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Browsing: Diary of John Quincy Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0028

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-28


The weather very cold. No appearance of rioters as yet, tho' it is this evening reported that there are 1500, within four miles of Cambridge. We dansed this evening at Chandler ists. Last night the ΦBK met at Burge's chamber. Little and Cranch read disser• { 134 } tations. Freeman and Packard, a disputation upon the Question, whether good order is promoted more by the rewarding of virtue, than by the punishment of vice. Mr. Ware and Mr. Harris disputed extempore. Baron was admitted, after which the meeting was adjourned for a fort'night.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0029

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-29


No appearance yet of any body to prevent the sitting of the court; the reports have not yet ceased however. Had tea at my chamber this evening, and several of the club past the evening with me. Lovell, a classmate of mine, is half crazy, at hearing so much news. He wants to be doing something, and is determined by some means or other to fight the insurgents. He says he is no politician, he was made for an active life, but he cannot live in a place, where there is so much news.

Docno: ADMS-03-02-02-0001-0010-0030

Author: Adams, John Quincy
Date: 1786-11-30


The reports of Shays, and Shattuck coming, at the head of thousands to stop the Court, grow more rare. It is now almost too late to spread any more stories of that kind. Shattuck instead of attacking, will have to defend himself, for, about 150 young volunteers, from Boston, under the command of Coll. Hitchborn1 went through here this forenoon, on horseback, and are gone, with the design to seize two or three of the ring leaders of the mob, and bring them down to Boston. The Roxbury artillery company, under Major Spooner: went likewise from here in the evening. They would not say, which way they were going, but it is supposed they have the intention of seizing Wheeler2 and Smith,3 two of the leaders in the County of Worcester. There seems to be a small spark of patriotism, still extant; it is to be hoped, that it will be fanned, and kindled by danger, but not smothered by sedition. A republic must very frequently be called back to the principles of its government, and so long as it has sufficient virtue for that, its constitution will stand firm.
1. Benjamin Hichborn was called on 29 Nov. to lead a corps of cavalry volunteers into northern Middlesex co. against the insurgents (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 17:36–44).
2. Capt. Adam Wheeler, of Hubbardston, who with about one hundred men had kept the Worcester courts from meeting in September and again in November (Ellery B. Crane, “Shays' Rebellion,” { 135 } Worcester Society of Antiquity, Procs. . . . For the Year 1881, p. 72–73, 81–82).
3. JQA may be referring to Nathan Smith of Shirley, Middlesex co., who was with Wheeler on 12 Sept. when the insurgents kept the Middlesex courts from opening at Concord (same, p. 74–76).
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.