A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
close
-
The Adams Papers Digital Edition is undergoing active maintenance while we work on improvements to the system. You may experience slow performance or the inability to access content. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause. We will endeavor to return to full capabilities as soon as possible.

Browsing: Early Diary of John Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0001-0016

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1753-06-23

23 Saturday.

At Colledge, a Clowdy morning, and in the afternoon, Came up a Clowd of thunder and lightning. Towards night fell a very hard shower.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0001-0017

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1753-06-24

24 Sunday.

At Colledge, a Cloudy morning, heard Mr. Cotton of New-town vociferate from the 19. of Proverbs 2nd verse.1 In the afternoon, from those words in the 37th. Psalm and 4th. verse, Delight thyself in the Lord and he shall give thee thy Desires.
1. John Cotton (1693–1757), Harvard 1710, had been minister of the church in Newton since 1714; JA’s language suggests that Cotton’s preaching resembled that of the revivalists he formerly admired (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 5:517–524).

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0001-0018

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1753-06-25

25. Monday.

At Colledge, a very rainy, morning, at 11 o’Clock Disputed from the question assigned us last tuesday But on which we Did not then Dispute By reason of Mr. Mayhews Being employed in taking an account of the Books and other things, Contained in the Library in order to the Printing a new Catalogue thereof.1
1. Joseph Mayhew (1710–1782), Harvard 1730, tutor to the Class of 1755, had served as tutor since 1739 and fellow of the Corporation since 1742 (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 8:730–734). It was he who administered JA his examination for entrance to Harvard, as described in a famous and charming passage in JA’s Diary and Autobiography, 3:259–260.
When in 1753 John Rand ’48 succeeded Stephen Badger ’47 as keeper of the College library in old Harvard Hall, Mayhew, along with Tutors Belcher Hancock ’27 and Thomas Marsh ’31, had been appointed to receive an account from Badger “of the present state of the sd. Library and make report of it to the Corporation” (MH-Ar: Corporation Records, Meeting of 21 May 1753). Their “exact survey of the library” or inventory of the books which are “actually in it, which are absent but charged, and also such as are absent and not charged, and also an account of the rarities which are there and which belong to it but are not now to be found there,” was not submitted to the Corporation until the spring of 1754, when they were allowed special compensation of 30s. and an advertisement was ordered placed requiring the return of valuable books that the survey revealed had been for a long time in the hands of individuals (same, Meeting of 1 April 1754). The advertisement appeared in the Boston Evening-Post for 8 April, p. 2, col. 1, and probably in other papers.
No printed catalogue of the Harvard Library for the 1750’s is known. The official records do not, in fact, suggest an intention to use the current inventory for such a purpose. The last printed library catalogue was that of 1735 (actually a second supplement to that of 1723), and no later one was issued until 1773. Since the library was consumed in the fire that destroyed old Harvard Hall in 1764, the only record available of books which were in the library while JA was an undergraduate (beyond those in the 1723 catalogue and its supplements) is Andrew Eliot’s compilation of books in the hands of sophisters at the time of the fire (MH-Ar).

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0001-0019

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1753-06-26

26 Tuesday.

At Colledge, a very rainy Day, as it has remained since yesterday-morning. By reason of my illness omitted Disputing from this question, generalia aestuum phaenomina solvuntur ab atractione solis et lunae.1
1. “The general phenomena of the tides are explained by the attraction of the sun and moon.” This “quaestio” had been one of the “Theses Physicae” disputed at commencement in 1746 and would be again at JA’s commencement in 1755. See entry of 18 June, above, and note there; MH-Ar: Theses and Quaestiones, 1737–1810.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0001-0020

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1753-06-27
{Folio: 4}

27 Wednesday.

At Colledge. A Clowdy morning. Afternoon, together with Lock,1 took a ride to Watertown-Bridge and from thence round through Brookline Back to Colledge again.2
1. Samuel Locke (1732–1778), of Lancaster, Harvard 1755, later minister at Sherborn and, from 1770 to 1773, a most ill-fated president of Harvard College (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:620–627; see also JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:260).
2. The route from Cambridge to Brookline would under normal conditions have been across “the Great Bridge over Charles-River in Cambridge,” built in 1662–1663 and located “at the foot of Brighton Street [now Boylston Street]” (Mass., House Jour., 29:99; Lucius R. Paige, History of Cambridge, Massachusetts, 1630–1877, Boston, 1877, p. 195). A petition to the General Court in Dec. 1752, however, indicates that the bridge “received such a Shock the last Winter by the Ice” that “a thorough Repair” became an “absolute Necessity” (Mass., House Jour., 29:99). On 2 July 1753 the Boston Evening-Post gave notice: “Whereas the great Bridge in Cambridge has for some Time past been out of Repair, so that there was no passing over it; This is to inform the Publick, that the said Bridge is now so far repaired, that Chairs, Chaises, and other Carriages may pass over it with Safety.”
The bridge in Watertown, also known as the “great Bridge,” was built in 1718– 1719 and crossed the Charles River near the present Watertown Square at Galen Street (Watertown Records, Watertown and Newton, Mass., 1894–1939, 2:256–257, 261, 263; G. Frederick Robinson and Ruth Robinson Wheeler, Great Little Watertown: A Tercentenary History, Watertown, Mass., 1930, p. 48).

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0001-0021

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1753-06-28

28. Thurdsday.

At Colledge, a Clowdy-Day.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0001-0022

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1753-06-29

29 Fryday.

At Colledge, a Clear morning. Heard the valedictory oration, pronounced, By Oliver.1 2 o Clock set out for Boston, Designing to go from thence home.
1. Attendance at exercises being required of all students other than those in the graduating class until 1 July, and senior sophisters not being allowed, while preparing for their “sitting solstices” or oral examinations, to leave Cambridge between 21 March and 1 July (MH-Ar: Corporation Records, College Book No.7, Meeting of 21 May 1753), the last recitation day before 1 July became the appropriate time for a meeting in Hall. On this occasion, attended by the Presi• { 49 } dent and Fellows, speakers from the senior class, including a valedictorian chosen by his classmates, would perform (Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 119). Between this precursor of “class day” and commencement (in 1753 on 18 July) there seem to have been no regular recitations, though the formal summer vacation of six weeks did not begin until after commencement day.
Thomas Oliver (1734–1815), identified by JA as valedictorian for his class, also received Faculty appointment as orator at the morning exercises of commencement in 1753 (MH-Ar:Theses and Quaestiones, 1753, handwritten notation). On him see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:336–344, and an article by Oliver Elton, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns., 28 (1935):37–66.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0004-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1753-06 - 1754-01

29 [June 1753–January 1754?].1

Sat out from Boston, home where having tarried 7, or 8 Days I set out on a journey together with Mr. Adams to Piscataqua, to which I went By way of Litchfeild, going firstly from Boston over Charlston ferry through Charlestown, Mistick, Menotomy, Lexington, Bedford, Bilerica, Chensford, Dracut to which I passed from Chensford over the river. From Dracut I proceeded to Nottingham, Londonderry, Hamstead, Kingston, Kensington, Hampton, Greenland, Newington where having tarried about a fortnight and vizitted Portsmouth, I returned home and at the appointed time return’d to Colledge where I have been ever since, save that I went home once for a fortnight.2
1. As initially dated by the diarist, this is a second entry for 29 [June 1753], but being actually a collective entry for all the rest of the year, it was of course set down much later than the date left at the head. The latest possible date for its composition would seem to be 2 Jan. 1754, the beginning of the winter vacation mentioned in the next entry in the Diary Fragment. It could, however, have been written as early as 28 Dec. 1753. The chronology appears to be as follows: JA returned to Cambridge at the end of the six-week summer vacation on 29 Aug., remaining there during the rest of this first quarter and during all of the second, i.e. until 13 December. From the Steward’s records it is possible to pinpoint the two-week absence of which JA speaks in the present entry (twenty-one days each half-year were allowed without penalty) as having been taken at the beginning of the third quarter, namely 14–28 Dec., for the assessments against him for commons and sizings during this quarter were only £o 10s. 5¼d. as compared, for example, with £2 16s. o¾ d. during the second quarter (MH-Ar:Steward’s Quarterbill Books).
This collective entry is the first in the Diary Fragment showing the characteristics of JA’s “experimental” handwriting, described and discussed in the Introduction and illustrated by a facsimile page in the present volume. These characteristics persist in the later entries in 1754 and then disappear from the Fragment.
2. Nearly seventy years after he wrote this matter-of-fact and tantalizingly brief entry recording what may have been his first trip of any extent away from home, JA furnished from memory a much more detailed and colorful account of it. This was in one of a series of reminiscences of their undergraduate days at Harvard exchanged in letters between JA and his only surviving classmate, David Sewall of York, Maine, running from Nov. 1821 through Jan. 1822 that are of the highest interest despite the fallibility of old men’s memories. In his letter of 14 Dec. 1821 Sewall enclosed a diverting narrative of a journey from Cambridge to Portsmouth that he had taken in June 1754 (while he was still an undergraduate) in company with the venerable and eccentric Harvard tutor Henry Flynt (Adams Papers; the enclosure, { 50 } filed separately under 1754, was communicated by CFA and printed in MHS, Procs., 1st ser., 16 [1878]: 5–11). In replying, JA wrote:
“Your journey has brought to my recollection one of my own made two or three years [actually one year] before yours. I went with a young preacher Ebenezer Adams the son of that uncle [i.e. JA’s uncle, Rev. Joseph Adams] up through Chelmsford, to London Derry and a place beyond it called Litchfield if I remember right and from thence down through Kensington to Newington and Portsmouth. Either going or returning we visited Parson Whipple whose lady persecuted me as much as she did afterwards father F[lynt]. The lady had a fine figure and a fair face. At dinner I was very bashful and silent. After dinner Parson W. invited us into another [room] where he took a pipe himself and offered us pipes. I was an old smoaker and readily took one. The [word torn away] lady very soon came into the room, lifted up her hands and cried out in a masculine voice, I am astonished to see that pretty little boy with a pipe in his mouth smoking that nasty poisoned tobacco. I cant bear the sight. I was as bashful and timorous as a girl, but I resented so much being called a little boy at 15 or 16 years of age and as stout as her husband, that I determined not to be frightened out of my pipe so I continued to puff away. You may well suppose that I bore no very good will to that lady till I afterward became acquainted with the character of Miss Hannah Whipple who afterwards married Dr. Bracket and gave two thousand dollars to the botanical garden [in] Cambridge. The excellences of that daughter very early atoned for all the severity of the mother and I have long since esteemed her an amiable and intelligent woman though sometimes a little too free with her guests. I recollect nothing more worth recording in my tour except that we called at Parson Bridges at Chelmsford and Parson Fogs at Kensington where we had much conversation respecting Mr. Wibert afterwards my minister then much celebrated for the elegance of his style.” (24 Dec. 1821, FC in an amanuensis’ hand, written on blank pages of Sewall’s letter to JA, 14 Dec. 1821, Adams Papers.)
From JA’s two accounts the itinerary of his vacation trip can be pretty satisfactorily reconstructed. He had left Cambridge on 29 June, “tarried” about a week at home in Braintree, then set out from Boston at the end of the first week in July with his cousin, Rev. Ebenezer Adams (1726–1767), Harvard 1747, to visit JA’s uncle and Ebenezer’s father, Rev. Joseph Adams (1689–1783), Harvard 1710, the veteran minister of Newington, N.H., a village on the south side of the Piscataqua River immediately above Portsmouth. They crossed the Charles River basin by ferry to Charlestown and the Mystic River to “Mistick” (Medford), and went on through “Menotomy” (later West Cambridge and now Arlington), Lexington, Bedford, and Billerica to Chelmsford. Crossing the Merrimack to Dracut in the extreme northeastern corner of Middlesex co., they followed the river through the New Hampshire villages of Nottingham West and Litchfield, where they turned northeast and passed through Londonderry, Hampstead, Kingston, Hampton Falls, and Greenland to Newington, spent a fortnight there, and visited the little maritime metropolis of Portsmouth.
The return journey was by the same or a very similar route, for the only precise date in the trip as a whole that can be established is that of their visit, in returning, with “Parson” Ebenezer Bridge (1716–1792), Harvard 1736, at Chelmsford. Bridge recorded in his Diary on 27 July: “Mr. Ebz. Adams a Preacher and Mr. Adams a Student at Har. Col. visited and dined with me” (MS, MH). The other stops mentioned in JA’s letter to Sewall could have been made “Either going or returning.” At Kensington, they called on Rev. Jeremiah Fogg (1712–1789), Harvard 1730, where conversation about Rev. Anthony Wibird (1729–1800) was natural because JA’s cousin Ebenezer and Wibird were classmates and both preaching at Amesbury about this time. The Little tiff over JA’s smoking occurred at Hampton Falls in the home of Rev. Joseph Whipple (1701–1757), Harvard 1720, whose { 51 } wife, the former Elizabeth Cutts, was old enough to be JA’s mother, which helps explain what JA thought was high-handedness on her part toward him. He was mistaken, however (as Sewall pointed out in a later letter), in supposing that Hannah Whipple, who married Dr. (and Judge) Joshua Brackett in 1760 and became a benefactress of botanical study at Harvard, was the daughter of Parson Whipple and his wife. Hannah Whipple came from Kittery, Maine. (See Sewall to JA, 18 Jan. 1822, Adams Papers.)
Sketches of all the men concerned are included in Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates: of Ebenezer Adams at 12:103; Joseph Adams, 5:502–506; Brackett, 13:197–201; Bridge, 10:17–27; Fogg, 8:710–714; Sewall, 13:638–645; Whipple, 6:415–417; Wibird, 12:226–230. On the two Adamses see also Adams Genealogy.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-02

[February 1754.]

This winter, we had a vacation.1
In the winter of 1754 we had no snow at all save a smattering or two, But perpetuall rains and warm weather thro’ought the whole.2
1. In the academic year 1752–1753 there had been no winter vacation at the College. This was because during 1752 the number of instructional days had been greatly diminished, in the spring by the closure necessitated by a smallpox epidemic, in the fall by the loss of eleven days (3–13 Sept.) through the Act of Parliament in 1751 (24 Geo. 2, c. 23) providing for a change from the Julian to the Gregorian calendar in 1752. From 22 April all college exercises, including commencement, had therefore been suspended, not to be resumed until 14 (i.e. 3, old style) September.
Moreover, the permanence of the vacation on the College calendar was in some doubt. A winter vacation of five weeks beginning the first Wednesday in January had been authorized in 1749 and renewed for a further trial period of three years in 1751. Upon the expiration of that period the Overseers refused to accept the Corporation’s vote for a further extension of five years and approved a continuance only “for the year current.” In 1754 the vacation period was from 2 Jan. to 6 February. (MH-AR: Corporation Records, College Book No. 7; Overseer’s Records 1744–1768; Meetings of 1 Oct. 1751, 4 May, 3 Oct. 1752, 1 Oct. 1754).
2. JA’s recollection of the weather during recent months is confirmed in a general way by the daily meteorological observations in Professor John Winthrop’s Meteorological Journal, 1742–1759 (MS, MH-Ar). He records snow on two days in January and one day in February, none heavy, and “a little” snow on three days in February. There were rains on nine days in January and seven days in February. The Fahrenheit thermometer reached a high of 54° in January, 52.5° in February. The low was 3° in January, 12° in February. The mean morning and afternoon readings, 29°–38°, were somewhat higher than in immediately preceding years.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0005-0002-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-03

March [1754].

Beg[inning][of March] Had a small flurry of snow.1
1. There was snow in Cambridge on 2 March and “a little” on 7 March (John Winthrop, Meteorological Journal, MH-Ar). Other considerations rather favor the 2d over the 7th of March as the precise date of this entry in the Diary Fragment.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-03-08

March 8th.1

A Clowdy morning. I am now reading my lord Orrerys letters to { 52 } his son Concerning Dr. Swift and his writings, which for softness and delicacy of style, accuracy and serenity of sentiment, are absolutely inimitable.2 Reading also the last volume of Monsieur Rollin’s Belles Lettres which are worth their weight in gold.—for his excellent reflections on every remarkable event that occurs in history he informs his readers of the true source {Folio: 5} of every action and instructs them in the method of forming themselves upon the models of virtue to be met with in History.3
1. The first day of the fourth quarter of the academic year 1753–1754 (MH-Ar: Steward’s Records, Quarterbill Books).
2. Remarks on the Life and Writings of Dr. Jonathan Swift ... in a Series of Letters from John Earl of Orrery to His Son, the Honourable Hamilton Boyle, London, 1751, was the work of John Boyle, 5th Earl of Orrery (1717–1762), a friend of Swift, Pope, and Johnson and the author of miscellaneous literary works (DNB). “ [A]s the first attempt at an account of Swift,” it “attracted much attention” (same); but modern estimates of its authority and style fall far short of JA’s enthusiasm for Orrery’s book.
3. The faulty punctuation of this passage on Rollin follows that of the MS precisely.
Charles Rollin (1661–1741), rector of the University of Paris, was the author and compiler of numerous historical and pedagogical works that, in translation, were extraordinarily popular in England and America for many years and notably so in the Adams family. See Adams Family Correspondence, 1:142–143, where the known Adams copies of Rollin’s works are listed. See also JA’s commendation of Rollin’s Method of Teaching and Studying the Belles Lettres in a letter to AA, 7 July 1776, and a facsimile of the titlepage of that work (same, 2:40–41, and facing p. 263).

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0005-0002-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-03-17

[17? March 1754.]

Kept sabath at Cambridge. March about the middle.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-03-18

March 18th.

In the Evening we had several very sharp flashes of lightning, attended with a Distant grumbling of thunder.

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-03-19

19 [March 1754].

