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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-05-31

1760 May 31th. Saturday

Read in naval Trade and Commerce, concerning Factors, Consuls, { 131 } Embassadors, &c., and the South Sea Company, &c. [Went?] into Water. Talked with Wm. Veasey about Church &c. He will not allow that Dr. Mayhew has any uncommon Parts. He had haughty Spirits, and Vanity &c.—How the Judgment is darkened and perverted by Party Passions!
Drank Tea with Zab. Ran over the past Passages of my Life. Little Boats, water mills, wind mills, whirly Giggs, Birds Eggs, Bows and Arrows, Guns, singing, pricking Tunes, Girls &c. Ignorance of Parents, Masters Cleverly, Marsh, Tutors Mayhew &c. By a constant Dissipation among Amuzements, in my Childhood, and by the Ignorance of my Instructors, in the more advanced years of my Youth, my Mind has laid uncultivated so that at 25, I am obliged to study Horace and Homer.—Proh Dolor!

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-01

June 1st. Sunday.

Read 2 Odes in Horace. Spent the Evening at the Coll’s. While we were at supper, the Coll. received Letters from Mr. Turner of London, with a Bill of Lading and Invoice of about £150 sterlings worth of Glass and Hinges and Nails, and Locks &c. for a House. These were the Value of a sum of the Coll’s. Money, which Mr. Turner had retained, in his own Hands, about seven Years since, to satisfy a Debt from Mr. Branden, whom the Coll. had so strongly recommended, as in Mr. Turners opinion to make himself Brandens sponsor. So that it was as sudden and unexpected at least as [a] Prize in the Lottery would have been, or one taken at sea; and it had such a joyful Effect.
Coll. Grape vines delight in a rockey, and mountainous soil, like our Commons, which would make excellent Vineyards.—I suppose that most of the Wines of the World, are the Growth of Climates at least as northern as ours. Champaign, and Tockay are more southward, but Burgundy &c. &c. &c. are northward of us.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-02

June 2d. Monday.

Wasted the Day, with a Magazine in my Hand. As it was Artillery Election, it seemed absurd to study, and I had no Conveniencies, or Companions for Pleasure either in Walking, riding, drinking, husling, or any thing else.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-03

June 3rd. Tuesday.

This Day has been lost in much the same, Spiritless manner.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-04

June 4th. Wednesday.

Read nothing but Magazines as indeed an indisposition rendered me unfit for any Application. Discharged my Venom to Billy Veasey, against the Multitude, Poverty, ill Government, and ill Effects of licensed Houses, and the timorous Temper, as well as criminal Designs of the Select Men, who grant them Approbations. Then Spent the Evening, with Zab, at Mr. Wibirts.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-05

June 5th. Thurdsday.

Arose late. Feel disordered. 8 o’Clock, 3 1/2 Hours after Sun rise, is a sluggard’s rising Time. Tis a stupid Waste of so much Time. Tis getting an Habit hard to conquer, and Tis very hurtful to ones Health. 3 1/2, 1/7 of the 24, is thus spiritlessly dozed away. God grant me an Attention to remark, and a Resolution to pursue every Opportunity, for the Improvement of my Mind, and to save, with the Parsimony of a Miser, every moment of my Time.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-06

June 1760. Friday 6th. June.

Arose very late. A cold, rainy northeasterly storm, of several Days continuance. I have an ugly Cold, a phlegmatic stomach and a Cholicky Pain in my Bowells this morning. Read Timon of Athens, the Man hater, in the Evening at the Drs.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-07

Saturday. 7th.

Arose late, again. When shall I shake off the shackells of morning slumbers, and arise with the sun? Between sun rise, and Breackfast, I might write, or read, or contemplate, a good deal. I might, before Breakfast, entirely shake off the Drowziness of the Morning, and get my Thoughts into a steady Train, my Imagination raised, my Ambition inflamed, in short every Thing within me and without, into a Preparation for Improvement.—I have some Points [of] Law to examine to day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-08

Sunday, 8th.

Spent the Evening and Night at the Coll’s. in ill natured, invidious, Remarks upon Eb. Thayer, and Morals and General Court &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-09

Monday. 9th.

Attended Major Crosbeys Court. Where Capts. Thayer and Hollis made their Appearance. Thayer had taken 2 Accounts of Nathan { 133 } Spear, in his own Hand Writing, and got the Writts drawn by Niles. But upon my making a Defence for Hunt, Spear was afraid to enter and so agreed to pay Costs and drop. But poor Thayer had to say, several Times I told him so, but he would have his own Way. This little dirty, petty fogging Trade, Thayer carries on yet.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-10

Tuesday [10 June].

Altho my Spirits were wasted Yesterday, by sitting so late the Night before, (till one o’Clock I believe) and rising so early Yesterday morning, (by sun rise) and walking in the dewy Grass and damp Air, home to my fathers and then down to Major Crosbeys, yet the Thought of being employed, and of opposing Captn. Thayer and punishing Nathan Spear, and Spreading a Reputation, roused my Faculties, and rolled out Thoughts and Expressions, with a strenth and Rapidity, that I never expected. I remember something of the same sort, when I first waited on Mr. Gridley. The Awe of his Presence, a Desire of his Esteem, and of an Introduction to Practice, quickened my Attention and Memory, and sharpened my Penetration. In short, I never shall shine, till some animating Occasion calls forth all my Powers. I find that the Mind must be agitated with some Passion, either Love, fear, Hope, &c. before she will do her best.
I rambled this Afternoon with the Dr. over the Commons, and amused my self by clearing the Spring and climbing the Ledges of Rocks, thro the Apertures of which, large Trees had grown. But I spend too much Time, in these Walks, these amusing Rambles. I should be more confined to my Chamber. Should read and muse more. Running to Dr., to the Barn, down to meals and for Pipes and Coals and Tobacco &c. take up much of my Time. I have grown habitually indolent and thoughtless. I have scarcely felt a glow, a Pang, a Transport of Ambition, since I left Worcester, since I left my school indeed, for there the Mischievous Tricks, the perpetual invincible Prate, and the stupid Dulness of my scholars, roused my Passions, and with them my Views and Impatience of Ambition. Let me Remember to keep my Chamber, not run Abroad. My Books, naval Trade, Coke, Andrews, Locke, Homer, not Fields and Groves and Springs and Rocks should be the Objects of my Attention. Law and not Poetry, is to be the Business of my Life.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-14

Saturday [14 June].

This Week has been spent in Business, i.e. filling Writts, and { 134 } Journeys to Boston, Scadding, Weighmouth, Abington. The other Night Cranch explained, to Zab and me, the Fire Engine, with which they throw up Water from the Bottoms of their Tin Mines in Cornwall, and Coal Mines in New: Castle. They have a large Cauldron of Plated Iron, filled with Water, and closely covered, and placed over a large Fire. Out of one side of this Cauldron, proceeds a large Tube of Iron horizontally, which Ends in a capacious iron receiver, shaped like an Egg, which will hold a Tun. Half Way between the Cauldron and the Receiver, in the Tube is a Cock. From the Lower Side of the Receiver perpendicularly goes another Tube, down into the Well or Bottom of the Mine, i.e. into the Water. At the mouth of this Tube, where it communicates with the Receiver is a Valve. From the Top of the same Receiver, perpendicularly upwards goes another Tube, which extends quite up above the surface of the Ground, and at the bottom of this Tube i.e. where it communicates with the Receiver, is another Valve. This is the Description of the Machine. Now when the Water in the Cauldron is made to boil, it sends a hot steem along, thro the Cock which is first opened for that Purpose in the Receiver, which proceeds from the Receiver thro one Valve down to the Water and thro another Valve, up into open Air. By this steem the Air, within, is very soon rarified, so as to be no Ballance for the Pressure of the Air, upon the Water in the Mine without the Tube. Of Course the Water rises and fills the Receiver. Then turn the Cock and stop the Passage of the Steem, and the Water beginning to descend will close down the lower Valve. The Vapour thus confined in the Cauldron by the Cock, and the Water confined in the Receiver by the Lower Cock, as soon as you open the Cock, the furious Vapour flies out and drives before it, all the Water in the Receiver, thro the upper Valve, quite up into open Day, where they have channells &c. to convey it away. And when this Proscess is once compleated, they begin anew. This Engine was an Invention of Capt. Savery. They used Copper originally, but lately, they use plated Iron.
They have a different manner now. They use 2 Concentric Tubes, with a Box, like a Pump Box playing in the central one.
In my Journey to Abbington, my Mind seemed to be confused with the Dust and Heat, and fatigue. I had not Spirit and Attention to make any Observations upon the Lands, Corn, Grass, Grain, Fences, orchards, Houses &c. I dined at Nortons where the two military Companies of the Town, were assembled to raise Voluntiers, Recruits, but I had not Spirits to make Observations, on the Landlord, or Lady, or Officers or soldiers or House, or any Thing. I eat Milk for Breakfast.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-15

1760. June 15th. Sunday.

Rose early, 5 o clock. A pleasant Morning. The more I write the better. Writing is a most useful improving Exercise. Yesterday morning before Break fast I wrought my Mind into a Course of Thinking, by my Pen, which I should not have fallen into the whole day without it; and indeed not resuming my Pen after Breakfast, I insensibly lost my attention.
Let me Aim at Perspicuity, and Correctness more than ornament, in these Papers.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-16

Monday. June 16th.

Arose before the sun. Now I am ignorant of my Future Fortune, what Business, what Reputation, I may get, which is now far from my Expectations. How many Actions shall I secure this Day? What new Client shall I have? I found at Evening, I had secured 6 Actions, but not one new Client, that I know of.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-17

Tuesday. June 17th.

Arose before the sun again. This is the last day.1 What, and who to day? Ebenezer Hayden was altogether new and unexpected. Hollis him self was altogether new and unexpected and John Hayward was altogether new and unexpected. 3 entirely new Clients, all from Captn. Thayers own Parish, and one of whom is himself a Pretender to the Practice, are a considerable Acquisition. I believe, by the Writ and Advice I gave Hayden and the Writt and Advice and the Lecture, concerning Idleness and Petty fogging, given Hollis before Hayward will spread me. Hollis is very near to Beggary and Imprisonment. His oxen are attached, and his Cows, and Pew, and a Number of Writts, and Executions are [out] against [him and] not yet extended. He owes more than his Estate can pay I believe. And I told him that by neglecting his own proper Business, and meddling with Law which he did not understand, he had ruined himself. And it is true, for if he had diligently followed his Trade of making shoes and lived prudently he might at this Day have been clear of Debt and worth an handsome Estate. But shomaking I suppose was too mean and dimi[nu]tive an Occupation for Mr. Thomas Hollis, as Wig making was to Mr. Nat Green, or House Building to Mr. Daniel Willard, and he like them in order to rise in the World procured Deputations from the Sheriff, and after serving long enough in that office to gett a few Copies of common { 136 } Writts and a most litigious Disposition, left the Sheriff and commenced the Writt Drawer. But poor Hollis is like to be stripped of all he has, if he should escape the Goal, which Daniel Willard was obliged to enter, and if he should not be forced to fly like Nat Green. These sudden Transitions from shomaking, Wigg making and House building, to the Deputy Sheriffwick; and from thence to the Practice of Law, commonly hurry Men rapidly to Destruction to Beggary and Goals. Yet Coll. White has rose the same Way, i.e. by a Deputation from the Sheriff. But White had the Advantage of a liberal Education, and had as Rival no Competitor to oppose him, so that he got quickly sworn. E. Taylor too, was naturally smart, and had been long a sheriff, and had the Patronage and Encouragement of Mr. Trowbridge, who was his Brother in Law. Applin and Ruggles are in a higher Class, men of Genius and great Resolution, to combat the World both by Violence and stratagem.
Thayer by his own abject slavery to Coll. Pollard got his Affection and he did every Thing to encourage him. Dana has given him great Numbers of Writts to be served on People in this Town, he takes seven shillings for the Writt, and four shillings always, and some [times] 5 for the service; of this he gives Dana one shilling for his Blank, and reserves 10 or 11 to himself; great Numbers of Writts he has filled himself, and those which he durst not fill he got Niles to fill for 3 shillings so that he takes 3, and four is seven and often times Eight shillings to himself. Thus from Coll. Pollard, from Mr. Dana and Elisha Niles he has got his Estate, as his Legislative Authority, as basely got as Bestia’s from the Throne. A little longer Experience will enable me to trace out the whole system of his Policy and iniquity.
The office of a sheriff, has Dangers and Temptations around it. Most of them decline, in Morals or Estate or both. Saml. Penniman is one.
1. For entering actions for the July sitting of the Suffolk Inferior Court.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-18

1760 June 18th.

Read but little, thought but little, for the N.E. storm unstrung me.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-19

Thurdsday June 19.

I have been the longer in the Arg[umen]t of this Cause not for the Importance of the Cause itself, for in itself it is infinitely little and contemptible, but for the Importance of its Consequences.1 These dirty and ridiculous Litigations have been multiplied in this Town, { 137 } till the very Earth groans and the stones cry out. The Town is become infamous for them throughout the County. I have absolutely heard it used as a Proverb in several Parts of the Province, “as litigious as Braintree.” And this Multiplicity is owing to the Multiplicity of Petty foggers among whom Captn. Hollis is one, who has given out that he is a sworn Attorney till 9/10 of this Town really believe it. But I take this Opportunity, publickly to confront him, and undeceive the Town. He knows in his Conscience that he never took the Oath of an Attorney, and that he dare not assume the Impudence to ask to be admitted. He knows that the Notion of his being a sworn Attorney is an Imposture, is an Imposition upon this Town. And I take this opportunity publickly to declare that I will take all legal Advantages, against every Action brought by him or by Captn. Thayer or by any other Petty fogger in this Town. For I am determined if I live in this Town to break up this scene of strife, Vexation and Immorality. (Such suits as this and most others that ever I have seen before a Justice in this Town, have a Tendency to vex and imbitter the Minds of the People, to propagate an idle, brawling, wrangling Temper, in short such suits are an Inlet to all manner of Evils.)
And some [i.e. one] of these suit managers, when I first came to this Town, hearing that I had been thro a regular Course of study with a regular Practitioner, and that I was recommended to the Court in Boston, by one of the greatest Lawyers in America, concluded, that I should be enabled by these Advantages, and prompted by my own Interest if by no higher Motive, to put an End to the illegal Course of dirty, quacking Practice in this Town, which he had been in, and thereby enslaved the Minds and Bodyes and Estates of his Neighbours. And to prevent this he set himself to work to destroy my Reputation and prevent my getting Business, by such stratagems as no honest Mind can think of without Horror, such stratagems as I always will resent, and never will forgive till he has made Attonement by his future Repentance and Reformation. I thank God his Malice has been defeated, he has not been able to enslave me, nor to drive me out of Town, but Peoples Eyes begin to open, and I hope they will open wider and wider till they can see like other Towns. Happy shall I be if I can rescue the Souls and Bodies, and Estates of this Town from that Thraldom and slavery, to which these Petty foggers have contributed to depress them; and if I can revive in them a generous Love of Liberty and sense of Honour.—After this long Digression your Honour will let me return to this Cause, and I rely upon it, it is a vexatious one. I rely upon it that many of these Articles were borrowed and not bought, { 138 } and that therefore this Action cant be maintained for them. I rely upon it, that the Affair of the Hat is a litigious Thing, that it was a mere piece of Tavern Amuzement, and if there was any Thing like Bargain and sale in it, the Bargain was completed, the Hat delivered and the Money paid, and with regard to the other Articles, we have filed an Account that more than ballances them, and therefore I pray your Honours Judgment for Costs.
1. This entry is obviously a draft of JA’s argument, or the closing portion thereof, in the case of Lt. White and the hat. In the very next entry JA redrafted his argument in order to avoid so egotistical a tone.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-20

Friday June 20th.

I must not say so much about my self, nor so much about Hollis and Thayer by Name. I may declaim against Strife, and a litigious Spirit, and about the dirty Dablers in the Law.
I have a very good Regard for Lt. White, but he must allow me to have a much greater Veneration for the Law. To see the Forms and Processes of Law and Justice thus prostituted, (I must say prostituted) to revenge an imaginary Indignity, offered in a Tavern over a Chereful Bowl or enlivening Mug. To have a mere Piece of Jocular Amuzement, thus hitched into an Action at Law, a mere frolick converted into a Law suit, is a Degree of meanness that deserves no Mercy and shall have none from me. I don’t think Lt. White considered the Nature and the Consequences of this Action, before he brought it. If he had he never would have brot it. He has too much Honour to have brot it. But I suppose the Case was this. Lt. White was a little chagrined, that my Client had for once outwitted him, and in a Miff, or a Bravado, I say a Miff or a Bravado, sees Hollis and asks his Opinion. And Hollis glad of an opportunity to draw a Writ, instantly encourages the suit, and the suit was brot. And when once brot, it was too late to repent. But I dare say he has been severely sorry, that he ever brot it, and will have still further Occasion to be sorry before it Ends.
As to the Hat, Either it was a Bargain and Sale or it was not. If it was a Bargain and sale, The Hat is my Clients and the Price agreed upon, which was the Copper, delivered at the very Time, is Lt. Whites. But if it was not a Contract, but only a frolick and no one in Earnest, as I suppose it was, then the Property of the Hat continues in Lt. White, and he is welcome to take it, returning us our Copper.
Rode to Germantown in the morning. Cranch says that the Grindstone is found in the Coal Mines in Europe. The Coal lies in Apart• { 139 } ments, strongly fortified with Partitions of this stone, and this stone forms the Covering over Head, &c. I took Notice of the Rock Weed, they were burning into Kelp and I find there are a great Variety of Species of it. Some of it grows out of the Rock, a small stalk, which soon spreads into several Brainches, and each of those Branches into several others, with those little Bubbles or Bladders, full of Air, scattered along at little Distances, on every Branch and Sprig, but at the End of Each twigg or Sprig, hangs a large Pod, full of seed incased in a spongy substance. We went down to some large stones, which had been thrown over between high Water and low water mark 2 or 3 Years ago. These stones are all grown over with the Rock Weed. The seed, We suppose is deposited by the Water upon the Rock, takes Root and grows. It grows very fast to the Rock and when you pull, you will sometimes break the stalk, sometimes pull off a flake of the Rock with it, and sometimes take the Weed, as it seems to me, fairly up by the roots, and the Roots are little fine Spiculae, finer than the Point of the finest Needle. These Roots insert themselves into the Pores of the Rock and thence draw Nourishment. And the connoiseurs say, that some Rocks will produce Weeds, large and rank and strong, while others, laid in the same Place at the same time, will produce only a meagre, short, lingering one. They seem to take a deeper and stronger Root, in Timber and Planks, as on the sides of Wharfes, than they do in Rocks. The salt Water seems to be impregnated with the seeds of it, for whenever a Rock is thrown below high Water mark, immediately a Crop of these Weeds Spring up. It is excellent Manure for the Soil. The salts and sulphurs in it are very good. When they thro it into the Kelp Kiln, it is of a dark brown, or a dirty Yellow, but after it has been heated in the Kiln, it turns of a bright clear green. The Fire occasions some Change in the Configuration of the surface, that reflects green Rays most plentifully, where it used to reflect yellow and brown. They burn it into an ashes, which is a fixed salt, which they call Kelp. 20 Tons of the Weeds will produce about one Ton of the ashes. It tastes a little like Gun powder, it smells like marsh Mud, like a muddy Creak, &c. It has a saltish, sulphurous Taste and Smell. —The Deacon shewed us a Sort of Stone, that the old Glass Company brought from Connecticut, to use instead of Grindstone, for the furnace.1 He called it stone of the asbestus Kind. Dr. Eliot2 used it in his [] and never found the fire made any Impression on it. But the Glass men found it dissolved in about 4 months. They call it a Cotten stone. It seems to have no Gritt at all, it feels as soft as soap. It cost the Company about [ . . . ] or £900.—Thus, the first Es• { 140 } says, generally rude, and unsuccessful, prove burdensome instead of profitable.
1. Deacon Joseph Palmer, later called General Palmer, conducted with his brother-in-law Richard Cranch various business enterprises, including a glass manufactory in the Germantown section of Braintree (DAB, under Palmer; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 473–492).
2. Doubtless Jared Eliot (1685–1763), Yale 1706, of Killingworth, Conn.; a Congregational minister, physician, and writer on scientific and agricultural subjects (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-21

June 21st. 1760. Saturday.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-23

June 23rd. 1760. Monday.

A long obstinate Tryal, before Majr. Crosby, of the most litigious, vexatious suit, I think that ever I heard. Such Disputes begin with ill humour and scurrilous language, and End in a Boxing Bout or a Law suit.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-24

Tuesday. 24th. June.

Arose early, a very beautiful Morning. Zab. seems to make insufficient Distinctions between the Vowells. He seems to swallow his own Voice. He neither sounds the Vowells nor Articulates distinctly. The story of Yesterdays Tryal, spreads. Salisbury told my Uncle and my Uncle told Coll. Quincy. They say I was saucy, that I whipped the old Major, &c., that I ripped about the Law suits of this Town And of that House, and that I reminded the Majer of his oath to be of Council to neither Party, and to do Justice equally between the Parties according to Law.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-25

Wednesday [25 June].

Went out with the Coll., in his Canoe, after Tom Codd. Rowed down, in a still calm, and smooth Water, to Rainsford Island, round which we fished in several Places, but had no Bites. Then we went up the Island, and round the Hill. Upon the North Easterly side of the Hill, or Island, is a prodigious Bank or Head, which is perpetually washing away, with Rains and Tides. Heartley says it has been washed away 10 feet since he lived on the Island. The Rocks all round the Island are covered with long, rank, rich Weeds, 3 Years old, which Heartley sells at 5s. a Load.1
At one of the Clock we took our Mutton and Cyder, under the shade of a fine Tree, and laid our Provisions on a large flat stone which answered for Table, Dish and Plate, and then we dined expecting with { 141 } much Pleasure an easy sail Home before the Wind, which then bread2 fresh at East. After Diner we boarded and hoisted sail, and sailed very pleasantly a Mile, when the Wind died away into a Clock Calm and left us to row against the Tide, and presently against the Wind too for that sprung up at south, right a Head of us, and blew afresh. This was hard work. Doubtful what Course to steer, whether to Nut Island, or to Half Moon,3 or to Hangmans Island or to Sunken Island, Coll. Q. grew sick which determined us to go ashore at Hangmans for that was the nearest. As soon as he set foot on shore he vomited, very heartily, and then weak and faignt, and spiritless, he crawled up to the Gunning House, and wrapping his great Coat round him, lay down on the sea weed and slept, while I rambled round the Island after Weeds and flowers and stones and young Gulls and Gulls Eggs. 500 Gulls I suppose hovered cawing and screaming over the Island, for fear of their Eggs and Young ones, all the time we were there. When the Coll. awoke and found himself strengthened and inspirited, we rowed away, under Half Moon, and then hoisted sail and run home. So much for the Day of Pleasure, The fishing frolick, the Water frolick. We had none of the Pleasure of Angling, very little of the Pleasure of Sailing. We had much of the fatigue of Rowing, and some of the Vexation of Disappointment. However the Exercise and the Air and smell of salt Water is wholesome.
1. This entire entry was omitted by CFA in editing JA’s Diary, perhaps because, though it records a characteristic incident, it shows Col. Josiah Quincy in a momentarily undignified posture. The course of the fishing expedition among the islands of Boston Harbor and Quincy Bay may be traced on the map in Shurtleff, Description of Boston, facing p. 518. Hangman or Hangman’s Island is about midway between Squantum and Hough’s Neck, in shoal water some two miles northeast of the mouth of Black’s Creek in present Quincy. Rainsford Island, about two miles farther northeast, had been in use by the town of Boston for quarantine and hospital purposes since 1737 (same, p. 523–525). For present-day details see U.S. Geological Survey map of Hull, Mass.
2. That is, “bred”? But possibly an end-of-line contraction for “breathed.”
3. Half Moon Island, now submerged except at low tide, formed a half-circle in the flats just off the mouth of Black’s Creek. It faced what was called Mount Wollaston Farm, the estate of Col. John Quincy and his son Norton, AA’s uncle. After Norton Quincy’s death in 1801, Mount Wollaston Farm came into the possession of the Adamses, partly by bequest and partly by purchase. A few years later the title to the island came into dispute because it had long been used by fishing and hunting parties from the neighboring towns. Thereupon JA wrote an historical and legal memorandum that provides an engaging account of Half Moon Island as he had known it since boyhood. This undated memorandum is in the Adams Papers under the assigned date of 1806. On 7 April 1806 a Quincy town meeting voted “To dismiss the article respecting fishing and fowling on half-moon, viz.:—'To know if the town will maintain their right and priviledge, according to old custom, in fishing and fowling on half-moon, and if any inhabitant should be prosecuted on that account, that the town, as a town, { 142 } would defend the prosecution’” (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 98). Search of the (unpublished) Quincy Town Records reveals nothing more on this subject.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0022

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-26

1760. June 26. Thurdsday.

Feel indifferently well after my yesterdays walk and sail. I have begun to read the Spirit of Laws, and have resolved to read that Work, thro, in order and with Attention. I have hit upon a Project that will secure my Attention to it, which is to write in the Margin, a sort of Index to every Paragraph.1
1. JA had at least sampled the Spirit of Laws earlier; see Summer 1759, above, and note 19 there.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0023

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-27

June 27th. Friday.

Read 100 Pages in the Spirit of Laws. Rambled away to a fine Spring in my Cozen Adam’s Land, which gushes thro a Crack in a large flat Rock and gurgles down in a pretty Rill. The Water is clear, sweet, and cool, and is supposed to have a very wholsome Quality, because it issues from a Mountain, and runs towards the North. What Physical Quality its northern Direction may give it, I know not. By its sweetness it flows thro clean Earth, and not minerals. Its Coolness may be owing to its Rise from the Bowells of the Hill.
Zab’s Mind is taken up with Arithmetical and Geometrical Problems, Questions, Paradoxes and Riddles. He studies these Things that he may be able to gratify his Vanity by puzzling all the vain Pretenders, to Expertness in Numbers, and that he may be too expert, to be puzzled by any such Questions from others.
There is a set of People, whose Glory, Pride &c. it is to puzzle every Man they meet, with some Question in the Rule of three or fractions, or some other Branch of Arithmetic. Jed. Bass. Moses French. Tom Peniman, &c. &c. Smith, Richard Thayer, &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-01

Tuesday. July 1st. 1760.

Went to Town.
Mr. Thatcher. You have read a great deal, Mr. Adams, in the Roman History, concerning the Modesty of Youth, and their Veneration of the Elders. Now I think these young Gentlemen had very little of that Modesty and Veneration, when they went in the face of Law and against the Remonstrances of all the Elders to act their Plays.
Mr. Otis says there is no Limitation of Attachments. There is no Proportion established between the Demand and the Quantity to be attached, so that a Villain may attach 20,000£ if he pleases as se• { 143 } curity for £20, and take the whole into the Officers Custody. Tho on second thought, this cant be done without Collusion between the Plaintiff and the officer, for unless the officer is malicious as well as the Plaintiff, he will run the Risque for the Defendant, of making a Common Service, and this is the Reason why there has been no Mischief made of the unlimited Power of Attachment.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-03

Thurdsday July 3rd. 1760.

Read pretty diligently in the Spirit of Laws.—Hayden’s Consultation suggested the following Questions. Q. Is there any Method of compelling a Grantor to give a new Deed when the Deed he has executed before happens to be burned or lost?—Q. May an Agreement in Writing without seal, or by Parol only be given in Evidence against a Bond sealed and delivered? After Confession of the Forfeiture of the Penalty, any Special Agreement may be given in Evidence.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-05

1760. Saturday July 5th.

Last Night Cranch explained to me, the Water Works in the River Thames which convey water, all round the City of London. There is first, a long water Wheel, like the Water Wheel of some saw Mills, which is carried round by the River. On the End of the Axis of this water Wheell are Coggs, which carry round a cogg Wheel. This Cogg wheel has upon the End of its Axis, a Number of Cranks and each of these Cranks lifts up and lets down a Pump Box every Time the Cogg wheel Turns. These Pumps are very large, and prodigious Quantities of Water are pumped away into a general Conveyance and Receiver, from which Pipes are carried to almost every Cellar and to many of the Rooms, and Chambers, and Garrotts, in Gentlemens Houses, thro the City. Cranch says he has seen the Works for Conveying ships up a Cataract, as that between Topsham and Exeter. Vessells are conveyed along, up Hill, so 3 Miles. They rise up hill as far as from the Bottom of the long Wharf to the Top of Bacon [Beacon] Hill. They have Walls of great Thickness and strength built across the River Ex, with Gates, of Timber fortified with Irons, in the Middle. These Gates are opened, and the Vessells float, within the Wall. The gates are then shut, and the fresh running Water of the River let down into that Apartment where the Vessell is which soon raises the Vessell as high as the Top of the lower Walls when the Gates of the second Wall are opened and the Vessell is floated within that. Then the second Gate is shut, and the freshit raises the Vessell up another stair.— { 144 } These Gates have several smaller sluice Gates in them that slide up and down. These they slide up, and let out as much Water as they can, before they pretend to open the Great Gates.
This whole Passage and Conveyance is artificial, for the natural Course of the River was at some Distance. This whole Channell was cut by Art. What an Expence! to cutt such a Channell for 3 miles, to erect such and so many Walls across the River, to build such Gates, and such Machines to open them.
Invention has laid under Discouragements in England, for Inventions to facilitate any Manufacture, by which Numbers of People might be thrown out of Business have been prohibited by Act of Parliament. Saw Mills for that Reason were prohibited, That a greater No. of Hands might be employed in sawing, by Hand, Boards and Timber &c. But that Act was of no service. Our Merchants could send to Holland and buy Boards and all sorts of Timber much cheaper, than they could procure them at home. I suppose the Act is expired, and not to be revived, by the Encouragement the society for Encouraging Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, have offered to the Man who shall produce the best Modell of a saw Mill.1
The Dutch erected a Dike, some Years since, which shut out the sea for a great Extent of Land, and they erected Wind Mills, at small Distances upon this Dike, which threw all the Water that was left within, over the Dike into the Sea.
Deacon Palmer’s Glass Furnace, it seems is a reverberating Furnace. That is, the Heat, which is flashed against the internal surface of the Furnace, when a dry stick of Wood is thrown in, is reverberated, down into the Pots, and melts the Glass, much more than the silent Heat below. So that, rugged Excrescences, prominent Bits of Grindstone, within must be a disadvantage, for if the internal Concave could be polished like a concave Mirror, it would be in its most perfect state. Besides this Furnace is too high. These 2 faults, Hight and internal Ruggedness, the Deacon thinks have wasted him almost a Cord of Wood a Day.
Cowen2 and Young Thayer the Marketman are full of White and Bowditch. Cowen heard I tore Whites account all to Pieces, and Thayer thought that White had a dirty Case. Few Justices Causes have been more famous, than that. Isaac Tyrrell [Tirrell] had the story too, but he thought Bowditch was to blame, was abusive.
1. This paragraph, and possibly the next as well, may have been intended as direct discourse by Cranch.
2. A common name in Weymouth in JA’s time; often spelled Cowing in contemporary records.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-06

July 6th. Sunday.

Heard Mr. Mayhew of Martha’s Vineyard.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-09

July 9th. Wednesday.

Gould has got the story of White and Bowditch.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-12
Date: 1760-07-19

Saturday [12 or 19 July].

I find upon Examination, that a Warrant of Attorney given by an Infant is void; so that, if you intend during your Apprentices Absence, to put the Note you mentioned to me in suit, or to sue for the Detention of the Province Note, or any other wise to prosecute your Right, the only Way I can think of is, for the Lad to elect your father for his Guardian and see to procure the Judge of Probates allowance of it, before he goes off.1<If your father is unwilling to go to Town, you may ride down and wait on this Judge.> Altho Deacon Bass might have been appointed Guardian to him when a Child, yet you know he has a Right to choose one at fourteen, and he is no doubt willing to choose his Master, but he must give security to the Judge for the faithful Discharge of his Trust.
From the very hasty and imperfect Account of the Case which you gave me, I can think of no other Way at Present, that will have any Safety. So you may Act your own Pleasure.
With Regard to the Notes, as the old Note you mentioned to me, was given to the Lad an Infant, neither He nor his Guardian will be under any Obligation to accept it in Satisfaction for the Province Note, unless they please. So that if that Note is not sufficient to secure the Money, you may bring your Action for the Detention of the Province Note. But in that Case you know you must be able to prove by Witnesses, Confession, or other Circumstances, first that your Apprentice owed the Note, 2dly that French had it in Possession, and 3dly that he converted it to his own Use.
If these Hints are of any service to you, I shall be glad, or if, upon your letting me further into the facts, any Thing further should occur to me, I shall be ready to communicate it.

[salute] Yr. svt.,

[signed] J. Adams
1. CFA omitted this draft of a letter to an applicant for legal advice and all of JA’s legal notes that follow in July and August.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-13
Date: 1760-07-20

Sunday Morning [13 or 20] July 1760.

The week before last Salome Pope appeared before Coll. Quincy, to confess herself with Child, by Jos. Ryford.
{ 146 }
Her Intention was to complain against Jos. Ryford and charge him before the Justice with being the father of the Bastard Child with which she is now pregnant. Now what Occasion for taking her Examination upon Oath?—By the Province Law.1
1. Here a line is drawn across the page in the MS and a short entry follows which has been scratched out with two different pens: “Ryford is not only suspected but has been charged to have begotten a Bastard Child; therefore Q. may [now himself perhaps?] bind him to the sessions, But is not [ . . . ] to do it by the Province Law.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-25

Fryday July 25th.

We contend that the Plaintiffs ought to recover nothing on this Bond, because according to the original Agreement it is paid.1 The Case was this. The Plaintiffs about 15 years ago conveyed to one Tower, a Tract of Land, containing with such and such Boundaries, 30 Acres. And the present Defendants became jointly bound with the Grantee for the Money, which was £750, for which they gave 8 or 10 Bonds, one of which was to be paid off every Year. But at the Time of these Transactions, a suspicion arose, that the Land included within the mentioned Bounds, did not contain so much as 30 Acres, which induced the Defendants to insist upon and the Plaintiffs to enter into an Agreement which they committed to Writing, that the Land should be surveyed, and if it fell short of 30 Acres, the Deficiency should be deducted out of these Bonds. Accordingly an Admeasurement was made, and the Land fell short 7 Acres and 1/2, which in Proportion to the Price of the whole amounted to about the Value of this Bond. With regard to the other Bonds some of them were put in suit, others were paid off and taken up, at length all of them were taken up, but this, and the Reason why this was never taken up was this. The Plaintiff Hollis who had kept all the Bonds in his own Hands never would come to a final settlement with them. The Grantee had made several Payments, and Tower had made several more and Hayden had made several others. Some of these Payments were minuted on the Bonds, but many of them were made abroad upon Hollis Promise to enter them on the Bonds when he went home which was never done, so that these People being Brothers to Hollis and confiding in his Honor have been let [led] on Blindfold, in midnight Darkness, till they have already paid 12 or 1500 Pounds for 750, and when all is done they have no Land. For by some Accident the Deed of this Land is lost, of which Hollis got scent some way or other and has since conveyed away this very Land to another Man. This very land is now mortgaged to Mr. G[oldthwai]t.2
{ 147 }
The Case of Chambers vs. Bowles was this. Capt. Chambers had sold to one Anthony Lopez a Spaniard of Monto Christo, a Quantity of Merchandizes. Lopez called for the Goods, but when he came to count his Money he found it fell short, 60 Dollars. Chambers, who had no other Dealings with Lopez and was unacquainted with his Circumstances, refused to trust him for the 60 Dollars, and accordingly took back Merchandizes, to that Value. Upon this Captn. Bowles, who was well acquainted with the Spaniard, and knew him to be rich, spoke a few Words to him in Spanish and then turning to Captn. Chambers, said, let Lopez have the goods and I will pay you the Dollars; call upon me tomorrow or any time and Ile pay you the Money.
Mr. Otis said this fell within the Province Law to prevent frauds and Perjuries “that no Action shall be brought whereby to charge the Defendant upon any Special Promise to answer for the Debt, Default or Miscarriages of another Person, unless the Agreement upon which such Action shall be brought, or some Memorandum or Note thereof shall be in Writing, and signed by the Party to be charged therewith,” &c. This is, says he, an Agreement to answer for the Debt or Default or Miscarriage of Lopez. The Contract and sale was from Chambers to the Spaniard, not from Chambers to Bowles. No Discrimination was made between the Merchandizes sold to Lopez and these sold to Bowles, but Bowles says let Lopez have the Goods according to your Contract and I will see you paid if he dont.
Thatcher. This is not a conditional Undertaking for Another, but an absolute Undertaking for himself.
I remember a Case in Salkeld precisely parrallel which is this. “A and B go into a Warehouse together and A says to the Merchant, deliver B such and such Merchandizes, and if he dont pay you I will. This Promise is void by the Act of Parliament from which our Province Law was copied. But if A says Let B have such and such Goods and I will be your Pay master, or I will see you paid, or I will be answerable to you, in this Case A’s promise is good, is an absolute Undertaking for himself not a conditional Undertaking for Another, and A shall be answerable.—Just so in the Case at Bar. Captn. Bowles says, Let the Spaniard have the Goods and I will pay you, call tomorrow or any time at my Lodgings and I will pay you. Here is an Absolute Undertaking for himself, not a Conditional Undertaking in Case Lopez failed, for We never sold these Goods to Lopez, we have no Demand vs. Lopez for them, we refused to sell them to him: We sold them to Bowles, he sold them to Lopez; He only can demand pay of Lopez and we can demand pay only of him; and we expect your Verdict accordingly.— { 148 } This was like Fairbanks v. Brown. There Brown Undertook for the [Govt.?], that the Carter should have such a Price. I will ensure You such a Price. I promise you such a Price, &c.
The Jury gave a Verdict for Chambers in this Case.
1. This entry is a draft of an argument in which JA was defending Hayden and others against the rapacity of Thomas Hollis, the shoemaker, tavern-keeper, and writ-drawer of Braintree Middle Precinct. The suit was evidently tried in the Suffolk Inferior Court, since Ezekiel Goldthwait, who held the mortgage on the land in question, is mentioned as “Clerk of this Court.”
2. The name is a scrawl in the MS, but is clarified in the entry of next day, which contains another version of JA’s argument.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-26

1760. July 26.

This Bond has been at [least] once and an half, if not twice, paid. The Case is this. About 15 Years ago, the Plaintiffs sold a tract [of] Land, containing 30 Acres, within such and such Boundaries, to one Tower, for 750£, and He together with the present Defendants became jointly bound to the Plaintiffs, in 10 different Bonds, of which this is one, for the Payment of the Money. But in the Time of it, a suspicion arose that those Bounds did not include 30 Acres; and least they should not an Agreement was made and committed to Writing, that the Land should be surveyed, and if it was found to fall short the Deficiency should be deducted from some of these Bonds. Accordingly the Land was afterwards surveyed, and found to fall short, 7 Acres and an half, which in Proportion to the Price of the whole amounted to about the Value of this Bond. All the other Bonds have been discharged and taken up, and this was set against the Deficiency of Land. But Besides all this, at least one half of it has been paid another Way. For one of these Obligers carried the Money to Hollis and had 1/2 of what was due upon every Bond in his Hands callculated, and paid him down his Money, and Hollis promised to indorse one half, upon every Bond that was left: yet this has never been indorsed; and Hollis has assurance enough to sue for this whole Bond. The Defendants have been extreemely careless, and negligent. Sometimes they paid Money abroad, and took no Receipts, but relied on his Honour to indorse it when he went home. They even left the Agreement that obliged him to make up the wanting Land, in Hollis’s own Hands; after the Land was surveyed they left the Plan and survey in his Hands, in short there has been the Utmost Simplicity and Inattention on their Part in every Part of all these Transactions; and there have not been fewer Proofs of Artifice, secresy, and Guile, I must say Guile, on the Part of Hollis, for He always avoided giving Receipts; { 149 } he never would suffer any 3d Person to be present, when he did Business. They sometimes would carry with them a Neighbour [who]1 understood Numbers, better than they, to calculate for them and see that they were not injured, but whenever they did so Hollis would never do any Business with them and at last had the Assurance to tell them that he never would do any Business with them if they brought any Body with them, as long as he lived. So that by one Artifice and another we have been led on to pay, I suppose, £1500 for 750, and what is worse than all the rest, the Deed he gave is accidentally lost. Of this Hollis got a Hint, and has since sold it to another Person. This Hollis has mortgaged this very Land to Mr. Gouldthwat, the Clerk of this Court, since he found We had lost our Deed. Yet he has the assurance to sue this [Bond?]. We have offered him to relinquish his obligation to make good the deficient Land and pay him the 1/2 of this Bond, if he will execute a new Deed of the Land; but he cant do that. He has sold it.
1. MS: “to”—an obvious slip of the pen.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-08-03

August 3d. 1760.

Hollis has appealed. If he prosecutes his Appeal, he shall be paid. I believe there never was an Action in this Court where more Instances of Ignorance, Negligence and Inattention appeared on one side, and of Artifice, Secresy and Guile I must say Guile on the other, since it was erected. Let me draw a Picture of the Defendants stupidity, and of Plaintiffs Knavery. Neglect to acknowledge the Deed, to record it. Then the Loss of it, intrusting the Agreement that obliged him to allow the wanting of Land on these Bonds, in Hollis’s own hands; then leaving the survey, in Hollis’s Hands. Paying him sums of Money abroad, and confiding in his Honour to indorse them—and consenting to do Business with him alone. On the other side Hollis has been watchful to draw every Tittle of evidence within his own Power. I dare not say he has the Deed of the Land but he has got the Agreement, and he has the survey and he has been careful never to receive money of us before Witness when he could help it, and he never would give any Receipts. He would promise to indorse upon the Bond but he never did it. Nay he had the assurance to tell us at last, that he never would do any Business with us again, if we brought any 3d Person with us. We thought ourselves ill used several Times. We were ignorant of Numbers and Calculations, can but just write our Names, and we had a Desire that somebody better skilled than we should calculate { 150 } and settle for us. Accordingly we got once or twice some of our Neighbours, to go with us And see that we want1 defrauded. But he never would do any Business with us, and at last he told them to their Heads, if you ever bring Deacon Penniman, or any other Man with you again when you come to settle with me, I’le go directly off and leave you and will do nothing with you.
I must explain and prove Towers Payment of one half, at large, and then Haydens Payment of £270, and a Book Debt, and the Indorsements which made the 6 Bonds that Hayden took up.
1. Thus in MS, for “wa’nt” (wasn’t or weren’t).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0004-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-08-09

1760. Aug. 9th.

Drank Tea at Coll. Quincys, with Coll. Gooch and Dr. Gardiner. I see Gooch’s fiery Spirit, his unguarded Temper. He Swears freely, boldly. He is a Widower, and delights to dwell, in his Conversation, upon Courtship and Marriage. Has a violent aversion to long Courtship. He’s a fool, that spends more than a Week, &c. A malignant Witt. A fiery, fierce outragious Enemy. He quarrells with all Men. He quarrelled with Coll. Quincy, and intrigued to dispossess him of his Regiment, by means of Dr. Miller and Mr. Apthorp.1 He now quarrells with Coll. Miller and Dr. Miller and Eb. Thayer. He curses all Governors. Pownal was a servant, Doorkeeper, Pimp to Ld. Hallifax, and he contracted with Ld. Hallifax to give him 15s. out of every Pound of his salary. So that Pownal had 25 pr. Cent Commissions, for his Agency, under Ld. Hallifax.
Thersites in Homer, was,

Aw’d by no shame, by no respect controuled

In scandal busy, in Reproaches bold:

With witty Malice studious to defame

Scorn all his Joy and Laughter all his Aim.

But chief he gloried with licentious style

To lash the Great and Monarchs to revile.

Thus we see that Gooches lived, as long ago as the siege of Troy.

Spleen to Mankind his envyous Heart possesst

And much he hated all, but most the best.

Long had he liv’d the scorn of every Greek

Vext when he spoke, yet still they heard him speak.

His daughters have the same fiery Temper; the same witty malice. They have all, to speak decently, very smart Tempers, quick, sharp, and keen.
{ 151 }
An Insinuation, of Mr. Pownals giving 3/4 of his salary for his Commission.—This is with licentious style Governors to revile.—Coll. Miller can serve the Devil with as much Cunning, as any Man I know of, but for no other Purpose is he fit.—This is in scandal busy, in Reproaches bold.
Gardiner has a thin Grashopper Voice, and an affected Squeak; a meager Visage, and an awkward, unnatural Complaisance: He is fribble.2
Q[uery]. Is this a generous Practice to perpetuate the Shruggs of Witt and the Grimaces of Affectation?
1. Long afterward JA wrote a detailed account of the method by which Joseph Gooch displaced John Quincy of Mount Wollaston as colonel of the Suffolk militia in 1742; see JA to Jonathan Mason, 3 Oct. 1820, which gives a considerable account of Gooch (Adams Papers; extracts quoted in JA, Works, 2:93, note). Since the Quincy and Adams families were united by JA’s marriage (his wife being a granddaughter of Col. John Quincy and their eldest son being named for him), any retrospective account by an Adams is likely to be prejudiced. But the reference in JA’s Diary, it should be noted, antedates the union of the families.
According to JA, Gooch, who was well-to-do, made a bargain with leading Anglicans, including Rev. Ebenezer Miller, minister of Christ Church in Braintree, offering to build a steeple for Christ Church if his influential friends could persuade Governor Shirley to obtain the colonelcy for Gooch. Shirley did so, but the new colonel proved highly unpopular in Braintree and before long moved to Milton without carrying out his part of the bargain. Deacon John Adams had had a part in this affair, as his son recalled: the elder Adams had been a lieutenant in the militia, but upon being offered a captaincy under Gooch he declined to serve under any other officer than Quincy.
2. Trifling, frivolous (OED). This comment on Dr. Gardiner appears to be JA’s own, though by arbitrarily enclosing this paragraph in quotation marks in his text of the Diary CFA attributes it to Gooch and thus makes him the subject of JA’s rebuke in the next paragraph; see JA, Works, 2:95. It is more likely that JA is rebuking himself.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0004-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-08-12

1760. Aug. 12th.

Remonstrated at the sessions vers. Licensing Lambard, because the select Men had refused to approbate him, because he never was approbated by the select men, to keep a Tavern in the House he now lives in, because there are already 3 and his would make 4 Taverns besides Retailers, within 3/4 of a Mile, and because he obtained a License from that Court, at April sessions, by artfully concealing his Removal from the Place where he formerly kept, and so by an Imposition on the Court. These Reasons prevailed. Majr. Miller, Coll. Miller and Ruddock, were the only Justices on Lambards side, while I had 8 or 9, Wendells, Coll. Phillips, Mr. Dana, Mr. Storer &c. &c. &c. Mr. Dana enquired, whether those Landing Places at Braintree and Weighmouth or the Road where these 4 Taverns stand was not a great stage for { 152 } Travellers. I answered no, and rightly, for the greatest stage that I knew of from Boston to Plymouth, is in the North Precinct of Braintree, where Mr. Bracket, but especially where Mr. Bass now keeps. Where Mr. Bass now keeps, there has been a Tavern, always since my Remembrance, and long before. It is exactly 10 miles from Town, and therefore a very proper stage for Gentlemen who are going from Boston down to Plymouth, and to the Cape, and for People who come from the Cape, towards this Town. And there are very few Travellers either bound to or from Boston, but what stop here, but this stage is 2 or 3 Miles from the Place in Question. These Things I should have said, but they did not then occur.
Dana asked next, what Number of Carters, Boatmen, Shipbuilders &c. were ever employed at a Time, at that Landing Place? I answered half a dozen Carters perhaps. But my Answer should have been this. At some times there are 3 or 4 or half a dozen Ship Carpenters, and it is possible there may have been 2 or 3 Boats at that Wharf at a Time, which will require 1/2 dozen Boatmen, and there has been perhaps 40 Carts in a day with stones, and Wood and Lumber, but these Carts are coming and going all Day long so that it is a rare thing to see half a dozen Carts there at a time. In short there is so much Business done there, as to render one Tavern necessary, but there is not so much Business, there is no such Concourse of Travellers, no such Multitudes of busy People at that Landing as to need all this Cluster of Taverns. One Tavern and one Retailer was tho’t by the select Men quite sufficient for that Place. They have Appointed one of each, and pray that your Honors would recognize no more.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-08-19

1760 Aug. 19th.

I began Popes Homer, last Saturday Night was a Week, and last Night, which was Monday night I finished it. Thus I found that in seven days I could have easily read the 6 Volumes, Notes, Preface, Essays, that on Homer, and that on Homers Battles and that on the funeral Games of Homer and Virgil &c.1 Therefore I will be bound that in 6 months I would conquer him in Greek, and make myself able to translate every Line in him elegantly.2
Prat. It is a very happy Thing to have People superstitious. They should believe exactly as their Minister believes. They should have no Creeds and Confessions <of Faith>. They should not so much as know what they believe. The People ought to be ignorant. And our Free { 153 } schools are the very bane of society. They make the lowest of the People infinitely conceited. (These Words I heard Prat utter. They would come naturally enough from the mouth of a Tyrant or of a K[ing] or Ministry about introducing an Arbitrary Power; or from the mouth of an ambitious or avaricious Ecclesiastic, but they are base detestable Principles of slavery. He would have 99/100 of the World as ignorant as the wild Beasts of the forest, and as servile as the slaves in a Galley, or as oxen yoked in a Team. He a friend to Liberty? He an Enemy to slavery? He has the very Principles of a Frenchman—worse Principles than a Frenchman, for they know their Belief and can give Reasons for it.)
Prat. It grieves me to see any sect of Religion extinguished. I should be very sorry, to have the Quaker Society dissolved, so I should be sorry to [have] Condy’s Anabaptist Society dissolved. I love to see a Variety. A Variety of Religions has the same Beauty in the Moral World, that a Variety of flowers has in a Garden, or a Variety of Trees in a forrest.
This fine speech was Prats. Yet he is sometimes of opinion that all these Sectaries ought to turn Churchmen, and that a Uniform Establishment ought to take place through the whole Nation. I have heard him say, that We had better all of us come into the Church, than pretend to overturn it &c. Thus it is, that fine Speechmakers are sometimes for Uniformity, sometimes for Variety, and Toleration. They dont speak for the Truth or Weight but for the Smartness, and Novelty, singularity of their speech. However I heard him make two Observations, that pleased me much more. One was that People in Years never suppose that young People have any Judgment. Another Was, (when a Deposition was produced taken by Parson Wells, with a very incorrect Caption, a Caption without mention of the Cause in which it was to be used, or certifying that the Adverse Party was present or notifyed) he observed that the Parson could not take a Caption, to save his Life, and that he knew too much to learn any Thing.
1. For the editions of Pope’s translations of the Iliad and Odyssey owned by JA, see Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 122–123.
2. A line across the page in the MS separates the present paragraph from those reporting Prat’s observations that follow; the latter may therefore have been recorded at any time from 19 Aug. to 23 Sept. 1760.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-09-24

1760. Septr. 24th.1

Ephraim Jones, being a Widower and having two Children by a former Wife marries another, and soon after dies, leaving a Widow, { 154 } and the two Children, mentioned before. The Widow takes one third of the personal Estate, for ever, and is endowed of one third of the real Estate, which she lets out to one Tower, as we say to the Halves. Tower breaks up, and plants 1/2 a dozen Acres of the Land with Corn, which he ploughs and hoes &c. till the 20th of September, when The Widow his Lessor dies, having given by her Will, all her Estate to her Relations, Strangers to her late Husband and his Heirs. Now The Question is whether, the one half of the Produce and profits of this Land which the Widow was by Contract to have had, shall go to the Executor of her Will, and so to her Legatees, or else to the Right Heirs, of the Reversion of the Land, expectant on the Widows Death? And Q. also, whether, the said Right Heirs have the Property of the feed and the Apples, and such other fruits as the Earth produces spontaneously, or at least without any immediate Expence and Industry, of the late Tenant in Dower: and Q. also whether the Possession of the Land vests in the Right [heir] Eo Instante that the Widow dies, so that he has an immediate Right of Entry, or Whether the Lessee has not Possession, so that he must be ejected?
1. This entry and virtually all of those that follow concerning law cases through 3 Nov. 1760 were omitted by CFA in editing JA’s Diary.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-09-24

Septr. 24th. 1760.1

If I am the Proprietor of an House, and I lease it to any Man, and bind my self to keep it in Repair, it is reasonable and it is Law, that I should have a Rent. So if I am the owner of a ship, and I let [it] out on a Voyage to the Wist Indies or to Europe it is reasonable, and the maritime Law has made provision that I should have freight. For the sum of Money, that an House or a Ship would Cost, would if placed out, on Interest, bring in Annually 6 pr. Cent for my Use. Now I cant loose the Interest of my money, and besides my House is constantly wearing and decaying and my ship and her Cordage and her Canvas are continually wearing, so that the Rent and the freight ought to be sufficient to enable [me] to make these Repairs: But besides this, all Merchants, all Persons who have Property, in shipping, in Vessells that sail upon the sea, are in a peculiar manner liable to Accidents and Misfortunes. They are in Danger, from storms, from Rocks and sands, and they are in Danger from Pyrates and frenchmen, so that the Law, in establishing the freight of Vessells has made allowance, for these 3 things—for the Interest of Money on the Capital, for the Constant Expences in Repairing the Hull and the Cordage and the sails, and for the peculiar Danger from seas, Winds, Rocks and Enemies, which { 155 } constantly environ Vessells on the sea. And accordingly the freight or Rent of shipping is very high in all foreign Voyages. Well, now the same Reasons, which have established a freight upon Vessells in foreign Voyages, has by Law established a certain share of the Profits [of] this schooner now in Controversy. But the Case, which is more precisely parrall[el] to this of Mr. Lovell, and which is decisive in this Case, is that of Whaling Voyages. In Whaling Voyages, of[f] the shoals of Nantuckett, and in those to Hudsons Bay, there is frequently, a Master of a Vessell, and a Master of the Voyage i.e. a ship is taken into the service, and Whale Boats put on Board her. The Vessell sails into the Whaling Latitudes, and then puts her Boats to sea after the Whales. The Whales are taken on Board the Vessell, and brought home to Cape Cod we’l say, in a sort of Blubber. Wel there, at Cape Cod they frequently hire other People, People who had no Concern with the Voyage, to boil that Blubber into oil. When that is done the oyl is sent up to Boston and sold by Persons who are allowed Commissions for their Pains and after the Oyl is sold, the Established Rule is, to pay all the Costs of Boiling the Blubber and the Commissions arising on the sales and then the Vessell which went out upon the Voyage draws one Quarter of the whole Profits of the Voyage. But the particular Custom which has prevailed among these small Lighters, and schooners that run out a fishing, where there is not so much Danger of Shipwreck, is that the schooner or Lighter shall draw one fifth Part of the Profits of the Voyage. If a schooner runs out in the Harbour a fishing the schooner draws every fifth fish, and whenever they have taken up any drifted Timber or Shingles or Boards, the same proportion has been observed. I have known several Instances in which our Braintree Boats have taken up valuable things adrift, in Cases where there has been no danger to the Lighter, only her time has been consumed, and the Boat always drew one fifth of such drifted Timber as well as of the fish. The only thing, that I can think of, and which the first [ . . . ]2 to its utmost extent [ . . . ] think of, as I believe to distinguish this Case from any of the 3 that I have mentioned, either from that of a ship on a foreign Voyage or of any Vessell on a Whaling Voyage or of common Lighters and schooners on fishing Voyages, is this. That the schooner was not stout enough to weigh the Anchor and they were obliged to hire another Vessell to go down a Weight [i.e. and weigh?] it.—I beg your H[onor’] s careful Attention to this Point, because I suppose the whole stress of the Cause will be laid upon it, by the other side.—Now this I insist upon it can make no Alteration in the Case at all. For Mr. Lovells Vessell went out, upon the supposition { 156 } that she should draw 1/5 of the whole Profits of the Voyage, 1/5 of all the fish, that should be caught, and 1/5 of every Thing that he found adrift upon the surface or drawn upon from the Bottom of the Sea. And without this Prospect of 1/5 of the Profits, he would not have let her gone. He could have gone in her himself and made Profits by her or he could have let her out to others who would have minded their fishing, and so have gained Profits for him as well as for themselves. Suppose it had been said to Mr. Lovell, let us have your schooner to go out a fishing, and if we catch any, you shall have a fifth, but if we catch none, you shall have nothing and I believe we shant for we intend to spend most of our time in Poking after an Anchor or a Chest of Gold, that we suppose to be lost out in the Harbour; but if we should find this Anchor or Chest your schooner is not able to weight it, and so you shall have no Part of that.
Would Captn. Lovell have consented to that. No he would have laughed at them for fools to think he would, or have frowned upon them in Resentment of an Affront, for such a Proposal in Earnest would have been an affront. Well now what he could not have been desired reasonably to have consented to before the Voyage Your Honor cant desire him to do, and the Law will not oblige him to do after the Voyage. The Time of [the] Schooner was spent in securing of the anchor, time in which she might have earned him money either in fighting or fishing, his Vessell, his Ropes, and Sails were worn in the service, which will cost him money to repair; and what is worse than both the former, his Property was endangered, his Anchor was in great Risque of being irrecoverably lost in the first Place by its Entanglement with the large Anchor at the Bottom, and afterwards by the Use they made of it in raking at the Bottom to bring up the Cable of the great Anchor. And to say that the great Anchor was not weighed by his schooner is to say nothing. <It was secured by his schooner, and totally by his schooner.>
I say too that the Whales are not taken, cannot be taken by the ship. They are taken by the Whale Boats: I say too that the ship cant boil the Blubber up into oyl. But what then? The ship’s time is spent, she is wearing out, and she is endangered, and therefore she shall draw a Quarter of the Neat Profits of the Voyage after Wages for Boiling and Commissions for selling, are paid. This I rely upon, this schooners being unable to weigh the Anchor, is exactly like the ship in Hudsons bays being unable to chase and take the Whales. And their hiring another Vessell to go down, and weigh it, is like Whale mens hiring other Men to boil their blubber, and to sell their Oyl, and that this { 157 } schooner has as good a Right to 1/5 of the 2/3 after the one third is taken out, which by Agreement was given to the Vessell that weighed it, as a Whaling Vessell has to one fourth of the whole Profits of the Voyage after enough has been taken out to pay the Boilers and factors.
And nothing can be more reasonable. Suppose I should Agree with a Man, to let him have my Horse to Rhode Island to purchase a Quantity of Goods, and he engages I shall have one fifth or one Qr. of the Profits of his Journey. Well when he gets upon Seachonk Plain, He finds a Number of People there a horse racing. He challenges every Horse upon the Plain to run. At last they run for 100 Guineas which my Horse wins. Would it not be reasonable that I should have a Proportion of that Prize? Shall the Man that I let him to, run the Hazard of breaking the Neck, or Limbs or Wind of my Horse. Shall he strain, and violently drive him so as uterly to mar him very much; and I have no Recompence at all? By no means. Your Honor cant but see, we have a Right, and I dont doubt youl give it us.
Perhaps some Difficulty may arise in your Honours mind about the Propriety of the manner of laying this Action. It is an Ind[ebitatus] Ass[umpsit] for so much Money had and received by the Defendant, to the Use of the Plaintiffs, and it is alledged that the Defendant promised to render a reasonable Account. But this is the constant form of Suing for things of this sort. If I upon a Reckoning and settlement with a man pay him by a Mistake £20 more than is due to him, I may recover it back, by this Action, i.e. he has had and received so much money, which did not belong to him but to me, so if Money is due to me from another man, and some 3d Person goes to him, and under Pretence of Authority from me, receives that Money, I may have this Action against him. And in general if any man has received Money, which did not belong to him, but does belong to me, I may recover it of him by this Action. Now I think it is plain that Mr. Ward has received the sum mentioned in this Writ, that it did not belong to him but it did of right belong to the owners of the schooner the present Plaintiffs, and therefore it follows that he is accountable to us for it, and I dont doubt your honour will think so too.
1. Second entry so dated. This draft of JA’s argument in Lovell v. Ward was hastily and carelessly written and a few passages remain obscure.
2. Two or three words illegible.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-07

Octr. 7th. 1760.

