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Adams Family Papers : An Electronic Archive

John Adams diary 7, 21 March - 18 October 1761

Memorandum. To enquire more particularly into the Practice in Weymouth -- how they estimate a Days Work for a Man, Horse, Yoke of oxen, Carts, Tools, Pickaxes, Spades, shovells &c. -- how much Money or what a sum they assess upon the whole Town, annually, to amend their Ways? -- whether the assessment is committed to the surveyor, of all within his District, &c.
Enquire, too, at Boston of Cunningham, how they pave and repair the Pavements of their great Streets, and Lanes and Alleys &c. whether poor People are left at their Election to work or to pay? and how they apportion their assessment? But I presume it is not according to the Polls Tax but in Proportion to the Province Tax, or Town and County. So that rich Men may contribute in Proportion to their Wealth, to repairing, as they contribute most by their Equipages &c. to the wearing and spoiling the high Ways.
But a Tax upon the Poles, and real and Personal Estates of the Town will not bring the burthen to Equality. We will suppose that John Ruggles and Caleb Hubbard are rated equally for Heads, and real and personal Estates. Caleb Hubbard Carts down  [illegible 1000 Worth of Wood and Timber to the Landing Places, and so reaps three or 400 a Year Profit by improving the Ways; and by his heavy Loads, and Wheels, he breaks and cutts and crushes the Ways to Pieces. But Mr. Ruggles on the other Hand, confines himself

to his farm and [Canoe?] He neither receives Benefit from any High ways, or does any Damage to them, further than riding to Meeting on Sundays, and Town Meetings. Now what Reason, what Propriety can there be in taxing Ruggles and Hubbard equally to the high ways. One gets his living by ruining the Ways, the other neither gets a farthing by them nor does them a farthing Damage.
The Power of a Town. The Proviso in the 11th of George Chaptr. 4th. That this Act shall not extend to the preventing or altering the Practice in any Town of defraying the Charge of repairing or amending the High Ways by a Rate or Tax, or any other Method they have or shall agree upon. The Words "agreed upon," in this Proviso, I presume, signify "determined by the major Part of the Voters," for the same Words "agreed upon" are used, in several other Acts, where their meaning must be so. Thus 6th. W. & M. C. 5, the Act to enable Towns, Villages, Proprietors in common and undivided Lands to sue and be sued.

Parson Smith's Parsonage.
Vid. 6th. Wm. & M. C. 5. Page 60 -- Charter Page 6th &c. from Index to Index. All Lands &c. which any Body politick, or Corporate, Towns, Colledges or Schools, do hold &c. by or under any Grant by any general Court, or by any other lawful Right or Title whatsoever; shall be by such Towns, Colledges or Schools, their respective Heirs, successors and assigns forever, according to the Purport and Intent of such respective Grant, &c., not withstanding any Want of form.
Now in the Weymouth Case, there is a Deed to a Committee of the Town of Weymouth for the use of the Ministry, &c. and for a convenient settlement of Housing and Lands, for the Ministry, and for no other Use, Intent or Purpose whatsoever. Now I believe it must be agreed that that Committee and their Grant had no Intent or Design, of any thing but that the present Incumbent and his successors should enjoy that House and Land forever. And, it cant be thought that Either Party to that deed entertained a Thought of dividing that House and Land among 50 ministers, that shall happen to settle within the Borders of that Town, tho they may be Churchmen, Anabaptists, Quakers, Separatists, for every one of these sects, have a Minister who may be as well called one of the Ministry of Weymouth as Mr. Bayley can.



I am an old Man turned of seventy. When I was young my common amuzement was Reading. I had some Engagements in Business, and and was no Enemy to innocent Pleasure. but as my Circumstances were easy, I gave a greater Indulgence to my Curiosity of conversing largely with the World than most Persons of my Age, and Rank. In this Course of Life, I soon found that human Nature, the Dignity of which I heard extolled by some, and debased by others, was far from deserving that Reverence and Admiration, which is due to great Virtue and Intelligence. I found as I thought  [illegible in that day a Multitude of People, who suffered themselves to be caught by hooks and snares covered over with such Bait,  [illegible as would not have imposed even on fishes and Birds: and I found as I thought a few others, the Anglers of that Day whose constant Attention and Pursuit was to  [illegible allure and take that Multitude. The first Instances of this sort that fell under my observation raised my Compassion and Indignation alternately. I pittyd poor deluded  [illegible simplicity on one hand, and I raged against Cruelty and Wickedness on the other, and could not but think, that to rescue the Lamb from the jaws of the Wolf would be a noble Adventure. But on further Consideration the Design seemed impracticable. The Attempt was odious.

The Knaves would arise in a Combination to ruin the Reformer and the full fools would be managed in no other Way than that of their Appetites and Passions. For this Reason and to avoid the pungent Misery of a disappointed, despized Patriot, I determined to make a total alteration in the Course and Nature of my Ideas and sentiments.  [illegible Whenever I heard or saw an Instance of atrocious Treachery, fraud, Hypocrisy, Injustice, or Cruelty, or Lust the common Effects of excessive Ambition, Avarice and Lust, instead of indulging the sentiments of Nature, which I found were a Resentment bordering on Rage, I resolved instantly to set up a Laugh and make my self merry: whenever I saw human Nature  [illegible to Brutal Debauchery  [illegible Cold, hunger,  [illegible Whipping Post, Pillory, Gallows, instead whenever I saw human Nautre  [illegible by whenever I saw a simple deluded Creature brot, by the Craft of others to brutal Debauchery, sickness, Cold, Hunger, Prison, Whipping Post, Pillory or Gallows, instead of indulging sympathy and feeling, I set about the  [illegible my self to laughing. I must own I found a good deal of Difficulty to command my self at first, in this bold Attempt to alter the whole system of Morality: and in spight of  [illegible my Attention, a flash of Vengeance,  [illegible or a Thril of Pitty, would sometimes escape me, before I could bring my Muscles into a risible Posture.

