Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday. 25th.

Sunday. 27th.

Saturday. 26th. CFA Saturday. 26th. CFA
Saturday. 26th.

Morning Cloudy but not disagreeable. I went to the Office, and occupied myself in looking up the facts relative to the Affairs with the Indians as given to us by the Message of the President of the United States. And I could not help being struck with the flimsy network of it’s argument when I came to look into the thing—The Indian Treaties and the Controversy with Georgia.1 But I could not devote my whole morning to it, and therefore sat down to draw up my Letter of Accounts to my Father which I did so effectually as to conclude to make another. This is always my way. But my morning passed and as I had advised Abby to go out of town to day to see her Mother I went down myself to Mrs. Frothingham’s to dine. Found them at home as common and dined without any ceremony. From thence I went down to the Athenaeum and in a great measure wasted the Afternoon. This may often prove the case unless I guard against it by some means or other. I did however read a considerable portion of Captain Hall’s book upon America and was amused with it. I do not however agree with the notions taken by Mr. Everett of it.2 No American need be afraid of such a work. We have got beyond that stage of existence when the hasty opinions of any single Individual can produce any permanent effect. Our Institutions are taking a solidity which will 116make us look to ourselves more and abroad less. Captain Hall is on the whole entertaining. His prejudices and his candor, his English feeling with his parental one all combine to make one diverted with him on the whole. But the book is not intrinsically worth much. I left off to go to the Debating Society where there was a very considerable meeting. The discussion on the Bank was renewed and continued during the whole evening. I spoke unpremeditatedly and was not so well satisfied with myself. But we closed the subject very thoroughly.

1.

As part of the Yazoo lands settlement in 1802, Georgia ceded to the United States the territory west of the Chattahoochee river for a cash payment and a promise that the Indians remaining within the State would be removed. Partly deterred by treaties entered into with the Indian tribes, government policy on removal from Georgia and other states in the years since had been discontinuous. In his Message of 8 Dec., President Jackson gave a new emphasis to the question. By inference holding the Indian treaties invalid on the premise that by them the tribes had set up independent governments within the boundaries of sovereign states, he affirmed that this could not be countenanced, that the Indians should emigrate westward or, remaining, submit to the laws of the states without special privileges. He proposed the creation of territory beyond the Mississippi to be guaranteed to the tribes occupying it. In 1830 Congress would make Indian removal national policy, and within the decade the process would be carried to completion.

2.

Capt. Basil Hall, R.N., Travels in North America, in the Years 1827 and 1828, 3 vols., Edinburgh, 1829. The book had been reviewed adversely in North Amer. Rev. , 29:522–574 (Oct. 1829), by Edward Everett, though not severely enough to satisfy JQA (Diary, 17 Dec.). On CFA’s encounter with Captain Hall, see vol. 2:169.