Waited on Mr. Gridley for his Opinion of my Declaration Lambard v. Tirrell, and for his Advice, whether to enter the Action or not.1 He { 158 } says the Declaration is bad and the Writ, if Advantage is taken, will abate.
For It is a Declaration on a Parol Lease, not on a Deed, and therefore the Lessee’s Occupancy ought to be sett forth very exactly, for it is his Occupancy, not any Contract, that supports the Action.—You have declared, that Defendant by Virtue of the Demise, into the Tenements, entered, and the same Premises had, held and occupied. But you have not declared when he entered, nor how long he occupied. He might enter, and remove again from the Premises in 3 months, for ought appears on this Declaration. You have taken this Declaration from a Precedent of Lillies. But Lilly and Mallorry are not Authorities, Coke and Rastall are, and in them, the Distinction is taken between a Declaration on a Lease Parol, and one on a Deed, an Indenture. In a Declaration on an Indenture, it is not necessary to set forth when the Defendant entered nor how long he held: because by the Indenture he had a Right to enter and occupy, if he would, but whether he occupied, or not, he has indented to pay the Rent, when the time is out: But in a Declaration, on a Parol Lease, it is necessary to set forth, both when he entered and how long he stayed, because the Occupancy is the Cause and foundation of the Action. Besides you have not alledged that the Rent was to be yeilded and payd upon Demand, and this would abate the Writ.—Mr. Gridley sent me to Otis’s office to examine in Viners Abrigment, under the Title Rent, and in the Entries, i.e. Lilly, Mallorry, Coke, and Rastal, under the Title Debt, for some Authority to decide the Point whether the Exception was fatal, or not. I could find nothing in Viner, Lilly, or Mallorry, but Mr. Gridley shewed me in Coke and Rastall the Distinction taken between a Declaration on a Parol and on a Written Lease.
G. says, that an Indenture for the Year 1758, att a certain Rent; and the Lessees Continuance in the House, and the Lessors Permission to continue in the House, thro the Year 1759 without any new Indenture, or any Contract or Conversation about any Rent, is presumptive Evidence, that Each Party intended, the Rent should continue the same. The Lessees Continuance, in the House, without taking the Pains of going to the Lessor, to treat about new Terms, is sufficient Evidence of his Satisfaction with the old Terms and of his Consent to pay the old Rent. And the Lessors Permission of his Tenant to continue in the House, without taking the Pains to make a new Contract, is sufficient Evidence of his satisfaction with the old Terms, and of his Consent that they should continue.
{ 159 }
1. JA’s client, the plaintiff, recovered £9 6s. 8d. as a result of this action in the Inferior Court; the defendant appealed to the Superior Court at its Feb. 1761 term, but did not prosecute, and judgment was affirmed (Superior Court of Judicature, Records, 1760–1762, fol. 177). The bills of costs in both courts, in JA’s hand, are in Suffolk County Court House, Early Court Files, &c., No. 81586. See JA’s argument under second entry of 17 Oct., below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-09

1760. Oct. 9th.

In Support of Complaint in Case Neal’s Action is not entered.1
I do not know, nor is it possible for your Honours to determine, what Reason induced the Plantiff to renounce this suit. Whether it was, because the Estate is insolvent, or because he had no Cause of Action, or because his Action was mislayed, or because his Writ was bad, which by the Way is very probable, considering who drew it, that determined the Plantiff, not to enter this Action, I cannot say, and your Honours cannot determine. It appears to your Honours, that the Defendant has been vexed and distressed by this summons, that she has been obliged to take a Journey to this Town, and to attend upon this Court, where it appears there is nothing for her to answer to. All this appears. What Motive induced the Plantiff to drop his Action does not appear, and therefore We have a Right to Costs. As Things are Circumstanced, I will own, that had this Action been commenced by any Gentleman, at this Bar, I would have dispensed [with] this Complaint, but it was drawn by a petty fogging Deputy Sheriff against whom I know it is my Duty, and I think it is my Interest to take all legall Advantages. And he himself cannot think it hard, as he has taken both illegal and iniquitous Advantages against me. Therefore I pray your Honours Judgment for Costs.—Q. If this Action should be entered, what must be done with it? Continued, or dismissed?—A Motion must be made for a Continuance or a Dismission.
1. Joseph Neal had sued the widow of Capt. Richard Brackett as administratrix of Brackett’s estate. JA drafted arguments for this case in several entries below. It is not known how the action, which was entered and continued, presumably in the Inferior Court, came out; but in the case of Joseph Neal v. Nathan Spear, which grew out of it, JA won costs by a plea in abatement of the writ (see an entry under the assigned date of Jan.? 1761, below).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-11

1760. Oct. 11th.

Neals Action is entered so that I have two Actions to defend by Pleas in Bar and three of the Actions I entered, are to be defended, Clark is to Plead in Abatement and Tirrell and Thayer are, I suppose, to plead to issue. Clark gave a Note of Hand to Captn. Brackett in his Life time, and after his Death, on a Reckoning with the Administratrix, a Ballance was found due to the Estate upon Book, for which he gave { 160 } a new Note to the Widow as Administratrix. Now I have laid both these Notes in one Declaration in Conformity to the Province Law, which forbids two Bills of Cost, upon Instruments, Bonds, Bills, Notes &c. executed by the same Party, and made payable to one and the same Person, and put in suit at the same Time. Dana pleads in Abatement, that these Notes, tho executed by the same Party, were not made payable to one and the same Person. The first was made payable to Bracket, and the second was made payable to his Wife—and cites 3rd. Salkeld 202. “A. owed to B. £20 as Executor, and £10 more in his own Right. One Action will not lie against him for the whole Money, because there must be several Judgments.” And Dana says, that soon after he began Practice, he drew a Writ upon a Note taken by an Executor, as Executor, for a Debt of his Testator, and drew the Writ as if the Note had been taken in the Executors own private Right. Auchmuty1 for the Defendant, pleaded in Abatement that the Note was given to Plaintiff as Executor, not in his own Right, and the Inferiour Court abated the Writ, but he appealed, and at the Superiour Court, got Mr. Reed to speak for him, who contended that the Words as Executor, were idle, and the Court unanimously set up his Writ.
1. Robert Auchmuty the elder (d. 1750 or 1751), a Scot trained at the Middle Temple who was prominent in the early Boston bar and other colonial affairs; from 1733 to 1741 he was judge of admiralty for New England. His son Robert was an associate of JA’s in the Suffolk bar, notably as co-counsel in the defense of Captain Preston in 1770, but he became a loyalist and left America. A sister of the younger Auchmuty, Isabella, married the lawyer and judge Benjamin Prat. (DAB, under both Auchmutys; NEHGR, 12 [1858]:69–71.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-13

1760. Octr. 13th. Monday.

Attended Mr. Niles’s Court this morning for John Holbrook Junior in an Action of his against Benja. Thayer Junior. Holbrook agreed with Thayer, to submit all Demands together with both Actions to 3 men.
Mr. Niles told me, that he consulted Mr. Thatcher about entering his Action against Mrs. Brackett. Thatcher told him, it was as likely that she would recover Costs against him, as that he would recover Judgment against her, And therefore advised him not to enter. Niles’s Action is exactly like Neals. How came Thatcher to advise to one Thing and Dana to another? The Answer is Dana dont care, how the Action goes. He is sure of his Fee and attendance, whether he gets or looses his Cause.
Thus I find the Bar is divided. Gridley is at a loss. He told me it { 161 } was a Point of Law that would require a leisurely Examination. Thatcher is uncertain, but thinks it as likely to go in favour of the Administratrix as against her, and how much more likely he did not say. Kent says, the Administratrix will recover Costs, in Spight of the Devil, and he has recovered many a Time in such a Case.—It is a great object of Ambition to settle this Point of Law, whether a suit brought against an Administrator, who after the Commencement, Entry and several Continuances, represents the Estate Insolvent, shall be barred, and the Administrator allowed Costs?
I cannot be compelled to accept Mr. Dana’s agreement not to take Execution. And I insist upon it, if he has Judgment, he may take Execution, and if he takes Execution, what shall hinder the officer, from levying the whole Debt, and then what becomes of the Province Law, relating to insolvent Estates? The Words of the Law are “when the Estate of any Person deceased shall be insolvent, or insufficient to pay all just Debts, which the deceased owed, the same shall be set forth and distributed, among all the Creditors in Proportion to the sums to them owing, so far as the said Estate will extend.”
No Debts whatever are excepted from the Average, but Debts due to the Crown and the Charges of the last sickness and of the funeral. The Charges of the funeral, of the last sickness and Crown Debts are to be first paid, and then an Average is to be settled by Commissioners of Insolvency, before the Administrators can pay another Debt. There is no Exception of Debts legally demanded before the Representation of Insolvency. If Debts legally demanded, were to be excepted from the Average, every Debt would be excepted from the average. As soon as the Intestates Breath is gone, every Creditor will bring his Action, will make his legal Demand. If this had been Law and known to be law, 500 suits would have been brought vs. this Administratrix, within a Day after she took Administration. If this Rule of Law should be established, it would prove the Destruction of every Intestate Estate in the Province that is considerably in debt. Every Creditor would bring his suit, immediately, and thus the Costs of Suits would amount to a greater sum, oftentimes than the Debts.
It would indeed, furnish Employment to the Lawyers, and perhaps, a secret Regard to Interest has blinded some to the Inconveniences, that must attend it. I think the Point is clear, that a legal Demand, before the Representation of Insolvency cannot intitle any Creditor to recover his whole Demand.
Now the Q[uestion] is whether, if this Action should be defaulted, and Judgment made up, and Execution should issue, it would not { 162 } issue for the whole sum; and if it issues for the whole sum, the sheriff must levy the whole sum. So that, if Judgment should be rendered now, the whole Demand would be recovered—for this Court cannot consider an Average, that is not yet settled.
Well, should this Action be continued, along from Court to Court, and Judgment be entered after the.1
In answer to Sewals objection, I say, that an Administrator de Bonis non, could not maintain an Action vs. this Defendant, on this Note. But the Administration of this Administratrix must bring the Action, and stand accountable to the Administrator de Bonis non, for the Money, and if this Defendant should break, or die insolvent this would be a good Account.
Her delay to represent this Estate insolvent is of no Consequence at all. She was in Hopes, the Estate would have been sufficient, and she wanted to make a Calculation between the Estate and its Debts, before she made that Representation. She did not want to give the Creditors the Trouble of making out their Claims before Commissioners, if she could pay them without it. She acted in short as every prudent Administrator would do, to save herself and family the Disgrace and Curses of Insolvency, and to save her Creditors, the Trouble of making out their Claims, but People at last grew impatient and some Gentlemen had propagated an Opinion that those who made a legal Demand before the Representation, would recover their whole Debts, and summons’s flowed in upon her from all Quarters. Several Actions were brought against her, at Plymouth Court, and several more to this Court, and she saw that Ruin would insue to herself and family if she did not.
Now had this Representation been made when she took Administration, 18 months at least would have been allowed to examine Claims. But 6 months were allowed [over?] so that the Creditors will receive their share quite as soon as they would, if it had been represented sooner.
1. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-17

1760. Octr. 17th.

What are the Questions, on which Mrs. Bracketts Bars to Danas Actions turn?—The first Question is, whether any Action at all can be maintained vs. the Administrator of an Insolvent Estate excepting for Debt due to the Crown, for sickness and funeral Charges? And the second is, whether an Action brought before the Representation of Insolvency, can be maintained, i.e. Whether an Administrator, by { 163 } delaying to represent the Insolvency, makes herself liable to any suit, that is brought against her. For I take it to be very clear, that when an Estate is represented insolvent, as soon as an Administrator is appointed no Action can be maintained. All Actions must be barred, bar’d I mean for a Time, till the Commissioners have reported and the Average is settled. So that the only Question is, whether Administrators are liable to suits, till the Representation is made? And with submission I think [it] is certain that they are not. In many Cases it is well known, before a Mans Breath is gone, that he owes more than he is worth, and in such Cases the Administrator would do well to represent the Insolvency, at his first Appointment, but there are many Cases, when it is impossible for the Administrator to know whether his Intestate is solvent or insolvent, the Quantity of his Lands and goods may be unknown, and the Number and Quantity of his Debts is always unknown so that no Computation can possibly be made, and in these Cases, it is certainly reasonable and it is Law, that the Administrator should have some time to examine and calculate before he makes a Representation, for if the Estate is sufficient, it would be folly to draw upon his Intestate and himself and family the Disgrace of Insolvency, and the Curses of the Creditors needlessly, and it would be a Pitty to put the Estate to the Expence of the Commissioners, and the Creditors to the Trouble of making out their Claims before them. In all Cases therefore where it is doubtful whether the Estate is sufficient or insufficient, the Administrator ought to have time to inform himself, and in the mean time, all the Creditors must be debared from suits, or if they will bring them they must do it at their Peril, i.e. if the Estate afterwards proves insolvent, their Actions must be bared and they must pay Costs. Whether some Limitation of the time, is expedient or not, it is not our Business to inquire, if the Laws are imperfect in this respect it is the Business of the Legislature to perfect it, but Mr. Dana cannot avail him self of a Law that has no being.
Now the Case before your Honour, is of the last sort. At the Time of Capt. Bracketts Death, it was very doubtful, with every body, whether he left enough to pay his Debts or not. His Widow, on her appointment, to the Administration, told the Judge, it was uncertain, and asked time to inform herself; and she has been as diligent as she could, considering the distressed situation of her family, in making Enquiry after the Debts. She found Effects enough in her Hands to pay all the Debts that she was apprized of, and so was unwilling to make the Representation, unwilling to put the Estate to needless Charge, and Disgrace, unwilling to put her Creditors to the Trouble of making out { 164 } their Claims with the Commissioners, till she was satisfyd, there was not enough. But new Creditors are daily making their Appearance, who have large demands, and some who were never so civil as to let her know she owed them, have sent her Writts. She was sued in one Action to this Court for some hundreds, on a Note that she never suspected to be in Being. In short she finds most of the real Estate under Mortgage, so that most, if not all the Personal Estate must go to discharge these Mortgages, and then the real Estate must be sold at Vendue, the Event of which is quite uncertain, and therefore the Estate is not sufficient to pay. And as the Estate is insolvent, these suits must be barred. The Law is express, that No Proscess shall be allowed. And I presume the Reason, why the Law has not confined Administrators to narrow limits, is that People [must?] be restrained from rushing on such Estates, and by stifling all the sentiments of Humanity, bringing Destruction on the fatherless and Widows.
The Time for Enquiry, whether the Estate is insolvent, or not, must be dilated on. It is a momentous Point. Must shew, that the time she has taken, is no more than reasonable.
The Administrator is not liable unless it can be shewn that she has intermeddled with the Goods and made payment of any Debt. She has never paid any Debt.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-17

1760. Oct. 17.1

In the Beginning of May 58 Mr. Lambard, the Plantiff, gave a Lease of a House and Barn and Land in Germantown mentioned in the Writ to the Defendant Mr. Tirrell, and this Lease you will have with you. You will find by it, that Tirrill was to give [illegible initial] &c. the same Rent, that is sued for, in the present Action. In May 1759, i.e. at the End of the Year, Mr. Lambard went into the service, without making any new Contract, and Mr. Tirrell and his family continued in the House from that time to this. The Plantiff has frequently requested his Rent, but has been always refused, and at last he was obliged to bring his Action. As I said before there was no express Contract between the Parties, for the Year 1759, but as there was an express Contract for 58, and as the Defendant continued with his family, and as the Plantiff permitted him to continue in the House, the natural and legal Presumption is, that each Party was satisfyd with the old Terms, and intended the old Terms should continue. For had the Landlord been dissatisfyd with the Terms, it would have been his Business to have said, you must come upon a new Agreement or else leave the House, and had the Tenant been dissatisfyd he should { 165 } have said I must have the Place for less Rent or else I must leave. But as each Party was silent, each Party implicitly consented that the old Conditions should remain; especially as the Terms were very reasonable. £70 old Tenor, a Year is a moderate Rent for that Place. There is a very convenient handsome new House, there is a good Barn, and several good Lotts of Land. Besides the House has had Licence for a Tavern for these 7 Years, and Mr. Tirrell has all along kept a Tavern there and does to this day. Now the single Priviledge of keeping a Tavern upon that Place is worth as much annually as this Rent. For Germantown, you all know is a Place of considerable Resort. Hardly any Gentlemen of Curiosity from any of the four Governments come to this Town, without taking a Ride to Germantown to see the Manufactures there, that of Glass and that of Stockings. Great Numbers of People go out from this Town upon Parties of Pleasure to Germantown, and there is a considerable Number of Inhabitants upon the Place and all these must be entertained and supplied, so that considering the House, Barn, Land, and these Priviledges the Rent is quite moderate, and there can be no Reason why each Party should not be confined, to those Terms, which the Defendants silence and Continuance in the House, raise a violent Presumption that he consented to, and I dont doubt, you’l give us the sum sued for accordingly.
1. Second entry so dated. This is a draft of JA’s argument in the case of Lambard (or Lambert) v. Tirrell in the Inferior Court; see 7 Oct. and note, above.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-03

[3] Novr. 1760. Monday.

Dana says the Administrator ought not to regard the Disgrace or Trouble or Expence of a Commission of Insolvency, but if it is in the least degree suspicious, that the Estate will not prove sufficient, he must represent it so, at his first Appointment i.e. every Day, that he takes to enquire into the Value of the Estate, and the Number of Debts, is at the Risque of the Creditors, and if any one Creditor brings his Action he must maintain it, at the Expence of the others. For says he, as no Time is limitted an Administrator may wait a whole Year, before he represents the Estate insolvent, and live upon the Estate all that time, to the Injury of the Creditors. Nay he may neglect it two Years, or 10 Years, till he has wasted, spent, or alienated the whole Estate.
I say, it is reasonable that a Time should be allowed the Administrator to enquire, to make a Computation of the Effects, and to enquire into the No. and Quantity of the Debts, that he may be able to judge, whether the Estate is insolvent or not. For a Commission of Insolvency { 166 } is an Evil, always to be avoided, if Possible. It is always considered as a Disgrace to a family. It is always a great Expence to the Estate. It always provokes the Curses of the Creditors, and puts them to the Trouble in attending the Commissioners to prove their Debts. And it is not only reasonable, that a Time of Enquiry should be allowed, but it is Law. And the Executor or Administrator appointed to any Insolvent Estate, before Payment to any be made, except as aforesaid, shall represent the Condition and Circumstances thereof unto the Judge of Probate. Here is plainly a time allowed him, and there is no Limitation of that time. It is only said the Representation must be made before any Payment is made. And here is an Exception, which clearly gives the Administrator, some time; the Exception is of Debts due to the Crown, of sickness and funeral Charges. These the Administrator, after his Appointment may pay, before he is obliged to represent it insolvent, and he could not pay these any more than any other Debts unless some time was allowed him.
Mr. Danas Objections are in my humble opinion of little Weight. He says, that if the Administrator is not obliged to represent immediately, he may delay it, till she and her family have consumed, or by fraud conveyed away the Estate. But your Honours know that Apprisers are appointed, always directly after the Administrator is appointed, who are to make an Inventory and then the Administrator charges herself with all the Articles in the Inventory, and gives Bonds to be accountable for them at the apprized Value, at the Years End. So that if the Estate is wasted the Administrators Bond may be put in suit. Besides, admitting here is a Defect in the Law, in this Respect, Admitting a new Law is expedient, to limit the Time of [representation], such a Law has no Existence, nor can Mr. Dana avail himself of a Law that has no Being, however expedient it may be, especially when the Representation is made within a reasonable Time, as this was. The Representation was made in 9 months, which was a short space of Time considering the Circumstances of this affair. Brackett was struck out of Life suddenly, left a very distressed family, and a very perplexed and embarrassed Estate, so that it was impossible for the Widow to recover from her surprize, and make any Inquiry so as to satisfy herself whether the Estate was sufficient or not, sooner than she did. And I presume the Reason why the Law has not confined the Administrator to such Estates to narrow limits, is, because Persons, that die so much in Debt, commonly leave Widows and Children behind them, who have been used to decent and reputable living, and will therefore, if some reasonable time is not allowed them to keep together, { 167 } recover their surprize and look about them, will be driven to absolute Despair. And to this Purpose and that the Estate may not be burdened with Costs, the Law has provided, that no Proscess shall be allowed, while any such Estate is depending as aforesaid, which Words extend as well to the Time, the Estate is depending under the Examination and Enquiry of the Administrator as to that between the Representation of Insolvency and the settling of the Average. And it is quite reasonable that this Action in Particular, should be barred, because it was entered, out of the meer Humour and Obstinacy of the Plantiff. Tho it was commenced before the Representation it was entered afterwards, whereas if he had been a reasonable Man, instead of entering and driving this Action, as he has done, he should have dropd it without Entry.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-05

Nov. 5th. 1760.

[salute] Messrs.1

I presume upon the common sense of the World that no offence will be taken at the Freedom of the following Sentiments while the utmost Deference for Authority and Decency of Language is preserved, as Persons of obscure Birth, and Station, and narrow Fortunes have no other Way, but thro the Press to communicate their Tho’ts abroad, either to the high or the low.
The Vacancy, in the highest seat of Justice in the Province occasioned by the Death of J[udge] Sewal, naturally stirrs the Minds of all, who know the Importance of a wise, steady and loyal Administration of Justice, to enquire for a fit Person to fill that Place.2 Such Persons know, that the Rules of the common Law are extreamly numerous, that Acts of Parliament are numerous, some taken from, or at least in spirit, from the Civil Law, others from the Cannon and feudal Law. Such Persons know that the Histories of Cases and Resolutions of Judges have [been] preserved from a very great Antiquity, and they know also, that every possible Case being thus preserved in Writing, and settled in a Precedent, leaves nothing, or but little to the arbitrary Will or uninformed Reason of Prince or Judge.
And it will be easy, for any Man to conclude what opportunities, Industry, and Genius employd from early Youth, will be necessary to gain a Knowledge, from all these sources, sufficient to decide the Lives, Liberties and fortunes of Mankind, with safety to the Peoples Liberties, as well as the Kings Prerogative, that happy Union, in which the Excellence of british Government consists, and which has often { 168 } been preserved by the deep Discernment and noble spirit of english Judges.
It will be easy for any Man to conclude that a Man whose Youth and Spirits and Strength, have been spent, in Husbandry Merchandize, Politicks, nay in science or Literature will never master so immense and involved a science: for it may be taken for a never failing Maxim, that Youth is the only Time for lay[ing] the Foundation of a great Improvement in any science or Profession and that an Application in advanced Years, after the Mind is crowded, the Attention divided, or dissipated, and the Memory in part lost will make but a tolerable Artist at best.
1. This draft of a communication to a newspaper is obviously incomplete and does not appear to have been published.
2. Chief Justice Stephen Sewall died on 10 Sept. 1760, and a bitter contention ensued over the succession to his post. According to a retrospective account by Edmund Trowbridge, the two candidates who made themselves most conspicuous by their own efforts were William Brattle and the elder James Otis. When, on 13 Nov., Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson was named, the two disappointed candidates were so “very angry with him and every one else they knew or suspected had not favoured their Respective Claims,” that much of the subsequent political squabbling in Massachusetts was a result of their irritation (Trowbridge to William Bollan, 15 July 1762, MHS, Colls., 74 [1918]:66). Neither Brattle nor Otis nor Hutchinson had had regular legal training, and so it would appear that JA is arguing against the appointment of any one of the three. If he had completed his article, we would doubtless know whom he was for.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-14

Novr. 14th. 1760.1

Another Year is now gone and upon Recollection, I find I have executed none of my Plans of study. I cannot Satisfy my self that I am much more knowing either from Books, or Men, from this Chamber, or the World, than I was at least a Year ago, when I wrote the foregoing Letter to Sewal.2 Most of my Time has been spent in Rambling and Dissipation. Riding, and Walking, Smoking Pipes and Spending Evenings, consume a vast Proportion of my Time, and the Cares and Anxieties of Business, damp my Ardor and scatter my attention. But I must stay more at home—and commit more to Writing. A Pen is certainly an excellent Instrument, to fix a Mans Attention and to inflame his Ambition. I am therefore beginning a new literary Year, with the 26th. of my life.3
1. This and the following two entries, all of them bearing the same date, are inserted here from D/JA/4, the journal of studies that JA projected in Oct. 1759 (see entries there) but proceeded to neglect for over a year.
2. Draft at the beginning of D/JA/4 (p. 123–124, above).
3. An approximation. JA’s 26th birthday fell on 19 Oct. 1760 according to the Old Style calendar; on 30 Oct. according to the New Style.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-14

1760. Novr. 14th. Friday.

I am just entered on the 26th Year of my Life, and on the fifth Year of my studies in Law, and I think it is high Time for a Reformation both in the Man, and the Lawyer. 25 Years of the Animal Life is a great Proportion to be spent, to so little Purpose, and four Years, the Space that we spend at Colledge is a great deal of Time to spend for no more Knowledge in the science and no more Employment in the Practice of Law. Let me keep an exact Journal therefore of the Authors I read, in this Paper.1
This day I am beginning my Ld. Hales History of the Common Law, a Book borrowed of Mr. Otis, and read once already, Analysis and all, with great Satisfaction. I wish I had Mr. Blackstones Analysis, that I might compare, and see what Improvements he has made upon Hale’s.
But what principally pleased me, in the first Reading of Hales History, was his Dissertation upon Descents, and upon Tryals by a Jury.
Hales Analysis, as Mr. Gridley tells me, is an Improvement of one, first planned and sketched by Noy, an Attorney General in the Reign of Charles 1st. And Mr. Blackstone’s is an Improvement upon Hales.2
1. That is, this paper booklet or gathering of leaves.
2. For copies of works by Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale and Sir William Blackstone still among JA’s books at the Boston Public Library, see Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 113, 28.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-14

1760. Novr. 14. Friday.

The Title is “The History of the Common Law of England.” The Frontispiece, I cannot comprehend. It is this.
Ἰσχυρον ὁ ΝÓ ΜΟΣ έσ[τ]ὶν ἄρχοντὰ1
His great Distribution of the Laws of England is into Leges scriptae and Leges non scriptae. The first are Acts of Parliament which are originally reduced to writing before they are enacted, or receive any binding Power, every such Law being in the first Instance, formally drawn up in Writing, and made as it were a Tripartite Indenture, between the King, the Lords and Commons.
The Leges non scriptae, altho there may be some Monument or Memorial of them in Writing (as there is of all of them) yet all of them have not their original in Writing, but have obtained their Force by immemorial Usage or Custom.
1. Transcribed by JA from the titlepage of Sir Matthew Hale’s The History and Analysis of the Common Law of England, London, 1713. JA could make no sense of it because it is garbled Greek for which the printer may have been re• { 170 } | view sponsible. CFA subjoined the following note on the passage: “Stephanus quotes the following as a proverb,—
Ἰσχυρὸν ὁ νόμος έστ𐎯ν, ἤν ἄρχοντ᾽ ἔχῃ. which he translates,—The law is powerful if it have an executor” (JA, Works, 2:101). The Stephani, or Estiennes, were 16th-century printers and lexicographers; see Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 86. Hale’s titlepage motto is evidently a distorted version of this “proverb.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-15

1760. Novr. 15th. Sat.

Spent last Evening at Coll. Quincys, with Coll. Lincoln. Several Instances were mentioned, when the Independency and Superiority of the Law in general over particular Departments of officers, civil and military, has been asserted and maintained, by the Judges, at Home. Ld. Cokes Resolution in the Case of —— in oposition to the opinion, and even to the orders, and passionate Threatnings of the King. Ld. Holts refusal to give the House of Lords his Reasons, for his Judgment in the Case of —— in an extra judicial Manner, i.e. without being legally and constitutionally called before them by a Rit [Writ] of Error, Certiorari, or false Judgment. And C[hief] J[ustice] Wills’s resolute spirited assertion of the Rits [Rights] of common Law in opposition to the Court Martial against the Intercession of powerful Friends, and even of the Ministry if not the K[ing] himself.1
1. CFA identifies two of the cases here referred to (JA, Works, 2:101).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-19

1760. Novr. 19th.

Parson Smith says the Art of Printing like most other Arts, and Instruments, was discovered by Accident. Somebody, at an idle Hour, had whitled his Name, cut his Name out in the Bark of a Tree. And when his Name was fairly cut out, he cut it off [and] put it into his Hankerchief. The Bark was fresh, and full of Sap, and the Sap colored his Hankerchief, i.e. printed his Name upon it. And from observing that he tooke the Hint.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-19

Wednesday [19 November].1

Dined at Badcocks, with McKenzie. He pretends to Mechanicks, and Manufactures. He owns the snuff Mill, and he is about setting up some Machine to hull our Barley. One Welsh dined with us, who he said was the best, most ingenious Tradesman, that ever was in this Country. McKenzie and Welsh were very full of the Machinery, in Europe, the Fire Engines, the Water Works, the silk Machines, the Wind Mills, in Holland &c. McKenzie says there are 27, 000 Wheels, and 90, 000 Movements in the silk Machine. You may see 10,000 Wind Mills go• { 171 } ing at once in Holland. Thus he tells Wondrous Things, like other Travellers.—I suspect he would be unable to describe the fire Engine or the Water Works. Had I been Master of my self I should have examined him, artfully, but I could not recollect any one Particular of the fire Engine, but the Receiver, and that he says is no Part of the Engine. But he talks about a Center Cylinder.
This conceited Scotchman has been a Rambler I believe. He set up Merchandize in New London. He married a Cunningham, sister to Otis’s Wife.—These restless Projectors, in Mechanicks, Husbandry, Merchandize, Manufactures, seldom succeed here. No Manufactury has succeeded here, as yet. And I believe Franklins Reasoning is good, and the Causes he mentions will hinder the growth of Manufactures here in America, for a great While yet to come.2
1. Apparently a second entry for 19 Nov., but the preceding entry should perhaps have been dated a day earlier.
2. The reference is to Franklin’s “Observations concerning the Increase of Mankind, Peopling of Countries, Etc.,” written in 1751 and first published four years later in Boston. Franklin reasoned that since land was so plentiful in America, labor would long be costly. “The Danger therefore of these Colonies interfering with their Mother Country in Trades that depend on Labour, Manufactures, &c., is too remote to require the attention of Great-Britain” (Writings, ed. Smyth, 3:65–66.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-21

1760. Novr. 21st. Friday.

This day has been spent to little Purpose. I must confine my Body, or I never shall confine my Tho’ts. Running to Drs., cutting Wood, blowing fires, cutting Tobacco, waste my Time, scatter my Thoughts, and divert my Ambition. A Train of Thought, is hard to procure. Trifles light as Air, break the Chain, interrupt the series.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-21

1760. Novr. 21st. Friday.1

Finished the History of the Common Law, the second Time. The Dissertation on hereditary Descents, and that on Tryals by Juries, are really, very excellent Performances, and well worth repeated, attentive Reading.
1. This, the second entry so dated, is from D/JA/4, JA’s fragmentary record of studies.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0011

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1760-11-22 - 1760-11-24

[November] 1760.1

Pater was in a very sociable Mood this Evening. He told 3 or 4 merry stories of old Horn. Old Horn, a little crooked old Lawyer in my fathers Youth, who made a Business of Jest and Banter, attacked an old Squaw one Day upon the Neck. The old Squaw made answer, { 172 } “You poor smitten Boy, you with your Knife in your Tail and your Loaf on your Back, did your Mother born you so?”
A Man, whom he assaulted at another Time, with his Jests, asked him “Did you come straight from Boston?” And upon being answered yes, replied you have been miserably warped by the Way then.
A Market Girl whom he overtook upon the Neck, and asked to let him jigg her? answered by asking what is that? What good will that do? He replied it will make you fat! Pray be so good then says the Girl as to Gigg my Mare. She’s miserably lean.
1. Presumably written 22, 23, or 24 Nov. 1760.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-25

Novr. 25th. 1760.

Rode to the Iron Works Landing to see a Vessell launched. And after Launching went to smoke a Pipe, at Ben. Thayers, where the Rabble filled the House. Every Room, kitchen, Chamber was crowded with People.1 Negroes with a fiddle. Young fellows and Girls dancing in the Chamber as if they would kick the floor thro. Zab Hayward, not finding admittance to the Chamber, gathered a Circle round him in the lower Room. There He began to shew his Tricks and Postures, and Activity. He has had the Reputation, for at least fifteen Years, of the best Dancer in the World in these Towns. Several attempted, but none could equal him, in nimbleness of heels. But he has no Conception of the Grace, the Air nor the Regularity of dancing. His Air is absurd and wild, desultory, and irregular, as his Countenance is low and ignoble. In short the Air of his Countenance, the Motions of his Body, Hands, and Head, are extreamly silly, and affected and mean.
When he first began, his Behaviour and Speeches were softly silly, but as his Blood grew warm by motion and Liquor, he grew droll. He caught a Girl and danced a Gigg with her, and then led her to one side of the Ring and said, “Stand there, I call for you by and by.” This was spoke comically enough, and raised a loud laugh. He caught another Girl, with light Hair, and a Patch on her Chin, and held her by the Hand while he sung a song, describing her as he said. This tickled the Girls Vanity, for the song which he applied to her described a very fine Girl indeed.
One of his witty droll sayings he thought, was this. I am a clever fellow, or else the Devil is in me. That is a Clever Girl or else the Devil is in her. Wm. Swan is such another Funmaking animal of diverting Tricks.
Hayward took one Girl by the Hand, and made a Speech to her.
{ 173 }
“I must confess I am an old Man, and as father Smith says hardly capable of doing my Duty.” This raised a broad Laugh too.
Thus, in dancing, singing songs, drinking flip, running after one Girl, and married Woman and another, and making these affected, humorous Speeches, he spent the whole Afternoon.—And Zab and I were foolish enough to spend the whole afternoon in gazing and listening.
Gurney danced, but was modest and said nothing. E. Turner danced not, but bawled aloud.—God dam it, and dam it, and the Devil, &c.—And swore he’d go to Captn. Thayers, and be merry and get as drunk as the Devil. He insisted upon it, drunk he would get. And indeed, not 2 pence better than drunk he was.
Fiddling and dancing, in a Chamber full of young fellows and Girls, a wild Rable of both sexes, and all Ages, in the lower Room, singing dancing, fiddling, drinking flip and Toddy, and drams.—This is the Riot and Revelling of Taverns And of Thayers frolicks.
1. The “Iron Works Landing” and Benjamin Thayer’s tavern, on the Monatiquot River where it flows into Fore River Bay, may be seen at the foot of JA’s sketch map of taverns in Braintree and Weymouth, reproduced in this volume. This entire entry was omitted by CFA in editing JA’s Diary.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-26

1760. Novr. 26th. Wednesday.1

Ten days are now elapsed, since I began Hale the 2d time, and all the Law I have read, for 10 days, is that Book once thro. I read Woods Institute thro the first Time with Mr. Put. in twice that time i.e. in 3 Weeks, and kept a school every day. My present Inattention to Law is intolerable and ruinous.
1. This entry and those that follow, through 1 Dec. 1760, are again from D/JA/4, JA’s record of studies.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-26

1760. Novr. 26th Wednesday.

Night before Thanksgiving.—I have read a Multitude of Law Books—mastered but few. Wood. Coke. 2 Vols. Lillies Ab[ridgmen]t. 2 Vols. Salk[eld’s] Rep[orts]. Swinburne. Hawkins Pleas of the Crown. Fortescue. Fitzgibbons. Ten Volumes in folio I read, at Worcester, quite thro—besides Octavos and Lesser Volumes, and many others of all sizes that I consulted occasionally, without Reading in Course as Dictionaries, Reporters, Entries, and Abridgments, &c.
I cannot give so good an Account of the Improvement of my two last Years, spent in Braintree. However I have read no small Number of Volumes, upon the Law, the last 2 Years. Justinians Institutes I { 174 } | view have read, thro, in Latin with Vinnius’s perpetual Notes, Van Muydens Tractatio Institutionum Justiniani, I read thro, and translated, mostly into English, from the same Language. Woods Institute of the Civil Law, I read thro. These on the civil Law; on the Law of England I read Cowells Institute of the Laws of England, in Imitation of Justinian, Dr. and student, Finch’s Discourse of Law, Hales History, and some Reporters, Cases in Chancery, Andrews &c. besides occasional searches for Business. Also a general Treatise of naval Trade and Commerce, as founded on the Laws and Statutes. All this series of Reading, has left but faint Impressions, and [a] very Imperfect system of Law in my Head.
I must form a serious Resolution of beginning and pursuing quite thro, the Plans of my Lords Hale, and Reeve. Woods Inst[itutes] of common Law I never read but once, and my Ld. Coke’s Com[mentary] on Lit[tleton] I never read but once. These two Authors I must get, and read, over and over again. And I will get em too, and break thro, as Mr. Gridly expressed it, all obstructions.
Besides, I am but a Novice in natural Law and civil Law. There are multitudes of excellent Authors, on natural Law, that I have never read, indeed I never read any Part of the best authors, Puffendorf and Grotius. In the Civil Law, there are Hoppius, and Vinnius, Commentators on Justinian, Domat, &c. besides Institutes of Cannon and feudal Law, that I have to read.
Much may be done in two Years, I have found already. And let it be my Care, that at the End of the next two Years I be better able to shew that no Time has been lost than I ever have been yet.
Let me practice the Rule of Pythagoras.

Μηδ᾽ ὕπνον μαλακοῖ σίν έπ᾽ ὄμμασι προσδέξασθαι

πρίν τῶ ν ἡμερινῶ ν ἔργων τρὶς ἕκαστον επελθεῖ ν

πη παρεβην; τί δ᾽ερεξα; τι μοι δεον οὐκ ετελεσθη;1

Thus let me, every night before I go to bed, write down in this Book, what Book of Law, I have read.
1. Quoted from the “Golden Verses of Pythagoras,” a collection of maxims actually written by disciples of Pythagoras. Professor Johannes A. Gaertner of Lafayette College has kindly furnished the following translation: “Let not sleep be admitted to tiring eyes before going over each of the daily tasks thrice. What have I omitted? What have I achieved? What has not been finished that was my duty?” Years later JA read through the “Golden Verses” in a French translation and wrote a rather bemused marginal commentary on them which has been published by Zoltán Haraszti in More Books, 1:106–110 (April 1926). Of the first sentence in the present passage he remarked: “Wise but very difficult.” Still later, JQA prefixed a verse translation of this passage to his Diary for 1819; see his Memoirs, 4:203.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-28

1760 Novr. 28th. Friday.

I have not read one Word of Law, this Day. But several Points, and Queries have been suggested to me, by the Consultors.—In whom is the Fee, and Freehold of our burying Yard? What Right has any Man to erect a Monument, or sink a Tomb there, without the Consent of the Proprietors? In England, the Church Yards are the Places of Burial, and the Parson is seised in fee, of them as of the Ground whereon the Church stands. But our Burying Yards, as well as the Ground, on which our Temples stand, are not vested in our incumbent Ministers, but in the Precinct or Parish, (the Corporation socalled) where they lie, according to the late Resolution in the Dedham Case.
The Property of our Meeting House, is in the Precinct, i.e. the dissenting Part of it,—And I think the Precinct, by its Committee sold the Pews to particular Persons, and perhaps, the Persons who have erected Tombs, might previously ask And obtain the Priviledge of the Precinct.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-29

1760. Novr. 29th. Saturday.

Read no Law.—An exclusive Property is certainly claimed and enjoyed, by private Persons, in Tombs and Monuments, as well as in Pews. Inhabitants of other Towns, have usually asked Leave of the Select Men, to bury their dead in our burying Place. But I should think the Precinct Assessors, or Parish Committee, had rather the Inspection of our burying Yard. My Father never knew License given nor asked of Town, nor Precinct to sink a Tomb, nor to [raise a] Monument.
Suppose my Father, Wife, Child, friend died, and I order the sexton, or on his Refusal my own servant to open any Tomb in our burying Yard, and without further Ceremony deposit the Corps there, can the pretended Proprietor have any Action, or Remedy against me? The Course of the Descent of these Tombs and Pews, when undisposed by Will, is a matter of uncertainty too. Do they descend to the Heirs, as Inheritances in Houses and Lands, or do they go to the Executor or Administrator, as personal Estate?
There is an Anecdote in the Spectator, of De Wit, the famous dutch Politician. Somebody asked him how he could rid his Hands of that endless Multiplicity and Variety of Business that passed thro them, without Confusion? He answered, “by doing one Thing at once.” When he began Any Thing, he applied his whole Attention to it, till he had finished it.—This Rule should be observed in Law. If any Point is to be examined, every Book should be consulted and every Light { 176 } should be considered, before you proceed to any other Business or study. If any Book is to be read, no other Book should be taken up to divert or interrupt your Attention till that Book is finished.
Order, Method, Regularity in Business or Study have excellent Effects both in saving of Time and in bettering and improving Performance. Business done, in order, is done sooner, and better.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-30

Novr. 30th. Sunday.

Read no Law. Read Bolinbroke.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-01

1760. Decr. 1st. Monday.

I am beginning a Week and a month, and I arose by the Dawning of the Day. And by sun rise had made my fire and read a number of Pages in Bolinbroke. Tuesday and Wednesday passed, without reading any Law.1
1. There are no further entries in D/JA/4, JA’s record of studies, until 27 Jan. 1761.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-02

1760. Decr. 2d.1

Spent the Evening at Coll. Q.’s with Captn. Freeman. About the middle of the Evening Dr. Lincoln and his Lady came in. The Dr. gave us an ample Confirmation of our Opinion of his Brutality and Rusticity. He treated his Wife, as no drunken Cobler, or Clothier would have done, before Company. Her father never gave such Looks and Answers to one of his slaves in my Hearing. And he contradicted he Squibd, shrugged, scouled, laughd at the Coll. in such a Manner as the Coll. would have called Boorish, ungentlemanly, unpolite, ridiculous, in any other Man. More of the Clown, is not in the World. A hoggish, ill bred, uncivil, haughty, Coxcomb, as ever I saw. His Wit is forced and affected, his Manners to his father, Wife, and to Company are brutally rustic, he is ostentatious of his Talent at Disputation, forever giving an History, like my Uncle Hottentot,2 of some Wrangle he has had with this and that Divine. Affects to be thought an Heretic. Disputes against the Eternity of Hell, torments &c. His treatment of his Wife amazed me. Miss Q. asked the Dr. a Question. Miss Lincoln seeing the Dr. engaged with me, gave her Mother an Answer, which however was not satisfactory.3 Miss Q. repeats it. “Dr. you did not hear my Question.”—“Yes I did, replies the Dr., and the Answer to it, my Wife is so pert, she must put in her Oar, or she must blabb, before I could speak.” And then shrugged And affected a laugh, to cow her as he used to, the freshmen and sophymores at Colledge. { 177 } —She sunk into silence and shame and Grief, as I thought.—After supper, she says “Oh my dear, do let my father see that Letter we read on the road.” Bela answers, like the great Mogul, like Nero or Caligula, “he shant.”—Why, Dr., do let me have it! do!—He turns his face about as stern as the Devil, sour as Vinegar. “I wont.”—Why sir says she, what makes you answer me so sternly, shant and wont?—Because I wont, says he. Then the poor Girl, between shame and Grief and Resentment and Contempt, at last, strives to turn it off with a Laugh.—“I wish I had it. Ide shew it, I know.”—Bela really acts the Part of the Tamer of the Shrew in Shakespear. Thus a kind Look, an obliging Air, a civil Answer, is a boon that she cant obtain from her Husband. Farmers, Tradesmen, Soldiers, Sailors, People of no fortune, Figure, Education, are really more civil, obliging, kind, to their Wives than he is.—She always is under Restraint before me. She never dares shew her endearing Airs, nor any fondness for him.
1. First entry in D/JA/6, an assemblage of loose sheets in which JA made entries at rather irregular intervals until 3 March 1761. About half of these entries, including the present one, were not printed by CFA in his edition of the Diary, and those he did print are frequently incomplete.
2. This allusion is not now explainable.
3. The nomenclature in this passage is somewhat puzzling. “Miss Q.” can only mean “Mistress Quincy,” the wife of Col. Josiah Quincy, since she is immediately identified as the “Mother” (actually stepmother) of “Miss” (i.e. Mistress) Lincoln, that is to say of Hannah (Quincy) Lincoln. From this it is evident that Elizabeth (Waldron) Quincy, the Colonel’s 2d wife, was living in Dec. 1760, though the date of her death is usually given as 1759. (Quincy married a third time, but not until 1762.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-06

Decr. 6th. 1760.

Talked with Zab about Newton, Bacon, Lock, Martin, Chambers, Rowning, Desaguliers, S’Gravesende &c. I told him I had a low Opinion of the Compilers, Abridgers, and Abstract makers. We had better draw science from its fountain in original Authors. These Writers, the Hirelings of the Booksellers, only vend us the Discoveries of other Philosophers, in another form, and under another Title, in order to get Bread to eat and Raiment to put on.—Zab says, that Martin has made several Discoveries—has invented new Machines, improved and perfected old ones, nay has even detected Errors in Newton. E.g. Newton always thought, the Moon was surrounded by an Atmosphere, but Martin proved it is not; because the Starrs, that appear all round it above, below and on each side of it, are not diminished in their Lustre, as they would appear, if the Rays passed from them thro an Atmosphere.
Then we transited to Dr. Simpson [Simson], Euclid &c. and he { 178 } | view asked me to demonstrate, that the 3 Angles of a Triangle are equal to 2 Right. I undertook it. Draw a right Line, A.B. Erect the Perpendicular, C.D. Draw the Hypothenuse D.A. Parallel to A.D. draw the Line C.E.
graphic here
Now I say that the 3 Angles ACD., CDA., and DAC are equal to two right Angles. For it is easy to see that DCA., is a right Angle, and that BCE, which is equal to CAD added to ECD, which is equal to CDA, make another right Angle. But how do I know that BCE is equal to CAD? Let the Triangle ECB, be moved along, to the left hand and by the Hypothesis CE will fall upon AD and CB Upon AC, and of Consequence the 2 Angles are equal. How then do I know that the Angle ECD is equal to ADC? See the Dem[onstration] in Euclid.
graphic here { 179 }
Then we attempted to demonstrate the 47th of the 1st Book. That the Square of the Hypothenuse is equal to the Squares of both the Legs.
I am astonished at my own Ignorance in the french tongue. I find I can neither express my own Thoughts, in it, nor understand others, who express theirs readily in it. I can neither give nor receive Thoughts, by that Instrument.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-08

1760. Decr. 8.

<Began Machiavells [ . . . ] Machiavell>1
1. The illegible word begins with “D” but is not “Discourses.” JA’s lining out is careless; it is possible that he intended to leave “Began Machiavell” as the entry for this day.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-14

Decr. 14th. 1760.

Hunt v. White. Complaint to Coll. Quincy—of a scandalous Lye, made and published to Hunts Damage.
We appear before your Honour to complain of a very slanderous, and malicious Lye, made and published to our Damage. We complain of a Violation of the Law of this Province against Lying and Libelling. The Law runs thus.—If any Person &c. shall wittingly and willingly make or publish any Lye or Libel tending to the Defamation or Damage &c., make or Spread any false News or Reports &c., and being convicted before one or more Justices, he shall be fined &c. and find sureties.—The Legislature, knowing the quickness and Violence of human Passions saw the Tendency of the Publication of Lyes and false stories, concerning any Person, to raise his Resentment, and provoke him to break the Peace. They knew what a Provocation it was, to recur to Clubbs and fists and swords, the Remedies of Mohocks and Catabaws and to the utter Disturbance of the Peace of society. To prevent therefore the Mischifs and Distraction that might ensue from such Provocations and Resentment they enacted this Law—that Men injured in such a manner might instantly have recourse to a Majestrate and have the Lyar punished for his Malice, and bound to the Behaviour. Now We complain of the Publication of such a Lye—and if we can shew that the Defendant has published such a Lye, i.e. any tending to our Defamation or Damage, that he has spread a false Report, with Intent to abuse us and deceive others, we shall expect your Honours will convict of a breach of this Law, fine him, as this Law directs, and bind him to his good Behaviour. In order to this, I { 180 } beg leave to lay open as concisely as I can, the previous Facts, which gave Occasion to use the force of the Province Law to this Lye, this false story.
Mr. Hunt, it seems sometime after last Thanksgiving Day, made his application to Mr. Justice Dyer, for a Warrant to search for stolen goods. The Justice administered an oath to him and he swore that on the Night after last Thanksgiving Day, his House was broken and 17£ of Money stolen from his Chest. A Warrant of search was granted and dilligent search was made, but the Money not found. This opportunity it seems, Captn. White took to raise and spread a Lye.—I must be excused, for using these Expressions. The Law has pointed them out to me, and they are the properest that can be found.—A Lye, that has a Tendency, totally and irretrievably to ruin Mr. Hunts Character, to destroy all Confidence in his Probity, to expose him to an infamous Punishment, and to make him avoided as a Pest to Society.
He seems to have made it his Business to ramble about, and publish his Tale to every Man he saw almost both in Weighmouth and Braintree. To one man He says Hunt never lost any Money. To another He stole his Money himself. To a third he enters into a pretended Proof of his story and says—Hunt said in Boston, on Thanksgiving Day Night, which was before his Money was stolen as he swore to Justice Dyer, had told People the story to which he afterwards swore. To another he is more Particular, and says Mr. Ballard of Boston told me, the morning after Thanksgiving, that Hunt told him of the Breach of his House and the Loss of his money the Night before.—Now this we say is the Lye. We never told Mr. Ballard so and Mr. Ballard never told him so. And we say it has a tendency to our Defamation and Damage. If these stories should be believed, every Man will believe us guilty not only of a fraudulent, lying Disposition, but of Perjury. And if the world should believe us guilty of Perjury we are undone, for ever. We shall be dispised. We shall be detested. No man will have the least Confidence in us. We must become Vagabonds upon Earth. I pray the Witnesses may be sworn to prove what we say.
The Crime that is implicitly charged upon the Complainant, is Perjury. What is Perjury? Is it not the worst of Crimes? Is it not, a open deliberate Defyance of Heaven and Earth? Is it not a Challenge of divine Vengence, and a Contemt of all the Infamy and Misery of [three?] of the most severe of civil Punishments? Is it not a Crime that carries with [it] the last Degree of Reproach? It does not indeed strip a Man of the Protection of Society? We cannot, lawfully, hunt down and kill a Perjured Person. But does it not strip us of all the Priviledges { 181 } of society? Does it not disable us to testify, as Witness on all occasions? Does it not prevent all the World from believing and trusting us?
The Foundation of this Law, is the Tendency of such scandalous stories to the Disturbance of the Peace. The Legislature knew the quickness and Violence of Mens Resentment.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-16

1760. Decr. 16th. Tuesday.

Attended the Tryal all day, between Hunt and White before Coll. Quincy, at James Bracketts.
What will be the Consequence of this Tryal? to me, to Hunt, and to White? White has been punished, for his licentious Tittle tatle, but Hunt has gained neither Recompence nor Credit. Benja. Thayer is enraged and Prat and Pitty [Pettee?] were enraged at me for abusing them, by asking them their Thoughts. Ben. Thayer continues so, for aught I know, or care. I fear this unsuccessful Prosecution connected with that of Lovel and Reed, will occasion squibbs, and injure my Reputation in Weighmouth. However in both I am well assured I had good Cause of Action. Lovel and Reed had good Right, tho the Justice was, I dont know what, enough to give his Judgment against them. And stories have been propagated, zealously, industriously propagated by White, with Design I believe to convince Mankind that Hunt had been guilty, or at least from a vain trifling Inclination to shew his Penetration at Hunts Expence; altho the Circumstances of suspicion against Hunt have taken such hold of Mens Minds, that no Conviction of White would have retrieved Hunts Character at all.
It would have been much better, never to have stirred, in this Affair. The more He stirs the worse he stinks.—A Prosecution commenced with so much Temper, pursued with so much Resolution, then supported by so little Evidence and terminated by Agreement, tho in his favour, yet with so small Advantage, will give occasion for Weighmouth Tongues to wanton in obloquy, and to their sides to riot in Laughter.
Virtues, Ambition, Generosity, indulged to excess degenerate in Extravagance which plunges headlong into Villany and folly.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-18

1760 Decr. 18th. Thurdsday.

Yesterday spent in Weymouth, in settling the Disputes between old Thos. White and young Isaac French. White has the Remainders of his habitual Trickish lying, cheating Disposition, strongly working to this Day—an infinity of jesuitical Distinctions, and mental Reservations.
{ 182 }
He told me he never lost a Cause at Court in his Life—which James White and Mr. Whitmarsh say is a down right Lye.
He owned to me that his Character had been that of a Knave and a Villain: and says every Man of Wit and sense will be called a Villain.—My Principle has been, to deal upon Honour with all men, so long as they deal upon Honour with me, but as soon as they begin to trick me, I think I ought to trick them.
Thus every Knave thinks others, as knavish or more knavish than himself.
What an Intrenchment, is this against the Attacks of his Conscience, is this, “the Knavery of my Neighbours, is superiour to mine.”1
An old withered, decripit Person, 87 years of Age with a Head full of all the Wiles, and Guile and Artifice of the Infernal serpent, is really a <Phenomenon> melancholly sight. Ambition of appearing sprightly, cunning, smart, capable of outwitting younger Men. In short I never saw that Guile and subtilty in any Man of that Age. Father Niles has a little of that same serpentine Guile. I never felt the meaning of the Words, Stratagem, Guile, Subtilty, Cunning, Wiles &c. that Milton applies to the Devil [in?] his Plan to effect the Ruin of our first Parents so forcibly, as since I knew that old Man, and his grandson Isaac, who seems to have the same subtilty, and a worse Temper, under a total secresy, and dissembled Intention. He has a smiling face, and a flattering Tongue with a total Concealment of his Designs, tho a devilish malignant, fiery temper appears in his Eyes. He’s a Cassius, like Ben. Thayer. Sees thro the Characters of Men, much further, and clearer, than ordinary, never laughs, now and then smiles, or half smiles. Father White, with all his subtilty and Guile, may be easily over reached by Men like him self. He is too open, too ostentatious of his Cunning, and therefore is generally, out witted, and worsted.
Yesterdays Transaction was intended as the final Determination of all Disputes and Concerns between Mr. White and Mr. French—that White should deliver up, or burn all Bonds, Notes, Leases, Indentures, Covenants and Obligations whatever, and that French on his Part should deliver up, or burn, all Indentures, Leases, obligations &c., in his Hands. But as the Indentures and Leases were not destroyed, and some Notes in father Whites Hands not delivered up, I fear, from French’s outrageous, and barefaced Declaration, as soon as affairs were over, “that he had got it settled exactly as he would have it,” and that “the Receipt did not cut off his Indentures, which would not be in force till his Grandfathers Decease and that he would sue the re• { 183 } maining Notes, out of his Grandfathers Hands” &c., that more Difficulties will yet arise between them. I fear too that my burning of the Arbitration Bonds, and Awards, was a mistaken step, for they might have remained, as Evidence. However, French declared to me, that he would surrender all his Writings, if his Grandfather would surrender his; afterwards in the Evening, at [ . . . ].2 But he told me he did not see the Importance of those Indentures.
Five strange Characters I have had Concerns with very lately.—Josiah White, Saml. Hunt, old Thomas White, and Isaac French. Two Fools, and two Knaves—Besides Daniel Nightingale, a Lunatick.
French’s Joy, like that of the Devil, when he had compleated the Temptation and fall of Man, was extravagant, but he broke out into too violent a Passion. He broke his own seal of secresy and betrayed his villanous Designs to me. On my Resenting his declared Intention, he grew sensible of his Error, and attempted by soothing to retrieve it. “He was sorry he had broke out so.”—“The treatment he had suffered made him in a Passion.”—“I raised your Temper too prodigiously.”
There is every Year, some new and astonishing scene of Vice, laid open to the Consideration of the Public. Parson Potters Affair, with Mrs. Winchester, and other Women, is hardly forgotten. A Minister, famous for Learning, oratory, orthodoxy, Piety and Gravity, discovered to have the most debauched and polluted of Minds, to have pursued a series of wanton Intrigues, with one Woman and another, to have got his Maid with Child and all that.3—Lately Deacon Savils Affair has become public. An old Man 77 Years of Age, a Deacon, whose chief Ambition has always been Prayer, and religious Conversation, and sacerdotal Company, discovered to have been the most salacious, rampant, Stallion, in the Universe—rambling all the Town over, lodging with this and that Boy and Attempting at least the Crime of Buggery. <Thus Adultery, Buggery, Perjury, are—>
1. Thus in MS (except for closing quotation mark, which has been editorially supplied). Doubtless JA intended to strike out the first “is this.”
2. This name is uncertain. Apparently “Creens,” perhaps intended for “Greens.”
3. Nathaniel Potter, College of New Jersey 1753, and honorary A.M., Harvard 1758, was minister at Brookline from 1755 until dismissed in June 1759. Little is said of him in the local histories of Brookline, but the Plymouth church, which seriously considered calling him, heard in July 1759 “some melancholy things opened with Respect to Mr. Potters moral Charecter.” This was just in time to save “this poor Church ... from Ruine.” In 1765 Potter took up with another adventurer, Maj. Robert Rogers, accompanied him to England, and probably had an important hand in Rogers’ several literary productions published at that time. With the promise of a good salary as secretary, Potter went with Rogers to Fort Michilimackinac, but quarreled with him in 1767, and died in the Eng• { 184 } lish Channel later that year while bringing his charges against Rogers to the British government. (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N. E.; Plymouth Church Records, 1620–1859, N.Y., 1920–1923, 1:317–318; sources cited in note to entry of 27 Dec. 1765, below, q.v.)

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-18

1760. Decr. 18.

Justice Dyer says there is more Occasion for Justices than for Lawyers. Lawyers live upon the sins of the People. If all Men were just, and honest, and pious, and Religious &c. there would be no need of Lawyers. But Justices are necessary to keep men just and honest and pious, and religious.—Oh sagacity!
But, it may be said with equal Truth, that all Magistrates, and all civil officers, and all civil Government, is founded and maintained by the sins of the People. All armies would be needless if Men were universally virtuous. Most manufacturers and Tradesmen would be needless. Nay, some of the natural Passions and sentiments of human Minds, would be needless upon that supposition. Resentment, e.g. which has for its object, Wrong and Injury. No man upon that supposition would ever give another, a just Provocation. And no just Resentment could take Place without a just Provocation. Thus, our natural Resentments are founded on the sins of the People, as much as the Profession of the Law, or that of Arms, or that of Divinity. In short Vice and folly are so interwoven in all human Affairs that they could not possibly be wholly separated from them without tearing and rending the whole system of human Nature, and state. Nothing would remain as it is.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-19

1760. Decr. 18th [i.e. 19th?] Fryday.1

[salute] Sir

<I am an old Man seventy odd, and as [I] had my Education, so I have passed my whole Life in the Country>, &c.
1. This is the third entry the diarist dated 18 Dec., but since 19 Dec. 1760 fell on a Friday, an editorial correction seems justified. JA went on with the present canceled draft in an entry conjecturally assigned to Jan. 1761 (p. 190–192, below).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-22

1760. Decr. 22nd. Monday.

This day and Tomorrow are the last. I have but one Blank left that I can use.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-27

1760. Decr. 27th. Saturday.

Governor Bernards Speech to the two Houses, at the opening of the present sessions, has several Inaccuracies in it.1 “The glorious Con• { 185 } clusion of the North American War.”—The N. American War is not yet concluded, it continues, obstinate and bloody, with the Cherokees, and will be renewed probably, against the french in Louisiana. However with Regard to this Province, whose Legislature, the Governor was congratulating, it may not very improperly be called a Conclusion.
“The fair Prospect of the security of your Country being settled, upon the most sure and lasting foundations.”—Is not this sentence filled with Tautology? The security, being secured upon secure foundations? Emendation—“and the fair Prospect that now Presents itself, of Tranquility, established on lasting foundations.”—But it is not Tranquility nor safety, nor Preservation, nor Peace, nor Happiness: but it is security. Then it is not established, fixed, placed: but it is settled: and then it is not stable, permanent: but sure: Here are certainly Words used, mearly for sound.
“This great Contest” &c. Q.—what does he mean, the War, or the Conclusion of the War? If the latter, Conquest should have been his Word: if the former, what follows is not true vizt. we may date the firm Establishment of die british Empire in N. America.—From our late successes and Acquisitions, we may date that Establishment, but not from our Misfortunes and Losses which made no Unmemorable Part of this great Contest.
“We form these Pleasing assurances, not only from the more striking Instances of the superiority of its Power, but also from the less obvious observation of the Improvement of its Policy.”—Its Power, i.e. the british Empires Power. Instances i.e. Particulars in which it has appeared. Obvious observation, has a good Meaning, but an inelegant, inartificial sound. A Defect of Elegance, Variety, Harmony, at least.
“The improving a Country is a more pleasing Task than the defending it:”—Improving and Defending Participles, used as substantives with the Article the before them, will never be used by a grammarian much less by a Rhetorician. I never could bear such Expressions, in others, and never could use them, myself, unless in Case of absolute Necessity, where there is no substantive to express the same Idea.
“As I have consulted your Convenience in deferring calling you together untill this, the most Leisure time of your whole Year, &c.”— “In deferring calling,” would never have been used together, by a discerning Ear. He might have said “in deferring this session, untill,” &c.—Your whole Year! Why yours, any more than mine or others? Ans[wer]. It is not the most Leisure time of every mans whole Year. It is the most busy time of some Mens year.
{ 186 }
Deacon Palmers Observation upon this speech, that “he talks like a weak honest Man,” is childish. Tis superficial: Tis Prejudice: Tis a silly thoughtless Repetition of what he has heard others say.
For, tho there are no Marks of Knavery, in it: there are marks of good sense I think. Grammatical and Rhetorical Inaccuracies are by no means Proofs of Weakness, or Ignorance. They may be found in Bacon, Lock, Newton, &c.
1. This speech by Governor Francis Bernard was delivered to the General Court at the opening of its adjourned session, 17 Dec.; see text in Mass., House Jour., 1760–1761, p. 100–101.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-01-02

Jany. 2nd. 1760 [i.e. 1761]. Fryday.

The Representatives in their Address to the Governor, have told him that “Great Britain is the leading and most respectable Power in the whole World.”1 —Let us examine this.—Is she the Leading Power, either in War or Negociation?—In War? She has no Army, not more than 50 or 60 thousand Men, whereas France has a standing Army, of 250, 000 men in Camp and in Garrison. And their officers are as gallant and skillful, their Gunners and Engineers, the most accomplished of any in Europe. Their Navy indeed is now inconsiderable, And our Navy alone has given us the Advantage. But our Navy alone will not make us the leading Power. How we can be called the Leading Power I cant see. Holland, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and all Italy has refused to follow us, and Austria, Russia, Sweeden, and indeed almost all the states of Germany, the Prince of Hesse excepted, have followed France. The only Power, independent Power that has consented to follow us is Prussia, and indeed upon Recollection it seems to me we followed Prussia too, rather than the Contrary.—Thus we are the Leading Power without Followers.
And, if we are not the leading Power, in War, we never have been the Leading Power in Negociation.—It is a common Place observation that the French have regained by Treaty, all the Advantages, which we had gained by Arms. Now whether this arose from the superior Dexterity of the french Plenipotentiaries, or from the universal Complaisance of the other Plenipotentiaries of Europe to France and frenchmen, it equally proves that England is not the leading Power, in Councils.
How are we the most respectable?—The most respected, I am sure, we are not!—else how came all Europe to remain Neuters, or else take Arms against us—how came foreigners, from all Countries, to resort to { 187 } France, to learn their Policy, Military Discipline, fortification, Manufactures, Language, Letters, Science, Politeness &c. so much more than to England? How comes the french Language to be studied and spoken as a polite Accomplishment, all over Europe, and how comes all Negociations to be held in french.
And if we consider every Thing, The Religion, Government, Freedom, Navy, Merchandize, Army, Manufactures, Policy, Arts, Sciences, Numbers of Inhabitants and their Virtues, it seems to me, that England falls short in more and more important Particulars, than it exceeds the Kingdom of France.
To determine the Character of “Leading and respectable,” as Dr. Savil does, from a few Victories and successes, by which Rules he makes Charles 12th to have been in his day, the leading and most respectable Power, and Oliver Cromwell in his, and the K. of Prussia in this, is most ignorant and silly.
In short, “Leading and Respectable,” is not to be determined, either by the Prince, the Policy, the Army, Navy, Arts, Science, Commerce, nor by any other national Advantage, taken singly and abstracted from the rest. But that Power is to be denominated so, whose Aggregate, of component Parts, is most.
1. This address was read and adopted by the House of Representatives on 23 Dec. 1760; see text in Mass., House Jour., 1760–1761, p. 115–116.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-01-02

1760 [i.e. 1761]. Jany. 2nd. Friday.