This morning is beyond description, Beautyfull, the Skie bespangled with Clouds which shed a lustre on us by the refraction of the rays of light, together with the healthy and enlivening air, which was purifyed By the thunder, afford most spirited materials for Contemplation.1 The gaiety of the weather is equally delightfull to the phylosopher, Poet and the man of Pleasure. The Phylosopher finds his passions all Calm, serene, and Pliable so that he finds no Difficulty in subjecting them to the subserviency of his reason, he can now contemplate all the gaudy appearances of nature and like Pythagoras bring Phylosophy down from heaven and make her conversible to men. The Poet thinks this the Best time to Converse with his muse and { 53 } Consequently gives himself up wholly to her directions. His whole soul is at her disposal!l and he no more retains the government of himself. While the man of pleasure find such delicacys arising from the objects of sence as are adapted to produce the highest sensations of delight in him.2
1. “Rain in the night. Fair with clouds” (John Winthrop, Meteorological Journal, MH-Ar).
2. Here a blank space of nearly half a page appears in the MS, and here also the writing in JA’s experimental hand of 1754–1756 ends, though temporarily. The following three pages in the MS (i.e. {6–8}) were also originally left blank by the diarist except for the canceled beginning of his notes on Winthrop’s lectures (first entry of 1 April 1754, below). The editors suppose that JA intended to fill up this space with journal entries for the rest of March. See note 1 on the following entry and Introduction, p. 8.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0006-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-12
{Folio: 6}

[On the Law of Nature and the Moral Sense among Animals and among Men, October–December 1758.]1

Q[uery]. Has any Species of Animals, besides Mankind, ever given Proofs that they have any idea of Justice, of R[igh]t or Wrong. That they have any Discernment of the Difference between Actions and Characters? Have they any moral Sense?
Q. Have they any sense of the Advantages of Temperance and of the Disadvantages of the Contrary. Will not horses, when they are hot, drink large Quantities of Water without Regret and frequently Chest-founder themselves so? They seem to have very little Concern or Apprehension about the Consequences of Violent Exercise and plentiful Eating and drinking.
Q. Did the2 Jewish Law that oxen, and Horses, that pushed or kicked a Man to death, or that copulated with any man or woman, should be slain, stand on this Principle, that the Brutes knew the Prohibitions they were under and were accountable, for the Breach of them?
Q. Let me examine, when, and how this Notion of a Law common to Beasts and men, arose in the World, and in what sense it was understood.
Q. If there are Rules of Justice, of Morality, that extend to all Animals, what do those Men deserve, who have believed this and yet plundered, preyed upon, Murdered Fowl, Beasts and fishes in all Ages.—How can we answer for robbing the Birds Nests of their Eggs and Young, for butchering, fleecing, Sheep, Lamb’s, Calves, Oxen &c., or will the Assistance we give them, in providing Food and shelter for them in Winter, and Pasturage in Winter [i.e. summer?], justify our { 54 } Cruel Depredations upon them?—But we never feed or Clothe Robbins, <wild Geese> wild fowl &c. What Justice then, in killing them? Is it not Murder?
Q. <Self Love and> Self Preservation, and the Desire of Propagation, are common to all Animals. But the Law of Nature, which teaches other Species to nurse their Young, teaches man to imbue the tender Minds of Children, with Knowledge and Virtue.
Q. The Law of Nature, as an Instinct is perhaps common, but the Institutions which Reason adds to Instinct, are peculiar to man. Now Justice, Temperance, Gratitude, Benevolence, &c. are Institutions of Reason, are found and proved to be human Duties, and beneficial to society, by Reason and Experience.
Jus naturale est quod Natura omnia Animalia docuit, Jus enim istud non est humani Generis proprium, sed omnium Animalium, quae, aut in terra, aut in mari aut in Coelo nascuntur.3
Temperance, Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude.
Jus naturale, is omnium Animalium.
Is the Law of Nature, common to all Animals, from Man the Lord of all, down to the smallest Animalcules, discernible by Glasses?
Are all the Rules of natural Law, which men are obliged to observe, incumbent upon all Birds, Beasts, fishes.
Temperance, Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude, are Duties of the Law of human Nature. But have the Beasts and Birds and Fishes, given any Proofs that they have any Idea of these Virtues? any sense of their obligation to Practise them? Do they not gorma[n]dize, do <they not> what Prudence, do they not rob, each other. Are not many of them timorous, afraid of Trifles and shadows? But their Vices are no Proof that they are not under these Laws, more than human Vices will prove that Men are not.—We do not understand their Language, their signs, nor their sounds enough to know, what Knowledge they have of their own Constitutions, and Connections.4 But is this Question worth a [ . . . ] Discussion?—I have no concern with a society of Birds or Beasts or fishes, or Insects. I shall neither be [concerned?] for nor against the Cattle. The Law of Nature includes the Laws of Reason as much as Self Love and Desire of Propagation and education, includes those Rules of Temperance, Prudence, Justice, and Fortitude which Reason, by the help of Experience, discovers to be productive of the <good> Happiness and Perfection of human [Nature?].
1. The entry which follows is in JA’s small and sometimes almost indecipherable hand familiar in his Diary and correspondence from the latter part of 1756 on. Having left three pages blank after his entry of 19 March 1754 (see note on that entry, preceding), he afterward economically filled them up, no { 55 } doubt at about the same time that he wrote the later entries in the Diary Fragment, which are in the same hand and unquestionably belong to the last three months of 1758, or, at the latest, the first week or so of Jan. 1759.
2. MS: “they.”
3. “Natural law is taught by Nature to all living things, for that law appertains not only to the human species but to all living things that are born in the earth, sea, or sky.” Source not identified, but compare the phrasing in Justinian’s Institutes, bk. 2, title 1, § 12, as quoted by JA in his Legal Papers, 2:73.
4. Possibly “Conventions.”

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0007-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-01

{Folio: 7}April 1st. 1754.

<Then, Mr. Winthrop began a Course of Experimental>1
1. Written in JA’s experimental hand of 1754–1756, with this fragmentary line canceled and the date heading certainly intended to be. This false beginning of JA’s notes on Winthrop’s lectures heads p. {7} of the MS and was lined out, presumably at once, because JA supposed that he would need more space than he had left for his (unwritten) journal entries for the last dozen days of March; see note on entry of 19 March 1754, above. For the true beginning of the lecture notes, see the second entry of 1 April 1754, p. 60, below.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0008-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-12 - 1759-01

[Notes on Civil Law, December 1758–January 1759.]1

Sequestration is when two, or more, deposit a controverted Thing, with a 3d Person, on that Condition, that he, at the Conclusion of the suit, Dispute, will restore the Thing to the Conqueror.2 This is either voluntary, which is <made> done by the Agreement of Parties, or necessary, which is done by the Authority of a Judge. This, regularly, is prohibited. From a Deposit, arises a twofold Action, direct and contrary. A direct Action of detinue, is a personal Action of good Faith, famous, public, which is given [ . . . ] to the Deponent against the Depositary, <to> for this, viz. that he may restore the thing deposited, sarcio, to repair, mend, and repair the Damage given by fraud and faults committed. Lata Culpa, by a gross fault. A contrary Action is given to the Depositary against the Deponent, to be saved harmless.
A Pawn or Pledge is a Contract of the Law of Nations, of good faith, re constans, consisting in a thing, fact, by what means, in what Ways, an Obligation <to> Contract, in fact by a fact, an Action or Deed, consisting in fact, in a Thing, by which any Thing is given to a Creditor by a Debtor or [any other?]<for a> as a Security of his Debt, on that Condition that the same Thing be restored, in Specie, on the Payment of the Debt. Soluto Debito, the Debt being paid, eadem res in Specie. From this Contract, arises an Action, direct and contrary. The direct Action <of a Pl> for a Pawn is given to the Debtor, on Payment of the Debt, against the Creditor, for this, that he restore the Pawn with all Cause, and repair the Damage, given by fraud, or by any gross or even by a light fault. Levis culpa, a light fault. A Contrary Action is given to the Creditor, against a Debtor, to be saved harmless. { 56 } Of the Performance of fraud, of fault, and Accident. Praestare. To answer for a fraud or fault is to repair the Damage, given by Deceit, by Accident or by fault. Deceit is all subtilty, Deceit, or Contrivance, employed to circumvent, deceive, or delude another. A fraud is all subtilty, Deceitfulness, or Contrivance, employed to circumvent, deceive, delude another. A fault is nothing less than Negligence [ . . . ], whether of omission or Commission, in the Affairs of another, and is T[hree]fold gross, light and lightest. A gross fault is not to use that dilligence which even a negligent father of a family uses, or to be ignorant of what all understand. This in Contracts is compared to Deceit, fraud, excepting the Case of a Capital Crime. A light fault is not to use that diligence which a thrifty and diligent father of a family, uses in his own Things. This fault is regularly meant, denoted when the Word faults is put simply in the Laws. The lightest fault is not to adhibit, use, employ, exert that diligence, which a most diligent father of a family exerts. An accidental Misfortune is a greater Strength, to which human Weakness is not able to resist. Humana, Casus fortuitus, a casual Mishap. A Chance medly. [ . . . ] Dolum. To answer for a fraud. Fraud is answered for, paid for, repaid in all Contracts. Accidents, misfortune in none, except in Lending, Loan. Loan. Payment of what is not due, is in some respects like a Loan, which nevertheless is not a true Contract but a sort of Contract, by which he who received what was [undue?] is obliged to him, who by Error and Ignorance paid what was [ . . . ] that it be [ . . . ].3 A fault, regularly, is made good, repaid, according to these 3 Rules, 1. As often as a <Contract> Bargain is driven, a Contract is taken, entered into, for the Sake of the giver alone, so often Deceit only and a gross fault is answered for, as in a Deposit. 2. As often as a Contract is celebrated, for the sake of the receiver alone, so often fraud, deceit, fault, even the lightest is answered for as in [commodatum].4 A direct Action of [ . . . ] is a personal civil Action, demanding a Thing, which is given to a Lender against the Borrower to restore the Thing lent in Specie, and answer for fraud and [ . . . ] the light fault.5 3. As often as the Utility, Advantage, Benefit of both, takes place in a Contract, so often fraud, a gross and a light fault, is answered for, as in a Pawn, Buying and selling. The aforesaid Rules concerning fraud, Negligence and Misfortune, then cease, if the contractors otherwise agree; except if it is agreed that fraud shall not be answered, even when any special Reason shall except this or that Contract from the common Rules.
Of the Obligations of Words. An Obligation of Words, or any Stipulation, is a Contract of the civil Law, of strict law, consisting in { 57 } Words, by which he, who is asked, whether he is about to give [or to do?] what he is interrogated, answers. Emancipation is an Act by which Children are dismiss[ed] from the father’s Power. Act.6 From a Stipulation arises a two fold Action, a personal Action of a certain Thing; if a certain Thing is drawn into a Stipulation and of an uncertain Thing, or an Action, from a Bargain, if an uncertain Thing is drawn into a Stipulation. Each is a personal Action, civil, of strict Law, which is given to the stipulant, against the Promisor to oblige him to perform what he promised.
Every Stipulation is either pure, or for a certain day, or conditional. A pure Stipulation is one which is contracted without [the addition?] of any time or Condition, and in that pure Stipulation, the Day of the Obligation begins, and comes immediately. The Day of the Obligation is said to proceed when a Thing, drawn into Obligation, begins to be due, altho it cannot yet be demanded. A day is said to come when that can be demanded which is due. A stipulation, at a certain day, is that which is [made] annexing a day, appointing a day, in which the Money is to be paid. A day may be added to an Obligation 2 Ways, either as a Time from which, as after 5 years I will give, or as a Time to which, as untill 5 years, or as long as I shall live. In the 1st Case, the day of the Obligation, immediately [goes?] but comes not before the day exists. It is [right?] however for the Debtor to pay before the day if he will. In the other Case also, the time being past, the Obligation is perpetuated by the Law it self, but the Promissor of the Agreement, by the Exception of the Agreement [ . . . ] may [ . . . ] himself. The time moreover may be added to the Stipulation not only expressly, but also it is sometimes tacitly implied; which happens if a Place is added to the Stipulation, the Performance it self of the Thing, or fact in it self against a space of Time. A conditional stipulation is, one which is made, with regard to a future, [uncertain?] Case, in that the day of the Obligation, neither goes nor comes, unless the Condition happens. Yet the Hope of the future Obligation is transmitted, from the Part of each Contractor to his Heirs. [But?] if the Condition is affixed to the present or the past time, that is scarcely esteemed a [Contract?] nor differs the Obligation.
{Folio: 8, upside down}7 A Stipulation is made in any Tongue yet the Question and Answer must agree, and, all things [ . . . ] drawn into that, which are in Commerce, also the facts must be possible and lawful, [ . . . ] own, not [anothers?]. If a fact is drawn into [ . . . ] in a Stipulation, the Promissor cant be compelled precisely to the fact, but is freed from [ . . . ] and therefore it is [actible?] to [ . . . ]8 Stipulator, for { 58 } thus he exempts himself from the difficulty of proving that which is due.
Of the 2 Parties of stipulating and promising. The [accessors] of the Stipulation are 2 Stipulators to each of whom the same Thing, Speech by [ . . . ] is [promised?] in the whole. The [Accessor?] of promising or of owing the [joint?] Promisers or [ . . . ] conjuncta oratione. Fellow Promisers, joint Promisers [ . . . ]9 2 [promisors?] who singly promise the same Thing, at one time, to a Person Stipulating. Stipulans, in eadem Res, the en solidum, the same thing to a [ . . . ]. Eandem Rem, in solidum. That therefore 2 may be joint Accessers to [ . . . ] of Stipulating or promising, it is required 1. that the same Thing be draw[n] into the stipulation, brought into the Stipulation. 2. That the Promise be made from one and the same Cause. 3. That the whole be promised to both, and by both. Yet one of the Accessors may be rightly obliged, purely, and the other, on Condition, or to a certain day. The Effect of such a stipulation is, that the 2 Partners may act or agree, for the whole, singly, separately, yet so that one accepting, receiving a Debt, or one paying the whole Obligation is destroyed. But if joint Debtors are obliged to any thing by an alternate Engagement, they may enjoy the Benefit [of the] Divisons. Of the Stipulation of Servants. Even servants may stipulate from the Person of their Masters, also an hereditary servant, and a common servant. But a servant acquires not any thing that is stipulated to himself, but to his Master or to the Inheritance or if there are many Masters he stipulates to each for Part, unless it was by the Order of one, or for one by name. Yet a servant, if he stipulates for a fact, acquires it to himself. Of the Division of Stipulation. [ . . . ] Stipulations are either, judicial, or praetorial, or conventional, or common.10
1. The text of this entry is written in JA’s small but familiar hand, immediately following the canceled beginning of his notes on Winthrop’s lectures, preceding, on a page of the MS otherwise left entirely blank in 1754. For the assigned date see the following note.
2. This is the beginning of JA’s notes on Johannes van Muyden’s Tractatio . . . , 3d edn., Utrecht, 1707, an abridgment of Justinian’s Institutes, which had been lent to him by Jeremy Gridley in Oct. 1758, which JA read during the following months, and which he later obtained for his own library from the sale of Gridley’s books. See the Introduction, p. 15–16, and references there; see also the titlepage of the Gridley-JA copy of the Tractatio (now in MB) as reproduced in the present volume. JA‘s notes in this entry are drawn from p. 114–121 of Van Muyden, beginning in the Institutes at bk. 3, part way through title 15, and continuing part way through title 19. Since JA is known to have resumed his reading of this work on 20 Dec. 1758 at p. 99 (Diary and Autobiography, 1:63), we may suppose the present notes were written late in Dec. 1758 or early in Jan. 1759.
It cannot be said that JA was an exemplary note-taker. He not only omitted author, title, and all references to sections and pages of the book he was abstracting, but seems to have been satisfied at times with gibberish. His writing { 59 } is so cramped and his translation so rough that sometimes, even with the Latin original in hand, it has proved impossible to render his words and grasp his meaning.
3. The preceding four lines, beginning with the word “Loan” as repeated, are out of context; they are possibly from some source cited in Van Muyden’s marginal gloss.
4. Omitted in JA’s notes; supplied from Van Muyden’s text.
5. The preceding sentence is out of context; see note 3.
6. This word and the whole sentence preceding it are out of context; see note 3.
7. The notes that follow in this entry are upside down on p. {8} of the MS, below the passage we have entitled Rules for Determining the Excellence of a Language (next entry in the Diary Fragment). It may therefore be presumed that all the notes on Van Muyden were written later than the “Rules.”
8. Five or six words undecipherable.
9. Two or three words undecipherable.
10. JA’s notes on Van Muyden continue without a break much later in the MS; see p. 100, below.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0008-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-12
{Folio: 8}

[Rules for Determining the Excellence of a Language, October–December 1758.]1

What are the Rules, Criteria, to determine the Merit or Excellence of a Language?—Suppose you was to examine, which was the best, and which the worst of the Languages, Greek, Latin, french and English? How would you decide.
One Excellence of a Language, is Conciseness. That Language is to be preferred in which Ideas and Thoughts may be clearly conveyed to the Hearer or Reader in the fewest Words.—But Q. whether Conciseness is not a Property, a Talent of the Writer rather than of the Language. Would Dean Swift if he had been as great Master of french as he was of English, have expressed himself as concisely as he has in English?—Some Languages have Technical Words to express certain Collections of Ideas, that cannot be expressed, in another, without a Periphrasis. A Man may write more concisely, in french on fortification and Gunnery, and Cookery and Dancing, than he can in English. In Italian, upon Musick, Statuary, Painting, than in any other. In Greek on Anatomy, Physick &c.
2. Copiousness, i.e. Variety of Words to express the same Idea. For as Eloquence and Poetry, are wrote in Measure, feet, Numbers, often times a Dissillable or a Trissilable will be wanted to round a Period, or compleat a Line. Now, if there is a Monasyllable, and a Dissillable or a Trissillable, in the same Language to express the same Idea, the Writer or Speaker may select that which fits his Measure. Another Advantage of Variety of Words is this. When one Word cannot be so easily or emphatically pronounced, after another, out of several one may be chosen, that will exactly answer.
3. A proper Distribution of Consonants and Vowells, that a Language may neither be effeminately soft, nor brutally rough and grating to the Ear.
{ 60 }
4. A Connection [or] Analogy between the sound of the Words and the Things signified by them. Thus, the great and sublime Objects should be signified by Words of a loud grand sound. Slow Actions should be expressed by slow heavy Words. But quick swift Actions by Words that require, and occasion an impetuous Pronunciation.
5. As one considerable Design of Poetry and Eloquence is to move the Passions, a similarity between the sound of Words separately or in Combination and the Passions of the mind. For there is a peculiar sound to every one of the Passions.—These Hints may lead me into a large field of Speculation and Inquiry.
Inference. One Language may be the best adapted, for Poetry and Eloquence, another for Philosophy and science, and another for Drollery and Humour. But that Language will be the best, which has most of these Characteristicks.
1. The text of this entry is in JA’s small, mature hand and appears on the last of the three pages he left blank in the midst of his undergraduate diary entries; see note on entry of 19 March 1754, above. The substance gives no clue to its date of composition, which has therefore been assigned to the period when most of the later entries in the Diary Fragment are known or believed to have been composed.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0009-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-01
{Folio: 9}

