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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0005-0004-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1786-07-25

The Hide July 25 1786 Tuesday.

Mr. Brand Hollis and Mr.1 Brand, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Mr. and Mrs. Adams, took a ride to Chelmsford, stopped at a Booksellers, the Printer of a Newspaper in which Mr. B. Hollis had printed the late Act of Virginia in favour of equal religious Liberty. We then went to Moulsham Hall, built originally by Lord Fitzwalter, but lately owned by Sir William Mildmay, one of the Commissaries2 with Governor Shirley at Paris in 1754, for settling the Boundaries between the French and English in America. Lady Mildmay owns it, at present, but is not yet come down from London. Mr. B. Hollis admires the Architecture of this House, because it is according to the Principles of Palladio. The Apartments are all well proportioned in Length, Breadth and Height. There is here a Landscape of Rembrandt. The Words Halls, Parlours, Saloons and Drawing Rooms occur upon these Occasions, but to describe them would be endless. We returned by another road through the race grounds, to the Hide and after Dinner, made a Visit to the Gardiners House to see his Bees. He is Bee mad, Mr. B. Hollis says. He has a number of Glass Hives, and has a curious Invention to shut out the Drones. He has nailed thin and narrow Laths at the Mouth of the Hive, and has left Spaces between them barely wide { 198 } enough for the small Bees to creep through. Here and there he has made a Notch in the lath large enough for a Drone to pass, but this Notch he has covered with a thin light clapper which turns easily upwards upon a Pivot. The Drone easily lifts up the Clapper and comes out, but as soon as he is out, the Clapper falls and excludes the Drone, who has neither Skill nor Strength to raise it on the outside. Thus shut out from the Hive the Gardiner destroys them because he says they do nothing but eat Honey. The Gardiner who is a Son of Liberty, and was always a Friend to America, was delighted with this Visit. Dame says he to his Wife, you have had the greatest honour done you to day that you ever had in your Life.—Mr. B. Hollis says he is a proud Scotchman, but a very honest Man and faithfull Servant.—After Tea Mr. B. Hollis and I took a circular Walk, round the Farm. He shew Us a kind of Medallion, on which was curiously wrought a Feast of all the Heathen Gods and Goddesses sitting round a Table. Jupiter throws down upon the Middle of it, one of his Thunder bolts, flaming at each End with Lightning, and lights his own Pipe at it, and all the others follow his Example. Venus is whiffing like a Dutchman, so is Diana and Minerva, as well as Mars, Bachus and Apollo.
Mr. B. Hollis is a great Admirer of Marcus Aurelius. He has him in Busts, and many other Shapes. He observed to me, that all the Painters of Italy, and from them most others, have taken the Face of Marcus Aurelius, for a Model in painting Jesus Christ. He admires Julian too, and has a great veneration for Dr. Hutchinson, the Moral Writer who was his Tutor, or Instructor.3 He has a Number of Heads of Hutchinson, of whom he always speaks with Affection and Veneration. Ld. Shaftesbury too is another favourite of his.
In the dining room are two Views of that Estate in Dorsetshire, which the late Mr. Hollis gave to Mr. Brand. There is only a Farm House upon it. Here are to be seen Hollis Mede and Brand Pasture. In Hollis Mede, Mr. Hollis was buried, ten feet deep, and then ploughed over, a Whim to be sure. But Singularity was his Characteristic. He was benevolent and beneficient, however, throughout.—In the Boudoir is a Dagger, made of the Sword which killed Sir Edmunbury Godfrey. An Inscription—Memento Godfrey, Protomartyr, pro Religione Protestantium.
Mr. Hollis's Owl, Cap of Liberty and Dagger are to be seen every where. In the Boudoir, a Silver cup with a Cover, all in the shape of an Owl, with two rubies for Eyes. This piece of Antiquity was dug up, at Canterbury, from ten feet depth. It was some monkish conceit.
1. Doubtless a slip of the pen for “Miss.”
{ 199 }
2. JA probably meant to write “Commissioners.”
3. Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow, where Brand Hollis had studied.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0005-0004-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1786-07-26

July 26. Wednesday.