Nathl. Bayley Administrator v. Nathll. Niles.—Plea in Abatement. Defendant lives on the Castle,1 within the Town of Boston but is called of Braintree. It seems he was born in Braintree, owns a House And Land in Braintree, and for about six Weeks past his Wife and family have lived in Braintree. The Question is therefore whether his Non Residence is a good Plea? He has not lived in Town these ten Years, but has been for all that Time, constantly resident, and employed as a Serjeant, and a Matross, on Castle William. His Wife and family have lived, in the Town of Dorchester, for some Years past, till about six Weeks ago when they removed to Braintree and at the House where his Wife and family live, the Copy of this Writ was left.—We are not the Man, that is sued in this Writ. We are not the Defendant in this Action. Mr. Nathl. Niles, the young Gentleman now in study with Mr. Marsh, in Preparation for Colledge, is the Man.—And let him Answer.—For
We are called Nathl. Niles of Braintree. Now it has been adjudged, that, when a Man is called of such a Town, the meaning is that he is { 188 } an Inhabitant of that Town, a legal Inhabitant of that Town, entituled to all the Priviledges, and compellible to bear all the Burdens of that Town. Every Man who is of Braintree i.e. an Inhabitant of Braintree, is to be rated by the assessors of Braintree for his Head. But, my Client never has been rated by our Assessors, for many Years. Suppose my Client was poor, should become a cripple or fall sick, what Town must maintain him? Not Braintree most certainly, but Boston. And why? because he is an Inhabitant of Boston and not of Braintree. There is a Difference between of Braintree and in Braintree, And in Case my Client had come into this Town with his Wife and lived here to this day, tho he could not be called of Braintree because he is no Inhabitant and liable to be warned out every day, yet if he had been styled resident in Braintree that would have done. And this is the style they give the Regular officers, for 3 Winters past several Regular officers have wintered in Boston. Several of these Gentlemen have been sued, but they are never styled of Boston, but only resident in Boston. There’s an Instance in this Town. Mr. Gliddens Wife and family, it is well known have lived in this Town chiefly for some Years, tho not constantly, but Mr. Glidden has not. Well now if Mr. Glidden sues any Man must he style himself of Braintree because his Wife and family live here and he comes up, once a fortnight to lodge with her. His Writt would abate, if he should. And I have seen several Writts, wherein he has been concerned as Party, and he has been always styled of Boston. Other Instances innumerable might be quoted. Coll. Brattle is a remarkable one.2 He did belong to Cambridge. He married a Wife in Boston, and lived with her there in her House, and with her family, so long that People began to take him for a Boston Man and they sued him, several of them sued him by the Name of Wm. Brattle of Boston. He pleaded in Abatement of their Writts, that he was of Cambridge and not of Boston, and he shew’d that [he] had, once or twice a Year, gone up to Cambridge with his family and stayed a month or two. And therefore as an uninterrupted Inhabitancy is necessary to gain a settlement in any Town and he had not Inhabited constantly in Boston, he abated their Writts, a 10 times stronger Case than this.
The Castle Men are all considered as Inhabitants of Boston, so that No Minister will marry a Castle Man, till a Certificate is produced that he has been published in Boston.
1. That is, on Castle Island, site of Castle William, a fortified post in Boston Harbor.
2. William Brattle, Harvard 1722, at different times a minister, physician, lawyer, and soldier, with whom JA was to carry on a newspaper dispute in 1773 over the independence of the judiciary (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:10–23).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-01-08

Jany. 8th. 1761.

Last Monday, had a passionate Wrangle, with Eb. Thayer, before Major Crosby. He called me, a petty Lawyer. This I resented.
The Defendant Niles appeared by 10 o’clock, and had his Costs allowed, is:6d, for attendance, but nothing for Travel, tho he lived 8 miles off. Upon the first Appearance of the Defendants Daniel White, and Neh. Hayden, the Justice pronounced that they should have no Costs, altho no Plaintiff appeared—because they did not appear by Eleven O Clock. Now in answer to this, I say, that he never made it his Rule to allow no Costs to Defendants, appearing after 11 when no Plaintiff appeared. He has made it his Rule to call out Actions, when the Plaintiffs have appeared, upon the Non Appearance of Defendants after waiting an Hour for them. And he has made it his Rule, to allow Costs to defendants appearing at the time or within the Hour upon the Non Appearance of the Plaintiffs, after waiting an Hour for them. But I believe, he never made it his Rule till that day, to refuse Costs to Defendants appearing soon after the Hour expired when no Plaintiff appeared—so that, had it been certain that these Defendants did not appear within two Hours, he would not have been obliged by any Rule of his own Practice to refuse them Costs. But admitting his Rule had been established and absolute to allow no Costs to any Party not appearing within the Hour—It was not clear in this Case, that the Hour was out. By Captn. Thayers Watch indeed and by mine, it was after 11. But my Watch was set by Guess that morning, and by the Justices own Dial it was not yet Eleven, and by Athertons and several other Persons Judgment of Time, it was not yet Eleven; and some Allowance ought to be made, for the Difficulty of the Weather and the Travelling.
But thirdly, the Justice ought not to establish any such unalterable Rule. The Law has made Provision that the Parties shall be paid for the whole Days Attendance. And these Defendants lived at <seven> 9 or 10 miles distance and could not therefore without great Difficulty, in that severe Weather, and almost impracticable Travelling, have reached the Justices House, by ten O clock:
And to refuse them Costs for Non Compliance with such a rigorous Rule, when those suits had been commenced by Deputy Sheriffs, some of the suits vexatious, and all the Writts abateable; after they had been compelled to ride thro Cold and snow, so many miles, wasting their own and their Witness[es’] Time, and bearing their own Expences, { 190 } when no Plaintiff appeared and no Body for him dared to enter his Actions; was a Peice of Oppression like that of the Bashaws in Turkey.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1761-01-01 - 1761-02-08

[January? 1761.]1

[salute] Mess[rs].

I am an old Man, seventy odd, and as I had my Education, so I have spent my whole Life, a few <months> Weeks in a Year excepted, when I commonly took a Journey, in the Country. I was naturally inquisitive, and a little too talkative, in my Youth, which Qualities have perhaps increased with my Age, but as I remember, I used to swear at the vanity and Impertinence of old Nestor whose Speeches I have often read formerly in Popes Homer (a Book of which I was then, and am still very fond) I expect that younger Men will laugh at the like Vanity and Impertinence in me, which it shall be my Care therefore in this Paper, at least to avoid, because I would have the subject of it, candidly weighed.
Indeed, scarcely any Thing that I have observed, in the Course of a long Life, <deserves more Attention> has a greater Influence on the Religion, Moralls, Health, Property, Liberties and Tranquility of the World. I mean public Houses.
The Tempers, and Passions, The Prophaneness and brutal Behaviour inspired by the low sort of Company that frequents such Houses, and by the Liquors they drink there; are not very compatible with the pure and undefiled Religion of Jesus, that Religion whose first Principle is to renounce all filthiness and superfluity of Naughtiness. That Inattention to the public ordinances of Religion as well as to private Devotion which I have Reasons to think is prevalent, in these Times is no unnatural Consequence, of the very generall Resort, to these licentious Houses.
The plentiful Use of spirituous Liquors, begins with producing a strange Confusion of Mind, appetite and Passions, too violent for the Government of Reason; proceeds to involve Men in Debt, and of Consequence, in Lying, cheating, stealing, and sometimes in greater Crimes; and ends in a total, and incurable Dissolution of Manners.
The Effects of such Intemperance upon Health are of two Kinds. It either throws them into some acute and inflammatory fever, which carries them from the Midst of their Vices and their follies, the Mischiefs they do and the <Miseries> Distresses they suffer, at once into their Graves, or else it leads them by insensible Degrees, thro all the Gloom and Languor of a Chronical Distemper, despized by many, hated by more and [pitied?] by a few, to a long expected, and desired { 191 } death. Thousands, and thousands, are every Year expiring in Europe, and proportionable Numbers in America, the miserable Victims of their own Imprudence, and the ill Policy of Rulers in permitting the Causes of their Ruin to exist. Allured by the smell of these infernal Liquors, like the Ghosts, in Romances, allured by the scent of human Blood, they resort to these Houses, waste their Time, their strength and their Money, which ought to be employed in the Management of their own Affairs and families, till by degrees, much expended, little earned, they contract Habits of Calesness,2 Idleness, and Intemperance; their Creditors demand, they promise to pay but fail; Writts issue, Charges are multiplied, for the Maintenance of others as idle as themselves, and Executions strip them of all they have, and cast their miserable Bodies into loathsome Prisons.
The Number of these Houses have been lately so much augmented, and the fortunes of their owners so much increased, that an Artful Man has little else to do, but secure the favour of Taverners, in order to secure the suffrages of the Rabbles that attend these Houses, which in many Towns within my observation makes a very large, perhaps the largest Number of Voters. The Consequence is that these offices and Elections, which all the wisest Legislators of the world, in humble Imitation of God and Nature have alloted to Probity and Understanding, may in Time, I dare not say have already become the Gratuity of Tiplers, for Dramms3 and slops! Good God! where are the Rights of English Men! where is the spirit, that once exalted the souls of Britons and emboldened their [faces?] to look even Princes and Monarchs in the face. But perhaps I am too anxious, and In truth I must own I [so] revere the true Constitution of our Government, founded in those great Principles, that accomplished in a great Antiquity the Destruction of Troy, that extended in a later Period the Bounds of the Roman Empire and that produced in the English History, so many events for the Universe to admire, that I cant think of its evaporating and passing from [the] human Breast with Phlip4 and Rum, of which Event there is great Danger, without Rage.
Last of all, innumerable Violations of the Peace and order of society, are every Day occurring, that spring originally from the same sources. Quarrells, Boxing, Duels, oaths, Curses, affrays and Riots, are daily hatching from Eggs and Spawns, deposited in the same Nests: in short these Houses, like so many Boxes of Pandora, are sending forth every day innumerable Plagues of every kind, natural, moral and political, that increase and multiply fast enough to lay waste in a little While the whole World.
{ 192 }
How different is this, from the state of Things in my Youth. Instead of an unmanly Retreat to the Chimny Corner of a Tavern, the young fellows of my Age were out in the Air, improving their strength and Activity, by Wrestling, running, leaping, lifting, and the like vigorous Diversions, and when satisfyed with these, resorted every one to his Mistress or his Wife. Love, that divine Passion, which Nature has implanted for the Renovation of the species, and the greatest solace of our Lives: virtuous Love, I mean, from whence the greatest Part of human Happiness originates, and which these modern seminaries have almost extinguished or at least changed into filthiness and brutal Debauch, was then considered as God intended it, both a Duty of our Nature and the greatest source of our Bliss. But it is melancholly to think that the present Prevalent Debauchery, which tends so much to shorten the Lives of the present Generation, tends also, to prevent the Propagation of a succeeding one. I really am afraid that in another Century, unless some wise Precaution should intervene, a Man of my Age will be the rarest Phenomenon.
I should be called talkative indeed if I should attempt to develope the Causes of that strange Multiplication of such Houses, that is lately grown up. But I fear, that some select Men are induced by a foolish Complaisance, and others by Designs of Ambition to give their Approbation to too many Persons who are improper, and perhaps to too many that are proper for that Trust. I am afraid that some Justices may be induced by lucrative Motives, by mercantile Principles to augment the Manufactory or the Importation of Rum or Mollosus, without Attending to the other Consequences, which are plainly pernicious.
But let this Paper be considered as a Warning from one who has seen better days, to Magistrates to suppress, rather than increase within their Department—to select men to discountenance Pretenders rather than encourage [them] in their sphere—to Parents and Masters, to restrain their Children And servants from frequenting. And in short let every Man endeavour to keep one, from suffering any Injury from them, in any Respect.
I was too incautious, and unartful in my Proceeding, but Practice makes perfect. I should have first taken all the summonses, into my own Hand, or Powers of attorney from the Defendants. Then I should have moved that the sheriff should be directed to return his Writts, that against White and that against Hayden. Then I should have drawn a complaint, on each of them, and filed them all. Then I should have desired the Justice to make a Record of his Judgment. This would { 193 } have been regular, masterly Management, but I had no Time to think and prepare.
This is the third Time I have been before Majr. Crosbey with Thayer. The first time, he was [ . . . ] for John Spear. That Action was demolished. The next time he appeared for Nathan Spear against Eph. Hunt and John Vinton. Those Actions were demolished. The last time he appeared for Bayley, against Niles, White, Hayden, &c. These Actions were all demolished. Thus I have come off, pretty triumphantly every time, and he pretty foolishly. Yet I have managed none of these Cases, in the most masterly manner. I see several Inadvertent Mistakes, and omissions. But I grow more expert, less diffident &c. I feel my own strength. I see the complacent Countenances of the Crowd, and I see the respectful face of the Justice, and the fearful faces of Petty foggers, more than I did.
Dear Nieces.5
You remember that I wrote you a new Years Address, about two Years since, containing some few Articles of Advice that I then thought would pass with Propriety, considering the Relation between us, from me to you. You are at least two Years older, than you were then, and from a careful observation of your Conduct, I have found few Occasions of Blame, and from your Conversation, and a frequent Inspection of your Compositions, I have reason to think your time has been in general, and in Comparison of the rest of your own sex, not ill improved.
But there are numberless Particulars that I had then no Leisure to discuss, and which some Persons of our sex but more of yours think not worthy to discuss, that will fill the remainder of this Letter and be I hope no unacceptable Present, for the Year 1761.
The first relate to the Delicacy of your own Persons and Houses. It has been the constant observation of foreigners who have lived in England, that the british Ladies are the least careful, to use no harder term, in this Respect than any Ladies, in Christendom. The Brightness of Plate and Dishes, floors, and every other Thing in a House even in a Kitchen, has been always observed by Travellers, even into Holland, where the enormous sizes of the Ladies, and their consequent sloth and Heavyness, one would think would incline them to another extreme. The same Nicety is observed in Italy, France and elsewhere, but the very general Complaint of british Ladies is that their Teeth, Necks, Hair, Perspiration and Respiration, Kichens and even Parlors { 194 } are no cleaner nor sweeter than they should be. And the same ground of Complaint is in America. For my own Part, tho not very attentive to my own Person, nothing is so disgustful and loathsome to me, and almost all our sex are of my mind, as this Negligence. My own Daughters, whenever they shall grow to Years of Discretion, I am determined to throw into a great Kettle and Boil till they are clean, If I ever find them half so nasty as I have seen some. That you may gain proper sentiments on this Head, and reduce them most religiously to Practice, I recommend to your careful Reading, the Works of Dr. Swift and Dr. Shybear [Shebbeare], especially the former, and let me warn you against any Prejudice to him, or his sentiments on Account of that open Defyance and Contempt in which he held your sex.
2. The next Article is that of Dress. It may be just[ly] considered, as the Principal Design of a young Lady from her Birth to her Marriage, to procure and prepare herself for a worthy Companion in Life. This I believe is modestly enough expressed. Now the finest face, and shape, that ever Nature formed, would be insufficient to attract and fix the Eye of a Gentleman without some Assistance and Decoration of Dress. And I believe an handsome shoe, well judged Variety of Colours, in Linnen, Laces &c., and even the Rustling of silks has determined as many Matches as any natural features, or Proportions or Motions. Hes a fool that is determined wholly by either or by both, but even a wise man will take all these, as well as others less,6 into Consideration.
I cannot be supposed to be master of the whole Art of Dress, nor to give Rules for your Conduct of it. I only say study it, even of your selves. Study it even as a science, and take in Hogarths mathematicks to your Aid.7
3. The 3d is [a] sense of Elegance. This may perhaps include both the former, but I mean in this Place such a Disposition of the Affairs of a family, such a management of an Entertainment, and such a judicious——[sentence unfinished]
Neither rich furniture nor dress, nor Provisions, without this, will ever please.
The 4th is Behaviour in mixed Companies. I would not have you Pedants in Greek and Latin nor the Depths of science, nor yet over fond to talk upon any Thing. When your opinion is asked, give it. When you know any Thing, that the Company are at a loss for, disclose it. But what I mean is this. Attend to the Conversation of Gentlemen even when News, Politicks, Morals, Oeconomy, nay even when Literature and science but beyond the fathom of your Line make the subject: do not attempt to turn the Conversation to Billy’s Prattle—To the { 195 } Doggs, or Negroes or Catts, or to any little contemptible tittle tattle of your own.
5thly. Observations of Mankind, or what is called the World. As the House is your Theatre of Action, an Attentive Observation of Domestic Characters should be your Rule. You are in all Probability in some future Part of your Life, to have Husbands. Remark carefully the Behaviour of other Wifes, wherever you go, to their Husbands, but distinguish well between Propriety of Behaviour and the Contrary. You will probably some time or other have Children. Remark then every Mothers Management of her Children, in their Education, Morals, Behaviour, Dress, Diet &c., with the same Distinction.
You may by a Course of Reflection on Instances of this sort among Gentle and simple form to yourselves from reason and Experience, a System of Rules that may one day produce an Hero or a Legislator, a great Statesman or Divine or some other great Character that may do Honour to the World—the Highest Pinacle of Glory to which a Woman can in Modesty aspire.
You will also act hereafter as Mistresses. Let your Attention therefore be fixed on the Behaviour of servants and their Treatment from their Masters and Mistresses.
In short, domestic Morality ought to be your principal study, and you ought not to suffer one Character in the Drama of a family, to be unexamined.
6thly. Under this Head of Conversation with the World falls naturally enough that into which you must if you are not singular, and you will, if you pursue your own Inclinations, sometimes, fall—Conversation with some Person of the other Sex alone: and this before Marriage And even Courtship. Our illustrious young Monarck, indeed, will probably be married by Proxy to some Princess abroad, that he never saw: and this is for Reasons of State, no doubt necessary: Yet it is thought an Hardship, and the prevailing Custom of the World, for this Reason perhaps, allows [a] Prince his Mistress as an alleviation.
And it seems, by what I see and hear, that Persons of Rank and figure even in this Province, are desirous that their Daughters should be married to Men who never saw them, by their prevailing Practice of concealing them from all Males, till a formal Courtship is opened. This Practice must proceed either from deplorable folly, an Awkward Imitation of Majesty, or else from a Consciousness of their Daughters futility and a Dread to expose them.
But be it remembered that no Man that is free and can think, will rush blindfold, into the Arms of any such Ladies, who, tho it is possible { 196 } they may prove Angells of Light, may yet more probably turn out Haggs of Hell.
You must therefore associate yourselves in some good Degree, and under certain Guards and Restraints, even privately with young fellows. And, tho Discretion must be used, and Caution, yet on [considering]8 the whole of the Arguments on each side, I cannot wholly disapprove of Bundling.
To Chardon.9
Lest a maiden Nicety should prevent the Correspondence, proposed the last Week, I have taken my Pen to open it, upon the lofty subject of Law. We shall be called silly, and tasteless &c. for ought I know, or care. For let the smart sayings of the gay, and the grave Satyrs, even of the wise and learned be what they will, I have for my own Part, and I thank God for it, no bad Opinion of the Law, either as a science, or a Profession.
Why the minute Arteries and Tendons of the human Body, the organization of the human Voice, and mouth, and numberless other subjects of the like sort should be thought worthy of the Attention of a liberal Mind; and the no less Wonderful and much more important combination of Passions, Appetites, Affections, in the human Breast that operate in human society, too futile, or too disagreable, for a wise Mans Examination, I cannot imagine.—Nay if we proceed to the Positive Institutions of the Law, I cannot think them so extreamly dull, uncouth, and unentertaining as you and I have heard them represented, by some whom we love and honour.
Multitudes of needless Matters and some that are nonsensical, it must be confessed have in the Course of Ages, crept into the Law. But I beg to know, what Art or Science can be found in the whole Circle, that has not been taught by silly, senseless, Pedants, and is not stuffed with their Crudities and Jargon.
The Man who intends to become skilful in any science, must be content to study such Authors as have written upon it. No Man will be an adept in Grammar or Rhetoric, or Poetry, or Music or Architecture, without labouring thro a vast deal of Nonsense, and Impertinence—in short, Nonsense seems an unalienable Property of human Affairs. And it is as idle to expect, that any Artist10 should write well upon any subject, without intermingling some Proportion of it, as it is to expect, that a rapid Torrent should descend from the Mountains without washing some Dirt and Earth along with it.
But if the Grandeur and Importance of a subject, has any share in { 197 } the Pleasure it communicates, I am sure the Law has by far the Advantage of most other sciences.
Nothing less than the Preservation of the Health and Properties, Lives and Tranquility, Moralls and Liberties of Millions of the human species, is the object and Designs of the Law, and a Comparison of several Constitutions of Government, invented for those Purposes, an Examination of the great Causes of their Danger, as well as those of their safety, must be as Agreable an Employment as can exercise the Mind.
But it is a science that comprises a Multitude. And great Industry, as well as many Helps are needful, to subdue it.
And in truth I do not know a more agreable Help, than the Correspondence of a Friend. Exchange of observations—Proposing Difficulties—stating Cases—repeating Arguments—examining sophisms—will both arouse and support our Ambition, and wear by easy Degrees, a system of Law into the Mind.
The Plan, that I would propose then is this—for you to write me, a Report of any Case you hear argued before the Courts of Admiralty, Court of Probate, Governor and Council, Court of Sessions, Justice of the Peace &c. that you think curious. Propose Questions, for Examination, and write me Answers, to Letters from me on all the foregoing subjects.
And if we will secrete each others Letters, we shall at least avoid the Ridicule of others. But if we should be detected, we can say that Tully and Atticus held some such Correspondence before, that never raised a Laugh in the World. And if we say this we must run off to avoid the Reply, of a Pigs turd to a Pine Apple.
Neal v. Spear. Plea in Abatement. Defendant is a Yeoman, but not a Gentleman, as styled in the Writ.11
<This Exception has an Air of Humility, that may be suspected to be feigned.>
This Exception, it must be owned has not a very honourable Air, but if the Circumstances of this Action, are considered, the Defendant will not be blamed.
<My Client is a very Poor Man, but happened to be a Bondsman for Brackett, to the Plaintiff who is rich and in no Want of the Money.>
My Client was bound to this Plaintiff, for Bracket in his Life time, in this Obligation. Bracket died, and this Plaintiff Neal brot his Action last Term against the Administratrix on Bracketts Estate, and that Action is now pending in this Court: But Bracketts Estate proves in• { 198 } solvent: and now Neal has brot this Action against a poor Bondsman. My Client is very poor, and unable to pay this Money, and therefore will be excused for taking all legal Advantages, till he can have some assistance from Bracketts Estate, to pay it.
And, for my own Part I had a further, and a stronger Reason for not discouraging my Client which was this. This Writ was drawn by a Deputy Sheriff, or at least by somebody in the service and Employment of that Deputy Sheriff: and against such Writts your Honours will no doubt commend me for taking all legal Advantages.
And this Exception is, in law fatal. If we are obliged to give any Additions to Parties we should be obliged to give the Right and not call Esquires Labourers, and Labourers Esquires.
If it is of any Consequence to society that Ranks and subordination should be established in it, it is of Consequence that the Titles denoting those Ranks should not be confounded. Now there are no two Titles more distinct from each other than Yeoman and Gentleman. The Yeomanry and Gentry of England is the most ancient and universal of all Divisions of the People.
Now the present Defendant is not a Gentleman in any Respect, neither by Birth, Education, Office, Reputation or Employment: and indeed I have no Reason to think him one in Thought, Word, or Deed. He spring[s] from ordinary Parents, he can scarcely write his Name, his Business is Boating, he never had any Commissions, and therefore to call him Gentlemen is an arrant Prostitution of the Title, and ought to abate the Writ.
1. Some of the long series of undated and more or less detached entries that follow may extend into February, since the next dated entry in D/JA/6 is that of 9 Feb. 1761. The draft of an essay on the evils of licensed houses, which begins the series, was obviously intended for a newspaper, but no printing has been found. See entry of 29 May 1760, above, and note there.
2. Thus in MS; seemingly a hybrid of “carelessness” and “callousness.”
3. MS: “Damms.”
4. MS: “Phip.”
5. Draft of another essay intended for a newspaper, probably incomplete. No printing has been found of either the essay or the New Year’s “Address” of 1759 mentioned in the first sentence.
6. Preceding six words added by interlineation in MS and now only partly legible because of fading. The reading given here is that of the early transcript (in D/JA/49), but it may not be correct.
7. An allusion to William Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty, Written with a View of Fixing the Fluctuating Ideas of Taste, London, 1753.
8. Word omitted in MS and conjecturally supplied by the editors.
9. Peter Chardon, on whom see the entry of 11 Oct. 1758, above, and note 3 there. Except for the present draft, no letters between JA and Chardon have been found.
10. CFA reads “Author,” which may have been what JA meant, though he did not write it.
11. For the origin of this case, in which JA served as counsel for the defendant, see entry of 9 Oct. 1760, above, and note. In a fragmentary record of actions, { 199 } 1761–1763, JA made this notation: “Jo Neal v Nathan Spear. Plea in abatement, which prevailed—recd. Costs of the Constable” (MS, Goodspeed’s Book Shop, Boston, 1957).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-01-27

1761. Tuesday Jany. 27th.1

Last Fryday I borrowed of Mr. Gridley, the second Volume of the Corpus Iuris Canonici Notis illustratum. Gregorii 13 Iussi editum.— complectens Decretum Gratiani. Decretales Gregorii Papae 9. Sextum Decretalium Bonifacii Papae 8. Clementinas, Extravagantes Ioannis Papae 12.2 Extravagantes communes.—
Accesserunt Constitutiones Novae summorum Pontificum, nunquam antea editae, quae 7. Decretalium Loco esse possint:—Annotationes Ant. Naldi, cum Addit. novis.—Et quae in Plerisque Editionibus desiderabantur, Petri Lancelotti, Institutiones Iuris Canonici; Regulae Cancellariae Apostolicae: cum Indicibus &c.3
Mr. Gridley about 15 months since, advised me to read an Institute of the Cannon Law—and that Advice lay broiling in my Head, till last Week, when I borrowed the Book.
I am very glad, that he gave, and I took, the Advice, for it will explain many Things in Ecclesiastical History, and open that system of fraud, Bigotry, Nonsense, Impudence, and Superstition, on which the Papal Usurpations are founded, besides increasing my skill in the latin Tongue, and my Acquaintance with civil Law, for in many Respects the Cannon Law is grafted on the civil.
1. This entry is from D/JA/4, JA’s desultory record of studies.
2. Should be “22” (“XXII” on titlepage).
3. This edition of the Corpus Juris Canonici was published at Leon, 1661, and the first volume, bearing the autographs of both Gridley and JA, survives among JA’s books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 64). Except on the titlepage the name of the author of the “Institutiones” appears as Johannes Paulus Lancelottus, a well-known legal scholar of Perugia.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-02-06

1761. Friday [6] Feby.1

I have now almost finished the first book of Peter Lancelotts Institute, which first Book is taken up De Jure Personarum, and is well analized in the 29th Title De Clericis non Residentibus, in these Words vizt. “Personarum quidam Laici sunt, quidam Clerici. Rursus Clericorum, quidam sunt in Sacerdotio constituti, quidam in sacris, licet non in sacerdotio, quidam nec in sacris, nec in sacerdotio. Eorum rursus, qui in sacerdotio constituti sunt, quidam sunt in celsiore gradu, ut Episcopi: quidam in inferiore, ut Presbyteri. In sacris vero dicuntur constituti Diaconi et subdiaconi qui vero nec in sacerdotio, nec in sacris reperiuntur, ii sunt, qui sunt in Minoribus ordinibus constituti. Caeterum, quoniam adhuc quidam in Ecclesia sunt, qui non { 200 } minus in Laicatu, quam in Clericatu constituti Domino Deserviunt, ut sunt Regulares ac Monachi, restat, ut et de his Pauca subjiciamus.”
1. This and the following entry (the first of two dated 9 Feb.) also derive from D/JA/4, JA’s journal of studies, which contains no further entries until 20 June, when JA determined to resume reading Lancelotti’s work on canon law. Errors in JA’s transcription of Lancelotti’s Latin have not been corrected.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-02-09

1761 Monday. Feby. 9th.

This morning, as I lay abed, I recollected my last Weeks Work. I find I was extreamly diligent, constantly in my Chamber, Spent no Evenings abroad, not more than one at the Drs. Have taken no Walks, never on Horseback the whole Week, excepting once, which was on Tuesday, when I went to Boston. Yet how has this Retirement, and solitude been spent? In too much Rambling and Straggling from one Book to another, from the Corpus Juris Canonici, to Bolingbroke, from him to Pope, from him to Addison, from him to Yoricks sermons, &c. In fine, the whole Week, and all my Diligence has been lost, for want of observing De Wits Maxim, “one Thing at once.” This Reflection raised a Determination to reassume the Corpus Juris, or Rather Lancelots Institutes, read nothing else, and think of nothing else—till sometime.
With the Week then, I begin the second Book Institutionum Juris Canonici.—De Rerum Divisione, atque illorum Administratione. Titulus primus. Res Ecclesiasticae sunt, aut spirituales, aut temporales.
Res Spirituales sunt aut incorporales, aut corporales: et corporales dividuntur in sacramenta, in res sacras, sanctas et religiosas.
This Institute is a curious Monument of Priestly Ambition, Avarice and subtlety. Tis a system of sacerdotal Guile.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-02-09

1761. Feb. 9th.

His Majesty has declared him self, by his Speech to his Parliament to be a Man of Piety, and Candor in Religion, a friend of Liberty, and Property in Government, and a Patron of Merit.1
“The Blessing of Heaven, I devoutly emplore”—“as the surest Foundation of the whole, (i.e. the Loyalty and affection of his People, his Resolution to strengthen the Constitution, the civil &c. Rights of his subjects and the Prerogatives of his Crown &c.) and the best Means to draw down the divine favour on my Reign, it is my fixed Purpose to countenance and encourage true Religion and Virtue.”— These are Proofs of his Piety.
He promises to patronize Religion, Virtue, the british Name and Constitution, in Church and state, the subjects Rights, Liberty, Com• { 201 } merce, military Merit.—These are sentiments worthy of a King—a Patriot King.
1. George III became king of England 25 Oct. 1760. His first speech to Parliament, 18 Nov., contained the sentence “Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton,” which, together with other sentiments of the same kind quoted (somewhat inaccurately) by JA, for a time endeared him to his subjects both at home and overseas. Text in Ann. Register for 1760, p. 248–250.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-03-03

March 3d. 1761.

Mem. To enquire of Tufts, Gould, Whitmarsh, Hunts, Whites, &c. about their Method of mending High Ways by a Rate.
And to enquire at Worcester, whenever I shall get there of Chanlers, Putnam, Willard, Paine, Swan &c. about their Method. They mended their Ways by a Rate, I am sure.1
Saml. Clark, <Jo. Field, Eb. Newcomb> Danl. Nash, the Mirmidons of Thayer.
Luke Lambard, Ben Hayden, Saml. Clark &c. all the Mirmidons of Thayer &c. Mirmidons, Bulldoggs, Hounds, Creatures, Tools.2
Weymouth mends her Ways by a Rate. Each Man is rated so much, and a Days Work is estimated at so much, an Horse, a Cart, Yoke of oxen &c. at so much, so each Man has his Choice, to pay his Money or to work it out.—I did not think to ask What sum they expend yearly to mend Ways.
Quaere. How they mend their Ways, Streets, Lanes, Alleys &c. in Boston. Whether by a Rate. Is not the Town taxed for Pavement of streets &c. Q. Whether they ever permit those who choose it to work it out themselves.
1. According to his Autobiography, JA was this month nominated in town meeting, or perhaps only proposed for nomination by his friend and neighbor Elisha Savil, for his first town office, that of surveyor of highways. The usually reliable Braintree Town Records do not record his nomination or election at the annual meeting of the town on 3 March 1761 (p. 377) Either this is an error of omission, or else the account in his Autobiography telescopes JA’s very early interest in reforming the method of financing highway repairs and his later service (1764–1765) both as a member of a town committee to report a plan for “mending the Ways ... by a Tax” and as an assiduous builder of bridges and highways in the town. See Braintree Town Records, p. 395–400; also entry of 21 March, below.
2. The following two paragraphs are in a different ink and were probably written later than those that precede.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-03-12

[Marginal Note in Winthrop’s Lecture on Earthquakes.]1

March 12th. 1761. Another Earthquake happened which may perhaps enable us to determine, whereabouts these Earthquakes orig• { 202 } inate, and what Course they take, for as all Canada is now in English hands, we may have Accounts from Montreal, Quebeck, Oswego, and the several Places upon the River St. Lawrence, at what time this Earthquake happened, its Direction and Degree of Violence.
1. At foot of p. 16 in JA’s copy of John Winthrop’s Lecture of 1755 (in Boston Public Library; see other marginalia by JA in this copy, following the entry of 5? Dec. 1758, above). At this point in his lecture Winthrop was reporting such scanty data as were available on the direction of movement of earlier earthquakes in America. On the back of the titlepage of his copy JA recorded, in a separate note, that the earthquake of 12 March 1761 occurred about 2:30 A.M., “resembling ’tho not quite equalling that which gave Occasion to this Discourse, in Violence, or Duration.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-03

[March? 1761.]1

Parson Smith’s Parsonage.
Vid. 6th. Wm. & M. C. 5. Page 60.—Charter Page 6th &c. from Index to Index. All Lands &c. which any Body politick, or Corporate, Towns, Colledges or Schools, do hold &c. by or under any Grant by any general Court, or by any other lawful Right or Title whatsoever; shall be by such Towns, Colledges or Schools, their respective Heirs, successors and assigns forever [hereafter held and enjoyed],2 according to the Purport and Intent of such respective Grant, &c., not withstanding any Want of form.
Now in the Weymouth Case, there is a Deed to a Committee of the Town of Weymouth for the use of the Ministry, &c. and for a convenient settlement of Housing and Lands, for the Ministry, and for no other Use, Intent or Purpose whatsoever. Now I believe it must be agreed that that Committee and their Grant had no Intent or Design, of any thing but that the present Incumbent and his successors should enjoy that House and Land forever. And, it cant be thought that Either Party to that deed entertained a Thought of dividing that House and Land among 50 ministers, that shall happen to settle within the Borders of that Town, tho they may be Churchmen, Anabaptists, Quakers, Separatists, for every one of these sects, have a Minister who may be as well called one of the Ministry of Weymouth as Mr. Bayley can.3
1. First entry in D/JA/7, a “paper book” without cover, stitching, or docketing.
2. The words in brackets, inadvertently omitted in MS, have been supplied from the Massachusetts Charter of 1691 (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 3:1877).
3. James Bayley, Harvard 1719, was minister of the second or south parish of Weymouth from 1723, when Weymouth was divided into North and South Precincts, until his death in 1766. A dispute went on for many years over the interests of the two precincts in the original parsonage property. (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 6:293–294; Weymouth Hist. Soc., History of Weymouth, 1923, 1:233–236.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-03-21

March 21st. 1761.

Memorandum. To enquire more particularly into the Practice in Weymouth—how they estimate a Days Work for a Man, Horse, Yoke of oxen, Carts, Tools, Pickaxes, Spades, shovells &c—how much Money or what a sum they assess upon the whole Town, annually, to amend their Ways?—whether the assessment is committed to the surveyor, of all within his District, &c.
Enquire, too, at Boston of Cunningham, how they pave and repair the Pavements of their great Streets, and Lanes and Alleys &c— whether poor People are left at their Election to work or to pay? and how they apportion their assessment? But I presume it is not according to the Polls Tax but in Proportion to the Province Tax, or Town and County. So that rich Men may contribute in Proportion to their Wealth, to repairing, as they contribute most by their Equipages &c. to the wearing and spoiling the high Ways.
But a Tax upon the Poles, and real and Personal Estates of the Town will not bring the burthen to Equality. We will suppose that John Ruggles and Caleb Hubbard are rated equally for Heads, and real and personal Estates. Caleb Hubbard Carts down £1000 Worth of Wood and Timber to the Landing Places, and so reaps three or £400 a Year Profit by improving the Ways; and by his heavy Loads, and Wheels, he breaks and cutts and crushes the Ways to Pieces. But Mr. Ruggles on the other Hand, confines himself to his farm and [Canoe?] He neither receives Benefit from any High ways, or does any Damage to them, further than riding to Meeting on Sundays, and Town Meetings. Now what Reason, what Propriety can there be in taxing Ruggles and Hubbard equally to the high ways. One gets his living by ruining the Ways, the other neither gets a farthing by them nor does them a farthing Damage.
The Power of a Town. The Proviso in the 11th of George Chaptr. 4th. That this Act shall not extend to the preventing or altering the Practice in any Town of defraying the Charge of repairing or amending the High Ways by a Rate or Tax, or any other Method they have or shall agree upon. The Words “agreed upon,” in this Proviso, I presume, signify “determined by the major Part of the Voters,” for the same Words “agreed upon” are used, in several other Acts, where their meaning must be so. Thus 6th. W. & M. C. 5, the Act to enable Towns, Villages, Proprietors in common and undivided Lands to sue and be sued.
{ 204 }

[salute] Messrs.1

I am an old Man turned of seventy. When I was young my common amuzement was Reading. I had some Engagements in Business, and was no Enemy to innocent Pleasure. But as my Circumstances were easy, I gave a greater Indulgence to my Curiosity of conversing largely with the World than most Persons of my Age, and Rank. In this Course of Life, I soon found that human Nature, the Dignity of which I heard extolled by some, and debased by others, was far from deserving that Reverence and Admiration, which is due to great Virtue and Intelligence. I found as I thought in that day a Multitude of People, who suffered themselves to be caught by hooks and snares covered over with such Bait, as would not have imposed even on fishes and Birds: and I found as I thought a few others, the Anglers of that Day whose constant Attention and Pursuit was to allure and take that Multitude. The first Instances of this sort that fell under my observation raised my Compassion and Indignation alternately. I pittyd poor deluded simplicity on one hand, and I raged against Cruelty and Wickedness on the other, and could not but think, that to rescue the Lamb from the Jaws of the Wolf would be a noble Adventure. But on further Consideration the Design seemed impracticable. The Attempt was odious. The Knaves would arise in a Combination to ruin the Reformer and the fools would be managed in no other Way than that of their Appetites and Passions. For this Reason and to avoid the pungent Misery of a disappointed, despized Patriot, I determined to make a total alteration in the Course and Nature of my Ideas and sentiments. Whenever I heard or saw an Instance of atrocious Treachery, fraud, Hypocrisy, Injustice, or Cruelty, the common Effects of excessive Ambition, Avarice and Lust, instead of indulging the sentiments of Nature, which I found were a Resentment bordering on Rage, I resolved instantly to set up a Laugh and make my self merry: whenever I saw a simple deluded Creature brot by the Craft of others to brutal Debauchery, sickness, Cold, Hunger, Prison, Whipping Post, Pillory or Gallows, instead of indulging sympathy and feeling, I set my self to laughing. I must own I found a good deal of Difficulty to command my self at first, in this bold Attempt to alter the whole system of Morality: and in spight of my Attention, a flash of Vengeance, or a Thril of Pitty, would sometimes escape me, before I could bring my Muscles into a risible Posture.
But by long Practice I have at last obtained a settled Habit of making my self merry at all the Wickedness and Misery of the World. And the Causes of Ridicule have been every Hour increasing and multiplying { 205 } from the 25th Year of my Age, when I first attempted the alteration of my Mind, to the present Hour. And now in spight of all the Infirmities of old Age I am the most tittering, giggling Mortal you ever saw.
But the amplest source of my merriment, thru the whole Course of my Life has been the affair of English Priviledges, British Liberty and all that.
I have heard Men every Day for fifty Years boasting, “our Constitution is the finest under heaven. We are governed by our own Laws. No Tyrant can Lord it over us. The King is as accountable for his Conduct as the subject. No Government that ever existed, was so essentially free. Every Man is his own Monarch. His Will, or the Will of his Agent, and no other can bind him.” All these gallant, blustering speeches I have heard in Words—and I never failed to raise a Horse laugh. For observe the pleasant course of these Things. The few who have real Honour, Temperance, and Understanding, who are desirous of getting their Bread and Paying their Debts by their own Industry, apply their Attention to their own Business, and leave the Affairs of Towns and Provinces to others. But a young fellow, who happens to be by Nature or by habit indolent, and perhaps profligate, begins by laying schemes by himself or his Friends, to live and get Money without Labour or Care. His first step is to procure a Deputation from some sheriff. By the Help of Writts and Executions, and drawing Writts, or employing some Child to draw them, for a share, 1/3 or 1/4 of the fee, then serving them, and Executions, carrying Tales and Intelligence from one Party to the other, then settling Disputes, vastly compassionating the Party, by taking twice lawful fees, they wheedle themselves into some Connections with the People, and considerable sums of Money into their own Pocketts.
They presently grow capable Men very expert at Calculations, and well acquainted with the real and personal Estates of the Town and so very fit for select Men, and after 2 or 3 Years opposition from the most virtuous and independent Part of a Town they obtain an Election. After this his Reputation increases very fast. He becomes, to those not already grappled to his Interest by fear or affection, very assiduous and obliging. And when the season of the Year approaches, a swarm of Candidates for Approbation to keep Taverns or Dram shops, surround him, for his favour. For one he will use his Utmost Interest. For another, he really thinks there is Occasion for a Public House where he lives. For a Third his Circumstances are so needy he really thinks he ought to be assisted. For a 4th. he is so unable to work, that he must be assisted, and to a fifth, He likes it very well, for he thinks, { 206 } the more there are the better, the more obliging they will be and the cheaper they will sell.
Taverns and Dram shops are therefore placed in every Corner of the Town, where poor Mankind, allured by the smell of Brandy And Rum, resort, and carouse: waste their Time, spend their Money, run in Debt to Tavern and others, grow attached to the Taverner who is attached to his Patron both by Gratitude and Expectation. The Hero of this Romance, is presently extolled as a public Blessing, as the most useful Man in Town, as a very understanding and [civil?] Man, and is at the next May Meeting set up for a Candidate as Representative. The same Body of wealthy and virtuous Persons, who opposed the first step of his Exaltation, are still resolute to oppose the second, and for the first few Years, he fails. But, by Assiduity and Impudence, by extending and fortifying the Parts of the same system, he increases his Interest, and the virtuous few begin to dread the Consequences, they resolve not to be present and wittnesses of the Disgrace of the Town. They stay at home, and the News is brought them that the Person they despized, and &c. has obtained his Election.
In this manner Men, who are totally ignorant of all Law human and divine, natural, civil, ecclesiastical and common, are employed to make Laws for their Country, while others, who have been led by their Education to search to the Bottom of human Nature, and to examine the Effect of all Laws upon human affairs [sentence unfinished]
1. No contemporary printing of this draft of a newspaper communication has been found.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-04-03

April 3d. 1761.

Z.1 tells me, that Jona. Rawson is malicious and cruel as well as conceited. He spights Edd. Quincy and his whole Family. He says that the whole family was prodigal and extravagant, and that he borrowed Money and bought Goods upon Credit, but two days before he housed himself, when he knew that he never should pay, which was no better than Stealing.—Tis fraud. Tis Cheating, Tis Knavery, Tis Villany.— Oh he longs to see Quincys Daughters out at service. It would please him to see them, washing and serving Dishes, Washing Clothes, &c. Why should not they work as well as Mrs. Liddy and I? We are more honourably descended than they!—He longs to hear that Milton select men have warned him out of that Town. He himself was very urgent to have young Edd. warned out of Braintree, when he first came to live with his Father, but never could get a Majority of the select men of his Mind. He hopes that the Church in Milton will refuse him their { 207 } Communion. He hears that some Members are uneasy and talk of objecting to his partaking there, and he wishes they would. He was extremely glad to hear, that Mr. Quincy failed of getting Clerk of the General Court. He heard he was a Candidate, and disappointed, and was rejoiced at it. A fine story, that he who wanted discretion to manage his own private Affairs, who rushed headlong to Bankruptcy and Destruction should be intrusted with public affairs. That he who would lye and Cheat, at such a Rate, should stand in public Place.
Thus he seems to wish that poor Mr. Quincy should be excluded from all public Trust, that he should be expelled from any Town that [he] should move into, be excommunicated from the Church, brought to beg his Bread or be maintained by the Town, and his Daughters <bound out> sent out to service as Kitchen Maids. This is Malice, Tis Rage, Tis Cruelty, ’Tis Persecution. Tis Hell and the Devil—and by all Probability the Provocation to this Excess of Malevolence, which would strip them of all the means of life temporal and eternal, is a Loss of about forty shillings old Tenor by Mr. Quincy, some way or another. These are dreadful sentiments. This is a woful Temper.
He, and his Brother Josiah, and all the rest of the Family, are very proud of their Descent from Mr. Rawson, an ancient secretary of this Province. Secretary Rawson was his great Grandfather. His father was a tippling, silly old fellow like David Bass, and if his Grandfather was of a like Character, the Dishonour of descending from such a father and Grandfather must have taken away all the Honour of descending from an honorable great Grand father.
Tis vain and mean to esteem oneself for his Ancestors Merit. But he is very avaricious, and very ambitious and excessively vain. Vain of his Descent, his Estate, his Knowledge, his sense, his public Employments, that of Select Man, that of Commissioner of Bankruptcy &c., and of his public Capacity and spirit,—ambitious of public Trust as a select Man, a Representative, a Commissioner &c. And besides all these, he is brutally uncivil and rude in Company. He is an impetuous bauler, a rough, unpolished, ill bred Clown and Coxcomb. These are the Properties of one of the favourites of Braintree.2
Is Lawrence to be Styled a Yeoman? or not. For the Negative these Things are to be considered.—1St. Bayley in his Dictionary, defines Yeomen to be the first Degrees of the Commons, Freeholders, who have land of their own, and live on good Husbandry. Sir T. Smith defines a Yeoman to be a free born Englishman, who may lay out of his own free Land in Yearly Revenue, to the sum of 40s.
Now Lawrence is not most certainly one of any of the first degrees { 208 } of the Commons. He is a poor, low, inferiour sort of Man, to be ranked only among Labourers, and the meanest of the People. He is certainly no freeholder, he has no Land of his own, and he does not live at all upon Husbandry. And if it should be admitted that he was a free born Englishman, according to the first Part of Sir Thos. Smiths Definition, yet he does not answer the last Part of it, for he cannot lay out of his own free Land, in Yearly Revenue to the sum of 40s., for he is not the owner of one foot of Land in the World.
I find in 23: H. 6. 15. Ab[ridgmen]t [of the] Statutes, title Parliament ss. 29. None shall be a Knight of the Shire, which standeth in the Degree of a Yeoman or Under.—By this statute therefore it appears that there are Degrees, or at least a Degree under that of a Yeoman.
In Shep[pard’s] Ab[ridgmen]t, Title Name.—So of Commons there be Degrees as Knights, Esquires, Gentlemen, Citizens, Yeomen and Burgesses of several Degrees.—Here Burgesses are a Rank below Yeoman.
Is Lawrence a Yeoman?
For the affirmative these Things are to be considered.—
What was the precise meaning of the Word Yeoman in the ancient Saxon or Teutonic Languages, I cannot say. And whether this Title was or was not in ancient times, most usually given to Land Holders, to Country farmers, is not worth while to inquire, because it is not material to the present Question.—For
It is certain, that in the modern Language both of Courts and History’s, all Persons under the Degree of Gentlemen are styled Yeomen. The Gentry and Yeomanry of England comprehend all Degrees of Men from the King to the Beggar, in History, and in the modern Lawbooks a Yeoman is defined to be an ordinary common man.
In Strange’s Reports—It is settled over and over again, first that a Trader may be sued by the Addition of his Degree, as that of Yeoman e.g. and the Writ shall not abate unless he pleads another degree. Another Defendant pleaded that he was a Lime merchant, and not a Yeoman. Plaintiff demurred, and the Court held, that every Man be he a trader or not a Trader, has a Degree by which he may be denoted. And that if the Defendant had shewn himself to be a Degree higher than a Yeoman, that would have abated the Writ, but not otherwise.
In modern Cases, Defendant pleaded that he was a Farmer and not a Yeoman. The Plaintiff demurred, and it was held, that if the Defendant is not a Gentleman he must be a Yeoman i.e. an ordinary or common Person.
{ 209 }
Besides I find it said in some Dictionaries that the Saxon Word from whence Yeoman is drawn signified a Shepherd. Now a Man may be a shepherd without being a Landholder, and the Word which answers this in the teutonic Language signified a common man. Now every common man is not a Landholder.
But all these Criticisms are Trash and trifling for it is settled Practice in this Court, in Conformity to the late Practice at Home, to call every one of these lower sort of People, who are not Gentlemen and whose Occupation is not known, Yeoman. I have heard common soldiers, styled Yeomen in Indictments, soldiers belonging to the Train who had no Land. I have known a Multitude of Instances where Defendants in civil Actions in this Court, have been called Yeomen, who never owned an Inch of ground in their Lives. But this Man has a better Right to this Addition, for he was born a Yeoman according to this Definition, i.e. a Land holder, and he owned when this Note was given a good farm, a farm worth £3000.
Q[uery]. Is Labourer an Addition of Degree or Mistery? A Labourer is one that has no Trade or Art or Mistery, but it is an Occupation.
It would be worth while to describe all the Transformations of J.Q.’s3 flatery.—Yet there is always a salvo, which shews his Deceit and Insincerity.
If Mr. Adams should become in 2 or 3 Years, one of the most eminent Lawyers in the County, and remove to Boston, there you would find persons, who have Daughters to dispose of, who have Knowledge of the World, and Prudence enough to look out the <most thriving> best Characters, for Matches to their Daughters. Twenty such Men would have their Eyes upon You; would dress out their Daughters to the best Advantage, contrive Interviews, lay schemes and presently, some one more beautiful, or sensible, or witty or artful, than the rest will take you in. We shall see you, in spight of your Phylosophy, and Contempt for Wife and Mistress and all that, sighing, and dying with Love. [Here, under a specious Pretext of Raillery for my boasted, and affected, Indifference to Ladies, he is insinuating or would make me believe that he designed to insinuate, that I am likely to be the ablest Lawyer on the stage, in 2 or 3 Years, that 20 Gentlemen will Eye me for a Match to their Daughters, and all that. This is the flattery. Yet, in truth he only said, if Mr. Adams should become &c. so that if his Consequences should never take Place, Oh I never expected they would, for I did not expect you would be eminent.—Besides, if he was to speak his real sentiments, I am so { 210 } illbred, unpolished &c. that I never shall succeed with ladies or the World &c. &c.]4
The same Evening, I shew him, my Draught of our Licensed Houses and the Remarks upon it.5 Oh he was transported! he was ravished! He would introduce that Plan at the sessions, and read the Remarks, and say they were made as well as the Plan by a Gentleman to whom their could be no Exception—&c. He saw an Abstract of the Argument for and against Writts of Assistants—and crys did you take this from those Gentlemen as they delivered it? You can do any Thing! You can do as you please! Gridley did not use that Language. He never was Master of such a style! It is not in him—&c.6
I will lay 100 Guineas, that before 20 Years, you will raise the Fees of the Bar 3 fold. If your Eloquence should turn out equal to your Understanding, you will. I know you will!
You have Ld. Bolinbroke by heart! With one cursory Reading you have a deeper Understanding of him and remember more of him, than I do after 3 or 4 Readings, or than I should have after 10 Readings.
With all your Merit, and Learning, and Wit and sense and Spirit, and Vivacity, and all that.—
These are the bold, gross, barefaced Flatteries that I hear every Time I see that Man. Can he think me such a Ninny as to be allured and deceived by such gross Arts? He must think me vastly vain, silly, stupid, if he thinks to impose on me, if he thinks I cant see the Deceit. It must be deceit. It cannot be any Thing else.
Gray v. Paxton. Otis drew a Writ vs. Paxton for Money had and received to the Use of the Province. Prat pleaded in Abatement, That, altho the suit was brot in Greys Name, altho Gray was Plantiff, Yet no Promise was alledged to have been made to Gray. The Defendant is alledged to be indebted to the Province, for Money received to the Provinces Use, and to have promised to pay it to the Province. Yet the Province is not Plantiff. It is Gray vs. Paxton, but it should have been the Province of the Massachusetts Bay v. Paxton.7
The Treasurer and Receiver General has not a Right ex Offido, to demand, sue for and recover all Monies that are due to the Province. No more than a Noblemans Steward has to sue for and Recover the Demands of the Nobleman: No more than the Cashier of the Bank of England, has to sue for and Recover all Monies due to the Bank of England. A steward may sue but not in his own Name, he must sue in the Name of his Master. The Cashier may sue, but not in his own Name, he must sue in the Name of the Governor and Company of the { 211 } Bank of England. A Corporate Body is one Person in Law and may sue or be sued, and There is an Instance, before the Court, this Term, in your own Dockett, of a suit brot by a Town, the Town of Dorchester vs. A.B. &c. There is a special Law of this Province, which impowers [sentence unfinished]
1. Probably Zabdiel Adams, JA’s cousin.
2. The following semidetached entries may have been written at any time between 3 April and mid-May, though one of them, as indicated below, seems to have been inserted as late as July.
3. Doubtless Col. Josiah Quincy.
4. First bracket in MS; closing bracket supplied.
5. That is, JA’s sketch map of tavern locations, which is reproduced in this volume; see entry of 29 May 1760 and note, above. CFA, who mentions the map without reproducing it, prints a passage of JA’s accompanying comment which no longer appears on or with the map, as follows:
“N.B. Place one foot of your dividers at Eb. Thayer’s house, and extend the other about one mile and a half, and then sweep a circle; you will surround eight public houses, besides one in the centre. There is vastly more travelling and little less business in Milton, Dorchester, and Roxbury, where public houses are thinly scattered, than there is in Braintree; and why poor Braintree men, who have no virtue to boast of, should be solicited with more temptations than others, I can’t imagine. This, I will say, that whoever is in fault, or whatever was the design, taverns and dramshops have been systematically and scandalously multiplied in this town; and, like so many boxes of Pandora, they are hourly scattering plagues of every land, natural, moral, and political, through the whole town” (Works, 2:123, note)
.
6. This is the only reference in the Diary to the celebrated argument before the Superior Court in Feb. 1761 concerning the legality of writs of assistance. In his Autobiography JA furnished from memory a longer account of what he called the first incident in a “Contest ... to which I could foresee no End.” Many of the details in his later account (printed by CFA in JA, Works, 2:124, note), repeated with variations and additions in his letters to William Tudor, 1817–1818, were questioned and corrected by Horace Gray in a learned appendix on writs of assistance in Quincy’s Reports, 1865, p. 395–540; see especially p. 408–409; 414, note; 469, note. From some of the language used in the present Diary entry (“an Abstract of the Argument for and against Writts of Assistants”), it would appear that JA showed Col. Quincy his original hasty notes taken during the hearing. These survive as a single large folded sheet with nine pages covered by writing among JA’s legal papers (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185; printed in JA, Works, 2:521–523, and more literally, with full annotation by Horace Gray, in Quincy, Reports, p. 469–482). On the other hand, as Professor Gipson has pointed out, no one could possibly have praised the “style” of these crabbed notes, and it is therefore possible and even probable that JA had already written up his notes of Gridley’s argument for the writs and Otis’ and Thacher’s arguments against them in a discursive form intended to circulate among friends and other interested persons. At any rate, a writtenup version did circulate some time afterward, if not immediately, for variant texts of such a version appeared in newspapers and in lawyers’ commonplace books, and JA acknowledged the authorship of one portion (Otis’ speech) that was eventually printed in George Richards Minot’s Continuation of the History of the Province of Massachusetts, Boston, 1798–1803, 2:91–100. See also JA, Works, 2:523–525; Samuel A. Green’s remarks on the textual history of Otis’ speech in MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 6 (1890–1891): 190–196; Lawrence H. Gipson, “Aspects of the Beginning of the American Revolution,” Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs., 67 (1957): 23, note; Joseph R. Frese, “James Otis and Writs of Assistance,” NEQ, 30:496–508 (Dec. 1957). Fortunately it is possible to defer any attempt to reconstruct the { 212 } text of JA’s longer version (of which no MS in his hand has been found) with at least some hope that more evidence may come to light.
7. This detached entry appears to be out of place chronologically, since it reports part of Benjamin Prat’s plea in abatement of the writ in the case of Gray v. Paxton, tried in Suffolk Inferior Court, July 1761. This was a famous case, with marked political overtones. Harrison Gray (1711–1794) was provincial treasurer and receiver-general; Charles Paxton (1707–1788) was a commissioner of customs in Boston (Stark, Loyalists of Mass., p. 34–336, 318–319). The action grew out of Paxton’s practice of charging his costs for secret informers entirely against the King’s (that is to say, the Province’s) one-third share of the value of goods forfeited under admiralty court decisions, while the Governor and the informer each got their full thirds. As a result of a petition from a number of merchants and after much bickering between the House of Representatives and Governor Bernard, the General Court in Jan. 1761 authorized Treasurer Gray to sue Paxton for the alleged deficiencies (more than £357). Much discussed during the spring, the case came on in the Inferior Court in July, and Paxton lost. The Superior Court in its August term supported Prat’s plea in abatement and reversed the decision. A new action, Province v. Paxton, was thereupon brought in the Inferior Court, Jan. 1762, and judgment was again rendered against Paxton. He again appealed, and, to use Bernard’s words, “pursuant to the direction of all the Judges the jury found for the defendant [Paxton],” Feb. 1762. The records of the two cases, with full commentary, are printed by Samuel M. Quincy in Appendix II to Quincy, Reports, p. 541–552. It is to Chief Justice Hutchinson’s role in the two cases on appeal that JA refers so bitterly in his Diary for 30 Dec. 1765: “Who has made it his constant Endeavor to discountenance the Odium in which Informers are held?” &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-05

[Draft of a Letter to the Boston Gazette, May 1761.]1

I am myself an Inhabitant of Boston, and have I think an honest affection for the Town, and a sincere Concern for its Honour: for which Reason I cannot reflect upon the late prevailing Humor of attributing our own follies to the Country without Regret. The late Engagement in your Paper, between two litigating Scribblers, about the Clergy of this Town, and their lawdable Conduct, at the late Installment, forsooth was between two Country laymen:2 and many other Pieces lately published have been in Country Characters; young Gentlemen from the Country, old Batchellers in the Country &c. This is [merely?] fathering our own natural Children on other Men who are more chaste. Such Pieces, every Man who reads them knows, are the Productions of idle fellows in this Town—Persons who have no Business, of more Consequence, to employ their Time and Thoughts, and who happen to grow vain enough in their own Imaginations, to prize highly their own Wit and Talent. Whereas the good People in the Country, whom in Journeys which I often take I have pretty carefully observed, are more dilligent and attentive to their own Business, and much less conceited of their sense and Learning. Besides any Man may observe in these Pieces, a Temper, and Manners quite remote from the { 213 } honest simplicity and natural, and habitual Benevolence of a Countryman. Tis really doing Injustice to the Country to impute to it such uncandid, illiberal Productions, but no Wonder these Grubstreet Garreteers are guilty of this Injustice when, I am sorry to say it, a like Kind is committed by almost all orders of the Town, in many other affairs of much more Consequence.
The affair of Taxes has been a common Place Topic of Complaint against the Country, among all Ranks of Men in this Metropolis for many Years. Our Gentry has given frequent Invitations, to the Country Representatives, and to other Country Gentlemen, who had Acquaintance here, to Entertainments. The Productions of every Element and Climate were assembled, and the nicest Art and Cookery employed to regale them. The furniture of our Houses and Tables were proportionably rich and gay. Our Persons were cloathed in silks and Laces and Velvet, and our Daughters especially blazed in the rich vestments of Princesses. At the same Time the poor Gentlemen were scarcely able to walk the streets, for the Multitude of Chariots, or to hear themselves speak for the rapid Rattling of Hoofs and Wheels. (Wits and Wags may laugh at my Discription, but Foppery ought to be described in Bombast.) These Appearances at the Churches, assemblies, Concerts, Private Houses and streets, gave the Country an opinion, either that Boston was vastly rich or vastly extravagant, and they dared not, by any public speech or Conduct suppose the latter least they should give offence to us, who had treated them even with assiduous Complaisance and Hospitality.
They endeavoured to Settle the Proportion of public Burdens, (and how should they do otherwise) according to the best Proofs they could procure of Wealth and Ability: And altho People in the Country were obliged to wear Homespun threadbare, eat salt Pork and Beef, drink Cyder and small Beer, and turn every stone, and save every Penny to pay their Taxes, and did it chearfully too: yet we in Boston never would pay ours, without Grumbling, and cursing Country folks, and Country Representatives.
Well, the Country Gentlemen desirous to do Justice, [harkened?] to our Complaints, and set themselves to discover as well as they could, who was and who was not able to support the Pomp they every day saw. They asked our own Representatives and other, the most sensible Inhabitants of the Town, and no better Method was to be found than the Valuation Act.3 But, this, instead of <quieting> extinguishing only enflamed our Discontent.4 “What we cry? We obliged to tell upon Oath how much we are worth? must not we drink Madeira, eat in { 214 } silver and China? Ride in our Chariots? Go to Concerts and assemblies? and let our sons and Daughters spend a few Guineas a Week at Cards without telling the assessors, and having it recorded that we are in Debt for all this, and £10, 000 worse than nothing! Oh these vile shoe string Representatives.”5
We have not in short the Ingenuity of common Debauchees, who will often confess their own folly, in getting Claps and daily Drams, has given them the Hectick: But we are determined to take no shame to ourselves, but charge the natural and unavoidable Consequences of our own Imprudence on the Country. The Country, it is true, is not an unexceptionable Example of Wisdom. Many Things are running Wild. Many simptoms begin to appear, that threaten their Happiness, their Morals, Health, Properties and Liberties, in a very melancholly manner: But even these simptoms are produced, in a great Measure by the inconsiderate Politicks of this Town.—Give me Leave to mention a very flagrant Instance out of a Multitude.
If you ride over this whole Province you will find, that, alltho Taverns are generally too numerous, they are not half so numerous in any one County, in Proportion to the Numbers of People and the Necessity of Business and Travellers, as in this. In most Country Towns, in this County,6 you will find almost every other House, with a sign of Entertainment before it. If you call, you will find Dirt enough, very miserable Accommodation of Provision and Lodging, for your self and your Horse. Yet if you set the Evening, you will find the House full of People, drinking Drams, Phlip,7 Toddy, Carrousing, swearing, but especially, plotting, with the Landlord, to get him, at the next Town Meeting an Election, either for select man or Representative. Thus the Multiplicity of these Houses, by dividing the Profits, renders the Landlords careless of Travellers, and allures the poor Country People, who are tired with Labour and hanker after Company, to waste their Time and money, contract Habits of Intemperance and Idleness, and by degrees to loose the natural dignity and freedom of Inglish Minds, and confer those offices, which belong by Nature and the spirit of all Government to Probity and Honesty, on the meanest and weakest and worst of human Characters.
A good deal of this has happened, as I believe, partly from what I have seen and partly from credible Information, in the Country: But who is most to blame! The Court of Sessions has made such Rules for itself, that the Country Justices can seldom attend. The select Men of the several Towns, have been so often disappointed, that they are discouraged. Some Houses to my Knowledge have been licensed which { 215 } never had any Approbation from any select Man. Other Persons have been licensed whom the select Men have found by Experience, and certified to be, guilty of Misrule, and therefore unfit. Others have been recognized for seven Years together without any Approbation from the select Men, thro that whole Time. Nay a Man has been recognized, tho the select Men certifyed good Reasons for not approbating him—that he was very intemperate, had poor Accommodations, and was subject to fits of Caprice if not Delirium, that made it dangerous to come near him: and altho it was proved, that the same Man, in one of those fits, had but a few days before, Stabbed another, with apparent Design and great Danger of Murder.
Now I agree, that Ambitious Spirits in the Country, who have little Honour, will soon see, that such Houses must be favoured, and multiplied, to promote their own designs, and therefore Retailers and Taverners are generally in the Country Assessors, or select Men, or Representative or Esquires: But are not we more to blame. Are not some of our Justices, Importers of Mollasses? are not others Distillers? and are not all of them fond of a lawful Fee? In short it is owing wholly to Boston Justices, that those Houses have been so shamefully multiplied, in the Country, multiplied so that decent Entertainment for a Traveller is no where to be had.
The Freedom of Censure is a Matter of great Consequence under our Government.8 There are certain Vices and follies, certain Indecencies of Behaviour, beneath the Inspection and Censure of Law and Magistracy, which must be restrained and corrected by Satyr. And for this Reason, every Piece of just Ridicule in public or private bestowed on any <foppery> wrong or foolish Conduct, gives me great Pleasure, even altho I am myself the Object. From the same Principle I was glad to see some Animadversion on the late inconsistent Conduct of the Ministers of this Town. And nothing but sacerdotal Impudence, and Ecclesiastical Pride, can account for the surly, revengeful Manner in which those Pieces have been received.
1. This is the last of JA’s series of letters on the evils of taverns; see entry of 29 May 1760 and note, above. Though clearly intended for publication in the Boston Gazette (see the following note), no printing has been found.
2. “The late Engagement in your Paper” alludes to a controversy arising from a news item in the Boston Gazette, 2 March 1761, describing the installation of Rev. Alexander Cumming as co-pastor with Dr. Joseph Sewall of the Old South Church in Boston a week earlier. The “Entertainment” provided for the “honourable and reverend Guests” was so “very sumptuous and elegant,” the notice said, that it had to be held in several houses. “And it is concluded, that many poor People were the better for what remained of so plentiful and splendid a Feast; such as was hardly ever known among us on a similar Occasion.” In the { 216 } following issue, 9 March, an anonymous writer who described himself as a country layman declared these proceedings “disgusting” to himself and discreditable to the Congregational ministry. He called attention to resolves that a convention of ministers had themselves adopted two years earlier, disapproving “Feasting, Jollity and Revelling” on such occasions, and pointed out that Joseph Sewall had issued the resolves over his own name as moderator of the convention. On 6 April the Gazette carried a rejoinder from another “country layman,” who ventured the opinion that the guests had enjoyed only the “moderate refreshment” to which any Christian is entitled. The dispute spun itself out until 11 May, when the first writer got the last word by describing the fare in detail, his informant (he said) having been one of the guests:
“There were six tables, that held one with another 18 persons, upon each table a good rich plum pudding, a dish of boil’d pork and fowls, and a corn’d leg of pork, with sauce proper for it, a leg of bacon, a piece of alamode beef, a leg of mutton with caper sauce, a piece of roast beef, a roast line [loin] of veal, a roast turkey, a venison pastee, besides chess cakes and tarts, cheese and butter. Half a dozen cooks were employed upon this occasion, upwards of twenty tenders to wait upon the tables; they had the best of old cyder, one barrel of Lisbon wine, punch in plenty before and after dinner, made of old Barbados spirit. The cost of this moderate dinner was upwards of fifty pounds lawful money.”
3. An Act for Enquiring into the Rateable Estates of this Province, passed 31 Jan. 1761, required all persons to list on oath their real and personal property for the purpose of a new tax assessment (Acts of 1760–1761, ch. 24; Mass., Province Laws, 4:422–423).
4. In an earlier and very fragmentary draft of this essay, just preceding the present draft in the MS, the foregoing sentence reads: “But this threw new fuel into the unquenchable furnace of Boston Passions.” There is reason to believe that this alternative draft was once longer but was later removed from the paper booklet; see note 8, below.
5. Earlier draft reads: “Oh these vile shoe string Country Representatives.”
6. The words “Country” and “County” in this sentence (and frequently elsewhere in JA’s early Diary) are indistinguishable as written by JA. In transcribing, one can only go by the sense of the passage.
7. MS: “Plip.”
8. The present paragraph is separated by an interval of space from the foregoing text. In the margin is written “Beg.,” (i.e. “Begin”), which together with the substance indicates that this paragraph was an alternative opening for the essay. It may, however, have been intended as the beginning of the now largely missing draft; see note 4, above.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-06-11

June 11th. 1761.

