Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday 3d.

Tuesday 5th.

Monday 4th. CFA Monday 4th. CFA
Monday 4th.

Very cold. Distribution as usual. Evening at home.

At the Office as usual. Much of my time taken up in examining the question of the boundary which excites such deep interest at the moment. Read the greater part of the Report of the Legislative Committee of this State upon it at the last Session which gives the substance of the question, and I think it pretty conclusive. The debates in both houses are very spirited but unanimous and as usual I see much conceded to my father’s position the moment difficulty occurs.1

Antigone. Crevier and Gibbon. Evening after reading French with my Wife, continued Burr. But my style is slovenly. G. Gorham here.


The long-standing dispute with Great Britain over the boundary between Maine and New Brunswick had reached a level of crisis in consequence of recent intransigent assertions of jurisdiction by both claimants to the territory. The Maine legislature had addressed appeals to the federal government to assert the national interest and to the Massachusetts legislature to support Maine’s case in Congress. After lengthy debate, the legislature in Boston enacted four resolves addressed to Massachusetts’ senators and representatives for presentation to Congress entirely supportive of Maine’s case and opposing submission of the quarrel to outside arbitration. Of the four resolves, the first was passed unanimously, the third and fourth by votes of 28 to 1. Significant opposition was encountered only in the vote on the second, which asserted that “the active measures authorized by the Maine legislature ... were required by the exigencies of the case.” In the course of the debate reliance was placed upon President Adams’ message to Congress in 1828 in which he held that “the claim of exclusive jurisdiction [in the disputed territory] on the part of Great Britain is incompatible with the understanding between the two governments.” What JQA’s position would be on the resolves when presented is not clear (Daily Advertiser, 28 Feb., p. 2, col. 3; 4 March, p. 1, cols. 5–6; JQA, Memoirs , 9:542).