Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. 19th.

Tuesday. 21st.

Monday. 20th. CFA Monday. 20th. CFA
Monday. 20th.

Snow, rain, and hail. Every disagreeable thing in the way of Weather. My morning was mostly taken up in reading the Memorial of Mr. Gallatin upon the Protecting duties, which my Father sent me this morning.1 It is long and I did not get through it. It seems to me well adapted to the purpose intended of destroying the Restrictive System and contains many arguments so specious as to make them appear to most people who do not probe, perfectly sound. I wonder if I could answer them. This is setting my powers in a pretty high Scale. But “faint heart ne’er won fair lady.” I will study it over at least. Went home directly as it was rather too wet to take a walk.

The Afternoon was passed in reading the first Oration against Antony which is a mere excuse of himself for going away and returning with some strictures upon the wonderful facility with which the Consul issued new parts of Caesar’s last directions. Here was the great error of the Patriotic party. They confirmed all the Acts of the Tyrant when dead, whom they were so desirous to get rid of while living because he was a Tyrant. They established the Government and destroyed only the Man. No wonder then, that another was soon found to fill his place. Quiet evening at home. Read part of Ariosto to my Wife.

1.

On 30 Jan. the Speaker presented to the House a memorial drawn up by Albert Gallatin as chairman of a committee appointed by the supporters of free trade in convention at Philadelphia, Sept.–Oct. 1831. The memorial, a pamphlet of nearly ninety pages, immediately became the most authoritative of the statements of the antiprotectionist position. Henry Clay, in his tariff speech in the Senate, 2–6 Feb., in defence of the “American System” (see below, entry for 6 March), devoted much of his attention to a refutation of Gallatin’s arguments, and he may have been drawn to speak at all at that time by the appearance of the memorial. JQA had received a copy even before its presentation in the House. (Daily National Intelligencer, 1 Feb., p. 3, col. 4; HA, Gallatin , p. 640–642; JQA, Diary, 27 Jan.)