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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-19

19 Monday.

A rainy Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-20

20 Tuesday.

A fair, warm spring like Day. Drank Tea and supped at Mr. Greenes.1
1. For the first few months after he came to Worcester JA had “boarded with one Green at the Expence of the Town” (JA, Autobiography), but since there were numerous Greens in Worcester at this period and since JA writes this name as “Green” and “Greene” interchangeably, none of those mentioned in the early Diary can be certainly identified.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-21

21 Wednesday.

A very rainy day. Dined with Coll. Chandlers Jur. Spent the Eve at Mr. Maccarty’s. Kept school. Nothing more.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-22

22 Thurdsday.

A fair morning. Fresh and lively Air. Drank Tea and supped at Mrs. Paine’s.1
1. Presumably Sarah (Chandler) Paine, daughter of Colonel or Judge John Chandler and wife of Timothy Paine (1730–1793), currently a member of the General Court (Stark, Loyalists of Mass., p. 382–385).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-23

23 Fryday.

A fair and agreable Day. Kept School. Drank Tea, at Coll. Chandler’s Jur., and spent the Evening at Major Gardiners.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-24

24 Saturday.

A very high west Wind. Warm and cloudy. P.M. warm and fair.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-25

25 Sunday.

A cold Weather. Heard friend Thayer preach two ingenious discourses, from Jeremy 10th. 6. and 7. Supped att Coll. Chandlers.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-26

26 Monday.

A sharp piercing Air. Sat out for Uxbridge, arrived 2’o clock.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-27

27 Tuesday

Att my Uncles.1
1. Rev. Nathan Webb (1705–1772), who in 1731 had married Ruth, a younger sister of Deacon John Adams of Braintree. Webb, who graduated at Harvard in 1725, was settled as the first minister at Uxbridge, Mass., in the year of his marriage and enjoyed a pastorate there of over forty years (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:617–619).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-28

28 Wednesday.

Ditto. Thick weather, and some rain.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-29

29 Thurdsday.

Still, cloudy Weather. Set out for Worcester, Drank Tea in Sutton, with my class mate, Wheeler and arrived at Worcester about 7 o clock. Supped with Major Chandler. Very miry Roads.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-30

30 Friday.

Still, foggy, damp Weather. Kept School and dined at Mr. Greenes.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0001-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-01-31

31 Saturday.

A warm, spring-like Day. Kept School. Lodged at Mr. Maccartys, at night.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-01

February. 1756. 1 Sunday.

Pretty cold. Staid at Home, A.M. P.M. heard Mr. Maccarty. Lodg’d with him at night.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-02

2 Monday.

Wrote to John Wentworth1 by Coll. Josiah Willard. Spent the Eve, sup’d and lodg’d at Major Chandler’s, with that universal Scholar, gay Companion, and accomplish’d Gentleman Mr. Robert Treat Pain.2 Misty, thick Weather.
1. This letter to a classmate, who was to become the last royal governor of New Hampshire and subsequently lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia (see DAB), has not been found.
2. Robert Treat Paine (1731–1814) preceded JA into the law by a few years, and the two became keen professional rivals. The eulogistic phrases in this first mention of Paine in the Diary are not untouched by sarcasm; many of JA’s later references are in the same tone. Paine became a member of the first and later Continental Congresses and a judge of the Massachusetts Supreme Court. His papers (in MHi) are being edited for publication by the Society.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-03

3 Tuesday.

Breakfasted at Gardiners. This morn the Weather clear’d away. As warm and brilliant as May. Kept School all Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-04

4 Wednesday.

A charming warm Day. Dined at Coll. Chandler’s with Mr. Pain, Abel Willard and Ebenr. Thayer. Drank Tea at Mr. [Timothy?] Paines and supp’d and spent the Eve at Major Chandlers with the same Company, very gaily.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-05

5 Thurdsday.

A fair morning but some symptoms of a Change of Weather. Kept School. Spent the evening with Messrs. Paine, Putnam,1 Willard, Thayer, partly at home and partly at Mr. Putnams.
1. James Putnam (1726–1789), who was to teach JA law.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-06

6 Fryday.

A cloudy morning. About 10 [the sun]1 brake out. A warm Day. Dined at Mr. Paines. Kept school. Spent the Evening at home. A windy Evening.
1. Here and occasionally elsewhere in his early Diary JA used a symbolic sketch of the sun.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-07

7 Saturday.

A Fair warm, day. Dined at the Judges. Drank Tea at Major Gardiners.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-08

8 Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty. Fine Weather.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-09

9 Monday.

Fine Weather. Settled roads. Drank Tea and spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers, very gaily, with much Company.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-10

10 Tuesday.

Fair Weather. Spent the Evening at Major Chandlers, with Major Greene and Mr. Maccarty. Charming Weather. Roads Setled.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-11

11 Wednesday.

Serene Weather, but somewhat cool. I am constantly forming, but never executing good resolutions. I take great Pleasure, in viewing and examining the magnificent Prospects of Nature, that lie before us in this Town. If I cast my Eyes one Way, I am entertained with the Savage and unsightly appearance of naked woods and leafless Forests. In another place a chain of broken and irregular mountains, throws my mind into a pleasing kind of astonishment. But if I turn my self round, I perceive a wide extensive Tract before me, made up of Woods, and meadows, wandring streams, and barren Planes, covered in various places by herds of grazing Cattle, and terminated by the distant View of the Town.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-12

12 Thurdsday.

A cool, but pleasant morning. Heard Mr. Welman [Wellman] preach the Lecture, and drank Tea, with him, at home where he made this observation, (viz.) That Dr. Mayhew was a smart man, but he embraced some doctrines, not generally approved.1
1. Jonathan Mayhew (1720–1766), Harvard 1744; D.D., Aberdeen 1749; minister of the West Church, Boston; early famous for his radical theological and political views. JA admired him as “a transcendent genius” whose character would require “a dozen volumes” to delineate; and there can be no question that Mayhew’s numerous published discourses profoundly influenced young JA. (DAB; Clinton Rossiter, “The Life and Mind of Jonathan Mayhew,” WMQ, 3d ser., 7:531–558 [Oct. 1950]; JA, Works, 10:288.) See also 17 March, below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-13

13 Fryday.

A pleasant morning. Saw my classmates Gardner, and Wheeler. Wheeler dined, spent the afternoon, and drank Tea with me. Supped at Major Gardiners, and ingag’d to keep School at Bristol, provided Worcester People, at their insuing March meeting, should change this into a moving School, not otherwise.1 Major Greene this Evening fell into some conversation with me about the Divinity and Satisfaction of Jesus Christ.2 All the Argument he advanced was, “that a mere creature, or finite Being, could not make Satisfaction to infinite Justice, for any Crimes,” and that “these things are very misterious.”
[In the margin:] Thus mystery is made a convenient Cover for absurdity.
1. Prior to the formation of school districts, schoolmasters were obliged to keep school for stated periods in different parts of a town (township), so that the children of all those who supported schools by taxes would have equal access to them; this arrangement was called a “moving school” (DAH, under School, { 7 } District). Extract from the Worcester Town Records, 1 March 1756: “Voted that the School[s] be Kept in the same way and manner as they were the Last year and that John Chandler Junr. and Timo. Paine Esq. and Mr. Asa Moore be a Comitte for provid[ing] a master for the Center School” (Worcester Soc. of Antiquity, Colls., 4 [1882]:23).
2. See OED under Satisfaction, 3: “Theol. The atonement made by Christ for sin, according to the view that His sufferings and merits are accepted by the Divine justice as an equivalent for the penalty due for the sins of the world.” In recent published sermons Jonathan Mayhew had called in question the divinity of Christ; see 17 March, below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-14

14 Saturday.

Good Weather. This afternoon took a Vomit of Tartar Emet. and Turbith mineral,1 that worked 7 Times, and wrecked me much.
1. Turpeth, turbith: “A cathartic drug prepared from the root of East Indian jalap, Ipomoea Turpethum”(OED).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-15

15 Sunday.

Charming Weather. A.M. staid at home reading the Independent Whig.1 Very often Shepherds that are hired, to take care of their Masters sheep, go about their own Concern’s and leave the flock to the Care of their Dog. So Byshops, who are appointed to oversee the flock of Christ, take the Fees themslves, but leave the Drudgery to their Dogs, alias i.e. curates and understrappers.
1. [Thomas Gordon and John Trenchard,] The Independent Whig, originally a periodical publication but issued as a volume, London, 1721. There were numerous later enlarged editions, some bearing the subtitle “A Defence of Primitive Christianity.” Gordon and Trenchard attacked the high-church party in England and became still more influential as anticlerical and whig propagandists through their Cato’s Letters (London, 1724; 4 vols.), which was a popular book in America. JA owned several of their works. (Article on Gordon in DNB; BM, Catalogue; Josiah Quincy, Josiah Quincy, Jr., p. 289; Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 106, 247.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-16

16 Monday.

A most beautiful morning. We have the most moderate Winter that ever was known in this country. For a long time together we have had serene and temperate Weather and all the Roads perfectly settled and smooth like Summer.—The Church of Rome has made it an Article of Faith that no man can be saved out of their Church, and all other religious Sects approach to this dreadfull opinion in proportion to their Ignorance, and the Influence of ignorant or wicked Priests. Still reading the Independent Whigg. Oh! that I could wear out of my mind every mean and base affectation, conquer my natural Pride and Self Conceit, expect no more defference from my fellows than I deserve, acquire that meekness, and humility, which are the sure marks and Characters { 8 } of a great and generous Soul, and subdue every unworthy Passion and treat all men as I wish to be treated by all. How happy should I then be, in the favour and good will of all honest men, and the sure prospect of a happy immortality!

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-17

17 Tuesday.

A clowdy Day. Dined at Mr. Greenes.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-18

18 Wednesday.

A charming morning. My Classmate Gardner drank Tea with me. Spent an Hour in the beginning of the evening at Major Gardiners, where it was thought that the design of Christianity was not to make men good Riddle Solvers or good mystery mongers, but good men, good majestrates and good Subjects, good Husbands and good Wives, good Parents and good Children, good masters and good servants. The following Question may be answered some time or other—viz. Where do we find a praecept in the Gospell, requiring Ecclesiastical Synods, Convocations, Councils, Decrees, Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Subscriptions and whole Cartloads of other trumpery, that we find Religion incumbered with in these Days?

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-19

19 Thurdsday.

No man is intirely free from weakness and imperfection in this life. Men of the most exalted Genius and active minds, are generally perfect slaves to the Love of Fame. They sometimes descend to as mean tricks and artifices, in pursuit of Honour or Reputation, as the Miser descends to, in pursuit of Gold. The greatest men have been the most envious, malicious, and revengeful. The miser toils by night and Day, fasts and watches, till he emaciates his Body, to fatten his purse and increase his coffers. The ambitious man rolls and tumbles in his bed, a stranger to refreshing sleep and repose thro anxiety about a preferment he has in view. The Phylosopher sweats and labours at his Book, and ruminates in his closet, till his bearded and grim Countenance exhibit the effigies of pale Want and Care, and Death, in quest [of] hard Words, solemn nonsense, and ridiculous grimace. The gay Gentleman rambles over half the Globe, Buys one Thing and Steals another, murders one man, and disables another, and gets his own limbs and head broke, for a few transitory flashes of happiness. Is this perfection, or downright madness and distraction?—A cold day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-20

20 Fryday.

A dull Day. Symptoms of Snow. Writing Tillotson.1
1. That is, copying out extracts from the published sermons of John Tillotson (1630–1694), sometime Archbishop of Canterbury and a celebrated preacher (DNB). There survives among JA’s papers a literary commonplace book (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 187) containing a good many exercises of this kind during his years in Worcester.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-21

21 Saturday.

A Snowy day. Snow about ancle deep. I find by repeated experiment and observation, in my School, that human nature is more easily wrought upon and governed, by promises and incouragement and praise than by punishment, and threatning and Blame. But we must be cautious and sparing of our praise, lest it become too familiar, and cheap and so contemptible. Corporal as well as disgraceful punishments, depress the spirits, but commendation enlivens and stimulates them to a noble ardor and emulation.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0022

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-22

22 Sunday.

Suppos a nation in some distant Region, should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. Every member would be obliged in Concience to temperance and frugality and industry, to justice and kindness and Charity towards his fellow men, and to Piety and Love, and reverence towards almighty God. In this Commonwealth, no man would impair his health by Gluttony, drunkenness, or Lust—no man would sacrifice his most precious time to cards, or any other trifling and mean amusement—no man would steal or lie or any way defraud his neighbour, but would live in peace and good will with all men—no man would blaspheme his maker or prophane his Worship, but a rational and manly, a sincere and unaffected Piety and devotion, would reign in all hearts. What a Eutopa, what a Paradise would this region be. Heard Thayer all Day. He preach’d well.
Spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers, with Putnam, Gardiner, Thayer, the Dr. and his Lady,1 in Conversation, upon the present scituation of publick affairs, with a few observations concerning Heroes and great Commanders. Alexander, Charles 12th., Cromwel.
1. Probably Dr. and Mrs. Nahum Willard, who came to Worcester about the same time JA did and with whom JA was now boarding at the cost of the town (JA, Autobiography; Lincoln, Worcester, p. 254).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0023

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-23

23 Monday.

Fair weather. Crawford spent the Evening here.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0024

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-24

24 Tuesday.

A fine morning. We are told that Demosthenes transcribed the history of Thucidides 8 times, in order to imbibe and familiarize the elegance and strength of his stile. Will it not then be worth while for a candidate for the ministry to transcribe Dr. Tillotson’s Works.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0025

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-25

25 Wednesday.

Fair and cold Weather. An extream cold night.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0026

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-26

26 Thurdsday.

Fair cold morning. An extream cold Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0027

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-27

27 Fryday.

A fair, cold day. Drank Tea at Mrs. Paines. All day, in high health, and spirits. Writing Tillotson. That Comet which appeared in 1682, is expected again this year, and we have intelligence, that it has been seen, about 10 days since, near midnight, in the East.1—I find my self very much inclin’d to an unreasonable absence of mind, and to a morose, unsociable disposition. Let it therefore be my constant endeavour to reform these great faults.
1. The reference is to Halley’s comet, named for the British astronomer who had worked out the periodicity of its appearance, approximately every three-quarters of a century. Its next return after 1682 was in April–May 1759, so that the reports JA had heard were mistaken. Professor John Winthrop provided an account of Halley’s comet in an appendix to his Two Lectures on Comets, Read in the Chapel of Harvard-College ... in April, 1759, Boston, 1759.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0028

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-28

28 Saturday.

A raw cold day. Attended Mrs. Brown’s funeral. Let this, and every other Instance of human frailty and mortality, prompt me to endeavour after a temper of mind, fit to undergo this great Change.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0002-0029

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-02-29

29 Sunday.

Went to Leicester with Thayer. Heard him preach all Day. Dined at Mr. Whitneys. Returned home and drank Tea, and spent the Evening at Mr. Paines.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-01

March. 1756. 1 Monday.

Wrote out Bolingbrokes reflections on Exile.1
1. For JA’s lifelong study of, and his extensive commentaries on, the writings of Henry St. John, first Viscount Bolingbroke, see Haraszti, JA and the Prophets of Progress, ch. 4. JA’s own copies of Bolingbroke’s writings are now divided between the Boston Athenaeum and the Boston Public Library.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-02

2 Tuesday.

A snow fall last night, half leg deep. Began this afternoon, my 3rd. quarter. The great and almighty Author of nature, who at first established those rules which regulate the World, can as easily Suspend those Laws whenever his providence sees sufficient reason for such suspension. This can be no objection, then, to the miracles of J[esus] C[hrist]. Altho’ some very thoughtfull, and contemplative men among the heathen, attained a strong persuasion of the great Principles of Religion, yet the far greater number having little time for speculation, gradually sunk in to the grossest Opinions and the grossest Practices. These therefore could not be made to embrace the true religion, till their attention was roused by some astonishing and miraculous appearances. The reasonings of Phylosophers having nothing surprizing in them, could not overcome the force of Prejudice, Custom, Passion, and Bigotry. But when wise and virtuous men, commisioned from heaven, by miracles awakened mens attention to their Reasonings the force of Truth made its way, with ease to their minds.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-03

3 Wednesday.

Fair Weather. Natural Phylosophy is the Art of deducing the generall laws and properties of material substances, from a series of analogous observations. The manner of reasoning in this art is not strictly demonstrative, and by Consequence the knowledge hence acquired, not absolutely Scientifical, because the facts that we reason upon, are perceived by Sence and not by the internal Action of the mind Contemplating its Ideas. But these Facts being presumed true in the form of Axioms, subsequent reasonings about them may be in the strictest sence, scientifical. This Art informs us, in what manner bodies will influence us and each other in given Circumstances, and so teaches us, to avoid the noxious and imbrace the beneficial qualities of matter. By this Art too, many curious Engines have been constructed to facilitate Business, to avert impending Calamities, and to procure desired advantages.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-04

4 Thurdsday.

A fine morn.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-05

5 Fryday.

Dined at home, Mr. Barnes dined here, drank Tea, and spent the evening at Coll. Chandlers.1
1. The ambiguous punctuation of the MS has been retained. JA probably intended a full stop after “dined here.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-06

6 Saturday.

Rose 1/2 after 4. A clowdy morn. Wrote Bolinbrokes letter on retirement and study.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-07

7 Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty all day. Spent the Evening and supped at Mr. Greenes, with Thayer. Honesty, Sincerity and openness, I esteem essential marks of a good mind. I am therefore of opinion, that men ought, (after they have examined with unbiassed Judgments, every System of Religion, and chosen one System on their own Authority, for themselves) to avow their Opinions and defend them with boldness.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-08

8 Monday.

Spent the Evening at Major Chandlers. Fair Weather.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-09

9 Tuesday.

A charming Day. Spent the evening up Chamber.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-10

10 Wednesday.

A misty morning. [Sun] brake out about noon. Spent Evening at Gardiners.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-11

11 Thurdsday.

Dined at the Colonels. Drank Tea at Mr. Paines with a number of Ladies, and spent the Evening at Major Chandlers, with Thayer.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-12

12 Fryday.

Clowdy. Laid a pair of Gloves with Mrs. Willard that she would not see me chew tobacco this month.1
1. We do not know who won this wager. We do know something about JA’s use of tobacco. In 1805 his friend Dr. Benjamin Waterhouse of the Harvard Medical School published a tract entitled Cautions to Young Persons concerning { 13 } Health in a Public Lecture...; containing the General Doctrine of Chronic Diseases; Shewing the Evil Tendency of the Use of Tobacco upon Young Persons; More Especially the Pernicious Effects of Smoking Cigarrs. The lecture had been delivered to Harvard undergraduates, and in it Waterhouse declared that in his twenty-three years at Harvard he had never observed “so many palid faces, and so many marks of declining health; nor ever knew so many hectical habits and consumptive affections” among the students as now (p. 27). These he attributed in large measure to the increasing use of tobacco. A copy sent by the author to JA evoked several letters of reminiscence, in which among other things JA said he had “learned the Use of [tobacco] upon Ponds of Ice, when Skaiting with Boys at Eight Years of Age,” and though he had given it up at certain periods, including his sojourns abroad, he had, to his regret, been a frequent user of tobacco in one form or another for sixty years (JA to Waterhouse, 19 and 13 Feb. 1805, MHi:Adams-Waterhouse Coll.).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-13

13 Saturday.

Some Snow last night, a clowdy, raw morning.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-14

14 Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty all Day upon Abrahams Faith, in offering up Isaac. Spent the Evening, very Sociably at Mr. Putnams. Several observations concerning Mr. Franklin of Phyladelphia, a prodigious Genius cultivated with prodigious industry.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-15

15 Monday.

I sometimes, in my sprightly moments, consider my self, in my great Chair at School, as some Dictator at the head of a commonwealth. In this little State I can discover all the great Genius’s, all the surprizing actions and revolutions of the great World in miniature. I have severall renowned Generalls but 3 feet high, and several deep-projecting Politicians in peticoats. I have others catching and dissecting Flies, accumulating remarkable pebbles, cockle shells &c., with as ardent Curiosity as any Virtuoso in the royal society. Some rattle and Thunder out A, B, C, with as much Fire and impetuosity, as Alexander fought, and very often sit down and cry as heartily, upon being out spelt, as Cesar did, when at Alexanders sepulchre he recollected that the Macedonian Hero had conquered the World before his Age. At one Table sits Mr. Insipid foppling and fluttering, spinning his whirligig, or playing with his fingers as gaily and wittily as any frenchified coxcomb brandishes his Cane or rattles his snuff box. At another sitts the polemical Divine, plodding and wrangling in his mind about Adam’s fall in which we sinned all as his primmer has it. In short my little school like the great World, is made up of Kings, Politicians, Divines, L.D. [LL.D.’s?], Fops, Buffoons, Fidlers, Sycho• { 14 } phants, Fools, Coxcombs, chimney sweepers, and every other Character drawn in History or seen in the World. Is it not then the highest Pleasure my Friend to preside in this little World, to bestow the proper applause upon virtuous and generous Actions, to blame and punish every vicious and contracted Trick, to wear out of the tender mind every thing that is mean and little, and fire the new born soul with a noble ardor and Emulation. The World affords no greater Pleasure. Let others waste the bloom of Life, at the Card or biliard Table, among rakes and fools, and when their minds are sufficiently fretted with losses, and inflamed by Wine, ramble through the Streets, assaulting innocent People, breaking Windows or debauching young Girls. I envy not their exalted happiness. I had rather sit in school and consider which of my pupils will turn out in his future Life, a Hero, and which a rake, which a phylosopher, and which a parasite, than change breasts with them, tho possest of 20 lac’d wast coats and £1000 a year. Methinks I hear you say, this is odd talk for J. Adams. I’ll tell you, then the Ocasion of it. About 4 months since a poor Girl in this neighbourhood walking by the meeting H[ouse] upon some Ocasion, in the evening, met a fine Gentleman with laced hat and wast coat, and a sword who sollicited her to turn aside with him into the horse Stable. The Girl relucted a little, upon which he gave her 3 Guineas, and wished he might be damned if he did not have her in 3 months. Into the horse Stable they went. The 3 Guineas proved 3 farthings—and the Girl proves with Child, without a Friend upon Earth that will own her, or knowing the father of her 3 farthing Bastard.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-16

16 Tuesday.

Sat out for Uxbridge, arrived about 12, dined. Rode to Aldridges after Mr. Webb, and brought him with me to my Uncles. Spent the Evening there. Lodged with Webb.1
1. Presumably Nathan Webb (1734–1760), Harvard 1754, nephew and namesake of JA’s “Uncle Webb"; he is said to have practiced medicine, and it was to him that JA addressed his first letter that survives, 1 Sept. 1755 (Adams Papers; JA, MS note appended to a copy of his letter to Webb, 12 Oct. 1755, same).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-17

17 Wednesday.

A fine morning. Proceeded on my Journey towards Braintree. Stop’ed at Josiah Adams’s.1 Baited at Clarks of Medway. Dined at Clarks of Medfield. Stopd to see Mr. Haven of Dedham, who told me very civilly that he supposed I took my faith on Trust from Dr. Mayhew, and added that he believed the doctrine of the satisfaction of J[esus] { 15 } C[hrist] to be essential to Cristianity, and that he would not believe this satisfaction, unless he believed the Divinity of C[hrist]. Mr. Balch was there too, and observed that he would not be a Christian if he did not believe the Mysterys of the Gospel. That he could bear with an Arminian, but when, with Dr. Mayhew, they denied the Divinity and Satisfaction of J[esus] C[hrist] he had no more to do with them. That he knew not what to make of Dr. Mayhews two discourses upon the Expected Dissolution of all Things.2 They gave him an Idea of a Cart whose wheels want’d greazing. It rumbled on in a hoarse rough manner. There was a good deal of ingenious Talk in them, but it was thrown together in a jumbled confused order. He believed the Dr. wrote it in a great Pannick. He added farther that Arminians, however stiffly they maintain their opinions in health, always, he takes notice, retract when they come to Die, and chose to die Calvinists.—Sat out for Braintree and arrived about sun set. Spent the Evening partly at home and partly at the Drs.3
1. Josiah Adams (1696–1802) was a younger brother of Deacon John Adams; he moved from Braintree to Mendon in 1735 (A. N. Adams, Geneal. Hist. of Henry Adams of Braintree, p. 395; Quincy, First Church, MS Records).
2. The Expected Dissolution of All Things, a Motive to Universal Holiness, Boston, 1755, comprises two sermons preached by Mayhew on the Sunday following the earthquake of 18 Nov. 1755. They were intended as “a religious improvement of these visitations of divine providence” (p. 58), and to a modern eye seem sufficiently orthodox.
3. Dr. Elisha Savil (this name is variously spelled in contemporary records) and his wife, the former Ann Adams, a niece by blood of both of JA’s parents. At this time the Savils rented the more southerly of the two cottages on Deacon John Adams’ farm at the foot of Penn’s Hill in the North Precinct of Braintree. The cottages were separated by only a cartway; on the northern side was the home of JA’s parents, now known as the John Adams Birthplace; and on the southern, the home of JA and AA after their marriage in 1764, now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace. Owned by descendants of the two Presidents until 1940, when they were presented to the City of Quincy, the Birthplaces (at 129 and 131 Franklin Street) are open to the public under the care of the Quincy Historical Society. See HA2, The Birthplaces of Presidents John and John Quincy Adams, Quincy, 1936 (repr. from Old-Time New England, 26:79–99 [Jan. 1936]); and Quincy Historical Society, A Brief Story of the Birthplaces of the Presidents John and John Quincy Adams, Quincy, Mass., Quincy, 1954. While the present volume was in press the Quincy Historical Society published The President John Adams and the President John Quincy Adams Birthplaces, by Waldo C. Sprague, Quincy, 1959, much the fullest historical and descriptive account of these houses yet written.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-18

18 Thurdsday.

A cloudy morning. Spent the afternoon at my Uncles,1 and part of the Evening at the Doctor’s.
1. Ebenezer Adams (1704–1769?), youngest brother of Deacon John Adams; his { 16 } wife was Ann, sister of Susanna Boylston, JA’s mother; their daughter Ann was Mrs. Elisha Savil, mentioned in the preceding note (Braintree Town Records, p. 685, 766, 815).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-19

19 Fryday.

A rainy morning. Went down in the afternoon, to the Point. Spent the afternoon and Evening and lodged with my dear Friend Cranch, in the usuall social friendly Strain.1
1. Richard Cranch (1726–1811), who in 1762 became AA’s brother-in-law before her marriage to JA. Cranch conducted a glass manufactory at a settlement called Germantown (from the German artisans who worked there), on a point of land forming Town River Bay in Braintree, now Quincy (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 490).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-20

20 Saturday.

After breakfast, rode to my Uncle Hunts, dined there, came Home, went to see my Aunt Owen,1 drank Tea at Deacon Webbs with Mrs. Nabby [Webb?]. Came home. Spent the evening at the Drs.
1. JA’s aunt Hannah Adams had married Benjamin Owen of Braintree, 1725; his aunt Bethiah Adams had married Ebenezer Hunt of Weymouth, 1737 (A. N. Adams, Geneal. Hist. of Henry Adams of Braintree, p. 395).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-21

21 Sunday.

Vernal Equinox. Heard Mr. Wibird preach two excellent Discourses from Eccles. 9.12.1 Spent the Evening at Mr. Wibirds with Messrs. Quincy,2 Cranch, Savel, in Conversation upon the present Scituation of publick affairs. Mr. Quincy exerted his Talents in the most Eloquent Harrangue. Mr. Cranch quoted the bishop of Quebecks Letter concerning the french Missionaries among the Indians.3 Some, he says, are very good men.
1. Rev. Anthony Wibird (1729–1800), minister in the North Precinct of Braintree (afterward Quincy) from 1754 until his death.
2. Presumably the elder Josiah Quincy (1710–1784), more often referred to in this Diary as Colonel Quincy.
3. A confusing and perhaps confused reference. CFA’s explanation (JA, Works, 2:11, note) is not satisfactory, since “A Letter from Canada,” which he cites and which was printed in the Boston Evening Post, 8 Sept. 1755, was not written by the Bishop of Quebec and did not purport to be from his hand. (It is a transparent fabrication, designed to stir up anti-French and anti-Catholic feeling in New England.) But the discussion at Parson Wibird’s house no doubt related to the activities of such men as Le Loutre, the Bishop of Quebec’s vicar-general in maritime Canada. Le Loutre’s work among the French Neutrals, or Acadians, had led directly to their enforced exile from Nova Scotia in 1755. Shiploads of these unfortunate people were arriving at intervals in Boston Harbor during 1755–1756, and they were naturally the subject of frequent conversation. See Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:28–31; Francis Parkman, Montcalm and Wolfe, Boston, 1907, vol. 1: { 17 } chs. 4, 8; Lawrence H. Gipson, The British Empire before the American Revolution, Caldwell, Idaho, and N.Y., 1936– , vol. 6: chs. 8–10.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0022

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-22

22 Monday.

A fair but cool morn. Mounted for Boston, arrived about 11 o’clock, went to friend Wm. Belchers, drank a bowl of punch, dined at my Uncle Sympsons,1 rode to Cambridge, drank Tea with Tom Went-worth. Spent the Evening partly at Hills Chamber, partly at Slewmans [Sluman’s], and partly at Trumbles [Trumbull’s] and partly at Harry Hills. Lodged with John Hill.
1. Nathan Simpson, a blacksmith of Boston, who in 1740 had married Mary, sister of Susanna (Boylston) Adams, JA’s mother (NEHGR, 7 [1853]:146, 150).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0023

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-23

23 Tuesday.

A fine morn. Breakfasted with Slewman at Prentices, mounted for Braintree, arrived about 1, dined, went to Dr. Millers, to see friend Sam.1 Drank Tea there with Mrs. Veasey2 and Mrs. Mary Miller, stopped in my return at Dr. Marshes, smoked a pipe there, came home, went to my Uncles and spent the Evening. Returned home and went to bed.
1. Samuel Miller, Harvard 1756, was a son of Ebenezer Miller, D.D., Oxford 1747, for many years minister of Christ Church, the first Episcopal church in Braintree (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:93–100).
2. The Veaseys (also spelled Veazie, Vesey, &c.) were a numerous family in Braintree, some of whom were prominent in the affairs of Christ Church (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 248–249).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0024

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-24

24 Wednesday.

Sat out for Worcester. Dined at Dedham and rode from thence in the rain to Mendon, supped and lodged at Josiah Adamses.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0025

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-25

25 Thurdsday.

Rode to Uxbridge. Tarried at my Uncle Webbs and lodged with Mr. Nathan [Webb].

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0026

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-26

26 Fryday.

A delightful morning. Rode to Grafton, dined at Josiah Rawsons. He exerted his rawsonian Talents concerning the felicity of Heaven. I sat and heard for it is vain to resist so impetuous a Torrent. Proceeded to Worcester, drank Tea at Mr. Maccarty’s and spent the evening at Major Gardiner’s.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0027

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-27

27 Saturday.

The Stream of Life sometimes glides smoothly on, through flowry meadows and enamell’d planes. At other times it draggs a winding reluctant Course through offensive Boggs and dismal gloomy Swamps. The same road now leads us thro’ a spacious Country fraught with evry delightful object, Then plunges us at once, into miry Sloughs, or stops our passage with craggy and inaccessible mountains. The free roving Songster of the forest, now rambles unconfin’d, and hopps from Spray to Spray but the next hour perhaps he alights to pick the scattered Grain and is entangled in the Snare. The Ship, which, wafted by a favourable gale, sails prosperously upon the peaceful Surface, by a sudden Change of weather may be tossed by the Tempest, and driven by furious, opposite winds, upon rocks or quicksands. In short nothing in this world enjoys a constant Series of Joy and prosperity.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0028

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-28

28 Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty, spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers, in Conversation concerning Lands and Farms &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0029

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-29

29 Monday.

A little hail and rain fell to Day. We find our Selves capable of comprehending many Things, of acquiring considerable Degrees of Knowledge by our slender and contracted Faculties. Now may we not suppose our minds strengthened, and Capacities dilated, so as fully to comprehend this Globe of Earth, with its numerous appendages? May we not suppose them further enlarged to take in the Solar System, in all its relations? Nay why may we not go further and suppose them increased to comprehend the Whole created Universe, with all its inhabitants, their various Relations, Dependencies, Duties and necessities. If this is supposeable, then a Being of such great Capacity, in-dowed with sufficient Power, would be an accomplished Judge of all rational Beings ...1 would be fit to dispense rewards to Virtue and Punishments to Vice.
1. Suspension points in MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0030

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-30

30 Tuesday.

A fair day. Drank Tea and spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams, with Mr. Maccarty, very Sociably.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0003-0031

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-03-31

31 Wednesday.

A cool morning. Drank Tea with the Ladies at the Judges. Spent the Evening at Gardiners with the Coll., Mr. Putnam and Thayer.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-01

April 1756. 1 Thurdsday.

A very rainy Day. A little Snow.1
1. On this day JA wrote a remarkable letter to his classmate Charles Cushing, who was then keeping a school in Newbury, on the choice of a profession. Extracts are printed in JA, Works, 1:29–30, 32; a complete text is in MHS, Procs., 46 (1912–1913):410–412.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-02

2. Fryday.

Cool and very windy. Drank Tea, and Spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-03

3 Saturday.

Dined, Spent the afternoon and drank Tea at Coll. Chandlers.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-04

4 Sunday.

Heard Mr. Davis of Holden all Day. Spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-05

5 Monday.

A warm pleasant Day. Drank Tea at Mrs. Paines, came home, lodged with Dr. Upham.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-06

6 Tuesday.

A fair Day. Drank Tea at Coll. Chandlers, and fixt1 a Letter for Cushing, Wentworth, Dalton, Lock [Locke], my Father, and Dr. Savel.
1. Fix: to set down in writing (OED, fix, vb., 5b). None of the six letters enumerated here, the first four of which were addressed to Harvard classmates, has been found.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-07

7 Wednesday.

A fair Morning. Mr. Thayer set out for Coll. [Harvard College?].

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-08

8 Thurdsday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty preach the Lecture, drank Tea with him, and spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-09

9 Fryday.

Drank Tea at Coll. Chandlers, spent the Evening at home with My Friend Eliot, lodged with him.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-10

10 Saturday.

A raw cold day. The man to whom Nature has given a great and Surprizing Genius, will perform Great and Surprizing Atchievments, but a Soul originally narrow and confined, will never be enlarged to a distinguishing Capacity. Such a one must be content to grovel amidst pebles, and Butterflies thro the whole of his Life. By dilligence and Attention, indeed, he may possibly get the Character of a Man of Sence, but never that of a great Man.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-11

11 Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty preach all Day. Spent the Evening at Mr. Paines, and supped upon fresh Fish with the Coll., Mr. Putnam, Major Gardiner and his Lady. Talking about Law and Pollitics.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-12

12 Monday.

Signs of Rain. Cleard off about 10. A most beautiful Day. Drank Tea with Coll. Chandler, and spent the Evening, at Major Gardiners, with the Coll., Messrs. Maccarty, Paine, Putnam, Green.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-13

12 [i.e. 13] Tuesday.

A fine morning. A Charming warm Day. Every thing looks gay and lively. The Grass begins to spring, and the sprightly sunbeams gleam upon the houses. The windows are opened, the insects begin to buz, and every thing wellcomes the Joyful Spring.—Went to the Drs. Farm.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-14

13 [i.e. 14] Wednesday.

A pleasant morning. Wheeler drank Tea here. I went with him in the Evening, to Capt. Stearns.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-15

14 [i.e. 15] Thurdsday.

Wheeler and I breakfasted at Mr. Maccarty’s. Went to Mr. Dyers.1 Very warm. Drank Tea and spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams, in conversation concerning Christianity. He is of Opinion that the Apostles were a Company of Enthusiasts. He says we have only their word, to { 21 } prove that they spoke with different Tongues, raised the Dead, and healed the Sick &c.2
1. Joseph Dyer, “an excentric Character ... who had removed from Boston and lived on a Farm of Mr. Thomas Handcock, Uncle of the late Governor, and kept a Shop” (JA, Autobiography).
2. Putnam’s religious opinions are described more fully in JA’s Autobiography.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-16

15 [i.e. 16] Fryday.

A Stormy Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-17

16 [i.e. 17] Saturday.

A Stormy Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-18

17 [i.e. 18] Sunday.

A Stormy Day. For these 3 days past there has been a severe N.E. Storm. Heard Mr. Maccarty. Spent the Evening at Major Gardiners.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-19

18 [i.e. 19] Monday.

The Storm continues.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-20

19 [i.e. 20] Tuesday.

A lovely Day after the Storm. Drank Tea at Major Chandlers. Walked with the Coll. to his Saw-mill Farm.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-21

20 [i.e. 21] Wednesday.

Charming Weather. The Fields begin to look verdant. The leaves begin to shew themselves on the apple Trees, and Blossoms on the peach Trees. Drank Tea at Mr. Putnams. Spent the Evening at the Majors.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0022

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-22

21 [i.e. 22] Thurdsday.

Cloudy, black morning. Cleared away very pleasant about 9. Dined at Capt. Stearns’s, with the Officers of the Militia in this Place. Spent the Evening at Mr. Greenes.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0023

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-23

22 [i.e. 23] Fryday.

A pleasant Day. I can as easily still the fierce Tempests or Stop the rapid Thunderbolt, as command the motions and operations of my own mind. I am dull, and inactive, and all my Resolution, all the Spirits I can muster, are insufficient to rouse me from this senseless Torpitude. My Brains seem constantly in as great Confusion, and wild disorder, { 22 } as Miltons Chaos. They are numb, dead. I have never any bright, refulgent Ideas. Every Thing appears in my mind, dim and obscure like objects seen thro’ a dirty glass or roiled water. Drank Tea at the Colonels. Spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0024

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-24

23 [i.e. 24] Saturday.

A cloudy morn. All my Time seems to roll away unnoticed. I long to study sometimes, but have no opportunity. I long to be a master of Greek and Latin. I long to prosecute the mathematical and philosophical Sciences. I long to know a little of Ethicks and moral Philosophy. But I have no Books, no Time, no Friends. I must therefore be contented to live and die an ignorant, obscure fellow. A showery Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0025

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-25

24 [i.e. 25] Sunday.

Astronomers tell us, with good Reason, that not only all the Planets and Satellites in our Solar System, but all the unnumbered Worlds that revolve round the fixt Starrs are inhabited, as well as this Globe of Earth. If this is the Case all Mankind are no more in comparison of the whole rational Creation of God, than a point to the Orbit of Saturn. Perhaps all these different Ranks of Rational Beings have in a greater or less Degree, committed moral Wickedness. If so, I ask a Calvinist, whether he will subscribe to this Alternitive, “either God almighty must assume the respective shapes of all these different Species, and suffer the Penalties of their Crimes, in their Stead, or else all these Being[s] must be consigned to everlasting Perdition?” Heard Mr. Maccarty. Spent the Evening at the Colonels.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0026

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-26

25 [i.e. 26] Monday.

The Reflection that I penned Yesterday, appears upon the review to be weak enough. For 1st. we know not that the Inhabitants of other Globes have sinned. Nothing can be argued in this manner, till it is proved at least probable that all those Species of rational Beings have revolted from their rightful Sovereign.—When I examine the little Prospect that lies before me, and find an infinite variety of Bodies in one Horizon of perhaps two miles diameter, how many Millions of such Prospects there are upon the Surface of this Earth, how many millions of Globes there are within our View, each of which has as many of these prospects upon its own surface as our Planet—great! and marvellous are thy works! &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0027

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-27

26 [i.e. 27] Tuesday.

We had a few soft, vernal Showers to Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0028

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-28

27 [i.e. 28] Wednesday.

A cool but pleasant morning. Dined at Mr. Paines. Drank Tea at Mr. Putnams. Walked with him to his Farm. Talked about all Nature.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0029

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-29

28 [i.e. 29] Thurdsday.

Fast day. Heard Mr. Maccarty. Spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams. Our proper Business in this Life is, not to accumulate large Fortunes, not to gain high Honours and important offices in the State, not to waste our Health and Spirits in Pursuit of the Sciences, but constantly to improve our selves in Habits of Piety and Virtue. Consequently, the meanest Mechanick, who endeavours in proportion to his Ability, to promote the happiness of his fellow men, deserves better of Society, and should be held in higher Esteem than the Greatest Magistrate, who uses his power for his own Pleasures or Avarice or Ambition.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0004-0030

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-04-30

29 [i.e. 30] Fryday.

A hazy, dull Day. Reading Milton. That mans Soul, it seems to me, was distended as wide as Creation. His Powr over the human mind was absolute and unlimited. His Genius was great beyond Conception, and his Learning without Bounds. I can only gaze at him with astonishment, without comprehending the vast Compass of his Capacity.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-01

30 [April, i.e. 1 May] Saturday.

A rainy Day. If we consider a little of this our Globe we find an endless Variety of Substances, mutually connected with and dependent on Each other. In the Wilderness we see an amazing profusion of vegetables, which afford Sustenance and covering to the wild Beasts. The cultivated Planes and Meadows produce grass for Cattle, and Herbs for the service of man. The milk and the Flesh of other Animals, afford a delicious provision for mankind. A great Part of the human Species are obliged to provide food and nourishment for other helpless and improvident Animals. Vegetables sustain some Animals. These animals are devoured by others, and these others are continually cultivating and improving the vegetable Species. Thus nature, upon our Earth, is in a continual Rotation. If we rise higher, we find the sun and moon to a very great degree influencing us. Tides are produced in { 24 } the ocean, Clouds in the Atmosphere, all nature is made to flourish and look gay by these enlivening and invigorating Luminaries. Yea Life and Chearfulness is diffused to all the other Planets, as well as ours, upon the sprightly Sunbeams. No doubt There is as great a multitude and variety of Bodies upon each Planet in proportion to its magnitude, as there is upon ours. These Bodies are connected with and influenced by each other. Thus we see the amazing harmony of our Solar System. The minutest Particle in one of Saturns Sattelites, may have some influence upon the most distant Regions of the System. The Stupendous Plan of operation was projected by him who rules the universe, and a part assigned to every particle of matter to act, in this great and complicated Drama. The Creator looked into the remotest Futurity, and saw his great Designs accomplished by this inextricable, this mysterious Complication of Causes. But to rise still higher this Solar System is but one, very small wheel in the great the astonishing Machine of the World. Those Starrs that twinkle in the Heavens have each of them a Choir of Planets, Comets, and Satellites dancing round them, playing mutually on each other, and all together playing on the other Systems that lie around them. Our System, considered as [one] body1 hanging on its Center of Gravity, may affect and be affected by all the other Systems, within the Compass of Creation. Thus it is highly probable every Particle of matter, influences, and is influenced by every other Particle in the whole collective Universe. A stormy Day.
1. This phrase is only partly legible. JA may perhaps have written “only a body.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-02

May. 1756. 1 [i.e. 2] Sunday.

Last night we had rain all night accompanied with a very high Wind, and the storm continues. Heard Mr. Camel [Campbell] of Oxford. About noon cleard away. I think it necessary to call my self to a strict account, how I spend my Time, once a week at least. Since the 14th of April I have been studying the 1st Part of Butlers Analogy.1 Spent the Evening at home with Mes[srs]. Camel, Green.
1. Copious extracts from Joseph Butler’s celebrated Analogy of Religion, Natural and Revealed, to the Constitution and Course of Nature, first published in London, 1736, will be found in JA’s early commonplace book (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 187).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-03

3 Monday.

I was mistaken one Day in my reckoning.1 A pleasant Day. Spent the Evening and supped at Mr. Maccartys. The Love of Fame naturally betrays a man into several weaknesses and Fopperies that tend very { 25 } much to diminish his Reputation, and so defeats itself. Vanity I am sensible, is my cardinal Vice and cardinal Folly, and I am in continual Danger, when in Company, of being led an ignis fatuus Chase by it, without the strictest Caution and watchfulness over my self.
1. That is, in the preceding entries from 13 April through 2 May.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-04

4 Tuesday.

Let any man, suppose of the most improved understanding, look upon a watch, when the Parts of it are separated. Let him examine every Wheel and spring seperately by itself. Yet if the Use and Application of these springs and Wheels is not explained to him, he will not be able to judge of the Use and Advantage of particular Parts, much less will he be able, if he sees only one wheel. In like manner We who see but a few coggs in one Wheel of the great Machine of the Universe, can make no right Judgment of particular Phœnomena in Nature.— Spent the Evening at Mr. Swans.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-05

5 Wednesday.

A very cold Day. Drank Tea at the Colonels. Spent the Evening at the Majors.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-06

6 Thurdsday.

A cold day. Spent the Evening and supped at Mr. Putnams.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-07

7 Fryday.

Spent the Evening and supped at Mr. Maccartys. A mans observing the Flux of the Tide to Day, renders it credible that the same Phenomenon may be observed tomorrow. In the same manner, our Experience that the Author of Nature has annexed Pain to Vice, and Pleasure to Virtue, in general I mean, renders it credible that the same or a like Disposition of Things may take place hereafter. Our observing that the State of minority was designed to be an Education for mature Life, and that our good or ill Success in a mature Life, depends upon our good or ill improvement of our Advantages in Minority, renders it credible that this Life was designed to be an Education, for a future one, and that our Happiness or Misery in a future life will be alloted us, according as our Characters shall be virtuous or vicious. For G[od] governs his great Kingdom the World by very general Laws. We cannot indeed observe many Instances of these Laws. But wherever we see any { 26 } particular Disposition of Things, we may strongly presume that there are other dispositions of Things in other Systems of Nature, analogous and of a Piece with them.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-08

8 Saturday.

Went a Shooting with Mr. Putnam. Drank Tea with him and his Lady.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-09

9 Sunday.

Since last Sunday I have wrote a few Papers of the Spectators, read the last Part of Butlers Analogy, wrote out the Tract upon personal Identity, and that upon the nature of Virtue.1 A poor Weeks Work! Spent the Evening at Mr. Greenes.
1. These tracts were appended to Butler’s Analogy of Religion.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-10

10 Monday.

A pleasant Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-11

11 Tuesday.

A pleasant [day]. The first Day of Court. Nature and Truth or rather Truth and right are invariably the same in all Times and in all Places. And Reason, pure unbiassed Reason perceives them alike in all Times and in all Places. But Passion, Prejudice, Interest, Custom and Fancy are infinitely precarious. If therefore we suffer our Understandings to be blinded or perverted by any of these, the Chance is that of millions to one, that we shall embrace error. And hence arises that endless Variety of Opinions entertained by Mankind.—The Weather and the Season are beyond expression delightful. The Fields are coverd with a bright and lively Verdure. The Trees are all in bloom, and the atmosphere is filled with a ravishing Fragrance. The Air is soft and yielding and the Setting sun Sprinkled his departing Rays over the Face of Nature, and enlivened all the Land skips around me. The Trees put forth their Leaves and the Birds fill the Spray. Supd at Gardiners.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-12

12 Wednesday.

Rambled about all Day, gaping and gazing.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-13

12 [i.e. 13] Thurdsday.

Spent the Evening with Mr. Swan at home.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-14

13 [i.e. 14]. Friday.

Drank Tea at the Colonels.—Not one new Idea this Week.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-15

14 [i.e. 15]. Saturday.

A lovely Day. Soft vernal Showers. Exercise invigorates, and enlivens all the Faculties of Body and of mind. It arouses our Animal Spirits, it disperses Melancholy. It spreads a gladness and Satisfaction over our minds and qualifies us for every Sort of Buisiness, and every Sort of Pleasure.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-16

15 [i.e. 16]. Sunday.

A pleasant morning. The Week past was Court week. I was interrupted by Company, and the noisy Bustle of the publick Occasion, so that I have neither read or wrote any Thing worth mentioning.— Heard Mr. Thayer, and spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams, very sociably.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-17

16 [i.e. 17] Monday.

The Elephant and the Lion, when their Strength is directed and applyd by Man, can exert a prodigious Force. But their Strength, great and surprizing as it is, can produce no great Effects, when applyed by no higher Ingenuity than their own. But Man, allthough the Powers of his Body are but small and contemptible, by the Exercise of his Reason can invent Engines and Instruments, to take advantage of the Powers in Nature, and accomplish the most astonishing Designs. He can rear the Valley into a lofty mountain, and reduce the mountain to a humble Vale. He can rend the Rocks and level the proudest Trees. At his Pleasure the Forest is cleard and Palaces rise. When He pleases, the soaring Eagle is precipitated to Earth, and the light footed Roe is stop’d in his Career. He can cultivate and assist Nature in her own Productions. By pruning the Tree, and manuring the Land, he makes the former produce larger and fairer Fruit, and the latter bring forth better and greater Plenty of Grain. He can form a Communication between remotest Regions, for the benefit of Trade and Commerce, over the yielding and fluctuating Element of water. The Telescope has settled the Regions of Heaven, and the Microscope has brought up to View innumerable millions of Animals that Escape the observation of our naked sight.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-18

17 [i.e. 18] Tuesday.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-19

18 [i.e. 19] Wednesday.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-20

19 [i.e. 20] Thurdsday.

Spent the Evening at Gardiners.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-21

20 [i.e. 21] Fryday.

After School, rode to Shrewsbury, went to Capt. Hows, to see Dr. Flynt, spent an Hour, and then rode to Mr. Howards, talked a little with him, and returned home.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0022

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-22

21 [i.e. 22] Saturday.

Dined at Judge Chandlers.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0023

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-23

22 [i.e. 23] Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty. He is particularly fond of the following Expressions. Carnal, ungodly Persons. Sensuality and voluptuousness. Walking with God. Unregeneracy. Rebellion against God. Believers. All Things come alike to all. There is one Event to the Righteous and to the Wicked. Shut out of the Presence of God. Solid, substantial and permanent Joys. Joys springing up in the Soul. The Shines of G[od] s Countenance.
When we consider the vast and incomprehensible extent of the material Universe, those myriads of fixed Stars that emerge out of the remote Regions of Space to our View by Glasses, and the finer our Glasses the more of these Systems we discover. When we consider that Space is absolutely infinite and boundless, that the Power of the Deity is strictly omnipotent, and his Goodness without Limitation, who can come to a Stop in his Thoughts, and say hither does the Universe extend and no farther?
“Nothing can proceed from Nothing.” But Something can proceed from Something, and Thus the Deity produced this vast and beautiful Frame of the Universe out of Nothing, i.e. He had no preexistent matter to work upon or to change from a Chaos into a World. But He produced a World into Being by his almighty Fiat, perhaps in a manner analogous to the Production of Resolutions in our minds.
This week I have read one Volume of Duncan Forbes Works1 and 1/2 Bentleys Sermons at the Boilean Lectures. Spent the Evening at the Collonels.
1. JA’s own copy of the Whole Works of Duncan Forbes of Culloden (2 vols., Edinburgh [1755?]) survives among his books in the Boston Public Library. In { 29 } his early commonplace book JA copied long extracts from Forbes’ “Letter to a Bishop concerning Some Important Discoveries in Philosophy and Theology,” first published in 1732 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 187).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0024

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-24

23 [i.e. 24] Monday.

A pleasant morning. Drank Tea at the Colonells.—Had the projectile Force in the Planets been greater than it is, they would not describe Circles but very excentrical Elipses round the Sun. And then the Inhabitants would be tormented yea destroyed and the Planets left barren and uninhabitable Wastes by Extreme Vicissitudes of Heat and cold. It was many million Times as likely that some other degree of Velocity would have been lighted on, as that the present would, if Chance had the Disposal of it, and any other Degree would have absolutely destroyed all animal and sensitive if not vegetable Inhabitants. Ergo an intelligent and benevolent mind had the Disposal and determination of these Things.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0025

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-25

24 [i.e. 25] Tuesday.

A cool, but pleasant Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0026

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-26

25 [i.e. 26] Wednesday.

Election Day. I have spent all this Day at Home reading a little and eating a little Election Cake.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0027

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-27

26 [i.e. 27] Thurdsday.

Drank Tea at the Colonels with a Number of Ladies. Spent the Evening partly at Putnams and partly at Gardiners.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0028

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-28

27 [i.e. 28] Fryday.

Dined at the Majors. A pleasant Day.—If we examine critically the little Prospect that lies around us at one view we behold an almost infinite Variety of substances. Over our heads the sun blazes in divine Effulgence, the Clouds tinged with various Colors by the refracted Sunbeams exhibit most beautiful appearances in the Atmosphere, the cultivated Planes and meadows are attired in a delightful Verdure and variegated with the gay enamell of Flowers and Roses. On one hand we see an extensive Forest, a whole Kingdom of Vegetables of the noblest Kind. Upon the Hills we discern Flocks of Grazing Cattle, and on the other hand a City rises up to View, with its Spires among the Clouds. All these and many more objects encounter our Eyes in the { 30 } Prospect of one Horizon, perhaps 2, or 3 miles [in] diameter. Now every Animal that we see in this Prospect, Men and Beasts, are endued with most curiously organized Bodies. They consist of Bones, and Blood, and muscles, and nerves, and ligaments and Tendons, and Chile [Chyle] and a million other things, all exactly fitted for the purposes of Life and motion, and Action. Every Plant has almost as complex and curious a structure, as animals, and the minutest Twigg is supported, and supplied with Juices and Life, by organs and Filaments proper to draw this Nutrition of the Earth. It would be endless to consider minutely every Substance or Species of Substances that falls under our Eyes in this one Prospect. Now let us for a minute Consider how many million such Prospects there are upon this single Planet, all of which contain as great and some a much Greater Variety of animals and Vegetables. When we have been sufficiently astonished at this incomprehensible multitude of substances, let us rise in our Thoughts and consider, how many Planets and Sattellites and Comets there are in this one solar system, each of which has as many such Prospects upon its surface as our Earth. Such a View as this may suffice to show us our Ignorance. But if [we] rise still higher in our Thoughts, and consider that stupendous Army of fixt Starrs that is hung up in the immense Space, as so many Suns, each placed in Center of his respective system and diffusing his inlivening and invigorating Influences to his whole Choir of Planets, Comets and sattellites, and that each of this unnumbered multitude has as much superficies, and as many Prospects as our Earth, we find our selves lost and swallowed up in this incomprehensible I had almost said infinite Magnificence of Nature. Our Imaginations after a few feignt Efforts, sink down into a profound Admiration of what they cannot comprehend. God whose almighty Fiat first produced this amazing Universe, had the whole Plan in View from all Eternity, intimately and perfectly knew the Nature and all the Properties of all these his Creatures. He looked forward through all Duration and perfectly knew all the Effects, all the events and Revolutions, that could possibly, and would actually take place, Throughout Eternity.1
1. A detached, undated fragment among JA’s literary notes appears to belong to the series of reflections entered in his Diary at this time. It reads:
“There seems by the late discoveries to be as great a Variety of Genera and Species of Globes and Spheres in the Heavens as there are of animals and Vegetables upon Earth.—Clusters of Worlds, Groups of Systems, and Clumps of combinations of Systems, as thick as of Groves and forests of Trees and shrubbs here below.—Variegated too in Colour as much as in magnitude, in decoration as much as in Use" (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 188).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0029

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-29

28 [i.e. 29] Saturday.

Drank Tea at Mr. Putnams.—What is the proper Business of Mankind in this Life? We come into the World naked and destitute of all the Conveniences and necessaries of Life. And if we were not provided for, and nourished by our Parents or others should inevitably perish as soon as born. We increase in strength of Body and mind by slow and insensible Degrees. 1/3 of our Time is consumed in sleep, and 3/4 of the remainder, is spent in procuring a mere animal sustenance. And if we live to the Age of three score and Ten and then set down to make an estimate in our minds of the Happiness we have enjoyed and the Misery we have suffered, We shall find I am apt to think, that the overballance of Happiness is quite inconsiderable. We shall find that we have been through the greatest Part of our Lives pursuing Shadows, and empty but glittering Phantoms rather than substances. We shall find that we have applied our whole Vigour, all our Faculties, in the Pursuit of Honour, or Wealth, or Learning or some other such delusive Trifle, instead of the real and everlasting Excellences of Piety and Virtue. Habits of Contemplating the Deity and his transcendent Excellences, and correspondent Habits of complacency in and Dependence upon him, Habits of Reverence and Gratitude, to God, and Habits of Love and Compassion to our fellow men and Habits of Temperance, Recollection and self Government will afford us a real and substantial Pleasure. We may then exult in a Conciousness of the Favour of God, and the Prospect of everlasting Felicity.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0030

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-30

29 [i.e. 30] Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty. “You who are sinners, are in continual Danger of being swallowed up quick and born away by the mighty Torrent of Gods wrath and Justice. It is now as it were restrained and banked up by his Goodness. But he will by and by, unless Repentance prevent, let it out in full Fury upon you.” This week I have wrote the [8th?] Sermon of Bentleys Boilean Lectures. Read part of the 1st Volume of Voltairs Age of Lewis 14th.1—I make poor Weeks Works.
1. Lengthy extracts from Voltaire’s Age of Louis XIV, first published in 1751, appear in JA’s commonplace book kept in Worcester (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 187).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0005-0031

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-05-31

30 [i.e. 31] Monday.

When we see or feel any Body, we discern nothing but Bulk and Extention. We can change this Extention into a great Variety of Shapes and Figures, and by applying our senses to it can get Ideas of those { 32 } different Figures, But can do nothing more than change the Figure. If we pulverize Glass or Salt, the original constituent matter remains the same, only we have altered the Contexture of its Parts. Large loads and heaps of matter as mountains and Rocks lie obstinate, inactive and motionless, and eternally will remain so unless moved by some Force extrinsick to themselves. Dissolve the Cohesion, and reduce these Mountains to their primogeneal Atoms, these Atoms are as dull and senseless as they were when combined into the Shape of a mountain. In short matter has no Consciousness of its own Existence, has no power of its own, no active Power I mean, but is wholly passive. Nor can Thought be ever produced by any modification of it. To say that God can superadd to matter a Capacity of Thought is palpable nonsense and Contradiction. Such a Capacity is inconsistent with the most essential Properties of matter.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-01

June 1756. 1 Tuesday.

Drank Tea at the Majors. The Reasoning of Mathematicians is founded on certain and infallible Principles. Every Word they Use, conveys a determinate Idea, and by accurate Definitions they excite the same Ideas in the mind of the Reader that were in the mind of the Writer. When they have defined the Terms they intend to make use of, they premise a few Axioms, or Self evident Principles, that every man must assent to as soon as proposed. They then take for granted certain Postulates, that no one can deny them, such as, that a right Line may be drawn from one given Point to another, and from these plain simple Principles, they have raised most astonishing Speculations, and proved the Extent of the human mind to be more spacious and capable than any other Science.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-02

2 Wednesday.

Went to Spencer in the afternoon.—When we come into the World, our minds are destitute of all Sorts of Ideas. Our senses inform us of various Qualities in the substances around us. As we grow up our Acquaintance with Things enlarges and spreads. Colours are painted in our minds through our Eyes. All the various Modulations of Sounds, enter by our Ears. Fragrance and Fœtor, are perceived by the Smell, Extention and Bulk by the Touch. These Ideas that enter simple and uncompounded thro our Senses are called simple Ideas, because they are absolutely one and indivisible. Thus the Whiteness of Snow can not be divided or seperated into 2 or more Whitenesses. The same may { [facing 32] } { [facing 33] } { 33 } be said of all other Colours. It is indeed in our Power to mix and compound Colours into new and more beautiful Appearances, than any that are to be found in Nature. So We can combine various Sounds into one melodious Tune. In Short we can modify and dispose the Simple Ideas of Sensation, into whatever shape we please. But these Ideas can enter our minds no other Way but thro the senses. A man born blind will never gain one Idea of Light or Colour. One born deaf will never get an Idea of sound.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-03

3 Thurdsday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty preach the Lecture, drank Tea with him, and spent the Evening at the Majors.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-04

4 Friday.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-05

5 Saturday.

Dreamed away the afternoon.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-06

6 Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty all Day. Drank Tea at home with Crawford. Spent the Evening at home with Mr. Maccarty and Capt. Doolittle.1 A great deal of Thunder and Lightning.
1. Ephraim Doolittle, on whom JA has much more to say in his Autobiography.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0007

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1756-06-07 - 1756-06-13

7[–13] Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thurdsday, Fryday, Saturday, Sunday.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-14

14 Monday.

Drank Tea at Mr. Putnams. Spent the Evening at the Majors, with Esqrs. Chandler of Woodstock and Brewer of Worcester.—He is not a wise man and is unfit to fill any important Station in Society, that has left one Passion in his Soul unsubdued. The Love of Glory will make a General sacrifice the Interest of his Nation, to his own Fame. Avarice exposes some to Corruption and all to a Thousand meannesses and villanies destructive to Society. Love has deposed lawful Kings, and aggrandiz’d unlawful, ill deserving Courtiers. Envy is more Studious of eclipsing the Lustre of other men by indirect Strategems, than of brightening its own Lustre by great and meritorious Actions. These Passions should be bound fast and brought under the Yoke. Untamed they are lawless Bulls, they roar and bluster, defy all Controul, and { 34 } some times murder their proper owner. But properly inured to Obedience, they take their Places under the Yoke without Noise and labour vigorously in their masters Service. From a sense of the Government of God, and a Regard to the Laws established by his Providence, should all our Actions for ourselves or for other men, primarily originate. And This master Passion in a good mans soul, like the larger Fishes of Prey will swallow up and destroy all the rest.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-15

15 Tuesday.

Consider, for one minute, the Changes produced in this Country, within the Space of 200 years. Then, the whole Continent was one continued dismall Wilderness, the haunt of Wolves and Bears and more savage men. Now, the Forests are removed, the Land coverd with fields of Corn, orchards bending with fruit, and the magnificent Habitations of rational and civilized People. Then our Rivers flowed through gloomy deserts and offensive Swamps. Now the same Rivers glide smoothly on through rich Countries fraught with every delightful Object, and through Meadows painted with the most beautyful scenery of Nature, and of Art. The narrow Hutts of the Indians have been removed and in their room have arisen fair and lofty Edifices, large and well compacted Cities.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-20

20 Sunday.

Supped and spent the Evening at the Majors.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-21

21 Monday.

A cool Day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-22

22 Tuesday.

A rainy Day. Drank Tea and spent Evening at Put[nam’s].

