and cast their miserable Bodies into loathsome Prisons.

The Number of these Houses have been lately so much augmented, and the fortunes of their owners so much increased, that an Artful Man has little else to do, but secure the favour of Taverners, in order to secure the suffrages of the Rabbles that attend these Houses, which in many Towns within my observation makes a very large, perhaps the largest Number of Voters. The Consequence is that these offices and Elections, [illegible which all the wisest Legislators of the world, in humble Imitation of God and Nature have alloted to Probity and Understanding, may in Time, I dare not say have already become the Gratuity of Tiplers, for Dramms and slops! Good God! where are the Rights of English Men! where is the spirit, that once exalted the souls of

Britons and emboldened their [faces?] to look even Princes and Monarchs in the face. But perhaps I am too anxious, and In truth I must own I [so] revere the true Constitution of our Government, [illegible founded in those great Principles, that accomplished in a great Antiquity the Destruction of Troy, that extended in a later Period the Bounds of the Roman Empire and that produced in the English History, so many events for the Universe to admire, that I cant think of its evaporating and passing from [the] human Breast with Phlip and Rum, of which Event there is great Danger, without Rage.


Last of all, innumerable Violations of the Peace and order of society, are every Day occurring, that spring originally from the same sources. Quarrells, Boxing, Duels, oaths, Curses,  [illegible affrays and Riots, are [illegible daily hatching from Eggs and Spawns, deposited in the same Nests: in short these Houses, like so many Boxes of Pandora, are sending forth every day innumerable Plagues of every kind, natural, moral and political,

that increase and multiply fast enough to lay waste in a little While the whole World.

How different is this, from the state of Things in my Youth. Instead of an unmanly Retreat to the Chimny Corner of a Tavern, the young fellows of my Age were out in the Air, improving their strength and Activity, by Wrestling, running, leaping, lifting, and the like vigorous Diversions, and when [illegible satisfyed with these, resorted every one to his Mistress or his Wife. Love, that divine Passion, which Nature has implanted for the Renovation of the species, and the greatest solace of our Lives: virtuous Love, I mean, from whence the greatest Part of human Happiness originates, and which these modern seminaries have almost extinguished or at least changed into filthiness and brutal Debauch, was then considered as God intended it, both a Duty of our Nature and the greatest source of our Bliss. But it is melancholly to think that the present Prevalent Debauchery, which tends so much to shorten the Lives of the present Generation, tends also, to prevent the Propagation of a succeeding one. I really am afraid that in another Century, unless some wise Precaution should intervene, a Man of my Age will be the rarest Phenomenon.

I should be called talkative indeed if I should attempt to develope the Causes of that strange Multiplication of such Houses, that is lately grown up. But I fear, that some select Men are induced by a foolish Complaisance,

and others by Designs of Ambition to give their Approbation to too many Persons who are improper, and perhaps to too many that are proper for that Trust. I am afraid that some justices may be induced by lucrative Motives, by mercantile Principles to augment the Manufactory or the Importation of Rum or Mollosus, without Attending to the other Consequences, which are plainly pernicious.

But let this Paper be considered as a Warning from one who has seen better days, to Magistrates to suppress, rather than increase within their Department -- to select men to discountenance Pretenders rather than encourage [them] in their sphere -- to Parents and Masters, to restrain their Children And servants from frequenting. And in short let every Man endeavour to keep one, from suffering any Injury from them, in any Respect.

I was too incautious, and unartful in my Proceeding, but Practice makes perfect. I should have first taken all the summonses, into my own Hand, or Powers of attorney from the Defendants. Then I should have moved that the sheriff should be directed to return his Writts, that against White and that against Hayden. Then I should have drawn a complaint, on each of them, and filed them all. Then I should have desired the justice to make a Record of his judgment. This would have been regular, masterly Management, but I had no Time to think and prepare.

This is the third Time I have been before Majr. Crosbey with Thayer. The first time, he was for John Spear. That Action was demolished. The next time he appeared for Nathan Spear against Eph. Hunt and John Vinton. Those Actions were demolished. The last time he appeared for Bayley, against Niles, White, Hayden, &c. These Actions were all demolished. Thus I have come off, pretty triumphantly every time, and he pretty foolishly. Yet I have managed none of these  [illegible Cases, in the most masterly manner. I see several Inadvertent Mistakes, and omissions. But I grow more expert, less diffident &c. I feel  [illegible my own strength. I see the complacent Countenances of the Crowd, and I see the respectful face of the justice, and the fearful faces of Petty foggers, more than I did.

