Worcester January 14th:1756 Wednesday
(Copied.) Small Quarto No. 6/7 p. 105.
[The preceding text was added in the handwriting of Charles Francis Adams]
[No transcription available -- see page image] 1832 compared copy in Journal Fragments.
[No transcription available -- see page image] J. Q. [A] [" 1832 compared copy in Journal Fragments. J. Q. A" added by John Quincy Adams].
Inside Front Cover
NOVEMBER 18TH. 1755.
We had a severe Shock of an Earthquake. It continued near four minutes. I was then at my Fathers in Braintree, and awoke out of my sleep in the midst of it. The house seemed to rock and reel and crack as if it would fall in ruins about us. 7 Chimnies were shatter'd by it within one mile of my Fathers house.
JANUARY THE 14TH. 1756.
At Worcester. A very rainy Day. Kept school in the forenoon; but not in the afternoon, because of the weather and my own indisposition.
A fair morning and pretty warm. Kept school. Drank Tea at Mr. Swan's, with Mr. Thayer.
A fine morning. A large white frost upon the ground. Reading Hutcheson's Introduction to moral Phylosophy. A beautiful Day and Evening. Din'd with Major Chandler.
A clowdy, dull, Day. Some snow about noon, and rain towards night.
σπιζημαι τα καθαρμα τα Ψυχησ. Plato. [This passage is not an accurate quotation from Plato. If the first word is modified slightly, and read as the noun επιστημαι it could be translated: "Sciences (or studies), the things that cleanse the soul."]
A fair morning. Heard Mr. Maccarty.
A fair, warm spring like Day. Drank Tea and supped at Mr. Greenes.
A very rainy day. Dined with Coll. Chandlers Jur. Spent the Eve at Mr. Maccarty's. Kept school. Nothing more.
A fair morning. Fresh and lively Air. Drank Tea and supped at Mrs. Paine's.
A fair and agreable Day. Kept School. Drank Tea, at Coll. Chandler's Jur. and spent the Evening at Major Gardiners.
A very high west Wind. Warm and cloudy. PM. warm and fair.
A cold Weather. Heard friend Thayer preach two ingenious discourses, from Jeremy 10th 6. and 7. Supped att Coll. Chandlers.
A sharp piercing Air. Sat out for Uxbridge, arrived 2'O clock.
Att my Uncles.
Ditto. Thick weather, and some rain.
Still, cloudy Weather. Set out for
Worcester, Drank Tea in Sutton, with my class mate, Wheeler and arrived at Worcester about 7 o clock. Supped with Major Chandler. Very miry Roads.
Still, foggy, damp Weather. Kept School and dined at Mr. Greenes.
A warm, spring-like Day. Kept School. Lodged at Mr. Maccartys, at night.
FEBRUARY. 1756. 1 SUNDAY.
Pretty cold. Staid at Home, A.M. P.M. heard Mr. Maccarty. Lodg'd with him at night.
Wrote to John Wentworth by Coll. Josiah Willard. Spent the Eve, sup'd and lodg'd at Major Chandler's, with that universal Scholar, gay Companion, and accomplish'd Gentleman Mr. Robert Treat Pain. Misty, thick Weather.
Breakfasted at Gardiners. This morn the Weather clear'd away. As warm and brilliant as May. Kept School all Day.
A charming warm Day. Dined at Coll. Chandler's with Mr. Pain, Abel Willard and Ebenr. Thayer. Drank Tea at Mr. [Timothy?] Paines and supp'd and spent the Eve at Major Chandlers with the same Company, very gaily.
A fair morning but some symptoms of a Change of Weather. Kept School. Spent the evening with Messrs. Paine, Putnam, Willard, Thayer, partly at home and partly at Mr. Putnams.
A cloudy morning. About 10 [the sun] [small drawing of the sun, see page image] brake out. A warm Day. Dined at Mr. Paines. Kept school. Spent the Evening at home. A windy Evening.
A Fair warm, day. Dined at the judges. Drank Tea at Major Gardiners.
Heard Mr. Maccarty. Fine Weather.
Fine Weather. Settled roads. Drank Tea and spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers, very gaily, with much Company.
Fair Weather. Spent the Evening at Major Chandlers, with Major Greene and Mr. Maccarty. Charming Weather. Roads Setled.
Serene Weather, but somewhat cool. I am constantly forming, but never executing good resolutions. -- I take great Pleasure, in viewing and examining the magnificent Prospects of Nature, that lie before us in this Town. If I cast my Eyes one Way, I am entertained with the Savage and unsightly appearance of naked woods and leafless Forests. In another place a chain of broken and irregular mountains, throws my mind into a pleasing kind of astonishment. But if I turn my self round, I perceive a wide extensive Tract before me, made up of Woods, and meadows, wandring streams, and naked barren Planes, covered in various places by herds of grazing Cattle, and terminated by the distant View of the Town.
A cool, but pleasant morning. Heard Mr. Welman preach the Lecture, and drank Tea, with him, at home where he made this observation, (viz.) That Dr. Mayhew was a smart man, but he embraced some doctrines, not generally approved.
A pleasant morning. Saw my classmates Gardner, and Wheeler. Wheeler dined, spent the afternoon, and drank Tea with me. Supped at Major Gardiners, and ingag'd to keep School at Bristol, provided Worcester People, at their insuing March meeting, should change this into a moving School, not otherwise. Major Greene this Evening fell into some conversation with me about the Divinity and Satisfaction of Jesus Christ. All the Argument he advanced was, "that a mere creature, or finite Being, could not make Satisfaction to infinite justice, for any Crimes," and that "these things are very misterious."
[The following sentence appears in the margin; see page image:] Thus mystery is made a convenient Cover for absurdity.
Good Weather. This afternoon took a Vomit of Tartar Emet. and Turbith mineral, [Turpeth, turbith: "A cathartic drug prepared from the root of East Indian jalap" (OEC).] that worked 7 Times, and wrecked me much.
Charming Weather. A.M. staid at home reading the Independent Whig. Very often Shepherds that are hired, to take care of their Masters sheep, go about their own Concern's and leave the flock to the Care of their Dog. So Byshops, who are appointed to oversee the flock of Christ, take the Fees themslves, but leave the Drudgery to their Dogs, alias i.e. curates and understrappers.
A most beautiful morning. We have the most moderate Winter that ever was known in this country. For a long time together we have had serene and temperate Weather and all the Roads perfectly settled and smooth like Summer. -- The Church of Rome has made it an Article of Faith that no man can be saved out of their Church, and all other religious Sects approach to this dreadfull opinion in proportion to their Ignorance, and the Influence of ignorant or wicked Priests. Still reading the Independent Whigg. Oh! that I could wear out of my mind every mean and base affectation, conquer my natural Pride and Self Conceit, expect no more defference from my fellows than I deserve, acquire that meekness, and humility, which are the sure marks and Characters of a great and generous Soul, and subdue every unworthy Passion and treat all men as I wish to be treated by all. How happy should I then be, in the favour and good will of all honest men, and the sure prospect of a happy immortality!
A clowdy Day. Dined at Mr. Greenes.
A charming morning. My Classmate Gardner drank Tea with me. Spent an Hour in the beginning of the evening at Major Gardiners, where it was thought that the design of Christianity was not to make men good Riddle Solvers or good mystery mongers, but good men, good majestrates
and good Subjects, good Husbands and good Wives, good Parents and good Children, good masters and good servants. The following Question may be answered some time or other -- viz.
Where do we find a praecept
in the Gospell
, requiring Ecclesiastical Synods, Convocations, Councils, Decrees, Creeds, Confessions, Oaths, Subscriptions and whole Cartloads of other trumpery, that we find Religion incumbered with in these Days?
No man is intirely free from weakness and imperfection in this life. Men of the most exalted Genius and active minds, are generally perfect slaves to the Love of Fame. They sometimes descend to as mean tricks and artifices, in pursuit of Honour or Reputation, as the Miser descends to, in pursuit of Gold. The greatest men have been the most envious, malicious, and revengeful. The miser toils by night and Day, fasts and watches, till he emaciates his Body, to fatten his purse and increase his coffers. The ambitious man rolls and tumbles in his bed, a stranger to refreshing sleep and repose thro anxiety about a preferment he has in view. The Phylosopher sweats and labours at his Book, and ruminates in his closet, till his bearded and grim Countenance exhibit the effigies of pale Want and Care, and Death, in quest [of] hard Words, solemn nonsense, and ridiculous grimace. The gay Gentleman rambles over half the Globe, Buys one Thing and Steals another, murders one man, and disables another, and gets his own limbs and head broke, for a few transitory flashes of happiness. Is this perfection, or downright madness and distraction? -- A cold day.
