Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Saturday. 30th. CFA Saturday. 30th. CFA
Saturday. 30th.

The Accounts from Florida are fearful, the national troops appear to be by far too weak to resist the force and fury of the Indians. The account of the massacre of two companies of Infantry on their way from Tampa bay to Camp King is confirmed.1 Poor Thomas Adams escapes this time but he is at Tampa bay and there is still much hazard. God prosper him for he is a worthy fellow.


I went to the Office. Visits from T. Adams, Tax Collector of Quincy, W. Spear, and Mr. George Veazie of Quincy. Accounts and Quincy affairs.

My father at Washington is in the midst of a painful struggle which his unfortunate permanency in public life brings upon him.2 My judgment was not mistaken when I dissuaded from it. But as he is in it, I must do my best to help him out.

Walk. Athenaeum and home to read Livy. Afternoon, at work upon my Grandfather’s papers. Finished a volume of Franklin and Lee’s letters, also arranged some pamphlets for binding. Evening very quietly at home, finished Gil Blas that charming book of books and Goethe.


A report of the disaster suffered at the hands of the Seminoles on 28 Dec. 1835 had appeared on the preceding day in the Boston papers. Maj. Helton’s official report was printed in the morning papers of the present day (Columbian Centinel, 29 Jan., p. 2. col. 2; 30 Jan., p. 2, cols, 2–5).


JQA for more than a month had been trying unsuccessfully in the House to present petitions asking for the abolition of the slave trade and slavery in the District of Columbia. He had been met by refusal to entertain the petitions or by motions to lay them upon the table. Columbian Centinel, 30 Jan., p. 2, cols. 1–2.

Sunday. 31st. CFA Sunday. 31st. CFA
Sunday. 31st.

Snow all day falling fast but equally. I amused myself with reading the book of the Princess de Lamballe which gives more of the royal statement of matters than any thing I have seen. The general impression to be obtained is that the Queen was very headstrong and the King very weak and the corruption of the Court was such as to lead to a tremendous purification. The french character however is corrupt. This lady involves the Duke of Orleans very deeply in schemes to overthrow the King. Perhaps he did try to take advantage of the times but he was quite as weak and more depraved. He served only to hasten a catastrophe in which he himself fell.

I attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham from Romans 2. 7. “Seek honour in doing well,” an examination of the modes by which reputation is to be gained in the world, the extremes of standing alone and attempting to figure by opposition to the common sentiment, and that of following too implicitly the opinions given by the world. The true rule is to do well, that is according to the dictates of conscience, tempered by Judgment. A very excellent Sermon and composed as I thought not without reference to my situation, but perhaps I am in this mistaken.

Walk after which I received a call from Mr. Hallett. His purpose 321to request the permission to put my name upon the Committee raised the other evening to prepare an Address. This is again an afterthought. The Committee as arranged was one of thirteen whom the Chairman, Mr. Brownell appointed as is usual in such cases from a list previously prepared. My name was not on that, but I imagine my presence and apparent disposition to take a part has given rise to a pressure to get me there of which this invitation is the result. The Committee is enlarged to fourteen and my name was put on. This I since discovered. I told Mr. Hallett that I had no kind of objection and so he left me. This appears a little variation from my former course but which is necessary. Confidence must be earned.

Meeting again in the afternoon. Mr. Frothingham 4 John 48. “Unless ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe.” My attention was not steady to this sensible discourse.

Home. Read Dr. Barrow. The last discourse upon obedience to spiritual governors, in which he does after all make some very sound and judicious observations. His obedience after all is not unlimited which one would suppose from his first discourses. But nevertheless I am glad to have got through this subject and to be proceeding to something else. Elizabeth C. Adams took tea and passed the evening. Nothing remarkable.