Legal Papers of John Adams, volume 1

143 Adams’ Diary<a xmlns="" href="#LJA01d029n1" class="note" id="LJA01d029n1a">1</a>: 4 April 1767 JA Adams’ Diary: 4 April 1767 Adams, John
Adams' Diary1
4 April 1767

Poor Nye of Sandwich, seems dejected. I should suspect by his Concern that Cotton gained Ground vs. him. He seems to be hipp'd.2 It fretts and worries and mortifies him. He cant sleep a Nights. His Health is infirm.

Cotton is insane, wild. His Proposal of giving his House and Farm at Sandwich to the Province is a Proof of Insanity.... His sitting down at the Council Table with his Hat on and Calling for his Deed and a Justice to acknowledge it when the Council was sitting.

Cottons Method of Getting Papers Signed by Members, in order to demolish poor Nye is new. The Certificate from Murray and Foster if genuine is a mean, scandalous Thing. It was mean in Murray and Foster to sign that Paper. For one Representative to give a Constituent a Weapon to demolish another Rep., is ungentlemanlike.


1 JA, Diary and Autobiography 333–334.


“To affect with hypochondria, to render low-spirited.” OED .

Adams’ Minutes of the Trial<a xmlns="" href="#LJA01d030n1" class="note" id="LJA01d030n1a">1</a>: Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767 JA Adams’ Minutes of the Trial: Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767 Adams, John
Adams' Minutes of the Trial1
Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767
Cotton vs. Nye

Hovey.2 Certificate.3

Benja. Fessenden. Bassetts Shop. Lying Papers. Set their Names to it.

D eaco n. Forster. Signd the Certificate,4 &c.

Dr. Smith. Cotton said in Barbers Shop that he had a Certificate from Committee to prove Nye a Lyar. Understood that it was agreed5 and to be destroyd.


John Jennings. False lying Paper, which you made yourself, and forgd their Names to it.6

Prince Tupper. A False lying Paper. Had stolen it or forgd it. Might as well do it as to put Turners Name to it. Annual Meeting, had been reading several Papers.

Nathl. Bassett. Cotton said he had read a Certificate about Nyes lying.7

Mathias Ellis. Whether he stole that, or made another just like it he could not tell.8

Nehemiah Webb. Made out of his own Head. Had stolen it or forged it, as he did some other. Mr. Spooners Name.

Paine. Wherever Words tend to the slander of a Mans Reputation I shall be for maintaining an Action to preserve the Peace.9

Court of Law a substitute in the Place of Passion.


In JA's hand. Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 185. The dating is based on similarity with Paine's minutes (Doc. III).


The position of this name in the MS and the Minute Book entry suggest that James Hovey was not of counsel and that his name appears inadvertently or inexplicably.


“Deft, objects to it, there ought to be an Attestation of the Clerk of the House. The committee have no right to sign.” Paine Law Notes, Barnstable Inferior Court, April 1767. See note 1 note 22 below.


Deacon Thomas Foster was a Justice of the quorum and of Plymouth Inferior Court. Whitmore, Mass. Civil List 142, 96.


That is, the dispute was settled.


Jennings' deposition, to which he also swore in the Barnstable Superior Court, 14 May 1767, is in the file. SF 144208.


See to this effect deposition of Thomas Clapp. SF 144208.


Ellis' deposition, sworn to in the Barnstable Superior Court, 14 May 1767, is in the file. It contains the exact wording here set out. SF 144208.


See 4 Bacon, Abridgment 506: “and per Holt Ch. J. 'It is not worthwhile to be very learned on this point [i.e., the rule of mitiore sensu discussed in note 9 above]; for, wherever Words tend to slander a Man and to take away his Reputation, I shall be for supporting Actions for them for the Preservation of Peace,'” citing Baker v. Pierce, 2 Ld. Raym. 959, 960, 92 Eng. Rep. 139, 140; 6 Mod. 23, 24, 87 Eng. Rep. 787, 788 (K.B. 1704).