John Adams to Abigail Adams
York June 29. 1774
This is the second day of the Term at York: very little Business--very hot weather. My Refreshment is a flight to B[raintree] to my Corn fields and Grass Plotts, my Gardens and Meadows. My Fancy runs about you perpetually. It is continually with you and in the Neighbourhood of you—frequently takes a Walk with you, and your little prattling, Nabby, Johnny, Charly, and Tommy. We walk all together up Penn’s Hill, over the Bridge to the Plain, down to the Garden, &c.
We had a curious Dialogue Yesterday, at Dinner, between our J[ustice]s T[ro]w[bridg]e and H[utchinso]n.1
T. said he had seen a Letter, from England, in which it was said that the Conduct of the Chief Justice was highly approved, and that of the other Judges highly disapproved, at the Court End of the Town.—T. added, I dont know whether they impute it all to me or not.—Aye, says H. but it was all owing to you. You laid Brother R[opes], C[ushing] and me, under the Necessity of refusing the Royal Grant, and accepting the Province Salary.2
T. said he was of the Mind of a Man he named, who was once in the Streets of Madrid, when the Host was carried along. He was bid to kneel, refused, and was instantly knocked down. Some time after he met the Host again and then he kneeled down, instantly, and said he would never be knocked down again, for not Kneeling to the Host.
T. said to H. did not you say to me, you would take the Province Salary?—No says H. I never said a Word to you about it. Justice Ropes and I agreed to take the Royal Grant.
T. Why did not you refuse to declare?—H. Because you had led the Way, and I lived in Boston; if I had lived in Cambridge, or any where else, I should have had no Notion of being compell’d into any Thing against my Inclination.
T. Brother C. sent the most curious Letter. Instead of declaring what he had done or would do, he declared what he could do.—H. said that was according to the Spirit of his Ancestors.—T. said when I saw that, I said, it proved his Legitimacy.
There was a very large numerous Company present at this Conversation, and seemed astonished, and confounded at this Weakness, and Want of Decency, Prudence, Caution and Dignity of these great Men.
After Dinner Justice Gowen said that H. put him in Mind of a Man, who took the Money Oath, after having frequently taken New Hampshire Bills.3 Somebody expressed his Surprize. Yes says the Man, I have often taken Paper Money, but never Wittingly and Willingly, for I had much rather have taken Silver. I never took a Paper Bill in my Life, but I had much rather have taken Gold, Silver or even Copper.
My Dear, when I shall see you I know not, but I design to write by every opportunity. Pray remember my Marsh Mudd.
I am yours,
RC (Adams Papers); addressed: “To Mrs. Abigail Adams Braintree To be left at Mr. Adams’s Office in Queen Street Boston”; endorsed: “No. 2.”
1. Justices Edmund Trowbridge (1709–1793), Harvard 1728, often mentioned in JA’s early Diary, sometimes as “Goffe” (a name he used for a time in early life); and Foster Hutchinson (1724–1799), Harvard 1743, a younger brother of former Gov. Thomas Hutchinson (Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– description ends , 8:507–520; 11:237–243).
2. Justices Nathaniel Ropes (1726–1774), Harvard 1745, whose worries over the source of his salary contributed to his death in March of this year; and William Cushing (1732–1810), Harvard 1751 (JA, Diary and Autobiography description begins Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961; 4 vols. description ends , 2:94; Sibley-Shipton, Harvard Graduates description begins John Langdon Sibley and Clifford K. Shipton, Biographical Sketches of Graduates of Harvard University, in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Cambridge and Boston, 1873– description ends , 11:572–574; DAB description begins Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936; 20 vols. plus index and supplements. description ends , under Cushing).
3. An oath administered to all elective local and provincial officials in Massachusetts between 1750 and 1773. In its last form it read: “You, A.B., do, in the presence of God, solemnly declare that you have not, since the thirtieth day of April, one thousand seven hundred and seventy, wittingly and willingly, directly or indirectly, either by yourself or any for or under you, been concerned in receiving or paying, within this government, any bill or bills of credit of either of the governments of Connecticut, New Hampshire or Rhode Island. So help you God” (Mass., Province Laws description begins The Acts and Resolves, Public and Private, of the Province of the Massachusetts Bay, Boston, 1869–1922; 21 vols. description ends , 5:35).