Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 5th. CFA Wednesday. 5th. CFA
Wednesday. 5th.

Mild but cloudy. I went to the Office and passed my time in reading the debate in the Senate between Mr. Webster and Mr. Wright.1 This is of some consequence as it lays open the future operation of parties. The former is driven to the Wall and now takes his course while the latter daringly proclaims that the party he represents will persevere to the end. Now comes the tug of war.

Attended a meeting of the Proprietors of the Middlesex Canal being the annual one for the choice of officers. Nothing new excepting the substitution of Abbott Lawrence as a Director in the place of J. B. Joy deceased. Walk with my Wife to order some things for a dinner I propose to give, tomorrow.

Afternoon at home. Began Mr. Gallatin’s Essay upon Banks and Currency which requires very fixed attention to comprehend, yet which conveys a great amount of valuable information.2 Terence. Evening quiet. Patronage.

258 1.

The speeches in the Senate on the New York Resolution relating to Deposits by Silas Wright Jr., of New York, and Daniel Webster were printed in the National Intelligencer on 31 Jan. (p. 3, cols. 1–3) and 1 Feb. (p. 2, cols. 1–6).


Albert Gallatin’s influential essay first appeared in Dec. 1830 and March 1831 in the American Quarterly Review. It was afterward revised and expanded and published as Considerations on the Currency and Banking System of the United States, Phila., 1831. For an earlier reading by CFA, see vol. 4:36.

Thursday. 6th. CFA Thursday. 6th. CFA
Thursday. 6th.

Fine morning but it afterwards grew cloudy. I went to the Office and I believe for the first time since New Year devoted an hour or two to Parliamentary Debates. Read the progress of the Ministerial fears during the period when a combined resistance displayed itself of the extent of which the actors had formed no conception. The parliamentary opposition appear gradually gathering courage and strength. Took a walk.

Had company to dine with me, Mr. Slocum, Josiah Quincy Jr., W. E. Payne, Dr. E. G. Davis, T. K. Davis and P. C. Brooks. Nothing remarkable happened. Things went on pretty well and the company did not all leave until nine o’clock. This is the largest and most expensive entertainment I have given. Its nature is that of a tax on property. Retired early to bed.

Friday. 7th. CFA Friday. 7th. CFA
Friday. 7th.

A snow storm. Such are the alternations of our weather. I went to the Office as usual. Nothing particular. Mr. Degrand called and I executed the money transaction contemplated. Interest at 12 per cent which is enormous and grows out of the political war between the Bank and the Executive. This sum belongs to my father and will, I hope make a moiety of the payment to Hull in May next. Attended a meeting of the new Board of Directors of the Middlesex Canal. The usual organization. William Sullivan talks like a depressed man. He is pretty distant to me. General politics about the same. Read a good deal of the English Debates and felt as much interested in the squabbles of that day as in those of this. What a world of perpetual commotion it is. And how often does the mountain produce a mouse.

Short walk. Afternoon, I did little but finish the Andria—A curious specimen of domestic life among the ancients. Terence borrowed from Menander. The pictures are all therefore drawn from Grecian manners. The French have done little more than imitate, with the addition of their own peculiar habits.


Quiet evening at home. Finished Patronage which after all, I consider the most heavy of Miss Edgeworth’s productions. The character of Lord Oldborough is nevertheless one of her best. The Percys are too perfect to be interesting. Wrote a letter to my father, being my third attempt.1


7–8 Feb. (Adams Papers).