Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Tuesday. 19th. CFA Tuesday. 19th. CFA
Tuesday. 19th.

Lovely morning but the wind got round soon after. I went to the Office and passed my time making up Diary and looking over Mr. Webster’s Speech. It is a good, solid but rather dry law argument upon the theory of Nullification. Isaac P. Davis called up to see me again. He asked me to correct the proofs and make up a caption for the edition 52of the Report spoken of yesterday.1 They print five thousand at Eastburn’s Office.2 I went down to see about it, and Eastburn agreed to send a proof tonight but he did not.

Walk. Reflections upon the present State of things and unaccountable and irrepressible low spirits. Afternoon, tried to write but without any success. Read Cardinal de Retz. Evening at home. Sidney Brooks called and was amusing for an hour. Mr. Beale and his Son came in to take leave. He goes to Quincy in a day or two.

1.

The Report had been ordered printed by the House of Representatives. However, because “the documents are much delayed in the printing” (JQA to CFA, 13 March, Adams Papers), a Boston pro-tariff group had decided to publish at once. The report was also circulated in pamphlet form elsewhere. In Philadelphia, for example, Robert Walsh, after printing the report in full in the National Gazette, issued it as a supplement in an edition of 9,000 copies (JQA, Diary, 12 April).

2.

John H. Eastburn was the printer for the Daily Atlas; his office was at 18 State Street ( Boston Directory ).

Wednesday. 20th. CFA Wednesday. 20th. CFA
Wednesday. 20th.

Morning mild and cloudy with Easterly Winds. I went to the Office and was engaged in writing my Diary most of my time. Took a walk at noon with Mr. Peabody and went home quite fatigued. I waste a good deal of valuable time and perhaps this may be one cause for my low spirits. Afternoon, wrote to my father.1 My letter was a poor and a lame one but I have tried anew so often that I am in fact discouraged. I finished this at a venture. Received one sheet of proof which I corrected immediately.

Evening, Rain. We went out notwithstanding to a small party at Mrs. J. Quincy’s. About fifty and generally selected from the upper crust, as it is called. A very handsome Supper, but the thing was on the whole quite dull. I do not know why I should go into Company for I take little pleasure in it. The mere idea of duty is perhaps as strong as any thing. We returned shortly after ten. I read the Connoisseur.

1.

LbC in Adams Papers.

Thursday. 21st. CFA Thursday. 21st. CFA
Thursday. 21st.

Morning cloudy and cool. I went to the Office as usual but must plead guilty to a great deal of idleness. At the Athenaeum, where I read the English Newspapers and Magazines. I think the alteration in the British mode of thinking is one of the most surprising incidents of the present age. They talk democracy more than I ever expected to hear 53them. Query, Is this for the better? I fear not. My doubts as to the durability of our Government lead me to hope that others will be aware in time of the danger to be incurred in adopting our principles.

Took a walk. Afternoon, busy copying my letter which engrossed nearly my whole time. I read a little of Retz finishing the second Volume. My Wife and Miss Phillips took tea out so that I spent my Evening studying Architecture. It must be a delightful pursuit but then it is an enormously expensive one. Our little fortunes in this quarter would vanish in a trice before it. For myself, I do not know that I shall ever want to exercise myself practically in it, but at any rate, it is a useful branch of refined acquirement.

Went in the Evening to Mrs. Frothingham’s. Found there, Gorham Brooks and his Wife, William G. Brooks and our families. Nothing material took place. I returned home with the ladies at ten. The Wind had come round to the South and it was warm.