Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Friday 5th. CFA Friday 5th. CFA
Friday 5th.

I had a bad night and my cold still continues to trouble me. This morning there was a criticism in the Morning Post upon my Pamphlet. The first that has appeared. It is moderate in tone but exceedingly uncandid in spirit, depreciates the publication as much as possible.1 I was very glad however to see it and think I should have liked it far less if it had been puffing Eulogy. There is likely to be discussion of the subject in the Legislature and this will excite some notice of my pamphlet. The mode in which the Newspapers attempt to strangle things of this kind is curious, and from what I. P. Davis says to me is not entirely unnoticed in the public.

My head ach continued with little intermission all the morning but went off at dinner time. It was aggravated by the painful and very surprising news received from my Mother at Washington of the death of T. B. Adams of a fever at Fort Foster, a victim to the Florida war. I was shocked and depressed, for in the circle of those whom it has been my lot to know in life, none have recommended themselves more by an accurate performance of all the duties of life than he. I know no one out of my immediate family whom I should so much regret. Thus

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it is with us in life. What shadows we are and what shadows we pursue. I had hoped to have aided this young man’s later life by keeping together for him his money affairs until they became a respectable little nucleus for a maintenance. But it was not to be.2

Afternoon as usual. Evening, reading Lockhart and a little of my work which lags.

1.

While holding that “the writer presents no original views of the subject, and nothing in a very clear light,” the Boston Morning Post reviewer acknowledged that “for an Adams man [he] takes a very impartial view.” Further, “in leaving banking concerns to the people alone, to be managed without the interference of government, he divorces government from the power of doing mischief by overgrown pecuniary resources” (5 Jan., p. 2, col. 2).

2.

Lt. Thomas B. Adams Jr. died at Fort Dade, Fla., on 14 Dec. 1837 (JQA, Diary, 2 Jan. 1838). The phrase “a victim to the Florida war” reflects both the strong opposition of members of the Adams family to the government’s military policy vis-à-vis the Indians and the conviction that the war was being prosecuted with gross inefficiency (vol. 6:355; JQA to Lt. Adams, 17 Jan. 1831, LbC; LCA to CFA, 6 Jan. [in 6–22 Jan.], 30–31 Jan., 4–14 Feb. 1838; Lt. Adams to CFA, 7 Aug. 1836; the MSS mentioned here and below are in the Adams Papers). CFA’s tribute here to Lt. Adams reflects an estimate of him that was shared by JQA (to CFA, 25 Jan. 1838) and that CFA had long entertained (to Lt. Adams, 13 May 1836, LbC; to LCA, 7 Jan. 1838; vol. (6:319). CFA had managed Lt. Adams’ funds for him since 1830 (vol. 3:337).

The painful news of Lt. Adams’ death conveyed in LCA’s letter was probably on the final page or pages of her letter of 1–2 Jan. (Adams Papers). However, the letter as it survives ends with but one line remaining from what she wrote on the 2d: “2d. I send this tonight. Our pleasure [in the new year’s day activities] has sunk in gloom.”

Saturday 6th. CFA Saturday 6th. CFA
Saturday 6th.

A fine day. Weather continues extraordinarily mild. I went to the Office where I was much taken up with accounts. Deacon Spear came in and I settled off with him as well as the Mason. This consumed much of my time. Heard nothing more from Washington respecting poor T. B. Adams. But I called to see Mr. Foster and make some inquiry respecting the information which might have reached him. He was not in but after dinner he called to say that he knew nothing of it.

Herodotus. Afternoon, still lounging over the Correspondance which is I am afraid worse than useless. I must set about contriving some mode of occupation which will be more serviceable to me. The details of French Society in the last age may be amusing but there is lurking poison in them. I did not feel very well. My back and heart were stiff and my lungs sore. Evening Lockhart and afterwards writing.

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