Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Monday. 30th. CFA Monday. 30th. CFA
Monday. 30th.

Morning cloudy with a tendency to a general thaw. I went to the Office and from thence to the Advocate Office where I left another article. I like them when written, but am disappointed when I read them in print. Found Mr. Gibson there who entertained me with further accounts of the affairs of the party. He now says that neither of the branches of the Boston party is to have the Collectorship. W. Fos-175ter must be compelled to take it. I think W. Foster not very competent but in other respects very well calculated for the place. I leave them to decide these matters as they please.

Accounts at the Office and about to go to work upon Diary when interrupted by A. H. Everett who talked as usual politics. I expressed my high disgust at the proceedings in Congress to shelter Reuben M. Whitney who has got hold of the weak side of Genl. Jackson, and is thus entailed upon the party.1 Also a talk about the currency, and a letter from Pearce intimating that the Whigs were courting my father with the view of making him Governor of this State.2 Preposterous. Something better than this must be made to be believed.

Home to read Livy. Afternoon, Buffon and Burnet. The account of man is very interesting and is written with great beauty. Forster whose stale politics do not very well suit me. Evening at home reading Basil Hall’s, Schloss Hainfeld. A singular story in a man’s life, but probably much embellished and improved. Afterwards, writing.


On 17 Jan. the House of Representatives had resolved to appoint a select committee to investigate the conduct of Reuben M. Whitney as head of the Deposit Banks as a part of a larger investigation of the executive department’s alleged failure to consult the Congress on appointments and other matters. On the 23d the Committee requested the President to supply it with lists and information needed. On the 26th the President replied claiming immunity for executive officers from congressional investigations. Meanwhile, on the 25th, Whitney appeared before the Committee but refused to answer its questions, was censured, apologized, but continued to challenge the authority of the Committee. On 10 Feb. the House ordered Whitney to answer to the charge of contempt, and on the 13th he was brought to trial before the House. During the period much conflicting information relative to the proceedings within the Committee was published, to some of which CFA makes reference here and below, in the entry for 2 February. See for example, Daily Advertiser, 30 Jan., p. 2, col. 2; 1 Feb., p. 2, col. 4; 2 Feb., p. 2, col. 1; 4 Feb., p. 2, col. 5; 7 Feb., p. 2, cols. 2–3; Daily National Intelligencer, 1 Feb., p. 3, col. 5; 6 Feb., p. 3, cols. 3–4; 7 Feb., p. 2, cols. 2–4; 11 Feb., p. 3, cols. 2–4; 14 Feb., p. 3, cols. 4–5.


To whom the letter from Dutee J. Pearce was addressed is not clear; there are no letters from him of about this date in the Adams Papers.

Tuesday 31st. CFA Tuesday 31st. CFA
Tuesday 31st.

Cloudy and mild, being what is familiarly called with us the January thaw. I went to the Office. Occupied as usual. I paid this day the last Account upon my list. Such a month of payments has never before occurred in my experience, there being one Check for each day. Diary which I made up.

Mr. Walsh came in and talked but was interrupted by a son of Mr. William Spear’s who came to bring a note from his father, about the Burril house. I sent him word to decide it as he thought best. Mr. 176Walsh told me he had given up the prospect of any success with Genl. Lyman and was turning his attention to the place in the Navy yard. I undertook to write to Dutee. J. Pearce about him.1

Home. Livy. Afternoon the usual series of occupations. Why need I describe them every day. Evening, read Hall’s book until eight o’clock when I dressed to go out. Mr. Amasa Walker sent me an invitation to his house and I concluded to go. I remained only half an hour and found a singular mixture in the crowded rooms. Abolitionists, Temperance men, regular built Jacksonians, bankites, radical loco focos, and Antimasons. A large proportion of the company were members of the Legislature. Home in half an hour. I wish to act right in such cases. Where I receive a respectful invitation, I do not think it becoming to throw it under the table as some in this City would do, but rather to accept it and remain as long as I like if the crowd amuses me, and if not to withdraw at a proper time. After my return I had time to write upon my articles respecting the Currency which interest and amuse me although they seem to produce no effect at all. Wrote to D. J. Pearce.


The letter to Dutee J. Pearce (LbC, Adams Papers) was a plea for help in procuring a mathematics instructorship in the Navy for John Walsh. Although Pearce, a representative in Congress from R.I., had been defeated for reelection in November, he retained his influence in the Van Buren administration. Despite their party differences and occasional misunderstandings, Pearce and JQA, largely because of their shared Antimasonry and JQA’s thorough dislike of the whig leaders in R.I., maintained a long and sometimes close relationship (see above, entry for 26 Nov. 1836; Adams Papers Editorial Files; JQA, Memoirs , 11:253–254).