But by long Practice I have at last

obtained a settled Habit of making my self merry at all the Wickedness and Misery of the World. And the Causes of Ridicule have been every Hour increasing and multiplying from the 25th Year of my Age, when I first attempted the alteration of my Mind, to the present Hour. And now in spight of all the Infirmities of old Age I am the most tittering, giggling Mortal you ever saw.

But the amplest source of my merriment, thru the whole Course of my Life has been the affair of English Priviledges, British Liberty and all that.

I have heard Men every Day for fifty Years boasting, "our Constitution is the finest under heaven. We are governed by our own Laws. No Tyrant can Lord it over us. The King is as accountable for his Conduct as the subject. No Government that ever existed, was so essentially free. Every Man is his own Monarch. His Will, or the Will of his Agent, and no other can bind him." All these gallant, blustering speeches I have heard in Words -- and I never failed to raise a Horse laugh. For observe the pleasant course of these Things. The few who have real Honour, Temperance, and Understanding, who are desirous of getting their Bread and Paying their Debts by their own Industry, apply their Attention to their own Business, and leave the Affairs

of Towns and Provinces to others. But a young fellow, who happens to be by Nature or by habit indolent, and perhaps profligate, begins by laying schemes by himself or his Friends, to live and get Money without Labour or Care. His first step is to procure a Deputation from some sheriff. With this Power and the help of  [illegible With Writts and Executions By the Help of Writts and Executions, and drawing Writts, or employing some  [illegible Child to draw them, for a share, 1/3 or 1/4 of the fee, then serving them, and Executions, carrying Tales and Intelligence from one Party to the other, then settling Disputes, vastly compassionating the Party, by taking twice lawful fees, they wheedle themselves into some Connections with the People, and considerable sums of Money into their own Pocketts.

They presently grow expert capable Men very expert at Calculations, and well acquainted with the real and personal Estates of the Town and so very fit for select Men, and after 2 or 3 Years opposition from the most virtuous and independent Part of a Town they obtain an Election. After this  [illegible his Reputation increases very fast. He becomes, to those not already grappled to his Interest by fear nor affection, very assiduous and obliging. And when the season of the

Year approaches, a swarm of Candidates for Approbation to keep Taverns or Dram shops, surround him, for his favour. For one he will use his Utmost Interest. For another, he really thinks there is Occasion for a Public House where he lives. For a Third his Circumstances are so needy he really thinks he ought to be assisted. For a 4th. he is so unable to work, that he must be assisted, and to a fifth, He likes it very well, for he thinks, the more there are the better, the more obliging they will be and the cheaper they will sell.

Taverns and Dram shops are therefore placed in every Corner of the Town, The Taverner where poor Mankind, allured by the smell of Brandy And Rum, resort, and carouse: waste their Time, spend their Money, run in Debt to Tavern and others,  [illegible grow attached to the Taverner who is attached to his Patron both by Gratitude and Expectation. The Hero of this Romance, is presently extolled as a public Blessing, as the most useful Man in Town, as a very understanding and [civil?] Man, and is at the next May Meeting set up for a Candidate as Representative. The same Body of wealthy and virtuous Persons, who first opposed the first step of his Exaltation, are still resolute to oppose the second, and for the first few Years, he fails. But, by

Assiduity and Impudence, by extending the  [illegible and fortifying the Parts of the same system,  [illegible he increases his Interest, and the virtuous few begin to dread the Consequences, they resolve not to be present and wittnesses of the Disgrace of the Town. They stay at home, and the News is brought them that the Person they despized, and &c. has obtained his Election.

In this manner Men, are employed to make Laws for their Country, who are totally ignorant of all Law human and divine, natural, civil, ecclesiastical and common, are employed to make Laws for their Country, while others, who have been led by their Education to search to the Bottom of human Nature, and to examine the Effect of all Laws upon human affairs [sentence unfinished]

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Z. tells me, that Jona. Rawson is malicious and cruel as well as conceited. He spights Edd. Quincy and his whole Family. He says that the whole family was prodigal and extravagant, and that he borrowed Money and bought Goods upon Credit, but two days before he housed himself, when he knew that he never should pay, which was no better than Stealing. -- Tis fraud. Tis Cheating, Tis Knavery, Tis Villany. Oh he longs to see Quincys Daughters out at service. It would please him to see them, washing and serving Dishes, Washing Clothes, &c. Why should not they work as well as Mrs. Liddy and I? We are more honourably descended than they! -- He longs to hear that Milton select men have warned him out of that Town. He himself was very urgent to have young Edd. warned out of Braintree, when he first came to live with his Father, but never could get a Majority of the select men of his Mind. He hopes that the Church in Milton will refuse him their Communion. He hears that some Members are uneasy and talk of objecting to his partaking there, and he wishes they would. He was extremely glad to hear, that Mr. Quincy failed of getting Clerk of the General Court. He heard he was a Candidate, and disappointed, and was rejoiced at it. A fine story, that he who wanted discretion to manage his own private Affairs, who rushed headlong to Bankruptcy and Destruction should be intrusted with public affairs. That he who would lye and Cheat, at such a Rate, should stand in public Place.
Thus he seems to wish that poor Mr. Quincy should be excluded from all public Trust, that he should be expelled from any Town that [he] should move into, be excommunicated from the Church, brought to beg his Bread or be maintained by the Town, and his Daughters bound out sent out to service as Kitchen Maids. This is Malice, Tis

