Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Saturday 21st. CFA Saturday 21st. CFA
Saturday 21st.

This morning appears a long communication from Mr. Buckingham endeavouring to weaken the impression made by my articles,1 but bearing the mark of mental weakness resulting from his confinement by sickness so long. He professes not to know who wrote them. Is this true? I suspect it is although my friends think otherwise. I believe him partially but think he equivocates. It is clear that he has been hard pressed and seeks to find an outlet, although resolved to execute his intention. The letters met with no delay, nor were put in a corner, as might have been done if it was wished to injure their effect. My opponent promised yesterday, also appears but is a very poor creature.2 The other papers persevere in the usual course towards me of silence. It remains to see how they will do in other places.

I was very much occupied all the morning by Accounts and payments of various debts which I wished settled previous to departure. I think I now begin to see light after the heavy expenditure which has now been pressing upon me with much severity for more than eighteen months, of shortened resources. W. Spear in from Quincy and called for a settlement. Thus the morning passed until half past one when I met my Wife for the purpose of taking her to see Celestini’s pictures. He was civil but evidently out of humour by the failure of all negotiation. And he had therefore lost much of the courtesy of manner which he had while he had an object.3

Afternoon, continued at work upon the coins which I must now soon give up. I have got very nearly through the assorting and now the 28catalogue making only remains. Evening Mr. Brooks was here, after which I was not active.


The editorial, dated “Cambridge, April 19” and signed “J. T. B.,” undertakes a detailed refutation of CFA’s position and concludes, “Of Mr. Biddle we are not the apologist. We give him credit for great talent as a financier, and for patriotism, so long as it was for his interest to be patriotic and public-spirited. For some of his selfish atrocities within the last two years, he ought to have his ears nailed to the pillory; and we could look upon him in that position with undiminished complacency, if Gen. Jackson and Mr. Van Buren were permitted to enjoy the same dignified and elevated station on either side of him” (Boston Courier, 21 April, p. 2, col. 1).


The letter, addressed to “A Citizen,” attacks CFA’s position as having “a most unpleasant smack of locofocoism; it looked too much like—cant.” The writer professes no admiration for Biddle either. He identifies himself as being in the mercantile business “in a small way, some eight or nine years” and signs the letter “C.” (same, p. 2, col. 3).


Despite the indication that Count Celestini failed to sell his paintings in Boston, he did succeed in disposing of nine of them to the Boston Athenaeum. The particular works that CFA had admired on his several visits to the Gallery were not among those purchased (Mabel M. Swan, The Athenaeum Gallery, 1827–1873, Boston, 1940, p. 128).

Sunday. 22d. CFA Sunday. 22d. CFA
Sunday. 22d.

A lovely day. I attended divine service all day and my wife in the morning for the first time for many months for the which God be praised. Dr. Frothingham all day. Morning from Ephesians 3. 16. “the inner man.” Afternoon 1. Corinthians 3. 19. “For the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God.” Good discourses not improved as much by me as they should have been. Walk. Nature looked cheerful.

Afternoon, Mr. Walsh came in and sat a long while, then after tea T. K. Davis and Gardiner Gorham—the two former remaining until after eleven engaged in very good and very instructive conversation. They are both thinking men and Such animals are not found everywhere. T. K. Davis postpones until Wednesday, which is as well for me. He is likely to become the Editor of a paper here to be established upon the basis of the old Advocate. I hope and wish him success though not without fear.

After their departure read a Sermon of Buckminster’s upon communion. Matthew 10. 32. “Whosoever shall confess me before men, him will I also confess before my father, which is in Heaven.” The obstacles to taking the communion discussed. A sermon deserving of some serious reflection by me as I become older.

Monday 23d. CFA Monday 23d. CFA
Monday 23d.

Morning clear but cold. I went to Quincy where I found things under way. My orders have been nearly all executed and now I know of nothing in this direction which should detain me. Called at the 29Bank to obtain some New York money with only partial success, then to see the painter for some final directions then back to superintend Kirks planting of the thorns. Time only can give beauty to my place from the vegetation which I can only set going. Home after a cold ride.

Dined with my Wife at Mr. Brooks’. Nobody else, and a tolerably pleasant time, then to the Athenaeum where I arranged matters respecting the coins with the librarian. Looked into the New York papers, they take no notice of my articles. The spirit of party is too strong and smothers them as usual. Afternoon, coins but so much fatigued that I worked upon them very languidly. Some pages of Lockhart and Diary. Over tired tonight.