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-23

23 Wednesday.

Went with Mr. Thayer and Mrs. Willard, to Mr. Richardsons of Sutton.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0014

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1756-06-24 - 1756-06-27

24 [–27] Thurdsday. Fryday. Saturday. Sunday.

Spent the Evening at the Colonels.1
1. Presumably the text of this entry pertains to the last day in the heading (Sunday, 27 June).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0006-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-06-28

28 Monday.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-19

July. 1756. 19. Monday.

Sat out for Boston. Borrowed the Idea of a Patriot King of Ned. Quincy.1 Rode to Cambridge. Lodgd. Rode the next morning to Worcester.
1. Edmund Quincy (1733–1768), son of the first Josiah Quincy; Harvard 1752. Bolingbroke’s Idea of a Patriot King was first published in 1749.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-20

20 Tuesday.

Eliot and Trumble lodged here with me.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-21

21 Wednesday.

Kept School.—I am now entering on another Year,1 and I am resolved not to neglect my Time as I did last Year. I am resolved to rise with the Sun and to study the Scriptures, on Thurdsday, Fryday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, and to study some Latin author the other 3 mornings. Noons and Nights I intend to read English Authors. This is my fixt Determination, and I will set down every neglect and every compliance with this Resolution. May I blush whenever I suffer one hour to pass unimproved. I will rouse up my mind, and fix my Attention. I will stand collected within my self and think upon what I read and what I see. I will strive with all my soul to be something more than Persons who have had less Advantages than myself.
1. Since his graduation from Harvard, or since his arrival in Worcester? It was not exactly a year since either of these events; see note on entry of 14 Jan. 1756, above.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-22

22 Thurdsday.

Fast day. Rose not till 7 o clock. This is the usual Fate of my Resolutions! Wrote the 3 first Chapters of St. James. Wrote in Bolinbroke pretty industriously. Spent the Evening at Mr. Paines.—The Years of my Youth are marked by divine Providence with various and with great Events. The last Year is rendered conspicuous in the memorials of past Ages, by a Series of very remarkable Events, of various Kinds. The Year opened with the Projection of 3 Expeditions, to prevent the further, and remove the present Depredations, and Encroachments of our turbulent french Neighbours. I shall not minute the graduall Steps, advanced by each Army, but only the Issue of each. Braddock the Commander of the Forces, destind against Duquesne, and 6 or 700 of his men, were butchered in a manner unexampled in History. All, routed and destroyed without doing the least Injury that we know of, to the Enemy. Johnson, with his Army, was attacked by the Baron { 36 } Dieskeau, but happily maintaind his Ground and routed the Enemy, taking Dieskeau prisoner. Moncton and Winslow at Nova Scotia, gaind their Point, took the Fortresses and sent of [off] the Inhabitants into these Provinces. Boskawen bravely defended our Coast with his Fleet, and made great Havock among the french merchant Ships. All these Actions were performed in a Time of Peace. Sed paulo majora canamus. God almighty has exerted the Strength of his tremendous Arm and shook one of the finest, richest, and most populous Cities in Europe, into Ruin and Desolation, by an Earthquake. The greatest Part of Europe and the greatest Part of America, has been in violent Convulsions, and admonished the Inhabitants of both, that neither Riches nor Honours, nor the solid Globe itself is a proper Basis, on which to build our hopes of Security. The british Nation has been making very expensive and very formidable Preparations, to Secure its Territories against an Invasion by the French, and to humble the insolent Tempers, and aspiring Prospects of that ambitious and faithless Nation. The gathering of the Clouds, seems to forebode very tempestuous Weather, and none can tell but the Storm will break heavy upon himself in particular. Is it not then the highest Frensy and Distraction to neglect these Expostulations of Providence and continue a Rebellion against that Potentate who alone has Wisdom enough to perceive and Power enough to procure for us the only certain means of Happiness and goodness enough to prompt him to both.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-23

23 Friday.

Rose at 7. Wrote the 2 last Chapters of St. James. Spent the Evening at the Majors and drank Tea at Putnams.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-24

24 Saturday.

Rose at 7. Wrote a little in Greek. Afternoon wrote Bolinbroke.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-25

25 Sunday.

Rose 1/2 after 6.—Good Sense, some say, is enough to regulate our Conduct, to dictate Thoughts and Actions which are proper upon certain Occasions. This they say will soften and refine the Motions of our Limbs into an easy and agreable Air altho the Dancing Master never was applied to, and this will suggest good Answers, good Observations and good Expressions to us better than refined Breeding. Good sense will make us remember that others have as good a right to think for themselves and to speak their own Opinions as I have, that { 37 } another mans making a silly Speech, does not warrant my ill nature and Pride in grasping the Opportunity to ridicule him, and show my Witt. A puffy, vain, conceited Conversation, never fails to bring a Man into Contempt, altho his natural Endowments be ever so great, and his Application and Industry ever so intense. No Accomplishments, no Virtues are a sufficient Attonement for Vanity, and a haughty overbearing Temper in Conversation. And such is [the] Humour of the World the greater a mans Parts and the nobler his Virtues in other Respects, the more Derision and Ridicule does this one Vice and Folly throw him into. Good sense is generally attended with a very lively sense and delight in Applause. The Love of Fame in such men is generally much stronger than in other People, and this Passion it must be confessed is apt to betray men into impertinent Exertions of their Talents, sometimes into censorious Remarks upon others, often into little meannesses to sound the opinions of others and oftenest of all into a childish Affectation of Wit and Gaiety. I must own my self to have been, to a very heinous Degree, guilty in this Respect. When in Company with Persons much superior to my self in Years and Place, I have talked to shew my Learning. I have been too bold with great men, which Boldness will no doubt be called Self Conceit. I have made ill natured Remarks upon the Intellectuals, manners, Practice &c. of other People. I have foolishly aimed at Wit and Spirit, at making a shining Figure in gay Company, but instead of shining briter I only clouded the few Rays that before rendered me visible. Such has been my unhappy Fate.—I now resolve for the future, never to say an ill naturd Thing, concerning Ministers or the ministerial Profession, never to say an envious Thing concerning Governors, Judges, Ministers, Clerks, Sheriffs, Lawyers, or any other honorable or Lucrative offices or officers, never to affect Wit upon laced Wastecoats or large Estates or their Professors [Possessors?], never to shew my own Importance or Superiority, by remarking the Foibles, Vices, or Inferiority of others. But I now resolve as far as lies in me, to take Notice chiefly of the amiable Qualities of other People, to put the most favourable Construction upon the Weaknesses, Bigotry, and Errors of others, &c. and to labour more for an inoffensive and amiable than for a shining and invidious Character.—Heard Crawford in the morning, and Harding in the afternoon.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-26

26 Monday.

Rose at 7. Read carefully 30 lines in Virgil.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-27

27 Tuesday.

Rose at 7. Read carefully 30 lines, in Virgil. Wrote a little in Bolingbroke at noon and a little at night. Spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-28

28 Wednesday.

Read about 40 lines in Virgil, and wrote a little at noon. Nothing more.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-29

29 Thurdsday.

Rose half after 6. Read a little Greek.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-30

30 Fryday.

A very rainy Day. Dreamed away the Time.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0007-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-07-31

31 Saturday.

A rainy forenoon. Dined at Mr. Paines. A fair after[noon]. The Nature and Essence of the material World is not less conceal’d from our knowledge than the Nature and Essence of God. We see our selves surrounded on all sides with a vast expanse of Heavens, and we feel our selves astonished at the Grandeur, the blazing Pomp of those Starrs with which it is adorned. The Birds fly over our Heads and our fellow animals Labour and sport around us, the Trees wave and murmur in the Winds, the Clouds float and shine on high, the surging billows rise in the Sea, and Ships break through the Tempest. Here rises a spacious City, and yonder is spread out an extensive Plain. These Objects are so common and familiar, that we think our selves fully Acquainted with them; but these are only Effects and Properties, the substance from whence they flow is hid from us in impenetrable Obscurity.
God is said to be self existent, and that therefore he may have existed from Eternity, and throughout Immensity. God exists by an absolute Necessity in his own Nature. That is, it implies a Contradiction to suppose him not to exist. To ask what this Necessity is, is as if you should ask what the Necessity of the Equality between twice 2 and 4, is. Twice 2 are necessarily in their own nature equal to 4, not only here but in every Point of Space, not only now, but in every Point of Duration. In the same manner God necessarily exists not only here but throughout unlimited Space, not only now but throughout all Duration, past, and future.
{ 39 }
We observe, in the animate and in the inanimate Creation, a surprizing Diversity, and a surprizing Uniformity. Of inanimate Substances, there is a great variety, from the Pebble in the Streets, quite up to the Vegetables in the Forrest. Of animals there is no less a Variety of Species from the Animalculs that escape our naked sight, quite through the intermediate Kinds up to Elephants, Horses, men. Yet notwithstanding this Variety, there is, from the highest Species of animals upon this Globe which is generally thought to be Man, a regular and uniform Subordination of one Tribe to another down to the apparently insignificant animalcules in pepper Water, and the same Subordination continues quite through the Vegetable Kingdom. And it is worth observing that each Species regularly and uniformly preserve all their essential and peculiar properties, without partaking of the peculiar Properties of others. We dont see Chickens hatched with fins to swim, nor Fishes spawned with wings to fly. We dont see a Colt folded [foaled] with Claws like a Bird, nor men with the Cloathing or Armour which his Reason renders him capable of procuring for himself. Every Species has its distinguishing Properties, and every Individual that is born has all those Properties without any of the distinguishing Properties of another Species. What now can preserve this prodigious Variety of Species’s and this inflexible Uniformity among the Individuals, but the continual and vigilant Providence of God.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-01

August. 1756. 1 Sunday.

Heard Mr. Maccarty all Day. Spent the Evening at the Collonels.— The Event Shews that my Resolutions are of a very thin and vapory Consistence. Almost a fortnight has passed since I came to Worcester the last Time. Some part of the Time, I have spent as frugally and industriously as I possibly could. But the greatest Part I have dreamed away as Usual. I am now entering upon a new month, and a new Week, and I should think that one month would carry me forward considerably, If I could keep up a continual Presence of mind, and a close Application, at all proper Times. This I will Labour after.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-02

2 Monday.

Agreably to the Design laid last night, I arose this Morning before the sun. Dined at Pains. Lodgd at Putnams.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-03

3 Tuesday.

Dind at the Colonels. Lodged at Put[nam’s].

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-04

4 Wednesday.

Breakfasted at Put[nam’]s.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-07

7 Saturday.

All this past Week my designs have been interrupted, by the Troubles and Confusion of the House. I shall be able to resume the Thread of my Studies I hope now. Wrote pretty industriously in Bolinbroke.— I have never looked attentively into my own Breast. I have never considered, (as I ought) the surprizing Faculties and Opperations of the Mind. Our minds are capable of receiving an infinite Variety of Ideas, from those numerous material objects with which we are surrounded. And the vigourous Impressions which we receive from these, our minds are capable of retaining, compounding and arranging into all the Varieties of Picture and of Figure. Our minds are able to retain distinct Comprehensions of an infinite multitude of Things without the least Labour or fatigue, by curiously enquiring into the Scituation, Fruits, Produce, Manufactures, &c. of our own, and by travailing into or reading about other Countries, we can gain distinct Ideas of almost every Thing upon this Earth, at present, and by looking into Hystory we can settle in our minds a clear and a comprehensive View of This Earth at its Creation, of its various changes and Revolutions, of its various Catastrophes, of its progressive Cultivation, sudden depopulation, and graduall repeopling, of the growth of several Kingdoms and Empires, of their Wealth and Commerce, Warrs and Politicks, of the Characters of their principal Leading Men, of their Grandeur and Power, of their Virtues and Vices, and of their insensible Decays at first, and of their swift Destruction at last. In fine we can attend the Earth from its Nativity thro all the various turns of Fortune, through all its successive Changes, through all the events that happen on its surface, and thro all the successive Generations of Mankind, to the final Conflagration when the whole Earth with its Appendages shall be consumed and dissolved by the furious Element of Fire. And after our minds are furnished with this ample Store of Ideas, far from feeling burdened or overloaded, our thoughts are more free and active and clear than before, and we are capable of diffusing our Acquaintance with things, much further. We are not satiated with Knowledge, our Curiosity is only improved, and increased, Our Thoughts rove beyond the visible diurnal sphere, they range thro the Heavens and loose themselves amidst a Labyrinth of Worlds, and not contented with what is, they run forward into futurity and search for new Employment { 41 } there. Here they can never stop. The wide, the boundless Prospect lies before them. Here alone they find Objects adequate to their desires.
I know not by what Fatality it happens, but I seem to have a Necessity upon me of trifling away my Time. Have not read 50 lines in Virgil this Week. Have wrote very little.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0006

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1756-08-12 - 1756-08-13

12 [–13] Thurdsday. Fryday.

I know not what became of these days.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-14

14 Saturday.

I seem to have lost sight of the Object that I resolved to pursue. Dreams and slumbers, sloth and negligence, will be the ruin of my schemes. However I seem to be awake now. Why cant I keep awake? I have wrote Scripture pretty industriously this morning.—Why am I so unreasonable, as to expect Happiness, and a solid undisturbed Contentment amidst all the Disorders, and the continual Rotations of worldly Affairs? Stability is no where to be found in that Part of the Universe that lies within our observation. The natural and the moral World, are continually changing. The Planets, with all their Appendages, strike out their amazing Circles round the Sun. Upon the Earth, one Day is serene, and clear, no cloud intercepts the kind influence of the Sun, and all Nature seems to flourish and look gay. But these delightfull scenes soon vanish, and are succeeded by the gloom and Darkness of the Night. And before the morning Appears, the Clouds gather, the Winds rise, Lightnings glare, and Thunders bellow through the vast of Heaven. Man is sometimes flushed with Joy and transported with the full Fury of sensual Pleasure, and the next Hour, lies groaning under the bitter Pangs of Disappointments and adverse Fortune. Thus God has told us, by the general Constitution of the World, by the Nature of all terrestrial Enjoyments, and by the Constitution of our own Bodies, that This World was not designed for a lasting and a happy State, but rather for a State of moral Discipline, that we might have a fair Opportunity and continual Excitements to labour after a cheerful Resignation to all the Events of Providence, after Habits of Virtue, Self Government, and Piety. And this Temper of mind is in our Power to acquire, and this alone can secure us against all the Adversities of Fortune, against all the Malice of men, against all the Opperations of Nature. A World in Flames, and a whole System tumbling in Ruins to the Center, has nothing terrifying in it to a man whose Security is builded on the adamantine Basis of good { 42 } Conscience and confirmed Piety. If I could but conform my Life and Conversation to my Speculations, I should be happy.—Have I hardiness enough to contend with omnipotence? Or have I cunning enough to elude infinite Wisdom, or Ingratitude enough to Spurn at infinite Goodness? The Scituation that I am in, and the Advantages that I enjoy, are thought to be the best for me by him who alone is a competent Judge of Fitness and Propriety. Shall I then complain? Oh Madness, Pride, Impiety.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-15

15 Sunday.

If one Man or Being, out of pure Generosity, and without any Expectation of Returns, is about to confer any Favour or Emolument upon Another, he has a right and is at Liberty to choose in what manner, and by what means, to confer it. He may convey the Favour by his own Hand or by the Hand of his Servant, and the Obligation to Gratitude is equally strong upon the benefited Being. The mode of bestowing does not diminish the kindness, provided the Commodity or good is brought to us equally perfect and without our Expence. But on the other Hand, If our Being is the original Cause of Pain, Sorrow or Suffering to another, voluntarily and without provocation, it is injurious to that other, whatever means he might employ and whatever Circumstances the Conveyance of the Injury might be attended with. Thus we are equally obliged to the Supream Being for the Information he has given us of our Duty, whether by the Constitution of our Minds and Bodies or by a supernatural Revelation. For an instance of the latter let us take original sin. Some say that Adams sin was enough to damn the whole human Race, without any actual Crimes committed by any of them. Now this Guilt is brought upon them not by their own rashness and Indiscretion, not by their own Wickedness and Vice, but by the Supream Being. This Guilt brought upon us is a real Injury and Misfortune because it renders us worse than not to be, and therefore making us guilty upon account of Adams Delegation, or Representing all of us, is not in the least diminishing the Injury and Injustice but only changing the mode of conveyance.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-22

22 Sunday.

Yesterday I compleated a Contract with Mr. Putnam, to study Law under his Inspection for two years.1 I ought to begin with a Resolution to oblige and please him and his Lady in a particular Manner. I ought to endeavour to oblige and please every Body, but them in particular. { 43 } Necessity drove me to this Determination, but my Inclination I think was to preach. However that would not do. But I set out with firm Resolutions I think never to commit any meanness or injustice in the Practice of Law. The Study and Practice of Law, I am sure does not dissolve the obligations of morality or of Religion. And altho the Reason of my quitting Divinity was my Opinion concerning some disputed Points, I hope I shall not give Reason of offence to any in that Profession by imprudent Warmth.
Heard Crawford upon the Love of God. The Obligation that is upon us to love God, he says, arises from the Instances of his Love and Goodness to us. He has given us an Existence and a Nature which renders us capable of enjoying Happiness and of suffering Misery. He has given us several senses and has furnished the World around us with a Variety of Objects proper to delight and entertain them. He has hung up in the Heavens over our Heads, and has spread in the Fields of Nature around about us, those glorious Shows and Appearances, by which our Eyes and our Imaginations are so extremely delighted. We are pleased with the Beautyful Appearance of the Flower, we are agreably entertaind with the Prospect of Forrests and Meadows, of verdant Field and mountains coverd with Flocks, we are thrown into a kind of transport and amazement when we behold the amazing concave of Heaven sprinkled and glittering with Starrs. He has also bestowed upon the Vegetable Species a fragrance, that can almost as [agreeably?] entertain our sense of smell. He has so wonderfully constituted the Air that by giving it a particular Kind of Vibration, it produces in us as intense sensation of Pleasure as the organs of our Bodies can bear, in all the Varieties of Harmony and Concord. But all the Provision[s] that he has [made?] for the Gratification of our senses, tho very engaging and unmerited Instances of goodness, are much inferior to the Provision, the wonderful Provision that he has made for the gratification of our nobler Powers of Intelligence and Reason. He has given us Reason, to find out the Truth, and the real Design and true End of our Existence, and has made all Endeavours to promote them agreable to our minds, and attended with a conscious pleasure and Complacency. On the Contrary he has made a different Course of Life, a Course of Impiety and Injustice, of Malevolence and Intemperance, appear Shocking and deformed to our first Reflections. And since it was necessary to make us liable to some Infirmities and Distempers of Body, he has plentifully stored the Bowells and the surface of the Earth with Minerals and Vegetables that are proper to defend us from some Deseases and to restore us to health from others. { 44 } Besides the Powers of our Reason and Invention have enabled us to devize Engines and Instruments to take advantage of the Powers that we find in Nature to avert many Calamities that would other wise befall us, and to procure many Enjoyments and Pleasures that we could not other wise attain. He has connected the greatest Pleasure with the Discovery of Truth and made it our Interest to pursue with Eagerness these intense Pleasures. Have we not the greatest Reason then, yea is it not our indispensible Duty to return our sincere Love and Gratitude to this greatest, kindest and most profuse Benefactor. Would it not shew the deepest Baseness and most infamous Ingratitude to despize or to disregard a Being to whose inexhausted Beneficence we are so deeply indebted.
1. The terms were that JA would continue to keep the Worcester school, the town paying Mrs. Putnam for his board, and that JA would pay Putnam “an hundred dollars, when I should find it convenient” (JA, Autobiography).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-23

23 Monday.

Came to Mr. Putnams and began Law. And studied not very closely this Week.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0002-0008-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1756-08-29

29 Sunday.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-05

Braintree Octr. 5th. 1758.1

Yesterday arrived here from Worcester.2 I am this Day about beginning Justinians Institutions with Arnold Vinnius’s Notes. I took it out of the Library at Colledge.3 It is intituled, D. Justiniani Sacratissimi Principis Institutionum sive Elementorum Libri quatuor, Notis perpetuis multo, quam hucusque, dilligentius illustrati, Cura & Studio, Arnoldi Vinnii J.C. Editio novissima priori Progressu Juris civilis Romani, Fragmentis XII. Tabularum & Rerum Nominumque Indice Auctior, ut ex Praefatione nostra patet.—Now I shall have an opportunity of judging of a dutch Commentator whom the Dedicat[ion] calls celeberrimus suâ Etate in hac Academiâ Doctor.—Let me read with Attention, Deliberation, Distinction. Let me admire with Knowledge. It is low to admire a Dutch Commentator m[erely] because he uses latin, and greek Phraseology. Let me be able to draw the True Character both of the Text of Justinian, and of the Notes of his Commentator, when I have finished the Book. Few of my Contemporary Beginners, in the Study of the Law, have the Resolution, to aim at much Knowledge in the Civil Law. Let me therefore distinguish my self from them, by the Study of the Civil Law, in its native languages, { 45 } those of Greece and Rome. I shall gain the Consideration and perhaps favour of Mr. Gridley and Mr. Pratt by this means.4—As a stimulus let me insert in this Place Justinians Adhortationem ad Studium Juris. “Summa itaque ope et alacri Studio has Leges nostras accipite: et vosmet ipsos sic eruditos ostendite, ut Spes vos pulcherrima foveat, toto legitimo Opere perfecto, posse etiam nostram Rem publicam in Partibus ejus vobis credendis gubernari.” Data Constantinopoli XI. Kalendas Decembris, Domino Justiniano, perpetuo Augusto tertium Consule.— Cic. 1. de Orat.—Pergite, ut facitis, Adolescentes, atque in id Studium in quo estis incumbite ut et vobis honori, et Amicis Utilitati, et Reipublicae emolumento esse possitis.—Arnoldus Vinnius in Academia Leidensi Juris Professor fuit celeberrimus.
I have read about 10 Pages in Justinian and Translated about 4 Pages into English. This is the whole of my Days Work. I have smoaked, chatted, trifled, loitered away this whole day almost. By much the greatest Part of this day has been spent, in unloading a Cart, in cutting oven Wood, in making and recruiting my own fire, in eating nuts and apples, in drinking Tea, cutting and smoaking Tobacco and in chatting with the Doctor’s Wife5 at their House and at this.6 Chores, Chatt, Tobacco, Tea, Steal away Time. But I am resolved to translate Justinian and his Commentators Notes by day light and read Gilberts Tenures by Night till I am master of both, and I will meddle with no other Book in this Chamber on a Week day. On a Sunday I will read the Inquiry into the Nature of the human Soul, and for Amusement I will sometimes read Ovids Art of Love to Mrs. Savel.—This shall be my Method.—I have read Gilberts 1st Section, of feuds, this evening but am not a Master of it.
1. First entry in JA’s booklet “No. 2,” as numbered by CFA (our D/JA/2). Actually this is a collection of loose leaves, not a stitched gathering, and many of the leaves are badly chipped and worn at the edges. Where illegible or partly missing words or phrases can be reconstructed from the early transcripts prepared for JQA and carefully corrected by CFA, the editors have not ordinarily used square brackets, reserving them for very doubtful readings.
2. JA had recently finished his two-year period of legal studies under the “Inspection” of James Putnam. He kept no diary during that period and wrote almost no letters that have been preserved. A few incidents of his life in Worcester, 1756–1758, are recorded in his Autobiography, q.v. On 19 July 1758 he had attended commencement in Cambridge and argued, for his master of arts degree, the affirmative side of the quaestio, An Imperium civile, Hominibus prorsus necessarium, sit (Harvard Quaestiones, 1758, broadside).
3. This copy of Vinnius’ Justinian, which was probably of the edition published at Leyden, 1730, is no longer in the Harvard College Library.
4. Jeremiah (or Jeremy) Gridley (1702–1767), Harvard 1725, and Benjamin Prat (1711–1763), Harvard 1737 and later chief justice of New York Province, were at this time the two leading lawyers of Boston.
5. Mrs. Elisha Savil; see entry of 17 March 1756 above, and note 3 there.
{ 46 }
6. This sentence, falling at the foot of one page of the MS and the top of the next, is partly worn away. The present text follows the early transcript as corrected by CFA.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-06

Fryday. Oct. 6.

Rose about sun rise. Unpitched a Load of Hay. Translated 2 Leaves more of Justinian, and in the afternoon walked to Deacon Webbs, then round by the Mill Pond home. Smoaked a Pipe with Webb at the Drs. and am now about reading over again Gilberts section of feudal Tenures.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-07

Saturday [7 October].

Read in Gilbert. Rode with Webb to Mr. Cranche’s. Dined and drank Tea with him, and then home. Saturday night.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-08

Sunday [8 October].

Read a few Leaves in Baxters Enquiry into the Nature of the human Soul. He has explaind with great Exactness, the Resistance, which Matter makes to any Change of its State or Condition, whether of motion or of Rest. The Vis Inertiae, the positive Inactivity of matter not barely its Inactivity, but its AntiActivity. For it not only is destitute of a Power of changing its state from Rest to motion or from motion to Rest, but it has the possitive Power, each single Particle has a Possitive Power of Resisting any force that attempts to change its state. But a leaden Ball, held between my fingers, as soon as I withdraw my fingers, will of itself for ought I see change its State from rest to motion and fall suddenly to the floor. This Phenomenon is not Vis Inertiae, ’tis by no Reluctance or Aversion to motion that it moves, but it seems to be a Tendency to motion, an Active Principle. If it is passive the Agent that presses it downwards is invisible. But because matter in all the Experiments I have tried, resists a Change from rest to motion upwards, will it follow, that all matter essentially resists a Change from rest to motion, downwards. Is it a Posteriori from Experiments, that he deduces this Proposition, that all matter essentially resists any Change of State, or is it a Priori from some Property that is essentially included in our Idea of Matter that he demonstratively [argues?] this Vis Inertiae. Is Inactivity, and AntiActivity, included in our Idea of Matter? Are Activity, Perceptivity &c. Properties that we by only comparing Ideas can see to be incompatible to any Properties of matter.
If nothing is Matter which has not this antiactive Principle, then human Minds are not matter for they have no such Principle. We are { 47 } conscious, that we can begin and end motion of ourselves. If he argues a Posteriori from Experiments, he can pretend only to Probability. For Unless he was certain that he had made the Experiment and found the Property in every Particle of Matter that ever was created, he could not be certain, that there was no Particle in the World, without this Property, tho he had tried all but one and found that they had it. We have tried but a few Parcells of Matter. The Utmost we can say is, that all we have tried are inactive. But for Argument sake I will deny, that all the Parcels that we have tried, have this Property. On the Contrary I will say that all have a motive Power downwards. Powder has an Active Power springing every Way &c. Thus Experiment is turned against the Doctrine. I cant yet see how he will prove all matter Anti inactive a Priori from Properties of matter before known essential, with which he must shew this to be necessarily connected.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-09

Monday Octr. 9.

Read in Gilberts Tenures. I must and will make that Book familiar to me.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-10

Tuesday [10 October].

Read in Gilbert. I read him slowly, but I gain Ideas and Knowledge as I go along, which I dont always, when I read.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-11

Wednesday [11 October].

Rode to Boston. Conversed with Ned Quincy and Saml.,1 Peter Chardon &c. By the Way Peter Chardon is a promising Youth. He aspires, and will reach to a considerable Height. He has a sense of the Dignity and Importance of his Profession, that of the Law. He has a just Contempt of the idle, incurious, Pleasure hunting young fellows of the Town, who pretend to study Law. He scorns the Character, and he aims at a nobler. He talks of exulting in an unlimited field of natural, civil and common Law, talks of nerving, sharpening the mind by the Study of Law and Mathematicks, quotes Locks Conduct of the Understanding and transcribes Points of Law into a Common-Place Book on Locks Modell.2 This fellows Thoughts are not employed on Songs and Girls, nor his Time, on flutes, fiddles, Concerts and Card Tables. He will make something.3
1. Samuel Quincy (1735–1789), son of Col. Josiah Quincy; Harvard 1754; lawyer; loyalist.
2. A self-indexing commonplace book or collection of quotations arranged under topical headings. Locke’s explanation of his plan is in a letter to M. Toignard (The Works of John Locke. { 48 } A New Edition, Corrected, London, 1823, 3:331–349). Among CFA’s papers is such a book, partly filled up by him, with a printed titlepage and the imprint of Cummings and Hilliard, Boston, 1821 (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 312).
3. This prophecy was not borne out, as CFA points out in a note on this passage; Chardon, Harvard 1757, admitted barrister in the Superior Court, March term, 1763, died in Barbadoes in 1766 (JA, Works, 2:39, note; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-12

Thurdsday [12 October].

Examined the Laws of this Province concerning Pads,1 Cattle, fences &c. and read in Gilbert. This small volume will take me a fortnight, but I will be master of it.
1. Pad: “A path, track; the road, the way. Orig. slang, now also dial.” (OED).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-13

Fryday [13 October].

Read Gilbert. Went in the Evening to Coll. Quincys. Heard a Tryal before him, as a Justice between Jos. Field and Luke Lambert.1 The Case was this. Lamberts Horse broke into Fields Inclosure, and lay there some time, damage feasant. When Lambert found that his Horse was there he enters the Inclosure and altho Feild called to him and forbid it, waved his Hat, and Screamed at the Horse, and drove him away, with[out] tendering Feild his Damages. This was a Rescous of the Horse, out of Feilds Hands, for altho Lambert had a Right to enter and take out his [Horse] tendering the Damages, yet, as [the] Words [of] the Law are “that whoever shall rescous any Creature out of the Hands of any Person about to drive them to pound, whereby the Party injured shall be liable to lose his Damages, and the Law be eluded, shall forfeit &c.,” and as Feild was actually about to drive them to Pound, and Lambert offered him no Damages, this was compleatly a Rescous. Feild, after the Rescous, went to Coll. Quincy, made Complaint against Lambert and requested and obtained a Warrant. The Warrant was directed to the Constable, who brought the Offender before the Justice, attended with the Complainant, and the Witnesses ordered to be summoned. Quincy, for Defendant, took Exception on the Warrant, to the Jurisdiction of the Justice, because the sum originally sued for, consisting of the forfeiture of 40s. to the Poor, and the Parties Damages estimated at 9d. which was 40s. 9d., was a greater sum than the Justice can take Cognisance of, and because the Words of this Act of the Province are, that this 40s. to the Poor, and these Damages to the Party injured shall be recovered, by Action &c., in any of his Majesties Courts of Record. Now as the Court of a single Justice is not one of his Majesties Courts of record the forfeiture and Damages { 49 } prayed for in this Complaint, cannot be recovered in this Court. The Justice adjourned his Court till 8 o’clock monday morning, in order to inform himself, 1st. Whether the Court of a single Justice of the Peace was one of his Majesties Courts of Record? 2. Whether a single Justice can take Cognisance of any Matter, in which the sum originally prosecuted for is more than 40s.? If upon Examination the Coll. shall find, that, a single Justice has no Authority to hear and determine such a Rescous, at the Adjournment the Proceedings will be quashed, and the Complainant must begin de Novo, but if he finds, that a single Justice has Authority, to determine the matter, he will proceed to Judgment.—The Questions that arise, in my mind, on this Case are these.
1. What is the true Idea, and Definition of a Court of Record? What Courts in England and what in this Province are Courts of Record and what are not? Wood, Jacobs, &c.
2. Whether a Justice has Authority, by Warrant, to hear and determine of any offence the Penalty of which, or the forfeiture to the K[ing], the Poor, the Informer &c. is more than 40s.?
[3.] Whether a Court is denominated a Court of Record from its keeping Records of its Proceedings? Whether every Court is a Court of Record, whose President is a Judge of Record? For it seems plain in Dalton that a Justice of the Peace is a Judge of Record?
4. On supposition the Warrant should be quashed, who should pay the Cost of the original Warrant, of the Defendants attendance, and of Witness[es’] Oaths and attendance? The Complainant, who was mistaken thro Ignorance in going to the Justice for a Remedy, or the Justice who was mistaken, in the same manner, in Acting upon the Complaint beyond his Authority?
5. What are the Steps of prosecuting by Information? Is not a motion made in Court, that the Information may be amended or filed? Are Informations ever filed, but by Attorney General? When the Penalty sued for by the Information is half to the King or half to the Poor and the other half to the Informer, is the Defendant committed till he discharges the Penalty? Or is an Execution ever issued?
[6.] Tis said Courts of Record alone have Power to impose a fine, or Imprison. Q[uery] which?
7. A Rescous is a Breach of Law and a Breach of the Peace, and Remedy for it may be by Action of Trespass, which is always contra Pacem.
8. Are not Justices Warrants confined to criminal matters? May a Warrant be issued for a Trespass Quare Clausum fregit?2 It may { 50 } for a Trespass of assault and Battery. Justices may punish by fine, Imprisonment, Stripes &c.
The Coll. inquired, what Punishment he could inflict on a Constable for Disobedience to his Warrant, for not making Return of his Doings? And he found a Case ruled in K[ing]’s Bench that a Constable is a subordinate officer to a Justice of the Peace and is indictable at common Law for neglect of Duty. The Malefeasance or Nonfeasance of officers are Crimes and offences that may be inquired of, indicted or presented by the grand Jury at Common Law.
Feild took Lamberts Horses Damage feasant in his Close once before and impounded them, and gave him verbal Notice, that his Horses were in Pound, but neglected to give either Lambert or the Pound keeper an account of the Damages the Horses had done him. Lambert went to the Pound keeper and demanded his Horses, tendering the Poundkeepers fees, and the Pound keeper delivered them up.
Now Q. Whether Feild is injoined by any Law of the Province, to get his Damages appraised and to lodge an account of them with the Pound keeper?
2. Whether as he neglected this, the Pound keeper cant justify his resigning of them to the owner?
3. If Feild had lodged an Estimation of his Damages with the Pound keeper, and the Pound keeper had nevertheless resigned the Creatures up, without taking the Damages, would not an Action lay against him as an Action lies against a Prison keeper for a voluntary Escape? And Quere what Action would be proper. I want a form of an Action of Escape, now.
4. It cant be called an indirect Way of delivering his Creatures out of Pound, to pay or tender the Poundkeeper his fees and demand and receive his Cattle of him, when he has unlocked and opened the Pound Gate and turned the Creatures out? So that it will not admit a Quere whether Lambert is liable to an Action for receiving his Horses of the Pound keeper. Tis plain I think he is not.
1. Field v. Lambert (or Lambard), in which JA served as counsel for the plaintiff, was evidently JA’s first case as a practicing lawyer. As later entries show, it caused him great concern and vexation because his writ proved defective. The cause was heard by Justice Josiah Quincy, whose son Samuel was the defendant’s counsel.
2. “because he has broken the close” (Bouvier, Law Dictionary, 2:610).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-16

Monday [16 October].

Read a few Pages in Gilbert. I proceed very slowly.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-17

Tuesday [17 October].

Read in Gilbert. Went to Monatiquot to see the Raising of the new Meeting House.1 No Observations worth noting.
I have not Spirits, and Presence of mind, to seek out scenes of Observation, and to watch critically the Air, Countenances, Actions and Speeches of old men, and young men, of old Women and young Girls, of Physicians and Priests, of old Maids and Batchelors. I should chatter with a Girl, and watch her Behaviour, her answers to Questions, the workings of Vanity and other Passions in her Breast. But objects before me dont suggest proper Questions to ask, and proper Observations to make, so dull and confused at present is my mind.—Betsy Niles affects to trip lightly across the floor, to act with a Sprightly Air, and to be polite. But she is under Restraint, and awe, from her Unacquaintance with Company. Saw Lawyer Thachers Father,2 at Mr. Niles’s. He said old Coll. Thatcher of Barnstable was an excellent man. “He was a very holy man. I used to love to hear him pray. He was a Counsellor, and a Deacon. I have heard him say, that of all his Titles, that of a Deacon, he tho’t the most honourable.”3—Q[uery] is he a new Light? Old Age has commonly a sense of the Importance and Dignity of Religion. I dare say, he is not well pleased with his son’s professing the Law. He had rather have him a Deacon.
1. Monatiquot (variously spelled) was an ancient name frequently used by JA and others for the settlement on the Monatiquot River in present Braintree— at that time the Middle Precinct of Braintree. The “new Meeting House” was that of the Second Parish, to which Rev. Samuel Niles, Harvard 1699, had long ministered. See Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 7, 56, 285–286; also map in CFA2, Three Episodes, vol. 2: following p. 578.
2. Oxenbridge Thacher the elder (1681–1772), Harvard 1698, father of the eminent Boston lawyer of the same name who will be frequently mentioned in these pages.
3. Quotation marks supplied, here and above, around what is certainly a direct quotation from old Mr. Thacher.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-18

Wednesday [18 October].

Went to Boston.
Bob Paine. I have ruined myself, by a too eager Pursuit of Wisdom. I have now neither Health enough for an active Life, nor Knowledge enough for a sedentary one.
Quincy. We shall never make your great fellows.
Thus Paine and Quincy both are verging to Despair.
Paine. If I attempt a Composition, my Thoughts are slow and dull.
Paine is discouraged, and Quincy has not Courage enough to harbour a Thought of acquiring a great Character. In short, none of them { 52 } have a foundation that will support them. P. Chardon seemed to me in the directest Road to Superiority. Pains Face has lost its Bloom, and his Eye its Vivacity and fire. His Eye is weak, his Countenance pale and his Attention unsteady. And what is worse, he suffers this decline of Health to retard, almost to Stop his studies. And Q’s dastard soul is afraid to aim at great Acquisition.
Paine (to me). You dont intend to be a Sage, I suppose.
Oh! P. has not Penetration to reach the Bottom of my mind. He dont know me. Next time I will answer him, A Sage, no. Knowledge eno’ to keep out of fire and Water, is all that I aim at.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-19

Thurdsday [19 October].

I borrowed yesterday of Quincy, the 1st Volume of Batista Angeloni’s Letters,1 and a general Treatise of naval Trade and Commerce as founded on the Laws and Statutes of this Realm in which those (Laws and Statutes I suppose) relating to his Majesties Customs, Merchants, Masters of Ships, Mariners, Letters of Marque, Privateers, Prizes, Convoys, Cruizers &c. are particularly considered and treated with due Care under all the necessary Heads from the earliest time down to the present, 2d Edition in 2. Volumes.2 Read Angeloni thro I believe, and studied, carefully, about a dozen Pages in mercantile Law. Angelonis Letters are all of a Piece. He has an odd System of Faith, viz. that Utility is Truth and therefore that Transubstantiation is true, and Auricular Confession is true because they are useful, they promote the Happiness of mankind. Therefore Rain is true because it is useful in promoting the Growth of Herbs, and fruits and flowers, and consequently of Animals for mans Use. This is very different from Mathematical Truth, and this Explanation of his meaning gives Room to suspect that he disbelieves a Revelation, himself, tho he thinks it useful for the World to believe it.
He reasons, who can conceive that a Being of infinite Wisdom, Justice and Goodness, would suffer the World to be governed 2000 [years] by a Religion that was false. But may not this Question be asked of the Mahometan, the Chinese, in short of every Religion under the sun, and will not the Argument equally prove them all to be true?
What Passion is most active and prevalent in Dr. Savel’s mind?3 The Desire of Money. He retails Sugar by the Pound, [ . . . ] by the bunch, Pins, Pen knifes, to save these Articles in his family, and neat4 a few Shillings Profit. He makes poor People who are in his Debt pay him in Labour. He bargains with his Debtors in the 2 other Parishes { 53 } for Wood, which he sends to the Landing Place, and to Dr. Marshes. Thus by practice of Physick, by trading and bargaining and scheming he picks up a Subsistance for his family and gathers very gradually, Additions to his Stock. But this is low. The same Application, and scheming in his Profession, would raise and spread him a Character, procure him profitable Business and make his fortune. But by this contemptible Dissipation of mind, among Pins, Needles, Tea, Snuff Boxes, Vendues, Loads of Wood, day labour &c. he is negligent of the Theory of his Profession, and will live and die unknown.—These driveling souls, oh! He aims not at fame, only at a Living and a fortune!
1. Letters on the English Nation, London, 1755, 2 vols., purporting to be “by Batista Angeloni, a Jesuit,” were actually the work of John Shebbeare (see DNB), a British political writer whose identity JA had discovered by the time of his next reference to this book; see 19 March 1759, below. JA’s own copy of the Letters, now in the Boston Public Library, contains a few marginal notes in his hand and some underscoring, though none in Letter IX, on religion, from which the paraphrase below is largely derived.
2. The first volume of JA’s own copy of this edition survives, as does the first volume of his copy of the first edition, London, 1740 (Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 101).
3. The present paragraph is separated from the preceding ones by a line across the page in the MS; it may therefore have been written on either 19 or 20 Oct.
4. Neat, vb.: to clear or net (a sum of money) (OED).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-21

Saturday [21 October].

Rose with the sun. Brot up the Horse and took a Ride over Penns Hill, as far as John Haywards in a cold, keen, blustering N. Wester. Returned and breakfasted. I feel brac’d, as if the cold clear Air had given a Spring to the System.—I am now sett down to the Laws relating to naval Trade and Commerce. Let me inquire of the next Master of a Ship that I see, what is a Bill of Lading, what the Pursers Book. What Invoices they keep. What Account they keep of Goods received on Board, and of Goods delivered out, at another Port, &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-22

[Sunday 22 October].

Conversed with Capt. Thatcher about commercial affairs.—When he receives a freight of Goods on board his Vessell, he signs 3 Bills of Lading (a Bill of Lading, by the Way, is a List of the several Articles, and the Receipt of them signed by the Master) two of which the Merchant keeps, and the other he incloses in a Letter to his Correspondent to whom he sends the Goods and sends it by the Vessell. When the Master arrives at the Port he is destined to, he delivers the Letter, and then the Goods to his Employers Correspondent, who upon Receipt indorses the Bill of Lading, and delivers it up to the Master, and this { 54 } Bill thus endorsed, will [ . . . ] the other two in the Merchants Hands. The Receiver of Goods pays the freight.
Some Voyages, We have nothing to do, but receive Goods on board, keep them safely on the Voyage and deliver them safely to the Merchant to whom they are directed. But sometimes we make Trading Voyages. We carry a Cargo of Goods, to sell for money or exchange for other Goods, in the most profitable manner we can. Here we keep a regular Account, make the owners Debtors for Goods that we buy or receive, and give them Credit for Goods that we deliver out.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-23

Monday [23 October].

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-24

Tuesday [24 October].

Rode to Boston. Arrived about 1/2 after 10. Went into the Court House, and sett down by Mr. Paine att the Lawyers Table. I felt Shy, under Awe and concern, for Mr. Gridley, Mr. Prat, Mr. Otis,1 Mr. Kent,2 and Mr. Thatcher were all present and looked sour. I had no Acquaintance with any Body but Paine and Quincy and they took but little Notice. However I attended Court Steadily all Day, and at night, went to Consort with Samll. Quincy and Dr. Gardiner.3 There I saw the most Spacious and elegant Room, the gayest Company of Gentlemen and the finest Row of Ladies, that ever I saw. But the weather was so dull and I so disordered that I could not make one half the observations that I wanted to make.
1. James Otis Jr. (1725–1783), Harvard 1743, the celebrated lawyer and pamphleteer.
2. Benjamin Kent (1708–1788), Harvard 1727, another leading lawyer and later attorney general of the Province.
3. Silvester Gardiner (1707–1786), Boston physician and druggist; founder of Gardiner, Maine; one of JA’s early law clients.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-25

Wednesday [25 October].

Went in the morning to Mr. Gridleys, and asked the favour of his Advice what Steps to take for an Introduction to the Practice of Law in this County.1 He answered “get sworn.”
Ego. But in order to that, sir, as I have no Patron, in this County.
G. I will recommend you to the Court. Mark the Day the Court adjourns to in order to make up Judgments. Come to Town that Day, and in the mean Time I will speak to the Bar for the Bar must be consulted, because the Court always inquires, if it be with Consent of the Bar.
Then Mr. Gridley inquired what Method of Study I had pursued, { 55 } what Latin Books I read, what Greek, what French. What I had read upon Rhetorick. Then he took his Common Place Book and gave me Ld. Hales Advice to a Student of the Common Law, and when I had read that, he gave me Ld. C[hief] J[ustice] Reeves Advice [to] his Nephew, in the Study of the common Law. Then He gave me a Letter from Dr. Dickins, Regius Professor of Law at the University of Cambridge, to him, pointing out a Method of Studying the civil Law. Then he turned to a Letter He wrote himself to Judge Lightfoot, Judge of the Admiralty in Rhode Island, directing to a Method of Studying the Admiralty Law. Then Mr. Gridley run a Comparison between the Business and studies of a Lawyer or Gentleman of the Bar, in England, and that of one here. A Lawyer in this Country must study common Law and civil Law, and natural Law, and Admiralty Law, and must do the duty of a Counsellor, a Lawyer, an Attorney, a sollicitor, and even of a scrivener, so that the Difficulties of the Profession are much greater here than in England.
The Difficulties that attend the study may discourage some, but they never discouraged me. [Here is conscious superiority.]2
I have a few Pieces of Advice to give you Mr. Adams. One is to pursue the Study of the Law rather than the Gain of it. Pursue the Gain of it enough to keep out of the Briars, but give your main Attention to the study of it.
The next is, not to marry early. For an early Marriage will obstruct your Improvement, and in the next Place, twill involve you in Expence.
Another Thing is not to keep much Company. For the application of a Man who aims to be a lawyer must be incessant. His Attention to his Books must be constant, which is inconsistent with keeping much Company.
In the study of Law the common Law be sure deserves your first and last Attention, and He has conquered all the Difficulties of this Law, who is Master of the Institutes. You must conquer the Institutes. The Road of Science is much easier, now, than it was when I sett out. I began with Co. Litt.3 and broke thro.
I asked his Advice about studying Greek. He answered it is a matter of meer Curiosity.—After this long and familiar Conversation we went to Court. Attended all Day and in the Evening I went to ask Mr. Thatchers Concurrence with the Bar. Drank Tea and spent the whole Evening, upon original sin, Origin of Evil, the Plan of the Universe, and at last, upon Law. He says He is sorry that he neglected to keep a common Place Book when he began to study Law, and he is half a mind to begin now. Thatcher thinks, this County is full.4
{ 56 }
1. The account of this momentous interview in JA’s Autobiography differs so widely in details from this contemporary record of it as to suggest that JA did not consult his Diary in composing the later account.
2. Brackets in MS.
3. Coke upon Littleton, the famous Institutes of the Laws of England, London, 1628–1644, in four parts, which consisted of Sir Thomas Littleton’s treatise on tenures with an elaborate commentary by Sir Edward Coke, long the standard authority on real property in England and America.
4. Of lawyers.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-26

Thurdsday [26 October].

Went in the morning to wait on Mr. Prat. He inquired if I had been sworn at Worcester? No. Have you a Letter from Mr. Putnam to the Court? No. It would have been most proper to have done one of them things first. When a young Gentleman goes from me into another County, I always write in his favour to the Court in that County, or if you had been sworn, there, you would have been intitled to be sworn here. But now, no Body in this County knows any Thing about you. So no Body can say any Thing in your favour, but by hearsay. I believe you have made a proper Proficiency in science, and that you will do very well from what I have heard, but that is only hearsay. [How different is this from Gridleys Treatment? Besides it is weak, for neither the Court nor the Bar will question the Veracity of Mr. Gridly and Mr. Prat, so that the only Uncertainty that can remain is whether Mr. Putnam was in Earnest, in the Account he gave of my Morals and Studies to them Gentleman, which cannot be removed by a Line from him, or by my being sworn at Worcester, or any other Way than by getting Mr. Putnam sworn.]1 After this, he asked me a few, short Questions about the Course of my studies which I answered, and then came off as full of Wrath as [I] was full of Gratitude when I left Gridley the morning before. Prat is infinitely harder of Access than Gridley. He is ill natured, and Gridley is good natured. —Attended Court all Day, and at night waited on Otis at his office where I conversed with him and he, with great Ease and familiarity, promised me to join the Bar in recommending me to the Court. Mr. Gridley lent me Van Muydens Compendiosa Institutionum Justiniani Tractatio in usum Collegiorum. Editio tertia prioribus Auctior et emendatior. Pax Artium Altrix.2—After I have mastered this, I must read Hoppius’s Commentary on Justinian. The Design of this Book is [to] explain the technical Terms of the civil Law, and to settle the Divisions and Distributions of the civil Law. By the Way this is the first Thing a student ought to aim at, viz. distinct Ideas under the terms and a clear apprehension of the Divisions and Distributions of the science. This is one of the principal Excellences of Hawkins’s { 57 } Pleas of the Crown,3 and it is the very End of this Book of Van Muyden’s.
Let me remarke here one important neglect of the last Week. I omitted minuting the Names of the Cases at Trial in my Ivory Book, and I omitted to keep Pen, Ink and Paper at my Lodgings, in order to comitt to Writing, at Night, the Cases and Points of Law that were argued and adjudged in the Day.
Let me remember to mark in my Memorandum Book, the Names of the Cases, and the Terms and Points of Law that occur in each Case, to look these Terms and Points in the Books at Otis’s, Prats or any other office, and to digest and write down the whole in the Evening at my Lodgings. This will be reaping some real Advantage, by my Attendance on the Courts, and, without this, the Observations that I may make will lie in total Confusion in my mind.
1. Brackets in MS.
2. JA later acquired this book (as he did others) from Gridley’s library, and it survives among JA’s books in the Boston Public Library.
3. JA’s copy of William Hawkins, A Treatise of the Pleas of the Crown, 4th edn., London, 1762, 2 vols. in 1, is in the Boston Public Library. It bears his autograph and that of his son Charles.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0020

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10-27 - 1758-10-30

Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday [27–30 October].

All Spent in absolute Idleness, or what is worse, gallanting the Girls.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0001-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-10-31

Tuesday [31 October].

Set down, and recollected my self, and read a little in Van Muyden, a little in naval Trade and Commerce.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-11-01

Wednesday [1 November].

Read a little in Van Muyden, and a little in naval Trade and Commerce.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-11-02

Thurdsday [2 November].

Rode as far as Smelt Brook. Breakfasted, made my fire and am now set down to Van Muyden in Earnest. His latin is easy, his definitions are pretty clear, and his Divisions of the subject, are judicious.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-11-05

Sunday [5? November].

Drank Tea at Coll. Quincy’s. He read to me a Letter Coll. Gouch1 wrote him in answer to his Questions, whether a Justices Court was a Court of Record? and then concluded, “So that Sammy was right, for he was all along of that Opinion. I have forgot what your Opinion { 58 } was?” [This must be a Lye, or else Partiality and parental affection have blotted out the Remembrance that I first started to his son Sam and him too, the Doubt whether he had Jurisdiction as a Justice—and made him really imagine, what he wished had been true viz. that Samll. had started it. If he did remember he knew it was insult to me. But I bore it. Was forgetfulness, was Partiality, or was a cunning Design to try if I was not vain of being the Starter of the Doubt, the true Cause of his saying, He forgot what my Opinion was.]2
Sam has the utmost Reason to be grateful to Mr. Pratt. He will have an opportunity 100 times better than Mr. Prat had of rising into the Practice and Reputation of the Law. I want to see and hear Sam at the Bar. I want to know how he will succeed. I am concerned for him. The Govr.3 likes Sam much better than Ned. He has seen or heard some of Neds freaks. This is a Partiality in favor of one Child and against another quite indecent in a father. Tis great Weakness to expose himself so before Strangers.
1. Joseph Gooch, on whom see further the entry of 9 Aug. 1760, below.
2. Initial bracket in MS; closing bracket supplied.
3. Evidently a sobriquet for Col. Josiah Quincy; possibly an inadvertence for “the Colonel.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-11-06

Monday [6? November].1

Went to Town. Went to Mr. Gridleys office, but he had not returned to Town from Brookline. Went again. Not returned. Attended Court till after 12 and began to grow uneasy expecting that Quincy would be sworn and I have no Patron, when Mr. Gridly made his Appearance, and on sight of me, whispered to Mr. Prat, Dana,2 Kent, Thatcher &c. about me. Mr. Prat said no Body knew me. Yes, says Gridley, I have tried him, he is a very sensible Fellow.—At last He rose up and bowed to his right Hand and said “Mr. Quincy,” when Quincy rose up, then bowed to me, “Mr. Adams,” when I walked out. “May it please your Honours, I have 2 young Gentlemen Mr. Q. and Mr. Adams to present for the Oath of an Attorney. Of Mr. Q. it is sufficient for me to say he has lived 3 Years with Mr. Prat. Of Mr. Adams, as he is unknown to your Honours, It is necessary to say that he has lived between 2 and 3 Years with Mr. Put[nam] of Worcester, has a good Character from him, and all others who know him, and that he was with me the other day several Hours, and I take it he is qualified to study the Law by his scholarship and that he has made a very considerable, a very great Proficiency in the Principles of the Law, and therefore that the Clients Interest may be safely intrusted in his Hands. I therefore recommend him with the Consent of the Bar to your { 59 } Honors for the Oath.” Then Mr. Prat said 2 or 3 Words and the Clerk was ordered to swear us. After the Oath Mr. Gridley took me by the Hand, wished me much Joy and recommended me to the Bar. I shook Hands with the Bar, and received their Congratulations, and invited them over to Stones to drink some Punch. Where the most of us resorted, and had a very chearful [Chat?].
1. In his Autobiography JA twice says, in varying language, that his admission as attorney to the Suffolk bar (which is to say his swearing-in before the Inferior Court of Common Pleas for Suffolk County) occurred on the last Friday (i.e. the 27th) of October 1758. Since the records of the Suffolk Inferior Court for this period have been lost, the date cannot be finally established, but there can be little doubt that the present Diary entry has been correctly dated as 6 Nov. even though this date has had to be assigned, and, accordingly, that the swearing-in occurred on that day. Note again how widely the account in the Autobiography varies from that written at the time.
2. Richard Dana (1700–1772), Harvard 1718, often called “Father Dana” by JA to distinguish him from his son Francis, who also became a lawyer and, later, JA’s secretary in Europe, a diplomat, and a judge.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12-05

Tuesday. December 3 or 4 [i.e. 5?].1

Bob Paine is conceited and pretends to more Knowledge and Genius than he has. I have heard him say that he took more Pleasure in solving a Problem in Algebra than in a frolick. He told me the other day, that he was as curious after a minute and particular Knowledge of Mathematicks and Phylosophy, as I could be about the Laws of Antiquity. By his Boldness in Company, he makes himself a great many Enemies. His Aim in Company is to be admired, not to be beloved. He asked me what Duch Commentator I meant? I said Vinnius.—Vinnius, says he, (with a flash of real Envy, but pretended Contempt,) you cant understand one Page of Vinnius.—He must know that human Nature is disgusted with such incomplaisant Behaviour. Besides he has no Right to say that I dont understand every Word in Vinnius, or even in [ . . . ] for he knows nothing of me. For the future let me act the Part of a critical spy upon him, not that of an open unsuspicious friend.—Last Superiour Court at Worcester he dined in Company with Mr. Gridly, Mr. Trowbridge,2 and several others, at Mr. Putnams, and altho a modest attentive Behaviour would have best become him in such a Company, yet he tried to ingross the whole Conversation to himself. He did the same, in the Evening, when all the Judges of the Superiour Court with Mr. Winthrop, Sewall, &c. were present, and he did the same last Thanksgiving day, at Coll. Quincies, when Mr. Wibirt, Mr. Cranch &c. were present. This Impudence may sett the Million a Gape at him but will make all Persons of Sense despize him, or hate him. { 60 } That evening at Put[nam]s, he called me, a Numbskull and a Blunder Buss before all the Superiour Judges. I was not present indeed, but such expressions were indecent and tended to give the Judges a low Opinion of me, as if I was despized by my Acquaintance. He is an impudent, ill-bred, conceited fellow. Yet he has Witt, sense, and Learning, and a great deal of Humour, and has Virtue and Piety except his fretful, peevish, Childish Complaints against the Disposition of Things. This Character is drawn with Resentment of his ungenerous Treatment of me, and Allowances must therefore be made, but these are unexaggerated facts.
Lambert setts up for a Witt and a Humourist. He is like a little nurley3 ill natured Horse that kicks at every Horse of his own size, but lears and shears off from every one that is larger. I should mind what I say before him for he [is] always watching for wry Words to make into a droll story to laugh at. He laughs at John Thayer, for saying, “Lambert, I am sorry [I] am your good Friend I am sorry. This will cost you between 2 and 3 hundred Pounds.”4 And it was a silly, [. . . impertinent?], ignorant Speech. He laughs at Field for being nettled at his laughter. Field complained that he laughed at him. Lambert said, I will laugh when I please. If you carry me to the Rat hole I will laugh all the Way, and after I get there.—Such fellows are hated by all mankind, yet they rise and make a figure, and People dred them.
Altho men of bitter witt, are hated and feared, yet they are respected, by the World.
Quaere, was there ever a Witt, who had much Humanity and Compassion, much Tenderness of Nature? Mr. Congreve was tender, extreamly tender of giving offence to any man. Dr. Arbuthnot was a[s] great a Wit and Humourist, yet he was tender, and prudent. Mr. Cranch has Witt, and is tender and [gentle?].5
The other Night I happened to be at the Drs., with Ben. Veasey. He began to prate upon the Presumption of Philosophers in erecting Iron Rods to draw the Lightning from the Clouds. His Brains were in a ferment with strong Liquor and he railed, and foamed against those Points and the Presumption that erected them, in Language taken partly from Scripture and partly from the drunken Disputes of Tavern Philosophy, in as wild mad a manner as King Lear raves, against his Daughters Disobedience and Ingratitude, and against the meaness of the Storm in joining with his Daughter against him in Shakespears Lear. He talked of presuming upon God as Peter attempted to walk { 61 } upon the Water, attempting to controul the Artilry of Heaven, an Execution that Mortal man cant Stay—the Elements of Heaven, fire, Heat, Rain, Wind, &c.
Let me search for the Clue, which Led great Shakespeare into the Labyrinth of mental Nature! Let me examine how men think. Shakespeare had never seen in real Life Persons under the Influence of all those Scenes of Pleasure and distress, which he has described in his Works, but he imagined how a Person of such a Character would behave in such Circumstances, by analogy from the Behaviour of others that were most like that Character in nearly similar Circumstances, which he had seen.
1. If JA was correct in giving the day of the week as Tuesday, this entry should be dated 5 Dec.
2. Edmund Trowbridge (1709–1793), of Cambridge; Harvard 1728; attorney general and later a justice of the Superior Court. JA sometimes calls him Goffe, a name Trowbridge used in college and for a time thereafter because his guardian was a great-uncle named Edmund Goffe.
3. Dwarfish, gnarled (OED, under “knurly”).
4. The point of this anecdote is now lost, perhaps owing to JA’s punctuation, which stands here as in the MS except for moving back the closing quotation mark to this point from its original position after the first use of the word “sorry” in the preceding sentence.
5. The following two paragraphs are separated from the present entry and from each other by lines drawn across the page in the MS; they may have been written at any time between 5 and 18 Dec.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12

[Marginalia in Winthrop’s Lecture on Earthquakes, December 1758?]1

“O! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of GOD!”2
This Exclamation was very popular, for the Audience in general like the rest of the Province, consider Thunder, and Lightning as well as Earthquakes, only as Judgments, Punishments, Warnings &c. and have no Conception of any Uses they can serve in Nature. I have heard some Persons of the highest Rank among us, say, that they really thought the Erection of Iron Points, was an impious attempt to robb the almighty of his Thunder, to wrest the Bolt of Vengeance out of his Hand. And others, that Thunder was designed, as an Execution upon Criminals, that no Mortal can stay. That the attempt was foolish as well as impious. And no Instances, even those of Steeples struck, where Iron Bars have by Accident conveyed the Electricity as far as they reached without damage, which one would think would force Conviction, have no weight at all.3
This Invention of Iron Points, to prevent the Danger of Thunder, { 62 } has met with all that opposition from the superstition, affectation of Piety, and Jealousy of new Inventions, that Inoculation to prevent the Danger of the Small Pox, and all other usefull Discoveries, have met with in all ages of the World.
I am not able to satisfy myself, whether the very general if not universal apprehension that Thunder, Earthquakes, Pestilence, Famine &c. are designed merely as Punishments of sins and Warnings to forsake, is natural to Mankind, or whether it was artfully propagated, or whether it was derived from Revelation.
An Imagination that those Things are of no Use in Nature but to punish and alarm and arouse sinners, could not be derived from real Revelation, because it is far from being true, tho few Persons can be persuaded to think so.
1. The two following paragraphs were written, without indication of date, in JA’s copy of John Winthrop, A Lecture on Earthquakes; Read in the Chapel of Harvard-College in Cambridge, N.E. November 26th 1755, Boston, 1755, the first at p. 37 and the second on a blank final leaf. This copy is in the Boston Public Library, and Mr. Zoltán Haraszti has published the marginalia, with a helpful commentary, in “Young John Adams on Franklin’s Iron Points,” Isis, 41:11–14 (March 1950). See also entries of 18 Nov. 1755, above, and 12 March 1761, below.
2. This sentence is quoted in Winthrop’s text from Rev. Thomas Prince’s Earthquakes the Works of God, Boston, 1755, a sermon first published in 1727 and reissued with a new appendix after the earthquake of 18 Nov. 1755. In the appendix Prince took a very dim view of the recent invention by “the sagacious Mr. Franklin.” “The more Points of Iron are erected round the Earth to draw the Electrical Substance out of the Air; the more the Earth must needs be charged with it,” and consequently the more earthquakes. “In Boston are more erected than any where else in New England; and Boston seems to be more dreadfully shaken. Oh! there is no getting out of the mighty Hand of God! If we think to avoid it in the Air, we cannot in the Earth: Yea it may grow more fatal.” To this Winthrop replied in an appendix of his own: “I should think, though with the utmost deference to superior judgements, that the pathetic exclamation, which comes next, might well enough have been spared. 'O! there is no getting out of the mighty hand of GOD!’ For I cannot believe, that in the whole town of Boston, where so many iron points are erected, there is so much as one person, who is so weak, so ignorant, so foolish, or, to say all in one word, so atheistical, as ever to have entertained a single thought, that it is possible, by the help of a few yards of wire, to 'get out of the mighty hand of GOD.’” JA’s comments are attached to this paragraph of Winthrop’s.
3. JA’s faulty grammar is retained as in MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12-18

Monday. December 18th. 1758

I this Evening delivered to Mr. Field, a Declaration in Trespass for a Rescue.1 I was obliged to finish it, without sufficient examination. If it should escape an Abatement, it is quite indigested, and unclerk-like. I am ashamed of it, and concerned for it. If my first Writt should be abated, if I should throw a large Bill of Costs on my first Client, my { 63 } Character and Business will suffer greatly. It will be said, I dont understand my Business. No one will trust his Interest in my hands. I never Saw a Writt, on that Law of the Province. I was perplexed, and am very anxious about it. Now I feel the Dissadvantages of Putnams Insociability, and neglect of me. Had he given me now and then a few Hints concerning Practice, I should be able to judge better at this Hour than I can now. I have Reason to complain of him. But, it is my Destiny to dig Treasures with my own fingers. No Body will lend me or sell me a Pick axe. How this first Undertaking will terminate, I know not. I hope the Dispute will be settled between them, or submitted, and so my Writt never come to an Examination. But if it should I must take the Consequences. I must assume a Resolution, to bear without freting.
Heard Parson Wibirt exert his Casuistry to J. Spear.2 Warned him against selling his [drowned?] Sheep for merchantable Mutton. It was not so nutritive nor palatable as Mutton butchered and dressed, and therefore, was not worth the same Price, and it would be an Imposition and a Cheat that his Conscience must disapprove to describe it and sell it as good Mutton. He could not [sentence unfinished]
1. In the case of Field v. Lambert.
2. This detached paragraph may have been written on 19 December.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12-20

Wednesday [20 December].

