Diary of John Adams, volume 1

Braintree Feby. 1st. 1763. Tuesday.<a xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0" href="#DJA01d342n1" class="note" id="DJA01d342n1a">1</a> JA Braintree Feby. 1st. 1763. Tuesday. Adams, John
Braintree Feby. 1st. 1763. Tuesday.1

Last Thurdsday afternoon, rode to Germantown, and there stayed at my friend Cs. till the last Night. Four Nights, and four days. Those 2 families well deserve the Character they hold of friendly, sensible, and Social.2 The Men, Women and Children, are all sensible and obliging.

Mem. The notable Anecdote of Coll. Josa. Quincy. The Hydrostatical Experiment. And the other of Mrs. Lincoln, equally curious and instructive. The Pinching, and the Sprinkling, &c.

Mem. The other Anecdote of Mr. Erving. He has prophesyed so long, and with so much Confidence that Canada would be restored to the French that, because he begins to see his Predictions will not be fullfilled, he is now straining his Invention for Reasons, why we ought not to hold it. He says, the Restoration of that Province can alone prevent our becoming luxurious, effeminate, inattentive to any Danger and so an easy Prey to an Invader. He was so soundly bantered, the other day in the Council Chamber, that he snatched his Hat and Cloak and went off, in a Passion.


Mem. The other of a Piece sent to Fleet to be printed, upon the Unfitness of Mr. Mauduit to represent this Province, at the british Court, both in Point of Age and Knowledge. He is as that Writer says 70 Years old, an honest Man but avaricious, a Woolen Draper, a mere Cit, so ignorant of Court and public Business, that he knew not where the public offices were, and that he told Mr. Bollan, that he was Agent for New England. He says that all the other Agents laugh at this Province, for employing him. And that all Persons on that Side of the Water are surprized at us. That the Considerations on the present German War, were written by a Person unknown, who hired or persuaded Mr. Mauduitt to father it.3

Observation. The Character of Aunt Nell,4 exemplified. Mrs. Eunice5 told us the Catastrophe of two of her Teeth, she broke them out at Table in Company, and to avoid exposing her self, swallowed them.

I spent an Evening at Mrs. Palmers. Mrs. Eunice was very sociable, she had the lead all the Evening. Gave us History’s of her Journeys with her Brother, to Connecticutt, to Barnstable, Plymouth, Middleborough, Norton, &c. Descriptions of Seats and Roads, and Thicketts, Characters of Persons, of both sexes, and the hospitable offices of strangers, &c., and above all the Tittle, Tattle of the Town of Taunton, what Families Visit, and what not. The little female Miffs, and Bickerings. Dr. Mclnsters McKinstrys, McWaters’s, Fales, &c. &c.

The Temper and Habits of stale Virginity, are growing upon her. She is talkative. Query, whether envious, sullen and passionate? She is no slanderer. She is tender of Characters and gives Merit its due Praise. The History of her Loves is curious, but not uncommon.

or Di. was a constant feast.6 Tender feeling, sensible, friendly. A friend. Not an imprudent, not an indelicate, not a disagreeable Word or Action. Prudent, modest, delicate, soft, sensible, obliging, active. Where all was full, possessing and possest no craving Void left Aching in the Breast.

Books, we read 5 Sermons in Dr. Shirlock Sherlock, and several Chapters in the Inquiry into the origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the beautiful.7 The Chapter upon Sympathy, they all disapprove. The Author says we have a real Pleasure, in the Distresses and Misfortunes of others. Mem. To write a Letter to Sewal or Quincy, or Lowell8 on the subject of that Chapter.


I employed however, too little of my Time in Reading and in Thinking. I might have spent much more. The Idea of M. de Vattell indeed, scowling and frowning, haunted me.

Q. Do we take Pleasure in the real Distresses of others? What is my Sensation, when I see Captn. Cunningham, laid up, with the Gout, and hear his plaintive Groans? What are the feelings of the Women, at Groanings? What is my feeling when I hear of an honest Mans loosing a ship at Sea? What when I hear sentence unfinished


First entry in “Paper book No. 9” (our D/JA/9), a stitched gathering of leaves containing a few entries in Feb. 1763, a draft of a newspaper article that could not have been written before late June 1763, and some undated entries. The entries are not in chronological order in the MS.

This booklet contains the only Diary entries surviving for the year 1763. Fragmentary lists of JA’s legal cases show that his practice was rapidly expanding, at least in the lower courts, and this year too he began to write with some frequency for the Boston newspapers. His surviving correspondence for 1763 is virtually all with Miss Abigail Smith of Weymouth.


The Cranches and Palmers. Mrs. Palmer was a sister of Richard Cranch.


