Page:American History Told by Contemporaries, v2.djvu/91

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No. 24]
63
Adams's Overweening Prejudice

&c. being a Kings Government. The Governour is a Person appointed from Home who Represents his Majesty. The Governmt Laws are Compyld by the Councill and Great and General Assembly, the Former Represents the House of Loards and the Latter the Commons, and the Governour Signs them and then they Pass in a Law. In Boston they are very Strict Observers of the Sabath day and in Service times no Persons are allow'd the Streets but Doctors if you are found upon the Streets and the Constables meet you they Compell you to go either to Curch or Meeton as you Chuse, also in Sweareing if you are Catcht you must Pay a Crown Old Tenor for Every Oath being Convicted thereof without farther dispute the 34ths of the Inhabitants are Strict Presbyterians.

Extracts from Capt. Francis Godefs Journal, in New-England Historical and Genealogical Register (Boston, 1870), XXIV, 62-63.


24. "Overweening Prejudice in Favor of New England" (1775)
BY JOHN ADAMS
John Adams, schoolmaster, lawyer, public man, member of the Continental Congress, diplomat, and later vice-president and president of the United States, was one of

the keenest observer of his time. —Bibliography : Channing and Hart, Guide, §§ 130, 136.

 

THERE is in the human breast a social affection which extends to our whole species, faintly indeed, but in some degree. The nation, kingdom, or community to which we belong is embraced by it more vigorously. It is stronger still towards the province to which we be long, and in which we had our birth. It is stronger and stronger as we descend to the county, town, parish, neighborhood, and family, which we call our own. And here we find it often so powerful as to become partial, to blind our eyes, to darken our understandings, and pervert our wills.

It is to this infirmity in my own heart that I must perhaps attribute that local attachment, that partial fondness, that overweening prejudice in favor of New England, which I feel very often, and which, I fear, sometimes leads me to expose myself to just ridicule.

New England has, in many respects, the advantage of every other