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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


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).
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, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/