Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Sunday. 13th. CFA Sunday. 13th. CFA
Sunday. 13th.

A raw East wind with clouds and a slight snow. I wasted my morning in looking over some numbers of the London Court Journal lent to my Wife by some of the Bootts. I could not help being much struck with the contrast between the state of society therein described and our’s—An accumulation of forms through which display is cultivated as a passion. My habits are becoming so fixed that I think I never could fancy so artificial a condition, and I regard our lot in a country of simple manners as being far more desirable than that where overgrown power makes excessive subservience.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Frothingham. 1. Corinthians 35115. 51. “We shall all be changed.” A beautiful idea, that change is to us an object of desire while we dread it, that it is constantly taking place while we are not sensible to it. But I lost the train of illustration by my wandering head, and could not fully recover it. Matthew 3. 9. “God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham.” A vehement squinting at the doctrine of election, the idea of the Jews that God had them in his keeping and that for them was to be reserved all future happiness. There are some who have similar fancies now, not mindful that to the power of the Deity, every thing remains open.

Mr. Walsh walked and dined with me. I like very well to have persons do this in a quiet, sociable manner and without ceremony. Read Dr. Barrow, in continuation of last Sunday’s Sermon and with the same text, giving further reasons why we should act openly in the support of virtue. The principal ones are the force of example, the spirit of charity as well as justice. Evening Madame Junot, and Montagne.

Monday. 14th. CFA Monday. 14th. CFA
Monday. 14th.

Cloudy with a little snow, and rain. I went to the Office and was occupied in writing and so forth—Accounts and Commissions. The time slides away very imperceptibly.

Walk and home where I read Livy, but my mind was somewhat taken up by my proposed dinner party—It being the largest I ever had. Wm. Dwight and his brother and J. Chapman, O. W. B. Peabody and R. Robbins, H. G. Gorham and T. K. Davis, Edmund Quincy—A very pretty dinner but too large for pleasure and a little formal. I enjoyed it less than any other I have given and shall hereafter proceed to change my company. T. K. Davis was exceedingly dull. Something has come across his spirit, I am sure.

The party left early and I spent the evening very quietly with my Wife in conversation. My namesake, Mr. C. F. Adams brought me a letter directed by mistake to him, from Mr. Shepherd, inclosing two more draughts from New Orleans.1

1.

The drafts for the account of T. B. Johnson were for $10,000. J. H. Shepherd to CFA, 26–27 Feb. (Adams Papers).

Tuesday. 15th. CFA Tuesday. 15th. CFA
Tuesday. 15th.

Morning clear and cold. I went to the Office. Engaged the greater part of my time in Accounts, and Diary. Wrote a letter to Mr. T. B. Johnson in answer to his and the questions asked respecting invest-352ments.1 Then called in to see Mr. Hallett and found him at last.

Conversation on a multiplicity of subjects connected with the present state of politics. The quarrels here are finally subsiding. The Custom House party have carried the day in their County organization, and have thus put a stop to the opportunity of their giving trouble while the questions of nominations are concerned. Mr. Hallett on his side is denounced by them and perhaps this may be a useful breach. I asked Mr. H. about the information from Washington respecting Col. Johnson, he said it was not encouraging. The opposite party in this State are also much distracted respecting Mr. Everett and the Electoral ticket. There are today indications of a disposition to delay until the autumn, which will hardly mend the matter much. They are in a painful predicament here. But on the other hand, the prospects of the Opposition are certainly brighter than they were. They have rallied upon Harrison most surprisingly and I said to Mr. H. that I feared if the policy pursued by the Globe towards Pennsylvania was followed up in the matter of the Bank of the United States, it would not only give Harrison tremendous headway but would shake Van Buren to the foundation.

Mr. H. then intimated that Mr. Everett had written from Washington that my father was dissatisfied with the articles of the Advocate upon the United States Bank, and I seized the opportunity to press the idea upon him that we are upon a barrel of gunpowder respecting that. This is a tender subject between us and I felt we had better pass it. However it must occasionally be renewed to show that the compromise is still understood to exist.2 This was one of the meetings with Mr. Hallett which show me how difficult my path is, and which almost disgust me with the whole business of politics. Home late.

Afternoon, copied letter to Mr. Johnson, finished the first volume of Niebuhr and read a little of de la Motte Fouqué. Mr. Brooks took tea. Opera, Cinderella—Dandini Mr. Brough, very well. Johnson has also improved much in the Baron. Mr. Wood was very hoarse as the Prince. The music of this piece after that of the Somnambula sounds thin and poor, covered up with ornament to conceal it’s baldness. I was particularly struck with this in the Choruses. Yet the Quintette at the close of the first Act and the duett as well as the finale are fine. Home and retire. My answer to Slade began today.3

1.

LbC, Adams Papers.

2.

Hallett in the Advocate was attempting to take the Antimasons toward the Jacksonian anti-Bank position, a matter of unhappiness to the Whig wing of the Antimasons as represented by JQA and CFA. The issue was a principal cause of the uneasiness of the antimasonic coalition.

3.

CFA’s letters, signed “A Massachu-353setts Antimason,” in reply to William Slade’s second pamphlet addressed to Hallett, appeared under the heading, “To the Hon. Wm. Slade of Vermont. Second Series,” in the Daily Advocate on the 15th, p. 2, cols. 2–3; 23d sic, p. 2, cols. 1–3; 29th, March, p. 2, cols. 4–5.