Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Tuesday. 19th. CFA Tuesday. 19th. CFA
Tuesday. 19th.

Cloudy. Office where I spent time as usual. Received a letter from Mr. T. B. Johnson dated Baltimore. He sails, I imagine, in one of Mr. Shepherd’s ships. His tone is crusty and does not quite please me. My mother writes that he makes me a present of Leslie’s likenesses of herself and my father.1 I value the present but would almost prefer to refuse it. I will be under no obligations. I am to write to him at London.

373

Short walk, home—Livy. Nothing material. Afternoon, Sismondi, and Rose’s translation of Berni. There is something exceedingly eccentric in these Italians and yet when you get hold of them you do not like to leave off.

My spirits were very slightly down today—I do not know why. I am doing nothing useful. I must get back to my work, against which I show much dislike. Evening at home. Madame Junot, whose last volume is wearisome—Her griefs arising from her and her husband’s fault. I sat up very late, as Joseph Adams was returning from his sister’s at Medford.

1.

The letter from T. B. Johnson has not been found. He had left Washington for Baltimore on the 13th, addressing a note to LCA just before his departure (Adams Papers) in which he expressed his dissatisfaction with CFA for not having sent him a form of power of attorney to receive his dividends. He nevertheless sent along with the note the portraits of JQA and LCA by Charles Leslie “nicely packed” for dispatch to CFA. Word of his intent to give the portraits, which had been done at his order in 1816 and had since been his, had come in a letter written to ABA by LCA on the 14th. LCA writes more at length on Johnson and the gift on the 18th to CFA (both letters in Adams Papers). On the portraits and their history, see Oliver, Portraits of JQA and His Wife , p. 57–64.

Wednesday. 20th. CFA Wednesday. 20th. CFA
Wednesday. 20th.

Morning clear and pleasant, I went to the Office. Received several pamphlets from Washington, Among others, Mr. Woodbury’s Report upon the cultivation of Cotton from himself.1

Mr. Alexander H. Everett came in afterwards and we had much conversation upon a variety of matters respecting the present state of political affairs. He appears to be better satisfied with his reception than I thought, although there is evidently a want of acquiring confidence which he does not appear to have gratified. I asked him how Mr. Van Buren’s opinions stood respecting the Currency. He said that he supported the views of the Globe so far as they went. I remarked that these formed no adequate system. He admitted it, and said he had urged the acting upon the State Legislatures to which Mr. Van Buren had answered that he thought it safer to follow than to direct public opinion. Kendall on the contrary thought the States had the right to do as they pleased in issuing paper. I am thus more and more convinced that the Administration is utterly without plan, and I told Mr. Everett so. At the same time, I urged him to check Mr. Hallett’s zeal in this matter, so as that he shall not find himself in the advanced guard and sacrificed in case of retreat of the main body.

374

Home, Livy. Afternoon, Sismondi, and Rose’s Ariosto.2 Evening at home, Madame Junot, and Swift, various political Essays. Up late again waiting for Joseph, who was out at a party.

1.

Letter from the Secretary of the Treasury [Levi Woodbury], Transmitting Tables and Notes on the Cultivation, Manufacture, and Foreign Trade of Cotton, April 5, 1836, Washington [24th Congress, 1st session, House Doc. 146].

2.

CFA’s copy of Orlando Furioso, transl. William Stewart Rose, 8 vols., London, 1823, is in MQA.