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Browsing: Diary of John Adams, Volume 2


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!

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

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-21

1777. Feb. 21. Fryday.

Dined Yesterday at Mr. Samuel Purveyances. Mr. Robert his Brother and Lady, the President and Lady, the two Coll. Lees and their Ladies, Mr. Page and his Lady, Coll. Whipple, Mrs. K. Quincy, a young Gentleman and a young Lady made the Company.1 A great Feast. The Virginia Ladies had Ornaments about their Wrists, which I dont remember to have seen before. These Ornaments were like Miniature Pictures, bound round the Arms with some Chains.
This Morning received a long Card from Mr. H. expressing great Resentment about fixing the Magazine at Brookfield, against the Book binder and the General.2 The Complaisance to me and the Jealousy for the Massachusetts in this Message, indicate to me, the same Passion and the same design, with the Journey to B[oston] in April.
1. Samuel and Robert Purviance were prominent merchants who had come to Baltimore from Ireland via Philadelphia in the 1760's and were now engaged in supplying the Continental forces; correspondence on their business activities and especially on Samuel Purviance's leading role in the Baltimore Committee of Correspondence, is printed in Robert Purviance, A Narrative of Events Which Occurred in Baltimore Town during the Revolutionary War, Baltimore, 1849, which is in some sense a family memoir. Among the other guests were Richard Henry and Francis Lightfoot Lee and Mann Page Jr., all delegates in Congress from Virginia; and “Mrs.” (i.e. Mistress, actually Miss) Katherine Quincy, sister of Mrs. President Hancock.
2. Hancock's “long Card” to JA has not been found; “the Book binder” was Henry Knox, recently commissioned brigadier general (DAB). On the controversy over locating the Continental magazines, see Hancock to Washington, 29 Jan. 1777, in Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:226, and references there.

Docno: ADMS-01-02-02-0007-0002-0008

Author: Adams, John
Date: 1777-02-23

1777. Feb. 23.

Took a Walk with Mr. Gerry, down to a Place called Ferry Branch, a Point of Land which is formed by a Branch of the Patapsco on one Side and the Basin before the Town of Baltimore on the other. At the Point is a Ferry, over to the Road which goes to Anapolis. This is a very pretty Walk. At the Point you have a full view of the elegant, splendid Seat of Mr. Carroll Barrister.1 It is a large and elegant House. It stands fronting looking down the River, into the Harbour. It is one Mile from the Water. There is a most beautifull Walk from the House down to the Water. There is a descent, not far from the House. You { 261 } have a fine Garden—then you descend a few Steps and have another fine Garden—you go down a few more and have another. It is now the dead of Winter, no Verdure, or Bloom to be seen, but in the Spring, Summer, and fall this Scaene must be very pretty.
Returned and dined with Mr. William Smith a new Member of Congress. Dr. Lyon, Mr. Merriman, Mr. Gerry, a son of Mr. Smith, and two other Gentlemen made the Company. The Conversation turned, among other Things, upon removing the Obstructions and opening the Navigation of Susquehannah River. The Company thought it might easily be done, and would open an amazing Scaene of Business. Philadelphia will oppose it, but it will be the Interest of a Majority of Pensilvania to effect it.
This Mr. Smith is a grave, solid Gentleman, a Presbyterian by Profession—a very different Man from the most of those We have heretofore had from Maryland.
The Manners of Maryland are somewhat peculiar. They have but few Merchants. They are chiefly Planters and Farmers. The Planters are those who raise Tobacco and the Farmers such as raise Wheat &c. The Lands are cultivated, and all Sorts of Trades are exercised by Negroes, or by transported Convicts, which has occasioned the Planters and Farmers to assume the Title of Gentlemen, and they hold their Negroes and Convicts, that is all labouring People and Tradesmen, in such Contempt, that they think themselves a distinct order of Beings. Hence they never will suffer their Sons to labour or learn any Trade, but they bring them up in Idleness or what is worse in Horse Racing, Cock fighting, and Card Playing.
1. Charles Carroll, “Barrister,” was so designated to distinguish him from his distant relative Charles Carroll of Carrollton; see W. Stull Holt, “Charles Carroll, Barrister: The Man,” Md. Hist. Mag., 31:112–126 (June 1936). Both served as Maryland delegates in Congress, though not concurrently (Burnett, ed., Letters of Members, 2:xlv–xlvi). The Barrister's seat was called Mount Clare and is now a museum in Carroll Park, Baltimore. There is an illustrated article by Lilian Giffen, “‘Mount Clare,’ Baltimore,” Md. Hist. Mag., 42:29–34 (March 1947).
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/