A website from the Massachusetts Historical Society; founded 1791.
Adams Family Papers : An Electronic Archive

John Adams diary 19, 16 December 1772 - 18 December 1773

Front Cover
page image
View larger image

Paper Book No. 19.
Copied. Journal Fragments
Vol. 3. 100. 260-273.

[The preceding text was added in the handwriting of Charles Francis Adams]

Inside Front Cover
page image
View larger image

[The preceding text was added in the handwriting of John Quincy Adams]

Dined with the Reverend Mr. Simeon Hayward [Howard] of West Boston, in Company with Dr. Chauncey, Captn. Phillips, Dr. Warren, Mrs. Hayward, Miss Betsy Mayhew and a young Gentleman whose Name I dont know. Had a very agreable Conversation.
Mr. Hayward was silent. Dr. Chauncey very sociable -- glories much in his inflexible Adherence to rules of Diet, Exercise, Study, Sleep &c. If he had not lived as regularly as the sun moves in the Heavens, he should long ago have mouldered to dust, so as not to be distinguished from common Earth. Never reads nor studies after 8 O Clock. He would not, for all the Commissions in the Gift of all the Potentates upon Earth, become the Tool of any Man alive. Told us of his Writing to England and Scotland, and of the Politicks he wrote -- among the rest that in 25 Years there would be more People here than in the 3 Kingdoms &c. -- the greatest Empire on Earth. Our Freeholds would preserve us for Interest would not lie. If ever he should give the Charge at an Ordination, he would say We, Bishops, &c. &c. He told us of Mr. Temples keeping a fair journal of all the Proceedings of the Board of Commissioners &c. and that the Ministry provided for him, to prevent his raising a Clamour.
Captn. Phillips would not have got his Appointment, if Mr. Temple had not been his Friend, &c.
Phillips says they are all still and quiet at the southward, and at New York they laugh at Us.

Brother Elihu 10 Cords and 6 feet of Wood
bought of Crane 6
brought by Bracket 5
12 1

Heard Dr. Chauncey in the Morning upon these Words "As Paul reasoned of Righteousness, Temperance, and judgment to come F lix trembled." The Dr. dilated upon the Subject of Pauls Discourse, the great moral Duties of Justice and Temperance as they are connected with the future judgment. Upon the Apostles manner, he reasoned &c., and upon the Effect, that such Reasoning had upon F lix, it made him tremble.
In the Afternoon Dr. Cooper sounded harmoniously, upon the deceitfullness of Sin. The Drs. Air and Action are not gracefull -- they are not natural and easy. His Motions with his Head, Body and Hands are a little stiff and affected. His Style is not simple enough for the Pulpit. It is too flowery, too figurative -- his Periods too much or rather too apparently rounded and laboured. -- This however Sub Rosa, because the Dr. passes for a Master of Composition, and is an excellent Man.

Major Martin at the Office. He is very gracious with the first Man in the Province. The Governor spoke very handsomely, of all my Council. -- "He did you justice," &c. &c. The Major is to dine with me tomorrow. He wishes for Warr, wants to be a Colonell -- to get 1000 st. a Year for 8 or 10 Years that he may leave Something to his Children, &c. &c. -- "An Ensign in the Army is Company for any Nobleman in England. A Colonel in the Army with 1000 a Year will spend an Evening with an Ensign, who can but just live upon his Pay and make him pay his Clubb. The Company that the Officers are obliged to keep, makes them poor, as bare as a scraped Carrot" -- &c. &c.
The Manners of these Gentlemen are very engaging and agreable.
Took a Walk this Morning to the South End, and had some Conversation with my old Friends Crafts and Trot. I find they are both cooled -- both flattened away. They complain especially Crafts that they are called Tories -- &c. &c. Crafts has got Swifts Contests and Dissentions of the Nobles and Commons of Athens and Rome, and is making Extracts from it -- about Clodius and Curio, popular Leaders &c. &c.
My Wife says her Father never inculcated any Maxim of Behaviour upon his Children, so often as this -- never to speak ill of any Body. To say all the handsome Things she could of Persons but no Evil -- and to make Things rather than Persons the Subjects of Conversation. These Rules, he always impressed upon Us, whenever We were going abroad, if it was but to spend an Afternoon. -- He was always remarkable for observing these Rules in his own Conversation. -- Her Grandfather Quincy was remarkable for never praising any Body, He did not often speak evil, but he seldom spoke well.

