Diary of John Adams, volume 2

1771. Tuesday. June 4th. JA 1771. Tuesday. June 4th. Adams, John
1771. Tuesday. June 4th.

Rode over to the Spring. One Childs had built a little House, within a few Yards of the Spring, and there some of the lame and infirm People keep. The Spring arises at the Foot of a Steep high Hill, between a Cluster of Rocks very near the Side of a River. The Water is very clear, limpid and transparent, the Rocks And Stones and Earth at the Bottom are tinged with a reddish yellow Colour, and so is the little Wooden Gutter that is placed at the Mouth of the Spring to carry the Water off—indeed the Water communicates that Colour, which resembles that of the Rust of Iron, to whatever Object it washes. Mrs. Child furnished me with a Glass Mugg, broken to Pieces and painted1 together again, and with that I drank pretty plentifully of the Water. It has the Taste of fair Water with an Infusion of some Preparation of steel in it, which I have taken, heretofore—Sal Martis, somewhat like Copperas. They have built a shed over a little Reservoir made of Wood, about 3 feet deep and into that have conveyed the Water from the Spring, and there People bath, Wash and plunge, for which Childs has 8d. a time. I plunged in twice—but the 2d time was superfluous and did me more hurt than good, it is very cold indeed.

Mrs. Child directed me to one Greens about half a Mile from the Spring, as a Place to lodge at, and when I got there I found it was my old Acquaintance John Green who lived with Coll. Chandler at Worcester while I lived with Putnam and married A. Ward, daughter of Captn. Ward and Sister of Sam. Ward who married Dolly Chandler.

Green told me, to day, that he had lived in Woodstock 13 Years and had nothing but bad luck, all the Time. Now he was about to try whether Change of Place, would alter his fortune. I asked what bad 23Luck? He said he had fail'd in Trade like a fool—and after Dinner he said 2 that the richest Men were such as had fail'd in Trade. His Uncle John Chandler broke once, and very nigh breaking another Time. His Uncle Tommy Green broke once. John Spooner broke once. So I dont entirely despair.—This News I was not att all surprized to hear, for I thought fifteen Year ago, that Jno. Green would turn out so. He was a boaster of his Vices—a great affecter of licentiousness—and at last got in Love, like a fool, with a Girl, much too good for him. He says that McClelan of Woodstock is the richest Man in that Town, by a great Run of surprizing Luck in Trade in English, W. India Goods and Potash.

Dined at Greens, and after 2 Hours by Sun took my Horse and went to the Spring again, and drank of the Water. Then I rode up the Mountain, at the Foot of which this Spring ooses. The Hill is high And the Prospect from it, extensive, but few cultivated Spots appear, the Horison is chiefly Wilderness. The Mountain seems to be a Body of Oar, Iron Oar, I suppose, and the Water filtrating thro that Mountain of Mineral's imbibes its salubrious Quality. What Particles it is impregnated with, I cant tell—But it is saturated with something. The Bottom and sides of the Cistern are painted a deep yellow, and a plentifull Dust or flour remains after the Water is drawn off. They say, that this yellow Sediment is the best thing for Scrophulous Humours, or any other Breakings out, Eruptions, Sores, Ulcers, Cankers, &c.

Jno. Green and his Wife reminded me to day of the old Story of Betsy Friswell, who staid at Mrs. Putnams when I was there and afterwards fell in Love, with Green. She fell in Love at 3 Worcester, but restrained and suppressed her Passion, till sometime after Green made his Appearance at Woodstock Meeting and the sight of him revived all her old Thoughts and Emotions, and quite overcame her. She went into Fits &c. and her Brother prevailed on Green to go and see her, and she asked him, whether she should live or die, for her life and death were in his Power. If he would have her she should live, if not, she should die. He said He could not—he was engaged—or could not like her well enough—and She went into Fits, immediately, and languished away and died. This Anecdote was very familiar to me, when I first left Worcester. I have told it 100 times, with much Pleasure and Laughter, but had entirely forgot it, so that I could not for some Time recollect the Name of Betsy Friswell. But I never heard before the melancholly Circumstance that the poor Girl died.

The Place where I now sit, in the Chamber in Greens House, has the Command of a great View, this is a Mountainous Country. This House 24stands upon very high Land, and here is a fine spacious Road laid out, very wide and of great Length and quite strait, which lies right before me now, with the Meeting House in the Middle of it, more than half a Mile off.

