Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Tuesday 15th. CFA Tuesday 15th. CFA
Tuesday 15th.

Morning at the Office. My time much taken up without being well able to ascertain how. I sat down and wrote upon the subject of the Bank of the United States. My ideas flow too fast. The great point with me now is to methodize, to arrange and above all, to condense. I wanted information as to facts and went to see Mr. Davis and ask him whether he still had in his possession the Copy of the works of Alexander Hamilton in order to see his report on the Bank.1 I did not find that but he gave me a Manuscript of Hamilton’s Opinion given to General Washington, in opposition to those of Mr. Jefferson and Mr. Randolph,2 which I read with great interest. It takes what seems to me a very strong view of the question. After all, it is one of those subjects furnished by the Constitution which will always admit of two sides and of consequent division in public opinion. I was obliged to pay attention to other things so that I could not devote my whole morning to it, but I became so interested as to pursue the subject in the afternoon, and to write several pages of matter which may become useful hereafter. My only difficulty is that I have too many Irons in the Fire. Patience and Coolness.

I went to see Mr. Tarbell understanding he had called. I found him and he gave me Instructions to pursue the two Writs on Mr. Gilman’s Account which I propose to do.3 I read none of my Greek today, and on the whole passed the time in a silly fit of enthusiasm.

The Evening came, and with it the regular time for the weekly Meeting of the Family which was this Evening at Chardon’s. I went and passed the time much as usual. A little stupid or so, but that is always the case. I have not talent for indiscriminate Conversation and I know so little of Boston people that I cannot talk of them. This makes me feel terribly stiff. Will the feeling ever cease. I thought it would with my Marriage.

1.

An edition of the Works of Hamilton in 3 vols. had been published at New York in 1810. The “Report on a National Bank” [1790] is at 1:59–110.

2.

That is, Hamilton’s communication to Washington, 23 Feb. 1791, submitting his “Opinion on the Constitutionality of an Act to Establish a Bank” along with “the reasons which have induced him to entertain a different opinion” from that of the Secretary of State and Attorney General (Hamilton, Papers, ed. Syrett, 106 8:62–134). When CFA located a copy of Hamilton’s Works two days later at the Boston Athenaeum, he found that the document had also been printed (1:111–155), along with the “Report.”

3.

See below, entry for 21 Jan. 1830.

Wednesday 16th. CFA Wednesday 16th. CFA
Wednesday 16th.

Morning at the Office. The day looked fair and mild after the quantity of rain which fell during the Night. I was occupied as usual excepting that my Morning seemed if any thing shorter than ever. My accounts took a considerable part of my time. My father’s dividend upon his Shares in the New England Insurance Office coming due, I went to receive it. It amounted to eight hundred and sixty four dollars, being eight per Cent upon the Capital.1 This result is very gratifying as the Investment last July was urged by me and was entered into by my Father with a little hesitation. It now pays him the small advance he made for it besides giving him a half yearly Interest nearly as large as he would have got for the whole year had he continued his property in the Stocks. So that at any rate it has turned out well.

These arrangements being made, Edward Blake came up to see me about the Meeting on Saturday Night and to talk generally. He sat only for a little while and talked pleasantly enough. I do not know whether I shall be able to find time enough during this week to do all that I wish owing to the multiplicity of engagements which distract me from pursuing the study but if I do not, I lose an opportunity which I ought to be ashamed of omitting.

I was called off shortly after one o’clock to go to Medford with Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham and Mrs. Brooks to dine, Abby going out with her Aunt Gray. The dinner party consisted of Mrs. Gray and her daughter Mrs. Story,2 Chardon, the persons already named and the family. It was tolerably pleasant, rather more so than usual. I sat next to Mrs. Gray and felt rather more at my ease than I commonly do. It became time to return at sundown. I came back with Mrs. Gray, after stopping a few moments at Mrs. Hall’s. This family are very much distressed by the very unfortunate situation of their son Edward, who is gloomy in the extreme. His health having given way and his situation as Clergyman of a Parish at Northampton being quite too laborious for him, he is thrown upon his friends without money, with a wife and two Children. We reached town and received Mrs. Everett who again came in to pass some days. We dressed and went to a party at the Miss Inches.3 It is the first time I have been in any considerable Society this Winter. The party was numerous and very 107select in it’s character. I have been out of society so long as to feel but little acquainted with any body. The party was on the whole barely tolerable. Returned early.

1.

JQA held 108 shares of New England Marine Insurance Co. stock purchased for $10,929 as a replacement for his investment in United States 6-percent stocks which were paid off 1 July (vol. 2:395–396; M/CFA/3). The office of the company was at 34 State Street. Peter C. Brooks was one of the directors ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).

2.

ABA’s aunt, Mrs. Mary Brooks Gray (1769–1842), was the widow of Samuel Gray of Salem (vol. 2:155). Mrs. Franklin Story (b. 1800, Elizabeth Gray) was her oldest daughter (Brooks, Waste Book, 5 March 1821, 7 Jan. 1823; CFA, Diary, 1 Feb. 1833); she is referred to, vol. 2:408 (1964 edn.), but there erroneously presumed to be Mrs. Joseph Story (Sarah Wetmore).

3.

The Misses Elizabeth and Susan Inches lived at 21 Fayette Place ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).