Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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

Fine morning. I worked upon my Catalogue a good deal and then went to the Office. My whole available time was engrossed by my answer to T. B. Adams’s letter. I draughted his Account for the last six months and explained my views of his interest.1 This is a piece of business which I am pleased to finish. The whole is a voluntary labour without profit or satisfaction to me. I think I perceive one great difference in my own character as it is now and as it was two or three years since. Then I was anxious for occupation and responsibility. I assumed my father’s agency with pleasure and T. B. Adams’ with cheerfulness. To the former I am now indifferent, and the latter I should willingly be rid of. Experience of money affairs has made the hazards of it disagreeable. The only reason why I still adhere to my 299father’s affairs, is that I give a little something in payment for my subsistence, and that I hope at least to prevent the shocking waste of his property which has heretofore taken place.

At one, I attended a Meeting of the Bar for the election of Officers, and nonsensical debates kept me there until two. Afternoon passed in copying Thomas’ letter which I despatched. We had showers in the Evening. Read to my Wife Campbell’s Gertrude of Wyoming. It is no great thing.2 Read part of Corneille’s Cid. And my usual tasks.


CFA to Thomas B. Adams Jr. (LbC, Adams Papers).


When first published in 1809, Gertrude of Wyoming, a Pennsylvanian Tale, established Thomas Campbell’s reputation as a poet.

Thursday. 17th. CFA Thursday. 17th. CFA
Thursday. 17th.

The child has been suffering very much all day and gives us again a great deal of anxiety. I continued working upon my Catalogue. Then to the Office. I do not know how I passed my time. All I know is that it went very fast. Took a walk to Charlestown with Mr. Peabody. Mr. Beale called in about the affairs of Mrs. Adams children. His conversation seemed to me very conclusive upon the course which I think ought to be pursued. Certainly Mrs. Adams ought not herself to be the Guardian. Yet I shall say or do nothing about it.

Afternoon, rode to Quincy with my Wife. The Country has put on a very different face since I was last there. I looked through the Garden and found that we were likely to have a much neater place there than we had ever had heretofore. Indeed the place has I think been materially improved. We walked up and paid a short visit to Mrs. Adams who does not seem to gain courage. Returned home to tea. Quiet evening. Finished Corneille’s Cid and the Comments upon it. A very restless night for the child.

Friday. 18th. CFA Friday. 18th. CFA
Friday. 18th.

Morning cold. The change of wind has disposed of all our fine weather and given us in its place the easterly chill. Went to the Office. Passed my time in copying Catalogue and then to the Office where I read my father’s Report upon the Bank. It has his usual vigour and his usual severity.1 This is the reason why I think it disadvantageous to him to be placed in a public body. But in reading it as in reading all that is written by him one is carried away by the glow which he throws upon the subject. Washington has a heated Atmosphere unlike that of any other place in this Country. I do not think things are at all judged of in the same manner there that they are any where else.


Took a walk with Mr. Peabody. Then home. Mr. Frothingham dined with me, and we had some of my new wine which I think very good. Afternoon passed in reading a little of Sismondi as well as prosecuting my Catalogue. I did not work to effect however, feeling somewhat drowsy from my vigil last night. Quiet evening. My Wife went over to see Mrs. P. C. Brooks who is unwell. I went with her, though sitting solus, while she was upstairs. Continued my Catalogue.


On 15 May the Daily National Intelligencer had devoted almost the whole issue (p. 1–3) to printing the text of JQA’s separate Report on the Bank. Next day he sent a copy to CFA (JQA to CFA, 16 May, Adams Papers). A MS of the Report in several hands with notes and corrections in JQA’s hand, dated 14 May and identified in CFA’s hand as the “printers copy,” is in the Adams Papers. On the wide distribution given to the issue of the Intelligencer containing the Report, see Bemis, JQA , 2:254.

JQA’s Report was endorsed by John G. Watmough; these two in turn joined in signing the Counter-Report of the Minority prepared by George McDuffie which was presented on 11 May, was printed in the Daily National Intelligencer on 18 May (p. 2–3), and later appeared in pamphlet form along with the Report of the Majority.