Diary of John Adams, volume 2

151 1774 Tuesday Octr. 11. JA 1774 Tuesday Octr. 11. Adams, John
1774 Tuesday Octr. 11.

Dined with Mr. McKean in Markett Street, with Mr. Reed, Rodney, Chace, Johnson, Paca, Dr. Morgan, Mr. R. Penn, &c.

Spent the Evening with Mr. Henry at his Lodgings consulting about a Petition to the King.1

Henry said he had no public Education. At fifteen he read Virgill and Livy, and has not looked into a Latin Book since. His father left him at that Age, and he has been struggling thro Life ever since. He has high Notions. Talks about exalted Minds, &c. He has a horrid Opinion of Galloway, Jay, and the Rutledges. Their System he says would ruin the Cause of America. He is very impatient to see such Fellows, and not be at Liberty to describe them in their true Colours.


See entry of 1 Oct., note, above. The committee to prepare an address or petition to the King brought in its report on 21 Oct., but after debate it was recommitted and John Dickinson, who had come into Congress as recently as 17 Oct., was added to the committee ( JCC , 1:102; Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:lix). A revised draft was reported on 24 Oct. and approved the next day ( JCC , 1:103–104). There is good reason to believe that JA was very dissatisfied with the version adopted, though he signed it with the other delegates on the 26th, the last day of the session (same, p. 113, 115–122). Dickinson later claimed the authorship of the approved text wholly for himself, saying that “the draft brought in by the original committee was written in language of asperity very little according with the conciliatory disposition of Congress” (Stillé, Dickinson , p. 140–148). See also JA to Jefferson, 12 Nov. 1813, where the original, rejected draft is said to have been composed by R. H. Lee (DLC: Jefferson Papers; printed from LbC, Adams Papers, in JA, Works , 10:78–80).

1774. Wednesday. Octr. 12. JA 1774. Wednesday. Octr. 12. Adams, John
1774. Wednesday. Octr. 12.

Dined with Captn. Richards with Dr. Coombs.

1774 Thursday. Octr. 13. JA 1774 Thursday. Octr. 13. Adams, John
1774 Thursday. Octr. 13.

Dined with Mr. Dickenson with Chase, Paca, Low, Mifflin, Mr. Penn and General Lee, at six O Clock.

From 10 O Clock untill half after four, We were debating, about the Parliamentary Power of regulating Trade. 5 Colonies were for allowing it, 5. against it, and two divided among themselves, i.e. Mass, and Rhode Island.1

Mr. Duane has had his Heart sett upon asserting in our Bill of Rights, the Authority of Parliament to regulate the Trade of the Colonies. He is for grounding it on Compact, Acquiescence, Necessity, Protection, not merely on our Consent.


This vote does not appear in the Journal of Congress. The fullest account of the debates of 12–13 Oct., mainly concerned with what came to be called the Declaration of Rights, is in Duane's Notes, printed in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members , 1:72–74, 75.