[Winthrop’s Lectures on Experimental Philosophy.] April 1st. 1754.1

Mr. Winthrop began a series of Experimental Phylosophy2, and in the 1st place he explained to us the meaning, nature, and excellence of natural phylosophy, which is, (he says) the knowledge of those laws by which all the Bodys, in the universe are restrained, it being evident that not only those great masses of matter the heavenly Bodys, but all the minutest combinations of matter in each of them are regulated by the same general laws. For instance it is plain that all the planets observe exactly the same uniform rules in their revolutions round the sun, that every particle of matter observes on the surface of the earth.—As to the usefulness of natural phylosophy, to be convinced of that, it is necessary only to reflect on the state of all the Civilized nations of Europe, compared to many nations, in affrica, of as quick natural parts as Europeans, who live in a manner very little superiour to the Brutes.—The first Cause, and indeed the alpha and omega of natural phaenomena, is motion, their being an utter impossibility that any effect should be produced in a natural way without motion, and <this motion or rather Bodys in motion are subject to the following laws, 1st two bodys of different velocitys or swiftnesses, but aequal masses> which motion is subject to Certain laws which he ex• { 61 } plained, and I have forgot. But thus much I remember, that motion, produced by gravity, was universally in right lines, from the body acted upon by gravity, to the Center of gravity, as the Center of the earth, for instance, or the like. He explained also, powers, weights, the line of direction of powers and weights, the Center of gravity, Center of {Folio: 10} magnitude, and Center of motion, with the several methods of finding them, some of which I’ve forgot, and the rest he showed us examples of which cant easyly be exhibited. But by reason of some of these laws (he tells us) there are two famous towers in Italy, the one at Bolognia, and the other at [Pisa]3, each near an hundred feet high which are not in a perpendicular position, but inclined to the horizon to a Certain degree, so as not to have the line of direction fall without the Base, because if the line of direction fell not within the Base, the buildings would inevitably fall. After this and many other things and Terms relating to motion, velocity &c. explained he dismiss’d us for the first time.—He touch’d also upon the advantages of gunpowder in war, above those of the Battering ram. For says he, the Battering ram was a hugh,4 and unweildy peice of timber or rather combination of timbers, with an iron head much in the shape of a rams head, whence it drew its name, commonly weighing near forty thousand Pounds, and consequently required a 1000 men to manage it, a man being scarce able to handle more than 40 lb. with velocity enough to do execution. Now one of our cannon, by the almost irresistable force of rarifyed vapour will discharge a 36 pounder so as to make as large a Breach in a wall, as the Battering ram, and requires but <about 6> 5 or 6 men to order and direct it. Therefore 6 men can do as much execution now with a Cannon as 1000 could with a Battering ram, and the momenta are equal the velocity of the Cannon exceeding {Folio: 11} that of the ram, as much as the ram exceeds the Cannon in weight, that is as 36:40000.
1. This is the true beginning of JA’s notes on Professor John Winthrop’s lectures; he had first started them two pages earlier in the MS and then canceled that beginning for reasons explained in the note there (p. 55, above); see also note on entry of 19 March 1754, above.
All the notes on Winthrop, which continue through 11 April, are in JA’s variant or experimental hand of 1754–early 1756, discussed in the Introduction.
2. The “Course” or series of lectures on Experimental Philosophy was required by the terms of the Hollis professorship to be given at least once a year. Designated “private lectures,” they were intended only for the sophisters (Endowment Funds of Harvard University, Cambridge, 1948, p. 55–56; Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, p. 80). The terminal dates of a course of lectures such as this did not coincide with term times but rather with the period between March and the end of June when senior sophisters were required to be in Cambridge; see note on entry of 29 June 1753.
The notes taken by JA on the lectures indicate that the course as begun in 1754 was to be essentially the same { 62 } as the thirty-three lectures prepared by Professor Winthrop for delivery one to five times a week (ordinarily three), from 10 March to 16 June 1746, a lecture-by-lecture summary of which in Winthrop’s hand, with additions for 1747, is preserved in MH-Ar: “The Summary of a Course Of Experimental Philosophical Lectures, by Mr. J. Winthrop.” A facsimile of Winthrop’s outline of the first lecture is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume.
3. Editorially supplied for a careless omission in MS. Winthrop’s “Summary” does not mention the towers.
4. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0009-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-03

April 3d. 1754.

The second lecture, which was wholly taken up in explaining the Propertys of the Centers of gravity and motion, which were applyed to the instruments, Cheifly in use in Common life, such as, the lever, pulley, Ballance axis in peritrocheo,1 &c. But the Ballance was principally insisted on. The reason of it was fully explained and the method of weighing, viz the distances of the Bodys from the Center of motion, must be precisely in a reciprocall proportion of their quantitys of matter or weights, always alowing for the weight of the Beam on which they are suspended, as well as friction, and the falsity of the supposition, that radii proceeding from the center of the earth are parrellel. Mr. Winthrop also demonstrated to us that all the advantages arising from any of the engines in use, resulted from the different possion [position] of them, with relation to force and velocity, thence he shew’d the famous problem of Archimedes viz, to move any weight however great by any force however small.—I had like to have forgot that he applied the doctrines of the center of gravity to the heavenly Bodys, shewing us the affections of the sun and planets with respect to their Centers of gravity, and instructed us in the manner of finding the Common Center of gravity of any 2 of ’em e.g. earth and moon, viz By this proportion as the quantitys of matter in Both added together is to the quantity of matter in the one separtely so is the distance of their centers to the distance of the Center of the other, from the Common Center sought. And to find the common Center of gravity of 3, 4 or 5 or any given number of Bodys, having found the common center of any 2, from that said Center draw a line to another of said Bodys and find the common Center of gravity of these two respecting the {Folio: 12} common Center of gravity of the former 2 as a Body containing a quantity of matter equal to Both said Bodys.
1. See OED under Peritrochium, quoting John Harris, Lexicon Technicum (1704): “The use of this Peritrochium is to make the Cylinder or Axis be turned the more easily by the means of Staves or Levers, which are fix’d in its Circumference.” See also Thomas Jefferson’s Notes of a Tour through Holland and the Rhine Valley in 1788:
“A machine for drawing light empty boats over a dam at Amsterdam. It is an Axis in peritrochio fixed on the dam. From the dam each way is a sloping stage. The boat is presented to this, the { 63 } rope of the axis made fast to it, and it is drawn up. The water [on one] side of the dam is about 4.f. higher than on the other” (Jefferson, Papers, ed. Boyd, 13:9).
Evidently Winthrop dealt in more detail with this mechanical device in a later lecture; see entry of 6 April, below.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0009-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-05

April 5th. 1754.

The theory of the Ballance, scales, steel-yard &c. <and all> and the 3 species of lever’s continued to which (viz) the lever he referred allmost all the instruments in life, and universally. To make a aequilibrium, the product of the quantity of matter in the weight multiplyed into its distance from the Center of motion, must be equal to the quantity of matter in the power, multiplyed into it’s distance from said Center.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0009-0001-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-06

April 6th. 1754.

<The phaenomina of> The nature of the Pulley, axis in peritrochaeo, and inclined Plane explained, which all depend on the laws before laid down (viz) that the quantity of matter in the weight bears the same proportion to the quantity of matter in the power, as the distance of the power from the Center of motion, to the distance of the weight from said Center.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0009-0001-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-08

April 8th. 1754.

The Theory of simple machines and in particular of the inclined plane, of the wedge and screw, and other machines compounded of these simple ones, finish’d.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0009-0001-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-09

April 9 1754.

Sir Isaac Newtons three laws of nature proved and illustrated, together with the application of them to the planets, which are kept in their orbits by two forces acting upon them, viz that of gravity and that which is call’d their Centrifugal force whereby <it> they strives to recede from the Center of their orbits, and fly off therefrom in tangents.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0009-0001-0007

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-10
{Folio: 13}

April 10, 1754.

The theory of Centrifugal forces, continued; and aplyed to the Cases of the planets; and from this Centrifugal force, Mr. Winthrop confuted the hypothesis of vortices, from this also arises the spheroidal form of the earth.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0009-0001-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1754-04-11

April 11 1754.1

Some thing’s observed concerning gravity, which encreases as you { 64 } approach the Center of the earth in a reciprocal proportion of the squares of the distances, and under this head were introduced pendula and we saw that all pendula of equall length oscilated in equal time whether the arches they described were greater or less. We were also inform’d that bodys falling in Chords of a Circle will fall in equal times Caeteris paribus; and in the same time that the same Body would pass through the diameter, as
graphic here
1. JA’s notes on Winthrop’s course of lectures end with this entry, for the very good reason that Winthrop broke off his course this year with the eighth lecture in order to travel to Philadelphia, where he met his fellow scientist and correspondent Benjamin Franklin for the first time. His trip kept him away from Cambridge from 15 April to 24 May. See his MS Diary for 1754 (MH-Ar); also Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 9:246–247.
The present entry also ends JA’s efforts (so far as we know) to keep a diary as a Harvard student, although he was not graduated until July 1755. As explained in the Introduction, an interval of more than four years passed before he made further use of the folio MS designated as the Diary Fragment. When, in Oct. 1758, he did so—having already begun in Nov. 1755 a diary record in pocket form—he used the MS for different and very miscellaneous purposes rather than as, strictly speaking, a diary; see the following entries.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0001-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Wentworth, John
Recipient: Dalton, Tristram
Recipient: Quincy, Samuel
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-11
{Folio: 14}

[Letters to Three Friends on Studying Law, October–November 1758.]1

To [John] Wentworth.2

[salute] Mon Ami

My letters, for the future will come to you, not from a School House but from the Cell of an Hermit. I am removed from Worcester to Braintree where I live secluded from all the Cares and Fatigues of busy Life in a Chamber which no mortal Visits but myself except once in a day to make my Bed. A Chamber which is furnished in a very curious manner, with all sorts of Hermetical Utensils.
Here, no Idea of a Lady, of Diversions, of <gay Life> Business or of Pleasure ever enters. Here I read, smoke, think, and sleep. Old Roman Lawyers, and dutch Commentators are my constant Companions. What ample Provision have I here accumulated for lasting Felicity! The only Thing I fear is, that all my Passions, which you know are the Gales of Life, as Reason is the Pilot, will go down into an everlasting Calm. And what will a Pilot signify, if there is no Wind.
To prevent this I must intreat you to redouble your Letters, which { 65 } always raise a full Gale of Love, sometimes almost a Tempest of Emulation and some times a Breeze of Envy, and will be sufficient, in Addition to those of a few other Friends, to waft the Vessell, tho she is not the best of sailors, with full Speed, along the Voyage.—But what, and where is the Port of my Destination? In sincerity I am afraid to tell you. Tis however a Harbour, where every Vessell may ride securely. A Harbour, in which, tho Tempests rage around, and Thunders roll above, and Earthquakes shudder beneath, neither the Vessell, her Cargo or her Crew, ever receive any Damage.
But to be plain, I am beginning Life anew. I have new Friendships to make, new Employments to follow, new Concerns, Prospects and Studies, opening before me. And now I have mentioned Studies, I find my self entering an unlimited Field. A Field in which Demosthenes, Cicero, and others of immortal Fame have exulted before me! A Field which incloses the whole Circle of Science and Literature, the History, Wisdom, and Virtue of all ages.—Shall I dare to expatiate here in full Career, like the nobler Animals, that range at large, or shall [I] blindly, basely creep, like the mole, or the weezell?—Tell me.
To [Tristram] Dalton.3
How long is it my Friend, since I either received a Letter from you or you from me? Some years I believe. And how long will it be, e’er another Letter passes between us? Why If I may judge of the future by the past, I shall receive one from you about 6 months hence, and then an Intermission of 2 or 3 years will succeed. This has been the Course of our Correspondence, and perhaps you would be as well pleased, if the Intermission should be of 2 or 3 Centuries, or inperpetuo instead of 2 or 3 years. You need not hope however to escape so. Whenever I am fatigued with roman Lawyers and Dutch Commentators, I will set down, and <discharge the Vapours of the Brain, upon Paper, and send it away to you> write to you, as Painters turn their Eyes to a <green> mild pleasant Green Colour after long Attention to black in order to ease and Relieve the Eye. This is said, (by the Way) in Conformity to the common Place Cant of the present Day that The study of Law is the most dry, unentertaining study in the World, which I take to be full as wise as Lady ——s Contempt of Shakespears Tragedies in the Lethe of Mr. Garrick.4 You have heard many Persons say that the study of Mathematicks and of Physicks is dry. Others can find no Beauties in Poetry. And I believe them, as undoubtingly as I believe some others, when they say that Law is dry. Every Thing, my Friend, is dry in Proportion as it is not understood, and I shall not be { 66 } at all surprised to hear a young Spark whose <whole> Attention is dissipated among Horses and Ladies, (heaven forgive me) fiddles and frolicks, Cards and Romances, say that the Law is dry.
But to examine this Matter a little, can no Pleasure be found in tracing to their original sources in Morality, in the Constitution of human Nature, and the Connections and Relations of human Life, the Laws which the Wisdom of perhaps fifty Centuries, has established for the Government of human Kind. <No Pleasure in studying the Eloquence of Greece and Rome in those stupendous Monuments of it which have loeen the Wonder and Delight of every Age, to the present Day?> No Pleasure in the Study of those Remains, those prescious Remains of grecian and roman Eloquence, which have been <the wonder and delight of> preserved to the Admiration of all Ages, down to the present day? <Far otherwise,> So far [otherwise?] that I assure you, even the <most> Common Law of England, and the precedents and [Statutes?] of former Times, which are most venomously [misused?] at this day, when once their [ . . . ] Language is understood, afford <us all> the Pleasure of Reasoning in as [great?] Perfection as your favourite science of Mathematicks <with the Exception only that we have not always that absolute Certainty, that we have in Mathematicks.>5
{Folio: 15}Tis true, we are not able to attain, in every Case of Law, that total Certainty which you have in some Problems and Theorems, nor have you in Mathematicks, the success in every Problem which you have in some.
To Samll. Quincy.6
<How surprizingly we how inviolably>
How resolutely, how inviolably, how surprizingly we have preserv’d and pursued The Resolution <we took> of writing each other upon <Law.> Points of Law, which we took at Weighmouth.—<But> Oh my Friend how easily we are <bro’t> fired to lawdable Determinations! But <oh> proh Dolor, how soon are such Determinations forgot?—Quite as suddenly as the Vows of perpetual Constancy made by a young Fellow, when in the most violent Hurry. This has some how or other recalled to my Memory a Pice of Advice, which Polonius gives to his Daughter in Shakespears Hamlet.

I do know

When the Blood burns, how prodigal the soul

Lends the Tongue Vows. These Blazes oh my Daughter

Giving more Light than Heat, extinct in both,

You must not take for Fire.

{ 67 } The soul is no less Prodigal in lending the Tongue Vows, when the Blood glows with Ambition of getting Learning or Virtue, than when it burns with a very different Passion, the Passion alluded to in these Lines. And perhaps the Protestations of the Lover, are as sincere as the Resolutions of the scholar. And as the generous Lover, who by such Vows, has deceived and deflowered an innocent, virtuous Lady, would think him self bound in Honour, and in Conscience, to fullfill his Promises, so should the generous Schollar esteem it a violation of his Conscience, a base, ungenerous, debauching and ruining of himself, to forget his Vows of Industry.
For my own Part, my Conscience reproaches me with a long series of such Self Perfidy! I start sometimes, and shudder at myself, when the Thought comes into my mind how many million Hours I have squandered in a s[t]upid Inactivity neither furnishing my mind nor exercising my Body. Yet new Reflections continue to arise, and I every Day determine to begin a new Course of Life tomorrow. My Resolutions are like bubbles, they are perpetually rising to the surface of the stream and then are [broke?] and vanish by every puff of Wind. Yet new ones rise and die in perpetual succession.
In order to connect the preceeding Letter with this, let me add [that?] to taste this Pleasure, active Industry, and not now and then a sudden Resolution alone, is necessary.—And now I have mentioned Resolutions how [unwilling?] and [remainder missing]7
1. The whole of this entry, like those that follow it, is in JA’s small, mature hand. For the date assigned to this group of letter-drafts as a whole, see the Introduction, p. 10–11.
2. John Wentworth (1737–1820), later Sir John, was a classmate, correspondent, and, until the Revolution separated them, a warm friend of JA’s. He became the last royal governor of New Hampshire, a loyalist exile, and lieutenant governor of Nova Scotia.
Much of the correspondence between JA and Wentworth has been lost. In the New England Historical and Genealogical Register, 5 (1851):414/6, appears an undated letter from JA to Wentworth, which is known in no other version and which creates a small puzzle concerning the letter-draft in JA’s Diary Fragment. The printed letter touches on the very topics dealt with in the draft (though in entirely different language), was certainly sent because it was in the hands of a Wentworth descendant in 1851, and begins: “I resume with Pleasure my long neglected Pen ... to inform you that I am still alive, and well; that I am removed from Worcester to Braintree where I expect to live and die.” It must therefore have been written in Oct. or Nov. 1758 and virtually precludes the possibility that the present letter, making the same announcement, was actually sent. Or was it sent to someone other than Wentworth, the stated addressee?
On Wentworth see JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:4; 2:308; 4:85; Lawrence Shaw Mayo, John Wentworth, Cambridge, 1921; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:650–681.
3. Tristram Dalton (1738–1817), of Newbury (later Newburyport), another classmate of JA’s, “read law for pleasure” but married a rich wife and be• { 68 } came a merchant, shipowner, and U.S. senator (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:569–578; Benjamin W. Labaree, Patriots and Partisans: The Merchants of Newburyport, 1764–1815, Cambridge, 1964). The Adams Papers files show that Dalton and JA corresponded intermittently for over forty years.
4. Lethe; or, Esop in the Shades, a farce produced at Drury Lane in 1740 and afterward published, was David Garrick’s first play. In it a character named Mrs. (not Lady) Riot tells Charon when she confronts him on the banks of the river Lethe: “Your Taste here, I suppose, rises no higher than your Shakespears and your Johnsons; oh you Goats and Vandils! in the Name of Barbarity take ’em to yourselves, we are tir’d of ’em upon Earth—one goes indeed to a Playhouse sometimes, because one does not know how else one can kill one’s Time—every body goes, because—because—all the world’s there.”
5. In the MS of the Diary Fragment this is the point, between {14} and {15}, where a leaf was slit out by JA, leaving only a narrow stub. See the Introduction, p. 5.
6. Samuel Quincy (1734–1789), Harvard 1754, son of Col. Josiah Quincy of Braintree and brother of Hannah Quincy, the “Orlinda” of the Diary Fragment, studied law with Benjamin Prat and was admitted to the bar with JA in Nov. 1758. He and JA were to be friends, colleagues, and rivals until the Revolution, when Quincy, who held a lucrative crown office, took the loyalist side and became a permanent exile. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:47, 50 ff., 109, 252; 2:2, 14, 72; 3:261, 273, 289, 295; Adams Family Correspondence, 1:122–123, 128, 130–131, 152; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:478–488. Copley’s portrait of Quincy, about 1767, appears as an illustration in the present volume.
7. It is not beyond question whether this paragraph is part of the letter to Quincy or a detached reflection. But in respect to both substance and position (since it has a slight interval of space separating it from the preceding text) it appears to be distinct from the letter.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0001-0002