Rage, Tis Cruelty, 'Tis Persecution. Tis Hell and the Devil -- and by all Probability the Provocation to this Excess of Malevolence, which would strip them of all the means of life temporal and eternal, is a Loss of about forty shillings old Tenor by Mr. Quincy, some way or another. These are dreadful sentiments. This is a woful Temper.
He, and his Brother Josiah, and all the rest of the Family, are very proud of their Descent from Mr. Rawson, an ancient secretary of this Province. Secretary Rawson was his great Grandfather. His father was a tippling, silly old fellow like David Bass, and if his Grandfather was of a like Character, the Dishonour of descending from such a father and Grandfather must have taken away all the Honour of descending from an honorable great Grand father.
Tis vain and mean to esteem oneself for his Ancestors Merit. But he is very avaricious, and very ambitious and excessively vain. Vain of his Descent, his Estate, his Knowledge, his sense, his public Employments, and public spirit. he is ambitious that of Select Man, that of Commissioner of Bankruptcy &c., and of his public Capacity and spirit, -- ambitious of public Trust as a select Man, a Representative, a Commissioner &c. And besides all these, he is brutally uncivil and rude in Company. He is an impetuous bauler, a rough, unpolished, ill bred Clown and Coxcomb. These are the Properties of one of the favourites of Braintree.

Is Lawrence to be Styled a Yeoman? or not. For the Negative these Things are to be considered. -- 1st. Bayley in his Dictionary, defines Yeomen to be the first Degrees of the Commons, Freeholders, who have land of their own, and live on good Husbandry. Sir T. Smith defines a Yeoman to be a free born Englishman, who may lay out of his own free Land in Yearly Revenue, to the sum of 40s.

Now Lawrence is not most certainly one of any of the first degrees of the Commons. He is a poor, low, inferiour sort of Man, to be ranked only among Labourers, and the meanest of the People. He is certainly no freeholder, he has no Land of his own, and he does not live at all upon Husbandry. And if it should be admitted that he was a free born Englishman, according to the first Part of Sir Thos. Smiths Definition, yet he does not answer the last Part of it, for he cannot lay out of his own free Land, in Yearly Revenue to the sum of 40s., for he is not the owner of one foot of Land in the World.

I find in 23 : H. 6. 15. Abt. [Abridgment of the] Statutes, title Parliament ss. 29. None shall be a Knight of the Shire, which standeth in the Degree of a Yeoman or Under. -- By this statute therefore it appears that there are Degrees, or at least a Degree under that of a Yeoman.

In Shep. Abt. [Sheppard's Abridgment], Title Name. -- So of Commons there be Degrees as Knights, Esquires, Gentlemen, Citizens, Yeomen and Burgesses of several Degrees. -- Here Burgesses are a Rank below Yeoman.

Is Lawrence a Yeoman?

For the affirmative these Things are to be considered.

What was the precise meaning of the Word Yeoman in the ancient Saxon or Teutonic Languages, I cannot say. And whether this Title was or was not in ancient times, most usually given to Land Holders, to Country farmers, is not worth while to inquire, because it is not material to the present Question. -- For

It is certain, that in the modern Language both of Courts and History's, all Persons under the Degree of Gentlemen are styled Yeomen. The Gentry and Yeomanry of England comprehend all Degrees of Men from the King to the Beggar, in History, and in the modern Lawbooks a Yeoman is defined to be an ordinary common man.

In Strange's Reports -- It is settled over and over again, first that a Trader may be sued by the Addition of his Degree, as that of Yeoman e.g. and the Writ shall not abate unless he pleads another degree. Another Defendant pleaded that he was a Lime merchant, and not a Yeoman. Plaintiff demurred, and the Court held, that every Man be he a trader or not a Trader, has a Degree by which he may be denoted. And that if the Defendant had shewn himself to be a Degree higher than a Yeoman, that would have abated the Writ, but not otherwise.

In modern Cases, Defendant pleaded that he was a Farmer

and not a Yeoman. The Plaintiff demurred, and it was held, that if the Defendant is not a Gentleman he must be a Yeoman i.e. an ordinary or common Person.

Besides I find it said in some Dictionaries that the Saxon Word from whence Yeoman is drawn signified a Shepherd. Now a Man may be a shepherd without being a Landholder, and the Word which answers this in the teutonic Language signified a common man. Now every common man is not a Landholder.

But all these Criticisms are Trash and trifling for it is settled Practice in this Court, in Conformity to the late Practice at Home, to call every one of these lower sort of People, who are not Gentlemen and whose Occupation is not known, Yeoman. I have heard common soldiers, styled Yeomen in Indictments, soldiers belonging to the Train who had no Land. I have known a Multitude of Instances where Defendants in civil Actions in this Court, have been called Yeomen, who never owned an Inch of ground in their Lives. But this Man has a better Right to this Addition, for he was born a Yeoman according to this Definition, i.e. a Land holder, and he owned when this Note was given a good farm, a farm worth 3000.

