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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1

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.
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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.
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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.
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.