A dull Day. Symptoms of Snow. Writing Tillotson.
A Snowy day. Snow about ancle deep. I find by repeated experiment and observation, in my School, that human nature is more easily wrought upon and governed, by promises and incouragement and praise than by punishment, and threatning and Blame. But we must be cautious and sparing of our praise, lest it become too familiar, and cheap and so contemptible. Corporal as well as disgraceful punishments, depress the spirits, but commendation enlivens and stimulates them to a noble ardor and emulation.
Suppos a nation in some distant Region, should take the Bible for their only law Book, and every member should regulate his conduct by the precepts there exhibited. Every member would be obliged in Concience to temperance and frugality and industry, to justice and kindness and Charity towards his fellow men, and to Piety and Love, and reverence towards almighty God. In this Commonwealth, no man would impair his health by Gluttony, drunkenness, or Lust-no man would sacrifice his most precious time to cards, or any other trifling and mean amusement-no man would steal or lie or any way defraud his neighbour, but would live in peace and good will with all men-no man would blaspheme his maker or prophane his Worship, but a rational and manly, a sincere and unaffected Piety and devotion, would reign in all hearts. What a Eutopa, what a Paradise would this region be. Heard Thayer all Day. He preach'd well.
Spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers, with Putnam, Gardiner, Thayer, the Dr. and his Lady, in Conversation, upon the present scituation of publick affairs, with a few observations concerning Heroes and great Commanders. Alexander, Charles 12th., Cromwel.
Fair weather. Crawford spent the Evening here.
A fine morning. We are told that Demosthenes transcribed the history of Thucidides 8 times, in order to imbibe and familiarize the elegance and strength of his stile. Will it not then be worth while for a candidate for the ministry to transcribe Dr. Tillotson's Works.
Fair and cold Weather. An extream cold night.
Fair cold morning. An extream cold Day.
A fair, cold day. Drank Tea at Mrs. Paines. All day, in high health, and spirits. Writing Tillotson. That Comet [Halley's comet ] which appeared in 1682, is expected again this year, and we have intelligence, that it has been seen, about 10 days since, near midnight, in the East. -- I find my self very much inclin'd to an unreasonable absence of mind, and to a morose, unsociable disposition. Let it therefore be my constant endeavour to reform these great faults.
A raw cold day. Attended Mrs. Brown's funeral. Let this, and every other Instance of human frailty and mortality, prompt me to endeavour after a temper of mind, fit to undergo this great Change.
Went to Leicester with Thayer. Heard him preach all Day. Dined at Mr. Whitneys. Returned home and drank Tea, and spent the Evening at Mr. Paines.
MARCH. 1756. 1 MONDAY.
Wrote out Bolingbrokes reflections on Exile.
A snow fall last night, half leg deep. Began this afternoon, my 3rd. quarter. The great and almighty Author of nature, who at first established those rules which regulate the World, can as easily Suspend those Laws whenever his providence sees sufficient reason for such suspension. This can be no objection, then, to the miracles of J [Jesus] C [Christ]. Altho' some very thoughtfull, and contemplative men among the heathen, attained a strong persuasion of the great Principles of Religion, yet the far greater number having little time for speculation, gradually sunk in to the grossest Opinions and the grossest Practices. These therefore could not be made to embrace the true religion, till their attention was roused by some astonishing and miraculous appearances. The reasonings of Phylosophers having nothing surprizing in them, could not overcome the force of Prejudice, Custom, Passion, and Bigotry. But when wise and virtuous men, commisioned from heaven, by miracles awakened mens attention to their Reasonings the force of Truth made its way, with ease to their minds.
Fair Weather. Natural Phylosophy is the Art of deducing the generall laws and properties of material substances, from a series of analogous observations. The manner of reasoning in this art is not strictly demonstrative, and by Consequence the knowledge hence acquired, not absolutely Scientifical, because the facts that we reason upon, are perceived by Sence and not by the internal Action of the mind Contemplating its Ideas. But these Facts being presumed true in the form of Axioms, subsequent reasonings about them may be in the strictest sence, scientifical. This Art informs us, in what manner bodies will influence us and each other in given Circumstances, and so teaches us, to avoid the noxious and imbrace the beneficial qualities of matter. By this Art too, many curious Engines have been constructed to facilitate Business, to avert impending Calamities, and to procure desired advantages.
A fine morn.
Dined at home, Mr. Barnes dined here, drank Tea, and spent the evening at Coll. Chandlers.
Rose 1/2 after 4. A clowdy morn. Wrote Bolinbrokes letter on retirement and study.
Heard Mr. Maccarty all day. Spent the Evening and supped at Mr. Greenes, with Thayer. Honesty, Sincerity and openness, I esteem essential marks of a good mind. I am therefore of opinion, that men ought, (after they have examined with unbiassed judgments, every System of Religion, and chosen one System on their own Authority, for themselves) to avow their Opinions and defend them with boldness.
Spent the Evening at Major Chandlers. Fair Weather.
A charming Day. Spent the evening up Chamber.
A misty morning. [Sun] [Small line drawing of sun, see page image] brake out about noon. Spent Evening at Gardiners.
Dined at the Colonels. Drank Tea at Mr. Paines with a number of Ladies, and spent the Evening at Major Chandlers, with Thayer.
Clowdy. Laid a pair of Gloves with Mrs. Willard that she would not see me chew tobacco this month.
Some Snow last night, a dowdy, raw morning.
Heard Mr. Maccarty all Day upon Abrahams Faith, in offering up Isaac. Spent the Evening, very Sociably at Mr. Putnams. Several observations concerning Mr. Franklin of Phyladelphia, a prodigious Genius cultivated with prodigious industry.
I sometimes, in my sprightly moments, consider my self, in my great Chair at School, as some Dictator at the head of a commonwealth. In this little State I can discover all the great Genius's, all the surprizing actions and revolutions of the great World in miniature. I have severall renowned Generalls but 3 feet high, and several deepprojecting Politicians in peticoats. I have others catching and dissecting Flies, accumulating remarkable pebbles, cockle shells &c., with as ardent Curiosity as any Virtuoso in the royal society. Some rattle and Thunder out A, B, C, with as much Fire and impetuosity, as Alexander fought, and very often sit down and cry as heartily, upon being out spelt, as Cesar did, when at Alexanders sepulchre he recollected that the Macedonian Hero had conquered the World before his Age. At one Table sits Mr. Insipid foppling and fluttering, spinning his whirligig, or playing with his fingers as gaily and wittily as any frenchified coxcomb brandishes his Cane or rattles his snuff box. At another sitts the polemical Divine, plodding and wrangling in his mind about Adam's fall in which we sinned all as his primmer has it. In short my little school like the great World, is made up of Kings, Politicians, Divines, L.D. [LL.D.'s?], Fops, Buffoons, Fidlers, Sychophants, Fools, Coxcombs, chimney sweepers, and every other Character drawn in History or seen in the World. Is it not then the highest Pleasure my Friend to preside in this little World, to bestow the proper applause upon virtuous and generous Actions, to blame and punish every vicious and contracted Trick, to wear out of the tender mind every thing that is mean and little, and fire the new born soul with a noble ardor and Emulation. The World affords no greater Pleasure. Let others waste the bloom of Life, at the Card or biliard Table, among rakes and fools, and when their minds are sufficiently fretted with losses, and inflamed by Wine, ramble through the Streets, assaulting innocent People, breaking Windows or debauching young Girls. I envy not their exalted happiness. I had rather sit in school and consider which of my pupils will turn out in his future Life, a Hero, and which a rake, which a phylosopher, and which a parasite, than change breasts with them, tho possest of 20 lac'd wast coats and 1000 a year. Methinks I hear you say, this is odd talk for J. Adams. I'll tell you, then the Ocasion of it. About 4, months since a poor Girl in this neighbourhood walking by the meeting H. [House ] upon some Ocasion, in the evening, met a fine Gentleman with laced hat and wast coat, and a sword who sollicited her to turn aside with him into the horse Stable. The Girl relucted a little, upon which he gave her 3 Guineas, and wished he might be damned if he did not have her in 3 months. Into the horse Stable they went. The 3 Guineas proved 3 farthings-and the Girl proves with Child, without a Friend upon Earth that will own her, or knowing the father of her 3 farthing Bastard.
Sat out for Uxbridge, arrived about 12, dined. Rode to Aldridges after Mr. Webb, and brought him with me to my Uncles. Spent the Evening there. Lodged with Webb.
