Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 14th. CFA Monday. 14th. CFA
Monday. 14th.

Fine day. I went to the Office and was occupied in Accounts to some extent. Conversation with Mr. Walsh and lounging at Insurance Offices. The interest taken in political affairs is now much greater here than usual and the result of the New York election though not decisive is sufficiently so to inspire confidence into the opposition forming against the Government.

Walk. P. C. Brooks Jr. dined with me and in the afternoon I went down to the Boylston Market to a Meeting of Directors but none was held. Returned home and finished the fifth Tusculan of Cicero. Evening, Mr. Davis passed an hour or two.

I received from Washington my father’s speech which he did not deliver upon the subject of the Bank of the United States and Mr. Taneys reasons. He has published it nevertheless. It eclipses all other Speeches yet made, and breathes the same tone of fearless invective which has always distinguished his writings.1

295 1.

The National Intelligencer for 12 April printed in eighteen columns a speech which JQA had intended to deliver in the House on 4 April but had been prevented from doing by a parliamentary maneuver. It bore the title, “Speech <Suppressed by the Previous Question> ... on the Removal of the Public Deposites ...” and was prefaced by a statement recounting the circumstances of JQA’s unsuccessful efforts to gain recognition to speak to the Resolution of the Massachusetts Legislature on the state of the currency, the removal of public monies from the Bank of the United States, and the reasons alleged in justification by Secretary of the Treasury Taney. Having been “compelled to resort to the Press, to make Public the remarks,” JQA was quick to arrange for pamphlet publication as well. On the 13th he revised the text and was notified by Joseph Gales of the Intelligencer that an order to print 50,000 copies of the pamphlet had been received (JQA, Memoirs , 9:127). It was widely reprinted. The corrected printer’s copy, 63 pages of text in JQA’s hand and 23 pages of supplementary material partly in the hands of amanuenses, is in the Adams Papers.

Tuesday. 15th. CFA Tuesday. 15th. CFA
Tuesday. 15th.

The children seem to be a little disordered which makes us uneasy and unhappy. I trust as I ever do. The day was excessively and unnaturally warm. I went to the Office. Two or three visits from Tenants &ca. I went into State Street where a meeting had been called of the people to notice the “triumph” in New York.1 These things seem here to be under a species of guidance which I can neither admire nor approve. The mob seem to be acquiring an ascendency even in this most settled of grave places.

It was too warm to walk. Afternoon at home. I began Sir James Mackintosh’s History of Maritime Discovery in the Cabinet Cyclopedia.2 But my time was rather lazily spent. Evening at home till eight when we went to a small supper party at Mrs. A. H. Everett’s. The persons were quite select, that is to say a compound of the most exclusive aristocracy and the most questionable people. The Sears, Thorndike, Ticknor, and the Inglises, Baldwins, J. S. Wright and J. E. Thayer—A very curious collection out of whom I knew but two or three. My evening was consequently one of the most stupid. I left in disgust and went home before the rest. It was tiresome enough.

1.

The meeting, occasioned by “the great political revolution achieved by the Whigs” in New York City, was held in State Street on the eastern front of City Hall because of a lack of capacity in Faneuil Hall, and was described as “one of the largest popular meetings ever assembled in this city” (Columbian Centinel, 16 April, p. 2, col. 2).

2.

The volume in Rev. Dionysius Lardner’s Cabinet Cyclopaedia was borrowed from the Athenaeum.

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

Morning fine but cool. I did intend to have started at once for Quincy but by going down to the Office and a few interruptions my 296time fell short so that I could only postpone to the Afternoon. Mr. Degrand called in upon business and one or two others upon various applications. Received a letter from my Mother mentioning the breaking of the Bank of Washington and the loss which would probably take place to the family—My brother being an owner of Stock in it.1 Thus goes the world.

I rode to Quincy in the Afternoon, found the place looking much as usual—More done however, than I had expected. There was something a little cheerless in the appearance however, and I felt a failing in my interest in the place which is somewhat novel and surprised me. Perhaps it is not worth while to go far in quest of the causes of it. Gave directions and returned home by eight o’clock.

Mr. I. Barney, of Baltimore called in and spent the evening. He is here on a visit of a few days. He claims to be an old acquaintance, though I never respected him much.

1.

In reporting the failure of the Washington Bank, LCA gave Mrs. JA2’s loss as $2,000; Walter Hellen’s as “all or most of his inheritance”; and JQA’s as “considerable” through his ownership of Franklin Insurance Co. stock, a creditor of the bank. She also reported the closing of the Farmers and Mechanics Bank of Georgetown and the Bank of Alexandria (to CFA, 12 April, Adams Papers).