Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Saturday 20th. CFA Saturday 20th. CFA
Saturday 20th.

A fine day. I went to the Office but was not very active. Conversation with Mr. Everett and Mr. Walsh. The public questions appear now to be rather more easy. But Mr. Van Buren’s position looks more and more difficult. The attempt to sustain the Bank of the Metropolis has failed1 and Kendall’s Post Office rules are likely to share the same fate. Mr. Biddle has published a third letter to my father explaining his course in the late crisis.2 On the whole the letter is a sensible one, 247although it is not quite candid as to the effect of his own mistakes in his former letters. He slides over matters adroitly.

Went home early for the purpose of taking my Wife to Quincy. This being the day upon which we had fixed for going out. The children and women going in a Carriage beforehand. After dinner I went to the House, giving directions and superintending. They have been very much kept back by the rain. However there is manifest progress from time to time, and now that I am here I can direct. A. H. Everett came to see my father and talked until after tea. Nothing new however. Evening at home. Conversation.


The Bank of the Metropolis in Washington suspended payments (Daily Advertiser, 20 May, p. 2, col. 4).


Nicholas Biddle’s letter to JQA of 13 May was reprinted from the National Gazette in the Daily Advertiser, 18 May, p. 2, cols. 1–2.

Sunday. 21st. CFA Sunday. 21st. CFA
Sunday. 21st.

Morning clear but with a thick hazy appearance about the sky that gave us a chill, and portended rainy weather. Read Tocqueville’s book upon democracy in the United States1 before attending divine service. Heard Mr. Lamson of Dedham from 1. Corinthians 4. 5. “Judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts.” and James. 5. 11. “Behold, we count them happy, which endure.”

Mr. Lamson dined here and is a sensible man, but I found myself as much tormented with the inability to attend as usual upon coming out here. The harmony of the services was considerably aided by the new Organ which I saw for the first time.

Read Tocqueville the rest of the day and did not read Sterne, for the good reason that I had forgotten to bring my own copy with me, and that it was as utterly impossible for me to find that copy belonging to my father in the mass of his books as if there had been none. Evening at home with my Wife.


Henry Reeve’s translation of Alexis de Tocqueville had been published as Democracy in America, 2 vols., London, 1835.

Monday. 22d. CFA Monday. 22d. CFA
Monday. 22d.

The morning opened cloudy and it soon began to rain which lasted all the day more heavily than ever. The season is remarkable for coldness and rain, and this is very bad for me inasmuch as my house suf-248fers thereby. I went up to it to see the man who was putting the Pump in, but he was soon obliged to desist from work, and I had rather a bad time getting home.

Occupied myself reading Tocqueville and Wielands History of the Abderites1 as well as some of the third book of Homer. After the excitement and exhaustion of last week and the turmoil in which we have been kept it is refreshing to get into a quiet, retired place and dwell in antiquity and beautiful pictures. I enjoy it as a relief from anxieties both public and private. The day passed without further comment.


CFA had earlier read selections from Christoph Martin Wieland’s satire in German; see vol. 4:417. The editors are unaware of an English translation as early as 1837.