I am this forenoon, resuming the Study of Van Muyden. I begin at the 99th Page.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0003-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12-21

Thurdsday [21 December].

Yesterday and to day I have read loud, Tullius 4 Orations against Cataline. The Sweetness and Grandeur of his sounds, and the Harmony of his Numbers give Pleasure enough to reward the Reading if one understood none of his meaning. Besides I find it, a noble Exercise. It exercises my Lungs, raises my Spirits, opens my Porr[s], quickens the Circulations, and so contributes much to Health.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0003-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12-26

Tuesday, 26 of December.

Being the Evening after Christmas, the Dr. and I spent the Evening with Mr. Cleverly1 and Major Miller.2 Mr. Cleverly was chearful, alert, sociable and complaisant. So much good sense, and knowledge, so { 64 } much good Humour and Contentment, and so much Poverty, are not to be found, in any other House I believe in this Province. I am amazed that a man of his Inginuity, and sprightliness, can be so shiftless. But what avails a noisy fame, a plentiful fortune, and great figure and Consideration in the World? Neither Prat nor Gridley, Mayhew nor Eliot, Stockbridge nor Hersey appear more easy and happy with all their wealth and Reputation, than he with neither. Major Miller was sedate, but the Conversation was not to his Taste. He began to tell what this and that fellow said, what Coll. Oliver3 did at Dorchester and what he did at Deadham, but he said very little on the whole. Both of them took unused freedoms with Coll. Quincy and his Brother.4 They are determined to esteem them both Knaves and fools.
1. Probably Joseph Cleverly (1713–1802), Harvard 1733, JA’s first schoolmaster.
2. Ebenezer Miller (1730–1811), of Braintree; militia officer, selectman, Episcopalian, and loyalist.
3. Andrew Oliver (1706–1774), Harvard 1724; secretary of the Province and later lieutenant governor.
4. Edmund Quincy (1703–1788), fourth of his name and brother of “Colonel” Josiah. His Boston mercantile firm having gone into bankruptcy, Edmund was currently a farmer in Braintree, living in what is now known as the “Dorothy Q.” house, still standing on Hancock Street in Quincy.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0003-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12-29

Friday [29 December].

Let me see, if Bob P[aine] dont pick up this Story to laugh at. Lambert will laugh no doubt, and will tell the story to every man he sees, and will squib me about it, whenever he sees me. He is impudent and unfair enough, to turn this on every Occasion to my Disadvantage. Impudence, Drollery, Villany, in Lambert, Indiscretion, Inconsideration, Irresolution, and ill Luck in me, and Stinginess as well as ill Luck on the Side of Field, all unnite in this Case to injure me.
Fields Wrath waxed hot this morning. When he found himself defeated a second time.1 He wished the affair in Hell, called Lambert a Devil and said, “That’s always the Way in this Town, when any strange Devil comes into Town, he has all the Priviledges of the Town.”
Let me Note the fatal Consequences of Precipitation. My first Determination, what to do in this affair was right. I determined not to meddle. But By the cruel Reproaches of my Mother, by the Importunity of Field, and by the fear of having it thought I was incapable of drawing the Writt, I was seduced from that determination, and what is the Consequence? The Writt is defective. It will be said, I undertook the Case but was unable to manage it. This Nonsuit will be in the mouth of every Body. Lambert will proclaim it.
{ [facing 64] } { [facing 65] } { 65 }
Let me never undertake to draw a Writt, without sufficient Time to examine, and digest in my mind all the Doubts, Queries, Objections that may arise.—But no Body will know of any Abatement except this omission of the County.
An opinion will spread among the People, that I have not Cunning enough to cope with Lambert. I should endeavour at my first setting out to possess the People with an Opinion of my subtilty2 and Cunning. But this affair certainly looks like a strong Proof of the Contrary.
1. Sentences punctuated as in MS.
2. MS: “sublilty.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0003-0003-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12-30

Saturday [30 December].

How a whole Family is put into a Broil sometimes by a Trifle.1 My P. and M.2 disagreed in Opinion about boarding Judah, that Difference occasioned passionate Expressions, those Expressions made Dolly and Judah snivell, Peter3 observed and mentioned it, I faulted him for it, which made him mad and all was breaking into a flame, when I quitted the Room, and took up Tully to compose myself. My P. continued cool and pleasant a good while, but had his Temper roused at last, tho he uttered not a rash Word, but resolutely asserted his Right to govern. My Mamma was determined to know what my P. charged a Week for the Girls Board. P. said he had not determined what to charge but would have her say what it was worth. She absolutely refused to say. But “I will know if I live and breath. I can read yet. Why dont you tell me, what you charge? You do it on purpose to teaze me. You are mighty arch this morning. I wont have all the Towns Poor brought here, stark naked, for me to clothe for nothing. I wont be a slave to other folks folk for nothing.”—And after the 2 Girls cryed.—“I must not speak a Word [to]4 your Girls, Wenches, Drabbs. I’le kick both their fathers, presently. [You]5 want to put your Girls over me, to make me a slave to your Wenches.” Thus when the Passions of Anger and Resentment are roused one Word will inflame them into Rage.
This was properly a conjugal Spat. A Spat between Husband and Wife. I might have made more critical observations on the Course and Progress of human Passions if I had steadily observed the faces, Eyes, Actions and Expressions of both Husband and Wife this morning.
M. seems to have no Scheme and Design in her Mind to persuade P. to resign his Trust of Selectman. But when she feels the Trouble and Difficulties that attend it she fretts, squibs, scolds, rages, raves. { 66 } None of her Speeches seem the Effect of any Design to get rid of the Trouble, but only natural Expressions of the Pain and Uneasiness, which that Trouble occasions. Cool Reasoning upon the Point with my Father, would soon bring her to his mind or him to hers.
Let me from this remark distinctly the Different Effects of Reason and Rage. Reason, Design, Scheme, governs pretty constantly in Put[nam]s House, but, Passion, Accident, Freak, Humour, govern in this House. Put knows what he wants, and knows the Proper means to procure it, and how to employ them. He employs, Reason, Ridicule, Contempt, to work upon his Wife.
I feel a fluttering concern upon my mind.6
Andrew Oliver is a very sagacious Trifler.7 He can decypher, with surprizing Penetration and Patience, any Thing wrote in signs, whether English, Latin, or French. But to what Purpose? Tis like great skill and Dexterity in Gaming, used only for Amuzement. With all his Expertness he never wins any Thing. But this is his Way to fame. One man would be a famous Orator, another a famous Physician, another a famous Phylosopher, or a 4th a famous Dancer, and he would be a famous Decypherer. But I am quite content with the 24 Letters without inventing all the possible Marks that might signify the same Things. Ned Q[uincy] is learning to be such another Nugator Sagax, an ar[t]ificial arrangement of Dots and Squares.
1. The whole of the entry recounting this domestic incident was omitted by CFA in editing JA’s Diary.
2. Papa and Mama, or Pater and Mater. Susanna (1709–1797), daughter of Peter and Ann (White) Boylston of Muddy River, or Brookline, married Deacon John Adams on 31 Oct. 1734; she married, 2d, John Hall, 3 Dec. 1766.
3. JA’s younger brother, Peter Boylston Adams (1738–1823); later a captain in the militia and holder of numerous local offices.
4. MS reads “for”—clearly an inadvertence by the diarist.
5. MS: “I”—another inadvertence.
6. This and the following paragraph, each separated in the MS by lines across the page from what precedes, may have been written on either 30 or 31 Dec. 1758 or even in Jan. 1759 preceding the several undated entries that apparently belong to that month.
7. Andrew Oliver Jr. (1731–1799), Harvard 1749, who published an Essay on Comets, Salem, 1772 (Eliot, Biog. Dict. of N.E.).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-01

Wednesday [January 1759].1

Drank Tea at Coll. Quincies. Spent the Evening there, and the next morning. In the afternoon, rode out to German Town.
H[annah] Q[uincy] or O.2 Suppose you was in your Study, engaged { 67 } in the Investigation of some Point of Law, or Philosophy, and your Wife should interrupt you accidentally and break the Thread of your Thoughts, so that you never could recover it?
Ego. No man, but a crooked Richard, would blame his Wife, for such an accidental Interruption. And No Woman, but a Xantippe, would insist upon her Husbands Company, after he had given her his Reasons for desiring to be alone.
O. Should you like to spend your Evenings, at Home in reading and conversing with your Wife, rather than to spend them abroad in Taverns or with other Company?
Ego. Should prefer the Company of an agreable Wife, to any other Company for the most Part, not always. I should not like to be imprisoned at home.
O. Suppose you had been abroad, and came home fatigued and perplexed, with Business, or came out of your Study, wearied and perplexed with Study, and your Wife should meet you with an unpleasant, or an inattentive face, how should you feel?
I would flee my Country, or she should.
O. How shall a Pair avoid falling into Passion or out of humour, upon some Occasions, and treating each other unkindly.
Ego. By resolving against it. Forbid angry words &c.?3 Every Person knows that all are liable to mistakes, and Errors, and if the Husband finds his Wife in one he should [ . . . ] reasonably4 and convince her of it, instead of being angry, and so on the Contrary. But if it happens, that both get out of humour and an angry dispute ensues, yet both will be sorry when their anger subsides, and mutually forgive and ask forgiveness, and love each other the better for it, for the future.
O. thinks more than most of her Sex. She is always thinking or Reading. She sitts and looks steadily, one way, very often, several minutes together in thought. E.5 looks pert, sprightly, gay, but thinks and reads much less than O.
[ . . . ]6 expos’d himself to Ridicule, by affectation, by Pretensions to Strength of mind and Resolution, to depth and Penetration. Pretensions to Wisdom and Virtue, superiour to all the World, will not be supported by Words only. If I tell a man I am wiser and better than he or any other man, he will either despize, or hate, or pity me, or perhaps all 3.—I have not conversed enough with the World, to behave rightly. I talk to Paine about Greek, that makes him laugh. I talk to Sam Quincy about Resolution, and being a great Man, and study and improving Time, which makes him laugh. I talk to Ned, about the { 68 } Folly of affecting to be a Heretick, which makes him mad. I talk to Hannah and Easther about the folly of Love, about despizing it, about being above it, pretend to be insensible of tender Passions, which makes them laugh. I talk to Mr. Wibirt about the Decline of Learning, tell him, I know no young fellow who promises to make a figure, cast Sneers on Dr. Marsh for not knowing the Value of old Greek and Roman Authors, ask “when will a Genius rise, that will shave his Beard, or let it grow rather and sink himself in a Cell, in order to make a figure.” I talk to Parson Smith7 about despizing gay Dress, grand Buildings, great Estates, fame, &c. and being contented with what will satisfy the real Wants of Nature.
All This is Affectation and Ostentation. ’Tis Affectation of Learning, and Virtue and Wisdom, which I have not, and it is a weak fondness to shew all that I have, and to be thot to have more than I have.
Besides this I have insensibly fallen into a Habit of affecting Wit and Humour, of Shrugging my Shoulders, and moving [and] distorting the Muscles of my face. My Motions are stiff and uneasy, ungraceful, and my attention is unsteady and irregular.
These are Reflections on myself that I make. They are faults, Defects, Fopperies and follies, and Disadvantages. Can I mend these faults and supply these Defects?
O. makes Observations on Actions, Characters, Events, in Popes Homer, Milton, Popes Poems, any Plays, Romances &c. that she reads and asks Questions about them in Company. What do you think of Helen? What do you think of Hector &c. What Character do you like best? Did you wish the Plot had not been discovered in Venice preserved?8 These are Questions that prove a thinking Mind. E. asks none such.
Thus in a Wild Campaign, a dissipating Party of Pleasure, observations and Improvement may be made. Some Foppery, and folly and Vice, may be discerned in ones self, and Motives, and Methods may be collected to subdue it. Some Virtue, or agreable Quality may be observed in ones self and improved and cherished, or in another and transplanted into ones self.
O. Tho O. knows and can practice the Art of pleasing, yet she fails, sometimes. She lets us see a face of Ridicule, and Spying, sometimes, inadvertently, tho she looks familiarly, and pleasantly for the most part. She is apparently frank, but really reserved, seemingly pleased, and almost charmed, when she is really laughing with Contempt. Her face and Hart have no Correspondence.
{ 69 }
Hannah checks Parson Wibirt with Irony.—It was very sawcy to disturb you, very sawcy Im sure &c.
I am very thankful for these Checks. Good Treatment makes me think I am admired, beloved, and [my] own Vanity will be indulged in me. So I dismiss my Gard and grow weak, silly, vain, conceited, ostentatious. But a Check, a frown, a sneer, a Sarcasm rouses my Spirits, makes me more careful and considerate. It may in short be made a Question, whether good Treatment or bad is the best for me, i.e. wether Smiles, kind Words, respectful Actions, dont betray me into Weaknesses and Littlenesses, that frowns, Satirical Speeches and contemptuous Behaviour, make me avoid.
Mr. Wibirt has not an unsuspicious openness of face. You may see in his face, a silly Pain when he hears the Girls, a whispering, and snickering.
Is Mrs. Palmer9 so infinitely sensible of such soft, tender scenes and actions, or, does she affect to appear so? Or is it partly affected and partly real?
Popularity, next to Virtue and Wisdom, ought to be aimed at. For it is the Dictate of Wisdom, and is necessary to the practice of Virtue in most.
Yesterday, went down to defend an Action for an old Horse vs. Samll. Spear. This was undertaking the relief of distressed Poverty, the Defence of Innocence and Justice, vs. Oppression, and Injustice. Capt. Thayer10 and Major Crosby too had told the Plaintiff that he could not maintain his Action, and advised him to drop it or agree it. And Thayer spoke out, “I would have these Parties agree.” I did not clearly understand the Case, had no Time to prepare to fix in my mind beforehand the Steps that I should take. And Capt. Hollis, Major Miller, and Captn. Thayer, were all 3 very active, and busy and interested themselves in the suit. It was a scene of absolute Confusion. Major Crosby persuading an Agreement, the Parties raging and scolding, I arguing and the 3 Voluntiers proposing each one his Project. And all the Spectators smiling, whispering &c. My Attention was dissipated. I committed oversights, omissions, inexpert Management. I should have adhered to the Relation my Client gave me, and be• { 70 } lieved nothing that came from the other side, without Proof. I should have insisted upon the Entry, and opposed any Motion for an Adjournment till next Week or Continuance till next Hour, to send for Witnesses. For Madam Q. could not swear any Thing, that can support this Action. Should have offered to admit all she could say. If I had strictly pursued the story, that my Client told me, I should have demanded an Entry of the Action, or else a Dismission of the Defendant with Costs. It was equally idle and tame [lame?] to continue the Action, to send for a Witness, and to submit it to referees. For the Witness if sent for could not support the Action, and to submit the original Debt to Referees, was to submit nothing. For by the original Agreement, nothing was due. Agreement was to take the Horse and keep him, and if he lived till April, to pay 2 dollars for him, but if he died before, to pay nothing. Now he actually died in February, and therefore nothing by Contract was to be paid. The Keeping of so old an Horse was more than the service he could do, was worth. The Hay he eat would have hired more riding and drawing than that Horse did thro that Winter.
If Spear had applied to such as know, he would not have brot that Writ. But Deputy Sheriffs, petit Justices, and pettifogging Meddlers, like Faxon, Niles, Hollis, attempt to draw Writts, and draw them wrong oftener than they do right.
The Declaration was an Indeb[itatus] Ass[umpsit] with an Account annexed, for a Horse, sold and delivered. He could have proved, by Spears Confession, that he had the Horse, but could not prove the Sale or Delivery of the Horse, nor could he prove any Price agreed on by the Parties. Far from producing Proof of any express Price agreed on by the Parties at the sale and Delivery, he cant prove the Sale and delivery itself. Now to maintain an Action on an Indeb. Ass. the Plaintiff must aver in his Declaration, and prove at the Trial, a certain, express Price, agreed on by the Parties, or else a customary Price. Tis true there is this Exception to the general Rule, that Merchants and Tradesmen, who keep running Accounts open with their Customers, and deal out their Commodities and Manufactures in small Parcells, shall be allowed to produce their Account Books in Evidence, and if they will swear that they made the Entries of the several Articles att the times they were delivered, and that they charged the Price for them, that was at that time customary, they shall be allowed to recover. But is this Case like that. Will Mr. Spear swear that he entered this Article at the time of the Sale and delivery, and will he swear that he charged the customary Price? Pray what is the Customary Price of a { 71 } Horse. Are not some customar[il]y bot for £100 and some for less than £100.
I must study how to manage Eb. and Atherton Thayer and Hollis, and Eb. Miller and Faxon. They are meddlers, hinters, and Projectors. I should have made a Motion to the Justice, that either the Defendant or I might be consulted in the settlement of this Affair, and that Miller, Hollis and Thayer who had no concern with it, might not determine it, as they please.—I pray your Honour to silence the Clamour of those who have no Concern with the Matter, that those who have may be heard.
Capt. Thayer pretends to great Knowledge in the Law. He could not bear to lose the Honor of knowing and telling Mr. Spear, that an Indeb. Ass. could not lie, but that Quant[um] Mer[uit] could [in] this Case. He was proud, bragged of it before all the Company, bragged, boast[ed], was ostentatious of his Knowledge in Law. So many hinting advice, making Proposals, &c., make Confusion.
O. Pain aims at so many Things, but especially at getting Cash, that he will be distracted. He pursues Cash with all his Hart and soul. He writes well and tells a very droll story, but he is very peevish, fretful, odd tempered. He thinks himself in high favour with the Ladies, but he little thinks how he is blasted sometimes.
1. This is one of only two entries in Jan. 1759 that bear even an indication of the day of the week on which they were written, the next fully dated entry being that of 1 Feb. 1759. The January entries have therefore been placed in two groups but with intervals of space between what may be entries written on different days. A word of caution: since the pages of the MS are loose, it is not always possible to tell with certainty what the original order of the entries was. Their order as printed by CFA is highly arbitrary.
2. In the MS the words “H.Q. or” have been crossed out but in so halfhearted a way that they provide a key to the name of a girl who courted JA rather more energetically than he courted her. This was Hannah (1736–1826), daughter of Col. Josiah Quincy, who was in 1760 to marry Dr. Bela Lincoln. The initial “O.” stands for a fanciful name that may have been Olinda or Orlinda (Salisbury, Family-Memorials, 1:359; JA to Richard Cranch [1759?], in Adams Papers).
3. In the MS this sentence is badly rubbed, and some words have been scored out; the present reading is highly conjectural.
4. The illegible verb may be “use,” in which case JA meant to write “use reason,” as CFA rendered this passage.
5. Esther (1738–1810), daughter of Edmund Quincy and Hannah’s first cousin; she married JA’s friend Jonathan Sewall in 1764.
6. Apparently two initials, now illegible.
7. Rev. William Smith (1707–1783), Harvard 1725, of Weymouth, who was in 1764 to become JA’s father-in-law.
8. Venice Preserv’d, a play by Thomas Otway produced and published in London in 1682.
9. Mary (Cranch) Palmer (d. 1790), wife of Deacon Joseph Palmer of Germantown and sister of JA’s friend Richard Cranch.
10. Capt. Ebenezer Thayer (1721–1794), son and father of other Ebenezer Thayers, was for many years a Braintree { 72 } selectman and representative to the General Court. JA disliked him on two counts: he kept a tavern in the Middle Precinct and dabbled in legal practice.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-01

Tuesday [January 1759].

Took a ride after Dinner to Gullivers Brook in Milton, returned home. Went over to Deacon Belchers and drank Tea, and in the Evening walked home with O. Strolled by the House down to Mr. Borlands, then back down the farm Lane as far as the Gate, then back, up the Hill, and home.1 Met Mr. Wibirt at the Coll’s door, went with him to his Lodgings, slept with him and spent all the next day with him, reading the Reflections on Courtship and Marriage, and afternoon the 4 Satires of John Oldham on the Jesuits, and his Satyr on a Woman who by breaking her Engagement had killed his friend, and his Bion, or Lamentation on the Death of the Earl of Rochester, a Pastoral in Imitation of the Greek of Moschus, a Piece as soft, and tender, as his Satyrs are nervous and malignant, or perhaps more properly indignant.
The other night, the Choice of Hercules came into my mind, and left Impressions there which I hope will never be effaced nor long unheeded. I thought of writing a Fable, on the same Plan, but accommodated, by omitting some Circumstances and inserting others, to my own Case.
Let Virtue address me—“Which, dear Youth, will you prefer? a Life of Effeminacy, Indolence and obscurity, or a Life of Industry, Temperance, and Honour? Take my Advice, rise and mount your Horse, by the Mornings dawn, and shake away amidst the great and beautiful scenes of Nature, that appear at that Time of the day, all the Crudities that are left in your stomach, and all the obstructions that are left in your Brains. Then return to your Study, and bend your whole soul to the Institutes of the Law, and the Reports of Cases, that have been adjudged by the Rules, in the Institutes. Let no trifling Diversion or amuzement or Company decoy you from your Books, i.e. let no Girl, no Gun, no Cards, no flutes, no Violins, no Dress, no Tobacco, no Laziness, decoy you from your Books. (By the Way, Laziness, Languor, Inattention, are my Bane, am too lazy to rise early and make a fire, and when my fire is made, at 10 o’clock my Passion for knowledge, fame, fortune or any good, is too languid, to make me apply with Spirit to my Books. And by Reason of my Inattention my mind is liable to be2 called off from Law, by a Girl, a Pipe, a Poem, a Love Letter, a Spectator, a Play, &c.) But, keep your Law Book or some Point of Law in your mind at least 6 Hours in a day. (I grow too minute and lengthy.) { 73 } Labour to get distinct Ideas of Law, Right, Wrong, Justice, Equity. Search for them in your own mind, in Roman, grecian, french, English Treatises of natural, civil, common, Statute Law. Aim at an exact Knowledge of the Nature, End, and Means of Government. Compare the different forms of it with each other and each of them with their Effects on public and private Happiness. Study Seneca, Cicero, and all other good moral Writers. Study Montesque, Bolinbroke, [Vinnius?], &c. and all other good, civil Writers, &c.”
Prat. There is not a Page in Flavels Works without several sentences of Latin. Yet the common People admire him. They admire his Latin as much as his English, and understand it as well. [ . . . ]3 preached the best sermon that ever I heard. It was plain common sense. But other sermons have no sense at all. They take the Parts of them out of their Concordances and connect them together Hed and Tail.
How greatly elevated, above common People, and above Divines is this Lawyer. Is not this Vanity, littleness of mind?
What am I doing? Shall I sleep away my whole 70 Years. No by every Thing I swear I will renounce the Contemplative, and betake myself to an active roving Life by Sea or Land, or else I will attempt some uncommon unexpected Enterprize in Law. Let me lay the Plan and arouse Spirit enough to push boldly. I swear I will push myself into Business. I will watch my Opportunity, to speak in Court, and will strike with surprize—surprize Bench, Bar, Jury, Auditors and all. Activity, Boldness, Forwardness, will draw attention. Ile not lean, with my Elbows on the Table, forever like Read, Swift, Fitch,4 Skinner, Story, &c. But I’le not forego the Pleasure of ranging the Woods, Climbing Cliffs, walking in fields, Meadows, by Rivers, Lakes, &c., and confine my self to a Chamber for nothing. Ile have some Boon, in Return, Exchange, fame, fortune, or something.
Here are 2 nights, and one day and an half, spent in a softening, enervating, dissipating, series of hustling, pratling, Poetry, Love, Courtship, Marriage. During all this Time, I was seduced into the Course of unmanly Pleasures, that Vice describes to Hercules, forgetful of the glorious Promises of Fame, Immortality, and a good Conscience, which Virtue, makes to the same Hero, as Rewards of a hardy, toilsome, watchful Life, in the service of Man kind. I could reflect with more satisfaction on an equal space of Time spent in a painful Research of the Principles of Law, or a resolute attempt of the Powers of Eloquence.
{ 74 }
But where is my Attention? Is it fixed from sunrise to midnight, on grecian, roman, gallic, british Law, History, Virtue, Eloquence? I dont see clearly The objects, that I am after. They are often out of Sight. Moats, Attoms, feathers, are blown into my Eyes, and blind me. Who can see distinctly the Course he is to take, and the objects that he pursues, when in the midst of a whirl Wind of dust, straws, attoms and feathers.
Let me make this Remark. In P[arson] Wib[ird] s Company, Something is to be learned, of human Nature, human Life, Love, Court Ship, Marriage. He has spent much of his Life, from his Youth, in Conversation with young and old Persons of both sexes, maried and unmaried, and therefore has his Mind stuffed with Remarks and stories of human Virtues, and Vices, Wisdom and folly, &c. But his Opinion, out of Poetry, Love, Court ship, Mariage, Politicks, War, Beauty, Grace, Decency &c. is not very valuable. His Soul is lost, in a dronish effeminacy. Ide rather be lost in a Whirlwind of Activity, Study, Business, great and good Designs of promoting the Honour, Grandeur, Wealth, Happiness of Mankind.
He says he has not Resolution enough to court a Woman. He wants to find one that will charm, conquer him and rouse his spirit. He is like a Turkey, retiring to Roost. She is difficult, looks a[t] several Places, to roost on, before she fixes on any, and when she has fixed on one she stretches her Neck, squats, and changes her Posture several Times before she flies up. This Simile is pretty and humorous enough. He is benevolent, sociable, friendly, and has a pretty Imagination, Wit, some Humour but little grandeur, Strength, Penetration of m[ind.] In short, he has an amiable and elegant, not a great mind. Paine has neither an amiable nor a great Mind. There is too much Malignance, Envy, Conceit and ostentation, in it, to be amiable, and too much Unsteadiness to be great.
Wib[ir]t exposes very freely to me his Disposition, the past and present state of his mind, his susceptibility of Impressions from Beauty &c., his Being amourous, and inclined to love, his Want of Resolution to Court, his Regard, fondness, for O.,5 his Intimacy and dalliance with her &c. He has if I mistake not a good many half born Thoughts, of courting O.
1. On this sentimental stroll JA and Hannah Quincy walked past her father’s house (on the site of the old Adams Academy building in present Quincy Square) and then down past the house and into the farm that were later to become JA’s own homestead upon his return from Europe twenty-nine years later.
“Mr. Borland” was John Borland (1728–1775), who in 1750 had married { 75 } Anna, daughter of the late Leonard Vassall, a wealthy sugar-planter from the West Indies. Vassall had settled in Boston and built, probably in 1731, a summer home in the northern part of Braintree on the “old coast road” that ran from Boston to Plymouth. His daughter inherited the property, but the Borlands lived here only occasionally, their principal residence being in Cambridge. At the very beginning of the siege of Boston John Borland died. “He lost his life by a fall in attempting to get upon the top of his house [in Boston] to see an expedition to Hog Island” (Jonathan Sewall to Thomas Robie, 7 June 1775, MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 10 [1895–1896]:412). This circumstance aided his widow, who in 1776 fled with other loyalists to England, to recover her Braintree property at the close of the Revolution; she promptly sold it to her son Leonard Vassall Borland; and in 1787, while still in England, JA bought it through agents in Boston. Thereafter Adamses were to occupy it, expanding the house and dependencies and improving the grounds in each generation, until 1927, when BA, its last occupant, died. In 1946 the family, which had formed the Adams Memorial Association to care for it, presented the homestead, long simply known as “the Old House,” to the United States, and it is now the Adams National Historic Site, 135 Adams Street, Quincy.
On the Vassalls and Borlands see NEHGR, 17 (1863):56–61, 113–128; Lucius R. Paige, History of Cambridge, Boston, 1877, p. 493, 674–675; Jones, Loyalists of Mass., p. 41–42. A profusely illustrated historical and descriptive sketch of the Old House was published by HA2, “The Adams Mansion,” Old-Time New England, 19:3–17 (July 1928); an enlarged reprint was issued by the Adams Memorial Association, Quincy, 1935. Also available is an eight-page leaflet, Adams National Historic Site, issued by the National Park Service. There is no substitute, however, for a visit to the homestead itself. No other house in America has been the home of so many successive generations of political and intellectual leaders, and no restored structures and sites can quite compare with originals that have been altered only by time and are still furnished with the possessions of those who lived there.
2. MS: “me.”
3. Possibly “Friend Park [Parke, Parkes?].”
4. Samuel Fitch (1724–1799), Yale 1742; Boston lawyer and member of JA’s legal “sodality”; loyalist.
5. The initials “H.Q.” have been deleted in the MS before “O.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-02-01

Feb. 1.

I intend a Journey to Worcester to morrow. How many observations shall I make on the People at West Town, and Worcester, and how many new Ideas, Hints, Rules of Law, and Eloquence, shall I acquire before I return? Let my Journal answer this Question, after my Return.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-02-02

Feb. 2. 1759.

At Westtown, in Dr. Webbs Chamber at Hammonds. His landlady is an odd Woman. She seems good Natured, and obliging to[o], but she has so many shruggs, grimaces, affectations of Witt, Cunning, and Humour, as make her ridiculous. She is awkward, shamefaced, bashful, yet would fain seem sprightly, witty, &c. She is a Squaddy,1 masculine, Creature, with a swarthy pale face, a great staring, rolling Eye, a rare Collection of disagreable Qualities.
{ 76 }
I have read several Letters, this afternoon and Evening, in the Turkish Spy.2
1. Squaddy: “Short and thick-set; squat, squab” (OED).
2. Letters Writ by a Turkish Spy ... at Paris, prototype of numerous “secret histories,” was first published in Paris, 1684, was later greatly amplified, and became a popular work in both French and English. On its multiple and probably international authorship see Joseph E. Tucker, “On the Authorship of The Turkish Spy ...,” Bibliog. Soc. of Amer., Papers, 52 (1958):34–47, and references there.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-02-11

Worcester Feb. 11. 1759.

I have been in this Town a Week this night. How much have I improved my Health by Exercise, or my mind by Study or Conversation, in this Space? I have exercised little, eat and drank and slept intemperately. Have inquired a little, of Mr. Putnam and of Abel Willard, concerning some Points of Practice in Law. But dining once at Coll. Chandlers, once at Mr. Pains, once at the Doctors, drinking Tea once at Mr. Paines, once at the Drs. and spending one Evening at the Drs., one at Gardi[ner]s and several at Putnams in Company has wasted insensibly the greatest and best Part of my time since I have been in Town. Oh how I have fulfilled the vain Boast I made to Dr. Webb, of reading 12 Hours a day! What a fine scene of study is this office! a fine Collection of Law, oratory, History, and Phylosophy. But I must not stay. I must return to Braintree. I must attend a long Superiour Court at Boston. How shall I pursue my Plan of Study?
Bo[b] Paine acted a scene that happened on the Com[mon] when the Troops were reviewed by the Governor.1 People crouded very near to the Troops, till a highland serjeant of a gigantic size, and accoutred with a Variety of Instruments of Cruelty and Death, stalked out with his vast Halbert to drive them back. He brandished his Halbert and smote it on the Ground and cryed with a broad, Roaring Voice, Sta ban, i.e. Stand back. Sta ba. His size, armour, Phyz and Voice, frighted People so that they presd backwards and almost trampled on one another. But in the highest of his fury, he sprung onward, and shri[ek]ed out Sta, but then saw some Ladies before him, which softened him. At once, he drops his Halbert, takes off his Bonnet, and makes a very complaisant Bow, pray Ladies, please to stand a little back, you will see a great deal better.
Pain lifts up his Eyes and Hands to Heaven and cryes, of all Instruments of Defence, good Heavens, give me Beauty. It could soften the ferocity of your highland serjeant.
{ 77 }
Paine and Dr. Wendel took Katy Quincy and Polly Jackson, and led them into a retired Room and there laughed, and screamed, and kissed and hussled. They came out glowing like furnaces.
Mr. Marsh.2 Father Flynt has been very gay and sprightly, this sickness.3 Coll. Quincy was to see him, a fast day, and was or appeared to be, as he was about taking leave of the old Gentleman, very much affected. The Tears flowed very fast.—I hope Sir says he in [a] Voice of Grief, you will excuse my Passions.—Ay, prithy, says the old Man, I dont care much for you, nor your Passions neither.
F. Morris said to him, “you are going Sir to Abrahams Bosom, but I dont know but I shall reach there first.”—“Ay if you are a going there, I dont want to go.”
I spent one Evening this Week at Billy Belchers. I sat, book in Hand, on one side of the fire, while Dr. Wendell, Billy Belcher and Stephen Cleverly and another young Gentleman sat, in silence, round the Card Table, all the Evening. Two Evenings I spent att Samll. Quincys, in the same manner, Dr. Gardiner, Henry Q., Ned Q., and S.Q. all playing Cards the whole Evening. This is the wise and salutary amuzement, that young Gentlemen take every Evening in this Town, playing Cards, drinking Punch and Wine, Smoaking Tobacco, swearing &c. while 100 of the best Books lie on the shelves, Desks, and Chairs, in the same room. This is not Misspence of Time. This is a wise, a profitable, Improvement of Time. Cards, and Back Gammon, are fashionable Diversions. I'le be curst if any young fellow can study, in this town. What Pleasure can a young Gentleman, who is capable of thinking, take, in playing Cards? It gratifies none of the Senses, nor Sight, Hearing, taste, smell, feeling. It can entertain the Mind only by hushing its Clamours. Cards, Back Gammon are the great antidotes to Reflection, to thinking, that cruel Tyrant within Us. What Learning, or Sense, are we to expect from young Gentlemen, in whom a fondness for Cards, &c. outgrows and choaks the Desire of Knowledge?
1. This detached entry and the following ones, all recording incidents at Braintree, must have been written at least several days after the preceding entry dated at Worcester, 11 February. The leaves of the MS being loose at this point, one cannot be sure of the original order of entries, but very likely these revealing fragments belong to late February or early March.
2. Joseph Marsh (1710–1761?), Harvard 1728, who had prepared JA for Harvard.
3. Henry Flynt (1675–1760), Harvard 1693, usually known as “Tutor” Flynt from his long service as a Harvard tutor. His sister Dorothy married Judge Edmund Quincy (1681–1738), and he was thus an uncle of Col. Josiah Quincy and of Edmund Quincy (1703–1788), in whose house he frequently stayed. (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, { 78 } 4:162–167.) In the Adams Papers there is a paper endorsed “Of Father Flynt’s Journey to Portsmouth and back to Cambridge AE. 80,” i.e. in 1754, written by David Sewall and probably sent by Sewall to his Harvard classmate JA in 1821. This entertaining account of a famous Harvard character was communicated by CFA to the Massachusetts Historical Society and was printed in its Proceedings , 1st ser., 16 (1878):5–11.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-03-14

March 14. 1759.

Reputation ought to be the perpetual subject of my Thoughts, and Aim of my Behaviour. How shall I gain a Reputation! How shall I Spread an Opinion of myself as a Lawyer of distinguished Genius, Learning, and Virtue. Shall I make frequent Visits in the Neighbourhood and converse familiarly with Men, Women and Children in their own Style, on the common Tittletattle of the Town, and the ordinary Concerns of a family, and so take every fair opportunity of shewing my Knowledge in the Law? But this will require much Thought, and Time, and a very particular Knowledge of the Province Law, and common Matters, of which I know much less than I do of the Roman Law. This would take up too much Thought and Time and Province Law.
Shall I endeavour to renew my Acquaintance with those young Gentlemen in Boston who were at Colledge with me and to extend my Acquaintance among Merchants, Shop keepers, Tradesmen, &c. and mingle with the Crowd upon Change, and trapes the Town house floor, with one and another, in order to get a Character in Town. But this too will be a lingering method and will require more Art and Address, and Patience too than I am Master of.
Shall I, by making Remarks, and proposing Questions [to] the Lawyers att the Bar, endeavour to get a great Character for Understanding and Learning with them. But this is slow and tedious, and will be ineffectual, for Envy, Jealousy, and self Intrest, will not suffer them to give a young fellow a free generous Character, especially me. Neither of these Projects will bear Examination, will avail.
Shall I look out for a Cause to Speak to, and exert all the Soul and all the Body I own, to cut a flash, strike amazement, to catch the Vulgar? In short shall I walk a lingering, heavy Pace or shall I take one bold determined Leap into the Midst of some Cash and Business? That is the Question. A bold Push, a resolute attempt, a determined Enterprize, or a slow, silent, imperceptible creeping. Shall I creep or fly.
Walked, this afternoon, along the side of the [Bushy?] Pond.1 The Blackbirds were perched on the Trees round the Borders of the Pond, { 79 } and singing. I saw a large flock of Crow Blackbirds alight on the Ground, in search of Grain or Worms, I suppose. The Birds that were behind were perpetually flying over the Heads of all the rest, and alighting in the front of the flock, so that each Bird was in the front and Rear by turns, and all were chattering. It looked like a hovering, half walking, half flying flock of Blackbirds. Soon after, they rose, and alighted on the neighbouring Apple Trees, chattering, and singing all the Time. At the same time, a Number of Crows were croaking, at a little distance on one side, and a wood Pecker and a blue bird were whistling, and cackling, at a little Distance on the other.—This is the first vernal scene I have observed this season. So many Birds of several different species, all singing, chattering, whistling, fluttering, flying, hopping, leaping, on the ground, in the Air, and on the Trees, was a very pleasant Amuzement to me. It is very pleasant to see and hear the flocks of Birds, at their first Appearance in the Spring. The Ground looks naked, and lifeless yet. The Colour of the Ground, before the green [rises?] upp, is pale, lifeless, dead. There is very little beauty [in] the face of the Earth now, but the Vegetables will soon spring fresh and green, and young and sprightly Grass, and flowers, and Roses, will appear on the Ground, buds, blossoms, leaves on the Trees, and 100 species of Birds, flying in Air, alighting on the Ground and on Trees, herds of Cattle, Sheep, horses, grazing and lowing in the Pastures. Oh Nature! how [bright?] and beautiful thou art.
Means not but blunders round about a meaning.2
M.3 has a very confused, blundering Way of asking Questions. She never knows distinctly what she is [after?], but asks at Random, any Thing, and has a difficulty in recollecting the Names of Things. The Names of Things dont flow naturally into My Mind, when I have occasion to use them. I had the Idea of the General Court in my Mind when I said to Otis, the Judges had [some?] important Business to do in &c., but the Words General Court did not arise with the Idea and therefore Otis thought I made [a] silly Speech. My Aunt Cunningham4 has the same difficulty, recollecting Words and Ideas too, especially, of Things that are sometime past. A slothful Memory, a slow, heavy Memory, in oposition to a quick prompt Memory.
[I?] read a letter from one in St.K. to one in P. concerning M. Chateleu going to this Coast.5 M. asks what is that. How confused is this Question? It wants much explanation and restriction, before an Answer can be given, for [ . . . ] she ask,6 who is that letter from or who to, or what Place from or to, or what about, and what Place was { 80 } Chateleu going to. She knows not what she asks. Tis [owing?] to the Hurry and Impatience of Thought—which is the fault of us all.
Common People are not incapable of discerning the Motives and Springs of Words and Actions.
1. This and the following detached entry may have been written any day between 14 and 17 or 18 March.
2. Doubtless a quotation.
3. Presumably JA’s mother.
4. Elizabeth Boylston, sister of JA’s mother, married James Cunningham in 1742 (Boston Record Commissioners, 28th Report, p. 240).
5. An extract of the letter in question, dated 9 Jan., was printed in the Boston Post Boy, 12 March 1759. It was from Jamaica, not St. K[itts], was addressed to a gentleman in Philadelphia, and reported the arrival in the West Indies of the French naval commander Chateleau and his intention to raid Delaware Bay.
6. This passage is obscure. Perhaps JA meant to write: “for should she not ask ...?”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-03-19

March 18 [i.e. 19?]. Monday1

This whole Day is dedicated to walking, riding, talk, &c. No Reading to day.
Twas Avarice, not Compassion that induced [ . . . ]2 to pass the last Court. He was afraid that Pen3 would be provoked to appeal both to the Superior Court if he put both in suit, and so keep him out of his Money for 6 or 8 months. 6 months without Interest. Tis fear of loosing the Interest upon Interest that induces him to pass this Court.—Oh Love of Money!—oh, Avarice, disguised under the shew of Compassion!
I feel vexed, fretted, chafed, the Thought of no Business mortifies, stings me. I feel angry, vexed with my Uncle Field,4 &c. But Let me banish these Fears. Let me assume a Fortitude, a Greatness of Mind.
In such a gradual ascent to fame and fortune, and Business, the Pleasure that they give will be imperceptible, but by a bold, sudden rise, I shall feel all the Joys of each at once. Have I Genius and Resolution and Health enough for such an attchievement?

Oh but a Wit can study in the Streets

and raise his mind above the Mob he meets.

Who can study in Boston Streets. I am unable to observe the various Objects, that I meet, with sufficient Precision. My Eyes are so diverted with Chimney Sweeps, Carriers of Wood, Merchants, Ladies, Priests, Carts, Horses, Oxen, Coaches, Market men and Women, Soldiers, Sailors, and my Ears with the Rattle Gabble of them all that I cant { 81 } think long enough in the Street upon any one Thing to start and pursue a Thought. I cant raise my mind above this mob Croud5 of Men, Women, Beasts and Carriages, to think steadily. My Attention is sollicited every moment by some new object of sight, or some new sound. A Coach, Cart, a Lady or a Priest, may at any Time, by breaking a Couplet, disconcert a whole Page of excellent Thoughts.
What is meant by a nodding Beam, and pig of Lead.6 He means that his Attention is necessary to preserve his Life and Limbs, as he walks the streets, for Sheets of Lead may fall from the Roofs of Houses. I know of no nodding Beam, except at the Hay Market.
Shybeares Dedication is in a strain of ironical, Humorous Satyr.7 He reasons as warmly and positively as if in earnest in his favour, but his Reasoning is so manifestly weak and in some places ambiguous that every Reader knows his true Intention. This System of Religion is indeed new. Religious Institutions are mere means of increasing and preserving Piety and Virtue in the World, and any Thing, that will produce public and private advantages on the Happiness and Morals of a Nation, however repugnant to common sense, as Transubstantiation e.g. is true.
1. Monday fell on 19, not 18, March 1759. Some of the detached entries that follow may extend into April, since the next entry dated by JA is that of 8 April.
2. Name (probably an initial) either omitted by JA or lost in the frayed margin.
3. This name is more or less conjectural.
4. The Fields were neighbors but not close relatives of the Adamses, and JA evidently uses the term “Uncle” in a loose sense.
5. This word, written between the lines, was probably intended to replace the preceding word, not crossed out.
6. From Pope, The Second Epistle of the Second Book of Horace, from which the couplet at the head of this paragraph is also taken: “And then a nodding beam, or pig of lead, / God knows, may hurt the very ablest head.”
7. The reference is to John Shebbeare’s Letters on the English Nation, which satirizes the first Duke of Newcastle; see 19 Oct. 1758, above.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-04-08

Sunday. April 8th. 1759.

Spent the Evening at Captain Bracketts. A Case was proposed and my Opinion asked, which gave me Opportunity to display some Knowledge of Law but betrayed me into mistaken Dogmatism. I frequently expose my Ignorance of the Province Law, but [things?] are started that put me upon Exn. [Examination?].
Coll. Q.1 I value not the Governor’s favours, more than this Pinch of Snuff, in Comparison of my Honour and my Duty to my Town.
B. Fessenden: The Coll. said to Field, when he was building his { 82 } pen, “I had rather have it said on my Tomb Stone, here lies the good Mr. Quincy, than here lies the rich Mr. Apthorp.”2 He told me that People were angry with him, because he was so fond of Honesty.
These reiterated Protestations in favour of Honesty, Goodness, Patriotism, or rather these verbal Pretensions to these Qualities raise Suspicions and Jealousies. Too much talk, Prate. Praise him self. He praises himself as much as other People censure him. Populus me sibilat sed plaudo meipsum. The People hiss him, and curse him, and reproach him, but he applauds, praises, admires himself. Does he believe what he says?
Fessenden, Nash, Field, Marsh, &c. &c. sneer, hiss, curse him. Most secretly despise, hate him, but they fear him too.
Tis in vain to expect felicity, without an habitual Contempt of Fortune, Fame, Beauty, Praise, and all such Things. Unaffected Benevolence to Men and conscious Integrity are sufficient supports. I have no Money. But I have an easy Heart, a quiet Mind. G[od] made us to be happy. I distress my self. This Animi Magnitudo and Rerum humanarum Contemptio, are alone secure of Happiness.
Oh Stoicks you are wise.3
What Passions or affections in human Nature are affected by Satyr, by Humour, and Drollery?
There is some Affection in human Nature that is delighted with Humour and Satyr, for a good deal of it is to be seen and heard in all Nations, and among all Ranks of People. It prevails in every Country Parish, may be found in every Tavern, at every Town meeting thro the Province.
F.4 Oh blessed Storm. The Storm blowed me away. Oh blessed storm.
This was spoke in Person of one of the new Select Men, as Bracket, Thayer &c. and upon this secret Principle, that an Advantage had been meanly taken of the thinness of the Meeting to get a Change of Town officers. So that it hinted at the meanness, and want of Influence in Town. Their Influence was not sufficient, to have carried a Vote, had the Town been together. But they were mean enough to seize that Opportunity when 3/4 of the Town were detained at Home by the storm, to assemble their Crew of Debtors and Labourers, and accomplish their Projects as they pleased. Thus, the Wit of this lay in hinting at their Meanness of Soul, and Insignificancy in the Town. It hinted that the Point was carried, not by Merit, nor by real Popularity, but by mean and clandestine Artifice, and Plotting.
{ 83 }
How great is the Dread of Satyr and Ridicule in human Nature. Mrs. S. is afraid C[olonel] Q. and his [ . . . ] H.5 will laugh at her shape, dress, Behavior. Afraid of Laughter. I used to dread J[ames] O[tis] and B[enjamin] K[ent] because I suspected they laughed at me. I used to dread Put[nam], because of his satirical and contemptuous smiles.
Another reason. We were pleased to see the old Gent diverting himself and laughing at the success of their Artifices to depose him, instead of being angry and scolding.
What Passions are pleased in the Reader or Hear[er], and what are vexed in the Person ridiculed.
Dr.6 S. after L.R. had turned him off, went into Church one day, and into the same Pew where L. was. She smiled, and almost giggled at him. That stung him. He cryed a nasty, stinking Jade, he did not think she was such a nasty yellow Jade, before. Thus the Dr. diverted him self with her Colour. He laughed at her yellow Colour, in Revenge of her Ridicule on him.
Thus human Nature, when despized and laughed at, is vexed, naturally vexed, and looks about for some Imperfection, Deformity, folly or Vice to laugh at in turn. And when a Man is deposed in T[own] meeting, he naturally imputes it to some mean Contrivance &c.
Ruggles’s Grandeur consists in the quickness of his apprehension, Steadiness of his attention, the boldness and Strength of his Thoughts and Expressions, his strict Honour, conscious Superiority, Contempt of Meanness &c. People approach him with Dread and Terror.7
Gridleys Grandeur consists in his great Learning, his great Parts and his majestic Manner. But is diminished by stiffness and affectation.
Ruggles is as proud, as lordly as Gridley. But he is more popular. He conceals it more. He times it better. And it is easy and natural in him, but is stiff and affected in Gridley.
Tis an Advantage to Ruggles’s Character, but a Disadvantage to Gridley’s.
Gridley has a bold, spirited Manner of Speaking, but is too stiff, has too little Command of the Muscles of his face. His Words seem to pierce and search, have something quick and animating. He is a great Reasoner, and has a very vivid Imagination.
Prat has a strong, elastic Spring, or what we call Smartness, and Strength in his Mind. His Ideas seem to lie deep and to be brot up with a strong Effort of the Mind. His Ideas are vivid, and he sees their { 84 } Differences. Otis is extreamly quick and elastic. His Apprehension is as quick as his Temper. He springs, and twitches his Muscles about in thinking.
Thatcher has not this same Strength and Elasticity. He is sensible, but slow of Conception and Communication. He is queer, and affected. He is not easy.
Coll. Q. I learn’d to write Letters of Pope and Swift &c. I should not have wrote a Letter with so much Correctness as I can, if I had not read and imitated them. The Faculty has come to me, strangely, without any formed Design of acquiring it.
There is a concealed Encomium on himself, his own Letters, in this Remark, but there is an Observation too, which is worth considering. Men [wear?] themselves, by slow and imperceptible Degrees, into confirmed Habits of thinking, Speaking, and Acting. He began early in Life, I suppose perhaps at Colledge, to read these smooth, soft, Writers, and altho he never formed any Design of imitating their Ease and Politeness, yet he gradually wore it into his Mind. He learned to write as Children learn to Speak, without thinking what they do. Perhaps had he formed a Design in his Youth of acquiring that Faculty and read Authors with that Design, he would have acquired it much sooner and more perfectly.
The Principle in Nature is Imitation, Association of Ideas, and contrasting Habits. How naturally we imitate, without Design or with, Modes of thinking, Speaking, Acting, that please us! Thus we conform gradually to the Manners and Customs of our own family, Neighbourhood, Town, Province, Nation &c. A[t] Worcester, I learned several Turns of Mind of Putnam, and at Boston I find my self imitating Otis, &c.—But Q[uery], Who will learn the Art soonest, and most perfectly, he who reads without a Design of extracting Beauties or he who reads with? The last undoubtedly. Design attends, and observes nicely, and critically. I learned with Design to imitate Put’s Sneer, his sly look, and his look of Contempt. This look may serve good Ends in Life, may procure Respect.
To form a style, therefore, read constantly the best Authors. Get a Habit of clear Thinking and strength and Propriety and Harmony of Expression. This one Principle of Imitation would lead me thro the whole human System. A Faculty acquired accidentally, without any Endeavours or forsight of the Effect. He read for Amuzement, not to learn to write.
Let me recollect, and con over, all the Phenomena of Imitation that { 85 } I may take advantage of this Principle in my own make, that I may learn easier and sooner.
Mem. To look in the Clerk’s office, for the Files of the Dispute concerning the Registry of Vessells belonging to Newbury, viz. Mr. Prats state or Questions, and Mr. Gridleys Answers.
1. This and the following more or less detached entries were probably written soon after 8 April but cannot be dated with any certainty.
2. Closing quotation mark supplied. It is likely, but not certain, that the following sentence is a part of Fessenden’s statement rather than a statement by JA. Charles Apthorp (1698–1758) was a wealthy Boston merchant and prominent Anglican (Winsor, Memorial History of Boston, 2:545–546).
3. CFA’s reading. The two or three last words are now scarcely legible.
4. JA’s father. At a town meeting on 3 March 1759 three of the five Braintree selectmen were replaced. Among them was Deacon John Adams, and among those newly elected were Capt. Richard Brackett and Capt. Ebenezer Thayer (Braintree Town Records, p. 360, 365.
5. His daughter Hannah?
6. Perhaps “Dn.” (for Deacon), as also a few lines below in the same paragraph. The subjects of this anecdote cannot now be identified.
7. Timothy Ruggles (1711–1795), Harvard 1732, of Hardwick; lawyer, legislator, chief justice of the Worcester Court of Common Pleas, and ardent loyalist. Mr. Shipton’s sketch of Ruggles (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:199–223) is a brilliantly lifelike portrait, painted con amore.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1759-04 - 1759-06

