Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Sunday. 8th.

Tuesday. 10th.

Monday. 9th. CFA Monday. 9th. CFA
Monday. 9th.

My cold instead of growing better seems to get worse. I had today a head ach joined with it which made it infinitely worse to bear, but to the Office where I was occupied mainly in bringing up Accounts of the Quarter.

The news from Washington is that Congress adjourned in an exceedingly disorderly manner.1 Instead of appropriating any sum to put this Country in a state of defence they have failed to pass the usual fortification bill. Of course the two parties who control the Houses respectively put the blame upon each other and the Country suffers. I do not know which side is the most factious, perhaps the Jackson Van Buren party the most so but by a very small intervale.

Mr. Walsh spent some time and I took a long walk so that I read nothing of Ovid. Continued after dinner the Peau de Chagrin. The young man accepts incredulously the skin and begins by a most extravagant and unreasonable wish. It is accomplished gradually by means apparently simple and natural following each other, the result of which is a great contraction of the skin. Finally he falls in love with a young woman and the consequence of his natural desires leads to his 93death. Such is the story very naturally developed. Mr. T. K. Davis was here in the evening and was amusing but I was unable to attend to him from pain. Retired early.

1.

See JQA to CFA, 5 March (Adams Papers). CFA was not to learn until later from JQA the extraordinary triumph which he had enjoyed in the House on 2 March, the day before adjournment, when after breasting the fiercest opposition to his allegedly warlike position toward France, he succeeded in having his own resolution adopted in place of that offered by the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee by a unanimous vote of the House:

“At that instant came from the crowded galleries a burst of applause in which I believe two thirds of the members of the House joined by spontaneous and involuntary sympathy. I will not attempt to describe my feelings. You cannot perhaps conceive them. It was one of those moments which compensate for a Life of Sorrows.... I had many cordial greetings from members before I left the House. I came home, but could not close my eyes for the remainder of the Night, ‘The heart knoweth its own bitterness, and a stranger intermeddleth not with its joys.’ I knew the vote of that Night would be stored up for bitter retribution; but I would not give the moment of that unanimous vote, and that unbought burst of applause for all the wealth or all the power that man could heap upon me.”

(JQA to CFA, 6 April, Adams Papers.)