Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

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

The remarkable coldness of the season continues unabated. It has become a matter of great doubt whether the crop of Corn will ripen. I spent my morning idly, in part because I got up late. Attended divine service and heard Mr. Lunt preach in the morning from Revelation. 5. 1.2. “And I saw in the right hand of him that sat on the throne a book written within and on the back side sealed with seven seals, and I saw a strong angel proclaiming with a loud voice, Who is worthy to open the book and to loose the seals thereof.” Mr. Lunt took hold of the subject with an attempt to explain the general meaning of the revelation and then applied the opening of the seals to various historical events of ancient times. But this is arbitrary and uncertain. Revelation, I must confess it, never looked to me much beyond the frenzy of an excited imagination.

In the afternoon Psalm 16. 11. “Thou wilt shew me the path of life: 75in thy presence is fulness of joy: at thy right hand there are pleasures for evermore.” I was unable to keep my attention fixed having lost my nap by the presence of Mr. Degrand. He remained all the afternoon. The conversation principally upon a letter of General Jackson to the Governor of Tennessee disavowing the course of General Gaines.1

In the evening, my mother, Mrs. J. Adams,2 my Wife and I went to Mrs. Quincy’s. Found there Mrs. Quincy the elder, and her daughter Anna.3 Nothing interesting, and we returned early. Read a Sermon of Dr. Barrow, upon natural religion. Jeremiah 51. 15. “He hath made the earth by his power, he hath established the world by his wisdom and hath stretched out the heaven by his understanding.” There was little variation from the topics usually brought forward in the Creation, but they were enforced with more eloquence than I have yet found in Barrow. He seems to rise with his subject.


In response to requisitions from Gen. Edmund Pendleton Gaines forwarded by the secretary of war to Gov. Newton Cannon for a brigade of Tennessee militia for service on the Mexican border, the governor had sent the correspondence to President Jackson. On 6 Aug. the President responded that the requisition was unauthorized and unjustified by the circumstances. The letter was published in the Daily Centinel and Gazette, 22 Aug. 1836, p. 2, col. 3.


Mrs. John Adams 2d, the former Mary Catherine Hellen, who, after the death of her husband in 1834, with their two daughters, Mary Louisa and Georgeanna Frances, regularly summered at the Old House; see vols. 1:xxvi, 32; 6:12, 254.


Josiah Quincy IV and his wife, the former Mary Jane Miller, regularly occupied the family home in Quincy during the summers. His mother, Mrs. Josiah Quincy III, wife of the president of Harvard, and his sister, Anna Cabot Lowell Quincy, were visiting from Cambridge.

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

I went to town this morning principally for the purpose of finishing the investment left on Saturday and this I fortunately accomplished. My time was very much engrossed by numerous visitors. Mr. Isaac P. Davis who brought out a book containing the papers wanted by my father. He touched a little upon politics and intimated that the Majority in the State would prefer General Harrison to Mr. Van Buren. As he is himself a delegate to the Worcester Convention and understands clearly the views of the leaders, I conclude that Harrison is to be the man. Mr. Webster has probably received intimations of future favors which pacify him. Alex. H. Everett was here too and talked of the prospect. Also George Bancroft and Mr. Parmenter of Cambridge who were discussing the election. The returns from North Carolina very much realize my expectation that Southern men will never vote for any person living north of the Potomac.1 Should this be the case Mr. 76Van Buren’s prospect is by no means brightening. I am rather indifferent whether he does or does not succeed, but as I have myself taken passage on board his ship in fine weather I am perfectly ready to weather out the gale.2 The gentlemen are very sanguine respecting the result in this State, more so than as I think is quite just. But we all agreed that exertion would be necessary.

Home to Quincy. Afternoon to Mount Wollaston with my father, William Spear, Mr. Price Greenleaf and my boy John who intruded himself into the party. The object was to measure off to Mr. Hardwick a piece of salt marsh which he has agreed to purchase, and during the process I played with my boy on the beach. There is something very invigorating in the seabreeze as it blows along this shore. It gives one an idea of health and freshness. Returned home to tea. Mrs. T. B. Adams, her daughter Elizabeth and Miss Smith were here.

Evening accompanied my father to a Lecture, by a Mr. Evans. He goes about making a living in a very harmless way, taking as subjects of discussion the various divisions of the globe and interspersing the historical and geographical account with illustrations of manners &ca. His Lecture this evening was introductory and upon Oriental customs in connection with the geography of the Holy Land. Superficial but innocent enough.


Partial returns from North Carolina strongly indicated that the whigs would control the legislature and had elected a governor over the Van Buren candidate (Daily Advertiser, 22 Aug., p. 2, col. 2).


In the contest among Martin Van Buren, William Henry Harrison, and Daniel Webster for Massachusetts’ support in the presidential election, Alexander Hill Everett and George Bancroft had joined CFA in supporting Van Buren; see above, entry for 26 June, and vols. 5:xv–xvi; 6:239, 295.