Major Martin, Mr. Blowers and Mr. Williams dined with me -- all agreable.
This Day I heard that Mr. Hancock had purchased 20 Writs of Mr. Goldthwait, for this Court, of Mr. S. Quincy. -- Oh the Mutability of the legal, commercial, social, political, as well as material World! For about 3 or 4 Years I have done all Mr. Hancocks Business, and have waded through wearisome, anxious Days and Nights, in his Defence. But Farewell!
Spent the last Sunday Evening with Dr. Cooper at his House with Justice Quincy and Mr. Wm. Cooper. We were very social and we chatted at large upon C sar, Cromwell &c.
Yesterday Parson Howard and his Lady, lately Mrs. Mayhew, drank Tea with Mrs. Adams.
Heard many Anecdotes from a young Gentleman in my Office of Admirall Montagu's Manners. A Coachman, a Jack Tar before the Mast, would be ashamed -- nay a Porter, a Shew Black or Chimney Sweeper would be ashamed of the coarse, low, vulgar, Dialect of this Admiral Sea Officer, tho an a rear Admiral of the Blue, and tho a Second Son of a genteel if not a noble Family in England. An American Freeholder, living in a log House 20 feet Square, without a Chimney in it, is a well bred Gentleman Man, a polite accomplished Person, a fine Gentleman, in Comparison of this Beast of Prey.

This is not the Language of Prejudice, for I have none against him, but of Truth. His brutal, hoggish Manners are a Disgrace to the Royal Navy, and to the Kings Service.
His Lady is very much disliked they say in general. She is very full of her Remarks at the Assembly and Concert. Can this Lady afford the Jewells and Dress she wears? -- Oh that ever my son should come to dance with a Mantua Maker.
As to the Admiral his continual Language is cursing and damning and God damning, "my wifes d--d A--se is so broad that she and I cant sit in a Chariot together" -- this is the Nature of the Beast and the common Language of the Man. Admiral Montagu's Conversation by all I can learn of it, is exactly like Otis's when he is both mad and drunk.
The high Commission Court, the Star Chamber Court, the Court of Inquisition, for the Tryal of the Burners of the Gaspee, at Rhode Island, are the present Topick of Conversation. The Governor of that Colony, has communicated to the assembly a Letter from the Earl of Dartmouth. The Colony are in great Distress, and have applied to their Neighbours for Advice, how to evade or to sustain the Shock.

This Afternoon I had a Visit from Samuel Pemberton Esqr. and Mr. Samuel Adams. Mr. P. said they were a Subcommittee deputed by the Standing Committee of the Town of Boston, to request that I would deliver an Oration in Public upon the ensuing 5th. of March. He said that they two were desirous of it, and that the whole Committee was unanimously desirous of it.
I told them, that the feeble State of my Health rendered me quite willing to devote myself forever to private Life. That, far from taking any Part in Public, I was desirous to avoid even thinking upon public Affairs -- and that I was determined to pursue that Course, and therefore that I must beg to be excused.
They desired to know my Reasons. I told them that so many irresistable Syllogisms rushed into my Mind, and concluded decisively against it, that I did not know which to mention first. But I thought the Reason that had hitherto actuated the Town, was enough -- vizt. the Part I took in the Tryal of the Soldiers. Tho the Subject of the Oration, was quite compatible with the Verdict of the jury, in that Case, and indeed, even with