A fine morning. Proceeded on my journey towards Braintree. Stop'ed at Josiah Adams's." Baited at Clarks of Medway. Dined at Clarks of Medfield. Stopd to see Mr. Haven of Dedham, who told me very civilly that he supposed I took my faith on Trust from Dr. Mayhew, and added that he believed the doctrine of the satisfaction of J. [Jesus] C. [Christ] to be essential to Cristianity, and that he would not believe this satisfaction, unless he believed the Divinity of C. [Christ]. Mr. Balch was there too, and observed that he would not be a Christian if he did not believe the Mysterys of the Gospel. That he could bear with an Arminian, but when, with Dr. Mayhew, they denied the Divinity and Satisfaction of J. [Jesus ] C [Christ ] he had no more to do with them. That he knew not what to make of Dr. Mayhews two discourses upon the Expected Dissolution of all Things. They gave him an Idea of a Cart whose wheels want'd greazing. It rumbled on in a hoarse rough manner. There was a good deal of ingenious Talk in them, but it was thrown together in a jumbled confused order. He believed the Dr. wrote it in a great Pannick. He added farther that Arminians, however stiffly they maintain their opinions in health, always, he takes notice, retract when they come to Die, and chose to die Calvinists. -- Sat out for Braintree and arrived about sun set. Spent the Evening partly at home and partly at the Drs.
A cloudy morning. Spent the afternoon at my Uncles, and part of the Evening at the Doctor's.
A rainy morning. Went down in the afternoon, to the Point. Spent the afternoon and Evening and lodged with my dear Friend Cranch, in the usuall social friendly Strain.
After breakfast, rode to my Uncle Hunts, dined there, came Home, went to see my Aunt Owen, drank Tea at Deacon Webbs with Mrs. Nabby [Webb?]. Came home. Spent the evening at the Drs.
Vernal Equinox. Heard Mr. Wibird preach two excellent Discourses from Eccles. 9.12. Spent the Evening at Mr. Wibirds with Messrs. Quincy, Cranch, Savel, in Conversation upon the present Scituation of publick affairs. Mr. Quincy exerted his Talents in the most Eloquent Harrangue. Mr. Cranch quoted the bishop of Quebecks Letter concerning the french Missionaries among the Indians. Some, he says, are very good men.
A fair but cool morn. Mounted for Boston, arrived about 11 o'clock, went to friend Wm. Belchers, drank a bowl of punch, dined at my Uncle Sympsons, rode to Cambridge, drank Tea with Tom Wentworth. Spent the Evening partly at Hills Chamber, partly at Slewmans [Sluman's], and partly at Trumbles [Trumbull's] and partly at Harry Hills. Lodged with John Hill. Breakfasted
A fine morn. Breakfasted with Slewman at Prentices, mounted for Braintree, arrived about 1 dined, went to Dr. Millers, to see friend Sam. Drank Tea there with Mrs. Veasey and Mrs. Mary Miller, stopped in my return at Dr. Marshes, smoked a pipe there, came home, went to my Uncles and spent the Evening. Returned home and went to bed.
Sat out for Worcester. Dined at Dedham and rode from thence in the rain to Mendon, supped and lodged at Josiah Adamses.
Rode to Uxbridge. Tarried at my Uncle Webbs and lodged with Mr. Nathan [Webb].
A delightful morning. Rode to Grafton, dined at Josiah Rawsons. He exerted his rawsonian Talents concerning the felicity of Heaven. I sat and heard for it is vain to resist so impetuous a Torrent. Proceeded to Worcester, drank Tea at Mr. Maccarty's and spent the evening at Major Gardiner's.
The Stream of Life sometimes glides smoothly on, through flowry meadows and enamell'd planes. At other times it draggs a winding reluctant Course through offensive Boggs and dismal gloomy Swamps. The same road now leads us thro' a spacious Country fraught with evry delightful object, Then plunges us at once, into miry Sloughs, or stops our passage with craggy and inaccessible mountains. The free roving Songster of the forest, now rambles unconfin'd, and hopps from Spray to Spray but the next hour perhaps he alights to pick the scattered Grain and is entangled in the Snare. The Ship, which, wafted by a favourable gale, sails prosperously upon the peaceful Surface, by a sudden Change of weather may be tossed by the Tempest, and driven by furious, opposite winds, upon rocks or quicksands. In short nothing in this world enjoys a constant Series of joy and prosperity.
Heard Mr. Maccarty, spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers, in Conversation concerning Lands and Farms &c.
A little hail and rain fell to Day
. We find our Selves capable of comprehending many Things, of acquiring considerable Degrees of Knowledge by our slender and contracted Faculties. Now may we not suppose our minds strengthened, and Capacities dilated, so as fully to comprehend this Globe of Earth, with its numerous
appendages? May we not suppose them further enlarged to take in
the Solar System, in all its relations? Nay why may we not go further and suppose them increased to comprehend the Whole created Universe, with all its inhabitants, their various Relations, Dependencies, Duties and necessities. If this is supposea
ble, then a Being of such great Capacity, indowed with sufficient Power, would be an accomplished judge of all rational Beings .. would be fit to dispense rewards to Virtue and Punishments to Vice.
A fair day. Drank Tea and spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams, with Mr. Maccarty, very Sociably.
A cool morning. Drank Tea with the Ladies at the judges. Spent the Evening at Gardiners with the Coll., Mr. Putnam and Thayer.
APRIL 1756. 1 THURDSDAY.
A very rainy Day. A little Snow.
Cool and very windy. Drank Tea, and Spent the Evening at Coll. Chandlers.
Dined, Spent the afternoon and drank Tea at Coll. Chandlers.
Heard Mr. Davis of Holden all Day. Spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams.
A warm pleasant Day. Drank Tea at Mrs. Paines, came home, lodged with Dr. Upham.
A fair Day. Drank Tea at Coll. Chandlers, and fixt a Letter for Cushing, Wentworth, Dalton, Lock [Locke], my Father, and Dr. Savel.
A fair Morning. Mr. Thayer set out for Coll. [Harvard College?].
Heard Mr. Maccarty preach the Lecture, drank Tea with him, and spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams.
Drank Tea at Coll. Chandlers, spent the Evening at home with My Friend Eliot, lodged with him.
A raw cold day. The man to whom Nature has given a great and Surprizing Genius, will perform Great and Surprizing Atchievments, but a Soul originally narrow and confined, will never be enlarged to a distinguishing Capacity. Such a one must be content to grovel amidst pebles, and Butterflies thro the whole of his Life. By dilligence and Attention, indeed, he may possibly get the Character of a Man of Sence, but never that of a great Man.
Heard Mr. Maccarty preach all Day. Spent the Evening at Mr. Paines, and supped upon fresh Fish with the Coll., Mr. Putnam, Major Gardiner and his Lady. Talking about Law and Pollitics.
Signs of Rain. Cleard off about 10. A most beautiful Day. Drank Tea with Coll. Chandler, and spent the Evening, at Major Gardiners, with the Coll., Messrs. Maccarty, Paine, Putnam, Green.
12 [i.e. 13] TUESDAY.
A fine morning. A Charming warm Day. Every thing looks gay and lively. The Grass begins to spring, and the sprightly sunbeams gleam upon the houses. The windows are opened, the insects begin to buz, and every thing wellcomes the joyful Spring. -- Went to the Drs. Farm.
13 [i.e. 14] WEDNESDAY.
A pleasant morning. Wheeler drank Tea here. I went with him in the Evening, to Capt. Stearns.
14 [i.e. 15] THURDSDAY.
Wheeler and I breakfasted at Mr. Maccarty's. Went to Mr. Dyers. Very warm. Drank Tea and spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams, in conversation concerning Christianity. He is of Opinion that the Apostles were a Company of Enthusiasts. He says we have only their word, to prove that they spoke with different Tongues, raised the Dead, and healed the Sick &c
15 [i.e. 16] FRYDAY.
A Stormy Day.
16 [i.e. 17] SATURDAY.
A Stormy Day.
17 [i.e. 18] SUNDAY.
A Stormy Day. For these 3 days past there has been a severe N.E. Storm. Heard Mr. Maccarty. Spent the Evening at Major Gardiners.
18 [i.e. 19] MONDAY.
The Storm continues.
19 [i.e. 20] TUESDAY.
A lovely Day after the Storm. Drank Tea at Major Chandlers. Walked with the Coll. to his Saw-mill Farm.
20 [i.e. 21] WEDNESDAY.
Charming Weather. The Fields begin to look verdant. The leaves and bloss begin to shew themselves on the apple Trees, and Blossoms on the peach Trees. Drank Tea at Mr. Putnams. Spent the Evening at the Majors.
