Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 27th.

Sunday. 29th.

Saturday. 28th. CFA Saturday. 28th. CFA
Saturday. 28th.

Fine day. I went to the Office and amused my leisure time in reading the Records of my Life by J. Taylor1—One of the most superficial works of a superficial age. This is not the way I should pass my time. I must begin a volume of Bacon or one of Milton’s prose. I want to fill my ear with the nervous style of the older writers.

Made a call or two without success. At one I started to go to Quincy as my father had asked me to dine there with Messrs. St. Clair Clarke and Peter Force from Washington.2 I found the family tolerably and my little Looly lively although not with her accustomed looks. Discussion turned principally upon the late publication by the President respecting the deposits in the Bank of the United States.3 General Jackson is realizing all that was foretold of him. And there is no help for it. The people sustain him. Politics are rather a sickening occupation. There is so much of false in it, that I do not wonder they have been made the theme of abuse in all ages. A great statesman is to be sure an admirable spectacle but how few deserve the title. Certainly General Jackson does not.

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Returned home at sunset, and found my Wife and baby nicely. When I reflect upon the incidents of the past week, I feel more and more for how much I have reason to be thankful—My Wife preserved to me after a very trying confinement and my child a fine one. My mother prevented perhaps by a wise providence from adding to the danger of the scene both by her own weakness and by the agitation it might have caused. Certainly, my trust has not been in vain. Began the Lounger4 and read several of the numbers published by my Grandfather in 1809.5

1.

John Taylor, Records of My Life, 2 vols., London, 1832, borrowed from the Athenaeum.

2.

Matthew St. Clair Clarke of Pennsylvania had at the last adjournment of Congress completed his service as Clerk of the House of Representatives, an office he had held since 1822 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ). Peter Force had begun and maintained his National Journal (1823–1831) in support of JQA and his policies (see vol. 1:25, 244); his publication of original materials in American history and of reprints of rare pamphlets was still in the future. Clarke and Force had formed or were about to form a printing partnership for the publication of American Archives, which Congress had authorized in 1833 and the first volume of which would appear in 1837.

3.

The President’s statement announcing the removal of public deposits from the Bank of the U.S. was read to the Cabinet on 18 Sept., published in the Washington Globe, 23 Sept., and reprinted in Columbian Centinel, 26 Sept., p. 1, cols. 3–7.

4.

CFA’s copy of The Lounger, 2 vols., London, 1822, is at MQA.

5.

During 1809 JA was led to send to the Boston Patriot a series of autobiographical letters designed to justify his public actions on a number of matters that had been put in question many years before and had been recently resurrected. Although the letters continued to appear until 1812 and reached a total of 134, most of them were written in 1809. A substantial number of those which had been printed were reissued in ten serial parts in 1809[–1810]. These were perhaps the “numbers” which CFA was beginning and would continue to read. He published a selection from them in his edition of JA, Works , 9:239–330, with an explanation of their genesis. See also JA, Diary and Autobiography , 1:liv, lxxi–lxxii.