I have been for a Week or fortnight engaged in a Project.1 Have remarkably succeeded hitherto. Mr. Niles approved in all Things. Major Crosbey approved in all Things. Deacon Palmer approved in all Things. They have given under their Hands a very full and handsome Character and Recommendation of my Brother—much more ample than I expected. They have really Spoken in Hyperbole. They have expressed themselves with Warmth. I expected only a signification of their Consent and Approbation, but they have expressed themselves with Zeal. I ought to consider these Credentials gratefully, as a strong Instance of friendship, and take the first Opportunity of making some Return. Mr. N. has the worst opinion of Thayers Morals. He detests the base Methods of Debauchery, and Lying, and Duplicity, that he has been in. P. despizes him.
{ 217 }
But scheming seldom has success. I expect to come off but second best after all. I expect that Thayer will hear of my Design, and in order to defeat it, continue in the office himself. If he should, I shall be pretty [well?]. Intrigue, and making Interest, and Asking favors is a new Employment to me. I’m unpractised in Intrigues for Power.
I begin to feel the Passions of the World. Ambition, Avarice, Intrigue, Party, all must be guarded.2
My fears of failing are at last vanished. The scheme succeeded in all Things, and is compleated. B[oylston] is constituted, commissioned, sworn, and this Day, undertaken to officiate. Now a new Train of Anxieties, begins to take Place. Fears of imperfect services, imperfect and false Returns, voluntary and negligent Escapes, miscalculations, Want of strength, Courage, Celerity, Want of Art and Contrivance &c. Rashness, Indolence, Timidity, &c.
The Project was so well planned, that success seemed certain. <Every Party>, all the Justices recommended. Two other Gents of his Acquaintance, men of Honour and figure. G.3 concurred and urged, and dropped Hints if not Anecdotes, vs. the old one. Hints were dropped to him by others that I should employ Constables and so deprive him of his Profits. So that his Interest, his Vanity, his Honour, were all touched. It cost me much Pains, at least 2 Journeys to Boston, one to Mr. Niles’, one to Germantown, one to Mr. [Bullards?], and Majr. Crosbeys. The Writing of a long Bond. The solicitation of Credentials, of sureties and of the office. More4 solicitation procured it. And altho it was not much disguised or concealed, yet it was so silently conducted that I believe the [grand?] Adversary never once suspected it. All the Wiles and Malice of the old serpent would have been employed against it, if it had been known or suspected. But there was one Particular of mere Luck, to which we were much indebted—vizt. the Complaint of Cudworth against T. That unfriendly, unbrotherly, unneighbourly, as well as rash and unmannerly, Spurning of the Execution, and then sending it to Gould, where it was lost, gave the great Man an ill opinion of his sub.5 and made him more willing and ready, at my solicitation, to constitute another, and even without consulting Thayer.
1. To obtain the appointment of his brother Peter Boylston Adams as a deputy sheriff of Suffolk co. This was, as JA explained in his Autobiography, “in pursuance of my plan of reforming the practice of Sheriffs and Pettyfoggers” in drawing writs. A bill of costs from Peter for serving a long list of writs for JA, 1764–1766, remains in the Adams Papers, under the date of 26–27 Sept. 1766.
2. A line across the page follows this paragraph in the MS, so that what follows may have been—and probably was—written one or more days later.
3. Probably Stephen Greenleaf, sheriff of Suffolk co.
4. Possibly “Mere,” as rendered by CFA (JA, Works, 2:129).
5. “subordinate”?

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-06-20

June 20th. 1761.

I have latterly arose much earlyer than Usual. Arose at five and at 6 O’clock, instead of 8 and 9. The Mornings are very long, and fine opportunities for Study. They are cool and pleasant. But I have not improved my Time, properly. I have dozed and sauntered away much of my Time. This morning is very fine. The clear sky, the bright sun, the clean Groves and Grass, after so fine a Rain are very pleasant. But the Books within this Chamber have a much better Title to my Attention than any of the rural scenes and objects without it. I have been latterly too much in the World, and too little in this Retreat. Abroad, my Appetites are solicited, my Passions inflamed, and my Understanding too much perverted, to judge wisely of Men or Things. But in this Retreat, where neither my Senses nor Appetites nor Passions are excited, am able to consider all Things more coolly, and sensibly. I was guilty of rash and profane Swearing, of rough <and indecent> Virulence vs. the Characters of Goffe, J. Russell, Lieutenant Governor, &c. Not but that there have been Faults in their Characters and Conduct, that every honest Man ought to resent.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-06-20

Saturday June 20th. 1761.1

I have been interrupted from Reading this Institute ever since Feby. Amidst the Dissipations of Business, Pleasure, Conversation, Intrigue, Party &c. what mortal can give Attention to an old latin Institute of the Cannon Law? But it is certainly worth while to proceed and finish it, as I have already been 2/3 thro it.
1. This second entry so dated is from D/JA/4, JA’s desultory record of studies. The “Institute” here mentioned is Lancelotti’s compilation of canon law; see entries of 27 Jan., above, and 17 Oct., below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-07-07

July 7th. 1761.

Dined at Deacon Hills, with Sam Quincy and his Bride,1 and with Mr. Cushing a Representative of Salisbury. Cushing seems a fair minded Countryman. Some free and friendly Conversation passed between Henry Hill and his father, about Advancement, and stock and setting up, and giving £1000 a Year. Henry said You ought to give me £1000 a Year or 10,000 right out, and then I maintain myself. You must give me Money or learn me to get it, or why did you make me? I’le go back again, &c.
Drank Tea, at Major Nobles, with Coll. Quincy, Deacon Whitte• { 219 } more, and the Man who is sued to this Court. I’ve forgot his Name. All in Consultation about defending their Lands in the Eastward.
1. Samuel Quincy had married Hannah Hill of Boston, 16 June 1761 (Salisbury, Family-Memorials, 1:358).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-08-01

Augt. 1st.

I am creating Enemies in every Quarter of the Town. The Clarks hate. Mother Hubbard, Thayer, Lamb, Tirrell, J. Brackett. This is multiplying and propagating Enemies, <too> fast. I shall have the Ill-Will of the whole Town.1
Daniel White, Moses Adams.—This will not do.
Daniel Prat vs. Thos. Colson.—This Action was brot by Plaintiff vs. Colson as Administrator, on the Estate of Mr. Bolter, for Non-Performance of a Covenant of Indenture. Prat was a poor, fatherless Child and his Mother Unable to provide for him, bound him an Apprentice to Mr. Bolter. He was then under 10 Years of Age, and so was bound for Eleven Years, and some odd Months. In Consideration of this very long and unusual Term of Apprenticeship his Master covenanted to teach him to read, write and Cypher, and to teach him the Trade of a Weaver. But we <contend> complain that he never taught us either to read, write or Cypher, or to weave. Call the Proof.
The Law, Gentlemen, is extreamly tender and indulgent to such Actions as these. For such is the Benignity and Humanity of the English Constitution that all the weak, and helpless, and friendless Part of our Species are taken under its Peculiar Care and Protection. Women, Children, and Especially Widows and fatherless Children, have always, from the Compassion of the Law peculiar Priviledges and Indulgences allowed them. Therefore as a poor, fatherless, and friendless Child the Law would allow great Indulgence and Lenity to this Plantiff.
But he is to be favoured for Another Reason. Because the English Law greatly favours Education. In every English Country, some sort of Education, some Acquaintance with Letters, is necessary, that a Man may fill any station whatever. In the Countries of slavery, and Romish superstition, the Laity must not learn to read, least they should detect the gross Impostures of the Priesthood, and shake off the Yoke of Bondage. But in Protestant Countries and especially in England and its Colonies, Freedom of Enquiry is allowed to be not only the Priviledge { 220 } but the Duty of every Individual. We know it to be our Duty, to read, examine and judge for ourselves, even of ourselves what is right. No Priest nor Pope has any Right to say what I shall believe, and I will not believe one Word they say, if I think it is not founded in Reason and in Revelation. Now how can I judge what My Bible justifies unless I can read my Bible.
The English Constitution is founded, tis bottomed And grounded on the Knowledge and good sense of the People. The very Ground of our Liberties, is the freedom of Elections. Every Man has in Politicks as well as Religion, a Right to think and speak and Act for himself. No man either King or Subject, Clergyman or Layman has any Right to dictate to me the Person I shall choose for my Legislator and Ruler. I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any Man judge, unless his Mind has been opened and enlarged by Reading. A Man who can read, will find in his Bible, in the common sermon Books that common People have by them and even in the Almanack and News Papers, Rules and observations, that will enlarge his Range of Thought, and enable him the better to judge who has and who has not that Integrity of Heart, and that Compass of Knowledge and Understanding, which form the Statesman.
Mem[orandum]. To ask Seth Copeland, whether his Father White has a Copy of his Fathers Will? How came Eb. White possessed of that old Deed to his father, and how came Tho’s White to have it? and whether he Tho’s White has a Copy of that Deed. And Q[uery] of whom Capt. Thayer bought his share of the Landing? and of whom Holbrook bought his share of the Landing? And whether the Beech and Flatts, where Thayers and Holbrooks Wharffs now are, ever belonged to Tho’s White the Testator.
1. The several semidetached entries that follow may have been written any time from 2 Aug. to 9 Sept. 1761.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0009-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-09-10

Septr. 10th. 1761.

Spent Evening at Zabs with the Parson.
Wibirt. I have seen a Picture of Oliver Cromwell, with this Motto under it—

Careat successibus opto

Quisquis ab Eventu, facta notanda putat.1

I pray that he may want success, who thinks that Deeds are to be estimated from their Event, their success. Oliver was successful but not prudent nor honest, nor lawdable nor imitable.2
{ 221 }
A certain Romish Priest had five young Nuns, committed to his Charge, i.e. he was appointed the Confessor to them. And after a while they all five proved with Child by him. He was summoned into the spiritual Court, to answer to the Charge of Fornication. The Judge told him he was charged with a criminal Correspondence with all five of the Nuns that had been entrusted to his Care. The Priest replies, Quinque mihi tradidit Dominus Talenta, Et Ecce alia quinque super lucratus sum.—The Judge was so well pleased with his Confession that he said Remittuntur tibi Peccata tua, Abi in Pace.
1. From Ovid’s Heroids, according to CFA (JA, Works, 2:132, note).
2. It is impossible to tell from the MS whether or not the diarist intended to attribute to Parson Wibird the facetious story told in the paragraph that follows. See Matthew, 25:20.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0010-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-10-17

Octr. 17th. 1761.

Read in Just[inian] and Lancelot.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0010-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-10-17

Octr. 17th. 1761.1

I began Lancelotts Institute last Jany., and have read no farther than Lib[er] 3. Ti[tulus] 8. De Exceptionibus et Replicationibus.
1. This entry, the second so dated, is from D/JA/4, JA’s journal of studies.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0010-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-10-18

Octr. 18th. 1761. Sunday.

Arose at 6. Read in Popes Satyrs. Nil Admirari &c. I last night read thro, both of Dr. Donnes Satyrs versifyed by Pope. Was most struck with these Lines

Bear me some God! Oh! quickly bear me hence

To wholsome solitude the Nurse of sense

Where Contemplation prunes her ruffled Wings

And the free soul looks down to pitty Kings.

Prayer! A post[ulant?]—Hands uplifted, and Eyes. A very proper Prayer for me to make when I’m in Boston. Solitude is a Personage, in a clean, wholsome Dress, the Nurse and Nourisher of sense. Contemplation a Personage, prunes, picks, smooths. Is she an Angell or a Bird—ruffled, rumpled, rugged, uneven, tumbled. Free soul, not enslaved, unshackled, no Bondage, no subjection, looks down, pitties George, Louis, Frederick, Phillip, Charles, &c.1
Among the numberless Imperfections of human Nature and society, there is none that deserves to be more lamented, because there is none that is the source of greater Evils, than the Tendency of great { 222 } Parts and Genius, to imprudent sallies and a Wrong Biass.2 If We move back, thro the History of all ages and Nations, we shall find, that all the Tumults, Insurrections, and Revolutions, that have disturbed the Peace of society, and spilled oceans of Blood, have arisen from the giddy Rashness and Extravagance of the sublimest Minds. But in those Governments where the People have much Power, tho the best that can be found, the Danger from such spirits is the greatest of all. That unquenchable Thirst of superiority, and Power which, in such Governments, inkindles the Lust of Popularity, often precipitates Persons of [the] Character I describe, into the wildest Projects and Adventures, to set the World aware of their Parts and Persons, without attending to the Calamities that must ensue. Popular orators are generally opposite to the present Administration, blaming public Measures, and despizing or detesting Persons in Power, whether wise or foolish, wicked or upright, with all their Wit, and Knowledge, merely to make themselves the Idols of a slavish, timid People, who are always jealous and invidious of Power and therefore devoted to those that expose, ridicule or condemn it. Eloquence that may be employed wisely to persuade, is often employed wickedly to seduce, from the Eloquence of Greece and Rome down to the rude speeches of our American Town Meeting. I have more charity, than to believe, that these orators really intend an Injury to their Country; but so subtle are our Hearts in deceiving ourselves, we are so apt to think our own Parts so able and capable and necessary to the public, that we shall richly repair, by our Capacity in public station any Mischiefs we occasion in our Way to them. There is perhaps a sincere Patriotism in the Hearts of all such Persons; but it must be confessed, that the most refined Patriotism to which human Nature can be wrought, has in it an alloy of Ambition, of Pride and avarice that debases the Composition, and produces mischievous Effects.
As unhappy and blamable as such Persons are, the general Method in Use among Persons in Power of treating such spirits, is neither less unhappy, or blamable or hurtful. Such Minds, with a wise and delicate Management, may be made the ornaments and Blessings: but by an unskilfull and rough Usage, will be rendered desperate and therefore the Worst Blemishes and Plagues of their Country.
I therefore who am setting up for the Monitor of all future Legislators, a Character for which by my great Age, Experience, Sense and Learning I am well qualified, hereby advise the orator, to guard himself and his Country, against the Danger to which his Passions expose both, and the Man in Power, instead of thwarting, and insulting and over { 223 } bearing a Person who perhaps is full as wise and good as he, to [soothe?]3 and cool and soften by a mild obliging Behaviour, and a just Attention to the [former?].4
You have given me a fee.5 Now this Action may possibly bear 3 several Constructions.
1st. It might be considered as an Engagement in your suit vs. Cranch.
2d. It might be considered as an Engagement to give you, the Offer of my service in all Causes, before I should engage in favour of any other Person vs. you.
3. It may be considered, for aught I can say, merely as a sop for Cerberus, <to hinder> in short to silence me <in this Case, to> bearly6 to prevent my engaging on the other side, and to secure me as an Under Worker to fetch and carry, prepare Evidence &c.
Now I frankly tell you, when I accepted a fee from you, I accepted it in the second sense And in that alone. And I will tell you my Reasons. I had often heard you say that you once gave Mr. Prat a retaining fee, and you explain[ed] yourself thus—a fee <not to engage for> to be on your side in all Causes if you desired it, and not to engage against you, without first letting you know it. And you said further that whenever any Cause happened, after you gave that fee, you again engaged him &c. Another Reason was some time since when you apprehended a Dispute with Deacon Palmer you <told me you> desired me if any Person should apply to me against you that I would not engage without letting you know it, and if upon such Information you did not offer me more than the other Party had, I should be at Liberty to engage for him. And you then subjoined, to secure You to this, I will give you a retaining fee if you will take it. By the Way I then made this objection. “For another Person I may be employed to conduct the Cause but you can never entrust a Cause in the Hands of your Son and me, and to employ me in Conjunction with another, in Neglect of your Son, would not do.” You answered Yes, I should have the Conduct of the Causes for it was not proper a son [should?] argue a Cause for his father. Another Reason was you offered the fee to me as a retaining fee before you said one Word of any Particular Cause. Neither of Mr. Cranchs 3 suits, nor any Eastern Claims, nor Deacon Palmers Account nor any other Cause was mentioned to me, til after you had put the fee into my Hand, and with it you said if any Person shall apply to you against me, dont you engage till You let me [remainder missing]
Tuesday Night. Col. Q. If that House was builded in 1755 before { 224 } my first Wifes Death &c. &c. I am the most lost to all sense of Truth that ever Man was.7
1. There is little or no clue to the date of the three detached entries which follow and which conclude the entries in D/JA/7. One can only suppose they were written soon after the present entry, but because of variations in ink and intervals of blank space in the MS this is by no means certain.
2. This entry is a draft of another essay probably intended for a newspaper and probably incomplete as it now stands. No printing has been found.
3. MS: “sool.”
4. Reading uncertain; the final word may actually be crossed out and the sentence thus left incomplete.
5. This draft letter to an unidentified legal client (probably Col. Josiah Quincy) is badly scrawled and at some points barely legible.
6. Thus in MS.
7. Hannah (Sturgis) Quincy, Col. Josiah Quincy’s first wife, died in 1755, but the allusion to “that House” is obscure.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0011-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-11-10

Novr. 10th. 1761.1

Another Year is come round, and I can recollect still less Reading, than I could last Novr. The Increase of my Business, within 12ve months, has been nothing. I drew fewer Writs last October Court than I drew the October Court before, tho I drew an uncommon Number at both.—Yet I have advanced a few Steps. Have procured my Brother, his office, abated Nathan Spears Writ, Battled it with Capt. Thayer at Majr. Crosbeys, recovered of Jo. Tirrell for Lambard, recovered of Lawrence for Tirrell, abated Kings Writ, conducted the Pet[ition] vs. Tav[erns]. All These Things have been done in one Year. Besides have bought some Books &c. but have read but little Law.
This morning I have been Reading Archbp. Sharps sermon, To the Upright there ariseth Light in the Darkness. His Character of the Upright man, &c. Same day read a Number of his sermons in his first Volume. He is a moving, affectionate Preacher—devotional, more than Tillotson, but not so moral.2
1. This and the two following entries are from JA’s journal of studies, D/JA/4, and conclude the entries in that booklet except for a single one made eleven years later (21 Nov. 1772, q.v.).
2. JA owned a collection of the very popular Works of John Sharp, Archbishop of York, in 7 vols., London, 1754 (Catalogue of JA’s Library).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0011-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-11-14

Novr. 14th. 1761.

Brother Quincy and I were Sworn, before the Superiour Court.1 It is now more than five Years since I began the study of the Law. And it is about three Years, since I was sworn at the Inferiour Court.
1. “Upon a motion made by Jeremy Gridley Esqr. the Oath of an Attorney by the province Law prescribed was administred to Messrs. Samuel Quincy and John Adams in Order to their practising in this Court” (Superior Court of Judicature, Records, 1760–1762, p. 239). For the attorney’s oath, adopted in 1701, { 225 } see Province Laws, 1:467. In his Autobiography JA merged his admission as an attorney in the Superior Court with his admission as a barrister the following year.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0011-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-11-20

Novr. 20th. 1761. Monday.

This day removed to my Chamber, and made a Fire. The Forenoon was Spent in Conversation with Zab, in walking to Dr. Turners, and up Pens Hill, and this afternoon in Conversation with Grindal Rawson and Zab at Mrs. Marshes. Yet I have caught several snatches of Reading and Thinking, in Blackstone, Gilbert &c. But I, as usual, expect great Things from this Chamber, and this Winter.1
1. This entry fixes the date of JA’s fitting out and establishing himself in his law office in the house now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace, which he had inherited from his father (see entry of 24 Oct. 1762, note) and which the Savils must by now have vacated. The law office was in the southeast room on the ground floor and JA opened a new doorway into it from the street. During the 19th century the doorway was boarded over but it has since been restored. See Waldo C. Sprague, The President John Adams and President John Quincy Adams Birthplaces, Quincy, 1959 (unpaged).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-06-05

June 5th. 1762.1

Rode from Bass’s to Secretary Olivers, in Company with Judge Oliver.2 The Judge soon opened upon Politicks. Says he, Major Stock-bridge informs me, that Coll. Ruggles makes a very good Speaker. He has behaved to universal approbation.
Soon afterwards, the Judge said, I never knew so easy an Election in my Life. Some of the Bar interest themselves, very much in the Matter. One Gentleman has interested himself most infamously, advanced that to be Law in the House which is not Law.—That the Judges cant set in the House of Commons is certain because there is an Act of Parliament against it. But the Judges may set and vote in the House of Lords—i.e. they may if they are Peers. Ld. Mansfield—think he dont set and vote.3—How can the Bar expect Protection from the Court, if the Bar endeavours to bring the Court into Contempt. He is forever abusing the Court. He said not long since in the Representatives Room, that take all the superiour Judges and every Inferiour Judge in the Province, and put them all together and they would not make one half of a Common Lawyer.
I said upon this “That was a distracted Speech. It is a pitty, that Gentleman was not better guided. He has many fine Talents.” The Judge replyed quick, I have known him these 20 Years and I have no opinion of his Head or his Heart. If Bedlamism is a Talent he has it in Perfection.4
{ 226 }
He will one Time say of the Lieutenant Governor, that he had rather have him than any Man he knows, in any one office, and the next Hour will represent him as the greatest Tyrant, and most despicable Creature living.
I have treated him with as much Friendship as ever I did a stranger in my Life, and he knows very well how he has treated me. I blush even to think of what he has said to me.
I have him in the Utmost Contempt. I have the Utmost Contempt of him. I had as live [lief] say it to him as not. I have the Utmost Contempt of him.
I have been twelve Years concerned in the Executive Courts, and I never knew so much ill Usage, given to the Court by all the Lawyers in the Province put it all together for all that Time, as I have known him give in one Term.
The origin of all his Bustle is very well known. I heard a Gentleman say he would give his oath, that Otis said to him if his father was not made a Judge, he would thro the Province into flames if it cost him his Life. For that one Speech, a Thousand other Persons would have been indicted.
1. First entry in D/JA/8, a stitched gathering of leaves in a paper cover evidently added later and docketed by CFA: “Paper book. No. 8.” At some unknown time this booklet strayed from the Adams Papers and was returned with an accompanying letter from Charles P. Greenough to CFA2, 2 July 1913, saying: “I found the enclosed among my papers and it occurred to me that you might be interested. I can’t for the life of me remember where and when I got it.” Three days later CFA2 sent on the estray with a note to Worthington C. Ford at the MHS, remarking that “The whole thing is very mysterious and very unpleasant.” (Greenough was a Boston autograph collector. The letters here quoted are in the Adams Papers, Fourth Generation.)
The present booklet contains only a handful of scattered entries dating from June to Dec. 1762. Little documentation survives to fill the seven-month gap between the last preceding Diary entries and the beginning of D/JA/8, and very little either to fill the gaps in the latter. In the spring JA was concerned with the sale by the town of its South Commons (see Braintree Town Records, p. 383–384, 386). By fall he was actively courting Miss Nabby Smith of Weymouth (see his letter of 4 Oct. 1762, Adams Papers). He was also much occupied this year with improving the property he had inherited from his father in 1761 (see entry of 24 Oct., below).
2. Peter Oliver, Harvard 1730, a judge of the Plymouth co. Court of Common Pleas since 1747 (later chief justice of the Superior Court of Judicature and an eminent loyalist), was a younger brother of Andrew Oliver, secretary of the Province (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:737–763).
3. The dash in this sentence has been supplied to clarify it. Oliver is discussing the election of a speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in the session that had begun on 26 May. Though James Otis Sr. was unanimously elected to succeed himself in this office, he declined to serve because “his living at such a Distance rendered his constant Attendance very uncertain.” Thereupon Timothy Ruggles was nominated and elected (Mass., House Jour., 1762–1763, p. 5). The account of this incident in Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:207–208, confuses Otis Sr. with Otis Jr. But of course it was the younger { 227 } Otis who Oliver thought had “interested himself most infamously” in attempting to block Ruggles’ election on the ground that judges ought not to sit in the House. (Ruggles was chief justice of the Worcester Court of Common Pleas.)
4. Oliver’s observations, though not in quotation marks, no doubt extend through the end of this entry.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-06-08

June 8th. 1762.

Went to Taunton Court. To the Land of Leonards. Three Judges of the Common Pleas of that Name, each of whom has a Son, who was bred at a Colledge.
The Honl. George Leonard, the first Justice, seems to me arbitrary. He committed two old Gentlemen who were near 80 Years old, to the Custody of an officer, only for speaking loud, when they were both deaf and not conscious that they did speak loud. A Check, a Reproof, an Admonition, would have been enough.
He was unwilling that the sessions should adjourn for an Hour to take the Verdict of the Jury, in a Tryal upon a Presentment of a Riot, but would have had that Jury kept together all Night, till the Court should set again next Morning. No other Court in the Province, Superiour nor Inferiour, would have thought of keeping that Jury up.
He broke in most abruptly upon Bob Paine. He did not think it was right to run out against the Kings Witnesses. For his Part He did not love to hear it.—Three or four Times over—&c. Thus the hauty Tyrant treats the County.
I lodged the first Night at Corsmans [Crossmans], the second at Major Leonards of Rainham and the third at Captn. Cobbs with Paine. I dined the first day I was there wednesday at Captn. Cobbs with Coll. Otis and Paine, and the second at Coll. Whites. Drank Tea once at Coll. Whites with the three young Leonards, George, Zeph. and Daniel,1 and I spent two Evenings at Cobbs with Coll. Otis, and Paine. And I rode from Taunton to Milton, with Coll. Otis. He is vastly easy and steady in his Temper. He is vastly good humoured and sociable and sensible. Learned he is not. But he is an easy, familiar Speaker. He gave me many Anecdotes both of his Law and Politicks.
1. Daniel Leonard, Harvard 1760, attorney, loyalist, and author of the “Massachusettensis” papers, 1774–1775, to which JA replied over the name “Novanglus.” On the Leonards and their circle (including a number of the persons mentioned here), see Ralph Davol, Two Men of Taunton, Taunton, 1912, passim.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-08-15

Aug. 15th. 1762.

Reading, Thinking, Writing—have I totally renounced all three? Tempora mutantur, et nos mutamur in illis. Yesterday I found in some { 228 } of Crafts Books of Heraldry, a Coat of Arms given by Garter, King at Arms, about 130 Years ago, to one William Adams of the Middle Temple, Counsellor at Law. It consists of Three Martlets sable, on a Bend between two O’s—bezants.
Jus et Libertas. Jus suum cuique tribuatur. Ope summâ, et alacri Studio, Leges accipite.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-10-22

October 22nd. 1762.

Spent last Monday in taking Pleasure, with Mr. Wibird. Met him in the Morning at Mr. Borlands, rode with him, to Squantum, to the very lowest Point of the Peninsula, next to Thompsons Island, to the high steep Rock, from where the Squaw threw herself, who gave the Name to the Place.1 It is an hideous Craggy Precipice, nodding over the Ocean forty feet in hight. The Rocks seem to be a vast Collection of Pebbles, as big as hens Eggs, thrown into melted Cement, and cooled in. You may pull them to Pieces with your Fingers, as fast as you Please.
Various have been the Conjectures of the Learned, concerning this sort of Rocks. Upon this Part of the Peninsula, is a Number of Trees, which appear very much like the Lime Tree, of Europe, which Gentlemen are so fond of Planting in their Gardens for their beauty.
Returned to Mr. Borlands, dined, and after noon rode to Germantown, where we spent our Evening. Deacon Palmer shewed us his Lucern, growing in his Garden, of which he has cutt, as he tells us, four Crops this Year. The Deacon had his Lucern seeds of Mr. Green-leaf, of Abington, who had his of Judge Oliver. The Deacon watered his but twice this summer, and intends to expose it uncovered, to all the Weather of the Winter for a fair Tryal, whether it will endure our Winters or not. Each of his four Crops had attained a good Length. It has a rich fragrance for a Grass. He shewed us a Cut of it, in “Nature displayed,” and another of St. Foin, and another of Trefoil. The Cut of the Lucern was exact enough. The Pod in which the seeds are is an odd Thing, a kind of Rams horn or [straw?].
We had a good deal of Conversation upon Husbandry. The Deacon has about 70 Bushells of Potatoes, this Year on about 1/4 of an Acre of Ground.
Trees of several sorts considered. The wild Cherry Tree. Bears a Fruit of some Value. The Wood is very good for the Cabinet-Maker, and is not bad to burn. It is a tree of much Beauty. Its leaves and Bark are handsome, and its shape.—The Locust, good Timber, fattening to soil, by its Leaves, Blossoms &c. Good Wood, quick growth, &c.—The { 229 } Larch Tree. There is but one in the Country, that in the Lieutenant Governors Yard at Milton. It looks somewhat like an Evergreen but is not. Sheds its Leaves.
I read in Thompsons Travels, in Turkey in Asia, mention of a Turpentine called by the Name of the Turpentine of Venice, which is not the Produce of Venice but of Dauphinè, and flows from the Larch Tree. It is thick and balsamic and used in several Arts, particularly that of Enameling.
1. On the legend from which the neck of land still known as Squantum (forming the eastern shore of the mouth of the Neponset River) was supposed to have derived its name, see Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 20, note.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-10-23

Octr. 23rd. 1762.

At my Swamp. Saw several Ginger Bushes. They Grow in Bunches like Willows and Alders, in low Grounds, between Upland and Meadows. They grow Eight feet high, and about an Inch thro at the Butt. They have Bark of a dark Colour, speckled over with little, white rough Spots, near the Ends of the Bows [Boughs] they branch out into a Multitude of little Sprigs. The Bush I saw had shed all its Leaves. All over the Branches and sprigs, are little fresh Buds at this season. It has a spicy Taste. The Spriggs and Buds and Bark have a spicy Taste.
Tirrell has cleared away all the Trees and Bushes, Willows, Alders, Arrow Wood, Dog Wood, Briars, Grape Vines, Elms, Ashes, Oaks, Birches, &c. that grew upon the Brook and burned them.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-10-24

Octr. 24th. 1762.

Before [sun]rise. My Thoughts have taken a sudden Turn to Husbandry.1 Have contracted with Jo. T[irrell?] to clear my swamp and to build me a long string of stone Wall, and with Isaac [Tirrell?] to build me 16 Rods more and with Jo Field to build me 6 Rods more. And my Thoughts are running continually from the orchard to the Pasture and from thence to the swamp, and thence to the House and Barn and Land adjoining. Sometimes I am at the orchard Ploughing up Acre after Acre and Planting, pruning Apple Trees, mending Fences, carting Dung. Sometimes in the Pasture, digging stones, clearing Bushes, Pruning Trees, building Wall to redeem Posts and Rails, and sometimes removing Button Trees down to my House. Sometimes I am at the old swamp, burning Bushes, digging stumps and Roots, cutting Ditches, across the Meadow, and against my Uncle, and am sometimes at the other End of the Town, buying Posts and Rails, to { 230 } Fence against my Uncle and against the Brook, and am sometimes Ploughing the Upland, with 6 Yoke of oxen, and planting Corn, Potatoes, &c. and digging up the Meadow and sowing onions, planting cabbages &c. &c.
Sometimes I am at the Homestead running Cross Fences, and planting Potatoes by the Acre, and Corn by the two Acres, and running a Ditch along the Line between me and Field, and a Fence along the Brook [against] my Brother and another Ditch in the Middle from Fields Line to the Meadow. Sometimes am Carting Gravel from the Neighboring Hills, and sometimes Dust from the streets upon the fresh Meadow. And sometimes plowing, sometimes digging those Meadows, to introduce Clover and other English Grasses.
1. Deacon John Adams had died 25 May 1761. Under his Will, which was proved 10 July 1761 (copy in Adams Papers, Wills and Deeds), JA received a smaller bequest than his younger brothers because he had been given “a Libberal Education.” He did, however, come into possession of substantial property: the cottage occupied by Dr. Savil and now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace, a barn, and 10 acres of adjoining land, together with some 30 acres of orchard, pasture, and woodland elsewhere in the town. His brother Peter Boylston inherited the Deacon’s homestead (the John Adams Birthplace) and a larger farm, which in 1774 JA consolidated with his own (JA, notes on the copy of his father’s Will in Adams Papers). As the present entry suggests, the young farmer’s improvements to his property began promptly, and though there were long intervals when public office kept him away from his farm, they ended only with his death.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-11-05

November 5th. 1762.

The Cause of Jeffries Town Treasurer of Boston and Sewal and Edwards and several others being suits for the Penalties arising by the Law of the Province for building and covering those Building[s] not with slate nor Tile but with shingles.1
Mr. Gridley made a Motion that those Actions should be dismissed because the Judges were all Interested in the Event of them. Two of the Judges vizt. Wells and Foster Hutchinson, being Inhabitants of Boston, and the other two vizt. Eliakim Hutchinson and Watts, having real Estates in that Town, to the Poor of which those Penalties are appropriated. After a long Wrangle, as usual when Trowbridge is in a Case, the Court determined to continue the Action, that Application might be made to the Governor and Council for Special Judges. Wells and Foster declining to set, and Watts too.
The Case of a Witness was mentioned in the Argument. A Witness cannot depose, when he is interested. A Juryman may be challenged who is interested. But Persons belonging to Corporations, are allowed for the Necessity to testify, in Cases where those Corporations are in• { 231 } terested. And Jurymen and Judges belonging to this Province sat in the Case of Gray and Paxton, tho interested, for the Necessity.
This Motion Mr. G. said could not be reduced to a Written Plea. He could not plead to the Jurisdiction of the Court. The Court of Common Pleas had undoubted Jurisdiction of the Cause but the Judges could not set because interested. Their Honours were not the Court of Common Pleas but the Justices of the Court of Common Pleas. The Court of Common Pleas was a Body Politic, an invisible system, a frame in the Mind, a fiction of the Law. The President and Fellows of H[arvard] Colledge are not H.C.
The Case in Strange was produced, in which Ld. Raymond went off the Bench, the Parish of Abbots Langley in which his Lordship lived being interested. An order of 2 Justices for the Removal of a Pauper, confined by the Sessions was carried to B.R.2 by Certiorari.
Authorities from Hobarts and Cokes Rep[orts] were produced, to shew the Tenderness of the Law for this Maxim that a Man shall not be Judge in his own Cause, and that an Act of Parliament vs. natural Equity as that a Man should be judge in his own Cause would be void.
Mem. After the Court had given Judgment Mr. Gridley moved for a Minute of the Reasons of the Judgment. Wells said the Court was not accountable to the Bar for their Reasons. But Otis said the Courts at Home never refused their Reasons for any Judgment when the Bar requested them. Because if the Bar are left ignorant of the Reasons the Court go upon, they will not know how to advise and direct their Clients. And after some Debate, the Clerk was ordered to minute the Reason for the Continuance, which was that three of the Judges apprehended themselves interested and so not a Court competent to try the Cause.
G. contended that if the Court should continue the Causes, they could not refuse setting on the Tryal, because, an Imparlance was a Judicial Act, and so an Assumption of Jurisdiction. F[oster] H[utchinson] said that Dismissing the Actions would be a Judicial Act, as much as Continuing.
1. From the names of the judges mentioned in the next paragraph it is clear that this case was tried in the Suffolk Inferior Court.
2. Bancus Regis or King’s Bench.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0004-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-11-30

Novr. 30th. 1762.

Last Thurdsday Night, at Cranch’s Wedding, Dr. Tufts, in the Room where the Gentlemen were, said We used to have on these Occasions, some good Matrimonial stories, to raise our spirits.1 The { 232 } story of B. Bicknal’s Wife is a very clever one. She said, when she was married she was very anxious, she feared, she trembled, she could not go to Bed. But she recollected she had put her Hand to the Plow and could not look back, so she mustered up her Spirits, committed her soul to G[od] and her Body to B. Bicknal and into Bed she leaped—and in the Morning she was amazed, she could not think for her Life what it was that had scared her so.
P.2 told a story of Elisha Marsh No. 2. when he was first married.
Q[uere]. The Humanity, The Utility, the Policy, the Piety of the sanguinary Laws against Robbery and Stealing.
1. Richard Cranch married Mary Smith 25 Nov. 1762.
2. This could be either Robert Treat Paine or, less likely, Joseph Palmer.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-12-28

Decr. 28th. 1762.

Mr. Cranch last fryday night discovered some Instances of his skill at a Bargain. He agreed to give Greenleaf £120 old Ten[or] for his Chaise. The Chaise is old, the Leather damnifyed thro careless Usage, the Wheels almost ruined, the spokes being loose &c., but G. asked that Price and he could not beat him down, he could not ask him to take less, because G. was poor, and it would look like Ungenerosity or Narrowness of Purse to desire it for less. This he was headstrong enough to do, against the Parsons repeated and enforced Advice. But a worse Instance of his Tameness and Credulity happened afterwards. G. offered him his Horse, told him the Horse stood him in £10 L.M.1 and was an excellent Horse in the Harness tho unpleasant in a saddle. Cranch believed every Word he said, and was so secret about his Bargain, that he would not make it before me, who was then at his House but he must finish it, abroad, without Questioning the Horses Virtues or Abilities, or asking any Questions about the Price. He is to give £50 for the Horse. I would not give £10, for he is dull and lean, and weak, looks meanly and goes worse.—Thus the Man was fairly cheated in Jockey language out of £50, in one Hour. Besides his Buying the Horse was a Piece of ridiculous Foppery, at this Time. He had no Occasion for one. He cannot use one much this Winter, and it will cost him 3 Times so much as that Horse is worth to keep him till spring.
Miserably bubbled by his own Vanity and Credulity.
1. New England “lawful money,” which was worth slightly more than seven times “old tenor” money.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-12-30

Boston. Decr. 30th.

At Goldthwaits office, spent 1/4 of an Hour with Lt. Govr. Hutch• { 233 } inson. The first thing he said was a Question to Goldthwait, what was the Date of the Earlyest Records of the County Court? Goldthwait answered 1670. His Honor replyed there were County Courts for 40 Years before that—and said he wanted to settle something in his own Mind, concerning the origin and Constitution of the Courts. That Adultery was punished with death, by the first settlers, and many other offences were made capital, that are not now so. That Commissioners were sent over by K[ing] C[harles] in 1665, to enquire into the Constitution of the Colonies, tho their Authority was not owned. Goldthwait said, there were a great many odd Entries. One of a Prosecution of a Man for taking 6d. for an Horse, a Braintree man too, as unjust and unrighteous. His Honor told of a Record of a Woman condemned, for Adultery, because a Man had debauched her when she was drunk, and of another of a Boy imprisoned for a Capital Tryal for some of their trifling capital Crimes, stealing from his Master or something, which Boy was liberated by the Commissioners of 1665.
The story of Prats Death was told. His Honor said it would be a Loss to his family. He was in a fair Way to have raised it. But the New Yorkers will be glad of it.—This to be sure was Familiarity and Affability! But Goldthwait cringed down, and put on the timid, fawning face and Air and Tone.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0008-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1763-02-01

Braintree Feby. 1st. 1763. Tuesday.1

Last Thurdsday afternoon, rode to Germantown, and there stayed at my friend Cs. till the last Night. Four Nights, and four days. Those 2 families well deserve the Character they hold of friendly, sensible, and Social.2 The Men, Women and Children, are all sensible and obliging.
Mem. The notable Anecdote of Coll. Josa. Quincy. The Hydrostatical Experiment. And the other of Mrs. Lincoln, equally curious and instructive. The Pinching, and the Sprinkling, &c.
Mem. The other Anecdote of Mr. Erving. He has prophesyed so long, and with so much Confidence that Canada would be restored to the French that, because he begins to see his Predictions will not be fullfilled, he is now straining his Invention for Reasons, why we ought not to hold it. He says, the Restoration of that Province can alone prevent our becoming luxurious, effeminate, inattentive to any Danger and so an easy Prey to an Invader. He was so soundly bantered, the other day in the Council Chamber, that he snatched his Hat and Cloak and went off, in a Passion.
{ 234 }
Mem. The other of a Piece sent to Fleet to be printed, upon the Unfitness of Mr. Mauduit to represent this Province, at the british Court, both in Point of Age and Knowledge. He is as that Writer says 70 Years old, an honest Man but avaricious, a Woolen Draper, a mere Cit, so ignorant of Court and public Business, that he knew not where the public offices were, and that he told Mr. Bollan, that he was Agent for New England. He says that all the other Agents laugh at this Province, for employing him. And that all Persons on that Side of the Water are surprized at us. That the Considerations on the present German War, were written by a Person unknown, who hired or persuaded Mr. Mauduitt to father it.3
Ob[servation]. The Character of Aunt Nell,4 exemplified. Mrs. Eunice5 told us the Catastrophe of two of her Teeth, she broke them out at Table in Company, and to avoid exposing her self, swallowed them.
I spent an Evening at Mrs. Palmers. Mrs. E[uni]c[e] was very sociable, she had the lead all the Evening. Gave us History’s of her Journeys with her Brother, to Connecticutt, to Barnstable, Plymouth, Middleborough, Norton, &c. Descriptions of Seats and Roads, and Thicketts, Characters of Persons, of both sexes, and the hospitable offices of strangers, &c., and above all the Tittle, Tattle of the Town of Taunton, what Families Visit, and what not. The little female Miffs, and Bickerings. Dr. Mclnsters [McKinstrys], McWaters’s, Fales, &c. &c.
The Temper and Habits of stale Virginity, are growing upon her. She is talkative. Q[uery], whether envious, sullen and passionate? She is no slanderer. She is tender of Characters and gives Merit its due Praise. The History of her Loves is curious, but not uncommon.
[ . . . ] or Di. was a constant feast.6 Tender feeling, sensible, friendly. A friend. Not an imprudent, not an indelicate, not a disagreeable Word or Action. Prudent, modest, delicate, soft, sensible, obliging, active.

Where all was full, possessing and possest

no craving Void left Aching in the Breast.

Books, we read 5 Sermons in Dr. Shirlock [Sherlock], and several Chapters in the Inquiry into the origin of our Ideas of the Sublime and the beautiful.7 The Chapter upon Sympathy, they all disapprove. The Author says we have a real Pleasure, in the Distresses and Misfortunes of others. Mem. To write a Letter to Sewal or Quincy, or Lowell8 on the subject of that Chapter.
{ 235 }
I employed however, too little of my Time in Reading and in Thinking. I might have spent much more. The Idea of M. de Vattell indeed, scowling and frowning, haunted me.
Q. Do we take Pleasure in the real Distresses of others? What is my Sensation, when I see Captn. Cunningham, laid up, with the Gout, and hear his plaintive Groans? What are the feelings of the Women, at Groanings? What is my feeling when I hear of an honest Mans loosing a ship at Sea? What when I hear [sentence unfinished]
1. First entry in “Paper book No. 9” (our D/JA/9), a stitched gathering of leaves containing a few entries in Feb. 1763, a draft of a newspaper article that could not have been written before late June 1763, and some undated entries. The entries are not in chronological order in the MS.
This booklet contains the only Diary entries surviving for the year 1763. Fragmentary lists of JA’s legal cases show that his practice was rapidly expanding, at least in the lower courts, and this year too he began to write with some frequency for the Boston newspapers. His surviving correspondence for 1763 is virtually all with Miss Abigail Smith of Weymouth.
2. The Cranches and Palmers. Mrs. Palmer was a sister of Richard Cranch.
3. In April 1762 the House voted to remove William Bollan, who had been Provincial agent in London since 1746 but was disliked by the Otises and others as a Churchman and a son-in-law of former Governor Shirley. He was replaced by Jasper Mauduit, a London woolen merchant and dissenter. Mauduit was dependent on his brother Israel, author of the tract mentioned in the text, for assistance, but their friends in Massachusetts failed to obtain a stipend for Israel as associate agent. The correspondence in Jasper Mauduit... 1762–1765 (MHS, Colls., 74 [1918]) makes clear the sentiments and maneuvers of all parties in this petty but complex affair. See also 15 Aug. 1765, below.
4. Unidentified.
5. Mistress (Miss) Eunice Paine.
6. One would like to believe that this refers to Abigail Smith, sister of the recently married Mary (Smith) Cranch. In the letters they exchanged at this time both Abigail and JA used the fanciful name Diana for her. But the preceding initial, which may be “H,” cannot be explained.
7. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Origin of Our Ideas of the Sublime and Beautiful, by Edmund Burke, was published anonymously in London, 1757.
8. John Lowell, Harvard 1760, of Newburyport, trained or still training in the office of Oxenbridge Thacher for the bar; later a member of the Continental Congress and a federal judge.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0008-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1763-02-05

Feb. 5th. 1763.

Memorabilia of this Week.
The Bar agreed upon these 4 Rules.
1st. That the Clerk call the Plain tiff, and if any Body answer, except the Plaintiff or some sworn Attorney, his Power be demanded, and no general Power in such Case be admitted.
2dly. That no Attorneys Fee be taxed for the future where the Declaration was not drawn by the Plaintiff himself, or some sworn Attorney.
3dly. That no attendance be taxed, unless the Party attend personally, or by some sworn Attorney.
{ 236 }
4. That no Attorney be allowed to Practice here unless sworn in this Court1 or in the superiour Court.
Mr. Gridley read these Rules to the Court as unexceptionable Regulations, agreed upon by the Bar. Mr. Otis arose and said he had the Credit of the Motion, but he never had moved for any such Rules as these, for they were vs. the Province Law, vs. the Rights of Mankind, and he was amazed that so many wise Heads as that Bar was blessed with could think them practicable, and concluded that he was for one, entirely against them. And said that all schemes to suppress Petty fogger’s must rest on the Honor of the Bar. Foster Hutchinson asked why then was the Court troubled with the Motion? Judge Watts said if the Bar was not agreed the Court could do nothing. And at last they determined to consider till April.
Thus with a whiff of Otis’s pestilential Breath, was this whole system blown away.
But the Barr was in a great Rage!
Thatcher said to K[ent], A[uchmuty] and me, “whoever votes for him to be any Thing more than a Constable let him be Anathema maranatha. I pamphleteer for him again? No. Ile pamphleteer against him.
K[en]t damned him and said he had been abused by him personally, in such a manner as he never would forgive, unless he made him more satisfaction, than he imagined was in his Power.
Thatcher moved, that in the Cards to be sent to the Judges, the Expression should be “The Bar, exclusively of Mr. Otis, invites,” and Auchmuty, Kent, Gridley and I, as well as Thatcher voted for it.
Auchmuty and Fitch were equally warm. They talked about renouncing all Commerce or Connection with him. Gridley talked about treating him dryly and decently.
Auchmuty said, the two Principles of all this were Popularity, and Avarice.
He made the Motion at first to get some of these Under strappers into his service. He could not bear that Q[uincy] and Auch. should have Underworkers and he none. And he objected to the Rules, to save his Popularity, with the Constables, Justices Story and Ruddock &c. and Pettyfoggers of the Town, and with the Pettyfoggers that he uses as Tools and Mirmidons in the House.
Mr. G. said he went off to avoid a Quarell, for he could not bear it. Such Tergiversation, such Trimming, such Behaviour.
K. and Auch. said they had born with his Insolence thinking him honest, tho hot and rash and passionate, but now he appeared to act against his Conscience.
{ 237 }
Recipe to make a Patriot2
Take of the several Species of Malevolence, as Revenge, Malice, Envy, equal Quantities, of servility, fear, fury, Vanity, Prophaneness, and Ingratitude, equal Quantities, and infuse this Composition into the Brains of an ugly, surly, brutal Mortal and you have the Desideratum.
The Life of Furio.
In Croatia. His Descent. Education, at school, Colledge, at the Bar. Historians relate that he was grossly slandered, by a story of a Bastard on a Negro, his Wrath at Plymouth, at Boston he Heads the Trade, brings Actions, fails, is chosen Representative, quarrells with Governor, Lieutenant [Governor], Council, House, Custom house officers, Gentlemen of the Army, the Bar, retails prosody, writes upon Money, Prov[ince] sloop.
1. The Suffolk co. Inferior Court of Common Pleas.
2. It is not clear whether this and the following squib on Otis were composed or merely copied by JA. The second has the appearance of being notes for a satirical piece to be developed more fully.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0008-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1763-02-10

Feby. 10th. 1763.

Belcher v. Hunt. This is an Action of Trover, for converting shingles to Hunts Use. The shingles were cutt upon Land which Jonathan White claims and has possessed for 20 Years.
There is a Question to be determined by the Court previously to the Tryal of his Action, vizt. whether a Title to Land can be given in Evidence, in the Tryal of these Actions of Trover.
Multa conceduntur per Obliquum quae non conceduntur de directo. 6. Rep. 47. Debitum et Contractus sunt nullius Loci. 2. Inst. 231.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0008-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1763-02-11

Feby. 11th. 1763.

Probate of Mr. Edwards’s Will, Coram Governor and Council. John Edwards, one of the Heirs at Law of Samuel Edwards, appealed from the Decree of the Judge of Probate, 1st. because said Saml. at the Execution of said Writing and long after was not, nor for a long time before had been of a sound and disposing Mind and Memory, but was non Compos.
Quaere. What is an Insanity, in Law? that disqualifies to make testament? and whether Saml. Edwards was so insane. Woods Inst. Page 336. Those who have not a sound, perfect and disposing Mem• { 238 } ory, for it is not sufficient that the Testator hath a Memory. 6. Rep. 23. Lunaticks in their Lucid Intervals may.
Dissertation on the word “perfect.” A perfect Memory exists not—i.e. a Memory retentive of every Idea that ever was in the Mind. Nor is the Man who has the strongest Memory always the fittest to make a Will. For the observation is very common that Men of the strongest Memories have not always the soundest Judgments. The Memory of Xerxes or of Caesar is not necessary to make a Will.
2nd. of James.
Our Case. I promise to pay A or order. I have paid A. and now I must pay the order too.1
1. At this point in the MS appears the draft of JA’s essay, signed “U.,” which was printed in the Boston Gazette, 18 July 1763. The draft is printed below under that date, following the other entries in this booklet, all of which were undoubtedly written earlier than the essay even in its draft form.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0008-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1763-02

Boston Feby. 1763.

This day learned that the Caucas Clubb meets at certain Times in the Garret of Tom Daws, the Adjutant of the Boston Regiment.1 He has a large House, and he has a moveable Partition in his Garrett, which he takes down and the whole Clubb meets in one Room. There they smoke tobacco till you cannot see from one End of the Garrett to the other. There they drink Phlip I suppose, and there they choose a Moderator, who puts Questions to the Vote regularly, and select Men, Assessors, Collectors, Wardens, Fire Wards, and Representatives are Regularly chosen before they are chosen in the Town. Uncle Fairfield,2 Story, Ruddock, Adams,3 Cooper, and a rudis indigestaque Moles of others are Members. They send Committees to wait on the Merchants Clubb and to propose, and join, in the Choice of Men and Measures. Captn. Cunningham4 says they have often solicited him to go to these Caucas, they have assured him Benefit in his Business, &c.5
Propr[ietor]s of Wrentham v. [Metcalf.]6
2 Levinz. Scroaggs [Scroggs] C.J. It ought not to be a general Rule, that Members of Corporations shall or shall not be a Witness. But where the Int[erest] is inconsiderable they may.
Thatcher. It is a Rule that the Heir apparent shall not tho a Rem[ainde]r man shall be admitted because the last has no present Interest. A Guardian shall not be a Witness in Cause for his Ward because he is Party to the suit.
{ 239 }
Auch[muty]. Proprs. Worcester v. Gates, the Inhabitants of Worcester were Admitted on Argument.
1. Thomas Dawes, a bricklayer and militia officer, lived in Purchase Street, which ran eastwardly off Sumner close to the South End wharves (Thwing Cat.). This was therefore the South End “caucus”; see note 5, below.
2. Presumably a relative of Samuel Adams, whose mother was born Mary Fyfield—a name spelled in a great variety of ways. JA frequently used “Uncle” or “Aunt” for an older person vaguely related to himself.
3. This is the first mention in the Diary of Samuel Adams the politician, with whom JA was to be closely associated for a dozen or fifteen years to come despite sharp temperamental differences between the two men. JA and Sam Adams had the same great-grandfather, the 1st Joseph Adams of Braintree, son of Henry Adams the immigrant. Sam Adams’ grandfather was John, a younger brother of JA’s grandfather, the 2d Joseph of Braintree (Bartlett, Henry Adams of Somersetshire, p. 58).
4. James Cunningham, glazier and militia officer; his wife was JA’s Aunt Elizabeth (Boylston) Cunningham (NEHGR, 7 [1853]: 147, 149; scattered Cunningham papers in MHi).
5. The foregoing description, though only hearsay, is so vivid as to have become famous. According to William Gordon, writing before 1788, the Boston “caucuses” had been long established by 1763. “More than fifty years ago, Mr. Samuel Adams’s father, and twenty others, one or two from the north end of the town, where all the ship business is carried on, used to meet, make a caucus, and lay their plan for introducing certain persons into places of trust and power. When they had settled it, they separated, and used each their particular influence within his own circle” by distributing ballots for the candidates agreed upon, &c. (The History of the Rise, Progress, and Establishment of the Independence of the United States of America, London, 1788, 1:365, note). Thus Sam Adams in some measure inherited his influence in these local political associations, the equivalent of ward clubs today, and at the time this Diary entry was written he was beginning to use that influence to fan the sparks of protest against royal authority into what became organized rebellion. The best account of the Boston caucuses, which were soon to emerge as the Sons of Liberty, is in Esther Forbes, Paul Revere, p. 119 ff.; see also John C. Miller, Sam Adams, Pioneer in Propaganda, Boston, 1936, passim. More detailed study of their membership and activities is still needed.
Elsewhere in the note cited above, William Gordon remarked that the terms caucus and caucusing were commonly used in Boston, “but my repeated applications to different gentlemen have not furnished me with a satisfactory account of [their] origin.” There is still no satisfactory account though numerous explanations have been proposed. John Pickering, who compiled the first collection of Americanisms, suggested that since the meetings Gordon described were held where “ship-business [was] carried on,” the word caucus “might be a corruption of Caulkers, the word meetings being understood,” and he found that this was a common opinion in Boston and Salem (A Vocabulary, or Collection of Words and Phrases ... Peculiar to the United States of America, Boston, 1816, p. 57). Whether correct or not, Pickering’s explanation is certainly more plausible than that preferred by the latest authority, the Dictionary of Americanisms, namely that caucus derives from medieval Latin caucus, after Greek kaukos, a drinking vessel.
The early spellings of the word render this learned explanation extremely doubtful. Before Gordon’s History no example spelled in the form that became standard in the 19th century has been found. Both the Dictionary of Americanisms and the earlier Dictionary of American English cite the form “West-Corcus in Boston” from the Boston Evening Post, suppl., 19 Aug. 1745, but the former authority rather surprisingly considers it probably “without significance.” To the contrary, it would seem to be very significant, since a little later { 240 } the caucus clubs were closely associated with districts of the town. The next recorded use is in a letter from Oxenbridge Thacher in Boston to Benjamin Prat in New York, without date but certainly written in 1762: “we daily see many of your predictions accomplished respecting the connections and discords of our politicians, corkusmen, plebeian tribunes, &ca., &ca.” (MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 20 [1882–1883]:48). In the present double use by JA both spellings are clearly “Caucas” in the MS, though “corrected” by CFA in printing the Diary. Two other early examples are worth citing. In the satirical song on James Otis entitled “Jemmibullero,” published in the Boston Evening Post, 13 May 1765, this line appears: “And Jemmy’s in the CAUCAS, and Jemmy’s in the REPS.” In a letter to James Warren, 22 Dec. 1773, JA wrote: “Yesterday, the Governor called a Council at Cambridge. Eight Members met at Brattles. This no doubt was concerted last Saturday, at Neponsit Hill [Governor Hutchinson’s residence in Milton], where Brattle and Russell dined, by Way of Caucass I suppose” (MHi: Warren-Adams Coll.). In the only text of this letter by JA that has been published, the spelling is regularized to “caucus” (JA, Works, 9:334).
6. Defendant’s name omitted in MS, but this case, an action of ejectment in Suffolk Superior Court, Feb. term, 1763, is reported more fully in Quincy, Reports, p. 36–37.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0008-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1763-02

Feb.

This Action of Trover is an Innovation, one of the new and subtle Inventions in Derogation of the Common Law, that my Lord Coke has treated with so much righteous severity. It is in its Effects and Consequences subversive of all real Actions. It will destroy one of the strongest securities of our landed Property, the Rule that all real Titles1 shall be tryed in the County where the Land lies. That it may be employed as an Instrument of endless Vexation to the poor People who live in distant Counties, who has the Honor of being the first Inventor I know not, but I hope your Honors will crush it as the illegitimate Production of a wanton Hour.2
It is true that, an incidental Question about a local Matter, may [be] decided, in the Tryal of a transitory Action—and it is equally true that, [a] Question may be tryed incidentally, by a Court that has no direct and original Jurisdiction of that Question. Multa conceduntur, per obliquum quse non conceduntur de directo. But this is never suffered but in Cases of Necessity—where Justice cannot be done without it. And This Necessity seems to have been the sole Foundation of my Ld. Holts Opinion in the Case of Brown and Hedges. His Opinion was that an Incidental Question about the Title of Land should not bar the Plaintiff, because if it should, a Man might commit Wastes and Trespasses in Ireland, then take his flight to England and Escape Justice, for no Proscess from any Court in Ireland could run into England: Remedy must be sought in England or no where. But in these Cases there is no such Necessity. Actions may be brought { 241 } in the County where the Lands lie, with the same Ease, and with much better Probability of fair and just Decision than out of them.
Dream of Mr. Pratt. He was seated on a Rock, in the Middle of the Sea, and reflecting on his Journey to N. York,3 leaving his family &c, when the Clouds began to rise from all Quarters of the Horison, and soon thickened and blackened over his Head. The Thunders began to roar And the Lightnings to flash. At last, the Clouds opened and a glorious Luminary, in the shape of an Angel, made its Appearance and addressed Mr. Prat in these Lines

Why mourns the Bard? Apollo bids thee rise,

renounce the Dust, and Claim [thy] native skies.