the absolute Innocence of the Soldiers yet I found the World in general were not capable or not willing to make the Distinction. And therefore, by making an Oration upon this Occasion, I should only expose myself to the Lash of ignorant and malicious Tongues on both Sides of the Question. Besides that I was too old to make Declamations.
The Gentleman desired I would take Time to consider of it. I told them, No, that would expose me to more difficulties -- I wanted no Time -- it was not a thing unthought of, by me, tho this Invitation was unexpected. That I was clearly, fully, absolutely, and unalterably determined against it, and therefore that time and thinking would answer no End.
The Gentlemen then desired that I would keep this a Secret and departed.
Spent this Evening with Mr. Samuel Adams at his House. Had much Conversation, about the State of Affairs -- Cushing, Hancock, Phillips, Hawley, Gerry, Hutchinson, Sewall, Quincy, &c. &c. Adams was more cool, genteel and agreable than common -- concealed, and restrained his Passions -- &c. He affects to despize Riches, and not to dread Poverty. But no Man is more ambitious of entertaining his Friends handsomely, or of making a decent, an elegant Appearance than he. He has lately new covered and glased his House and painted it, very neatly, and has new papered, painted and furnished his Rooms. So that you visit at a very genteel House and are very politely received and entertained.

Mr. Adams corresponds with Hawley, Gerry and others. He corresponds in England and in several of the other Provinces. His Time is all employed in the public Service.
To Mrs. Maccaulay.


It is so long since I received your obliging Favour, that I am now almost ashamed to acknowledge it. The State [of] my Health, obliged me to retreat into the Country, where Nineteen Months Relaxation from Care, and rural Exercises, have restored me to such a State, that I have once more ventured into the Town of Boston, and the Business of my Profession.
The Prospect before me, however, is very gloomy. My Country is in deep Distress, and has very little Ground of Hope, that She will soon, if ever get out of it. The System of a mean, and a merciless Administration, is gaining Ground upon our Patriots every Day.  [illegible The honour Flower of our Genius, the Ornaments of the Province, have fallen, melancholly Sacrifices, to the heart piercing Anxieties, which the Measures of Administration have occasioned. A Mayhew, a Thatcher, an Otis to name [no] more, have fallen, the two first by Death and the last by a Misfortune still much worse, Victims to the Enemies of their Country. The Body of the People seem to be worn out, by struggling, and Venality, Servility and Prostitution, spread like a Gangrene

eat and spread like a Cancer. Every young rising Genius, in this Country, is in a situation much worse than Hercules is represented to have been in, in the Fable of Prodicus. -- Two Ladies are before him: The one, presenting nothing to his View, not the steep and rugged Ascent of Virtue only, tho that is steep and rugged, but a Mountain quite inaccessible, a Path beset with Serpents, and Beasts of Prey, as well as Thorns and Briars, Precipices of Rocks over his him, a Gulph yawning beneath, and the Sword of Damocles [over] his Head.The other displaying to his View, Pleasures, of every Kind, Honours, such as the World calls by that Name, and showers of Gold and Silver.
If We may judge recollect what a Mass of Corruption human Nature has been in general, since the Fall of Adam, we may easily judge what the Consequence will be.
Our Attention is now engaged by the Vengeance of Despotism that [sentence unfinished]

This Evening at Mr. Cranch's, I found that my constitutional or habitual Infirmities have not entirely forsaken me. Mr. Collins an English Gentleman was there, and in Conversation about the high Commissioned Court, for enquiring after the Burners of the Gaspee at Providence, I found the old Warmth, Heat, Violence, Acrimony, Bitterness, Sharpness of my Temper, and Expression, was not departed. I said there was no more justice left in Britain than there was in Hell -- That I wished for War, and that the whole Bourbon Family was upon the Back of Great Britain -- avowed a thoughrough Dissaffection to that Country -- wished that any Thing might happen to them, and that as the Clergy prayed of our Enemies in Time of War, that they might be brought to reason or to ruin.
I cannot but reflect upon myself with Severity for these rash, inexperienced, boyish, raw, and aukward Expressions. A Man who has no better Government of his Tongue, no more command of his Temper, is unfit for every Thing, but Childrens Play, and the Company of Boys.
A Character can never [be] supported, if it can be raised, without a good a great Share of Self Government. Such Flights of Passion, such Starts of Imagination, tho they may strike a few of the fiery and inconsiderate, yet they lower, they sink a Man, with the Wise. They expose him to danger, as well as familiarity, Contempt, and Ridicule.

