Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 13th.

Tuesday 15th.

Monday. 14th. CFA Monday. 14th. CFA
Monday. 14th.

Morning at the Office. Time passed rapidly and yet I did but little. Went to the State Bank and got three Shares of the Stock belonging 104to George formerly, transferred to me for which I pay par, making in all ten Shares belonging to me in that Institution, where I propose to stop.1 The Dividends are now so small there that I feel in some measure indisposed to set much of a stake in the Establishment, though for security I do not know that I could do better. At any rate I will do no more there, indeed I could not if I would. All my Stock is not invested in the best manner. A man in my situation finds it hard to come at correct information because I feel unwilling to ask for it lest I should excite attention. I design selling the six shares remaining of George’s and transferring the whole to the Fire and Marine or some other Insurance Company, to my father. For otherwise I am afraid he will call for it to go to Washington. And I am fearful of the result of his speculations in that place. It may make him rich and it may produce an effect directly the reverse.2

I then called to see Edward Blake who notified me that we were put upon a Committee together last Saturday Evening to decide the affairs of the Bank of the United States in our Debating Society.3 Here is a fine opportunity. We talked for an hour and then I went to vote for City Officers and to get a Mortgage recorded of my father’s Property to pay the bequests of the Will. Thus went the morning. I forgot to say however that I received a letter from my Father,4 containing the receipt from Philadelphia. But the seal had evidently been violated and this induced me to go round and attempt to discover if I could trace it to any body here. I satisfied myself that it was not done here, the next thing to know is if it was done at Washington. I wrote to my father this afternoon to know.5 We shall soon hear if the Post Office is really not to be trusted.

The afternoon was passed in reading Aeschines as usual and translating some part of what I had already done. The Oration is a powerful one. There is a great deal of reasoning talent in it. The Evening was spent in reading aloud in Clarissa Harlowe to Abby, the interest of which goes on increasing. It is written with an accuracy wonderfully minute.

1.

CFA’s seven shares had been purchased for him in Sept. 1828 upon his coming of age by GWA with funds provided by a gift from JQA (vol. 2:286). The shares had a par value of $60 (M/CFA/9).

2.

Since JQA’s acquisition in 1823 of the Columbian Mills (flour and meal) located in Rock Creek in the District of Columbia, they had proved a heavy drain on his resources and were requiring ever more capital. In 1829, with the assumption of responsibility by JA2 as manager, JQA’s hopes for the mills had been again renewed; see Bemis, JQA , 2:197–200, and entry for 17 Dec., below.

3.

MS reads “Societies.” Agitation against the Bank of the United States, a privately owned, profit-making institution which was the depository for public funds and had monopolistic control over the money supply, had been growing in 105the East during 1829, a depression year. The issue, dormant for some time, had been brought to the fore also by the election of Jackson, who held well-known antibanking views. Now that the President in his first Message had raised doubts about the constitutionality of the Bank, the question would be debated until it reached full maturity as the main issue in the election of 1832.

4.

9 Dec. (Adams Papers).

5.

(LbC, Adams Papers). See entry for 29 Dec., below.