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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


This foot note contained in document ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0001
1. First entry in “Paper book No. II” (our D/JA/11), which has on its cover, in JA ’s hand, the following couplet from Pope:

“Eye Nature’s walks, Shoot folly as it flys

And catch the Manners liveing as they rise.”

JA ’s most important action in the interval since his last Diary entries in August was his composition of the “Braintree Instructions,” denouncing the Stamp Act and denying Parliament’s authority to tax the colonies without their consent. This paper is in the form of a letter from a special committee of the town to its representative in the General Court, Ebenezer Thayer, and is dated 24 Sept. 1765. A rough draft in JA ’s hand is in the Adams Papers. For the action of the town and the text of the Instructions as adopted, see Braintree Town Records , p. 404–406. In JA’s Works , 3:464–468, the Instructions are reprinted from the Boston Gazette, 14 Oct., though the earliest printing was in Drapers’ Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News Letter, 10 Oct. The open secret of JA ’s authorship of this spirited paper undoubtedly led to his being named in December one of the counsel for the Town of Boston to plead for the reopening of the courts; see the following entry.