Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Wednesday. March 1. CFA Wednesday. March 1. CFA
Wednesday. March 1.

An exceedingly cold day for so advanced a part of the season. I went to the Office rather late and was occupied much of my time in restoring the Arrears of Diary which I did not fully succeed in. Mr. Walsh came in and we talked politics. There has been a very amusing masterstroke played off upon the House in regard to a distribution of the surplus Revenue at the close of this year. It seems Mr. Bell appended it to the Fortification bill while passing through the House and carried a decided majority with him through the whole measure.1 This is a severe blow to Mr. Van Buren. Whether it will pass the Senate is still 195somewhat doubtful, and certain it is that General Jackson will make mouths at it. The manoeuvre is however a very able one, inasmuch as the fortification bill attached to it may be lost, and the odium of the loss of both may attach to the coming Administration. This, together with the appointments of Poinsett and Dallas will make rather a bad commencement. Then there is the secret feeling between Rives and Benton which will not be secret much longer.2 Walk with Mr. Walsh. Home. Port Royal Grammar. Burnet. Forster. Evening at home.

1.

John Bell, representative from Tennessee, had moved an amendment to the appropriations bill for naval fortifications providing that any money in excess of $5,000,000 remaining in the Treasury on 1 Jan. 1838 be deposited with the several states. The amendment was adopted ( Congressional Globe , 24th Cong., 2d sess., p. 204, 208).

2.

The disagreement between senators William Cabell Rives of Virginia and Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri was over banking and monetary policy ( DAB ).

Thursday. March 2. CFA Thursday. March 2. CFA
Thursday. March 2.

Cold but milder. I went to the Office and passed a short time there only inasmuch as I was very busy in getting together materials and company for a dinner to Mr. Curtis who came in town from New York and called to see us yesterday. I succeeded notwithstanding in bringing up my arrears of Diary and in doing up all the business I had to do, as well as in taking a walk with Mr. Walsh.

Mr. Curtis, Mr. Brooks, Governor Everett, I. P. Davis and Edward Brooks dined with us and we had on the whole a pleasant time. But what with one thing and what with another, entertaining is a laborious and disagreeable business. The anxiety respecting every thing doing well is too great.

The company left in time for us to go to the play.1 Miss Tree as Lady Teazle. I thought her performance a good one but not so striking as some. Barry did tolerably well as Joseph, and Hield made a pretty clever Charles. Johnson as Sir Peter, reminded me too much of his vulgar characters. The piece itself is always striking. Afterpiece, the Ransom.2 Miss Tree as Pauline.

1.

Sheridan’s School for Scandal.

2.

“A trifle from the French,” based on an anecdote of Montesquieu (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 4:121, 139).

Friday. 3d. CFA Friday. 3d. CFA
Friday. 3d.

Clear day but continuing remarkable cold for the season. I went to the Office and was occupied there some time in Diary and Accounts. Mr. Dudley, the Lessee of one of the Stone Quarries in Quincy came 196here, to make application for a long lease of the place near where he now works, which joins on to what is called the Bunker hill Quarry. I told him that we had effected our object in opening the Quarry lands and therefore felt no great wish to bind them any further by long leases. I should not refuse to let on any terms, but I should be rather more difficult about terms and was not at present prepared to mention any. He asked me to think of it and so left me.

I made a call upon Mr. Curtis and so home. Greek Grammar. A letter from Mr. Everett1 qualifies the statements of yesterday or the day before and states that Mr. Dallas will not be Secretary of the Navy. In the afternoon, I wrote him a letter in reply which may not have been wise but which is certainly honest.2 If he keeps it to himself, no harm will have been done. If he shows it to others, why my feelings will be understood, and I for one am very desirous they should be.

Evening, to the Play. Miss Tree’s benefit night—the Provoked Husband3 and Perfection.4 Her Lady Townley I think decidedly better than Miss Kemble’s. Indeed I thought that the worst thing she did. Barry made a good Lord Townley. Mrs. Richardson as Lady Grace appeared to me a failure. And the Wronghead family were quite as coarse as the play. I think it must be one of the oldest Comedies now on the Stage and is made out of very thin materials. Perfection is a very good Afterpiece and Miss Tree performed remarkably well. On the whole much pleased.

1.

Missing.

2.

CFA to A. H. Everett, 3 March, LbC, Adams Papers. CFA in the letter expresses in unguarded and detailed terms his disquietude at the course being taken by the Van Buren administration as evidenced by the appointments given to such pronounced Freemasons as Poinsett and Dallas, by the President’s placing in the War Department a person with Poinsett’s unfriendly views on Mexico, and by the continuing influence of Jackson.

3.

By Cibber and Vanbrugh.

4.

By Thomas Haynes Bayley (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:485).