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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0013-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1796-07-17

July 17. 1796 Sunday.

Warm but clear. Billings at home but running down Cellar for Cyder.
We are to have a Mr. Hilliard.
Yesterday Dr. Tufts and Mr. Otis and Family dined with me. Otis was very full of Elections and had many Things to say about Pinckney { 229 } and Henry, Jefferson and Burr. He says there was a Caucus at Philadelphia, that they agreed to run Jefferson and Burr—that Butler was offended and left them. O. takes it for granted the P. will retire. Pickering has given out publickly that he will. Mrs. W. takes it for granted that he will. Collections, Packages and Removals of Cloaths and furniture of their own have been made. Anecdotes of Dandridge, and Mrs. W.s Negro Woman. Both disappeared—never heard of— know not where they are. When the Electors are chosen the Declaration is to be made.—Q. Is this Arrangement made that the Electors may make him the Compliment of an Election after a Nolo, and thus furnish an Apology for Accepting after all the Talk?1
Mr. Otis confirms the Account of the nomination and Appointment of my Son to be Minister Plenipotentiary of the U.S. at the Court of Portugal.2 He also confirms the Adjournment of Congress to the Constitutional Day, 1. Monday in December. Mrs. W. is not to return to Phil[adelphia] till November.
Mr. Hilliard of Cambridge preached for Us. He is the Son of our old Acquaintance Minister of Barnstable and afterwards at Cambridge. Mr. Quincy and Mr. Sullivan drank Tea with Us.
1. JA 's informant on the political situation was Samuel Allyne Otis, secretary of the U.S. Senate, whose second wife, the former Mary Smith, was AA 's first cousin ( Appletons' Cyclo. Amer. Biog. , 4:607). The maneuvers by both Federalists and Republicans to obtain the succession to the Presidency were in some degree checked by Washington's silence concerning his own intentions until the publication of his advice to his countrymen, ever since known as his “Farewell Address,” in Claypoole's American Daily Advertiser, 19 Sept. 1796.
CFA omitted two sentences in the foregoing paragraph: (1) that beginning “Anecdotes of Dandridge,” and (2) JA 's final query to himself. On the sudden disappearance of Bartholomew Dandridge, Mrs. Washington's nephew and one of the President's secretaries, see Washington, Writings, ed. Fitzpatrick, 35:77–79, 135–136, 159, 162. The reasons for it were less discreditable than gossip imputed.
2. JQA , who had been serving as minister resident of the United States at The Hague since 1794, was appointed, with the unanimous consent of the Senate, minister plenipotentiary to Portugal on 30 May 1796 (Commission in Adams Papers under that date; see also AA to JQA , 10 Aug. 1796, Adams Papers). But because of orders from Secretary of State Pickering to remain at The Hague until a replacement could be sent there, JQA never went to Lisbon; instead, he was commissioned in 1797 by his father, now President, to go to Berlin to negotiate a new commercial treaty with Prussia (Commission, 1 June 1797, in Adams Papers; see also Bemis, JQA , 1:88–90).

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0013-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1796-07-18

July 18 1796. Monday.

Billings is at hoe. The Kitchen Folk say he is steady. A terrible drunken distracted Week he has made of the last. A Beast associating with the worst Beasts in the Neighborhood. Drunk with John Cope• { 230 } land, Seth Bass &c. Hurried as if possessed, like Robert the Coachman, or Turner the Stocking Weaver. Running to all the Shops and private Houses swilling Brandy, Wine and Cyder in quantities enough to destroy him. If the Ancients drank Wine as our People drink rum and Cyder it is no wonder We read of so many possessed with Devils.
Went up to Penns hill. Trask has the Rheumatism in his Arm and is unable to work. He told me that Rattlesnakes began to appear—two on Saturday by Porters and Prays. One kill'd. The other escaped. He told me too of another Event that vex'd, provoked and allarm'd me much more—vizt, That my Horses were Yesterday in such a frenzy at the Church Door, that they frightened the Crowd of People, and frightened a Horse or the People in the Chaise so that they whipp'd their Horse, till he ran over two Children. The children stooped down or fell down, so that the chaise went over them without hurting them. But it must have been almost a Miracle, that they were not kill'd or wounded. I know not when my Indignation has [been] more excited, at the Coachman for his folly and Carelessness: and indeed at others of the Family for the Carriage going to Meeting at all. As Mrs. A. could not go the Coach ought not to have gone. The Coachman and Footman ought to have gone to Meeting—and the Girls to have walk'd. L. Smith has no Pretentions to ride in a Coach more than Nancy Adams or even Polly Howard. It is spoiling her Mind and her Reputation both, to indulge her Vanity in that Manner.1 I scolded at the Coachman first and afterwards at his Mistress, and I will scold again and again. It is my Duty. There is no greater Insolence or Tyranny, than sporting with Horses and Carriages among Crouds of People.
1. Louisa Catherine Smith (1773?–1857), who never married, was the daughter of AA 's errant brother William Smith of Lincoln; she lived for many years with the Adamses, serving as JA 's amanuensis in his old age, and was generously remembered in the wills of both AA and JA (Quincy, First Church, MS Records, 6 June 1857; AA to JA , 3 Jan. 1784, Adams Papers; AA, New Letters , passim). “Nancy” was Ann (1773–1818), daughter of Peter Boylston Adams, JA 's brother; in Jan. 1797 she married Josiah Bass of Quincy (Quincy, First Church, MS Records, 2 May 1773; A. N. Adams, Geneal. Hist, of Henry Adams of Braintree , p. 408). Polly Howard has not been identified.