[Spring 1759.]1

The Road is walled on each side with a Grove of Trees. The stillness, silence, and the uniformity of the Prospect puts the Mind into a stirring, thoughtful Mood.
But the Reflections that are made in a Grove, are forgotten in the Town, and the Man who resembles a saint in his Thoughts in the first, shall resemble [a] Devil in his Actions in the last.
In such silent scenes, as riding or walking thro the Woods or sitting alone in my Chamber, or lying awake in my Bed, my Thoughts commonly run upon Knowledge, Virtue, Books, &c. tho I am apt to forget these, in the distracting Bustle of the Town, and ceremonious Converse with Mankind.
This morning rode to Moses Frenchs to get him to serve a Writ for me. He told me he was not yet sworn, but was obliged to me for coming to him, and would be glad to serve me at any Time, and would now rather than It should be any Damage to me. Thus he was pleased, I hope secured. Men are only secured by falling in with their Inclination, by favouring their Hopes, clearing their Prospects.
Then I went to Wales’. He was not at home. I followed him to Germantown. He served the Writt. We returned together. He seemed { 86 } quite pleasant. Told me the Practice of the two Thayers, of Hollis, Niles, &c. They drive a great stroke. There is two Thayers, 2 Niles’s, Faxon, Hollis, Wales, Moses French, W. Penniman, are all pettifogging Dabblers in Iniquity and Law. I might except 2 Niles’s, Wales and French, and perhaps Faxon from the Iniquitous part. I hope that Wales and French are secured to me. How they love Thayer I cant say. I hope they will recommend me to Persons that they hear Speaking of Business, as Wm. Veasey did. Veasey knew me, and mentioned me, to Shaw.
The Difference between a whole Day and a divided scattered Day.
Q[uery]. Can any Man take a Book in his hand, in the Morning, and confine his Thoughts to that till Night. Is not such a Uniformity tiresome? Is not Variety more agreable, and profitable too? Read one Book one Hour, then think an Hour, then Exercise an Hour, then read another Book an Hour, then dine, smoke, walk, cutt Wood, read another Hour loud, then think, &c. and thus spend the whole day in perpetual Variations, from Reading to thinking, Exercise, Company, &c. But what is to be acquired by this Wavering Life, but a Habit of Levity, and Impatience of Thought?
I never spent a whole Day upon one Book in my Life.
What is the Reason that I cant remove all Papers and Books from my Table, take one Volume into my Hands, and read it, and then reflect upon it, till night, without wishing for my Pen and Ink to write a Letter, or taking down any other Book, or thinking of the Girls? Because I cant command my attention. My Thoughts are roving from Girls to friends, from friends to Court, to Worcester, to Piscataquay,2 Newbury, and then to Greece and Rome, then to France, from Poetry to oratory, and Law, and Oh, a rambling, Imagination. Could I fix my attention, and keep off every fluttering Thought that attempts to intrude upon the present subject, I could read a Book all Day. Wisdom, curse on it, will come soon or late.
I have to smooth and harmonise my Mind, teach every Thought within its Bounds, to roll, and keep the equal Measure of the Soul.
H. went up to the Negroes Chamber over this little Room and awakened Jack and Ruby. Ruby was frightened and screamed till H. pacified her at last. Jack got up to alight a Candle and see if his Master was abed and if he found him up was to say he got up to get some thing for his Child. Thus a Girls Invention is alone sufficient for every Intrigue of this sort.
{ 87 }
Accidents, as we call them, govern a great Part of the World, especially Marriages. Sewal3 and Esther broke in upon H. and me and interrupted a Conversation that would have terminated in a Courtship, which would in spight of the Dr.4 have terminated in a Marriage, which Marriage might have depressed me to absolute Poverty and obscurity, to the End of my Life. But the Accident seperated us, and gave room for Lincolns addresses, which have delivered me from very dangerous shackles, and left me at Liberty, if I will but mind my studies, of making a Character and a fortune.5
I never began an Explanation of my Designs and Thoughts so that she was obliged to act without certain Knowledge. She had peculiar Reasons to desire an immediate Marriage, viz. a young and a very fruitful Mother in Law,6 on whom her father fondly doats, &c. and she had peculiar Reasons to receive the Drs. Addresses viz. The fondness of her father and his father, for the Match. The Drs. family, Business, and Character. And, in oposition to these Inducements, she had no Certainty of my Passions or Reason or Designs in her favour, but a strong suspicion that I was apprised of the Drs. Designs, and determined to see her no more.—But the Thing is ended. A tender scene! a great sacrifice to Reason!
Now let me collect my Thoughts, which have been long scattered, among Girls, father, Mother, Grandmother, Brothers, Matrimony, Husling, Chatt, Provisions, Cloathing, fewel, servants for a family, and apply them, with steady Resolution and an aspiring Spirit, to the Prosecution of my studies. Now Let me form the great Habits of Thinking, Writing, Speaking. Let my whole Courtship be applyed to win the Applause and Admiration of Gridley, Prat, Otis, Thatcher &c. Let Love and Vanity be extinguished and the great Passions of Ambition, Patriotism, break out and burn. Let little objects be neglected and forgot, and great ones engross, arouse and exalt my soul.
The Mind must be aroused, or it will slumber. To make and [confirm?] in his Mind a Contempt of Cowardice, and an Admiration of Bravery.
I found a Passion growing in my heart and a consequent Habit of thinking, forming and strengthening in my Mind, that would have eat out every seed of ambition, in the first, and every wise Design or Plan in the last.
A Young fellow of fond amorous Passions, may appear quite cold and insensible. The Love of Knowledge may prevail over the Love of { 88 } Girls. Old Men may be mistaken in their opinion of young ones. Mr. Goffe7 and Mr. Putnam, especially Goffe, thought me incapable of Gallantry and Intrigue.
Should have drawn a Confession from her (by shewing the Imprudence, Danger, Cruelty, and Wickedness of her Conduct without that supposition) that she loved me, and was determined to run all Hazards with me, to run the chance of Business, and success. Should have tryed, what the Imputation of Jilting, and Wheedling, and hinting, for a Courtship, in order to Torment, or at least to secure one for fear another should fail, would have produced. Should have said, H. you was dissatisfied with your situation and desirous of a Husband. In order to get one, you Wheedled Wibirt; you wheedled Lincoln. You gave each of them hints and Encouragement to Court you. But especially you wheedled me. For 6 months past you and I have never been alone together but you have given me broad Hints, that you desired I should court you, &c. &c.
Used to say how moderate her Desires were. She cared not for Riches or Dress, nor Gentility. She could live upon common Necessaries. Such Speeches used to be frequently dropped to me, and before me. She used before their House was burned8 to say frequently before me in Company, and to me alone, she should admire to be Courted a great while. She should admire a long Courtship. She would not be married by any means, these 4 or 5 years; but since she lost that House and her Agreable Retirement, solitude, and especially since her mother has been with Child again, she has said to me, that nothing should persuade her to be married these seven Years if it were not for her fathers young Wife, that [nothing?]9
Deed from Stephen Dudley, of Exeter, in N. Hampshire, Cordwainer, to Wm. Cunningham of Boston Glaiser, of 150 Acres of Land, to be taken out of the Tract of Land that Capt. Peter Renewitt and Abigail his Squaw gave to said Stephen by deed of Gift 7 of Jan. 1718, which Tract begins on the River 3 miles above Petuckaway mill in Exeter and running 3 miles in breadth on Each side of said River and Ten miles in Length up said River.
I will get an Husbandmans Common Place Book.10
I will make me a Common Place Book of Agriculture—and Place Wheat, Rye, Corn, and Pease, Beans, [sentence unfinished]
{ 89 }
A Common Place Book of Husbandry and Gardening—and Place in the Index Wheat, Rye, Corn, Pease, Beans, Turnips, Potatoes. Apples, Cyder, Trees, Elms, Butten Woods, Locusts, Cherry Trees, Plumb Trees, Quince Trees, &c. Nurseries. Lands, Grounds, Plough land, Pasture, mowing Land. Meadow, Upland, fields, Groves, forests. Hills, Valleys, Ditches. Fresh Meadows, gravelly Land, clay Land. Loomy Land. Springy Land, &c. Horses, oxen, Cows, Calves, sheep, Hogs. Scrub Oak Plains, pitch Pine Plains. Rocks. Wall. Posts, Rails, fence. Red Ceder, Juniper, Savine, Oaks, Pine, Hemlock, Holly. Apple Trees, Pear Trees. Orchard. Salt Meadow. Manure. Rock Wick [Weed?], sea Weed. Dung, Ashes, Marl, Chips, sticks, straw, &c. Weeds, Nature of Weeds, methods of destroying, and extirpating them. Barbery Bushes, Cadlock, White Weed, yellow Weeds. Grasses, Clover, while [white?] honey suckle, fowl medow Grass, fox Tail or Herds Grass. St. foin, Tree foin, &c. Roots, fibres, saps, Juices, Vessells, Circulation, Inoculation, Engraftments, scients [scions], &c.
Currants. Goose Berries. Currants, white and red, Goose Berries, strawberries.
Husbandry may be studied by me either as a Phylsopher inquisitive into the secrets of Nature in Vegetation, Generation, and of Art in Manufacture or as a Politician and Patriot, desirous of promoting the Improvement of Laws &c. for the Interest of the Public, or as a Private Man, selfishly [thirsting?] after Profit, in order to make money.
I would fill my Yard with Geese, Turkies, Ducks, Guinea Hens, Peacocks, fowls. Bees, &c.
Labour, Howing, Ploughing. Ploughs, mathematical Principles on which Ploughs are constructed. Raking, Mowing, scythes, &c. Carts, Waggons, Wheelbarrows. Harrow. Utensils of Husbandry. Sleds. Methods of subduing Land, cutting Wood and Bushes, burning wood and Bushes, eradicating Stumps, Plowing new Ground, &c.
Potatoes, different sorts. Cabbages, different sorts. Colly flower, sellery, &c. Peas, different sorts. Beans, English and others, different sorts, white black, red, large, small, &c. Turnips. Bates for rats. Parsnips, Parsley, Pepper Grass, Horse radish, Mustard, Onions, shyves [chives], Herbs. Hog Weed, red rood [root?]. Pursley, Dandelyons, &c. Balm, Sage, Penny Royal, Hyssop, &c. Pinks, Tulips.
Roses, white and Red Peonies, &c.
Yesterday afternoon, a Plea, Puis darrien Continuance,11 was argued { 90 } by Mr. Prat for the Plea, and G[ridley] and O[tis] against it. The Plea was, that after the last Continuance and before the 1st day of the sitting of this Court this Term, viz. on such a day, one Allin one of the Plaintiffs died. Mr. Prat argued that the Writ must abate, for it was clear Law, that the Writt in this Case was ipso facto abated and might be dismissed at the Motion of any Person as amicus Curiae. And of this opinion was the whole Court. G. took an Exception to the Plea as imperfect in not giving the Plaintiff a better Writ. The whole Afternoon was Spent in arguing this Point, and 20 Volumes of Institutes and Reporters, I suppose were produced as authorities.12
(Otis aside. It makes me laugh to see Pratt lugg a Cart load of Books into Court to prove a Point as clear as the Sun. The Action is as dead as a Hubb.)
Otis. I will grant, Mr. Prat, very readily, that there has been a time since Wm. the Conqueror when this Plea would have abated this Writ in England. But I take it that Abatements at this day are rather odious than favored and I dont believe that this Plea would abate this Writ at any time within this Century in Westminster Hall.
This morning, the Action Patten vs. Basen was argued.13 It was [a] Case for not returning an Ex[ecutio]n. Prat and the Court, an Action will not lie against the officer for not returning without averring and proving Special Damages, as that the Party was broke, run away, or dead, leaving nothing. Then the special Damage may be laid equal to the whole Debt. Gruchy v. Hews [Hughes] comes on this afternoon.14
Of Abatement by the Death of Parties.
The Rule is “That wherever the Death of any Party happens pending the Writt and yet the Plea is in the same Condition, as if such Party were living, there such death makes no Alteration; for where the death of the Parties makes no Change of Proceeding, it would be unreasonable that the surviving Parties should make any Alteration in their Writt; for if such Writ and Proscess were changed, twould let [ . . . ] but in the same Condition they were at the Death of the Parties; and ’twould be absurd that what made no alteration should change the Writ and the Proscess;”15 and on this Rule all the Diversities turn.
1. Inst. 139. The first Difference is in Real Actions; where there are several Pleadings, there is summons and severance, as there is in the most real Actions, there the death of one of the Parties abates the suit; but in Personal and mixed Actions, where one entire Thing is to be recovered, there the Death of the Parties does not abate the Writt; and the Reason of the Difference is, where there are two Jointenants { 91 } and the one goes on to recover his Moiety, and the other will not proceed, there is no Reason that he that is willing to proceed should not recover his Ritt, since such tenant has a distinct Moiety, and therefore should have an Action to recover it. But no Summons and severance lies in Personal Actions; as if Trespass be committed in such Jointenants, they must both join in the Action, for as one may release the whole, so the other may refuse to go on, and the other cant recover his Part of the Damage without him; and so in Debt by an obligation to two, there can be no summons and severance, because one of the joint obligees may release the Bond, and therefore may not go in the Action; but if a Man appoint two men Executors, there shall be summons and severance, because tho one of the Executors may release, tho such a Release is a Devastavit in him; but if he will not proceed at Law, tis no Devastavit; and therefore both Executors being only Trustees for the Person deceased, they shall not both be compelled to go on together; but if one refuses, the other may bring his Action in the name of both, and have summons and severance; for otherwise each Co-executor might by Collusion with the Debtor and not proceeding, keep the other from recovering the assitts, and not create a Devastavit in himself.
Coll. Hunt.
A single Adventure, Expedition, Undertaking or Incident in a Mans Life often renders him forever afterwards attentive to Matters of that sort.
Coll. Hunt was highly entertained and gratified with my Relation of the Gallant bloody Action between an English Privateer and two frenchmen in the West Indies. It Engaged his Attention, and gave him a high Pleasure, which Mr. Olivers Project of improving Husbandry, and making Profits, was not able to do.
He hearkened to the story of the fight, but was cold to the Project of inriching his Country. He acquired at Louisbourg this Admiration of Bravery, which all the Perplexity, Disgrace, and Indigence, which he has been brought to endure, since his Return from that Expedition, has never been able to extinguish.
There he saw frequent Instances of daring Actions, and he heard such Actions applauded. There he saw frequent Instances of Cowardice; and he heard such Persons despized, which hightened the Distinction, which it is natural to Mankind to16
Justice with a Band, a Veil before her Eyes, sitting on the Globle, { 92 } with a Pair of scales and a sword in her right Hand, the scales hang below her hand, the sword points to the Zenith with a Crown upon it, and with four pieces of something in her left Hand. With her left foot she treads upon a Lion, the Emblem of strength, i.e. Violence, and with her right upon a serpent, the Emblem of subtlety, i.e. fraud. The Roman Eagle, with her Wings hovering, half spread, stands on her right Claw foot, upon the Globle, by the left side of Justice, and extending her left Claw, in which she grasps some Arrows, perhaps, towards the East.
Behind the Globle on the right hand of Justice, you see some stately Buildings, with a fine Row of Roman statues, round the Roofs, and with the statue of an Horse and Man on the Top of a Chimney almost behind Justice.
On the left Hand of Justice, you see the Roman Army, entrenched, and picketted in, with a large Castle, and flag flying at a Distance.
At the Foot of Justice, on the left Hand, stands truth arrayed in a roman Habit with her curled Hair, decently yet negligently tyed, pointing with her left Hand to Justice, and with her Right, extending her Torch, over to an old Gentleman, who stands, at the feet of Justice on the Right, with a large Book in his left Hand, a Pen in his Right, and seems in a listening attentive Posture, taking down the Dictates of Justice by the light of Truth. Q[uery], is this old Gentleman Justinian? There are four figures, or there is a Groupe of figures, at the feet of this old Gentleman, which I am unable to decypher. They are habited differently. One is black like a Negro, with a Chain of Beeds about his Neck and a Crown of Feathers on his Head. Is this an African? The next is black too, but without any Beads or Crown, but he seems to wear the Proboscis of an Elephant, upon his C[ap?]. The other two are clothed in Roman Habits, one in Armour. The three last are on their Knees, and seem to shrink from the sight of Justice and Truth. Q.—was not the Architecture and statuary, behind the Globle and Justice, designed to represent the roman skill in those Arts. They must have had Master Architects to build those grand and beautiful Piles, and Master Statuaries, to make those statues, round the Roofs, and on the Chimney Tops.
And is not the entrenched Army on the left Hand designed to represent the Glory and Terror of their Arms.
I cannot decypher half these figures.
P[arson] W[ibird] is crooked, his Head bends forwards, his shoulders are round and his Body is writhed, and bended, his head and { 93 } half his Body, have a list one Way, the other half declines the other Way, and his lower Parts from his Middle, incline another Way. His features are as coarse and crooked as his Limbs. His Nose is a large roman Nose with a prodigious Bunch Protuberance, upon the Upper Part of it. His Mouth is large, and irregular, his Teeth black and foul, and craggy. His Lips [ . . . ] to command, when he speakes, they dont move easily and limberly pliant. His lips are stiff, rigid, not pliant and supple. His Eyes are a little squinted, his Visage is long, and lank, his Complexion wan, his Cheeks are fallen, his Chin is long, large, and lean. These are the Features, these the Limbs, and this the Figure of the worthy Mr. Wibirt.
But his Air, and Gesture, is still more extraordinary. When he stands, He stands, bended, in and out before and behind and to both Right and left; he tosses his Head on one side. When he prays at home, he raises one Knee upon the Chair, and throws one Hand over the back of it. With the other he scratches his Neck, pulls the Hair of his Wigg, strokes his Beard, rubbs his Eyes, and Lips.
When he Walks, he heaves away, and swaggs on one side, and steps almost twice as far with one foot, as with the other.
When he sitts, he sometimes lolls on the arms of his Chair, sometimes on the Table. He entwines his leggs round the Leggs of his Chair, lays hold of the Iron Rod of the stand with one Hand. Sometimes throws him self, over the back of his Chair, and scratches his Hed, Vibrates the foretop of his Wigg, thrusts his Hand up under his Wigg, &c.
When he speakes, he cocks and rolls his Eyes, shakes his Head, and jerks his Body about.
Thus clumsy, careless, slovenly, and lazy is this sensible Man.
It is surprizing to me that the Delicacy of his Mind has not corrected these Indecent, as well as ungraceful Instances of Behaviour. He has Wit, and he has Fancy, and he has Judgment. He is a Genius. But he has no Industry, no Delicacy, no Politeness. Tho’ he seems to have a sort of Civility, and Cleverness in his Manners. A civil, clever Man. He observes that in Dana which I have observed—a cleverness, a good Humored look.
What is it, that Settles Men’s opinions of others? It is Avidity, Envy, Revenge, Interest.
C[olonel] Q[uincy] will represent Eb. Thayer as one of the worst of Men, as a Conspirator against his Country, as a Cataline.
C[olonel’s] Friendship is not worth a wise Mans seeking, nor his { 94 } Enmity worth fearing. As long as you flatter his Vanity, gratify his avarice, or favour his Ambition, you will be a great Genius, an honest Man, a good man, in short you will be every thing, but as soon as you obstruct any of his Views you will be a silly man, a Knave, in short every thing that is bad.
While the Governor as he thought, had a great Opinion of him, the Governor was wise, learned, industrious &c., but when he found the Governor despized him, the Governor had no Principles, was guided by self Interest &c.17
Coll. Q. I have discovered the Phylosophers stone in military Matters.
[ . . . ] this is the darling, favorite Theme still. Tho every Man who hears this scheme conceives at once the most contemptible Opinion of it, yet no one chuses to shew his Disapprobation of it. A few Queries, and distant Proposals, are the Utmost that has been said against it, to him.—Thus he is flattered to his face by Nods, and Winks, of seeming Assent and compliance, and cursed behind his back as a Villain and a fool. Oh, envied State of Greatness.
He calls it a scheme to do men good in spight of their Teeth—forcing food down a hungry Mans Throat. The Philosophers Stone &c. Others say he is a cursed Rogue, a dutiful son of his father the Devil, he wants to get Money into his Pocket. Thus the Coll. and some of his Company differ in Opinion, of his Contrivance. He thinks, tis fatherly, patriotical, sagacious. They think it inimical, diabolical and silly!
You may hint to him particular Defects of his Plan, and he will contrive Amendments, but the general Plan would never be [exploded?] by his Consent. I will not attempt to undeceive him any more. This scheme is Mentis gratissimus Error. demptus, Error, gratissimus Error the most agreable Error mentis of the Mind, demptus taken away, per Vim, by violence. Pol. by Pollux, amici my friends, occidistis you have killed me, non servastis [you] have not preserved me, [saved?] me alive, cui, sic extorta Voluptas—Pleasure extorted, torn away, cui from which thus.18
This political scheme is mentis gratissimus Error Mentis [ . . . ] Error. It will be told to the Disadvantage of [his] Character, for sense and Honesty. Twill furnish his Enemies with a topick of scandal and will introduce Jealosy’s and suspicions into the Minds of his friends. He will suffer the most by it.
{ 95 }
The Notes will give offence. A rich Man will be allowed to give a Note, but a poor Man must pay the Money. This will be a Distinction between poor and rich, a Partiality to the rich and Oppression of the poor. It will occasion such Ravings, and swearing and Impudence and Insolence as was never seen by a military officer in this Company. Bass and my Uncle told him, how it would be received. He is wrongheadedly Headstrong, headstrongly Wrongheaded.
Ned tells a story tolerably well. He told of [illegible name]. He was a better Prophet than Elijah for he stretched himself on her but once to bring her to Life whereas Elijah did 3 times.19 He breathed into her the Breath of Life. Ned told the Duke of Whartons Character and Life, &c. Ned was sociable, told the stories he had read pretty well, &c. Billy was sociable too, but awed, afraid.
They told of the wickedest jokes that had been put upon Nat Hurd, by some fellows in Boston, who found out that he had such a Girl at his shop, at such a time. One went to him and pretended to make a confidant of him. Oh god, what shall I do? That Girl, [ . . . ] her, has given me the Clap. That scared him and made him cry, Oh damn her, what shall I do? I saw her such a Night. I am [peppered?]. He went to the Dr. [ . . . ] and was salivated for the Clap. Then they sent him before Justice Phillips, then before Justice Tyler, in short they played upon him till they provoked him so that he swore, he would beat the Brains out of the first man that came into his shop, to plague him with his [ . . . ].
I think it is an equal Proof of Piety, Wit, and sensuality.—This was affected. I thought it witty, wise, smart. It could not but disgust.
Why have I not Genius to start some new Thought. Some thing that will surprize the World. New, grand, wild, yet regular Thought that may raise me at once to fame.
Where is my Soul? where are my Thoughts.
When shall I start some new Thought, make some new Discovery, that shall surprize the World with its Novelty and Grandeur?
Coll. Q[’s] End is Popularity. He intends to procure Votes by his schemes for raising Men, but if he had used all his Ingenuity to con• { 96 } trive a scheme to disgust People, to raise scruples, Jealousies, and Contempt, he could not have found a better. He will loose more Votes than he will get by this Project.
Would it not save trouble to give the Men that he shall impress after 4 o’clock, leave to inlist and date their Inlistment a few days sooner?
Is it not absurd to study all Arts but that of Living in the World, and all sciences but that of Mankind? Popularity is the Way to gain and figure.
The Arts of Gain are necessary. You may get more by studying Town meeting, and Training Days, than you can by reading Justinian and all his voluminous and heavy Commentators.
Mix with the Croud in a Tavern, in the Meeting House or the Training Field, and grow popular by your agreable assistance in the Tittle tattle of the Hour, never think of the deep hidden Principles of natural, civil, or common Law, for thoughts like these will give you a gloomy Countenance and a stiff Behaviour.
I should talk with Tirrells, Lamberts, Clarks, Thayers, Faxons, Beal, Wales, French &c. about changing Horses. Offer to change or sell, trade in any Thing.
It is certain that Retirement will loose its Charms if it is not interrupted, by Business, and Activity. I must converse and deal with Mankind, and move and stir from one scene of Action and Debate and Business, and Pleasure, and Conversation, to another and grow weary of all before I shall feel the strong Desire of retiring to contemplation on Men and Business and Pleasure and Books.
After hard Labour at Husbandry, Reading and Reflection in Retirement will be a Relief and a high refined Pleasure. After attending a Town Meeting, watching the Intrigues, Acts, Passions, Speeches, that pass there, a Retreat to reflect, compare, distinguish will be highly delightful. So after a Training Day, after noting the Murmurs, Complaints, Jealousies, Impudence, Envy that pass in the field, I shall be pleased with my solitude.
Transitions from study to Business, from Business to Conversation and Pleasure, will make the Revolution of study still more agreable and perhaps not less profitable, for we are very apt, in total Retirement, to forget the sciences, and to smoak, and trifle and drone it too much.
I have been very negligent and faulty, in not treating Deacon Savil, { 97 } Nat. Belcher, Deacon Belcher &c. with more Attention, and sprightliness. I should bow and look pleasant to Deacon Savil, and talk with him about News, War, Ministers, Sermons &c. Should watch critically every Word that Nat Belcher says, and let him see by the Motions of the Muscles of my face, that I have discernment between wise and foolish, witty and silly, candid and ill natured, grave and humourous speeches and let him know on proper occasions I can vent a Smart Repartee. Should always speak and shake Hands with the Deacon, inquire after his Wife, Sons, S[amuel], W[illiam], E[lijah], and humour his talkative Disposition.—It is of no small Importance to sett the Tongues of old and young Men and Women a prating in ones favour.
As to Dr. Savil and his Wife, I have dismissed all my Guards before Them, and acted and spoke at Random. But I might easily gain their warmest Words and assiduous Assistance, by visiting seldomer, by using tender and soothing, instead of rough and reproachful Language, and by complying with their Requests of riding out with her, and reading Plays, once in a while, to them in the Evening.
But I have been rash, boastful, prophane, uncivil, Blustering, threatning, before them.
Let me remark P[arson] Wibirts Popularity. He plays with Babes and young Children that begin to prattle, and talks with their Mothers, asks them familiar, pleasant Questions, about their affection to their Children. His familiar careless way of conversing with People, Men and Women. He has Wit, and Humour.
Ripping, i.e., using the Words faith, Devil, I swear, damnable, [cursed?], &c., displease the Dr. but especially his Wife.
Threatning to Quarrell with Thayer, Penniman, Hollis &c., disgust[s] them, especially her.
Asserting dogmatically on Points of Province Law which he knows more of than I, by several Years experience, and Conversation with People concerning their Estates, Law suits, &c., and being fretted, disgusts them very much.—I have more faults, Mistakes, Imprudences, follies, rashness to answer for in the Drs. House than in all the Town besides.
I am to attend a Vendue this afternoon at Lamberts. My F[ather], C[aptain] Bracket and Thayer are a Committee to lease out the Town Lands to the highest Bidder. Let me remark the Management of the { 98 } sale, and the Behaviour of Persons especially of Thayer and Bracket, watch his Treatment of People, and their Treatment of him.
Let me ask myself this Question when I return. What have I seen, heard, learned? What hint observed to lift myself into Business, what Reputation or Disgrace have I got, by attending this Vendue. My Character will be Spread, and mended or injured by it.
I was consulted by 2 Men this afternoon, who would not have applied to me if I had not been at Vendue, E. Niles and Elijah Belcher. And the Questions they asked, have led me into Useful Thoughts and Inquiries. I find hints, and Inquiries, arise sooner in the World than in my Study.
It would be an agreable and useful speculation to inquire into that Faculty which we call Imagination. Define it, enquire the Good Ends it answers in the human system, and the Evils it sometimes produces.
What is the Use of Imagination? It is the Repository of Knowledge. By this faculty, are retained all the Ideas of visible objects, all the observations we have made in the Course of Life on Men and Things, our selves &c.
I am conscious that I have the faculty of Imagination, that I can at Pleasure review in my Thoughts, the Ideas and Assemblages of Ideas that have been before in my Mind. Can revive the scenes, Diversions, sports of Childhood, Youth. Can recall my youthful Rambles, to the farms,20 frolicks, Dalliances, my lonely Walks thro the Groves, and swamps, and fields, and Meadows at Worcester. Can imagine my self with the wildest Tribe of Indians in America in their Hunting, their Warrs, their tedious Marches, thro wild swamps and Mountains. Can fly by this faculty to the Moon, Planets, fixed Starrs, unnumbered Worlds. Can cross the Atlantic and fancy my self in Westminster Hall, hearing Causes in the Courts of Justice, or the Debates in the Houses of Commons or Lords.—As all our knowledge is acquired by Experience, i.e. by sensation or Reflection, this faculty is necessary to retain the Ideas we receive and the observations we make, and to recall them, for our Use, as Occasion requires.
I am conscious too, that this faculty is very active and stirring. It is constantly in Action unless interrupted by the Presence of external Objects, by Reading, or restrained by Attention. It hates Restrain[t], it runs backward to past scenes &c. or forward to the future. It flyes into the Air, dives in the sea, rambles to foreign Countries, or makes { 99 } excursions [to] foreign planetary starry Worlds. These are but Hints, irregular observations, not digested into order.
But [what] are the Defects of this faculty? What are the Errors, Vices, Habits, it may betray us into, if not curbed? What is the Danger.
I must know all the Ends of this faculty, and all its Phenomena, before I can know all its Defects. Its Phenomena are infinitely various, in different Men, and its Ends are different. Therefore its Defects must be almost infinitely various. But all its Defects may be reduced to general Laws.
The Sphere of Imagination includes both Actuality and Possibility, not only what is but what may be.
One Use of Imagination, is to facilitate the Acquisition and Communication of Knowledge. How does it facilitate the Acquisition. It lays up, It retains, the Ideas of Things and the Observations we make upon them. By reviving past scenes, or creating new, it suggests Thoughts and inquiries. Starts Hints and doubts, and furnishes Reason with Materials in our retired Hours. In the Hours of solitude, Imagination recalls the Ideas of Things, Men, Actions, Characters, and Reason reduces them to order, and forms Inferences and Deductions from them.
How does it help to communicate? Why by recalling our Knowledge, and by comparing abstract Notions with sensible Images—by Metaphor, allusion &c.
Another End of Imagination, may be personal Pleasure and Entertainment. We take Pleasure in viewing the Works of Nature, and the Productions of Art, as Painting, Statuary, Poetry, oratory &c., but are not these rather objects and Pleasures of sense than of Imagination?
We take Pleasure in recollecting the Sports, Diversions, Business, scenes of Nature &c. that we have seen in our past Lives. We take Pleasure in fancying our selves in Places, among Objects, Persons, Pleasures, when we are not; and a still greater Pleasure in the Prospect which Imagination constantly gives us of future Pleasure, Business, Wealth, fame &c.
This Prospect of futurity, which Imagination gilds and brightens, is the greatest Spur to Industry and Application. The scholars spur to study. The Commanders spur [to] Activity and Courage. The Statesmans Spur to the Invention and Execution of Plans of Politicks. The Lovers Spur to assiduity, and &c.
Coll. [Quincy] told the Compliment the Governor passed on him in { 100 } calling him one of the most active Members, before 20 Persons [in a Tavern?], and one was lolling out his Tongue, another shrugging his shoulders and another sneering all the Time.
Men are aspiring and ambitious in their souls [and hearts?] as their Imaginations are vivid.
I had an acking Void within my Breast, this night. I feel anxious, eager, after something. What is it? I feel my own Ignorance. I feel concern for Knowledge, and fame. I have a dread of Contempt, a quick sense of Neglect, a strong Desire of Distinction.
Went this morning to D.B. [Deacon Belcher?] and L.B. to see the Leases under which they held the Town Lands. I learned enough to reward me for the Trouble, tho I could not see the Leases. I find that as much knowledge in my Profession is to be acquired by Conversing with common People about the Division of Estates, Proceedings of Judge of Probate, Cases that they have heard as Jurors, Witnesses, Parties, as is to be acquired by Books. Talked familiarly with Deacon B. and his Wife. Talked to N.B. [Nathaniel Belcher?] about The Ile of Orleans, and the Contrast between the present and the last administration, to J. Curtis, of Husbandry, and the Tittletattle of the Town. Thus I believe I have lost no Credit yet, but have gained Credit as a knowing as well as a familiar young fellow. I must sett the Town to talking about me.
What shall I say to Majr. Crosby to procure his Love and Admiration too? Ask him for Executions, Writs, News Papers, what days he usually attends at Home to try Causes. What say to Deacon Webb, to procure his Love and Ad[miration?]. Papers.
As I rode under the Rocks and savines in the common the Project darted into my Head of writing a Poem under the Title of the matrimonial Ballance, or the Ballance of Celibacy. A Ballance for weighing the Pleasures of Matrimony against the Pains, the Inconveniences vs. the Conveniences. Let me invent the Fable. Wisdom appears to a young fellow, as he sits meditating on Celibacy and Matrimony, and presents him with these scales. How shall I describe Wisdom? the Scales? that every Air, Shape, Colour, may convey some moral Instruction.
B[illy] B[elcher] has a very mean Opinion of all the Quincies, all 3 Neds, and Jos[iah] and Samll. and Henry.
{ 101 }
Cranch has been mean since, if Q[uincy] was before the first difference between them.
Billy B. He says he will charge you with 1/2 the Rent of the Warehouse in B[oston]. If he does, I can swear that he declared to me in a very solemn manner that he kept the Warehouse open only to oblige me.21
This might be new. The Coll. and all his sons are insincere. They make a greater shew, more Expressions of Kindness and Friendship, than they really have for any Man. He wanted to convince B. that he was a great Benefactor to him. Perhaps he wanted his good Words at home at Braintree, to his father and Brother.
M[aster?] Cleverly. I have no Opinion of our Courts. They act as the spirit moves them. There is no Dependance upon Judge Sewall,22 nor Judge Hutchinson,23 the Governor &c.
He is as hungry after Vices and Follies in the Characters of the Quincies, and of our Courts, as a Wolf ever was for Prey. An Instance of Weakness or Wickedness practiced by any Quincy gratifies him to the quick. He has no Candour, no Charity. He is censorious. He is spightful.
Dr. Savil. Ephraim Thayer told a Story the other day that he saw a small ground Squirrell run away with 2 large Ears. He introduced it with a solemn Train of Circumstances. He raised a great deal of Corn, and could not imagine how it went. He could not suspect any of his Neighbours, and he thought no Creature but Man could take it of[f] so fast. At last he lay and watched it and soon found that the squirrells were the Thieves for he saw one single ground squirrell run out of his fold with 2 Ears.—This Pun.
Another time he was a gunning and he saw at a little distance a Partridge at the foot of a Tree and a grey Squirell, at the Top of it. He wanted to get both, but he knew if he shot at the squirrel the Partridge would fly, and if he shot at the Partridge the squirrel would run away before he could charge his Gun a second time. He tho’t he would contrive to kill both at once, and he crept round in fair Sight of both, and shot and killed both at once. Now one must be very quick and [very expert?] to hold the Gun just at the Root long eno’ to kill the Partridge and then raise it to the Top in order to kill with the other half of the Charge the squirrel at the Top. But the Riddle was, The Tree was blown down, and he got the Partridge and Squirrel in a very fair Range.
{ 102 }
An Advocate. The Patron of the Cause, assisting the Litigant with his Advice, the Person who pleads or represents the Cause of his Client. They should not be interrupted in their studies by [ . . . ]. De quota litis.24 Tis a public off[ence?].
1. This approximate and indefinite date is the best that can be assigned to the long series of wholly undated entries that begin JA’s Diary booklet “No. 3.” This “paper book” (our D/JA/3) is made up of loose leaves and small gatherings, some originally stitched together with thread and some apparently not. Since such stitching as there once was has now largely worn away, and since in composing his Diary JA sometimes left blank pages, or portions of pages, that he filled in later, it is now impossible to determine the original order of some of the entries. It may only be said that the earliest ones in this booklet were legal notes, set down before JA had filled up the preceding “paper book” (D/JA/2) early in April 1759; these are now embedded among diary entries that extend into the summer of 1759 and possibly later. The MS contains entries in small blank spaces in the margins, others written upside down on pages bearing other matter, some entries begun but never finished by the diarist, and still others that he may have completed on pages now lost from the MS. Only one entry was fully dated by JA, that of 29 June 1759, about halfway through D/JA/3.
Most of the entries were written in a hasty, slipshod way, and some whole pages are badly worn and faded, necessitating at times a reconstruction of the text that is not wholly satisfactory to the editors. It is perhaps for these reasons that large portions of D/JA/3 were omitted in the early transcripts made for JQA and corrected by CFA. Moreover, in his edition of JA’s Diary CFA omitted all but a few selections from this booklet. These selections give only a hint or two of JA’s protracted affair with Hannah Quincy and no hint at all of JA’s first impressions of Miss Abigail Smith of Weymouth, who five years later became his wife.
After careful study the editors have decided that they have no good choice but to print all the entries in their present physical order in the MS, scrambled though they may be, simply grouping them under the assigned dates of Spring 1759 and Summer 1759 according to whether they precede or follow the single dated entry of 29 June.
2. Spelling very doubtful. The Piscataqua River empties into the Atlantic at Portsmouth, N.H.
3. Jonathan Sewall (1728–1796), Harvard 1748; lawyer, loyalist, and, until their separation by the events leading up to the Revolution, JA’s intimate friend. He married Esther Quincy in 1764.
4. Bela Lincoln (1734–1773), Harvard 1754; a physician of Hingham; married Hannah Quincy, 1 May 1760 (History of Hingham, Hingham, 1893, vol. 1: pt. ii, p. 317–318; JQA’s extracts from Braintree Church Records, Adams Papers).
5. The following paragraph and a number of later entries in D/JA/3 touching on JA’s romantic interest in Hannah Quincy were omitted by CFA in editing the Diary. Evidently that interest was by no means ended by the incident recorded in the present entry, though, as explained above, the chronological sequence of numerous undated entries in this part of the MS is very uncertain.
6. Elizabeth (Waldron) Quincy, 2d wife of Col. Josiah Quincy. She had married Quincy in 1756 and is said to have died later in the present year (Salisbury, Family-Memorials, 1:356); but see the entry of 2 Dec. 1760 and note 3 there.
7. That is, Edmund Trowbridge, the Cambridge lawyer and judge, who as a young man had used the name Goffe.
8. Col. Josiah Quincy’s house was burned on 17 May 1759 (Boston Evening Post, 21 May 1759). Though the allusion to this event very strongly suggests that the present entry is out of chronological order and belongs later in the Diary, there is nothing in the MS itself to support this conjecture. See also p. 111–113, below.
9. The entry breaks off thus at the end { 103 } of a left-hand page in MS. A leaf or leaves may therefore be missing from the MS, but there are instances in this booklet of JA’s deliberately leaving sentences unfinished.
10. This and the following detached paragraphs on husbandry were omitted by CFA in editing the Diary.
11. Puis darrein continuance: “A plea which is put in after issue joined, for the purpose of introducing new matter” (Bouvier, Law Dictionary, 2:394).
12. The case was that of William Thompson, appellant, v. John Allen et al., appellees, in the Superior Court, Suffolk, Feb. term, 1759. The argument JA records took place on 1 March (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 71; Records, 1757–1759, fol. 522–523). These notes by JA must therefore have been taken down on 2 March, well before the regular Diary entries in D/JA/3 begin (see note 1, above).
13. Probably in the Suffolk Inferior Court, whose records for this period are missing.
14. In the Superior Court (Minute Book 71; Records, 1757–1759, fol. 534–535).
15. Closing quotation mark conjecturally supplied.
16. Text breaks off thus at the end of a left-hand page in MS. A leaf or leaves may therefore be missing.
17. Thomas Pownall was governor of Massachusetts Bay, 1757–1760.
18. This passage is only semilegible. JA is quoting Horace, Epistle II, Book II, lines 138–140:

“Pol me occidistis, amici,

Non servastis,” ait; “cui sic extorta voluptas

Et demptus per vim mentis gratissimus error.”

19. See 1 Kings, 17:21.
20. The Farms was long the local name for an area later known as North Quincy (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 56; Braintree Town Records, p. 430).
21. This is in all probability the end of Billy Belcher’s remarks, and what follows is doubtless JA’s comment thereon. In the MS, however, there is no indication of such a shift.
22. Chief Justice Stephen Sewall (1702–1760); Harvard 1721 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 6:561–567).
23. Doubtless Eliakim Hutchinson (1711–1775), chief justice of the Suffolk Inferior Court of Common Pleas; Harvard 1730 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:726–729).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-06-29

June 29. 1759.

Have this moment finished Woods new Institute of the Imperial or civil Law.1 It is a great Help in the study of Van Muyden and Justinian. I understand Wood much better for having read Van Muyden, and shall now understand Van Muyden much better for having read Wood.
1. Thomas Wood, A New Institute of the Imperial or Civil Law, London, 1704, went through several editions.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1759-06-30 - 1759-08-31

[Summer 1759.]1

Mr. Wibirt. Ld. Chancellor Hardwick used at night to take off the Robes of his office and lay them aside. “There Ld. Chancellor lie there till morning.” This Story means that he assumed the state and Dignity of his office, when he was in the Exercise of it, but threw off all state with his Robes and shewed the sociable Friend and Companion.
P[arson] W[ibird]. Out of H[annah] and E[sther] might be made a very personable Woman but not a great soul.
{ 104 }
She is pleased. I find that the Chat I had with H. is uppermost in my mind. While my Eyes are on my Book, my Attention, my Imagination is playing and prating with her. These scenes of Pleasure make too deep Impressions on my Imagination.
K.2 I see H. have such an one, and asked her who it was for?
Again I find my Thoughts ruminating the idle Chat, and Banter, I had with K. and Easther. A Contest, a Combat between Reason and Passion is unequal. A struggle between Reflections upon Law and Reflections upon Love, between art Inclination to study and an Inclination to ruminate on the Prate, Banter, laughter, looks, airs of the Girls, is likely to be followed by Victory on the side of Trifles.
I asked Mr. Wibirt if he made the fowl eat his Comb and Gills to make him couragious?—and Nan.3 broke out into a triumphant, awkward, silly, shamefaced, malignant Laugh, and cryed, why some has been cutt off of your Head, lately, did you eat it to make you couragious? You eat it I believe and that made you so couragious.— This is ill breeding.
I find, that by walking, riding, and talking so much, I have got a restless Habit. As I set, writing or reading a Thought, a Desire of running over to the Drs. will dart into my Head, and I feel a [damp?] in suppressing of it. Next minute a Thought and desire of running down to Dr. Webbs, John Mills’s &c. Thus Reflections upon past and Projects for future Pleasures, interrupt my studies.
Enim for omnis Res, every Thing. Virtus, Virtue. Fame, Decorum, both divine and human Things, obey, bow with Reverence to fair Riches: which, whoever has accumulated, heaped up, he will be handsome, valiant, just [ . . . ] wise, and a King, and what ever he will.
Novation.4 An obligation is abolished, by Novation. A Transfer of the 1st Obligation into another. Transfer the obligation by Changing the Person, shift the Debtor. I take A.B. for my Debtor, for that Debt which was owed me by B.C. Dr. Savel owes me 10 Dollars, I discharge him and take J. Field for Paymaster. Tis only a Transfer, a shifting the obligation from the Dr. to Field. That obligation which lay on Sempronius to pay me 10 Dolls, is now on Titius. Or Novation may be by transferring one obligation into another while the same Persons continue.
Sempronious owes me £10 on Account. This £10 by mutual Consent { 105 } is acknowledged to be due to [me?] as [money?] lent him, cui Bono.
May I call them 2 sorts of Novation. Quibus Modis, by what Ways—by what Means, by what Ways, an obligation is taken away or abolished. Concerning Novation or Renewal. This Conversion is made by Words or Stipulation. Besides an obligation is taken away by Renewal, as, if that which Sejus owed you, if that which Savil owed you, you should stipulate to be [given?] by Titius. If you should stipulate that that should be given paid by Titius which Sejus owed you. For by the Intervention of a new Person, a new obligation is born, springs, grows, and the 1st is abolished, translata in Posteriorum, is transferred on the latter, so that some times, altho the latter stipulation is useless, yet the first by the Law of Renewal is taken away. As if that which you owe to Titius, and he stipulated by the Pupil without the Authority of a Tutor. There are many ways, in which by the Law itself an Obligation is abolished. In this Title only 4 are related. Novation is a transfusion and Translation of a former Debt, into another obligation, civil or natural, and is either voluntary, which is made by the Agreement of Parties, or necessary, which is made [ . . . ]5 by a Joining of Issues and the sentence of the Judge. This does not diminish the Right of the Plaintiff.
Novation moreover is made either the Persons of the Creditor and Debtor remaining: or these Persons changed. Continuing which either the Cause of [ . . . ] is changed or a new quality is added, or an old one substituted, so that it be acted among the Contracting Parties. A Mutation Change of Persons happens [three] Ways, either the Person of the Creditor being changed, or of the Debtor, which in specie <i.e. in this form> is called Delegation, or by changing the Person of both. In Delegation a twofold Act ought to be considered, the first between the delegating and the delegated in which naked Consent is sufficient, declared by Writing or a Nod or by any other manner, in which Consent it may be [defined?].
Delegation is a Command, by which a Debtor substitutes his Debtor in his own Place to his own Creditor. Another Act is committed between a Delegate and him to whom the Delegation is made in which a stipulation is required. A stipulation, by which a Debtor delegate to a stipulating Creditor to [whom?] delegated, promises that [he] is about to pay the Debt, in whose Name the Delegation is made.
Acceptilation is an imaginary Payment, an Acknowledgment of the Creditor, that he has been paid when in truth he has not, with Design to discharge the Debtor. Acceptilation is a stipulation by which a { 106 } Creditor, with a design of dissolving the obligation answers the Debtor interrogating, that he has received his Debt when [indeed?] he has not. Simple Acceptilation is that by which is abolished only an Obligation contracted by Words. An Exception is an Exclusion, barring of an Action [ . . . ] by law.
Consider what figure is fittest for you to make. Consider what Profession you have chosen? The Law. What Rule and Method must I observe to make a figure to be useful, and respectable in that Station. Ask this Question upon every Occasion, of what Use to the Lawyer? of what use at the Bar—[to have?] perfection of Knowledge in Theory or Expertness in Practice, or Eloquence at Bar? Let my Views concenter, and terminate in one focus, in one Point, a great, useful, virtuous Lawyer. With this View I might plan a system of study for seven Years to come, that should take in most Parts of Science and Literature. I might study Mathematics, and Poetry and Rhetorick and Logick, as auxiliary Sciences and Arts, but my principal Attention should be directed at british Law, and roman and Grecian Antiquities.
Gad. Chd.6 I set out once for a merry, jovial fellow. Merriment and Jollity, a thoughtless, careless Air, humming a Tune, &c. are esteemed the Supream Excellence of human Nature by some Men.
I have slid insensibly of late into a Channell of Prattle with Dr. Savel that will carry me into folly if I dont get out of it. I talk <dogmatically> big, impudent, bully like, and think it wit, sense and Eloquence.
Let me avoid such silly and indecent freedoms with the Dr. and such silly, affected drollery with his Wife and Niese.
I shall loose the natural Course of my Thoughts.
Trumbull has nothing new upon the Subject. His Principles are all taken from ancient Moralists, and from Dr. Clark, Mr. Hutchinson, Bp. Butler, Ld. Shaftesbury and Mr. Pope.
Nat. Gard[ner].7 I can never recollect Mens Names. I remembered your Face, and Person, but I could not recollect your Name.
This is a Habit of Inattention, a Habit of ruminating on Poetry, &c., on what he has read as he walks the Streets. This slowness of Memory, is consistent with ready Wit.
His Memory is very quick and prompt sometimes, tho it is very slow { 107 } at others.—Ruggles now is a contrast. Ruggles has the most constant Presence of Mind. He never makes Blunders thro Inattention. He received Money from 1/2 a dozen Gentlemen, and then rummaged his Pocketts, and dropd8 with John Chandler with as much Composure as if he had been a week in studying how to behave. And, upon that sudden Occasion, at Worcester, he planned his scheme in a moment, and he managed every Part of it with as much Readiness and Propriety as he could have done, if he had prepared himself for it, a week before hand.
N. Gard[ner] is heedless, and inattentive, has no Presence of Mind. Ruggles is the Man for Attention.
Dan. [Treadwell].9 There is a linear, a superficial and a solid Amplification. Thus if a Globe of one Inch in Diameter, appears thro a Microscope, 10 Inches in Diameter, This Microscope magnifies lineally 10 times, superficially 100 times and in solidity 1000 times, because the solidity is amplified in a cubical and the superficies in a quadratical Proportion to the Amplification of the Diameter. So that a Glass which magnifies in Diameter only 10 times, magnifies in solidity 1000 times.
Any Attraction or Repulsion that should accelerate or retard the Motion of the Comet would alter the Excentricity of its Elipsis and its Inclination too, if the attracting or repelling Body was without the Plane of the Comets Orbit.
Treadwell and I were four Hours on the Road to Boston. Our Horses never went out of a Walk and I believe, sometimes almost stood still, while we were engaged in Conversation upon Mathematicks, Physicks, Astronomy, optics &c. I am ashamed of my self. Treadwell [h]as had great Advantages, and has greatly improved them. He bears a great share in all Conversation, upon Politicks, War, Geography, Physicks &c.
Treadwell. The Rule for determining the Specific Gravity of a Body is to multiply not its Superficies, but its Capacity, its solid Contents into its Weight. For two Bodies of the same Metal of the same specific Gravity but of different Figures as a Sphere and a Cube e.g. may have equal surfaces but unequal solid Contents, and on the other Hand equall solid Contents or Capacity and unequal surfaces. Suppose a Sphere and Cube of Gold, of equal superficies, the Sphere will have the greatest Capacity.
The solid Content, the real Magnitude multiplied into the absolute { 108 } Gravity or absolute Weight determines its Specific Gravity or relative Weight.
Treadwell. Sewall and Mr. Langdon together made a very great Blunder.10 They made just observations of the Comet, but they drew several false Consiquences from those observations. I was sorry for Sewall is a very ingenious, young fellow. I blamed him for printing so hastily.
Quere, does the Capacity, the Solid Content, bear the same Proportion to the Weight, when the Matter is in one Sphere, as it does when divided into 20 Spheres.
Take a Sphere of gold one foot in Diameter, and divide it into 12 Globes, Quere, will the solid Content, the Capacity be increased?
Parson Smith has no small share of Priest Craft.11—He conceals his own Wealth, from his Parish, that they may not be hindered by knowing it from sending him Presents.—He talks very familiarly with the People, Men and Women of his Parish, to gain their affection.— He is [a] crafty designing Man.—He watches Peoples Looks and Behaviour.—He laughs at Parson Wibirts careless Air and Behaviour—his Walk across the Room, his long step and his Clapping his naked sides and Breasts with his Hands before the Girls.—He made just Remarks on the Character of Mr. Maccarty.—his Conceit, his orthodoxy, his Ignorance &c. and I caught him, several times, looking earnestly at my face.—He is not one of the heedless, inattentive Crew, that take no Notice of Mens Behaviour and Conversation and form no Judgment of their Characters.
Polly and Nabby are Wits.12 Ned will not take Account of all of every Colour that spring from the Quincys. Easthers Simile.
A Man of fond Passions. Cranch was fond of his Friend, fond of his Girl, and would have been fond of his Wife and Children. Tender and fond. Loving and compassionate. H.Q. is of the same Character, fond of her Brother, fond of herself and tender[ly] pitiful. Q[uery], are fondness and Wit compatible? P[arson] S[mith]s Girls have not this fondness, nor this Tenderness.
Fondling and Indulgence. They are the faulty Effects of good Nature. Good nature is H’s universal Character. She will be a fond, tender Wife, and a fond indulgent Mother. Cranch is endeavoring to amend this Defect, to correct this fault in his Character, he affects an Asperity, to the Children, to his old Friends. His former Complaisance { 109 } is vanished.—Do real Fondness, and Frankness, always go together. They met in C. and they met in H.—Fondness and Candour, and Frankness. Frankness, and Simplicity. Fondness is doting Love. Candor is a Disposition to palliate faults and Mistakes, to put the best Construction upon Words and Actions, and to forgive Injuries. Simplicity is a direct, open, artless, undisguised, Behaviour.
Are S Gils [the Smith Girls] either Frank or fond, or even candid.—Not fond, not frank, not candid.
[Draft of a Letter to Samuel Quincy.]13

