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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1

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.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.