Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday. 22d. CFA Sunday. 22d. CFA
Sunday. 22d.

Fine day. I attended Divine Service all day and heard Mr. Flint of Cohasset preach. In the morning upon the fulfilment of vows made, in the Afternoon upon attendance on divine Worship. He is a very good Preacher so far as good sense may go but his excessively erroneous delivery is enough to cover every merit. The finest diamonds would never shine through so much mud.

At home, most of my day was taken up in reading the old Journals of my Grandfather relating to the very important period of the Treaty of 1783. A period which Mr. Sparks has been exerting himself to construe in his way against every circumstance of probability.


There is a Report of extensive circulation today that Mr. Clay has killed Mr. Benton in a duel at Washington. It wants confirmation very much.1

Evening, my Wife and I walked up to Mrs. T. B. Adams to pay a visit. Remained but a short time. Mrs. Angier and Mr. Joseph Angier came in from Medford just at this time. On our return we found Mr. and Mrs. Quincy.


The rumor probably arose from accounts of the extremely bitter exchanges between Thomas Hart Benton and Henry Clay in the Senate during the debate on the President’s veto of the bill to renew the charter of the Bank (Daily National Intelligencer, 16 July, p. 2; 19 July, p. 3).

Monday 23d. CFA Monday 23d. CFA
Monday 23d.

Fine, clear day. I went to Boston and passed my time there with my usual waste. The accounts of the Cholera from New York are bad enough and the People seem to be able to talk of little or nothing else. Indeed to read the Newspapers much and to hear the talk are enough to give the disease almost. I went to the Athenaeum, to my own house, to Mr. Brooks’ room, &ca. and was glad when the time came to return.

Afternoon, read Seneca. Finished de clementia. It is very imperfect however. The treatise is full of fine sentiment. Occasionally the morality is of a very superior order, and it is only by considering the flattery of Nero and his subsequent character that we deduct from its merit. It is not possible to suppose him such an adept at dissimulation as to conceal his propensities. And Seneca must have known them if any body. He should therefore have spared his encomiums.

We have been slightly expecting my father today. The last news of him is of Thursday at Philadelphia.1 We wish to hear of him this side of New York. Quiet evening.


JQA to LCA, 19 July (Adams Papers).

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

Fine morning. I went to town for the purpose of getting some information about my father. But I did not succeed. Time principally occupied in reading the Speech of Mr. Everett upon the Tariff. It is a dry, statistical performance, in some respects correct, in others questionable.1 Had a visitor applying for the House in Tremont Street about to be vacated by Mr. Gulliver. We had a long conversation, and he finally asked me to come in to town tomorrow.

Returned to Quincy and passed the Afternoon in reading Seneca upon the shortness of life. Almost all of his subjects are Common 335places hackneyed by time. Yet they are well treated and contain a good deal of thought. Read also part of the debates of the first Congress. It is surprising to me that after these there ever should have been any question about the legality of protecting duties. Evening, walked with my Wife to Mrs. T. B. Adams’s and passed half an hour.


Edward Everett’s Speech on the Proposed Adjustment of the Tariff (Washington, 1832), delivered in the House of Representatives on 25 June; a copy is listed in CFA’s catalogue of his pamphlet collection (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 326).