[salute] Dear Sam

I am seated, to write you a most humble Petition for, what you have already repeatedly promised to grant, the favour of a Letter. I have, in this Place, none to converse with but the dead, and altho their Conversation is generally very entertaining and instructive yet I find in my Heart, sometimes an Inclination to speak to the Living, but as that Priviledge is denyed me, I would be satisfied with Writing to them, if that could interceed for an Answer. For my own Part, I flatter my self sometimes, that I have an uncommon share of Benevolence, sociability and friendship in my Composition, since I feel the strongest Desire of talking and writing, to you and many others, but upon a closer Reflection I find it is self at Bottom that hungers for the Instruction that others can give. Your situation, in the most busy office, in the Center of one of the best Libraries, and under the Instructions and Advice of one of the ablest Masters in America, not to mention (least you should suspect me of Compliment) the early youthful friendship between us, nor your happy Talents for such a Correspondence, have made me wish most heartily for a constant Correspondence with you.
Cards, Fiddles, and Girls, are the objects of Sam. Cards, Fiddles and Girls. Kissing, fidling and gaming. A flute, a Girl, and a Pack of Cards.
Note. I am liable [to] absence and Inattention, stupidity. I called at [Baldwins?] with J. Crosby and Mr. W[ . . . ] and left W. to pay for my Oats. [T. Lyde?] asked me for an Account. I took 3 or 4 [wrong?] Papers before I could find the [ . . . ]. [L.?] bid me open the [Door?], and I shut it.
Thatcher. Pownalls style is better than Shirleys. Shirley never promoted any Man for Merit alone. If Satan himself were incarnate and { 110 } in Competition with Parson Wells for the Election, I would vote for old Harry. I cant think that any Man of true good sense can be so vain, and fond of talking of himself as Parson Wells. Tully was not a vain Man. The vainest Thing that ever he said was, in his oration for Murena, that if they provoked him, he would profess himself a Lawyer in 3 days. I wish my self a soldier. I look upon these private soldiers with their Guns upon their shoulders, as superiour to me.
These are all wild, extravagant, loose Opinions and Expressions. He expresses himself as madly as Coll. Chandler. Wild flights. He has not considered that these crude Thoughts and wild Expressions are catched and treasured, as Proofs of his Character. He is extreamly tender, and sensible of Pleasure and of Paine.
Kent is for fun, Drollery, Humour, flouts, Jeers, Contempt. He has an irregular immethodical Head, but his Thoughts are often good and his Expressions happy.
Thatchers Passions are easily touched, his shame, his Compassions, his fear, his Anger, &c.
Worthington.14 A Man may be in Duress as well by an Injury to his Estate as by a Restraint of his Liberty, or by Menaces to his Person. I remember a Case in Sir John Stayer [Sir James Stair?] to this Purpose. A Man borrowed of his Neighbour £100 for 6 months, and gave him a Pawn of twice that Value, for security. When the 6 months were expired, he offered to pay the Money and the lawful Interest for it, and redeem his Pawn, but the Pawnee refused to resign it, without £10 for the Interest of his £100 for the 6 months. The Owner of the Pawn accordingly paid the £10, and redeemed his Pawn and afterwards brought his Action against Pawnee, for the £10 he had paid him as Interest, and it was pleaded, that he paid it voluntarily, and Volenti non fit Injuria, i.e. as he had paid it voluntarily, he was not injured. But it was adjudged that he should recover, for he was under a Constraint, a Necessity, in Point of Interest, i.e. in order to regain his Pawn, to pay the ten Pounds, and therefore, it should be considered as extorted from him by Duress.
Thatcher. The Speaker of the House of Commons in some former age, was impeached before the House, of Bribery. And was obliged to sett in the Chair, and hear the whole Examination of his own Conduct, and all the Debates of the Members upon it, till the House was ready for a Vote, and then was obliged to put the Vote himself whether he { 111 } should be expelled the House? The poor Man earnestly prayed to be excused, but could not, for while he was Speaker he alone could demand the Vote, which he did at last, and it passed in the Affirmative.
Divorce. Is it for the Benefit of Society, for the Convenience and Happiness of human Life, to allow of Divorces, in any Cases. I think it is. I think that either Adultery or Impotence are sufficient Reasons of Divorce. But Quere, if Dissonance of Dispositions is a sufficient Reason. This may be known, if sufficient Caution is taken beforehand. But the others cannot. By Conversation with a Lady, and Tryals of her Temper, and by Inquiry of her Acquaintance, a Man may know, whether her Temper will suit him or not. But he can never know whether she will be fruitful or barren, continent or incontinent.
But would an unlimited Toleration of Divorces promote the multiplication of Mankind or the happiness of Life.
Suppose every Man had a Power by Law, to repudiate his Wife and marry another at his Pleasure. Would not such a Power produce confusion, and Misery? After a Man and Woman had cohabited 7 years and had as many Children a seperation would be very inconvenient and unhappy. If either retained all the Children the other would be deprived of the Pleasure of educating, and seeing [them]. But if the Children were divided, each would want to see and provide for the others half.
Fortune has burned Coll. Quincys House, and some of his Furniture.15 Fortune is a capricious Goddess. She diverts herself with Men. She bestows her favours sometimes with very great Profusion on a Man, and within a few Years she strips him even of Necessaries. Tis a fluctuating state. We are tossed on the Waves sometimes to Heaven, and then sunk down to the Bottom. That House and Furniture clung and twined round his Heart, and could not be torn away without tearing to the quick.
Is it possible to preserve a serene undisturbed Mind, thro such a fire, and the Consequences of it.
There is in human Nature an attainable Magnanimity, which can see a valuable House, full of furniture, consuming in flames, a Friend, a Child, a Wife, struggling in the Agonies of Death, without a sigh, a Tear, or a painful sensation or Reflection. The Felicis Animi immota Tranquilitas, the immovable Tranquility of a happy Mind, unmoved by Perils of Water or of fire, unmoved by any Losses, Accidents, by Loss of Wealth, of fame, of friends, &c. Happy Mind indeed. Cant a { 112 } Mind be called happy, unless its Tranquility, its Ease, its Rest, is immovable, invincible.
It is not at all surprizing, that the Coll. is more dejected than his Brother was, for tho his Brothers Reduction was more compleat, yet the Coll’s was less expected.16 Ned was reduced to be worse than nothing. Josa. [Josiah] has a Competency left. But Josa.[’s] loss was entirely unforeseen, unexpected, and unprepared for. But Neds was, I presume, familiarly known and considered, by him at least beforehand.
Edmund lost a son as suddenly as the Coll. lost his House. And he shew[ed] as much Anxiety too. He could not sleep, all night, after he heard of it. The Colls Grief is more eloquent than Neds.
Dissappointments are Misery. If a Man takes Pride and Pleasure in a House, or in rich furniture, or Cloathing, or in any Thing, how is it possible for him to be satisfied when they are lost, destroyed, consumed.
Not to admire is all the Art I know, to make men happy and to keep them so. Coll. admired his House, tis burned, he is unhappy, &c. They are burned. He is unhappy.
It is a natural, immutable Law that the Buyer ought not to take Advantage of the sellers Necessity, to purchase at too low a Price. Suppose Money was very scarce, and a Man was under a Necessity of procuring a £100 within 2 Hours to satisfy an Execution, or else go to Goal. He has a Quantity of Goods worth £500 that he would sell. He finds a Buyer who would give him £100 for them all, and no more. The poor Man is constrained to sell £500s worth for £100. Here the seller is wronged, tho he sell [them?] voluntarily in one sense. Yet, the Injustice, that may be done by some Mens availing them selves of their Neighbours Necessities, is not so Great as the Inconvenience to Trade would be if all Contracts were to be void which were made upon insufficient Considerations. But Q. What Damage to Trade, what Inconvenience, if all Contracts made upon insufficient Considerations were void.
I made some observation[s] on Barbery Bushes, Shoe make [Sumach], Cater Pillars, &c.
Inquire the Properties of Isinglass, and of Carpenters Glew. How the 1st attracts all the Pumice and Sediment in Cyder to the Bottom and the latter to the Top?
{ 113 }
Inquire how the Juice lies in the Apple. What is the Cause of its natural Fermentation and inquire the operation of artificial fermentation.
[Draft of a Letter to Colonel Josiah Quincy.]17
You regret your Loss. But why? Was you fond of seeing, or of thinking that others saw and admired, so stately a Pile? Or was you pleased with viewing the convenient and elegant Contrivance of the inside, and with shewing to others how neatly it was finished. Is it the Pleasure of seeing, with your own Eyes, the Elegance, and Grandeur of your House, or is it the Pleasure of imagining that others admired it and admired or envyed you for it that you regrett the Loss of? Did you suppose that you was esteemed and regarded for the Beauty and Conveniency of your House? Or are you mortified to think that your Enemies will be gratified, at your Misfortune. If these are the sources of your Grief, it is irrational, unmanly. For the Friendship, that is founded on your figure and Estate, is not worth preserving, and the Man who can rejoice, at your Loss, is not worth attention. But if you consider it as a punishment of your Vices and follies, as a frown that is designed to arrouse your attention, to Things of a more permanent Nature, you should not grieve, but rejoice, that the great Parent of the World has thus corrected you for your good.
Figure, and shew, may indeed attract the Eyes, and Admiration of the Vulgar, but are little very little regarded by wise Men. Is it not rational, noble, to dote of the Pleasure of viewing a fine Horse, and being seen by others to ride such a one. A fine Horse, a fine House, Riches, Learning, make People stare at me and talk about me, and a mighty Boon this to be stared at, and talked of by People that I despize, and all that I regard will love and Honor me for Acquisitions that I have Power to [make?] and which cant be torn from me. Wisdom and Virtue are not dependent on the Elements of fire or Water, Air or Earth.
How should I bear Bob Pains Detraction? Should I be angry, and take Vengeance by scandalizing him? or should I be easy, undisturbed, and praise him, as far as he is Praise worthy. Return good for Evil. I should have been as well pleased if he had said I was a very ingenious, promising young fellow, but as it is I am pretty easy.—I should not have been sorry if you had called at our House.
Try her [Hannah Quincy’s] Prudence. See if you cant draw from { 114 } her saucy disrespectfull Expressions concerning her Mother in Law.—Was not you very intimate with your Mother, when she was Bty. Waldron?—as intimate as you are with N. Marsh. She assumes the Authority of the Step mother.—She wears more Airs of Reserve, and Distance, and Superiority than your father.—She18 is elated with her Match.—She is not the most discreet Woman. She told the Behaviour of the People, at the Tavern they were at in the Country about the Tea, before all the Monatiquot officers, shoe string fellows that never use Tea and would use it as [awkwardly?] as the Landlady did. That was quite imprudent [and] impopular. It was designed to divert and please, but it had a contrary Effect. It made them all jealous and suspicious that they were remarked and laughed at as much to the next Company. And her unguarded Expressions about Peoples being afraid, backward to go near the fire, and about their Eating her Sweet meats, drinking their Brandy, and stealing their [ . . . ] and Cloathing have given offence to many People.
These are Indiscretions, that some Women would have avoided.
H. was very imprudent, to endeavour to exasperate Mr. Cranch, for she is sensible, that he knows a story to her Disadvantage, and she should remember that Love turned to Hatred, is like the best Wine turned to Vinegar, the most acrid in the World. He will seek Revenge. Arise black Vengeance from the hollow Hell is the language of Othello. I expect to hear very soon that he has divulged that story.
By saying you have corresponded with Dr. Lincoln so long and by saying I can tell you how J. Brackett carries your Letters to Captn. Hews’s, and leaves them there, and takes Lincolns Letters to you, she judged, that J. Brackett had told me she held a correspondence with Lincoln, and went to clearing herself. She declared and protested, she never wrote a Line to him in her Life, excepting one Billet, relating to those Reflections on Courtship and Marriage which she sent with that Book. So I got satisfied.
H. I dont know who has been plagued most, Mr. Cranch or I. I think I have as much Reason to complain of being plagued as he.
Parson Wiberts Hints. I am not obliged to answer his Hints. I could see a good deal of Passion mixed with his Raillery. This is bragging. She will drop such Hints, by and by, that I am in Love with her, and will tell others, that she aint obliged to take my meaning by my saying, { 115 } but let me explain my self, and then I shall receive a [ . . . ] Repulse. My Father gave me my Choice, left me at Liberty. I am not controuled nor constrained. My own Pleasure and Inclinations are to be my Guide.
Suppose I should hear that J. Went[worth], [Dan.?] Lock, B. Crawford, Mr. Cranch was dead, what Sentiment would rise? A tender Grief, sorrow, mourning. But should Hannah die, what sentiment? Should not I be more affected with her Death than with Cranch’s? I cant say. But should my father or Mother die or my Brothers, how should I feel? But the Deaths of Acquaintances, Relations, Friends, are but one sort of sorrowful Events. Losses by Shipwreck, Bankruptcy, or fire, are another sort. How should I bear a sudden Consumption [of] a fine Estate, by any such Accident? How should [I] bear acute Pain, or frequent sickness, or a lingering chronical Disorder? The latter I have born, the former never tryed. Scorn Grief, and create Joy. Create, and maintain out of your own Thoughts a constant Satisfaction of Mind, by considering the Littleness of Grief, and the Magnanimity of Resignation.
Littleness of Mind alone can be grieved, and grumble at what it cannot help, and what it would be foolish to help if it could.
An habit of Indolence, and Listlessness is growing very fast upon me.
I am unable to think patiently, for any Length of Time.
Secondat says, that a Man, in the State of Nature i.e. unimproved by Education or Experience, would feel Nothing but his own Impotence and would tremble at the motion of a Leaf, and fly from every Shadow.19
But Q.—What proof can be given of this Assertion? What Reason is there to think that Timidity, rather than Confidence or Presumption, would hold the Ascendancy in him? Is it not as reasonable to think he would be too bold, as too timorous, and engage oak Trees, unwieldy Rocks, or wild Beasts, [&c.?] as that he would fly from every Shadow? The scarcity of Phenomena, make it impossible to decide. There never was more than one or two Men found, at full Age, who had grown up with the Beasts in the Woods and never seen a human Creature, and they were not very critically observed. What does he mean by a Man in a State of Nature? Suppose a Child, confined in a Room, and supplied with Necessaries, by some secret invisible avenue, till 20 { 116 } year[s] old, without ever seeing a human Creature. That Man would be in a State of Nature, i.e. unimproved by Experience and human Conversation. <Suppose, this Man at 20, brought from his Cell.> Suppose a Man of the same Age and size let into this poor fellows Cell. What would be the Effect of the Meeting. Would the savage be frightened, or pleased. Surprized he would be, but agreably, or disagreably. Would his fears make him fly, or his Curiosity examine, or his Presumption assault the new object?
In a total Inexperience and Ignorance, how would human Passions operate? I cant say. A Child, at its first Entrance upon the World, discovers no signs of Terror or Surprize at the new scenes and objects, that lie around it, and if the Child is not terrified, why should the Man be. The Child is pleased as soon as its Eyes are first opened with bright and luminous objects, not frightened. It will smile not cry. Suppose then a whole Army of Persons, trained up in this manner in single seperate Cells, brought together, would they mutually dred and fly each other, or be pleased with the sight of each other, and by consequence allured gradually to a more intimate Acquaintance or would they fall together by the Ears for the Mastery as two Herds of strange Cattle do? Would the State of Nature be a State of War or Peace? Two might meet, and be pleased with each others looks, and fall to play, like two Lambs. Two others might meet, and one might apply his Hands to the others Body and hurt him, and then both fall afighting like 2 Dogs. So that both Friendship and Squabbles might be the Consequences of the first Congress. But Passions work so differently in different men especially when several of them are complicated together, and several, as Surprize, Joy, fear, Curiosity would in this Case be combined, that we cant judge what the Consequences would be in such an imaginary Congress.
Hobbes thinks, that Men like Cattle, if in a state of Nature, would mutually desire and strive for the Mastery, and I think Secondat’s Argument from the Complexity of the Idea of Dominion, is not a Refutation of Hobbes’s Hypothesis, for Cattle fight for Dominion, and Men in the State of Nature may be supposed to have as clear an Idea of Dominion as the Cattle have. The Laws received in a State of Nature i.e. before the Establishment of society, are the Laws of Nature. How can man be considered out of Society, before the Establishment of Society. We put possible imaginable Cases, and then ask what would be the Effect. The Species cant subsist, without Society, but an Individual may, as the wild Man found in a forrest, or a Child bred alone in a Cell out of all Human sight. Now suppose 1000 such Individuals { 117 } should exist at once and all be collected and turned loose together in the same forrest. What would succeed. Some squabbles, wild [staring?], and some plays, [sports?], Copulation would soon succeed.
[ . . . ] Lust of Dominion could not at first produce a War of all against all. They would not feel any such Desire of ruling and subduing. They would soon feel hunger and thirst, and desire of Copulation and Calf, and would endeavour to supply these Wants and gratify these Desires, but would not yet conceive the Thought and Wish of governing all the Rest. Peace, Nourishment, Copulation, and Society. Recur [to] this by all means, when I get into a thotless dissipated [Mood?], set down and write my self into [steady?] thinking.
Law is human Reason. It governs all the Inhabitants of the Earth; the political and civil Laws of each Nation should be only the particular Cases, in which human Reason is applied.
Let me attend to the Principle of Government. The Laws of Britain, should be adapted to the Principle of the british Government, to the Climate of Britain, to the Soil, to its situation, as an Island, and its Extent, to the manner of living of the Natives as Merchants, Manufacturers and Husbandmen, to the Religion of the Inhabitants.
This is a succession in Capita. Suppose my father should die, and leave me and my 3 Brothers. In that Case The Inheritance, all my fathers Estate must be divided into 3 Parts. And if he had left 4 or 5 or 6 Children, his Estate must have been divided into 4 or 5 or 6 Parts or shares. The Inheritance is to be divided according to the Number of Heads, that are to succeed.
This is a succession in stirpes. Suppose I had a family and should die leaving 3 Children and afterwards my father should die, leaving my two Brothers alive, in this Case my 3 Children must succeed to my fathers Estate in my stead and my fathers Inheritance must be divided into 3 parts, one of which should be inherited by my three Children. Here it is divided not according to the No. of Heads but according to the Number of stocks, that spring from the common Root which is my father.
An alliance between the Emperor and the States to which England acceeded. England and Holland obliged themselves to assist the House of Austria, in taking and keeping Possession of the Spanish Monarchy, when ever Charles 2d should die without lawful Heirs. France had { 118 } designs and Pretensions on the Spanish Monarchy. The 1st object of the grand alliance was the Reduction of the Power of France; the 2d to secure the succession of Spain to the H[ouse] of Austria. Charles 2d of Spain whose good Queen could not with all her [ . . . ].20 Right of succeeding would have been in the [Children?] of Maria Theresa, in [whom this?] Right was [ . . . ] by [ . . . ] 1657–1688.
Have been out of Humour, this Evening, more than I have been for some Weeks if not Months. Reflection, thinking on a Girl, ill Health, Want of Business, &c., wrought me by insensible degrees into a peevish Mood. I felt reduced to Necessities, needy, poor, pennyless, empty Pockets. I have given away at least 10s. this day. Thus decayed Merchants must preserve the Appearances of Affluence. But Poverty is infinitely less deplorable to me than a nervous Languor of the Body. If I have good Digestion and Spirits, I can bear with an easy Mind an empty Purse.
But I have been stupid, to the last Degree, in neglecting to spred my Acquaintance. I have neglected Parson Robbins, Parson Tafte, and Parson Smith too. I have neglected Dr. Tufts21 and Esqr. Niles, Eben Miller, Dr. Miller, and Edmund Quincy. Dr. Millers &c., Mr. Allins, Mr. Borlands, Mrs. Apthorps, Edd. Quincies. I should aim at an Acquaintance. Not to spend much Time at their Houses but to get their good Word. And behave with Spirit too. I have hitherto behaved with too much Reserve to some and with too stiff a face and air, and with a face and Air and Tone of Voice of pale Timidity. I should look bold, speak with more Spirit. Should talk Divinity with P[arson] Tafte, and gain his Love or else extort his Admiration, or both. Make him love and admire. I ought to hire, or wheedle or allure two or 3 in every Town, to trumpet my Character abroad. But I have no Trumpets in Weighmouth, none in Skadin,22 none in Milton. Oh! what have I been about? I lay no schemes to raise my Character. I lay no schemes to draw Business. I lay [no?] Schemes to extend my Acquaintance, with young fellows nor young Girls, with Men of figure, Character nor fortune.23 Am content to live unknown, poor, with the lowest of all our species for Company. This is the Tenor of my Conduct.
Lincoln. My father gave me a serious Lecture last Saturday night. He says I have waited on H.Q. two Journeys, and have called and made Visits there so often, that her Relations among others have said I am courting of her. And the Story has spread so wide now, that, if I { 119 } dont marry her, she will be said to have Jockied me, or I to have Jockied her, and he says the Girl shall not suffer. A story shall be spread, that she repelled me.
These are the Inconveniences of such Reports. When it has been generally talked and believed that a young fellow is Courting a Girl, if they seperate, if they slacken their Intimacy, the fault will be laid to one or the other—either he would not have her or she would not have him. Oh Tittle Tattle!—subject of Tittle Tattle!
Lincoln. Dependance is, if Inequality is not, inconsistent with a lasting Friendship.
I.24 A Man cannot maintain, for any Length of Time, a Friendship with another on whom he is dependant, for the Benefactor will expect Condescentions and verbal or other Expressions of Gratitude, that the Receiver will not be always careful to pay.
The Benefactor may, through accident or Passion, or inadvertency, show that he is conscious of the favours he confers, that he expects Submissions and Expressions of Gratitude that the Receiver thro the same Imperfections may not be always careful to perform, and hence Disgusts will arise on both sides. That a Friendship may subsist between two Persons very unequal in Rank and fortune, may be true. Or between two very unequal in Age or Character—as between Gridley and me. But a Friendship between two of equal rank and fortune, of equal Age and Character, has the fairest Probability to continue. But there will be one Tye, that of Gratitude, which ought to have great Strength.
Put this Case. A Gentleman of great Experience and Character in the Profession of the Law as Mr. Gridley, or in that of Physick as Dr. Hersey, may receive a young fellow, just admitted to the Bar as me or just beginning the Practice of Physick as you, to his Friendship. Their Age and Character demand from you and me Deference and Respect, and Gratitude as well as Interest will prompt us to pay it. Yet why may not such a Friendship subsist? Now why should a Dependance for Advice and Assistance in Practice and in the Conduct of Life or for a good Character and Recommendation to the World, be less destructive to friendship than a Dependance for the Necessities of Life, food and Cloathing. There is however a Distinction between Patronage and Friendship. A Patron may advise and assist his Pupil in Practice and may spred his Character with great Advantage to the World, without receiving him to that Intimacy, Confidence, Affection which I { 120 } distinguish by the Word friendship. It is not natural for old Men to contract intimate, familiar friendships with young ones. For, Experience shows that human Nature is scarcely capable at any Age of Constancy, sincerity, and Virtue enough for a very unreserved friendship, but specially in youth, and young ones are not allured by freedoms and friendly familiarities, to engage with old Men. Yet I cant see why a Man of sense and sentiment too, as well as fortune, might not maintain the strictest friendship, with another of the same Character, tho in very needy Circumstances and tho supported and supplied by him, even with Necessaries. Genius and Virtue might be gratified and improved on both sides. And Generosity, the satisfaction of making the Life of such a friend easy, might be gratified on the Part of the Benefactor, and Gratitude, and Interest on the Part of the Receiver would be ties enough to hold.
P[arson] Gay. Two Countrymen were disputing which did the most good, the Sun or the Moon. One of them asserted that the Moon did the most because that shines in the Night, when without that, we should be in absolute Darkness, but the Sun never shone till it was broad day light, as light as Day. But the Sun never shone but in the day, when there was no need of it.—Oh the stupidity, not to see that the sun was the Cause of the day light without which those Hours that we now call the day would be as dark as the Night without a moon.
Another—at some ordination, a certain Indian, who had never seen a public assembly before, seated himself, in the Alley, very near the Deacon’s seat. He sat in Silence with the rest, while the Priests were at Prayer, but when the Psalm was named, and the Deacon rose up [to] set the Tune, he began to stare and grew angry at the Deacon, but when the Deacon had read a Line and the whole Congregation broke out with him, the Indian grew quite mad and rushing up to the Deacon, layed on upon him most unmercifully. ’Tis you says he are the Cause of all this plaguey Rout.
Eunice Paine.25 Thunder and Lightning have a physical Effect upon me. I am always sick when it thunders. My Mother had a Child that was born in the latter Part of the fall, it lived thro the Winter and Spring, and when warm Weather came there was a violent storm of Thunder and Lightning one afternoon. As soon as the Storm began the Child was thrown into Convulsions. It twitched and trembled from Head to foot, its Nails and its face turned black, and it continued so till the Storm was over, and then it recovered. Sometime afterwards { 121 } another Thunder Gust happened and the Child was taken exactly in the same manner. We sent for the Dr. but before he got there, the Thunder Cloud was blown over, and the Child as well as ever.
What effluvia, what Physical Virtue, can a Cloud or Thunder or Lightning, diffuse to the Earth that should convulse that Child, (or make Mrs. Eunice Vomit). An Imagination prompted by Hystericks and by fear, might possibly occasion Mrs. Eunices sickness, but not the Childs. No Habit of fear, no association of Terror, Horror with the Idea of Lightning, had yet been formed in the Childs Mind. So that Either the sight of the flashes of Lightning, which it is unlikely the Child saw, or the sound of the Thunder, which the Child no Doubt heard, or else some unknown Effluvia emitted by the Clouds, meeting with some peculiar Property in that Childs Constitution, was the Occasion of its Convulsions.
E.P. My Brother says there is no such Thing as fancy distinct from Judgment. A Man may prefer a Woman, or a Woman a Man, for some Property or Qualification, that he or she may be unable to name. They may be unable to give a reason for their Choice. But [sentence unfinished]
Deacon Belcher. I have buried father and Mother, but I never felt, before, as I feel now. I am almost overwhelmed.—The Deacon and his Wife too, were in [Trouble?]. The Pangs of her Grief were violent.— What a pleasant Child have I lost? What a pleasant sister has Billy lost? The Loss of Moses was nothing to this. Oh how deceitful is my Heart? I thought, If Moses had died at home and I could have followed him decently to his Grave, it would have been an alleviation. But I find I was mistaken.
She was so full at the first sight of me, that she could not speak plainly. She sighs and groans and weeps, most bitterly. The father and the mother with throbbing Hearts bewail the Death of their only Daughter. These are Sensations that I never felt. I can reflect on these sorrowful Events with great Serenity. I feel none of that Anguish, which the Parent feels. But cant I fortify my Mind with Patience, with an entire Resignation to the Dispensations of Heaven?
Make Preparation to bear Misfortunes. Prepare your Mind, furnish your Mind with Reflections, Considerations, that will support you and mitigate your Grief.
1. This arbitrary date has been assigned to all of the entries that follow the sole dated entry in D/JA/3, that of 29 June 1759, preceding.
{ 122 }
2. Probably Hannah’s cousin Katharine (b. 1733), daugherdaughter of Edmund Quincy (1703–1788) (Salisbury, Family-Memorials, 1:324).
3. Perhaps Ann Marsh, who in 1762 became Col. Josiah Quincy’s third wife (Braintree Town Records, p. 872).
4. The notes that follow are in part quotations or translations and in part paraphrases of two works on civil law JA was studying, namely Wood’s New Institute of the Imperial or Civil Law (see bk. 3, ch. 9) and Johannes van Muyden’s Compendiosa institutionum Justiniana tractatio (see Titulus XXX, “Quibus Modis Tollitur Obligatio”). It has been necessary to resort to the passages JA was abstracting in order to construct an even passably readable text of these notes, because they were written in a highly abbreviated form and with little regard for punctuation. Gaps in language and sense remain, and even those passages directly translated from Latin are faulty. It is clear that the diarist’s mind was not on his books when he made these memoranda, but was “roving from Girls to friends” and other matters not closely related to law.
5. Three or four words missing.
6. Probably Gardiner Chandler. From several entries below it appears that JA was in Worcester about this time.
7. Nathaniel Gardner (1719–1760) kept the South Grammar School in Boston and had some reputation as a poet (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:366–368).
8. Thus in MS. Some words have evidently been omitted.
9. Daniel Treadwell (d. 1760), Harvard 1754, had been since 1757 a fellow and professor at King’s College (Thomas, Columbia Univ. Officers and Alumni).
10. Sewall is doubtless David Sewall, a Harvard classmate of JA’s; he was at this time studying law in Portsmouth, N.H., and compiling a series of almanacs published there; he later settled at York, Maine, and held important judicial offices. Samuel Langdon (1723–1797), minister of the First Church in Portsmouth, became in 1774 the thirteenth president of Harvard (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:508–528).
11. This entry may signalize JA’s first visit to the Smith household in Weymouth, where, before long, his initially unfavorable impressions were reversed and his visits became frequent. In printing this entry, which is nothing if not candid, the editors have tried to follow with special care the diarist’s ambiguous punctuation and capitalization, leaving it to readers to decide whether certain disapproving comments therein were intended for Parson Smith or for others mentioned incidentally.
12. Mary Smith (1740–1811), who in 1762 married Richard Cranch; and her sister Abigail (1744–1818), who on 25 Oct. 1764 married JA. The allusions that follow are obscure. The Smith girls’ mother was a Quincy (Elizabeth, daughter of Col. John Quincy).
13. No other version of this letter has been found. Quincy was presumably still in the Boston office of Benjamin Prat, where he had studied for the bar.
14. John Worthington (1719–1800), Yale 1740, was a prominent lawyer in Springfield, Mass., prior to the Revolution; a loyalist, he did not resume practice after the war (Dexter, Yale Graduates, 1:658–660).
15. This entry, together with the partial draft of a letter to Col. Josiah Quincy on the same subject, below, was in all likelihood written earlier than the entries that immediately precede them. Quincy’s house burned on 17 May 1759, and it is natural to suppose that these reflections and the letter were written very soon thereafter.
16. Edmund Quincy’s Boston mercantile firm went into bankruptcy in 1757; the year before, Quincy’s son Abraham had been drowned in Boston Harbor (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:109–110).
17. No other version of this remarkable letter has been found. It is apparently incomplete and was quite possibly never sent.
18. The antecedent may be either Betsy (Waldron) Quincy or her stepdaughter Hannah Quincy (whose “Match” could be her engagement to Bela Lincoln), but it is more likely the former than the latter. The allusions that follow are too private to interpret, and the passage was written so rapidly and carelessly that both words and meaning are sometimes doubtful.
{ 123 }
19. JA was reading Montesquieu’s Spirit of Laws. (Secondat was the family name of the Baron de la Brède et de Montesquieu.) His own copy of this work was Nugent’s translation, “Second Edition corrected and considerably improved,” London, 1752; 2 vols. This copy is now in the possession of Mrs. Arthur Adams, Charles River Village, Mass., and has in its margins what JA (in his Diary entry for 26 June 1760) calls “a sort of Index to every Paragraph” in JA’s hand, though it has no additional remarks or commentary. The passage on which JA is commenting is in bk. 1, ch. 2, “Of the Laws of Nature”: “Man in a state of nature … would feel nothing in himself at first but impotency and weakness; his fears and apprehensions would be excessive; as appears from instances … of savages found in forests, trembling at the motion of a leaf, and flying from every shadow” (1:5).
Since in the entry for 26 June 1760JA says that he has “begun to read the Spirit of Laws,” one might conjecture that the present entry is badly out of place; but it is more likely that he sampled the book in 1759 and began a year or so later to read it “in order and with Attention,” compiling a marginal digest as he did so.
20. Three or four words illegible. The rest of the entry is only semilegible.
21. Cotton Tufts, a Weymouth physician. He had married Lucy, daughter of Col. John Quincy, and was thus an uncle by marriage of AA.
22. A local and now forgotten name, often spelled Scadding, for the South Precinct of Braintree, later incorporated as the town of Randolph (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 56). Moses Taft’s meetinghouse was in the South Precinct.
23. This sentence contains words rubbed out and is obviously faulty as JA left it.
24. This reading is somewhat conjectural, since the initial “I” was inserted between the lines and is not clear beyond question. There is no paragraph break in the MS, but there is a heavy dash preceding this initial. Thus Lincoln may have spoken the next several sentences, but if that is so, JA failed to indicate in the next paragraph just where he himself began elaborating the same theme in rejoinder to Lincoln.
25. Eunice Paine, sister of Robert Treat Paine; a frequent visitor in the Cranch-Palmer circle at Germantown. Richard Cranch had courted her in 1753, but her father opposed the match and she never married. See Ralph Davol, Two Men of Taunton, Taunton, 1912, ch. 10, where some of her correspondence is published; also entry of 1 Feb. 1763, below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759-10

Extract of a Letter to Jona. Sewall, Octr. 17591

The true End, which we ought to have in View, is that praeclarum ac Singulare quiddam, which follows here.
Tis impossible to employ with full Advantage the Forces of our own minds, in study, in Council or in Argument, without examining with great Attention and Exactness, all our mental Faculties, in all their Operations, as explained by Writers on the human Understanding, and as exerted by Geometricians.
Tis impossible to judge with much Præcision of the true Motives and Qualities of human Actions, or of the Propriety of Rules contrived to govern them, without considering with like Attention, all the Passions, Appetites, Affections in Nature from which they flow. An intimate Knowledge therefore of the intellectual and moral World is the sole foundation on which a stable structure of Knowledge can be erected.
{ 124 }
And the structure of british Laws, is composed of such a vast and various Collection of materials, taken partly from Saxony, Normandy and Denmark, partly from Greece and Rome, and partly from the cannon and feudal Law, that, ’tis impossible for any Builder to comprehend the whole vast Design, and see what is well and what [ill] contrived or jointed, without Acquainting himself with Saxon, Danish, Norman [as] well as Greek and Roman History, with civil, [feu]dal and Cannon Law.
[Be]sides all this, tis impossible to avail our selves of the genuine Powers of Eloquence, without examining in their Elements and first Principles, the Force and Harmony of Numbers, as employed by the Poets and orators of ancient and modern times, and without considering the natural Powers of Imagination, and the Disposition of Mankind to Metaphor and figure, which will require the Knowledge of the true Principles of Grammar, and Rhetoric, and of the best classical Authors.
Now to what higher object, to what greater Character, can any Mortal aspire, than to be possessed of all this Knowledge, well digested, and ready at Command, to assist the feeble and Friendless, to discountenance the haughty and lawless, to procure Redress of Wrongs, the Advancement of Right, to assert and maintain Liberty and Virtue, to discourage and abolish Tyranny and Vice.
1. First entry in booklet “No. 4”; as numbered by CFA (our D/JA/4); CFA noted on the paper cover that the contents had been “copied” and “compared” (collated). D/JA/4 contains only a handful of scattered entries, nearly all relative to JA’s studies and reading, from 12 Oct. 1759 to 21 Nov. 1772; all but the first two and the last were written in 1760–1761.
No other version of the present letter to Sewall, the draft of which is obviously incomplete, has been found. The earliest letter known to survive in the correspondence between the two young lawyers is that of Sewall to JA, 29 Sept. 1759 (Adams Papers; partly printed in JA, Works, 2:80, note), but from internal evidence it is clear that the correspondence began earlier.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0004-0009-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1759


Began Octr. 12th, in Pursuance of the foregoing Plan to transcribe from Brightlands english Grammar, Answer’s to Mr. Gridleys Questions for that Grammar.
I have begun too, to compare Dr. Cowells Institutes of the Laws of England, with Justinians Institutes of the Laws of Rome, Title by Title, that each may reflect Light upon the other, and that I may advance my Knowledge of civil and common Law at the same Time.1
1. There are no more entries in D/JA/4 until 14 Nov. 1760, and very little in the form of correspondence or other papers survives to fill the gap between the { 125 } present entry and that of 26 May 1760, from a different MS booklet, which follows.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-05-26

Monday May 26th 1760.1

Spent the Evening at Mr. Edd. Quincy’s, with Mr. Wibird, and my Cozen Zab. Mr. Quincy told a remarkable Instance of Mr. Ben. Franklin’s Activity, and Resolution, to improve the Productions of his own Country, for from that source it must have sprang, or else from an unheard of Stretch of Benevolence to a stranger. Mr. Franklin, happening upon a Visit to his Germantown Friends, to be at Mr. Wibirts Meeting, was asked, after Meeting in the afternoon, to drink Tea, at Mr. Quincys. The Conversation turned upon the Qualities of American soils, and the Different Commodities raised in these Provinces. Among the rest, Mr. Franklin mentioned, that the Rhenish Grape Vines had been introduced, into Pensylvania, and that some had been lately planted in Phyladelphia, and succeeded very well. Mr. Quincy said, upon it, I wish I could get some into my Garden. I doubt not they would do very well in this Province. Mr. Franklin replied, Sir if I can supply you with some of the Cuttings, I shall be glad to. Quincy thanked him and said, I dont know but some time or other I shall presume to trouble you. And so the Conversation passed off. Within a few Weeks Mr. Quincy was surprised with a Letter from some of Franklins friends in Boston, that a Bundle of these Rhenish slips were ready for him. These came by Water. Well, soon afterwards he had another Message that another Parcell of slips were left for him by the Post. The next Time Mr. Franklin was in Boston Mr. Quincy waited on him to thank him for his slips, but I am sorry Sir to give you so much Trouble. Oh Sir, says Franklin the Trouble is nothing Sir, to me, if the Vines do but succeed in your Province. However I was obliged to take more Pains than I expected when I saw you. I had been told, that the Vines were in the City but I found none and was obliged to send up to a Village 70 miles from the City for them. Thus he took the Trouble to hunt over the City, and not finding Vines there, he sends 70 miles into the Country, and then sends one Bundle by Water, and least they should miscarry another by Land, to a Gentleman whom he owed nothing, and was but little acquainted with, purely for the sake of Doing Good in the World by Propagating the Rhenish Wines thro these Provinces. And Mr. Quincy has some of them now growing in his Garden. This is an Instance too of his amazing Capacity for Business. His Memory and Resolution. Amidst so much Business as Counsellor, Post Master, Printer, so many private studies, and so many { 126 } | view Publick Avocations too, to remember such a transient Hint and exert himself, so in answer to it, is surprising.2
This Rhenish Wine is made of a Grape that grows in Germany upon the River Rhine and from which it receives its Name, and is very famous, all over Europe. Let me remember to look in Chambers, under Rhenish and in Salmons Geography, under the Produce of the Countries upon the Rhine, for more Particulars of this Vine and Grape, and Wine. The soil it delights in, the Method of Cultivation, what digging, what Manure, what Pruning &c. Let me ask Mr. Quincy, whether the soil of his Garden suits them? and what sorts and how many [sorts?]3 of Grapes he has? Dont they require more Heat than we have for them? Where he got his other slips. Where he got his Lime Trees? &c.
1. First entry in “Paper book No. 5” (D/JA/5). This booklet, an assemblage of stitched gatherings from which the threads have now largely worn away, contains somewhat irregular entries from 26 May to 25 Nov. 1760.
2. In an interesting letter to Edmund Quincy from London, 10 Dec. 1761, Franklin touched on the subject of American viniculture. This letter, lacking part of its text, was found among the Adams Papers and was printed by CFA in a footnote to the present Diary entry (JA, Works, 2:82). It is now in MHi:Misc. Bound MSS.
3. Possibly “scients”(i.e. scions).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-05-27

Tuesday [27 May].

At home. Read, in Naval Trade and Commerce.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-05-28

Wednesday [28 May].

Loitered the forenoon away upon this Question in Arithmetic. 3 men give 20 shillings for a Bushell of Corn. A pays in the Proportion of one half, B in the Proportion of 1/3 and C in the Proportion of 1/4. Now how many shillings and Pence does each one pay? I put x, an Algebraicall Expression, for that unknown Quantity, whose 1/2 1/3 and 1/4 added together would make 20 shillings.
graphic here { 127 } | view graphic here
In the afternoon, Zab and I wandered down to Germantown on foot—running a Parrallell between the Pleasures, Profits, freedoms, Ease and Uses of the several Professions, especially Physick and Divinity.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-05-29

1760. May 29. Thurdsday.

Rose and breakfasted. Have done nothing yet to day, and God only knows what I shall do. The Question of the Pipe. A Pipe of Wine has 3 Cocks, one of which would discharge it in 1/4 of an hour, another in 1/2 an hour and the 3rd in 3/4 of an hour all open and running at once. Quere in what Time, all three together will empty the Cask? Let me Note these Proportions for the Present.
graphic here
Perhaps this may turn out right.
I must run over Fractions again, vulgar and Decimal, as well as algebraical, and now and then, a few Questions in Fenning and Hammond, and Ward, or else I shall totally forget my Numbers. I find that the Art of numbering depends upon Practice, and in a short disuse, they will slip from the Memory. A Journal, scrawled with Algebraical signs, and interspersed with Questions of Law, Husbandry, natural History &c., will be a useful Thing. The Principal Uses however will be to correct my style, and assist my Memory, give me a true Compunction for the Waste of Time, and urge me of Course to a better Improvement of it. Besides Writing is one of the greatest Pleasures, and it sooner rouses my ambition, warms my Imagination, and fixes me in { 128 } a train of thinking, than any other Thing that I can do—than sitting still with my Eyes shut, or than holding a Book to read.
Mem. Last Sunday after Meeting Mr. Cranch explained to us at Dr. Tufts’s, the Machines that are used in the Mines of Coal in New Castle, and of Tin, in Cornwal, to convey up Water from the Bottom of the Mine. They go upon the Principles of elastic Air and rarefyed Vapour. They have hollow Globes of plated Iron, or of Copper, which will hold some Barrells, which they heat with great fires and have Tubes, and Cocks, and can cast up great Quantities of Water, many H[ogshea] ds in a minute. But I have forgot the Construction of the Machines, as well as the Method of Working them. Here is my failing or one of my failings. My Attention has not been keen enough, to understand and fix in my Memory the Explications of many of these Machines. Etter explained to me, his stocking Looms, but I could not when I left him, have run from the first Motion to the compleat formation of a stocking. I did not see thro it. Cranch once explained to me, the Machine that draws Water from the Thames, into the Canals under the City of London, and that sends Water up into their Garretts, Chambers, Rooms and Cellars, so that by Opening a Cock you may draw a Pail of Water from the Thames, in any House in the City almost, but I do not remember the Construction of it. Let me remember to enquire of him about the Construction of these 2, that for Water from the Thames, and that for Water from the Thames [thus in MS] and that for Water from the Mines, and to go once more to see the stocking Loom.
Few things I believe have deviated so far from the first Design of their Institution, are so fruitful of destructive Evils or so needful of a speedy Regulation, as Licensed Houses. The Accomodation of Strangers, and perhaps of Town Inhabitants on public occasions, are the only warrantable Intentions of a Tavern and the supply of the Neighbourhood with necessary Liquors, in small Quantities <to be consumed at home> and at the cheapest Rates, are the only excusable Designs of a Retailer; and that these Purposes may be effected, it is necessary, that both should be selected from the most virtuous, and wealthy People who will accept the Trust, and so few of each should be erected, that the Profits may enable them to make the best Provision, at a moderate Price. But at the present Day, such Houses are become the eternal Haunt, of loose disorderly People of the same Town, which renders them offensive and unfit for the Entertainment of a Traveller of the least delicacy; and, it seems that Poverty, and distressed Circum• { 129 } stances are become the strongest Argument, to procure an Approbation, and for this [these?] assigned Reasons, such Multitudes have been lately licensed, that none can afford to make Provision, for any but the trifling, nasty vicious Crew, that most frequent them. The Consequences of these Abuses are obvious. Young People are tempted to waste their Time and Money, and to acquire habits of Intemperance and Idleness that we often see reduce many of them to Beggary, and Vice, and lead some of them at last to Prisons and the Gallows. The Reputation of our County is ruined among Strangers who are apt to infer the Character of a Place from that of the Taverns and the People they see there. But the worst Effect of all, and which ought to make every Man who has the least sense of his Priviledges tremble, these Houses are become in many Places the Nurseries of our Legislators;— An Artful Man, who has neither sense nor sentiment may by gaining a little sway among the Rabble of a Town, multiply Taverns and Dram Shops and thereby secure the Votes of Taverner and Retailer and of all, and the Multiplication of Taverns will make many who may be induced by Phlip and Rum to Vote for any Man whatever.
I dare not presume to point out any Method, to suppress or Restrain these increasing Evils; but I think for these Reasons it would be well worth the Attention of our Legislature, to confine the Number of, and retrieve the Character of Licensed Houses; least, that Impiety, and Prophaneness, that abandoned Intemperance, and Prodigality; that Impudence and brawling Temper, which these abominable Nurseries daily propagate, should arise at length to a degree of strength, that even the Legislature will not be able to controul.
[signed] [John Adams] 1
Pownals Remark, every other House a Tavern. Twelve in this Town. Call upon the select men, not to grant Approbation, upon the grand Jurors to present all bad Houses, &c.
1. The name has been inserted in an early but unidentified hand.
The foregoing draft of an essay on the evils of licensed houses is the first of a series on this topic found in JA’s Diary during 1760–1761. They were doubtless intended for publication, but none has been found in the papers of the day. During this same period JA also drew the rough sketch map showing the locations of a dozen or more taverns in Braintree and Weymouth that is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume.
On 18 May 1761, as a direct result of JA’s intensive but short-lived temperance campaign, the town of Braintree passed the following votes:
“Voted, That although Licensed Houses so far as they are conveniently scituated well accommodated and under due Regulation for the Releif and Entertainment of Travellers and Strangers may be a usefull Institution, Yet there is Reason to apprehend that the present prevailing Depravity of Manners through the Land in General and in this Town in particular and the shamefull neglect { 130 } of Religious and Civil Duties, so highly offensive in the sight of God, and injurious to the peace and Welfare of Society are in a great measure owing to the unnecessary increase of Licensed Houses.
“Voted, That for the future there be no Persons in this Town, Licensd for retailing spiritous Liquors and that there be three persons only approbated by the Selectmen as Inn-holders, suitably situated, one in each Precinct.
“Voted, That the Persons that are approbated as Inn-holders for the ensuing year oblidge themselves by written Instruments under their Hands and Seals to retail spiritous Liquors to the Town Inhabitants as they shall have occasion therefor, at the same price by the Gallon or smaller Quantity as the same are usually sold by Retail in the Town of Boston and upon the performance of the above conditions, there be no Person or Persons approbated by the Selectmen as Retailers.
“Voted, That the Town now proceed by written votes to the choice of the Persons and places they think most conveniently scituated and best Qualifyd, for the purposes aforesaid. . . . Mr. Samll. Bass Junr. was chosen for the North Precinct, Mr. Benjamin Hayden for the Middle and Mr. Jonathan Wales for the South.
“Voted, That there be a Com[mi]ttee appointed to draw up and present a Humble Memo[randum] to the Justices of the Q[uarter] sessions to be holden at Boston on the first Tuesday of July next, praying that the present proceedings of the Town Respecting Licensd. Houses meet with their approbation, and that an authenticated copy of the votes of the Town be annexed thereto and Presented therewith.” (Joseph Crosby, Josiah Quincy, and Samuel Niles were named the members of this committee. Braintree Town Records p. 378–379.)
In his old age JA confessed that his youthful crusade had been a complete failure: “I only acquired the Reputation of a Hypocrite and an ambitious Demagogue by it; the Number of licensed Houses was soon reinstated. Drams Grog and Sotting were not diminished, and remain to this day as deplorable as ever. You may as well preach to the Indians Against Rum as to our People” (letter to Benjamin Rush, 28 Aug. 1811, CtY). JA’s difficulties in keeping his farm hands sober confirm this gloomy conclusion; see entries of 13, 18, 21 July 1796, below.
On the general subject of intemperance in early New England see CFA2, Three Episodes, 2:783 ff., where it is pointed out that JA elsewhere admitted that gatherings and discussions in the rural taverns were important stimuli to the Revolutionary movement.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-05-30

May 30 1760. Friday.

Rose early. Several Country Towns, within my observation, have at least a Dozen Taverns and Retailers. Here The Time, the Money, the Health and the Modesty, of most that are young and of many old, are wasted; here Diseases, vicious Habits, Bastards and Legislators, are frequently begotten.
Nightingale, Hayden, Saunders, J. Spear, N. Spear, Benoni Spear, would vote for any Man for a little Phlip, or a Dram. N. Belcher, John Spear, O. Gay, James Brackett, John Mills, Wm. Veasey &c. voted for T. for other Reasons.1
1. On 19 May 1760 Capt. Ebenezer Thayer Jr. was elected representative to the General Court, replacing Samuel Niles (Braintree Town Records, p. 372).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-05-31

1760 May 31th. Saturday

Read in naval Trade and Commerce, concerning Factors, Consuls, { 131 } Embassadors, &c., and the South Sea Company, &c. [Went?] into Water. Talked with Wm. Veasey about Church &c. He will not allow that Dr. Mayhew has any uncommon Parts. He had haughty Spirits, and Vanity &c.—How the Judgment is darkened and perverted by Party Passions!
Drank Tea with Zab. Ran over the past Passages of my Life. Little Boats, water mills, wind mills, whirly Giggs, Birds Eggs, Bows and Arrows, Guns, singing, pricking Tunes, Girls &c. Ignorance of Parents, Masters Cleverly, Marsh, Tutors Mayhew &c. By a constant Dissipation among Amuzements, in my Childhood, and by the Ignorance of my Instructors, in the more advanced years of my Youth, my Mind has laid uncultivated so that at 25, I am obliged to study Horace and Homer.—Proh Dolor!

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-01

June 1st. Sunday.

Read 2 Odes in Horace. Spent the Evening at the Coll’s. While we were at supper, the Coll. received Letters from Mr. Turner of London, with a Bill of Lading and Invoice of about £150 sterlings worth of Glass and Hinges and Nails, and Locks &c. for a House. These were the Value of a sum of the Coll’s. Money, which Mr. Turner had retained, in his own Hands, about seven Years since, to satisfy a Debt from Mr. Branden, whom the Coll. had so strongly recommended, as in Mr. Turners opinion to make himself Brandens sponsor. So that it was as sudden and unexpected at least as [a] Prize in the Lottery would have been, or one taken at sea; and it had such a joyful Effect.
Coll. Grape vines delight in a rockey, and mountainous soil, like our Commons, which would make excellent Vineyards.—I suppose that most of the Wines of the World, are the Growth of Climates at least as northern as ours. Champaign, and Tockay are more southward, but Burgundy &c. &c. &c. are northward of us.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-02

June 2d. Monday.

Wasted the Day, with a Magazine in my Hand. As it was Artillery Election, it seemed absurd to study, and I had no Conveniencies, or Companions for Pleasure either in Walking, riding, drinking, husling, or any thing else.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-03

June 3rd. Tuesday.

This Day has been lost in much the same, Spiritless manner.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-04

June 4th. Wednesday.

Read nothing but Magazines as indeed an indisposition rendered me unfit for any Application. Discharged my Venom to Billy Veasey, against the Multitude, Poverty, ill Government, and ill Effects of licensed Houses, and the timorous Temper, as well as criminal Designs of the Select Men, who grant them Approbations. Then Spent the Evening, with Zab, at Mr. Wibirts.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-05

June 5th. Thurdsday.

Arose late. Feel disordered. 8 o’Clock, 3 1/2 Hours after Sun rise, is a sluggard’s rising Time. Tis a stupid Waste of so much Time. Tis getting an Habit hard to conquer, and Tis very hurtful to ones Health. 3 1/2, 1/7 of the 24, is thus spiritlessly dozed away. God grant me an Attention to remark, and a Resolution to pursue every Opportunity, for the Improvement of my Mind, and to save, with the Parsimony of a Miser, every moment of my Time.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-06

June 1760. Friday 6th. June.

Arose very late. A cold, rainy northeasterly storm, of several Days continuance. I have an ugly Cold, a phlegmatic stomach and a Cholicky Pain in my Bowells this morning. Read Timon of Athens, the Man hater, in the Evening at the Drs.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-07

Saturday. 7th.

Arose late, again. When shall I shake off the shackells of morning slumbers, and arise with the sun? Between sun rise, and Breackfast, I might write, or read, or contemplate, a good deal. I might, before Breakfast, entirely shake off the Drowziness of the Morning, and get my Thoughts into a steady Train, my Imagination raised, my Ambition inflamed, in short every Thing within me and without, into a Preparation for Improvement.—I have some Points [of] Law to examine to day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-08

Sunday, 8th.

Spent the Evening and Night at the Coll’s. in ill natured, invidious, Remarks upon Eb. Thayer, and Morals and General Court &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-09

Monday. 9th.

Attended Major Crosbeys Court. Where Capts. Thayer and Hollis made their Appearance. Thayer had taken 2 Accounts of Nathan { 133 } Spear, in his own Hand Writing, and got the Writts drawn by Niles. But upon my making a Defence for Hunt, Spear was afraid to enter and so agreed to pay Costs and drop. But poor Thayer had to say, several Times I told him so, but he would have his own Way. This little dirty, petty fogging Trade, Thayer carries on yet.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-10

Tuesday [10 June].

Altho my Spirits were wasted Yesterday, by sitting so late the Night before, (till one o’Clock I believe) and rising so early Yesterday morning, (by sun rise) and walking in the dewy Grass and damp Air, home to my fathers and then down to Major Crosbeys, yet the Thought of being employed, and of opposing Captn. Thayer and punishing Nathan Spear, and Spreading a Reputation, roused my Faculties, and rolled out Thoughts and Expressions, with a strenth and Rapidity, that I never expected. I remember something of the same sort, when I first waited on Mr. Gridley. The Awe of his Presence, a Desire of his Esteem, and of an Introduction to Practice, quickened my Attention and Memory, and sharpened my Penetration. In short, I never shall shine, till some animating Occasion calls forth all my Powers. I find that the Mind must be agitated with some Passion, either Love, fear, Hope, &c. before she will do her best.
I rambled this Afternoon with the Dr. over the Commons, and amused my self by clearing the Spring and climbing the Ledges of Rocks, thro the Apertures of which, large Trees had grown. But I spend too much Time, in these Walks, these amusing Rambles. I should be more confined to my Chamber. Should read and muse more. Running to Dr., to the Barn, down to meals and for Pipes and Coals and Tobacco &c. take up much of my Time. I have grown habitually indolent and thoughtless. I have scarcely felt a glow, a Pang, a Transport of Ambition, since I left Worcester, since I left my school indeed, for there the Mischievous Tricks, the perpetual invincible Prate, and the stupid Dulness of my scholars, roused my Passions, and with them my Views and Impatience of Ambition. Let me Remember to keep my Chamber, not run Abroad. My Books, naval Trade, Coke, Andrews, Locke, Homer, not Fields and Groves and Springs and Rocks should be the Objects of my Attention. Law and not Poetry, is to be the Business of my Life.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-14

Saturday [14 June].

This Week has been spent in Business, i.e. filling Writts, and { 134 } Journeys to Boston, Scadding, Weighmouth, Abington. The other Night Cranch explained, to Zab and me, the Fire Engine, with which they throw up Water from the Bottoms of their Tin Mines in Cornwall, and Coal Mines in New: Castle. They have a large Cauldron of Plated Iron, filled with Water, and closely covered, and placed over a large Fire. Out of one side of this Cauldron, proceeds a large Tube of Iron horizontally, which Ends in a capacious iron receiver, shaped like an Egg, which will hold a Tun. Half Way between the Cauldron and the Receiver, in the Tube is a Cock. From the Lower Side of the Receiver perpendicularly goes another Tube, down into the Well or Bottom of the Mine, i.e. into the Water. At the mouth of this Tube, where it communicates with the Receiver is a Valve. From the Top of the same Receiver, perpendicularly upwards goes another Tube, which extends quite up above the surface of the Ground, and at the bottom of this Tube i.e. where it communicates with the Receiver, is another Valve. This is the Description of the Machine. Now when the Water in the Cauldron is made to boil, it sends a hot steem along, thro the Cock which is first opened for that Purpose in the Receiver, which proceeds from the Receiver thro one Valve down to the Water and thro another Valve, up into open Air. By this steem the Air, within, is very soon rarified, so as to be no Ballance for the Pressure of the Air, upon the Water in the Mine without the Tube. Of Course the Water rises and fills the Receiver. Then turn the Cock and stop the Passage of the Steem, and the Water beginning to descend will close down the lower Valve. The Vapour thus confined in the Cauldron by the Cock, and the Water confined in the Receiver by the Lower Cock, as soon as you open the Cock, the furious Vapour flies out and drives before it, all the Water in the Receiver, thro the upper Valve, quite up into open Day, where they have channells &c. to convey it away. And when this Proscess is once compleated, they begin anew. This Engine was an Invention of Capt. Savery. They used Copper originally, but lately, they use plated Iron.
They have a different manner now. They use 2 Concentric Tubes, with a Box, like a Pump Box playing in the central one.
In my Journey to Abbington, my Mind seemed to be confused with the Dust and Heat, and fatigue. I had not Spirit and Attention to make any Observations upon the Lands, Corn, Grass, Grain, Fences, orchards, Houses &c. I dined at Nortons where the two military Companies of the Town, were assembled to raise Voluntiers, Recruits, but I had not Spirits to make Observations, on the Landlord, or Lady, or Officers or soldiers or House, or any Thing. I eat Milk for Breakfast.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-15

1760. June 15th. Sunday.

Rose early, 5 o clock. A pleasant Morning. The more I write the better. Writing is a most useful improving Exercise. Yesterday morning before Break fast I wrought my Mind into a Course of Thinking, by my Pen, which I should not have fallen into the whole day without it; and indeed not resuming my Pen after Breakfast, I insensibly lost my attention.
Let me Aim at Perspicuity, and Correctness more than ornament, in these Papers.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-16

Monday. June 16th.

Arose before the sun. Now I am ignorant of my Future Fortune, what Business, what Reputation, I may get, which is now far from my Expectations. How many Actions shall I secure this Day? What new Client shall I have? I found at Evening, I had secured 6 Actions, but not one new Client, that I know of.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-17

Tuesday. June 17th.

Arose before the sun again. This is the last day.1 What, and who to day? Ebenezer Hayden was altogether new and unexpected. Hollis him self was altogether new and unexpected and John Hayward was altogether new and unexpected. 3 entirely new Clients, all from Captn. Thayers own Parish, and one of whom is himself a Pretender to the Practice, are a considerable Acquisition. I believe, by the Writ and Advice I gave Hayden and the Writt and Advice and the Lecture, concerning Idleness and Petty fogging, given Hollis before Hayward will spread me. Hollis is very near to Beggary and Imprisonment. His oxen are attached, and his Cows, and Pew, and a Number of Writts, and Executions are [out] against [him and] not yet extended. He owes more than his Estate can pay I believe. And I told him that by neglecting his own proper Business, and meddling with Law which he did not understand, he had ruined himself. And it is true, for if he had diligently followed his Trade of making shoes and lived prudently he might at this Day have been clear of Debt and worth an handsome Estate. But shomaking I suppose was too mean and dimi[nu]tive an Occupation for Mr. Thomas Hollis, as Wig making was to Mr. Nat Green, or House Building to Mr. Daniel Willard, and he like them in order to rise in the World procured Deputations from the Sheriff, and after serving long enough in that office to gett a few Copies of common { 136 } Writts and a most litigious Disposition, left the Sheriff and commenced the Writt Drawer. But poor Hollis is like to be stripped of all he has, if he should escape the Goal, which Daniel Willard was obliged to enter, and if he should not be forced to fly like Nat Green. These sudden Transitions from shomaking, Wigg making and House building, to the Deputy Sheriffwick; and from thence to the Practice of Law, commonly hurry Men rapidly to Destruction to Beggary and Goals. Yet Coll. White has rose the same Way, i.e. by a Deputation from the Sheriff. But White had the Advantage of a liberal Education, and had as Rival no Competitor to oppose him, so that he got quickly sworn. E. Taylor too, was naturally smart, and had been long a sheriff, and had the Patronage and Encouragement of Mr. Trowbridge, who was his Brother in Law. Applin and Ruggles are in a higher Class, men of Genius and great Resolution, to combat the World both by Violence and stratagem.
Thayer by his own abject slavery to Coll. Pollard got his Affection and he did every Thing to encourage him. Dana has given him great Numbers of Writts to be served on People in this Town, he takes seven shillings for the Writt, and four shillings always, and some [times] 5 for the service; of this he gives Dana one shilling for his Blank, and reserves 10 or 11 to himself; great Numbers of Writts he has filled himself, and those which he durst not fill he got Niles to fill for 3 shillings so that he takes 3, and four is seven and often times Eight shillings to himself. Thus from Coll. Pollard, from Mr. Dana and Elisha Niles he has got his Estate, as his Legislative Authority, as basely got as Bestia’s from the Throne. A little longer Experience will enable me to trace out the whole system of his Policy and iniquity.
The office of a sheriff, has Dangers and Temptations around it. Most of them decline, in Morals or Estate or both. Saml. Penniman is one.
1. For entering actions for the July sitting of the Suffolk Inferior Court.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-18

1760 June 18th.

Read but little, thought but little, for the N.E. storm unstrung me.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-19

Thurdsday June 19.

I have been the longer in the Arg[umen]t of this Cause not for the Importance of the Cause itself, for in itself it is infinitely little and contemptible, but for the Importance of its Consequences.1 These dirty and ridiculous Litigations have been multiplied in this Town, { 137 } till the very Earth groans and the stones cry out. The Town is become infamous for them throughout the County. I have absolutely heard it used as a Proverb in several Parts of the Province, “as litigious as Braintree.” And this Multiplicity is owing to the Multiplicity of Petty foggers among whom Captn. Hollis is one, who has given out that he is a sworn Attorney till 9/10 of this Town really believe it. But I take this Opportunity, publickly to confront him, and undeceive the Town. He knows in his Conscience that he never took the Oath of an Attorney, and that he dare not assume the Impudence to ask to be admitted. He knows that the Notion of his being a sworn Attorney is an Imposture, is an Imposition upon this Town. And I take this opportunity publickly to declare that I will take all legal Advantages, against every Action brought by him or by Captn. Thayer or by any other Petty fogger in this Town. For I am determined if I live in this Town to break up this scene of strife, Vexation and Immorality. (Such suits as this and most others that ever I have seen before a Justice in this Town, have a Tendency to vex and imbitter the Minds of the People, to propagate an idle, brawling, wrangling Temper, in short such suits are an Inlet to all manner of Evils.)
And some [i.e. one] of these suit managers, when I first came to this Town, hearing that I had been thro a regular Course of study with a regular Practitioner, and that I was recommended to the Court in Boston, by one of the greatest Lawyers in America, concluded, that I should be enabled by these Advantages, and prompted by my own Interest if by no higher Motive, to put an End to the illegal Course of dirty, quacking Practice in this Town, which he had been in, and thereby enslaved the Minds and Bodyes and Estates of his Neighbours. And to prevent this he set himself to work to destroy my Reputation and prevent my getting Business, by such stratagems as no honest Mind can think of without Horror, such stratagems as I always will resent, and never will forgive till he has made Attonement by his future Repentance and Reformation. I thank God his Malice has been defeated, he has not been able to enslave me, nor to drive me out of Town, but Peoples Eyes begin to open, and I hope they will open wider and wider till they can see like other Towns. Happy shall I be if I can rescue the Souls and Bodies, and Estates of this Town from that Thraldom and slavery, to which these Petty foggers have contributed to depress them; and if I can revive in them a generous Love of Liberty and sense of Honour.—After this long Digression your Honour will let me return to this Cause, and I rely upon it, it is a vexatious one. I rely upon it that many of these Articles were borrowed and not bought, { 138 } and that therefore this Action cant be maintained for them. I rely upon it, that the Affair of the Hat is a litigious Thing, that it was a mere piece of Tavern Amuzement, and if there was any Thing like Bargain and sale in it, the Bargain was completed, the Hat delivered and the Money paid, and with regard to the other Articles, we have filed an Account that more than ballances them, and therefore I pray your Honours Judgment for Costs.
1. This entry is obviously a draft of JA’s argument, or the closing portion thereof, in the case of Lt. White and the hat. In the very next entry JA redrafted his argument in order to avoid so egotistical a tone.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-20

Friday June 20th.

I must not say so much about my self, nor so much about Hollis and Thayer by Name. I may declaim against Strife, and a litigious Spirit, and about the dirty Dablers in the Law.
I have a very good Regard for Lt. White, but he must allow me to have a much greater Veneration for the Law. To see the Forms and Processes of Law and Justice thus prostituted, (I must say prostituted) to revenge an imaginary Indignity, offered in a Tavern over a Chereful Bowl or enlivening Mug. To have a mere Piece of Jocular Amuzement, thus hitched into an Action at Law, a mere frolick converted into a Law suit, is a Degree of meanness that deserves no Mercy and shall have none from me. I don’t think Lt. White considered the Nature and the Consequences of this Action, before he brought it. If he had he never would have brot it. He has too much Honour to have brot it. But I suppose the Case was this. Lt. White was a little chagrined, that my Client had for once outwitted him, and in a Miff, or a Bravado, I say a Miff or a Bravado, sees Hollis and asks his Opinion. And Hollis glad of an opportunity to draw a Writ, instantly encourages the suit, and the suit was brot. And when once brot, it was too late to repent. But I dare say he has been severely sorry, that he ever brot it, and will have still further Occasion to be sorry before it Ends.
As to the Hat, Either it was a Bargain and Sale or it was not. If it was a Bargain and sale, The Hat is my Clients and the Price agreed upon, which was the Copper, delivered at the very Time, is Lt. Whites. But if it was not a Contract, but only a frolick and no one in Earnest, as I suppose it was, then the Property of the Hat continues in Lt. White, and he is welcome to take it, returning us our Copper.
Rode to Germantown in the morning. Cranch says that the Grindstone is found in the Coal Mines in Europe. The Coal lies in Apart• { 139 } ments, strongly fortified with Partitions of this stone, and this stone forms the Covering over Head, &c. I took Notice of the Rock Weed, they were burning into Kelp and I find there are a great Variety of Species of it. Some of it grows out of the Rock, a small stalk, which soon spreads into several Brainches, and each of those Branches into several others, with those little Bubbles or Bladders, full of Air, scattered along at little Distances, on every Branch and Sprig, but at the End of Each twigg or Sprig, hangs a large Pod, full of seed incased in a spongy substance. We went down to some large stones, which had been thrown over between high Water and low water mark 2 or 3 Years ago. These stones are all grown over with the Rock Weed. The seed, We suppose is deposited by the Water upon the Rock, takes Root and grows. It grows very fast to the Rock and when you pull, you will sometimes break the stalk, sometimes pull off a flake of the Rock with it, and sometimes take the Weed, as it seems to me, fairly up by the roots, and the Roots are little fine Spiculae, finer than the Point of the finest Needle. These Roots insert themselves into the Pores of the Rock and thence draw Nourishment. And the connoiseurs say, that some Rocks will produce Weeds, large and rank and strong, while others, laid in the same Place at the same time, will produce only a meagre, short, lingering one. They seem to take a deeper and stronger Root, in Timber and Planks, as on the sides of Wharfes, than they do in Rocks. The salt Water seems to be impregnated with the seeds of it, for whenever a Rock is thrown below high Water mark, immediately a Crop of these Weeds Spring up. It is excellent Manure for the Soil. The salts and sulphurs in it are very good. When they thro it into the Kelp Kiln, it is of a dark brown, or a dirty Yellow, but after it has been heated in the Kiln, it turns of a bright clear green. The Fire occasions some Change in the Configuration of the surface, that reflects green Rays most plentifully, where it used to reflect yellow and brown. They burn it into an ashes, which is a fixed salt, which they call Kelp. 20 Tons of the Weeds will produce about one Ton of the ashes. It tastes a little like Gun powder, it smells like marsh Mud, like a muddy Creak, &c. It has a saltish, sulphurous Taste and Smell. —The Deacon shewed us a Sort of Stone, that the old Glass Company brought from Connecticut, to use instead of Grindstone, for the furnace.1 He called it stone of the asbestus Kind. Dr. Eliot2 used it in his [] and never found the fire made any Impression on it. But the Glass men found it dissolved in about 4 months. They call it a Cotten stone. It seems to have no Gritt at all, it feels as soft as soap. It cost the Company about [ . . . ] or £900.—Thus, the first Es• { 140 } says, generally rude, and unsuccessful, prove burdensome instead of profitable.
1. Deacon Joseph Palmer, later called General Palmer, conducted with his brother-in-law Richard Cranch various business enterprises, including a glass manufactory in the Germantown section of Braintree (DAB, under Palmer; Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 473–492).
2. Doubtless Jared Eliot (1685–1763), Yale 1706, of Killingworth, Conn.; a Congregational minister, physician, and writer on scientific and agricultural subjects (DAB).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-21

June 21st. 1760. Saturday.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-23

June 23rd. 1760. Monday.

A long obstinate Tryal, before Majr. Crosby, of the most litigious, vexatious suit, I think that ever I heard. Such Disputes begin with ill humour and scurrilous language, and End in a Boxing Bout or a Law suit.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-24

Tuesday. 24th. June.

Arose early, a very beautiful Morning. Zab. seems to make insufficient Distinctions between the Vowells. He seems to swallow his own Voice. He neither sounds the Vowells nor Articulates distinctly. The story of Yesterdays Tryal, spreads. Salisbury told my Uncle and my Uncle told Coll. Quincy. They say I was saucy, that I whipped the old Major, &c., that I ripped about the Law suits of this Town And of that House, and that I reminded the Majer of his oath to be of Council to neither Party, and to do Justice equally between the Parties according to Law.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-25

Wednesday [25 June].

Went out with the Coll., in his Canoe, after Tom Codd. Rowed down, in a still calm, and smooth Water, to Rainsford Island, round which we fished in several Places, but had no Bites. Then we went up the Island, and round the Hill. Upon the North Easterly side of the Hill, or Island, is a prodigious Bank or Head, which is perpetually washing away, with Rains and Tides. Heartley says it has been washed away 10 feet since he lived on the Island. The Rocks all round the Island are covered with long, rank, rich Weeds, 3 Years old, which Heartley sells at 5s. a Load.1
At one of the Clock we took our Mutton and Cyder, under the shade of a fine Tree, and laid our Provisions on a large flat stone which answered for Table, Dish and Plate, and then we dined expecting with { 141 } much Pleasure an easy sail Home before the Wind, which then bread2 fresh at East. After Diner we boarded and hoisted sail, and sailed very pleasantly a Mile, when the Wind died away into a Clock Calm and left us to row against the Tide, and presently against the Wind too for that sprung up at south, right a Head of us, and blew afresh. This was hard work. Doubtful what Course to steer, whether to Nut Island, or to Half Moon,3 or to Hangmans Island or to Sunken Island, Coll. Q. grew sick which determined us to go ashore at Hangmans for that was the nearest. As soon as he set foot on shore he vomited, very heartily, and then weak and faignt, and spiritless, he crawled up to the Gunning House, and wrapping his great Coat round him, lay down on the sea weed and slept, while I rambled round the Island after Weeds and flowers and stones and young Gulls and Gulls Eggs. 500 Gulls I suppose hovered cawing and screaming over the Island, for fear of their Eggs and Young ones, all the time we were there. When the Coll. awoke and found himself strengthened and inspirited, we rowed away, under Half Moon, and then hoisted sail and run home. So much for the Day of Pleasure, The fishing frolick, the Water frolick. We had none of the Pleasure of Angling, very little of the Pleasure of Sailing. We had much of the fatigue of Rowing, and some of the Vexation of Disappointment. However the Exercise and the Air and smell of salt Water is wholesome.
1. This entire entry was omitted by CFA in editing JA’s Diary, perhaps because, though it records a characteristic incident, it shows Col. Josiah Quincy in a momentarily undignified posture. The course of the fishing expedition among the islands of Boston Harbor and Quincy Bay may be traced on the map in Shurtleff, Description of Boston, facing p. 518. Hangman or Hangman’s Island is about midway between Squantum and Hough’s Neck, in shoal water some two miles northeast of the mouth of Black’s Creek in present Quincy. Rainsford Island, about two miles farther northeast, had been in use by the town of Boston for quarantine and hospital purposes since 1737 (same, p. 523–525). For present-day details see U.S. Geological Survey map of Hull, Mass.
2. That is, “bred”? But possibly an end-of-line contraction for “breathed.”
3. Half Moon Island, now submerged except at low tide, formed a half-circle in the flats just off the mouth of Black’s Creek. It faced what was called Mount Wollaston Farm, the estate of Col. John Quincy and his son Norton, AA’s uncle. After Norton Quincy’s death in 1801, Mount Wollaston Farm came into the possession of the Adamses, partly by bequest and partly by purchase. A few years later the title to the island came into dispute because it had long been used by fishing and hunting parties from the neighboring towns. Thereupon JA wrote an historical and legal memorandum that provides an engaging account of Half Moon Island as he had known it since boyhood. This undated memorandum is in the Adams Papers under the assigned date of 1806. On 7 April 1806 a Quincy town meeting voted “To dismiss the article respecting fishing and fowling on half-moon, viz.:—'To know if the town will maintain their right and priviledge, according to old custom, in fishing and fowling on half-moon, and if any inhabitant should be prosecuted on that account, that the town, as a town, { 142 } would defend the prosecution’” (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy, p. 98). Search of the (unpublished) Quincy Town Records reveals nothing more on this subject.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0022

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-26

1760. June 26. Thurdsday.

Feel indifferently well after my yesterdays walk and sail. I have begun to read the Spirit of Laws, and have resolved to read that Work, thro, in order and with Attention. I have hit upon a Project that will secure my Attention to it, which is to write in the Margin, a sort of Index to every Paragraph.1
1. JA had at least sampled the Spirit of Laws earlier; see Summer 1759, above, and note 19 there.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0002-0023

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-06-27

June 27th. Friday.

