Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Tuesday 2d. CFA Tuesday 2d. CFA
Tuesday 2d.

Day fine and warm. At home. Dine at Squantum.

I was pretty busy most of my morning in writing upon my new un-258dertaking of the Report of the Southern Convention. The publications of yesterday have given me new courage and I go on with industry. Yet after all what is it this matter of publication that it should change the disposition of a man for a single moment. The world is full of books and many poor ones. It is of very little consequence whether I add or take away one from the number. My compensation is only in my industry which keeps me satisfied that I do not suffer what talent there is in me to lie unemployed.

A visit from Edmund Quincy and his Wife and then with my father to Squantum to the annual dinner of the Neponset Bridge Proprietors. A smaller company than usual and a poorer dinner. Mr. Wales, Dr. Frothingham, Mr. Lunt, Mr. J. Head, Dr. Woodward, Mr. T. Greenleaf and his son Price, D. Greenleaf, J. Bass, E. Miller, Frederick A. Whitney, and Mr. S. Torrey and G. W. Beale with ourselves. I was a little provoked that I. H. Adams and Mr. Campbell were purposely omitted by Mr. Miller. What can have been the feeling? Pretty dull time.

Home where I enjoyed the evening better. My Mother went to Boston to take Miss Mary Cutts.

Wednesday 3d. CFA Wednesday 3d. CFA
Wednesday 3d.

Fine day after rain. At home. Dine at the Mansion.

I was busy in pursuing my papers during the morning. There is abundance of subject and I am only afraid of tiring out the patience of readers before I develope it. It is impossible to divine any thing more absurd than the Carolina pretensions. Yet they carry a kind of weight with them from the confidence with which they are pressed. And it seems as if there was nobody here to resist them but ourselves. My father throws in his power of reasoning on the principle of Government whilst I fill up the practical details of common sense.

Dined at my father’s as usual. Afternoon work and began the perusal of the Annals of Tacitus. They are familiar to me already.1 LeComte also. Something might be made out of that if necessary.

Evening, E. C. Adams, with her brother and Mr. Campbell were with us for a little while and we then joined them to go down the hill. A little singing and then home.

1.

On CFA’s earlier reading of Tacitus and on the editions in MQA, see vol. 1:102.

Thursday 4th. CFA Thursday 4th. CFA
Thursday 4th.

Showery but warm. At home. Evening call at the Mansion. The sunrise was announced by cannon from the City and many of 259the surrounding towns. I arose and observed the scene with interest from one of the chamber windows. I could hear the ringing of the bells very plain, and see the smoke of the guns. The scene of early morning is always beautiful.

My time mainly taken up in writing. Finished the third of my comments upon the Carolina Report and determined to send them off to the Press.1 There is in the Post of this morning a complimentary notice of my Article upon Burr. It ascribes the Authorship to the Editor, and hence there is no reason to suspect any motive towards or against me, nor yet is a purchased puff to spread the sale of the work.2 It is astonishing how much this trifling incident encouraged me. It shows that I can do pretty well in somebody else’s opinion but my own. Texier, Tacitus and Le Comte.

Nobody came in the evening as expected. We had a slight thunder shower and the air was so damp that the fireworks did not appear so well as last year. Mr. Beale and his daughter Caroline were here for an hour after our return from the Mansion. On the whole I have rarely passed a more quiet day of our Anniversary.

1.

The articles on “The Southern Commercial Conventions” appeared, unsigned, in the Boston Courier on 6 (p. 2, cols. 2–3), 9, 11, and 18 July, p. 2, cols. 1–2. They were written to make New England readers aware of important movements in other sections, especially in South Carolina, that seemed designed “to alienate the southern and southwestern States from the rest of the Union.” The thesis of the articles is that the reports of the annual meetings or conventions of southern merchants reveal that present dangers to the Union do exist. Further that the loss of foreign trade by the South, the basis of their discontent, is, contrary to their view, not chargeable to the policies of the federal government but rather to the “developement of the western country,” which has made agriculture in the South “an exceedingly difficult and precarious occupation.”

2.

The Boston Morning Post, in its review article (4 July, p. 1, col. 5) on “The North American Review for July,” said, “The review of Davis’s Memoirs and Journal of Burr, which we believe to be from the pen of the editor i.e. Palfrey, is the best thing in the number. We find but little in it to condemn, and much to praise. In speaking of Mr. Jefferson there is none of that villainous blackguardism which distinguishes the pages of the orthodox New York Review. On the contrary, there is a very good defence of him against the charge of having used corruption to obtain the Presidency, in 1801. There are many passages of striking beauty in this article, one of which at p. 200–201 we cannot refrain from copying, on account of the kindly spirit which marks its close, and which does its author infinite honor.”