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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0014-0003-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-06-30

June 30th. 1770. Saturday.

Arose not very early and drank a Pint of new Milk and set off. Oated my Horse at Newbury. Rode to Clarks at Greenland Meeting house, where I gave him Hay and Oats, and then set off for Newington. Turned in at a Gate by Colonel March’s, and passed thro two Gates more before I came into the Road that carried me to my Uncles.1 I found the old Gentleman in his 82d. Year, as hearty and alert as ever, his Son and daughter, well—their Children grown up, and every Thing strange to me. I find I had forgot the Place. It is 17 Years I presume since I was there. My Reception was friendly, cordial, and hospitable, as I could wish. Took a chearfull, agreable Dinner, and then Sat off for York, over Bloody Point Ferry, a Way I never went before, and arrived at Woodbridges 1/2 Hour after Sunset.
I have had a very unsentimental Journey, excepting this day at Dinner Time. Have been unfortunate eno, to ride alone all the Way, and have met with very few Characters or Adventures.
Soon after I alighted at Woodbridges in York, Mr. Winthrop, Mr. { 355 } Sewall and Mr. Farnum, returned from an Excursion they had made to Agamentacus, on a Party of Pleasure. It is the highest Mountain in this Part of the World, seen first by Sailors coming in from sea. It is in the Town of York, about 7 miles from the Court House. The Talk much, this Evening, of erecting [a] Beacon upon it.
I forgot Yesterday to mention, that I stopped and enquired the Name of a Pond, in Wenham, which I found was Wenham Pond, and also the Name of a remarkable little Hill at the mouth of the Pond, which resembles a high Loaf of our Country brown Bread, and found that it is called Peters’s Hill to this day, from the famous Hugh Peters, who about the Year 1640 or before, preached from the Top of that Hillock, to the People who congregated round the Sides of it, without any Shelter for the Hearers, before any Buildings were erected, for public Worship.
By accidentally taking this new rout, I have avoided Portsmouth and my old Friend the Governor of it.2 But I must make my Compliments to him, as I return. It is a Duty. He is my Friend And I am his. I should have seen enough of the Pomps and Vanities and Ceremonies of that little World, Portsmouth If I had gone there, but Formalities and Ceremonies are an abomination in my sight. I hate them, in Religion, Government, Science, Life.
1. Joseph Adams, elder brother of Deacon John Adams; Harvard 1710. He was minister at Newington, N.H., for so many years that he became known as “the Bishop of Newington” (MHS, Colls., 5th ser., 2 [1877]:212).
2. JA ’s Harvard classmate John Wentworth.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0014-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-07-01

July 1st. 1770. Sunday.

Arose early at Paul Dudley Woodbridge’s. A cloudy morning. Took a Walk to the Pasture, to see how my Horse fared. Saw my old Friend and Classmate David Sewall walking in his Garden. My little mare had provided for herself by leaping out of a bare Pasture into a neighbouring Lott of mowing Ground, and had filled herself, with Grass and Water. These are important Materials for History no doubt. My Biographer will scarcely introduce my little Mare, and her Adventures in quest of Feed and Water.
The Children of the House have got a young Crow, a Sight I never saw before. The Head and Bill are monstrous, the leggs and Clawes are long and sprawling. But the young Crow and the little mare are objects, that will not interest Posterity.
Landlord says David Sewall is not of the Liberty Side. The Moultons, Lymans, and Sewalls, and Sayward, are all of the Prerogative { 356 } Side.—They are afraid of their Commissions—and rather than hazard them, they would ruin the Country. We had a fair Tryal of them when we met to return Thanks to the 92 Antirescinders.1 None of them voted for it, tho none of them, but Sayward and his Bookkeeper had Courage enough to hold up his Hand, when the Vote was put the Contrary Way.
This same Landlord I find is a high Son. He has upon his Sign Board, Entertainment for the Sons of Liberty, under the Portrait of Mr. Pitt.—Thus the Spirit of Liberty circulates thro every minute Artery of the Province.
Heard Mr. Lyman all day. They have 4 deacons and Three Elders in this Church. Bradbury2 is an Elder, and Sayward is a Deacon. Lyman preached from “which Things the Angells desire to look into.”
Drank Coffee at home, with Mr. Farnum, who came in to see me, and then went to D. Sewalls where I spent an Hour, with Farnum, Winthrop and Sewall and when I came away took a View of the Comet, which was then near the North Star—a large, bright Nucleus, in the Center of a nebulous Circle.
Came home, and took a Pipe after Supper with Landlord who is a staunch, zealous Son of Liberty. He speaks doubtfully of the new Councillor Gowing [Gowen] of Kittery. Says he always runs away till he sees how a Thing will go. Says he will lean to the other Side. Says, that He, (the Landlord) loves Peace, And should be very glad to have the Matter settled upon friendly Terms, without Bloodshed, but he would venture his own Life, and spend all he had in the World before he would give up.
He gives a sad Account of the Opposition and Persecution he has suffered from the Tories, for his Zeal and Firmness against their Schemes. Says they, i.e. the Moultons, Sewalls and Lymans, contrived every Way to thwart, vex, and distress him, and have got 1000 stferling] from him at least, but he says that Providence has seemed to frown upon them, one running distracted and another &c, and has favoured him in Ways that he did not foresee.
1. “Those members of the General Court who refused [30 June 1768] to rescind the resolution of the preceding House, directing a circular letter [11 Feb. 1768] to be sent to the several assemblies on the continent. This had given so great offence to the government at home, that it demanded some act of recantation. The vote stood ninety-two against, and seventeen for, rescinding” (note by CFA on this passage, JA, Works , 2:243). The text of the circular, which proposed that “constitutional measures” be taken by each of the colonies against the Townsnend Revenue Act of 1767, is in Mass., Speeches of the Governors, &c., 1765–1775 , p. 134–136. The names of the seventeen rescinders are recorded in Rowe, Letters and Diary , p. 167–168. One was Jonathan Sayward of York.
{ 357 }
2. John Bradbury, sometime member of the General Court and of the Council; not to be confused with his relative Theophilus, Harvard 1757, called “Brother Bradbury” by JA , a young lawyer of Falmouth (now Portland); see William B. Lapham, Bradbury Memorial ... , Portland, 1890, passim; and below, vol. 2:40, 41, 43, 62.