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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07-28

Monday July 28th. 1766.

At Boston. A Meeting of the Bar at the Coffee House, for the Admission of Three young Gentlemen, Mr. Oliver, Mr. Quincy and Mr. Blowers,1 and another Meeting appointed next Fryday sennight, to consider of some Measures for Limitation, making a Pause, &c. They swarm and multiply. Sed, The Country grows amazingly, and the Time will not be long e’re, many who are now upon the Stage will be in their Graves. Four Years must pass, before the 3 young Gentlemen, admitted this night, will assume the Gown. And four Years will make a great alteration in the Bar. It is not so long, since Pratt and Thatcher were in their Glory, at the Bar. Since Coll. Otis reigned in three southern Counties, &c. Mr. Gridley And Mr. Dana are between 60 and 70. Kent is near 60. Fitch, Otis, Auchmuty are about 40—Benj. Gridley2 and Mr. Dudley are about 35—And Sewal, S. Quincy and I about 30. Within 4 Years possibly some of all these Ranks may depart. But the Bar has at last introduced a regular Progress, to the Gown, and seven Years must be the State of Probation.
Gridley, Otis and Auchmuty were the chief Speakers. Gridley however was not in Trim. I never saw him more out of Spirits. Otis told some Stories, Auchfmuty told more, and Scolded and rail’d about the lowness of the Fees. This is Auchmutys common Place Topick— In Jamaica, Barbadoes, South Carolina, and N. York, a Lawyer will make an Independent Fortune in Ten Years.
{ 317 }
1. Daniel Oliver, Josiah Quincy Jr., and Sampson Salter Blowers. Oliver (1743–1826), Harvard 1762, son of Secretary Oliver, was admitted to the Superior Court, Aug. term, 1768; barrister, Sept. term, 1772; loyalist (NEHGR, 19 [1865]:103; Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79; Sabine, Loyalists). Blowers, Harvard 1763, admitted attorney and barrister in the Superior Court with Oliver, also became a loyalist; his later career, which was distinguished, is recorded in DAB.
2. Benjamin Gridley, Harvard 1751, admitted attorney and barrister in the Superior Court, Aug. term, 1762 (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Book 79). He too became a loyalist. JA records some amusing reminiscences by Benjamin of his famous uncle, Jeremy Gridley, in an entry dated Nov. 1769, below.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07-29

Tuesday July 29th. 1766.

At Boston—bought Gilberts Law of Evidence. Heard some Cases of Bastardy in the Sessions. William Douglass was charged by a Dutch Girl with being the father of a Bastard Child born of her Body. Auchmuty is employed, in sessions, and every where. The same heavy, dull, insipid Way of arguing every where—as many Repetitions as a presbyterian Parson in his Prayer—tedious as Applin. Volubility, voluble Repetition and repeated Volubility—fluent Reiterations, and reiterating Fluency. Such nauseous Eloquence always puts my Patience to the Torture. In what is this Man conspicuous? in Reasoning? in Imagination? in Painting? in the Pathetic? or what? In Confidence, in Dogmatism, &c. His Wit is flat, his Humour is affected, and dull.
To have this Man represented as the first at the Bar is a Libel upon it—a Reproach and disgrace to it.

Docno: ADMS-01-01-02-0010-0006-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07-30

Wednesday [30 July].

At Boston. The Weather cloudy. Going to the Common Pleas to day. Let me take Minutes. Let me remark the Speakers, their Action, their Pronunciation, there Learning, their Reasoning, their Art and skill. Let me remark the Causes, the remarkable Circumstances, &c. and report [sentence unfinished?]

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1766-07

Suffolk Sessions July 1766.1

D[omin]us Rex vs. Francis Keen, for stealing Cask Molosses.
Dus. Rex vs. Mary Gardiner, for a common Scold, Quarreller and Disturber of the Peace.
Sewal. Hawkins—a common Scold is punishable by putting into the Ducking Stool. Prosecutions rare, ’tho the offence frequent. Other Crimes, not prosecuted here, as forestalling, Regrating &c.
W[escan?]. She gets drunk sometimes, and then curses and swears { 318 } at her Husband, all Night, for several Nights together, and quarrells with her Neighbours.
Three Instances of Drunkeness prove a common Drunkard, 3 Acts of Barratry, prove a common Barrator, 3 Instances of Disceit, will prove a common Cheat. So 3 Instances of Brawling and Scolding to the common Disturbance of the Neighbourhood, proves a common Scold.
1. This entry is inserted from “Paper book No. 14" (our D/JA/14), a stitched gathering of a few leaves, many of them blank, containing (except for these notes on cases in the Suffolk Court of General Sessions at the front of the booklet) entries dating exclusively in April and May 1767.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/