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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


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.”
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/