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-12
{Folio: 15, upside down}

[On Some Friends Who Nourish Wounds in Their Hearts, October–December 1758.]1

Vulnus alit Venis, et caeco carpitur igni.2
Alo, alere, alui, alitum, to nourish. Vulnus, a Wound or Hurt.
Carpo, carpere, carpsi, carptum, to waste away. Carpor to be [troubled?]. Carpitur, is consumed, wasted.
He nourishes a Wound in his Veins, and is consumed with a blind hidden fire.—Warner, Fessenden, Clark, Cranch, Quincy.3 All of them [cherished?] by their incessant Thinking, the Wound in their Hearts, and all consume, with a hidden internal flame.
1. Nothing in this detached entry furnishes a clue to its date, but since it was inserted upside down in the blank space below the draft letter to Quincy, we may suppose that it was written after that draft was composed.
2. Virgil, Aeneid, bk. IV, line 2. Said of Dido’s secret passion for Aeneas.
3. Of the five persons listed, all of whom must have been Harvard, Worcester, or Braintree friends of JA’s, two bear names (Warner, Clark) too common to permit identification since they do not occur elsewhere in JA’s early records. Fessenden is probably the “B[enjamin] Fessenden” with whom JA discussed Col. Josiah Quincy’s character in April 1759 (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:81–82). Cranch is of course Richard Cranch, JA’s most intimate friend, who had long nourished a “Wound” in his heart, inflicted by { 69 } Hannah Quincy. Writing from Worcester, 18 Oct. 1756, JA told Cranch that it would be a great triumph if he could “conquer a Passion for a Lady so greatly accomplished as Mrs. [i.e. Mistress, Miss] H—— Q. . . . [T]he more engaging the charms of her person and the more distinguished the Refinements of her Mind, the more noble your Resolution will appear” (Tr, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 114). That Cranch was still in Hannah’s toils in 1758 seems evident from JA’s letter to him about “Orlinda” in the following entry in the Diary Fragment. As for the last name in JA’s list, it is no doubt that of Samuel Quincy, who was at this time courting Hannah Hill of Boston, whom he later married; see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:479–480.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0001-0003

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-12
{Folio: 16}

[A Letter to Richard Cranch about Orlinda, a Letter on Employing One’s Mind, and Reflections on Procrastination, Genius, Moving the Passions, Cicero as Orator, Milton’s Style, &c., October–December 1758.]1

What is Wisdom? Is it, to write dramatic Poetry, like Milton or Shakespear? Is it to write on Astronomy and Physicks like Newton, or is it to know the human mind like Lock? Does it consist in Genius and Learning? No Genius and Learning have been oftener mad than wise. It is not to Act or think beyond man kind.
[Draft of a Letter to Richard Cranch.]2
Say was there most of Cruelty or of Cunning in sealing up this cruel scroll <this Paper full of Disappointment, Spleen and Heart Ache> in a Letter from you.3—As the Doctor, to cheat his Patients Eyes, conceals his bitterest Potions in the sweetest Consalves4 and Confections, as the Manchineal conceals her Poisonous Juices under the Appearance of a fair delicious Fruit,5 as the Bee conceals her self and her fatal Sting in the Center of an Honey Comb, <in the same manner> Orlinda incloses this Paper, full of Disappointment, Spleen and Heart Ach, in a Letter from my dearest Friend!
You are sensible, my Friend, that the night Working Fancy of a Lover which steals him often, o’er seas and mountains to the <Arms> Company of his Mistress, and which figures, in his Slumbers, a thousand various scenes of Pleasure, only serves to increase his Misery, when he wakes, by <the Thought, that he cant possibly partake such Pleasures is too far [removed?] cannot possibly enjoy> exciting Desires which he cannot gratify. Just so this <Letter> Billet has roused in my Imagination a scene of Pleasure, which I should not otherwise have <wished for> tho’t of,6 a scene which seems to be grappled to my soul with Hooks of Steal, as immoveably as I wish to <be> grappled in <the> my Arms the Nimph, who gives it all its ornaments. <Wherever I go, { 70 } whatever I do, asleep or awake, This dear bewitching scene attends me, and takes up all my Thoughts.>7 If I look upon a Law Book and labor to exert all my Attention, my Eyes tis true are on the Book, but Imagination is at a Tea Table with Orlinda, seeing That Face, those Eyes, that Shape, that familiar friendly look, and [hear]ing Sense divine come mended from her Tongue. <When I should be at my Devotions> When the rest of the family are at their Devotions I am paying <mine> my Devoirs across a Tea Table to Orlinda. <When I attempt to Sle> I go to bed and lie ruminating on the same Ideas half the night, then fall asleep and dream about the same, till morning Wakes me, and robs me of my Bliss.8 If, as grave folks say Madness is occasioned by too long and close an Attention to one set of Ideas, I shall soon I fear grow mad for I have had no Idea, but that of Orlinda, that Billet and Disappointment in my Head since you saw me.
Oh Tea, how shall I curse thy once delightful but now detested stream. May I never taste thy Waters more, for thy Waters will forever bring the Remembrance of Orlindas Cruelty, my eager Wishes and fatal Disappointment. Or if I must taste, for my Cup from thy stream may I drink whole Buckettsfull from Lethe to forget my Woe <,which that would otherwise without such an Antidote always renew>.9
Shall such Cruelty go unpunished. No may she <have a husband> be in less than a year from this day be tied in the everlasting Chains of Wedlock.10
If he has the Spirit of a Man, he will be ready to bite his own Flesh.11
{Folio: 17}
[Draft of a Letter to an Unidentified Correspondent.]12

[salute] My Friend

Such is the Nature of <Man> the human mind, that each individual must and will have some Employment, for his Thoughts, some <Amusement,> Business, study, Pleasure or Diversion, virtuous or vicious, lawdable or Contemptible, to consume his Time. If he is not instructed to contemplate the Heavens, he will instruct him self to contemplate Cockell shells and Pebblestones; if his Rank and Fortune exempt him from <Labour> Business, he will engage himself in Study or in Play, in Hunting or <whoring,> or something else, better or worse. The first Question, then that a young man should ask himself is, what Employment am I by the Constitution of my mind and Body, and by the Circumstances of Education, Rank and Fortune, directed to pursue? And { 71 } the next is what is the best Method, the safest, easiest, nearest Road to the proper End of that Employment I have chose?
Suppose you had chosen the study of Nature, for the Business of your Life, should you not inquire in the first Place, what is the End of that study? Is it to improve the Manufactures, the Husbandry, or the Commerce of Mankind, or is it to adorn a Library with Butterflies of various sizes, Colours and shapes? Or suppose you had chosen the study of History, should you not inquire is the End of this study the naked Knowledge of great Names and [ . . . ][Actions?] or is it a personal Improvement in Virtue and Capacity, by imitating the Virtues and avoiding the Vices of great men, and by judging of the Effects of Causes now at Work, by those Causes which have appeared heretofore? Should a Student in History inquire chiefly of the Dress, Entertainments and Diversions, instead of the Arts, Characters, Virtues and Opinions of ancient Nations, and the Effects of these on their public and private Happiness would not you laugh? There was nothing in the Lamp, by which Demosthenes wrote his orations, that deserved the Attention of the present Race of men, more than there is in the Candle by which I write this Letter. And I would pay no more Admiration to a man who could [tell]13 me the exact Highth of Cicero, or the Number of Hairs that grew upon his Head, a Pice of Knowledge that I cannot now attain, than I would to one who could tell me the exact Number of Letters, Comma’s and semicolons that are in all his Works, which [I]14 have the means of knowing.
We are not therefore, to measure of Admiration of a man by the Number alone, but by the <Importance, Usefulness and> Utility and Number jointly of the Propositions that he knows, and his Dexterity in apply[ing] them to Practice.
<The great secret therefore, the main> The primary Endeavour therefore, should be to distinguish between Useful and unuseful, to pursue the former with unwearied Industry, and to neglect with much Contempt all the Rest. We need not fear that subjects of Inquiry will be so few, that the Treasures of useful Knowledge will be exhausted.— Every Moment of the longest Life, may be spent in acquiring Knowledge of the greatest Moment, in the Course of Life.
Perhaps many hundreds, in the English Nation, have employed the same <Attention,> Industry, and Sagacity in discovering the Properties of Animalcules that Escape the natural sight, as Sir Isaac Newton did in discovering and demonstrating the true system of the World. I will venture yet further, perhaps these men, if they had employed Experiment and [Geometry?] in the [method?] he used would have made as { 72 } wonderfull discoveries. It [is]15 the Method then, and not the Drudgery of science that is chiefly to be [pursued?][pressed?].
Why am I so silly as to trifle away my Time in such <useless> unprofitable scribbling—waste Paper, Pen, Ink, Time, Wood, Candles, in this idle Amuzement.
{Folio: 18}What is the Cause of Procrastination? To day my Stomack is disordered, and my Thoughts of Consequence, unsteady and confused. I cant study to day but will begin tomorrow. Tomorrow comes. Well, I feel pretty well, my head is pretty clear, but Company comes in. I cant yet study tomorrow, but will begin in earnest next day. Next day comes. We are out of Wood, I cant study: because I cant keep a fire. Thus, something is always wanting that is necessary.
What are the Proofs, the Characteristicks of Genius?—Answer Invention of <a System> new Systems or Combinations of old Ideas.
The Man, who has a faculty of inventing and combining into one Machine, or System, for the Execution of some Purpose and Accomplishment of some End, a great Number and Variety of Wheels, Levers, Pullies, Ropes &c. has a great Mechanical Genius. And the Proofs of his Genius, (unless it happen by mere luck) will be proportionably to the Number, and Variety of Movements, the Nice Connection of them, and the Efficacy of the entire Machine to answer its End. The last, I think at present, ought to be considered in [estimating?] any Genius. For altho Genius may be shewn in the Invention of a complicated Machine, which may be useless, or too expensive, for the End proposed, yet one of the most difficult Points is to contrive the Machine in such a manner, as to shorten, facilitate, and cheapen, any Manufacture &c. For to this End a Man will be obliged to revolve in his Mind perhaps an hundred Machines, which are possible but too unwieldy or expensive, and to select from all of them, one, which will answer the Purposes mentioned.
2. The Man who has a Faculty of feigning <a great Number, and Variety of Characters, Actions, Events &c.> and combining into one regular, correct, consistent Plan or Story, a great Number and Variety of Characters, Actions, Events &c. has a great poetical Genius. And the Proofs of his Genius are in Proportion to the Variety, Consistency and Number of his Characters, Actions and Events; and to the nice Connection and Dependence of these upon each other thro a whole Poem. And these Proofs have been given in a surprizing degree by { 73 } Milton and Shakespear, Homer, Virgil &c. Milton has feigned the Characters of Arch Angells and Devills, of Sin, Death, &c., out of his own creative Imagination and has adjusted, with great Sagacity, every Action and Event in his whole Poem to these Characters.
3. The Man, who has a Faculty of inventing Experiments and [reasoning?] on them [means?] of Starting new Experiments from that Reasoning, and on these Experiments forming new Reasonings till he reduces all his Experiments, all his Phenomena, to general Laws and Rules, and combines those Rules to an orderly [and re]gular Dependance on each other, thro the whole System, has a great Phylosophic Genius.
4. The Man who has a Faculty of considering all the faculties and Properties of human Nature, as the Senses, Passions, Reason, Imagination and faith, and of <combining> classing all these into order, into Rules, for the Conduct of private Life, has a great Genius in Morality.
5. He who has a Faculty of combining all these into Rules, for the Government of Society, to procure Peace, Plenty, Liberty, has a great political Genius.
Thus Order, Method, System, Connection, Plan, or whatever you call it, is the greatest Proof of Genius, next to Invention of new Wheels, Characters, Experiments, Rules, Laws, which is perhaps the first and greatest. Q[uery]. Does not the Word Invention express both these faculties, of inventing Wheels &c. and putting them in order.
Q. May not Genius be shewn in aranging a Mans Diet, Exercise, Sleep, Reading, Reflection, Writing &c. in the best order and Proportion, for His Improvement in Knowledge?
These are but vague, general, indeterminate Reflections. I have not Patience to pursue every particular attentively. But, This Patience <is the greatest Attainment> or a great Superiority to a mans own unsteadiness, is perhaps one of the greatest Marks of Genius. Inatention, Wandering, Unconnected Thoughts, are the opposites to this Patience.
Q[uery]. Had not Mr. [Prat?] some such Reflections in his mind, when he said that Mr. Edwards had given proofs of a Great Genius.16 —And Q. is not The Pilgrims Progress, according to these Rules, a Proof of a great Genius.—There is Invention.17
{Folio: 19}Ballast is what I want, I totter, with every Breeze. My motions are unsteady.
{ 74 }
Of what use to a Lawyer is that Part of oratory, which relates to the moving of the Passions? Without Simplicity no human Performance can arrive to any great Perfection.
The Talent, and Art of moving the Passions, may be used in a Capital Trial by the Counsel for the King, to raise the Resentment of the Jury, against the Crimes of the Prisoner, and by the Counsell for the Prisoner, to move the Compassion of the Jury.
It may be used to raise, in the Judges, Jury and Spectators, an Admiration, and Esteem of the wise, humane, equitable and free Constitution of Government we are under. It may be used to rouse in the Breasts of the Audience a gallant Spirit of Liberty, especially when declaiming upon any Occasion, on any Instance of arbitrary Conduct in an Officer or Magistrate.
Sound is I apprehend a more powerful Instrument of moving the Passions than Sense. Musick is capable of raising in the Mind every tender, generous, noble Passion and Sentiment. And as a Musician, to get the skill of moving the Passions, must study the Connection between sounds and Passions, so should an orator. Every Passion has its distinct peculiar sound. Anger, and Compassion, produce very different Modulations of the Voice, and so do fear, Love, Contempt, Joy, sorrow, and Admiration. An Orator to gain the Art of moving the Passions, must attend to Nature, must observe the Sounds in which all sorts of People, express the Passions and sentiments of their Hearts, and must learn to adapt his own Voice, to the Passion he would move. The easiest Way to this will be to possess his own Mind strongly, with the Passion he would raise, and then his Voice will conform it self of Course. Thus if you will raise in a Jury a Resentment of some great Crime, resent it strongly yourself, and then the boldest <Expressions> Thoughts and Words will occur to your mind, and utter themselves with the most natural Tone of Voice, Expression of Countenance and Gesture of your Body.
[Let] me examine in the greatest orators of Rome and Britain, what peculiar Sounds are used [to] express the different Emotions of the Mind—as Grief, Resentment, Fear, Horror, Courage, [Com]passion, Love, Joy &c. To examine this Point thoroughly would require a search [of] all the Poets and orators of all the Languages I understand.
Grief and Fear, in Tullies Oration for Milo,18 are uttered by Interrogations, and Exclamations. Quid me reducem esse voluistis? An ut, inspectante me, expellerentur ei, per quos essem restitutus? Nolite { 75 } obsecro vos, pati mihi acerbiorem Reditum esse, quam fuerit ille ipse Discessus. Nam qui possum putare me restitutum esse, si distrahar ab iis, per quos restitutus sum? Utinam dii immortales fecisse[n]t (pace tua, Patria, dixerim).19 This Figure which addresses Things without Life, as a Country, a Temple, a Monument, Virtue or Vice, Wisdom, Folly &c. as if they were Personages, is much used both in Poetry and oratory. [ . . . ] says,

Welcome for thee fair Virtue all the Past.

For thee fair Virtue welcome even the last.

He looks and speaks to Virtue as Tully looks and speaks to Patria his Country.—I believe tis called Apostrophe some times. Popes Address to L.B. in the Conclusion of his Ethic Epistles, is called an Apostrophe. [C]ome then my friend my Genius come along, Oh Master of the Poet and the Song.20
The Point, that Tully drives at, is the Acquittal of Milo. He is afraid that the Judges will sentence him to death or Banishment. It is Lachrimis non movetur Milo &c.21 His design here is to raise their Admiration of Miloes strength and Constancy of mind and of his Love of Virtue and Contempt of Exile. Then he speaks, in pungent, keen Questions, to the Judges. Vos Iudices quo tandem animo Eritis? Memoriam Milonis retinebitis, ipsum ejicietis? Et erit dignior Locus in Terris ullus, qui hanc Virtutem excipiat quam hi qui procreavit?—Thus I see that any great Agitation of mind breaks out into exclamations and Interrogations.—Vos, Vos appello fortissimi Viri. There is great Warm[th] in that Repetition of Vos, qui multum pro Republica sanguinem effudistis Vos in viri et in civis invicti appello periculo, Centuriones, vos que militus; vobis non modo inspectantibus, sed etiam armatis, et huic ludicio praesidentibus, haec tanta Virtus ex hac Urbe expellatur? exterminabitur? projicietur? <An Address with so much Vehemence> An Appeal to the Centurions and soldiers, complimenting them with the Epithet fortissimi Viri made with so solemn and vehement a Repetition Vos Vos, and feeling with so much sensibility, the Ingratitude, Cruelty, and folly of Banishing a Man who had rendered the Republic such Important services and was able and zealous to render still more, must have drawn Tears to their Eyes and Rage to their Breasts. His Mind seems to waver between Indignation at Clodius, and Admiration of Milo, between Love and Gratitude to Milo for his past favours to him and Services to the State, and Fear, dread of his Banishment. His Mind is a Ship in a Tempest, tossed and tumbled { 76 } with great Impetuosity, every Way. He breaks out into Exclamations to the Immortal Gods, and to the happy Coasts that shall receive Milo when banished and to his own ungrateful miserable Country if she shall banish him. I take it this Peroration for Milo, may be studied as a Model of the Pathetic.
I should distinguish between moving the Passions of another, as an Orator, and expressing Passion naturally, like a Dramatic Poet, for tho there may be an Affinity between them, yet they are distinct. Tully, in that Peroration, expresses the Passions of his own Mind, his Love, his Gratitude, his Grief and fear, and at the same time moves the Passions of the Judges, the Centurions and soldiers by appealing to them, to Heaven by exclaiming to his Country and that Country that should receive Milo if Banished, but a Dramatic Poet has to make each Character express his own Passions well, in order to raise the Passions of the Audience &c.
{Folio: 20}With what pathos does Othello bid farewell to War, in Shakespear.

