Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Thursday 10th. CFA Thursday 10th. CFA
Thursday 10th.

Pleasant day. At home. Dine and evening at the Mansion.

I was quietly engaged all the morning in pursuing my usual occupations. Copied several letters and read Menzel. After dinner finished the Dialogue on Oratory and with it all that is supposed to have come down to us of Tacitus. This perusal is the first thorough one I have ever given to this Author and has been exceedingly useful. Tacitus is a thinker and he makes you feel what the value of history is, as a mingled record of good and evil.


We dined and spent an evening at my father’s. The ladies brought home from their ride a rumour of the failure of the United States Bank and a general suspension of all the rest. As we could get no definite information about it, we were obliged to rest content and wait until tomorrow. But it is a result which we cannot have avoided to foresee when we reflect upon the immense amount of foreign indebtedness we have run into and the injudicious expansion of the Philadelphia Banks. What the effect upon the future will be, we must wait and see.

Friday. 11th. CFA Friday. 11th. CFA
Friday. 11th.

Clear and pleasant. Morning to town. Home. Afternoon. Evening, visit to Mrs. T. B. Adams and below.

I went to town accompanied by Mrs. Adams’ maid, Catherine. Time taken up in business and the settlement of the accounts of T. B. A.

The people in State Street in a state of much excitement from the combination of foreign and domestic news which arrived today. It seems that while the United States Bank found itself unable on yesterday to pay a large amount say $300,000 of Post Notes which then came due, the Steamer Liverpool brings intelligence of the protest of its drafts in France by Hottinguer to the amount of a million and a half, which though they were subsequently covered by the interference of Rothschild, had the immediate effect of shaking all American credit in Europe. It seems however that the New York Banks have not yet stopped, and that the Boston Banks will go with New York. But I fear that the causes for pressure lie too deep for easy remedy and the accounts of the state of the crops in England and the condition of the Bank of England are not encouraging. On the whole, things look gloomy enough. The Country is under no guidance worth having, and there is no present appearance that it will procure any or even be disposed to call for it. It is of no use to groan. We must trust in a higher power who brings out his great ends by his own means the uses of which are known only to him.

Afternoon at home reading Herschel’s Essay on Astronomy. Evening at the Mansion partly and at Mrs. T. B. Adams’ where I was paying away money, which I do not as things now are propose to keep. Rather unwell with a head ach.

Saturday. 12th. CFA Saturday. 12th. CFA
Saturday. 12th.

Wet, foggy day. At home all day.

I awoke early this morning at the sound of an alarm bell for fire but 308found myself suffering far too severely with head ach to go out. This continued when I got up and for two hours was equal in severity to any thing I have experienced but it then went off. I afterwards employed myself, partly in copying and partly in superintending Kirk who was setting trees. This business must be followed up now with some steadiness. It was wet and disagreeable to do it today.

Afternoon, read Herschel’s Astronomy which interests me much. Evening I went alone to the house below and spent an hour. Nothing materially new beyond what I heard yesterday. The Baltimore Banks it is said have determined to go on paying specie. If they can sustain themselves, what a position for Philadelphia! But that is next to impossible.