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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-09-06

Wednesday. Septr. 6. 1769.

Mr. Cudworth told me on the Town house Steps, that Mr. Charles Paxton, the Commissioner, told him this day, that it was possible, he might be sent with some Proscess on board a Man of War, and he advised him, as a friend not to attempt to take any Man from on Board the Man of War; for you have no Right to, and if you attempt it, you’l never come away alive—and I want to see Otis the D[eputy] Sherriff1 to give him the same Advice.—Cudworth told this to Otis in my Hear• { 344 } ing, and Otis went directly to Mr. Paxtons as I since hear, and Mr. Paxton gave him the same Advice.2
1. Joseph Otis and Benjamin Cudworth were both deputy sheriffs of Suffolk co.
2. The passage is ambiguously punctuated, but it was clearly Paxton who warned Cudworth and wanted to warn Otis—and did so.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-10-19

1769. Octr. 19th. Thurdsday.

Last night I spent the Evening, at the House of John Williams Esqr. the Revenue officer, in Company with Mr. Otis, Jona. Williams Esqr. and Mr. McDaniel a Scotch Gentleman, who has some Connection with the Commissioners, as Clerk, or something. Williams is as sly, secret and cunning a fellow, as need be. The Turn of his Eye, and Cast of his Countenance, is like Thayer of Braintree. In the Course of the Evening He said, that He knew that Lord Townsend borrowed Money of Paxton, when in America, to the amount of £500 st. at least that is not paid yet. He also said, in the Course of the Evening, that if he had drank a Glass of Wine, that came out of a seizure, he would take a Puke to throw it up. He had such a Contempt for the 3ds. of Seisures. He affects to speak slightly of the Commissioners and of their Conduct, tho guardedly, and to insinuate that his Connections, and Interest and Influence at Home with the Boards &c. are greater than theirs.
McDaniel is a composed, grave, steady Man to appearance, but his Eye has it’s fire, still, if you view it attentively.—Otis bore his Part very well, conversible eno, but not extravagant, not rough, nor soure.
The morning at Bracketts upon the Case of the Whale.1 The afternoon at the office posting Books.
1. Joseph Doane v. Lot Gage, a protracted suit between two whalemen tried in the Court of Vice-Admiralty. Doane had sunk the first iron, but Gage had taken the whale. The question was whether Doane had been “fast” when Gage struck; if so, Doane was entitled to a one-eighth share of the value of the whale. JA represented Doane. Among his legal papers is a series of graphic depositions as well as notes for his own argument and those of the opposing counsel, Paine and Otis (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 184).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-10-24

1769. Octr. 24th.

Sunday last I rode to Braintree in the Morning, and heard Mr. Gay, of Hingham forenoon and afternoon, upon those Words in the Proverbs “The hoary Head is a Crown of Glory if it be found in the Way of Righteousness.”—The good old Gentleman had been to the Funeral of his aged Brother at Dedham, and seemed to be very much affected. He said in his Prayer, that God in the Course of his Providence was admonishing him that he must very soon put off this Tabernacle, and { 345 } prayed that the Dispensation might be sanctified to him—and he told the People in the Introduction to his Sermon, that this would probably be the last Exhortation they would ever hear from him their old Acquaintance.—I have not heard a more affecting, or more rational Entertainment on any Sabbath for many Years.
Dined with my Friend and Uncle Mr. Quincy, and returned after Meeting to Boston.