Oh now forever

Farewell the tranquil Mind! farewell content;

Farewell the ploomed Troops and the big War

That make Ambition Virtue! Oh! farewell!

Farewell the neighing Steed, and the shrill Trump

The spirit stirring Drum, th’ear piercing fife

The Royal Banner and all Quality,

Pride, Pomp, and Circumstance of glorious War

And Oh! you mortal Engines, whose rude Throats

Th’immortal Joves dread Clamours counterfeit

Farewell! Othello’s Occupations gone!22

These Exclamations, Apostrophe’s, express, with the utmost grandeur of sounds, the deep Grief, Misery, and despair that <were in> raged within his Mind. Q[uery], is Grief always so sonorous23 and harmonious? Is it ever expressed in short broken sounds? I believe not, it always swells into numbers. I may say that Passion swells into Numbers, and Metaphors.
I have so many Irons in the Fire, that every one burns.—I have common, civil, natural Law, Poetry, Oratory, in Greek, latin, french, english to study, so that when I set down to read or think, so many subjects rush into my mind that I know not which to chuse.
{ 77 }
But to what End this subtle Inquiry into Niceties.—A minute Examination of syllables and sounds will never procure Genius. But Genius has often hit without design upon the most grand and proper sounds.
What are the Motives, that ought to urge me to hard study? The Desire of Fame, Fortune and personal Pleasure. A critical Knowledge of the Greek and Roman <Tongues and of the> and french Poetry, History and Oratory, a thorough comprehensive Knowledge of natural, civil, common, and Province Law, will draw upon me the Esteem and perhaps Admiration, (tho possibly the Envy too) of the Judges of both Courts, of the Lawyers and of Juries, who will spread my Fame thro the Province, will draw around m[e a S]warm of Clients who will furnish me with a plentiful Provision for my own Support, and for the Increase of my fortune. And by means of this Authority and Consideration, with the Judges, Lawyers, Juries and Clients, I shall be able to defend Innocence, to punish Guilt, and to promote Truth and Justice among Mankind.—But besides these Motives, there is another, no less powerful than either, which is the active Acquisition of Knowledge, in a peaceful, undisturbed Retirement. Here I should moderate my Passions, regulate my Desires, increase my Veneration of Virtue, and Resolution to pursue it, here I should range the whole material and Intellectual World, as far as human Powers can comprehend it, in silent Contemplation.—Now, if Fame, Fortune, Pleasure and Virtue have not Power to influence me, what am I? <Oh Genius> Oh [ . . . ]!24 Oh Learning! Oh Eloquence! <how shall I> may I dare to think I have the first? How shall I assume a Power to command the other two. Knowledge I can and will acquire, and has Language Power to charm, and shall not I avail my self of that Power?
Longinus says there is an Art of the Sublime. Swift says there is an Art of the Profound. Q[uery]. What Rules will help us to acquire both or either. As the sublime is a Property of Discourse, whether in Speaking or Writing, some real Cause which produces in the Hearer or Reader, Transport and Rapture, no doubt, that Property may be found out by examining critically those Passages which produce that Effect, and by comparing them with other Passages which produce no such Effect, or a contrary Effect, as Drowsiness, &c. And when the true, real Cause is known, we may endeavour to infuse it into our Discourse—e.g. If this Cause consists in sound only, we must inquire what sounds have and what have not this Effect upon us. And we must { 78 } chuse out such Words, as have that sound and avoid others. If it consists in sounds, we must inquire whether it consists in the sound of a particular Word or in the combination of all the Words in a Period. If it consist in the Idea only, we should inquire what Ideas have this Effect on the human mind? And we shall find, that the Ideas of Objects that are great in Nature, as that of the Sun, Moon, the Sky, Earthquakes, Thunder, Tempests, Comets, extensive Prospects &c. have this Effect on the mind. If it consist in the sentiment, we must inquire what sentiments have this Effect on the Mind? And we shall find that fixed Resolutions in favour of Virtue, Courage, disinterested Charity, Generosity, Contempt of littlenesses &c. have this Effect—Now from such observations as these, no doubt, Rules may be collected, and reduced into an Art for acquiring the sublime, the grand and noble, and for avoiding the low, little and mean in Discourse. I have not Leisure nor Patience, for examining the sublime Passages in Tully, Virgill, Milton, Shakespeare, Pope, Bolinbroke, Swift, Addison, Tillotson, Ovid, Horace &c. by these Rules. In that very sublime Passage in Milton where the Effect of Satans Speech upon his infernal Host is described,25 The sublimity consists, Partly, in the sound of the Words, partly in the Ideas, that they convey, and partly in the Sentiments.—Out flew Millions of flaming Swords drawn from the [Thigh]s of Mighty Cherubim, the sudden Blaze far round illumind Hell, highly they ragd [Again]st the highest, <and fierce>—Many of these Words, as flew, flaming, [ . . . ]26 drawn, mighty, Blaze, far, round, highly, ragd, have when pronounced seperately, a grand Sound, and here they are arranged into a very harmonious order.
{Folio: 21}And fierce with grasped Arms, clashd on the sounding Shields the Din of War, Hurling Defiance towards the Vault of Heaven.
The Words fierce, grasped, Arms, clashd, sounding, War have a loud grand sound and are so disposed in this Line, as both to elevate and quicken the Voice of the Reader, which makes the whole frame of both Reader and Hearer thril with Transport.
Then in the next Line, hurling, Defiance, Vault, have all a bold elevated sound.
Thus it seems that the bare sound of the Words, as disposed in this Passage, have an Effect upon the Hearer like the sound of a musical Instrument, playing some grand and sublime Tune.
Now let us examine the Ideas conveyed by these Sounds. Out flew—The Idea of Millions, a great, a surprizing Number of blazing swords. There is something great and terrible in the Idea of a single blazing glittering sword, because we associate with it, the Idea of Slaughter { 79 } and Blood and Death, which naturally shock and arouse us, but when the Idea of Millions of blazing swords, as much larger than our swords as a Devil is supposed larger than a Man, flying instantaneously out from the scabbards of a whole Host of Devils, and brandished in air, enters the Mind it alarms, rouses, astonishes it. But then the sudden Blaze [created?] by all these Swords illumins all Hell. The Idea of a Flash of Lightning, is grand and elevating to the Mind, but a flash like this, that brightens the dark Abodes below, astonishes every mind. Then the Idea of grasping suddenly their Arms, Spears, Swords &c. and each one clashing his upon his shield, raises an Idea of a direful Clash, that neither Thunder, Earthquake nor Tempest, tho’ all of them grand sounds can equall. Then the Din of War calls up the Ideas of all those sounds that attend an Army, the sound of Drums, Trumpetts, and all sorts of musical Instruments, the murmuring, shoutings, screamings of living and [dying?], which is very terrible and shocking to the Mind. Then come the Ideas of Hurling, which denotes strength and Activity, both of which are [ . . . ] and elevating, then of Defiance, which denotes a grand Temper of mind, then the Idea of the Vault of [Hea]ven, which is one of the sublimes[t] Objects in Nature.—It is scarce possi[ble to] conceive how a greater Number of great Ideas could be asserted [in] so few Lines.
[Lastl]y let us examine the Sentiments. The general sentiment is that of Rebellion and Warfare, proclaimed by all the infernal Host against the Almighty, which is a sentiment that cant fail to excite Horror and Astonishment in every human mind. Then comes a sentiment, that they raged against God which raises the [ . . . ] still higher, till at last it breaks out into open impious Defiance, scorn and Contempt, which compleats the Passage and makes the Blood of [every?] Reader, who has a soul, curdle from his fingers to his Toes.
Perhaps few Passages can be quoted, in any Language in Prose or Verse, where sounds, Ideas, and Thoughts [conspire?][conform?] so perfectly and seem to [contend?] which shall produce most Astonishment in the Reader, with this.
N.B. Tho I always admired this Passage, and have repeated it 1000 times, yet I never found 1/2 so many Beauties in it as this Examination has laid open to my sight.
Thus we see in this Passage, not only soft and smo[o]th sounds but such as are harsh and grating, not only Ideas of Objects that are beautiful and lovely, but of such as are deformed and detestible, not only sentiments that are generous, grateful, noble, but such as are ungrateful, impious, horrible, may be employed in producing the sublime.
{ 80 }
But to return. I collect from this Heap, that The Art of the sublime, like the Art of natural Philosophy is [formed?][founded?] in a science, and that Experiment and Observation are the natural means of improving both. We must make Trial of the Effects of different Sounds, of different Ideas, and of different Sentiments, on the human Senses, Passions, Imagination, and Understanding, to discover general Rules for producing the Sublime and avoiding the low.
Tis desirable to know the general system of humanity, to know the most remarkable Things in this World.
1. This very miscellaneous entry, occupying pages {16–21} of the MS as it survives, is actually a series of detached jottings, letter drafts, literary exercises, notes on books read, &c., which seem from the handwriting and the appearance of the MS to have been put down at the same period, although not all at once and not necessarily consecutively. That they all belong to the last three months of 1758 seems clear from the evidence adduced and discussed in the Introduction.
2. The recipient’s copy of this letter, bearing the addressee’s name on the cover, is in the Adams Papers, having been returned at some point by a Cranch descendant. It is without date or signature (but see the discussion of its probable date, Nov.–Dec. 1758, in the Introduction, p. 13) and varies sufficiently from the draft to show that JA worked hard over his epistolary style; see the textual notes below.
On Richard Cranch (1726–1811), see Adams Genealogy; indexes to JA, Diary and Autobiography, and to Adams Family Correspondence; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 11:370–376.
3. That is to say, Cranch’s letter (not found), to which JA is replying, enclosed a note (also not found) from “Orlinda.” From what follows it would appear that Cranch and Hannah wrote their notes to JA during a gay rendezvous over a tea table. JA may have been invited, but he could not or at any rate did not attend. On the identification of “Orlinda” as Hannah Quincy, and JA’s love affair with her, see the Introduction, p. 11–13.
4. Thus also in RC. This spelling is not recorded, but the word is probably JA’s fancy equivalent of “conserves.”
5. Manchineel: “A West Indian tree . . . having a poisonous and caustic milky sap, and acrid fruit somewhat resembling an apple” (OED).
6. RC: “which my Pen cannot describe.”
7. RC adds a sentence at this point: “The Idea of this has engrossed my whole Attention.”
8. In RC this sentence reads: “I go to bed, and ruminate half the night, then fall asleep and dream of the same enchanting scenes till morning comes and brings Chagrin, fretfulness and Rage, in exchange for Bliss and Rest.”
9. It should be pointed out that it was over a tea table at Col. Quincy’s that JA and Hannah Quincy had their first recorded, and very intimate and revealing, conversation, apparently early in Jan. 1759 (JA, Diary and Autobiography,1:66–67).
10. This wish, or curse, was almost literally realized. In the minds of Braintree people, even if not formally, Hannah Quincy and Dr. Bela Lincoln (1734–1773), of Hingham, her brother Sam’s Harvard classmate, were engaged from at least early 1759—at the very time JA was nearly trapped into making a marriage proposal to her. The courtship did not go at all smoothly, but the marriage took place on 1 May 1760. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:87–88, 102, 114, 118–119, 176–177; and, on Lincoln generally, Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:455–457. A few months later JA described in shockingly vivid terms a scene between the new husband and wife that drove from his mind any bad wishes he had ever made for Hannah. In her own father’s house { 81 } Lincoln “treated his Wife, as no drunken Cobler, or Clothier would have done, before Company. Her father never gave such Looks and Answers to one of his slaves.” Examples follow of Lincoln’s “hoggish” and “brutally rustic” conduct toward Hannah that made her sink “into silence and shame and Grief” (JA, Diary and Autobiography,1:176–177).
Two things may be said of this account. JA’s affection for “Orlinda” was not yet dead, and Hannah’s fate was a sad one for a girl who had recently had many of the young men of Braintree at her feet. As things turned out, Bela Lincoln died before he was forty, and in 1777 his widow married a well-to-do Boston widower, Ebenezer Storer, merchant, deacon of the Brattle Square Church, and recently appointed treasurer of Harvard College—“an exceeding good match,” as AA reported to her husband, “and much approved of” (Adams Family Correspondence, 2:356). Storer was famous for his kindness and good works, and the marriage was a long and happy one. (On Storer generally, see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:208–214.) The Adams Papers files show that AA sent Mrs. Storer news and patterns from Europe, and the families remained on cordial relations for many years.
Mrs. Storer long outlived her husband, as JA outlived AA. The history of JA’s relationship with the fascinating Orlinda closes with an incident as dramatic as it is fitting. It was told by a great-nephew of Mrs. Storer, Josiah Quincy (1802–1882), author of a charming book of reminiscences. From boyhood he remembered a certain “sylvan spot,” in that part of Braintree that became Quincy, which was always known as “Cupid’s Grove” and plays a part in his anecdote. Sometime in the early 1820's young Quincy was “deputed to attend [his] venerable relative on a visit to the equally venerable ex-President,” the Adams and the Quincy homesteads not being far apart.
“Both parties [Quincy relates] were verging upon their ninetieth year.... When Mrs. Storer entered the room, the old gentleman’s face lighted up, as he exclaimed, with ardor, ‘What! Madam, shall we not go walk in Cupid’s Grove together?’ To say the truth, the lady seemed somewhat embarrassed by this utterly unlooked-for salutation. It seemed to hurry her back through the past with such rapidity as fairly to take away her breath. But self-possession came at last, and with it a suspicion of girlish archness, as she replied, ‘Ah, sir, it would not be the first time that we have walked there!’” (Figures of the Past, p. 56–57.)
11. There is nothing to indicate to whom this passage, possibly a quotation, was meant to apply.
12. The impersonal style and the general substance of the letter that follows suggest that it was written as a literary exercise rather than addressed to a friend. Possibly it was intended for newspaper publication.
13. Editorially supplied.
14. Editorially supplied.
15. Editorially supplied.
16. Apparently an allusion to remarks made by Benjamin Prat (1711–1763), Harvard 1737, a leader of the Boston bar and later chief justice of New York Province, in reference to the celebrated theologian and author Jonathan Edwards (1703–1758), Yale 1720. On Prat see Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 10:226–239; on Edwards, DAB.
17. It is at this point in the MS, between {18} and {19}, that three leaves (six pages) were slit out by JA for some other use, probably (but not certainly) before the present reflections were entered in the Diary Fragment. See the Introduction, p. 5.
18. Relevant to the following analysis of Cicero’s rhetoric and its actually physical effect on JA is the following passage, written at approximately the same time:
“Thurdsday [21 Dec. 1758]. Yesterday and to day I have read loud, Tullius 4 Orations against Cataline. The Sweetness and Grandeur of his sounds, and the Harmony of his Numbers give Pleasure enough to reward the Reading if one understood none of his meaning. Besides I find it, a noble Exercise. It exercises my Lungs, raises my Spirits, opens my Porr[s], quickens the Circulations, and so contributes much to Health” (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:63).
19. From Cicero’s Speech on Behalf of Titus Annius Milo, §§37–38.
20. These lines, addressed by Pope (as { 82 } JA says) to “L[ord] B[olingbroke],” are not from the “Ethic Epistles” or Moral Essays, but from the Essay on Man, Epistle IV, lines 373–374.
21. This and the following quoted and paraphrased matter are from Cicero’s Oration for Milo, §37.
22. Othello, Act III, scene ii, lines 347–357.
23. MS apparently reads “sonorerous.”
24. Here is an unresolved crux in the text, and, unfortunately, in a passage very revealing of JA’s hopes and fears concerning himself—a passage, too, of some interest for the historian of ideas because of its distinction between “genius” in its then very newest sense and acquired knowledge and skills.
JA clearly first wrote: “Oh Genius! Oh Learning! Oh Eloquence!” and, hardly daring to ask himself if he had “the first” of these, he could comfort himself only with the realization that, with effort, he could acquire the other two—“Learning” (or “Knowledge”) and “Eloquence” (or “Language [with] the Power to charm”). In shaping these thoughts he at some point crossed out the first of the three qualities in his list (“Genius”), but what he cramped into the space above it is utterly cryptic; perhaps “Gens” or Gius”—a hasty and contracted restoration of what he had originally written and then (wrongly) crossed out. Whatever he finally wrote, it seems unquestionable that he meant “Genius.”
25. Paradise Lost, bk. I, lines 663–669, whence the quoted and paraphrased matter below is taken.
26. Corner of page torn away in MS.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0002-0001

