Diary of John Adams, volume 2

1776 Octr. 13. Sunday.

1777. Thursday Feby. 6th.

[Account with Massachusetts as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, January–September 1777.] <a xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0" href="#DJA02d294n1" class="note" id="DJA02d294n1a">1</a> JA Massachusetts General Court [Account with Massachusetts as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, January–September 1777.] Adams, John Massachusetts General Court
Account with Massachusetts as a Delegate to the Continental Congress, January–September 1777. 1
£ s d
1777. Bought two Horses for my Journey to Baltimore, one of the Honourable Mr. Spooner for £15 another of John Gill for £20—I bought these Horses, because I had none of my own, but one, which I was obliged to leave at home for the Use of my Family, and I thought it would be a Saving to the public to buy a Couple of cheap Horses rather than to hire as I must have done at a dear rate. The public will allow me for the Hire of these Horses what they think just.2 35: 0: 0
January Paid Mr. Vesey for shoeing my Horses 8s each 0: 16: 0
Paid for a small Pair of Holsters for Pistolls and for Pistol Balls 4s 0: 4: 0
January 29. Paid Isaac Greentrees Account at Philadelphia for keeping my Servant and Horses 2: 8: 0
Cash paid Mr. Lovell, being Monies advanced by him, for me upon the Road 32: 16: 10
February 10. Cash paid the Washerwoman at Baltimore for washing Linnen for me and my Servant one dollar 0: 8: 0
Feb. 24. 1777. Cash paid John Turner for his Account £2:15s. 9d Pensilvania Currency 2: 4: 6
To cash paid Turner 5s: Pen. Cur. 0: 4: 0
Feb. 27. Cash paid Washerwoman for Washing for me and my Man 0: 8: 0
  28 Cash paid for David Rusks Account, for keeping my Horses, &c. 37 dollars3 11: 2: 0
Feb. 29. Cash paid Elizabeth Ross my Landlady in Baltimore for my own and my servants Board £9.12s:6d Pen. Cur. 7: 14: 0
Feb. 28. Cash to M. K. Goddard for a Blank Book 25s P. Cur. 1: 0: 0
  29. Cash paid for a Quire of Paper 3s Pen. Cur. 0: 2: 6
  24 Cash paid Sam. & Robert Purveyance for a Bll. of flour shipped home to my family not to be charged to the public 2:13:1 Pen. cur.4 2: 2: 6
March 2 To cash paid the Hostler for trimming my Horses &c. 0: 3: 0
To cash paid Wadsworth for my share towards Wood, Candles, Wine, cutting Wood &c. 0: 6: 0
To cash paid Mrs. Ross for Board since the Date of her Account 0: 6: 0
62: 4: 4
By Articles in Mr. Lovell's Account which are not to be charged to the public
 Cash paid for an Hanger 7: 10: 0
 Cash paid to Turner 3: 12: 0
 Cash paid for a Pistoll Belt 0: 4: 0
1777 By a Grant of Cash which I recd. of the Treasury 150: 0: 05
Feb. 24. By the Article of a Barrell of flour 2: 2: 6
Feb. 28. By an abatement
1777 March 7. Cash paid Coll. Whipple, for my share of Expence for myself, my servant and Horses, on our Journey from Baltimore to Philadelphia, crossing the Susquehannah River at the Bald Fryars6£ 7. Pen. cur. 18 dollars & 2/3 5: 12: 0
10. To cash paid the Newspaper Carrier, 0: 2: 0
15. To cash paid John Turner for sundry Necessaries as per Acct. 0: 10: 8
April 11. To cash paid for a Box of Dr. Ryans Pills to be sent to my Family, not to be charged to the public 0: 8: 0
Paid John Turner to pay Henry Moses for a Pair of Pistoll Holders 1: 4: 0
April 15. Paid Jos. Fox for shoeing two Horses 30s Pen. cur. 1: 4: 0
Paid Robertson for a Quart of Spirits 7s:6d Pen. cur. 0: 6: 0
April 17. Paid John Turners Account 3 dollars 0: 18: 0
24. Paid for one half Gallon of Wine 3 dollars 0: 18: 0
28. Paid my Washerwoman 3 dollars 0: 18: 0
30 Paid Mrs. Yards Account for mine and servants Board7 4: 16: 0
May 2. Paid General Wolcot, my Proportion towards four Gallons of Spirit which, he, Coll. Whipple, Mr. Lovell and myself, purchased together. 1: 2: 0
5. Paid for Washing 5s:iod Pen. Cur. 0: 4: 8
13 Paid for one Gallon of Rum 40s Pen. Cur. 1: 12: 0
15 Paid Thos. Tufts for mending the Lock of my Chest 0: 1: 0
Paid for Candles 2s:6d Pen. cur. 0: 2: 0
24. Paid the Washerwoman 4 dollars 1: 4: 0
30 Paid John Burn the Barber £3. Pen. Cur. 2: 8: 0
July 4. Paid for one Gallon of Rum Six Dollars £2:5s Pen. Cur. 1: 16: 0
22 Paid for a Girth of Leather 2 dollars 0: 12: 0
Paid for Candles and black ball 0: 5: 0
25: 11: 4
Money Spent in miscellaneous Expenses as on the other Page i.e. the following memorandum 7: 7
32: 18: 4

