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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 3


Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0013-0004-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1796-09-08

Septr. 8. 1796. Thursday.

Sullivan gone for Seaweed. Bass and Thomas carting Manure from the Hill of Compost in the Yard. Billings and Prince laying Wall. Brisler and James picking Apples and making Cyder. Stetson widening the Brook.
I think to christen my Place by the Name of Peace field, in commemoration of the Peace which I assisted in making in 1783, of the thirteen Years Peace and Neutrality which I have contributed to preserve, and of the constant Peace and Tranquility which I have enjoyed in this Residence.1
Carted 6 Loads of slimy Mud from the Brook to the heap of Compost.
Jackson Field brought me his Deed of Mount Arrarat executed by himself and his Wife and acknowledged before Major Miller. I received it, and gave him my Note for 250 dollars. I then gave him my Consent, without his asking it, to pasture his Cow as usual the Remainder of this Season, for which he expressed Gratitude, and en• { 248 } gaged to keep off Geese, Sheep, Hogs and Cattle. Received Letters from my Son at the Hague as late as 24. June.2
1. “Peacefield” (variously written) was the first of several names JA used for his Quincy homestead; they varied according to his mood. Following his unhappy return from Washington in March 1801, he headed his letters “Stony Field, Quincy,” a name he drew from Stony Field Hill, the eminence that he owned and farmed across the road from his house and that later acquired the more elegant name Presidents Hill. After resuming his correspondence with Jefferson in 1812, JA whimsically adopted an Italianate name, “Montezillo,” which he cryptically explained to Richard Rush as follows: “Mr. Jefferson lives at Monticello the lofty Mountain. I live at Montezillo a little Hill” (24 Nov. 1814, PHi:Gratz Coll.). This name persisted until JA's last years, though he used it irregularly, and occasionally varied it by employing the English form, “Little Hill.”
2. At the end of May JQA had returned to The Hague after a stay of nearly seven months in London. He had gone there on what turned out to be a superfluous diplomatic errand, but in the course of his visit he had become engaged to Louisa Catherine Johnson; see his Diary, 11 Nov. 1795–31 May 1796; JQA to AA, 5 May 1796, Adams Papers; Bemis, JQA, 1:68–69. The letters JA mentions as receiving were doubtless those dated 6 and 24 June 1796, both in Adams Papers and both in large part printed in JQA's Writings, 1:490–493. 497–508.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0013-0004-0009

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1796-09-09

Septr. 9. 1796. Fryday.

Appearances of Rain.

Docno: ADMS-01-03-02-0013-0004-0010

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1796-09-10

September 10. 1796. Saturday.

Walked, with my Brother to Mount Arrarat, and find upon Inquiry that Jo. Arnold's Fence against the New Lane begins at the Road by the Nine mile Stone. My half is towards Neddy Curtis's Land lately Wm. Fields. The Western Half of the Fence against Josiah Bass, or in other Words that Part nearest to Neddy Curtis's is mine. Against Dr. Greenleaf my half is nearest to Josiah Bass's Land.1
1. The tempo of electioneering increased rapidly after the publication of Washington's Farewell Address on 19 Sept., but JA stayed quietly on at Quincy for two months longer, pushing his program of farm improvements into severely cold weather. On 23 Nov. he left for Philadelphia, passing a day on the way with his daughter in East Chester and another with CA in New York (JA to AA, 27 Nov., 1 Dec, both in Adams Papers). He arrived in Philadelphia on 2 Dec., in ample time for the opening of the second session of the Fourth Congress three days later. The city was seething with politics on the eve of the voting by Presidential electors in the sixteen states, and so indeed was the country; but JA wrote much more calmly of the prospects of both himself and his rivals, not to mention the maneuvers of party understrappers and the libels of journalists, than AA could. “I look upon the Event as the throw of a Die, a mere Chance, a miserable, meagre Tryumph to either Party,” he told JQA in a letter of 5 Dec. (Adams Papers). What he meant was that, since the contest was bound to be very close, the new President, whoever he might be, would have so small a majority that he would “be very apt to stagger and stumble” in discharging his duties (to AA, 7 Dec, Adams Papers). The result of the electors' balloting was not perfectly certain until late that month. By the 27th JA { 249 } could write his wife: “71 is the Ne plus ultra—it is now certain that no Man can have more and but one so many”; and though he did not yet know beyond all doubt whether Jefferson or Thomas Pinckney would be Vice-president he discussed with AA their imminent problems respecting “House, Furniture, Equipage, Servants,” and the like (Adams Papers). At length, on 8 Feb., as he was bound to do, he presided over a joint meeting of the two houses in which the votes were unsealed and counted, and announced the result as 71 votes for himself (one more than the necessary majority of 70), 68 for Jefferson, 59 for Pinckney, and the rest scattered among ten others, so that John Adams and Thomas Jefferson were elected President and Vicepresident respectively, to serve for four years beginning on 4 March 1797 (Annals of Congress, 4th Cong., 2d sess., col. 2095–2098).
Four years later, on 11 Feb. 1801, Vice-president Jefferson found himself obliged to perform a similar duty and announced that Jefferson and Burr had each received 73 electoral votes, JA 65, Charles Cotesworth Pinckney 64, and John Jay 1 vote (same, 6th Cong., 2d sess., col. 743–744). The tie vote for the two Democratic-Republican candidates led to complications, but JA was out of the running, and early on the day of his successor's inauguration he left the new seat of government in Washington, and public life, for good.
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/