Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Monday 16th. CFA Monday 16th. CFA
Monday 16th.

Morning very cold for the season of the year. I felt obliged to go to Quincy but it was one of those cold blustering days when one would by far prefer to be at home.

The ride out was not bad, but the cold was such as to render it difficult to do much when there and to make the return in the face of the North wind uncomfortable enough. There seemed to be indications of progress however which encourage me. The masons were at work doing their last jobs at the fire places, but on the whole every thing was sufficiently discouraging. The Country is no place of attraction during our month of April. Glad to get home. The ground did not thaw in the sun today.

Afternoon, busy writing my papers. A thought struck me which ap-25peared to me of much value. T. K. Davis came in to tea and I read to him what I had by me, which he appeared to like. After he went, I finished the second and third numbers.

Tuesday. 17th. CFA Tuesday. 17th. CFA
Tuesday. 17th.

Mr. Buckingham has not only done what I proposed but he being himself sick, my letter occupies the editorial department.1 Here is an answer to my question of Sunday. I have nothing to complain of very certainly in this regard. And now I will wait with not a little of curiosity to perceive the effect. It is an indication of some estimation acquired in the Community that such civility has been conceded to me at once. Another indication is in the earnestness of Dr. Palfrey to solicit a contribution to the North American Review.2 This encouragement comes so late and after such hard labour that it will not, thank Heaven, upset my balance. I trust in a higher power to guard me through the mazes of life.

Office where I worked as usual and various small commissions which consumed much time. Afternoon, went on writing which I continued in the evening. Read Lockharts Life for an hour. Finished my answer. It is not as complete as I meant to make it but I am hurried.


CFA’s four letters to Nicholas Biddle, president of the Bank of the United States, appeared on successive days (17–20 April) in the Boston Courier at p. 2, col. 1. Each was signed “A Citizen.” In them CFA undertook to explain his shift from support of Biddle’s monetary policies to opposition. He charged that Biddle’s stand against resumption of specie payments was the result of a deliberate descent into the arena of party politics and called for reconsideration.


On Rev. John Gorham Palfrey’s acquisition of the North American Review , see vol. 6:237.

Wednesday 18th. CFA Wednesday 18th. CFA
Wednesday 18th.

The second of my letters appeared today and reads so well that I think it will not fail of an effect. I have got beyond the time for being smothered, I suspect. There appears however at the head of it a distinct announcement of the editor’s disposition not to be responsible for them which looks as if he had been assaulted about them.1

I went to Quincy where I found things advancing. The interior of the house begins to look like a human habitation. I gave a multitude of directions which may be of service during my absence and found many things done as directed. Home. The soft Southerly wind made it feel a very different thing today from Monday, and my return particularly was pleasant. Home.


Afternoon resumed my coins which have suffered a few days interruption by my other work. Evening Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham came and passed an hour very pleasantly. They come without form and take a little something sociably and go early. I sent today my last letter to Mr. Biddle. These four letters have cost me no great labour to write and yet on the whole I like them as well as any thing I ever did.


The disclaimer read: “The Publishers of the Courier wish it to be distinctly understood, that, until the editor announces, under his own hand, his ability to resume his duties, he must not be considered as concurring in, or responsible for, any opinion expressed in its columns” (18 April, p. 2, col. 1).