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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-29

Decr. 29th. 1765. Sunday.

Heard Parson Wibird. Hear O Heavens and give Ear O Earth, “I have nourished and brought up Children and they have rebelled against me.”—I began to suspect a Tory Sermon on the Times from this Text. But the Preacher confined himself to Spirituals. But I expect, if the Tories should become the strongest, We shall hear many Sermons against the Ingratitude, Injustice, Disloyalty, Treason, Rebellion, Impiety, and ill Policy of refusing Obedience to the Stamp-Act. The Church Clergy to be sure will be very eloquent. The Church People are, many of them, Favourers of the stamp Act, at present. Major Miller, forsooth, is very fearful, that they will be stomachful at Home and angry and resentful. Mr. Vesey insists upon it that, We ought to pay our Proportion of the public Burdens. Mr. Cleverly is fully convinced that they i.e. the Parliament have a Right to tax Us. He thinks it is wrong to go on with Business. We had better stop, and wait till Spring, till we hear from home. He says We put the best face upon it, that Letters have been received in Boston, from the greatest Merchants in the Nation, blaming our Proceedings, and that the Merchants dont second us. Letters from old Mr. Lane, and from Mr. Dubert [De Berdt]. He says that Things go on here exactly as they did in the Reign of K[ing] C[harles] Ist. that blessed S[ain]t and Martyr.
Thus, that unaccountable Man goes about sowing his pernicious Seeds of Mischief, instilling wrong Principles in Church and State into the People, striving to divide and disunite them, and to excite fears to damp their Spirits and lower their Courage.
Etter is another of the poisonous Talkers, but not equally so. Cleverly and Vesey are Slaves in Principle. They are devout religious Slaves—and a religious Bigot is the worst of Men.
Cleverly converses of late at Mr. Lloyds with some of the Seekers of Appointments from the Crown—some of the Dozen in the Town of Boston, who ought as Hanncock says to be beheaded, or with some of those, who converse with the Governor, who ought as Tom Boylstone1 says to be sent Home with all the other Governors on the Continent, with Chains about their Necks.
1. Thomas Boylston (1721–1798), a cousin of JA ’s mother; Boston merchant and, { 281 } despite his warm feelings against the Stamp Act, eventually a loyalist ( NEHGR , 7 [1853]:148; Sabine, Loyalists ).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-30

1765. Decr. 30th. Monday.1

We are now concluding the Year 1765, tomorrow is the last day, of a Year in which America has shewn such Magnanimity and Spirit, as never before appeared, in any Country for such a Tract of Country. And Wednesday will open upon Us a new Year 1766, which I hope will procure Us, innumerable Testimonies from Europe in our favour and Applause, and which we all hope will produce the greatest and most extensive Joy ever felt in America, on the Repeal both of the stamp Act and sugar Act, at least of the former.
Q[uery]. Who is it, that has harrangued the Grand Juries in every County, and endeavoured to scatter Party Principles in Politicks?2 Who has made it his constant Endeavour to discountenance the Odium in which Informers are held? Who has taken Occasion in fine spun, spick and span, spruce, nice, pretty, easy warbling Declamations to Grand Inquests to render the Characters of Informers, honourable and respectable? Who has frequently expressed his Apprehensions, that the form of Government in England was become too popular. Who is it, that has said in public Speeches, that the most compleat Monarchy in Europe was the Government of France? Who is it, that so often enlarges on the Excellency of the Government of Queen Elizabeth, and insists upon it so often, that the Constitution, about the Time of her Reign and under her Administration, was nearest the Point of Perfection? Who is it that has always given his opinion in Favour of Prerogative and Revenue, in every Case in which they have been brought into Question, without one Exception? Who is it that has endeavoured to biass simple Juries, by an Argument as warm and vehement, as those of the Bar, in a Case where the Province was contending vs. a Custom-House-Officer? And what were the other Means employed in that Cause vs. the Resolutions of the General Assembly? Who has monopolized almost all the Power, of the Government, to himself and his family, and who has been endeavouring to procure more, both on this side and the other side the Atlantic?
Read Shakespears Life of K. Henry 8th. Spent the Evening with the Company of Singers at Moses Adams’s.
Clarendon to Pym.3
They are extreamly proud of their Country, and they have reason to be so. Millions, Tens and Hundreds of Millions of Freeborn Sub• { 282 } jects, are familiar to their Imaginations, and they have a pious Horror, of consenting to any Thing, which may intail slavery on their Posterity. They think that the Liberties of Mankind and the Glory of human Nature is in their Keeping. They know that Liberty has been skulking about in Corners from the Creation, and has been hunted and persecuted, in all Countries, by cruel Power. But they flatter them selves that America was designed by Providence for the Theatre, on which Man was to make his true figure, on which science, Virtue, Liberty, Happiness and Glory were to exist in Peace.
Now have not they the same Reason to contend against Parliamentary Taxations, which you and your Hampden had against regal and ministerial Taxations.—What were your Reasons?
1. First entry in “Paper book No. 12” (our D/JA/12), a gathering of leaves stitched into a cover cut from a copy of the Boston Gazette, 11 Feb. 1765.
2. The references in this paragraph are to Thomas Hutchinson in his role as chief justice of the Superior Court, and especially to what JA and others considered Hutchinson’s judicial favoritism in the appeals of the customs officer Charles Paxton in the related cases of Gray v. Paxton and Province v. Paxton, 1761–1762. See entry of 3 April 1761 and note 7 there; and Appendix II, by Samuel M. Quincy, in Quincy, Reports , p. 541–552.
3. This remarkable fragment was not used in any of JA ’s published “Clarendon” letters.