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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0007-0002-0004

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-09

1777. Feby. 9. Sunday.

Heard Mr. Allison. In the Evening walked to Fells Point, the Place where the Ships lie, a kind of Peninsula which runs out, into the Bason which lies before Baltimore Town. This Bason 30 Years ago was deep enough for large Tobacco ships, but since then has fill'd up, ten feet. Between the Town and the Point, We pass a Bridge over a little Brook which is the only Stream which runs into the Bason, and the only flux of Water which is to clear away the Dirt which flows into the Bason from the foul streets of the Town and the neighbouring Hills and Fields. There is a breast Work thrown up upon the Point, with a { 259 } Number of Embrasures for Cannon facing the Entrance into the Harbour. The Virginia Frigate Capt. Nickolson, lies off in the Stream. There is a Number of Houses upon this Point. You have a fine View of the Town of Baltimore from this Point.
On my Return, I stopped and drank Tea at Captn. Smiths, a Gentleman of the new Assembly.1
1. William Smith; he was to be elected to Congress on 15 Feb. (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:xlix–l; Biog. Dir. Cong.; entry of 23 Feb., below).
On the following day JA resigned his seat, which he had never been able to occupy, as chief justice of Massachusetts, thus ending a dilemma that had made him uncomfortable for many months. On 28 Oct. 1775 he was notified that the Council had chosen him “to be first or Chief Justice of the Superior Court of Judicature” (Perez Morton to JA, 28 Oct. 1775, Adams Papers). Difficulties in filling up the high court proved insuperable for some time, and there was also much criticism in Congress during 1776 of plural officeholding, which JA found embarrassing. See his Autobiography, where he discusses the matter at length (Works, 3:25–28). His letter of resignation was enclosed in one to John Avery, 10 Feb. 1777 (LbC, Adams Papers; enclosure printed in Works, 3: 25, note).

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0007-0002-0005

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-16

1777 Feb. 16.

Last Evening I supped with my Friends Dr. Rush and Mr. Sergeant at Mrs. Page's over the Bridge. The two Coll. Lees, Dr. Witherspoon, Mr. Adams, Mr. Gerry, Dr. Brownson, made the Company. They have a Fashion in this Town of reversing the Picture of King G. 3d, in such Families as have it. One of these Topsy Turvy Kings was hung up in the Room, where we supped, and under it were written these Lines, by Mr. Throop, as we were told.

Behold the Man who had it in his Power

To make a Kingdom tremble and adore

Intoxicate with Folly, See his Head

Plac'd where the meanest of his Subjects tread

Like Lucifer the giddy Tyrant fell

He lifts his Heel to Heaven but points his Head to Hell.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0007-0002-0006

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-17

Feb. 17. Monday.

Yesterday, heard Dr. Witherspoon upon redeeming Time. An excellent Sermon. I find that I understand the Dr. better, since I have heard him so much in Conversation, and in the Senate. But I perceive that his Attention to civil Affairs, has slackened his Memory. It cost him more Pains than heretofore to recollect his Discourse.
Mr. H[ancock] told C.W. [Colonel Whipple?] Yesterday, that he had determined to go to Boston in April. Mrs. H. was not willing to go { 260 } till May, but Mr. H. was determined upon April.—Perhaps the Choice of a Governor, may come on in May.—What aspiring little Creatures we are! how subtle, sagacious and judicious this Passion is! how clearly it sees its Object, how constantly it pursues it, and what wise Plans it devises for obtaining it!
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2016.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/