A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0016-0118

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1776-05-13

[Monday May 13. 1776.]

Monday May 13. 1776. Sundry Petitions were presented to Congress and read, viz. one from Dr. Benjamin Church, and one from Benjamin, Samuel and Edward Church, with a Certificate from three Physicians respecting the health of Dr. B. Church. Here I am compelled, much against my Inclination to record a Fact, which if it were not necessary to explain some things I should rather have concealed. When this Petition was before Congress, Mr. Samuel Adams said something, which I thought I confess too favourable to Dr. Church. I cannot recollect that I said any Thing against him. As it lies upon my Mind I was silent. Mr. Hancock was President, and Mr. Harrison Chairman of the Committee of the whole and a constant confidential Correspondent of General Washington. Neither of them friendly to me. I cannot suspect Mr. Samuel Adams of writing or insinuating any Thing against me to the Friends of Dr. Church, at that time. But Mr. Samuel Adams told me that Dr. Church and Dr. Warren, had composed Mr. Hancocks oration on the fifth of March, which was so celebrated, more than two thirds of it at least. Mr. Hancock was most certainly not friendly to me at that time, and he might think himself in the Power of Dr. Church. When Mr. Edward Church printed his poetical Libel against me at New York in 1789 or 1790, I was told by an Acquaintance of his that he was full of Prejudices against me on Account of Dr. Church his Brother. I leave others to conjecture how he came by them. I know of no other Way to account for his Virulence, and his Cousin Dr. Jarvis's Virulence against me, having never injured or offended any of them. Misrepresentation at that day was a Pestilence that walked in darkness. In more modern times it has stalked abroad with more impudence at Noon day.1
1. This entire paragraph was omitted by CFA. When Hancock's oration on the Boston Massacre was delivered, JA thought it a splendid performance and voiced no suspicion that the speaker was not the writer; see his Diary under 5 March 1774. In 1776 Dr. Benjamin Church, who had secretly defected to the enemy and been caught, was in jail in Norwich, Conn.; on 14 May Congress voted that he be allowed to return to Massachusetts, under sureties, pending his trial, and he afterward sailed for the West Indies and was lost at sea (JCC, 4:350, 352; DAB). His brother Edward Church's “poetical Libel” against JA was an anonymous satire in heroic couplets entitled The Dangerous Vice -----. A Fragment. Addressed to All Whom It May Concern. By a Gentleman formerly of Boston, Columbia [i.e. New York?], 1789 (Evans 21736). Its theme was that, while Washington could safely be entrusted with executive power, JA, “Tainted with foreign vices, and his own,” hankered for the attributes and perquisites of royalty. On Charles Jarvis, Harvard 1766, Boston physician and political disciple of Jefferson, see Thacher, Amer. Medical Biog., 1:313–316. His attacks on JA may have been in newspaper articles as yet unidentified.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/