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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0005-0004-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1786-07-24

July 24. 1786. Monday.1

Went with Mr. Bridgen, Col. Smith, Mrs. Smith, to The Hide in Essex, the Country Seat of Brand Hollis Esqr.2 We breakfasted at Rumford, and turned out of the Way to see the Seat of Lord Petre at Thorndon. Mr. Hollis prefers the Architecture of this House to that at Stow, because it is more conformable to Paladio, his Bible for this kind of Knowledge. There are in the back Front six noble Corinthian Pillars. There is a grand Saloon unfinished in which are many ancient Pictures, one of Sir Thomas More, his Wife and two Daughters, with a Group of other Figures. There is in another Appartment, a Picture of the Cornaro Family by Titian. This House is vast, and the Appartements are grand and the Prospects from the Windows are extensive and agreable. The furniture is rich and elegant. The Pictures of King James the 2d, of Lord Derwentwater who was beheaded in 1715, as well as many others besides that of Sir Thomas More, shew that the Family is Catholick. The Library shews this more fully as the Books are generally of that kind, but the Chapel furnishes full proof. The Library is semicircular, with Windows and Mahogany Collonades, very elegant, but contrived more as an ornamented Passage to the Chappell, than for Study. There are two Stoves, but at neither of them could a Student be comfortable in cold Weather. I might talk of Glades and Forrests, Groves and Clumps, with which this House is surrounded like all other Palaces of the kind.
We dined at the Hide, with Mr. Brand Hollis and his Sister Miss Brand. This is a curious Place. The House is the Residence of an Antiquarian, as most of the Apartments as well as the great Hall, sufficiently shew. I will perhaps take a List of all the Antiques in this Hall. The most interesting to me is the Bust of my Friend as well as Mr. Brands Friend, the late Thomas Hollis Esq., in beautifull white Marble.
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This House which is a decent handsome one was the Seat of Mr. Brands Father, and the Chamber where We lodge, is hung round with the Portraits of the Family. It is at the End of the House, and from two Windows in front and two others at the End, We have a pleasant View of Lawns and Glades, Trees and Clumps and a Piece of Water, full of Fish. The Borders, by the Walks, in the Pleasure Grounds, are full of rare Shrubbs and Trees, to which Collection America has furnished her full Share. I shall here have a good Opportunity to take a List of these Trees, Shrubbs and Flours. Larches, Cypruses, Laurells are here as they are every where. Mr. Brand Hollis has, planted near the Walk from his Door to the Road, a large and beautifull Furr, in Honour of the late Dr. Jebb his Friend. A Tall Cyprus in his Pleasure Grounds he calls General Washington, and another his Aid du Camp Col. Smith.
1. First entry in D/JA/45, an unstitched gathering of leaves identical in format with the preceding booklets and containing entries only through 29 [i.e. 28] July 1786; most of the leaves are blank.
2. Near Ingatestone. Brand Hollis himself used the spelling “The Hide,” but his heir and biographer, John Disney, whose Memoirs of Thomas Brand-Hollis, Esq., London, 1808, contains a number of views of the house and grounds, used the presumably more elegant form, “The Hyde.”

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0005-0004-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1786-07-25

The Hide July 25 1786 Tuesday.

Mr. Brand Hollis and Mr.1 Brand, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and Mr. and Mrs. Adams, took a ride to Chelmsford, stopped at a Booksellers, the Printer of a Newspaper in which Mr. B. Hollis had printed the late Act of Virginia in favour of equal religious Liberty. We then went to Moulsham Hall, built originally by Lord Fitzwalter, but lately owned by Sir William Mildmay, one of the Commissaries2 with Governor Shirley at Paris in 1754, for settling the Boundaries between the French and English in America. Lady Mildmay owns it, at present, but is not yet come down from London. Mr. B. Hollis admires the Architecture of this House, because it is according to the Principles of Palladio. The Apartments are all well proportioned in Length, Breadth and Height. There is here a Landscape of Rembrandt. The Words Halls, Parlours, Saloons and Drawing Rooms occur upon these Occasions, but to describe them would be endless. We returned by another road through the race grounds, to the Hide and after Dinner, made a Visit to the Gardiners House to see his Bees. He is Bee mad, Mr. B. Hollis says. He has a number of Glass Hives, and has a curious Invention to shut out the Drones. He has nailed thin and narrow Laths at the Mouth of the Hive, and has left Spaces between them barely wide { 198 } enough for the small Bees to creep through. Here and there he has made a Notch in the lath large enough for a Drone to pass, but this Notch he has covered with a thin light clapper which turns easily upwards upon a Pivot. The Drone easily lifts up the Clapper and comes out, but as soon as he is out, the Clapper falls and excludes the Drone, who has neither Skill nor Strength to raise it on the outside. Thus shut out from the Hive the Gardiner destroys them because he says they do nothing but eat Honey. The Gardiner who is a Son of Liberty, and was always a Friend to America, was delighted with this Visit. Dame says he to his Wife, you have had the greatest honour done you to day that you ever had in your Life.—Mr. B. Hollis says he is a proud Scotchman, but a very honest Man and faithfull Servant.—After Tea Mr. B. Hollis and I took a circular Walk, round the Farm. He shew Us a kind of Medallion, on which was curiously wrought a Feast of all the Heathen Gods and Goddesses sitting round a Table. Jupiter throws down upon the Middle of it, one of his Thunder bolts, flaming at each End with Lightning, and lights his own Pipe at it, and all the others follow his Example. Venus is whiffing like a Dutchman, so is Diana and Minerva, as well as Mars, Bachus and Apollo.
Mr. B. Hollis is a great Admirer of Marcus Aurelius. He has him in Busts, and many other Shapes. He observed to me, that all the Painters of Italy, and from them most others, have taken the Face of Marcus Aurelius, for a Model in painting Jesus Christ. He admires Julian too, and has a great veneration for Dr. Hutchinson, the Moral Writer who was his Tutor, or Instructor.3 He has a Number of Heads of Hutchinson, of whom he always speaks with Affection and Veneration. Ld. Shaftesbury too is another favourite of his.
In the dining room are two Views of that Estate in Dorsetshire, which the late Mr. Hollis gave to Mr. Brand. There is only a Farm House upon it. Here are to be seen Hollis Mede and Brand Pasture. In Hollis Mede, Mr. Hollis was buried, ten feet deep, and then ploughed over, a Whim to be sure. But Singularity was his Characteristic. He was benevolent and beneficient, however, throughout.—In the Boudoir is a Dagger, made of the Sword which killed Sir Edmunbury Godfrey. An Inscription—Memento Godfrey, Protomartyr, pro Religione Protestantium.
Mr. Hollis's Owl, Cap of Liberty and Dagger are to be seen every where. In the Boudoir, a Silver cup with a Cover, all in the shape of an Owl, with two rubies for Eyes. This piece of Antiquity was dug up, at Canterbury, from ten feet depth. It was some monkish conceit.
1. Doubtless a slip of the pen for “Miss.”
{ 199 }
2. JA probably meant to write “Commissioners.”
3. Francis Hutcheson (1694–1746), professor of moral philosophy at Glasgow, where Brand Hollis had studied.
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/