I have felt very well and been in very good Spirits all Day. I never was happier, in my whole Life, than I have been since I returned to Boston. I feel easy, and composed and contented. The Year to come, will be a pleasant, a chearfull, a happy and a prosperous Year to me. At least such are the Forebodings of my Mind at Present. My Resolutions to devote myself to the Pleasures, the studies, the Business and the Duties of private Life, are a Source of Ease and Comfort to me, that I scarcely ever experienced before. -- Peace, be still, my once Anxious Heart. -- An Head full of Schemes and an Heart full of Anxiety, are incompatible with any Degree of Happiness.
I have said Above that I had the Prospect before me of an happy and prosperous Year, and I will not retract it, because, I feel a great Pleasure in the Expectation of it, and I think, that there is a strong Probability and Presumption of it. Yet Fire may destroy my Substance, Diseases may desolate my family, and Death may put a Period to my Hopes, and Fears, Pleasures and Pains, Friendships and Enmities, Virtues and Vices.
This Evening my Friend Mr. Pemberton invited me and I went with him, to spend the Evening with Jere. Wheelwright. Mr. Wheelwright is a Gentleman of a liberal Education about 50 Years of Age, and constantly confined to his Chamber

by Lameness. A Fortune of about two hundred a Year enables him to entertain his few Friends very handsomely, and he has them regularly at his Chamber every Tuesday and Thursday Fryday Evening. The Speaker, Dr. Warren and Mr. Swift were there -- And We Six had a very pleasant Evening. Our Conversation turned upon the Distress of Rhode Island, upon the judges Dependency, the late numerous Town Meetings, upon Brattles Publication in Drapers Paper of Yesterday, and upon each others Characters. We were very free, especially upon one another. I told Cushing as Ruggles told Tyler, that I never knew a Pendulum swing so clear. Warren told me, that Pemberton said I was the proudest and cunningest Fellow, he ever knew. We all rallied Pemberton, upon the late Appointment of Tommy Hutchinson to be a judge of the common Bench, and pretended to insist upon it that he was disappointed, and had lost all his late Trimming, and Lukewarmness and Toryism. Warren thought I was rather a cautious Man, but that he could not say I ever trimmed. When I spoke at all I always spoke my Sentiments. This was a little soothing to my proud Heart, no doubt.
Brattle has published a Narration of the Proceedings of the Town of Cambridge at their late Meeting, and he has endeavoured to deceive the World.

The two last Months have slided away. I have written a tedious Examination of Brattle's absurdities. The Governor and General Court, has been engaged for two Months upon the greatest Question ever yet agitated. I stand amazed at the Governor, for forcing on this Controversy. He will not be thanked for this. His Ruin and Destruction must spring out of it, either from the Ministry and Parliament on one Hand, or from his Countrymen, on the other. He has reduced himself to a most ridiculous State of Distress. He is closetting and soliciting Mr. Bowdoin, Mr. Dennie, Dr. Church &c. &c., and seems in the utmost Agony.

The Original of my Controversy with Brattle is worthy to be committed to Writing, in these Memorandums. -- At the Town Meeting in Cambridge, called to consider of the judges Salaries, he advanced for Law, that the Judges by this Appointment, would be compleatly independent, for that they held Estates for Life in their offices by common Law and their Nomination and Appointment. and he was so elated by that Applause, which this And, he said "this I averr to be Law, and I will maintain it, against any Body, I will dispute it, with Mr. Otis, Mr. Adams, Mr. John Adams I mean, and Mr. Josiah Quincy. I will would dispute it with them, here in Town Meeting, nay, I will dispute it with them in the Newspapers."
He was so elated with that Applause which this inane Harrangue procured him, from the Enemies of this Country, that in the next Thurdsdays Gazette, he roundly advanced the same Doctrine in Print, and the Thurdsday after invited any Gentleman to dispute with him upon his Points of Law.
These vain and frothy Harrangues and Scribblings would have had no Effect upon me, if I had not seen that his Ignorant Doctrines were taking Root in the Minds of the People, many of whom were in Reality Appearance, if not in Reality, taking it for granted, that the judges held