I really am

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Dear Nieces.

You remember that I wrote you a new Years Address, about two Years since, containing some few Articles of Advice that I then thought would pass with Propriety, considering the Relation between us, from me to you. You are at least two Years older, than you were then, and from a careful observation of your Conduct, I have found few Occasions of Blame, and from [illegible your Conversation, and a frequent Inspection of your Compositions, I have reason to think your time has been [illegible in general, and in Comparison of the rest of your own sex, not ill improved.

But there are numberless Particulars that I had then no Leisure to discuss, and which some Persons of our sex but more of yours think not worthy to discuss, that will fill the remainder of this Letter and be I hope no unacceptable Present, for the Year 1761.


The first relate to the Delicacy of your own Persons and Houses. It has been the constant observation of foreigners who have lived in

England, that the british Ladies are the least careful, to use no harder term, in this Respect than any Ladies, in Christendom. The Brightness of Plate and Dishes, floors, and every other Thing in a House even in a Kitchen, has been always observed by Travellers, even into Holland, where the enormous sizes of the Ladies, and their consequent sloth and Heavyness, one would think would incline them to another extreme. The same Nicety is observed in Italy, France and elsewhere, but the very general Complaint of british Ladies is that their Teeth, Necks, Hair, Perspiration and Respiration, Kichens and even Parlors are no cleaner nor sweeter than they should be. And the same ground of Complaint is in America. For my own Part, tho not very attentive to my own Person, nothing is so disgustful and loathsome to me, and almost all our sex are of my mind, as this Negligence. My own Daughters, whenever they shall grow to Years of Discretion, I am determined to throw into a great Kettle and Boil till they are clean, If I ever find them half so nasty as I have seen some. That you may gain proper sentiments on this Head, and reduce them most religiously to Practice, I recommend to your careful Reading, the Works of Dr. Swift and Dr. Shybear [Shebbeare], especially the former, and

let me warn you against any Prejudice to him, or his sentiments on Account of that open Defyance and Contempt in which he held your sex.


2. The next Article is that of Dress. It may be justly considered, as the Principal Design of a young Lady from her Birth to her Marriage, to procure [illegible and prepare herself for a worthy Companion in Life. This I believe is modestly enough expressed. Now the finest face, and shape, that ever Nature formed, would be insufficient to attract and fix the Eye of a Gentleman without some Assistance and Decoration of Dress. And I believe [illegible an handsome shoe,  [illegible well judged Variety of Colours, in Linnen, Laces &c., and even the Rustling of silks has determined as many Matches as the feature any natural features, or Proportions or Motions. Hes a fool that is determined wholly by either or by both, but even a wise man will take all these, as well as others less, into Consideration.

I cannot be supposed to be master of the whole Art of Dress, nor to give Rules for

your Conduct of it. I only say study it, even of your selves. Study it even as a science, and take in Hogarths mathematicks to your Aid.

3. The 3d is  [illegible [a] sense of Elegance. This may perhaps include both the former, but I mean in this Place such a Disposition of the Affairs of a family, such a management of an Entertainment, and such a judicious [sentence unfinished.]

Neither rich furniture nor dress, nor Provisions, without this, will ever please.

The 4th is Behaviour in  [illegible mixed Companies. I would not have you Pedants [illegible in Greek and Latin nor the Depths of science, nor yet over fond to talk upon any Thing. When your opinion is asked, give it. When you know any Thing, that the Company are at a loss for, disclose it. But what I mean is this. Attend to the Conversation of Gentlemen even when News,Politicks, Morals, Economy, nay even when Literature and science but beyond  [illegible the fathom of your Line make the subject: do not attempt

to turn the Conversation to Billy's Prattle -- To the Doggs, or Negroes or Catts, or to any little contemptible tittle tattle of your own.

5thly. Observations of Mankind, or what is called the World. As the House is your Theatre of Action, an Attentive Observation of Domestic Characters should be your Rule. You are in all Probability in some future Part of your Life, to have Husbands. Remark carefully the Behaviour of other Wifes, wherever you go, to their Husbands, but distinguish well between Propriety of Behaviour and the Contrary. You will probably some time or other have Children. Remark then every Mothers Management of her Children, in their Education, Morals, Behaviour, Dress, Diet &c., with the same Distinction.

You may by a Course of Reflection on Instances of this sort among Gentle and simple form to yourselves from reason and Experience, a System of Rules that may one day produce an Hero or a Legislator, a great Statesman or Divine or some other great Character that may do Honour

to the World -- the Highest Pinacle of Glory to which a Woman can in Modesty aspire.

