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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0004-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1774-08-10

Boston. August 10. Wednesday.1

The committee for the Congress took their departure from Boston, from Mr. Cushing's house, and rode to Coolidge's, where they dined in company with a large number of gentlemen, who went out and prepared an entertainment for them at that place. A most kindly and affectionate meeting we had, and about four in the afternoon we took our leave of them, amidst the kind wishes and fervent prayers of every man in the company for our health and success. This scene was truly affecting, beyond all description affecting. I lodged at Colonel Buck's.2
1. This entry and the one immediately following (first entry under 15 Aug.) are transcribed from JA, Works, 2:340–341, no MS source for them having been found.
JA's correspondence and Autobiography supply the information that from Ipswich he had gone “for the tenth and last time on the Eastern Circuit” in Maine, where, on a hill above Casco Bay, took place the affecting separation between him and Jonathan Sewall—“the sharpest thorn on which I ever sat my foot” (JA, Preface to Novanglus and Massachusettensis, Boston, 1819, p. vi). By mid-July JA was back in Braintree with his family, but he was soon caught up in work for the distressed town of Boston, being appointed on 26 July to a committee to receive donations for the relief of the inhabitants (which proved a burdensome assignment) and to another committee appointed to consider “proper Measures to be adopted for the common Safety” (Boston Record Commissioners, 18th Report, p. 185).
2. Robert Treat Paine's entry in his Diary (MHi) for this day adds a few details:
“At 11 o'clock the honble. Thos. Cushing Esq. and the other Commission[ers] of Congress for this Province sat out in a Coach and four and four Servants, the honble. James Bowdoin not { 98 } being able to go on Account of the Indisposition of his Family; We dind at Coolidge at Watertown in Company with between 50 and 60 Gentlemen from Boston who rode out to take their leave of us and give us their best Wishes for our Success on the Embassy. Thence we rode to Col. Buckminster at Framingham and lodged, a very hot day.”
JA omits the next three days in his Diary, but Paine recorded that the party set out at 5 in the morning of the 11th, breakfasted at Westborough, and proceeded through Worcester, dining “in good season,” and then on to Spencer, where they lodged. On the 12th they again started at 5, breakfasted at Brookfield, dined at Palmer, and lodged at Springfield. They did not leave Springfield until 10 the next morning, dined at Suffield, and lodged at Hartford, the weather remaining “hot and very dry and dusty.” The 14th being a Sunday, they went to meeting and rested.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0004-0005-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1774-08-15

15. Monday.

Mr. Silas Deane, of Wethersfield, came over to Hartford to see us. He is a gentleman of a liberal education, about forty years of age; first kept a school, then studied law, then married the rich widow of Mr. Webb, since which he has been in trade. Two young gentlemen, his sons-in-law, Messrs. Webbs, came over with him. They are genteel, agreeable men, largely in trade, and are willing to renounce all their trade.
Mr. Deane gave us an account of the delegates of New York. Duane and Jay are lawyers. Livingston, Low, and Alsop are merchants. Livingston is very popular. Jay married a Livingston, Peter's daughter, and is supposed to be of his side.1
Mr. Deane says the sense of Connecticut is, that the resolutions of the Congress shall be the laws of the Medes and Persians; that the Congress is the grandest and most important assembly ever held in America, and that the all of America is intrusted to it and depends upon it.
1. The New York delegates to the first Continental Congress, chosen by popular election in New York City, 28 July, were John Alsop, James Duane, John Jay, Philip Livingston, and Isaac Low (Force, Archives, 4th ser., 1:320). CFA in a note on this passage points out JA's error concerning Jay's wife; she was the daughter of William Livingston, himself a delegate from New Jersey and a brother of both Peter and Philip.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0004-0005-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1774-08-15

1774 Aug. 15. Monday.1

Last Evening, after spending the Evening at the Meeting House to hear the Singing, We were invited into Mr. Church's. Mr. Seymour, Mr. Paine [Payne], Lawyers, and Mr. Bull, Merchant, came to see us and invited us to dine with them this Day with the Principal Gentlemen of the Place.
This Morning Mr. Deane, and two young Gentlemen, Messrs. Webbs, came to see us from Weathersfield.—Mr. Deane says there is { 99 } 30,000 Bushells of Flax Seed sent to New York yearly, in Exchange for Salt. That it would be no Loss to stop this, as the Seed may be made into Oil more profitably. They have many Oil Mills in the Colony.
Connecticutt sends great Quantities of Provisions, Cattle and Horses to the West Indies, and bring[s] great Quantities of Rum as well as Sugar and Molasses, to N. York. Some Lumber they send, Staves, Hoops, Heading &c. There is a Stream of Provisions continually running from Connecticutt.
Mr. Deane, and Messrs. Webbs, are intimately acquainted and closely connected with People at N. York.
We dined at the Tavern, with upwards of thirty Gentlemen of the first Character in the Place, at their Invitation. The Secretary Willis [Wyllys], the Treasurer,2 Judge Talcott, Mr. Alsop, Merchant, Mr. Paine and Mr. Seymour Lawyers, two Mr. Bulls, and many others. The Company appeared to be determined to abide by the Resolutions of the Congress.
After Dinner at 4 o Clock We satt out, for Middleton. A Number of Gentlemen in Carriages and a No. on Horse back insisted upon attending us, which they did to our Brother Deanes in Weathersfield. There We stopd, and were most cordially and genteelly entertained with Punch, Wine, and Coffee.
We went up the Steeple of Weathersfield Meeting House from whence is the most grand and beautifull Prospect in the World, at least that I ever saw. Then We rode to Middleton and lodged at Bigelows. There Mr. Hobby and another Gentleman came to see us.
1. Second (and in part duplicative) entry of this date, but the first entry in JA's paper booklet “21,” a gathering of leaves stitched into a marbled paper cover and containing entries through 3 Sept. 1774.
2. John Lawrence.
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/