Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Sunday. 21st. CFA Sunday. 21st. CFA
Sunday. 21st.

The weather has changed to quite cold. I sat at home with the windows closed. Occupied myself in the morning partly in reading Madame du Deffand and partly in general examination and preparation for a continued exposition of Whig principles.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham from Psalms 12. 1. “Help, Lord, for the faithful fail from among the children of men.” Yes they fail, sometimes by oppression as the Psalmist seems most particularly to say, but sometimes also by death. This was a fine introduction to some general observations upon the death of men in early maturity, and to a particular notice of Dr. Stevenson. The eulogy was one of Mr. Frothingham’s happiest efforts, not too little and not too much. I was a good deal affected as I was aware of Dr. Stevenson’s merits and was myself under obligation to him which I cannot forget. Afternoon, Exodus 32. 1. “When the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron and said unto him, Up, make us Gods, which shall go before us: for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” I could not fix my attention at all. Home.

Read a discourse of Barrow which I must pronounce in many respects one of his best. Romans 12. 18. “If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.” According to his usual custom he first defines his words. Live peaceably, that is cultivate a disposition of positive kindness and do not rest satisfied with a nega-163tive fulfilment of duty. “All men,” that is men of every class and disposition. “As much as lieth in you,” that is, sometimes the acts of others may disable you from it but not your own. He then enters into a specification of the duties incumbent upon man in such cases and these are very well described, with the exception perhaps of a little too much Tory politics.

Afterwards Mad. Deffand whose letters I now read with much zest. She is a genuine French woman, amusing and frivolous and withal very sensible. Evening sat with my Wife who came down to dinner today for the first time. She seems well but quite feeble. Afterwards wrote but without satisfying myself.

Monday. 22d. CFA Monday. 22d. CFA
Monday. 22d.

Cold morning. I went down to see Sharpe about my medal table and to jog on his vanity towards making a pretty plan, from thence to the Athenaeum to meet Mr. Brooks at Durand’s painting room. He was already there and beginning to sit. I looked at two or three books in the Athenaeum and took the Volume of Elliots Debates which contains the Journal of the Convention and subsequent opinions.1

Office. Engaged in Accounts and Diary. Mr. Price Greenleaf called in and I sent word by him to Quincy that I would take Mr. Hallett tomorrow and accordingly made an appointment with that gentleman to dine with me at two o’clock tomorrow.

Home. Wrote a little of No. 3 but could not please myself. Afternoon, I did not do better so that I threw it up for the time and luxuriated in Mad. Deffand whose first volume I finished. She gives the news of the day in the very corrupt era of Mad. du Barry and Louis 15. Nothing worse. Evening with my Wife. And afterwards I caught a bright idea and wrote to the purpose.

1.

Jonathan Elliot, ed., Debates in the Convention of the Several States on the Adoption of the Federal Constitution, 4 vols., Washington, 1827–1830.

Tuesday. 23d. CFA Tuesday. 23d. CFA
Tuesday. 23d.

Not being satisfied with my new draught of No. 3 I began to write it over again but desisted to go to the Office. The first number of the Appeal from the new to the old Whigs was published this morning in both the Advocate and the Centinel. In the latter with a counteracting Commentary on the part of the Editor, which only betrays his utter incompetency to deal with the subject. On the whole, so far I am satisfied.1

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Home where I wrote as fast as I could for the purpose of getting the Article done, but I could not succeed, before dinner time came and Mr. Hallett with it. He seemed far more awkward than I had expected and it satisfies me of the origin of all his radical tendencies.

We left town shortly after dinner and spent the Afternoon at Quincy in conversation with my father. The subject of general politics. And some little reference to the probable effect of my numbers. My father is still impressed with an idea that Mr. Webster must be drawn out, but I think silence is the word. We returned home so late that it was nearly ten o’clock before I reached my study.

1.

CFA’s “An Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs,” which is an historical examination and denial of the constitutionality of Webster’s position on the Executive Patronage Bill, and which he signed “A Whig of the Old School,” was published in eight installments, virtually simultaneously, in the Columbian Centinel and the Daily Advocate. In the Centinel: No. 1, 23 June, p. 2, cols. 3–4, with editorial comment, col. 1; No. 2, 30 June, p. 2, cols. 3–4, with comment, col. 1; No. 3, 14 July, p. 2, cols. 4–6, with comment, col. 1; No. 4, 17 July, p. 2, cols. 4–5; No. 5, signed “A Whig Antimason,” 21 July, p. 2, cols. 3–4, with comment, col. 2; No. 6, 28 July, p. 2, cols. 4–5, with comment, col. 1; No. 7, 31 July, p. 2, cols. 3–4; No. 8, 5 Aug., p. 2, cols. 1–2. In the Advocate: No. 1, 23 June, p. 2, cols. 1–2; No. 2, 30 June, p. 2, cols. 1–2; No. 3, 7 July, p. 2, cols. 1–3, with comment, col. 4; No. 4, 17 July, p. 2, cols. 1–3, with comment, “most forcible paper ... closely logical, and wholly unanswerable,” col. 3; No. 5, 21 July, p. 2, cols. 1–3; No. 6, 28 July, p. 2, cols. 1–2; No. 7, 31 July, p. 2, cols. 1–3; No. 8, 4 Aug., p. 2, cols. 1–3, with comment, col. 3.

The series was also carried in at least two other Massachusetts antimasonic newspapers: We, the People in Bridgewater, “at the request of a number of our subscribers,” beginning with the issue of 17 July and continuing on each Friday thereafter through 4 Sept.; and the weekly Concord Freeman, commencing on 8 Aug. and continuing through 19 September.

The attention won by what was CFA’s major literary effort to date led him to publish the whole as a pamphlet, using the same title and indication of authorship (Boston: Russell, Odiorne & Co., 1835; see below, entries for 17 Aug.–30 Sept. passim). Following the appearance of the pamphlet, the Washington Globe reprinted the full text; see below, entry for 26 October.