Q. [Query] Is Labourer an Addition of Degree or Mistery? A Labourer is one that has no Trade or Art or Mistery, but it is an Occupation.

It would be worth while to describe all the Transformations of J.Q.'s flatery. -- Yet there is always a salvo, which shews his Deceit and Insincerity.
If Mr. Adams should become in 2 or 3 Years, one of the most eminent Lawyers in the County, and remove to Boston, there you would find persons, who have Knowledge of the World and Daughters to dispose of, who have Knowledge of the World, and Prudence enough to look out the most thriving best Characters, for Matches to their Daughters. Twenty such Men would have their Eyes upon You; would dress out their Daughters to the best Advantage, contrive Interviews, lay schemes and presently, some one more beautiful, or sensible, or witty or artful, than the rest will draw take you in. We shall see you, not with  [illegible in spight of your Phylosophy, and Contempt for Wife and Mistress and all that, sighing, and dying with Love. Here, under a specious Pretext of Raillery for my boasted, and affected, Indifference to Ladies, he is insinuating or would make me believe that he designed to insinuate, that I am likely to be the ablest Lawyer on the stage, in 2 or 3 Years, that 20 Gentlemen will Eye me for a Match to their Daughters, and all that. This is the flattery. Yet, in truth he only said, if Mr. Adams should become &c. so that if his Consequences should never take Place, Oh I never expected they would, for I did not expect you would be eminent. -- Besides, if he was to speak his real sentiments, I am so illbred, unpolished &c. that I never shall succeed with ladies or the World &c. &c.
The same Evening, I shew him, my Draught of our Licensed Houses and the Remarks upon it. Oh he was transported! he was ravished! He would introduce that Plan at the sessions, and read the Remarks, and say they were made as well as the Plan by a Gentleman to whom their could be no Exception -- &c.

He saw an Abstract of the Argument for and against Writts of Assistants -- and crys did you take this from those Gentlemen as they delivered it? You can do any Thing! You can do as you please! Gridley did not use that Language. He never was Master of such a style! It is not in him -- &c.
I will lay 100 Guineas, that before 20 Years, you will raise the Fees of the Bar 3 fold. If your Eloquence should turn out equal to your Understanding, you will. I know you will!
You have Ld. Bolinbroke by heart! With one cursory Reading you have a deeper Understanding of him and remember more of him, than I do after 3 or 4. Readings, or than I should have after 10 Readings.
With all your Merit, and Learning, and Wit and sense and Spirit, and Vivacity, and all that.
These are the bold, gross, barefaced Flatteries that I hear every Time I see that Man. Can he think me such a Ninny as to be allured and deceived by such gross Arts? He must think me vastly vain, silly, stupid, if he thinks to impose on me, if he thinks I cant see the Deceit. It must be deceit. It cannot be any Thing else.

Gray v. Paxton. Otis drew a Writ vs. Paxton for Money had and received to the Use of the Province. Prat pleaded in Abatement, That, altho the suit was brot in Greys Name, altho Gray was Plantiff, Yet no Promise was alledged to have been made to Gray. The Defendant is alledged to be indebted to the Province, for Money received to the Provinces Use, and to have promised to pay it to the Province. Yet the Province is not Plantiff. It is Gray vs. Paxton, but it should have been the Province of the Massachusetts Bay v. Paxton.

The Treasurer and Receiver General has not a Right ex Officio, to demand sue for and recover all Monies that are due to the Province. No more than a Noblemans Steward has to sue for and Recover the Demands of the Nobleman: No more than the Cashier of the Bank of England, has to sue for and Recover all Monies due to the Bank of England. A steward may sue but not in his own Name, he must sue in the Name of his Master. The Cashier may sue, but not in his own Name, he must sue in the Name of the Governor and Company of the

Bank of England. A Corporate Body is one Person in Law and may sue or be sued, and There is an Instance, before the Court, this Term, in your own Dockett, of a suit brot by a Town, the Town of Dorchester vs. A.B. &c. There is a special Law of this Province, which impowers [sentence unfinished]

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Gray vs Paxton

to [assist?] us, we asked the advice of others, and we could think of none better than the Valuation Act. But this, threw new fuel into the unquenchable furnace of Boston Passions. What they cry? We obliged to tell upon Oath how much we are worth? must not we  [illegible drink Madeira, use silver plates, ride in our Chariots go to Concerts and assemblies, and let our sons and Daughters spend a few Guineas a Week at Cards, without telling the assessors and having it recorded that we are in Debt for all this, and are 10,000 worse than nothing? Oh these vile shoe string Country Reps. [There is reason to believe that this alternative draft of the letter, which appears below, was once longer but was later removed from the paper booklet.]


I am myself an Inhabitant of Boston, and have I think an honest affection for the Town, and a sincere Concern for its Honour: for which Reason I cannot reflect upon the late prevailing Humor of attributing our own follies to the Country without Regret. The late Engagement in your Paper, between two litigating Scribblers, about the Clergy of this Town, and their  [illegible lawdable Conduct, at the late Installment, forsooth was between two Country laymen: and many other Pieces lately published have been in Country Characters; young Gentlemen from the Country, old Batchellers in the Country &c. This is [merely??] fathering our own natural Children on other Men who are more chaste. Such Pieces, every Man who reads them knows, are the Productions of idle fellows in this Town -- Persons who have no Business, of more Consequence, to employ their Time and Thoughts, and who happen to grow vain enough in their own Imaginations, to prize highly their own Wit and Talent. Whereas the good People in the Country, whom in journeys

which I often take I have pretty carefully observed, are more dilligent and attentive to their own Business, and much less conceited of their sense and Learning. Besides any Man may observe in these Pieces, a Temper, and Manners quite remote from the honest simplicity and natural, and habitual Benevolence of a Countryman. Tis really doing Injustice to the Country to impute to it such [illegible] uncandid, illiberal  [illegible Productions, but no Wonder these Grub-street Garreteers are guilty of this Injustice when, I am sorry to say it,  [illegible a like Kind is committed by almost all orders of the Town, in many other affairs of much more Consequence.

