Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 24th.

Friday. 26th.

Thursday. 25th. CFA Thursday. 25th. CFA
Thursday. 25th.

Morning cloudy with an Easterly Wind, which terminated in very heavy rain in the Afternoon and Evening. After reading over part of Aeschines I went to the Office and was first taken up by a visitor. Dr. A. Phelps is the chief of the Antimasonic Party in this State. He came to shew me a Letter and to request to know when he could see my Father. His purpose was to know whether my Father would be a Candidate for the Presidency on the Antimasonic ground.1 He shewed me a letter from Pittsburg urging the nomination of him at Baltimore very much. On this subject I told him that I could say nothing. Whatever he might reply, would of course be to me very right. But that his family felt and I felt as if it was hard that the last days of his Life should be molested by attacks more bitter even than any he had yet experienced. That this would be a war of great violence and it’s result would undoubtedly be defeat. I therefore dissuaded him from making a nomination. He took the opportunity to indoctrinate me on Antimasonic subjects which I bore with great good-nature. My father came in presently and sat an hour.

Returned home early in order to dine and get the family ready to move off. This was the afternoon for the Eulogy upon James Monroe and it rained heavily. After some waiting I got my Father and Mother off in a Carriage, and we reached the Church in safety. The Crowd was great. The Eulogy was successful but not so much so as the Oration. The matter was harder to manage.2 It was late before we reached home. But my Father and Mother decided upon returning to Quincy. She was really quite sick. My head ached badly and I was glad to go to bed after a fatiguing day. Read the Spectator and Bacon’s Essay on Marriage and Single Life.

1.

Dr. Abner Phelps, a Boston physician ( Boston Directory, 1831–1832), a few days later visited JQA at Quincy to put the same question to him. In reply, JQA stated that he would not seek the nomination in any way but if offered it with a show of unanimity would not decline it (JQA, Diary, 27 Aug.).

2.

The composition of the eulogy had given JQA unusual trouble. He was never able to compress the matter he wished to include to a length suitable for delivery. In the end he spoke for an hour and a half, using less than half of what he had written. When published (9 Sept.), the pamphlet was a hundred pages in length. The delivery of the speech was attended by numerous other vicissitudes, some allegedly imposed by design. See JQA, Diary, 25 Aug.; JQA 121to JA2, 28 Aug.; LCA to JA2, 30 Aug. (both in Adams Papers). The MS of the eulogy is also in the Adams Papers.

Some hint of the reception of the speech may be had from the Boston Daily Advertiser’s comment, “[T]he Orator has formed a much higher estimate of Mr. Monroe’s talents and services, than, we believe, will meet the sanction of most men, who have been acquainted with his public life, and has consequently celebrated them in terms of eulogy which appear a little extravagent” (26 Aug., p. 2, col. 2). For CFA’s opinion, see entry of 10 Sept., below.