Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Wednesday. 18th.

Friday. 20th.

Thursday. 19th. CFA Thursday. 19th. CFA
Thursday. 19th.

Another cloudy disagreeable day. It is a week now that we have not seen the sun. I went to the Office. Read a little and wrote Diary. My time at the Office passes very fast. And yet I perhaps do not spend it in the most useful manner.

Today I spent half an hour in writing to my Mother.1 To her I can incidentally say things which if addressed to my father would seem hard. Yet they may so place the truth before his eyes as to enable him to act more effectively. He is a singular instance of a man to whom prudence never was natural—Who as he grew older lost the inducements which formerly existed to exercise it, and therefore constantly exposed himself on all sides to the attacks of enemies. To day there arrived his own explanation of his warlike speech which reduces it down to little or nothing. But the explanation was unnecessary because the conviction was growing in the Community. And it subjected him to a colourable charge of interest in making it. I think I shall write to my Mother upon this point.2

Walk. Ovid, finishing the fifth book of the Fasti. Afternoon. Papers and de Grimm. Evening, continued Article—Bacon in the Biographia. Wallenstein.

1.

Adams Papers.

2.

The letter to LCA bears evidence of having been written at two distinct times, the second following the receipt in Boston of JQA’s explanation of his speech on the French question and bearing out CFA’s feelings here expressed. In what manner JQA’s “explanation” reached Boston is not clear, perhaps in news accounts of his efforts to clarify in the House the position he had taken in his remarks of 7 February. JQA’s full explanation of the position he had taken and the circumstances attending it did not come until the letters he wrote CFA on 3 and 4 April (Adams Papers). These are among the eight confidential letters on the events of January and February, on which see the note to the entry for 11 Feb., above.

JQA did attempt an explanation earlier, but it is not clear whether he completed it at that time or to whom it was sent. The entry for 22 Feb. in his Diary reads: “Absorbed in writing upon the present state of our dispute with France, a subject upon which my anxious feelings have outstripp’d the necessity of the case. My apprehension is not of War but that the rights of the Claimants under the Treaty and the honour of the Country will on this subject be ulti-81mately sacrificed and abandoned. The fear of this has urged me prematurely to press the consideration of it upon the House.... The occasion has been seized successfully to turn the Election to the U.S. Senate against me, for what I have said in the House on this occasion.”