Minutes of Dr. Marshes Testimony.
I was sent for. Mr. Edwards knew me, asked after my Health, and called me by my Name.
Afterward he gave me, by Word of Mouth the Minute of his Will. He said he intended to give his Wife, the Improvement of his whole Estate during Life. The Thought it seems came into his Mind of giving her the Improvement during her Widowhood, or while she remained his Widow and bore his Name, but that Thought he had Memory and Judgment enough to disapprove, and ordered it be given her for Life.
And after his Wifes Decease, he ordered his Estate to be divided equally between his own and his Wifes nearest Relatives.
And when he was asked, who he intended to make his Executors, he replyed you two, looking to his Brother Edwards and his Wifes Brother Smith who were then present.
The Degrees of Insanity, are infinite from the wildest symptoms of fury, when nothing but Chains can withold the Patient from doing Violence to himself or others, down to some fits of Passion, or some irrational Pangs of Affection. There is perhaps, in every human Mind, in some appearance or another, some Spice or Degree of Madness. The Hero that murders millions to sate his Revenge or Ambition, may surely by the soundest Understanding be denominated a Madman. Yet Alexander, or Charles of Sweeden had no doubt, a sufficient soundness of Mind to dispose of an Estate by Will. Nor can a perfect Memory be demanded. A perfect Memory cannot be believed to exist. Even Xerxes and Caesar, who remembered every face and Name in their Armies, had not perfect Memories.
{ 242 }
Swift v. Vose.
Hobarts Reports, 134. Weaver * and Ward. Skirmishing. No Justification only Excuse, unless Utterly without fault or Negligence.
1. Strange, 596. Underwood v. Hewson. Defendant was uncocking a Gun, and the Plaintiff was standing to see it, it went off and wounded him, and at the Tryal it was held might maintain Trespass.
Thatcher.—
* Lords of Council’s order to skirmish.
Tilt Turnament. Masters of Defence &c.
Mem. Case of Ideot, Lunatick &c. answerable in Trespass tho not criminal.
Affectation runs thro the whole Man. His Air, his Gate, his Tone, his Gestures, his Pronunciation. There is no Steadiness of Eye or Feature.
Fitch’s Countenance is not Steady. He has a look of Jealousy, and of Diffidence. He has a look of Conceit, affectation, Suspicion, and Diffidence. His swell. His Puff. Gridley has a stedy and fixed face. His face is expressive. When he smiles, his whole face is lighted up. His Lips do not shew a smile when his Brows are frounding, and his Eye complaining. The Brow, the Eye, the Lips and the Voice all alike affected together.
Trowbridge. Oh says Mr. G. They object and say a ——. The officer he informs—why In that Case—redendo singula singulis.—Well—now—
To all young gent[lemen] between [10] and [20]4
Many of the great sages, Phylosophers and statesmen, ancient and modern, have thought that the most effectual Exertion of their Talent Indulgence of the Benevolence for Mankind was by contriving and recommending to youth, Plans of Education and study, to train them early to right Habits of Thinking and of Acting, both for their own private Happiness as well as for the Tranquility, Wealth, Grandeur and Glory of their Country. I who have as much Benevolence, as any Sage, whatever, and Talents enough to advize my own young Countrymen, beg leave to advize them, (lest any one should suffer for want of such Advice tho I must own it is generally well understood that they by all Means, avoid every Appearance of Regard to any of those Properties, formerly respected under the Name of Wit, Humour, sense, Learning, Temperance, Justice, Industry,5
The Cyropedia of Xenophon, and the Treatises of Milton and { 243 } Lock upon Education, tho they might, (Longitude and Latitude considered) be well enough, are yet manifestly useless, at this Time and in this Place. There is it must be confessed, a natural faculty in the human mind (whether it sprang from the Protoplast or any other source I leave to Metaphysitians), that distinguishes between true and false, fair and foul, Virtue and Vice &c—Now the great Aim of the abovementioned Writers on Education was to cultivate this faculty into the most delicate and exquisite Discernment: But believe me, This faculty is become in the Revolution of human Things not only useless, but destructive: believe me, the young man who is silly and obstinate enough to see and to say he sees, one spark of Parts or Virtues in Bluster and his followers e.g. shall with all the Benefactors to a man, be pronounced both a fool and a Knave: shall be opposed and abused on all occasions: e. contra if he sees, and says he sees, one fault, folly, Rashness, Indiscretion, Vice &c. in the same Persons or their Conduct, they and theirs will pronounce the same heavy sentence upon him. It is exactly so with the other side—if you have not a thourough Contempt for the Head and Detestation of the Heart of Bluster and all his followers, you are at once a seditious fellow, have no sense or Probity at all.6
So that the 1st Principle in Prov[incial] Education is to extinguish, stiffle, this most useless, troublesome, pernicious faculty, called the moral sense, [and] cultivate a total and absolute Indifference to Virtue and to Vice: In spight of natural Aversions press to your Bosom, with unbounded Confidence and Affection, the man who is of your side, after you have chosen any side, tho he may be prostitute and abandoned, destitute of every natural or moral Excellence.
Edwards’s Will.
Godolphins orphans Legacy. Part 1. C. 8. Page 23.7
2. Such as are Mad Persons can make no Testament during the time of their Insanity of Mind, no not so much as ad Pios Usus. Nay the Testament made at such a Time shall not be good, tho afterward the Party recover his former Understanding; howbeit, if such Lunatick Persons have any Lucida Intervalla, or Intermissions then during the Time of such Freedom from the Lunacy they may make their Testaments betwixt the fitts. And here note, that every Person is presumed to be of perfect Mind and Memory, untill the Contrary be proved. So that he that objecteth Insanity of Mind, must prove the same, for which [quotation breaks off thus in MS]
C. 21.
{ 244 }
Same Page 65. But regularly by the Laws and Customs of England, two Witnesses, without Exception, are requisite for the due Proof of a Testament and two are sufficient.
Swinbourne 77th. Page 78. Unless the Testator were besides himself but for a short Time and in some Peculiar Actions and not continually for a long space as for a Month or More, &c.
78. It is a hard and difficult Point to prove a Man not to have the Use or Understanding of Reason. And therefore, it is not sufficient for the Witnesses to depose that the Testator was mad or besides his Wits: unless they render a sufficient Reason to prove this their Deposition as that they did see him do such Things or heard him speak such Words as a Man having Reason would not have done or spoken.
78. lower down. If some Witnesses do depose that the Testator was of perfect Mind and Memory and others depose the Contrary, their Testimony is to be preferred which depose that he was of sound Memory, as well for that their Testimony tendeth to the favour And Validity of the Testament, as for that the same is more agreable to the Disposition of Nature, for every man is a Creature reasonable.
79. But if in the Testament there be Mixture of Wisdom and Folly it is to be presumed that the same was made during the Testators Frensy, insomuch that if there be but one Word sounding to Folly, it is presumed that the Testator was not of sound Mind.
Godolphin. Page 24. For it is a very tender and difficult Point to prove a Man not to have the Use of his Reason and Understanding; therefore it is not sufficient for the Witnesses to depose that the Person was mad, unless they render upon Knowledge a sufficient Reason therefor. Neither is one Witness sufficient to prove a Man mad, nor two in Case the one depose of the Testators Madness at one Time and the other of his Madness at another.
But in Contrary Depositions, those Witnesses are to be preferred, which depose that the Testator was of sound Memory: And if he Used to have Intervals of Reason and it be not certainly known, whether the Testament were made in or out of his fits of Lunacy; if no Argument of frenzy or folly can be collected by the Testament, it shall be presumed to be made during the Intermissions of the Lunacy, and so adjudged to be good.
One foolish Word may frustrate the Validity of the whole.
But if a Man who is of good and perfect Memory maketh his Will, and afterwards by the Visitation of God, he becomes of Unsound { 245 } Memory (as every Man is for the most Part, before his death) this Act of God shall not be a Revocation.
Dr. Groenvelt v. Dr. Burrell &c. Ld. Ray[mond] 252.
The Judge will not permit him to have a Copy of the Record if there was probable Cause of the Indictment.
There must be Evidence of express Rancour and Malice, for Innocence is not sufficient where it contains scandal or the Party has been imprisoned.
To be of sound and perfect Memory, is to have a reasonable Memory and Understanding to dispose of his Estate with Reason. 25.8
The Testators mind is the Testaments chief Essential.
Regularly, the Law will presume every man to be of sound Mind and Memory, and will cast the Onus Probandi on him who asserts the Contrary; which is but consonant to the Presumption of Nature itself.
1. MS: “Tiller”—a curious inadvertence.
2. The foregoing notes, like those in the following paragraph, evidently relate to the case of Gardiner v. Purrington, in Suffolk Superior Court, Feb. term, 1763; see Quincy, Reports, p. 59–62. The single other case that has been dated among the further detached legal notes below, that of Swift v. Vose, was settled in the same session of the same court (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79). These circumstances would seem to warrant dating this whole series of legal notes as Feb.–March 1763.
3. Benjamin Prat was appointed chief justice of New York in March 1761; JA describes in his Autobiography how the members of the bar “waited on” Prat to Dedham when he left for his new post.
4. Fragmentary draft of an essay intended for publication; no printing has been found. The figures in the salutation are illegible and have been guessed at; they are possibly “20” and “30.” The first sentence, though much rewritten, is still defective.
5. Sentence breaks off thus in the MS, and a short interval of space follows, but the ensuing paragraphs appear to belong to the same draft.
6. The dash has been inserted in this sentence to clarify it.
7. JA’s own copies of the works cited here and below in connection with the Edwards will case are among bis books in the Boston Public Library: John Godolphin, The Orphan’s Legacy: or, A Testamentary Abridgement...., 4th edn., London, 1701; Henry Swinburne, A Treatise of Testaments and Last Wills, 5th edn., London, 1728.
8. Here and in the following paragraphs JA is again quoting from Godolphin’s Orphan’s Legacy.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0008-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1763-07-18

[Draft of an Essay on Agriculture in the Boston Gazette, 18 July 1763.]1

Among the Votaries of Science, and the numerous Competitors for Fame and Estimation, Utility seems to have been remarkably neglected. The Utmost subtlety of Wit, and all the labours of pertina• { 246 } cious Industry have been employed by Mathematicians to demonstrate little, unimportant Geometrical Niceties, or in searching for Demonstrations of other Propositions, which there is not the least Probability will ever be found. Philosophers have employed the Advantages of great Genius, Learning, Leisure, and Expense, in examining and displaying before the World, the formation of Shells, and Pebbles, and Insects, in which Mankind are no more interested, than they would be in a laborious Disquisition into or sage Conjectures about the Number of sands in the Moon or of Particles in the solar system. Many learned Pens are employed, much Time spent and much Mischeif and Malevolence occasioned, by Divines about Predestination, [the] Original of Evil, and other abstruse subjects, that having been to no good Purpose under learned Examination so many Centuries may by this Time be well enough concluded unfathomable by the human Line.
But all this while, Agriculture, the Nursing Mother of every Art, Science, Trade and Profession in civilized society, has been most ungratefully despized. It has been too much so in Europe, but infinitely more so in America, and perhaps not the least so in the Massachusetts Bay.
With Advantages of Soil, and Climate, that few Countries under Heaven can presume to boast, will any intelligent Person believe, we do not raise our own Bread? Capable as we are of making easily and at a very small Expence many very wholesome, palatable, and delicate Liquors, will it be believed that we send abroad every Year, at a very great Expence, for others that are unwholesome, disagreable and indelicate?
When it is in our Power, without any Difficulty, to raise many other Commodities, enough not only for our own Consumption, but for Exportation, will it be credited without surprize, that we send every Year, allmost the whole Globe over, to import such Commodities for our own Use?
Yet all these Facts, incredible as they would seem to some worthy People, are indisputably true. But it cannot long continue to be true. The sources of our Wealth are dried away. And unless we seek for Resources, from Improvements in our Agriculture and an Augmentation of our Commerce, we must forego the Pleasure of Delicacies and ornaments, if not the Comfort of real Necessaries, both in Diet and Apparell.
The Intention of this Paper then is to intreat my worthy Countrymen who have any Advantages of Leisure, Education, or Fortune to { 247 } amuse themselves, at convenient opportunities, with the study, and the Practice too, of Husbandry. Nor let the narrow Circumstances of others who have Power to think and Act, discourage them from exerting their talents in the same Way, for

haud facile emergunt, Quorum Virtutibus, obstat

Res angusta Domi—

with all its Truth and Pathos, has done more Mischief in the World by soothing the Pride and Indolence of Genius, than it ever did good, by prompting the rich and Powerfull to seek the solitary Haunts of Merit to amplify its sphere.
In making Experiments, upon the Varieties of soils, and Manures, Grains and Grasses, Trees, and Bushes, and in your Enquiries into the Course and operation of Nature in the Production of these, you will find as much Employment for your Ingenuity, and as high a Gratification to a good Taste, as in any Business or Amusement you can chuse to pursue. The finest Productions of the Poet or the Painter, the statuary or the Architect, when they stand in Competition with the great and beautiful operations of Nature, in the Animal and Vegetable World, must be pronounced mean and despicable Baubles. The Mathematician, the Philosopher, the Chymist, and the Poet may here improve every Branch of their favorite sciences to the Advancement of their Health, the Increase of their Fortunes, and the Benefit of their Country.
But if I might descend without Presumption or offence to Particulars, I would recommend both the Theory and Practice of Husbandry, to Divines and Physicians, more than to any other orders.2 For the former having more Leisure and better opportunities for study than any Men, will find this an agreable Relaxation from the arduous Labours of their Profession, an excellent Exercise for the Preservation of their Health, a means of supplying their families, with many Necessaries, at a trifling Expence that might otherwise cost them dear; and an excellent Example of Ingenuity, and Industry, removing many Temptations of Vice and Folly to the People under their Charge. Besides that their Acquaintance with the sciences subservient to Husbandry, will give them great Advantages, and in the Prosecution of such Enquiries, they will find their sentiments Exalted, their Ideas of divine Attributes displayed in the scenes of Nature, improved, and their Adoration of the great Creator and his Providence increased.
Physicians have many Advantages not only of the World in gen• { 248 } eral, but of other liberal Professions. The Principles of those sciences which subserve more immediately their peculiar occupation are at the same Time the Foundation of all real [and] rational Improvements in Husbandry. Necessitated as they are to much Travel and frequent Conversations, with many sorts of People, they might, for their own Amusement and Diversion, remark the Appearances of Nature, and store their Minds with many useful observations, which they might communicate among their Patients, without the least loss of Time or Interruption to the Duties of their Profession.
These observations were occasioned by a late Piece in your Paper, signed H.P.3—Who was the Author of that Piece, what were his Intentions, in Writing, whether to do good or to do Evil, and why he chose that manner of conveying his Thoughts to the public, it concerns not me to enquire. His professed design is not only good but important. There is no subject, less understood, or less considered perhaps, by Men in general, in this Province, even of the liberal Professions, than the Theory of Agriculture. And the Writer, who should direct with success the Attention of inquisitive Minds, to that Branch of Learning, whether he intended to befriend the public or to blow it into flames, would certainly be the Occasion of much public Utility.
The particular subject which that Writer has chosen to recommend to the Consideration of the Province, promises, more fairly than any other, private Profit to the farmer and the Merchant, public Benefit to the Province, or perhaps Provinces in general, as well as to Great Britain, the Parent and the Protector of them all; whose society of Arts and &c. have discovered their kind concern for us, as well as their wise Care for their native Country, by offering Praemiums and Encouragements, for the Raising of this Commodity in New England as well as many other Ways. It is said that, “a Thousand Weight to an Acre is an ordinary Crop of Hemp.” And it has been said too, by good authority, that “an Acre of Land well tilled will produce a Tun Weight” and that “a Tun of it, is worth sixty Pounds lawful Money.” It is said also that “several hundred Thousand Pounds worth of foreign Hemp, are yearly expended in New England.” And it is said too, that “Hemp may be raised on dreigned Lands,” and that “if we can raise more than to supply our own Occasions we may send it Home.”
It was not without good sense, then that Mr. Plough Jogger undertook to recommend this Plant to the Enquiries of the Curious, the Tryal of Husbandmen, the Encouragement of Statesmen and the Industry of the Laborious.
{ 249 }
Give me Leave therefore to do myself the Honour, to claim the Merit with my Countrymen and their Posterity, of seconding without the least sneer or Banter, Mr. Ploughjogger, in his Attempt to introduce and recommend this subject so important to the Consideration and Industry of my fellow Countrymen, the Inhabitants of New England in General, and of this Province in Particular.
Hemp is a Plant of great Importance in the Arts and Manufactories, as it furnishes a great Variety of Threads, Cloths, and Cordage. It bears the nearest Resemblance and Analogy, to Flax, in its Nature, the Manner of its Cultivation, and the Purposes to which it serves. It must be annually sown afresh. It arises, in a little space of Time, into a tall, slim, shrub, with an hollow stem. It bears a small round seed, filled with a solid Pulp. Its Bark is a Tissue of Fibres, joined together with a soft substance, which easily rots it. There are two Kinds of Hemp, Male and Female. The Male only bears the seed, and from that seed arises both Male and Female.
The seed should be sown in the Month of May, in a warm, sandy, rich soil. They begin to gather it about [the first of August],4 the female being soonest Ripe. The Proofs of its Ripeness, are the alteration of the Colour of its leaves to Yellow, and its stalks to white. It must be pulled up by the Roots, and then bound in Bundles. The Male should stand 8 or 10 days in the Air, that the seed may ripen, which they afterwards get out, by cutting off the Heads and threshing or beating them. It must then be watered by laying it about a Week in a Pond, in order not to rot the Bark. I say a Pond, tho a Brook would be better if it did not give the Water an unwholesome Quality. After it is taken out and dryed the woody Part of the stem must be broken from the Bark which covers it, by crushing it in an Instrument called a Brake, beginning at the Roots. After it has been sufficiently broken, the small shivers must be swingled out, as we swingle Flax. When this is done it must be beat on a Block or in a Trough, with an Hammer or with Beetles, till it becomes soft and Pliable. When it has been well beaten, it must be heckled, or passed thro a toothed Instrument, like the Clothiers Comb, to seperate the shorter Tow, from that which is fit to be spun.
This is a very short Answer to Mr. Plough Joggers Inquiries, but if he or any other Person has a Curiosity to see a more particular Account of this Plant, (and give me leave to tell him and them there is not an Herb from the Cedar in Lebanon, to the Hyssop in the Wall, that can be studied to more Advantage) let them consult the Compleat Body of Husbandry, Chambers’s Dictionary, the Praeceptor and Nature delineated.
{ 250 }
To conclude Let the World in general consider, that the Earth, and the seas and the Air, are to furnish all Animals, with food and Raiment; that mere animal strength, which is common to Beasts and Men, is not sufficient to avail us of any considerable Part of the bountiful Provision of Nature; that our Understandings, as well as our Arms and feet, must be employed in this service. And Let the few who have been distinguished by greater intellectual Abilities than Mankind in general, consider, that Nature intended them for Leaders of Industry. Let them be cautious of certain Airs of Wisdom and superiority by which some Gentlemen of real sense and Learning, and Public spirit, giving offence to the common People, have in some Measure defeated their own benevolent Intentions. Let them not be too sparing of their Application or Expence, lest failing of visible Profit and success they expose themselves to Ridicule and rational Husbandry itself to Disgrace among the common People. Human Nature is not so stupid or so abandoned, as many worthy men imagine, and even the common People, if their peculiar Customs and Modes of thinking are a little studied, [are not] so ungrateful, or untractible, but that their Labours may be conducted, by the Genius and Experience of a few, to very great and useful Purposes. U.
1. This draft appears in the middle of D/JA/9, between entries dated in Feb. 1763, but it could not have been written before late June since it was evoked by a piece signed “Humphrey Ploughjogger” in the Boston Evening-Post, 20 June 1763. There is the strongest ground for believing that JA himself wrote this and the other Ploughjogger pieces that appeared in that paper this year, namely his own testimony, and that, accordingly, he was carrying on a dialogue with himself in the two leading Boston papers (though the draft itself shows that he first intended the present essay for the Evening Post rather than the Boston Gazette, where it eventually appeared). The question of his authorship of Ploughjogger’s mildly facetious essays, all of them written in rustic dialect and phonetic spelling anticipating the school of Artemus Ward, cannot and need not be gone into here, but see JA to CA, 13 Feb. 1792 (MHi), and also a list of JA’s writings compiled by his nephew William Smith Shaw, in the CFA Miscellany (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 327).
The draft as it stands in the Diary is very rough and has a number of additions at the end, some of them keyed into the text by asterisks and some not. It could hardly have been rationalized at all if a printed text had not been found which shows the order of the material as JA finally wished it. The present text follows that final order, but only a few of the many differences in phrasing between the draft and the newspaper version have been noted.
2. In the newspaper text JA added at this point: “without enquiring into the Truth of the Observation, that the Lawyers among us, are the most curious in Husbandry, which, if true, is unnatural and accidental.”
3. The newspaper text reads, instead: “These Reflections have been occasion’d, by a late Piece in the Evening-Post, signed Humphrey Ploughjogger.” The piece referred to appeared in the issue of 20 June and begins: “I arnt book larnt enuff, to rite so polytly, as the great gentlefolks, that rite in the News-Papers, about Pollyticks. I think it is pitty, they should know how to rite so well, saving they made better use ont. And that they might do, if they would rite about some• { 251 } thing else.” Ploughjogger then suggests a fresh topic. “What I’me ater is, to get some great larnt gentleman, who has been to Old Ingland, and knows how they raise Hemp there, and can read books about it, and understand urn, to print in your News, some direckshon, about it, that we may go to trying, for we cant afford to run venters, by working, may be, a month and then have nothing come of it for want of working right.”
4. Bracketed words supplied from the newspaper text for a blank in MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-01-24

1765. Jany. 24th. Thurdsday.2

Soon after I got to Boston, at Jany. Court Mr. Fitch came to me upon Change, and told me, that Mr. Gridley and he had something to communicate to me, that I should like, in Sacred Confidence however. I waited on Mr. Gridley, at his office, (after many Conjectures what the secret might be) and he told me, That He and Mr. Fitch had proposed a Law Clubb—a private Association, for the study of Law and oratory.—As to the Bar, he thought of them, as he did think of them— Otis, Thatcher, Auchmuty. He was considering, who was for the future to support the Honour and Dignity of the Bar. And he was determined to bring me into Practice, the first Practice, and Fitch too. He could easily do it, by recommending. And he was very desirous of forming a Junto, a small sodality, of himself and Fitch and me, and Dudley3 if he pleased might come, in order to read in Concert the Feudal Law and Tullies orations. And for this Purpose he lent me, the Corpus Juris Civilis in 4 Partes distinctum, eruditissimis Dionysii Gothofredi J.C. clarissimi notis illustratum, at the End of which are the Feudorum Consuetudines Partim ex Editione vulgata partim ex Cujaciana vulgata, appositae, as also the Epitome Feudorum Dionysio Gothofredo Authore.4
We accordingly agreed to meet the next Evening in one of Ballards back Chambers and determine upon Times, Places, and studies. We accordingly met the next Evening, Mr. Gridley, Fitch and I, and spent the whole Evening. Proposals were to read a Reign and the statutes of that Reign, to read Hurds Dialogues5 and any new Pieces. But at last we determined to read The Feudal Law and Cicero only, least we should loose sight of our main Object, by attending to too many. Thurdsday Nights were agreed on, and to meet first at Mr. Gridleys office. There we accordingly met on the Thurdsday Night following, and suffered our Conversation to ramble upon Hurds Dialogues, the Pandects, their Discovery in Italy by Lotharius in 1127, in the Reign of Stephen, upon Lambard de priscis Anglorum Legibus, in Saxon and Latin, upon Ld. Kaims [Kames], Mr. Blackstone &c. But we { 252 } agreed to meet the next Thurdsday night at Mr. Fitch’s, and to read the Three first Titles of the feudal Law, and Tullies oration for Milo.
1. This heading, written in a very large hand, is on the inside front cover of “Paper book No. 10” (D/JA/10), suggesting that JA planned to keep a separate record of the proceedings of this lawyers’ study club. But after a few entries in Jan.–Feb. 1765 and some fragments of a first draft of his essay on canon and feudal law, written for the club, the record breaks off. Very likely the “sodality” itself did. A couple of extraneous entries made in Aug. 1765 follow in D/JA/10, but the last half of this booklet consists of nothing but blank leaves.
For the year 1764 there are no Diary entries at all. Lists of legal cases among his own papers indicate that JA continued to expand his practice; for example, a note from him to Samuel Quincy, 2 Jan. 1764 (MHi:Misc. Bound MSS), lists about forty cases JA wishes Quincy to enter for him in Boston. During the spring of 1764 he served on a town committee to report a plan for repairing the highways by a tax (Braintree Town Records, p. 395–398). Most of April and part of May he spent with other patients at his uncle James Cunningham’s house in Boston undergoing the somewhat dangerous and extremely tedious process of inoculation against smallpox. His physician was Dr. Nathaniel Perkins, Harvard 1734, and JA’s letters during this period probably embody as detailed an account as exists of the preparatory regimen and actual process of smallpox inoculation in the 1760’s.
But the great event of 1764 was JA’s marriage to Abigail Smith of Weymouth. As early as February they were trying to fix a date; see Hannah (Storer) Green to JA, 20 Feb. 1764 (Samuel Abbott Green, An Account of Percival and Ellen Green and Some of Their Descendants, Groton, Mass., p. 56–57). They were married on 25 October.
2. This entry appears to be retrospective and should probably have an earlier date. The meeting of the sodality that actually occurred on 24 Jan. is recorded in the following entry, the second so dated.
3. Joseph Dudley, Harvard 1751; admitted attorney and barrister in the Superior Court, August term, 1762; died 1767 (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79; Harvard Quinquennial Cat. ).
4. It is not possible to tell which of the numerous editions of Denis Godefroy’s Corpus Juris Civilis, first published in 1583, the club was using. As usual, JA’s quotations, even when copying directly from a printed text, are careless.
5. JA acquired his own copy of Richard Hurd’s Moral and Political Dialogues (3d edn., London, 1765; 3 vols.) in 1769, and it remains among his books in the Boston Public Library. JA made a partial marginal digest of the book when he read it, but he wrote only one marginal comment. This appears at 3:40–41, where Hurd describes the awkward manners of the typical young man who has “been well whipped through one of our public schools.” He is, says Hurd, “An absurd compound of abject sentiments, and bigoted notions, on the one hand; and of clownish, coarse, ungainly demeanour, on the other! In a word, both in mind and person the furthest in the world from any thing that is handsome, gentlemanlike, or of use and acceptance in good company!” Beside this JA wrote: “An exact description of a Dartmouth educated Schollar.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-01-24

Thurdsday January 24th. 1765.

I rode to Boston on Purpose to meet at Fitchs. Gridley came. We read the 3 first Titles of the feudal Law, and We read Gothofreds Notes and We looked into Strykius for the Explanation of many hard Words in those 3 Titles—The Valvasors, Capitanii, Guardia and Guastaldi.1 This Strykius wrote an Examen Juris feudalis, by Way of { 253 } Question and Answer. His account of the original of the Consuetudines Feudorum is, that they were collected and written by Gerardus Niger, and Obertus, the Consulls of Milan.—We read also Part of Tully’s Milo—and are to read the 4th. and 5th Title of The Feudal Law, and the rest of that oration next Thurdsday night.
The Law of Inheritances in England originates in the Feudal Law. Gilberts Tenures originate there. Robinsons2 History of Scotland gives the clearest account of the Feudal system they say. Ld. Kaims has given us the Introduction of the Feudal Law in to Scotland.—Q. What say the Law Tracts and Dalrymple on this subject?
Gridley. Taylor observed to me when in England that no Books were more proper for Nisi prius oratory, than the Examiner, Craftsman and such Controversial Writings of the best Hands.
I expect the greatest Pleasure from this sodality, that I ever had in my Life—and a Pleasure too, that will not be painfull to my Reflection.
Milo was condemned and went into Banishment, at Marseilles. There He afterwards read the oration, which had been corrected and polished for his Perusal and sent to him by Cicero, for a Present and an Amusement. Reading it, he broke out “si sic ejecisses Marce Tulli barbatos Pisces non comedissem”—for he had been eating a sort of bearded Fishes, that he found at Marseilles.3
1. Latin text has “valvasores,” “capitanei,” “guardiae,” and “gastaldiae.” Strykius is Samuel Stryk, 17th-century German jurisconsult.
2. Silently corrected by CFA to “Robertson’s.” See entry of 21 Feb. and note 2 there.
3. Various versions of this incident are recorded. According to JA’s text, Milo said: “If you had thus delivered [your speech in my favor], Marcus Tullius, I would not have eaten bearded fishes [in Marseilles].”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-01-31

Thurdsday. Jany. 31st.

The snowy Weather prevented me from going to Dudleys. The Sodality however met and read the two Titles assigned, and assigned the three next vizt. the 6th. Episcopum, vel Abbatem veil Abbatissam, vel Dominum plebis feudum dare non posse. Tit. 7th. De Natura Feudi, and Tit. 8th. De successione Feudi.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-02-21

Thurdsday. February 21st. 1765.

At Boston, entertained the Sodality at Blodgets. We were never in better Spirits, or more Social. We began the 13th. Title of the feudal Law De Alienatione Feudi and read three Titles. Gridley proposed that we should mark all those Passages, which are adopted by the English Law, that when we come to read Ld. Coke we may recur back upon Occasion, to the originals of our Law.
{ 254 }
The 14th. Title is De Feudo Marchise, vel Ducatus vel Comitatus. Here therefore we see the originals of English Dignities, Marquisates, Dukedoms, Countys &c. The 15th. Title is an Maritus succedat Uxori in Feudo.
I quoted to my Brothers, the Preface to the Historical Law Tracts, “The feudal Customs ought to be the Study of every Man, who proposes to reap Instruction from the History of the modern European Nations, because among these Nations, public Transactions not less than private Property, were some Centuries ago, regulated by the Feudal system.— Sovereigns formerly were many of them connected by the Relation of Superiour and Vassal. The King of England, for Example, by the feudal Tenure, held of the french King many fair Provinces.”
I quoted also the sentiments of Rosseau, which are very inimical to the Feudal system.—“The Notion of Representatives, says he, is modern, descending to us, from the Feudal system, that most iniquitous and absurd Form of Government by which human Nature was so shamefully degraded.”1
Fitch. The Feudal system was military. It was a martial system—a set of Regulations (as Robinsons2 calls it) for the Incampment of a great Army—and it was a wise and good system, for a martial People in such Circumstances. For the feudal Connections and subordination, and services, were necessary for their Defence against the Inroads and Invasions of their Neighbours, &c.
Ego. I think that the Absurdity and Iniquity lies in this, that Nations at Peace and in Plenty who live by Commerce and Industry, have adopted such a system.
Gridley. There lies the Absurdity and Iniquity. And the observation you quote proves that Rosseau is shallow.
I might have quoted Ld. Kaims’s British Antiquities, who says—“It is the Plan of the feudal Law to bestow the whole Land property upon the King and to subject to him the Bulk of the People, in Quality of Servants and Vassals; a Constitution so contradictory to all the Principles which govern Mankind can never be brought about, one should imagine, but by foreign Conquest, or native Usurpation.” And in another Place he calls the feudal connection, the feudal Yoke.
These Epithets of absurd, iniquitous, unatural &c. are not very agreable to the Opinion of Strykius, who says in answer to the Question Unde Originem trahunt Feuda?—Certo modo et si formam feudorum genericam consideres, dici potest ex Jure Gentium. Hoc enim ratio naturalis, juncta necessitate publica, exigit, ut militibus potissimum Prasdia, ab Hostibus occupata, probene meritis concederentur sub { 255 } Conditione tamen fidelitatis, quo eo securior esset Respublica, et ad Patriam defendendam magis allicerentur.
In Milo We read from the 27th. to the 34th section in Davidsons Translation. We begin the Peroration next. We had Guthries and Davidsons Translations. In Point of Accuracy And Spirit Davidson’s is vastly Superiour.
Mr. Gridley produced a Book intituled in Herennium Commentarius, as an Introduction to Tully De Oratore—and read the Three sorts of orations, the Demonstrative, Deliberative and Judicial, and the several Parts of an oration, the Exordium &c.
Gridley. Our Plan must be, when we have finished the feudal Law, to read Coke Littleton, and after him a Reign and the Statutes of that Reign. It should also be a Part of our Plan, to improve ourselves in Writing, by reading carefully the best English Writers, and by Using ourselves to writing—for it should be a part of our Plan to publish Pieces, now and then. Let us form our Style upon the Ancients, and the best English Authors.
I hope and expect to see, at the Bar, in Consequence of this Sodality, a Purity, an Elegance, and a Spirit, surpassing any Thing that ever appeared in America.3 Fich [Fitch] said that he would not say he had Abilities, but he would say he had Ambition enough to hope for the same Thing.
1. A quotation from Jean Jacques Rousseau, Du contrat social (1762), a work of which JA eventually owned at least three copies, a pirated edition in French, Amsterdam, 1742 [i.e. 1762?], and two copies of the first English translation, A Treatise on the Social Compact, or the Principles of Politic Law, London, 1764; see Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 216. For an illuminating survey of JA’s intellectual relations with Rousseau, see Haraszti, JA and the Prophets of Progress, ch. 5, “Rousseau and the Man of Nature.”
2. That is, William Robertson’s History of Scotland, London, 1758–1759, a work with which JA was obviously not yet familiar.
3. CFA arbitrarily placed quotation marks around this sentence and thereby attributed it to Gridley. The attribution is probably correct, but the sentence could be a reflection of JA’s.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-02

[Fragmentary Draft of a Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law, February 1765.]

This Sodality has given rise to the following Speculation of my own, which I commit to writing, as Hints for future Enquiries rather than as a satisfactory Theory.1
The Desire of <Power><Power> Dominion, that encroaching, grasping, restless, and ungovernable Principle in human Nature, that Principle which has made so much Havock and Desolation, among the Works of God, in all the Variety of systems, that have been invented, { 256 } for its Gratification, was never so successfull, as in the Invention and Establishment of the Cannon and the Feudal Law.—By the former the most refined, sublime, extensive, and astonishing Constitution of Policy, that was ever conceived by the Human Mind, was framed, by the Romish Clergy, for the Aggrandisement of their own order. This Constitution will be allowed to deserve all the Epithets I have given it, when it is considered, that they found Ways to make the World believe that God had entrusted them with Keys of Heaven whose Gates they might open and shut at Pleasure, with the Power of Dispensation over all the Rules and Types of Morality, the Power of licensing all sorts both of sins and Crimes, with the Power of Deposing Princes, and absolving all their subjects from their Allegiance, with the Power of Procuring or withholding the Rain of Heaven, and the Beams of the Sun, with the Power of Earthquakes, <Plagues,> Pestilence, Famine; nay with the Power of creating Blood Nay the Blood of God out of Wine, and Flesh the Flesh of God out of Bread. Thus was human Nature held for Ages, fast Bound in servitude, in a cruel, shameful, deplorable Bondage to him and his subordinate Tyrants who it was fortold in the Apocalypse, would exalt himself above all that is called God and that is worshiped.
By the latter another system was formed similar to the former in some Respects, and altho it was originally contrived perhaps for the necessary Defence of a barbarous <Nation> People against the Inroads and Invasions of her neighbouring Nations; yet it was soon adopted by almost all the Princes in Europe, and wrought into the Constitution of their Governments for the same Purposes of Tyranny, Cruelty and Lust. This Constitution was originally a Code of Laws for a vast Army, in a perpetual Encampment. The General was invested with the Property of all the Land within [sentence unfinished]2
It3 was a Resolution formed by a sensible People almost in despair. They had become intelligent in general, and some of them learned but they had been galled, and fretted, and whipped and cropped, and hanged and burned. In short they had been so worried by Plagues and Tortures in every Shape, and they utterly despaired of Deliverance from these Miseries in their own Country, that they at last resolved to fly to the Wilderness, for Refuge from the temporal and spiritual Principalities and Powers, and Plagues and scourges of their Native Country.
After their Arrival here, they began their settlements and pursued their Plan both of Ecclesiastical and Civil Government in direct Opposition to the Cannon And the feudal systems.
{ [facing 256] } { [facing 257] } { 257 }
Their first Concern was to preserve and propagate Knowledge. The leading Men among the first Settlers of America, were Men of sense and Learning. And the Clergymen, who came over first, were familiar with the Historians, Orators, Poets and Phylosophers of Greece and Rome, and many of them have left behind them Libraries which are still in Being consisting chiefly of Books, whose Character their great Grand sons can scarcely read.4
I always consider the settlement of America with Reverence and Wonder—as the Opening of a grand scene and Design in Providence, for the Illumination of the Ignorant and the Emancipation of the slavish Part of Mankind all over the Earth.
their great grand sons, tho educated at European Universities, can scarcely read. Archbishop King him self, (I think it was, for I say this upon Memory) observed of the Puritans in General, that they were much more intelligent, and better read than the Members of the Church whom he reproaches, and censures very warmly for that Reason.
Provision was early made by Law, that every Town should be accommodated with a grammar school—under a severe Penalty—so that even Negligence of Learning was made a Crime, a Stretch of Wisdom in Policy that was never equalled before nor since unless by the ancient Egyptians who made the Want of Generosity and Humanity a Capital Crime.
But besides the Obligation laid on every Town to provide the means of Learning, a Colledge nay a Number of Colledges were formed very early, and a very early Attention to them from the Legislature, exempted from Military Duties—exemptions from Taxes, and many other Encouragements have taken Place. And in fine We their Posterity, have seen the Fruits and Consequences of the Wisdom and Goodness of our Forefathers. All Ranks and orders of our People, are intelligent, are accomplished—a Native of America, especially of New England, who cannot read and wright is as rare a Phenomenon as a Comet.
Remainder of the Piece begun in our last.—
Thus accomplished were the first Settlers of these Colonies—and as has been said, Tyranny in every shape, was their Disdain and Abhorrence. No <Kind of> Fear of Punishment not even of Death itself, in exquisite Torture had been sufficient to conquer that steady, manly, { 258 } | view pertinacious Spirit, with which they opposed the Tyrants of those Days in Church and state. And their greatest Concern seems to have been to establish a Government of the Church, more consistent with the scriptures, and a Government of the state more agreable to the Dignity of human Nature, than they had ever seen in Europe. They knew that beautiful were the feet &c. But They saw clearly, that of all the <ridiculous> Nonsense, Delusion, and Frenzy that had ever passed thro the Mind of Man, none had ever been more glaring and extravagant than the Notions of the Cannon Law, of the indellible Character, the perpetual succession, the virtuous and sanctified Effluvia from Episcopal Fingers, and all the rest of that dark Ribaldry which had thrown such a Glare of Mistery, Sanctity, Reverence and Right Reverence, Eminence and Holiness around the Idea of a Priest [sentence unfinished]
1. The paragraphs that follow comprise JA’s first thoughts for the important and eloquent essay to which he gave no name but which later became known as “A Dissertation on Canon and Feudal Law.” (In his Autobiography JA observed that “It might as well have been called an Essay upon Forefathers Rock”— i.e. what is now known as Plymouth Rock.) The date here assigned to this very rough draft is conjectural, but since it immediately follows the Diary entry of 21 Feb. 1765, being separated from it only by a line across the page, we can say with some confidence that JA began putting down these detached thoughts late in February. He may, of course, have continued them in the following weeks or even months.
Much revised and expanded from the early draft, JA’s essay was published in the Boston Gazette, without a signature of any kind, in four parts, 12 and 19 Aug., 30 Sept., and 21 Oct. 1765, whence it was reprinted in the London Chronicle in corresponding installments, 23 and 28 Nov., 3 and 26 Dec. 1765, under a title furnished by Thomas Hollis: “A Dissertation on the Feudal and the Canon Law.” For its subsequent bibliographical history, see CFA’s valuable but not completely reliable introductory note to his reprint in JA’s Works, 3:447–448. No attempt is made in the present text of the draft to show the variations between it and the published version, but readers who wish to see how JA used and revised his first thoughts will find nearly all of them embedded in the final version as reprinted in his Works, in the following order: p. 449–450, 451–452, 455–456, 452–453. It should be noted that the draft contains rudiments of only the first three parts of the essay as printed in the newspapers; the last installment, with its references to the Stamp Act (passed 22 March 1765), was doubtless composed later.
2. An interval of space follows at this point in the MS, denoting a gap in the draft.
3. That is, the Puritans’ decision to leave England and settle in America. (In the next sentence JA wrote the word “Puritans” above the initial “They.”)
4. Last four words interlined. Evidently the next paragraph (which is the only substantial passage in the draft not in the text as printed in the Boston Gazette) was an afterthought, and the passage after that originally continued the present paragraph.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1765-06-07 - 1765-06-12

[Accounts on the Eastern Circuit, 7–12 June 1765.]1

    £   s   d  
June 7th.   1765. Paid at Goodwins for Dinners2   0:   10:   0  
  Paid at Lovejoys for Lodging Suppers &c   0:   8:   0  
{ 259 } | view
June 8th.   Paid at Springers for Horse keeping 2s:8d, at Sewals for Lodging and Breakfast and Suppers 2s:6d and at Lovejoys for Lemmons Rum and sugar 1s:4d:   0:   6:   6  
  Paid at Springers for Reckoning 3s:2d: and for Shewing Horse 1s:2d   0:   4:   4  
June 9th.   paid at Bucknams and at Lorings   0:   3:   0  
  and at Tompsons   0:   0:   2  
  paid at Toms’s for Horses 2s for Contribution 1s:2d   0:   3:   2  
June 10th.   at Millikins lodging Horse supper Breakfast   0:   3:   2  
  at Pattens   0:   0:   8  
  Highwaymen   0:   0:   8  
  at Jeffries’s   0:   3:   8  
June 11th.   at Sewals 2s. at Leavitts 1s:4d at ferry 1s   0:   4:   4  
  at Hales 6d   0:   0:   6  
June 12th.   at Hunts in Rowley for Horse lodging and Breakfast   0:   2:   6  
  at Norwoods for Dinner &c 2s at two Houses before for oats 8d at Winnisimmit 10d at Boston for Tea and Horse 1s   0:   5:   63  
    £2:   16:   2  
1. Loose sheet of accounts, docketed by JA: “Curious Minutes at Pownalborough,” found among JA’s legal papers (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185). The entries partially document JA’s first trip to the District of Maine, where he argued a land case at Pownalborough on the Kennebec River, the seat of the newly established Lincoln co. (Pownalborough was later divided into several towns, including Dresden and Wiscasset, and disappeared as a place name.) The hardships of this trip into the Maine wilderness are graphically told in JA’s Autobiography. The old wooden Lincoln Court House, built in 1761 within the parade grounds of Fort Shirley, still stands on the eastern bank of the Kennebec near Dresden Mills. An early view of it is reproduced as an illustration in this volume. See Fannie Scott Chase, Wiscasset in Pownalborough, Wiscasset, Me., 1941, p. 31, 71–75, 100–104; Federal Writers’ Project, Maine, A Guide “Down East,” Boston, 1937, p. 350.
2. This entry replaced a fuller one that is scored out on the facing page: “Pownalborough June 7th. 1765.—at Major Goodwins paid 10s. l[awful] M[oney] for 3 dinners & Tea once.”
3. Error for 4s. 6d.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-08-15

August 15th. 1765.1

I hope it will give no offence, to enquire into the Grounds and Reasons of the strange Conduct of Yesterday and last Night, at Boston.2 Is there any Evidence, that Mr. Oliver ever wrote to the Ministry, or to any Body in England any unfavourable Representations, of the People of this Province? Has he ever placed the Character of the People, their { 260 } Manners, their Laws, their Principles in Religion or Government, their submission to order and Magistracy, in a false Light?
Is it known that he ever advised the Ministry to lay internal Taxes upon Us? That he ever solicited the office of Distributer of Stamps? or that he has ever done any Thing to injure the People, or to incur their Displeasure, besides barely accepting of that office? If there is no Proof at all of any such Injury done to the People by that Gentleman, has not the blind, undistinguishing Rage of the Rabble done him, irreparable Injustice? To be placed, only in Pageantry, in the most conspicuous Part of the Town, with such ignominous Devices around him, would be thought severity enough by any Man of common sensibility: But to be carried thro the Town, in such insolent Tryumph and burned on an Hill, to have his Garden torn in Pieces, his House broken open, his furniture destroyed and his whole family thrown into Confusion and Terror, is a very attrocious Violation of the Peace and of dangerous Tendency and Consequence.
But on the other Hand let us ask a few Questions. Has not his Honour the Lieutenant Governor discovered to the People in innumerable Instances, a very ambitious and avaricious Disposition? Has he not grasped four of the most important offices in the Province into his own Hands? Has not his Brother in Law Oliver another of the greatest Places in Government? Is not a Brother of the Secretary, a Judge of the Superiour Court? Has not that Brother a son in the House? Has not the secretary a son in the House, who is also a Judge in one of the Counties? Did not that son marry the Daughter of another of the Judges of the Superiour Court? Has not the Lieutenant Governor a Brother, a Judge of the Pleas in Boston? and a Namesake and near Relation who is another Judge? Has not the Lieutenant Governor a near Relation who is Register of his own Court of Probate, and Deputy Secretary? Has he not another near Relation who is Clerk of the House of Representatives? Is not this amazing ascendancy of one Family, Foundation sufficient on which to erect a Tyranny? Is it not enough to excite Jealousies among the People?
Quere further. Has not many a Member of both Houses, laboured to the Utmost of his Ability, to obtain a Resolution to send home some Petitions and Remonstrances to the King, Lords and Commons vs. the Impositions they saw were about to be laid upon Us. Has not the Lieutenant Governor all along been the very Gentleman who has prevented it, and wiped out every spirited, if not every sensible Expression out of those Petitions?
Quaere further. When the Court was about to choose an Agent, did { 261 } not the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and Secretary, make Use of all their Influence to procure an Election for Mr. Jackson?3 Was not Mr. Jackson [ . . . ]4 a secretary to Mr. Greenville? Was not Mr. Greenville, the Author of the late Measures relative to the Colonies? Was not Mr. Jackson an Agent and a particular Friend of the Governor? Was not all this considering the natural Jealousy of Mankind, enough to excite suspicions among the Vulgar, that all these Gentlemen were in a Combination, to favour the Measures of the Ministry, at least to prevent any Thing from being done here to discourage the Minister from his rash, mad, and Dogmatical Proceedings?
Would it not be Prudence then in those Gentlemen at this alarming Conjuncture, and a Condescention that is due to the present Fears and Distresses of the People, (in some manner consistent with the Dignity of their stations and Characters,) to remove these Jealousies from the Minds of the People by giving an easy solution of these Difficulties?
1. This is the first entry in the Diary since the rough draft of the essay on canon and feudal law, presumably begun in February. In March JA had been chosen one of the surveyors of highways in Braintree and also a member of a committee to lay out the North Commons in lots to be sold (Braintree Town Records, p. 399–402, 406–407). In April and May and again in July and August he attended sessions of Plymouth and Bristol Inferior Courts; in June he traveled the eastern circuit to Maine for the first time. On 14 July his first child, named for her mother and referred to in this work as AA2, was born.
2. This entry is quite evidently a draft of another newspaper letter, but no printing has been found. On the morning of 14 Aug. a Boston mob hanged an effigy of Secretary Andrew Oliver, who according to reports had been appointed to distribute the stamps in Massachusetts when the Stamp Act went into effect on 1 November. In the afternoon the mob marched to the Province House and mockingly huzza’d Governor Bernard and the Council, proceeded to Oliver’s new building at his dock on Kilby Street (where it was presumed the stamps would be distributed), destroyed it, built a bonfire on Fort Hill from the remnants of the building, and burned the effigy. Later that evening they pillaged Oliver’s town residence and garden, and drove off Lt. Gov. Hutchinson and the sheriff with brickbats when they tried to interfere with the fun. See Boston Gazette, 19 Aug. 1765, suppl.; Rowe, Letters and Diary, p. 88–89; Edmund S. and Helen M. Morgan, The Stamp Act Crisis, Chapel Hill, 1953, p. 121–125.
3. Richard Jackson (1721?–1787) was appointed provincial agent in London by the Massachusetts General Court, 24 Jan. 1765, to succeed Jasper Mauduit; see Hutchinson to Jackson, 25 Jan. 1765 (MHS, Colls., 74 [1918]:179, note). According to James Otis and other anti-Hutchinsonians, Hutchinson had wanted Jackson appointed in 1762 “from views of interest hoping in him to have a private agent of his own invested with a publick character” (same, p. 78; see also p. 95, 115, 124, 127, note, 128; and entry of 1 Feb. 1763 and note, above).
4. Corner of page torn off.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0004-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-08

[August 1765]1

Hannah Place vs. Atwood.
Introduced into the family at 13. Constant Understanding that she { 262 } should be paid. A Pittance left to ’em by their Uncle. He [cutt?]. No particular Bargain for Wood or service.
Hannah Atwood. Had one of em constantly as a Maid. My Husband promised to pay her. The fore part of the Time Mary worked, the latter Hannah. Hannah worked but very little abroad the whole Time. She did some. They told me, both could not leave home at once. [ . . . ]2 They bought their own Cloaths. From 47 to 56.
Richd. Mayberry. They worked at taylering for me. I paid em in sugar and Tea. I’ve seen them washing and laboring. And sowing seeds in Garden.
Daniel Barrows. About House work, fetching Water and Washing—no other Help.
Eliz. Halloway. Seen em Milking, Washing, Ironing, Baking. 3 of em lived there. Went out and took in Work.
Susannah Jones.
Wm. Halloway. Molly was weakly and made this her Home.
Eliz. Place. Father in Law employed one of my sisters constantly as a Maid and said he would pay her and all the rest of us were welcome to live there. Molly uneasy. He said his Word as good as the Bank. He found Room and Wood, and Provisions. Father borrowed the Wood of sister Hannah, to buy his Grave stones, pay her the Wood or the Money. Hired some Washing.
Abiel Whitmarsh. Something of an Account.
George Hallowell. Got me to milk.
George Ware. Conversation with Atwood about pay for Doctering. Chose to know what it is. Said he would agree with them and leave it to Men. Have known them to buy some Tea &c.
Paine. Troublesome family. No troublesome Company.—Family Witnesses.3
White. <Younger sister> Elder sister.
Witnesses.
Joseph Atwood. They worked out. The old Lady used to be the Maid, in the family. Never heard of any pay. Old Gentleman in kitchen. Weakly. Within 6 Year. My maid often sent for to help her up.
David Walker. They took several suits of Cloaths home. Never mistrusted their being Maids.
John Camp. Lived there 10 Year.4
1. The following notes on the case of Hannah Place v. Ephraim Atwood Jr. can be dated from an entry in one of JA’s lists of legal actions, in which this case is mentioned as coming up in Taunton (Bristol co.) Inferior Court, { 263 } Aug. 1765. JA probably served as the defendant’s counsel.
2. The omitted word was written between the lines and is illegible. It could be the name of another deponent or witness and at a guess is “Bayley.”
3. Here a line is drawn across the page in the MS.
4. This note is on a page by itself and separated from the foregoing notes, but it probably relates to the case of Place v. Atwood.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-18

Braintree Decr. 18th. 1765. Wednesday.1

How great is my Loss, in neglecting to keep a regular Journal, through the last Spring, Summer, and Fall. In the Course of my Business, as a Surveyor of High-Ways, as one of the Committee, for dividing, planning, and selling the North-Commons, in the Course of my two great Journeys to Pounalborough and Marthas Vineyard, and in several smaller Journeys to Plymouth, Taunton and Boston, I had many fine Opportunities and Materials for Speculation.—The Year 1765 has been the most remarkable Year of my Life. That enormous Engine, fabricated by the british Parliament, for battering down all the Rights and Liberties of America, I mean the Stamp Act, has raised and spread, thro the whole Continent, a Spirit that will be recorded to our Honour, with all future Generations. In every Colony, from Georgia to New-Hampshire inclusively, the Stamp Distributors and Inspectors have been compelled, by the unconquerable Rage of the People, to renounce their offices. Such and so universal has been the Resentment of the People, that every Man who has dared to speak in favour of the Stamps, or to soften the detestation in which they are held, how great soever his Abilities and Virtues had been esteemed before, or whatever his fortune, Connections and Influence had been, has been seen to sink into universal Contempt and Ignominy.
The People, even to the lowest Ranks, have become more attentive to their Liberties, more inquisitive about them, and more determined to defend them, than they were ever before known or had occasion to be. Innumerable have been the Monuments of Wit, Humour, Sense, Learning, Spirit, Patriotism, and Heroism, erected in the several Colonies and Provinces, in the Course of this Year. Our Presses have groaned, our Pulpits have thundered, our Legislatures have resolved, our Towns have voted, The Crown Officers have every where trembled, and all their little Tools and Creatures, been afraid to Speak and ashamed to be seen.
This Spirit however has not yet been sufficient to banish, from Persons in Authority, that Timidity, which they have discovered from the Beginning. The executive Courts have not yet dared to adjudge the Stamp-Act void nor to proceed with Business as usual, tho it should { 264 } seem that Necessity alone would be sufficient to justify Business, at present, tho the Act should be allowed to be obligatory. The Stamps are in the Castle. Mr. Oliver has no Commission. The Governor has no Authority to distribute, or even to unpack the Bales, the Act has never been proclaimed nor read in the Province; Yet the Probate office is shut, the Custom House is shut, the Courts of Justice are shut, and all Business seems at a Stand. Yesterday and the day before, the two last days of Service for January Term, only one Man asked me for a Writ, and he was soon determined to waive his Request. I have not drawn a Writ since 1st. Novr.
How long We are to remain in this languid Condition, this passive Obedience to the Stamp Act, is not certain. But such a Pause cannot be lasting. Debtors grow insolent. Creditors grow angry. And it is to be expected that the Public offices will very soon be forced open, unless such favourable Accounts should be received from England, as to draw away the Fears of the Great, or unless a greater Dread of the Multitude should drive away the Fear of Censure from G. Britain.
It is my Opinion that by this <Timorous> Inactivity we discover Cowardice, and too much Respect <and Regard> to the Act. This Rest appears to be by Implication at least an Acknowledgement of the Authority of Parliament to tax Us. And if this Authority is once acknowledged and established, the Ruin of America will become inevitable.
This long Interval of Indolence and Idleness will make a large Chasm in my affairs if it should not reduce me to Distress and incapacitate me to answer the Demands upon me. But I must endeavour in some degree to compensate the Disadvantage, by posting my Books, reducing my Accounts into better order, and by diminishing my Expences, but above all by improving the Leisure of this Winter, in a diligent Application to my Studies. I find that Idleness lies between Business and Study, i.e. The Transision from the Hurry of a multiplicity of Business, to the Tranquility that is necessary for intense Study, is not easy. There must be a Vacation, an Interval between them, for the Mind to recollect itself.
The Bar seem to me to behave like a Flock of shot Pidgeons. They seem to be stopped, the Net seems to be thrown over them, and they have scarcely Courage left to flounce and to flutter. So sudden an Interruption in my Career, is very unfortunate for me. I was but just getting into my Geers, just getting under Sail, and an Embargo is laid upon the Ship. Thirty Years of my Life are passed in Preparation for Business. I have had Poverty to struggle with—Envy and Jealousy and Malice of Enemies to encounter—no Friends, or but few to { 265 } assist me, so that I have groped in dark Obscurity, till of late, and had but just become known, and gained a small degree of Reputation, when this execrable Project was set on foot for my Ruin as well as that of America in General, and of Great Britain.
1. First entry in “Paper book No. II” (our D/JA/11), which has on its cover, in JA’s hand, the following couplet from Pope:

“Eye Nature’s walks, Shoot folly as it flys

And catch the Manners liveing as they rise.”

JA’s most important action in the interval since his last Diary entries in August was his composition of the “Braintree Instructions,” denouncing the Stamp Act and denying Parliament’s authority to tax the colonies without their consent. This paper is in the form of a letter from a special committee of the town to its representative in the General Court, Ebenezer Thayer, and is dated 24 Sept. 1765. A rough draft in JA’s hand is in the Adams Papers. For the action of the town and the text of the Instructions as adopted, see Braintree Town Records, p. 404–406. In JA’s Works, 3:464–468, the Instructions are reprinted from the Boston Gazette, 14 Oct., though the earliest printing was in Drapers’ Massachusetts Gazette and Boston News Letter, 10 Oct. The open secret of JA’s authorship of this spirited paper undoubtedly led to his being named in December one of the counsel for the Town of Boston to plead for the reopening of the courts; see the following entry.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-19

Decr. 19th. 1765.

A fair Morning after a severe Storm of 3 days and 4 Nights. A vast Quantity of rain fell.
About 12. O Clock came in Messrs. Crafts and Chase and gave me a particular Account of the Proceedings of the Sons of Liberty on Tuesday last, in prevailing on Mr. Oliver to renounce his Office of Distributor of Stamps, by a Declaration under his Hand, and under his Oath, taken before Justice Dana, in Hanover Square, under the very Tree of Liberty, nay under the very Limb where he had been hanged in Effigy, Aug. 14th. 1765. Their absolute Requisition of an Oath, and under that Tree, were Circumstances, extreamly humiliating and mortifying, as Punishment for his receiving a Deputation to be Distributor after his pretended Resignation, and for his faint and indirect Declaration in the News Papers last Monday.
About one O’Clock came in Mr. Clark, one of the Constables of the Town of Boston, with a Letter from Mr. Wm. Cooper their Town Clerk in these Words

[salute] Sir

I am directed by the Town to acquaint you, that they have this day voted unanimously, that Jeremiah Gridley, James Otis, and John Adams Esqrs. be applied to, as Council to appear before his Excellency the Governor in Council, in Support of their Memorial, praying that the Courts of Law in this Province may be opened. A Copy of said { 266 } Memorial will be handed you, on your coming to Town. I am sir, your most obedient hum. sert.,
[signed] Wm. Cooper Town Clerk

[addrLine] John Adams Esqr.1

The Reasons which induced Boston to choose me, at a distance, and unknown as I am, The particular Persons concerned and measures concerted to bring this about, I am wholly at a loss to conjecture: as I am, what the future Effects and Consequences will be both with Regard to myself and the Public.
But when I recollect my own Reflections and Speculations Yesterday, a part of which were committed to Writing last Night, and may be seen under Decr. 18th, and compare them with the Proceedings of Boston Yesterday of which the foregoing Letter informed me, I cannot but Wonder, and call to Mind my Ld. Bacons Observation, about secret invisible Laws of Nature, a[nd] Communications and Influences between Places, that are not discoverable by Sense.
But I am now under all obligations of Interest and Ambition as well as Honour, Gratitude and Duty, to exert the Utmost of my Abilities, in this important Cause. How shall it be conducted? Shall we contend that the Stamp-Act is void? That the Parliament have no legal Authority to impose Internal Taxes upon Us?—Because We are not represented in it? And therefore that the Stamp Act ought to be waived by the Judges, as against natural Equity and the Constitution? Shall we use these, as Arguments for opening the Courts of Law? Or shall We ground ourselves on Necessity only.
1. The original letter is in the Adams Papers. On 17 Dec., immediately following the forced resignation of Andrew Oliver, the custom house reopened for business without stamped paper, and next day a special town meeting was called to deal with the problem of reopening the courts without the use of stamps. Its proceedings, including the memorial mentioned here, are in Boston Record Commissioners, 16th Report, p. 158–159.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-20

Fryday. Decr. 20th. 1765

Went to Boston. Dined with Mr. Rowe,1 in Company with Messrs. Gridley, Otis, Kent, and Dudley. After Dinner, went to the Town House, and Attended with the Committee of the Town of Boston and many other Gentlemen in the Representatives Room till about Dark, after Candle Light, when Mr. Adams, the Chairman of the Committee, received a Message from the Governor, by the Deputy Secretary, purporting that his Excellency and the Council were ready to hear { 267 } the Memorial of the Town of Boston, and their Council in Support of it. But that no other Persons might attend.
We accordingly went in. His Excellency recommended it to Us, who were of Council for the Town, to divide the Points of Law and Topicks of Argument, among ourselves, that Repetition might as much as possible be avoided. Mr. Gridley answered, that, as he was to speak last, he would endeavour to avoid Repetition of what should be said by the two Gentlemen, who were to speak before him. Mr. Otis added that as he was to speak second, he would observe the same Rule.
Then it fell upon me, without one Moments Opportunity to consult any Authorities, to open an Argument, upon a Question that was never made before, and I wish I could hope it never would be made again, i.e. Whether the Courts of Law should be open, or not? My old Friend Thatchers Officina Justitiae?
I grounded my Argument on the Invalidity of the Stamp Act, it not being in any sense our Act, having never consented to it. But least that foundation should not be sufficient, on the present Necessity to prevent a Failure of Justice, and the present Impossibility of carrying that Act into Execution.2
Mr. Otis reasoned with great Learning and Zeal, on the Judges Oaths, <the>&c.3
Mr. Gridley on the great <Mischiefs> Inconveniences that would ensue the Interuption of Justice.
The Governor said many of the Arguments used were very good ones to be used before the Judges of the Executive Courts. But he believed there had been no Instance in America of an Application to the Governor and Council, and said that if the Judges should receive any Directions from the King about a Point of Law, they would scorn to regard them, and would say that while they were in those Seats, they only were to determine Points of Law.
The Council adjourned to the Morning and I repaired to my Lodgings.
1. John Rowe (1715–1787), the well-known Boston merchant, successful trimmer during the Revolution, and diarist; portions of his valuable diary from 1759 to 1779 have been published in Letters and Diary of John Rowe, ed. Anne Rowe Cunningham, Boston, 1903; the MS is in MHi. Rowe was a member of the committee appointed to present the Boston memorial to the Governor in Council.
2. A page of notes and authorities presumably prepared for this argument, in JA’s hand and headed “Right, Wrong and Remedy,” is in the Adams Papers; though undated, it has been filed under the present date. CFA printed these notes in JA, Works, 2:159, note. As reported by Josiah Quincy, JA’s argument on behalf of the Boston memorial does not follow the notes closely; see Quincy, Reports, p. 200–202. ||Quincy's report was also printed in Papers of John Adams, 1:152.||
3. Otis “opened with Tears,” according to Josiah Quincy. His argument and that of Gridley are in Quincy, Reports, p. { 268 } 202–209, together with Governor Bernard’s evasive proposal that the town’s plea be taken to the judges, since the Governor and Council had no power to act on it.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-21

Saturday Decr. 21st. 1765.

Spent the Morning in sauntering about, and chatting with one and another—The Sherriff, Mr. Goldthw[ai]t, Brother Sewal &c—upon the Times. Dined with Brother Kent; after Dinner received a Hint from the Committee that as I was of Council for the Town I not only had a Right, but it was expected I should attend the Meeting. I went accordingly. The Committee reported the Answer of the Board to their Petition. Which was, in Substance, that the Board had no Authority to direct the Courts of Law, in the manner prayed for. That the Memorial involved a Question of Law, vizt., whether the officers of the Government, in the present Circumstances of the Province, could be justified, in proceeding with Business without Stamps. That the Board were desirous that the Judges should decide that Question freely, without Apprehension of censure from the Board, and that the Board recomended it to the Judges of the Inferior Court for the County of Suffolk and to the other Judges of the other Courts in the Province to determine that Question as soon as may be, at or before their next respective Terms.
The Question was put whether that Paper should be recorded. Passed in the Affirmative.
The next Question was, Whether it was a satisfactory Answer to their Memorial. Unanimously in the Negative.1
Then several Motions were made, the first was, that the Meeting be adjourned to a future Day, and that the Towns Council be desired to consult together, and give the Town their Opinions, whether any other legal and Constitutional Steps can be taken by the Town, towards removing the obstructions to Justice. The second Motion was, that those of the Towns Council who were present should then give their opinion. The Third was that Application should be made to the Judges to determine the Question Speedily.
The second prevail’d and I was call’d upon to give my Opinion first. I agreed with Kent that an Application to the Judges might be out of Character both for the Town and the Judges, and that no Person could be in any danger of Penalties on the one Hand, or of having Proscesses adjudged void on the other. But many Persons might entertain Fears, and Jealousies and Doubts, which would everlastingly be a grievance. So that I had heard no Proposal yet made for the future { 269 } Conduct of the Town, which had not Difficulties and Objections attending it, so that I must conclude myself as yet in Doubt. And that I dared not give any opinion possitively, in a Matter of so much Importance without the most mature Deliberation.
Mr. Otis then gave his sentiments, and declared once for all, that he knew of no legal and Constitutional Course the Town could take but to direct their Representatives to request the Governor to call a Convention of the Members of both Houses, as he could not legally call an Assembly, and if his Excellency would not, to call one themselves, by requesting all the Members to meet. But concluded with observing, that as one of their Council was not present, and another was in Doubt, he thought it would be best to take further Time for Consideration. And the Town accordingly voted an Adjournment to next Thursday, 10 O’Clock.
A Consultation, therefore I must have with Messrs. Gridley and Otis, and We must all attend the Town-Meeting next Thursday. What Advice shall we give them?
The Question is “what legal and Constitutional Measures the Town can take to open the Courts of Law?”
The Town in their Memorial to his Excellency in Council, assert that “the Courts of Law within the Province, in which alone Justice can be distributed among the People, so far as respects civil Matters, are to all Intents and Purposes shut up. For which no just and legal Reason can be assigned.”
The Record of the Board, sent down in Answer, admits that the Courts of Law are to all Intents and Purposes shut up, and says that before they can be opened a Point of Law must be decided vizt. whether the officers of the Government in the present Circumstances of the Province, can be justified in proceeding in their Offices without Stamps? which the Judges are to determine.
Are the Board then agreed with the Town that the Courts of Law are shut up? But I hope the Town will not agree with the Board that the Judges are the proper Persons to decide whether they shall be open or not. It is the first Time I believe, that such a Question was ever put, since Wm. the Conquerer, nay since the Days of King Lear. Should the twelve Judges of England, and all other officers of Justice Judicial and Ministerial, suddenly stop and shut up their offices, I believe the King, in Council, would hardly recommend any Points of Law to the Consideration of those Judges. The King it is true of his Prerogative could not remove the Judges, because in England a Judge is quite another Thing from what he is here. But I believe the Com• { 270 } mons in Parliament would immediately impeach them all of high Treason.
My Advice to the Town will be, to take the Board at their Word, and to chuse a Committee immediately, in the first Place to wait on the Governor in Council, as the Supreme Court of Probate, and request of them a determination of the Point, whether the Officers of the Probate Courts in the Province, can be justifyed, in Proceeding with Business without Stamps, in the next Place to wait on the honorable the Judges of the Superiour Court to request their Determination of the same Question, and in the Third Place to wait on the Judges of the Inferior Court for the County of Suffolk with the same Request—in Pursuance of the Recommendation of the honorable Board—and unless a speedy Determination of the Question is obtained in all these Courts in this Way, to request of the Governor a Convention of the two Houses, and if that is refused to endeavour to call one, themselves.
What are the Consequences of the supposition that the Courts are shut up? The King is the Fountain of Justice by the Constitution—And it is a Maxim of the Law, that the King never dies.
Are not Protection and Allegiance reciprocal? And if We are out of the Kings Protection, are we not discharged from our Allegiance. Are not all the Ligaments of Government dissolved? Is it not <a Declaration of> an Abdication of the Throne? In short where will such an horrid Doctrine terminate? It would run us into Treason!
1. The official record as printed breaks off here, stating that after this vote the meeting adjourned to the following Thursday (Boston Record Commissioners, 16th Report, p. 160).

