Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Wednesday. 7th. CFA Wednesday. 7th. CFA
Wednesday. 7th.

Morning at the Office. Received a letter from my Father but without a remittance. It was upon the subject of the present troubles which surround him.1 This prevented my doing much in the way of Law business this morning, or I would rather say, Law Study. De-332lightfully mild weather which is a grateful change. Afternoon, Mr. Burke still upon French Affairs. I confess myself tired of the subject. Evening, Mr. Boswell’s Life of Dr. Johnson and a portion of the Tour to the Hebrides, very amusing. Conversation at home until late upon Grammar and Pronunciation.


JQA’s letter brought his son up to date with an account of the latest developments in his war against the old New England Federalists. To the “thirteen confederates” who had demanded an explanation of his charges (see entry for 15 Dec. 1828, and note, above), he replied at length on 30 December 1828, denying their right to be considered representatives of the rank and file of the Federalist party and, therefore, refusing to disclose to them the names of any of the leaders allegedly connected with the 1808 plot to dismember the Union. “It is not improbable that, at some future day, a sense of solemn duty to my country may require of me to disclose the evidence which I do possess, and for which you call,” he concluded. “But of that day the selection must be at my own judgment” (HA, New-England Federalism , p. 46–62). Correctly anticipating further assaults, he renewed his request that CFA collect old pamphlets and newspapers which could help him (JQA to CFA, 31 Dec. 1828, Adams Papers).

Thursday. 8th. CFA Thursday. 8th. CFA
Thursday. 8th.

The day of the hero’s glory1 came in Clouds and rain. We had not so much noise and stuff this year. All is obtained. I wrote a long letter to my Father which occupied me all the morning, in a very interesting manner. A hint or two at my private affairs.2 My spirits today were low, but not so unsustained as formerly. There seems now to exist a buoyancy which keeps them up astonishingly. For although I have abundant reason for apprehension of the future, and at times, I feel as if certainty was coming over me, it is not so distressing to my Nerves as it was last year. My religious feelings are still strong and my confidence unimpaired. Afternoon, Mr. Burke upon French Affairs. Mr. Clay on the Tariff. Heavy rain. Evening, reading aloud at home.


The anniversary of Jackson’s victory over the British at New Orleans in 1815.


After reporting the political news, CFA reminded his father that the quarterly installment of his allowance had not arrived, that he had had to pay fees upon being admitted to the bar, and that he needed certain essential law books. “It is not to be concealed that I have felt very deeply your reproaches last Summer,” he concluded, referring to their conversation of 22 August 1828. “Perhaps I am dependent upon your bounty, but it is the lot of children and if they neglect no means of becoming free as early as education makes it possible, it is not their fault that they remain so” (CFA to JQA, 8 Jan. 1829, LbC, Adams Papers).

Friday 9th. CFA Friday 9th. CFA
Friday 9th.

Morning at the Office. Weather very disagreeable and the streets wet and muddy. I finished the second Volume of the Massachusetts 333Reports and examined some of our Statute Law. In the afternoon I read Mr. Burke as usual. Evening, Dr. Johnson’s Tour to the Hebrides. Spirits rather depressed. The day was on the whole usefully passed.