21 [i.e. 22] THURDSDAY.
Cloudy, black morning. Cleared away very pleasant about g. Dined at Capt. Stearns's, with the Officers of the Militia in this Place. Spent the Evening at Mr. Greenes.
22 [i.e. 23] FRYDAY.
A pleasant Day. I can as easily still the fierce Tempests or Stop the rapid Thunderbolt, as command the motions and operations of my own mind. I am dull, and inactive, and all my Resolution, all the Spirits I can muster, are insufficient to rouse me from this senseless Torpitude.
[illegible] My Brains seem constantly in as great Confusion, and wild disorder, as Miltons Chaos. They are numb, dead. I have never any bright, refulgent Ideas. Every Thing appears in my mind, dim and obscure like objects seen thro' a dirty glass or roiled water. Drank Tea at the Colonels. Spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams.
23 [i.e. 24.] SATURDAY.
A cloudy morn. All my Time seems to roll away unnoticed. I long to study sometimes, but have no opportunity. I long to be a master of Greek and Latin. I long to prosecute the mathematical and philosophical Sciences. I long to [illegible] know a little of Ethicks and moral Philosophy. But I have no Books, no Time, no Friends. I must therefore be contented to live and die an ignorant, obscure fellow. A showery Day.
24 [i.e. 25] SUNDAY.
Astronomers tell us, with good Reason, that not only all the Planets and Satellites in our Solar System, are inhabited, but all the unnumbered Worlds that revolve round the fixt Starrs are inhabited, as well as this Globe of Earth. If this is the Case all Mankind are no more in comparison of the whole rational Creation of God, than a point to the Orbit of Saturn. Perhaps all these different Ranks of Rational Beings have in a greater or less Degree, committed moral Wickedness. If so, I ask a Calvinist, whether he will subscribe to this Alternitive, "either God almighty must assume the respective shapes of all these different Species, and suffer the Penalties of their Crimes, in their Stead, or else all these Beings must be consigned to everlasting Perdition? " Heard Mr. Maccarty. Spent the Evening at the Colonels.
25 [i.e. 26] MONDAY.
The Reflection that I penned Yesterday, appears upon the review to be weak enough. For 1st. we know not that the Inhabitants of other Globes have sinned. Nothing can be argued in this manner, till it is proved at least probable that all those Species of rational Beings have revolted from their rightful Sovereign. -- When I examine the little Prospect that lies before me, and find an infinite variety of Bodies in one Horizon of perhaps two miles diameter, how many Millions of such Prospects there are upon the Surface of this Earth, how many millions of Globes there are within our View, each of which has as many of these prospects upon its own surface as our Planet-great! and marvellous are thy works! &c.
26 [i.e. 27] TUESDAY.
We had a few soft, vernal Showers to Day.
27 [i.e. 28] WEDNESDAY.
A cool but pleasant morning. Dined at Mr. Paines. Drank Tea at Mr. Putnams. Walked with him to his Farm. Talked about all Nature.
28 [i.e. 29] THURDSDAY.
Fast day. Heard Mr. Maccarty. Spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams. Our proper Business in this Life is, not to accumulate large Fortunes, not to gain high Honours and important offices in the State, not to waste our Health and Spirits in Pursuit of the Sciences, but constantly to improve our selves in Habits of Piety and Virtue. Consequently, the meanest Mechanick, who endeavours in proportion to his Ability, to promote the happiness of his fellow men, deserves better of Society, and should be held in higher Esteem than the Greatest Magistrate, who uses his power for his own Pleasures or Avarice or Ambition.
29 [i.e. 30] FRYDAY.
A hazy, dull Day. Reading Milton. That mans Soul, it seems to me, was distended as wide as Creation. His Powr over the human mind was absolute and unlimited. His Genius was great beyond Conception, and his Learning without Bounds. I can only gaze at him with astonishment, without comprehending the vast Compass of his Capacity.
30 APRIL, [i.e. 1 MAY] SATURDAY.
A rainy Day. If we consider a little of this our Globe we find an endless Variety of Substances, mutually connected with and dependent on Each other. In the Wilderness we see an amazing profusion of vegetables, which afford Sustenance and covering to the wild Beasts. The cultivated Planes and Meadows produce grass for Cattle, and Herbs for the service of man. The milk and the Flesh of other Animals, afford a delicious provision for mankind. A great Part of the human Species are obliged to provide food and nourishment for other helpless and improvident Animals. Vegetables sustain some Animals. These animals are devoured by others, and these others are continually cultivating and improving the vegetable Species. Thus nature, upon our Earth, is in a continual Rotation. If we rise higher, we find the sun and moon to a very great degree influencing us. Tides are produced in the ocean, Clouds in the Atmosphere, all nature is made to flourish and look gay by these enlivening and invigorating Luminaries. Yea Life and Chearfulness is diffused to all the other Planets, as well as ours, upon the sprightly Sunbeams. No doubt There is as great a multitude and variety of Bodies upon each Planet in proportion to its magnitude, as there is upon ours. These Bodies are connected with and influenced by each other. Thus we see the amazing harmony of our Solar System. The minutest Particle in one of Saturns Sattelites, may have some influence upon the most distant Regions of the System. The Stupendous Plan of operation was projected by him who rules the universe, and a part assigned to every particle of matter to act, in this great and complicated Drama. The Creator looked into the remotest Futurity, and saw his great Designs accomplished by this inextricable, this mysterious Complication of Causes. But to rise still higher this Solar System is but one, very small wheel in the great the astonishing Machine of the World. Those Starrs that twinkle in the Heavens have each of them a Choir of Planets, Comets, and Satellites dancing round them, playing mutually on each other, and all together playing on the other Systems that lie around them. Our System, considered as [one ] body hanging on its Center of Gravity, may affect and be affected by all the other Systems, within the Compass of Creation. Thus it is highly probable every Particle of matter, influences, and is influenced by every other Particle in the whole collective Universe. A stormy Day.
MAY. 1756. 1 [i.e. 2] SUNDAY.
Last night we had rain all night accompanied with a very high Wind, and the storm continues. Heard Mr. Camel [Campbell ] of Oxford. About noon cleard away. [illegible] I think it necessary to call my self to a strict account, how I spend my Time, once a week at least. Since the 14th of April I have been studying the 1st Part of Butlers Analogy. Spent the Evening at home with Mes. [Messrs.] Camel, Green.
I was mistaken one Day in my reckoning. A pleasant Day. Spent the Evening and supped at Mr. Maccartys. The Love of Fame naturally betrays a man into several weaknesses and Fopperies that tend very much to diminish his Reputation, and so defeats itself. Vanity I am sensible, is my cardinal Vice and cardinal Folly, and I am in continual Danger, when in Company, of being led an ignis fatuus Chase by it, without the strictest Caution and watchfulness over my self.
Let any man, suppose of the most improved understanding, look upon a watch, when the Parts of it are separated. Let him examine every Wheel and spring
by itself. Yet if the Use and Application of these springs and Wheels is not explained to him, he will not be able to judge of the Use and Advantage of particular Parts, much less will he be able, if he sees only one wheel. In like manner We who see but a few coggs in one Wheel of the great Machine of the Universe, can make no right judgment of particular Phoenomena in Nature. Spent the Evening at Mr. Swans.
A very cold Day. Drank Tea at the Colonels. Spent the Evening at the Majors.
A cold day. Spent the Evening and supped at Mr. Putnams.
Spent the Evening and supped at Mr. Maccartys. A mans observing the Flux of the Tide to Day, renders it credible that the same Phenomenon may be observed tomorrow. In the same manner, our Experience that the Author of Nature has annexed Pain to Vice, and Pleasure to Virtue, in general I mean, renders it credible that the same or a like Disposition of Things may take place hereafter. Our observing that the State of minority was designed to be an Education for mature Life, and that our good or ill Success in a mature Life, depends upon our good or ill improvement of our Advantages in Minority, renders it credible that this Life was designed to be an Education, for a future one, and that our [illegible] Happiness or Misery in a future life will be alloted us, according as our Characters shall be virtuous or vicious. For G. [God] governs his great Kingdom the World by very general Laws. We cannot indeed observe many Instances of these Laws. But wherever we see any particular Disposition of Things, we may strongly presume that there are other dispositions of Things in other Systems of Nature, analogous and of a Piece with them.
Went a Shooting with Mr. Putnam. Drank Tea with him and his Lady.
Since last Sunday I have wrote a few Papers of the Spectators, read the last Part of Butlers Analogy, wrote out the Tract upon personal Identity, and that upon the nature of Virtue. A poor Weeks Work! Spent the Evening at Mr. Greenes.