You will also act hereafter as Mistresses. Let your Attention therefore be fixed on the Behaviour of servants and their Treatment from their Masters and Mistresses.

In short, domestic Morality ought to be your principal study, and you ought not to suffer one Character in the Drama of a family, to be unexamined.

6thly. With regard to Conservation with Under this Head of Conversation with the World falls naturally enough that into which you must if you are not singular, and you will, if you pursue your own Inclinations, sometimes, fall -- Conversation with some Person of the other Sex alone: and this before Marriage And even Courtship. Our illustrious young Monarck, indeed, will probably be married by Proxy to some Princess abroad, that he never saw: and and this is for Reasons of State, no doubt necessary: Yet it is thought an Hardship, and the prevailing Custom of the World, for this

Reason perhaps, allows [a ]Prince his Mistress as an alleviation.

And it seems, by what I see and hear, that Persons of Rank and figure even in this Province, are desirous that their Daughters should be married to Men who never saw them, by their prevailing Practice of concealing them from all Males, till a formal Courtship is opened. This Practice must proceed either from deplorable folly, an Awkward Imitation of Majesty, or else from a Consciousness of their Daughters futility and a Dread to expose them.

But be it remembered that no Man that is free and can think, will rush blindfold, into the Arms of any such Ladies, who, tho it is possible they may prove Angells of Light, may yet more probably turn out Haggs of Hell.

You must therefore associate yourselves in some good Degree, and under certain Guards and Restraints, even privately with young fellows. And,tho Discretion must be used, and Caution, yet on [considering ]the whole of the Arguments on each side, I cannot wholly disapprove of Bundling.

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To Chardon.

Lest a maiden Nicety should prevent the Correspondence, proposed the last Week, I have taken my Pen to open it, upon the lofty subject of Law. We shall be called silly, and tasteless &c. for ought I know, or care. For let the smart sayings of the gay, and the grave Satyrs, even of the wise and learned be what they will, I have for my own Part, and I thank God for it, no bad Opinion of the Law, either as a science, or a Profession.

Why the minute Arteries and Tendons of the human Body, the organization of the human Voice, and mouth, and numberless other subjects of the like sort should be thought worthy of the Attention of a liberal Mind; and the no less Wonderful and much more important combination of Passions, Appetites, Affections, in the human Breast that operate in human society,beneath too futile, or too disagreable, for a wise Mans Examination, I cannot imagine. -- Nay if we proceed to the Positive Institutions of the Law, I cannot think them so extreamly dull, uncouth, and unentertaining as you and I have heard them

represented, by some whom we love and honour.

 [illegible Multitudes of needless Matters and some that are nonsensical, it must be confessed have in the Course of Ages, crept into the Law. But I beg to know, what Art or Science can be found in the whole Circle, that has not been taught by silly, senseless, Pedants, and is not stuffed with their Crudities and Jargon.

The Man who intends to become skilful in any science, must be content to study such Authors as have written upon it. No Man will be an adept in Grammarwithout or Rhetoric, or Poetry, or Music or Architecture, without labouring thro a vast deal of Nonsense, and Impertinence -- in short, Nonsense seems an unalienable Property of human Affairs. And it is as idle to expect, that any Artist should write well upon any subject, without intermingling some Proportion of it, as it is to expect, that a rapid Torrent should descend from the Mountains without washing some Dirt and Earth along with it.

But if the Great Grandeur and Importance of a subject, has any share in the Pleasure it communicates, I am sure the Law

has by far the Advantage of most other sciences.

Nothing less than the Preservation of the Health and Properties, Lives and Tranquility, Moralls and Liberties of Millions of the human species, is the object and Designs of the Law, and a Comparison of several [illegible Constitutions of Government, invented for those Purposes, an Examination of the great Causes of their Danger, as well as those of their safety, must be as Agreable an Employment as can exercise the Mind.

But it is a science that comprises a Multitude. And great Industry, as well as many Helps are needful, to subdue it.

And in truth I do not know a more agreable Help, than the Correspondence of a Friend. Exchange of observations -- Proposing Difficulties -- stating Cases -- repeating Arguments -- examining sophisms -- will alternately both arouse and support our Ambition, and wear by easy Degrees, a system of Law into the Mind.

The Plan, that I would propose then is this -- for you to write me, a Report of any Case you hear argued before the Courts of Admiralty, Court of Probate, Governor and Council, Court of Sessions,

Justice of the Peace &c. that you think curious. Propose Questions, for Examination, and write me Answers, to Letters from me on all the foregoing subjects.