In April 1762 the House voted to remove William Bollan, who had been Provincial agent in London since 1746 but was disliked by the Otises and others as a Churchman and a son-in-law of former Governor Shirley. He was replaced by Jasper Mauduit, a London woolen merchant and dissenter. Mauduit was dependent on his brother Israel, author of the tract mentioned in the text, for assistance, but their friends in Massachusetts failed to obtain a stipend for Israel as associate agent. The correspondence in Jasper Mauduit... 1762–1765 (MHS, Colls. , 74 [1918]) makes clear the sentiments and maneuvers of all parties in this petty but complex affair. See also 15 Aug. 1765, below.




Mistress (Miss) Eunice Paine.


One would like to believe that this refers to Abigail Smith, sister of the recently married Mary (Smith) Cranch. In the letters they exchanged at this time both Abigail and JA used the fanciful name Diana for her. But the preceding initial, which may be “H,” cannot be explained.


A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, by Edmund Burke, was published anonymously in London, 1757.


John Lowell, Harvard 1760, of Newburyport, trained or still training in the office of Oxenbridge Thacher for the bar; later a member of the Continental Congress and a federal judge.

Feb. 5th. 1763. JA Feb. 5th. 1763. Adams, John
Feb. 5th. 1763.

Memorabilia of this Week.

The Bar agreed upon these 4 Rules.

1st. That the Clerk call the Plain tiff, and if any Body answer, except the Plaintiff or some sworn Attorney, his Power be demanded, and no general Power in such Case be admitted.

2dly. That no Attorneys Fee be taxed for the future where the Declaration was not drawn by the Plaintiff himself, or some sworn Attorney.

3dly. That no attendance be taxed, unless the Party attend personally, or by some sworn Attorney.


4. That no Attorney be allowed to Practice here unless sworn in this Court1 or in the superiour Court.

Mr. Gridley read these Rules to the Court as unexceptionable Regulations, agreed upon by the Bar. Mr. Otis arose and said he had the Credit of the Motion, but he never had moved for any such Rules as these, for they were vs. the Province Law, vs. the Rights of Mankind, and he was amazed that so many wise Heads as that Bar was blessed with could think them practicable, and concluded that he was for one, entirely against them. And said that all schemes to suppress Petty fogger’s must rest on the Honor of the Bar. Foster Hutchinson asked why then was the Court troubled with the Motion? Judge Watts said if the Bar was not agreed the Court could do nothing. And at last they determined to consider till April.

Thus with a whiff of Otis’s pestilential Breath, was this whole system blown away.

But the Barr was in a great Rage!

Thatcher said to Kent, Auchmuty and me, “whoever votes for him to be any Thing more than a Constable let him be Anathema maranatha. I pamphleteer for him again? No. Ile pamphleteer against him.

Kent damned him and said he had been abused by him personally, in such a manner as he never would forgive, unless he made him more satisfaction, than he imagined was in his Power.

Thatcher moved, that in the Cards to be sent to the Judges, the Expression should be “The Bar, exclusively of Mr. Otis, invites,” and Auchmuty, Kent, Gridley and I, as well as Thatcher voted for it.

Auchmuty and Fitch were equally warm. They talked about renouncing all Commerce or Connection with him. Gridley talked about treating him dryly and decently.

Auchmuty said, the two Principles of all this were Popularity, and Avarice.

He made the Motion at first to get some of these Under strappers into his service. He could not bear that Quincy and Auch. should have Underworkers and he none. And he objected to the Rules, to save his Popularity, with the Constables, Justices Story and Ruddock &c. and Pettyfoggers of the Town, and with the Pettyfoggers that he uses as Tools and Mirmidons in the House.

Mr. G. said he went off to avoid a Quarell, for he could not bear it. Such Tergiversation, such Trimming, such Behaviour.

K. and Auch. said they had born with his Insolence thinking him honest, tho hot and rash and passionate, but now he appeared to act against his Conscience.

237 Recipe to make a Patriot2

Take of the several Species of Malevolence, as Revenge, Malice, Envy, equal Quantities, of servility, fear, fury, Vanity, Prophaneness, and Ingratitude, equal Quantities, and infuse this Composition into the Brains of an ugly, surly, brutal Mortal and you have the Desideratum.

The Life of Furio.

In Croatia. His Descent. Education, at school, Colledge, at the Bar. Historians relate that he was grossly slandered, by a story of a Bastard on a Negro, his Wrath at Plymouth, at Boston he Heads the Trade, brings Actions, fails, is chosen Representative, quarrells with Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Council, House, Custom house officers, Gentlemen of the Army, the Bar, retails prosody, writes upon Money, Province sloop.


The Suffolk co. Inferior Court of Common Pleas.


It is not clear whether this and the following squib on Otis were composed or merely copied by JA. The second has the appearance of being notes for a satirical piece to be developed more fully.