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-22

Sunday [22 December].

At Home, with my family. Thinking.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-23

1765. December. 23d. Monday

Went to Boston. After Dinner rambled after Messrs. Gridley and Otis but could find neither. Went into Mr. Dudleys, Mr. Dana’s, Mr. Otis’s office, and then to Mr. Adams’s and went with him to the Monday night Clubb. There I found Otis, Cushing Wells, Pemberton, Gray, Austin, two Waldo’s, Inches, Dr. Parker—And spent the Evening very agreably, indeed. Politicians all at this Clubb. We had many curious Anecdotes, about Governors, Councillors, Representatives, Demagogues, Merchants &c. The Behaviour of these Gentlemen is very familiar and friendly to each other, and very polite and complaisant { 271 } to Strangers. Gray has a very tender Mind, is extreamly timid—he says when he meets a Man of the other Side he talks against him, when he meets a Man of our Side he opposes him, so that he fears, he shall be thought against every Body, and so every Body will be against him. But he hopes to prepare the Way for his Escape at next May from an Employment, that neither his Abilities, nor Circumstances nor turn of Mind, are fit for.
Cushing is steady and constant, and busy in the Interest of Liberty and the Opposition, is famed for Secrisy,1 and his Talent at procuring Intelligence.2
Adams is zealous, ardent and keen in the Cause, is always for Softness, and Delicacy, and Prudence where they will do, but is stanch and stiff and strict and rigid and inflexible, in the Cause.
Otis is fiery and fev’rous. His Imagination flames, his Passions blaze. He is liable to great Inequalities of Temper—sometimes in Despondency, sometimes in a Rage. The Rashnesses and Imprudences, into which his Excess of Zeal have formerly transported him, have made him Enemies, whose malicious watch over him, occasion more Caution, and more Cunning and more inexplicable Passages in his Conduct than formerly. And perhaps Views at the Chair, or the Board, or possibly more expanded Views, beyond the Atlantic, may mingle now with his Patriotism.
The II Penseroso, however, is discernible on the Faces of all four.
Adams I believe has the most thourough Understanding of Liberty, and her Resources, in the Temper and Character of the People, tho not in the Law and Constitution, as well as the most habitual, radical Love of it, of any of them—as well as the most correct, genteel and artful Pen. He is a Man of refined Policy, stedfast Integrity, exquisite Humanity, genteel Erudition, obliging, engaging Manners, real as well as professed Piety, and a universal good Character, unless it should be admitted that he is too attentive to the Public and not enough so, to himself and his family.
The Gentlemen were warm to have the Courts opened. Gridley had advised to wait for a Judicial Opinion of the Judges. I was for requesting of the Governor that the general Court might assemble at the Time to which they stood prorogued—and if the Town should think fit to request the Extrajudicial Opinion of the Judges. I was for petitioning the Governor and Council to determine the Question first as Supreme ordinary. Gridley will be absent, and so shall I. But I think the apparent Impatience of the Town must produce some spirited Measures, perhaps more spirited than prudent.
{ 272 }
N.B. Lord Clarendon to William Pym.3
The Revolution which one Century has produced in your Principles is not quite so surprizing to me, as it seems to be to many others. You know very well that I always had a Jealousy that your Humanity was counterfeit, your Ardor for Liberty canker’d with simulation and your Integrity, problematical at least. Yet I confess, that so sudden a transition from Licentiousness to Despotism, so entire a transformation from a fiery Declaimer against arbitrary Power, to an abject Hireling of Corruption and Tyrany, gives me many painful Speculations on the frailty of human Nature, as well as a Clue to the Center of the great Labyrinth of your Politicks in 1641. It has confirmed in me, the Belief, of what was formerly suspected, vizt, that your Principles were very wicked and depraved, tho your Cunning was exquisite enough, to conceal your Crimes from the Public scrutiny. I am now brought to believe what was formerly only suspected, vizt. your subornation of Witnesses, your Perjuries, and your Briberies as well as your Cruelty.
Can any Thing less abominable, have prompted you, to commence an Enemy to human Liberty—an Enemy to human Nature—an Advocate for Courts, more frightful, infamous and detestable than the star Chamber and high Commission, for Taxations more grievous, arbitrary and unconstitutional, than ship Money; on which you and your Hampden, were known to ring eternal Changes, and indeed, of which you had so much Right to complain. If ever an Infant Country deserved to be cherished it is America, if ever a People merited Honor and Happiness, they are her Inhabitants. They have the high sentiments of Romans in the most prosperous and virtuous Times of that Commonwealth: Yet they have the tenderest feelings of Humanity and the noblest Benevolence of Christians. They have the most habitual, radical sense of Liberty, and the highest Reverence for Virtue. They are descended from a Race which, in a Confidence in Providence, set the seas and skies, Monsters and savages, Tyrants and Devils at Defyance, for the sake of their Liberty and Religion. Yet this is the People on whom you are contributing, for Hire, to rivit and confirm everlasting Oppression.
1. A more or less conjectural reading for a word partly overwritten.
2. Thomas Cushing (1725–1788), Harvard 1744, a Boston merchant and political moderate, became speaker of the Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1766 (as his father had been a generation earlier), served as a colleague of JA’s in the first and second Continental Congresses, but was replaced by Elbridge Gerry in Dec. 1775 (see note 1 on entry of 24 Jan. 1776, below). He continued active in state politics, however, as a follower of John Hancock, and was elected first lieutenant governor under the Constitution of 1780. { 273 } There is a brief account of Cushing in DAB; the fullest biography, based on scattered but fairly extensive MS sources, is in Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:377–395.
3. This is the first of a number of fragmentary drafts or first rough thoughts, scattered among the Diary entries from this point through 18 Jan. 1766, for JA’s three letters signed “Clarendon” published in the Boston Gazette in January. Containing some of the author’s most characteristic thinking on the British constitution and American rights, these papers were evoked by an article signed “William Pym” (a strange mistake for John Pym [1584–1643], the leader of the Long Parliament), first published in the London Evening Post, 20 Aug. 1765, and reprinted in the Boston Evening Post, 25 Nov. 1765. “Pym” loftily dismissed the colonial arguments against the validity of the Stamp Act with the simple assertion “that a resolution of the British parliament can at any time set aside all the charters that have ever been granted by our monarchs; and that consequently nothing can be more idle than this pompous exclamation about their charter exemptions, whenever such a resolution has actually passed.”
“Pym’s” position was promptly attacked by “Hampden” (doubtless James Otis; see entry of 7 Jan. 1766 and note, below) in a series of six weekly articles that began in the Boston Gazette 9 Dec. 1765 and ended 27 Jan. 1766 with congratulatory remarks to “Clarendon,” whose final letter also appeared in this issue.
In JA’s Works, 3:469–483, CFA reprints the three “Clarendon” letters from the Gazette. The rough drafts in the Diary have not hitherto been printed. Greatly revised and somewhat expanded before publication, the drafts do not always present JA’s ideas in the order in which he finally used them, and they contain some passages discarded before printing. The present earliest fragment embodies some material used in both the first and second “Clarendon” letters as printed (Boston Gazette, 13 Jan. 1766, suppl.; 20 Jan. 1766).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-24

Decr. 24th. 1765.

Returned from Boston. Spent the afternoon and Evening at Home.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-25

Decr. 25th. 1765. Christmas.

At Home. Thinking, reading, searching, concerning Taxation without Consent, concerning the great Pause and Rest in Business. By the Laws of England Justice flows, with an uninterupted Stream: In that Musick, the Law knows of neither Rests nor Pauses. Nothing but Violence, Invasion or Rebellion can obstruct the River or untune the Instrument.
Concerning a Compensation to the Sufferers by the late Riots in Boston.—Statute of Winchester, chap. 2. if the County will not answer the Bodies of the offenders, the People there shall be answerable for all the Robberies done, and also for the Damages.—Wingates Ab[ridg-men]t Tit[le] Robberies.
Nulli vendemus, nulli negabimus, aut deferemus Iustitiam. Every Writ supposes the King present in all his Courts of Justice.
Ld. Coke says, Against this ancient and fundamental Law, and in the face thereof, I find an Act of Parliament made, that As well Justices of Assize as Justices of Peace, without any finding or Present• { 274 } ment [by the verdict] of 12 Men, upon a bare Information for the K[ing] before them made, should have full Power and Authority, by their Discretions, to hear and determine all offences and Contempts, vs. the form, ordinance and Effect of any stat[ute] by Colour of which Act shaking this Fundamental Law, it is not credible what horrible Oppressions and Exactions were committed by Sir Richard Empson and Edmund Dudley. And upon this unjust and injurious Act a new Office was created, and they made Masters of the Kings Forfeitures. But at the Parliament 1 H. 8. this Act II H. 7. is recited, made void and repealed. The fearful End of these two Oppressors, should deter others from committing the like, and admonish Parliaments, that instead of this ordinary and precious Tryal Per Legem Terrae, they bring not in absolute and partial Tryals by Discretion.1
Went not to Christmas. Dined at Home. Drank Tea at Grandfather Quincys.2 The old Gentleman, inquisitive about the Hearing before the Governor and Council, about the Governors and secretaries Looks and Behaviour, and about the final Determination of the Board. The old Lady as merry and chatty as ever, with her Stories out of the News Papers, of a Woman longing to throw beef Stakes in a Mans Face and giving him a Pipe of Madeira for humouring of her, and of the Doctor who could tell by a Persons Face all the Disorders he or she had suffered and would suffer.
Spent the Evening at Home, with my Partner and no other Company.
Mr. S. Adams told me he was glad I was nominated for several Reasons.—1 st. Because he hoped that such an Instance of Respect from the Town of Boston, would make an Impression on my Mind, and secure my Friendship to the Town from Gratitude. 2dly. He was in Hopes such a Distinction from Boston, would be of Service to my Business and Interest. 3d. He hoped that Braintree, finding the Eyes of Boston were upon me, would fix their’s on me too, next May. His Hopes, in the two first Particulars, may be well grounded, but I am sure not in the Third.
Clarendon to Pym.3
Pray recollect Mr. Pym, the cruel Exactions of Empson and Dudley, under an Act of Parliament, far less <extravagant> dangerous to Liberty than those which you defend. Recollect the old Sage Coke, and recollect Magna Charta which your Tribe used to think more sacred than scripture. Consider once more this hideous Taxation, more cruel and ruinous than Danegeld of old, which Speed says emptyed the Land { 275 } of all the Coigne, the Kingdom of her Glory, the Commons of their Content, and the sovereign of his wonted Respects and Observance. Recollect, Mr. Pym, a scene in the Tragedy of K[ing] H[enry] 8th. I think you was once an Admirer of Shakespear. Vid. V. 5. 284. 285. 286.4 A scene which may be very properly recommended to modern Monarks, Queens, and Favourites. I will repeat it, Mr. Pym, for the Comfort of your Soul, for you always delighted in Ruin and Confusion—an hundred Years past you endeavoured to embroil as an Advocate for Liberty. Now it seems you are aiming at the same delightful object by enlisting under the bloody Banners of Tyranny.
You tell us that a Resolution of the B[ritish] Parliament can at any Time anull all the Charters of all our Monarcks. But would such an Act of Parliament do no wrong? Would it be obeyed? Would one Member of Parliament who voted for it, return to his Country alive? No You would have been the first Man in the Kingdom, when you was in the flesh, to have taken Arms against such a Law. You would have torn up the Foundations and demolished the whole Fabrick of the Government, and have suffered Democracy, Aristocracy, Monarchy, Anarchy, any thing or nothing to have arisen in its Place.
1. A quotation, with inaccuracies and elisions, from Sir Edward Coke’s commentary on Magna Charta in the Second Institute, cap. 29.
2. Col. John Quincy of Mount Wollaston, AA’s maternal grandfather. His wife was Elizabeth Norton of Hingham (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 5 : 445).
3. The following fragment contains part of the text of “Clarendon’s” second letter to “Pym” as printed in the Boston Gazette, 20 Jan. 1766, together with some matter never printed.
4. This is a volume-and-page reference to JA’s own set of Shakespeare’s Works (Edinburgh, 1761), which remains, with some volumes missing, among his books in the Boston Public Library. The passage referred to in Henry the Eighth is in Act I, Scene ii (according to modern editions, but Scene iv according to JA’s), in which Queen Katherine pleads successfully with the King for the removal of taxes burdensome to his subjects. See entry of 4 Jan. 1766, below.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-26

Decr. 26th. 1765 Thursday.

At Home by the Fireside viewing with Pleasure, the falling Snow and the Prospect of a large one.
Clarendon to Pym.1
The gallant Struggle in America, is founded in Principles so indisputable, in the moral Law, in the revealed Law of God, in the true Constitution of great Britain, and in the most apparent Welfare of the Nation as well as the People in America, that I must confess it rejoices my very Soul. For you know, that altho I was always of the Royal Party, { 276 } and for avoiding Violence and Confusion, and was oftentimes transported by my Loyalty and Zeal for the nations Peace, to some Excesses, Yet I never defended the real Infringments on the Constitution. I was as heartily for rectifying all those Abuses, and for procuring still further security of Freedom as any of you. For my Education had been in the Law the Grounds of which were so rivited in me that no Temptation could make me swerve from them: Besides you very well remember the surprizing Anecdote relative to my father and me. That Scene will remain with indelible Impressions on my soul throughout Duration. I see the good old Gentleman even at this Distance of Time. I see in his aged venerable Countenance that ardent parental affection to me, that Zeal for the Laws of his Country, that fervent Love of his Country, and that exalted Piety to God and good Will to all Mankind, which constituted his Character. I was upon one of the Circuits, which lead me down to my native Country, and I went to pay a Vizit to my Aged Father. He gave me an Invitation to take a Walk with him in the Field.—Says he, my Son, I am very old and this will probably be the last Time I shall ever see your Face. Your Welfare is near my Heart. The Reputation you have gained, for Learning, Probity, Skill and Eloquence in your Profession will in all Probability call you to manage the great Concerns of this nation in Parliament, and to Council your King in some of the greatest Offices of State. Give me Leave to warn you, against that Ambition which I have often observed in Men of your Profession, which will sacrifice all to their own Advancement. And I charge you, on my Blessing, never to forget this Nation, but to stand by the Law, the Constitution, and the real Welfare and Freedom of this Nation vs. all Temptations, &c.—The Words were scarcely pronounced before his Zeal and Conscience were too great for his strength and he fell dead before my Eyes. His Words sunk deep into my Heart, and no Temptation, no Byass or Prejudice could ever obliterate them. And you Mr. Pym are one Witness for me, that I never even excused the Nations real Grievances, while I sat in Parliament with you. And after the Restoration, when the Nation rushed into Madness with Loyalty, I was obliged to make a stand to Preserve even the Appearance of the Constitution: And in the Reign of my infamous and detestible tho royal son in Law James 2d. I chose to go into Banishment, rather than renounce the Liberties of the Nation.
You may easily believe therefore that the Conduct of the Americans, is quite agreable to me. My Resentment and Indignation is unutterable, when I see those worthy People chain’d and fettered by a few aban• { 277 } doned Villains in the Interest of France, Rome and Hell and even in the Reign of a wise, and good King.
Mr. Smith2 and Dr. Tufts came in from Boston. Nothing remarkable.3 Dr. Savil spent the Evening here. Chat about the Memorial and the Hearing.
A Dissertation Upon Seekers—of Elections, of Commissions from the Governour, of Commissions from the Crown.4
Of Elections when they give your5 £100 l.M. towards building a new Meeting House, and an 100 Old Ten. towards repairing one, or 50 dollars, towards repairing High Ways, or Ten Dollars to the Treasury, towards the support of the poor of the Town—or when they are very liberal of their drams of Brandy, and lumps of Sugar, and of their Punch, &c. on May meeting days. These are commonly Persons, who have some further Views and Designs. These Largesses aim at something further than your Votes. These Persons aim at being Justices, Sheriffs, Judges, Colonells, and when they get to Court, they will be hired and sell their Votes, as you sold yours to them. But there is another Sort of seekers worse than the other two,—such as seek to be Governors, Lt. Governors, secretaries, Custom-House-Officers of all Sorts, Stamp officers of all sorts, in fine such as seek Appointments from the Crown. These Seekers are actuated by a more ravenous sort of Ambition and Avarice and they merit a more aggravated Condemnation. These ought to be avoided and dreaded as the Plague, as the destroying Angells. And the evil Spirits are as good Objects of your Trust as they. Let no such Man ever have the Vote of a Free holder or a Rep[resentative]. Let no such Man be trusted.
1. This fragment contains portions of the second “Clarendon” letter as printed in the Boston Gazette, 20 Jan. 1766. The published text varies markedly from the draft.
2. Probably Isaac Smith Sr. (1719–1787), AA’s uncle, a Boston merchant and shipowner.
3. This indicates that Smith and Tufts had not heard before leaving town of the proceedings of the Boston town meeting of this day, at which it was reported that the probate courts of the Province “would be opened” without stamped paper, that the Sheriff of Suffolk co. “had served and was ready to serve all Writts brought to him, and that the Court of Common Pleas for said County next in course to sit, would meet & proceed to Business.” The meeting also voted that the Boston representatives in the General Court apply to Governor Bernard “humbly to desire that the General Assembly of this Province be not further prorogued.” (Boston Record Commissioners, 16th Report, p. 160–161.)
4. This entry is obviously the beginning of another piece intended for a newspaper. No printing has been found.
5. Thus in MS, but almost certainly an error for “you.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-27

Decr. 27th. 1765. Fryday.

In unforeseen Cases, i.e. when the State of things is found such as the Author of the Disposition has not foreseen, and could not have thought of, we should rather follow his Intention than his Words, and interpret the Act as he himself would have interpreted it, had he been present, or conformably to what he would have done if he had foreseen the Things that happened. This Rule is of great Use to Judges. Vattell. Page 230. B. 2. C. 17. §. 297. If a Case be presented, in which one cannot absolutely apply the well known Reason of a Law or a Promise, this Case ought to be excepted. B. 2. C. 17. §. 292. Every Interpretation that leads to an Absurdity, ought to be rejected. Page 222 B. 2. C. 17. §. 282. Every Impossibility, physical and moral is an Absurdity.
At Home all day. Mr. Shute call’d in the Evening, and gave us a Number of Anecdotes, about Governor Rogers and Secretary Potter, their Persecution in Boston, their flight to Rhode Island, their sufferings there; their Deliverance from Goal, and Voyage to Antigua, and Ireland without Money, their Reception in Ireland, and Voyage to England, their Distresses in England till they borrowed Money to get Rogers’s Journal printed, and present it to his Majesty; which procured Each of them his Appointment at Michilimachana.1—Shute is a jolly, merry, droll, social Christian. He loves to laugh—tells a Story with a good Grace—delights in Banter. But yet reasons well, is inquisitive and judicious. Has an Eye that plays its Lightnings—sly, and waggish, and roguish. Is for sinking every Person who either favours the Stamps or Trims about them, into private Station—expects a great Mortality among the Councillors next May. In this I think he is right. If there is any Man, who, from wild Ideas of Power and Authority, from a Contempt of that Equality in Knowledge, Worth, and Power, which has prevailed in this Country, or from any other Cause, who can upon Principle, desire the Execution of the Stamp Act, those Principles are a total Forfeiture of the Confidence of the People.
If there is any one, who cannot see the Tendency of that Act to reduce the Body of the People to Ignorance, Poverty, Dependance, his Want of Eyesight is a Disqualification for public Employment. Let the Towns and the Representatives, therefore renounce every Stamp man and every Trimmer next May.
1. Maj. Robert Rogers, the famous frontiersman, had recently gone to England seeking preferment and had been appointed commandant at Fort Michillimackinac, the farthest British outpost on the Lakes. He was not a “Governor,” though he would like to have been one. There was a spectacular sequel to the episode that JA records here. In the summer of 1767 Rogers and his literary factotum, the former Brookline clergyman Nathaniel Potter (see first entry { 279 } of 18 Dec. 1760 and note), had a bitter quarrel. According to a deposition Potter made and signed at Quebec that fall, Rogers unfolded a plan for a separate Province of Michillimackinac, over which he would preside as governor. He warmly urged Potter to go to England to promote this scheme, and declared that if it was unsuccessful he would go over to the French, who he had reason to believe would give him “better encouragement” than he had had from the British. Potter virtuously declined the mission and raised questions about the pay Rogers had promised but never given him. Rogers then threatened Potter’s life with “an Indian Spear” that was handy. There were more arguments and scuffles before Potter escaped from the remote post over which Rogers tyrannized. General Gage ordered the arrest of Rogers, who was brought in irons to Montreal, court-martialed, and eventually acquitted, but perhaps only because Potter, who had sailed for England with his budget of charges and woes, died in the English Channel before reaching port. (DAB, under Rogers; Gage, Corr., passim, especially 1:161–162; 2:55–56; Documents Relative to the Colonial History of the State of New York, Albany, 1856–1887, 7:988–992.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-28

Decr. 28th. 1765. Saturday.

Went to Weymouth with my Wife. Dined at Father Smiths. Heard much of the Uneasiness among the People of Hingham, at a sermon preached by Mr. Gay, on the Day of Thanksgiving, from a Text in James, “Out of the same Mouth proceedeth Blessing and Cursing,” in which he said that the ancient Weapons of the Church, were Prayers and Tears, not Clubbs, and inculcated Submission to Authority, in pretty strong Expressions. His People said that Mr. Gay would do very well for a Distributor, and they believed he had the Stamps in his House, and even threatned &c. This Uneasiness it seems was inflamed by a sermon preached there the sunday after by Mr. Smith, which they admired very much, and talk of printing as the best sermon, they ever heard him preach. This sermon of Mr. Smiths was from “render therefore to Caesar, the Things that are Caesars and unto God the Things that are Gods.” The Tenor of it was to recommend Honour, Reward, and Obedience to good Rulers; and a Spirited Opposition to bad ones, interspersed with a good deal of animated Declamation upon Liberty and the Times.
It seems there is a Clubb, consisting of Coll. Lincoln, the two Captain Barkers, one of them an half Pay Officer, Coll. Thaxter1 &c. who visit the Parson (Gay) every Sunday Evening, and this Clubb is wholly inclined to Passive Obedience—as the best Way to procure Redress. A very absurd Sentiment indeed! We have tryed Prayers and Tears, and humble Begging and timid tame submission as long as trying is good—and instead of Redress we have only increased our Burdens and aggravated our Condemnation.
Returned and spent the Evening at Home.
{ 280 }
1. John Thaxter Sr. (1721–1802), whose wife was Anna, daughter of Col. John Quincy, and who was thus AA’s uncle by marriage (History of the Town of Hingham [Hingham,] 1893, 3:232). His son John Jr. became JA’s law clerk, tutor to the Adams boys, JA’s private secretary in Europe, 1779–1783, and a frequent correspondent of the Adamses; see 13 Nov. 1779 and note 2 there.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-29

Decr. 29th. 1765. Sunday.

Heard Parson Wibird. Hear O Heavens and give Ear O Earth, “I have nourished and brought up Children and they have rebelled against me.”—I began to suspect a Tory Sermon on the Times from this Text. But the Preacher confined himself to Spirituals. But I expect, if the Tories should become the strongest, We shall hear many Sermons against the Ingratitude, Injustice, Disloyalty, Treason, Rebellion, Impiety, and ill Policy of refusing Obedience to the Stamp-Act. The Church Clergy to be sure will be very eloquent. The Church People are, many of them, Favourers of the stamp Act, at present. Major Miller, forsooth, is very fearful, that they will be stomachful at Home and angry and resentful. Mr. Vesey insists upon it that, We ought to pay our Proportion of the public Burdens. Mr. Cleverly is fully convinced that they i.e. the Parliament have a Right to tax Us. He thinks it is wrong to go on with Business. We had better stop, and wait till Spring, till we hear from home. He says We put the best face upon it, that Letters have been received in Boston, from the greatest Merchants in the Nation, blaming our Proceedings, and that the Merchants dont second us. Letters from old Mr. Lane, and from Mr. Dubert [De Berdt]. He says that Things go on here exactly as they did in the Reign of K[ing] C[harles] Ist. that blessed S[ain]t and Martyr.
Thus, that unaccountable Man goes about sowing his pernicious Seeds of Mischief, instilling wrong Principles in Church and State into the People, striving to divide and disunite them, and to excite fears to damp their Spirits and lower their Courage.
Etter is another of the poisonous Talkers, but not equally so. Cleverly and Vesey are Slaves in Principle. They are devout religious Slaves—and a religious Bigot is the worst of Men.
Cleverly converses of late at Mr. Lloyds with some of the Seekers of Appointments from the Crown—some of the Dozen in the Town of Boston, who ought as Hanncock says to be beheaded, or with some of those, who converse with the Governor, who ought as Tom Boylstone1 says to be sent Home with all the other Governors on the Continent, with Chains about their Necks.
1. Thomas Boylston (1721–1798), a cousin of JA’s mother; Boston merchant and, { 281 } despite his warm feelings against the Stamp Act, eventually a loyalist (NEHGR, 7 [1853]:148; Sabine, Loyalists).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-30

1765. Decr. 30th. Monday.1

We are now concluding the Year 1765, tomorrow is the last day, of a Year in which America has shewn such Magnanimity and Spirit, as never before appeared, in any Country for such a Tract of Country. And Wednesday will open upon Us a new Year 1766, which I hope will procure Us, innumerable Testimonies from Europe in our favour and Applause, and which we all hope will produce the greatest and most extensive Joy ever felt in America, on the Repeal both of the stamp Act and sugar Act, at least of the former.
Q[uery]. Who is it, that has harrangued the Grand Juries in every County, and endeavoured to scatter Party Principles in Politicks?2 Who has made it his constant Endeavour to discountenance the Odium in which Informers are held? Who has taken Occasion in fine spun, spick and span, spruce, nice, pretty, easy warbling Declamations to Grand Inquests to render the Characters of Informers, honourable and respectable? Who has frequently expressed his Apprehensions, that the form of Government in England was become too popular. Who is it, that has said in public Speeches, that the most compleat Monarchy in Europe was the Government of France? Who is it, that so often enlarges on the Excellency of the Government of Queen Elizabeth, and insists upon it so often, that the Constitution, about the Time of her Reign and under her Administration, was nearest the Point of Perfection? Who is it that has always given his opinion in Favour of Prerogative and Revenue, in every Case in which they have been brought into Question, without one Exception? Who is it that has endeavoured to biass simple Juries, by an Argument as warm and vehement, as those of the Bar, in a Case where the Province was contending vs. a Custom-House-Officer? And what were the other Means employed in that Cause vs. the Resolutions of the General Assembly? Who has monopolized almost all the Power, of the Government, to himself and his family, and who has been endeavouring to procure more, both on this side and the other side the Atlantic?
Read Shakespears Life of K. Henry 8th. Spent the Evening with the Company of Singers at Moses Adams’s.
Clarendon to Pym.3
They are extreamly proud of their Country, and they have reason to be so. Millions, Tens and Hundreds of Millions of Freeborn Sub• { 282 } jects, are familiar to their Imaginations, and they have a pious Horror, of consenting to any Thing, which may intail slavery on their Posterity. They think that the Liberties of Mankind and the Glory of human Nature is in their Keeping. They know that Liberty has been skulking about in Corners from the Creation, and has been hunted and persecuted, in all Countries, by cruel Power. But they flatter them selves that America was designed by Providence for the Theatre, on which Man was to make his true figure, on which science, Virtue, Liberty, Happiness and Glory were to exist in Peace.
Now have not they the same Reason to contend against Parliamentary Taxations, which you and your Hampden had against regal and ministerial Taxations.—What were your Reasons?
1. First entry in “Paper book No. 12” (our D/JA/12), a gathering of leaves stitched into a cover cut from a copy of the Boston Gazette, 11 Feb. 1765.
2. The references in this paragraph are to Thomas Hutchinson in his role as chief justice of the Superior Court, and especially to what JA and others considered Hutchinson’s judicial favoritism in the appeals of the customs officer Charles Paxton in the related cases of Gray v. Paxton and Province v. Paxton, 1761–1762. See entry of 3 April 1761 and note 7 there; and Appendix II, by Samuel M. Quincy, in Quincy, Reports, p. 541–552.
3. This remarkable fragment was not used in any of JA’s published “Clarendon” letters.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0009-0005-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1765-12-31

1765. Tuesday. Decr. 31st.

Went to Mr. Jo. Bass’s and there read Yesterdays Paper. Walked in the Afternoon into the Common and quite thro my Hemlock Swamp. [I]1 find many fine Bunches of young Maples, and nothing else but Alders. Spent the Evening at Home with Neighbour Field.
The national Attention is fixed upon the Colonies. The Religion, Administration of Justice, Geography, Numbers, &c. of the Colonies are a fashionable Study. But what wretched Blunders do they make in attempting to regulate them. They know not the Character of Americans.
1. MS: “A”—an obvious inadvertence.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-01

Anno Domini 1766

1766. January 1st. Wednesday.

Severe cold, and a Prospect of Snow.
We are now upon the Beginning of a Year of greater Expectation than any, that has passed before it. This Year brings Ruin or Salvation to the British Colonies. The Eyes of all America, are fixed on the B[ritish] Parliament. In short Britain and America are staring at each other.—And they will probably stare more and more for sometime.
{ 283 }
At Home all day. Mr. Joshua Hayward Jur. dined with me. Town Politicks, the Subject. <Drank Tea> Dr. Tufts here in the Afternoon, American Politicks the Subject. Read, in the Evening a Letter from Mr. Du berdt our present Agent to Ld. Dartmouth, in which he considers three Questions.1 1st. Whether in Equity or Policy America ought to refund any Part of the Expence of driving away the French in the last War? 2d. Whether it is necessary for the Defence of the B[ritish] Plantations, to keep up an Army there? 3d. Whether, in Equity, the Parliament can tax Us? Each of which he discusses like a Man of Sense, Integrity and Humanity, well informed in the Nature of his Subject. In his Examination of the last Question he goes upon the Principle of the Ipswich Instructions,2 vizt. that the first Settlers of America, were driven by Oppression from the Realm, and so dismembered from the Dominions, till at last they offered to make a Contract with the Nation, or the Crown, and to become subject to the Crown upon certain Conditions, which Contract, Subordination and Conditions were wrought into their Charters, which give them a Right to tax themselves. This is a Principle which has been advanced long ago. I remember in the Tryal of the Cause at Worcester between Governor Hopkins of Rhode Island and Mr. Ward3 one of the Witnesses swore that he heard Governor Hopkins, some Years before, in a Banter with Coll. Amy, advancing that We were under no subjection to the British Parliament, that our Forefathers came from Leyden &c.—and indeed it appears from Hutchinsons History, and the Massachusetts Records, that the Colonies were considered formerly both here and at Home, as Allies rather than Subjects. The first Settlement certainly was not a national Act, i.e. not an Act of the People nor the Parliament. Nor was it a national Expence. Neither the People of England, nor their Representatives contributed any thing towards it. Nor was the Settlement made on a Territory belonging to the People nor the Crown of England.
Q[uery]. How far can the Concern the Council at Plymouth had, in the first Settlement, be considered as a national Act? How far can the Discoveries made by the Cabots, be considered as an Acquisition of Territory to the Nation or the Crown?—and Q. whether the Council at Plymouth or the Voyages of the Cabots, or of Sir Walter Rawleigh &c. were any Expence to the Nation?
In the Paper there are also, Remarks on the Proceedings of Parliament relating to the stamp Act taken from the London Magazine Septr. 1765.4 This remarker says, as a great Number of new Offences, new Penalties, and new offices and officers, are by this Act created, We { 284 } cannot wonder at its being extreamly disgustful to our Fellow Subjects in America. The patient and long suffering People of this Country would scarcely have born it at once—they were brought to it by Degrees—and they will be more inconvenient in America than they can be in England.
The Remarker says further, that the design of one Clause in the Stamp Act, seems to be, that there shall be no such Thing as a practising Lawyer in the Country, the Case of the Saxons. This design he says ludicrously, by compelling every man to manage and plead his own Cause, would prevent many delays and Perversions of Justice, and so be an Advantage to the People of America. But he seriously doubts whether the Tax will pay the Officers. People will trust to Honour, like Gamesters and Stockjobbers. He says he will not enter into the Question, whether the Americans are right or wrong in the Opinion they have been indulged in ever since their Establishment, that they could not be subjected to any Taxes, but such as should be imposed by their own respective Assemblies. He thinks a Land Tax the most just and convenient of any—an Extension of the British Land Tax to the American Dominions. But this would have occasioned a new Assessment of the improved Value of the Lands in England as well as here, which probably prevented the Scheme of a Land tax, for he hopes, no View of extending the corruptive Power of the Ministers of the Crown had any Effect.
It is said at N. York, that private Letters inform, the great Men are exceedingly irritated at the Tumults in America, and are determined to inforce the Act. This irritable Race, however, will have good Luck to inforce it. They will find it a more obstinate War, than the Conquest of Canada and Louisiana.
1. Dennys De Berdt (1694?–1770) had been elected the Massachusetts House of Representatives’ agent in London in Nov. 1765. The letter in question, from “an eminent Merchant in London, to a noble Lord in the present Ministry,” was printed in the Boston Evening Post, 30 Dec. 1765, suppl., and in other Boston papers. It is without date, but the recipient’s copy in the Dartmouth MSS is endorsed “Recd. Septr. 5. 1765” (Albert Matthews, “Letters of Dennys De Berdt, 1757–1770,” Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 13 [1912]:438).
2. The relevant section of these remarkable instructions is quoted by CFA in JA, Works, 2:171, note.
3. In 1759. See William Gammell, “Life of Samuel Ward,” in Jared Sparks’ Library of American Biography, 2d ser., Boston, 1844–1848, 9:260–263.
4. In the Boston Evening Post, 30 Dec. 1765.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-02

1766. Jany. 2d. Thurdsday.

A great Storm of Snow last night. Weather tempestuous all Day. Waddled thro the Snow, driving my Cattle to water at Dr. Savils. A { 285 } fine Piece of glowing Exercise.—Brother spent the Evening here in chearful Chat.
At Phyladelphia, the Heart and Hand fire Company has expelled Mr. Hewes [Hughes] the Stamp Man for that Colony. The Freemen of Talbot County in Maryland have erected a Jibbet before the Door of the Court House 20 feet High, and have hanged on it, the Effigies of a Stamp Informer in Chains, in Terrorem, till the Stamp Act shall be repealed, and have resolved unanimously to hold in Utter Contempt and Abhorrence every Stamp Officer, and every Favourer of the Stamp Act, and to have no Communication with any such Person, not even to speak to him, unless to upbraid him with his Baseness.—So tryumphant is the Spirit of Liberty, every where.—Such an Union was never before known in America. In the Wars that have been with the french and Indians, a Union could never be effected.—I pitty my unhappy fellow Subjects in Quebeck and Hallifax, for the great Misfortune that has befallen them. Quebec consists chiefly of French Men who [are mixed]1 with a few English and awed by an Army—tho it seems the Discontent there is so great that the Gazette is drop’d. Hallifax consists of a sett of Fugitives and Vagabonds, who are also kept in fear by a Fleet and an Army. But can no Punishment be devised for Barbadoes and Port Royal in Jamaica? For their base Desertion of the Cause of Liberty? Their tame Surrender of the Rights of Britons? Their mean, timid Resignation to slavery? Meeching, sordid, stupid Creatures, below Contempt, below Pity. They deserve to be made Slaves to their own Negroes. But they live under the scortching Sun, which melts them, dissipates their Spirits and relaxes their Nerves. Yet their Negroes seem to have more of the Spirit of Liberty, than they. I think we sometimes read of Insurrections among their Negroes. I could wish that some of their Blacks had been appointed Distributors and Inspectors &c. over their Masters. This would have but a little aggravated the Indignity.
1. CFA’s conjecture for an inadvertent omission by the diarist.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-03

1766. Jany. 3d. Fryday.

Fair Weather and Snow enough. Major Miller, Dr. Savil and Mr. Joseph Penniman spent the Evening, with me. Agriculture, Commerce, Fishery, Arts, Manufactures, Town, Provincial, American, and national Politicks the Subject.—Anecdote, in the Beginning of the Year, Deacon Penniman was for reducing the Salary of the School Master from 330 to 300£. The Master Penniman insisted on keeping { 286 } half the time in the Middle Precinct, if he had but 300, to which the Select Men agreed. But when the Time came for Penniman to remove to the School in the Middle Precinct, Moses French, who had for many Winters kept the School there, and had been an active Advocate for Deacon Penniman, complained that he had depended on that School, and had not provided any other Business, and petitioned to keep it. So that the Deacon was obliged to move the select Men to agree afresh with Penniman and allow him his 330£ to keep at the North End. Thus it seems the Deacon did not see to the End of the Year when he began it.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-04

1766. Jany. 4. Saturday.

Edes & Gill’s Gazette brought in. I find that Somebody has published the very scene in Shakespears H[enry] 8, which I have put into Ld. Clarendons Letter to Pym.1 This brings to my Mind again Ld. Bacons Doctrine of secret, invisible Connections and communications, and unknown undiscovered Laws of Nature. Hampden writes to Pym on the Failure of Justice in America, on the shutting up of the Courts of Justice, since October. He has given the Public Mr. Otis’s Arguments before the Governor and Council, from Magna Charta, Ld. Coke, the Judges Oaths &c.—and promises to give more.
1. See 25 Dec. 1765 and note, above. The scene from Henry the Eighth was printed in the Boston Gazette, 30 Dec. 1765, suppl., with an introductory note signed “A.B.” As a result, JA did not use it in his “Clarendon” letters.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-05

Sunday. Jany. 5th. 1766.

Heard Mr. Wibird all Day. A Sacramental Sermon on “It is finished.—”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-06

Monday [6 January].

At Home. Mr. Smith and Mr. Penniman dined here.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-07

Tuesday [7 January].

At Boston. Hampden has given us in Yesterdays Gazette, a long Letter to Pym upon shutting up the Courts, in which he proves from Holts and Pollexfens Arguments at the Revolution Conference, from Grotius De Jure Belli, B. 1. C. 3. §. 2. that shutting up the Courts is an Abdication of the Throne, a Discharge of the Subjects from their Allegiance, and a total Dissolution of Government and Reduction of { 287 } all Men to a state of Nature. And he proves from Bracton that partial Tumults, &c. are not a Tempus Guerrium, (Bellorum) a Time of War.
Sam. Waterhouse has made a most malicious, ungenerous, Attack upon James Lovell Jur. the Usher of the Grammar school, and insinuated about feminine Gender and Conjunction Copulative—as Y.Z. and H. had attacked him, about Idleness and familiar Spirits, and Zanyship, and Expectancy of a Deputation &c.1 This Way of reviling one another is very shocking to Humanity and very dangerous in its Consequences. To pry into a Mans private Life, and expose to the World, all the Vices, and Follies of Youth, to paint before the Public Eye, all the Blotts and Stains, in a Mans private Character, must excite the Commisseration of every Reader, to the Object, and his Indignation against the Author of such Abuse.
Spent half an Hour with Father Dana, another with Samuel Quincy, an Hour with Mr. Otis, &c. Otis is in high Spirits, is preparing for next Mondays Paper.2 Says that Mr. Trail brings very comfortable News, that Conway told him the Stamp Act must be repealed, that there was some Difficulty about coming off with Honor and that America would boast that she had conquered Britain. But he hoped the Americans would Petition. He longed to receive some Petitions &c. John Wentworth writes his Uncle Saml., that the Marquis of Rockingham told him, he would give his Interest to repeal 100 stamp Acts, before he would run the Risque of such Confusions, as would be caused by Enforcing it. That he knew there were already 10,000 Workmen discharged from Business, in Consequence of the Advices from America.
Clarendon to Pym.3
Nothing gave me so much Regret, or such Remorse in my whole Life, as the Part I acted in conniving at some of King Charles’s grievous and illegal Measures, and the Pains I took to support him, and his two oppressive Instruments Laud and Strafford. But my very zealous Attachment to the Church and the enthusiastical Spirit of Party, made me see many Objects in a Partial Light. I have condemned my self for these faults from that Time to this. And it grieves me to hear that the Barbadians have acted so vile a Part, in the Year 1765. That Island was settled, under the Protectorate of Cromwell, by zealous Partisans for Passive Obedience, and I suppose a Remnant of the servile Spirit of their Ancestors, and of those ruinous Doctrines have prevailed on them to submit. I said under the Protectorate for I must own I can scarcely prevail on my self to call it an Usurpation, or the struggle { 288 } made by you and Hampden and others, a Rebellion. If I was to revise my History, I should alter many Things which the Rage of Party hurried me to record, and in Particular, the Tittle of that Work.
1. These pieces appeared from time to time in both the Boston Evening Post and the Boston Gazette, Nov. 1765–Jan. 1766. They have decidedly lost their savor, if they ever had any. James Lovell (1737–1814), Harvard 1756, a teacher in the South Grammar School in Boston, achieved local celebrity by delivering the earliest of the anniversary orations on the “Boston Massacre,” 1771. A zealous patriot, he was elected to the Continental Congress late in 1776, where he served for five years on (and for long periods as) the Committee for Foreign Affairs, distinguishing himself equally, according to Edmund C. Burnett, by his diligence and his love of intrigue and mystification. In both his official capacity and as a family friend, Lovell corresponded voluminously with JA and AA, indiscriminately mixing international and personal affairs and views in his always lively letters. Burnett’s short account of Lovell in DAB is masterly, but a more comprehensive biography, drawing on his widely dispersed papers, is badly needed.
2. This can hardly mean anything else than that Otis was the author of the “Hampden” letters to “William Pym,” and that Otis told JA so at this time.
3. Draft of a fragment of the second “Clarendon” letter as published in the Boston Gazette, 20 Jan. 1766.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-08

Wednesday Jany. 8th. 1766.

At Home. Wrote &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-09

Thurdsday Jany. 9th. 1765 [i.e. 1766].

At Home.

Tantone Novorum

Proventu Scelerum quaerunt uter imperet Urbi?

Vix tanti fuerat Civilia Bella movere

Ut Neuter.1

Must such a Number of new Crimes be committed, to decide which of these two, Caesar or Pompey, shall be master in Rome? One would hardly purchase at that Price, the good Fortune of having Neither of them for Master.
Clarendon to Pym.2
Grotius De Jure Belli et Pacis B. 2 C. 16. §. 22. N. 1. The Interpretation that restrains the Import of Words is taken either from an original Defect in the Will of the Speaker or from some Accident falling out inconsistent with his design. Note. 1. There are some Cases, which there is good Reason to believe, the Person who speaks either did or at least might foresee them; and yet that he never intended they should be included in the general Terms, tho he has not expressly { [facing 288] } { [facing 289] } { 289 } excepted them, because he supposed such an Exception clear in itself. There are other Cases which could not be foreseen but are such as if they could have come into the Mind of him who speaks, he would have excepted them. This is the Accident, inconsistent with his design.
§.25. Tis also a very usual Inquiry, whether Acts are to be understood, with this tacit Condition if things continue in the same Posture, they are now in: and We frequently read in History, of Embassadors, who understanding that there was so great a Turn in Affairs, as would render the whole Matter and reason of their Embassy void, have returned home without opening their Commission at all. (implied Conditions, tacit Exceptions, tacit Restrictions.)
§. 26. Since it is impossible to foresee and specify every Accident, there is a Necessity for reserving the Liberty of exempting such Cases, as the Speaker would, were he present him self, exempt. One infallible Token that there ought to be such an Exemption is, when to adhere precisely to the Letter would be unlawful i.e. repugnant to the Laws of God and Nature. Another Token of Restriction shall be this, when to stick close to the Letter, is not absolutely, and of it self unlawful, but when upon Considering the Thing with Candor and Impartiality, it appears too grievous and burdensome. Seneca says, In the Law you say there is nothing excepted. But however, many Things which are not expressly excepted, are yet evidently implied to be so. The Letter indeed is narrow but the meaning extensive, and some Things are so very plain, as to want no Exception at all. And again, We engage to appear in Court on a certain day, and yet all those who do not appear, are not liable to the Penalty. There are some invincible Obstacles that excuse a Non Performance.
Thus all the Rules, that have been framed by Phylosophers, Civilians, and Common Lawyers, for the Interpretation of Promises, Covenants, nay Oaths, Treaties, Commissions, Instructions, Edicts and Acts of Parliament, are exactly coincident with the Maxim of Common sense, in the Conduct of private Life, that Cases of Necessity and Impossibility are always excepted. That there is a Necessity for proceeding with Business, has been proved by your old Friend Hampden, beyond all Contradiction. He has proved that Protection and Allegiance are reciprocal, that a Failure of Justice without actual Violence as in Cases of Invasion and Rebellion, is an Abdication of the Crown and Throne. So that if the Prevention of a total Dissolution of Government and an universal Reduction of all Men to a state of Nature, is a Case of Necessity, this Province is at present in that Case.
1. “Lucan’s Pharsalia, 1. 2, v. 60” (CFA’s note in JA, Works, 2:175).
{ 290 }
2. The following notes and extracts from Grotius were not used in any of JA’s “Clarendon” letters as published.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-09

Thurdsday. Jany. 9th. 1766.

At Home all day. Mr. Smith, Dr. Tufts, Dr. Savil, Mr. Bass &c. here.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-10

Fryday. Jany. 10th. 1766.

Humphry Ploughjogger received a Letter from a Friend, thanking him for his good Advice and presenting him with a Crimson, Homespun Cap to wear with his Hide, as a Reward.1—Mr. Etter came in before Dinner, about his Petition to the General Court for Assistance in his stocking Weaving Business.—Went in the afternoon with my Wife to her Grandfathers.—Mr. Cleverly here in the Evening. He says he is not so clear as he was that the Parliament has a Right to tax Us. He rather thinks it has not. Thus the Contagion of the Times has caught even that Bigot to passive Obedience and non Resistance. It has made him waver. It is almost the first Time I ever knew him converted or even brought to doubt and hesitate about any of his favourite Points, as the Authority of Parliament to tax us was one. Nay he used to assert possitively, that the King was as absolute in the Plantations as the great Turk in his dominions.
Mr. Quincy gave me, some Anecdotes about John Boylstone2 and Jo. Green &c. Green refused to sign the Resolutions of Merchants at first, but was afterwards glad to send for the Paper. They were at first afraid of Salem, Newbury, Marblehead and Plymouth, but these Towns have agreed unanimously to the same Resolutions.
What will they say in England, when they see the Resolves of the American Legislatures, the Petitions from the united Colonies, the Resolutions of the Merchants in Boston, N. York, Phyladelphia &c.
1. This letter has not been found. In his latest “Ploughjogger” letter to the Boston Gazette, 14 Oct. 1765, JA had declared that if the Stamp Act went into effect he would put away his English-made woolen coat and wear instead the hide of his own ox, like “the folks in England before Caesar went there.”
2. John Boylston (1709–1795), son of the famous Dr. Zabdiel Boylston and thus a first cousin of JA’s mother; he was a Boston merchant and became a loyalist (NEHGR, 7 [1853]:146; Sabine, Loyalists).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-11

Saturday Jany. 11th. 1766.

A Rain.
Clarendon to Pym.1
In one particular, I must confess the Americans have not acted with their usual Acuteness of Understanding, and Firmness of Spirit. I { 291 } mean in that very strange Piece of Conduct of their shutting the Courts of Justice. I call it their Conduct, tho it is apparently against the general Judgment of the People, and it ought to be charged on a few Individuals, who have Other Things in View besides Truth, Right, or Law. Indeed I could scarcely have believed, that the Fact was so, had not the Town of Boston asserted it, in their Memorial to his Excellency in Council, and had it not been admitted to be true, in the Answer of the honourable Board. Shutting the Courts of Law strictly speaking, which is to appear and be tryed by the Records, is a partial and temporary Dissolution of the Government, even in Cases of Invasion and Rebellion, and as I take it so far forth reduces the People to a state of Nature, and leaves every Man in every Case to do him self Justice, and to carve out his own Remedy with his Tongue, his fist or his Sword. Now, I should be very glad to know, whether it appears upon Record, that the Courts of Justice are shut. If it does, I apprehend that Record will justify me in judging in my own Cause, and becoming in all Cases where I am injured or have a Demand, my own Lawyer, Judge, Juror and sherriff. And the same Record will prove too that we are in a state of War foreign or domestic. But We are at Peace no doubt with all foreign Nations. Well then, the only Supposition that remains is that We are in a state of actual Rebellion, and that the Judges cannot sit in Judgment for fear of actual Violence. Will any Man pretend this is our Case? Has any Man within the Province appeared in Arms, unless it was out of Attachment to his Majestys Person and Government, as a Number of the Militia of the Town of Boston did? Has one overt act of Treason been committed within the Province? Was there ever such an Act committed within the Province from its first settlement? Nay, I may go further and ask, has there been a disrespectful Speech uttered of his Majesty or his Government, thro the whole memorable Year 1765, even at Midnight? over the Bowl or the Bottle?—I believe not one.—Oh, But there was a Riot which pull’d down an House.—So have there been an hundred Riots, an hundred skimmingtons Ridings, in which some of his Majestys subjects have received Damage, some by riding a Rail and some a Bull, some for one Misdemeanor and some for another. Nay there have been such Ridings in which some of his Majestys subjects have been slain, some in which the Kings officers, sherriffs have been killed in the Execution of his office. Pray was that an overt Act of high Treason in the whole Province, or in any one Person concerned in the Riot? Was that a Foundation for shutting the Courts? and recording the whole Province in a state of Rebellion? Will it be said that there is no Record of any shutting of Courts? no Record { 292 } to prove any Invasion or Rebellion? How comes it then to have been admitted by the honorable Board that the Courts of Law, so far as respected civil Matters, were to all Intents and Purposes shutt up?
The Truth is here is a strange Ambiguity affected in this Matter. Courts will sit and suffer no Business to be done but adjourn, adjourn to next Spring. So that the Clerks are at a loss whether to make out Writs, the People are uncertain whether such Action will ever be sustained at all, and they know certainly that no Execution can be had till next Spring. So that they think it not worth while to be at the Expence of purchasing Writs. In this situation of Things we are as much deprived of the Kings Protection of our Persons and Properties, as unable to procure Justice, as if an actual Record was made of Invasion or Rebellion. So that the subject is as effectually deprived of the Benefit and Protection of the Law, as if the Laws were silent, drowned in the Din of War! We are therefore in Effect deprived of the Benefit of Magna Charta.
1. This fragment does not appear in any of the “Clarendon” letters as published.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-12

Sunday Jany. 12th. 1766.

Heard Mr. Wibird all day, at Evening Mr. Etter, here.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-13

Monday Jany. 13th. 1766

At Boston, the Inferiour Court of Common Pleas opened. Present Mr. Wells, Mr. Watts and Mr. Foster Hutchinson. More than 100 new Entries. The Actions all called over and many defaulted and some continued. So that The Court has rushed upon the thick Bosses of the Buckler and into the thickest of the Penalties and Forfeitures.1 — Dined at Brother Dudleys, with Gridley, Swift,2 Lowell and Mr. Fayer-weather. Fayerweather is one of the genteel Folks. He said he was dressed in Black as Mourning for the Duke of Cumberland. He said he was wearing out his black Cloaths as fast as he could and was determined to get no more till the Stamp Act was repealed. He designed to wear out all his old Cloaths, and then go upon our own Manufactures, unless the stamp Act was repealed.
One Thompson came to me at Cunninghams in the Evening, and engaged me in a Cause of Lampson vs. Buttar, which is for entering a Vessell at Louisbourg and taking away 10 Bbls. Rum. Buttar was or pretended to be a naval Officer for the Port of Louisbourg, or Secretary to Governor Whitmore, and under Colour of that Authority, entered { 293 } the Vessell and seized and brought off the Rum. Now Butter pretended to give Commissions to officers under him to attend the Wharfs and Keys of the Port and to examine all Goods imported and exported, and to stop the same, and report to him if illegal, or Contrary to the orders of the Governor, &c.3
Mr. Gridly was in a very trifling Humour to day after Dinner, telling tales about Overing &c. and Judges of Inferiour Courts formerly, and McCarty who built the Court by the Town House &c., and Stories about Coll. Choate of Ipswich, &c. The unsmotherable Pride of his own Heart, broke out in his account of his Disputes &c. with Choat. Choat was a Tyrant, Choat attempted Things too large for him. I have tumbled him over and over, and twisted and tossed and tumbled him, and Yet he could say to me sir I was here at 9 o Clock by Agreement and you was not come.—I answered him I was here, sir, at a Quarter after 9, and you was not here. Sir the Honour of attending me might at any Time dispense with a Quarter of an Hour.—This is not Pride. If Gridley had Pride, he would scorn such gross Vanity. A new England Church he said was one Object of Dispute between them.—The People in the Pale, the Deacons, and the Minister were the Picture of a N.E. Church. No Idea of it in the new Testament. Platform too was a bone of Contention.
Spent the Evening at Mr. Adams’s, with him and Brother Swift, very socially.
1. See Edmund S. and Helen M. Morgan, The Stamp Act Crisis, Chapel Hill, 1953, p. 140–143.
2. Samuel Swift (1715–1775), Harvard 1735, one of the older generation of Boston lawyers (though not admitted to the Superior Court until Aug. term, 1761), and one of the radical leaders of Boston’s North End (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:580–583).
3. This case is entered as Lamson v. Butter in JA’s list of actions in the Suffolk Inferior Court, April term, 1766 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 182).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-14

Tuesday Jany. 14th. 1766.

Dined at Mr. William Coopers with Messrs. Cushing, Story, and John Boylstone. Cushing, silent and sly as usual. Story I dont know what. Cooper and Boylstone principal Talkers. Boylstone, affecting a Phylosophical Indifference about Dress, Furniture, Entertainments &c., laughed at the affectation of nicely distinguishing Tastes, such as the several Degrees of Sweet till you come up to the first degree of bitter, laughed at the great Expences for Furniture, as Nick Boylstones Carpetts, Tables, Chairs, Glasses, Beds &c. which Cooper said were the richest in N. America.—The highest Taste and newest Fashion, { 294 } would soon flatten and grow old.—A Curse or two upon the Climate, preferable however to Carolina. But every Part of Europe preferable to this.—Q[uery]. Is not this Nicety of Feeling, this Indisposition to be satisfyed with the Climate, of the same Nature with the Delicacy of Tastes, and the Curiosity about Furniture just before exploded.—Spent the Evening at Cunninghams.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-15

Wednesday. Jany. 15th. 1766.

Dined at Mr. Isaac Smiths. No Company, no Conversation. Spent the Evening with the Sons of Liberty, at their own Apartment in Hanover Square, near the Tree of Liberty. It is a Compting Room in Chase & Speakmans Distillery. A very small Room it is.
John Avery Distiller or Merchant, of a liberal Education, John Smith the Brazier, Thomas Crafts the Painter, Edes the Printer, Stephen Cleverly the Brazier, Chase the Distiller, Joseph Field Master of a Vessell, Henry Bass, George Trott Jeweller, were present.
I was invited by Crafts and Trott, to go and spend an Evening with them and some others, Avery was mentioned to me as one. I went, and was very civilly and respectfully treated, by all Present. We had Punch, Wine, Pipes and Tobacco, Bisquit and Cheese—&c. I heard nothing but such Conversation as passes at all Clubbs among Gentlemen about the Times. No Plotts, no Machinations. They Chose a Committee to make Preparations for grand Rejoicings upon the Arrival of the News of a Repeal of the Stamp Act, and I heard afterwards they are to have such Illuminations, Bonfires, Piramids, Obelisks, such grand Exhibitions, and such Fireworks, as were never before seen in America.—I wish they mayn’t be disappointed.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-16

Thurdsday. Jany. 16th. 1766.

Dined at Mr. Nick Boylstones, with the two Mr. Boylstones, two Mr. Smiths, Mr. Hallowel1 and the Ladies. An elegant Dinner indeed! Went over the House to view the Furniture, which alone cost a thousand Pounds sterling. A Seat it is for a noble Man, a Prince. The Turkey Carpets, the painted Hangings, the Marble Tables, the rich Beds with crimson Damask Curtains and Counterpins, the beautiful Chimny Clock, the Spacious Garden, are the most magnificent of any Thing I have ever seen.
The Conversation of the two Boylstones and Hallowell is a Curiosity. Hotspurs all.—Tantivi.2—Nick. is a warm Friend of the Lieutenant { 295 } Governor, and inclining towards the Governor. Tom a firebrand against both. Tom is a perfect Viper—a Fiend—a Jew—a Devil—but is orthodox in Politicks however. Hallowell tells stories about Otis and drops Hints about Adams, &c., and about Mr. Dudley Atkins of Newbury. Otis told him, he says, that the Parliament had a Right to tax the Colonies and he was a d—d fool who deny’d it, and that this People never would be quiet till we had a Council from Home, till our Charter was taken away, and till we had regular Troops quartered upon Us.
<He came up under the> He says he saw Adams under the Tree of Liberty, when the Effigies hung there and asked him who they were and what. He said he did not know, he could not tell. He wanted to enquire.
He says Mr. Dudley Atkins was too well acquainted with the Secret of some riots there, to be entirely depended on, in his Account, &c.
Nick Boylstone is full of Stories about Jemmy and Solomon Davis. Solomon says, Country man I dont see what Occasion there is for a Governor and Council and House. You and the Town would do well enough.
Spent the Evening at Bracketts with Gen. Winslow, Coll. Bradford, Mr. Otis, Father Danforth, Coll. Richmond, Mr. [Brinlys?], and Mr. [Caldwell?] and Captain Hayward. Mr. Otis gave Us some Account of Ruggles’s Behaviour, at the Congress,3 and Winslow told Us about catching Bass with Eeel Spears, at the North River. Otis says, that when they came to sign Ruggles moved that none of them should sign, but that the Petitions should be carried back to the assemblies, to see if they would adopt them. This would have defeated the whole Enterprize. This Ruggles has an inflexible Oddity about him, which has gained him a Character for Courage and Probity, but renders him a disagreable Companion in Business.
1. Benjamin Hallowell (1725–1799), comptroller of the customs in Boston, had married Mary, a sister of Nicholas and Thomas Boylston and a first cousin of JA’s mother. The Hallowells’ son Ward (1747–1828), who in 1770 took the name Ward Nicholas Boylston upon the promise of a large inheritance from his uncle, was to be closely associated with two generations of the Adams family. (Robert Hallowell Gardiner, Early Recollections, Hallowell, Me., 1936, p. 4–11; Sabin, Loyalists, under Benjamin Hallowell and W. N. Boylston respectively; Francis E. Blake, History of the Town of Princeton, Princeton, Mass., 1915, 1:278–280; 2:28.)
2. That is, they ride at full gallop. CFA reads “Tantivy Nick,” which was quite possibly what JA meant to write (the word being associated with high toryism; see OED), but the punctuation in the MS does not warrant such a reading.
3. The Stamp Act Congress, held at New York in Oct. 1765, to which nine colonies sent delegates. Timothy Ruggles and the younger Otis were two of the three sent by Massachusetts, and Ruggles served as presiding officer. See Edmund S. and Helen M. Morgan, The Stamp Act Crisis, Chapel Hill, 1953, ch. 7.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-17

Fryday [17 January].

Came home, and dined, and there stayed.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-18

Saturday. Jany. 18th. 1766.