their Places during good Behaviour.
Upon this I determined to enter the Lists, and the General was very soon silenced. -- Whether from Conviction, or from Policy, or Contempt I know not.
It is thus that little Incidents produce great Events. I have never known a Period, in which the Seeds of great Events have been so plentifully sown as this Winter. A Providence is visible, in that Concurrence of Circumstances Causes, which produced the Debates and Controversies of this Winter. The Court of Inquisition at Rhode Island, the Judges Salaries, the Massachusetts Bay Town Meetings, General Brattles Folly, all conspired in a remarkable, a wonderfull Manner.
My own Determination had been to decline all Invitations to public Affairs and Enquiries, but Brattles rude, indecent, and unmeaning Challenge of me in Particular, laid me under peculiar Obligations to undeceive the People, and changed my Resolution. I hope that some good will come out of it. -- God knows.

Heard an Oration, at Mr. Hunts Meeting House, by Dr. Benja. Church, in Commemoration of the Massacre in Kings Street, 3 Years ago. That large Church was filled and crouded in every Pew, Seat, Alley, and Gallery, by an Audience of several Thousands of People of all Ages and Characters and of both Sexes.
I have Reason to remember that fatal Night. The Part I took in Defence of Captn. Preston and the Soldiers, procured me Anxiety, and Obloquy enough. It was, however, one of the most gallant, generous, manly and disinterested Actions of my whole Life, and one of the best Pieces of Service I ever rendered my Country. Judgment of Death would have been against those Soldiers would have been as foul a Stain upon this Country as the Executions of the Quakers or Witches, anciently. As the Evidence was, the Verdict of the jury was exactly right.
This however is no Reason why the Town should not call the Action of that Night a Massacre, nor against, is it any Argument in favour of the Governor or Minister, who caused them to be sent here. But it is the strongest of Proofs of the Danger of standing Armies.

This Afternoon received a Collection of Seventeen Letters, written from this Prov[ince], Rhode Island, Connecticutt and N. York, by Hut [Hutchinson], Oli [Oliver], Moff [Moffat], Paxt [Paxton], and Rome, in the Years 1767, 8, 9.
They came from England under such Injunctions of Secrecy, as to the Person to whom they were written, by whom and to whom they are sent here, and as to the Contents of them, no Copies of the whole or any Part to be taken, that it is difficult to make any public Use of them.
These curious Projectors and Speculators in Politicks, will ruin this Country -- cool, thinking, deliberate Villain [s], malicious, and vindictive, as well as ambitious and avaricious.
The Secrecy of these epistolary Genii is very remarkable -- profoundly secret, dark, and deep.

At Charlestown. What shall I write? -- say? -- do?
Sterility, Vacuity, Barrenness of Thought, and Reflection.
What News shall we hear?
I have communicated to Mr. Norton Quincy, and to Mr. Wibird the important Secret. They are as much affected, by it, as any others. Bone of our Bone, born and educated among us! Mr. Hancock is deeply affected, is determined in Conjunction with Majr. Hawley to be a watch him the vile Serpent, and his deputy Serpent Brattle.
The Subtilty, and of this Serpent, is equal to that of the old one.
Aunt is let into the Secret, and is full of her Interjections!
But, Cushing tells me, that Powell told him, he had it from a Tory, or one who was not suspected to be any Thing else, that certain Letters were come, written by 4 Persons, which would shew the Causes and the Authors of our present Grievances. This Tory, we conjecture to be Bob. Temple, who has received a Letter, in which he is informed of these Things. If the Secret [should leak] out by this means, I am glad it is not to be charged upon any of Us -- to whom it has been committed in Confidence.
Fine, gentle Rain last night and this morning, which will lay a foundation for a crop of Grass.