The affair of Taxes has been a common Place Topic of Complaint against the Country, among all Ranks of Men in this Metropolis for many Years. Our Gentry has given frequent Invitations, to the Country Representatives, and to other Country Gentlemen, who had Acquaintance here, to Entertainments. The Productions of every Element and Climate were assembled, and the nicest Art and Cookery employed to regale them. The furniture of our Houses and Tables were proportionably rich and gay. Our Persons were cloathed in silks and Laces and Velvet, and our Daughters especially blazed in the rich vestments of Princesses. At the same Time the poor Gentlemen were scarcely able to walk the streets, for the Multitude of Chariots, or to hear themselves speak for the rapid Rattling of Hoofs and Wheels. (Wits and Wags may laugh at my Discription, but Foppery ought to be described in Bombast.) These Appearances at the Churches, assemblies, Concerts, Private Houses and streets, gave the Country an opinion, either that Boston was vastly rich or

vastly extravagant, and they dared not, by any public speech or Conduct suppose the latter least they should give offence to us, who had treated them even with assiduous Complaisance and Hospitality.

They endeavoured to Settle the Proportion of public Burdens, (and how should they do otherwise) according to the best Proofs they could procure of Wealth and Ability: And altho People in the Country were obliged to wear Homespun threadbare, eat salt Pork and Beef, drink Cyder and small Beer, and turn every stone, and save every Penny to pay their Taxes, and did it chearfully too: yet we in Boston never would pay ours, without Grumbling, and cursing Country folks, and Country Representatives.

Well, the Country Gentlemen desirous to do justice, [harkened?] to our Complaints, and set themselves to discover as well as they could, who was and who was not able to support the Pomp they every day saw. They asked our own Representatives and other, the most sensible Inhabitants of the Town, and no better Method was to be found than the Valuation Act. But, this, instead of quieting extinguishing only enflamed our Discontent. "What we cry? We obliged to tell upon Oath how much we are worth? must not we drink Madeira, use Silver Plates eat in silver and China? Ride in our Chariots? Go to Concerts and assemblies? and let our sons and Daughters spend a few Guineas a Week at Cards without telling the assessors, and having it recorded that we are in Debt for all this, and 10,000 worse than nothing! Oh these vile shoe string Reps."

We have not in short the Ingenuity of common Debauchees, who will often confess their own folly, in getting Claps and daily Drams, has given them the Hectick: But we are determined to take no shame to ourselves, but charge all the Conseque the natural and unavoidable Consequences of our own Imprudence on the Country. The Country, it is true, is not an unexceptionable Example of Wisdom. Many Things are running Wild. Many  [illegible simptoms are appearing begin to appear, that threaten their Happiness, their Morals, Health, Properties and Liberties, in a very melancholly manner: But even these simptoms are produced, in a great Measure by the inconsiderate Politicks of this Town. -- Give me Leave to mention a very flagrant Instance out of a Multitude.

If you ride over this whole Province you will find, that, alltho Taverns are generally too numerous, they are not half so numerous in any one County, in Proportion to the Numbers of People and the Necessity of Business and Travellers, as in this. In most Country Towns, in this County, you will find almost every other House, with a sign of Entertainment before it. If you call, you will find Dirt enough, very miserable Accommodation of Provision and Lodging, for your self and your Horse. Yet if you set the Evening, you will find the House full of People, drinking Drams, Plip, Toddy, Carrousing, swearing, but especially, plotting, with the Landlord, to get him, at the next Town Meeting an Election, either for select man

or Representative. Thus the Multiplicity of these Houses, by dividing the Profits, renders the Landlords careless of Travellers, and allures the poor Country People, who are tired with Labour and hanker after Company, to waste their Time and money, contract Habits of Intemperance and Idleness, and by degrees to loose the natural dignity and freedom of English Minds, and confer those offices, which belong by Nature and the spirit of all Government to Probity and Honesty, on the meanest and weakest and worst of human Characters.

A good deal of this has happened, as I believe, partly from what I have seen and partly from credible Information, in the Country: But who is most to blame! The Court of Sessions has made such Rules for itself, that the Country Justices can seldom attend. The select Men of the several Towns, have been so often disappointed, that they are discouraged. Some Houses to my Knowledge have been licensed which never had any Approbation from any select Man. Other Persons have been licensed whom the select Men have found by Experience, and certified to be unfit, guilty of Misrule, and therefore unfit. Others have been recognized for seven Years together without any Approbation from the select Men, thro that whole Time. Nay a Man has been recognized, tho the select Men certifyed good Reasons for not approbating him -- that he was very intemperate, had poor Accommodations, and was subject to fits of Caprice

if not Delirium, that made it dangerous to come near him: and altho it was proved, that the same Man, in one of those fits, had but a few days before, Stabbed another, with apparent Design and great Danger of Murder.

