Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 20th. CFA Wednesday. 20th. CFA
Wednesday. 20th.

The morning was dark and lowering and soon after turned into rain. I went to the Office as usual and was busy in making my usual progress in my affairs. My calls were numerous, among others Miles Farmer came up and attempted to take me in. I could not easily keep my temper because he most evidently came to gull me. I was more angry perhaps than I should have been, but it satisfied him that I was not to be imposed upon. He left me, I trust for the last time. My Tenant has not been near me since he received his Lease. I am a little afraid of the circumstance, but I went to see how Hollis came on and was pretty well satisfied with the progress made.

Abby had agreed to go to Medford today notwithstanding the weather. So I returned home at one o’clock and after waiting a little while, went out in a Carriage with Mrs. P. C. Brooks and Mrs. Frothingham. Upon our arrival we found that Mrs. Brooks was not so well. 138Indeed I never saw her when she seemed more suffering. It seems to me pretty clearly evident that her term of life is rapidly drawing to a close. But this is too unpleasant a subject to be whispered, and indeed it seems to me it is a severe thing for the consideration of that family. Her influence in cementing them is strong though scarcely felt. When it is gone, I cannot precisely tell what will be the end of it. And it is as well not to attempt to look forward. We dined there and remained while the rest returned to town.

I had much conversation with Mr. Brooks who treated me very kindly. It is somewhat remarkable how different impressions influence me with regard to him. I suppose this depends much upon his feelings to me which vary as much. My coldness he cannot admire and yet at times I cannot help it. It is my bane every where. I retired early as usual.

Thursday 21st. CFA Thursday 21st. CFA
Thursday 21st.

The morning was bright and clear but tolerably cold. After breakfasting we came into Boston with Mrs. Everett and Mr. Brooks in his Carriage. I went to the Office and during the whole morning was busy with my affairs. Many persons came in to talk and more to bring bills all which I paid off as fast as I was able and relieved myself from a very considerable load. Mr. Sharpe came and received his Money at last, which makes the last debt contracted before I was married. My different suits were settled and I paid Mr. Tarbell the balance due upon Mr. Gilman’s Collecting efforts after paying myself for my Costs.1 This is the best business I have done in the Law, excepting Mr. Boylston’s and my Administration, which indeed embraces every thing.

My Tenant came to tell me he could not swallow so strong a Lease. But he seemed anxious to take it and I felt rather doubtful of the representations of Hollis. Indeed from all the information I could gather, I was inclined to think that he was a good man. He said he would call again. I am still in hopes I shall be able to settle with him, and get the load off my Shoulders. Mr. Leighton came to tell me he was about to settle for the hire of the room opposite for which I rejoiced. But no signs were there of Money. He promised tomorrow. The key was given up, and I went in to look at the rooms. They are in better condition than I anticipated. And I feel pretty nearly confirmed in my resolution to attempt to let mine, and occupy these. Thus passed the morning.

I went to dine with Chardon Brooks by agreement. Abby is out all her time.2 My head did not feel very well owing to a slight indigestion. 139I got through Dinner and went home to my study, but owing to my head did not enjoy my reading as much as I might have done. I merely finished Brumoy’s Dissertation without having read it very carefully. This over, I went to a Meeting which was called in favour of the Cherokee and Creek Indians in the question with Georgia. It was very full. I never had seen a thing of the kind before. But it was not very famous for its soundness or its deliberation. The Speakers were men of no character and the resolutions were foolishly violent.3 I could not get out until they adjourned when I went again to Chardon’s and after a Supper and Glass of Whiskey Punch returned home feeling a severe headach.

1.

CFA’s accounts provide no information on what his fee was for legal work done for Thomas Tarbell nor on the identity of Gilman.

2.

That is, at Medford with her mother.

3.

The Jackson administration’s policy on Indian removal is detailed above, entry for 26 Dec. 1829, note. The statewide meeting in the Representatives Hall of the State House was called in protest against that policy and against the actions taken by the state of Georgia to remove the Indians. At the meeting’s conclusion, resolutions were adopted unanimously holding that removal would be a violation of solemn pledges and treaties by the Government of the United States which “would probably bring upon us the reproaches of mankind, and would certainly expose us to the judgments of Heaven” (Columbian Centinel, 23 Jan., p. 3, col. 1). In reporting the tenor of the meeting to his father, CFA wrote: “There was a man there talked of sending a thousand regulars into Georgia with as much coolness as if he was going to take a breakfast and was thought sensible too” (24 Jan., Adams Papers). JQA, interested, suggested that CFA should have taken the opportunity presented to gain experience in speaking to a large audience (to CFA, 5 Feb., Adams Papers). To this, CFA replied that he had expressed his opinions on the subject earlier (see above, entry for 2 Jan.) but had not spoken on this occasion because he would have begun “in opposition to the whole current of the Community. And had I failed the effect upon me would have been permanent.” He stated for his father his own conviction, arrived at after endeavoring “to examine that subject in its practical bearings without reference to the abstract and impracticable views of moralists,” that “the Indians must submit or remove,” adding his hope that all could be managed peaceably and voluntarily (CFA to JQA, 14 Feb., Adams Papers). In measured response, JQA wrote:

“You took a very judicious course, in refraining from the debate at the meeting about the Indians. It would not have been prudent to make your first Essay at public speaking on the unpopular side of a great question of national policy—and perhaps you was not so well prepared upon that subject as you may be hereafter. You have not investigated it as a question of Justice—of Morals—of Politics—of Natural—Conventional—Constitutional, and federal Law—of Natural History and of Political Economy. It is all this and more.”

(21 Feb., Adams Papers)

For an account of the policies on the Indian question followed by JQA during his administration, see Bemis, JQA , 2:79–87.