My Men at Braintree have been building me a Wall, this Week against my Meadow. This is all the Gain that I make by my Farm to repay me, my great Expence. I get my Land better secured -- and manured.
Heard Dr. Chauncy in the Morning and Dr. Cooper this Afternoon. Dr. Cooper was up Rev. 12.9. And the great Dragon was cast out, that old Serpent called the Devil and Satan, which deceiveth the whole World: he was cast out into the Earth and his Angells were cast out with him. Q. Whether the Dr. had not some political Allusions in the Choice of this Text.

Tomorrow is our General Election. The Plotts, Plans, Schemes, and Machinations of this Evening and Night, will be very numerous. By the Number of Ministerial, Governmental People returned, and by the Secrecy of the Friends of Liberty, relating to the grand discovery of the compleat Evidence of the whole Mystery of Iniquity, I much fear the Elections will go unhappily. For myself, I own I tremble at the Thought of an Election. What will be expected of me? What will be required of me? What Duties and Obligations will result to me, from an Election? What Duties to my God, my King, my Country, my Family, my Friends, myself? What Perplexities, and Intricacies, and Difficulties shall I be exposed to? What Snares and Temptations will be thrown in my Way? What Self denials and Mortifications shall I be obliged to bear?
If I should be called in the Course of Providence to take a Part in public Life, I shall without Act a fearless, intrepid, undaunted Part, at all Hazards -- tho it shall be my Endeavour likewise to act a prudent, cautious and considerate Part.
But if I should be excused, by a Non Election, or by the Exertions of Prerogative from engaging in public Business, I shall enjoy a sweet Tranquility, in the Pursuit of my private Business, in the Education of my Children and in a constant Attention to the Preservation of my

Health. This last is the most selfish and pleasant System -- the first, the more generous, tho arduous and disagreable.
But I was not sent into this World to spend my days in Sports, Diversions and Pleasures.
I was born for Business; for both Activity and Study. I have little Appetite, or Relish for any Thing else.
I must double and redouble my Diligence. I must be more constant to my office and my Pen. Constancy accomplishes more than Rapidity. Continual Attention will do great Things. The Frugality, of Time, is the greatest Art as well as Virtue. This Economy will produce Knowledge as well as Wealth.
Spent this Evening at Wheelwrights, with Parson Williams of Sandwich, Parson Lawrence of Lincoln, Mr. Pemberton and Swift.
Williams took up the whole Evening with Stories about Coll. Otis and his Son the Major. -- The Major employed the Treasurer and Parson Walter to represent him to the Governor as a Friend to Government, in order to get the Commission of Lieutenant Colonel. The Major quarrells and fights with Bacon. -- They come to you lie and you lie -- and often very near to blows, sometimes quite. The Major has Liberty written over his Manufactory House, and the Major inclosed the exceptionable Passages in the Governors Proclamation in Crotchetts.

Coll. Otis reads to large Circles of the common People, Allens Oration on the Beauties of Liberty and recommends it as an excellent Production.
Stories of Coll. Otis's Ignorance of Law, about Jointenancies -- criticizing upon the Word Household Goods in a Will of the Parsons Writing, and saying it was a Word the Law knew nothing of, it should have been Household Stuff.
Coll. Otis's orthodoxy, and yet some Years ago, his arguing in the Strain of Tindal against Christianity.
Yet some Years ago Otis and Williams were very friendly.
These Prejudices against Otis and his Family are very carefully cultivated, by the Tories in that County and by the Judges of the Superior Court. They generally keep Sabbath there. The C[hief] J[ustice] went to spend the Evening with him this Year when I was at Sandwich -- in order to keep up his Spirits and fill his Head with malicious stories.
After I got home, my Wife surprized me. She had been to Justice Quincys. Mr. Hancock came in, and gave before a large Company of both Sexes, to Mr. Cooper a particular Account of all the Plans of Operation

for tomorrow, which he and many others had been concerting. Cooper no doubt carried it directly to Brattle, or at least to his Son Thomas. Such a leaky Vessell is this worthy Gentleman.
Parson Turners Sermon, the spirited Election, Parson Haywards Artillery sermon, the 17 Letters, Dr. Shipleys sermon, the Bp. of St. Asaph, before the Society for propagating the Gospell, discover the Times to be altered. before the But how long will the Tides continue to set this Way?