Now I agree, that Ambitious Spirits in the Country, who have little Honour who have little Honour will soon see, that such Houses must be favoured, and multiplied, to promote their own designs, and therefore Retailers and Taverners are generally in the Country Assessors, or select Men, or Representative or Esquires: But are not we more to blame. Are not some of our justices, Importers of Mollasses? are not others Distillers? and are not all of them fond of a lawful Fee? In short it is owing wholly to Boston justices, that those Houses have been so shamefully multiplied, in the Country, multiplied so that decent Entertainment for a Traveller is no where to be had.

Beg. The Freedom of Censure is a Matter of great Consequence in our under our Government. There are certain Vices and follies, certain Indecencies of Behaviour, beneath the Inspection and Censure of Law and Magistracy, which must be restrained and corrected by Satyr. And for this Reason, every Piece of just Ridicule in public or private bestowed on any foppery wrong or foolish Conduct, gives me great

Pleasure, even altho I am myself the Object. From the same Principle I was glad to see some Animadversion on the late inconsistent Conduct of the Ministers of this Town. And nothing but sacerdotal Impudence, and Ecclesiastical Pride, can account for the surly, revengeful Manner in which those Pieces have been received.

I have been for a Week or fortnight engaged in a Project. [to obtain the appointment of his brother Peter Boylston Adams as a deputy sheriff of Suffolk co.] Have remarkably succeeded hitherto. Mr. Niles approved in all Things. Major Crosbey approved in all Things. Deacon Palmer approved in all Things. They have given under their Hands a very full and handsome Character and Recommendation of my Brother -- much more ample than I expected. They have really Spoken in Hyperbole. They have expressed themselves with Warmth. I expected only a signification of their Consent and Approbation, but they have expressed themselves with Zeal. I ought to consider these Credentials gratefully, as a strong Instance of friendship, and take the first Opportunity of making some Return. Mr. N. has the worst opinion of Thayers Morals. He detests the base Methods of Debauchery, and Lying, and Duplicity, that he has been in. P. despizes him.
But scheming seldom has success. I expect to come off but second best after all. I expect that Thayer will hear of my Design, and in order to defeat it, continue in the office himself. If he should, I shall be pretty [well?]. Intrigue, and making Interest, and Asking favors is a new Employment to me. I'm unpractised in Intrigues for Power.

I begin to feel the Passions of the World. Ambition, Avarice, Intrigue, Party, all must be guarded.
My fears of failing are at last vanished. The scheme succeeded in all Things, and is compleated. B. [Boylston] is constituted, commissioned and sworn, and this Day, undertaken to officiate. Now a new Train of Anxieties, begins to take Place. Fears of imperfect services, imperfect and false Returns, voluntary and negligent Escapes, miscalculations, Want of strength, Courage, Celerity, Want of Art and Contrivance &c. Rashness, Indolence, Timidity, &c.
The Project was so well planned, that success seemed certain. Every Party all the justices recommended. Two other Gents of his Acquaintance, men of Honour and figure. G. concurred and urged, and dropped Hints if not Anecdotes, vs. the old one. Hints were  [illegible dropped to him by others that I should employ Constables and so deprive him of his Profits. So that his Interest, his Vanity, his Honour, were all touched. It cost me much Pains, at least 2 Journeys to Boston, one to Mr. Niles', one to Germantown, one to Mr. [Bullards?], and Majr. Crosbeys. The Writing of a long Bond. The solicitation of Credentials, of sureties and of the office. More solicitation procured it. And altho it was not much disguised or concealed, yet it was so silently conducted that I believe the [grand?] Adversary never once suspected it. All the Wiles and Malice of the old serpent would have been employed against it, if it had been known or suspected. But there was one Particular of mere Luck, to which we were much indebted -- vizt. the Complaint of Cudworth against T. That unfriendly, unbrotherly, unneighbourly, as well as rash and unmannerly, Spurning of the Execution, and then sending it to Gould, where it was lost, gave the great Man an ill opinion of his sub.

and made him more willing and ready, at my solicitation, to constitute another, and even without consulting Thayer.
I have latterly arose much earlyer than Usual. Arose at five and at 6 O'clock, instead of 8 and 9. The Mornings are very long, and fine opportunities for Study. They are cool and pleasant. But I have not improved my Time, properly. I have dozed and sauntered away much of my Time. This morning is very fine  [illegible . The clear sky, the bright sun, the clean Groves and Grass,  [illegible after so fine a Rain are very pleasant. But the Books within this Chamber have a much better Title to my Attention than any of the rural scenes and objects without it. I have been latterly too much in the World, and too little in this Retreat. In the Abroad, my Passi Appetites are solicited, my Passions inflamed, and my Understanding too much perverted, to judge wisely of Men or Things. But in this Retreat, where neither my Senses nor Appetites nor Passions are excited, am able to consider all Things more  [illegible coolly, and sensibly. -- I was  [illegible to him guilty of rash and profane Swearing, of rough and indecent Virulence vs. the Characters of Goffe, J. Russell, Lieutenant Governor, &c. Not but that there have been Faults in their Characters and Conduct, that every honest Man ought to resent.

Dined at Deacon Hills, with Sam Quincy and his Bride, and with Mr. Cushing a Representative of Salisbury. Cushing seems a fair minded Countryman. Some free and friendly Conversation passed between Henry Hill and his father, about Advancement, and stock and setting up, and giving 1000 a Year. Henry said You ought to give me 1000 a Year or 10,000 right out, and then I maintain myself. You must give me Money or learn me to get it, or why did you make me? I'le go back again, &c.
Drank Tea, at Major Nobles, with Coll. Quincy, Deacon Whittemore, and the Man who is sued to this Court. I've forgot his Name. All in Consultation about defending their Lands in the Eastward.