Editorial Note on the Case of Field v. Lambert

By L. Kinvin Wroth and Hiller B. Zobel

A number of the later entries in the newly discovered Diary Fragment add precious scraps of information to the relatively little known of the very beginnings of John Adams’ career as a lawyer. Much the most important among them are the notes and drafts, scattered and disorderly but substantial, that Adams prepared for his first case, Field v. Lambert. In combination with several entries in the Diary as published in 1961, these materials permit a detailed examination of this crucial and traumatic episode.1
The new materials on Field v. Lambert appear in three separate entries in the MS of the Fragment. In keeping with the editorial policy throughout this volume, they are printed in their original order at pages 89–90, 93–94, and 94–96, below. Within these entries five separate items may be distinguished. In the first entry are a brief discussion of the calling and name of mason and a list of queries concerning the declaration in the case. The second entry is a draft of the declaration. The third entry contains an alternative or revised passage from the declaration and some further notes and queries on it.
{ 83 }
The case arose on 10 October 1758, when two of Luke Lambert’s horses broke into Joseph Field’s Braintree meadow “and lay there some time, damage feasant.” When Lambert discovered the horses, he entered the meadow himself, anxious to avoid paying for any harm that they had done. Despite Field’s active protests, Lambert “waved his Hat, and Screamed at” the horses, driving them away, “with[out] tendering Feild his Damages.” Field, who had been unable to collect damages in an earlier similar incident, now brought suit against Lambert by making complaint before Justice Josiah Quincy, Adams’ Braintree friend and neighbor. The defendant apparently did not appear when summoned, because Field obtained a warrant of contempt, “directed to the Constable, who brought the Offender before the Justice, attended with the Complainant, and the Witnesses ordered to be summoned.” Adams was present at the hearing on the warrant, held on 13 October.2 He was apparently not of counsel in the case, but sat in as friend, not only of the court, but of the only attorney who seems to have appeared, and presumably of the parties as well.
The legal gist of Field’s case was that Lambert was guilty of a “Rescous,” or rescue, an unlawful taking of property from one who is lawfully detaining it. Field’s position was that he had been in the process of driving the offending animals to the town pound, where by law they could be boarded at the owner’s expense.3 His claim was based on a Province statute which provided that a person rescuing from one “about to drive them to the pound” animals which had been “taken up” after being “found damage-feasant in any . . . inclosure” should forfeit the sum of 40s. to the poor of the town and be liable for “all just damages” suffered by the rescuee.4
Justice Quincy never reached the merits of the case. Before he could proceed, his son Samuel, Adams’ contemporary at the bar, “took Exception on the Warrant” in Lambert’s behalf. In effect young Quincy was saying that his client could not be held in contempt, because the Justice had lacked jurisdiction in the original suit. The grounds of the exception were, first, that the total sum claimed in the suit (40s. forfeiture and 9s. damages) exceeded the statutory limit of 40s. placed on the jurisdiction of a single justice,5 and, second, that an action under the statute could { 84 } be brought only in a “court of record” and that the court of a single justice was not such a court. Justice Quincy forthwith ordered an adjournment that he might “inform himself” upon the two points raised.6
In his Diary, following his account of the proceeding, Adams noted several questions involved in the court-of-record problem.7 These notes support his subsequent assertion that he had been the first to suggest the lack of jurisdiction. Nearly a month later Justice Quincy reported that he had learned from a fellow justice of the peace that his was indeed not a court of record. Quincy boasted of the acumen of his son “Sammy,” who “was all along of that Opinion,” but affected not to remember Adams’ position on the question. Adams squirmed under the slight, asking himself, “Was forgetfulness, was Partiality, or was a cunning Design to try if I was not vain of being the Starter of the Doubt [as to jurisdiction], the true Cause of” it?8 No record has been found, but the Diary entries indicate that, whoever raised them, these jurisdictional issues were the basis for a dismissal of Field’s action.
Thereafter, Adams was retained by Field to bring a new action against Lambert. On 18 December he delivered to his client “a Declaration in Trespass for a Rescue,” about which he expressed manifold misgivings:
I was obliged to finish it, without sufficient examination. If it should escape an Abatement, it is quite indigested, and unclerklike. I am ashamed of it, and concerned for it. If my first Writt should be abated, if I should throw a large Bill of Costs on my first Client, my Character and Business will suffer greatly. It will be said, I dont understand my Business. No one will trust his Interest in my hands. I never Saw a Writt, on that Law of the Province. I was perplexed, and am very anxious about it.... How this first Undertaking will terminate, I know not. I hope the Dispute will be settled between them, or submitted, and so my Writt never come to an Examination.9
It is Adams’ draft of this declaration, seeking 40s. forfeiture and 20s. damages, which appears in the Diary Fragment in the second of the entries that relate to Field v. Lambert.
The court in which Adams intended to enter the action cannot be determined with certainty on the basis of present evidence. The most likely possibilities are (1) that it was to be a suit in the Suffolk County Inferior Court of Common Pleas and (2) that it was simply to be a new proceeding before Justice Quincy or another local justice of the peace.10
{ 85 }
If Field’s first action before Quincy was in fact disposed of upon jurisdictional grounds, it seems unlikely that Adams would have proceeded again before a justice of the peace. There is other evidence that the second action was in the Suffolk Inferior Court. The fact that the declaration sought damages in the lump sum of £3 suggests that Adams was not overly concerned with monetary limits on jurisdiction. Moreover, 18 December was the day before the deadline for the service of writs to be returned to the January 1759 Suffolk Inferior Court, which sat on 2 January.11 This fact might explain the necessity for hasty drafting which Adams lamented in the Diary entry just quoted. The importance which Adams attached to the matter in that Diary entry also suggests that he was about to walk upon a stage broader than that of a justice’s court. That he did at least some business at the January Inferior Court, appears from his writ in Adams v. Penniman, dated 19 December, which was entered at that term.12 Finally, in his later queries about the writ, appended to the first Field v. Lambert entry in the Diary Fragment, Adams spoke of the alternative possibility of filing “an Information ... vs. Lambert this Court,” which could well have meant at the then current term of the Inferior Court in which the civil action was pending.
The only difficulty with this hypothesis is that no entry for Field v. Lambert has been found in the Minute Book of the Suffolk Inferior Court for the January 1759 term. If the case was in fact decided by that court, either it was omitted from the Minute Book through clerical error, or the questions raised by the plea in abatement on which it was disposed of were decided by the court prior to entry. It is possible that there was some such informal proceeding before the start of the term, established by rule of court to save litigants some of the costs of proceeding in vain cases, but no other evidence of its existence has been uncovered.13
In view of these problems, it is possible that the action was brought before a justice of the peace, despite the jurisdictional objections which had seemed to prevail against Field’s first action. Lambert, or his counsel, may simply have agreed to waive the jurisdictional questions so that the matter could be disposed of without the expense and delay of a trial in the { 86 } Inferior Court.14 Or Adams may have convinced his adversaries that in a new proceeding he could successfully argue that the case was within the jurisdiction of a single justice. In October he had made note of authorities from which he might have contended that a justice’s court was a court of record.15 Perhaps he was also prepared to urge that the 40s. limit on the jurisdiction was not exceeded when damages were sought on two separate grounds, each of which alone was within the limit.16
In the days following his delivery of the writ, Adams’ misgivings continued to mount. He noted endless queries on points of detail in the first and third entries bearing on the case in the Diary Fragment, until, at last exhausted, he asked himself, “What have I been doing. Only drawing a Writt.” Finally, Lambert’s plea in abatement was filed. The grounds for the plea may have included the failure of the writ to allege Lambert’s “addition,” or calling, correctly. On this point Adams prepared a fairly elaborate note which is a part of the first Field v. Lambert entry in the Diary Fragment. This was probably only preliminary research or thought on the question, but could possibly have been part of an argument. Whether such an argument was ever delivered has not been determined. At length the writ abated, apparently on the different ground that Adams { 87 } had omitted “the County, in the Direction to the Constables of Braintree,” a slip which he had earlier noted in his first list of queries as perhaps constituting “a fatal omission.”17
The self-doubt apparent in Adams’ initial worries about his draftsmanship burst forth again in his reaction to the unfortunate news. He expressed his fears that the affair would make him a laughingstock, then went on to a thorough analysis of his failings:
Impudence, Drollery, Villany, in Lambert, Indiscretion, Inconsideration, Irresolution, and ill Luck in me, and Stinginess as well as ill Luck on the Side of Field, all unnite in this Case to injure me....
Let me Note the fatal Consequences of Precipitation. My first Determination, what to do in this affair was right. I determined not to meddle. But By the cruel Reproaches of my Mother, by the Importunity of Field, and by the fear of having it thought I was incapable of drawing the Writt, I was seduced from that determination, and what is the Consequence? The Writt is defective. It will be said, I undertook the Case but was unable to manage it. This Nonsuit will be in the mouth of every Body. Lambert will proclaim it....
An opinion will spread among the People, that I have not Cunning enough to cope with Lambert. I should endeavor at my first setting out to possess the People with an Opinion of my subtilty and Cunning. But this affair certainly looks like a strong Proof of the Contrary.18
Time has proved Adams’ fears unfounded, but he seems to have learned at least one lesson that would help him to avoid similar setbacks in the future. “Let me never undertake to draw a Writt,” he wrote, “without sufficient Time to examine, and digest in my mind all the Doubts, Queries, Objections that may arise.”19
That Adams had spent enough time after this writ was drawn in examining “Doubts, Queries, Objections” appears from his many queries concerning it. One group of problems, pertaining to the writ proper, has already been mentioned. They dealt with the defendant’s “addition” and the omission of the word “county” from the direction to the constables. These matters would have appeared in the formal part of the writ embodied in the printed portion of the form usually used and so are not found in Adams’ draft of the declaration. They seem to have been the only questions actually considered by the court.
A second group of problems concerned the declaration. Adams was worried that many specific allegations were defective. For example, he feared that the words “taken up” were too specific a description of Field’s { 88 } discovery of the horses and thus might lead to a fatal variance between pleading and proof; that “Damage feasant” was too vague an allegation of the activities of the horses prior to Field’s attempt to impound them; that the damage done by the horses should have been pleaded specially; and that whether the forfeiture was to the poor of the precinct or of the town should have been specified.
A more fundamental difficulty lay in Adams’ confusion as to whether the action should have been in debt or in trespass. The action of debt lay for the recovery of a sum certain and was the usual form of proceeding for a penalty recoverable by statute. Such actions were usually “qui tam” in form—that is, brought by a private individual “who sues as well in behalf of” whoever was beneficiary of the penalty “as for himself.” Trespass, on the other hand, was the proper remedy for damages occasioned by the defendant’s direct physical act against the person, property, or lands of the plaintiff. Perhaps Adams may be forgiven his confusion: the statute provided both a fixed penalty, such as was commonly sued for in debt, and actual damages of the sort for which trespass might have been said to lie.
If it was necessary to choose between the two forms, debt probably would have been the better alternative. Recovery of the forfeiture to the poor in trespass does not seem in accord with the direct-injury-damages rationale of that action as it was known in the 18th century. Recovery of the actual damages in debt, on the other hand, seems easier to rationalize, on the theory that the damages, equally with the forfeiture, were owing by virtue of the statute. Contemporary Massachusetts forms and later authority suggest that debt’s requirement of a sum certain was relaxed in such statutory actions.20 Perhaps still another course would have been wiser. If the statute could have been read to permit it, Adams might have brought separate actions of debt for the forfeiture and trespass on the case for the damages. This method, which avoids the conceptual difficulties presented by a single action, was adopted in a revision of the statute enacted in 1789.21
Many, if not most, of Adams’ “Doubts, Queries, Objections” probably would have had more force in the realm of speculation than in the reality of the courtroom—especially in a jurisdiction not given to excessive formality in pleading. Nevertheless, they are of interest, showing, as they do, not only the excessive legalism of the new-hatched lawyer, but also the painful { 89 } doubts which can assail even an experienced practitioner who has just concocted pleadings that are slightly out of the ordinary.
1. JA’s early career is summarized and pertinent references to his Diary and Autobiography are collected in JA, Legal Papers, 1:lv–lvii. The brief account of Field v. Lambert and the statement that JA’s first action in the Suffolk Inferior Court was entered in July 1759 are inaccurate, as the present discussion demonstrates.
2. JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:48 (13 Oct. 1758). For the earlier controversy between the two, see same, p. 50. This proceeding was apparently one under the Act of 18 June 1697, c. 8, §1, 1 Mass., Province Laws 282–283, providing that upon complaint of any “debt, trespass or other matter” within his jurisdiction, a justice of the peace was to grant a writ against the party complained of, to be served by the sheriff or other officer in the normal manner. “And in case of non-appearance upon summons duely served, being so returned by the officer, such justice may issue out a warrant of contempt, directed to the sheriff, or marshal, or other officer, as aforesaid, to bring the contemner before him, as well to answer the said contempt as the plaintiff’s action.” See also the form of a warrant for contempt, Act of 5 June 1701, c. 4, §1, same, p. 463.
3. Act of 10 June 1698, c. 6, §§2, 3, same, p. 322–323.
4. Act of 10 June 1698, c. 6, §4, same, p. 323, set out at p. 93, note 2, below.
5. By Act of 18 June 1697, c. 8, §1, same, p. 282, “all manner of debts, trespasses and other matters, not exceeding the value of forty shillings (wherein the title of land is not concerned), shall and may be heard, tryed, adjudged and determined, by any of his majestie’s justices of the peace within this province, in their respective precincts.”
7. Same, p. 49–50.
8. Same, p. 57–58 (5? Nov. 1758).
9. Same, p. 62–63 (18 Dec. 1758).
10. Although it is possible that the action was to have been brought in the Bristol or Plymouth County Inferior Courts, which also had December terms (Act of 23 April 1743, c. 32 §1, 3 Mass., Province Laws 64), this seems improbable, because a writ served on 18 December would have been too late for either court under the statutory rule that service must be had at least fourteen days prior to the sitting of the court at which the writ was returnable. Act of 26 June 1699, c. 2, §3> 1 Mass., Province Laws 370. Furthermore, there is no evidence that JA had at this early stage taken steps to procure his admission to practice in any county other than Suffolk.
11. See Act of 26 June 1699, c. 2, §3, 1 Mass., Province Laws 370; Act of 23 April 1743, c. 32, §1, 3 Mass., Province Laws 64.
12. Min. Bk., Inf. Ct., Suffolk, Jan. 1759, No. 100. The suit was on a note. Plaintiff recovered judgment by default of £9 8s. 7d. and costs of £2 7s. 6d. See the writ (in JA’s hand and endorsed by him) and the bill of costs in the Inferior Court Files, Jan. 1759. Office of the Clerk of the Superior Court for Civil Business, Suffolk County Court House, Boston, Mass.
13. Under the Act of 15 Jan. 1743, c. 13, §1, 3 Mass., Province Laws 29, the jury in the Suffolk County Inferior Court was not to attend until the second Tuesday of each session, in order that pleas in abatement and other nonjury matters might be heard first. No statutory provision for a hearing session prior to the beginning of each term has been found, however. JA’s Diary entry, note 18 below, to which the date 29 Dec. 1758 was originally assigned by the editors, would seem to support the preliminary-hearing theory. The position of the entry in the MS is such, however, that it could date from the following week; it is thus also consistent with the clerical-error theory.
14. Although there was authority in the 18th century that such a waiver of jurisdiction was of no effect if the judgment were later attacked, the rule that the court could raise this question on its own motion seems to have been a more recent development. See Lucking v. Denning, 1 Salk. 201, 202, 91 Eng. Rep. 180, 181 (Q.B. ca. 1702); Mansfield C. & L.M. Ry. Co. v. Swan, 111 U.S. 379 (1884); Shipman, Common Law Pleading 385; Dobbs, “The Decline of Jurisdiction by Consent,” 40 N.C.L. Rev. 49, 66–75 (1961).
15. See JA, Diary and Autobiography,1:49, where JA apparently refers to Thomas Wood, An Institute of the Laws of England 447 (London, 6th edn., 1738), and Giles Jacob, A New Law-Dictionary, title Court (London, 5th edn., 1744), works familiar to him from his studies with Putnam. See JA, Diary and Autobiography,1:173. The passage from Wood, essentially similar to that from Jacob, is as follows: “A Court of Record is that which hath Power to Hold Plea according to the Course of the Common Law, of Real, Personal and Mixt Actions, where the Debt or Damage may be 40s. or Above, and where it may hold Plea of Trespasses Vi et Armis; and Whose Acts and Memorials of the Proceedings in the Courts are in Parchment.... A Court Not of Record is either, where it cannot hold Plea of Debt or Trespass, if the Debt or Damages amount to 40s. or of Trespasses Vi et Armis; or where the Proceedings are not according to the Course of the Common Law, and where the Acts of Court are not Enroll’d in Parchment.... Note, That a Court that is not of Record, cannot impose a Fine, or Imprison.” JA also mentioned Michael Dalton, The Countrey Justice (London, 1746), undoubtedly referring to this passage at p. 5: “They [i.e. justices of the peace] be called Justices because they be Judges of Record.”
16. In a modern view, at least, if the prior decision in fact had been on jurisdictional grounds, these arguments might have run afoul of the doctrine of res judicata, unless Justice Quincy could be understood to have decided only the question of jurisdiction over the writ before him. See American Law Institute, Restatement of Judgments §50 (St. Paul, 1942).
17. See JA, Diary and Autobiography,1:65. The “direction” was the phrase at the beginning of the statutory form of writ, “to the sheriffe or marshal of our county of S., his undersheriffe or deputy, greeting.” Act of 3 June 1701, c. 2, §1, 1 Mass., Province Laws 460 (Inferior Court); Act of 5 June 1701, c. 4, same, p. 462 (Justice of the peace). Where the amount sued for in the Inferior Court was less than £10, writs might “be also directed to the constable of the town.” Act of 26 June 1699, c. 2, §3, same, p. 370. A direction to the constable was also proper in a writ to a justice of the peace. Act of 18 June 1697, c. 8, §1, same, p. 282.
19. Same, p. 65.
20. See forms attributed to JA’s contemporaries, Richard Dana, Jeremiah Gridley, and William Pynchon in American Precedents of Declarations 342–344 (N.Y., 2d edn., John Anthon, 1810); compare Reed v. Davis, 8 Pick. (Mass.) 514, 516 (1829).
21. Act of 14 Feb. 1789, §6, 1 Laws of Mass. 458 (1807). See Melody v. Reab, 4 Mass. 471, 473 (1808). Trespass on the case, rather than trespass, presumably would have been the proper form, because loss of compensation for the harm done by the horses was only an indirect result of the rescue. Of course, if a separate action could be brought for the damages, the only reasons for bringing the forfeiture action at all would seem to be either the desire to lower the town poor rates by providing an additional source of funds, or an urge for revenge upon the defendant.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0002-0002

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12
{Folio: 22}

[The Case of Field v. Lambert, December 1758.]

