Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 26th. CFA Monday 26th. CFA
Monday 26th.

Morning fine. I went to the Office. Letters from Washington. One from my father apparently historical giving an account of the late duel. This is a sequel to a former one on the same subject.1 I read Sismondi, a Chapter upon Paper Money. The whole portion of the work which relates to Currency is exceedingly valuable and merits reading over very often. Home. Sophocles. I find the Lyric Poetry somewhat hard to manage but the dialogue quite easy. Afternoon, studied my coins which rather hang on now, and which ought to be finished. I must accellerate my pace about them.

Evening, T. K. Davis came in just as I had done tea. He seemed to have a desire to communicate the result of a conversation with Bancroft respecting the arrangements of party affairs here. Bancroft wishes 14to organize a more respectable one both in talent and character than has heretofore existed, and in pursuing that end is much harrassed and hampered by the materials which are provided for him. He has already more than half drawn in Davis who in his turn wishes to operate upon me. The object appears to be to make my father the “point d’appui”2 and round him form a body of talent for the support of the party in the New England States. I read to him my father’s letter to show the futility of that expectation and then my own to Mr. Everett to explain my feelings. I told him that I inclined to maintain my present position unless Mr. Van Buren was disposed to make sufficient concessions in principle to enable me conscientiously to support him. He was now standing upon such slippery ground that it would be no sinecure to any one to take a post in his defence. After a long discussion of whys and wherefores, Davis left with the understanding that he was to tell Bancroft we meant shortly to go to Washington and investigate matters for our own satisfaction. He stayed so long that I was unable to fulfil an engagement at W. G. Brooks’. Read Condillac’s Commerce and Government.3


The letter from JQA is that of 19 March (Adams Papers; printed in MHS, Procs. , 2d ser., 12 [1897–1899]:288–292). It provides a full account of the events occurring upon the day of the duel and afterward; the earlier letter (see entries for 28 Feb. and 15 March, above) dealt with the background of the duel.


That is, fulcrum.


The Abbé Etienne Bonnot de Condillac’s “Le commerce et le gouvernement,” 1776. Copies of the 3-vol., Paris, 1777, and of the 31-vol., Paris, 1803 edns. of the Oeuvres are in MQA.

Tuesday 27th. CFA Tuesday 27th. CFA
Tuesday 27th.

Morning clear but it afterwards was cloudy with a very raw wind from the Eastward. I went to market and from thence to the Office. Call in at a house in Otis place lately occupied by Mr. Bond and lost some time there. No furniture that I wanted. And the remainder of my morning was so dissipated in various ways that I have little account to give of it.

The news from Washington is of the defeat of Mr. Calhoun’s specie section in the Treasury bill, which seems to put the Administration in greater peril than before. I do not clearly see how it can sustain itself.

Home after a walk. Exercise is becoming absolutely necessary to me as my Spring feelings come in to act upon me. Sophocles. Afternoon, reading Condillac’s Commerce and Government. A tolerable summary of first principles. Evening. Went to a small party at Mrs. Parkman’s—rather dull. Talk with R. G. Shaw about Mr. Biddle.