Drank Tea at Dr. Coopers with Mr. Adams, Mr. S. Elliot, Mr. T. Chase, and with Mr. Miffling [Mifflin], of Phyladelphia, and a French Gentleman. Mr. Miffling is a Grandson, his Mother was the Daughter, of Mr. Bagnall of this Town, who was buried the day before Yesterday. Mr. Miffling is a Representative of the City of Phyladelphia - a very sensible and agreable Man. Their Accademy emits from 9 to 14. Graduates annually. Their Grammar School has from 90 to 100 schollars in all. Mr. Miffling is an easy Speaker - and a very correct Speaker.
Mr. F. Dana came to me with a Message from Mr. Henry Merchant [Marchant] of Rhode Island - And to ask my Opinion, concerning the Measures they are about to take with Rome's and Moffats Letters. They want the originals that they may be prosecuted as Libells, by their Attorney General, and Grand Jury. I told him, I thought they could not proceed without the originals, nor with them if there was any material obliteration or Erasure, 'tho I had not examined and was not certain of this Point, nor did I remember whether there was any Obliteration on Romes and Moffats Letters.
Mr. Dana says the Falshoods and Misrepresentations in Romes Letter are innumerable, and very flagrant.

Spent the Evening with Cushing, Adams, Pemberton and Swift at Wheelwrights - no body very chatty but Pemberton.

To Tho. Hutchinson. [Most likely intended for a newspaper, but no printing has been found.]


You will hear from Us with Astonishment. You ought to hear from Us with Horror. You are chargeable before God and Man, with our Blood. -- The Soldiers were but passive Instruments, were Machines, Scarcely neither moral nor voluntary Agents in our Destruction more than the leaden Pelletts, with which we were wounded. -- You was a free Agent. You acted, coolly, deliberately, with all that premeditated Malice, not against Us in Particular but against the People in general, which in the Sight of the Law is an ingredient in the Composition of Murder. You will hear further from Us hereafter.

Chrispus Attucks

Went this Morning to Mr. Boylstones, to make a wedding Visit to Mr. Gill and his Lady. A very cordial, polite, and friendly Reception, I had. Mr. Gill shewed me Mr. Boylstones Garden, and a large, beautifull and agreable one it is-a great Variety of excellent fruit, Plumbs, Pears, Peaches, Grapes, Currants &c. &c. -- a figg Tree, &c.
Mr. and Mrs. Gill both gave me a very polite Invitation, to sup and spend the Evening there with Mr. Linch and his Lady, which I promised to do. At Noon, I met Mr. Boylstone upon Change, and he repeated the Invitation, in a very agreable Manner.
In the Evening I waited on my Wife there and found Mr. Linch and his Lady and Daughter, Mr. Smith, his Lady and Daughter, and Miss Nabby Taylor -- and a very agreable Evening we had. Mr. Linch is a solid, sensible, tho a plain Man -- an hearty friend to America, and her righteous Cause. His Lady has the Behaviour and Appearance of a very worthy Woman, and the Daughter seems to be worthy of such Parents.

Spent the Evening with my Wife at her Uncle Smiths, in Company with Mr. Lynch, his Lady and Daughter, Coll. Howorth, his Lady Sister and Daughter, Mr. Ed. Green and his Wife, &c. The young Ladies Miss Smith and Miss Lynch entertained us upon the Spinnet &c.
Mr. Lynch still maintains the Character. Coll. Howorth attracted no Attention, untill he discovered his Antipathy to a catt.