A pleasant Day.
A pleasant [day]. The first Day of Court. Nature and Truth or rather Truth and right are invariably the same in all Times and in all Places. And Reason, pure unbiassed Reason perceives them alike in all Times and in all Places. But Passion, Prejudice, Interest, Custom and Fancy are infinitely precarious. If therefore we suffer our Understandings to be blinded or perverted by any of these, the Chance is that of millions to one, that we shall embrace error. And hence arises that endless Variety of Opinions entertained by Mankind. -- The Weather and the Season are beyond expression delightful. The Fields are coverd with a bright and lively Verdure. The Trees are all in bloom, and the atmosphere is filled with a ravishing Fragrance. The Air is soft and yielding and the Setting sun Sprinkled his departing Rays over the Face of Nature, and enlivened all the Land skips around me. The Trees put forth their Leaves and the Birds fill the Spray. Supd at Gardiners.
Rambled about all Day, gaping and gazing.
12 [i.e. 13] THURDSDAY.
Spent the Evening with Mr. Swan at home.
13 [i.e. 14]. FRIDAY.
Drank Tea at the Colonels. -- Not one new Idea this Week.
14 [i.e. 15]. SATURDAY.
A lovely Day. Soft vernal Showers. Exercise invigorates, and enlivens all the Faculties of Body and of mind. It arouses our Animal Spirits, it disperses Melancholy. It spreads a gladness and Satisfaction over our minds and qualifies us for every Sort of Buisiness, and every Sort of Pleasure.
15 [i.e. 16]. SUNDAY.
A pleasant morning. The Week past was Court week. I was interrupted by Company, and the noisy Bustle of the publick Occasion, so that I have neither read or wrote any Thing worth mentioning.Heard Mr. Thayer, and spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams, very sociably.
16 [i.e. 17] MONDAY.
The Elephant and the Lion, when their Strength is directed and applyd by Man, can exert a prodigious Force. But their Strength, great and surprizing as it is, can produce no great Effects, when applyed by no higher Ingenuity than their own. But Man, allthough the Powers of his Body are but small and contemptible, by the Exercise of his Reason can invent Engines and Instruments, to take advantage of the Powers in Nature, and accomplish the most astonishing Designs. He can rear the Valley into a lofty mountain, and reduce the mountain to a humble Vale. He can rend the Rocks and level the proudest Trees. At his Pleasure the Forest is cleard and Palaces rise. When He pleases, the soaring Eagle is precipitated to Earth, and the light footed Roe is stop'd in his Career. He can cultivate and assist Nature in her own Productions. By pruning the Tree, and manuring the Land, he makes the former produce larger and fairer Fruit, and the latter bring forth better and greater Plenty of Grain. He can form a Communication between remotest Regions, for the benefit of Trade and Commerce, over the yielding and fluctuating Element of water. The Telescope has settled the Regions of Heaven, and the Microscope has brought up to View innumerable millions of Animals that Escape the observation of our naked sight.
19 [i.e. 20] THURDSDAY.
Spent the Evening at Gardiners.
20 [i.e. 21] FRYDAY.
After School, rode to Shrewsbury, went to Capt. Hows, to see Dr. Flynt, spent an Hour, and then rode to Mr. Howards, talked a little with him, and returned home.
21 [i.e. 22] Fryday SATURDAY.
Dined at Judge Chandlers.
22 [i.e. 23] SUNDAY.
Heard Mr. Maccarty. He is particularly fond of the following Expressions. Carnal, ungodly Persons. Sensuality and voluptuousness. Walking with God. Unregencracy. Rebellion against God. Believers. All Things come alike to all. There is one Event to the Righteous and to the Wicked. Shut out of the Presence of God. Solid, substantial and permanent joys. Joys springing up in the Soul. The Shines of Gs [Gods] Countenance.
When we consider the vast and incomprehensible extent of the material Universe, those myriads of fixed Stars that emerge out of the remote Regions of Space to our View by Glasses, and the finer our Glasses the more of these
Systems we discover. When we consider that Space is absolutely infinite and boundless, that the Power of the Deity is strictly omnipotent, and his Goodness without Limitation, who can come to a Stop in his Thoughts, and say hither does the Universe extend and no farther?
"Nothing can proceed from Nothing." But Something can proceed from Something, and Thus the Deity produced this vast and beautiful Frame of the Universe out of Nothing, i.e. He had no preexistent matter to work upon or to change from a Chaos into a World. But He produced a World into Being by his almighty Fiat, perhaps in a manner analogous to the Production of Resolutions in our minds.
This week I have read one Volume of Duncan Forbes Works and 1/2 Bentleys Sermons at the Boilean Lectures. Spent the Evening at the Collonels.
23 [i.e. 24] MONDAY.
A pleasant morning. Drank Tea at the Colonells. -- Had the projectile Force in the Planets been greater than it is, they would not describe Circles but very excentrical Elipses round the Sun. And then the Inhabitants would be tormented yea destroyed and the Planets left barren and uninhabitable Wastes by Extreme Vicissitudes of Heat and cold. It was many million Times as likely that some other degree of Velocity would have been lighted on, as that the present would, if Chance had the Disposal of it, and any other Degree would have absolutely destroyed all animal and sensitive if not vegetable Inhabitants. Ergo an intelligent and benevolent mind had the Disposal and determination of these Things.
24 [i.e. 25] TUESDAY.
A cool, but pleasant Day.
25 [i.e. 26] WEDNESDAY.
Election Day. I have spent all this Day at Home reading a little and eating a little Election Cake.
26 [i.e. 27] THURDSDAY.
Drank Tea at the Colonels with a Number of [illegible] Ladies. Spent the Evening partly at Putnams and partly at Gardiners.
27 [i.e. 28] FRYDAY.
Dined at the Majors. A pleasant Day. -- If we examine critically the little Prospect that lies around us at one view we behold an almost infinite Variety of substances. Over our heads the sun blazes in divine Effulgence, the Clouds tinged with various Colors by the refracted Sunbeams exhibit most beautiful appearances in the Atmosphere, the cultivated Planes and meadows are attired in a delightful Verdure and variegated with the gay enamell of Flowers and Roses. On one hand we see an extensive Forest, a whole Kingdom of Vegetables of the noblest Kind. Upon the Hills we discern Flocks of Grazing Cattle, and on the other hand a City rises up to View, with its Spires among the Clouds. All these and many more objects encounter our Eyes in the Prospect of one Horizon, perhaps 2, or 3 miles [in]
diameter. Now every Animal that we see in this Prospect, Men and Beasts, are endued with most curiously organized Bodies. They consist of Bones, and Blood, and muscles, and nerves, and ligaments and Tendons, and Chile [Chyle]
and a million other things, all exactly fitted for the purposes of Life and motion, and Action.
Every Plant has almost as complex and curious a structure, as animals, and the minutest Twigg
is supported, and supplied with Juices and Life, by organs and Filaments proper to draw this Nutrition of the Earth. It would be endless to consider minutely every Substance or Species of Substances that falls under our Eyes in this one Prospect. Now let us for a minute Consider how many million such Prospects there are upon this single Planet, all of which contain as great and some a much Greater Variety of animals and Vegetables. When we have been sufficiently astonished at this incomprehensible multitude of substances, let us rise in our Thoughts and consider, how many Planets and Sattellites
and Comets there are in this one solar system, each of which has as many such Prospects upon its surface as our Earth. Such a View as this may suffice to show us our Ignorance. But if [we]
rise still higher in our Thoughts, and consider that stupendous Army of fixt Starrs
that is hung up in the immense Space, as so many Suns, each placed in Center of his respective system and diffusing his inlivening
and invigorating Influences to his whole Choir of Planets, Comets and sattellites, and that each of this unnumbered multitude has as much superficies, and as many Prospects as our Earth, we find our selves lost and swallowed up in this incomprehensible I had almost said infinite [illegible]
Magnificence of Nature. Our Imaginations after a few feignt Efforts, sink down into a profound Admiration of what they cannot comprehend. God whose almighty Fiat first produced this amazing Universe, had the whole Plan in View from all Eternity, intimately and perfectly knew the Nature and all the Properties of all these his Creatures. He looked forward through all Duration and perfectly knew all the Effects, all the events and Revolutions, that could possibly, and would actually take place, Throughout Eternity.
28 [i.e. 29] SATURDAY.