The Mistery of Masonry not Freemasonry, comprehends the Plaistering of Walls and Cielings, as well as the Laying of Bricks and building Chimneys, so that it is more extensive than the Addition of Bricklayer.1 Masonry deals in Cement, in every Thing which requires the Use of the Trowell, and was an Art, an Occupation before the society that goes by that name was ever heard of in the World, for this society took its Name from that Trade by reason of The Trowell which was an Instrument common to these Gentlemen and their less honourable breth[r]en, the Bricklayers, and Mortar managers. This Society has been called [Lobronorum?], ficto nomine, generosa, compacta societas,2 which shews it was a Nick name borrowed from these manual Artificers and applied to that Society.
Q[uery]. Is not the omission of the County, in the Direction to the Constables of Braintree, a fatal omission.
2. Should <it> I not have <been> added, after “said Joseph,” these Words, “who sues as well in Behalf of the Poor of the North Precinct, in Braintree, as for him self.”
3. Would not the Word “found” have been more proper than “taken up” and if Defendant pleads not guilty modo et forma, will not a failure to prove that Field had taken the Horses up i.e. that he had bridled or haltered them or else had begun to drive them towards the Pown,3 be a failure to prove the Declaration? Or in other Words, will <Evidence> Proof by Witnesses that he had seen the Horses, been to his Neighbours House to borrow a Halter, and then into his own to get a Hand to assist him in catching the Horses, be sufficient Evidence of his taking up the Horses according to the Words of the Declaration.
4. Should there not have been a more express and positive Averrment that the Horses broke into his Close and did Damage the[re] than that which is implied in the Words, “rescu’d 2 Horses which the Plaintiff had taken up Damage feasant,”4 there?
5. Should it not have been averred, that Lambert entered the Close subtilly and craftily, intending and contriving, to prevent the said Field from driving them to Pound, and of consequence to defraud { 90 } Field of his Recompence for the Damages the Horses had done him?
6. The Declaration begins in Trespass, but it concludes in Debt, “which sums so forfeited and due,”5 the Defendant has refused to pay. This sounds like Debt for some certain sum that is compleatly due by force of some Law of the Province. These sums may be said to be compleatly due, but the Damages, that Field was [to] recover for himself, were quite uncertain. Now Q[uery] whether this is not in some sort blending together Debt and Trespass, and Q. whether such a blending is not fatal?
7. It is concluded ad Damnum of said Joseph the whole sum Damages and forfeiture and all.—Q. will not this be fatal.
8. Is Mason a good Addition?6
9. Should there not have been a more particular Averment of the Value of the Damages the Horses did, in breaking Fence, trampling and eating Grass &c.
10. What is the Method of Proceedings on an Information? Can an Information be filed vs. Lambert this Court?
11. Should the forfeiture be sett forth to be to the Poor of the North Precinct or to the Poor of the Town of Braintree.
[ . . . ] Close against the Road, from which the Horses broke in was [ . . . ] in that Place where the Horses broke in [ . . . ] Difference, as the Horses had no Right to go in [ . . . ] Road?7
{Folio: 23} And Q[uery] Whether that Entry and driving away, is a Rescous. Field had not actually taken up the Horses, i.e. had not bridled nor haltered them.8
1. In this passage JA recorded what he had learned from some treatise, not identified but probably a work on Freemasonry, about the origin and application of the name “mason.” “Addition” here means the allegation of a party’s occupation or degree, which had to be correct or the writ would abate. (See JA, Legal Papers, 1:32.) This was a matter of concern to JA in drafting his declaration against Luke Lambert; see Query 8 further on in this entry.
2. The first word appears to be gibberish. A wild guess is that it may stand for “Laboronorum,” in which case the Latin phrase may be tortuously rendered as: “known by the feigned name (ficto nomine) of the noble, federated society of workers”—i.e. Freemasons(?).
3. Thus apparently in MS; a telescoping of “Town” and “Pound.”
4. Closing quotation mark supplied.
5. Closing quotation mark supplied.
6. See note 1, above.
7. This paragraph falls at the foot of a page, the corner of which has been torn away, taking with it several words in each of the gaps indicated in the text.
8. The notes on Field v. Lambert resume after the following letter to Crawford and its appendage.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0003-0001

Author: Adams, John
Recipient: Crawford, William
Date: 1758-10

[A Letter to William Crawford Telling “How I Live,” October 1758.]1

To [William] Crawford2
How it is with you I know not, but if I am rightly informed, I am yet alive and not dead. And to prove it to you, I will tell you how I live. I sleep, 12 or 13 Hours, Smoke 10 or 12 Pipes, read 5 or 6 Pages, think of 19 or 20 Ideas, and eat 3 or 4 Meals, every 24 Hours. I have either mounted above or sunk below, I have not Penetration enough to say which, all Thoughts of Fame, Fortune, or even Matrimony. You must not conclude from all this, that I am in the Vapours. Far otherwise. I never was in much better Health, or higher Spirits in my Life. Both my mind and Body are in a very easy situation, tortu[red] with no Pain, disturbed by no Anxiety, and transported with no Pleasure. The strongest Desire I have left, is that of seeing my frie[nds] at Worcester, <But when or how that desire will be gratified, I know not.> and the only Passion I have left, is Envy of the Pleasure You enjoy in living so near B.G.3—Remind the Dr. and his Lady4 of my sincere friendship, Mr. Putnam and his Lady,5[Col. Gardiner] and his Lady6 of the same and Betsy Green, of the sighs, Wishes, Hart Ach, Hopes, Fears, that in spig[ht] of the vain Boast of stoical Tranqui[li]ty, above expressed, continually attend the Remembrance of her.
[Pr]ay let me know <e’er long> with[in] this 12 months, whether you live, as I am at this present Writing, and whether you remember me, or not. Oh Lethe, either Spare my friends, or drown me and my friends together, for I will not bear to entertain a fruitless Remembrance of them, after they have quite forgotten me.—Adieu, write to me, as soon as you [can?].
[signed] J.A.
Contemptu Famae, contemni Virtutem.7 A Contempt of Fame generally begets or accompanies a Contempt of Virtue.—Iago makes the Reflection, that Fame is but breath, but vibrated Air, an empty sound. And I believe Persons of his Character, are most inclined to feel and express such an Indifference about fame.
Crooked Richard says all men alike to some loved Vice incline, Great men choose greater sins—Ambitions mine!8 Some such Reflections and Excuses, I suppose, the worst men always make to justify, or palliate to them selves and others, their own worst Actions. Making such a Reflection is throwing Conscience a bone to pick.
Iago. Reputation is an idle and false Imposition, of[t] got without Merit and lost without deserving.
{ 92 }
1. No clue as to the date of this letter is furnished by its position among the entries relating to the case of Field v. Lambert, because the order in which those entries were written is very uncertain. However, the general tone of the letter, with its many references to Worcester friends, suggests that it was written reasonably soon after JA had moved from Worcester to Braintree early in Oct. 1758 and before the second letter to Crawford, p. 99, below.
2. William Crawford (1730–1776), College of New Jersey 1755, A.M. Harvard 1761, preached in Worcester and vicinity in the summer of 1756, kept school there in 1758 (see note 4, below), and served as chaplain and surgeon in Wolfe’s campaign against Quebec in the following year. Thereafter he practiced medicine in Worcester but finally settled at Fort Pownall on the Penobscot in Maine as chaplain, surgeon, and schoolmaster. (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:10, 33, 37, 43–44; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 13:561–563.)
3. These initials are helpfully filled out by JA below. “Betsy” was probably Elizabeth (b. 1736), daughter of Col. Thomas and Elizabeth (Church) Greene, of Bristol, R.I., whose family JA had visited in 1757 when he carried dispatches during the siege of Fort William Henry. This Betsy Greene was a sister of Hannah (Greene) Chandler (1734–1765), wife of Col. Gardiner Chandler of Worcester, mentioned immediately below. See JA, Diary and Autobiography, 3:268, and references in note 6, below.
4. Presumably Dr. Nahum Willard (1722–1792) and his wife, the former Elizabeth Townsend, of Bolton. JA boarded with the Willards at the cost of the town when he first kept the school in Worcester (JA, Diary and Autobiography, 1:9; 3:263–264). In 1758, probably at the time this letter was written, Crawford “taught the village school, and boarded at Dr. Willard’s, 47½ weeks at 6 shillings a week’” (D. Hamilton Hurd, History of Worcester County, Massachusetts, Phila., 1889, 2:1554–1555).
5. James Putnam (1726–1789), Harvard 1746, married Elizabeth Chandler, of Worcester, in 1754. Putnam had settled in Worcester in 1749 and “for twenty years ... had no trained competitor in the practice of law.” It was under Putnam’s tutelage that JA read law from 1756 to 1758. Even though he was later called “the best lawyer of North America” by Joseph Willard, JA had reservations about Putnam’s abilities. See Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates, 12:57–64; JA, Diary and Autobiography,1:5 and passim; 3:264–272; William Lincoln, History of Worcester, Massachusetts, Worcester, 1837, p. 227–228.
6. MS apparently reads: “C Gadr. and his Lady.” Without much question JA is referring to Col. Gardiner Chandler (1723–1782) and his wife, the former Hannah Greene. Chandler was selectman and treasurer of Worcester and JA’s closest friend among the numerous and influential Chandler clan in that town. A sister of the Colonel’s wife was Betsy Greene, mentioned above and identified in note 3. See JA, Diary and Autobiography,1:2 and passim; George Chandler, The Chandler Family ..., Boston, 1872, p. 140, 259–263; George S. Greene and Louise B. Clarke, The Greenes of Rhode Island ..., New York, 1903, p. 144–145, 241.
7. Source not identified.
8. The source of this couplet has not been found. It is not in any of Shakespeare’s historical plays nor in Colley Cibber’s adaptation of Shakespeare’s Richard III (1700), although JA’s Literary Commonplace Book (M/JA/8, Adams Papers) contains a passage from the Cibber version.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0004-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12
{Folio: 24, upside down}

[The Case of Field v. Lambert, Continued, December 1758.]1

2 Horses—10th. of Octr. 1758. One Pound L.M.
To answer J[oseph] F[ield] &c. in a Plea of Trespass, for that the said Luke [Lambert], at Braintree aforesaid, on the 10th of last Octr. with Force and Arms entered the said Joseph’s Close there, and there and then with force and Arms drove away and rescued from the said Joseph Two Horses which the said Joseph had taken up in his Close aforesaid, Damage Feasant, and was about to drive to the public Pound in said Braintree, which Rescous is against the Law of the Province, made in the Tenth Year of the Reign of William the 3rd, intituled an Act for Providing of Pounds and to prevent Rescous and Pound Breach, whereby amongst other Things it is enacted, That if any Person shall rescue any Horses, taken up damage-feasant, out of [the] Hands of a Person being about to drive them to the Pound; whereby the Party injured may be liable to lose his Damages and the Law be eluded; the Party so offending shall for such Rescous forfeit and [pay] the sum of 40s. to the Use of the Poor of the Town or Precinct where the offence is committed; besides all just Damages unto the Party injured;2 and an Action hath arisen to the said Joseph to recover the said 40s. aforesaid forfeiture to the Poor, and the Damages which he the said Joseph hath sustained by the said Rescous which he says is equal to Twenty shillings more of the said Luke, which sums so forfeited and due, the said <George> Luke, tho often requested, hath not paid nor either of them, but unjustly refuses to do it, to the Damage of the said Joseph as he saith Three Pounds.
1. This entry is a partial draft of the declaration in the case of Field v. Lambert; see the Editorial Note on this case, p. 82–89, and references there.
In the MS, page {24} was at one time folded over or placed on the outside of the Diary Fragment when the document was folded laterally and stored. Two results were serious fading of the text at the creases and tears along the edges. The lateral folding exposed a small interval of blank space below the draft of the declaration and its revision (second entry below), and it is in this space that the two notes about the authorship were written in the 19th century, the first attributing the Diary Fragment to Royall Tyler, and the second disclaiming his authorship. These docketing notes are quoted in the Introduction, p. 7.
2. Act of 10 June 1698, c. 6, §4, 1 Mass., Province Laws 323: “[I]f any person or persons shall rescue any swine, neat cattle, horses or sheep taken up as aforesaid [i.e. “found damagefeasant in any corn-field or other inclosure” (same, §2)], out of the hands of the haward or other person being about to drive them to the pound, whereby the party injured may be liable to loose his damages, and the law be eluded, the party so offending shall for such rescous forfeit and pay the sum of forty shillings to the use of the poor of the town or precinct where the offense is { 94 } committed, besides all just damages unto the party injured; to be recovered by action, bill, plaint or information in any of his majesty’s courts of record.”

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0005-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12

[On Indigence at Home, December 1758.]

haud facile emergunt quorum Virtutibus obstat

res angusta domi.

They will hardly emerge from Obscurity, whose Virtues are obstruct[ed] by Indigence at home. To whose Virtues, a narrow Thing at home opposes.1
1. This brief entry is written in a very fine hand just above the middle of {24} and is largely obscured by the two more or less continuous parts of JA’s draft declaration, which so crowd it from above and below as nearly to efface it. Placed as it is at the center of his struggle over his very first case as a professional lawyer, this tag from Juvenal (Satire III, lines 164–165) had an obvious appeal for JA and may be considered a cry from the heart.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0006-0001

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1758-12

[The Case of Field v. Lambert, Continued, December 1758.]1

For that the said Luke, on the 10th of Octr. last, <at> with force and Arms <and against> entered the said Josephs Close <there> in Braintree aforesaid, and then and there with force and Arms drove away, and rescued from the said Joseph tho the said Joseph then and there [ . . . ]2 Two Horses which the said Joseph had taken up in his Close aforesaid Damage Feasant, and was about to drive to the public Pound in said Braintree, which Rescous [is] against our Peace and the Law of this Province, made in the Tenth Year of [the Reign of] William the 3d.
[Am?] I sensible of the Importance of the Hazard, I run? I risque my Chara[cter] and of Consequence my Business, on the fate of this Writt. [I am?] in doubt about the sufficiency of it. I am in doubt whether Tresp[ass will] lie upon that Act. Whether the Damages done by the Horses to Fields fences and Grass should not have been more Specially sett forth? Whether it is right to declare, for the forfeiture to the Poor ad damnum of Field. It was desi[rable?] that somebody should sue for that forfeiture, and who so proper as the Party injured. How could Debt have been laid for his Damages, when it is disputable how much they amounted to? The Act says just Damages, but the Act has not [asserted?] how much is just Damage in this Case. But may not Debt lie, [where trespass lies?] Can Damages be given and [assessed?] by a Jury in Debt.
{ 95 }
If one declares in an Action of Trespass for the taking away of his Cattle, or one particular Thing, he ought to say, that he took away his Cattle or other Thing Praetii so much. [I] have not declared for taking away the Horses pretii so much, but I have declared that Field sustained so much damage by the Rescous and by the Trespass of the Horses. But if he declares for taking away Things without Life, he ought to say ad Valentiam so much.
Damages are frequently given to the Party and a fine to the King in Trespass. W[hy] then may not damages be recovered to Field and the forfeiture to the Poor in Trespass? In all Trespass there must be a voluntary Act and also a Damage, otherwise Trespass [will?] not lie. Lamberts Entry and driving his Horses were voluntary Acts, and the Damage to Field was the Breach of his fence and destroy[ing] his Grass and [ . . . ] his [ . . . ].
{Folio: 24, right side up}[I declared?] ad Dampnum of Field. How could I have expressed ad dampnum of him and the Poor too.
{Folio: 25} Q[uery]. Whether Debt is not a more proper Action than Trespass?
Should not the Damages the Horses did to the Fences, Grass &c. have been Specially shewn, als.3 how can Defendant make his Defence.
Does not this Declaration shift from Trespass into Debt?
Can Defendant know without a Special Shewing of the Damage done by the Horses to the Fences, Grass &c., how to combat the Plaintiff, what Evidence to produce.
That heterogeneous Mixture of Debt and Trespass, still perplexes me.
Trespass, Entry, Rescous, <forfeiture.> Can a Forfeiture be demanded by Plaintiff in Right of another, in an Action for Trespass.
Trespass for Damages, and Debt for forfeiture to the Poor.
Upon the Commission of that Offence, the forfeiture becomes compleatly due to the Poor.—Should not something have been said of his suing in Behalf of the Poor, for the forfeiture.
What have I been doing. Only drawing a Writt.
When a particular Act of the Province is declared on should that Passage of it which is particularly to the Purpose be shewn in haec Verba.
{ 96 }
1. The first paragraph of this entry is evidently a redraft of a part of the declaration begun in the entry next but one above. See Editorial Note on Field v. Lambert, p. 82–89, above. Being on the crease of the MS, the text is badly worn.
2. Seven or eight words illegible.
3. Alias, i.e. otherwise.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0007-0001

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-12
{Folio: 26, upside down}

[A List of Pleadings, October–December 1758.]1

Bond to give Deed.
† Trespass on the Case vs. Sherriff for the Default of his Deputy.
† Case by Baron and feme vs. Executor, on a Promise made to the feme while [sole?][ . . . ][later?].
† Ind[ebitatus] Ass[umpsit] for service done at a customary Price.
Plea, in abatement, that the service was insufficient.
Ind. Ass. for keeping a Horse to Hay. 3.
Sci[re] fa[cias] vs. Bail. 4.
If it was a [ . . . ] Writ, I’d lay a Quant[um] Mer[uit] as much as he deserved. Can Book be sworn to on Q.M.
Ind. Ass. on a Note of Hand.
†Debt to the Clerk of the Company. On Province Law.
<Trespass on the Case, by an Infant>
Quantum Valebant for Cyder sold by Infant, suing by his father, his guardian [or] next friend.
Trespass for breaking a C[ows leg?]. 6.
†Trespass upon the Case for refusing Marriage after Promise. 7.
[Trespass upon the Case] on a protested Order vs. Drawer.
[Trespass upon the Case] for not Building a good Barn according to Order.
Covenant broken, for not warranting Land, according to Cov.
Trespass. Quare Clausum fregit. 9.
Trover and Conversion of a Kettle belonging to Executor.
Partition. 10.
Trespass Q.C.F. & D.f.2 10.
[Wr]it, for declaring at a Bargain unruly Oxen to be orderly. 10.
[Qua]nt. Mer. and Ind. Ass. 2 Counts, for Work and service. 11.
Debt [ . . . ] by Farmer of Excise qui tam for selling Rum without Licence.
Trespass on the Case by 2d. Indorser vs. 1st Indorser for the original Drawer his [ . . . ] Absence from the Province and 2d. Indorser unable to pay the Debt. 13.
Trespass on the Case for Breach of Promise of Marriage. 14.
Ejectment vs. Disseisor.
Joindre of Ind. Ass. and Insimul Comp[utassent].
{ 97 }
Case by Guardian to non Compos for Labour done by non Compos.
<Money lent sued for by Administrator.> 16.
Case for Money received to Plaintiff by a [demand?] for Money lent. 16.
Case on a Note for 24 Gallons of Rum. 16.
Ejectment of a Mortgagor by Mortgagee.
Account by Administrator de bonis non vs. Administrator of the Administrator of him to whom the 1st Administration was committed.
Case on an Order accepted and payed by Plaintiff at Defendants Request 18.
[Case] on a Bill protested or refused to be accepted. 18.
Case vs. a Carrier for suffering Goods to be spoiled. 18.
Warrantia Chartae vs. Heir at law. 19.
Debt vs. Executor for not exhibiting a ful Inventory. 19.
Town Treasurer vs. a Person for entertaining a Tenant without giving Notice to select men, whereby Charge arose to the Town. 20.
<Town Treasurer vs.>
Case <vs. Town Treasurer> by Town Treasurer vs. Constable 20.
Case for Bail vs. Principal for Security. 21.
[Case] on an order accepted by Defendant.
Debt for Rent. 21.
{Folio: 25, upside down}[Trespa]ss on the Case, for not rendring an Account of Oxen received to kill and [sell?].
Warrant to Constable to convey a Pauper to next Town.
[Presen]tment <vs. . . . Officer?> 22.
[Pres]entment for a Riot. 23.
Presentment, for Administering an Oath without Authority.
Complaint, by Farmer of Excise, vs. one for not giving an Account of distilled Liquors and Lemons taken in and sold.
Case, for Mony had and received to Plaintiffs Use. 24
Case by surviving Creditor. 24.
Debt on a Judgment of Court. 25.
Presentment for selling fat, instead of Butter. 25.
Debt, by Town Treasurer vs. a Person for receiving and entertaining a Pauper. 26.
Complaint to a Justice, vs. one for writing scandalous Words, and Warrant thereon 27.
Action for scandalous Words. 28.
Case vs. Defendant for taking away his Son from Plaintiff with whom he lived to learn his Trade, before the Time agreed on was out. 28.
{ 98 }
Trover of a Pice of Timber.
[Equity?] of Redemption in a Mortgage Deed. 29.
Debt vs. one for not maintaining his half of a Partition fence, between him and Plaintiff, on 10th of Wm. 3. Chapt. 18.
Case, for not maintaining &c. on the same Law. 29.
<Ejectment>
Trespass and Ejectment, by Plaintiff [Heir?] to Devisor after Estate T[ail?] ended. 29.
Ejectment. 30.
Trespass on the Case for drowning Plaintiffs Meadow by a Mill dam. 30.
Ejectment. Declaration on Plaintiffs own seizin &c. 30.
Complaint to Justice, vs. Dear Killer. 31.
[ . . . ], Caption of a Petition to Gen. Court. 31.
Imparlance, Prayer for one. 32. in Ejectment.
Warrant of Town Treasurer vs. Collector. 32.
1. This entry, begun on {26} upside down and continued on {25} upside down, apparently comprises a list of pleadings which JA may have copied from another lawyer’s pleadings book or book of forms, such as JA himself later compiled, with his law clerks participating. See JA, Legal Papers, 1:26–86. The daggers prefixed to certain items may possibly indicate pleadings that JA copied or intended to copy in full.
There is nothing to indicate when the list was compiled. This and the following entry, on Probate Law, are the only ones in the Diary Fragment for which an argument might be made that they belong to JA’s period of law study in Worcester, Aug. 1756–Sept. 1758. On the other hand, nothing else in the entire MS suggests that he even had it in his possession in Worcester, and the manner in which these two entries are fitted in among the materials known to date from late 1758 is against their having been written at any other time.
2. That is, “Quare Clausum Fregit et Damnum fecit” (or “and Damage feasant”?).

