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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2

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

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1774-04 - 1774-06

[Notes on the Name of the Merrimack River, Spring 1774.]1

The River has been universally called and known by the Name of Merrimack and by no other, from the Mouth of it at the Sea, thro Pennicook, Suncook, Nottingham, Litchfield, and all the other Towns and Places, quite up to the Crotch made by Winnipissioke Pond and Pemiggewasset River. Pemiggewasset and Winnipissioke, joining make the Crotch, and from that Crotch to the Sea it has always been called and known by the Name of Merrimack River, and is so to this day, and in all the Records of New Hampshire laying out Towns and Countys and in all Records of Towns and Counties2 and in all Deeds and Conveyances from private Persons of Lands upon this River, it has been uniformly and invariably, called Merrimack and by no other Name.
1. Immediately following the entry of 31 March (except for the inserted receipt mentioned above) is a series of extracts from Massachusetts provincial statutes, 1730–1734, relating mainly to the establishment of towns on the Merrimack River and to the boundary controversy between Massachusetts and New Hampshire which was then current (see Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, { 96 } 2:290–297. In addition there are extracts from three treasury supply acts, 1733–1735, reciting the wages to be paid the garrison “at the Block House above Northfield” in the northwestern part of the Province. Then follows the paragraph concerning the name of the Merrimack River which is printed here.
Probably all this material was put down while JA was investigating Massachusetts' northern and western boundaries for his report to the General Court this spring; see entry of 17 Dec. 1773, note 1, above, and Autobiography, Part One, under Fall 1773, below. All of it except the single paragraph that JA himself may have composed is omitted in the present text.
2. MS: “Countries.”

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1774-06-20

June 20th. 1774. Monday.

At Piemonts in Danvers, bound to Ipswich. There is a new, and a grand Scene open before me—a Congress.
This will be an assembly of the wisest Men upon the Continent, who are Americans in Principle, i.e. against the Taxation of Americans, by Authority of Parliament.
I feel myself unequal to this Business. A more extensive Knowledge of the Realm, the Colonies, and of Commerce, as well as of Law and Policy, is necessary, than I am Master of.
What can be done? Will it be expedient to propose an Annual Congress of Committees? to Petition.—Will it do to petition at all?—to the K[ing]? to the L[ords]? to the C[ommon]s?
What will such Consultations avail? Deliberations alone will not do. We must petition, or recommend to the Assemblies to petition, or—
The Ideas of the People, are as various, as their Faces. One thinks, no more petitions, former having been neglected and despized. Some are for Resolves—Spirited Resolves—and some are for bolder Councils.
I will keep an exact Diary, of my Journey, as well as a Journal of the Proceedings of the Congress.1
1. On 13 May Gen. Thomas Gage arrived in Boston to relieve Gov. Hutchinson and to enforce the “Coercive Acts,” passed by Parliament as punishment for the destruction of the tea; Hutchinson sailed for London on 1 June, the day the Boston Port Act went into effect (Hutchinson, Massachusetts Bay, ed. Mayo, 3:329). On 25 May the new General Court met, and JA was once again elected by the House a member of the Council, only to be negatived, with twelve others, by Gage next day (Mass., House Jour., May–June 1774, p. 6–7). On instructions from the crown, Gage adjourned the legislature from Boston to Salem, 7 June (same, p. 8). Ten days later the Journal records: “Upon a Motion, Ordered, that the Gallaries be clear'd and the Door be shut,” and a committee on the state of the Province reported that “in Consideration of the unhappy Differences” between Great Britain and the colonies, “it is highly expedient and necessary that a Meeting of Committees from the several Colonies on this Continent be had on a certain Day, to consult upon the present State of the Colonies and the Miseries to which they are reduced by the Operation of certain Acts of Parliament respecting America” (same, p. 44). The House adopted these recommendations in virtually the same language and proceeded to elect “a Committee on the Part of this Province, to consist of five Gentlemen, any three of whom to be a Quorum,” to meet with “Committees or Delegates” from the { 97 } other colonies at Philadelphia or any other suitable place on 1 Sept. Those chosen were James Bowdoin, Thomas Cushing, Samuel Adams, JA, and Robert Treat Paine; £500 was appropriated for their expenses; and Gage immediately, but too late, dissolved the General Court (same, p. 44–45).
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.