Drank Tea at Mr. Putnams. -- What is the proper Business of Mankind in this Life? We come into the World naked and destitute of all the Conveniences and necessaries of Life. And if we were not provided for, and nourished by our Parents or others should inevitably perish as soon as born. We increase in strength of Body and mind by slow and insensible Degrees. 1/3 of our Time is consumed in sleep, and 3/4 Of the remainder, is spent in procuring a mere animal sustenance. And if we live to the Age of three score and Ten and then set down to make an estimate in our minds of the Happiness we have enjoyed and the Misery we have suffered, We shall find I am apt to think, that the overballance
of Happiness is quite inconsiderable. We shall find that we have been through the greatest Part of our Lives pursuing Shadows, and empty but glittering Phantoms rather than substances. We shall find that we have applied our whole Vigour, all our Faculties, in the Pursuit of Honour
, or Wealth, or Learning or some other such delusive Trifle, instead of the
real and everlasting Excellences of Piety and Virtue. Habits of Contemplating the Deity and his transcendent Excellences, and correspondent Habits of complacency in and Dependence upon him, Habits of Reverence and Gratitude, to God, and Habits of Love and Compassion to our fellow men and Habits of Temperance, Recollection and self Government will afford us a real and substantial Pleasure. We may then exult in a Conciousness of the Favour
of God, and the Prospect of everlasting Felicity.
29 [i.e. 30] SUNDAY.
Heard Mr. Maccarty. "You who are sinners, are in continual Danger of being swallowed up quick and born away by the mighty Torrent of Gods wrath and justice. It is now as it were restrained and banked up by his Goodness. But he will by and by, unless Repentance prevent, let it out in full Fury upon you." This week I have wrote the [8th?] Sermon of Bentleys Boilean Lectures. Read part of the 1st Volume of Voltairs Age of Lewis 14th. -- make poor Weeks Works.
30 [i.e. 31] MONDAY.
When we see or feel any Body, we discern nothing but Bulk and Extention. We can change this Extention into a great Variety of Shapes and Figures, and by applying our senses to it can get Ideas of those different Figures, But can do nothing more than change the Figure. If we pulverize Glass or Salt, the original constituent matter remains the same, only we have altered the Contexture of its Parts. Large loads and heaps of matter as mountains and Rocks lie obstinate, inactive and motionless, and eternally will remain so unless moved by some Force extrinsick to themselves. Dissolve the Cohesion, and reduce these Mountains to their primogeneal Atoms, these Atoms are as dull and senseless as they were when combined into the Shape of a mountain. In short matter has no Consciousness of its own Existence, has no power of its own, no active Power I mean, but is wholly passive. Nor can Thought be ever produced by any modification of it. To say that God can superadd to matter a Capacity of Thought is palpable nonsense and Contradiction. Such a Capacity is inconsistent with the most essential Properties of matter.
JUNE 1756. 1 TUESDAY.
Drank Tea at the Majors. The Reasoning of Mathematicians is founded on certain and infallible Principles. Every Word they Use, conveys a determinate Idea, and by accurate Definitions they excite the same Ideas in the mind of the Reader that were in the mind of the Writer. When they have defined the Terms they intend to make use of, they premise a few Axioms, or Self evident Principles, that every man must assent to as soon as proposed. They then take for granted certain Postulates, that no one can deny them, such as, that a right Line may be drawn from one given Point to another, and from these plain simple Principles, they have raised most astonishing Speculations, and proved the Extent of the human mind to be more spacious and capable than any other Science.
Went to Spencer in the afternoon. -- When we come into the World, our minds are destitute of all Sorts of Ideas. Our senses inform us of various Qualities in the substances around us. As we grow up our Acquaintance with Things enlarges and spreads. Colours are painted in our minds through our Eyes. All the various Modulations of Sounds, enter by our Ears. Fragrance and Foetor, are perceived by the Smell, Extention and Bulk by the Touch. These Ideas that enter simple and uncompounded thro our Senses are called simple Ideas, because they are absolutely one and indivisible. Thus the Whiteness of Snow can not be divided or seperated into 2 or more Whitenesses. The same may be said of all other Colours. It is indeed in our Power to mix and compound Colours into new and more beautiful Appearances, than any that are to be found in Nature. So We can combine various Sounds into one melodious Tune. In Short we can modify and dispose the Simple Ideas of Sensation, into whatever shape we please. But these Ideas can enter our minds no other Way but thro the senses. A man born blind will never gain one Idea of Light or Colour. One born deaf will never get an Idea of sound.
Heard Mr. Maccarty preach the Lecture, drank Tea with him, and spent the Evening at the Majors.
Dreamed away the afternoon.
Heard Mr. Maccarty all Day. Drank Tea at home with Crawford. Spent the Evening at home with Mr. Maccarty and Capt. Doolittle. A great deal of Thunder and Lightning.
MONDAY, TUESDAY, WEDNESDAY, THURDSDAY, FRYDAY, SATURDAY, SUNDAY.
Drank Tea at Mr. Putnams. Spent the Evening at the Majors, with Esqrs. Chandler of Woodstock and Brewer of Worcester. -- He is not a wise man and is unfit to fill any important Station in Society, that has left one Passion in his Soul unsubdued. The Love of Glory will make a General sacrifice the Interest of his Nation, to his own Fame. Avarice exposes some to Corruption and all to a Thousand meannesses and villanies destructive to Society. Love has deposed lawful Kings, and aggrandiz'd unlawful, ill deserving Courtiers. Envy is more Studious of eclipsing the Lustre of other men by indirect Strategems, than of brightening its own Lustre by great and meritorious Actions. These Passions should be bound fast and brought under the Yoke. [illegible]
tamed they are lawless Bulls, they roar and bluster, defy all Controul, and some times murder their proper owner. But properly inured to Obedience, they take their Places under the Yoke without Noise and labour
vigorously in their masters Service. From
a sense of the Government of God, and a Regard to the Laws established by his
Providence, should all our Actions for ourselves or for other men, primarily originate. And This master Passion in a good mans soul, like the larger Fishes of Prey will swallow up and destroy all the rest.
Consider, for one minute, the Changes produced in this Country, within the Space of 200 years. Then, the whole Continent was one continued dismall Wilderness, the haunt of Wolves and Bears and more savage men. Now, the Forests are removed, the Land coverd with fields of Corn, orchards bending with fruit, and the magnificent Habitations of rational and civilized People. Then our Rivers flowed through gloomy deserts and offensive Swamps. Now the same Rivers glide smoothly on through rich Countries fraught with every delightful Object, and through Meadows painted with the most beautyful scenery of Nature, and of Art. [illegible] The narrow Hutts of the Indians have been removed and in their room have arisen fair and lofty Edifices, large and well compacted Cities.
Supped and spent the Evening at the Majors.
A rainy Day. Drank Tea and spent Evening at Put. [Putnam's.]
Went with Mr. Thayer and Mrs. Willard, to Mr. Richardsons of Sutton.
24 -  THURDSDAY. FRYDAY. SATURDAY. SUNDAY.
Spent the Evening at the Colonels.
JULY. 1756. 19. MONDAY.
Sat out for Boston. Borrowed the Idea of a Patriot King of Ned. Quincy. Rode to Cambridge. Lodgd. Rode the next morning to Worcester.
Eliot and Trumble lodged here with me.
Kept School. -- I am now entering on another Year, and I am resolved not to neglect my Time as I did last Year. I am resolved to rise with the Sun and to study the Scriptures, on Thurdsday, Fryday, Saturday, and Sunday mornings, and to study some Latin author the other 3 mornings. Noons and Nights I intend to read English Authors. This is my fixt Determination, and I will set down every neglect and every compliance with this Resolution. May I blush whenever I suffer one hour to pass unimproved. I will rouse up my mind, and fix my Attention. I will stand collected within my self and think upon what I read and what I see. I will strive with all my soul to be something more than Persons who have had less Advantages than myself.
