Diary of John Adams, volume 1

16 Tuesday.

18 Thurdsday.

17 Wednesday. JA 17 Wednesday. Adams, John
17 Wednesday.

A fine morning. Proceeded on my Journey towards Braintree. Stop’ed at Josiah Adams’s.1 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 Jesus 15Christ to be essential to Cristianity, and that he would not believe this satisfaction, unless he believed the Divinity of 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 Jesus 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.2 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.3


Josiah Adams (1696–1802) was a younger brother of Deacon John Adams; he moved from Braintree to Mendon in 1735 (A. N. Adams, Geneal. Hist. of Henry Adams of Braintree , p. 395; Quincy, First Church, MS Records).


The Expected Dissolution of All Things, a Motive to Universal Holiness, Boston, 1755, comprises two sermons preached by Mayhew on the Sunday following the earthquake of 18 Nov. 1755. They were intended as “a religious improvement of these visitations of divine providence” (p. 58), and to a modern eye seem sufficiently orthodox.


Dr. Elisha Savil (this name is variously spelled in contemporary records) and his wife, the former Ann Adams, a niece by blood of both of JA’s parents. At this time the Savils rented the more southerly of the two cottages on Deacon John Adams’ farm at the foot of Penn’s Hill in the North Precinct of Braintree. The cottages were separated by only a cartway; on the northern side was the home of JA’s parents, now known as the John Adams Birthplace; and on the southern, the home of JA and AA after their marriage in 1764, now known as the John Quincy Adams Birthplace. Owned by descendants of the two Presidents until 1940, when they were presented to the City of Quincy, the Birthplaces (at 129 and 131 Franklin Street) are open to the public under the care of the Quincy Historical Society. See HA2, The Birthplaces of Presidents John and John Quincy Adams, Quincy, 1936 (repr. from Old-Time New England, 26:79–99 [Jan. 1936]); and Quincy Historical Society, A Brief Story of the Birthplaces of the Presidents John and John Quincy Adams, Quincy, Mass., Quincy, 1954. While the present volume was in press the Quincy Historical Society published The President John Adams and the President John Quincy Adams Birthplaces, by Waldo C. Sprague, Quincy, 1959, much the fullest historical and descriptive account of these houses yet written.