Mr. Duane told me at the Funeral of our late virtuous and able President1 that he, Mr. Duane, had accustomed him self to read the Year Books. Mr. De Lancey who was C[hief] J[ustice] of N. York he said advised him to it, as the best Method of imbibing the Spirit of the Law. De Lancey told him that he had translated a Pile of Cases from the Year Books, altho he was a very lazy Man.
Duane says that Jefferson is the greatest Rubber off of Dust that he has met with, that he has learned French, Italian, Spanish and wants to learn German.
Duane says, he has no Curiosity at all—not the least Inclination to see a City or a Building &c.
Diary of John Adams, Volume 2, 1775
Does the dust refer to the layer of dust that accumulates on books that nobody reads, i.e dusty volumes? One could be a sweeper or someone who dusts or brushes off something.
But why Rubber off of dust? Does one rub off dust? It is something I cannot get my head around.