At Home. The Dr. dined here.
Clarendon to Pym.1
There has been a great Inquiry, in some Parts of America, after a Diffinition of the british Constitution. Some have defined the Constitution to be the Practice of Parliament. Some have called it, Custom, some have call’d it the most perfect Combination of human Powers in society, that finite Wisdom has yet contrived and reduced to Practice, for the Preservation of Liberty, and the Production of Happiness. Some Have said that K[ing], Lords, and Commons make the Constitution. Some have said that the whole Body of the Laws are the Constitution.—I confess there is nothing in any one of these, that is satisfactory to my Mind. Yet I cannot say that I am at any Loss about my own or any Man’s Meaning when he uses those Words “The british Constitution.”
What do we mean by the human Constitution? The Constitution of the human Body? What by a strong and robust, or a weak and feeble Constitution? Do we not mean a certain Contexture of Nerves, fibres, Muscles, or certain Qualities of the Blood and Juices, as sizy or watery, flegmatic or fiery, acid or alkaline? These are the Ideas which enter into our Minds when we consider the human Constitution as productive of Health or Strength. And We always consider the Constitution in Relation to its End. And the Physician shall tell one Man, that certain Kinds of Exercise, or Dyet or Medicine are not adapted to or consistent with his Constitution, i.e. not compatible with that Mans Health, which he would say are the best adapted to Health in another. The Patients Habit, we will say, abounds with acid and acrimonious Juices, in too great a Quantity, will the Dr. order Vinegar, Lemmen Juice, Barberries and Cramberries, to work a Cure? These would be unconstitutional Remedies, calculated to increase the Evil, which arose for want of a Ballance between the acid and Alkaline Ingredients in his Composition. So if the Patients Nerves are braced overmuch, will the Physician order the Jesuits Bark? There is a certain Quantity of Exercise, Dyet, and Medicine, and they are of certain Sorts, which is best adapted to my Constitution, which will keep me in the best Health and Spirits, and will contribute the most to the Prolongation of my { 297 } Life. These determinate Quantities are not known to me perhaps or any other Person. And here is the proper Province of the Physician, to study my Constitution, and give me the best Advise he can, what and how much I may eat and drink, and sleep, how far I may ride or walk in a day, what Air and Weather I may improve for this Purpose and when I shall take Physick and of what sort it shall be, in order to preserve my Health and prolong my Life.
But there are moreover certain Parts of the human Constitution which may properly be called Stamina Vitae, or essentials and Fundamentals—Parts without which Life itself cannot be preserved a Moment. I suppose that annihilate the Heart, the Lungs, the Brain, the Animal Spirits, the Blood, any one of these and Life will instantly depart. These may therefore be safely called fundament[al] Parts of the human Constitution. Yet the Limbs may be all amputated, the Eyes put out, and many other mutilations practiced on the Man, to impair his Strength, Activity and many other Attributes and yet the Fundamentals and Essentials to Life, may remain untouched and may last many Years.
Let me put the Case of a Machine, a Clock, a Watch, a Ship, or a Grist Mill.
A Clock also has a Constitution, i.e. a certain Combination of Weights, Springs, Wheels and Levers, calculated for certain Uses and Ends. This Use and End is the Mensuration of Time. Now the same Reasoning may be employed with equal Propriety, concerning a Clock as concerning the human Body. The Constitution of a Clock does not imply that the Weights and Wheels and other Movements should be so perfectly contrived and executed as never to go too fast or too slow, as never to gain nor loose a Second in a Year, or a Century. This is the Province of Quare and Graham and Tomlinson, to execute the Workmanship like Artists and come as near Perfection as the human Eye and finger will allow, i.e. as near an exact Mensuration of Time. But yet there are certain Parts in the Frame of a Watch without which it will not go att all—without which you can have no better Account from it of the Time of day than you can from the oar of Gold and silver and Brass and Iron out of which they are wrought. The Spring, some of the Wheels, the Dial Plate and the Hand—without any one of these you can have no Clock or Watch. These therefore are the Essentials and Fundamentals of a Watch.
Let Us now enquire if the same Reasoning is not applicable to Government. For Government is a Frame, a scheme, a system, a Combination of Powers, for a certain End vizt. the good of the whole Com• { 298 } munity. The public Good, the salus Populi is the professed End of all Government, the most despotic as well as the most free. I shall not enter into any Inquiry which Form of Government, whether Either of the Forms of the schools or any Mixture of them is the best calculated to this End the Salus Populi: This is the Inquiry of the Founders of Empires. I shall take for granted what I am sure no Briton will controvert, that Liberty is essential to human Happiness—to the public Good, the Salus Populi. And here lies the Difference between the british Constitution and other Constitutions of Government, vizt. that Liberty is its End—the preservation of Liberty is its End, its Use, its Designation, its Drift and scope, as much as Life and Health are the Ends of the Constitution of the human Body, as much as the Mensuration of Time is the End of the Constitution of a Watch, as much as Grinding Corn is the End of a Grist Mill, or the Transportation of Burdens the End of a Ship.
<The British Constitution therefore is a Mixture>2
The first grand Division of Power therefore in the British Constitution is into the Power of Legislation and that of Execution. The great Divisions of the Power of Legislation are into those of the King, the Lords, the Commons, and the People. I distinguish between the Commons and the People because there is a material Difference between the House of Commons and the People who depute them, and these last have as important a Power, in the Constitution as the former, the Power I mean of Election.
The Power of Execution also, consists of the King, Judges and Jurors.
So that two Branches of popular Power, are as essential and fundamental to the great End of the british Constitution, the Preservation of Liberty, and to preserve the Ballance and Mixture of the Government, and to prevent its running into an Oligarchy or Aristocracy, as the Lords and Commons are to prevent its becoming an absolute Monarchy.
The Branches of Power that I mean here are voting for Members of the House of Commons, and Tryals by Juries. This therefore is an Essential Wheel in the Watch, that the People should have a share in the making of Laws and in the Execution of them. In these two Wheels consist the security and Liberty of the People. They have no other Fortification against Power besides these, no other security against being ridden like Horses, and fleeced like Sheep, and worked { 299 } like Cattle, and fed and Cloathed like Hoggs, and Hounds. Nay no other security against fines, Imprisonments, loss of Limbs, Whipping Posts, Gibbetts, Bastinadoes and Racks.
What a Fine Reflection is it to a Man, Pym, and Consolation—I can be subject to no Law that I do not make my self or constitute some of my Friends to make for me. My Father, Brother, Friend, Neighbour, a Man of my own Rank, nearly of my own Education, Fortune, Habits, Passions, Prejudices, one whose Life and Fortune and Liberty are to be affected like my own, by the Laws he shall consent to for himself and me!
What a Satisfaction is [it] to reflect, Mr. Pym, (I hope the infernal Regions have not made you forget all your humanity) that I can lye under the Imputation of no Guilt, be subject to no Punishment, lose none of my Property, or the <Pleasures and> Necessaries, Conveniences or Ornaments of Life which indulgent Providence has showered around me, but by the Judgment of my Peers, my equals, my Neighbours, Men who know me and to whom I am known, Men who have no End to serve by Punishing me, Men who wish to find me innocent if charged with a Crime and Men who are indifferent on which Side the Truth lies, if I dispute with my Neighbour.
1. Rough draft of the greater part of JA’s third “Clarendon” letter. The printed version, in the Boston Gazette, 27 Jan. 1766, varies widely from the draft; compare JA, Works, 3:477–483.
2. Though broken off and scored out in the draft, this topic is developed in the letter as printed; see JA, Works, 3:480, first paragraph.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-19

Sunday. Jany. 19th. 1766.

Heard Mr. Robbins of Milton.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-20

Monday. Jany 20th. 1766.

Leonard gave me an Account of a Clubb that he belongs to, in Boston. It consists of John Lowell, Elisha Hutchinson, Frank Dana, Josiah Quincy,1 and two other young Fellows, Strangers to me. Leonard had prepared a Collection of the Arguments, for and against the Right of Parliament to tax the Colonies, for said Clubb. His first Inquiry was whether the subject could be taxed without his Consent in Person or by his Representative? 2d. Whether We Americans are represented in Parliament or not?
Leonard says that Lowell is a Courtier, that he ripps about all who stand foremost in their opposition to the Stamp Act, at your Otis’s and Adams’s &c. and says that no Man can scribble about Politicks without { 300 } bedaubing his fingers, and every one who does is a dirty fellow. He expresses great Resentment against that Line in Edes & Gill, “Retreat or you are ruined,” and says they ought to be committed for that single stroke.—Thus it seems that the Air of Newbury, and the Vicinage of Farnham,2 Chipman3 &c. have obliterated all the Precepts, Admonitions, Instructions and Example of his Master Thatcher, and have made him in Thatchers Phrase a shoe licker and an A—se Kisser of Elisha Hutchinson. Lowel is however very warm, sudden, quick, and impetuous and all such People are unsteady. Too much Fire. Experientia docet.
Leonard gave me also a Relation of his going to Providence Court and Spending an Evening with the Political Clubb there. The Clubb consists of Governor Hopkins, Judge Jenks, Downer, Cole and others. They were impatient to have the Courts opened in this Province not choosing to proceed in Business alone. Were very inquisitive concerning all our Affairs. Had much to say of Hutchinson, Otis, &c. Admired the answer to the Governors Speech. Admired the Massachusetts Resolves. Hopkins said that nothing had been so much admired there through the whole Course of the Controversy, as the Answer to the Speech, tho the Massachusetts Resolves were the best digested and the best of any on the Continent. Enquired who was the Author of them.4
Enquired also who it was that burlesqued the Governors Speeches?5 Who wrote Jemmybullero, &c.6 Thought Hutchinsons History did not shine. Said his House was pulled down, to prevent his writing any more by destroying his Materials. Thought Otis was not an original Genius, nor a good Writer, but a Person who had done, and would continue to do much good service.
Were very inquisitive about Mclntosh. Whether he was a Man of Abilities, or not? Whether he would probably rise, in Case this Contest should be carried into any Length.7 Jo. Green, Waterhouse and Church were talk’d of as capable of Bullero and the Burlesques.
1. Josiah Quincy Jr. (1744–1775), often called “the Patriot,” to distinguish him from his father, “the Colonel,” and his son, “the President” (of Harvard), since all three had the same name. Josiah Jr. was admitted to practice in the Inferior Court later this year (entry of 28 July, below), and in the Superior Court, Aug. term, 1768 (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 86). He declined to become a barrister, objecting to “the Pomp and Magic of—the Long Robe” (Quincy, Reports, p. 317). This did not prevent his building up a lucrative practice, and he was frequently associated with JA at the bar in the following years, most notably in the trials growing out of what is called the Boston Massacre, 1770.
2. Daniel Farnham (1719–1776), Harvard 1739, of Newburyport; read law with Edmund Trowbridge; admitted attorney in the Superior Court, 1745; barrister, 1762; though a loyalist in { 301 } sympathy, he was not driven into exile (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:364–366; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79).
3. John Chipman (1722–1768), Harvard 1738, of Marblehead; admitted to the Superior Court, 1751; barrister, 1762 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:276–277; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79).
4. Governor Francis Bernard’s speech to the General Court on the Stamp Act, 25 Sept. 1765, the answer by the House, 25 Oct., and the Resolves of the House, 29 Oct., are most conveniently available in appendixes to Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:334–344. Hutchinson in his text attributes both the answer and the Resolves to Sam Adams, who had just come into the House, succeeding Oxenbridge Thacher as a Boston representative (same, p. 96; see also Wells, Samuel Adams, 1:70–77).
5. A long, dull parody in verse of Bernard’s speeches appeared in the Boston Gazette, 25 Nov. 1765.
6. “Jemmibullero: A Fragment of an Ode of Orpheus; Freely Translated from the original Tongue, and adapted to British Music. By Peter Minim, Esq;” was printed in the Boston Evening Post, 13 May 1765. It is a clever and thoroughly malicious satirical jingle on the younger Otis. CFA and others ascribe it to Samuel Waterhouse. A sample:

“As Jemmy is an envious dog, and Jemmy is ambitious,

And rage and slander, spite and dirt to Jemmy are delicious,

So Jemmy rail’d at upper folks while Jemmy’s Dad was out,

But Jemmy’s DAD has now a place, so Jemmy’s turn’d about.”

7. Ebenezer Mackintosh (1737–1816), a South End shoemaker and leader of Pope’s Day and Stamp Act riots. His life has been exhaustively studied in two articles by George P. Anderson, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 26 (1927):15–64, 348–361.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-01

1766 March 1st. Saturday1

Spent a Part of last Evening with Mr. Jo. Cleverly. He is a Tiptoe for Town Meeting. He has many Schemes and Improvements in his Head—vizt. for seperating the offices of Constable and Collector.—Collecting Taxes has laid the Foundation for the Ruin of many Families—John Vesey, Ben. Owen, Jed. Bass. He is for 5 select Men and will vote for the old ones Mr. Quincy,2 and Major Miller. He hears they are for turning out all the old select Men and chusing a new sett: they [are] for having but 3 &c. The only Way is to oppose Schemes to Schemes, and so break in upon them.—Cleverly will become a great Town Meeting Man, and a great Speaker in Town Meeting. Q. What Effect will this have on the Town Affairs.
Brother tells me, that Wm. Vesey Jur. tells him, he has but one Objection against Jona. Bass, and that is, Bass is too forward.—When a Man is forward, We may conclude he has some selfish View, some self Ends.—Brother asked him if he and his Party would carry that Argument thro? It holds stronger vs. Captn. Thayer and Major Miller than it ever did against any Body in this Town excepting Coll. Gooch and Captn. Mills. But I desire the Proof of Bass’s forwardness. Has he been more so than Major Miller?—Come Come Mr. Vesey, says Master Jo. Cleverly, dont you say too much. I ant of that mind.
{ 302 }
Ego. Bass is an Active, capable Man, but no seeker by mean begging or buying of Votes.
1. First entry in “Paper book No. 13” (our D/JA/13), a gathering of leaves stitched into a cover cut from a copy of the Boston Gazette, 29 Nov. 1762. For the period 21 Jan.–28 Feb. 1766 no Diary entries survive.
2. Norton Quincy, Harvard 1736, son of Col. John Quincy of Mount Wollaston and thus an uncle of AA. In 1767 he inherited his father’s large estate and devoted himself to farming in a gentlemanly manner, though he also had business interests.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-02

Sunday [2 March].

Heard Mr. Wibirt.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-03

Monday. March 3. 1766.

My Brother Peter, Mr. Etter and Mr. Field, having a Number of Votes prepared for Mr. Quincy and me, set themselves to scatter them in Town Meeting. The Town had been very silent and still, my Name had never been mentioned nor had our Friends ever talked of any new Select Men att all, excepting in the south Precinct. But as soon as they found their was an Attempt to be made, they fell in and assisted, and, altho there were 6 different Hatts, with Votes for as many different Persons, besides a considerable Number of Scattering Votes, I had the Major Vote of the Assembly, the first Time. Mr. Quincy had more than 160 Votes. I had but one Vote more than half. Some of the Church People, Mr. Jo. Cleverly, his Brother Ben. and Son &c. and Mr. Ben. Vesey of the Middle Precinct, Mr. James Faxon &c. I found were grieved and chagrined for the Loss of their dear Major Miller.1
Etter and my Brother took a skillful Method. They let a Number of young Fellows into the Design. John Ruggles, Peter Newcomb, &c. who were very well pleased with the Employment and put about a great many Votes. Many Persons, I hear acted slyly and deceitfully. This is always the Case.
I own it gave me much Pleasure to find I had so many Friends, and that my Conduct in Town, has been not disapproved. The Choice was quite unexpected to me. I thought the Project was so new and sudden that the People had not digested it, and would generally suppose, the Town would not like it, and so would not vote for it. But my Brothers answer was, that it had been talked of, last year, and some Years before, and that the Thought was familiar to the People in general, and was more agreable than any Thing of the Kind, that could be proposed to many. And for these Reasons his Hopes were strong.
{ 303 }
But the Tryumph of the Party was very considerable, tho not compleat. For Thayer and Miller, and the late Lessees of the North Commons, and many of the Church People and many others, had determined to get out Deacon Penniman. But instead of that, their favourite was dropped, and I, more obnoxious to that Party than even Deacon Penniman, or any other Man, was chosen in his Room, and Deacon Penniman was saved with more than 130 Votes, a more reputable Election than even Thayer himself had.
Mr. Jo. Bass was extreamly sorry for the Loss of Major Miller, he would never come to another Meeting. Mr. Jo. Cleverly could not account for many Things done at Town Meetings. His Motion for Choosing Collectors was slighted—his Motion for lessening his fine was thrown out—and he made no Sort of figure as a Speaker. So that I believe Mr. Cleverly will make no Hand.
Elisha Niles says Sett a Knave to catch a Knave. A few days before a former March Meeting he told Thayer that he had a Mind to get in Deacon Penniman. Thayer asked him, who he would have with him? He answered Captain Allin. Thayer made him no Answer, but, when the Meeting came, was chosen himself.—Mr. Thomas Faxon of this End of the Town, told my Wife he never saw any Body chosen so neatly in his Life. Not a Word—not a Whisper before hand. Peter Newcomb gave him a Vote. He had one before for Miller, and had heard nothing of me. But He thought I should have one. So he dropped that for Miller. Jo. Nightingale asked my Wife, Mr. Adams will have too much Business, will he not. The Courts to attend—Select Man—and Representative at May, &c. Mr. John Baxter, the old Gentleman, told me, he was very well pleased with the Choice at the North End, &c. Old Mr. John Ruggles voted for me. But says that Thayer will [be elected]2 at May. If I would set up, he would vote for me, and I should go, but Mr. Quincy will not. Lt. Holbrook I hear was much in my favour &c. Thus the Town is pretty generally disputing about me, I find. But this Choice will not disconcert Thayer at May, tho it will weaken him. But as I said before the Tryumph was not compleat. Cornet Bass had the most Votes the first Time, and would have come in the Second, but the North End People, his Friends, after putting in their Votes the first Time, withdrew for Refreshment, by which Accident he lost it, to their great Regrett.
Mark the Fruits of this Election, to me. Will the Church People be angry, and grow hot, and furious? Or will they be cooler and calmer for it? Will Thayers other Precinct friends resent it, and become more violent, or will they be less so?—In short, I cannot answer these Ques• { 304 } tions. Many of them will be disheartened I know. Some will be slad.
1. At the town meeting this day four of the five selectmen then serving were reelected (Norton Quincy, James Penniman, Ebenezer Thayer, and Benjamin Porter), but Ebenezer Miller was replaced by JA. Since Miller was an Anglican and “inclined to the government,” CFA rightly notes that this election marked “the first popular struggle of the Revolution in the town of Braintree” (JA, Works, 2:186, note).
2. Inadvertent omission by the diarist. Thayer was reelected to the General Court, 19 May (Braintree Town Records, p. 411).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1766-03-04 - 1766-03-09

Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurdsday, Fryday, Saturday, Sunday [4–9 March].

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-10

Monday. 10th. 1766.

Last Week went to Boston, and to Weymouth, &c. I hear that Mr. Benjamin Cleverly has already bespoke Mr. John Ruggles Jur., against May Meeting. Promis’d him, as much as he can eat and drink of the best Sorts, if he will vote for Captn. Thayer. Told him he would not have acted as he did at March, if it had not been for Thos. Newcomb, and that he would vote for Thayer at May, if it was not for Thos. Newcomb. By this, the other Side are allarmed. The Craft they think is in danger. But I believe their Fears are groundless, tho I wish there was good Reason for them.
Drank Tea at Mr. Etters. He says all the Blame is laid to him, and that a certain Man takes it very ill of him.—By the Way, I heard to day that Major Miller and James Brackett Jur. were heard since March Meeting raving against Deacon Palmer, and said he was a Knave &c. Q. about this Quarrell?
I find the late Choice has brought upon me, a Multiplicity of new Cares. The Schools are one great Object of my Attention. It is a Thing of some difficulty to find out the best, most beneficial Method of expending the school Money. Captn. Adams says that each Parishes Proportion of the School Money, has not been settled, since my fathers day. Thos. Faxon says, it would be more profitable to the Children, to have a Number of Womens Schools about than to have a fixed Grammar School. Q. Whether he has not a Desire that his Wife should keep one? Jonathan Bass says the same. Q. his Wife is a School Mistress. So that two Points of Examination occur—the Proportion between the Parishes, i.e. the Sum which this Parish ought to have, and whether a standing Grammar school is preferable to a Number of school Mistresses Part of the Year and a Grammar School Part.
Another great Object, Are the Poor. Persons are soliciting for the { 305 } Priviledge of supplying the Poor, with Wood, Corn, Meat &c. The Care of supplying at Cash Price, and in Weight and Measure, is something. The Care of considering and deciding the Pretensions of the Claimants is something.
A Third, and the greatest is the Assessment. Here I am not so thorough. I must enquire a great While before I shall know the Polls, and Estates, real and personal, of all the Inhabitants of the Town or Parish.
The high Ways, the Districts to Surveyors, and laying out new Ways or altering old ones, are a 4th. Thing.
Perambulations of Lines, are another Thing.—Dorchester, Milton, Stoughton, Bridgwater, Abington, Weymouth. Orders, for Services of many Sorts, to &c.
It will increase my Connections, with the People.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-11

Tuesday 11th.

Went to Boston. The C[hief] J[ustice] not there. A Piece of political Finess, to make the People believe he was under a Necessity of going a Journey this Week, but would be here by the next, was put about while Care was taken, to secure an Agreement to an Adjournment for 3 or 4 Weeks. So that Hutchinson is to trim, and shift, and luff up and bear away. And elude the Blame of the Ministry and the People.
Cushing Spoke out boldly and said he was ready to go on. He had no Difficulty about going on. Lynde said We are here. Oliver said here am I, in Duress, and if I must go on, I must. Thus Popular Compulsion, fear of Violence, of the Sons of Liberty, &c, was suggested to be the only Motive with him to go on.1
1. Since no one (including the lawyers) wished to incur the possible penalties for proceeding without stamped paper, the judges like everyone else were playing the game of “Who will bell the cat?” Those named here were the younger John Cushing (1695–1778), of Scituate (Emory Washburn, Sketches of the Judicial History of Massachusetts, Boston, 1840, p. 298–299); the younger Benjamin Lynde (1700–1781), subsequently chief justice (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 6:250–257); and Peter Oliver, who has been mentioned earlier. Chief Justice Hutchinson’s own account of the situation with respect to the Superior Court is in his Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:105–106. See also Quincy, Reports, p. 215–217; and the entries of 15 March, 15, 29 April, below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-12

Wednesday. 12th.

Returned to Braintree.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-13

Thurdsday 13th.

At home.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-14

Fryday 14th.

Yesterday and to day the severest Storm of Snow, we have had this Year.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-15

Saturday 15th. March 1766.

The Snow is as deep and in as mountainous Banks, as it has been at any Time this Winter.—The unanimous Agreement of the Court and Bar, was, to try a few civil Causes, one at least, and then adjourn over.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-16

Sunday 16th. 1766.

Heard Mr. Wibirt all day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-17

Monday March 17th. 1766.

Rain. A Piece in Even[ing] Post March 10th. Remarks and Observations on Hutch[inson]’s History.1 The Writer seems concerned least his Country men should incur the Censure of hissing from the stage all Merit of their own Growth.
But Q. Allowing Mr. Hutchinsons great Merit, what Disposition has his Country men discovered to hiss it from the Stage? Has not his Merit been sounded very high by his Country men?—for 20 Years? Have not his Countrymen loved, admired, revered, rewarded, nay almost adored him? Have not 99 in an 100 of them really thought him, the greatest and best Man in America? Has not the Perpetual Language of many Members of both Houses, and of a Majority of his Brother Councillors [been], that Mr. Hutchinson is a great Man, a pious, a wise, a learnd, a good Man, an eminent Saint, a Phylosopher &c, the greatest Man in the Province, the greatest on the Continent? <Nay have not many proceeded almost to> Nay has not the Affection and Admiration of his Countrymen, arisen so high, as often to style him, the greatest and best Man in the World? that they never saw nor heard, nor read of such a Man?—a Sort of Apotheosis like that of Alexander and that of Caesar while they lived?
As to Rewards, have they not admitted him to the highest Honours, and Profits, in the Province? Have they not assisted him chearfully in raising himself and his family to allmost all the Honours and Profits—to the Exclusion of much better Men? Have they not rewarded him so far, as to form invincible Combinations to involve every Man of any { 307 } Learning and Ingenuity, in generall Detestation, Obloquy, and Ruin, who has been so unfortunate as to think him rather too craving?
There is also another Piece, in the same Paper, called Remarks on the Times, possibly by the same Hand—about Political Enthusiasm, disordered Pulses, Precipices, Vertigoes, falling on ragged Cliffs, Men of hot enthusiastical Turn of Mind, &c.2
Went to Town Meeting thro a fierce Wind, a soaking Rain, and miry Roads and Banks of Snow.3
1. Signed “J.” The History of the Colony of Massachusets-Bay... [1628–1691], “By Mr. Hutchinson, Lieutenant-Governor of the Massachuse’ts Province,” was printed by Thomas & John Fleet, Boston, 1764, the first of three volumes ultimately published.
2. This piece is unsigned. CFA furnishes a sample from it in a footnote, JA, Works, 2:190.
3. This town meeting seems to have had no political overtones, being chiefly concerned with regulations to prevent obstructions to “the fish called Alewives” in the Monatiquot River and with the laying out of new roads (Braintree Town Records, p. 409–411).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-18

Tuesday. 18th.

Went to Weymouth, found the Family mourning the Loss, and preparing for the Funeral of old Tom.—After my Return, rode to Mr. Halls,1 and in my Return stopped at Mr. Jo. Basses, for the Papers. Major Miller soon afterwards came in, and he and I looked on each other, without Wrath or shame or Guilt, at least without any great Degree of Either, ’tho I must own I did not feel exactly as I used to in his Company, and I am sure by his Face and Eyes, that he did not in mine. We were very Social, &c.
1. Probably John Hall (1698–1780), usually referred to in local records as “Lieutenant Hall,” who in December of the present year married JA’s widowed mother (Quincy, First Church, MS Records).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-19

Wednesday. March 19th. 1766.

At Home.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-20

Thursday March 20th.

At Mrs. Baxters Funeral.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-21

Fryday March 21st.

A fine Spring like Morning. The Birds of many Sorts, as sprightly and musical.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-28

Fryday, March 28th. 1766.

I have omitted writing a Week. Dr. Tufts lodged here last Night { 308 } with Yesterdays Paper. The Jany. Packet, arrived at N. York, has brought the K[ing]’s Speech, the Address of Lords and Commons, 14th. Jany., and many private Letters, which inform that Mr. Pitt was in the House of Commons and declared himself vs. Greenville [Grenville], and for a Repeal of the Stamp Act, upon Principle. Called it, the most impolitic, arbitrary, oppressive, and unconstitutional Act that ever was passed. Denyed that We were represented in the House of Commons. (Q. whether the House of Commons, or the Parliament). And asserted that the House granted Taxes in their Representative Capacity, not in their Legislative. And therefore, that the Parliament had not Right to tax the Colonies.
Q. What has been said in America which Mr. Pitt has not confirmed? Otis, Adams, Hopkins, &c. have said no more. Hampden, F.A., the Feudal System And Lord Clarendon, have gone no further than Pitt. No Epithets have been used in America worse than impolitic, arbitrary, oppressive, unconstitutional, unless it be cursed, damned, supercursed &c.
What shall we think of Mr. Pitt? What shall we call him? The Genius, and Guardian Angell of Britain and British America? Or what? Is it possible that Greenville, offensive to his K[ing], dissagreable to the People, should prevail vs. the whole new Ministry and Mr. Pitt?

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-04-10

Fryday April 10th. 1766.

At Plymouth. Court open and Business proceeding.1
1. This was the Inferior Court of Common Pleas.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-04-15

Tuesday April 15th. 1766.

Went to Boston. The Superior Court adjourned again, for a fortnight. Hutchinson, Cushing and Oliver, present. What Insolence And Impudence, and Chickanery is this?
Fleet of Yesterday, gives us, a Piece from Lon[don] Gaz[ette] Jany. 8th. signed Vindex Patriae. The sole Q[uestion] he says is, if the Americans are represented in Parliament?
Colonists by Charters shall have same Priviledges, as if born in England, i.e. that England shall be reputed their natale solum. Massachusetts by Fiction supposed to lye in England.—Q. whether this Thought was not suggested by the B[raintree] Instructions? “a fiction of Law insensible in Theory and injurious in Practice?”1 All England is represented, then Massachusetts is.
1. A not entirely accurate quotation from the Braintree Instructions written by JA; compare the text in his Works, 3:467.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-04-26

Saturday April 26th. 1766.

The last Thurdsdays Paper is full.1 The Resolves of the House of Commons, are the most interesting. The Bill which is to be brought in upon the first Resolve, and the Sixth has excited my Curiosity and Apprehensions the most.2 The Ist. Resolve is that K., Lds. and Commons have an undoubted Right to make Laws for the Colonies in all Cases, whatever.—I am solicitous to know whether they will lay a Tax, in Consequence of that Resolution, or what Kind of a Law they will make.
The first Resolve is in these Words. “That the Kings Majesty, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons of G. Britain in Parliament assembled, had, hath, and of right ought to have, full Power and Authority to make Laws and Statutes of sufficient Force and Validity to bind the Colonies and People of America, Subjects of the Crown of G. Britain, in all Cases whatever.” Now upon this Resolution, a Bill is to be brought in. Q. What is the End and design of that Bill?
Another Resolution is, that all who have suffered Damages for their Desire to comply with any Act of Parliament, or to assist in the Execution of any, ought to be amply compensated.—But who are they, who have manifested a Desire to comply with the stamp Act, or to assist in the Execution of it? Winslow, Foster, Clap, Brown &c. were for Submission, in order to obtain a Repeal. Every Body has disowned any desire to comply or assist. Who will lay claim to the Character of dutiful and loyal Subjects, and to the Protection of the House of Commons in Consequence of the 5th Resolution?
Prophecies are the most airy, visionary Things in Nature. I remember the Time, when Pratt was universally call’d by the Hutchinsonians a bad Politician, and I never could hear any other Reason given, but this that his Prophecies about the K. of Prussia and General Amherst, did not turn out right. Now Hutchinson himself, Olivers, Trowbridges, Ruggles’s, Winslows, have been prophesying, that Fleets and Armies would be sent to inforce the stamp Act. But they are as false Prophets as ever uttered oracles.
Foresight, Judgment, Sagacity, Penetration, &c. are but very feeble, infirm Things, in these great affairs of State and War. What Hutchinson [said]3 in the Probate office was as good a Way as any,—I never was more at a loss in my Life, about any Thing future! What the new Ministry will do, I know not. If Mr. Pitt was in I should be at no loss at all.—In this Way, an Air of deep important Wisdom is preserved, without danger of being proved mistaken by time.
{ 310 }
1. That is, the Drapers’ Massachusetts Gazette (being the current title of the Boston News Letter) of Friday, 25 April, this issue having been published a day late. The resolves of the House of Commons quoted and summarized below were those of 24 Feb. 1766.
2. The first resolve led to the Declaratory Act; the sixth excused from any penalty those who, “by Reason of the Tumults and Outrages in N. America,” had been unable to procure stamped paper.
3. Word omitted by the diarist. The sentences that follow were presumably spoken by Hutchinson, and CFA supplied quotation marks around them.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-04-27

Sunday April 27th. 1766.

Heard Mr. Smith.
In the Evening, I had a great deal of Conversation with Ezekiel Price, Yesterday1 about Politicks, &c. I provoked him to speak freely by calling him an Hutchinsonian.—I swear says he I think the Lieutenant Governor an honest Man, and I think he has been most damnably abused and slandered and bely’d, &c. I know all his violent Opposers—I know them and what they are after, and their disciples in and about the Capital. There is no Man in the Province would fill any one of his offices, as he does. He is the best Judge of Probate, &c.—Flings about Otis and Adams, and about being one of their Disciples, &c.
1. JA inserted this word above the line, possibly out of place (or perhaps he meant to cancel the words “In the Evening” at the beginning of the sentence). On Ezekiel Price (1727–1802), long active in town affairs in Boston and at this time crier of the Suffolk Court of General Sessions, there is a learned biographical note by John Noble in Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 5 (1902):61–62.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0003-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-04-28

Monday April 28th. 1766.

At Home.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0003-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-04-29

Tuesday April 29th. 1766.

At Boston. To this day the Superiour Court was adjourned: Hutchinson, Lynde and Cushing were present. Two of the Bar, agreed to continue an Action. Hutchinson leans over and orders Winthrop to minute an Agreement to continue. We will consider of it, says he. Another of the Bar, moved for a Continuance and no Opposition. Hutchinson orders the Clerk to enter it, a Motion for a Continuance, &c. Then the Court went to playing off a Farce, and to trying to get a Cause for the Jury. But none was then ready. Then Hutchinson proposed, what if we should adjourn to the first Tuesday in June. Then Otis and Swift moved that Complaints might be read and passed upon. Affirmed.1 Hutchinson said, “I shall be very open in my Judgment. I am not for making up Judgment on any Complaints. I am upon Princi• { 311 } ple in it—it would not be regular, nor prudent at this critical Juncture.” Cushing thought “that in some Cases of Necessity, it might be done”—with one of his most Jesuitical Looks. Lynde declared he would not belong to the General Court, in all Advents,2 this Year. Hutchinson seemed in Tortures.—” He wanted to be out of Town, to be at Home. He was never so easy as when he was there. He did not love to spend his Time idly. If there was no Business to be done, he was for being where he could be imploy’d.”
Thus the C.J. is now mustering up Fortitude enough to make public, to manifest his Desire to comply, with the Stamp-Act, and to assist in carrying it into Execution. In Order to lay claim to the Protection of the House of Commons, and to claim a Compensation for his Damages. Ay! he is now assuming the Character of a dutiful and loyal Subject.
I kept an obstinate Silence, the whole Time, I said not one Word for, or against the Adjournment. I saw the Court were determined before they came in, and they had no Right to expect that I would fall in with that Determination. And I had no Disposition to foment an opposition to it, because, an Opposition made with any Warmth might have ended in the Demolition of the Earthly House of his Honours Tabernacle.
But let me look back to the Sixth Page in this Book, i.e. to Tuesday. 11th. of March 1766, and read, What was said by Cushing, Lynde &c.—and can we be sufficiently amazed at the Chickanery, the Finess, the Prevarication, the Insincerity, the simulation, nay the Lyes and Falshoods of the Judges of the Superiour Court. These are harsh Words, but true. The Times are terrible, and made so at present by Hutch[inson] C.J. I cannot say, that Oliver fibbed, but Cushing did abominably on 11th. March.
Nathaniel Hatch says they are right— “for nothing hindered the Repeal of the Stamp Act, but what has been done here—the Riots, and Resolves, and doing Business &c.”
Thus America will ring with Riots, Resolves, opening Courts, Instructions, Edes & Gills Gazette-Writers &c. All the Evil will be laid upon them—and the Congress too, and recalling Orders for Goods.
1. CFA reads: “... passed upon or affirmed.” In view of what follows, this makes better sense than the present reading, but there is no warrant for it in the MS.
2. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-05-04

Sunday. May 4th. 1766.

Returning from Meeting this Morning I saw for the first Time, a { 312 } likely young Button Wood Tree, lately planted, on the Triangle made by the Three Roads, by the House of Mr. James Brackett.1 The Tree is well set, well guarded, and has on it, an Inscription “The Tree of Liberty,” and “cursed is he, who cutts this Tree.”—Q. What will be the Consequences of this Thought? I never heard an Hint of it, till I saw it, but I hear that some Persons grumble and threaten to girdle it.
1. James Brackett kept a “large and commodious” tavern on what is now the corner of Hancock and Elm Streets, Quincy (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 168–169).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0004-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-05-18

Sunday. May 18th. 1766.

Mem. to write some Speculations, upon the Union of Legislative and Executive Powers—and upon the Knot, the Junto, the Combination.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0004-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-05-26

Monday May 26th. 1766.

I have been very unfortunate, in running the Gauntlet, thro all the Rejoicings, for the Repeal of the Stamp-Act.1
Monday last at 2 O Clock, was our Town Meeting,2 and the same Evening, were all the Rejoicings in Boston and in Plymouth. After Meeting I mounted for Plymouth, and reached Dr. Halls of Pembroke. The only Rejoicings, I heard or saw were at Hingham, where the Bells rung, Cannons were fired, Drums beaten, and Land Lady Cushing on the Plain, illuminated her House. The County of Plymouth has made a thorough Purgation, Winslow, Clap, Foster, Hayward, Keen, Oliver, Alden, are all omitted, and Warren, Seaver [Sever], Thomas, Turner, Vinal, Edson, Sprout are chosen. What a Change!
A duller Day, than last Monday, when the Province was in a Rapture for the Repeal of the Stamp Act, I do not remember to have passed. My Wife who had long depended on going to Boston, and my little Babe3 were both very ill of an hooping Cough. My self, under Obligation to attend the Superiour Court at Plymouth, the next day, and therefore unable to go to Boston. And the Town of Braintree insensible to the Common Joy!4
1. News of the repeal of the Stamp Act, 19 March, was received in Boston on 19 May. The Boston Gazette of 26 May has extensive accounts of the celebrations.
2. To elect a representative to the General Court. This proved to be Ebenezer Thayer, the incumbent. The Braintree Town Records give no indication of a contest between the partisans of Thayer and those of JA, but there probably was.
3. AA2, now ten months old.
4. Here follow six lines heavily inked out in the MS, apparently by JA and probably soon after they were written. In view of his habitual indiscretions in the Diary it is remarkable that JA felt impelled to obliterate this harmless expression of hurt pride. As imperfectly deciphered here, very doubtful words are enclosed in square brackets:
“I had [also?] the mortification to see { 313 } that while allmost all the zealous opposers of the Stamp Act [were caressed?] by their Towns and chosen Representatives, Adams [4 or 5 words], Edson, Doolittle and a multitude of others, I was like to be neglected my self and that all my friends in my own Town were like to be neglected too.”

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-05-28

Wednesday. May 28th.

General Election. At Boston. After Lecture, dined at Mr. Austins, the Wine Cooper, with the Revd. Messrs. Prentice of Charlestown and [Amos] Adams of Roxbury. Adams and Austin were the Disputants in Politicks, Prentice a Moderator.
This Morning [Samuel] Adams was chosen Clerk, and Otis Speaker. Govr. Bernard negatived him.1 Cushing was chosen. In the Afternoon they proceeded to choose Councillors, when Hutchinson, and the two Olivers were dropp’d, and Trowbridge was dropped, and Mr. Pitts, Coll. Gerrish, Coll. White, Bowers, Powel, and Mr. Saunders and Dexter, were chosen.—What a Change! This Day seems to be the litteral Accomplishment of a Prophecy of Mr. Otis, published two or three Winters ago in the News Paper “The Day is hastening on, with large Strides, when a dirty, very dirty, witless Rabble, I mean the great Vulgar, shall go down with deserved Infamy to all Posterity.” Thus the Triumph of Otis and his Party are compleat. But what changes are yet to come? Will not the other Party soon be uppermost?
1. That is, James Otis Jr. as speaker. In the following entry it is James Otis Sr. who is mentioned as negatived for membership in the Council. See Mass., House Jour., 1766–1767, p. 5, 8, 10, and entries of 11 Nov., 24 Dec., below.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-05-29

Thurdsday, May 29th.

The Governor negatived Otis, Sparhawk, Dexter, Saunders, Gerrish and Bowers, and made the two Houses a most nitrous, sulphureous Speech.1
What will be the Consequence?
This morning in Hatch’s Office, Mr. Paxton came in. “This is the lazyest Town upon the Globe—poor, proud and lazy is the Character of this Town. They wont work. If the Neutrals2 were gone, there would be no body to throw the Water out of the long Boat in this Town.”
Trowbridge told Stories about the Virtue of some Neutrals—their strict Justice, there Aversion to Prophaneness &c. Paxton said they were never drunk, never disorderly, never before a Magistrate &c. &c. &c. All this from Goffe and Paxton, was meant in favour of roman Catholic Religion and civil slavery I doubt not.
Goffe said he had been reading the History of England, and he { 314 } found that there had always arisen Men to defend Liberty, in the same manner, and from the same Principles, as they do here.
He said further that for himself, he felt so happily after his Death,3 that he was pretty sure he had behaved well during his Lifetime. For himself, he was easy, but the poor Secretary is infirm; it will bear hard upon him. And for the Lieutenant Governor, now the Act is repeal’d, and considering how he has been used, instead of doing any Thing to make up his Loss, to leave him out of Council, and so to confirm in the Minds of the People a suspicion that he has been an Enemy to the Country, is very hard, for a Man who has behaved so well as he has.
1. See Mass., House Jour., 1766–1767, p. 11–13. A principal theme of Bernard’s speech was that “the Inflammation of this Country has been a grand Object, with some Persons,” and the implication was that those whom he had negatived were among those “Persons.”
2. The Acadian refugees.
3. His political death, by his not being reelected to the Council.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-06-20

June 20th. 1766.

Mem. to search the Books, with the Regard to the following Clause in the late Mr. Borlands Will, vizt. “Item, to my Son Francis Lindall Borland, who hath been long absent, and I fear is not now in Life, to him, if now living, I give all my Lands in Billerica, all my Lands in Sturbridge, my Messuage in Milk Street in Boston wherein Joseph Calef now lives, all the said Lands and Messuage to my said Son Francis Lindall and his Heirs forever. I give him allso the Sum of one Thousand Pounds l.M. of this Province, and my small Diamond Ring and my Gold Watch.”
John Borland is afterwards made Residuary Legatee in these Words “Item, all the Rest and Residue of my Estate, real and personal, where-soever the same may be, I give to my Son John his Heirs and Assigns for ever.”
Q. Is this a lapsed Legacy? If a lapsed Legacy it must be parted and distributed among Francis Borlands Right Heirs.
But, I observe the Devise and Legacy is to him, if living. It has never yet been proved, probably never will be, that he was then dead, but admitting it certain he was not then living, would it follow that the Residuary Clause comprehended and extended to John what was before given conditionally to Francis.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07-21

[21] July 1766.1

Monday after Commencement. Last Saturday, I accidentally found a curious Volume, which Oaks Angier found in a Chest of Books be { 315 } longing to an Uncle of his who died 45 Years ago. The Title Page and all the rest is gone till you come to the 18th. Page. It seems to be a Collection of Pamphlets, published in the memorable Year 1640, bound up together, in one Quarto Volume.
Lord Digbies Speech. 9. Novr. 1640, concerning Grievances and the Triennial Parliament.
Lord Digbies Speech Jany. 19. 1640 to the Bill for Triennial Parliaments.
Nathl. Fiennes his Speech 9th. Feby. 1640. concerning the Londoners Petition, and the Government of the Church by Archbishops, Bishops &c.
Francis Rous Esqrs. Speech before the Lords March 16th. 1640 upon presenting an Impeachment vs. Dr. Cossens, Dr. Maynwaring and Dr. Beale.
Nathl. Fiennes’s 2d Speech touching the Subjects Liberty, against the late Cannons, and the new Oath.
Lord Digbies Speech, concerning Bishops and the City Petition Feby. 9th. 1640.
The Accusation and Impeachment of John Lord Finch Lord Keeper.
Lord Faulklands 2d Speech after reading the Articles vs. Lord Finch.
Four Speeches of Sir Edward Deering concerning Religion and the Government of Church.
Bagshaws Speech Feby. 9. 1640 concerning Episcopacy and the London Petition.
Three Speeches of Sir Benjamin Rudyer, concerning the Clergy, &c.
Message from Commons to Lords by Mr. Pym Novr. 11. 1640 requesting Strafford to be taken into Custody.
Articles of Impeachment vs. Thomas Earl of Strafford whereby he stands charg’d of High Treason.
Earl of Bristows Speech 7th. Decr. 1640.
Mr. Mainards Speech before both Houses. 24th. March in reply to Straffords Answer to his Articles at the Bar.
The London Petition, a Particular of Prelatical Grievances.
Articles vs. Secretary Windebanke.
Lord Finch’s Speech, in the House of Commons, concerning Himself 21. Decr. 1640.
Harbottle Grimstones Speech 18th. Decr. 1640 moving for an Impeachment of the Archbishop. He calls him the great and common Enemy of all Goodness and good Men.
{ 316 }
Message from the Queen to the Commons Feby. 5th. 1640.
Sir Thomas Roe’s, concerning Trade 1640.
Lord Faulklands Speech concerning Episcopacy.
Pym’s Speech after the Articles vs. Strafford were read.
Pym’s Speech after the Articles vs. Sir George Ratcliffe were read.
1. The day of the month can be supplied with certainty from the fact that commencement at Harvard in 1766 occurred on Wednesday, 16 July.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07-24

July 24th. 1766.

Thanksgiving for the Repeal of the Stamp-Act. Mr. Smiths Text was “The Lord reigneth, let the Earth rejoice, and the Multitude of the Isles be glad thereof.” Mr. Wibirts was Genesis 50th. 20th.—“But as for you, ye thought evil against me; but god meant it unto good, to bring to pass, as it is this Day, to save much People alive.”—America is Joseph, the King Lords and Commons—Josephs Father and Brothers. Our Forefathers sold into Egypt, i.e. Persecuted into America, &c. Wibirt shone, they say.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07-28

Monday July 28th. 1766.

At Boston. A Meeting of the Bar at the Coffee House, for the Admission of Three young Gentlemen, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Quincy and Mr. Blowers,1 and another Meeting appointed next Fryday sennight, to consider of some Measures for Limitation, making a Pause, &c. They swarm and multiply. Sed, The Country grows amazingly, and the Time will not be long e’re, many who are now upon the Stage will be in their Graves. Four Years must pass, before the 3 young Gentlemen, admitted this night, will assume the Gown. And four Years will make a great alteration in the Bar. It is not so long, since Pratt and Thatcher were in their Glory, at the Bar. Since Coll. Otis reigned in three southern Counties, &c. Mr. Gridley And Mr. Dana are between 60 and 70. Kent is near 60. Fitch, Otis, Auchmuty are about 40—Benj. Gridley2 and Mr. Dudley are about 35—And Sewal, S. Quincy and I about 30. Within 4 Years possibly some of all these Ranks may depart. But the Bar has at last introduced a regular Progress, to the Gown, and seven Years must be the State of Probation.
Gridley, Otis and Auchmuty were the chief Speakers. Gridley however was not in Trim. I never saw him more out of Spirits. Otis told some Stories, Auchfmuty told more, and Scolded and rail’d about the lowness of the Fees. This is Auchmutys common Place Topick— In Jamaica, Barbadoes, South Carolina, and N. York, a Lawyer will make an Independent Fortune in Ten Years.
{ 317 }
1. Daniel Oliver, Josiah Quincy Jr., and Sampson Salter Blowers. Oliver (1743–1826), Harvard 1762, son of Secretary Oliver, was admitted to the Superior Court, Aug. term, 1768; barrister, Sept. term, 1772; loyalist (NEHGR, 19 [1865]:103; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79; Sabine, Loyalists). Blowers, Harvard 1763, admitted attorney and barrister in the Superior Court with Oliver, also became a loyalist; his later career, which was distinguished, is recorded in DAB.
2. Benjamin Gridley, Harvard 1751, admitted attorney and barrister in the Superior Court, Aug. term, 1762 (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79). He too became a loyalist. JA records some amusing reminiscences by Benjamin of his famous uncle, Jeremy Gridley, in an entry dated Nov. 1769, below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07-29

Tuesday July 29th. 1766.

At Boston—bought Gilberts Law of Evidence. Heard some Cases of Bastardy in the Sessions. William Douglass was charged by a Dutch Girl with being the father of a Bastard Child born of her Body. Auchmuty is employed, in sessions, and every where. The same heavy, dull, insipid Way of arguing every where—as many Repetitions as a presbyterian Parson in his Prayer—tedious as Applin. Volubility, voluble Repetition and repeated Volubility—fluent Reiterations, and reiterating Fluency. Such nauseous Eloquence always puts my Patience to the Torture. In what is this Man conspicuous? in Reasoning? in Imagination? in Painting? in the Pathetic? or what? In Confidence, in Dogmatism, &c. His Wit is flat, his Humour is affected, and dull.
To have this Man represented as the first at the Bar is a Libel upon it—a Reproach and disgrace to it.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07-30

Wednesday [30 July].

At Boston. The Weather cloudy. Going to the Common Pleas to day. Let me take Minutes. Let me remark the Speakers, their Action, their Pronunciation, there Learning, their Reasoning, their Art and skill. Let me remark the Causes, the remarkable Circumstances, &c. and report [sentence unfinished?]

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07

Suffolk Sessions July 1766.1

D[omin]us Rex vs. Francis Keen, for stealing Cask Molosses.
Dus. Rex vs. Mary Gardiner, for a common Scold, Quarreller and Disturber of the Peace.
Sewal. Hawkins—a common Scold is punishable by putting into the Ducking Stool. Prosecutions rare, ’tho the offence frequent. Other Crimes, not prosecuted here, as forestalling, Regrating &c.
W[escan?]. She gets drunk sometimes, and then curses and swears { 318 } at her Husband, all Night, for several Nights together, and quarrells with her Neighbours.
Three Instances of Drunkeness prove a common Drunkard, 3 Acts of Barratry, prove a common Barrator, 3 Instances of Disceit, will prove a common Cheat. So 3 Instances of Brawling and Scolding to the common Disturbance of the Neighbourhood, proves a common Scold.
1. This entry is inserted from “Paper book No. 14" (our D/JA/14), a stitched gathering of a few leaves, many of them blank, containing (except for these notes on cases in the Suffolk Court of General Sessions at the front of the booklet) entries dating exclusively in April and May 1767.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-08-05
Date: 1766-08-12

Tuesday Aug. [5 or 12] 1766.

Satt out with my Wife for Salem—dined at Boston—drank Tea at Dr. Simons Tufts’s at Medford1 —lodg’d at Mr. Bishops.
1. Simon Tufts (1727–1786), Harvard 1744, an older brother of AA’s uncle by marriage, Dr. Cotton Tufts (Charles Brooks, History of the Town of Medford, Boston, 1855, p. 305–306).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0007-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-08-06
Date: 1766-08-13

Wednesday Aug. [6 or 13] 1766.

Satt out from Mr. Bishops, oated, at Norwoods alias Martins, and reached Brother Cranches at 12 o Clock1 —dined and drank Tea, and then rode down to the Neck Gate, and then back thro the common and down to Beverly Ferry, then back thro the common and round the back Part of the Town Home. Then Walked round the other Side of the Town to Coll. Browns, who not being at Home, we returned. The Town is situated on a Plain, a Level, a Flat—scarce an Eminence can be found, any where, to take a View. The Streets are broad, and strait and pretty clean. The Houses are the most elegant and grand, that I have seen in any of the maritime Towns.
1. The Cranches had recently moved from the Germantown district of Braintree to Salem, where Richard Cranch established a watch and clockmaking business. Probably during either this first visit of the Adamses to the Cranches, or during a second visit in November of this year (see 3 Nov., below), JA and AA sat for their earliest known portraits, by Benjamin Blyth, a young and relatively little-known painter then working in Salem; see Henry Wilder Foote,“Benjamin Blyth of Salem: 18th Century Artist,” MHS, Procs., 71 (1953–1957):69–71, 81–82. It is curious that JA says nothing in his Diary of these portraits, which now hang in the library of the Massachusetts Historical Society.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0007-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-08-07
Date: 1766-08-14

Thurdsday Aug. [7 or 14] 1766.

In the Morning rode a single Horse, in Company with Mrs. Cranch and Mrs. Adams in a Chaise, to Marblehead. The Road from Salem to Marblehead, 4 miles, is pleasant indeed. The Grass Plotts and Fields are delightfull. But Marblehead differs from Salem. The Streets { 319 } are narrow, and rugged and dirty—but there are some very grand Buildings. Returned and din’d at Cranch’s—after dinner walked to Witchcraft Hill—An Hill about 1/2 Mile from Cranches where the famous Persons formerly executed for Witches were buried. Somebody within a few Years has planted a Number of Locust Trees over the Graves, as a Memorial of that memorable Victory over the Prince of the Power of the Air. This Hill is in a large Common belonging to the Proprietors of Salem &c. From it you have a fair View of the Town, of the River, the North and South Fields—of Marble Head—of Judge Lynde’s Pleasure House and of Salem Village &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-08-18

Monday Aug. 18th.

Went to Taunton. Lodged at McWhorters.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0007-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-08-19

Tuesday [19 August].

Dined at Captn. Cobbs with Coll. G. Leonard, Paine, Leonard, young Cobb &C.1
1. John Rowe made a much fuller entry of the events of this day at Taunton court in his diary:
“19 August Tuesday Rose Very Early this morng. Reachd Taunton at Noon dind there with the Judges. Colo. Geo Leonard, Colo. Ephraim Leonard, Mr. Justice Williams and Mr. Justice Elisha Toby who was this [day] Swore into his Office also Mr. Justice Fales who is Clerk of this Court—had some Conversation with Colo. White and Mr. Adams on the Affairs of Ebenezer Stedson with B and Edwd. Davis and Gave Mr. Adams A Guinea as A fee. Spent the Evening at Mr. McQuarters with Mr. Adams, Mr. Leonard, Mr. Calef Mr. Amiel Mr. Wm. Speakman and young Mr. Cobb" (MS, MHi; this entry is partially printed under the erroneous date of 12 Aug. in Rowe, Letters and Diary, p. 106–107).
The case in which JA and Col. Samuel White of Taunton were serving as Rowe’s counsel was that of “Benja. Davis and als. vs. Ebenezer Stetson. Coll. White appld. this. posted to Mr. Rowe” (JA’s annotated list of actions in Taunton, Plymouth, and Barnstable courts, 1764–1767, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 184).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0007-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-08-20

Wednesday [20 August].

Spent Evening at Lodgings with Charles Cushing, and Daniel Oliver of Middleborough,1 Paine and Leonard—socially.
1. Not the young lawyer of the same name mentioned under 28 July, above, but his first cousin, son of Judge (later Chief Justice) Peter Oliver. This Daniel Oliver died in 1768 at the age of 30 (NEHGR, 19 [1865]:104).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0007-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-08-21

Thurdsday Morning [21 August].

Fine Weather—feel well.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-03

1766 Novr. 3d. Monday.1

Sett off, with my Wife for Salem. Stopped 1/2 Hour att Boston, { 320 } cross’d the Ferry, and at 3 O Clock arrived at Hill’s the Tavern in Malden, the Sign of the rising Eagle, at the Brook, near Mr. Emmersons [Emerson’s] Meeting House, 5 Miles from Norwoods, where vizt. at Hills we dined. Here we fell in Company with Kent and Sewal. We all oated at Martins, where we found the new Sherriff of Essex Coll. Saltonstal. We all rode into Town together. Arrived at my dear Brother Cranches, about 8 and drank Tea, and are all very happy. Sat and heard the Ladies talk about Ribbon, Catgut and Paris net, Riding hoods, Cloth, Silk and Lace.—Brother Cranch came Home, and a very happy Evening we had. Cranch is now in a good Situation for Business near the Court House and Mr. Bernards [Barnard’s] Meeting house and on the Road to Marblehead—his House fronting the Wharffs, the Harbour, and Shipping, has a fine Prospect before it.
1. Court records, together with notes among JA’s own papers, show that in the interval since the last entry in his Diary he had attended Suffolk Superior Court in Boston when its long-delayed session began on 26 Aug., Worcester Superior Court in September, and Plymouth Inferior Court and Bristol Superior Court (Taunton) in October before starting for the November session of the Essex Superior Court at salem. This may not be a complete list.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-04

Tuesday Novr. 4th.

A fine Morning. Attended Court all Day, heard the Charge to Grand Jury, and a Prayer by Mr. Barnard. Deacon Pickering was Foreman of one of the Juries. This Man, famous for his Writings in Newspapers concerning Church order and Government, they tell me is very rich.1 His Appearance is perfectly plain, <and coarse,> like a Farmer. His smooth combed Locks flow behind him, like Deacon Cushing, tho not so grey. He has a quick Eye like ——. He has an hypocritical Demure on his Face like Deacon Foster. His mouth makes a Semicircle, when he puts on that devout Face. Deacon Penniman is somewhat like him tho Penniman has more of the grave Solemnity in his Behaviour than the other. The Picture of Govr. Endicott, &c. in the Council Chamber, is of this Sort. They are Puritanical Faces.
At this Court I also saw a young Gentleman lately sworn in the Inferiour Court, whose Name is Samuel Porter, he lived with Mr. Farnham, took his 2d. Degree last Year and lives at Ipswich.2 Thus every County of the Province, Swarms with Pupils and students and young Practicers of Law.
1. Timothy Pickering (1703–1778), deacon of the Third, or Tabernacle, Church in Salem, “famous” for his love of controversy and father of another Timothy, who became a prominent officer in the Revolution, secretary of state under Washington and JA, and more famous even than his father as a controversialist. See Harrison Ellery and Charles P. Bowditch, The Pickering { 321 } Genealogy . . . , Cambridge, 1897, 1:81–85; James Duncan Phillips, Salem in the Eighteenth Century, Boston and N.Y., 1937, p. 266–268 and passim.
2. Samuel Porter, Harvard 1763, of Salem; admitted attorney in the Superior Court, 1768; barrister, 1772; loyalist (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Books 85, 97; Jones, Loyalists of Mass., p. 237–238).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-05

Wednesday Novr. 5th.

Attended Court, heard the Tryal of an Action of Trespass brought by a Molatto Woman, for Damages, for restraining her of her Liberty.1 This is call’d suing for Liberty; the first Action that ever I knew, of the Sort, tho I have heard there have been many. Heard another Action for Assault and Battery, of a Mariner by the Master of a Vessell; a little Fellow was produced as a Witness who is a Spaniard—speaks intelligible English—black Eyes, thin, sharp Features—has been among the English for 3 or 4 Years.
Here I saw Nathl. Peasley Sergeant of Methuen, 2 Years an Attorney of Superior Court, now commencing a Barister.2 He took his Degree the Year I entered Colledge. He has the Character of Sense, Ingenuity &c. but not of fluency. He is a stout Man, not genteel nor sprightly. This is the Gentleman whom Thatcher recommended for a Justice and Admired for his Correctness and Conciseness, as another Father Reed.
Here I found the famous Joseph Eaton, at Law as usual. I knew him when I lived at Worcester where he had a Suit, I believe every Court while I lived there. He now lives at Lynn End, on the Borders between Essex and Middlesex. This is one of the stirring Instruments that Goffe has patronised and encouraged, for many Years. I remember to have heard Goffe celebrate him for self Government—for a cool steady command of his Passions, and for Firmness of Mind &c.
Eaton is now at Law with the Harts, whose Characters are as curious as his, and more so.
This Eaton Goffe set up, as Pynchon tells me, to be a Justice, but Thatcher got him indicted in the County of Essex for a Barrator, which defeated the scheme of Goffe, and he came near Conviction. Goffe grew warm and said that Eaton’s Character was as good as any Mans at the Bar.
Spent the Evening at Mr. Pynchons, with Farnham, Sewal, Sergeant, Coll. Saltonstall &c., very agreably. Punch, Wine, bread and Cheese, Apples, Pipes and Tobacco. Popes and Bonfires this Evening at Salem, and a Swarm of tumultuous People attending them.3
1. The case was that of Jenny Slew v. John Whipple Jr., in which Kent served as counsel for the appellant and Gridley for the appellee. The jury found for { 322 } the appellant (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 85). Some fragmentary but interesting notes on the lawyers’ arguments and the judges’ queries and remarks remain among JA’s legal papers (Microfilms, Reel No. 185).
2. Nathaniel Peaslee Sargeant (1731–1791), a justice of the Massachusetts Superior (later Supreme) Court from 1776; chief justice, 1790–1791 (Emory Washburn, Sketches of the Judicial History of Massachusetts, Boston, 1840, p. 234–235).
3. The 5th of November was Guy Fawkes Day, called Pope’s Day in New England. See Forbes, Paul Revere, p. 93–97, 471–472

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-06

Novr. 6th. Thurdsday.

A fine Morn. Oated at Martins where we saw 5 Boxes of Dollars containing as we were told about 18,000 of them, going in an Horse Cart from Salem Custom House to Boston, in Order to be shipp’d for England. A Guard of Armed Men, with swords, Hangers, Pistols and Musquets, attended it. We dined at Dr. Tufts’s, in Medford.
There I first heard that the old Custom and Priviledge of Electing orators, Thesis Collectors, &c. by the Class, has been lately taken away, and that this Invasion of their Priviledges, contributed more than the Butter towards the late Spirit of Insurrection there.1
Drank Tea at Mrs. Kneelands. Got Home before 8 o Clock.
1. The Harvard “Butter Rebellion" of 1766, a classic incident of its kind, has been graphically described by Samuel Eliot Morison in Three Centuries of Harvard, Cambridge, 1936, p. 117–118; see also Quincy, History of Harvard Univ., 2:99–100. A ruling of 1765 required students to take all their commons at the College, but in the fall of the following year a revolt broke out over the imported Irish butter served by the steward after repeated and well-justified complaints that it was “bad and Unwholesome.” The affair dragged on for weeks, proceeding through all the usual stages to an ultimate compromise. In the Adams Papers, though how it got there is unknown, is a copy of a MS memorial addressed by the undergraduates to the Overseers denying that they had entered “into Combination contrary to the Laws and Disrespectfull to the Government of the Colledge.” This paper is unsigned and undated but has been filed at the end of the year 1766.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-07

Novr. 7th.

Went up to my common Pasture, to give Directions about Trimming the Trees, i.e. lopping and Trimming the Walnuts and Oaks and felling the Pines and Savines and Hemlocks. An irregular, misshapen Pine will darken the whole scene in some Places. These I fell, without Mercy, to open the Prospect and let in the sun and air, that the other Wood may grow the faster and that Grass may get in for feed. I prune all the Trees I leave, Buttonwoods, Elmes, Maples, Oaks, Walnuts, Savines, Hemlocks and all. The Pines that grow in that Pasture are, i.e. the white Pines are, very knotty, crooked, unthrifty Things.—I am desirous of clearing out the Rocky Gutter, i.e. of clearing away the { 323 } Bushes and pruning all the Trees that we may see clearly the Course of the Water there and judge whether it is worth while to dig up the Rocks, and make a Ditch for the Water. And for another Reason too, vizt. to let in the sun and Air, because that rocky Gutter produces a great deal of Feed, which I would be glad to sweeten.
Afternoon, went to Major Crosbeys to see him execute a Codicil to his Will. The old Gentleman is very desirous that the Province should comply with the K[ing]’s Recommendation, to make up the Damages to the sufferers.1
1. The sufferers at the hands of the anti-Stamp Act mobs. A legislative grant was at length made for this purpose, but to the annoyance of Bernard and Hutchinson it was linked with amnesty for the rioters (Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:113–115).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-08

1766. Novr. 8th. Saturday.

Fine Weather still.—Yesterday Clement Hayden came in to Major Crosbeys. He seem’d to hope, he said, that the Court would not vote to make up the Losses, but he heard to day that the King had requested it, and if that was true he knew not what to say. The K. had been so gracious, as to repeal the Stamp Act, and now to deny him such a Trifle would seem ungrateful and ungenerous. And it was our best Interest to be always in favour with him, and if we should refuse his request, it might be 10 times more damage to us, than to pay it. And He believed if this Town was to meet and to be fully informed, about it, they would not vote against it. In short Clem. talked like a reasonable Man. He said that, in all the Wars and all other Times, nothing ever happened that affected him like the Stamp Act. He said, if it had been insisted on, he knew it would not be born, and that he expected dismal scenes. The Repeal of it was great Joy, and he should be willing to do any Thing in Reason out of Duty to the K.
This Morning I asked John Clark some Questions, about it. He thinks if the King has requested it, it will be difficult to refuse it, but yet it will be hard upon us to pay it.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-09

1766. Novr. 9. Sunday.

Fine Weather Yet. Heard Mr. Penniman all Day. Spent Evening with Dr. Savil.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-10

Monday [10 November].

Rain. Kill’d Cow. Read chiefly in the American Gazeteers, which are a very valuable Magazine of american Knowledge.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0008-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-11-11

Tuesday Novr. 11th.

