Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Tuesday. 9th. CFA Tuesday. 9th. CFA
Tuesday. 9th.

My new number came out this morning. It will do.1 I was occupied in studying out the subject of my question. Then to the Office. Wilson came in from Quincy with Commissions and to take out the Carriage and horses. All this ran away with several hours. The remainder of my time taken up in arrears of Diary occasioned by my repeated absences and extraordinary occupation. I returned to the House early and was quite busy. But I have given up for the present Juvenal and Thiers and Deffand and Crabbe, all my relaxation to the business on hand.

Afternoon taken up in reading the Debates of the First Congress and the Patronage bill. My principal difficulty is in the value of my materials. The abundance of them is so great that I find it will require 155thought to arrange them. Evening, I wrote the beginning of my Argument upon Webster’s bill but it did not satisfy me. Retired fatigued.

1.

The editor of the Advocate, in calling particular notice to CFA’s newest piece, wrote, “No. 8 of Political Speculation, is a thrilling appeal to every true patriot.... Let it be read with care and deep attention” (9 June, p. 2, col. 4).

Wednesday. 10th. CFA Wednesday. 10th. CFA
Wednesday. 10th.

The Papers in the Whig Interest are all startled at my last number and cry War. But the Centinel has engaged to republish my Argument in reply to my challenge and now I must set my shoulder to the Wheel.1 I went down for an hour to examine the various publications and then returned in order to go to Quincy according to engagement. I took with me John Quincy my boy and Catherine our nursery girl to take care of him. The day was excessively sultry until noon.

Arrived at the house I took up my father and left the others. We proceeded to the Railway and walked from the Hotel to the two Quarries lately leased by my father. Mr. Winkley the late Agent showed me their progress and seemed a little discouraged at the difficulty and expense incurred for good stone. They had arrived at but little yet, though it gave good promise. We went also to see Mr. Dudley. He was not there but his workman there gave exceedingly favorable Accounts. Indeed the stone showed for itself.2 The wind came suddenly round East so that our exercise was not rendered so fatiguing through the heat as I had anticipated.

We returned to dinner. Remainder of the day passed in conversation with my father in the course of which he gave me many very valuable hints for my Papers. Indeed my only difficulty was from their number. He approves of what I have done. The rain set in and I was extremely anxious about my child, but it holding up I concluded to start and we got home in good season and condition. Fatigued but did some reading before retiring.

1.

In his No. 8, CFA had charged Webster with violating the intent of the Constitution in the position he had assumed on the Executive Patronage Bill. Webster’s newspaper supporters jumped to his defense. Among them, however, the Centinel asked for a development and proof of the charges and offered its columns for the purpose: “As this writer holds an able pen, we are disposed to afford him scope” (Columbian Centinel, 10 June, p. 2, col. 3). CFA’s next series, “An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs,” was the fulfillment of his offer to prove his challenged assertion; see note to entry for 23 June, below.

2.

Two companies “have begun to work, but with different prospects of success.... There are varieties in the composition of the rocks, one portion of which only is in great demand. It is that which ... has a uniform appearance of darkling blue, without any veins of a rusty reddish colour; for the latter when exposed to the atmosphere exudes a 156dusky smoky, discolouring matter, and is in no demand.... This difference ... first became generally known by the discolouring of the Quincy Meeting House which is very great, to the excessive disappointment and mortification of the People. There is a taste of fashion for the bluish uniform colour, which makes the difference of value between that and all the rest, as great comparatively as between that of gold and copper.... One of the quarries now opened on my land appears to yield Stone of the best quality” (JQA, Diary, 10 June).

For a detailed descriptive and technical account of Quincy granite quarries and quarrying, with maps and illustrations, see T. Nelson Dale, The Commercial Granites of New England (U.S. Geological Survey, Bull. No. 738), Washington, 1923, p. 315–335.