Last Night 3 Cargoes of Bohea Tea were emptied into the Sea. This Morning a Man of War sails.
This is the most magnificent Movement of all. There is a Dignity, a Majesty, a Sublimity, in this last Effort of the Patriots, that I greatly admire. The People should never rise, without doing something to be remembered -- something notable And striking. This Destruction of the Tea is so bold, so daring, so firm, intrepid and inflexible, and it must have so important Consequences, and so lasting, that I cant but consider it as an Epocha in History.
This however is but an Attack upon Property. Another similar Exertion of popular Power, may produce the destruction of Lives. Many Persons wish, that as many dead Carcasses were floating in the Harbour, as there are Chests of Tea: -- a much less Number of Lives however would remove the Causes of all our Calamities.
The malicious Pleasure with which Hutchinson the Governor, the Consignees of the Tea, and the officers of the Customs, have stood and looked upon the distresses of the People, and their Struggles to get the Tea back to London, and at last the destruction of it, is amazing. Tis hard to believe Persons so hardened and abandoned.

What Measures will the Ministry take, in Consequence of this? Will they resent it? will they dare to resent it? will they punish Us? How? By quartering Troops upon Us? -- by annulling our Charter? -- by laying on more duties? By restraining our Trade? By Sacrifice of Individuals, or how.
The Question is whether the Destruction of this Tea was necessary? I apprehend it was absolutely and indispensably so. -- They could not send it back, the Governor, Admiral and Collector and Comptroller would not suffer it. It was in their Power to have saved it-but in no other. It could not get by the Castle, the Men of War &c. Then there was no other Alternative but to destroy it or let it be landed. To let it be landed, would be giving up the Principle of Taxation by Parliamentary Authority, against which the Continent have struggled for 10 years, it was loosing all our labour for 10 years and subjecting ourselves and our Posterity forever to Egyptian Taskmasters -- to Burthens, Indignities, to Ignominy, Reproach and Contempt, to Desolation and Oppression, to Poverty and Servitude.
But it will be said it might have been left in the Care of a Committee of the Town, or in Castle William. To this many Objections may be made.

Deacon Palmer and Mr. Is. Smith dined with me, and Mr. Trumble came in. They say, the Tories blame the Consignees, as much as the Whiggs do -- and say that the Governor will loose his Place, by for not taking the Tea into his Protection before, by Means of the Ships of War, I suppose, and the Troops at the Castle.
I saw him this Morning pass my Window in a Chariot with the Secretary. And by the Marching and Countermarching of Councillors, I suppose they have been framing a Proclamation, offering a Reward to discover the Persons, their Aiders, Abettors, Counsellors and Consorters, who were concerned in the Riot last Night.
Spent the Evening with Cushing, Pemberton and Swift at Wheelwrights. Cushing gave us an Account of Bollans Letters -- of the Quantity of Tea the East India Company had on Hand -- 40,00000 weight, that is Seven Years Consumption -- two Millions Weight in America.
J. Quincy met me this Morning and after him Kent, and told me that the Governor said Yesterday in Council, that the People had been guilty of High Treason, and that he would bring the Attorney General on Monday to convince them that it was so -- and that Hancock said, he was for having a Body Meeting to take off that Brother in Law of his.

Page 31
[Blank page -- click to view]

Pages 32 - 48
[Blank pages -- no images available]

Inside Back Cover
[Blank page -- no image available]

Back Cover
[Blank page -- no image available]

Cite web page as: John Adams diary 19, 16 December 1772 - 18 December 1773 [electronic edition]. Adams Family Papers: An Electronic Archive. Massachusetts Historical Society. http://www.masshist.org/digitaladams/
Original manuscript: Adams, John. John Adams diary 19, 16 December 1772 - 18 December 1773. Stitched sheets in marbled paper covers (30 pages, 18 additional blank pages). Original manuscript from the Adams Family Papers, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Source of transcription: Butterfield, L.H., ed. Diary and Autobiography of John Adams. Vol. 2. Cambridge, Mass. : Harvard University Press, 1961.