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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-11

Tuesday 11th.

Went to Boston. The C[hief] J[ustice] not there. A Piece of political Finess, to make the People believe he was under a Necessity of going a Journey this Week, but would be here by the next, was put about while Care was taken, to secure an Agreement to an Adjournment for 3 or 4 Weeks. So that Hutchinson is to trim, and shift, and luff up and bear away. And elude the Blame of the Ministry and the People.
Cushing Spoke out boldly and said he was ready to go on. He had no Difficulty about going on. Lynde said We are here. Oliver said here am I, in Duress, and if I must go on, I must. Thus Popular Compulsion, fear of Violence, of the Sons of Liberty, &c, was suggested to be the only Motive with him to go on.1
1. Since no one (including the lawyers) wished to incur the possible penalties for proceeding without stamped paper, the judges like everyone else were playing the game of “Who will bell the cat?” Those named here were the younger John Cushing (1695–1778), of Scituate (Emory Washburn, Sketches of the Judicial History of Massachusetts, Boston, 1840, p. 298–299); the younger Benjamin Lynde (1700–1781), subsequently chief justice (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates , 6:250–257); and Peter Oliver, who has been mentioned earlier. Chief Justice Hutchinson’s own account of the situation with respect to the Superior Court is in his Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:105–106. See also Quincy, Reports , p. 215–217; and the entries of 15 March, 15, 29 April, below.