Read 100 Pages in the Spirit of Laws. Rambled away to a fine Spring in my Cozen Adam’s Land, which gushes thro a Crack in a large flat Rock and gurgles down in a pretty Rill. The Water is clear, sweet, and cool, and is supposed to have a very wholsome Quality, because it issues from a Mountain, and runs towards the North. What Physical Quality its northern Direction may give it, I know not. By its sweetness it flows thro clean Earth, and not minerals. Its Coolness may be owing to its Rise from the Bowells of the Hill.
Zab’s Mind is taken up with Arithmetical and Geometrical Problems, Questions, Paradoxes and Riddles. He studies these Things that he may be able to gratify his Vanity by puzzling all the vain Pretenders, to Expertness in Numbers, and that he may be too expert, to be puzzled by any such Questions from others.
There is a set of People, whose Glory, Pride &c. it is to puzzle every Man they meet, with some Question in the Rule of three or fractions, or some other Branch of Arithmetic. Jed. Bass. Moses French. Tom Peniman, &c. &c. Smith, Richard Thayer, &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-01

Tuesday. July 1st. 1760.

Went to Town.
Mr. Thatcher. You have read a great deal, Mr. Adams, in the Roman History, concerning the Modesty of Youth, and their Veneration of the Elders. Now I think these young Gentlemen had very little of that Modesty and Veneration, when they went in the face of Law and against the Remonstrances of all the Elders to act their Plays.
Mr. Otis says there is no Limitation of Attachments. There is no Proportion established between the Demand and the Quantity to be attached, so that a Villain may attach 20,000£ if he pleases as se• { 143 } curity for £20, and take the whole into the Officers Custody. Tho on second thought, this cant be done without Collusion between the Plaintiff and the officer, for unless the officer is malicious as well as the Plaintiff, he will run the Risque for the Defendant, of making a Common Service, and this is the Reason why there has been no Mischief made of the unlimited Power of Attachment.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-03

Thurdsday July 3rd. 1760.

Read pretty diligently in the Spirit of Laws.—Hayden’s Consultation suggested the following Questions. Q. Is there any Method of compelling a Grantor to give a new Deed when the Deed he has executed before happens to be burned or lost?—Q. May an Agreement in Writing without seal, or by Parol only be given in Evidence against a Bond sealed and delivered? After Confession of the Forfeiture of the Penalty, any Special Agreement may be given in Evidence.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-05

1760. Saturday July 5th.

Last Night Cranch explained to me, the Water Works in the River Thames which convey water, all round the City of London. There is first, a long water Wheel, like the Water Wheel of some saw Mills, which is carried round by the River. On the End of the Axis of this water Wheell are Coggs, which carry round a cogg Wheel. This Cogg wheel has upon the End of its Axis, a Number of Cranks and each of these Cranks lifts up and lets down a Pump Box every Time the Cogg wheel Turns. These Pumps are very large, and prodigious Quantities of Water are pumped away into a general Conveyance and Receiver, from which Pipes are carried to almost every Cellar and to many of the Rooms, and Chambers, and Garrotts, in Gentlemens Houses, thro the City. Cranch says he has seen the Works for Conveying ships up a Cataract, as that between Topsham and Exeter. Vessells are conveyed along, up Hill, so 3 Miles. They rise up hill as far as from the Bottom of the long Wharf to the Top of Bacon [Beacon] Hill. They have Walls of great Thickness and strength built across the River Ex, with Gates, of Timber fortified with Irons, in the Middle. These Gates are opened, and the Vessells float, within the Wall. The gates are then shut, and the fresh running Water of the River let down into that Apartment where the Vessell is which soon raises the Vessell as high as the Top of the lower Walls when the Gates of the second Wall are opened and the Vessell is floated within that. Then the second Gate is shut, and the freshit raises the Vessell up another stair.— { 144 } These Gates have several smaller sluice Gates in them that slide up and down. These they slide up, and let out as much Water as they can, before they pretend to open the Great Gates.
This whole Passage and Conveyance is artificial, for the natural Course of the River was at some Distance. This whole Channell was cut by Art. What an Expence! to cutt such a Channell for 3 miles, to erect such and so many Walls across the River, to build such Gates, and such Machines to open them.
Invention has laid under Discouragements in England, for Inventions to facilitate any Manufacture, by which Numbers of People might be thrown out of Business have been prohibited by Act of Parliament. Saw Mills for that Reason were prohibited, That a greater No. of Hands might be employed in sawing, by Hand, Boards and Timber &c. But that Act was of no service. Our Merchants could send to Holland and buy Boards and all sorts of Timber much cheaper, than they could procure them at home. I suppose the Act is expired, and not to be revived, by the Encouragement the society for Encouraging Arts, Manufactures and Commerce, have offered to the Man who shall produce the best Modell of a saw Mill.1
The Dutch erected a Dike, some Years since, which shut out the sea for a great Extent of Land, and they erected Wind Mills, at small Distances upon this Dike, which threw all the Water that was left within, over the Dike into the Sea.
Deacon Palmer’s Glass Furnace, it seems is a reverberating Furnace. That is, the Heat, which is flashed against the internal surface of the Furnace, when a dry stick of Wood is thrown in, is reverberated, down into the Pots, and melts the Glass, much more than the silent Heat below. So that, rugged Excrescences, prominent Bits of Grindstone, within must be a disadvantage, for if the internal Concave could be polished like a concave Mirror, it would be in its most perfect state. Besides this Furnace is too high. These 2 faults, Hight and internal Ruggedness, the Deacon thinks have wasted him almost a Cord of Wood a Day.
Cowen2 and Young Thayer the Marketman are full of White and Bowditch. Cowen heard I tore Whites account all to Pieces, and Thayer thought that White had a dirty Case. Few Justices Causes have been more famous, than that. Isaac Tyrrell [Tirrell] had the story too, but he thought Bowditch was to blame, was abusive.
1. This paragraph, and possibly the next as well, may have been intended as direct discourse by Cranch.
2. A common name in Weymouth in JA’s time; often spelled Cowing in contemporary records.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-06

July 6th. Sunday.

Heard Mr. Mayhew of Martha’s Vineyard.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-09

July 9th. Wednesday.

Gould has got the story of White and Bowditch.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-12
Date: 1760-07-19

Saturday [12 or 19 July].

I find upon Examination, that a Warrant of Attorney given by an Infant is void; so that, if you intend during your Apprentices Absence, to put the Note you mentioned to me in suit, or to sue for the Detention of the Province Note, or any other wise to prosecute your Right, the only Way I can think of is, for the Lad to elect your father for his Guardian and see to procure the Judge of Probates allowance of it, before he goes off.1<If your father is unwilling to go to Town, you may ride down and wait on this Judge.> Altho Deacon Bass might have been appointed Guardian to him when a Child, yet you know he has a Right to choose one at fourteen, and he is no doubt willing to choose his Master, but he must give security to the Judge for the faithful Discharge of his Trust.
From the very hasty and imperfect Account of the Case which you gave me, I can think of no other Way at Present, that will have any Safety. So you may Act your own Pleasure.
With Regard to the Notes, as the old Note you mentioned to me, was given to the Lad an Infant, neither He nor his Guardian will be under any Obligation to accept it in Satisfaction for the Province Note, unless they please. So that if that Note is not sufficient to secure the Money, you may bring your Action for the Detention of the Province Note. But in that Case you know you must be able to prove by Witnesses, Confession, or other Circumstances, first that your Apprentice owed the Note, 2dly that French had it in Possession, and 3dly that he converted it to his own Use.
If these Hints are of any service to you, I shall be glad, or if, upon your letting me further into the facts, any Thing further should occur to me, I shall be ready to communicate it.

[salute] Yr. svt.,

[signed] J. Adams
1. CFA omitted this draft of a letter to an applicant for legal advice and all of JA’s legal notes that follow in July and August.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-13
Date: 1760-07-20

Sunday Morning [13 or 20] July 1760.

The week before last Salome Pope appeared before Coll. Quincy, to confess herself with Child, by Jos. Ryford.
{ 146 }
Her Intention was to complain against Jos. Ryford and charge him before the Justice with being the father of the Bastard Child with which she is now pregnant. Now what Occasion for taking her Examination upon Oath?—By the Province Law.1
1. Here a line is drawn across the page in the MS and a short entry follows which has been scratched out with two different pens: “Ryford is not only suspected but has been charged to have begotten a Bastard Child; therefore Q. may [now himself perhaps?] bind him to the sessions, But is not [ . . . ] to do it by the Province Law.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-25

Fryday July 25th.

We contend that the Plaintiffs ought to recover nothing on this Bond, because according to the original Agreement it is paid.1 The Case was this. The Plaintiffs about 15 years ago conveyed to one Tower, a Tract of Land, containing with such and such Boundaries, 30 Acres. And the present Defendants became jointly bound with the Grantee for the Money, which was £750, for which they gave 8 or 10 Bonds, one of which was to be paid off every Year. But at the Time of these Transactions, a suspicion arose, that the Land included within the mentioned Bounds, did not contain so much as 30 Acres, which induced the Defendants to insist upon and the Plaintiffs to enter into an Agreement which they committed to Writing, that the Land should be surveyed, and if it fell short of 30 Acres, the Deficiency should be deducted out of these Bonds. Accordingly an Admeasurement was made, and the Land fell short 7 Acres and 1/2, which in Proportion to the Price of the whole amounted to about the Value of this Bond. With regard to the other Bonds some of them were put in suit, others were paid off and taken up, at length all of them were taken up, but this, and the Reason why this was never taken up was this. The Plaintiff Hollis who had kept all the Bonds in his own Hands never would come to a final settlement with them. The Grantee had made several Payments, and Tower had made several more and Hayden had made several others. Some of these Payments were minuted on the Bonds, but many of them were made abroad upon Hollis Promise to enter them on the Bonds when he went home which was never done, so that these People being Brothers to Hollis and confiding in his Honor have been let [led] on Blindfold, in midnight Darkness, till they have already paid 12 or 1500 Pounds for 750, and when all is done they have no Land. For by some Accident the Deed of this Land is lost, of which Hollis got scent some way or other and has since conveyed away this very Land to another Man. This very land is now mortgaged to Mr. G[oldthwai]t.2
{ 147 }
The Case of Chambers vs. Bowles was this. Capt. Chambers had sold to one Anthony Lopez a Spaniard of Monto Christo, a Quantity of Merchandizes. Lopez called for the Goods, but when he came to count his Money he found it fell short, 60 Dollars. Chambers, who had no other Dealings with Lopez and was unacquainted with his Circumstances, refused to trust him for the 60 Dollars, and accordingly took back Merchandizes, to that Value. Upon this Captn. Bowles, who was well acquainted with the Spaniard, and knew him to be rich, spoke a few Words to him in Spanish and then turning to Captn. Chambers, said, let Lopez have the goods and I will pay you the Dollars; call upon me tomorrow or any time and Ile pay you the Money.
Mr. Otis said this fell within the Province Law to prevent frauds and Perjuries “that no Action shall be brought whereby to charge the Defendant upon any Special Promise to answer for the Debt, Default or Miscarriages of another Person, unless the Agreement upon which such Action shall be brought, or some Memorandum or Note thereof shall be in Writing, and signed by the Party to be charged therewith,” &c. This is, says he, an Agreement to answer for the Debt or Default or Miscarriage of Lopez. The Contract and sale was from Chambers to the Spaniard, not from Chambers to Bowles. No Discrimination was made between the Merchandizes sold to Lopez and these sold to Bowles, but Bowles says let Lopez have the Goods according to your Contract and I will see you paid if he dont.
Thatcher. This is not a conditional Undertaking for Another, but an absolute Undertaking for himself.
I remember a Case in Salkeld precisely parrallel which is this. “A and B go into a Warehouse together and A says to the Merchant, deliver B such and such Merchandizes, and if he dont pay you I will. This Promise is void by the Act of Parliament from which our Province Law was copied. But if A says Let B have such and such Goods and I will be your Pay master, or I will see you paid, or I will be answerable to you, in this Case A’s promise is good, is an absolute Undertaking for himself not a conditional Undertaking for Another, and A shall be answerable.—Just so in the Case at Bar. Captn. Bowles says, Let the Spaniard have the Goods and I will pay you, call tomorrow or any time at my Lodgings and I will pay you. Here is an Absolute Undertaking for himself, not a Conditional Undertaking in Case Lopez failed, for We never sold these Goods to Lopez, we have no Demand vs. Lopez for them, we refused to sell them to him: We sold them to Bowles, he sold them to Lopez; He only can demand pay of Lopez and we can demand pay only of him; and we expect your Verdict accordingly.— { 148 } This was like Fairbanks v. Brown. There Brown Undertook for the [Govt.?], that the Carter should have such a Price. I will ensure You such a Price. I promise you such a Price, &c.
The Jury gave a Verdict for Chambers in this Case.
1. This entry is a draft of an argument in which JA was defending Hayden and others against the rapacity of Thomas Hollis, the shoemaker, tavern-keeper, and writ-drawer of Braintree Middle Precinct. The suit was evidently tried in the Suffolk Inferior Court, since Ezekiel Goldthwait, who held the mortgage on the land in question, is mentioned as “Clerk of this Court.”
2. The name is a scrawl in the MS, but is clarified in the entry of next day, which contains another version of JA’s argument.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0003-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-07-26

1760. July 26.

This Bond has been at [least] once and an half, if not twice, paid. The Case is this. About 15 Years ago, the Plaintiffs sold a tract [of] Land, containing 30 Acres, within such and such Boundaries, to one Tower, for 750£, and He together with the present Defendants became jointly bound to the Plaintiffs, in 10 different Bonds, of which this is one, for the Payment of the Money. But in the Time of it, a suspicion arose that those Bounds did not include 30 Acres; and least they should not an Agreement was made and committed to Writing, that the Land should be surveyed, and if it was found to fall short the Deficiency should be deducted from some of these Bonds. Accordingly the Land was afterwards surveyed, and found to fall short, 7 Acres and an half, which in Proportion to the Price of the whole amounted to about the Value of this Bond. All the other Bonds have been discharged and taken up, and this was set against the Deficiency of Land. But Besides all this, at least one half of it has been paid another Way. For one of these Obligers carried the Money to Hollis and had 1/2 of what was due upon every Bond in his Hands callculated, and paid him down his Money, and Hollis promised to indorse one half, upon every Bond that was left: yet this has never been indorsed; and Hollis has assurance enough to sue for this whole Bond. The Defendants have been extreemely careless, and negligent. Sometimes they paid Money abroad, and took no Receipts, but relied on his Honour to indorse it when he went home. They even left the Agreement that obliged him to make up the wanting Land, in Hollis’s own Hands; after the Land was surveyed they left the Plan and survey in his Hands, in short there has been the Utmost Simplicity and Inattention on their Part in every Part of all these Transactions; and there have not been fewer Proofs of Artifice, secresy, and Guile, I must say Guile, on the Part of Hollis, for He always avoided giving Receipts; { 149 } he never would suffer any 3d Person to be present, when he did Business. They sometimes would carry with them a Neighbour [who]1 understood Numbers, better than they, to calculate for them and see that they were not injured, but whenever they did so Hollis would never do any Business with them and at last had the Assurance to tell them that he never would do any Business with them if they brought any Body with them, as long as he lived. So that by one Artifice and another we have been led on to pay, I suppose, £1500 for 750, and what is worse than all the rest, the Deed he gave is accidentally lost. Of this Hollis got a Hint, and has since sold it to another Person. This Hollis has mortgaged this very Land to Mr. Gouldthwat, the Clerk of this Court, since he found We had lost our Deed. Yet he has the assurance to sue this [Bond?]. We have offered him to relinquish his obligation to make good the deficient Land and pay him the 1/2 of this Bond, if he will execute a new Deed of the Land; but he cant do that. He has sold it.
1. MS: “to”—an obvious slip of the pen.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-08-03

August 3d. 1760.

Hollis has appealed. If he prosecutes his Appeal, he shall be paid. I believe there never was an Action in this Court where more Instances of Ignorance, Negligence and Inattention appeared on one side, and of Artifice, Secresy and Guile I must say Guile on the other, since it was erected. Let me draw a Picture of the Defendants stupidity, and of Plaintiffs Knavery. Neglect to acknowledge the Deed, to record it. Then the Loss of it, intrusting the Agreement that obliged him to allow the wanting of Land on these Bonds, in Hollis’s own hands; then leaving the survey, in Hollis’s Hands. Paying him sums of Money abroad, and confiding in his Honour to indorse them—and consenting to do Business with him alone. On the other side Hollis has been watchful to draw every Tittle of evidence within his own Power. I dare not say he has the Deed of the Land but he has got the Agreement, and he has the survey and he has been careful never to receive money of us before Witness when he could help it, and he never would give any Receipts. He would promise to indorse upon the Bond but he never did it. Nay he had the assurance to tell us at last, that he never would do any Business with us again, if we brought any 3d Person with us. We thought ourselves ill used several Times. We were ignorant of Numbers and Calculations, can but just write our Names, and we had a Desire that somebody better skilled than we should calculate { 150 } and settle for us. Accordingly we got once or twice some of our Neighbours, to go with us And see that we want1 defrauded. But he never would do any Business with us, and at last he told them to their Heads, if you ever bring Deacon Penniman, or any other Man with you again when you come to settle with me, I’le go directly off and leave you and will do nothing with you.
I must explain and prove Towers Payment of one half, at large, and then Haydens Payment of £270, and a Book Debt, and the Indorsements which made the 6 Bonds that Hayden took up.
1. Thus in MS, for “wa’nt” (wasn’t or weren’t).

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.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0004-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-08-19

1760 Aug. 19th.

I began Popes Homer, last Saturday Night was a Week, and last Night, which was Monday night I finished it. Thus I found that in seven days I could have easily read the 6 Volumes, Notes, Preface, Essays, that on Homer, and that on Homers Battles and that on the funeral Games of Homer and Virgil &c.1 Therefore I will be bound that in 6 months I would conquer him in Greek, and make myself able to translate every Line in him elegantly.2
Prat. It is a very happy Thing to have People superstitious. They should believe exactly as their Minister believes. They should have no Creeds and Confessions <of Faith>. They should not so much as know what they believe. The People ought to be ignorant. And our Free { 153 } schools are the very bane of society. They make the lowest of the People infinitely conceited. (These Words I heard Prat utter. They would come naturally enough from the mouth of a Tyrant or of a K[ing] or Ministry about introducing an Arbitrary Power; or from the mouth of an ambitious or avaricious Ecclesiastic, but they are base detestable Principles of slavery. He would have 99/100 of the World as ignorant as the wild Beasts of the forest, and as servile as the slaves in a Galley, or as oxen yoked in a Team. He a friend to Liberty? He an Enemy to slavery? He has the very Principles of a Frenchman—worse Principles than a Frenchman, for they know their Belief and can give Reasons for it.)
Prat. It grieves me to see any sect of Religion extinguished. I should be very sorry, to have the Quaker Society dissolved, so I should be sorry to [have] Condy’s Anabaptist Society dissolved. I love to see a Variety. A Variety of Religions has the same Beauty in the Moral World, that a Variety of flowers has in a Garden, or a Variety of Trees in a forrest.
This fine speech was Prats. Yet he is sometimes of opinion that all these Sectaries ought to turn Churchmen, and that a Uniform Establishment ought to take place through the whole Nation. I have heard him say, that We had better all of us come into the Church, than pretend to overturn it &c. Thus it is, that fine Speechmakers are sometimes for Uniformity, sometimes for Variety, and Toleration. They dont speak for the Truth or Weight but for the Smartness, and Novelty, singularity of their speech. However I heard him make two Observations, that pleased me much more. One was that People in Years never suppose that young People have any Judgment. Another Was, (when a Deposition was produced taken by Parson Wells, with a very incorrect Caption, a Caption without mention of the Cause in which it was to be used, or certifying that the Adverse Party was present or notifyed) he observed that the Parson could not take a Caption, to save his Life, and that he knew too much to learn any Thing.
1. For the editions of Pope’s translations of the Iliad and Odyssey owned by JA, see Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 122–123.
2. A line across the page in the MS separates the present paragraph from those reporting Prat’s observations that follow; the latter may therefore have been recorded at any time from 19 Aug. to 23 Sept. 1760.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-09-24

1760. Septr. 24th.1

Ephraim Jones, being a Widower and having two Children by a former Wife marries another, and soon after dies, leaving a Widow, { 154 } and the two Children, mentioned before. The Widow takes one third of the personal Estate, for ever, and is endowed of one third of the real Estate, which she lets out to one Tower, as we say to the Halves. Tower breaks up, and plants 1/2 a dozen Acres of the Land with Corn, which he ploughs and hoes &c. till the 20th of September, when The Widow his Lessor dies, having given by her Will, all her Estate to her Relations, Strangers to her late Husband and his Heirs. Now The Question is whether, the one half of the Produce and profits of this Land which the Widow was by Contract to have had, shall go to the Executor of her Will, and so to her Legatees, or else to the Right Heirs, of the Reversion of the Land, expectant on the Widows Death? And Q. also, whether, the said Right Heirs have the Property of the feed and the Apples, and such other fruits as the Earth produces spontaneously, or at least without any immediate Expence and Industry, of the late Tenant in Dower: and Q. also whether the Possession of the Land vests in the Right [heir] Eo Instante that the Widow dies, so that he has an immediate Right of Entry, or Whether the Lessee has not Possession, so that he must be ejected?
1. This entry and virtually all of those that follow concerning law cases through 3 Nov. 1760 were omitted by CFA in editing JA’s Diary.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-09-24

Septr. 24th. 1760.1

If I am the Proprietor of an House, and I lease it to any Man, and bind my self to keep it in Repair, it is reasonable and it is Law, that I should have a Rent. So if I am the owner of a ship, and I let [it] out on a Voyage to the Wist Indies or to Europe it is reasonable, and the maritime Law has made provision that I should have freight. For the sum of Money, that an House or a Ship would Cost, would if placed out, on Interest, bring in Annually 6 pr. Cent for my Use. Now I cant loose the Interest of my money, and besides my House is constantly wearing and decaying and my ship and her Cordage and her Canvas are continually wearing, so that the Rent and the freight ought to be sufficient to enable [me] to make these Repairs: But besides this, all Merchants, all Persons who have Property, in shipping, in Vessells that sail upon the sea, are in a peculiar manner liable to Accidents and Misfortunes. They are in Danger, from storms, from Rocks and sands, and they are in Danger from Pyrates and frenchmen, so that the Law, in establishing the freight of Vessells has made allowance, for these 3 things—for the Interest of Money on the Capital, for the Constant Expences in Repairing the Hull and the Cordage and the sails, and for the peculiar Danger from seas, Winds, Rocks and Enemies, which { 155 } constantly environ Vessells on the sea. And accordingly the freight or Rent of shipping is very high in all foreign Voyages. Well, now the same Reasons, which have established a freight upon Vessells in foreign Voyages, has by Law established a certain share of the Profits [of] this schooner now in Controversy. But the Case, which is more precisely parrall[el] to this of Mr. Lovell, and which is decisive in this Case, is that of Whaling Voyages. In Whaling Voyages, of[f] the shoals of Nantuckett, and in those to Hudsons Bay, there is frequently, a Master of a Vessell, and a Master of the Voyage i.e. a ship is taken into the service, and Whale Boats put on Board her. The Vessell sails into the Whaling Latitudes, and then puts her Boats to sea after the Whales. The Whales are taken on Board the Vessell, and brought home to Cape Cod we’l say, in a sort of Blubber. Wel there, at Cape Cod they frequently hire other People, People who had no Concern with the Voyage, to boil that Blubber into oil. When that is done the oyl is sent up to Boston and sold by Persons who are allowed Commissions for their Pains and after the Oyl is sold, the Established Rule is, to pay all the Costs of Boiling the Blubber and the Commissions arising on the sales and then the Vessell which went out upon the Voyage draws one Quarter of the whole Profits of the Voyage. But the particular Custom which has prevailed among these small Lighters, and schooners that run out a fishing, where there is not so much Danger of Shipwreck, is that the schooner or Lighter shall draw one fifth Part of the Profits of the Voyage. If a schooner runs out in the Harbour a fishing the schooner draws every fifth fish, and whenever they have taken up any drifted Timber or Shingles or Boards, the same proportion has been observed. I have known several Instances in which our Braintree Boats have taken up valuable things adrift, in Cases where there has been no danger to the Lighter, only her time has been consumed, and the Boat always drew one fifth of such drifted Timber as well as of the fish. The only thing, that I can think of, and which the first [ . . . ]2 to its utmost extent [ . . . ] think of, as I believe to distinguish this Case from any of the 3 that I have mentioned, either from that of a ship on a foreign Voyage or of any Vessell on a Whaling Voyage or of common Lighters and schooners on fishing Voyages, is this. That the schooner was not stout enough to weigh the Anchor and they were obliged to hire another Vessell to go down a Weight [i.e. and weigh?] it.—I beg your H[onor’] s careful Attention to this Point, because I suppose the whole stress of the Cause will be laid upon it, by the other side.—Now this I insist upon it can make no Alteration in the Case at all. For Mr. Lovells Vessell went out, upon the supposition { 156 } that she should draw 1/5 of the whole Profits of the Voyage, 1/5 of all the fish, that should be caught, and 1/5 of every Thing that he found adrift upon the surface or drawn upon from the Bottom of the Sea. And without this Prospect of 1/5 of the Profits, he would not have let her gone. He could have gone in her himself and made Profits by her or he could have let her out to others who would have minded their fishing, and so have gained Profits for him as well as for themselves. Suppose it had been said to Mr. Lovell, let us have your schooner to go out a fishing, and if we catch any, you shall have a fifth, but if we catch none, you shall have nothing and I believe we shant for we intend to spend most of our time in Poking after an Anchor or a Chest of Gold, that we suppose to be lost out in the Harbour; but if we should find this Anchor or Chest your schooner is not able to weight it, and so you shall have no Part of that.
Would Captn. Lovell have consented to that. No he would have laughed at them for fools to think he would, or have frowned upon them in Resentment of an Affront, for such a Proposal in Earnest would have been an affront. Well now what he could not have been desired reasonably to have consented to before the Voyage Your Honor cant desire him to do, and the Law will not oblige him to do after the Voyage. The Time of [the] Schooner was spent in securing of the anchor, time in which she might have earned him money either in fighting or fishing, his Vessell, his Ropes, and Sails were worn in the service, which will cost him money to repair; and what is worse than both the former, his Property was endangered, his Anchor was in great Risque of being irrecoverably lost in the first Place by its Entanglement with the large Anchor at the Bottom, and afterwards by the Use they made of it in raking at the Bottom to bring up the Cable of the great Anchor. And to say that the great Anchor was not weighed by his schooner is to say nothing. <It was secured by his schooner, and totally by his schooner.>
I say too that the Whales are not taken, cannot be taken by the ship. They are taken by the Whale Boats: I say too that the ship cant boil the Blubber up into oyl. But what then? The ship’s time is spent, she is wearing out, and she is endangered, and therefore she shall draw a Quarter of the Neat Profits of the Voyage after Wages for Boiling and Commissions for selling, are paid. This I rely upon, this schooners being unable to weigh the Anchor, is exactly like the ship in Hudsons bays being unable to chase and take the Whales. And their hiring another Vessell to go down, and weigh it, is like Whale mens hiring other Men to boil their blubber, and to sell their Oyl, and that this { 157 } schooner has as good a Right to 1/5 of the 2/3 after the one third is taken out, which by Agreement was given to the Vessell that weighed it, as a Whaling Vessell has to one fourth of the whole Profits of the Voyage after enough has been taken out to pay the Boilers and factors.
And nothing can be more reasonable. Suppose I should Agree with a Man, to let him have my Horse to Rhode Island to purchase a Quantity of Goods, and he engages I shall have one fifth or one Qr. of the Profits of his Journey. Well when he gets upon Seachonk Plain, He finds a Number of People there a horse racing. He challenges every Horse upon the Plain to run. At last they run for 100 Guineas which my Horse wins. Would it not be reasonable that I should have a Proportion of that Prize? Shall the Man that I let him to, run the Hazard of breaking the Neck, or Limbs or Wind of my Horse. Shall he strain, and violently drive him so as uterly to mar him very much; and I have no Recompence at all? By no means. Your Honor cant but see, we have a Right, and I dont doubt youl give it us.
Perhaps some Difficulty may arise in your Honours mind about the Propriety of the manner of laying this Action. It is an Ind[ebitatus] Ass[umpsit] for so much Money had and received by the Defendant, to the Use of the Plaintiffs, and it is alledged that the Defendant promised to render a reasonable Account. But this is the constant form of Suing for things of this sort. If I upon a Reckoning and settlement with a man pay him by a Mistake £20 more than is due to him, I may recover it back, by this Action, i.e. he has had and received so much money, which did not belong to him but to me, so if Money is due to me from another man, and some 3d Person goes to him, and under Pretence of Authority from me, receives that Money, I may have this Action against him. And in general if any man has received Money, which did not belong to him, but does belong to me, I may recover it of him by this Action. Now I think it is plain that Mr. Ward has received the sum mentioned in this Writ, that it did not belong to him but it did of right belong to the owners of the schooner the present Plaintiffs, and therefore it follows that he is accountable to us for it, and I dont doubt your honour will think so too.
1. Second entry so dated. This draft of JA’s argument in Lovell v. Ward was hastily and carelessly written and a few passages remain obscure.
2. Two or three words illegible.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-07

Octr. 7th. 1760.

Waited on Mr. Gridley for his Opinion of my Declaration Lambard v. Tirrell, and for his Advice, whether to enter the Action or not.1 He { 158 } says the Declaration is bad and the Writ, if Advantage is taken, will abate.
For It is a Declaration on a Parol Lease, not on a Deed, and therefore the Lessee’s Occupancy ought to be sett forth very exactly, for it is his Occupancy, not any Contract, that supports the Action.—You have declared, that Defendant by Virtue of the Demise, into the Tenements, entered, and the same Premises had, held and occupied. But you have not declared when he entered, nor how long he occupied. He might enter, and remove again from the Premises in 3 months, for ought appears on this Declaration. You have taken this Declaration from a Precedent of Lillies. But Lilly and Mallorry are not Authorities, Coke and Rastall are, and in them, the Distinction is taken between a Declaration on a Lease Parol, and one on a Deed, an Indenture. In a Declaration on an Indenture, it is not necessary to set forth when the Defendant entered nor how long he held: because by the Indenture he had a Right to enter and occupy, if he would, but whether he occupied, or not, he has indented to pay the Rent, when the time is out: But in a Declaration, on a Parol Lease, it is necessary to set forth, both when he entered and how long he stayed, because the Occupancy is the Cause and foundation of the Action. Besides you have not alledged that the Rent was to be yeilded and payd upon Demand, and this would abate the Writ.—Mr. Gridley sent me to Otis’s office to examine in Viners Abrigment, under the Title Rent, and in the Entries, i.e. Lilly, Mallorry, Coke, and Rastal, under the Title Debt, for some Authority to decide the Point whether the Exception was fatal, or not. I could find nothing in Viner, Lilly, or Mallorry, but Mr. Gridley shewed me in Coke and Rastall the Distinction taken between a Declaration on a Parol and on a Written Lease.
G. says, that an Indenture for the Year 1758, att a certain Rent; and the Lessees Continuance in the House, and the Lessors Permission to continue in the House, thro the Year 1759 without any new Indenture, or any Contract or Conversation about any Rent, is presumptive Evidence, that Each Party intended, the Rent should continue the same. The Lessees Continuance, in the House, without taking the Pains of going to the Lessor, to treat about new Terms, is sufficient Evidence of his Satisfaction with the old Terms and of his Consent to pay the old Rent. And the Lessors Permission of his Tenant to continue in the House, without taking the Pains to make a new Contract, is sufficient Evidence of his satisfaction with the old Terms, and of his Consent that they should continue.
{ 159 }
1. JA’s client, the plaintiff, recovered £9 6s. 8d. as a result of this action in the Inferior Court; the defendant appealed to the Superior Court at its Feb. 1761 term, but did not prosecute, and judgment was affirmed (Superior Court of Judicature, Records, 1760–1762, fol. 177). The bills of costs in both courts, in JA’s hand, are in Suffolk County Court House, Early Court Files, &c., No. 81586. See JA’s argument under second entry of 17 Oct., below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-09

1760. Oct. 9th.

In Support of Complaint in Case Neal’s Action is not entered.1
I do not know, nor is it possible for your Honours to determine, what Reason induced the Plantiff to renounce this suit. Whether it was, because the Estate is insolvent, or because he had no Cause of Action, or because his Action was mislayed, or because his Writ was bad, which by the Way is very probable, considering who drew it, that determined the Plantiff, not to enter this Action, I cannot say, and your Honours cannot determine. It appears to your Honours, that the Defendant has been vexed and distressed by this summons, that she has been obliged to take a Journey to this Town, and to attend upon this Court, where it appears there is nothing for her to answer to. All this appears. What Motive induced the Plantiff to drop his Action does not appear, and therefore We have a Right to Costs. As Things are Circumstanced, I will own, that had this Action been commenced by any Gentleman, at this Bar, I would have dispensed [with] this Complaint, but it was drawn by a petty fogging Deputy Sheriff against whom I know it is my Duty, and I think it is my Interest to take all legall Advantages. And he himself cannot think it hard, as he has taken both illegal and iniquitous Advantages against me. Therefore I pray your Honours Judgment for Costs.—Q. If this Action should be entered, what must be done with it? Continued, or dismissed?—A Motion must be made for a Continuance or a Dismission.
1. Joseph Neal had sued the widow of Capt. Richard Brackett as administratrix of Brackett’s estate. JA drafted arguments for this case in several entries below. It is not known how the action, which was entered and continued, presumably in the Inferior Court, came out; but in the case of Joseph Neal v. Nathan Spear, which grew out of it, JA won costs by a plea in abatement of the writ (see an entry under the assigned date of Jan.? 1761, below).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-11

1760. Oct. 11th.

Neals Action is entered so that I have two Actions to defend by Pleas in Bar and three of the Actions I entered, are to be defended, Clark is to Plead in Abatement and Tirrell and Thayer are, I suppose, to plead to issue. Clark gave a Note of Hand to Captn. Brackett in his Life time, and after his Death, on a Reckoning with the Administratrix, a Ballance was found due to the Estate upon Book, for which he gave { 160 } a new Note to the Widow as Administratrix. Now I have laid both these Notes in one Declaration in Conformity to the Province Law, which forbids two Bills of Cost, upon Instruments, Bonds, Bills, Notes &c. executed by the same Party, and made payable to one and the same Person, and put in suit at the same Time. Dana pleads in Abatement, that these Notes, tho executed by the same Party, were not made payable to one and the same Person. The first was made payable to Bracket, and the second was made payable to his Wife—and cites 3rd. Salkeld 202. “A. owed to B. £20 as Executor, and £10 more in his own Right. One Action will not lie against him for the whole Money, because there must be several Judgments.” And Dana says, that soon after he began Practice, he drew a Writ upon a Note taken by an Executor, as Executor, for a Debt of his Testator, and drew the Writ as if the Note had been taken in the Executors own private Right. Auchmuty1 for the Defendant, pleaded in Abatement that the Note was given to Plaintiff as Executor, not in his own Right, and the Inferiour Court abated the Writ, but he appealed, and at the Superiour Court, got Mr. Reed to speak for him, who contended that the Words as Executor, were idle, and the Court unanimously set up his Writ.
1. Robert Auchmuty the elder (d. 1750 or 1751), a Scot trained at the Middle Temple who was prominent in the early Boston bar and other colonial affairs; from 1733 to 1741 he was judge of admiralty for New England. His son Robert was an associate of JA’s in the Suffolk bar, notably as co-counsel in the defense of Captain Preston in 1770, but he became a loyalist and left America. A sister of the younger Auchmuty, Isabella, married the lawyer and judge Benjamin Prat. (DAB, under both Auchmutys; NEHGR, 12 [1858]:69–71.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-13

1760. Octr. 13th. Monday.

Attended Mr. Niles’s Court this morning for John Holbrook Junior in an Action of his against Benja. Thayer Junior. Holbrook agreed with Thayer, to submit all Demands together with both Actions to 3 men.
Mr. Niles told me, that he consulted Mr. Thatcher about entering his Action against Mrs. Brackett. Thatcher told him, it was as likely that she would recover Costs against him, as that he would recover Judgment against her, And therefore advised him not to enter. Niles’s Action is exactly like Neals. How came Thatcher to advise to one Thing and Dana to another? The Answer is Dana dont care, how the Action goes. He is sure of his Fee and attendance, whether he gets or looses his Cause.
Thus I find the Bar is divided. Gridley is at a loss. He told me it { 161 } was a Point of Law that would require a leisurely Examination. Thatcher is uncertain, but thinks it as likely to go in favour of the Administratrix as against her, and how much more likely he did not say. Kent says, the Administratrix will recover Costs, in Spight of the Devil, and he has recovered many a Time in such a Case.—It is a great object of Ambition to settle this Point of Law, whether a suit brought against an Administrator, who after the Commencement, Entry and several Continuances, represents the Estate Insolvent, shall be barred, and the Administrator allowed Costs?
I cannot be compelled to accept Mr. Dana’s agreement not to take Execution. And I insist upon it, if he has Judgment, he may take Execution, and if he takes Execution, what shall hinder the officer, from levying the whole Debt, and then what becomes of the Province Law, relating to insolvent Estates? The Words of the Law are “when the Estate of any Person deceased shall be insolvent, or insufficient to pay all just Debts, which the deceased owed, the same shall be set forth and distributed, among all the Creditors in Proportion to the sums to them owing, so far as the said Estate will extend.”
No Debts whatever are excepted from the Average, but Debts due to the Crown and the Charges of the last sickness and of the funeral. The Charges of the funeral, of the last sickness and Crown Debts are to be first paid, and then an Average is to be settled by Commissioners of Insolvency, before the Administrators can pay another Debt. There is no Exception of Debts legally demanded before the Representation of Insolvency. If Debts legally demanded, were to be excepted from the Average, every Debt would be excepted from the average. As soon as the Intestates Breath is gone, every Creditor will bring his Action, will make his legal Demand. If this had been Law and known to be law, 500 suits would have been brought vs. this Administratrix, within a Day after she took Administration. If this Rule of Law should be established, it would prove the Destruction of every Intestate Estate in the Province that is considerably in debt. Every Creditor would bring his suit, immediately, and thus the Costs of Suits would amount to a greater sum, oftentimes than the Debts.
It would indeed, furnish Employment to the Lawyers, and perhaps, a secret Regard to Interest has blinded some to the Inconveniences, that must attend it. I think the Point is clear, that a legal Demand, before the Representation of Insolvency cannot intitle any Creditor to recover his whole Demand.
Now the Q[uestion] is whether, if this Action should be defaulted, and Judgment made up, and Execution should issue, it would not { 162 } issue for the whole sum; and if it issues for the whole sum, the sheriff must levy the whole sum. So that, if Judgment should be rendered now, the whole Demand would be recovered—for this Court cannot consider an Average, that is not yet settled.
Well, should this Action be continued, along from Court to Court, and Judgment be entered after the.1
In answer to Sewals objection, I say, that an Administrator de Bonis non, could not maintain an Action vs. this Defendant, on this Note. But the Administration of this Administratrix must bring the Action, and stand accountable to the Administrator de Bonis non, for the Money, and if this Defendant should break, or die insolvent this would be a good Account.
Her delay to represent this Estate insolvent is of no Consequence at all. She was in Hopes, the Estate would have been sufficient, and she wanted to make a Calculation between the Estate and its Debts, before she made that Representation. She did not want to give the Creditors the Trouble of making out their Claims before Commissioners, if she could pay them without it. She acted in short as every prudent Administrator would do, to save herself and family the Disgrace and Curses of Insolvency, and to save her Creditors, the Trouble of making out their Claims, but People at last grew impatient and some Gentlemen had propagated an Opinion that those who made a legal Demand before the Representation, would recover their whole Debts, and summons’s flowed in upon her from all Quarters. Several Actions were brought against her, at Plymouth Court, and several more to this Court, and she saw that Ruin would insue to herself and family if she did not.
Now had this Representation been made when she took Administration, 18 months at least would have been allowed to examine Claims. But 6 months were allowed [over?] so that the Creditors will receive their share quite as soon as they would, if it had been represented sooner.
1. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-17

1760. Octr. 17th.

What are the Questions, on which Mrs. Bracketts Bars to Danas Actions turn?—The first Question is, whether any Action at all can be maintained vs. the Administrator of an Insolvent Estate excepting for Debt due to the Crown, for sickness and funeral Charges? And the second is, whether an Action brought before the Representation of Insolvency, can be maintained, i.e. Whether an Administrator, by { 163 } delaying to represent the Insolvency, makes herself liable to any suit, that is brought against her. For I take it to be very clear, that when an Estate is represented insolvent, as soon as an Administrator is appointed no Action can be maintained. All Actions must be barred, bar’d I mean for a Time, till the Commissioners have reported and the Average is settled. So that the only Question is, whether Administrators are liable to suits, till the Representation is made? And with submission I think [it] is certain that they are not. In many Cases it is well known, before a Mans Breath is gone, that he owes more than he is worth, and in such Cases the Administrator would do well to represent the Insolvency, at his first Appointment, but there are many Cases, when it is impossible for the Administrator to know whether his Intestate is solvent or insolvent, the Quantity of his Lands and goods may be unknown, and the Number and Quantity of his Debts is always unknown so that no Computation can possibly be made, and in these Cases, it is certainly reasonable and it is Law, that the Administrator should have some time to examine and calculate before he makes a Representation, for if the Estate is sufficient, it would be folly to draw upon his Intestate and himself and family the Disgrace of Insolvency, and the Curses of the Creditors needlessly, and it would be a Pitty to put the Estate to the Expence of the Commissioners, and the Creditors to the Trouble of making out their Claims before them. In all Cases therefore where it is doubtful whether the Estate is sufficient or insufficient, the Administrator ought to have time to inform himself, and in the mean time, all the Creditors must be debared from suits, or if they will bring them they must do it at their Peril, i.e. if the Estate afterwards proves insolvent, their Actions must be bared and they must pay Costs. Whether some Limitation of the time, is expedient or not, it is not our Business to inquire, if the Laws are imperfect in this respect it is the Business of the Legislature to perfect it, but Mr. Dana cannot avail him self of a Law that has no being.
Now the Case before your Honour, is of the last sort. At the Time of Capt. Bracketts Death, it was very doubtful, with every body, whether he left enough to pay his Debts or not. His Widow, on her appointment, to the Administration, told the Judge, it was uncertain, and asked time to inform herself; and she has been as diligent as she could, considering the distressed situation of her family, in making Enquiry after the Debts. She found Effects enough in her Hands to pay all the Debts that she was apprized of, and so was unwilling to make the Representation, unwilling to put the Estate to needless Charge, and Disgrace, unwilling to put her Creditors to the Trouble of making out { 164 } their Claims with the Commissioners, till she was satisfyd, there was not enough. But new Creditors are daily making their Appearance, who have large demands, and some who were never so civil as to let her know she owed them, have sent her Writts. She was sued in one Action to this Court for some hundreds, on a Note that she never suspected to be in Being. In short she finds most of the real Estate under Mortgage, so that most, if not all the Personal Estate must go to discharge these Mortgages, and then the real Estate must be sold at Vendue, the Event of which is quite uncertain, and therefore the Estate is not sufficient to pay. And as the Estate is insolvent, these suits must be barred. The Law is express, that No Proscess shall be allowed. And I presume the Reason, why the Law has not confined Administrators to narrow limits, is that People [must?] be restrained from rushing on such Estates, and by stifling all the sentiments of Humanity, bringing Destruction on the fatherless and Widows.
The Time for Enquiry, whether the Estate is insolvent, or not, must be dilated on. It is a momentous Point. Must shew, that the time she has taken, is no more than reasonable.
The Administrator is not liable unless it can be shewn that she has intermeddled with the Goods and made payment of any Debt. She has never paid any Debt.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0006-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-10-17

1760. Oct. 17.1

In the Beginning of May 58 Mr. Lambard, the Plantiff, gave a Lease of a House and Barn and Land in Germantown mentioned in the Writ to the Defendant Mr. Tirrell, and this Lease you will have with you. You will find by it, that Tirrill was to give [illegible initial] &c. the same Rent, that is sued for, in the present Action. In May 1759, i.e. at the End of the Year, Mr. Lambard went into the service, without making any new Contract, and Mr. Tirrell and his family continued in the House from that time to this. The Plantiff has frequently requested his Rent, but has been always refused, and at last he was obliged to bring his Action. As I said before there was no express Contract between the Parties, for the Year 1759, but as there was an express Contract for 58, and as the Defendant continued with his family, and as the Plantiff permitted him to continue in the House, the natural and legal Presumption is, that each Party was satisfyd with the old Terms, and intended the old Terms should continue. For had the Landlord been dissatisfyd with the Terms, it would have been his Business to have said, you must come upon a new Agreement or else leave the House, and had the Tenant been dissatisfyd he should { 165 } have said I must have the Place for less Rent or else I must leave. But as each Party was silent, each Party implicitly consented that the old Conditions should remain; especially as the Terms were very reasonable. £70 old Tenor, a Year is a moderate Rent for that Place. There is a very convenient handsome new House, there is a good Barn, and several good Lotts of Land. Besides the House has had Licence for a Tavern for these 7 Years, and Mr. Tirrell has all along kept a Tavern there and does to this day. Now the single Priviledge of keeping a Tavern upon that Place is worth as much annually as this Rent. For Germantown, you all know is a Place of considerable Resort. Hardly any Gentlemen of Curiosity from any of the four Governments come to this Town, without taking a Ride to Germantown to see the Manufactures there, that of Glass and that of Stockings. Great Numbers of People go out from this Town upon Parties of Pleasure to Germantown, and there is a considerable Number of Inhabitants upon the Place and all these must be entertained and supplied, so that considering the House, Barn, Land, and these Priviledges the Rent is quite moderate, and there can be no Reason why each Party should not be confined, to those Terms, which the Defendants silence and Continuance in the House, raise a violent Presumption that he consented to, and I dont doubt, you’l give us the sum sued for accordingly.
1. Second entry so dated. This is a draft of JA’s argument in the case of Lambard (or Lambert) v. Tirrell in the Inferior Court; see 7 Oct. and note, above.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-03

[3] Novr. 1760. Monday.

Dana says the Administrator ought not to regard the Disgrace or Trouble or Expence of a Commission of Insolvency, but if it is in the least degree suspicious, that the Estate will not prove sufficient, he must represent it so, at his first Appointment i.e. every Day, that he takes to enquire into the Value of the Estate, and the Number of Debts, is at the Risque of the Creditors, and if any one Creditor brings his Action he must maintain it, at the Expence of the others. For says he, as no Time is limitted an Administrator may wait a whole Year, before he represents the Estate insolvent, and live upon the Estate all that time, to the Injury of the Creditors. Nay he may neglect it two Years, or 10 Years, till he has wasted, spent, or alienated the whole Estate.
I say, it is reasonable that a Time should be allowed the Administrator to enquire, to make a Computation of the Effects, and to enquire into the No. and Quantity of the Debts, that he may be able to judge, whether the Estate is insolvent or not. For a Commission of Insolvency { 166 } is an Evil, always to be avoided, if Possible. It is always considered as a Disgrace to a family. It is always a great Expence to the Estate. It always provokes the Curses of the Creditors, and puts them to the Trouble in attending the Commissioners to prove their Debts. And it is not only reasonable, that a Time of Enquiry should be allowed, but it is Law. And the Executor or Administrator appointed to any Insolvent Estate, before Payment to any be made, except as aforesaid, shall represent the Condition and Circumstances thereof unto the Judge of Probate. Here is plainly a time allowed him, and there is no Limitation of that time. It is only said the Representation must be made before any Payment is made. And here is an Exception, which clearly gives the Administrator, some time; the Exception is of Debts due to the Crown, of sickness and funeral Charges. These the Administrator, after his Appointment may pay, before he is obliged to represent it insolvent, and he could not pay these any more than any other Debts unless some time was allowed him.
Mr. Danas Objections are in my humble opinion of little Weight. He says, that if the Administrator is not obliged to represent immediately, he may delay it, till she and her family have consumed, or by fraud conveyed away the Estate. But your Honours know that Apprisers are appointed, always directly after the Administrator is appointed, who are to make an Inventory and then the Administrator charges herself with all the Articles in the Inventory, and gives Bonds to be accountable for them at the apprized Value, at the Years End. So that if the Estate is wasted the Administrators Bond may be put in suit. Besides, admitting here is a Defect in the Law, in this Respect, Admitting a new Law is expedient, to limit the Time of [representation], such a Law has no Existence, nor can Mr. Dana avail himself of a Law that has no Being, however expedient it may be, especially when the Representation is made within a reasonable Time, as this was. The Representation was made in 9 months, which was a short space of Time considering the Circumstances of this affair. Brackett was struck out of Life suddenly, left a very distressed family, and a very perplexed and embarrassed Estate, so that it was impossible for the Widow to recover from her surprize, and make any Inquiry so as to satisfy herself whether the Estate was sufficient or not, sooner than she did. And I presume the Reason why the Law has not confined the Administrator to such Estates to narrow limits, is, because Persons, that die so much in Debt, commonly leave Widows and Children behind them, who have been used to decent and reputable living, and will therefore, if some reasonable time is not allowed them to keep together, { 167 } recover their surprize and look about them, will be driven to absolute Despair. And to this Purpose and that the Estate may not be burdened with Costs, the Law has provided, that no Proscess shall be allowed, while any such Estate is depending as aforesaid, which Words extend as well to the Time, the Estate is depending under the Examination and Enquiry of the Administrator as to that between the Representation of Insolvency and the settling of the Average. And it is quite reasonable that this Action in Particular, should be barred, because it was entered, out of the meer Humour and Obstinacy of the Plantiff. Tho it was commenced before the Representation it was entered afterwards, whereas if he had been a reasonable Man, instead of entering and driving this Action, as he has done, he should have dropd it without Entry.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-05

Nov. 5th. 1760.

[salute] Messrs.1

I presume upon the common sense of the World that no offence will be taken at the Freedom of the following Sentiments while the utmost Deference for Authority and Decency of Language is preserved, as Persons of obscure Birth, and Station, and narrow Fortunes have no other Way, but thro the Press to communicate their Tho’ts abroad, either to the high or the low.
The Vacancy, in the highest seat of Justice in the Province occasioned by the Death of J[udge] Sewal, naturally stirrs the Minds of all, who know the Importance of a wise, steady and loyal Administration of Justice, to enquire for a fit Person to fill that Place.2 Such Persons know, that the Rules of the common Law are extreamly numerous, that Acts of Parliament are numerous, some taken from, or at least in spirit, from the Civil Law, others from the Cannon and feudal Law. Such Persons know that the Histories of Cases and Resolutions of Judges have [been] preserved from a very great Antiquity, and they know also, that every possible Case being thus preserved in Writing, and settled in a Precedent, leaves nothing, or but little to the arbitrary Will or uninformed Reason of Prince or Judge.
And it will be easy, for any Man to conclude what opportunities, Industry, and Genius employd from early Youth, will be necessary to gain a Knowledge, from all these sources, sufficient to decide the Lives, Liberties and fortunes of Mankind, with safety to the Peoples Liberties, as well as the Kings Prerogative, that happy Union, in which the Excellence of british Government consists, and which has often { 168 } been preserved by the deep Discernment and noble spirit of english Judges.
It will be easy for any Man to conclude that a Man whose Youth and Spirits and Strength, have been spent, in Husbandry Merchandize, Politicks, nay in science or Literature will never master so immense and involved a science: for it may be taken for a never failing Maxim, that Youth is the only Time for lay[ing] the Foundation of a great Improvement in any science or Profession and that an Application in advanced Years, after the Mind is crowded, the Attention divided, or dissipated, and the Memory in part lost will make but a tolerable Artist at best.
1. This draft of a communication to a newspaper is obviously incomplete and does not appear to have been published.
2. Chief Justice Stephen Sewall died on 10 Sept. 1760, and a bitter contention ensued over the succession to his post. According to a retrospective account by Edmund Trowbridge, the two candidates who made themselves most conspicuous by their own efforts were William Brattle and the elder James Otis. When, on 13 Nov., Lt. Gov. Thomas Hutchinson was named, the two disappointed candidates were so “very angry with him and every one else they knew or suspected had not favoured their Respective Claims,” that much of the subsequent political squabbling in Massachusetts was a result of their irritation (Trowbridge to William Bollan, 15 July 1762, MHS, Colls., 74 [1918]:66). Neither Brattle nor Otis nor Hutchinson had had regular legal training, and so it would appear that JA is arguing against the appointment of any one of the three. If he had completed his article, we would doubtless know whom he was for.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-14

Novr. 14th. 1760.1

Another Year is now gone and upon Recollection, I find I have executed none of my Plans of study. I cannot Satisfy my self that I am much more knowing either from Books, or Men, from this Chamber, or the World, than I was at least a Year ago, when I wrote the foregoing Letter to Sewal.2 Most of my Time has been spent in Rambling and Dissipation. Riding, and Walking, Smoking Pipes and Spending Evenings, consume a vast Proportion of my Time, and the Cares and Anxieties of Business, damp my Ardor and scatter my attention. But I must stay more at home—and commit more to Writing. A Pen is certainly an excellent Instrument, to fix a Mans Attention and to inflame his Ambition. I am therefore beginning a new literary Year, with the 26th. of my life.3
1. This and the following two entries, all of them bearing the same date, are inserted here from D/JA/4, the journal of studies that JA projected in Oct. 1759 (see entries there) but proceeded to neglect for over a year.
2. Draft at the beginning of D/JA/4 (p. 123–124, above).
3. An approximation. JA’s 26th birthday fell on 19 Oct. 1760 according to the Old Style calendar; on 30 Oct. according to the New Style.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-14

1760. Novr. 14th. Friday.

I am just entered on the 26th Year of my Life, and on the fifth Year of my studies in Law, and I think it is high Time for a Reformation both in the Man, and the Lawyer. 25 Years of the Animal Life is a great Proportion to be spent, to so little Purpose, and four Years, the Space that we spend at Colledge is a great deal of Time to spend for no more Knowledge in the science and no more Employment in the Practice of Law. Let me keep an exact Journal therefore of the Authors I read, in this Paper.1
This day I am beginning my Ld. Hales History of the Common Law, a Book borrowed of Mr. Otis, and read once already, Analysis and all, with great Satisfaction. I wish I had Mr. Blackstones Analysis, that I might compare, and see what Improvements he has made upon Hale’s.
But what principally pleased me, in the first Reading of Hales History, was his Dissertation upon Descents, and upon Tryals by a Jury.
Hales Analysis, as Mr. Gridley tells me, is an Improvement of one, first planned and sketched by Noy, an Attorney General in the Reign of Charles 1st. And Mr. Blackstone’s is an Improvement upon Hales.2
1. That is, this paper booklet or gathering of leaves.
2. For copies of works by Chief Justice Sir Matthew Hale and Sir William Blackstone still among JA’s books at the Boston Public Library, see Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 113, 28.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-14

1760. Novr. 14. Friday.

The Title is “The History of the Common Law of England.” The Frontispiece, I cannot comprehend. It is this.
Ἰσχυρον ὁ ΝÓΜΟΣ έσ[τ]ὶν ἄρχοντὰ1
His great Distribution of the Laws of England is into Leges scriptae and Leges non scriptae. The first are Acts of Parliament which are originally reduced to writing before they are enacted, or receive any binding Power, every such Law being in the first Instance, formally drawn up in Writing, and made as it were a Tripartite Indenture, between the King, the Lords and Commons.
The Leges non scriptae, altho there may be some Monument or Memorial of them in Writing (as there is of all of them) yet all of them have not their original in Writing, but have obtained their Force by immemorial Usage or Custom.
1. Transcribed by JA from the titlepage of Sir Matthew Hale’s The History and Analysis of the Common Law of England, London, 1713. JA could make no sense of it because it is garbled Greek for which the printer may have been re• { 170 } | view sponsible. CFA subjoined the following note on the passage: “Stephanus quotes the following as a proverb,—
Ἰσχυρὸν ὁ νόμος έστ𐎯ν, ἤν ἄρχοντ᾽ ἔχῃ. which he translates,—The law is powerful if it have an executor” (JA, Works, 2:101). The Stephani, or Estiennes, were 16th-century printers and lexicographers; see Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 86. Hale’s titlepage motto is evidently a distorted version of this “proverb.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-15

1760. Novr. 15th. Sat.

Spent last Evening at Coll. Quincys, with Coll. Lincoln. Several Instances were mentioned, when the Independency and Superiority of the Law in general over particular Departments of officers, civil and military, has been asserted and maintained, by the Judges, at Home. Ld. Cokes Resolution in the Case of —— in oposition to the opinion, and even to the orders, and passionate Threatnings of the King. Ld. Holts refusal to give the House of Lords his Reasons, for his Judgment in the Case of —— in an extra judicial Manner, i.e. without being legally and constitutionally called before them by a Rit [Writ] of Error, Certiorari, or false Judgment. And C[hief] J[ustice] Wills’s resolute spirited assertion of the Rits [Rights] of common Law in opposition to the Court Martial against the Intercession of powerful Friends, and even of the Ministry if not the K[ing] himself.1
1. CFA identifies two of the cases here referred to (JA, Works, 2:101).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-19

1760. Novr. 19th.

Parson Smith says the Art of Printing like most other Arts, and Instruments, was discovered by Accident. Somebody, at an idle Hour, had whitled his Name, cut his Name out in the Bark of a Tree. And when his Name was fairly cut out, he cut it off [and] put it into his Hankerchief. The Bark was fresh, and full of Sap, and the Sap colored his Hankerchief, i.e. printed his Name upon it. And from observing that he tooke the Hint.

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.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0012

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-25

Novr. 25th. 1760.