Mr. B. Hollis, Miss Brand, Mrs. Adams, Mrs. Smith, and I walked to Mill Green, or Mill Hill the Seat of a Mr. Allen a Banker of London.1 We walked over the Pleasure Grounds and Kitchen Garden and down to Cocytus, a canal or Pond of Water surrounded with Wood in such a Manner as to make the Place gloomy enough for the Name. This is a good Spot, but Mr. Allen has, for want of Taste, spoiled it by new Pickett Fences at a great Expence. He has filled up the Ditches and dug up the Hedges and erected wooden Fences and brick Walls, a folly that I believe in these days is unique. They are very good, civil People, but have no Taste.
1. According to AA2 , who in a journal-letter to JQA , 27 July-22 Aug., adds many details about this excursion to Essex that are not found elsewhere, Allen was a retired wine merchant (Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0005-0004-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1786-07-27

The Hide July 28 [i.e. 27.] 1786. Thursday.

Went with Mrs. Adams to Braintree about Eighteen miles from the Hide. As our Objects were fresh Air, Exercise and the Gratification of Curiosity, I thought We ought to make a little Excursion to the Town after which the Town in New England where I was born and shall die was originally named. The Country between Chelmsford and Braintree, is pleasant and fertile, tho less magnificent in Buildings and Improvements than many other Parts of England: but it is generally tillage Land and covered with good Crops of Barley, Oats, Rye,1 Wheat and Buckwheat.
Braintree is a Markett Town, and Fairs are held here at certain Seasons. I went to the Church, which stands in the Middle of a triangular Piece of Ground, and there are parallell to each Side of the Tryangle, double Rows of handsome Lime Trees, which form the Walks and Avenues to the Church. The Church is a very old Building of Flint Stones. Workmen were repairing it, and I went all over it. It is not much larger than [Mr?] 2 Cleverleys Church at Braintree in New England. I examined all the Monuments and Grave Stones in the Church and in the Church Yard, and found no one Name of Person or Family of any Consequence, nor did I find any Name of any of our New England Families except Wilson and Joslyn, Hawkins, Griggs and Webb. I am convinced that none of our Braintree Families came from this Village, and that the Name was given it by Mr. Cod• { 200 } dington in Compliment to the Earl of Warwick, who in the Begginning and Middle of the Seventeenth Century had a Manor here, which however at his death about 1665 went out of his Family. The Parish of Bocking has now more good Houses. Braintre is at present the Residence only of very ordinary People, manufacturers only of Bays's.3
Chelmsford was probably named in Compliment to Mr. Hooker who was once Minister of that Town in Essex, but afterwards in Holland, and after that Minister at “Newtown” (Cambridge) and after that at <New Haven> Hartford in New England. We returned to Dinner, and spent the Evening in examining the Curiosities of Mr. Thomas Brand Hollis's House. His Library, his Miltonian Cabinet, his Pictures, Busts, Medals, Coins, Greek, Roman, Carthaginian and Egyptian Gods and Goddesses, are a Selection of the most rare, and valuable. It would be endless to go over the whole in Description.
We have had, with Alderman Bridgen, an agreable Tour and an exquisite Entertainment.
I should not omit Alderman Bridgens Nuns, and Verses. About 30 Years ago Mr. Bridgen in the Austrian Netherlands purchased a compleat Collection of the Portraits of all the orders of Nuns, in small duodecimo Prints. These he lately sent as a Present to the Hide, and Mr. Hollis has placed them in what he calls his Boudoir, a little room between his Library and Drawing Room. Mr. Bridgen carried down with him a Copy of Verses of his own Composition, to be hung up with them. The Idea is that banished from Germany by the Emperor they were taking an Asylum at the Hide, in sight of the Druid, the Portico of Athens and the verable4 Remains of Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Carthaginian Antiquities.5
1. MS : “Rue”—clearly an inadvertence.
2. Overwritten, possibly with an initial letter, and not clear. At any rate, Joseph Cleverly, JA 's old schoolmaster, is meant; he conducted services at Christ Church, Braintree, during the Revolution while no Anglican clergyman resided there (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy , p.255).
3.
“At 2 Pappa and Mamma returnd not much pleased with the appearance of the Town they had been to visit. Mr. H. told us it was a Poor, dirty, miserable village and such they found it” ( AA2 to JQA , 27 July-22 Aug., Adams Papers).
4. Thus in MS .
5. A large broadside printed text of Alderman Bridgen's verses, “On sending some Pictures of Nuns and Fryers to Thomas Brand Hollis, Esq. at the Hyde in Essex, supposed to be Real Personages turned out of the Convents and Monasteries in Flanders by the Emperor,” without author's name, imprint, or date, is in the Adams Papers under the assigned date of July 1786.