Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

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.


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.


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].


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

Thursday. 21st. CFA Thursday. 21st. CFA
Thursday. 21st.

Cloudy with Easterly winds. Office—Diary, and running over my accounts. Mr. Everett called in again and accepted my offer yesterday of one of my rooms for an office until he could suit himself better. He had nothing new. Simply a report that Mr. Henshaw, the Collector was about to resign and to go to Washington to look out for a successor. This is a pretty adroit movement on his part to maintain his influence and will I think succeed.

I went to the Athenaeum and there dawdled away much time in looking over books of Architecture. I make very little progress indeed, and am indeed almost at a stand still. Home late so that I lost my time for Livy but made it up in the afternoon. Resumed my work on the MS. with the Official Correspondence of the foreign affairs. It is incomplete and cripples me.

Evening, Mr. Brooks took tea with us and we made an evening visit to Mrs. S. Dexter. She is an old lady and likes these little attentions, and out of respect to her and her late husband, I am willing to pay them, but the thing is a little tax. Home early, I tried to read Swift but felt so drowsy from three nights late hours that I retired immediately.

Friday. 22d. CFA Friday. 22d. CFA
Friday. 22d.

Morning clear but extremely windy. I went to the Office and was engaged as usual—Accounts and bringing up Diary. Mr. Walsh came in and talked so that my hours flew without much account. Walk and home where I read Livy.

Received a letter from my Mother speaking rather discouragingly of my father’s condition.1 I feel some anxiety on his account. What the result is to be, God only knows, and to him I am always disposed to trust it. To him, unwilling as he may be to think it, the political world is closed—And to me, it never will open. I see the difficulties that embarrass me and am therefore disposed to think it wise not to set my mind upon ambition.


Afternoon, MS papers, after which Sismondi and then Fouqué. Evening, a party at Mr. Edward Miller’s—Only about twenty, but a very lively young set and it was very late before we got away. As we were walking home about midnight we were much struck with the extraordinary splendour of the Aurora Borealis, appearing in lines converging from the center at the zenith, and in flying masses like the appearance of a silk handkerchief when waving in the wind in the sun. It was not so beautiful in variety of colours as that last autumn but was more like the appearance described by the Northern Navigators.


18 April (Adams Papers).