I am creating Enemies in every Quarter of the Town. The Clarks hate. Mother Hubbard, Thayer, Lamb, Tirrell, J. Brackett. This is multiplying and propagating Enemies, too fast. -- I shall have the Ill-Will of the whole Town whole Town.

White. Daniel White, Moses Adams. -- This will not do.

Daniel Prat vs. Thos. Colson. -- This Action was brot by Plaintiff vs. Colson as Administrator, on the Estate of Mr. Bolter, for Non-Performance of a Covenant of Indenture. Prat was a poor, fatherless Child and his Mother Unable to provide for him, bound him an Apprentice to Mr. Bolter. He was then under 10 Years of Age, and so was bound for Eleven Years, and some odd Months. In Consideration of this very long and unusual Term of Apprenticeship his Master covenanted to teach him to read, write and Cypher, and to teach him the Trade of a Weaver. But we contend complain that he never taught us either to read, write or Cypher, or to weave. Call the Proof.

The Law, Gentlemen, is extreamly tender and indulgent to such Actions as these. For such is the Benignity and Humanity of the English Constitution that all the weak, and helpless, and friendless Part of our Species are taken under its Peculiar Care and Protection. Women, Children, and Especially Widows and fatherless Children, have always, from the Compassion of the Law peculiar Priviledges and Indulgences allowed them.

Therefore as a poor, fatherless, and friendless Child the Law would allow great Indulgence and Lenity to this Plantiff.

But he is to be favoured for Another Reason. Because the English Law greatly favours Education. In every English Country, some sort of Education, some Acquaintance with Letters, is necessary, that a Man may fill any station whatever. In every English Country In the Countries of slavery, and Romish superstition, the Laity must not learn to read, least they should detect the gross Impostures of the Priesthood, and shake off the Yoke of Bondage. But in Protestant Countries and especially in England and its Colonies, Freedom of Enquiry is allowed to be not only  [illegible the Priviledge but the Duty of every Individual. We know it to be our Duty, to read, examine and judge for ourselves, even of ourselves what is right. No Priest nor Pope has any Right to say what I shall believe, and I will not believe one Word they say, if I think it is not founded in Reason and in Revelation. Now how can I judge what My Bible justifies unless I can read my Bible.

The English Constitution is founded, tis bottomed And grounded on the Knowledge and good sense of the People. The very Ground of our Liberties, is the freedom of Elections. Every Man has in Politicks as well as Religion, a Right to think and speak and Act for himself. No man either King or Subject, Clergyman or Layman has any Right to dictate to me who the Person I shall choose to for my Legislator and Ruler. I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any Man judge, unless his Mind has

been opened and enlarged by Reading. A Man who can read, will find in his Bible, in the common sermon Books that common People have by them and even in the Almanack and News Papers, Rules and observations, that will enlarge his Range of Thought, and enable him the better to judge who has and who has not that Integrity of Heart, and that Compass of Knowledge and Understanding, which form the Statesman.

Mem.. To ask Seth Copeland, whether his Father White has a Copy of his Fathers Will? How came Eb. White possessed of that old Deed to his father, and not and how came Tho's White to have it? and whether he Tho's White has a Copy of that Deed. And Q. [Query] of whom Capt. Thayer bought his share of the Landing? and of whom Holbrook bought his share of the Landing? And whether the Beech and Flatts, where Thayers and Holbrooks Wharffs now are, ever belonged to Tho's White the Testator.

Spent Evening at Zabs with the Parson.
Wibirt. I have seen a Picture of Oliver Cromwell, with this Motto under it.
Careat successibus opto
Quisquis ab Eventu, facta notanda putat.
[From Ovid's Heroides, II. 85.]
I pray that he may want success, who thinks that Deeds are to be estimated from their Event, their success. Oliver was successful but not prudent nor honest, nor lawdable nor imitable.
A certain Romish Priest had five young Nuns, committed to his Charge, i.e. he was appointed the Confessor to them. And after a while they all five proved with Child by him. He was summoned into the Ecclesiastical Court Spiritual Court, to answer to the Charge of Fornication. The judge told him he was charged with a criminal Correspondence with all five of the Nuns that had been entrusted to his Care. The Priest replies, Quinque mihi tradidit Dominus Talenta, Et Ecce alia quinque super lucratus sum. -- The judge was so well pleased with his Confession that he said Remittuntur tibi Peccata tua, Abi in Pace.

Read in Just. [Justinian] and Lancelot.
Arose at 6. Read in Popes Satyrs. Nil Admirari &c. I last night read  [illegible thro, both of Dr. Donnes Satyrs versifyed by Pope. Was most struck with these Lines
Bear me some God! Oh! quickly bear me hence
To wholsome solitude the Nurse of sense
Where Contemplation prunes her ruffled Wings
And the free soul looks down to pitty Kings.
Prayer! A post. [postulant?] -- Hands uplifted, and Eyes. A very proper Prayer for me to make when I'm in Bo-n [Boston]. Solitude is a Personage, in a clean, wholsome Dress, the Nurse and Nourisher of sense. Contemplation a Personage, prunes, picks, smooths. Is she an Angell or a Bird -- ruffled, rumpled, rugged, uneven, tumbled. Free soul, not enslaved, unshackled, no Bondage, no subjection, looks down, pitties George, Louis, Frederick, Phillip, Charles, &c.

the most refined Patriotism to which human Nature can be wrought, has in it  [illegible an alloy of ambition, of Pride and of avarice, that debases the Composition, and produces mischievous Effects.

