Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Wednesday 6th. CFA Wednesday 6th. CFA
Wednesday 6th.

Clouds in the morning but it cleared. To town. Evening, Lecture.

The night was a very stormy one and the morning opened so unpromisingly I had great doubt whether we should be able to go. After some wavering, we finally concluded to go and our decision was confirmed by the result for it cleared away.

The morning was very much consumed in the various duties which removal makes necessary, sending off the small stock of luggage and 322putting the house in order. At last I left about 11 o’clock accompanied by Albert and reached town in time to give the necessary orders before my Wife came in. She remained in order to shut the house up. I went to the Office and devoted some time to business. Home at a little after one, where I found all the family at length arrived and the removal accomplished with far less of trouble than I have ever experienced before. Yet we were necessarily in confusion again replacing clothes &ca.

In the evening I was engaged to deliver to the Franklin Association my Lecture. This is a Society which assemble at a Chapel in Pitts Street the situation of which I had never before been acquainted with.1 It is a nice place and the assembly was just about respectably full. I knew very few of the faces however and could not help thinking how strange it was that in the same town so many human beings should pass through life without ever being conscious of meeting each other. The Lecture appeared to tell as well as usual. This is the fifth time of it’s delivery. Returned home at nine and retired rather earlier than usual.


The Franklin Literary Association was a community self-education effort of the sort that sprang up from time to time, sometimes connected with a church or a fraternal group. In the present instance, support came from wealthy individuals of whom Peter C. Brooks was one (subscription paper, [1840?], C. E. French Papers, MHi). It was not among the formally constituted educational and literary organizations listed in the Massachusetts Register or the Boston Directory . Apparently it had no connection with the Franklin Lectures, so listed, which conducted a series of public lectures in Masonic Hall, and before which in December CFA would repeat once again the popular lecture on AA (below, entries for 21 and 23 Dec.).

Thursday 7th. CFA Thursday 7th. CFA
Thursday 7th.

Fine day. Office. Afternoon at home and Evening.

I began today upon my town life. The regular series of occupations not very interesting to record, but sufficiently so to keep me contented and happy.

I forgot to mention that yesterday I found an article in the Courier criticizing my review of the Philadelphia Manifesto. The temper in which it was written betrayed to me for the first time the shape which malevolence will assume towards me. A pretty broad stroke at my situation with some hints about aristocracy in order to destroy the force of my argument.1 Well, this must be the consequence of distinction. I perceive now for the first time the force of my labours in gaining me reputation. Nevertheless I thought it prudent to turn the edge of this article by a mild reply swallowing the honey and rejecting the gall in 323the composition.2 Office, did work and by night I finished the article for Hunt.


The first two papers had elicited comment in a letter signed “Monitor” in the Boston Courier on 28 Oct. (p. 3, col. 4). The letter published there on the 6th (p. 2, col. 5), over the signature “Mercator,” was somewhat more critical but not unfriendly except in objecting that CFA’s statement, “The weak never gain much of the sympathy of the community, nor command their respect ...” sounds like the utterance of “a high-toned aristocrat” and is “uncalled for” and “unkind.”


In his reply, signed “A,” CFA asserts that “Mercator” had totally misunderstood his meaning, that in speaking of the “weak” he referred to the “morally weak” (Courier, 8 Nov., p. 2, col. 3).