Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Tuesday. 25th.

Thursday. 27th.

Wednesday. 26th. CFA Wednesday. 26th. CFA
Wednesday. 26th.

This being the day regularly assigned for the organization of the new Government of the State for the year, commonly called Election Day,1 and no season for business, I remained at home and occupied myself very busily for three hours in my work upon Demosthenes, which progressed very considerably. I should have done more, had it not been for Edmund Quincy who called to pay a visit. Mrs. Frothingham and her children with those of Mrs. Everett from Medford came to complete the set. Our windows are very well adapted to the notice of all that is to be seen, and small children like these always admire such prospects very much.2 It was wearisome to me. I went out with Quincy and finding my morning nearly gone, concluded to go to the Athenaeum, where I passed my time between the gallery and the reading room. The Everett girls dined with us.3 Afternoon passed in reading Greek and Latin Notes in Reiske’s Edition, but it is now stupid. My nerves had got disordered so that I made unusually slow progress. Evening, read Arabian Nights to my Wife and after it, some of Plutarch’s Lives, and Saverien’s Philosophes Anciens.4 My editorial Article appeared today in the Patriot, corrected.5 I thought it good.

1.

Established usage dictated that on Election Day the legislature assembled, completed its organization, and elected its officers; then, with military escort, its members accompanied the Executive to the Old South Meeting House for the election sermon. In 1830 the sermon was preached by William Ellery Channing.

Beyond the events of the day, the whole week was largely given over to public functions, it being the traditional time for the religious and benevolent societies of the Commonwealth to hold their “anniversaries,” i.e. annual meetings, in Boston. The investiture of the governor and lieutenant governor were the concluding ceremonies at the week’s end. For this year’s events, see Boston Patriot, 22 May, p. 2, col. 1; 26 May, p. 2, col. 4; 29 May, p. 2, col. 1.

2.

Not including infants in both families, there were four Frothingham boys 246and two Everett girls. All were between the ages of five and ten (First Church Records, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns. , 40 [1961]:449–452).

3.

ABA’s plans for the day for Ann and Charlotte Everett included taking them “to see the Rhinoceros and other Lions of the day” (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 26 May, Everett MSS, MHi).

4.

Alexandre Savérien, Histoire des philosophes anciens jusqu’à la renaissance des lettres, 5 vols., Paris, 1771–1772.

5.

CFA’s communication which had been changed somewhat and adapted by John Brazer Davis as an editorial, and as such was unsigned, bore the title “The Next Presidency” (Boston Patriot, 26 May, p. 2, cols. 2–3). It called upon patriotic citizens, “unseduced by the glitter of corruption, and unawed by the intimidation of power,” to begin the fight against the reelection of Andrew Jackson. Praise is given to the minority in the Senate for resisting encroachments upon liberty, and the members of the Congress are urged to lose no time in choosing a leader to make the fight. “The fundamental principle of the opposition, should be resistance against the progress of corruption.... Let it not be said, by any true man, that he has not done every thing in his power ... to purify and restore the Republic.”

Although it does speak of the President’s “imbecility,” the editorial is directed not so much against Jackson as against Vice-President Calhoun and Secretary of State Van Buren: “more dangerous public men ... never existed here.”