Rode to the Iron Works Landing to see a Vessell launched. And after Launching went to smoke a Pipe, at Ben. Thayers, where the Rabble filled the House. Every Room, kitchen, Chamber was crowded with People.1 Negroes with a fiddle. Young fellows and Girls dancing in the Chamber as if they would kick the floor thro. Zab Hayward, not finding admittance to the Chamber, gathered a Circle round him in the lower Room. There He began to shew his Tricks and Postures, and Activity. He has had the Reputation, for at least fifteen Years, of the best Dancer in the World in these Towns. Several attempted, but none could equal him, in nimbleness of heels. But he has no Conception of the Grace, the Air nor the Regularity of dancing. His Air is absurd and wild, desultory, and irregular, as his Countenance is low and ignoble. In short the Air of his Countenance, the Motions of his Body, Hands, and Head, are extreamly silly, and affected and mean.
When he first began, his Behaviour and Speeches were softly silly, but as his Blood grew warm by motion and Liquor, he grew droll. He caught a Girl and danced a Gigg with her, and then led her to one side of the Ring and said, “Stand there, I call for you by and by.” This was spoke comically enough, and raised a loud laugh. He caught another Girl, with light Hair, and a Patch on her Chin, and held her by the Hand while he sung a song, describing her as he said. This tickled the Girls Vanity, for the song which he applied to her described a very fine Girl indeed.
One of his witty droll sayings he thought, was this. I am a clever fellow, or else the Devil is in me. That is a Clever Girl or else the Devil is in her. Wm. Swan is such another Funmaking animal of diverting Tricks.
Hayward took one Girl by the Hand, and made a Speech to her.
{ 173 }
“I must confess I am an old Man, and as father Smith says hardly capable of doing my Duty.” This raised a broad Laugh too.
Thus, in dancing, singing songs, drinking flip, running after one Girl, and married Woman and another, and making these affected, humorous Speeches, he spent the whole Afternoon.—And Zab and I were foolish enough to spend the whole afternoon in gazing and listening.
Gurney danced, but was modest and said nothing. E. Turner danced not, but bawled aloud.—God dam it, and dam it, and the Devil, &c.—And swore he’d go to Captn. Thayers, and be merry and get as drunk as the Devil. He insisted upon it, drunk he would get. And indeed, not 2 pence better than drunk he was.
Fiddling and dancing, in a Chamber full of young fellows and Girls, a wild Rable of both sexes, and all Ages, in the lower Room, singing dancing, fiddling, drinking flip and Toddy, and drams.—This is the Riot and Revelling of Taverns And of Thayers frolicks.
1. The “Iron Works Landing” and Benjamin Thayer’s tavern, on the Monatiquot River where it flows into Fore River Bay, may be seen at the foot of JA’s sketch map of taverns in Braintree and Weymouth, reproduced in this volume. This entire entry was omitted by CFA in editing JA’s Diary.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0013

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-26

1760. Novr. 26th. Wednesday.1

Ten days are now elapsed, since I began Hale the 2d time, and all the Law I have read, for 10 days, is that Book once thro. I read Woods Institute thro the first Time with Mr. Put. in twice that time i.e. in 3 Weeks, and kept a school every day. My present Inattention to Law is intolerable and ruinous.
1. This entry and those that follow, through 1 Dec. 1760, are again from D/JA/4, JA’s record of studies.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0014

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-26

1760. Novr. 26th Wednesday.

Night before Thanksgiving.—I have read a Multitude of Law Books—mastered but few. Wood. Coke. 2 Vols. Lillies Ab[ridgmen]t. 2 Vols. Salk[eld’s] Rep[orts]. Swinburne. Hawkins Pleas of the Crown. Fortescue. Fitzgibbons. Ten Volumes in folio I read, at Worcester, quite thro—besides Octavos and Lesser Volumes, and many others of all sizes that I consulted occasionally, without Reading in Course as Dictionaries, Reporters, Entries, and Abridgments, &c.
I cannot give so good an Account of the Improvement of my two last Years, spent in Braintree. However I have read no small Number of Volumes, upon the Law, the last 2 Years. Justinians Institutes I { 174 } | view have read, thro, in Latin with Vinnius’s perpetual Notes, Van Muydens Tractatio Institutionum Justiniani, I read thro, and translated, mostly into English, from the same Language. Woods Institute of the Civil Law, I read thro. These on the civil Law; on the Law of England I read Cowells Institute of the Laws of England, in Imitation of Justinian, Dr. and student, Finch’s Discourse of Law, Hales History, and some Reporters, Cases in Chancery, Andrews &c. besides occasional searches for Business. Also a general Treatise of naval Trade and Commerce, as founded on the Laws and Statutes. All this series of Reading, has left but faint Impressions, and [a] very Imperfect system of Law in my Head.
I must form a serious Resolution of beginning and pursuing quite thro, the Plans of my Lords Hale, and Reeve. Woods Inst[itutes] of common Law I never read but once, and my Ld. Coke’s Com[mentary] on Lit[tleton] I never read but once. These two Authors I must get, and read, over and over again. And I will get em too, and break thro, as Mr. Gridly expressed it, all obstructions.
Besides, I am but a Novice in natural Law and civil Law. There are multitudes of excellent Authors, on natural Law, that I have never read, indeed I never read any Part of the best authors, Puffendorf and Grotius. In the Civil Law, there are Hoppius, and Vinnius, Commentators on Justinian, Domat, &c. besides Institutes of Cannon and feudal Law, that I have to read.
Much may be done in two Years, I have found already. And let it be my Care, that at the End of the next two Years I be better able to shew that no Time has been lost than I ever have been yet.
Let me practice the Rule of Pythagoras.

Μηδ᾽ ὕπνον μαλακοῖσίν έπ᾽ ὄμμασι προσδέξασθαι

πρίν τῶν ἡμερινῶν ἔργων τρὶς ἕκαστον επελθεῖν

πη παρεβην; τί δ᾽ερεξα; τι μοι δεον οὐκ ετελεσθη;1

Thus let me, every night before I go to bed, write down in this Book, what Book of Law, I have read.
1. Quoted from the “Golden Verses of Pythagoras,” a collection of maxims actually written by disciples of Pythagoras. Professor Johannes A. Gaertner of Lafayette College has kindly furnished the following translation: “Let not sleep be admitted to tiring eyes before going over each of the daily tasks thrice. What have I omitted? What have I achieved? What has not been finished that was my duty?” Years later JA read through the “Golden Verses” in a French translation and wrote a rather bemused marginal commentary on them which has been published by Zoltán Haraszti in More Books, 1:106–110 (April 1926). Of the first sentence in the present passage he remarked: “Wise but very difficult.” Still later, JQA prefixed a verse translation of this passage to his Diary for 1819; see his Memoirs, 4:203.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0015

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-28

1760 Novr. 28th. Friday.

I have not read one Word of Law, this Day. But several Points, and Queries have been suggested to me, by the Consultors.—In whom is the Fee, and Freehold of our burying Yard? What Right has any Man to erect a Monument, or sink a Tomb there, without the Consent of the Proprietors? In England, the Church Yards are the Places of Burial, and the Parson is seised in fee, of them as of the Ground whereon the Church stands. But our Burying Yards, as well as the Ground, on which our Temples stand, are not vested in our incumbent Ministers, but in the Precinct or Parish, (the Corporation socalled) where they lie, according to the late Resolution in the Dedham Case.
The Property of our Meeting House, is in the Precinct, i.e. the dissenting Part of it,—And I think the Precinct, by its Committee sold the Pews to particular Persons, and perhaps, the Persons who have erected Tombs, might previously ask And obtain the Priviledge of the Precinct.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-29

1760. Novr. 29th. Saturday.

Read no Law.—An exclusive Property is certainly claimed and enjoyed, by private Persons, in Tombs and Monuments, as well as in Pews. Inhabitants of other Towns, have usually asked Leave of the Select Men, to bury their dead in our burying Place. But I should think the Precinct Assessors, or Parish Committee, had rather the Inspection of our burying Yard. My Father never knew License given nor asked of Town, nor Precinct to sink a Tomb, nor to [raise a] Monument.
Suppose my Father, Wife, Child, friend died, and I order the sexton, or on his Refusal my own servant to open any Tomb in our burying Yard, and without further Ceremony deposit the Corps there, can the pretended Proprietor have any Action, or Remedy against me? The Course of the Descent of these Tombs and Pews, when undisposed by Will, is a matter of uncertainty too. Do they descend to the Heirs, as Inheritances in Houses and Lands, or do they go to the Executor or Administrator, as personal Estate?
There is an Anecdote in the Spectator, of De Wit, the famous dutch Politician. Somebody asked him how he could rid his Hands of that endless Multiplicity and Variety of Business that passed thro them, without Confusion? He answered, “by doing one Thing at once.” When he began Any Thing, he applied his whole Attention to it, till he had finished it.—This Rule should be observed in Law. If any Point is to be examined, every Book should be consulted and every Light { 176 } should be considered, before you proceed to any other Business or study. If any Book is to be read, no other Book should be taken up to divert or interrupt your Attention till that Book is finished.
Order, Method, Regularity in Business or Study have excellent Effects both in saving of Time and in bettering and improving Performance. Business done, in order, is done sooner, and better.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0007-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-11-30

Novr. 30th. Sunday.

Read no Law. Read Bolinbroke.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-01

1760. Decr. 1st. Monday.

I am beginning a Week and a month, and I arose by the Dawning of the Day. And by sun rise had made my fire and read a number of Pages in Bolinbroke. Tuesday and Wednesday passed, without reading any Law.1
1. There are no further entries in D/JA/4, JA’s record of studies, until 27 Jan. 1761.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-02

1760. Decr. 2d.1

Spent the Evening at Coll. Q.’s with Captn. Freeman. About the middle of the Evening Dr. Lincoln and his Lady came in. The Dr. gave us an ample Confirmation of our Opinion of his Brutality and Rusticity. He treated his Wife, as no drunken Cobler, or Clothier would have done, before Company. Her father never gave such Looks and Answers to one of his slaves in my Hearing. And he contradicted he Squibd, shrugged, scouled, laughd at the Coll. in such a Manner as the Coll. would have called Boorish, ungentlemanly, unpolite, ridiculous, in any other Man. More of the Clown, is not in the World. A hoggish, ill bred, uncivil, haughty, Coxcomb, as ever I saw. His Wit is forced and affected, his Manners to his father, Wife, and to Company are brutally rustic, he is ostentatious of his Talent at Disputation, forever giving an History, like my Uncle Hottentot,2 of some Wrangle he has had with this and that Divine. Affects to be thought an Heretic. Disputes against the Eternity of Hell, torments &c. His treatment of his Wife amazed me. Miss Q. asked the Dr. a Question. Miss Lincoln seeing the Dr. engaged with me, gave her Mother an Answer, which however was not satisfactory.3 Miss Q. repeats it. “Dr. you did not hear my Question.”—“Yes I did, replies the Dr., and the Answer to it, my Wife is so pert, she must put in her Oar, or she must blabb, before I could speak.” And then shrugged And affected a laugh, to cow her as he used to, the freshmen and sophymores at Colledge. { 177 } —She sunk into silence and shame and Grief, as I thought.—After supper, she says “Oh my dear, do let my father see that Letter we read on the road.” Bela answers, like the great Mogul, like Nero or Caligula, “he shant.”—Why, Dr., do let me have it! do!—He turns his face about as stern as the Devil, sour as Vinegar. “I wont.”—Why sir says she, what makes you answer me so sternly, shant and wont?—Because I wont, says he. Then the poor Girl, between shame and Grief and Resentment and Contempt, at last, strives to turn it off with a Laugh.—“I wish I had it. Ide shew it, I know.”—Bela really acts the Part of the Tamer of the Shrew in Shakespear. Thus a kind Look, an obliging Air, a civil Answer, is a boon that she cant obtain from her Husband. Farmers, Tradesmen, Soldiers, Sailors, People of no fortune, Figure, Education, are really more civil, obliging, kind, to their Wives than he is.—She always is under Restraint before me. She never dares shew her endearing Airs, nor any fondness for him.
1. First entry in D/JA/6, an assemblage of loose sheets in which JA made entries at rather irregular intervals until 3 March 1761. About half of these entries, including the present one, were not printed by CFA in his edition of the Diary, and those he did print are frequently incomplete.
2. This allusion is not now explainable.
3. The nomenclature in this passage is somewhat puzzling. “Miss Q.” can only mean “Mistress Quincy,” the wife of Col. Josiah Quincy, since she is immediately identified as the “Mother” (actually stepmother) of “Miss” (i.e. Mistress) Lincoln, that is to say of Hannah (Quincy) Lincoln. From this it is evident that Elizabeth (Waldron) Quincy, the Colonel’s 2d wife, was living in Dec. 1760, though the date of her death is usually given as 1759. (Quincy married a third time, but not until 1762.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-06

Decr. 6th. 1760.

Talked with Zab about Newton, Bacon, Lock, Martin, Chambers, Rowning, Desaguliers, S’Gravesende &c. I told him I had a low Opinion of the Compilers, Abridgers, and Abstract makers. We had better draw science from its fountain in original Authors. These Writers, the Hirelings of the Booksellers, only vend us the Discoveries of other Philosophers, in another form, and under another Title, in order to get Bread to eat and Raiment to put on.—Zab says, that Martin has made several Discoveries—has invented new Machines, improved and perfected old ones, nay has even detected Errors in Newton. E.g. Newton always thought, the Moon was surrounded by an Atmosphere, but Martin proved it is not; because the Starrs, that appear all round it above, below and on each side of it, are not diminished in their Lustre, as they would appear, if the Rays passed from them thro an Atmosphere.
Then we transited to Dr. Simpson [Simson], Euclid &c. and he { 178 } | view asked me to demonstrate, that the 3 Angles of a Triangle are equal to 2 Right. I undertook it. Draw a right Line, A.B. Erect the Perpendicular, C.D. Draw the Hypothenuse D.A. Parallel to A.D. draw the Line C.E.
graphic here
Now I say that the 3 Angles ACD., CDA., and DAC are equal to two right Angles. For it is easy to see that DCA., is a right Angle, and that BCE, which is equal to CAD added to ECD, which is equal to CDA, make another right Angle. But how do I know that BCE is equal to CAD? Let the Triangle ECB, be moved along, to the left hand and by the Hypothesis CE will fall upon AD and CB Upon AC, and of Consequence the 2 Angles are equal. How then do I know that the Angle ECD is equal to ADC? See the Dem[onstration] in Euclid.
graphic here { 179 }
Then we attempted to demonstrate the 47th of the 1st Book. That the Square of the Hypothenuse is equal to the Squares of both the Legs.
I am astonished at my own Ignorance in the french tongue. I find I can neither express my own Thoughts, in it, nor understand others, who express theirs readily in it. I can neither give nor receive Thoughts, by that Instrument.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-08

1760. Decr. 8.

<Began Machiavells [ . . . ] Machiavell>1
1. The illegible word begins with “D” but is not “Discourses.” JA’s lining out is careless; it is possible that he intended to leave “Began Machiavell” as the entry for this day.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-14

Decr. 14th. 1760.

Hunt v. White. Complaint to Coll. Quincy—of a scandalous Lye, made and published to Hunts Damage.
We appear before your Honour to complain of a very slanderous, and malicious Lye, made and published to our Damage. We complain of a Violation of the Law of this Province against Lying and Libelling. The Law runs thus.—If any Person &c. shall wittingly and willingly make or publish any Lye or Libel tending to the Defamation or Damage &c., make or Spread any false News or Reports &c., and being convicted before one or more Justices, he shall be fined &c. and find sureties.—The Legislature, knowing the quickness and Violence of human Passions saw the Tendency of the Publication of Lyes and false stories, concerning any Person, to raise his Resentment, and provoke him to break the Peace. They knew what a Provocation it was, to recur to Clubbs and fists and swords, the Remedies of Mohocks and Catabaws and to the utter Disturbance of the Peace of society. To prevent therefore the Mischifs and Distraction that might ensue from such Provocations and Resentment they enacted this Law—that Men injured in such a manner might instantly have recourse to a Majestrate and have the Lyar punished for his Malice, and bound to the Behaviour. Now We complain of the Publication of such a Lye—and if we can shew that the Defendant has published such a Lye, i.e. any tending to our Defamation or Damage, that he has spread a false Report, with Intent to abuse us and deceive others, we shall expect your Honours will convict of a breach of this Law, fine him, as this Law directs, and bind him to his good Behaviour. In order to this, I { 180 } beg leave to lay open as concisely as I can, the previous Facts, which gave Occasion to use the force of the Province Law to this Lye, this false story.
Mr. Hunt, it seems sometime after last Thanksgiving Day, made his application to Mr. Justice Dyer, for a Warrant to search for stolen goods. The Justice administered an oath to him and he swore that on the Night after last Thanksgiving Day, his House was broken and 17£ of Money stolen from his Chest. A Warrant of search was granted and dilligent search was made, but the Money not found. This opportunity it seems, Captn. White took to raise and spread a Lye.—I must be excused, for using these Expressions. The Law has pointed them out to me, and they are the properest that can be found.—A Lye, that has a Tendency, totally and irretrievably to ruin Mr. Hunts Character, to destroy all Confidence in his Probity, to expose him to an infamous Punishment, and to make him avoided as a Pest to Society.
He seems to have made it his Business to ramble about, and publish his Tale to every Man he saw almost both in Weighmouth and Braintree. To one man He says Hunt never lost any Money. To another He stole his Money himself. To a third he enters into a pretended Proof of his story and says—Hunt said in Boston, on Thanksgiving Day Night, which was before his Money was stolen as he swore to Justice Dyer, had told People the story to which he afterwards swore. To another he is more Particular, and says Mr. Ballard of Boston told me, the morning after Thanksgiving, that Hunt told him of the Breach of his House and the Loss of his money the Night before.—Now this we say is the Lye. We never told Mr. Ballard so and Mr. Ballard never told him so. And we say it has a tendency to our Defamation and Damage. If these stories should be believed, every Man will believe us guilty not only of a fraudulent, lying Disposition, but of Perjury. And if the world should believe us guilty of Perjury we are undone, for ever. We shall be dispised. We shall be detested. No man will have the least Confidence in us. We must become Vagabonds upon Earth. I pray the Witnesses may be sworn to prove what we say.
The Crime that is implicitly charged upon the Complainant, is Perjury. What is Perjury? Is it not the worst of Crimes? Is it not, a open deliberate Defyance of Heaven and Earth? Is it not a Challenge of divine Vengence, and a Contemt of all the Infamy and Misery of [three?] of the most severe of civil Punishments? Is it not a Crime that carries with [it] the last Degree of Reproach? It does not indeed strip a Man of the Protection of Society? We cannot, lawfully, hunt down and kill a Perjured Person. But does it not strip us of all the Priviledges { 181 } of society? Does it not disable us to testify, as Witness on all occasions? Does it not prevent all the World from believing and trusting us?
The Foundation of this Law, is the Tendency of such scandalous stories to the Disturbance of the Peace. The Legislature knew the quickness and Violence of Mens Resentment.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-16

1760. Decr. 16th. Tuesday.

Attended the Tryal all day, between Hunt and White before Coll. Quincy, at James Bracketts.
What will be the Consequence of this Tryal? to me, to Hunt, and to White? White has been punished, for his licentious Tittle tatle, but Hunt has gained neither Recompence nor Credit. Benja. Thayer is enraged and Prat and Pitty [Pettee?] were enraged at me for abusing them, by asking them their Thoughts. Ben. Thayer continues so, for aught I know, or care. I fear this unsuccessful Prosecution connected with that of Lovel and Reed, will occasion squibbs, and injure my Reputation in Weighmouth. However in both I am well assured I had good Cause of Action. Lovel and Reed had good Right, tho the Justice was, I dont know what, enough to give his Judgment against them. And stories have been propagated, zealously, industriously propagated by White, with Design I believe to convince Mankind that Hunt had been guilty, or at least from a vain trifling Inclination to shew his Penetration at Hunts Expence; altho the Circumstances of suspicion against Hunt have taken such hold of Mens Minds, that no Conviction of White would have retrieved Hunts Character at all.
It would have been much better, never to have stirred, in this Affair. The more He stirs the worse he stinks.—A Prosecution commenced with so much Temper, pursued with so much Resolution, then supported by so little Evidence and terminated by Agreement, tho in his favour, yet with so small Advantage, will give occasion for Weighmouth Tongues to wanton in obloquy, and to their sides to riot in Laughter.
Virtues, Ambition, Generosity, indulged to excess degenerate in Extravagance which plunges headlong into Villany and folly.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-18

1760 Decr. 18th. Thurdsday.

Yesterday spent in Weymouth, in settling the Disputes between old Thos. White and young Isaac French. White has the Remainders of his habitual Trickish lying, cheating Disposition, strongly working to this Day—an infinity of jesuitical Distinctions, and mental Reservations.
{ 182 }
He told me he never lost a Cause at Court in his Life—which James White and Mr. Whitmarsh say is a down right Lye.
He owned to me that his Character had been that of a Knave and a Villain: and says every Man of Wit and sense will be called a Villain.—My Principle has been, to deal upon Honour with all men, so long as they deal upon Honour with me, but as soon as they begin to trick me, I think I ought to trick them.
Thus every Knave thinks others, as knavish or more knavish than himself.
What an Intrenchment, is this against the Attacks of his Conscience, is this, “the Knavery of my Neighbours, is superiour to mine.”1
An old withered, decripit Person, 87 years of Age with a Head full of all the Wiles, and Guile and Artifice of the Infernal serpent, is really a <Phenomenon> melancholly sight. Ambition of appearing sprightly, cunning, smart, capable of outwitting younger Men. In short I never saw that Guile and subtilty in any Man of that Age. Father Niles has a little of that same serpentine Guile. I never felt the meaning of the Words, Stratagem, Guile, Subtilty, Cunning, Wiles &c. that Milton applies to the Devil [in?] his Plan to effect the Ruin of our first Parents so forcibly, as since I knew that old Man, and his grandson Isaac, who seems to have the same subtilty, and a worse Temper, under a total secresy, and dissembled Intention. He has a smiling face, and a flattering Tongue with a total Concealment of his Designs, tho a devilish malignant, fiery temper appears in his Eyes. He’s a Cassius, like Ben. Thayer. Sees thro the Characters of Men, much further, and clearer, than ordinary, never laughs, now and then smiles, or half smiles. Father White, with all his subtilty and Guile, may be easily over reached by Men like him self. He is too open, too ostentatious of his Cunning, and therefore is generally, out witted, and worsted.
Yesterdays Transaction was intended as the final Determination of all Disputes and Concerns between Mr. White and Mr. French—that White should deliver up, or burn all Bonds, Notes, Leases, Indentures, Covenants and Obligations whatever, and that French on his Part should deliver up, or burn, all Indentures, Leases, obligations &c., in his Hands. But as the Indentures and Leases were not destroyed, and some Notes in father Whites Hands not delivered up, I fear, from French’s outrageous, and barefaced Declaration, as soon as affairs were over, “that he had got it settled exactly as he would have it,” and that “the Receipt did not cut off his Indentures, which would not be in force till his Grandfathers Decease and that he would sue the re• { 183 } maining Notes, out of his Grandfathers Hands” &c., that more Difficulties will yet arise between them. I fear too that my burning of the Arbitration Bonds, and Awards, was a mistaken step, for they might have remained, as Evidence. However, French declared to me, that he would surrender all his Writings, if his Grandfather would surrender his; afterwards in the Evening, at [ . . . ].2 But he told me he did not see the Importance of those Indentures.
Five strange Characters I have had Concerns with very lately.—Josiah White, Saml. Hunt, old Thomas White, and Isaac French. Two Fools, and two Knaves—Besides Daniel Nightingale, a Lunatick.
French’s Joy, like that of the Devil, when he had compleated the Temptation and fall of Man, was extravagant, but he broke out into too violent a Passion. He broke his own seal of secresy and betrayed his villanous Designs to me. On my Resenting his declared Intention, he grew sensible of his Error, and attempted by soothing to retrieve it. “He was sorry he had broke out so.”—“The treatment he had suffered made him in a Passion.”—“I raised your Temper too prodigiously.”
There is every Year, some new and astonishing scene of Vice, laid open to the Consideration of the Public. Parson Potters Affair, with Mrs. Winchester, and other Women, is hardly forgotten. A Minister, famous for Learning, oratory, orthodoxy, Piety and Gravity, discovered to have the most debauched and polluted of Minds, to have pursued a series of wanton Intrigues, with one Woman and another, to have got his Maid with Child and all that.3—Lately Deacon Savils Affair has become public. An old Man 77 Years of Age, a Deacon, whose chief Ambition has always been Prayer, and religious Conversation, and sacerdotal Company, discovered to have been the most salacious, rampant, Stallion, in the Universe—rambling all the Town over, lodging with this and that Boy and Attempting at least the Crime of Buggery. <Thus Adultery, Buggery, Perjury, are—>
1. Thus in MS (except for closing quotation mark, which has been editorially supplied). Doubtless JA intended to strike out the first “is this.”
2. This name is uncertain. Apparently “Creens,” perhaps intended for “Greens.”
3. Nathaniel Potter, College of New Jersey 1753, and honorary A.M., Harvard 1758, was minister at Brookline from 1755 until dismissed in June 1759. Little is said of him in the local histories of Brookline, but the Plymouth church, which seriously considered calling him, heard in July 1759 “some melancholy things opened with Respect to Mr. Potters moral Charecter.” This was just in time to save “this poor Church ... from Ruine.” In 1765 Potter took up with another adventurer, Maj. Robert Rogers, accompanied him to England, and probably had an important hand in Rogers’ several literary productions published at that time. With the promise of a good salary as secretary, Potter went with Rogers to Fort Michilimackinac, but quarreled with him in 1767, and died in the Eng• { 184 } lish Channel later that year while bringing his charges against Rogers to the British government. (Weis, Colonial Clergy of N. E.; Plymouth Church Records, 1620–1859, N.Y., 1920–1923, 1:317–318; sources cited in note to entry of 27 Dec. 1765, below, q.v.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-18

1760. Decr. 18.

Justice Dyer says there is more Occasion for Justices than for Lawyers. Lawyers live upon the sins of the People. If all Men were just, and honest, and pious, and Religious &c. there would be no need of Lawyers. But Justices are necessary to keep men just and honest and pious, and religious.—Oh sagacity!
But, it may be said with equal Truth, that all Magistrates, and all civil officers, and all civil Government, is founded and maintained by the sins of the People. All armies would be needless if Men were universally virtuous. Most manufacturers and Tradesmen would be needless. Nay, some of the natural Passions and sentiments of human Minds, would be needless upon that supposition. Resentment, e.g. which has for its object, Wrong and Injury. No man upon that supposition would ever give another, a just Provocation. And no just Resentment could take Place without a just Provocation. Thus, our natural Resentments are founded on the sins of the People, as much as the Profession of the Law, or that of Arms, or that of Divinity. In short Vice and folly are so interwoven in all human Affairs that they could not possibly be wholly separated from them without tearing and rending the whole system of human Nature, and state. Nothing would remain as it is.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-19

1760. Decr. 18th [i.e. 19th?] Fryday.1

[salute] Sir

<I am an old Man seventy odd, and as [I] had my Education, so I have passed my whole Life in the Country>, &c.
1. This is the third entry the diarist dated 18 Dec., but since 19 Dec. 1760 fell on a Friday, an editorial correction seems justified. JA went on with the present canceled draft in an entry conjecturally assigned to Jan. 1761 (p. 190–192, below).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-22

1760. Decr. 22nd. Monday.

This day and Tomorrow are the last. I have but one Blank left that I can use.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0005-0008-0011

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1760-12-27

1760. Decr. 27th. Saturday.

Governor Bernards Speech to the two Houses, at the opening of the present sessions, has several Inaccuracies in it.1 “The glorious Con• { 185 } clusion of the North American War.”—The N. American War is not yet concluded, it continues, obstinate and bloody, with the Cherokees, and will be renewed probably, against the french in Louisiana. However with Regard to this Province, whose Legislature, the Governor was congratulating, it may not very improperly be called a Conclusion.
“The fair Prospect of the security of your Country being settled, upon the most sure and lasting foundations.”—Is not this sentence filled with Tautology? The security, being secured upon secure foundations? Emendation—“and the fair Prospect that now Presents itself, of Tranquility, established on lasting foundations.”—But it is not Tranquility nor safety, nor Preservation, nor Peace, nor Happiness: but it is security. Then it is not established, fixed, placed: but it is settled: and then it is not stable, permanent: but sure: Here are certainly Words used, mearly for sound.
“This great Contest” &c. Q.—what does he mean, the War, or the Conclusion of the War? If the latter, Conquest should have been his Word: if the former, what follows is not true vizt. we may date the firm Establishment of die british Empire in N. America.—From our late successes and Acquisitions, we may date that Establishment, but not from our Misfortunes and Losses which made no Unmemorable Part of this great Contest.
“We form these Pleasing assurances, not only from the more striking Instances of the superiority of its Power, but also from the less obvious observation of the Improvement of its Policy.”—Its Power, i.e. the british Empires Power. Instances i.e. Particulars in which it has appeared. Obvious observation, has a good Meaning, but an inelegant, inartificial sound. A Defect of Elegance, Variety, Harmony, at least.
“The improving a Country is a more pleasing Task than the defending it:”—Improving and Defending Participles, used as substantives with the Article the before them, will never be used by a grammarian much less by a Rhetorician. I never could bear such Expressions, in others, and never could use them, myself, unless in Case of absolute Necessity, where there is no substantive to express the same Idea.
“As I have consulted your Convenience in deferring calling you together untill this, the most Leisure time of your whole Year, &c.”— “In deferring calling,” would never have been used together, by a discerning Ear. He might have said “in deferring this session, untill,” &c.—Your whole Year! Why yours, any more than mine or others? Ans[wer]. It is not the most Leisure time of every mans whole Year. It is the most busy time of some Mens year.
{ 186 }
Deacon Palmers Observation upon this speech, that “he talks like a weak honest Man,” is childish. Tis superficial: Tis Prejudice: Tis a silly thoughtless Repetition of what he has heard others say.
For, tho there are no Marks of Knavery, in it: there are marks of good sense I think. Grammatical and Rhetorical Inaccuracies are by no means Proofs of Weakness, or Ignorance. They may be found in Bacon, Lock, Newton, &c.
1. This speech by Governor Francis Bernard was delivered to the General Court at the opening of its adjourned session, 17 Dec.; see text in Mass., House Jour., 1760–1761, p. 100–101.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-01-02

Jany. 2nd. 1760 [i.e. 1761]. Fryday.

The Representatives in their Address to the Governor, have told him that “Great Britain is the leading and most respectable Power in the whole World.”1 —Let us examine this.—Is she the Leading Power, either in War or Negociation?—In War? She has no Army, not more than 50 or 60 thousand Men, whereas France has a standing Army, of 250, 000 men in Camp and in Garrison. And their officers are as gallant and skillful, their Gunners and Engineers, the most accomplished of any in Europe. Their Navy indeed is now inconsiderable, And our Navy alone has given us the Advantage. But our Navy alone will not make us the leading Power. How we can be called the Leading Power I cant see. Holland, Spain, Portugal, Denmark, and all Italy has refused to follow us, and Austria, Russia, Sweeden, and indeed almost all the states of Germany, the Prince of Hesse excepted, have followed France. The only Power, independent Power that has consented to follow us is Prussia, and indeed upon Recollection it seems to me we followed Prussia too, rather than the Contrary.—Thus we are the Leading Power without Followers.
And, if we are not the leading Power, in War, we never have been the Leading Power in Negociation.—It is a common Place observation that the French have regained by Treaty, all the Advantages, which we had gained by Arms. Now whether this arose from the superior Dexterity of the french Plenipotentiaries, or from the universal Complaisance of the other Plenipotentiaries of Europe to France and frenchmen, it equally proves that England is not the leading Power, in Councils.
How are we the most respectable?—The most respected, I am sure, we are not!—else how came all Europe to remain Neuters, or else take Arms against us—how came foreigners, from all Countries, to resort to { 187 } France, to learn their Policy, Military Discipline, fortification, Manufactures, Language, Letters, Science, Politeness &c. so much more than to England? How comes the french Language to be studied and spoken as a polite Accomplishment, all over Europe, and how comes all Negociations to be held in french.
And if we consider every Thing, The Religion, Government, Freedom, Navy, Merchandize, Army, Manufactures, Policy, Arts, Sciences, Numbers of Inhabitants and their Virtues, it seems to me, that England falls short in more and more important Particulars, than it exceeds the Kingdom of France.
To determine the Character of “Leading and respectable,” as Dr. Savil does, from a few Victories and successes, by which Rules he makes Charles 12th to have been in his day, the leading and most respectable Power, and Oliver Cromwell in his, and the K. of Prussia in this, is most ignorant and silly.
In short, “Leading and Respectable,” is not to be determined, either by the Prince, the Policy, the Army, Navy, Arts, Science, Commerce, nor by any other national Advantage, taken singly and abstracted from the rest. But that Power is to be denominated so, whose Aggregate, of component Parts, is most.
1. This address was read and adopted by the House of Representatives on 23 Dec. 1760; see text in Mass., House Jour., 1760–1761, p. 115–116.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-01-02

1760 [i.e. 1761]. Jany. 2nd. Friday.

Nathl. Bayley Administrator v. Nathll. Niles.—Plea in Abatement. Defendant lives on the Castle,1 within the Town of Boston but is called of Braintree. It seems he was born in Braintree, owns a House And Land in Braintree, and for about six Weeks past his Wife and family have lived in Braintree. The Question is therefore whether his Non Residence is a good Plea? He has not lived in Town these ten Years, but has been for all that Time, constantly resident, and employed as a Serjeant, and a Matross, on Castle William. His Wife and family have lived, in the Town of Dorchester, for some Years past, till about six Weeks ago when they removed to Braintree and at the House where his Wife and family live, the Copy of this Writ was left.—We are not the Man, that is sued in this Writ. We are not the Defendant in this Action. Mr. Nathl. Niles, the young Gentleman now in study with Mr. Marsh, in Preparation for Colledge, is the Man.—And let him Answer.—For
We are called Nathl. Niles of Braintree. Now it has been adjudged, that, when a Man is called of such a Town, the meaning is that he is { 188 } an Inhabitant of that Town, a legal Inhabitant of that Town, entituled to all the Priviledges, and compellible to bear all the Burdens of that Town. Every Man who is of Braintree i.e. an Inhabitant of Braintree, is to be rated by the assessors of Braintree for his Head. But, my Client never has been rated by our Assessors, for many Years. Suppose my Client was poor, should become a cripple or fall sick, what Town must maintain him? Not Braintree most certainly, but Boston. And why? because he is an Inhabitant of Boston and not of Braintree. There is a Difference between of Braintree and in Braintree, And in Case my Client had come into this Town with his Wife and lived here to this day, tho he could not be called of Braintree because he is no Inhabitant and liable to be warned out every day, yet if he had been styled resident in Braintree that would have done. And this is the style they give the Regular officers, for 3 Winters past several Regular officers have wintered in Boston. Several of these Gentlemen have been sued, but they are never styled of Boston, but only resident in Boston. There’s an Instance in this Town. Mr. Gliddens Wife and family, it is well known have lived in this Town chiefly for some Years, tho not constantly, but Mr. Glidden has not. Well now if Mr. Glidden sues any Man must he style himself of Braintree because his Wife and family live here and he comes up, once a fortnight to lodge with her. His Writt would abate, if he should. And I have seen several Writts, wherein he has been concerned as Party, and he has been always styled of Boston. Other Instances innumerable might be quoted. Coll. Brattle is a remarkable one.2 He did belong to Cambridge. He married a Wife in Boston, and lived with her there in her House, and with her family, so long that People began to take him for a Boston Man and they sued him, several of them sued him by the Name of Wm. Brattle of Boston. He pleaded in Abatement of their Writts, that he was of Cambridge and not of Boston, and he shew’d that [he] had, once or twice a Year, gone up to Cambridge with his family and stayed a month or two. And therefore as an uninterrupted Inhabitancy is necessary to gain a settlement in any Town and he had not Inhabited constantly in Boston, he abated their Writts, a 10 times stronger Case than this.
The Castle Men are all considered as Inhabitants of Boston, so that No Minister will marry a Castle Man, till a Certificate is produced that he has been published in Boston.
1. That is, on Castle Island, site of Castle William, a fortified post in Boston Harbor.
2. William Brattle, Harvard 1722, at different times a minister, physician, lawyer, and soldier, with whom JA was to carry on a newspaper dispute in 1773 over the independence of the judiciary (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 7:10–23).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-01-08

Jany. 8th. 1761.

Last Monday, had a passionate Wrangle, with Eb. Thayer, before Major Crosby. He called me, a petty Lawyer. This I resented.
The Defendant Niles appeared by 10 o’clock, and had his Costs allowed, is:6d, for attendance, but nothing for Travel, tho he lived 8 miles off. Upon the first Appearance of the Defendants Daniel White, and Neh. Hayden, the Justice pronounced that they should have no Costs, altho no Plaintiff appeared—because they did not appear by Eleven O Clock. Now in answer to this, I say, that he never made it his Rule to allow no Costs to Defendants, appearing after 11 when no Plaintiff appeared. He has made it his Rule to call out Actions, when the Plaintiffs have appeared, upon the Non Appearance of Defendants after waiting an Hour for them. And he has made it his Rule, to allow Costs to defendants appearing at the time or within the Hour upon the Non Appearance of the Plaintiffs, after waiting an Hour for them. But I believe, he never made it his Rule till that day, to refuse Costs to Defendants appearing soon after the Hour expired when no Plaintiff appeared—so that, had it been certain that these Defendants did not appear within two Hours, he would not have been obliged by any Rule of his own Practice to refuse them Costs. But admitting his Rule had been established and absolute to allow no Costs to any Party not appearing within the Hour—It was not clear in this Case, that the Hour was out. By Captn. Thayers Watch indeed and by mine, it was after 11. But my Watch was set by Guess that morning, and by the Justices own Dial it was not yet Eleven, and by Athertons and several other Persons Judgment of Time, it was not yet Eleven; and some Allowance ought to be made, for the Difficulty of the Weather and the Travelling.
But thirdly, the Justice ought not to establish any such unalterable Rule. The Law has made Provision that the Parties shall be paid for the whole Days Attendance. And these Defendants lived at <seven> 9 or 10 miles distance and could not therefore without great Difficulty, in that severe Weather, and almost impracticable Travelling, have reached the Justices House, by ten O clock:
And to refuse them Costs for Non Compliance with such a rigorous Rule, when those suits had been commenced by Deputy Sheriffs, some of the suits vexatious, and all the Writts abateable; after they had been compelled to ride thro Cold and snow, so many miles, wasting their own and their Witness[es’] Time, and bearing their own Expences, { 190 } when no Plaintiff appeared and no Body for him dared to enter his Actions; was a Peice of Oppression like that of the Bashaws in Turkey.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1761-01-01 - 1761-02-08

[January? 1761.]1

[salute] Mess[rs].

I am an old Man, seventy odd, and as I had my Education, so I have spent my whole Life, a few <months> Weeks in a Year excepted, when I commonly took a Journey, in the Country. I was naturally inquisitive, and a little too talkative, in my Youth, which Qualities have perhaps increased with my Age, but as I remember, I used to swear at the vanity and Impertinence of old Nestor whose Speeches I have often read formerly in Popes Homer (a Book of which I was then, and am still very fond) I expect that younger Men will laugh at the like Vanity and Impertinence in me, which it shall be my Care therefore in this Paper, at least to avoid, because I would have the subject of it, candidly weighed.
Indeed, scarcely any Thing that I have observed, in the Course of a long Life, <deserves more Attention> has a greater Influence on the Religion, Moralls, Health, Property, Liberties and Tranquility of the World. I mean public Houses.
The Tempers, and Passions, The Prophaneness and brutal Behaviour inspired by the low sort of Company that frequents such Houses, and by the Liquors they drink there; are not very compatible with the pure and undefiled Religion of Jesus, that Religion whose first Principle is to renounce all filthiness and superfluity of Naughtiness. That Inattention to the public ordinances of Religion as well as to private Devotion which I have Reasons to think is prevalent, in these Times is no unnatural Consequence, of the very generall Resort, to these licentious Houses.
The plentiful Use of spirituous Liquors, begins with producing a strange Confusion of Mind, appetite and Passions, too violent for the Government of Reason; proceeds to involve Men in Debt, and of Consequence, in Lying, cheating, stealing, and sometimes in greater Crimes; and ends in a total, and incurable Dissolution of Manners.
The Effects of such Intemperance upon Health are of two Kinds. It either throws them into some acute and inflammatory fever, which carries them from the Midst of their Vices and their follies, the Mischiefs they do and the <Miseries> Distresses they suffer, at once into their Graves, or else it leads them by insensible Degrees, thro all the Gloom and Languor of a Chronical Distemper, despized by many, hated by more and [pitied?] by a few, to a long expected, and desired { 191 } death. Thousands, and thousands, are every Year expiring in Europe, and proportionable Numbers in America, the miserable Victims of their own Imprudence, and the ill Policy of Rulers in permitting the Causes of their Ruin to exist. Allured by the smell of these infernal Liquors, like the Ghosts, in Romances, allured by the scent of human Blood, they resort to these Houses, waste their Time, their strength and their Money, which ought to be employed in the Management of their own Affairs and families, till by degrees, much expended, little earned, they contract Habits of Calesness,2 Idleness, and Intemperance; their Creditors demand, they promise to pay but fail; Writts issue, Charges are multiplied, for the Maintenance of others as idle as themselves, and Executions strip them of all they have, and cast their miserable Bodies into loathsome Prisons.
The Number of these Houses have been lately so much augmented, and the fortunes of their owners so much increased, that an Artful Man has little else to do, but secure the favour of Taverners, in order to secure the suffrages of the Rabbles that attend these Houses, which in many Towns within my observation makes a very large, perhaps the largest Number of Voters. The Consequence is that these offices and Elections, which all the wisest Legislators of the world, in humble Imitation of God and Nature have alloted to Probity and Understanding, may in Time, I dare not say have already become the Gratuity of Tiplers, for Dramms3 and slops! Good God! where are the Rights of English Men! where is the spirit, that once exalted the souls of Britons and emboldened their [faces?] to look even Princes and Monarchs in the face. But perhaps I am too anxious, and In truth I must own I [so] revere the true Constitution of our Government, founded in those great Principles, that accomplished in a great Antiquity the Destruction of Troy, that extended in a later Period the Bounds of the Roman Empire and that produced in the English History, so many events for the Universe to admire, that I cant think of its evaporating and passing from [the] human Breast with Phlip4 and Rum, of which Event there is great Danger, without Rage.
Last of all, innumerable Violations of the Peace and order of society, are every Day occurring, that spring originally from the same sources. Quarrells, Boxing, Duels, oaths, Curses, affrays and Riots, are daily hatching from Eggs and Spawns, deposited in the same Nests: in short these Houses, like so many Boxes of Pandora, are sending forth every day innumerable Plagues of every kind, natural, moral and political, that increase and multiply fast enough to lay waste in a little While the whole World.
{ 192 }
How different is this, from the state of Things in my Youth. Instead of an unmanly Retreat to the Chimny Corner of a Tavern, the young fellows of my Age were out in the Air, improving their strength and Activity, by Wrestling, running, leaping, lifting, and the like vigorous Diversions, and when satisfyed with these, resorted every one to his Mistress or his Wife. Love, that divine Passion, which Nature has implanted for the Renovation of the species, and the greatest solace of our Lives: virtuous Love, I mean, from whence the greatest Part of human Happiness originates, and which these modern seminaries have almost extinguished or at least changed into filthiness and brutal Debauch, was then considered as God intended it, both a Duty of our Nature and the greatest source of our Bliss. But it is melancholly to think that the present Prevalent Debauchery, which tends so much to shorten the Lives of the present Generation, tends also, to prevent the Propagation of a succeeding one. I really am afraid that in another Century, unless some wise Precaution should intervene, a Man of my Age will be the rarest Phenomenon.
I should be called talkative indeed if I should attempt to develope the Causes of that strange Multiplication of such Houses, that is lately grown up. But I fear, that some select Men are induced by a foolish Complaisance, and others by Designs of Ambition to give their Approbation to too many Persons who are improper, and perhaps to too many that are proper for that Trust. I am afraid that some Justices may be induced by lucrative Motives, by mercantile Principles to augment the Manufactory or the Importation of Rum or Mollosus, without Attending to the other Consequences, which are plainly pernicious.
But let this Paper be considered as a Warning from one who has seen better days, to Magistrates to suppress, rather than increase within their Department—to select men to discountenance Pretenders rather than encourage [them] in their sphere—to Parents and Masters, to restrain their Children And servants from frequenting. And in short let every Man endeavour to keep one, from suffering any Injury from them, in any Respect.
I was too incautious, and unartful in my Proceeding, but Practice makes perfect. I should have first taken all the summonses, into my own Hand, or Powers of attorney from the Defendants. Then I should have moved that the sheriff should be directed to return his Writts, that against White and that against Hayden. Then I should have drawn a complaint, on each of them, and filed them all. Then I should have desired the Justice to make a Record of his Judgment. This would { 193 } have been regular, masterly Management, but I had no Time to think and prepare.
This is the third Time I have been before Majr. Crosbey with Thayer. The first time, he was [ . . . ] for John Spear. That Action was demolished. The next time he appeared for Nathan Spear against Eph. Hunt and John Vinton. Those Actions were demolished. The last time he appeared for Bayley, against Niles, White, Hayden, &c. These Actions were all demolished. Thus I have come off, pretty triumphantly every time, and he pretty foolishly. Yet I have managed none of these Cases, in the most masterly manner. I see several Inadvertent Mistakes, and omissions. But I grow more expert, less diffident &c. I feel my own strength. I see the complacent Countenances of the Crowd, and I see the respectful face of the Justice, and the fearful faces of Petty foggers, more than I did.
Dear Nieces.5
You remember that I wrote you a new Years Address, about two Years since, containing some few Articles of Advice that I then thought would pass with Propriety, considering the Relation between us, from me to you. You are at least two Years older, than you were then, and from a careful observation of your Conduct, I have found few Occasions of Blame, and from your Conversation, and a frequent Inspection of your Compositions, I have reason to think your time has been in general, and in Comparison of the rest of your own sex, not ill improved.
But there are numberless Particulars that I had then no Leisure to discuss, and which some Persons of our sex but more of yours think not worthy to discuss, that will fill the remainder of this Letter and be I hope no unacceptable Present, for the Year 1761.
The first relate to the Delicacy of your own Persons and Houses. It has been the constant observation of foreigners who have lived in England, that the british Ladies are the least careful, to use no harder term, in this Respect than any Ladies, in Christendom. The Brightness of Plate and Dishes, floors, and every other Thing in a House even in a Kitchen, has been always observed by Travellers, even into Holland, where the enormous sizes of the Ladies, and their consequent sloth and Heavyness, one would think would incline them to another extreme. The same Nicety is observed in Italy, France and elsewhere, but the very general Complaint of british Ladies is that their Teeth, Necks, Hair, Perspiration and Respiration, Kichens and even Parlors { 194 } are no cleaner nor sweeter than they should be. And the same ground of Complaint is in America. For my own Part, tho not very attentive to my own Person, nothing is so disgustful and loathsome to me, and almost all our sex are of my mind, as this Negligence. My own Daughters, whenever they shall grow to Years of Discretion, I am determined to throw into a great Kettle and Boil till they are clean, If I ever find them half so nasty as I have seen some. That you may gain proper sentiments on this Head, and reduce them most religiously to Practice, I recommend to your careful Reading, the Works of Dr. Swift and Dr. Shybear [Shebbeare], especially the former, and let me warn you against any Prejudice to him, or his sentiments on Account of that open Defyance and Contempt in which he held your sex.
2. The next Article is that of Dress. It may be just[ly] considered, as the Principal Design of a young Lady from her Birth to her Marriage, to procure and prepare herself for a worthy Companion in Life. This I believe is modestly enough expressed. Now the finest face, and shape, that ever Nature formed, would be insufficient to attract and fix the Eye of a Gentleman without some Assistance and Decoration of Dress. And I believe an handsome shoe, well judged Variety of Colours, in Linnen, Laces &c., and even the Rustling of silks has determined as many Matches as any natural features, or Proportions or Motions. Hes a fool that is determined wholly by either or by both, but even a wise man will take all these, as well as others less,6 into Consideration.
I cannot be supposed to be master of the whole Art of Dress, nor to give Rules for your Conduct of it. I only say study it, even of your selves. Study it even as a science, and take in Hogarths mathematicks to your Aid.7
3. The 3d is [a] sense of Elegance. This may perhaps include both the former, but I mean in this Place such a Disposition of the Affairs of a family, such a management of an Entertainment, and such a judicious——[sentence unfinished]
Neither rich furniture nor dress, nor Provisions, without this, will ever please.
The 4th is Behaviour in mixed Companies. I would not have you Pedants in Greek and Latin nor the Depths of science, nor yet over fond to talk upon any Thing. When your opinion is asked, give it. When you know any Thing, that the Company are at a loss for, disclose it. But what I mean is this. Attend to the Conversation of Gentlemen even when News, Politicks, Morals, Oeconomy, nay even when Literature and science but beyond the fathom of your Line make the subject: do not attempt to turn the Conversation to Billy’s Prattle—To the { 195 } Doggs, or Negroes or Catts, or to any little contemptible tittle tattle of your own.
5thly. Observations of Mankind, or what is called the World. As the House is your Theatre of Action, an Attentive Observation of Domestic Characters should be your Rule. You are in all Probability in some future Part of your Life, to have Husbands. Remark carefully the Behaviour of other Wifes, wherever you go, to their Husbands, but distinguish well between Propriety of Behaviour and the Contrary. You will probably some time or other have Children. Remark then every Mothers Management of her Children, in their Education, Morals, Behaviour, Dress, Diet &c., with the same Distinction.
You may by a Course of Reflection on Instances of this sort among Gentle and simple form to yourselves from reason and Experience, a System of Rules that may one day produce an Hero or a Legislator, a great Statesman or Divine or some other great Character that may do Honour to the World—the Highest Pinacle of Glory to which a Woman can in Modesty aspire.
You will also act hereafter as Mistresses. Let your Attention therefore be fixed on the Behaviour of servants and their Treatment from their Masters and Mistresses.
In short, domestic Morality ought to be your principal study, and you ought not to suffer one Character in the Drama of a family, to be unexamined.
6thly. Under this Head of Conversation with the World falls naturally enough that into which you must if you are not singular, and you will, if you pursue your own Inclinations, sometimes, fall—Conversation with some Person of the other Sex alone: and this before Marriage And even Courtship. Our illustrious young Monarck, indeed, will probably be married by Proxy to some Princess abroad, that he never saw: and this is for Reasons of State, no doubt necessary: Yet it is thought an Hardship, and the prevailing Custom of the World, for this Reason perhaps, allows [a] Prince his Mistress as an alleviation.
And it seems, by what I see and hear, that Persons of Rank and figure even in this Province, are desirous that their Daughters should be married to Men who never saw them, by their prevailing Practice of concealing them from all Males, till a formal Courtship is opened. This Practice must proceed either from deplorable folly, an Awkward Imitation of Majesty, or else from a Consciousness of their Daughters futility and a Dread to expose them.
But be it remembered that no Man that is free and can think, will rush blindfold, into the Arms of any such Ladies, who, tho it is possible { 196 } they may prove Angells of Light, may yet more probably turn out Haggs of Hell.
You must therefore associate yourselves in some good Degree, and under certain Guards and Restraints, even privately with young fellows. And, tho Discretion must be used, and Caution, yet on [considering]8 the whole of the Arguments on each side, I cannot wholly disapprove of Bundling.
To Chardon.9
Lest a maiden Nicety should prevent the Correspondence, proposed the last Week, I have taken my Pen to open it, upon the lofty subject of Law. We shall be called silly, and tasteless &c. for ought I know, or care. For let the smart sayings of the gay, and the grave Satyrs, even of the wise and learned be what they will, I have for my own Part, and I thank God for it, no bad Opinion of the Law, either as a science, or a Profession.
Why the minute Arteries and Tendons of the human Body, the organization of the human Voice, and mouth, and numberless other subjects of the like sort should be thought worthy of the Attention of a liberal Mind; and the no less Wonderful and much more important combination of Passions, Appetites, Affections, in the human Breast that operate in human society, too futile, or too disagreable, for a wise Mans Examination, I cannot imagine.—Nay if we proceed to the Positive Institutions of the Law, I cannot think them so extreamly dull, uncouth, and unentertaining as you and I have heard them represented, by some whom we love and honour.
Multitudes of needless Matters and some that are nonsensical, it must be confessed have in the Course of Ages, crept into the Law. But I beg to know, what Art or Science can be found in the whole Circle, that has not been taught by silly, senseless, Pedants, and is not stuffed with their Crudities and Jargon.
The Man who intends to become skilful in any science, must be content to study such Authors as have written upon it. No Man will be an adept in Grammar or Rhetoric, or Poetry, or Music or Architecture, without labouring thro a vast deal of Nonsense, and Impertinence—in short, Nonsense seems an unalienable Property of human Affairs. And it is as idle to expect, that any Artist10 should write well upon any subject, without intermingling some Proportion of it, as it is to expect, that a rapid Torrent should descend from the Mountains without washing some Dirt and Earth along with it.
But if the Grandeur and Importance of a subject, has any share in { 197 } the Pleasure it communicates, I am sure the Law has by far the Advantage of most other sciences.
Nothing less than the Preservation of the Health and Properties, Lives and Tranquility, Moralls and Liberties of Millions of the human species, is the object and Designs of the Law, and a Comparison of several Constitutions of Government, invented for those Purposes, an Examination of the great Causes of their Danger, as well as those of their safety, must be as Agreable an Employment as can exercise the Mind.
But it is a science that comprises a Multitude. And great Industry, as well as many Helps are needful, to subdue it.
And in truth I do not know a more agreable Help, than the Correspondence of a Friend. Exchange of observations—Proposing Difficulties—stating Cases—repeating Arguments—examining sophisms—will both arouse and support our Ambition, and wear by easy Degrees, a system of Law into the Mind.
The Plan, that I would propose then is this—for you to write me, a Report of any Case you hear argued before the Courts of Admiralty, Court of Probate, Governor and Council, Court of Sessions, Justice of the Peace &c. that you think curious. Propose Questions, for Examination, and write me Answers, to Letters from me on all the foregoing subjects.
And if we will secrete each others Letters, we shall at least avoid the Ridicule of others. But if we should be detected, we can say that Tully and Atticus held some such Correspondence before, that never raised a Laugh in the World. And if we say this we must run off to avoid the Reply, of a Pigs turd to a Pine Apple.
Neal v. Spear. Plea in Abatement. Defendant is a Yeoman, but not a Gentleman, as styled in the Writ.11
<This Exception has an Air of Humility, that may be suspected to be feigned.>
This Exception, it must be owned has not a very honourable Air, but if the Circumstances of this Action, are considered, the Defendant will not be blamed.
<My Client is a very Poor Man, but happened to be a Bondsman for Brackett, to the Plaintiff who is rich and in no Want of the Money.>
My Client was bound to this Plaintiff, for Bracket in his Life time, in this Obligation. Bracket died, and this Plaintiff Neal brot his Action last Term against the Administratrix on Bracketts Estate, and that Action is now pending in this Court: But Bracketts Estate proves in• { 198 } solvent: and now Neal has brot this Action against a poor Bondsman. My Client is very poor, and unable to pay this Money, and therefore will be excused for taking all legal Advantages, till he can have some assistance from Bracketts Estate, to pay it.
And, for my own Part I had a further, and a stronger Reason for not discouraging my Client which was this. This Writ was drawn by a Deputy Sheriff, or at least by somebody in the service and Employment of that Deputy Sheriff: and against such Writts your Honours will no doubt commend me for taking all legal Advantages.
And this Exception is, in law fatal. If we are obliged to give any Additions to Parties we should be obliged to give the Right and not call Esquires Labourers, and Labourers Esquires.
If it is of any Consequence to society that Ranks and subordination should be established in it, it is of Consequence that the Titles denoting those Ranks should not be confounded. Now there are no two Titles more distinct from each other than Yeoman and Gentleman. The Yeomanry and Gentry of England is the most ancient and universal of all Divisions of the People.
Now the present Defendant is not a Gentleman in any Respect, neither by Birth, Education, Office, Reputation or Employment: and indeed I have no Reason to think him one in Thought, Word, or Deed. He spring[s] from ordinary Parents, he can scarcely write his Name, his Business is Boating, he never had any Commissions, and therefore to call him Gentlemen is an arrant Prostitution of the Title, and ought to abate the Writ.
1. Some of the long series of undated and more or less detached entries that follow may extend into February, since the next dated entry in D/JA/6 is that of 9 Feb. 1761. The draft of an essay on the evils of licensed houses, which begins the series, was obviously intended for a newspaper, but no printing has been found. See entry of 29 May 1760, above, and note there.
2. Thus in MS; seemingly a hybrid of “carelessness” and “callousness.”
3. MS: “Damms.”
4. MS: “Phip.”
5. Draft of another essay intended for a newspaper, probably incomplete. No printing has been found of either the essay or the New Year’s “Address” of 1759 mentioned in the first sentence.
6. Preceding six words added by interlineation in MS and now only partly legible because of fading. The reading given here is that of the early transcript (in D/JA/49), but it may not be correct.
7. An allusion to William Hogarth’s Analysis of Beauty, Written with a View of Fixing the Fluctuating Ideas of Taste, London, 1753.
8. Word omitted in MS and conjecturally supplied by the editors.
9. Peter Chardon, on whom see the entry of 11 Oct. 1758, above, and note 3 there. Except for the present draft, no letters between JA and Chardon have been found.
10. CFA reads “Author,” which may have been what JA meant, though he did not write it.
11. For the origin of this case, in which JA served as counsel for the defendant, see entry of 9 Oct. 1760, above, and note. In a fragmentary record of actions, { 199 } 1761–1763, JA made this notation: “Jo Neal v Nathan Spear. Plea in abatement, which prevailed—recd. Costs of the Constable” (MS, Goodspeed’s Book Shop, Boston, 1957).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-01-27

1761. Tuesday Jany. 27th.1

Last Fryday I borrowed of Mr. Gridley, the second Volume of the Corpus Iuris Canonici Notis illustratum. Gregorii 13 Iussi editum.— complectens Decretum Gratiani. Decretales Gregorii Papae 9. Sextum Decretalium Bonifacii Papae 8. Clementinas, Extravagantes Ioannis Papae 12.2 Extravagantes communes.—
Accesserunt Constitutiones Novae summorum Pontificum, nunquam antea editae, quae 7. Decretalium Loco esse possint:—Annotationes Ant. Naldi, cum Addit. novis.—Et quae in Plerisque Editionibus desiderabantur, Petri Lancelotti, Institutiones Iuris Canonici; Regulae Cancellariae Apostolicae: cum Indicibus &c.3
Mr. Gridley about 15 months since, advised me to read an Institute of the Cannon Law—and that Advice lay broiling in my Head, till last Week, when I borrowed the Book.
I am very glad, that he gave, and I took, the Advice, for it will explain many Things in Ecclesiastical History, and open that system of fraud, Bigotry, Nonsense, Impudence, and Superstition, on which the Papal Usurpations are founded, besides increasing my skill in the latin Tongue, and my Acquaintance with civil Law, for in many Respects the Cannon Law is grafted on the civil.
1. This entry is from D/JA/4, JA’s desultory record of studies.
2. Should be “22” (“XXII” on titlepage).
3. This edition of the Corpus Juris Canonici was published at Leon, 1661, and the first volume, bearing the autographs of both Gridley and JA, survives among JA’s books in the Boston Public Library (Catalogue of JA’s Library, p. 64). Except on the titlepage the name of the author of the “Institutiones” appears as Johannes Paulus Lancelottus, a well-known legal scholar of Perugia.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-02-06

1761. Friday [6] Feby.1

I have now almost finished the first book of Peter Lancelotts Institute, which first Book is taken up De Jure Personarum, and is well analized in the 29th Title De Clericis non Residentibus, in these Words vizt. “Personarum quidam Laici sunt, quidam Clerici. Rursus Clericorum, quidam sunt in Sacerdotio constituti, quidam in sacris, licet non in sacerdotio, quidam nec in sacris, nec in sacerdotio. Eorum rursus, qui in sacerdotio constituti sunt, quidam sunt in celsiore gradu, ut Episcopi: quidam in inferiore, ut Presbyteri. In sacris vero dicuntur constituti Diaconi et subdiaconi qui vero nec in sacerdotio, nec in sacris reperiuntur, ii sunt, qui sunt in Minoribus ordinibus constituti. Caeterum, quoniam adhuc quidam in Ecclesia sunt, qui non { 200 } minus in Laicatu, quam in Clericatu constituti Domino Deserviunt, ut sunt Regulares ac Monachi, restat, ut et de his Pauca subjiciamus.”
1. This and the following entry (the first of two dated 9 Feb.) also derive from D/JA/4, JA’s journal of studies, which contains no further entries until 20 June, when JA determined to resume reading Lancelotti’s work on canon law. Errors in JA’s transcription of Lancelotti’s Latin have not been corrected.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-02-09

1761 Monday. Feby. 9th.

This morning, as I lay abed, I recollected my last Weeks Work. I find I was extreamly diligent, constantly in my Chamber, Spent no Evenings abroad, not more than one at the Drs. Have taken no Walks, never on Horseback the whole Week, excepting once, which was on Tuesday, when I went to Boston. Yet how has this Retirement, and solitude been spent? In too much Rambling and Straggling from one Book to another, from the Corpus Juris Canonici, to Bolingbroke, from him to Pope, from him to Addison, from him to Yoricks sermons, &c. In fine, the whole Week, and all my Diligence has been lost, for want of observing De Wits Maxim, “one Thing at once.” This Reflection raised a Determination to reassume the Corpus Juris, or Rather Lancelots Institutes, read nothing else, and think of nothing else—till sometime.
With the Week then, I begin the second Book Institutionum Juris Canonici.—De Rerum Divisione, atque illorum Administratione. Titulus primus. Res Ecclesiasticae sunt, aut spirituales, aut temporales.
Res Spirituales sunt aut incorporales, aut corporales: et corporales dividuntur in sacramenta, in res sacras, sanctas et religiosas.
This Institute is a curious Monument of Priestly Ambition, Avarice and subtlety. Tis a system of sacerdotal Guile.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-02-09

1761. Feb. 9th.

His Majesty has declared him self, by his Speech to his Parliament to be a Man of Piety, and Candor in Religion, a friend of Liberty, and Property in Government, and a Patron of Merit.1
“The Blessing of Heaven, I devoutly emplore”—“as the surest Foundation of the whole, (i.e. the Loyalty and affection of his People, his Resolution to strengthen the Constitution, the civil &c. Rights of his subjects and the Prerogatives of his Crown &c.) and the best Means to draw down the divine favour on my Reign, it is my fixed Purpose to countenance and encourage true Religion and Virtue.”— These are Proofs of his Piety.
He promises to patronize Religion, Virtue, the british Name and Constitution, in Church and state, the subjects Rights, Liberty, Com• { 201 } merce, military Merit.—These are sentiments worthy of a King—a Patriot King.
1. George III became king of England 25 Oct. 1760. His first speech to Parliament, 18 Nov., contained the sentence “Born and educated in this country, I glory in the name of Briton,” which, together with other sentiments of the same kind quoted (somewhat inaccurately) by JA, for a time endeared him to his subjects both at home and overseas. Text in Ann. Register for 1760, p. 248–250.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-03-03

March 3d. 1761.