Fast day. Rose not till 7 o clock. This is the usual Fate of my Resolutions! Wrote the 3 first Chapters of St. James. Wrote in Bolinbroke pretty industriously. Spent the Evening at Mr. Paines. -- The Years of my Youth are marked by divine Providence with various and with great Events. The last Year is rendered conspicuous in the memorials of past Ages, by a Series of very remarkable Events, of various Kinds. The Year opened with the Projection of 3 Expeditions, to prevent the further, and remove the present Depredations, and Encroachments of our turbulent french Neighbours. I shall not minute the graduall Steps, advanced by each Army, but only the Issue of each. Braddock the Commander of the Forces, destind against Duquesne, and 6 or 700 of his men, were butchered in a manner unexampled in History. All, routed and destroyed without doing the least Injury that we know of, to the Enemy. Johnson, with his Army, was attacked by the Baron Dieskeau, but happily maintaind his Ground and routed the Enemy, taking Dieskeau prisoner. Moncton and Winslow at Nova Scotia, gaind their Point, took the Fortresses and sent of [off] the Inhabitants into these Provinces. Boskawen bravely defended our Coast with his Fleet, and made great Havock among the french merchant Ships. All these Actions were performed in a Time of Peace. Sed paulo majora canamus. God almighty has exerted the Strength of his tremendous Arm and shook one of the finest, richest, and most populous Cities in Europe, into Ruin and Desolation, by an Earthquake. The greatest Part of Europe and the greatest Part of America, has been in violent Convulsions, and admonished the Inhabitants of both, that neither Riches nor Honours, nor the solid Globe itself is a proper Basis, on which to build our hopes of Security. The british Nation has been making very expensive and very formidable Preparations, to Secure its Territories against an Invasion by the French, and to humble the insolent Tempers, and aspiring Prospects of that ambitious and faithless Nation. The gathering of the Clouds, seems to forebode very tempestuous Weather, and none can tell but the Storm will break heavy upon himself in particular. Is it not then the highest Frensy and Distraction to neglect these Expostulations of Providence and continue a Rebellion against that Potentate who alone has Wisdom enough to [illegible] perceive and Power enough to [illegible] procure for us the only certain means of Happiness and goodness enough to prompt him to both.
Rose at 7. Wrote the 2 last Chapters of St. James. Spent the Evening at the Majors and drank Tea at Putnams.
Rose at 7. Wrote a little in Greek. Afternoon wrote Bolinbroke.
Rose 1/2 after 6. -- Good Sense, some say, is enough to regulate our Conduct, to dictate Thoughts and Actions which are proper upon certain Occasions. This they say will soften and refine the Motions of our Limbs into an easy and agreable
the Dancing Master never was applied to, and this will suggest good Answers, good Observations and good Expressions to us better than refined Breeding. Good sense will make us remem
that others have as good a right [illegible]
to think for themselves and to speak their own Opinions as I have, that another mans making a silly Speech, does not warrant my ill nature and Pride in grasping the Opportunity to ridicule him, and show my Witt. A puffy, vain, conceited Conversation, never fails to bring a Man into Contempt, altho
his natural Endowments be ever so great, and his Application and Industry ever so intense. No Accomplishments, no Virtues are a sufficient Attonement for Vanity, and a haughty overbearing Temper in Conversation. And such is [the] Humour
of the World the greater a mans Parts and the nobler his Virtues in other Respects, the more Derision and Ridicule does this one Vice and Folly throw him into. [illegible]
Good sense is generally attended with a very lively sense and delight in Applause. The Love of Fame in such men is generally much stronger than in other People, and this Passion it must be confessed is apt to betray men into impertinent Exertions of their Talents, sometimes into censorious Remarks upon others, often into little meannesses to sound the opinions of others and oftenest of all into a childish Affectation of Wit and Gaiety. I must own my self
to have been, to a very heinous Degree, guilty in this Respect. When in Company with Persons much superior to my self
in Years and Place, I have talked to shew
my Learning. I have been too bold with great men, which Boldness will no doubt be called Self Conceit. I have made ill natured Remarks upon the Intellectuals, manners, Practice &c. of other People. I have foolishly aimed at Wit and Spirit, at making a shining Figure in gay Company, but instead of shining briter I only clouded the few Rays that before rendered me visible. Such has been my unhappy Fate. -- I now resolve for the future, never to say an ill naturd
Thing, concerning Ministers or the ministerial Profession, never to say an envious Thing concerning Governors, Judges, Ministers, Clerks, Sheriffs, Lawyers, or any other honorable or Lucrative offices or officers, never to affect Wit upon laced Wastecoats
or large Estates or their [Professors [Possessors?]?]
, never to shew
my own Importance or Superiority, by remarking the Foibles, Vices, or Inferiority of others. But I now resolve as far as lies in me, to take Notice chiefly of the amiable Qualities of other People, to put the most favourable
Construction upon the Weaknesses, Bigotry, and Errors of others, &c. and to labour
more for an inoffensive and amiable than for [illegible]
a shining and invidious Character. -- Heard Crawford in the morning, and Harding in the afternoon.
Rose at 7. Read carefully 30 lines in Virgil.
Rose at 7. Read carefully 30 lines, in Virgil. Wrote a little in Bolingbroke at noon and a little at night. Spent the Evening at Mr. Putnams.
Read about 40 lines in Virgil, and wrote a little at noon. Nothing more.
Rose half after 6. Read a little Greek.
A very rainy Day. Dreamed away the Time.
A rainy forenoon. Dined at Mr. Paines. A fair after [noon]
. The Nature and Essence of the material World is not [illegible] less conceal'd
from our knowledge than the Nature and Essence of God. We see our selves surrounded on all sides with a vast expanse of Heavens, and we feel our selves astonished at the Grandeur, the blazing Pomp of those Starrs
with which it is adorned. The Birds fly over our Heads and our fellow animals Labour
and sport around us, the Trees wave and murmur in the Winds,
the Clouds float and shine on high, the surging billows rise in the Sea, and Ships break through the Tempest. Here rises a spacious City, and yonder is spread out an extensive Plain. These Objects are so common and familiar, that we think our selves fully Acquainted with them; but these are only Effects and Properties, the substance from whence they flow is hid from us in impenetrable Obscurity.
God is said to be self existent, and that therefore he may have existed from Eternity, and throughout Immensity. God exists by an absolute Necessity in his own Nature. That is, it implies a Contradiction to suppose him not to exist. To ask what this Necessity is, is as if you should ask what the Necessity of the Equality between twice 2 and 4., is. Twice 2 are necessarily in their own nature equal to 4., not only here but in every Point of Space, not only now, but in every Point of Duration. In the same manner God necessarily exists not only here but throughout unlimited Space, not only now but throughout all Duration, past, and future. [illegible]
We observe, in the animate and in the inanimate Creation, a surprizing Diversity, and a surprizing Uniformity. Of inanimate Substances, there is a great variety, from the Pebble in the Streets, quite up to the Vegetables in the Forrest. Of animals there is no less a Variety of Species from the Animalculs that escape our naked sight, quite through the intermediate Kinds up to Elephants, Horses, men. Yet notwithstanding this Variety, there is, from the highest Species of animals upon this Globe which is generally thought to be Man, a regular and uniform Subordination of one Tribe to another down to the apparently insignificant animalcules in pepper Water, and the same Subordination continues quite through the Vegetable Kingdom. And it is worth observing that each Species regularly and uniformly preserve all their essential and peculiar properties, without partaking of the peculiar Properties of others. We dont see Chickens hatched with fins to swim, nor Fishes spawned with wings to fly. We dont see a Colt folded [foaled] with Claws like a Bird, nor men with the Cloathing or Armour which his Reason renders him capable of procuring for himself. Every Species has its distinguishing Properties, and every Individual that is born has all those Properties without any of the distinguishing Properties of another Species. What now can preserve this prodigious Variety of Species's and this inflexible Uniformity among the Individuals, but the continual and vigilant Providence of God.
AUGUST. 1756. 1 SUNDAY.
Heard Mr. Maccarty all Day. Spent the Evening at the Collonels.The Event Shews that my Resolutions are of a very thin and vapory Consistence. Almost a fortnight has passed since I came to Worcester the last Time. Some part of the Time, I have spent as frugally and industriously as I possibly could. But the greatest Part I have dreamed away as Usual. I am now entering upon a new month, and a new Week, and I should think that one month would carry me forward considerably, If I could keep up a continual Presence of mind, and a close Application, at all proper Times. This I will Labour after.
Agreably to the Design laid last night, I arose this Morning before the sun. Dined at Pains. Lodgd at Putnams.
Dind at the Colonels. Lodged at Put. [Putnam's].
Breakfasted at Put [Putnam's.]