1777 July 23. I cast up the foregoing Account, and found it amounted to £87:15s:8d. At the same Time I counted over all the Money which I had left of the hundred Pounds I brought with me and found it amounted to £4:17s:4d which added to £87:15s: 8d makes £92:13s:od which being deducted from £100:os:od the sum I 255brought with me from Home, (having left £50, with my Family) leaves £7: 7s: od—so that I have spent seven Pounds, seven shillings, which I have kept no Account of—all this is gone in miscellaneous Expences, on Committees, and for a Variety of miscellaneous Articles, without which it is impossible to live and of which it is impossible to account.

£ s d
1777 July 23d. Paid William Dibley his Account for keeping my Horses £23:125:6 P.C. 63 dollars 18: 18: 0
July 24. Paid My Servant John Turners Account for his Wages, and 10 Weeks Board and some Disbursements for me, as per his Acct. and Rect. £31: 6s:6d P. Cur. 83 dollars 24: 18: 0
Paid Isaac Shoemakers £2:3s:9d P.C. 5 dollars & 5/6 1: 15: 0
Paid Isaac Greentree for Horsekeeping £3:11s:od Pen. cur. 2: 17: 0
July 25 Paid Wm. Davey for keeping my Horses 6 Weeks £2:5s:od Pen. cur. 1: 16: 0
Aug. 11. Paid John Turners Acct. £2:9s:9d Pen. Cur. 2: 2: 0
Paid John Coltons Acct. £2:12s:6d 2: 2: 0
Paid John Turner towards his Expences home 3: 2: 0
Aug. 19. Paid Washerwomans Account for washing for me and my Servant £4:11s:2d P.C. L.M. 3: 13: 0
Aug. 26. Paid Byrnes Account £3 P.C. 2: 8: 0
Aug. 30 Paid Captain Robert Duncans Account for mine and my Servants Board to 31st. Aug. £77.18s:4d P.C. 62: 8: 0
Sept. 1. Paid for two Pounds of Candles. 0: 4: 0
   14. Paid Mr. Samuel McLane his Account £6:1os P.C. 5: 4: 0
Paid for a Pair of Straps 0: 6: 0
1777 July 22. By 1000 Dollars reed, of Mr. John Gibson in Part of a Note of Hand from 256£ s d Mr. Hillegas to Mr. Hancock for 25,000 Dollars for which I gave a Rect. on the back of the Note and also a loose Rect. to Mr. Gibson 300: 0: 08

This record of JA's expenses for his service in the Continental Congress during 1777 is in the back pages of one of his letterbooks (Lb/JA/3; Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 91), and is printed here because it is much more complete than an account for the same year, begun on a loose sheet inserted in D/JA/22B but broken off after a few entries. Even the present version is incomplete, extending only to mid-September though JA attended Congress two months longer. The explanation is in a letter from JA to Speaker James Warren, 15 Jan. 1778 (NN: Emmet Coll.). This letter enclosed a summary account of JA's claim against Massachusetts for 1777 and apologized for its want of fullness and lack of supporting vouchers. But, as the writer explained, owing to the sudden departure of Congress from Philadelphia when Howe's army was approaching the city from the Chesapeake, “I was obliged to leave a small Trunk of my Baggage together with my Account Book and all my Receipts behind me, in the Care of a Reverend Gentleman in the City.” See Diary entries of 15, 19 Sept., below.