Mem. To enquire of Tufts, Gould, Whitmarsh, Hunts, Whites, &c. about their Method of mending High Ways by a Rate.
And to enquire at Worcester, whenever I shall get there of Chanlers, Putnam, Willard, Paine, Swan &c. about their Method. They mended their Ways by a Rate, I am sure.1
Saml. Clark, <Jo. Field, Eb. Newcomb> Danl. Nash, the Mirmidons of Thayer.
Luke Lambard, Ben Hayden, Saml. Clark &c. all the Mirmidons of Thayer &c. Mirmidons, Bulldoggs, Hounds, Creatures, Tools.2
Weymouth mends her Ways by a Rate. Each Man is rated so much, and a Days Work is estimated at so much, an Horse, a Cart, Yoke of oxen &c. at so much, so each Man has his Choice, to pay his Money or to work it out.—I did not think to ask What sum they expend yearly to mend Ways.
Quaere. How they mend their Ways, Streets, Lanes, Alleys &c. in Boston. Whether by a Rate. Is not the Town taxed for Pavement of streets &c. Q. Whether they ever permit those who choose it to work it out themselves.
1. According to his Autobiography, JA was this month nominated in town meeting, or perhaps only proposed for nomination by his friend and neighbor Elisha Savil, for his first town office, that of surveyor of highways. The usually reliable Braintree Town Records do not record his nomination or election at the annual meeting of the town on 3 March 1761 (p. 377) Either this is an error of omission, or else the account in his Autobiography telescopes JA’s very early interest in reforming the method of financing highway repairs and his later service (1764–1765) both as a member of a town committee to report a plan for “mending the Ways ... by a Tax” and as an assiduous builder of bridges and highways in the town. See Braintree Town Records, p. 395–400; also entry of 21 March, below.
2. The following two paragraphs are in a different ink and were probably written later than those that precede.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0003-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-03-12

[Marginal Note in Winthrop’s Lecture on Earthquakes.]1

March 12th. 1761. Another Earthquake happened which may perhaps enable us to determine, whereabouts these Earthquakes orig• { 202 } inate, and what Course they take, for as all Canada is now in English hands, we may have Accounts from Montreal, Quebeck, Oswego, and the several Places upon the River St. Lawrence, at what time this Earthquake happened, its Direction and Degree of Violence.
1. At foot of p. 16 in JA’s copy of John Winthrop’s Lecture of 1755 (in Boston Public Library; see other marginalia by JA in this copy, following the entry of 5? Dec. 1758, above). At this point in his lecture Winthrop was reporting such scanty data as were available on the direction of movement of earlier earthquakes in America. On the back of the titlepage of his copy JA recorded, in a separate note, that the earthquake of 12 March 1761 occurred about 2:30 A.M., “resembling ’tho not quite equalling that which gave Occasion to this Discourse, in Violence, or Duration.”

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0003-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-03

[March? 1761.]1

Parson Smith’s Parsonage.
Vid. 6th. Wm. & M. C. 5. Page 60.—Charter Page 6th &c. from Index to Index. All Lands &c. which any Body politick, or Corporate, Towns, Colledges or Schools, do hold &c. by or under any Grant by any general Court, or by any other lawful Right or Title whatsoever; shall be by such Towns, Colledges or Schools, their respective Heirs, successors and assigns forever [hereafter held and enjoyed],2 according to the Purport and Intent of such respective Grant, &c., not withstanding any Want of form.
Now in the Weymouth Case, there is a Deed to a Committee of the Town of Weymouth for the use of the Ministry, &c. and for a convenient settlement of Housing and Lands, for the Ministry, and for no other Use, Intent or Purpose whatsoever. Now I believe it must be agreed that that Committee and their Grant had no Intent or Design, of any thing but that the present Incumbent and his successors should enjoy that House and Land forever. And, it cant be thought that Either Party to that deed entertained a Thought of dividing that House and Land among 50 ministers, that shall happen to settle within the Borders of that Town, tho they may be Churchmen, Anabaptists, Quakers, Separatists, for every one of these sects, have a Minister who may be as well called one of the Ministry of Weymouth as Mr. Bayley can.3
1. First entry in D/JA/7, a “paper book” without cover, stitching, or docketing.
2. The words in brackets, inadvertently omitted in MS, have been supplied from the Massachusetts Charter of 1691 (Thorpe, Federal and State Constitutions, 3:1877).
3. James Bayley, Harvard 1719, was minister of the second or south parish of Weymouth from 1723, when Weymouth was divided into North and South Precincts, until his death in 1766. A dispute went on for many years over the interests of the two precincts in the original parsonage property. (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 6:293–294; Weymouth Hist. Soc., History of Weymouth, 1923, 1:233–236.)

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0003-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-03-21

March 21st. 1761.

Memorandum. To enquire more particularly into the Practice in Weymouth—how they estimate a Days Work for a Man, Horse, Yoke of oxen, Carts, Tools, Pickaxes, Spades, shovells &c—how much Money or what a sum they assess upon the whole Town, annually, to amend their Ways?—whether the assessment is committed to the surveyor, of all within his District, &c.
Enquire, too, at Boston of Cunningham, how they pave and repair the Pavements of their great Streets, and Lanes and Alleys &c— whether poor People are left at their Election to work or to pay? and how they apportion their assessment? But I presume it is not according to the Polls Tax but in Proportion to the Province Tax, or Town and County. So that rich Men may contribute in Proportion to their Wealth, to repairing, as they contribute most by their Equipages &c. to the wearing and spoiling the high Ways.
But a Tax upon the Poles, and real and Personal Estates of the Town will not bring the burthen to Equality. We will suppose that John Ruggles and Caleb Hubbard are rated equally for Heads, and real and personal Estates. Caleb Hubbard Carts down £1000 Worth of Wood and Timber to the Landing Places, and so reaps three or £400 a Year Profit by improving the Ways; and by his heavy Loads, and Wheels, he breaks and cutts and crushes the Ways to Pieces. But Mr. Ruggles on the other Hand, confines himself to his farm and [Canoe?] He neither receives Benefit from any High ways, or does any Damage to them, further than riding to Meeting on Sundays, and Town Meetings. Now what Reason, what Propriety can there be in taxing Ruggles and Hubbard equally to the high ways. One gets his living by ruining the Ways, the other neither gets a farthing by them nor does them a farthing Damage.
The Power of a Town. The Proviso in the 11th of George Chaptr. 4th. That this Act shall not extend to the preventing or altering the Practice in any Town of defraying the Charge of repairing or amending the High Ways by a Rate or Tax, or any other Method they have or shall agree upon. The Words “agreed upon,” in this Proviso, I presume, signify “determined by the major Part of the Voters,” for the same Words “agreed upon” are used, in several other Acts, where their meaning must be so. Thus 6th. W. & M. C. 5, the Act to enable Towns, Villages, Proprietors in common and undivided Lands to sue and be sued.
{ 204 }

[salute] Messrs.1

I am an old Man turned of seventy. When I was young my common amuzement was Reading. I had some Engagements in Business, and was no Enemy to innocent Pleasure. But as my Circumstances were easy, I gave a greater Indulgence to my Curiosity of conversing largely with the World than most Persons of my Age, and Rank. In this Course of Life, I soon found that human Nature, the Dignity of which I heard extolled by some, and debased by others, was far from deserving that Reverence and Admiration, which is due to great Virtue and Intelligence. I found as I thought in that day a Multitude of People, who suffered themselves to be caught by hooks and snares covered over with such Bait, as would not have imposed even on fishes and Birds: and I found as I thought a few others, the Anglers of that Day whose constant Attention and Pursuit was to allure and take that Multitude. The first Instances of this sort that fell under my observation raised my Compassion and Indignation alternately. I pittyd poor deluded simplicity on one hand, and I raged against Cruelty and Wickedness on the other, and could not but think, that to rescue the Lamb from the Jaws of the Wolf would be a noble Adventure. But on further Consideration the Design seemed impracticable. The Attempt was odious. The Knaves would arise in a Combination to ruin the Reformer and the fools would be managed in no other Way than that of their Appetites and Passions. For this Reason and to avoid the pungent Misery of a disappointed, despized Patriot, I determined to make a total alteration in the Course and Nature of my Ideas and sentiments. Whenever I heard or saw an Instance of atrocious Treachery, fraud, Hypocrisy, Injustice, or Cruelty, the common Effects of excessive Ambition, Avarice and Lust, instead of indulging the sentiments of Nature, which I found were a Resentment bordering on Rage, I resolved instantly to set up a Laugh and make my self merry: whenever I saw a simple deluded Creature brot by the Craft of others to brutal Debauchery, sickness, Cold, Hunger, Prison, Whipping Post, Pillory or Gallows, instead of indulging sympathy and feeling, I set my self to laughing. I must own I found a good deal of Difficulty to command my self at first, in this bold Attempt to alter the whole system of Morality: and in spight of my Attention, a flash of Vengeance, or a Thril of Pitty, would sometimes escape me, before I could bring my Muscles into a risible Posture.
But by long Practice I have at last obtained a settled Habit of making my self merry at all the Wickedness and Misery of the World. And the Causes of Ridicule have been every Hour increasing and multiplying { 205 } from the 25th Year of my Age, when I first attempted the alteration of my Mind, to the present Hour. And now in spight of all the Infirmities of old Age I am the most tittering, giggling Mortal you ever saw.
But the amplest source of my merriment, thru the whole Course of my Life has been the affair of English Priviledges, British Liberty and all that.
I have heard Men every Day for fifty Years boasting, “our Constitution is the finest under heaven. We are governed by our own Laws. No Tyrant can Lord it over us. The King is as accountable for his Conduct as the subject. No Government that ever existed, was so essentially free. Every Man is his own Monarch. His Will, or the Will of his Agent, and no other can bind him.” All these gallant, blustering speeches I have heard in Words—and I never failed to raise a Horse laugh. For observe the pleasant course of these Things. The few who have real Honour, Temperance, and Understanding, who are desirous of getting their Bread and Paying their Debts by their own Industry, apply their Attention to their own Business, and leave the Affairs of Towns and Provinces to others. But a young fellow, who happens to be by Nature or by habit indolent, and perhaps profligate, begins by laying schemes by himself or his Friends, to live and get Money without Labour or Care. His first step is to procure a Deputation from some sheriff. By the Help of Writts and Executions, and drawing Writts, or employing some Child to draw them, for a share, 1/3 or 1/4 of the fee, then serving them, and Executions, carrying Tales and Intelligence from one Party to the other, then settling Disputes, vastly compassionating the Party, by taking twice lawful fees, they wheedle themselves into some Connections with the People, and considerable sums of Money into their own Pocketts.
They presently grow capable Men very expert at Calculations, and well acquainted with the real and personal Estates of the Town and so very fit for select Men, and after 2 or 3 Years opposition from the most virtuous and independent Part of a Town they obtain an Election. After this his Reputation increases very fast. He becomes, to those not already grappled to his Interest by fear or affection, very assiduous and obliging. And when the season of the Year approaches, a swarm of Candidates for Approbation to keep Taverns or Dram shops, surround him, for his favour. For one he will use his Utmost Interest. For another, he really thinks there is Occasion for a Public House where he lives. For a Third his Circumstances are so needy he really thinks he ought to be assisted. For a 4th. he is so unable to work, that he must be assisted, and to a fifth, He likes it very well, for he thinks, { 206 } the more there are the better, the more obliging they will be and the cheaper they will sell.
Taverns and Dram shops are therefore placed in every Corner of the Town, where poor Mankind, allured by the smell of Brandy And Rum, resort, and carouse: waste their Time, spend their Money, run in Debt to Tavern and others, grow attached to the Taverner who is attached to his Patron both by Gratitude and Expectation. The Hero of this Romance, is presently extolled as a public Blessing, as the most useful Man in Town, as a very understanding and [civil?] Man, and is at the next May Meeting set up for a Candidate as Representative. The same Body of wealthy and virtuous Persons, who opposed the first step of his Exaltation, are still resolute to oppose the second, and for the first few Years, he fails. But, by Assiduity and Impudence, by extending and fortifying the Parts of the same system, he increases his Interest, and the virtuous few begin to dread the Consequences, they resolve not to be present and wittnesses of the Disgrace of the Town. They stay at home, and the News is brought them that the Person they despized, and &c. has obtained his Election.
In this manner Men, who are totally ignorant of all Law human and divine, natural, civil, ecclesiastical and common, are employed to make Laws for their Country, while others, who have been led by their Education to search to the Bottom of human Nature, and to examine the Effect of all Laws upon human affairs [sentence unfinished]
1. No contemporary printing of this draft of a newspaper communication has been found.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-04-03

April 3d. 1761.

Z.1 tells me, that Jona. Rawson is malicious and cruel as well as conceited. He spights Edd. Quincy and his whole Family. He says that the whole family was prodigal and extravagant, and that he borrowed Money and bought Goods upon Credit, but two days before he housed himself, when he knew that he never should pay, which was no better than Stealing.—Tis fraud. Tis Cheating, Tis Knavery, Tis Villany.— Oh he longs to see Quincys Daughters out at service. It would please him to see them, washing and serving Dishes, Washing Clothes, &c. Why should not they work as well as Mrs. Liddy and I? We are more honourably descended than they!—He longs to hear that Milton select men have warned him out of that Town. He himself was very urgent to have young Edd. warned out of Braintree, when he first came to live with his Father, but never could get a Majority of the select men of his Mind. He hopes that the Church in Milton will refuse him their { 207 } Communion. He hears that some Members are uneasy and talk of objecting to his partaking there, and he wishes they would. He was extremely glad to hear, that Mr. Quincy failed of getting Clerk of the General Court. He heard he was a Candidate, and disappointed, and was rejoiced at it. A fine story, that he who wanted discretion to manage his own private Affairs, who rushed headlong to Bankruptcy and Destruction should be intrusted with public affairs. That he who would lye and Cheat, at such a Rate, should stand in public Place.
Thus he seems to wish that poor Mr. Quincy should be excluded from all public Trust, that he should be expelled from any Town that [he] should move into, be excommunicated from the Church, brought to beg his Bread or be maintained by the Town, and his Daughters <bound out> sent out to service as Kitchen Maids. This is Malice, Tis Rage, Tis Cruelty, ’Tis Persecution. Tis Hell and the Devil—and by all Probability the Provocation to this Excess of Malevolence, which would strip them of all the means of life temporal and eternal, is a Loss of about forty shillings old Tenor by Mr. Quincy, some way or another. These are dreadful sentiments. This is a woful Temper.
He, and his Brother Josiah, and all the rest of the Family, are very proud of their Descent from Mr. Rawson, an ancient secretary of this Province. Secretary Rawson was his great Grandfather. His father was a tippling, silly old fellow like David Bass, and if his Grandfather was of a like Character, the Dishonour of descending from such a father and Grandfather must have taken away all the Honour of descending from an honorable great Grand father.
Tis vain and mean to esteem oneself for his Ancestors Merit. But he is very avaricious, and very ambitious and excessively vain. Vain of his Descent, his Estate, his Knowledge, his sense, his public Employments, that of Select Man, that of Commissioner of Bankruptcy &c., and of his public Capacity and spirit,—ambitious of public Trust as a select Man, a Representative, a Commissioner &c. And besides all these, he is brutally uncivil and rude in Company. He is an impetuous bauler, a rough, unpolished, ill bred Clown and Coxcomb. These are the Properties of one of the favourites of Braintree.2
Is Lawrence to be Styled a Yeoman? or not. For the Negative these Things are to be considered.—1St. Bayley in his Dictionary, defines Yeomen to be the first Degrees of the Commons, Freeholders, who have land of their own, and live on good Husbandry. Sir T. Smith defines a Yeoman to be a free born Englishman, who may lay out of his own free Land in Yearly Revenue, to the sum of 40s.
Now Lawrence is not most certainly one of any of the first degrees { 208 } of the Commons. He is a poor, low, inferiour sort of Man, to be ranked only among Labourers, and the meanest of the People. He is certainly no freeholder, he has no Land of his own, and he does not live at all upon Husbandry. And if it should be admitted that he was a free born Englishman, according to the first Part of Sir Thos. Smiths Definition, yet he does not answer the last Part of it, for he cannot lay out of his own free Land, in Yearly Revenue to the sum of 40s., for he is not the owner of one foot of Land in the World.
I find in 23: H. 6. 15. Ab[ridgmen]t [of the] Statutes, title Parliament ss. 29. None shall be a Knight of the Shire, which standeth in the Degree of a Yeoman or Under.—By this statute therefore it appears that there are Degrees, or at least a Degree under that of a Yeoman.
In Shep[pard’s] Ab[ridgmen]t, Title Name.—So of Commons there be Degrees as Knights, Esquires, Gentlemen, Citizens, Yeomen and Burgesses of several Degrees.—Here Burgesses are a Rank below Yeoman.
Is Lawrence a Yeoman?
For the affirmative these Things are to be considered.—
What was the precise meaning of the Word Yeoman in the ancient Saxon or Teutonic Languages, I cannot say. And whether this Title was or was not in ancient times, most usually given to Land Holders, to Country farmers, is not worth while to inquire, because it is not material to the present Question.—For
It is certain, that in the modern Language both of Courts and History’s, all Persons under the Degree of Gentlemen are styled Yeomen. The Gentry and Yeomanry of England comprehend all Degrees of Men from the King to the Beggar, in History, and in the modern Lawbooks a Yeoman is defined to be an ordinary common man.
In Strange’s Reports—It is settled over and over again, first that a Trader may be sued by the Addition of his Degree, as that of Yeoman e.g. and the Writ shall not abate unless he pleads another degree. Another Defendant pleaded that he was a Lime merchant, and not a Yeoman. Plaintiff demurred, and the Court held, that every Man be he a trader or not a Trader, has a Degree by which he may be denoted. And that if the Defendant had shewn himself to be a Degree higher than a Yeoman, that would have abated the Writ, but not otherwise.
In modern Cases, Defendant pleaded that he was a Farmer and not a Yeoman. The Plaintiff demurred, and it was held, that if the Defendant is not a Gentleman he must be a Yeoman i.e. an ordinary or common Person.
{ 209 }
Besides I find it said in some Dictionaries that the Saxon Word from whence Yeoman is drawn signified a Shepherd. Now a Man may be a shepherd without being a Landholder, and the Word which answers this in the teutonic Language signified a common man. Now every common man is not a Landholder.
But all these Criticisms are Trash and trifling for it is settled Practice in this Court, in Conformity to the late Practice at Home, to call every one of these lower sort of People, who are not Gentlemen and whose Occupation is not known, Yeoman. I have heard common soldiers, styled Yeomen in Indictments, soldiers belonging to the Train who had no Land. I have known a Multitude of Instances where Defendants in civil Actions in this Court, have been called Yeomen, who never owned an Inch of ground in their Lives. But this Man has a better Right to this Addition, for he was born a Yeoman according to this Definition, i.e. a Land holder, and he owned when this Note was given a good farm, a farm worth £3000.
Q[uery]. Is Labourer an Addition of Degree or Mistery? A Labourer is one that has no Trade or Art or Mistery, but it is an Occupation.
It would be worth while to describe all the Transformations of J.Q.’s3 flatery.—Yet there is always a salvo, which shews his Deceit and Insincerity.
If Mr. Adams should become in 2 or 3 Years, one of the most eminent Lawyers in the County, and remove to Boston, there you would find persons, who have Daughters to dispose of, who have Knowledge of the World, and Prudence enough to look out the <most thriving> best Characters, for Matches to their Daughters. Twenty such Men would have their Eyes upon You; would dress out their Daughters to the best Advantage, contrive Interviews, lay schemes and presently, some one more beautiful, or sensible, or witty or artful, than the rest will take you in. We shall see you, in spight of your Phylosophy, and Contempt for Wife and Mistress and all that, sighing, and dying with Love. [Here, under a specious Pretext of Raillery for my boasted, and affected, Indifference to Ladies, he is insinuating or would make me believe that he designed to insinuate, that I am likely to be the ablest Lawyer on the stage, in 2 or 3 Years, that 20 Gentlemen will Eye me for a Match to their Daughters, and all that. This is the flattery. Yet, in truth he only said, if Mr. Adams should become &c. so that if his Consequences should never take Place, Oh I never expected they would, for I did not expect you would be eminent.—Besides, if he was to speak his real sentiments, I am so { 210 } illbred, unpolished &c. that I never shall succeed with ladies or the World &c. &c.]4
The same Evening, I shew him, my Draught of our Licensed Houses and the Remarks upon it.5 Oh he was transported! he was ravished! He would introduce that Plan at the sessions, and read the Remarks, and say they were made as well as the Plan by a Gentleman to whom their could be no Exception—&c. He saw an Abstract of the Argument for and against Writts of Assistants—and crys did you take this from those Gentlemen as they delivered it? You can do any Thing! You can do as you please! Gridley did not use that Language. He never was Master of such a style! It is not in him—&c.6
I will lay 100 Guineas, that before 20 Years, you will raise the Fees of the Bar 3 fold. If your Eloquence should turn out equal to your Understanding, you will. I know you will!
You have Ld. Bolinbroke by heart! With one cursory Reading you have a deeper Understanding of him and remember more of him, than I do after 3 or 4 Readings, or than I should have after 10 Readings.
With all your Merit, and Learning, and Wit and sense and Spirit, and Vivacity, and all that.—
These are the bold, gross, barefaced Flatteries that I hear every Time I see that Man. Can he think me such a Ninny as to be allured and deceived by such gross Arts? He must think me vastly vain, silly, stupid, if he thinks to impose on me, if he thinks I cant see the Deceit. It must be deceit. It cannot be any Thing else.
Gray v. Paxton. Otis drew a Writ vs. Paxton for Money had and received to the Use of the Province. Prat pleaded in Abatement, That, altho the suit was brot in Greys Name, altho Gray was Plantiff, Yet no Promise was alledged to have been made to Gray. The Defendant is alledged to be indebted to the Province, for Money received to the Provinces Use, and to have promised to pay it to the Province. Yet the Province is not Plantiff. It is Gray vs. Paxton, but it should have been the Province of the Massachusetts Bay v. Paxton.7
The Treasurer and Receiver General has not a Right ex Offido, to demand, sue for and recover all Monies that are due to the Province. No more than a Noblemans Steward has to sue for and Recover the Demands of the Nobleman: No more than the Cashier of the Bank of England, has to sue for and Recover all Monies due to the Bank of England. A steward may sue but not in his own Name, he must sue in the Name of his Master. The Cashier may sue, but not in his own Name, he must sue in the Name of the Governor and Company of the { 211 } Bank of England. A Corporate Body is one Person in Law and may sue or be sued, and There is an Instance, before the Court, this Term, in your own Dockett, of a suit brot by a Town, the Town of Dorchester vs. A.B. &c. There is a special Law of this Province, which impowers [sentence unfinished]
1. Probably Zabdiel Adams, JA’s cousin.
2. The following semidetached entries may have been written at any time between 3 April and mid-May, though one of them, as indicated below, seems to have been inserted as late as July.
3. Doubtless Col. Josiah Quincy.
4. First bracket in MS; closing bracket supplied.
5. That is, JA’s sketch map of tavern locations, which is reproduced in this volume; see entry of 29 May 1760 and note, above. CFA, who mentions the map without reproducing it, prints a passage of JA’s accompanying comment which no longer appears on or with the map, as follows:
“N.B. Place one foot of your dividers at Eb. Thayer’s house, and extend the other about one mile and a half, and then sweep a circle; you will surround eight public houses, besides one in the centre. There is vastly more travelling and little less business in Milton, Dorchester, and Roxbury, where public houses are thinly scattered, than there is in Braintree; and why poor Braintree men, who have no virtue to boast of, should be solicited with more temptations than others, I can’t imagine. This, I will say, that whoever is in fault, or whatever was the design, taverns and dramshops have been systematically and scandalously multiplied in this town; and, like so many boxes of Pandora, they are hourly scattering plagues of every land, natural, moral, and political, through the whole town” (Works, 2:123, note)
6. This is the only reference in the Diary to the celebrated argument before the Superior Court in Feb. 1761 concerning the legality of writs of assistance. In his Autobiography JA furnished from memory a longer account of what he called the first incident in a “Contest ... to which I could foresee no End.” Many of the details in his later account (printed by CFA in JA, Works, 2:124, note), repeated with variations and additions in his letters to William Tudor, 1817–1818, were questioned and corrected by Horace Gray in a learned appendix on writs of assistance in Quincy’s Reports, 1865, p. 395–540; see especially p. 408–409; 414, note; 469, note. From some of the language used in the present Diary entry (“an Abstract of the Argument for and against Writts of Assistants”), it would appear that JA showed Col. Quincy his original hasty notes taken during the hearing. These survive as a single large folded sheet with nine pages covered by writing among JA’s legal papers (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185; printed in JA, Works, 2:521–523, and more literally, with full annotation by Horace Gray, in Quincy, Reports, p. 469–482). On the other hand, as Professor Gipson has pointed out, no one could possibly have praised the “style” of these crabbed notes, and it is therefore possible and even probable that JA had already written up his notes of Gridley’s argument for the writs and Otis’ and Thacher’s arguments against them in a discursive form intended to circulate among friends and other interested persons. At any rate, a writtenup version did circulate some time afterward, if not immediately, for variant texts of such a version appeared in newspapers and in lawyers’ commonplace books, and JA acknowledged the authorship of one portion (Otis’ speech) that was eventually printed in George Richards Minot’s Continuation of the History of the Province of Massachusetts, Boston, 1798–1803, 2:91–100. See also JA, Works, 2:523–525; Samuel A. Green’s remarks on the textual history of Otis’ speech in MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 6 (1890–1891): 190–196; Lawrence H. Gipson, “Aspects of the Beginning of the American Revolution,” Amer. Antiq. Soc., Procs., 67 (1957): 23, note; Joseph R. Frese, “James Otis and Writs of Assistance,” NEQ, 30:496–508 (Dec. 1957). Fortunately it is possible to defer any attempt to reconstruct the { 212 } text of JA’s longer version (of which no MS in his hand has been found) with at least some hope that more evidence may come to light.
7. This detached entry appears to be out of place chronologically, since it reports part of Benjamin Prat’s plea in abatement of the writ in the case of Gray v. Paxton, tried in Suffolk Inferior Court, July 1761. This was a famous case, with marked political overtones. Harrison Gray (1711–1794) was provincial treasurer and receiver-general; Charles Paxton (1707–1788) was a commissioner of customs in Boston (Stark, Loyalists of Mass., p. 34–336, 318–319). The action grew out of Paxton’s practice of charging his costs for secret informers entirely against the King’s (that is to say, the Province’s) one-third share of the value of goods forfeited under admiralty court decisions, while the Governor and the informer each got their full thirds. As a result of a petition from a number of merchants and after much bickering between the House of Representatives and Governor Bernard, the General Court in Jan. 1761 authorized Treasurer Gray to sue Paxton for the alleged deficiencies (more than £357). Much discussed during the spring, the case came on in the Inferior Court in July, and Paxton lost. The Superior Court in its August term supported Prat’s plea in abatement and reversed the decision. A new action, Province v. Paxton, was thereupon brought in the Inferior Court, Jan. 1762, and judgment was again rendered against Paxton. He again appealed, and, to use Bernard’s words, “pursuant to the direction of all the Judges the jury found for the defendant [Paxton],” Feb. 1762. The records of the two cases, with full commentary, are printed by Samuel M. Quincy in Appendix II to Quincy, Reports, p. 541–552. It is to Chief Justice Hutchinson’s role in the two cases on appeal that JA refers so bitterly in his Diary for 30 Dec. 1765: “Who has made it his constant Endeavor to discountenance the Odium in which Informers are held?” &c.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-05

[Draft of a Letter to the Boston Gazette, May 1761.]1

I am myself an Inhabitant of Boston, and have I think an honest affection for the Town, and a sincere Concern for its Honour: for which Reason I cannot reflect upon the late prevailing Humor of attributing our own follies to the Country without Regret. The late Engagement in your Paper, between two litigating Scribblers, about the Clergy of this Town, and their lawdable Conduct, at the late Installment, forsooth was between two Country laymen:2 and many other Pieces lately published have been in Country Characters; young Gentlemen from the Country, old Batchellers in the Country &c. This is [merely?] fathering our own natural Children on other Men who are more chaste. Such Pieces, every Man who reads them knows, are the Productions of idle fellows in this Town—Persons who have no Business, of more Consequence, to employ their Time and Thoughts, and who happen to grow vain enough in their own Imaginations, to prize highly their own Wit and Talent. Whereas the good People in the Country, whom in Journeys which I often take I have pretty carefully observed, are more dilligent and attentive to their own Business, and much less conceited of their sense and Learning. Besides any Man may observe in these Pieces, a Temper, and Manners quite remote from the { 213 } honest simplicity and natural, and habitual Benevolence of a Countryman. Tis really doing Injustice to the Country to impute to it such uncandid, illiberal Productions, but no Wonder these Grubstreet Garreteers are guilty of this Injustice when, I am sorry to say it, a like Kind is committed by almost all orders of the Town, in many other affairs of much more Consequence.
The affair of Taxes has been a common Place Topic of Complaint against the Country, among all Ranks of Men in this Metropolis for many Years. Our Gentry has given frequent Invitations, to the Country Representatives, and to other Country Gentlemen, who had Acquaintance here, to Entertainments. The Productions of every Element and Climate were assembled, and the nicest Art and Cookery employed to regale them. The furniture of our Houses and Tables were proportionably rich and gay. Our Persons were cloathed in silks and Laces and Velvet, and our Daughters especially blazed in the rich vestments of Princesses. At the same Time the poor Gentlemen were scarcely able to walk the streets, for the Multitude of Chariots, or to hear themselves speak for the rapid Rattling of Hoofs and Wheels. (Wits and Wags may laugh at my Discription, but Foppery ought to be described in Bombast.) These Appearances at the Churches, assemblies, Concerts, Private Houses and streets, gave the Country an opinion, either that Boston was vastly rich or vastly extravagant, and they dared not, by any public speech or Conduct suppose the latter least they should give offence to us, who had treated them even with assiduous Complaisance and Hospitality.
They endeavoured to Settle the Proportion of public Burdens, (and how should they do otherwise) according to the best Proofs they could procure of Wealth and Ability: And altho People in the Country were obliged to wear Homespun threadbare, eat salt Pork and Beef, drink Cyder and small Beer, and turn every stone, and save every Penny to pay their Taxes, and did it chearfully too: yet we in Boston never would pay ours, without Grumbling, and cursing Country folks, and Country Representatives.
Well, the Country Gentlemen desirous to do Justice, [harkened?] to our Complaints, and set themselves to discover as well as they could, who was and who was not able to support the Pomp they every day saw. They asked our own Representatives and other, the most sensible Inhabitants of the Town, and no better Method was to be found than the Valuation Act.3 But, this, instead of <quieting> extinguishing only enflamed our Discontent.4 “What we cry? We obliged to tell upon Oath how much we are worth? must not we drink Madeira, eat in { 214 } silver and China? Ride in our Chariots? Go to Concerts and assemblies? and let our sons and Daughters spend a few Guineas a Week at Cards without telling the assessors, and having it recorded that we are in Debt for all this, and £10, 000 worse than nothing! Oh these vile shoe string Representatives.”5
We have not in short the Ingenuity of common Debauchees, who will often confess their own folly, in getting Claps and daily Drams, has given them the Hectick: But we are determined to take no shame to ourselves, but charge the natural and unavoidable Consequences of our own Imprudence on the Country. The Country, it is true, is not an unexceptionable Example of Wisdom. Many Things are running Wild. Many simptoms begin to appear, that threaten their Happiness, their Morals, Health, Properties and Liberties, in a very melancholly manner: But even these simptoms are produced, in a great Measure by the inconsiderate Politicks of this Town.—Give me Leave to mention a very flagrant Instance out of a Multitude.
If you ride over this whole Province you will find, that, alltho Taverns are generally too numerous, they are not half so numerous in any one County, in Proportion to the Numbers of People and the Necessity of Business and Travellers, as in this. In most Country Towns, in this County,6 you will find almost every other House, with a sign of Entertainment before it. If you call, you will find Dirt enough, very miserable Accommodation of Provision and Lodging, for your self and your Horse. Yet if you set the Evening, you will find the House full of People, drinking Drams, Phlip,7 Toddy, Carrousing, swearing, but especially, plotting, with the Landlord, to get him, at the next Town Meeting an Election, either for select man or Representative. Thus the Multiplicity of these Houses, by dividing the Profits, renders the Landlords careless of Travellers, and allures the poor Country People, who are tired with Labour and hanker after Company, to waste their Time and money, contract Habits of Intemperance and Idleness, and by degrees to loose the natural dignity and freedom of Inglish Minds, and confer those offices, which belong by Nature and the spirit of all Government to Probity and Honesty, on the meanest and weakest and worst of human Characters.
A good deal of this has happened, as I believe, partly from what I have seen and partly from credible Information, in the Country: But who is most to blame! The Court of Sessions has made such Rules for itself, that the Country Justices can seldom attend. The select Men of the several Towns, have been so often disappointed, that they are discouraged. Some Houses to my Knowledge have been licensed which { 215 } never had any Approbation from any select Man. Other Persons have been licensed whom the select Men have found by Experience, and certified to be, guilty of Misrule, and therefore unfit. Others have been recognized for seven Years together without any Approbation from the select Men, thro that whole Time. Nay a Man has been recognized, tho the select Men certifyed good Reasons for not approbating him—that he was very intemperate, had poor Accommodations, and was subject to fits of Caprice if not Delirium, that made it dangerous to come near him: and altho it was proved, that the same Man, in one of those fits, had but a few days before, Stabbed another, with apparent Design and great Danger of Murder.
Now I agree, that Ambitious Spirits in the Country, who have little Honour, will soon see, that such Houses must be favoured, and multiplied, to promote their own designs, and therefore Retailers and Taverners are generally in the Country Assessors, or select Men, or Representative or Esquires: But are not we more to blame. Are not some of our Justices, Importers of Mollasses? are not others Distillers? and are not all of them fond of a lawful Fee? In short it is owing wholly to Boston Justices, that those Houses have been so shamefully multiplied, in the Country, multiplied so that decent Entertainment for a Traveller is no where to be had.
The Freedom of Censure is a Matter of great Consequence under our Government.8 There are certain Vices and follies, certain Indecencies of Behaviour, beneath the Inspection and Censure of Law and Magistracy, which must be restrained and corrected by Satyr. And for this Reason, every Piece of just Ridicule in public or private bestowed on any <foppery> wrong or foolish Conduct, gives me great Pleasure, even altho I am myself the Object. From the same Principle I was glad to see some Animadversion on the late inconsistent Conduct of the Ministers of this Town. And nothing but sacerdotal Impudence, and Ecclesiastical Pride, can account for the surly, revengeful Manner in which those Pieces have been received.
1. This is the last of JA’s series of letters on the evils of taverns; see entry of 29 May 1760 and note, above. Though clearly intended for publication in the Boston Gazette (see the following note), no printing has been found.
2. “The late Engagement in your Paper” alludes to a controversy arising from a news item in the Boston Gazette, 2 March 1761, describing the installation of Rev. Alexander Cumming as co-pastor with Dr. Joseph Sewall of the Old South Church in Boston a week earlier. The “Entertainment” provided for the “honourable and reverend Guests” was so “very sumptuous and elegant,” the notice said, that it had to be held in several houses. “And it is concluded, that many poor People were the better for what remained of so plentiful and splendid a Feast; such as was hardly ever known among us on a similar Occasion.” In the { 216 } following issue, 9 March, an anonymous writer who described himself as a country layman declared these proceedings “disgusting” to himself and discreditable to the Congregational ministry. He called attention to resolves that a convention of ministers had themselves adopted two years earlier, disapproving “Feasting, Jollity and Revelling” on such occasions, and pointed out that Joseph Sewall had issued the resolves over his own name as moderator of the convention. On 6 April the Gazette carried a rejoinder from another “country layman,” who ventured the opinion that the guests had enjoyed only the “moderate refreshment” to which any Christian is entitled. The dispute spun itself out until 11 May, when the first writer got the last word by describing the fare in detail, his informant (he said) having been one of the guests:
“There were six tables, that held one with another 18 persons, upon each table a good rich plum pudding, a dish of boil’d pork and fowls, and a corn’d leg of pork, with sauce proper for it, a leg of bacon, a piece of alamode beef, a leg of mutton with caper sauce, a piece of roast beef, a roast line [loin] of veal, a roast turkey, a venison pastee, besides chess cakes and tarts, cheese and butter. Half a dozen cooks were employed upon this occasion, upwards of twenty tenders to wait upon the tables; they had the best of old cyder, one barrel of Lisbon wine, punch in plenty before and after dinner, made of old Barbados spirit. The cost of this moderate dinner was upwards of fifty pounds lawful money.”
3. An Act for Enquiring into the Rateable Estates of this Province, passed 31 Jan. 1761, required all persons to list on oath their real and personal property for the purpose of a new tax assessment (Acts of 1760–1761, ch. 24; Mass., Province Laws, 4:422–423).
4. In an earlier and very fragmentary draft of this essay, just preceding the present draft in the MS, the foregoing sentence reads: “But this threw new fuel into the unquenchable furnace of Boston Passions.” There is reason to believe that this alternative draft was once longer but was later removed from the paper booklet; see note 8, below.
5. Earlier draft reads: “Oh these vile shoe string Country Representatives.”
6. The words “Country” and “County” in this sentence (and frequently elsewhere in JA’s early Diary) are indistinguishable as written by JA. In transcribing, one can only go by the sense of the passage.
7. MS: “Plip.”
8. The present paragraph is separated by an interval of space from the foregoing text. In the margin is written “Beg.,” (i.e. “Begin”), which together with the substance indicates that this paragraph was an alternative opening for the essay. It may, however, have been intended as the beginning of the now largely missing draft; see note 4, above.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-06-11

June 11th. 1761.

I have been for a Week or fortnight engaged in a Project.1 Have remarkably succeeded hitherto. Mr. Niles approved in all Things. Major Crosbey approved in all Things. Deacon Palmer approved in all Things. They have given under their Hands a very full and handsome Character and Recommendation of my Brother—much more ample than I expected. They have really Spoken in Hyperbole. They have expressed themselves with Warmth. I expected only a signification of their Consent and Approbation, but they have expressed themselves with Zeal. I ought to consider these Credentials gratefully, as a strong Instance of friendship, and take the first Opportunity of making some Return. Mr. N. has the worst opinion of Thayers Morals. He detests the base Methods of Debauchery, and Lying, and Duplicity, that he has been in. P. despizes him.
{ 217 }
But scheming seldom has success. I expect to come off but second best after all. I expect that Thayer will hear of my Design, and in order to defeat it, continue in the office himself. If he should, I shall be pretty [well?]. Intrigue, and making Interest, and Asking favors is a new Employment to me. I’m unpractised in Intrigues for Power.
I begin to feel the Passions of the World. Ambition, Avarice, Intrigue, Party, all must be guarded.2
My fears of failing are at last vanished. The scheme succeeded in all Things, and is compleated. B[oylston] is constituted, commissioned, sworn, and this Day, undertaken to officiate. Now a new Train of Anxieties, begins to take Place. Fears of imperfect services, imperfect and false Returns, voluntary and negligent Escapes, miscalculations, Want of strength, Courage, Celerity, Want of Art and Contrivance &c. Rashness, Indolence, Timidity, &c.
The Project was so well planned, that success seemed certain. <Every Party>, all the Justices recommended. Two other Gents of his Acquaintance, men of Honour and figure. G.3 concurred and urged, and dropped Hints if not Anecdotes, vs. the old one. Hints were dropped to him by others that I should employ Constables and so deprive him of his Profits. So that his Interest, his Vanity, his Honour, were all touched. It cost me much Pains, at least 2 Journeys to Boston, one to Mr. Niles’, one to Germantown, one to Mr. [Bullards?], and Majr. Crosbeys. The Writing of a long Bond. The solicitation of Credentials, of sureties and of the office. More4 solicitation procured it. And altho it was not much disguised or concealed, yet it was so silently conducted that I believe the [grand?] Adversary never once suspected it. All the Wiles and Malice of the old serpent would have been employed against it, if it had been known or suspected. But there was one Particular of mere Luck, to which we were much indebted—vizt. the Complaint of Cudworth against T. That unfriendly, unbrotherly, unneighbourly, as well as rash and unmannerly, Spurning of the Execution, and then sending it to Gould, where it was lost, gave the great Man an ill opinion of his sub.5 and made him more willing and ready, at my solicitation, to constitute another, and even without consulting Thayer.
1. To obtain the appointment of his brother Peter Boylston Adams as a deputy sheriff of Suffolk co. This was, as JA explained in his Autobiography, “in pursuance of my plan of reforming the practice of Sheriffs and Pettyfoggers” in drawing writs. A bill of costs from Peter for serving a long list of writs for JA, 1764–1766, remains in the Adams Papers, under the date of 26–27 Sept. 1766.
2. A line across the page follows this paragraph in the MS, so that what follows may have been—and probably was—written one or more days later.
3. Probably Stephen Greenleaf, sheriff of Suffolk co.
4. Possibly “Mere,” as rendered by CFA (JA, Works, 2:129).
5. “subordinate”?

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0006-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-06-20

June 20th. 1761.

I have latterly arose much earlyer than Usual. Arose at five and at 6 O’clock, instead of 8 and 9. The Mornings are very long, and fine opportunities for Study. They are cool and pleasant. But I have not improved my Time, properly. I have dozed and sauntered away much of my Time. This morning is very fine. The clear sky, the bright sun, the clean Groves and Grass, after so fine a Rain are very pleasant. But the Books within this Chamber have a much better Title to my Attention than any of the rural scenes and objects without it. I have been latterly too much in the World, and too little in this Retreat. Abroad, my Appetites are solicited, my Passions inflamed, and my Understanding too much perverted, to judge wisely of Men or Things. But in this Retreat, where neither my Senses nor Appetites nor Passions are excited, am able to consider all Things more coolly, and sensibly. I was guilty of rash and profane Swearing, of rough <and indecent> Virulence vs. the Characters of Goffe, J. Russell, Lieutenant Governor, &c. Not but that there have been Faults in their Characters and Conduct, that every honest Man ought to resent.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-06-20

Saturday June 20th. 1761.1

I have been interrupted from Reading this Institute ever since Feby. Amidst the Dissipations of Business, Pleasure, Conversation, Intrigue, Party &c. what mortal can give Attention to an old latin Institute of the Cannon Law? But it is certainly worth while to proceed and finish it, as I have already been 2/3 thro it.
1. This second entry so dated is from D/JA/4, JA’s desultory record of studies. The “Institute” here mentioned is Lancelotti’s compilation of canon law; see entries of 27 Jan., above, and 17 Oct., below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-07-07

July 7th. 1761.

Dined at Deacon Hills, with Sam Quincy and his Bride,1 and with Mr. Cushing a Representative of Salisbury. Cushing seems a fair minded Countryman. Some free and friendly Conversation passed between Henry Hill and his father, about Advancement, and stock and setting up, and giving £1000 a Year. Henry said You ought to give me £1000 a Year or 10,000 right out, and then I maintain myself. You must give me Money or learn me to get it, or why did you make me? I’le go back again, &c.
Drank Tea, at Major Nobles, with Coll. Quincy, Deacon Whitte• { 219 } more, and the Man who is sued to this Court. I’ve forgot his Name. All in Consultation about defending their Lands in the Eastward.
1. Samuel Quincy had married Hannah Hill of Boston, 16 June 1761 (Salisbury, Family-Memorials, 1:358).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0008-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-08-01

Augt. 1st.

I am creating Enemies in every Quarter of the Town. The Clarks hate. Mother Hubbard, Thayer, Lamb, Tirrell, J. Brackett. This is multiplying and propagating Enemies, <too> fast. I shall have the Ill-Will of the whole Town.1
Daniel White, Moses Adams.—This will not do.
Daniel Prat vs. Thos. Colson.—This Action was brot by Plaintiff vs. Colson as Administrator, on the Estate of Mr. Bolter, for Non-Performance of a Covenant of Indenture. Prat was a poor, fatherless Child and his Mother Unable to provide for him, bound him an Apprentice to Mr. Bolter. He was then under 10 Years of Age, and so was bound for Eleven Years, and some odd Months. In Consideration of this very long and unusual Term of Apprenticeship his Master covenanted to teach him to read, write and Cypher, and to teach him the Trade of a Weaver. But we <contend> complain that he never taught us either to read, write or Cypher, or to weave. Call the Proof.
The Law, Gentlemen, is extreamly tender and indulgent to such Actions as these. For such is the Benignity and Humanity of the English Constitution that all the weak, and helpless, and friendless Part of our Species are taken under its Peculiar Care and Protection. Women, Children, and Especially Widows and fatherless Children, have always, from the Compassion of the Law peculiar Priviledges and Indulgences allowed them. Therefore as a poor, fatherless, and friendless Child the Law would allow great Indulgence and Lenity to this Plantiff.
But he is to be favoured for Another Reason. Because the English Law greatly favours Education. In every English Country, some sort of Education, some Acquaintance with Letters, is necessary, that a Man may fill any station whatever. In the Countries of slavery, and Romish superstition, the Laity must not learn to read, least they should detect the gross Impostures of the Priesthood, and shake off the Yoke of Bondage. But in Protestant Countries and especially in England and its Colonies, Freedom of Enquiry is allowed to be not only the Priviledge { 220 } but the Duty of every Individual. We know it to be our Duty, to read, examine and judge for ourselves, even of ourselves what is right. No Priest nor Pope has any Right to say what I shall believe, and I will not believe one Word they say, if I think it is not founded in Reason and in Revelation. Now how can I judge what My Bible justifies unless I can read my Bible.
The English Constitution is founded, tis bottomed And grounded on the Knowledge and good sense of the People. The very Ground of our Liberties, is the freedom of Elections. Every Man has in Politicks as well as Religion, a Right to think and speak and Act for himself. No man either King or Subject, Clergyman or Layman has any Right to dictate to me the Person I shall choose for my Legislator and Ruler. I must judge for myself, but how can I judge, how can any Man judge, unless his Mind has been opened and enlarged by Reading. A Man who can read, will find in his Bible, in the common sermon Books that common People have by them and even in the Almanack and News Papers, Rules and observations, that will enlarge his Range of Thought, and enable him the better to judge who has and who has not that Integrity of Heart, and that Compass of Knowledge and Understanding, which form the Statesman.
Mem[orandum]. To ask Seth Copeland, whether his Father White has a Copy of his Fathers Will? How came Eb. White possessed of that old Deed to his father, and how came Tho’s White to have it? and whether he Tho’s White has a Copy of that Deed. And Q[uery] of whom Capt. Thayer bought his share of the Landing? and of whom Holbrook bought his share of the Landing? And whether the Beech and Flatts, where Thayers and Holbrooks Wharffs now are, ever belonged to Tho’s White the Testator.
1. The several semidetached entries that follow may have been written any time from 2 Aug. to 9 Sept. 1761.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0009-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-09-10

Septr. 10th. 1761.

Spent Evening at Zabs with the Parson.
Wibirt. I have seen a Picture of Oliver Cromwell, with this Motto under it—

Careat successibus opto

Quisquis ab Eventu, facta notanda putat.1

I pray that he may want success, who thinks that Deeds are to be estimated from their Event, their success. Oliver was successful but not prudent nor honest, nor lawdable nor imitable.2
{ 221 }
A certain Romish Priest had five young Nuns, committed to his Charge, i.e. he was appointed the Confessor to them. And after a while they all five proved with Child by him. He was summoned into the spiritual Court, to answer to the Charge of Fornication. The Judge told him he was charged with a criminal Correspondence with all five of the Nuns that had been entrusted to his Care. The Priest replies, Quinque mihi tradidit Dominus Talenta, Et Ecce alia quinque super lucratus sum.—The Judge was so well pleased with his Confession that he said Remittuntur tibi Peccata tua, Abi in Pace.
1. From Ovid’s Heroids, according to CFA (JA, Works, 2:132, note).
2. It is impossible to tell from the MS whether or not the diarist intended to attribute to Parson Wibird the facetious story told in the paragraph that follows. See Matthew, 25:20.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0010-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-10-17

Octr. 17th. 1761.

Read in Just[inian] and Lancelot.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0010-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-10-17

Octr. 17th. 1761.1

I began Lancelotts Institute last Jany., and have read no farther than Lib[er] 3. Ti[tulus] 8. De Exceptionibus et Replicationibus.
1. This entry, the second so dated, is from D/JA/4, JA’s journal of studies.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0010-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-10-18

Octr. 18th. 1761. Sunday.

Arose at 6. Read in Popes Satyrs. Nil Admirari &c. I last night read thro, both of Dr. Donnes Satyrs versifyed by Pope. Was most struck with these Lines

Bear me some God! Oh! quickly bear me hence

To wholsome solitude the Nurse of sense

Where Contemplation prunes her ruffled Wings

And the free soul looks down to pitty Kings.

Prayer! A post[ulant?]—Hands uplifted, and Eyes. A very proper Prayer for me to make when I’m in Boston. Solitude is a Personage, in a clean, wholsome Dress, the Nurse and Nourisher of sense. Contemplation a Personage, prunes, picks, smooths. Is she an Angell or a Bird—ruffled, rumpled, rugged, uneven, tumbled. Free soul, not enslaved, unshackled, no Bondage, no subjection, looks down, pitties George, Louis, Frederick, Phillip, Charles, &c.1
Among the numberless Imperfections of human Nature and society, there is none that deserves to be more lamented, because there is none that is the source of greater Evils, than the Tendency of great { 222 } Parts and Genius, to imprudent sallies and a Wrong Biass.2 If We move back, thro the History of all ages and Nations, we shall find, that all the Tumults, Insurrections, and Revolutions, that have disturbed the Peace of society, and spilled oceans of Blood, have arisen from the giddy Rashness and Extravagance of the sublimest Minds. But in those Governments where the People have much Power, tho the best that can be found, the Danger from such spirits is the greatest of all. That unquenchable Thirst of superiority, and Power which, in such Governments, inkindles the Lust of Popularity, often precipitates Persons of [the] Character I describe, into the wildest Projects and Adventures, to set the World aware of their Parts and Persons, without attending to the Calamities that must ensue. Popular orators are generally opposite to the present Administration, blaming public Measures, and despizing or detesting Persons in Power, whether wise or foolish, wicked or upright, with all their Wit, and Knowledge, merely to make themselves the Idols of a slavish, timid People, who are always jealous and invidious of Power and therefore devoted to those that expose, ridicule or condemn it. Eloquence that may be employed wisely to persuade, is often employed wickedly to seduce, from the Eloquence of Greece and Rome down to the rude speeches of our American Town Meeting. I have more charity, than to believe, that these orators really intend an Injury to their Country; but so subtle are our Hearts in deceiving ourselves, we are so apt to think our own Parts so able and capable and necessary to the public, that we shall richly repair, by our Capacity in public station any Mischiefs we occasion in our Way to them. There is perhaps a sincere Patriotism in the Hearts of all such Persons; but it must be confessed, that the most refined Patriotism to which human Nature can be wrought, has in it an alloy of Ambition, of Pride and avarice that debases the Composition, and produces mischievous Effects.
As unhappy and blamable as such Persons are, the general Method in Use among Persons in Power of treating such spirits, is neither less unhappy, or blamable or hurtful. Such Minds, with a wise and delicate Management, may be made the ornaments and Blessings: but by an unskilfull and rough Usage, will be rendered desperate and therefore the Worst Blemishes and Plagues of their Country.
I therefore who am setting up for the Monitor of all future Legislators, a Character for which by my great Age, Experience, Sense and Learning I am well qualified, hereby advise the orator, to guard himself and his Country, against the Danger to which his Passions expose both, and the Man in Power, instead of thwarting, and insulting and over { 223 } bearing a Person who perhaps is full as wise and good as he, to [soothe?]3 and cool and soften by a mild obliging Behaviour, and a just Attention to the [former?].4
You have given me a fee.5 Now this Action may possibly bear 3 several Constructions.
1st. It might be considered as an Engagement in your suit vs. Cranch.
2d. It might be considered as an Engagement to give you, the Offer of my service in all Causes, before I should engage in favour of any other Person vs. you.
3. It may be considered, for aught I can say, merely as a sop for Cerberus, <to hinder> in short to silence me <in this Case, to> bearly6 to prevent my engaging on the other side, and to secure me as an Under Worker to fetch and carry, prepare Evidence &c.
Now I frankly tell you, when I accepted a fee from you, I accepted it in the second sense And in that alone. And I will tell you my Reasons. I had often heard you say that you once gave Mr. Prat a retaining fee, and you explain[ed] yourself thus—a fee <not to engage for> to be on your side in all Causes if you desired it, and not to engage against you, without first letting you know it. And you said further that whenever any Cause happened, after you gave that fee, you again engaged him &c. Another Reason was some time since when you apprehended a Dispute with Deacon Palmer you <told me you> desired me if any Person should apply to me against you that I would not engage without letting you know it, and if upon such Information you did not offer me more than the other Party had, I should be at Liberty to engage for him. And you then subjoined, to secure You to this, I will give you a retaining fee if you will take it. By the Way I then made this objection. “For another Person I may be employed to conduct the Cause but you can never entrust a Cause in the Hands of your Son and me, and to employ me in Conjunction with another, in Neglect of your Son, would not do.” You answered Yes, I should have the Conduct of the Causes for it was not proper a son [should?] argue a Cause for his father. Another Reason was you offered the fee to me as a retaining fee before you said one Word of any Particular Cause. Neither of Mr. Cranchs 3 suits, nor any Eastern Claims, nor Deacon Palmers Account nor any other Cause was mentioned to me, til after you had put the fee into my Hand, and with it you said if any Person shall apply to you against me, dont you engage till You let me [remainder missing]
Tuesday Night. Col. Q. If that House was builded in 1755 before { 224 } my first Wifes Death &c. &c. I am the most lost to all sense of Truth that ever Man was.7
1. There is little or no clue to the date of the three detached entries which follow and which conclude the entries in D/JA/7. One can only suppose they were written soon after the present entry, but because of variations in ink and intervals of blank space in the MS this is by no means certain.
2. This entry is a draft of another essay probably intended for a newspaper and probably incomplete as it now stands. No printing has been found.
3. MS: “sool.”
4. Reading uncertain; the final word may actually be crossed out and the sentence thus left incomplete.
5. This draft letter to an unidentified legal client (probably Col. Josiah Quincy) is badly scrawled and at some points barely legible.
6. Thus in MS.
7. Hannah (Sturgis) Quincy, Col. Josiah Quincy’s first wife, died in 1755, but the allusion to “that House” is obscure.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0011-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-11-10

Novr. 10th. 1761.1

Another Year is come round, and I can recollect still less Reading, than I could last Novr. The Increase of my Business, within 12ve months, has been nothing. I drew fewer Writs last October Court than I drew the October Court before, tho I drew an uncommon Number at both.—Yet I have advanced a few Steps. Have procured my Brother, his office, abated Nathan Spears Writ, Battled it with Capt. Thayer at Majr. Crosbeys, recovered of Jo. Tirrell for Lambard, recovered of Lawrence for Tirrell, abated Kings Writ, conducted the Pet[ition] vs. Tav[erns]. All These Things have been done in one Year. Besides have bought some Books &c. but have read but little Law.
This morning I have been Reading Archbp. Sharps sermon, To the Upright there ariseth Light in the Darkness. His Character of the Upright man, &c. Same day read a Number of his sermons in his first Volume. He is a moving, affectionate Preacher—devotional, more than Tillotson, but not so moral.2
1. This and the two following entries are from JA’s journal of studies, D/JA/4, and conclude the entries in that booklet except for a single one made eleven years later (21 Nov. 1772, q.v.).
2. JA owned a collection of the very popular Works of John Sharp, Archbishop of York, in 7 vols., London, 1754 (Catalogue of JA’s Library).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0011-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-11-14

Novr. 14th. 1761.

Brother Quincy and I were Sworn, before the Superiour Court.1 It is now more than five Years since I began the study of the Law. And it is about three Years, since I was sworn at the Inferiour Court.
1. “Upon a motion made by Jeremy Gridley Esqr. the Oath of an Attorney by the province Law prescribed was administred to Messrs. Samuel Quincy and John Adams in Order to their practising in this Court” (Superior Court of Judicature, Records, 1760–1762, p. 239). For the attorney’s oath, adopted in 1701, { 225 } see Province Laws, 1:467. In his Autobiography JA merged his admission as an attorney in the Superior Court with his admission as a barrister the following year.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0006-0011-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1761-11-20

Novr. 20th. 1761. Monday.

This day removed to my Chamber, and made a Fire. The Forenoon was Spent in Conversation with Zab, in walking to Dr. Turners, and up Pens Hill, and this afternoon in Conversation with Grindal Rawson and Zab at Mrs. Marshes. Yet I have caught several snatches of Reading and Thinking, in Blackstone, Gilbert &c. But I, as usual, expect great Things from this Chamber, and this Winter.1
1. This entry fixes the date of JA’s fitting out and establishing himself in his law office in the house now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace, which he had inherited from his father (see entry of 24 Oct. 1762, note) and which the Savils must by now have vacated. The law office was in the southeast room on the ground floor and JA opened a new doorway into it from the street. During the 19th century the doorway was boarded over but it has since been restored. See Waldo C. Sprague, The President John Adams and President John Quincy Adams Birthplaces, Quincy, 1959 (unpaged).

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0007-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1762-06-05

June 5th. 1762.1

Rode from Bass’s to Secretary Olivers, in Company with Judge Oliver.2 The Judge soon opened upon Politicks. Says he, Major Stock-bridge informs me, that Coll. Ruggles makes a very good Speaker. He has behaved to universal approbation.
Soon afterwards, the Judge said, I never knew so easy an Election in my Life. Some of the Bar interest themselves, very much in the Matter. One Gentleman has interested himself most infamously, advanced that to be Law in the Hou