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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1

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.
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.