All this past Week my designs have been interrupted, by the Troubles and Confusion of the House. I shall be able to resume the Thread of my Studies I hope now. Wrote pretty industriously in Bolinbroke. I have never looked attentively into my own Breast. I have never considered, (as I ought) the surprizing
Faculties and Opperations of the Mind. Our minds are capable of receiving an infinite Variety of Ideas, from those numerous [illegible]
material objects with which we are surrounded. And [illegible] the
vigourous Impressions which we receive from these, our minds are capable of retaining, compounding and arranging into all the Varieties of Picture and of Figure. Our minds are able to retain distinct Comprehensions of an infinite multitude of Things without the least Labour
or fatigue, by curiously enquiring
into the Scituation, Fruits, Produce, Manufactures, &c. of our own, and by travailing into or reading about other Countries, we can gain distinct Ideas of almost every Thing upon this Earth, at present, and by looking into Hystory
we can settle in our minds a clear and a comprehensive View of This Earth at its Creation, of its various changes and Revolutions, of its various Catastrophes, of its progressive Cultivation, sudden depopulation, and graduall
repeopling, of the [illegible]
growth of [illegible]
several Kingdoms and Empires, of their Wealth and Commerce, Warrs
, of the Characters of their principal Leading Men, of their Grandeur and Power, of their Virtues and Vices, and of their insensible Decays at first, and of their swift Destruction at last. In fine we can attend the Earth from its Nativity thro
all the various turns of Fortune, through all its successive Changes, through all the events that
happen on its surface, and thro
all the successive Generations of Mankind, to the final Conflagration when the whole Earth with its Appendages shall be consumed and dissolved by the furious Element of Fire. And after our minds are furnished with this ample Store of Ideas, [illegible]
far from feeling burdened or overloaded, our thoughts are more free and active and clear than before, and we are capable of diffusing our Acquaintance with things, much further. We are not satiated with Knowledge, our Curiosity is only improved, and increased, Our Thoughts rove beyond the visible diurnal sphere, they range thro
the Heavens and loose themselves amidst a Labyrinth of Worlds, and not contented with what is, they run forward into futurity and search for new Employment there. Here they can never stop. The wide, the boundless Prospect lies before them. Here alone they find Objects adequate to their desires.
I know not by what Fatality it happens, but I seem to have a Necessity upon me of trifling away my Time. Have not read 50 lines in Virgil this Week. Have wrote very little.
12 [- 13] THURDSDAY. FRYDAY.
I know not what became of these days.
I seem to have lost sight of the Object that I resolved to pursue. Dreams and slumbers, sloth and negligence, will be the ruin of my schemes. However I seem to be awake now. Why cant I keep awake? I have wrote Scripture pretty industriously this morning. -- Why am I so unreasonable, as to expect Happiness, and a solid undisturbed Contentment amidst all the Disorders, and the continual Rotations of worldly Affairs? Stability is no where to be found in that Part of the Universe that lies within our observation. The natural and the moral World, are continually changing. The Planets, with all their Appendages, strike out their amazing Circles round the Sun. Upon the Earth, one Day is serene, and clear, no cloud intercepts the kind influence of the Sun, and all Nature seems to flourish and look gay. But these delightfull
scenes soon vanish, and are succeeded by the gloom and Darkness of the Night. And before the morning Appears, the Clouds gather, the Winds rise, Lightnings glare, and Thunders bellow through the vast of Heaven. Man is sometimes flushed with joy and transported with the full Fury of sensual Pleasure, and the next Hour, lies groaning under the bitter Pangs of Disappointments and adverse Fortune. Thus God has told us, by the general Constitution of the World,
by the Nature of all terrestrial Enjoyments, and by the Constitution of our own Bodies, that This World was not designed for a lasting and a happy State, but rather for a State of moral Discipline, that we might have a fair Opportunity and continual Excitements to labour
after a cheerful Resignation to all the Events of Providence, after Habits of Virtue, Self Government, and Piety. And this Temper of mind is in our Power to acquire, and this alone can secure us against all the Adversities of Fortune, against all the Malice of men, against all the Opperations of Nature. A World in Flames, and a whole System tumbling in Ruins to the Center, has nothing terrifying in it to a man whose Security is builded
on the adamantine Basis of good Conscience and confirmed Piety. If I could but conform my Life and Conversation to my Speculations, I should be happy. -- Have I hardiness enough to contend with omnipotence? Or have I cunning enough to elude infinite Wisdom, or Ingratitude enough to Spurn at infinite Goodness? The Scituation that I am in, and the Advantages that I enjoy, are thought to be the best for me by him who alone is a competent judge of Fitness and Propriety. Shall I then complain? Oh Madness, Pride, Impiety.
If any man being or being is about to confer [illegible]
If one Man or Being, out of pure Generosity, and without any Expectation of Returns, is about to confer any Favour
or Emolument upon Another, he has a right and is at Liberty to choose in what manner, and by what means, to confer it. He may convey the Favour
by his own Hand or by the Hand of his Servant, and the Obligation to Gratitude is equally strong upon the benefited Being. The mode of bestowing does not diminish the kindness, provided the Commodity or good is brought to us equally perfect and without our Expence
. But on the other Hand, If our Being is the original Cause of Pain, Sorrow or Suffering to another, voluntarily and without
provocation, it is injurious to that other, whatever means he might employ and whatever Circumstances the Conveyance of the Injury might be attended with. [illegible]
Thus we are equally obliged to the Supream
Being for the Information he has given us of our Duty, whether by the Constitution of our Minds and Bodies or by a supernatural Revelation. For an instance of the latter let us take original sin. Some say that Adams sin was enough to damn the whole human Race, without any actual Crimes committed by any of them. Now this Guilt is brought upon them not by their own rashness and Indiscretion, not by their own Wickedness and Vice, but by the Supream
Being. This Guilt brought upon us is a real Injury and Misfortune because
it renders us worse than not to be, and therefore making us guilty upon account of Adams Delegation, or Representing all of us, is not in the least diminishing the Injury and Injustice but only changing the mode of conveyance.
Yesterday I compleated a Contract with Mr. Putnam, to study Law under his Inspection for two years. I ought to begin with a Resolution to oblige and please him and his Lady in a particular Manner. I ought to endeavour to oblige and please every Body, but them in particular. Necessity drove me to this Determination, but my Inclination I think was to preach. However that would not do. But I set out with firm Resolutions I think never to commit any meanness or injustice in the Practice of Law. The Study and Practice of Law, I am sure does not dissolve the obligations of morality or of Religion. And altho the Reason of my quitting Divinity was my Opinion concerning some disputed points, I hope I shall not give Reason of offence to any in that Profession by imprudent Warmth.
Heard Crawford upon the Love of God. The Obligation that is upon us to love God, he says, arises from the Instances of his Love and Goodness to us. He has given us an Existence and a Nature which renders us
capable of enjoying Happiness and of suffering [illegible]
Misery. He has given us several senses and has furnished the World around us with a Variety of Objects proper to delight and entertain them. He has hung up in the Heavens over our Heads, and has spread in the Fields of Nature around about us, those glorious Shows and Appearances, by which our Eyes and our Imaginations are so extremely delighted. [illegible]
We are pleased with the Beautyful Appearance of the Flower, we are agreably entertaind
with the Prospect of Forrests
and Meadows, of verdant Field and mountains coverd
with Flocks, we are thrown into a kind of transport and amazement when we behold the amazing concave of Heaven sprinkled and glittering with Starrs
. He has also bestowed upon the Vegetable Species a fragrance, that can almost as [agreeably]
entertain our sense of smell. He has [illegible] the air
so wonderfully constituted the Air that by giving it a particular Kind of Vibration, it produces in us as intense sensation of Pleasure as the organs
of our Bodies can bear, in all the Varieties of Harmony and Concord. But all the Provision [Provisions]
that he has [made ]
for the Gratification of our senses, tho
very engaging and unmerited Instances of goodness, are much inferior to the Provision, the wonderful Provision that he has made for the gratification of our nobler Powers of Intelligence and Reason. He has given us Reason, to find out the Truth, and the real Design and true [illegible]
End of our
Existence, and has made
all Endeavours to promote them agreable
to our minds, and attended with a conscious pleasure and Complacency. On the Contrary he has made a different Course of Life, a Course of Impiety and Injustice, of [illegible]
Malevolence and Intemperance, appear Shocking and deformed to our first Reflections. And since it was necessary to make us liable to some Infirmities and Distempers of Body, he has plentifully stored the Bowells and the surface of the Earth with Minerals and Vegetables that are proper to defend us from some Deseases and to
restore us to health from others.
Besides the Powers of our Reason and Invention have enabled us to devize Engines and Instruments to take advantage of the Powers that we find in Nature to avert many Calamities that would other wise befall us, and to procure many Enjoyments and Pleasures that we could not other wise attain. [illegible] He has connected the greatest Pleasure with the Discovery of Truth and made it our Interest to pursue with Eagerness these intense Pleasures. Have we not the greatest Reason then, yea is it not our indispensible Duty to return our sincere Love and Gratitude to this greatest, kindest and most profuse Benefactor. Would it not shew the deepest Baseness and most infamous Ingratitude to despize or to disregard a Being to whose inexhausted Beneficence we are so deeply indebted.
Came to Mr. Putnams and began Law. And studied not very closely this Week.
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