Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Wednesday 21st. CFA Wednesday 21st. CFA
Wednesday 21st.

Morning cloudy with flakes of snow. I went to the Office where I read Sismondi more attentively than usual. His chapter upon Banking is quite instructive. I took the book home with a view to translating it and sending to some Newspaper, but when I came to reflect upon the state of the press I was discouraged. If I print, I must pay for my printing, that is clear enough, for the expression of opinions which have no party bearings is coldly received by all sides.

Letter from Washington. My mother gives an account of a dinner at 11the President’s at which Abraham Van Buren spoke of the ability of my Pamphlet.1 Home. Sophocles. I find my text so erroneous in my own copy that I need another and as I have one volume of another from the Athenaeum which contains Electra and not Antigone, I thought I would read that first. Afternoon continued the work upon coins which is becoming tedious in the lower Empire.

Evening, Mr. Brooks was here. Abby is improving slowly but has been made uneasy for some days by the ailing of our little girl who seemed quite heavy tonight. The baby grows.

1.

LCA to CFA, 18 March [in 18–21 March], Adams Papers. Abraham Van Buren was the eldest son of the President.

Thursday. 22d. CFA Thursday. 22d. CFA
Thursday. 22d.

Cloudy, dull weather. I went to the Office and was occupied there for some time. Received letters from T. B. Johnson who is at New York just arrived from England1 and A. H. Everett at Washington.2 The former could not restrain himself from returning, even in the winter, notwithstanding his dread of suffering from the voyage. He now goes to Washington whither he desires me to transmit to him an account of his funds, and this I sat down to execute this morning.3

The other letter is a curious one. It’s only object seems to be to repeat to me a request made by President Van Buren through him for two more of my Pamphlets. He says that he did not get those he understood I had sent to him. This conversation took place at the dinner mentioned in my letter from my Mother yesterday, at which Abraham the son mentioned my Pamphlet to I. Hull. This looks a little inconsistent, for first, how should the President have known of my sending to him before, secondly, where could Abraham have got his opinion. I infer the whole to be a contrivance to flatter me with the view of operating upon my father’s course on the Subtreasury bill in the House, where he might save it or kill it. This is a little confirmed by what is given in the same letter of my father’s opinions. I was much edified by this exposition of the case, and wrote in reply to Mr. Everett a very frank exposition of my own views,4 my entire distrust of the doctrines of Mr. Webster and the Bank Whigs, my dissent from Mr. Van Buren, and the impossibility of my acting with any party satisfactorily to myself. If he shows this letter, it will not lead Mr. Van Buren very far into my father’s opinions, and if he does not I shall be satisfied with having avoided the trap set for me.

I forwarded the Pamphlets as desired but without a letter. The copy-12ing these, took most of the afternoon. I read Sophocles however. Evening, sat with my Wife until nine and then Ferguson. Louisa still poorly.

1.

Missing.

2.

18 March, Adams Papers.

3.

CFA to T. B. Johnson, LbC, Adams Papers.

4.

CFA to A. H. Everett, LbC, Adams Papers. The views there stated are: “I am still in favour of a new Bank to control [Biddle] as well as others in which the Government influence should be equal to that of the Stockholders and the President of it a Government officer removable by Stockholders. These of course are individual views, they square with those of no party.”