I was the Proudest and Cunningest Fellow

in about Warren

by John Adams

Date: January 1, 1773

“1773 January The First, Being Fryday

… The Speaker [Samuel Adams], Dr. Warren and Mr. Swift were there – And We Six had a very pleasant Evening.  Our Conversation turned upon the Distress of Rhode Island, upon the Judges Dependency, the late numerous Town Meetings, upon Brattles Publication in Drapers Paper of Yesterday, and upon each others Characters.  We were very free, especially upon one another….  Warren told me, that Pemberton said I was the proudest and cunningest Fellow, he ever knew…..  Warren thought I was a rather cautious Man, but that he could not say I ever trimmed.  When I spoke at all I always spoke my Sentiments.  This was a little soothing to my proud Heart, no doubt.”

Source: The Adams Papers, Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society. Diary of John Adams Series I, Volume II, pp. 76-77

Commentary: Sons of Liberty gatherings could mix serious politics with light-hearted taunts. Here Joseph Warren jibes Adams for being cautious, but consistent in expressions and beliefs. ‘Trimming’ refers to adjusting ones sails according to the direction of the wind. A trimmer would change political positions to propel himself forward “whichever way the wind blew” at the time.

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