Coll. Abijah Willard and Sam Ward and another bought of Wm. Brown of Salem, or Virginia, 7000 Acres of Land in this Town, and they are about erecting Iron Mills here, Furnaces, &c. and there is a Talk of making this a Shire Town, &c. Unimproved Land is to be bought in this Town in great Plenty for 6s. an Acre.

At Night, Green call'd to his Wife, come put by your Work and come in, and takes his Family Bible, and reads a Chapter and then makes a long Prayer of half an Hour, and we all go to bed.


Thus in MS, and probably exactly what JA meant. CFA silently corrected this word to “puttied.”


MS: “had.”


MS: “and.”

1771. Wednesday June 5th. JA 1771. Wednesday June 5th. Adams, John
1771. Wednesday June 5th.

Rode to the Spring, drank and plunged. Dipped but once. Sky cloudy.

Activity and Industry, care, and Oeconomy, are not the Characteristicks of this Family. Green was to set out upon a Journey to Providence to day to get Stores &c. and Stock for Trade, but he lounged and loitered away, hour after Hour till 9 O Clock before he mounted. The Cow, whose Titts strutt with Milk, is unmilked till 9 O Clock. My Horse would stand by the Head Hour after Hour if I did not put him out my self, tho I call upon the father and the Sons to put him out.

Looking into a little Closet in my Chamber this Morning I found a pretty Collection of Books, the Preceptor, Douglass's History, Paradise lost, the musical Miscellany in two Volumes, the Life of the Czar, Peter the great &c.

I laid hold of the 2d Volume of the Preceptor, and began to read the Elements of Logick, and considered the four fold Division of the Subject, simple Apprehension, or Perception, Judgment or Intuition, Reasoning, and Method. This little Compendium of Logick, I admired at Colledge. I read it over and over. I recommended it to others, particularly to my Chum David Wyer,1 and I took the Pains to read a great Part of it to him and with him.

By simple Apprehension or Perception we get Ideas, by Sensation and by Reflection, the Ideas we get are Simple, &c.

Mem.—I hope I shall not forget to purchase these Preceptors, and to make my Sons transcribe this Treatise on Logick entirely with their 25own Hands, in fair Characters, as soon as they can write, in order to imprint it on their Memories. Nor would it hurt my Daughter to do the same. I have a great Opinion of the Exercise of transcribing, in Youth.

About 11. O Clock arrived, Dr. McKinstry of Taunton and spoke for Lodgings for himself and Colborn Barrell and his Wife.—It is not you? Is it? says he.—Persons in your Way are subject to a certain weak Muscle and lax Fibre, which occasions Glooms to plague you. But the Spring will brace you.—I Joy and rejoice at his Arrival. I shall have Opportunity to examine him about this mineral, medicinal Water.

I have spent this day in sauntering about, down in the Pasture to see my Horse, and over the fields in the Neighbourhood. Took my Horse after noon and rode away East, a rugged rocky Road, to take View of the Lands about the Town—and went to the Spring. 30 People have been there to day, they say. The Halt, the Lame, the vapoury, hypochondriac, scrophulous, &c. all resort here. Met Dr. McKinstry at the Spring. We mounted our Horses together, and turned away the Western Road toward Somers to see the Improvements, that I saw Yesterday from the Mountain by the Spring, and returned, to our Lodgings.—The Dr. I find is a very learned Man. He said that the Roman Empire came to its Destruction as soon as the People got set against the Nobles and Commons as they are now in England, and they went on Quarrelling, till one Brutus carried all before him and enslaved em all.—Caesar, you mean Dr.—No I think it was Brutus, want it?—Thus We see the Dr. is very Book learnt. And when we were drinking Tea, I said, 500 Years hence there would be a great Number of Empires in America, independent of Europe and of each other.—Oh says he I have no Idea that the World will stand so long—not half 500 Years. The World is to conform to the Jewish Calculations, every seventh day was to be a day of Rest, every 7th Year was to be a Jubilee, and the 7th. Thousand Years will be a Thousand Years of Rest and Jubilee—no Wars, no fightings, and there is but about 230 wanting to compleat the 6000 Years. Till that Time, there will be more furious Warrs than ever.

Thus I find I shall have in the Dr. a fund of Entertainment. He is superficial enough, and conceited enough, and enthusiastical enough to entertain.


Wyer, who came from Falmouth (Portland, Maine), was in the Harvard class of 1758; he studied law and from 1762 practiced in Falmouth; admitted attorney in the Superior Court, 1765, and barrister two years later; died in 1776 (Superior Court of Judicature, Minute Books 76, 87; Stark, Loyalists of Mass. , p. 466).