On 15 Nov. 1776 JA had been elected to serve another year in Congress, together with his colleagues Hancock, Samuel Adams, Paine, and Gerry, and two additional members, James Lovell and Francis Dana (Mass., House Jour. , 1776–1777, p. 157). This enlargement of the delegation partly answered JA's pleas of the preceding summer, and a resolution voted by the General Court on 4 Feb. 1777 (laid before Congress on 12 March) went further by declaring that “any two or more of said Delegates, representing this State in Congress, being the major part present, be and hereby are vested with all the powers with which any three ... were vested” previously (enclosure in John Avery to JA, 17 Feb., Adams Papers; full text in JCC , 7:169–170).


On 12 Dec. 1776 Congress had adjourned at Philadelphia as Howe's army drove Washington's army through New Jersey to the Delaware, and on 20 Dec. it convened in Baltimore ( JCC , 6:1027– 1028). So that when JA set out with James Lovell on 9 Jan. 1777, they took a circuitous, backcountry route. Upon leaving Hartford they crossed the hills of western Connecticut and reached the Hudson at Fishkill “After a March like that of Hannibal over the Alps.” At Fishkill they found they had to travel north in order to cross the ice-choked Hudson, which they did at Poughkeepsie. Traversing Orange co., N.Y., and Sussex co., N.J., they reached Easton at the Forks of the Delaware by 24 January. A day or two later JA had his first view of the Moravian community at Bethlehem, Penna., and he and Lovell arrived at Baltimore on 1 February. JA described the journey in letters to AA dated 9, 13, 14, [17 or 18], 19, 20, 24 Jan.; 2, 7 Feb. 1777 (Adams Papers; printed in JA-AA, Familiar Letters , p. 233–242).


In the fragmentary account in D/JA/22B this entry (the last in that fragment) reads: “Cash paid David Rusk for my Board and my servants, and for Stabling for my Horses 37 dollars.” This indicates that JA lodged with Rusk before going to Mrs. Ross's; see Diary entry of 6 Feb., below.


A receipt for this purchase from the Purviances is in Adams Papers under this date.


This was an advance partial payment to JA for his service in Congress during 1777, authorized by a vote of the House on 4 Jan. (Mass., House Jour. , 1776–1777, p. 213).


A ford a few miles south of the Pennsylvania-Maryland boundary, near present Conowingo. It is shown on a remarkable MS map of the country between the Chesapeake and Philadelphia 257enclosed in a letter from James Lovell to AA, 29 Aug. (Adams Papers), and is described in The Revolutionary Journal of Baron Ludwig von Closen, 1780–1783, ed. Evelyn M. Acomb, Chapel Hill, 1958, p. 125. Evidently the crossings below this point were ice-bound.


JA probably left Baltimore on 2 March and arrived in Philadelphia by the 5th, the day to which Congress had, at its last sitting in Baltimore (27 Feb.), adjourned, though a quorum of members did not assemble until 12 March ( JCC , 7:168–169). JA lodged at Mrs. Yard's in Second Street until 14 March, but on that day moved to Capt. Robert Duncan's on the south side of Walnut Street between Second and Third, because he got cheaper terms there; his fellow boarders included William Whipple of New Hampshire and Oliver Wolcott of Connecticut (JA to AA, 14, 16 March, Adams Papers). Here he stayed until 12 Sept.; see Diary, 15 Sept., below.


This is a credit item in favor of Massachusetts. John Gibson was auditor general and Michael Hillegas was treasurer of the United States. In his summary account submitted to the General Court, JA's total expenses, together with pay at 24s. a day for 322 days, came to £792 18s. 8d., from which he deducted £450 (£150 advance pay and £300 from the Continental Treasury as here listed), so that the balance due him amounted to £342 18s. 8d. (enclosure in JA to Speaker Warren, 15 Jan. 1778, NN:Emmet Coll.). Payment to him in this amount was authorized by a resolve of 27 Jan. 1778 (Resolves of 1777–1778, ch. 685; Mass., Province Laws , 20:261).