Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Tuesday. 4th. CFA Tuesday. 4th. CFA
Tuesday. 4th.

Our weather is singular at present. Quite cool and a shower of rain every day, but fine bracing weather. There is a talk of sickness and yellow fever in Boston but I cannot believe it. I remained in Quincy and amused myself all the morning upon the third Satire of Juvenal which I carefully reviewed.

The Newspapers came and contained my last number of the Appeal. Mr. Hallett in publishing it gives me a very handsome notice, for which I am much obliged.1 It is all the praise I shall probably get, unless I except what my father gives me.2 The Whigs are frightened at present, and show no play, even if they did there are some subjects too strong for their efforts and mine is one of them. Well, we must go on, and drive the party to the wall. We must raise up the Advocate out of it’s lethargic state and save it from death. I shall be content if the party is punished which has endeavoured to destroy all my father’s standing.

I read Thiers in the afternoon but stopped in order to join my father in a visit to his farm at Mount Wollaston. He wants to raise the rent upon the Tenant and is therefore called upon to specify repairs. To be sure they are needed. After looking over the place we returned to Tea and a party at Mr. Beale’s in the evening. Quincy people altogether. Mr. and Mrs. Miller and the Greenleafs. Home early and fatigued.


The “Essays of the True Whig” was Hallett’s heading for his editorial comment in the Advocate on “An Appeal”: “A series of more able papers on matters of high constitutional construction, have not appeared in any paper, since the eventful period of the revolution, and the establishment of the constitution....

“If here is not a just and true construction of the constitution, then no such construction can be established by the most venerated authorities. The ob-191ject of the writer has evidently been one of high moment.... It involves the question of a change in the fundamental principles which separate the different branches of our government; for if the executive patronage bill becomes settled as a principle, the entire character of the executive and legislative departments must be changed.” (4 Aug., p. 2, col. 3.)


The nature of the praise from JQA may be inferred from two entries in his Diary: “These papers contain a critical review of Daniel Webster’s last Winter’s Speech upon J. C. Calhoun’s Patronage Bill. Since the Government of the United States, there has not been so dangerous an assault upon the Constitution as that Bill.... Webster’s Speech ... carried it through. That Speech has been thoroughly exposed, and the principles of the Constitution have been vindicated in these papers written entirely by my Son Charles”; and “These papers are well written and form a defence ... against one of the most formidable and pernicious assaults on the Constitution it has ever sustained” (31 July, 4 Aug. 1835).

Wednesday. 5th. CFA Wednesday. 5th. CFA
Wednesday. 5th.

Morning clear and pleasant. I went to town accompanied by our Nursery woman Catherine for the purpose of getting our boy John about whom I am a little anxious.1 My time was taken up as it always is by a variety of Commissions.

Called at the Advocate Office to leave my paper which I directed to be put in editorially.2 Looked over their subscription list to see how the Paper gets on. I think rather an increase than otherwise though nearly balanced.

Called to see Sharpe about my Desk and saw the foundations. He does not want me again for some weeks. Office, where I worked upon Diary, and Accounts. At one o’clock called at House and took Catherine and the boy with me to Quincy. Arrived in excellent Appetite. I find Quincy air has a decided effect upon me. Afternoon, Thiers, and Madame Deffand. Evening. Quiet conversation at home.


The plan had been for JQA2 to remain with his nurse at the house in Boston during the family’s Quincy visit. His grandfather, Peter C. Brooks, had gone to see “the little man” before CFA removed him to Quincy and some days later recalled that “the little fellow ... received me very kindly and offered me all he had, which was two large potatoes which he had in his hands, and which were the finest I had seen this year. He did not tell me the kind, but I presume they were chenangoes. He is a nice boy and I would give four such potatoes to see him if I had them.... I will not say that he stands higher than Louisa in my good graces, because you know I am very fond of the girls, but I may be permitted to say that I love the little hound” (Peter C. Brooks to ABA, 19 Aug., Adams Papers). Still later Mr. Brooks returned to the theme: “John’s merits are not so much known as Louisa’s I imagine, excepting by one of his grandpapa’s, in whose regards he shares largely enough” (same to same, 22 Aug., Adams Papers).


Two papers by CFA, unsigned, headed “Political Management,” were printed in the Advocate as editorials (6 Aug., p. 2, cols. 2–3; 10 Aug., p. 2, col. 2). Their drift was that Antimasons, finding the Whig candidates for President unsaitsfactory, would likely choose to support Van Buren.