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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1

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.
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.