Among the numberless Imperfections of human Nature and society, there is none that deserves to be more lamented, because there is none that is the source of greater Evils, than the Tendency of great Parts and Genius, to imprudent sallies and a Wrong Biass. If We move back, thro the History of all ages and Nations, we shall find, that all the Tumults, Insurrections, and Revolutions, that have taken place that have disturbed the Peace of society, and spilled oceans of Blood, have arisen from the rash giddy Rashness of and Extravagance of the sublimest Minds. But in those Governments where the People have much Power, tho  [illegible the best that can be found, the Danger from such spirits is the greatest of all. That unquenchable Thirst of superiority, and Power which, in such Governments, inkindles the Lust of Popularity, often precipitates Persons of Character I describe, into the wildest Projects and Adventures, to set the World aware of their Parts and Persons, without attending to the Evils that must ensue Calamities that must ensue. Popular orators are  [illegible generally opposite to the present  [illegible and Administration, blaming public Measures, and despizing or detesting Persons in Power, whether with whether  [illegible wise or foolish, wicked or upright, with

all their Wit, and Knowledge, merely to make themselves the Idols of a slavish, timid People, who are always jealous and invidious of Power and therefore devoted to those that expose, ridicule or condemn it. Eloquence that may be employed to  [illegible wisely to persuade, is often employed wickedly to seduce, from the Eloquence of Greece and Rome down to the rude speeches of our American Town Meeting. I am not  [illegible have more charity, than to believe, that these orators really intend an Injury to their Country; but so subtle are our Hearts in deceiving and deluding ourselves,  [illegible think we are so apt to think our own Parts so able and  [illegible capable and necessary to the public, that a public we shall richly repair, by our Capacity in public life station any Mischiefs we occasion in our Way to them. There is perhaps a sincere  [illegible Patriotism in the Hearts of all such Persons; but it must be confessed, that the most refined Patriotism to which human Nature can be wrought, has in it an alloy of Ambition, of Pride and avarice that debases the Composition, and produces mischievous Effects.
As unhappy and blamable as such Persons are, the general Method of in Use

among Persons in Power of treating such spirits, is neither less unhappy, or blamable or hurtful. Such Minds, with a wise and delicate Management, may be made the ornaments and Blessings of their Country: but by an unskilfull and rough Usage, will be rendered desperate and therefore the Worst Blemishes and Plagues of their Country.
I therefore who am setting up for the Monitor of all future Legislators,  [illegible a Character for which by my great Age, Experience, Sense and Learning I am well qualified, hereby advise the orator, to guard himself against the danger to and his Country, against the Danger to which his Passions expose both, and the Man in Power, instead of thwarting, and insulting and overbearing a Person who perhaps is full as wise and good as he, to [soothe] and cool and soften by a mild obliging Behaviour, and a just Attention to the [former?]

Tuesday Night. Col. Q. If that House was builded in 1755 before my first Wifes Death &c. &c. I am the most lost to all sense of Truth that ever Man was .

You have given me a fee. Now this Action may possibly bear 3 several Constructions.

1st. It might be considered as an Engagement in your suit vs. Cranch.

2d. It might be con

2d. It might be considered as an Engagement to give you, the Offer of my service in all Causes, before I should engage in favour of any other Person vs. you.

3. It may be considered, for aught I can say, merely as a sop for Cerberus, to hinder in short to silence me in this Case, to bearly to prevent my engaging on the other side, and to secure me as an Under Worker to fetch and carry, prepare Evidence &c.

Now I frankly tell you, when I accepted a fee from you, I accepted it in the second sense And in that alone. And I will tell you my Reasons. I had often heard you say that you once gave Mr. Prat a retaining fee, and you explain yourself thus a fee not to engage for to be on your side in all Causes if you desired it, and not to engage against you, without first letting you know it. And you said further that whenever any Cause happened, after you gave that fee, you

again engaged him &c. Another Reason was sometime since when you apprehended a Dispute with Deacon Palmer you told me you desired me if any Person should apply to me against you that I would not engage without letting you know it, and if upon such Information you did not offer me more than the other Party had, I should be at Liberty to engage for him. And you then subjoined, to secure You to this, I will give you a retaining fee if you will take it. By the Way I then made this objection. "For another Person I may be employed to conduct the Cause but you can never entrust a Cause in the Hands of your Son and me, and to employ me in Conjunction with another, in Neglect of your Son, would not do." You answered Yes, you  [illegible I should have the Conduct of the Causes for  [illegible it was not proper a son [should?] argue a Cause for his father. Another Reason was you offered the fee to me as a retaining fee before you said one Word of any Particular Cause. Neither Mr. Cranchs of Mr. Cranchs 3 suits, nor any Eastern Claims, nor Deacon Palmers Account nor any other Cause was mentioned to me, til after you had put the fee into my Hand, and with it you said if any Person shall apply to you against me, dont you engage till You let me [remainder missing]

Cite web page as: John Adams diary 7, 21 March - 18 October 1761 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams diary 7, 21 March - 18 October 1761. Folded sheets without covers, (44 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. 1. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.