And if you we will secrete my each others Letters, we shall at least avoid the Ridicule of others. But if we should be detected, we can say that Tully and Atticus held some such Correspondence before, that never raised a Laugh in the World. And if we say this we must run off to avoid the Reply, of a Pigs turd to a Pine Apple.

Neal v. Spear. Plea in Abatement. Defendant is a Yeoman, but not a Gentleman, as styled in the Writ."

This Exception has an Air of Humility, that may be suspected to be feigned.

as This Exception, it must be owned has not a very honourable Air, but if the  [illegible Circumstances of this Action, are considered, the Defendant will not be blamed.

My Client is a very Poor Man, but happened to be a Bondsman for Brackett, to the Plaintiff who is rich and in no Want of the Money.

My Client was bound to this Plaintiff, for Bracket in his Life time, in this [illegible Obligation. Bracket died, and this Plaintiff Neal brot his Action last Term against the Administratrix on Bracketts Estate, and that Action is now pending in this Court: But Bracketts Estate proves in solvent: and now Neal has brot this Action against a poor Bondsman. My Client is very poor, and unable to pay this Money, and therefore will be excused for taking all ad legal Advantages, till he can have some assistance from Bracketts Estate, to pay it.

And, for my own Part I had a further, and a stronger Reason for not discouraging my Client which was this. This Writ was drawn by a Deputy Sheriff, or at least by somebody in the service and Employment of that Deputy Sheriff: and against such Writts your Honours will no doubt commend me for taking all legal Advantages.

And this Exception is, in law fatal. If we are obliged to give any Additions to Parties we should be obliged to give the Right

and not call Esquires Labourers, and Labourers Esquires.

If it is of any Consequence to society that Ranks and subordination should be established in it, it is of Consequence that the Titles denoting those Ranks should not be confounded. Now there are no two Titles more distinct from each other than Yeoman and Gentleman. The Yeomanry and Gentry of England is the most ancient and universal of all Divisions of the People.

Now the present Defendant is not a Gentleman in any Respect, neither by Birth, Education, Office, Reputation or Employment: and indeed I have no Reason to think him one in Thought, Word,  [illegible or Deed. He springs from ordinary Parents, he can  [illegible scarcely write his Name, his Business is Boating, he never had any Commissions, and therefore to call him Gentlemen is an arrant Prostitution of the Title, and ought to abate the Writ.

His Majesty has declared him self, by his Speech to his Parliament to be a Man of Piety, and Candor in Religion, a friend of Liberty, and Property in Government, and a Patron of Merit.
"The Blessing of Heaven, I devoutly emplore" -- "as the surest Foundation of the whole, (i.e. the Loyalty and affection of his People, his Resolution to strengthen the Constitution, the civil &c. Rights of his subjects and the Prerogatives of his Crown &c.) and the best Means to draw down the divine favour on my Reign, it is my fixed Purpose to countenance and encourage true Religion and Virtue. "These are Proofs of his Piety.

He promises to patronize Religion, Virtue, the british Name and Constitution, in Church and state, the subjects Rights, Liberty, Commerce, military Merit. -- These are sentiments worthy of a King -- a Patriot King.
Mem. To enquire of Tufts, Gould, Whitmarsh, Hunts, Whites, &c. about their Method of mending High Ways by a Rate.
And to enquire at Worcester, whenever I shall get there of Chanlers, Putnam, Willard, Paine, Swan &c. about their Method. They mended their Ways by a Rate, I am sure.
Saml. Clark, Jo. Field, Eb. Newcomb Danl. Nash, the Mirmidons of Thayer.
Luke Lambard, Ben Hayden, Saml. Clark &c. all the Mirmidons of Thayer &c. Mirmidons, Bulldoggs, Hounds, Creatures, Tools.
At Weymouth Weymouth mends her Ways by a Rate. Each Man is rated so much, and a Days Work is estimated at so much, an Horse, a Cart, Yoke of oxen &c. at so much, so each Man has his Choice, to pay his Money or to work it out. -- I did not think to ask What sum they expend yearly to mend Ways.
Qu re. How they mend their Ways, Streets, Lanes, Alleys &c. in Boston. Whether by a Rate.  [illegible Is not the Town taxed for Pavement of streets &c. Q. Whether they ever permit those who choose it to work it out themselves.

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Cite web page as: John Adams diary 6, 2 December 1760 - 3 March 1761 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams diary 6, 2 December 1760 - 3 March 1761. Folded sheets without covers (47 pages, 1 additional blank page). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 1.Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.