Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Sunday 22nd. CFA Sunday 22nd. CFA
Sunday 22nd.

Attended divine service all day at the Meeting House in Federal Street. Heard Dr. Channing in the morning in his usual beautiful but attenuated style. Afternoon, Mr. Gannet upon Education, more sensible than usual. The snow was so deep, and the account of the roads so appalling that I declined the idea of riding to Medford, and passed a very dull day in Boston. Indeed I had calculated so confidently but a week since upon no more repetitions of Sundays in Boston that my disappointment upon the very first strongly impressed me with the idea of folly of human expectation.

This day is not only remarkable as the anniversary of the natal day of Washington. To me it has a dearer association, for two years since I felt that evening for the first time as an assured lover. It dates a revolution in my feelings and sentiments of action of a most fortunate character to me, so far, and may it still continue! From having been a man without action and without purpose, I am become steadily devoted to a single line of conduct, with motives of which none could feel ashamed, and with pursuits which, however they may fail of success 350in the world, are decidedly honourable to myself. I cherish the recollection of the day though it may have come too late.

Monday. 23rd. CFA Monday. 23rd. CFA
Monday. 23rd.

Morning at the Office, engaged in examining my Papers for some years past and destroying many of them. I do this in order to arrange the remainder for any future contingency. In reading my brother George’s letters I saw much which reminded me forcibly of by-gone days. Afternoon, Adam Smith. Evening, Pope. Weather excessively cold. The Winter does not relax.

Tuesday. 24th. CFA Tuesday. 24th. CFA
Tuesday. 24th.

Morning at the Office and in Court. Little going on of any importance. The day rather dull and I was inclined to head ache. Read over my files of letters from my brother George. They amused me exceedingly and I could destroy only a few. The remainder I put up to be restored to him. Afternoon, in Court, and a Chapter of Adam Smith. Evening, Pope’s Dunciad in which I have never been able to take great pleasure. A slight fall of snow.

Wednesday. 25th. CFA Wednesday. 25th. CFA
Wednesday. 25th.

Morning at the Office and in Court. The place was crowded as it was expected that a case of defamation would come on between Mr. Fales and two Milliners who charged his Wife with stealing. It was carried up to the Supreme Court. I saw more of the practice in this Court than usual, today. Received a sweet Note from Abby1 which made me glad, and a short Letter from my Father together with the Washington Pamphlet of the Correspondence.2 Some of the papers are very astonishing. Afternoon, Adam Smith and evening, Pope. The weather very bad.

1.

Missing.

2.

JQA had been busy trying to collect evidence to refute the “thirteen confederates” (see entry for 7 Feb., and note, above). The only trustworthy recollection he could secure was that of William Plumer (1759–1850), a former Senator from New Hampshire, who claimed to know at first hand of a New England separatist movement in 1803–1804, which he believed had been revived in 1808 and in 1812. JQA had Plumer’s letter and other supplementary papers added to a new edition of the pamphlet of the Boston Federalists: Correspondence between John Quincy Adams, President of the United States, and Several Citizens of Massachusetts concerning the Charge of a Design to Dissolve the Union Alleged to Have Existed in That State. To Which Are Now Added Additional Papers, Illustrative of the Subject, Washington, 1829 (copy in MHi).

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