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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1771-11-10

Sunday Novr. 10. 1771.

Heard Mr. Cutler of Ipswich Hamlet.1 Dined at Dr. Putnams with Coll. Putnam and Lady and 2 young Gentlemen Nephews of the Dr. and Coll.—and a Mrs. Scollay. Coll. Putnam told a Story of an Indian upon Connecticutt River who called at a Tavern in the fall of the Year for a Dram. The Landlord asked him two Coppers for it. The next Spring, happening at the same House, he called for another and had 3 Coppers to pay for it.—How is this, Landlord, says he, last fall you asked but two Coppers for a Glass of Rum, now you ask three.—Oh! says the Landlord, it costs me a good deal to keep Rum over Winter. It is as expensive to keep an Hogshead of Rum over Winter as a Horse.—Ay says the Indian, I cant see thro that, He wont eat so much Hay— may be He drink as much Water .—This was sheer Wit, pure Satyre, and true Humour. Humour, Wit, and Satyr, in one very short Repartee.
Kent brought with him, Utopia, or the happy Republic, a Philosophical Romance, by Sir Thos. More, translated by Bp. Burnet. There is a sensible Preface by the Translator prefixed, and some Testimonies concerning More by great and learned Men of different Nations and Religions. Cardinal Pool [Pole], Erasmus, Jo. Cochleus, Paulus Jovius, Jo. Rivius, Charles 5. &c. The Translation, I think is better than mine, which is by another Hand.2 The Romance is very elegant and ingenious—the fruit of a benevolent and candid Heart, a learned and { 52 } strong Mind. The good Humour, Hospitality, Humanity, and Wisdom of the Utopians, is charming—their Elegance, and Taste is engaging—their freedom from Avarice, and foppery, and Vanity is admirable.
1. This was Manasseh Cutler, Yale 1765, later famous as a botanist and a framer of the Northwest Ordinance of 1787. “Nov. 10, Lord's Day. I preached at Salem, at Mr. Barnard's Meeting House. The Superior Court was then sitting. The most of the judges and gentlemen of the law were at that meeting”(William P. and Julia P. Cutler, Life, Journals and Correspondence of Rev. Manasseh Cutler, L.L.D., Cincinnati, 1888, 1:36).
2. No copy of More's Utopia has yet been located among JA's books.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1772-02-02

1772. Feby. 2d. Sunday.

Have omitted now for 3 months almost to keep any “Note of Time or of its Loss.”
Thomas Newcomb dined with me. He says that Etter, the Stocking Weaver, told him about a fortnight ago, that he saw the Governor within these 3 Months, and told him, he hoped the People would be contented and easy now they had a Governor from among themselves. The Governor said, “there were some Discontents remaining occasioned by continual Clamours in the Newspapers, and that a great Part of those Clamours, came from his (Etters) Town, (Braintree).”
This was partly, I suppose, to pump Etter, and get something out of him, and partly to put Etter upon the right Scent, as the Governor thought, that he might hunt down the seditious Writer at Braintree. This Conversation shews that the Governor is puzzled And wholly ignorant of the real Writers that molest him. The Centinel has puzzled him.
Mr. Thomas Edwards our School Master and Mr. Joseph Crosby, a Senior Sophister at Colledge, spent the Evening with me. Our Conversation was upon Austin, Tudor, Bulkley, Moreton [Morton], Thayer, Angier1—Colonel Thayer, the Settlement of the Militia, Algebra, Fenning, Dr. Sanderson &c. &c. &c.
Edwards is ballancing in his Mind the several Professions, in order to choose one. Is at a Loss between Divinity and Law, but his Inclination is to the latter. Asked me to take him. I only answered there were such Swarms of young ones, that there was no Encouragement.
1. All young lawyers or young men studying for the law.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1772-02-04

1772. Feby. 4th. Tuesday.

Took a Ride in the Afternoon with my Wife and little Daughter to make a visit to my Brother.1 But finding him and Sister just gone to visit my Mother we rode down there, and drank Tea, altogether. Chat• { 53 } ted about the new Promotions in the Militia, and speculated about the future Officers of this Company, upon supposition that the old Officers should resign—Billings, Brother, &c.&c.
It is curious to observe the Effect these little Objects of Ambition have upon Mens Minds. The Commission of a Subaltern, in the Militia, will tempt these little Minds, as much as Crowns, and Stars and Garters will greater ones. These are Things that strike upon vulgar, rustic Imaginations, more strongly, than Learning, Eloquence, and Genius, of which common Persons have no Idea.
My Brother seems to relish the Thought of a Commission, and if Rawson and Bass resign, I hope he will have one—under Billings.
1. JA's youngest brother, Elihu (1741–1775), who lived on property he had inherited from his father in that part of Braintree later set off as Randolph. In 1765 he had married Thankful White.
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.