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0007-0002

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-12

[Notes on Probate Law, October–December 1758.]1

Tis absurd, <to> for a Testator to say, after he has devised his Lands to one in fee, that they shall go over to another.
There is no [Remainder?] to an Estate in fee. A fee simple, upon fee [ . . . ] but a Testator may very legally and sensibly devise Lands to one in fee, and then say, in Case Death or any other Accident should happen to incapacitate the Devisee to take, then the Lands shall go to another.
If a Testator should devise £20 to one, and all the Rest of his personal Estate to another, and it should happen that this particular Legacy could not pass to that Legatee, the Residuary Legatee shall have that £20, before the Executor.
{ 99 }
1. These notes, perhaps drawn from a treatise, appear on {25} of the MS upside down (i.e. running the same way with the preceding entry) and crowded into a blank space to the right of the later items in the preceding entry. They were thus written later than the list of pleadings that comprise that entry; see note 1 there.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0007-0003

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-11
{Folio: 27, upside down}

[A Letter to William Crawford, Describing a Visit to Boston, October–November 1758.]1

[salute] Mr. Crawford.

Am returned from Boston, and according to my Promise <sett down> begining to write you a Discription or a History of what I saw, and heard, &c.
I distrust my Capacity, without an Invocation, but am afraid to make one, for I know the Muses are not fond of such Work. Take it then in the plain Language of common sense.
My Eyes were entertained with Objects, in every figure and Colour of Deformity, from the Blacksmith in his darksome Shop to the Chimney Sweeper rambling in the Streets. My Ears were ravished with every actual or imaginable sound, except harmonious sounds, from the Hurley burley upon Change, to the Rattling and Grumbling of Coaches and Carts &c. The fragrance of the Streets, were a continual feast to my Nostrils.—Thus Pleasure entered all my senses, and roused in my Imagination, scenes of still greater tumult, Discord, Deformity, and filth.2
As for Reason, what Entertainment could that find, among these Crouds? None.
Thus you see the whole Man, the Senses, Imagination and Reason were all, equally, pleased. Was I not happy?
But all this is the dark side.—In reward of this Pain, I had the Pleasure to sit and hear the greatest Lawyers, orators, in short the greatest men, in America, harranging at the Bar, and on the Bench. I had the Pleasure of Spending my Evenings with my friends in the <silent> Joys of serene sedate Conversation, and perhaps it is worth my while to add, I had the Pleasure of seeing a great many, and of feeling some very [pretty?]3 Girls.
1. The date of this draft letter to Crawford has been discussed in the Introduction, p. 14, above, where the conjecture is made that it was written soon after JA’s visit to Boston of 24–26 Oct. 1758, when he interviewed leaders of the bar to arrange for his admission, sat in court as an observer, and attended an assembly in “the most Spacious and elegant Room” where were present “the gayest Company of Gentlemen and the finest Row of Ladies, that ever I saw” (Diary and Autobiography, 1:54). There were some public festivities in Boston on 24 Oct. to mark “the Return of His Excellency Major-General AMHERST from Al• { 100 } bany to this Town” (Boston Weekly Advertiser, 30 Oct. 1758, p. 2, col. 1), but the newspapers give few details, having lavished them on the anniversary of the coronation of George II, celebrated on the preceding day.
2. Compare the passage in the published Diary, 18 [i.e. 19] March 1759, on “the Rattle Gabble” of the Boston streets, with echoes of Pope’s Imitations of Horace (Diary and Autobiography,1:80–81).
3. This word is almost entirely worn away in the margin of the MS. The editors’ insertion is the merest guess.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0007-0004

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-12 - 1759-01
{Folio: 27, right side up}

[Further Notes on Civil Law, December 1758–January 1759.]1

Judicial [stipulations] are those which proceed from the mere Office of a Judge, as Surety vs. fraud [ . . . ] pursuing a servant, who is in flight. Surety concerning fraud is required, when the Danger is, lest an Adversary commit a fraud [upon things of?] ours. Surety concerning pursuing a servant, is that [when?] an Heir promises the Legatary, that he will pursue at his own Expense a servant [which?] is [given?] as a Legacy, who is running away, and restore either servant or his Value. Praetorial Cautions are those which proceed from the mere Office of the Praetor, as a surety of Damage, that is [ . . . ] and of Legacies. Damage is all Diminution of our [Pa]trimony. A Damage not done, is that which is not yet done but which we fear will be done. [A] surety of a Damage, not done, is that by which, the owner of decayed Buildings engages to his Neighbor [that] he will repay thereafter what ever Loss or Damage shall [happen?] by the fault of his buildings. [A] surety of Legacies is that by which the Heir, having given Bondsmen, engages to a Legatary to whom a Legacy [is] bequeathed on Condition, or at a certain day, that he on the fulfilment of the Condition, or [ . . . ] of the day, will pay the Legacy [ . . . ].2 But if the owner will not give the said sureties to the Neighbor, nor the Heir to the Legatary, the Neighbour is put into possession of the decayed House by the Praetor and the Legatary into [possession?] of the hereditary Things. It is peculiar to the Pretors Cau[tions] to [need Bondsmen?]. Convent[ion]al Cautions are those which are conceived by the Agreement [of] either Party. There are as many Kinds of these as there are of things to be contracted. Common are those which proceed as well, from the Office of Praetor, as of that [of] Judge, as that the Estate of a Pupill shall be safe, which is given by Tutors; and a Surety, by which, he who manages the Business of another when he doubts of a Command, he engageing that the Master shall have [ . . . ]3 due. Of useless Stipulations. An useless stipulation is one that has no Effect in Law. Stipulations are useless, either by Reason of the Thing, or of { 101 } the fact included in the Stipulation, or by Reason of the Contractor, or by Reason of the form or manner of the Contract. A stipulation is useless by Reason of the Thing, if any one stipulate a Thing, which neither is, nor can be, in the nature of Things; allso a Thing which is not in Commerce, as a Thing sacred, holy, religious, public, a free man, or at least beyond the Commerce of the stipulator. Also if any one stipulate a property purely, or [even?] the Thing plainly incertain. If any one shall promise the <fact> Act of another, without any Penalty annexed, also [anything that?] is impossible, either in nature or Morals. By Reason of the Contract, if they are unqualified, as dumb, deaf, mad, infant; also, as made between a father and a son or servant and Master; also if any one shall stipulate to Another than himself unless it shall [be] to him to whom it is [ . . . ], or a Penalty [is annexed?].
Let me get a clear Knowledge of the Proceedings in the Courts of Probate.4 Ex[ecuto]r, who accepts the Trust is accountable to the Judge of Probate. [A Jud]ge of Probate, by Warrant under his Hand and seal, directed to sherriff &c. to cause such suspected Person to be apprehended, and brought before such Judge to be [examined?] and proceeded with. A Person suspected of convaying or imbezzling Part any Part of the Estate of any Person deceased, shall have been cited, pursuant to Law [sentence unfinished]
1. This entry is a continuation, without break, of JA’s notes on Van Muyden’s Tractatio on Justinian’s Institutes, entered physically at a much earlier point in the Diary Fragment; see p. 55–59, above, and editorial notes there. The present jottings are based on Van Muyden, p. 121–124, continuing the Institutes, bk. 3, title 19, and covering part of title 20.
2. Three or four words illegible.
3. Three words illegible.
4. Although there is no indication of a break in the MS, JA has here obviously dropped Van Muyden. The following three sentences are partly quoted and partly paraphrased from An Act for Further Regulating the Proceedings of the Courts of Probate within this Province, passed by the General Court on 5 Jan. 1753 (Mass., Province Laws, 3:639–640).

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0007-0005

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-10 - 1758-12
{Folio: 28}

[Shakespeare’s Characters and Figurative Language, October–December 1758.]1

Shakespeare, in the Character of Lady Mackbeth, and of Gertrude, the Wife of old Hamlet, and afterwards of King Claudius, and in the Character of Lady Anne in King Richard, has shewn a sense of the Weakness of Woman’s Reason, and strength of their Passions.
The Horror of both divine and Human Vengeance, that attends guilty minds is strongly represented in the Characters of Mackbeth and his Lady. He grows daily more and more timorous of the Nobility, { 102 } and of every man of [Respect?] in their Realm. At last, they are afraid that the stones and trees, and Birds will reveal their Murder and demand Revenge. Blo[o]d for Blood.
Shakespears vicious Characters are aggravated beyond Life. He draws Ingratitude, Treason, Hypocrisy, Murder, in the strongest Colours of Horror.—In Thinking of any Thing, every Image that can resemble it, rises at once in strong Colours in Shakespears mind. When the News of his Ladies death is brought to Mackbeth, he turns his Thoughts upon Life.

Out out brief Candle!

Lifes but a walking Shadow, a Poor Player

That struts and frets his Hour upon the Stage

And then is heard no more! It is a Tale

Told by an Ideot, full of Sound and Fury

Signifying Nothing.2

Here he compares Life, 1st to a Candle, then to a Shadow, an Image taken from scripture, then to a Player on the stage of Life. Now to a Tale told by an Ideot, another scripture similitude.—Persons in Mackbeths situation are very apt to make these Reflections and Comparisons. After having committed every Vice and folly, in order to attain the Goods of this Life, they find that these Goods are all Trifles, light vain, idle Toys, and then they compair Life to such Things with great Wisdom. Oh the Horror and despair, the Distress and Anguish of a guilty mind.
Richard, Claudius, Mackbeth and his Wife and Iago are Characters of Fiends, not of men. The times have been, that when the Brains were out, the man would die, and there an End, but now they rise again with 20 mortal murders on their Crowns, and push us from our stools. Malcolm and Donalbain when they find their father murthered and a bloody Dagger laid near their Bed, and their own Hands stained with Blood, concluded that the Design was to charge the Murder on them, and to avoid the consequences they fled to England, and a faulcon towering in her Pride of Place, was by a mousing Owl haukt at and killed. The faulcon is Duncan, the mousing Owl is Mackbeth. The old man observed the Omen. Rosse takes Notice of another Omen that preceded Duncans Death. Duncans Horses, beauteous and swift, the Minions of their Race, turned wild in Nature, broke their stalls, flung out, contending gainst Obedience, as they would make War with man. Thriftless Ambition that will raven up thy own lifes means.
Mackbeth kills the others that lay in the K[ing]’s Chamber out of { 103 } pretended Rage at their [Murder] of the King and tells the Lords and Attendants, their faces and Hands were besmeared in blood and that [an] unwiped Dagger laid by the Bed side. Not only Omens preceded, but sympathy in Nature attended Duncans Death. Chimneys were blown down.

Lamentings heard i’the air, strange screams of Death.

Of dire Combustion and confusd Events

New hatchd to the woeful time.

The obscure bird clamourd the livelong night

Some say the Earth was feverous and did shake.3

Mackbeths Imagination was [struck?] and afraid, was as lively and teemed with Notions, a Thousand thoughts came into his Head when he was [remainder missing]
His imagination created 100 things, a Voice crying, Sleep no more, Mackbeth doth Murder Sleep; the innocent Sleep. Sleep is the Idea now. What Thoughts does this call up. Sleep that knits up the ravelled sleeve of Care, the Death of each days Life. As Death is to a mans whole Life, so is <Sleep to a day> each nights Sleep to us, sore Labours Bath, Bath of Labour, Balm of Hurt minds, great natures second Course, chief Nourisher in Lifes feast. The Eye of [remainder missing]
1. There is nothing to indicate the date of these comments on Shakespeare, although it may be noted that on 5? Dec. 1758JA entered in his Diary as published in 1961 an injunction to himself beginning: “Let me search for the Clue, which Led great Shakespeare into the Labyrinth of mental Nature!” (Diary and Autobiography, 1:61). As usual, JA’s quotations are approximate.
2. Act V, scene v, lines 23–28.
3. Act II, scene iii, lines 61, 63–66.

Docno: ADMS-02-01-02-0010-0007-0006

Author: Adams, John
DateRange: 1758-12 - 1759-01
{Folio: 28, upside down}

[On a Petition from Braintree Troops Enlisted for the Expedition against Canada, December 1758–January 1759.]1

The general Court agreed to raise 7000 men, to cooperate with his Majesties Forces, for the Reduction of Canada. Agreed, consented by a Vote an Order not by a Law an Act.2 They make Acts to raise money and clothe the soldiers when raised. But the K[ing], in the british Constitution, and of Consequence the Governor in ours, has the sole Direction of Peace and War. Inlisting men, sending them out, proclaiming War, negociating Peace, concluding Peace, are all with the sovereign’s Power. But the Parliament must raise supplies.
The Court direct and impower the Treasurer to borrow £28,000, and they enact that the said £28,000 when[soever] borrowed, shall be { 104 } issued by the Governor, with Advice of Council, for the levying and cloathing the said 7000 men, pursuant to the Order of this Court, and for no other use.—By Order of Court, and with Advice of Councill.3
Cur [i.e. Court?] will grant these Petitions, that People may be encouraged to list next Spring, even after the time limited for Inlistments, when the officers are impowered to impress, and not to be so obstinate as some were last Spring. Some refused to the last to inlist, and were dragged into the Service at last. If Money was issued by the Governor to the Officers of this Company or Regiment, to be given as a Bounty to these men, who inlisted after the 2d of May as well as to those before, and the Officers have [defrauded?] them of it, should not this Petition [represent?] the fraud and pray an Order on the officers to make Satisfaction?4—Is the Governor, or Coll. Lincoln or Coll. Quincy or Captain Bracket5 to blame in this Affair. If there was an Order of the Generall Court that such as should inlist after the 2d of May should have the Bounty, as well as those who inlisted before, and the Governor [paid?] Money accordingly, one of them is to blame.
1. From evidence set forth in note 4, below, the latest possible date that this, physically the last entry in the Diary Fragment, could have been written was the first week or so in Jan. 1759. It was probably written in Dec. 1758, when, as we must suppose, JA was called on to help draft the petition from Joseph Nightingale and others of Braintree that is the subject of these notes.
2. The General Court on 11 March 1758 “Voted, That Seven Thousand Men, inclusive of Officers be raised on the part of this Government, by inlistment for the Intended Expedition against Canada, to be formed into Regiments, and Officer’d by such of the Inhabitants of this Province as His Excellency the Capt. General shall be pleased to appoint: The said Men to be continued in the service for a time not exceeding the first Day of November next, and to be dismissed as much sooner as his Majesty’s Service will admit” (Mass., Province Laws, 16:153).
This force was recruited to join the army under Gen. James Abercromby at Albany which in the summer of 1758 undertook an amphibious assault on the French stronghold of Fort Carillon (later Fort Ticonderoga) in order to clear the way to Canada. Abercromby’s army of 15,000 suffered a disastrous defeat at the hands of Montcalm with a much smaller force. The remains of some of the “inland fleet” in which the British and colonial troops had ascended Lake George were being recovered for reconstruction and preservation in the summer of 1965. See Edward P. Hamilton, The French and Indian Wars, N.Y., 1962; New York Times, 27 June 1965, p. 1, 55.
3. JA is here abstracting an Act of 25 March 1758 (Mass., Province Laws, 4:76).
4. On 17 March 1758 the General Court had voted “That each able bodied effective Man who shall voluntarily inlist himself into the intended Expedition against Canada before the fifteenth day of April next shall be intitled to Thirty shillings and upon his passing Muster shall receive a good Blanket and Fifty shillings more for furnishing himself with Cloaths” (same, 16:160). On 21 April—eloquent testimony on how recruiting was progressing—the time for enlistment “upon the same Bounty” was extended until 2 May (same, p. 176).
Among those who failed to meet the later date but enlisted soon afterward in order to avoid being “dragged into the Service at last” by officers with power to impress, was a neighbor of JA’s named Joseph Nightingale; see JA, Diary and { 105 } Autobiography, 1:303. On 10 Jan. 1759 the House of Representatives received and considered the following petition, which JA is discussing here and had presumably helped Nightingale draft:
“A Petition of Joseph Nightingale, and others, of Braintree, . . . praying, that they may be allowed the Bounty voted for those that should inlist into the Service the last Year, for the Expedition against Canada before the 2d Day of May last, they having inlisted into said Service within a very few Days after the Time assigned, and marched to Fort-Edward by Direction of their proper Officers, and served faithfully during the whole Campaign.
“Read and Ordered, That this Petition be dismiss’d.”
(Mass., House Jour., 35:158.)
The original of the Braintree petition has not been found in M-Ar.
5. Col. Benjamin Lincoln (Sr.), of Hingham (the father of Dr. Bela Lincoln, mentioned frequently above), and Col. Josiah Quincy and Capt. Richard Brackett of Braintree, the principal local militia officers.
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/