Our Justice Hutchinson* is eternally giving his political hints. In a cause this morning, somebody named Captain Mackay as a referee. I said, “An honest man?” “Yes,” says Hutchinson, “he’s an honest man, only misled“–”he, he, he!”–blinking and grinning. At dinner today somebody mentioned determinations in the Lord’s House (the Court sits in the meeting-house). “I’ve known many very bad determinations in the Lord’s house of late,” says he, meaning a fling upon the clergy. He is perpetually flinging about the Fasts, and ironically talking about getting home to the Fast. A gentleman told me that he had heard him say frequently that the Fast was perfect blasphemy. “Why don’t you pay for the tea? Refuse to pay for the tea! and go to fasting and praying for direction! Perfectly blasphemy!”
This is the moderation, candor, impartiality, prudence, patience, forbearance, and condescension of our Judge.
Samuel Quincy said yesterday, as Josiah told me, he was for staying at home and not going to meeting as they, i.e., the meetings, are so managed.
Such is the bitterness and rancor, the malice and revenge, the pride and vanity, which prevail in these men. And such minds are possessed of all the power of the province.
Samuel makes no fortune this court. There is very little business here, it is true, but S. gets but very little of that little–less than anybody.
Wyer retains his old good nature and good humor, his wit, such as it is, and his fancy, with its mildness. Bradbury retains his anxiety, and his plaintive, angry manner; David Sewall his softness and conceited modesty.
Bradbury and Sewall always roast Dr. Gardiner at these courts, but they have done it more now than usual, as Gardiner had not me to protect him. See how I think of myself!
I believe it is time to think a little about my family and farm. The fine weather we have had for eight or ten days past I hope has been carefully improved to get in my hay. It is a great mortification to me that I could not attend every step of their progress in mowing, making, and carting. I long to see what burden. But I long more still to see to the procuring more sea-weed, and marsh mud, and sand, etc.
However, my prospect is interrupted again, I shall have no more time. I must prepare for a journey to Philadelphia, a long journey indeed! But if the length of the journey were all, it would be no burden. But the consideration of what is to be done is of great weight. Great things are wanted to be done, and little things only I fear can be done. I dread the thought of the Congress’ falling short of the expectations of the continent, but especially of the people of this province.
Vapors avaunt! I will do my duty, and leave the event. If I have the approbation of my own mind, whether applauded or censured, blessed or cursed, by the world, I will not be unhappy.
Certainly I shall enjoy good company, good conversation, and shall have a fine ride and see a little more of the world than I have before.
I think it will be necessary to make me up a couple of pieces of new linen. I am told they wash miserably at New York, the Jerseys, and Philadelphia too in comparison of Boston, and am advised to carry a great deal of linen. Whether to make me a suit of new clothes at Boston or to make them at Philadelphia, and what to make, I know not, nor do I know how I shall go–whether on horseback, in a curricle, a phaeton, or altogether in a stagecoach I know not.
The letters I have written, or may write, my dear, must be kept secret, or at least shown with great caution. Mr. Fairservice goes tomorrow: by him shall I send a packet. Kiss my dear babes for me.
I believe I forgot to tell you one anecdote. When first came to this house it was late in the afternoon, and I had ridden thirty-five miles at least. “Madam,” said I to Mrs. Huston, “is it lawful for a weary traveller to refresh himself with a dish of tea, provided it has been honestly smuggled, or paid no duties?” “No, sir,” said she, “we have renounced all tea in this place, but I’ll make you coffee.” Accordingly I drank coffee every afternoon since, and have borne it very well. Tea must be universally renounced, and I must be weaned, and the sooner the better.
* – Justice Foster Hutchinson (1724-1799), an associate justice of the Superior Court, brother of Thomas Hutchinson, one of John’s most frequent targets for rancor, given Thomas Hutchinson’s support of British policies.
¹ – This time John actually signed the letter for a change! Huzzah! Just thought I’d point this out, since I mentioned previously that most of the time he didn’t bother to sign them, for some unknown reason. Now back to our regularly scheduled letter!