Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Thursday 6th. CFA Thursday 6th. CFA
Thursday 6th.

Clear and pleasant, division as usual. Evening out. Office.

Much interest is now excited by the movement of Mr. Biddle and 151the Bank of the United States at Philadelphia, in holding up the price of cotton. There is cause for serious apprehension, I think, of the consequences of these operations. Perhaps it may be croaking but it does not look right. Yet I perceive that the President congratulates himself in his new Message upon the present state of security as if it was established upon a permanent basis. Talked with Mr. T. W. Ward about it who is a well informed merchant and who as Agent of a great London banking house is much interested in watching these operations.

Mr. Lunt dined with me from Quincy and thus cut off Alcestis. Coins as usual. Went to a party in the evening at the house of Mr. Charles Brooks, a cousin of my Wife, where however I saw only the members of the family whom I knew.

Friday. 7th. CFA Friday. 7th. CFA
Friday. 7th.

Clear, mild and pleasant, time divided as usual. Evening to Medford to deliver a Lecture.

The public mind is at present agitated by the receipt of the Presidents annual message, by the alleged operations in Cotton of Mr. Biddle and by the course of violence adopted to secure the Majority of the Legislature at Harrisburg. These are all aggravated by reports of immense defalcations in the collecting department of the Revenue at New York.1 The Administration has an immense weight pressing upon it from the re-action of its own principles, and to sustain itself can only go into the extremes of the Slavery principle and of the demagogue agrarian spirit. I am but a poor worm incapable of seeing an inch before me, but I cannot help apprehending that some fearful scenes are in store for us.

Accounts. Alcestis. Afternoon coins, but interrupted by visitors.

Rode to Medford to Mr. Angier’s, having been requested to deliver a Lecture before their Lyceum. After tea, we went to the Hall where I found a small collection, the smallest I had ever seen. Before them I delivered my first Lecture upon Northern Discovery, to which if I could judge from the attention with which it was listened to they gave success. But they are not so moveable an audience as that at Quincy. Home by nine. Crevier.


The President’s annual Message to the Congress is printed in the Boston Courier, 7 Dec., p. 1, col. 3 – p. 2, col. 3. The operations of the United States Bank by which excess surplus cotton would be held to prevent a drop in price were reported in same, 8 Dec., p. 2, col. 4. Violence, then rioting, in Harrisburg over abuses in the certification of elected members attended the opening of the Pennsylvania legislature, same, 8 Dec., p. 2, cols. 2–3; 10 Dec., p. 3, cols. 3–4. Samuel Swartwout, collector of the port of New York, was charged with large defalcations, same, 7 Dec., p. 2, col. 3.