Rain. Deacon Webb here at Tea, and put this strange Question to me, what do you think of the Lieutenant Governor, sir?
I told him, what I once thought of him, and that I now hoped I was mistaken in my Judgment. I told him I once thought, that his Death in a natural Way would have been a Smile of Providence upon the Public, and would have been the most joyful News to me that I could have heard.
The Deacon thought him a devout, pious Man, a Professer of Religion, a good Man, a Christian, &c, and a capable Man, and the best Judge of Probate that ever we had, this 40 year, and that he had been envyed. This Observation of his being envyed I have heard made by Nat Thayer before now.—He was capable, and greatly promoted and therefore envyed, at the same Time a craving Man.—1
I presume, it will not be deny’d, that this Province is at present, in a State of Peace, order and Tranquility: that the People are as quiet and submissive to Government, as any People under the sun—as little inclined to Tumults, Riots, Seditions, as they were ever known to be, since the first foundation of the Government.
The Repeal of the Stamp Act, has hushed into silence almost every popular Clamour, and composed every Wave of Popular Disorder into a smooth and peaceful Calm.
As the Indemnification, recommended by his Majesty, seems at present the reigning Topic of Conversation, a few Thoughts upon that Subject may not be improper.2
After the Repeal of the Stamp Act, every Newspaper and Pamphlet, every public And private Letter, which arrived in America from England seemed to breathe a Spirit of Benevolence, Tenderness and Generosity. The Utmost Delicacy was observed in all the State Papers, in the Choice of Expressions, that no unkind Impression might be left upon the Minds of the People in America. The Letters from the Ministry to the Governor, recommended the mildest, softest, most lenient and conciliating Measures, and even the Resolve of the House of Commons and the Recommendation from his Majesty, concerning an Indemnification to the Sufferers, was conceived in the most alluring Language. Oblivion of every disagreable Circumstance, which had happened, through the Warmth of the People in the late unhappy Times, was recommended—in the strongest Terms.
{ 325 }
What Kind of Behaviour might have been expected from a Governor, in Consequence of such Advices from Home?
At such a Time, when the House of Representatives, newly chosen by the People, and an House which thought like the People, had proceeded with as much calm, composed Deliberation as was ever known, to the Choice [of] a Speaker, would it be expected that the Governor should Negative that Speaker? Especially as that Gentleman had been a long Time in great Esteem in the Province, had but just before been unanimously chosen upon the Congress at N. York and had executed that Trust, to the universal Acceptance of the Prov[ince?]
At such a Time, when the two Houses had proceeded, with equal Solemnity, to the Choice of Councillors, and had compleated the Election, could it be believed that a Governor should by his mighty Negative, slaughter six of the List at a blow, six of the most steady, capable, and Active Friends of the People in the whole Board?
After all this which was born without a Murmur, does it not exceed all Credibility, that this same Governor should meet the two Houses, and open the Session with a Speech—a Speech!—a Speech! I want Words to express my Sentiments of this Speech!
1. Here a line is drawn across the page in the MS, suggesting that the following paragraphs were written after 11 November.
2. Here another line is drawn across the page in the MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0009-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-12-08

1766 Decr. 8th. Monday.

Dined at Dr. Tufts’s. Drank Tea at Dr. Halls Pembroke. Lodged at Captn. Littles Kingston.—I find a general Opposition in the County of Plymouth, to Compensation. Jacobs tells me, that Scituate voted vs. it with great Warmth. Judge Cushing Moderator did not think fit to say a Word, nor was there a Word said or an Hand up in favour of the Bill, tho they had voted for it in October. Keen of Pembroke was warm and stumped Sole [Soul or Soule] the Moderator to lay down the Money and prevent a Tax upon the Poor. Kingston was so fixed vs. it that they would not call a Meeting. The more considerate and sensible People however in all these Towns are in favour of it. Landlord and Landlady Little are full of Politicks. Mr. Little would get in General Winslow, and did get in Mr. Sever—and Mr. Sever is sensible of it. We had over the affair of Collector of Excise. Little dont like Judge Cushing nor Brig[adier] Ruggles, because they opposed his Collectorship, &c.
At Plymouth1 the Province have been drawn in cleverly—to make themselves guilty of the Riots. Every Body out of the Prov[ince] will { 326 } say so. The Province has been brought to pay what ought to have been paid by Boston, every farthing of it.
Paine. The Mistery of Iniquity opens more now in time of Peace than it did in Time of Confusion.
Sever said he believed Goffe would be glad to punish all the Transgressors in the late Times. Hally said he had tryed to persuade Goffe to enter a Nolle Pros. vs. the Rioters in Berkshire, but he would not and was very high &c. Paine said the Continent ought to have paid the Damage.
Nat Clap. These Town Meeting Laws are the most awful Things, and the Town of Boston ought to be stigmatized for setting the Example.
1. Here supply the phrase “it is said" or its equivalent.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0009-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-12-23

Tuesday Decr. 23d. 1766.

I heard Yesterday, for the first Time, that young Jonathan Hayward, the Son of Lt. Joseph Hayward of the South Precinct, had got a Deputation from the Sherriff. Captn. Thayer was the Person, who went to the Sherriff and procur’d it for him. Silas Wild, Tho’s Penniman, Stephen Penniman, Lt. Hayward and Zebulon Thayer were his Bondsmen—a goodly Class! a clever Groupe! a fine Company! a bright Cluster!
But what will be the Consequences of this Deputation?—and what were the Causes of it? My Brothers Disregard and neglect of the office and his Neglect to pay Greenleaf, were the Causes.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0009-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-12-24

Decr. 24th.1

Who are to be understood by the better Sort of People?2 There is in the Sight of God and indeed in the Consideration of a sincere Xtian or even of a good Philosopher, no Difference between one Man and another, but what real Merit creates. And I mean, by real Merit, that I may [be] as well understood as my Adversary, nothing more nor less than the Compound Ratio of Virtue and Knowledge. Now if the Gentleman means by the better sort of People, only such as are possessed of this real Merit, this Composition of Virtue and Ability, I am content to join Issue with him but who shall sit as judge between Us?—If a Whig shall be Judge, he will decide in favour of one set of Persons, if a Tory, he will give sentence for another; but if a Jacobite, he will be for a third.
But that I may be as little tedious as possible, I will take the Gen• { 327 } tlemans own Difinition, and will understand those of every Rank of plain, good understanding, who by an uniform steady behaviour, testify their thorough sense of the Blessings of good Government, who without Affectation evince an habitual Regard for Peace, order, Justice and Civility, towards all Mankind. But I find myself again in the same Difficulty. And the Q. recurs, who shall be judge. Phylanthrop confidently denys that the better Sort according to this Definition, are either alarmed or offended at any Behaviour of the Governor. I as possitively affirm, that the better sort thro the Prov[ince] both in Boston and in the other seaport and Country Towns (I use Phylanthrops Language so will not answer for <sense nor> Accuracy of Writing or Grammar) are both alarmed and offended, at many Instances of the Governors Behaviour. I dont intend to submit this Question between Us to be decided by the Governor, nor by Philanthrop, nor any other of his Creatures, rich, nor poor, titled or untitled, powerful or impotent: Nor do I desire he should submit it to me, or any of my Particular Friends, Patrons or Connections.—No I appeal to the Public, to the Province, as Judges between Us, who are the better sort, in Phylanthrops sense of the Word. Let the whole Body of the Province then judge.—Well they have judged and by the happy Constitution of our Government, they must every Year determine who they esteem the better sort. The whole Body of the People, in every Yearly Election, depute a Number of Persons to represent them, and by their suffrages they declare such Persons to be the better sort of People among them, in their Estimation. This representative Body are in their Turn every Year, to chuse 28 out of the whole Province for Councillors, and by such Election, no doubt determine such to be of the very best sort, in their Understandings.
Thus far, It seems to me, I have proceeded on safe Ground, and may fairly conclude that the honourable his Majestys Council, and the honourable the House of Representatives, the Public, the Body of the People being Judges, are of the better sort of People in Phylanthrops own sense of the Words. I might go further here, and insist upon it, that the present Council, purifyed as it is, by the Governors Cathartic Negative, even his Excellency being Judge, consists entirely of the better sort of People. Otherwise, it is not to be supposed, at least by our scribler, that he would have approved of those Gentlemen. Let Us then enquire, whether his Majestys Council, and the honourable House have not exhibited abundant Proofs, that they are almost unanimously alarmed and offended at the Behaviour of the Governor.
The Council, in their Answer to the Governors Speech to both { 328 } Houses in May, have expressed as much Resentment against his Behaviour as can well be conveyed by Words, ’tho the Decorum and Dignity of the Board is preserved. They have flatly charged the Governor with bringing an unjust Accusation against the Province.
The honourable House in their Answers, which were adopted almost unanimously, tho they have been on their Guard, that no unwarrantable Expressions might escape them at that critical Conjuncture, haveexpressed as much just Indignation and disdain of his unworthy treatment of them, as was ever expressed by a british House of Commons, against a Tyrant on the Throne.
Answer to Governor[’s] Speech last Session, in which the honourable House, 48 vs. 24 voted, with great Grief, and Concern and Alarm and Offence i[t] s Resentment, that the Governors Behaviour had been the sole Cause why Compensation was not made to the sufferers. This I should think was a Proof Instaromnium, that those 48 had taken alarm and offence.
Further, the House proceeded last session to the daring Enterprise of removing Mr. Jackson from the Agency, the Governors darling Friend and endearing Confederate, on whom the Governor had so set his Heart as to employ the most exceptionable <Means> Influence in order to get him chosen. This Removal was voted by 81 out of 87 in the House and unanimously in the Council, and the World believes, that Apprehensions of the Governors ill Intentions, and of the Danger to the Province from that Confederacy, influenced a Great Part of both House[s] to vote for the Dissolution of it.
To proceed a little further, the House are so allarmed and offended, at the Author of some late Misinformations and Misrepresentations to his Majesty, who appears beyond reasonable Doubt from Ld. Shelbournes Letter to be the Governor himself, that they have almost unanimously voted Letters to be sent to Ld. Shelbourne himself, and to their Agent, Mr. Debert, in order to remove those slanders and aspersions, in which their sense of the Ingratitude, Haughtiness and Cruelty of the Governor is expressed in very strong Terms.
But I will not confine my self to the two Houses of Assembly.
I ask whether those Gentlemen who have the Honour of his Majestys Commissions in his Revenue, are to be esteemed the better Sort of People, or not? If they are, I would ask again, have not the Customhouse Officers in General from the surveyor General downwards taken Offence at the Governor[’s] Behaviour. I say [in]3 general—I would not be understood universally. I except a C—k-e4 and a Paxton. These at least one of them, have always declared they would worship the { 329 } sun while he was above the Horison, tho he should be covered all over with Clouds.
I ask further whether the Officers of his Majestys Navy, who have been occasionally on this station, will be allowed to be the better sort of People. If they should, is it not notorious that Govr. Bernards Conduct has been very disagreable and disgustful to them?
Where shall I go for better sort of People? The Judges of the superiour Court, move in so sublime an orbit—They tread in such exalted steps—That I dare not approach their Persons, so I cannot say what their sentiments of the Governors Conduct may be. They will not indulge themselves in speaking openly against any Person in Authority, so I believe they reserve their Opinion, till the Matter shall come judicially before them. Many [of] the Judges of the Inferiour Courts in many of the Counties, I can affirm, from Knowledge, because I have heard it from their own Mouths, have taken Alarmand offence, att all the Governors Negatives last May, at both his Speeches to the Assembly in May and June, at the Expression quoted in the Address of the Lords, and especially at his overbearing, threatning, wheedling Arts to get Mr. Jackson chosen Agent, and at his foolish Dismission of Military officers from Colonels down to little Ensigns— but most of all at his restless, impatient, uncontrou[la]ble, insatiable Machinations, by all Means, humane, inhumane, and diabolical, from his first Arrival in this Government to this moment, to enrich himself.
Thus I believe that it appears to all who consider the Matter, that almost all the People, whether better or worse, are of one Mind about the Governor and absolutely hate him and despize him—let Phylanthrop say what he will. And indeed I have very good Reasons to think that Phylanthrop lyed when he said that the better sort had taken no Offence, and absolutely endeavoured to impose a palpable falshood upon the Public.
1. This entry is a draft of an essay, evidently never published, in reply to Jonathan Sewall, who had begun a series of articles over the name “Philanthrop” in the Boston Evening Post, 1 Dec. 1766 (and continuing more or less regularly through 2 March 1767), vindicating the conduct of Governor Bernard.“Philanthrop" depicted Bernard as an example of spotless virtue, and his articles drew out a swarm of writers on the other side of the question.
2. See “Philanthrop” in the Evening-Post, 22 Dec, p. 1, col. 1–2
3. MS: “I.”
4. James Cockle, a Salem customs officer; he had applied for the writ of assistance that led to the celebrated argument over such writs in 1761, and he was also concerned in dealings with Bernard that had been denounced by “Clarendon” (presumably JA) in a letter to the Boston Gazette, 19 May 1766. See Roger B. Berry, “John Adams: Two Further Contributions to the Boston Gazette, 1766–1768,” NEQ, 31:90–95 (March 1958).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0009-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-12-31

Decr. 31st. 1766.1

“Whatever tends to create in the Minds of the People, a Contempt of the Persons of those who hold the highest Offices in the State, tends to a Belief that Subordination is not necessary, and is no essential Part of Government.”—Now I dont See the Truth of this. Should any one say that the Steeple of Dr. Sewals Meeting was old, and decay’d and rotten, and in danger of falling on the Heads of the People in the Street, and say it in Print too, would this tend to induce in the Minds of the People, that a Steeple was not necessary to a Meeting House, and that the House might as well be turned topsy turvy, and the steeple struck down into the Earth. Again suppose the sweep of my Cyder Mill was cracked and shivered so that it had not strength to grind an Apple or even to turn the Mill, if one of my Neighbours should come in and tell me of this, would his telling me this tend to create in me a Belief that a Sweep was no necessary Part of a Cyder Mill, and that the Sweep might as well be placed where the Rolls are, or where the Hopper is, or the Trough, as where I commonly put it? Again, I take my old Mare, which is not only old and lean, but is hipp’d and stifled and spavined, has the Botts and has lost her Tail and both her Ears, and put her into my Horse Cart and lead her thro the Town in the Sight of all the People. I believe they would universally despize my old Mare, and laugh at her too. But would all this their Contempt and Laughter tend to induce in their Minds a Belief that an Horse was not necessary to draw an Horse Cart, and that the Cart may as well be put before the Horse, as the Horse before the Cart?
*Besides,2 O——s has exerted himself so amazingly in the Cause of America, to the loss of Estate, Health, <Trade and every Thing,> and has had such Success, in saving her, that unless some Pains are taken to ruin his Character <with the People> he will rise high into favour and Power, and ever since the Affair of that Petition for a Grant to supply the Insolvency I have hated him so, I have groaned for Revenge, and Revenge I will have, let him be as learned, spirited, sensible, wise, generous, and disinterested as he will, I will maul him and murder his Reputation. I will—I will. Oh the Disgrace of that Insolvency!3
Revenge of that, made me write the Character of Bluster, Hector, Wildfire, and Belzebub and 20 more. I have gone too far to retreat— Nullar retror sum.4 I will stab, sting, goad, maul, mangle and murder his Rep[utation]—at least abroad, tho I cant do it at Home.
{ 331 }
In fine such is the present Situation of Interests, that unless I exhibit some vigorous Exertion, unless I strike some bold daring Stroke, G—fe and I shall infallibly loose our Aim, and if we loose it now we loose it forever. Oh the chearing Rays, the benign Influences of that Office. It is worth 200 Lawful a year, besides the Reputation of it! My Children are multiplying about me, I love expensive living, and my meanes are very narrow. Good God what shall I do? Shall I starve and go to Goal? No, Self Preservation is the first Law of Nature, it can legitimate any Thing. I will not perish in this World, I will not starve and see my family suffer. I will say and write and do any Thing! I will vindicate the Governor, and will represent him roundly and dogmatically, as the best Governor, the mildest, most moderate, capable &c. that ever we had. Ay and I will pronounce boldly that I write only from Love of Order, Peace, Justice, Goodness and Truth—to support good Government, and much injured Innocence.
Much worse Things than this have been done from much less [worthy?]5 Motives. Much greater falshoods, and [ . . . ] Wickedness have been used by Men in Affluence only to increase their Wealth and Power. Men who had not Hunger, and Children crying for bread to plead in their Excuse. Caesar Borgia says whoever will arrive at Dominion, must necessarily remove all Obstacles out of the Way which obstruct his Greatness, and even forget the effeminate Tyes of Tenderness and Relation and with an undaunted Resolution run over the Thorns and Briars thrown in his Way, and with Intrepidity if need requires, even imbrue his Hands in his opposers Blood, and make a Dagger with Blindfolded Eyes, force a way to fortune.—Oh the Pangs, the pungent, excruciating Pangs of Ambition, Avarice, and Hunger.
There is a sense however in which my Professions are sincere.—I write from a Regard to the Peace of my family, and to silence the importunate Clamours of an empty craving stomack. I write to keep my Constitution in order for without something to eat, I am sure all will soon be in Confusion, with me. I write from a Regard to Justice, because that demands that my Creditors should be paid their Dues, And I write for injured Innocence, because my worthy Wife and my poor helpless Babe I am sure are innocent, and for them to suffer for want of Necessaries, I am sure, would be injurious.
This Soliloquy satisfy’d me! The whole Mystery was unriddled—all Phylanthrops facts, Anecdotes, Reasonings, Vapourings, all that he has said, done or wrote or can say, do or write is answered at once. There is no further occasion for scribling &c. nor for me to write any Thing more but the Name of
[signed] Misanthrop
{ 332 }
1. This entry consists of partial drafts of two further replies to Jonathan Sewall’s “Philanthrop” articles. The first sentence is quoted from Sewall’s first article (Boston Evening Post, 1 Dec.) and the first paragraph was reworked and amplified by JA before publication over his old pen name “H. Ploughjogger” in the Boston Gazette, 5 Jan. 1767.
2. The asterisk indicates that the paragraphs which follow must have been intended for insertion in another draft of a newspaper article which has not been found in either MS or printed form. Fragments of still other unpublished replies to “Philanthrop” remain among JA’s papers (filed under the assigned date of Jan. 1767).
3. The allusions in this mock confession by “Philanthrop” are to Sewall’s failure to obtain a grant by the Province to pay the debts of Chief Justice Stephen Sewall’s estate. The Chief Justice was Jonathan’s uncle, and JA always attributed the younger Sewall’s feud with the Otises (who did not support the proposed grant), his political change of heart, his rewards in the form of crown offices, and his ultimate loyalism, to this incident. See JA, Works, 4:6–8.
4. Thus in MS. The intended meaning is “Not a step backward” or something similar.
5. Editorial conjecture for a word omitted in MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0010-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766

[1766?]1

Q[uery]. The Service done by Tommy Hutchinson, for the Province, for which he had a Grant of 40£. and his fathers application for Pay, for the same Service and saying, he never had any Pay for it.
The Bill drawn by Mr. Hutchinson, and carried in Council and sent down to the House, to enlarge the Power of the Judges of Probate, and empower them to appoint a few freeholders to set off Widows Dower—without any Action at Common Law, or Tryal by Jury.
Copies of the several Grants that have been made him, for drawing the state of the Prov[ince’s] Claim to Sagadahock, Case of the Prov. and New York, Connecticutt [ . . . ]ing Lines &c. and the Prov. Claim on N. Hampshire—&c. Additional Grant as C[hief] J[ustice] &c.
Copy of his Petition last June was 12 months for a salary as Lieutenant Governor. It is in the Journal sent down together with a Message from the Governor 12 day of June A.D. 1765 Wednesday. Considered Fryday June 14. 1765 10 O clock.
1. This and the following entry appear on a separate folded sheet laid in at the end of this Diary booklet (D/JA/13). The notes on the Hutchinsons, perhaps prepared for a newspaper communication, must almost certainly have been written before June 1766 be cause the references to events of “last June” can be verified as referring to events of June 1765. But it has seemed best to print the entry in the place where it is found in the Diary, after the last entries in 1766 and before the first in 1767.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0011-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1767-03

Saturday March 1767.

Went with Captn. Thayer to visit Robert Peacock and his poor distressed Family. We found them, in one Chamber, which serves { 333 } them for Kitchen, Cellar, dining Room, Parlour, and Bedchamber. Two Beds, in one of which lay Peacock, where he told us he had lain for 7 Weeks, without going out of it farther than the Fire. He had a little Child in his Arms. Another Bed stood on one side of the Chamber where lay 3 other Children. The Mother only was up, by a fire, made of a few Chips, not larger than my Hand. The Chamber excessive cold and dirty.
These are the Conveniences and ornaments of a Life of Poverty. These the Comforts of the Poor. This is Want. This is Poverty! These the Comforts of the needy. The Bliss of the Necessitous.
We found upon Enquiry, that the Woman and her two oldest Children had been warned out of Boston. But the Man had not, and 3 Children had been born since.
Upon this Discovery we waited on Coll. Jackson, the first Select Man of Boston, and acquainted him with the facts and that we must be excused from any Expence for their Support.
When I was in that Chamber of Distress I felt the Meltings of Commiseration. This Office of Overseer of the Poor leads a Man into scenes of Distress, and is a continual Exercise of the benevolent Principles in his Mind. His Compassion is constantly excited, and his Benevolence encreased.1
1. On 2 March JA had been reelected a selectman (Braintree Town Records, p. 414). Overseeing the poor was one of the duties of selectmen in Braintree until 1786; see same, p. 566, and CFA2, Three Episodes, 2:722 ff.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0011-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1767-04-04

April 4th. 1767.1

Suits generally Spring from Passion. Jones vs. Bigelow, Cotton and Nye arose from Ambition. Jones and Bigelow were Competitors for Elections in the Town of Weston, Cotton and Nye were Rivals at Sandwich. Such Rivals have no Friendship for each other. From such Rivalries originate Contentions, Quarrells and Suits. Actions of Defamation are the usual Fruits of such Competitions. What affection can there be between two Rival Candidates for the Confidence of a Town. The famous Action of slander at Worcester between Hopkins and Ward, of Rhode Island, Sprouted from the same Stock. There the Aim was at the Confidence of the Colony.
Poor Nye of Sandwich, seems dejected. I should suspect by his Concern that Cotton gained Ground vs. him. He seems to be hipp’d. It fretts and worries and mortifies him. He cant sleep a Nights. His Health is infirm.
Cotton is insane, wild. His Proposal of giving his House and Farm { 334 } at Sandwich to the Province, is a Proof of Insanity. He has Relations that are poor. Jno. Cotton is now poor enough. He has a Brother Josiah Cotton the Minister whom he procured to be removed to Woburn, and thereby to be ruin’d, who is very poor, maintained by Charity. Roland was Josiahs ruin; yet he did not choose to give his Estate to Josiah. Besides his Behaviour at Boston upon that occasion, was wild. His sitting down at the Council Table with his Hat on and Calling for his Deed and a Justice to acknowledge it, when the Council was sitting.
Cottons Method of getting Papers Signed by Members, in order to demolish poor Nye is new. The Certificate from Murray and Foster if genuine is a mean, scandalous Thing. It was mean in Murray and Foster to sign that Paper. For one Rep[resentative] to give a Constituent a Weapon to demolish another Rep., is ungentlemanlike.2
1. First regular entry in “Paper book No. 14” (D/JA/14), though preceded by the detached notes on legal cases which have been inserted above under date of July 1766.
2. The case of Roland Cotton v. Stephen Nye, the latter of whom had succeeded the former as representative from Sandwich in the General Court in 1761, was an action for defamation. The plaintiff was awarded damages in Barnstable Inferior Court in April. JA appealed for the defendant to the Superior Court at its Barnstable session in May but again lost; see the entries for 16 and 17in May, below. Paine and Otis served as Cotton’s counsel. Nye was obliged to pay £7 damages and £15 13s. 5d. costs. (JA, List of Cases in Bristol, Plymouth, and Barnstable Courts, 1764–1767, and notes on Cotton v. Nye, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reels 184, 185; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 82).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0011-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1767-04-08

1767 April 8th. Wednesday.

Mounted my Horse in a very Rainy Morning for Barnstable leaving my Dear Brother Cranch and his family at my House where they arrived last Night, and my Wife, all designing for Weymouth this Afternoon to Keep the fast with my father Smith and my Friend Tufts.— Arrived at Dr. Tufts’s, where I found a fine Wild Goose on the Spit and Cramberries stewing in the Skillet for Dinner. Tufts as soon as he heard that Cranch was at Braintree determined to go over, and bring him and Wife and Child and my Wife and Child over to dine upon wild Goose and Cramberry Sause.
Proceeded without Baiting to Jacobs’s where I dined. Lodged at Howlands. Rode next day, baited at Ellis’s, dined at Newcombs and proceeded to Barnstable, lodged at Howes’s and feel myself much better than I did when I came from Home. But I have had a very wet, cold, dirty, disagreable Journey of it.—Now I am on the stage and the scene is soon to open, what Part shall I act?—The People of the County I find are of opinion that Cotton will worry Nye. But Nye must come off, with flying Colours.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0011-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1767-05-16

May [16], 1767. Saturday Night.1

At Howlands in Plymouth. Returned this day from Barnstable. The Case of Cotton and Nye at Sandwich is remarkable. Cotton has been driving his Interest. This driving of an Interest, seldom succeeds. Jones of Weston, by driving his, drove it all away.—Where two Persons in a Town get into such a Quarrell, both must be very unhappy—Reproaching each other to their faces, relating facts concerning each other, to their Neighbours. These Relations are denied, repeated, misrepresented, additional and fictitious Circumstances put to them, Passions inflamed. Malice, Hatred, Envy, Pride fear, Rage, Despair, all take their Turns.
Father and son, Uncle and Nephew, Neighbour and Neighbour, Friend and Friend are all set together by the Ears. My Clients have been the Sufferers in both these Representative Causes. The Court was fixed in the Sandwich Case. Cotton is not only a Tory but a Relation of some of the Judges, Cushing particularly. Cushing married a Cotton, Sister of Jno. Cotton, the Register of Deeds at Plymouth. Cushing was very bitter, he was not for my arguing to the Jury the Question whether the Words were Actionable or not. He interrupted me— stopped me short, snapd me up.—“Keep to the Evidence—keep to the Point—dont ramble all over the World to ecclesiastical Councils—dont misrepresent the Evidence.” This was his impartial Language. Oliver began his Speech to the Jury with—“A Disposition to slander and Defamation, is the most cursed Temper that ever the World was plagued with and I believe it is the Cause of the greatest Part of the Calamities that Mankind labour under.” This was the fair, candid, impartial Judge. They adjudged solemnly, that I should not dispute to the Jury, whether the Words were actionable or not.
1. To this and the next two entries (which conclude D/JA/14) the editors have assigned specific days of the month because they were obviously written on successive days almost immediately following JA’s unsuccessful appeal in the case of Cotton v. Nye at Barnstable Superior Court. That appeal is known to have been heard on Thursday, 14 May; see note on entry of 4 April, above.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0011-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1767-05-17

1767 May [17] Sunday.

At Plymouth, went to Mr. Robbins’s Meeting in the Morning, and sat with Mr. Hovey. Dined with Coll. Warren.1 Went to Mr. Bacons Meeting in the Afternoon and satt with Coll. Warren. Drank Tea at my Lodgings. Robbins preached upon doing the Will of God, and Bacon on Peace, and Goodwill. Judge Cushing was also at the Upper Meeting in the Morning and at the lower, in the Afternoon. Cushing { 336 } has the sly, artfull, cunning—Artifice and Cunning is the reigning Characteristic in his face. The sly Sneer.—My Landlady Howland gives me a melancholly History of her Husbands Lawsuit, which lasted 20 Years, and brought him to Poverty. She says that Cushings father in Law Cotton, had an House on one Lott of Land that her Husband was Heir to in Tail, and her Husband was obliged to suffer a Common Recovery of that Lot and convey it to Cotton before Cushing would give Judgment. Saltonstall kept it 5 Years depending merely for his Opinion and Cushing many Years more. So that the Case of Roland Cotton last Week at Barnstable is not the only Case in which Cushing has at all Hazards supported the Interests of the Cotton Family. The father of Judge Cushings Wife, and Mr. Cotton the Register &c. was a Man of Figure in this County, Register of Deeds, Clerk of the Court and afterwards Judge—an odd, ‘tho a sensible Man.
We shall see more of the cursed Cunning of this Cushing in the Case of Dumb Tom the Pauper. It was a Trick of his. The Secresy of the Removal was a Trick and Artifice of his. And he is now about to Certiorari him into Pembroke. He was first sent into Pembroke by secret Deviltry, and now is to be sent there again by open Deviltry. But Memento—Three Judges at Barnstable were for dismissing an Appeal to them from Marthas Vinyard because the Plaintiff had accepted of a bad Plea or no Plea. They said it was the Plaintiffs fault that he had accepted such a Plea. Now in the Case of Scituate, was it not the Select Mens fault that they had gone to Tryal without a written Answer?
A Question I shall make is, whether dumb Toms gaining a Settlement, at Tiverton or Bristol, has not annihilated his Settlement at Pembroke? No Pauper has two Settlements at once—a new settlement destroys an old one. He cant have a Settlement at Bristol and another at Pembroke at the same Time. Now is it not Scituates Duty to remove him to Bristol? But how can they?—But another Question is whether the secresy of the Removal, the Manifest Artifice and Trick, to charge Pembroke, shall not screen Pembroke? A Collusion it was. If a Woman pregnant of a Bastard Child is sent in the Night, private secretly into a Parish on Purpose that she may be delivered there, the Parish shall not be charged—for the Law will protect Parishes from such Frauds. Secresy never was more gross, nor fraud more manifest. Sent in the Night, 18 months old, by the Mother and a Negro, to a Squaws Wigwam, on purpose that it never might be suspected, but that it might be taken for an Indian. The Imposition was infinite upon the Poor Squaw.
{ 337 }
Spent the Evening at Mr. Hoveys, with Deacon Foster and Dr. Thomas. The Deacon was very silent. The Dr. pretty sociable.
1. James Warren, representative in the General Court from Plymouth and later prominent in Revolutionary politics. Warren’s wife was the former Mercy Otis, a sister of the younger James Otis and an ambitious aspirant to fame as a poet and historian. Within a few years the Adamses and the Warrens formed a very intimate circle of friends and correspondents.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0011-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1767-05-18

Monday Morning [18 May]

A fine Sun and Air.
Cushing at Barnstable said to me—happy is he whom other Mens Errors, render wise.1—Otis by getting into the general Court, has lost his Business.—Felix quern faciunt aliena Pericula cautum—other Mens Dangers, Errors, Miscarriages, Mistakes, Misfortunes.
1. From neither the punctuation nor the substance of this paragraph is it possible to tell where Judge Cushing’s direct discourse ends, but most likely it ends here.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0012-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1768-01-30

1768. January 30th. Saturday Night.1

To what Object, are my Views directed? What is the End and Purpose of my Studies, Journeys, Labours of all Kinds of Body and Mind, of Tongue and Pen? Am I grasping at Money, or Scheming for Power? Am I planning the Illustration of my Family or the Welfare of my Country? These are great Questions. In Truth, I am tossed about so much, from Post to Pillar, that I have not Leisure and Tranquillity enough, to consider distinctly my own Views, Objects and Feelings.— I am mostly intent at present, upon collecting a Library, and I find, that a great deal of Thought, and Care, as well as Money, are necessary to assemble an ample and well chosen Assortment of Books.—But when this is done, it is only a means, an Instrument. When ever I shall have compleated my Library, my End will not be answered. Fame, Fortune, Power say some, are the Ends intended by a Library. The Service of God, Country, Clients, Fellow Men, say others. Which of these lie nearest my Heart? Self Love but serves the virtuous Mind to wake as the small Pebble stirs the Peacefull Lake, The Center Moved, a Circle straight succeeds, another still and still another spreads. Friend, Parent, Neighbour, first it does embrace, our Country next and next all human Race.
I am certain however, that the Course I pursue will neither lead me to Fame, Fortune, Power Nor to the Service of my Friends, Clients or Country. What Plan of Reading or Reflection, or Business can be pursued by a Man, who is now at Pownalborough, then at Marthas Vineyard, next at Boston, then at Taunton, presently at Bamstable, { 338 } then at Concord, now at Salem, then at Cambridge, and afterwards at Worcester. Now at Sessions, then at Pleas, now in Admiralty, now at Superiour Court, then in the Gallery of the House. What a Dissipation must this be? Is it possible to pursue a regular Train of Thinking in this desultory Life?—By no Means.— It is a Life of Here and every where, to use the Expression, that is applyed to Othello, by Desdemona’s Father. Here and there and every where, a rambling, roving, vagrant, vagabond Life. A wandering Life. At Meins Book store, at Bowes’s Shop, at Danas House, at Fitches, Otis’s office, and the Clerks office, in the Court Chamber, in the Gallery, at my own Fire, I am thinking on the same Plan.
1. First entry in “Paper book No. 15” (our D/JA/15), a stitched gathering of leaves which, following the present entry, has a blank leaf and irregular entries from 10 Aug. 1769 to 22 Aug. 1770.
No Diary entries have been found for the period between late May 1767 and the end of Jan. 1768. The most important event in JA’s domestic life during this interval was the birth at Braintree of a son and heir, 11 July 1767, who was, according to JA’s Autobiography, “at the request of his Grandmother Smith christened by the Name of John Quincy on the day of the Death of his Great Grandfather, John Quincy of Mount Wollaston.” After the excitements of the preceding winter, the remainder of the year 1767, at least until the arrival of the new customs commissioners in November, was comparatively quiet politically; at any rate, JA engaged in no further political activity or writing. But as a result of his growing prominence in both Braintree and Boston affairs his legal business expanded remarkably. By piecing together the evidence from his own papers and the Minute Books of the Superior Court, his itinerary during the second half of 1767 may be reconstructed as follows: in July at Plymouth Inferior Court; in August at Suffolk Superior Court; in September at Worcester Superior Court and Bristol Inferior Court; in October at Plymouth Inferior Court and Bristol and Middlesex (Cambridge) Superior Courts; in November at Middlesex (Charlestown) Inferior Court; in December at Barnstable and Plymouth Inferior Courts. Probably this is an incomplete list.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-08-10

Boston August 10. 1769.1

John Tudor Esq. came to me, and for the third Time repeated his Request that I would take his Son William into my Office. I was not fond of the Proposal as I had but 10 days before taken Jona. Williams Austin, for 3 years. At last however I consented and Tudor is to come, tomorrow morning.2
What shall I do with 2 Clerks at a Time? And what will the Bar, and the World say? As to the last I am little solicitous, but my own Honour, Reputation and Conscience, are concerned in doing my best for their Education, and Advancement in the World. For their Advancement I can do little, for their Education, much, if I am not wanting to myself and them.
{ 339 }
1. A gap of a year and a half, indicated by only a single blank page in the MS, separates this entry from the preceding one. But the interval had been a busy one for JA and a critical one in the relations between the Province of Massachusetts Bay and the British government. Soon after the annual Braintree town meeting in March 1768 (at which JA declined to stand again for selectman and was thanked for this services during the past two years), JA and his family moved “into the White House as it was called in Brattle Square,” formerly the residence of William Bollan (JA, Works, 2:210, note; Autobiography). On 28 Dec. his 2d daughter, Susanna, who lived only until 4 Feb. 1770, was born in this house and was baptized on New Year’s Day by Dr. Samuel Cooper at the Brattle Street Church (HA2, John Adams’s Book, Being Notes on a Record of the Births, Marriages and Deaths of Three Generations of the Adams Family, 1734–1807, Boston, 1934, p. 4–5). In the spring of 1769 he “removed to Cole Lane, to Mr. Fayerweathers House,” which he occupied for about a year (second entry of 21 Nov. 1772, below).
Though JA rode the circuit with his usual regularity during these eighteen months (and in Sept. 1768 traveled for the first time as far as Springfield, there meeting Joseph Hawley, with whom he was to form an enduring friendship), his most important cases were related to the current political disputes. One of these was his defense of Michael Corbet and three other sailors in May–June 1769 for the killing of Lt. Panton of the British navy; see entry of 23 Dec. 1769 and note, below. Still more spectacular was his earlier defense, in the winter of 1768–1769, of John Hancock against charges of smuggling. This action in personam grew out of but was distinct from the action in rem concerning Hancock’s sloop Liberty, condemned at the instance of the board of customs commissioners in the summer of 1768. “A painfull Drudgery I had of his cause,” JA wrote in his Autobiography. “There were few days through the whole Winter, when I was not summoned to attend the Court of Admiralty.” JA’s stubborn and successful defense in a trial lasting five months was one of his major accomplishments as a lawyer, but the necessary notes and references concerning it may be deferred to his discussion of it in his Autobiography.
In June 1768 and again in May 1769 JA was named on committees to prepare instructions for the Boston representatives to the General Court, and in both instances it was he who wrote the instructions. The first is mainly a protest against the seizure of the Liberty (Works, 3:501–504). The second is a recital of a series of grievances suffered by the town as the result of the presence of British troops since the preceding autumn, and also from the formidable and growing power of the admiralty courts (same, p. 505–510).
Life was not made up exclusively of drama and drudgery. An entry in John Rowe’s Diary dated 4 Aug. 1769 begins: “fine Weather Din’d at John Champneys on A Pigy with the following Company—John Hancock, James Otis, John Adams,” and thirteen others, including Robert Auchmuty, the admiralty judge (MS, MHi).
2. Jonathan Williams Austin and William Tudor, both of the Harvard class of 1769, were JA’s first law clerks, so far as we currently know. The ordinary term of service was three years, and both these young men were recommended by the bar for admission to practice as attorneys in July 1772 (“Suffolk Bar Book,” MHS, Procs. 1st ser., 19 [1881–1882]:150. Austin was admitted attorney in the Superior Court, Aug. term, 1778, but never became a barrister (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 103). Tudor was admitted to practice in the Superior Court with Austin, served as first judge advocate of the Continental army, became a barrister, Feb. term, 1784, and was a lifelong friend and correspondent of JA.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-08-11

Aug. 11th. 1769. Fryday.

Mr. Tudor came, for the first Time and attended the Office, all { 340 } Day, and paid me £10 St.—In the Morning I went to take View of Mr. Copelys [Copley’s] Pictures, and afterwards to hear News of the Letters arrived in Scott. The Mystery of Iniquity, seems to be unravelled.1
Spent the Evening at Mr. Wm. Coopers, the Dr. came in and was very social.2 He came from a Meeting of the Overseers of the Colledge, at Cambridge, which was called to advise the Corporation to proceed to the Choice of a President.
1. Capt. Scott of the Boston Packet arrived on 10 Aug. and brought “A new Freight of curious Letters of Sir Francis Bernard of Nettleham, Bart. the Commissioners, &c. [ . . . ] which will probably soon be publish’d” (Boston Gazette, 14 Aug. 1769). Bernard had just sailed for England. These letters and papers, furnishing a narrative of the recent “Troubles of this Town” from a government point of view and explaining only too clearly the role of the customs commissioners in bringing the regiments of British troops to Boston, were soon published under the title Letters to the Ministry from Governor Bernard, General Gage, and Commodore Hood, and also Memorials to the Lords of the Treasury, from the Commissioners of the Customs, Boston, 1769.
2. William Cooper, perpetual town clerk of Boston and an active member of the Sons of Liberty, was the older brother of “the Dr.,” i.e. Rev. Samuel Cooper, pastor of the Brattle Street Church (NEHGR, 44 [1890]:156–57).

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-08-12

1769. Aug. 12. Saturday.

Dined at Mr. Isaac Smiths and in the Evening went to Braintree.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-08-13

Aug. 13. Sunday.

At Mr. Quincys.1 Here is Solitude and Retirement. Still, calm, and serene, cool, tranquil, and peaceful. The Cell of the Hermit. Out at one Window, you see Mount Wollaston, the first Seat of our Ancestors, and beyond that Stony field Hill,2 covered over with Corn and fruits.
At the other Window, an Orchard and beyond that the large Marsh called the broad Meadows. From the East Window of the opposite Chamber you see a fine Plain, covered with Corn and beyond that the whole Harbour and all the Islands. From the End Window of the East Chamber, you may see with a prospective Glass, every Ship, Sloop, Schooner, and Brigantine, that comes in, or goes out.
Heard Mr. Wibirt, Upon Resignation and Patience under Afflictions, in Imitation of the ancient Prophets and Apostles, a Sermon calculated for my Uncles family, whose Funeral was attended last Week. In the afternoon Elizabeth Adams the Widow of Micajah Adams lately deceased was baptized, and received into full Communion with the Church.3 She never knew that she was not baptized in her Infancy till since her Husbands Decease, when her Aunt came from Lynn and informed her. Mr. Wibirt prayed, that the Loss of her Husband might be sanctified to her, this she bore with some firmness, but when he { 341 } came to pray that the Loss might be made up to her little fatherless Children, the Tears could no longer be restrained. Then the Congregation sang an Hymn upon Submission under Afflictions to the Tune of the funeral Thought. The whole together was a moving Scene, and left scarcely a dry Eye in the House. After Meeting I went to Coll. Quincys to wait on Mr. Fisk of Salem 79 Year Old.
This Mr. Fisk and his Sister Madam Marsh, the former born in the very Month of the Revolution under Sir Edmund Andros, and the latter 10 Years before that, made a very venerable Appearance.
1. Mount Wollaston Farm on the shore of Quincy Bay, the homestead of Norton Quincy, AA’s uncle.
2. The earliest name for what is now called Presidents Hill. JA later acquired this property and made it part of his homestead farm. In old age he occasionally dated letters from “Stony Field Hill.”
3. Ebenezer, brother of Deacon John Adams, died 6 Aug. 1769; his son Micajah had died 18 July (A. N. Adams, Geneal. Hist. of Henry Adams of Braintree, p. 395, 401).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-08-14

Monday August 14.

Dined with 350 Sons of Liberty at Robinsons, the Sign of Liberty Tree in Dorchester. We had two Tables laid in the open Field by the Barn, with between 300 and 400 Plates, and an Arning of Sail Cloth overhead, and should have spent a most agreable Day had not the Rain made some Abatement in our Pleasures. Mr. Dickinson the Farmers Brother, and Mr. Reed the Secretary of New Jersey were there, both cool, reserved and guarded all day.1 After Dinner was over and the Toasts drank we were diverted with Mr. Balch’s Mimickry. He gave Us, the Lawyers Head, and the Hunting of a Bitch fox. We had also the Liberty Song—that by the Farmer, and that by Dr. Ch[urc]h, and the whole Company joined in the Chorus. This is cultivating the Sensations of Freedom. There was a large Collection of good Company. Otis and Adams are politick, in promoting these Festivals, for they tinge the Minds of the People, they impregnate them with the sentiments of Liberty. They render the People fond of their Leaders in the Cause, and averse and bitter against all opposers.
To the Honour of the Sons, I did not see one Person intoxicated, or near it.2
Between 4 and 5 O clock, the Carriages were all got ready and the Company rode off in Procession, Mr. Hancock first in his Charriot and another Charriot bringing up the Rear. I took my Leave of the Gentlemen and turned off for Taunton, oated at Doty’s and arrived, long after Dark, at Noices.3 There I put up. I should have been at Taunton if I had not turned back in the Morning from Roxbury—but I felt as if I { 342 } ought not to loose this feast, as if it was my Duty to be there. I am not able to conjecture, of what Consequence it was whether I was there or not.
Jealousies arise from little Causes, and many might suspect, that I was not hearty in the Cause, if I had been absent whereas none of them are more sincere, and stedfast than I am.
1. Philemon Dickinson, younger brother of “Farmer” John Dickinson; and Joseph Reed, who was then practicing law in Trenton, N.J.; see DAB under both names.
2. This was sufficiently remarkable, considering that fourteen toasts were drunk at the Liberty Tree in Boston, followed by forty-five (in honor of John Wilkes’ North Briton, No. 45) at the dinner—all enumerated in the account of the day’s proceedings in the Boston Gazette, 21 Aug. 1769. A list of 355 Sons of Liberty present was compiled by William Palfrey, who was present, and is printed in MHS, Procs. 1st ser., 11 (1869–1870):140.
3. Or Noyes’, in Stoughton.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-08-15

Tuesday. Aug. 15.

Rode to Taunton, 16 miles before 9 O Clock, tho I stopped and breakfasted at Haywards in Easton 9 miles from Taunton. Spent all the Leisure moments I could snatch in Reading a Debate in Parliament, in 1744, upon a Motion to inquire into the Conduct of Admiral Mathews and Vice Admiral Lestock in the Mediterranean, when they had, and neglected so fine an Opportunity of destroying the combined Fleets of France and Spain off Toulon.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-09-02

1769. Septr. 2. Saturday Night.

Tho this Book has been in my Pocket, this fortnight, I have been too slothfull, to make Use of it.
Dined at Mr. Smiths. Heard that Messrs. Otis and Adams went Yesterday to Concert Hall, and there had each of them a Conference with each of the Commissioners, and that all the Commissioners met Mr. Otis, this Morning at 6 O Clock at the British Coffee House. The Cause, and End of these Conferences, are Subjects of much Speculation in Town.1
1. If intended to prevent violence, the conferences failed, for on 5 Sept. Commissioner John Robinson, aided by others, assaulted James Otis at the British Coffee House, leading to a long lawsuit in which JA acted as one of Otis’ counsel. See Boston Gazette, 11 Sept. 1769; Tudor, James Otis, p. 360–366, 503–506; entries of 2527 July 1771, below. The most recent and authoritative discussion of the Robinson-Otis affair is in Mr. Shipton’s biography of Otis, Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:247–287.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-09-03

Sept. 3d. Sunday.

Heard Dr. Cooper in the forenoon, Mr. Champion of Connecticutt { 343 } in the Afternoon and Mr. Pemberton in the Evening at the Charity Lecture. Spent the Remainder of the Evening and supped with Mr. Otis, in Company with Mr. Adams, Mr. Wm. Davis, and Mr. Jno. Gill. The Evening spent in preparing for the Next Days Newspaper—a curious Employment. Cooking up Paragraphs, Articles, Occurences, &c.—working the political Engine!1 Otis talks all. He grows the most talkative Man alive. No other Gentleman in Company can find a Space to put in a Word—as Dr. Swift expressed it, he leaves no Elbow Room. There is much Sense, Knowledge, Spirit and Humour in his Conversation. But he grows narrative, like an old Man. Abounds with Stories.
1. One of the pieces thus cooked up led directly to the assault on Otis on the 5th, though that piece was signed by Otis himself, and there is nothing in the Boston Gazette of 4 Sept. that clearly reveals JA’s hand.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-09-04

Monday [4 September].

Spent the Evening at Dr. Peckers, with the Clubb. Mr. Otis introduced a Stranger, a Gentleman from Georgia, recommended to him by the late Speaker of the House in that Province. Otis indulged himself in all his Airs. Attacked the Aldermen, Inches and Pemberton, for not calling a Town meeting to consider the Letters of the Governor, General, Commodore, Commissioners, Collector, Comptroller &c.— charged them with Timidity, Haughtiness, Arbitrary Dispositions, and Insolence of Office. But not the least Attention did he shew to his Friend the Georgian.—No Questions concerning his Province, their Measures against the Revenue Acts, their Growth, Manufactures, Husbandry, Commerce—No general Conversation, concerning the Continental Opposition—Nothing, but one continued Scene of bullying, bantering, reproaching and ridiculing the Select Men.—Airs and Vapours about his Moderatorship, and Membership, and Cushings Speakership.—There is no Politeness nor Delicacy, no Learning nor Ingenuity, no Taste or Sense in this Kind of Conversation.

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.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-11

November 1769.

Saturday after attending Court in the Morning, I dined by particular Invitation at Mr. Winthrops the Clerk of the Superior Court with all the Bar, Messrs. Dana, Kent, Otis, Fitch, Reed, S. Quincy, B. Gridley, Cazneau,1 Blowers.
Otis, B. Gridley, Kent, and S. Quincy, were the principal Talkers. Otis talked the most, B. Gridley next, Kent the next and S. Quincy, next. The rest of the Company said very little.
B. Gridley told us a Story of his Uncle Jeremiah the late Head of the Bar. “When I was a school Boy, at Master Lovells, Mr. Gridley my Uncle used to make me call at his Office, sometimes, to repeat my Lesson to him. I called there one Day for that Purpose.—Well, Ben! What have you to say, Ben? says he.—I am come to say my Lesson sir to you, says I.—Ay? Ben? what Book have you there? under your Arm?— Virgil sir.—Ay! Ben? Is that the Poet, Virgil?—Yes sir.—Well Ben, take it and read to me Ben. Read in the Beginning of the Aeneids Ben.— Yes sir.—So I opened my Book and began.
Arma, Virumque Cāno, Trojae, qui primus ab oris.
Arma, Virumque cāno! Ben! you Blockhead!—does John Lovell teach you to read so—read again.—So I began, again.
Arma Virumque cāno.—Cāno you Villain, canō—and gave me a tremendous Box on the Ear.—Arma Virumque canō, you Blockhead, is the true Reading.
Thinks I, what is this—I have Blockheading and boxing enough at Master Lovells, I wont have it repeated hear, and in a great Passion I threw the Virgil at his Head, hit him in the Face, and bruised his Lip, and ran away.
Ben! Ben! You Blockhead! You Villain, you Rascall, Ben!—
However away I went, and went home.
That evening, Uncle Jeremy came to our House, and sat down with my father.
Brother, I have something to say to you about that young Rogue of { 346 } a son of yours, that Ben. He came to my Office, and I bid him read a Line in Virgil and he read it wrong and I box’d him, and he threw his Virgil in my face, and wounded me, he bruised me in my Lip—here is the Mark of it! You must lick him, you must thresh him Brother!
I was all this Time a listening, and heard my father justify me.—Ben did right says he—you had no Right to box him, you was not his Master and if he read wrong you should have taught him how to read right—not have boxed him.
Ay? Then I find you justify the Rogue.—Yes says father I think he did right.—Ay then you wont thresh him for it will you?—No I think he ought not to be threshed, I think you ought not to have box’d him.
What, justify the young Villain, in throwing his Book at me, and wounding me in this Manner?
About 2 or 3 Evenings Afterwards, Uncle Jeremy was at Clubb with Jo. Green, and John Lovell and others, and began, with great solemnity and sobriety—Jo.? What shall I do, two or three days ago, I was guilty of a bad Action and I dont know how to repair it. I boxed a little boy a Nephew of mine very unrighteously, and he is so little, so mere a Child that I cant ask his Pardon—and so in solemn Sadness told the whole Story to the Clubb.”2
Whether there is any Truth in any Part of this Story or not I cant say. But if it is mere fiction, there are certainly strong Marks of Ingenuity, in the Invention. The Pride, Obstinacy, and Sauciness of Ben, are remembered in Ben, in the Circumstance of throwing the Virgil. The same Temper in his father is preserved in the Circumstance of his justifying it. The Suddenness, and Imperiousness of Jeremiah, in the Boxing, and his real Integrity, Candor, Benevolence, and good Nature in repenting of it at Clubb, and wishing to make Reparation.
B. Gridley, after this, gave us another Story of Coll. Byfield, and his marrying a Sailor which occasioned a great Laugh.
Upon the whole this same Ben. Gridley discovered a Capacity, a Genius—real Sentiment, Fancy, Wit, Humour, Judgment, and Observation. Yet he seems to be totally lost to the World. He has no Business of any Kind, lays abed till 10 ’O Clock, drinks, laughs and frolicks, but, neither studies, nor practices, in his Profession.
Otis spent almost all the Afternoon in telling 2 stories, one of Gridleys offending the Suffolk Inferior Court, in the Dispute about introducing Demurrers, and of his making the Amende Honorable, making Concessions, &c. before that contemptible Tribunal—and another about a Conversation between Pratt, Kent and him. Kents asking { 347 } the Question, what is the chief End of Man? and Pratts Answer to provide food &c. for other Animals, Cabbage Lice among the rest.
Before Dinner Kent proposed his Project of an Act of Parliament against Devils, like to that against Witches.
Otis catched at it, and proposed the Draught of a Bill.—Be it enacted &c—that whereas many of the subjects of this Realm, have heretofore time out of Mind believed in certain imaginary Beings called Devils, therefore be it enacted, that no one shall mention the Devil, hereafter, &c, on Pain of high Treason, &c.
Thus are Mens Brains eternally at work according to the Proclamation of K[ing] James.
I dont think the World can furnish a more curious Collection of Characters than those that made up this Company—Otis, Kent, Dana, Gridley, Fitch, Winthrop, &c.
1. Andrew Cazneau of Boston; admitted attorney in the Superior Court, 1765, and barrister, 1767; afterward a loyalist (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Books 82, 85; Jones, Loyalists of Mass., p. 78–79).
2. The dialogue in young Gridley’s anecdote was punctuated by JA more erratically than was usual even for him, and in the interest of clarity the punctuation has been slightly regularized by the editors.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0013-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1769-12-23

1769. Decr. 23. Saturday Night.

At my Office reading Sidney. I have been musing this evening upon a Report of the Case of the 4. Sailors, who were tryed last June, before the Special Court of Admiralty, for killing Lt. Panton. A Publication only of the Record, I mean the Articles, Plea to the Jurisdiction, Testimonies of Witnesses, &c. would be of great Utility. The Arguments which were used, are scarcely worth publishing. Those which might be used, would be well worth the Perusal of the Public. A great Variety of useful Learning might be brought into an History of that Case—and the great Curiosity of the World after the Case, would make it sell. I have half a Mind to undertake it.
The great Questions, concerning the Right of Juries in the Colonies, upon a Comparison of the 3 Statutes, and concerning the Right of impressing Seamen for his Majestys Service, whether with or without Warrants from the Lords of the Admiralty upon orders of the K[ing] in Council, are very important. Such a Pamphlet might suggest alterations in the Statutes, and might possibly procure us for the future the Benefit of Juries in such Cases. And the World ought to know, at least the American part of it, more than it does, of the true foundation of Impresses, if they have any.1
{ 348 }
1. This project was unfortunately not carried out, though the materials for it in JA’s papers were (and still are) ample and important. Early in May 1769 Michael Corbet (whose name is variously spelled in the records) and three other sailors on the Pitt Packet of Marblehead resisted impressment when Lt. Henry Gibson Panton of the British frigate Rose boarded their vessel off Marblehead. From the forepeak they warned Panton that if he stepped toward them he was a dead man. Panton took a pinch of snuff and started for them with several armed companions. The next moment a harpoon severed Panton’s jugular vein. A special court of admiralty was promptly held to try the case. Otis and JA, counsel for the sailors, moved first to obtain a jury trial but were thwarted by Hutchinson’s influence with his fellow judges, among whom were Governors Bernard and Wentworth and Commodore Hood. The most telling point in JA’s argument was his citation of the statute 6 Anne, ch. 37, sect. 9, which prohibited impressments in America. The verdict was that the sailors had killed Panton in self-defense. JA’s brief is printed in an appendix to his Works, 2:526–534. His record of the testimony and of the argument of the crown lawyer, Samuel Fitch, are appended to a long article by BA on “The Convention of 1800 with France,” MHS, Procs. 44 (1910–1911) 1429–452. (The MSS are in the Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 184). Since the issues involved were so often of concern to JA in later life, he frequently discussed the case, and as usual with varying details. See especially his letters to JQA, 8 Jan. 1808 (printed by BA in the article cited above, p. 422–428); to Jedidiah Morse, 20 Jan. 1816 (Works, 10:204–210); and to William Tudor, 30 Dec. 1816 (same, 2:224, note). Hutchinson’s account, with his explanation of the conduct of the trial, is in his Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:166–167. The chronology of the case is well set forth in the “Journal of the Times” as reprinted by Oliver M. Dickerson in Boston under Military Rule, 1768–1769, Boston, 1936, p. 94–95, 104, 110.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-01-16

1770 January 16.

At my Office all Day.
Last Evening at Dr. Peckers with the Clubb.—Otis is in Confusion yet. He looses himself. He rambles and wanders like a Ship without an Helm. Attempted to tell a Story which took up almost all the Evening. The Story may at any Time be told in 3 minutes with all the Graces it is capable of, but he took an Hour. I fear he is not in his perfect Mind. The Nervous, Concise, and pithy were his Character, till lately. Now the verbose, roundabout and rambling, and long winded. He once said He hoped he should never see T.H. in Heaven. Dan. Waldo took offence at it, and made a serious Affair of it, said Otis very often bordered upon Prophaneness, if he was not strictly profane. Otis said, if he did see H. there he hoped it would be behind the Door.—In my fathers House are many Mansions, some more and some less honourable.
In one Word, Otis will spoil the Clubb. He talkes so much and takes up so much of our Time, and fills it with Trash, Obsceneness, Profaneness, Nonsense and Distraction, that We have no [time]1 left for rational Amusements or Enquiries.
{ 349 }
He mentioned his Wife—said she was a good Wife, too good for him—but she was a tory, an high Tory. She gave him such Curtain Lectures, &c.2
In short, I never saw such an Object of Admiration, Reverence, Contempt and Compassion all at once as this. I fear, I tremble, I mourn for the Man, and for his Country. Many others mourne over him with Tears in their Eyes.
1. Word omitted by the diarist.
2. On Ruth (Cunningham) Otis, see Tudor, James Otis, p. 19–21.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0014-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-01

[Draft of a Newspaper Communication, January? 1770.]1

[epigraph]
“If I would but go to Hell for an eternal Moment or so, I might be knighted.”
Governor Winthrop to the Inhabitants of New England.
My dear Children—
You may well imagine, that no Lapse of Time, nor any Change whatever can render me totally inattentive or indifferent to your Interests. They are always near my Heart. I am as anxious as ever for your Welfare and as studious to avert the most distant Calamity that threatens or can befall you.
Your present Danger arises wholly from that general Cause of the Ruin of Mankind I mean Ambition. Your Agrarian Laws, and your frame of Government, are much better callculated than most others to oppose, to disarm, and restrain this fell Distroyer.
But, as no Government can possibly be contrived or conceived that shall wholly eradicate this Passion from human Nature, so yours is very far from being the best that can be conceived from [for?] preventing its ill Effects.
1. Obviously incomplete as it stands, and no printing has been found. Other apparently related fragments will be found under Aug.? 1770 and 9 Feb. 1772, below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0014-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-02-26

1770. Monday Feby. 26. or Thereabouts.

Rode from Weymouth. Stoppd at my House, Veseys Blacksmith shop, my Brothers, my Mothers, and Robinsons.
These 5 Stops took up the day. When I came into Town, I saw a vast Collection of People, near Liberty Tree—enquired and found the funeral of the Child, lately kil’d by Richardson was to be attended. Went into Mr. Rowes, and wanned me, and then went out with him to the Funeral, a vast Number of Boys walked before the Coffin, a vast { 350 } Number of Women and Men after it, and a Number of Carriages. My Eyes never beheld such a funeral. The Procession extended further than can be well imagined.
This Shewes, there are many more Lives to spend if wanted in the Service of their Country.
It Shews, too that the Faction is not yet expiring—that the Ardor of the People is not to be quelled by the Slaughter of one Child and the Wounding of another.1
At Clubb this Evening, Mr. Scott and Mr. Cushing gave us a most alarming Account of O[tis]. He has been this afternoon raving Mad-raving vs. Father, Wife, Brother, Sister, Friend &c.2
1. “Feb. 26. This afternoon the Boy that was killed by Richardson was buried. I am very sure two thousand people attended his Funerall” (Rowe, Letters and Diary, p. 197). The Boston Gazette of 5 March devoted half a column to these obsequies. The “Child” was Christopher Snider, eleven or twelve years old, who had been shot and killed by Ebenezer Richardson, an employee of the customs, on 22 Feb., when taunted in his house by a group of boys after a demonstration against a merchant known to have violated the nonimportation agreement. On April 20–21 Richardson and another customs man present at the shooting, George Wilmot, were indicted and tried for murder in Suffolk Superior Court. Wilmot was acquitted; Richardson was found guilty but was pardoned by the King. The affair was a dramatic prelude to the “Boston Massacre.” See Boston Gazette, 26 Feb. 1770; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 91; Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:193–194, 206 and note; Oliver M. Dickerson, “The Commissioners of Customs and the ’Boston Massacre,’” NEQ, 27:310–312 (Sept. 1954). A copy of the defense counsel’s argument, in an unidentified hand but docketed by JA, is in the Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185. Robert Treat Paine acted for the crown (Paine, “Minutes of Law Cases, 1760–1774,” MS, MHi).
2. Inserted loose in the MS at this point is a receipted bill to JA from M. Cooke in the amount of £11 2s., for copying seventeen cases, here listed, for “March C[our]t 1770.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0014-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-06-19

Ipswich June 19. 1770. Tuesday Morning.1

Rambled with Kent, round Landlord Treadwells Pastures, to see how our Horses fared. We found them in Grass, up to their Eyes. Excellent Pastures. This Hill on which stand the Meeting House and Court House, is a fine Elevation and We have here a fine Air, and the pleasant Prospect of the winding River, at the foot of the Hill.
1. Preceding this entry is a gap of nearly four months in the Diary record, with no space left for it in the MS. Accordingly there is no strictly contemporary mention by JA of the episode known as the Boston Massacre, in the consequences of which he was to be so deeply involved, though in his Autobiography he gave an account of what he did and saw on the evening of 5 March and of the circumstances under which he agreed, next day, to defend Capt. Thomas Preston.
On 6 June JA was elected a delegate to the General Court from Boston in the room of James Bowdoin, who had been elected to the Council. He was at once caught up in the bitter and protracted { 351 } dispute between the legislature and Lt. Gov. Hutchinson over the meeting-place of the General Court; see the House Journal for this year, passim. From June 1770 to April 1771, his single term as a member of the House, JA’s name, as CFA remarked, “appears upon almost every important committee” (JA, Works, 1:109). An impressive tabulation of these committee assignments will be found in a long note in the same, 2:233–236.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0014-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-06-25

June 25. 1770. Boston.

Blowers. In the Reign of Richard the 2d. or Henry 6th. you may find Precedents for any Thing.
This Observation was echoed from some Tory, who applyed it to a late Quotation of the House of Representatives. It is true, Richard 2d. and H. 6. were weak and worthless Princes, and their Parliaments were bold and resolute, but weak Princes may arise hereafter, and then there will be need of daring and determined Parliaments. The Reigns of R. 2. and H. 6 were the Reigns of Evil Councillors and Favourites, and they exhibit notable Examples, of the public Mischiefs, arising from such Administrations, and of national and parliamentary Vengeance, on such wicked Minions.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-06-26

June 26.

Last of Service; very little Business this Court. The Bar and the Clerks universally complain of the Scarcity of Business. So little was perhaps never known, at July Term. The Cause must be the Non Importation agreement, and the Declension of Trade. So that the Lawyers loose as much by this Patriotic Measure as the Merchants, and Tradesmen.
Stephens the Connecticutt Hemp Man was at my Office, with Mr. Counsellor Powell and Mr. Kent. Stephens says that the whole Colony of Connecticutt has given more implicit Observance to a Letter from the Select Men of Boston than to their Bibles for some Years. And that in Consequence of it, the Country is vastly happier, than it was, for every Family has become a little manufactory House, and they raise and make within themselves, many Things, for which they used to run in debt to the Merchants and Traders. So that No Body is hurt but Boston, and the Maritime Towns.—I wish there was a Tax of 5s. st. on every Button, from England. It would be vastly for the good of this Country, &c. As to all the Bustle and Bombast about Tea, it has been begun by about 1/2 doz. Hollands Tea Smugglers, who could not find so much Profit in their Trade, since the Nine Pence was taken off in England.—Thus He. Some Sense and some Nonsense!

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0014-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-06-27

June 27. Wednesday Morn.

Very fine—likely to be hot—at my Office early. The only Way to compose myself and collect my Thoughts is to set down at my Table, place my Diary before me, and take my Pen into my Hand. This Apparatus takes off my Attention from other Objects. Pen, Ink and Paper and a sitting Posture, are great Helps to Attention and thinking.
Took an Airing in the Chaise with my Brother Sam. Adams, who returned and dined with me. He says he never looked forward in his Life, never planned, laid a scheme, or formed a design of laying up any Thing for himself or others after him. I told him, I could not say that of myself, if that had been true of me, you would never have seen my Face—and I think this was true. I was necessitated to ponder in my Youth, to consider of Ways and Means of raising a Subsistence, food and Rayment, and Books and Money to pay for my Education to the Bar. So that I must have sunk into total Contempt and Obscurity, if not perished for Want, if I had not planned for futurity. And it is no Damage to a young Man to learn the Art of living, early, if it is at the Expence of much musing and pondering and Anxiety.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0014-0003-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1770-06-28

June 28. Thursday.

Mr. Goldthwait</