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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


This foot note contained in document ADMS-01-02-02-0007-0002-0004
1. William Smith; he was to be elected to Congress on 15 Feb. (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 2:xlix–l; Biog. Dir. Cong. ; entry of 23 Feb., below).
On the following day JA resigned his seat, which he had never been able to occupy, as chief justice of Massachusetts, thus ending a dilemma that had made him uncomfortable for many months. On 28 Oct. 1775 he was notified that the Council had chosen him “to be first or Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature” (Perez Morton to JA , 28 Oct. 1775, Adams Papers). Difficulties in filling up the high court proved insuperable for some time, and there was also much criticism in Congress during 1776 of plural officeholding, which JA found embarrassing. See his Autobiography, where he discusses the matter at length ( Works , 3:25–28). His letter of resignation was enclosed in one to John Avery, 10 Feb. 1777 ( LbC , Adams Papers; enclosure printed in Works , 3: 25, note).