Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

77 Monday. 27th. CFA Monday. 27th. CFA
Monday. 27th.

The morning was cloudy and threatened rain, notwithstanding which my Wife and I went to town together as by agreement in the Carriage. After calling at the House, I went to the Office and occupied myself in Accounts and in reading. The Newspapers contain a Correspondence between Messrs. Ingham and Eaton, of a nature so disgraceful as to set every thing else that has happened in the back ground.1

I had a Call from a Son of R. New’s making inquiry about the final distribution. He gave me more information respecting his father’s character than I had yet received. His was a case fit for a moralizing romance. One of the humble instances of suffering from the affections of the heart, which may be found in common life, and passed over without a comment. The world heals over without difficulty, and yet the pang is as acute, the sorrow as powerful as if a King experienced it, and a Court mourned in sympathy. R. New had a daughter and four Sons. He was a Barber in a good run of business and had acquired some Property besides. This daughter was educated by him with more than usual care, he had strained his means to give her extraordinary advantages, and he looked to her more than to all his other children united, for the comfort and happiness of his old age. She had been addressed by a respectable young man, a Silversmith by trade and in all respects a suitable match for her, and had become engaged to him with the approbation of her Father. Here he seemed to look for his future hours of peace, and Providence hitherto had smiled upon him with unusual favour. The Silversmith unfortunately went to Philadelphia for a little while, during which time, she happened one evening to go to the Theatre. The whole case immediately changed its aspect. She fell desperately in love at first sight with one of the Actors, procured an introduction to him, and soon forgot her vows upon gaining his Attentions. The remainder is the pathetic portion of the Story. Her father refusing his consent, she was married without it, and from that moment, he lost all his motives to live. Unwilling to commit suicide, and yet not desirous to live, he took to using the slow but sure poison which our numerous shops afford. His affairs went to ruin and he found a happy relief to save him from the extremities of earthly misery. But on his death bed, when his unrepenting daughter, forced by her husband on pain of his displeasure, went to him at the Hospital and offered her hand, the last moments of his existence were used in a violent effort to disengage himself from her. He had been too severely wounded to remember the injunctions of Christianity. The Son told me this much more forcibly than I describe it.


I dined at Mr. Frothingham’s who regaled us sumptuously, and in the Afternoon attended the Meeting of the Directors of the Boylston Market as by adjournment. Little or nothing done or to do. I came back to Mr. Frothingham’s early from whence I started with Abby home and reached it before tea. Quiet evening. I afterwards read Grimm and the Spectator.


The principal items in the correspondence, originally carried on in the columns of the United States Telegraph, were reprinted in the Boston Patriot and the Boston Daily Advertiser on this day. The controversy between the two members of the Cabinet, now resigned, began with John H. Eaton’s allegations of slurs upon Mrs. Eaton (the former Peggy O’Neale) by Samuel D. Ingham and concluded with a slur upon Mrs. Ingham by Eaton and Ingham’s avowal that he had been waylaid and threatened with assassination. See also entry for 7 Aug., below.

Tuesday. 28th. CFA Tuesday. 28th. CFA
Tuesday. 28th.

Morning cloudy, but as I thought it probable that it would not rain, I went to town. Passed my time in bringing up my Accounts for the past Quarter and in reading Monsieur Mirabeau, who discusses the rate of Interest and the importance of Commerce. This has become a part of a leading Science of the present day1 which has had many Writers and acquired through their means a kind of cant language rather ridiculous than otherwise to those who require that words should distinctly represent ideas. With many authors, this jargon appears fascinating. Certain positions were established by Adam Smith, and those may be considered as solid. All the building upon them that I have seen proceeds from theoretical views and not such as are reduced to the scale of the world’s actual condition.

I returned to Quincy to dine. Afternoon, read some spurious Orations, attributed to Sallust and Cicero, which seemed to have been written as studied imitations of the Style of the two Authors, but they are too much alike, and the roundness of Cicero’s periods is not preserved. I believe I shall stop for the present, as I do not read with the same accuracy at Quincy as in Boston and as the period for my return is approaching. I continued to file Papers with some success.

The Evening was rainy. I read a part of Timothy Pickering’s famous Review of the Cunningham Correspondence. It is the essence of Wormwood. But it failed of it’s effect. My Grandfather was honoured as few men have been at their death, and Col. Pickering lived to see it, in the Presidency of my Father.2 Afterwards I read Grimm and the Spectator.


A reference to “political economy.” JQA comments in a similar vein in his Diary (1 July).


On A Review of the Correspondence between the Hon. John Adams and the Late William Cunningham, Esq., a pam-79phlet by Timothy Pickering published at Salem in 1824, see vol. 1:146. The publication, both of the Correspondence in 1823 and of the Review, was in part the expression of old animosities and in part intended to damage JQA in the Presidential election. A copy of the Review is in MQA.