Diary of John Adams, volume 1

11 March. 1756. 1 Monday. JA


March. 1756. 1 Monday. Adams, John
March. 1756. 1 Monday.

Wrote out Bolingbrokes reflections on Exile.1


For JA’s lifelong study of, and his extensive commentaries on, the writings of Henry St. John, first Viscount Bolingbroke, see Haraszti, JA and the Prophets of Progress , ch. 4. JA’s own copies of Bolingbroke’s writings are now divided between the Boston Athenaeum and the Boston Public Library.

2 Tuesday. JA


2 Tuesday. Adams, John
2 Tuesday.

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 Jesus 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.

3 Wednesday. JA


3 Wednesday. Adams, John
3 Wednesday.

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.