Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Saturday. 7th. CFA Saturday. 7th. CFA
Saturday. 7th.

Morning at the Office. Engaged very busily in an answer to my father’s letter of yesterday. The famous pamphlet came out this morning, and I read it previous to my writing.1 It serves only the purpose of declaring the war. And I presume that in future we shall have no communication between the parties. I was exceedingly engaged with this letter and my Middlesex Canal Paper. It occupied me all the morning and until four o’clock in the afternoon, hard and constant labour.2

I then went to see Abby as usual and passed the afternoon pleasantly. The death of William Carter which had raised her sympathies very much for her friend Miss Carter was passing over, and she felt less sensitive than yesterday. My only fear about her is that upon entering the world she has too much to learn. Some mortification to experience and some sorrow to bear. In the evening I attended the Debating Society. The subject was the character of Napoleon as given by Dr. Channing.3 Although I had not expected at all to engage in the debate, yet as the question was interesting and my feelings gradually engaged, I hazarded a few words and did better than I expected. I am inclined to believe that I may yet succeed in improving my qualities as a speaker when I wear off the timidity which embarrasses me so much.


The eighty-page pamphlet was titled Correspondence between John Quincy Adams, Esquire, President of the United States, and Several Citizens of Massa-344chusetts concerning the Charge of a Design to Dissolve the Union Alleged to Have Existed in That State, Boston, 1829. It reprinted the earlier documents in the controversy over JQA’s charge that New England Federalists had conspired to divide the Union, along with a detailed reply, dated 28 January 1829, from the “thirteen confederates” which claimed that JQA had failed to present any proof of his accusation. CFA thought that Harrison Gray Otis was the author (CFA to JQA, 7 Feb. 1829, LbC, Adams Papers).


CFA’s “A Paper on the Middlesex Canal,” bearing the present date at the end, attempted to examine the income and expenditures of the corporation and to predict its future revenue and dividends. He concluded: “it is only a Property fit for Capitalists—Men who have no immediate necessity for revenue” (M/CFA/21, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 315).


See entry for 11 Nov. 1827, and note, above.

Sunday. 8th. CFA Sunday. 8th. CFA
Sunday. 8th.

Went to Church this morning at Federal Street and heard Dr. Channing preach a Sermon which was a very pretty piece of writing but which I could not take much interest in. I confess I was indulging in dreams. Ambition is an enticing subject. And whenever I feel the energies within me rising, I take a pleasure in them which cannot be repressed although there is a weight which hangs over me, with considerable force, keeping down exuberant hope. I am confident of success in life if I live. That is the question. I am entirely in the hands of Providence. In the afternoon, Mr. Noyes preached,1 and I cannot say that I was too much pleased. He was an old Instructor of mine and I wish him well. But had he taken more interest in me, I might perhaps have been more successfull at Cambridge. I was negligent at that time, and finding that it disabled me from pursuing the College studies, I was thrown into other pursuits which perhaps will eventually prove more advantageous. In the evening, attended an Oratorio of sacred Music. Mr. Horn, Mrs. Austin and others. I was pleased though not so much delighted with music as usual. I have not seen Abby today and feel it considerably. Custom and affection soon form heavy bands. Returned in a heavy rain.


George Rapall Noyes, Harvard 1818, who was tutor from 1822 to 1827 and served as Hancock professor of Hebrew from 1840 to 1868 ( DAB ).

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

Morning at the Office, engaged all the morning though I could hardly tell how. I did accomplish a letter to my Mother which should have gone on Saturday. And I seemed busy without much useful purpose. Another Client this morning. A little conversation with Mr. Davis at Webster’s upon my father’s Pamphlet, which excites a good deal of talk. Afternoon with Abby, pleasantly as usual. Evening at the Office reading Pope.