Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday. 16th. CFA Saturday. 16th. CFA
Saturday. 16th.

Morning at the Office. Occupied in writing my Journal, reading Minot and reflecting upon the business of the Election. Several little affairs took up some time, particularly some Commissions for my father which I was requested to execute, and attending a sale of Stocks for the purpose of attempting an investment for Thomas Adams. Things went however so high that I found the thing impossible. It is not a little surprising to me to see how high stocks run even now, and it shows an abundance of money existing unemployed.

Returned home and spent the afternoon as usual in reading Cicero a considerable portion of whose second book de Inventione I accomplished. It is more interesting than the other was. But I cannot help thinking that the reduction of all Oratory to method so clearly reduces somewhat it’s power. Cicero was certainly a master of his art, he shows it by the ease with which he handles all it’s parts, and by the 341regularity of the arrangement of his mind. He makes nearly mechanical what forms to others the hardest mental exertion.

After tea, I attended the Private Debating Society for the first time this Season. The meeting was small, and they discussed the question of the Rail Road. I took part in the Debate as usual and did not do quite as well as I ought to have done. Returned rather late.

Sunday. 17th. CFA Sunday. 17th. CFA
Sunday. 17th.

The day was very beautiful, being fine Autumn weather. I attended Divine Service both morning and afternoon and heard Mr. Frothingham deliver a Sermon in the Morning and Mr. Greenwood in the Afternoon. Neither of them remained on my mind at all. Indeed I felt rather indisposed from a dull headach during the day, probably arising from indigestion. It is the first I have had for a long time, and it indisposes me from performing any active exertion.

I did a little in the way of the Catalogue which I have commenced putting into it’s final shape. Had some Conversation with Mr. Chadwick upon the approaching election to Congress and was surprised to find how many people designed voting for Mr. Lee.1 This I consider as equivalent to an abandonment of all our principles and it has pained me not a little. It is much to be regretted that Mr. Gorham withdrew from this contest. I did very little but attempt to draw up an Article directly at variance with that of Friday, and in support of the County nomination. This I continued in the evening, after drawing up which I read a couple of papers in the Tatler.2

On the whole I was glad to retire for the pain in my head indisposed me much. A person who feels pain often gets accustomed to bear it well, but one who like me has known very little of it of late becomes impatient at the least sign of it.


Henry Lee was the nominee of the Free Trade Party for representative to Congress to succeed Benjamin Gorham, who had declined reelection (Boston Patriot, 16 Oct., p. 2, col. 1).


The absence of any statement by CFA that he sent off for publication the political article he had written may suggest that the article he wrote and sent to the Courier on the 18th was only a further revision of his earlier efforts to express his views on the Appleton-Lee contest. However, from his words in the entry for the 18th one might conclude that the article in the Courier was a different one. It should perhaps be noted that a communication signed “Medium” which appeared in the Boston Daily Advertiser on 19 Oct. (p. 2, col. 1) took essentially the position CFA had here reached.

Monday. 18th. CFA Monday. 18th. CFA
Monday. 18th.

The day opened cloudy and soon settled into a regular rain. My 342Mother however finished her visit which has been a pleasant one to me, and returned to Quincy. I went to the Office and was surprised to find upon reaching there that the whole of the lower Staircase of the building in Court Street was removed by the Tenant of the Store, in order to substitute a new one more narrow and interfering less with his premises. The Communication with my office was by a ladder and once up, it was rather a difficult matter to get down. I mounted and spent my time in writing a political Article to send to Mr. Buckingham the Editor of the Courier. This is a singular choice on my part but it arises from the fact that he is the friend of the principles I peculiarly support.1

Returned home, where it appeared lonely after having had a house full. I read Cicero as usual and examined his method of dividing all questions which narrow the space of thought very much to the points in question in a case. This methodizing of thought is a great thing for a speaker. Evening, reading Symmons life of Milton and hammering out a new idea for another Number. But I feel exceedingly discouraged. My spirits have not got over the effect of Mr. Everett’s course.


The Courier and Joseph T. Buckingham, its editor, were spokesmen for the policies of Henry Clay. The likely reason for the suggestion by the Courier that JQA be elected to Congress was to remove him from contention for the Presidency in 1832 (Bemis, JQA , 2:206). The article sent by CFA may be the one signed “A,” attacking Lee’s position on the tariff and supporting Appleton (Boston Courier, 21 Oct., p. 2, cols. 1–2).