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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0001-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-01-20

Monday. Jany 20th. 1766.

Leonard gave me an Account of a Clubb that he belongs to, in Boston. It consists of John Lowell, Elisha Hutchinson, Frank Dana, Josiah Quincy,1 and two other young Fellows, Strangers to me. Leonard had prepared a Collection of the Arguments, for and against the Right of Parliament to tax the Colonies, for said Clubb. His first Inquiry was whether the subject could be taxed without his Consent in Person or by his Representative? 2d. Whether We Americans are represented in Parliament or not?
Leonard says that Lowell is a Courtier, that he ripps about all who stand foremost in their opposition to the Stamp Act, at your Otis’s and Adams’s &c. and says that no Man can scribble about Politicks without { 300 } bedaubing his fingers, and every one who does is a dirty fellow. He expresses great Resentment against that Line in Edes & Gill, “Retreat or you are ruined,” and says they ought to be committed for that single stroke.—Thus it seems that the Air of Newbury, and the Vicinage of Farnham,2 Chipman3 &c. have obliterated all the Precepts, Admonitions, Instructions and Example of his Master Thatcher, and have made him in Thatchers Phrase a shoe licker and an A—se Kisser of Elisha Hutchinson. Lowel is however very warm, sudden, quick, and impetuous and all such People are unsteady. Too much Fire. Experientia docet.
Leonard gave me also a Relation of his going to Providence Court and Spending an Evening with the Political Clubb there. The Clubb consists of Governor Hopkins, Judge Jenks, Downer, Cole and others. They were impatient to have the Courts opened in this Province not choosing to proceed in Business alone. Were very inquisitive concerning all our Affairs. Had much to say of Hutchinson, Otis, &c. Admired the answer to the Governors Speech. Admired the Massachusetts Resolves. Hopkins said that nothing had been so much admired there through the whole Course of the Controversy, as the Answer to the Speech, tho the Massachusetts Resolves were the best digested and the best of any on the Continent. Enquired who was the Author of them.4
Enquired also who it was that burlesqued the Governors Speeches?5 Who wrote Jemmybullero, &c.6 Thought Hutchinsons History did not shine. Said his House was pulled down, to prevent his writing any more by destroying his Materials. Thought Otis was not an original Genius, nor a good Writer, but a Person who had done, and would continue to do much good service.
Were very inquisitive about Mclntosh. Whether he was a Man of Abilities, or not? Whether he would probably rise, in Case this Contest should be carried into any Length.7 Jo. Green, Waterhouse and Church were talk’d of as capable of Bullero and the Burlesques.
1. Josiah Quincy Jr. (1744–1775), often called “the Patriot,” to distinguish him from his father, “the Colonel,” and his son, “the President” (of Harvard), since all three had the same name. Josiah Jr. was admitted to practice in the Inferior Court later this year (entry of 28 July, below), and in the Superior Court, Aug. term, 1768 (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 86). He declined to become a barrister, objecting to “the Pomp and Magic of—the Long Robe” (Quincy, Reports, p. 317). This did not prevent his building up a lucrative practice, and he was frequently associated with JA at the bar in the following years, most notably in the trials growing out of what is called the Boston Massacre, 1770.
2. Daniel Farnham (1719–1776), Harvard 1739, of Newburyport; read law with Edmund Trowbridge; admitted attorney in the Superior Court, 1745; barrister, 1762; though a loyalist in { 301 } sympathy, he was not driven into exile (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:364–366; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79).
3. John Chipman (1722–1768), Harvard 1738, of Marblehead; admitted to the Superior Court, 1751; barrister, 1762 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:276–277; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79).
4. Governor Francis Bernard’s speech to the General Court on the Stamp Act, 25 Sept. 1765, the answer by the House, 25 Oct., and the Resolves of the House, 29 Oct., are most conveniently available in appendixes to Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:334–344. Hutchinson in his text attributes both the answer and the Resolves to Sam Adams, who had just come into the House, succeeding Oxenbridge Thacher as a Boston representative (same, p. 96; see also Wells, Samuel Adams, 1:70–77).
5. A long, dull parody in verse of Bernard’s speeches appeared in the Boston Gazette, 25 Nov. 1765.
6. “Jemmibullero: A Fragment of an Ode of Orpheus; Freely Translated from the original Tongue, and adapted to British Music. By Peter Minim, Esq;” was printed in the Boston Evening Post, 13 May 1765. It is a clever and thoroughly malicious satirical jingle on the younger Otis. CFA and others ascribe it to Samuel Waterhouse. A sample:

“As Jemmy is an envious dog, and Jemmy is ambitious,

And rage and slander, spite and dirt to Jemmy are delicious,

So Jemmy rail’d at upper folks while Jemmy’s Dad was out,

But Jemmy’s DAD has now a place, so Jemmy’s turn’d about.”

7. Ebenezer Mackintosh (1737–1816), a South End shoemaker and leader of Pope’s Day and Stamp Act riots. His life has been exhaustively studied in two articles by George P. Anderson, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 26 (1927):15–64, 348–361.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-03-01

1766 March 1st. Saturday1

Spent a Part of last Evening with Mr. Jo. Cleverly. He is a Tiptoe for Town Meeting. He has many Schemes and Improvements in his Head—vizt. for seperating the offices of Constable and Collector.—Collecting Taxes has laid the Foundation for the Ruin of many Families—John Vesey, Ben. Owen, Jed. Bass. He is for 5 select Men and will vote for the old ones Mr. Quincy,2 and Major Miller. He hears they are for turning out all the old select Men and chusing a new sett: they [are] for having but 3 &c. The only Way is to oppose Schemes to Schemes, and so break in upon them.—Cleverly will become a great Town Meeting Man, and a great Speaker in Town Meeting. Q. What Effect will this have on the Town Affairs.
Brother tells me, that Wm. Vesey Jur. tells him, he has but one Objection against Jona. Bass, and that is, Bass is too forward.—When a Man is forward, We may conclude he has some selfish View, some self Ends.—Brother asked him if he and his Party would carry that Argument thro? It holds stronger vs. Captn. Thayer and Major Miller than it ever did against any Body in this Town excepting Coll. Gooch and Captn. Mills. But I desire the Proof of Bass’s forwardness. Has he been more so than Major Miller?—Come Come Mr. Vesey, says Master Jo. Cleverly, dont you say too much. I ant of that mind.
{ 302 }
Ego. Bass is an Active, capable Man, but no seeker by mean begging or buying of Votes.
1. First entry in “Paper book No. 13” (our D/JA/13), a gathering of leaves stitched into a cover cut from a copy of the Boston Gazette, 29 Nov. 1762. For the period 21 Jan.–28 Feb. 1766 no Diary entries survive.
2. Norton Quincy, Harvard 1736, son of Col. John Quincy of Mount Wollaston and thus an uncle of AA. In 1767 he inherited his father’s large estate and devoted himself to farming in a gentlemanly manner, though he also had business interests.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2018.