Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 18th.

Wednesday. 20th.

Tuesday. 19th. CFA Tuesday. 19th. CFA
Tuesday. 19th.

A mild day causing the streets to flow with the melted snow. I went to the Office and was engaged in writing and Accounts much of the morning to make up for the time lost yesterday. I stole an hour however to skim over Mr. Sparks’ book upon Gouverneur Morris. Some of the letters are memorable. They go far to sustain the famous charge made by my father for which he has incurred so much of the enmity of the gentlemen here. I am glad they were published as historical memorials.1

Took a walk. Afternoon Anquetil in whose work I am progressing gradually. I also go on with Voltaire’s History of the Parliament of Paris. As my Wife was out to take Tea, I took up by way of relaxation Johnson’s Preface to Shakespeare. I have read it half a dozen times, and each time with renewed admiration. I went down to Mrs. Frothingham’s at eight. Mr. and Mrs. Gorham Brooks, Miss Dehon and a sister, and my Wife. We remained until ten.

The Community here is quite moved by a case of suicide in a young couple, which was discovered yesterday.2 The usual morbid curiosity is displayed upon it, in hunting up details and causes. For my part, I think such things had better be kept out of sight. After the circumstances are once known and the misfortune regretted, it serves no purpose to go farther.

1.

The publication of a portion of Gouverneur Morris’ correspondence (Jared Sparks, The Life of Gouverneur Morris, with Selections from his Correspondence, 3 vols., Boston, 1832) provided substantiation for the view that Morris and the Federalists of the Essex Junto, between whom there were close ties in their effort to combat Republicanism from 1804 to the Hartford Convention of 1814, did indeed look to and advocate the dissolution of the Union.

JQA, against whom the Federalists in Boston had maintained an unrelenting opposition since his term in the Senate during which he had supported the Louisiana Purchase and the Embargo Bill, had aroused them to a new fury and to new denials by charging in the National Intelligencer (21 Oct. 1828) that the Junto in 1807–1808 had been “engaged in a plot to dissolve the Union and re-annex New England to Great Britain” and thereafter by maintaining his ground following the pamphlet-publication of their defense. For the definitive justification which JQA had prepared but not published, the Adamses sought just such evidence as was supplied in Morris’ correspondence with Timothy Pickering and others of the faction. On the long history of the quarrel, see vol. 2:297, 311–312, 317, 343–344, 350–351; 3:63; Bemis, JQA , 1:195, 575–576; 2:161–176; HA, New England Federalism.

2.

The bodies of John Carter, twenty-three, and Mary Bradlee, twenty, were 34found suspended by their necks in her father’s store on Washington Street. Parental consent had been withheld to their marriage, which would have been followed by the couple’s moving to New Orleans (Columbian Centinel, 19 Feb., p. 2, col.6).