Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 11th. CFA Friday. 11th. CFA
Friday. 11th.

I had one of my unpleasant headachs today. Thinking it arose from indigestion I thought I would walk it off, but I found this only made the matter worse. My day was wasted. In the Afternoon, however I took a little Carbonate of Soda and it cured me which makes me see at once my complaint is an acid stomach.


I read the Arabian Tales which are too fascinating for me to leave off and Cicero’s fifth Tusculan that wisdom is happiness. A dispute of words, which would be remedied by a definition. Now, is it possible for me to say that I feel perfectly happy with a headach such as I had this morning? Let my moral qualities, my virtues and merits be what they may, there is the physical evil which prevents enjoyment.

Quiet evening at home, being unable to procure tickets for Miss Kembles farewell benefit which took place this night. Began Miss Edgeworth’s Belinda which is the most sprightly of her works. German.

Saturday. 12th. CFA Saturday. 12th. CFA
Saturday. 12th.

A very lovely and very warm day. I could not keep much at the Office. Mr. William Spear came in from Quincy and paid me a sum of money on his Note, the counting and entering which took up much time. The present disordered state of the currency is one of the beauties of Jackson’s rule, and its inconvenience is now practically felt by the increasing demands of the brokers. The public is now exceedingly interested in the results of the New York election which has been going on for three days in this week. It has been made a test by both parties, although the mere choice of Mayor is not a political question of much moment. The whole place has been given up to the most violent excitement, and bloodshed has taken place.1 It is the first instance of popular violence we have had, but I very much fear, not the last, we shall see in our generation. My faith in a democratic government is becoming weaker.

Miss Louisa C. Smith dined and spent the day with us. I read the Arabian Nights and Cicero’s fifth Tusculan. Evening, did nothing. German.


For the first time the mayor of New York was to be elected directly by popular vote rather than by vote of the Council. While the Whig candidate, Thomas Verplanck, was narrowly defeated by the Democrat, Cornelius Laurence, because the Whigs elected a majority of the Council the results were interpreted in Boston as a Whig victory.

The riots and bloodshed centered in New York’s 6th Ward where more than a hundred “infuriated wretches,” said to be Jacksonians, stormed the anti-Jackson headquarters. “A great number of respectable citizens were knocked down and cut in a shocking manner. For a considerable time the polls were in possession of the rioters.” (Columbian Centinel, 11 April, p. 2, col. 2; 12 April, p. 2, cols. 3–6; 14 April, p. 1, cols. 6– 7; 16 April, p. 2, cols. 2–3.)

Sunday. 13th. CFA Sunday. 13th. CFA
Sunday. 13th.

A summer’s day. I walked out upon the Common for an hour after breakfast with my Wife and child and took the benefit of the balmy 294air. Attended divine service and heard Mr. Walker of Charlestown preach all day from Ezekiel 18. 25. “Yet ye say, The way of the Lord is not equal, Hear now, O house of Israel: Is not my way equal? Are not your ways unequal?” He laid down the position that all sin and evil was the consequence of misconduct proceeding from the inequality of man’s nature—That the Deity was the Judge but not the capricious cause. The other text was 2. Corinthians 5. 4. “For we that are in this tabernacle do groan being burdened; not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.” The nature of death. How much more influence man exerts after his death than is commonly supposed, the fear of it should not regulate the course of human action because we can look to a future state with hope and confidence. My abstract is very lame, but the preacher was eloquent and touching.

Home. Read Atterbury. Text blank line in MS A sermon to prove that Christianity must be a state of suffering, and the example of the Saviour a precept and exhortation to endure it. This is another shape of the argument in Mr. Bennets Funeral Sermon. I do not assent to it because although I cannot agree that bodily pain is consistent with happiness, yet I do maintain that happiness must arise from virtuous conduct and a virtuous mind and can spring from no other source. Quiet evening at home.