Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Friday 12th. CFA Friday 12th. CFA
Friday 12th.

A very fine day. I went to the Office and found the town in much trouble and consternation in consequence of the failure of the Commonwealth Bank to meet its Notes. Thus has my conjecture been verified and an additional evidence been given of the insecurity of the public under the Associated system which I wished to establish.1 But although it gives me cause of real satisfaction to find myself justified in this manner, I am sorry to say that I feel as if my attempt to expose it had been attended with little or no success.

This day there was much running to and fro among the Banks and some symptoms of breaking the line, but nothing at all done. On the 3d day of this month I presented Mr. Brooks’ Check at the Boston 380Bank and they paid the greater part of it in Commonwealth bills. And this they call making good the currency of the Community.

Mr. Walsh came into the Office and talked. He seems much inclined to resume his ancient idle habits of life. Walk this fine day and Herodotus. Afternoon, the Father Jobert whose ideas upon Medals are very good. Evening at home, reading Lockhart’s Life of Scott after which continue my new draft.


It was “the insecurity of the public” under a makeshift arrangement of associated banks that CFA had sought to make clear.

Saturday 13th. CFA Saturday 13th. CFA
Saturday 13th.

A beautiful day. In all my experience of this climate I never knew such a winter thus far. I went to the Office. The sensation still continues about money although slighter than it was yesterday. But the Association has not learnt wisdom by experience and still persists in following its old track. No distinct statement and no discontinuance of issuing doubtful paper. Accounts.

I find upon reference to my publisher that he has sold less than fifty copies of my pamphlet which shows to me conclusively that the course of the Newspapers has it’s effect. Well I am sorry, for I have tried hard. This is my third attempt in this class of publication, but the public will neither buy nor read any thing of mine so I shall take the hint, and leave it alone for the future. Home to read Herodotus.

Afternoon, Father Jobert whose first volume I finished. I hear both my children in reading before tea. Afterwards, William Dwight came in and sat for some time.1 Talk principally of Currency and Banks. Startled at a late speech of Edward Brooks’ which has made some noise.2


On William Dwight, a Harvard classmate, see vol. 6:349.


The Boston Morning Post (13 Jan., p. 2, col. 3) reported of the speech of Edward Brooks in the legislature that he “spoke of the vicious nature of the present banking system. He was in favor of declaring all the charters null, and for passing a new general law, upon an entirely new basis, and would let all the banks come in under it, if they chose so to do.”

Sunday. 14th. CFA Sunday. 14th. CFA
Sunday. 14th.

Mild day. We appear to go on without winter extraordinarily. I have gone out daily dressed as in October. Dwight last evening asked me to reflect upon a proposition of his to require of the Banks to keep at least one sixth part of their capital in specie, while discounting. And I looked into Mr. Gallatin’s Pamphlet respecting it.


Attended divine service and heard a Mr. Peabody1 preach from Luke 11. 2. “And he said unto them, when ye pray, say Our Father.” A sensible sermon upon the duty and effects of prayer, accompanied with the very coldest of all cold modes of going through all the rest of the service. Afternoon Ephesians 6. 4. “Bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.” Mr. Bartol talked of the proper care of educating the young. Both these gentlemen made long poetical quotations. The tone of Unitarian preaching is essay writing. I do not think it can be called practical religion.

Read a discourse of Sterne’s upon the inequality of God’s dispensations. Psalms 73. 12.13. “Behold, these are the ungodly who prosper in the world; they increase in riches. Verily, I have cleansed my heart in vain, and washed my hands in innocency.” I was pleased with this discourse because it recapitulates the strongest arguments upon the question, particularly that connected with man’s free agency, which I think perfectly conclusive. Evening at home. Visit from Mr. Beale and his daughter Ann, who stayed until a late hour. Then writing.


Probably, Rev. William Bourn Oliver Peabody of Springfield; however, CFA knew of him as a frequent contributor to the North American Review (vol. 4:324–325) and had heard him preach; see entry of 9 April 1837, above.