Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Thursday. 3d. CFA Thursday. 3d. CFA
Thursday. 3d.

Pleasant day. I rode early with my father to the Capitol and thence down to seventh Street where I stopped to call at Mrs. Latimer’s for 34Davis. Found him sitting with A. H. Everett and after a short talk we went down to call upon Mr. Clay. Found him alone and had quite an agreeable visit. He led the conversation to Mr. Webster in a way somewhat curious, and appeared to be sounding Davis’ own opinions. We left him and went round to call upon Mr. Rives. I was induced to this by a very civil invitation of his when I met him yesterday as I was returning from the Capitol. He was not at home. I then parted from Davis and returned home, where I joined my Mother and Wife in making visits in the Carriage. We called upon Mrs. Madison, and my Aunts Mrs. Frye and Mrs. Smith whom we found at home, and left cards with Mrs. Forsyth and Mrs. Poinsett. Returned after a short ride and a little shopping. Dinner and evening at home.

Friday. 4th. CFA Friday. 4th. CFA
Friday. 4th.

Rainy day. I passed a large part of last evening as I forgot to state at the Concert of Madame Caradori Allan. The music was ill selected and pleased me very little. But in witnessing the number of persons present I could not help being struck with a repetition of the same appearance of change in the face of Society. Here was an abundance of persons no one of whom hardly had figured upon this stage ten years ago, and those who had been here were now dissipated, they cannot be dead.

At home all day. Occupied in making a draft of a letter to the Editor of the Courier occasioned by the articles in his paper so anxiously disavowing any responsibility for my letters. I think to assume them to myself in a perfectly distinct manner, and to take the opportunity to restate my principle of action in an intelligible form.1

The day was such as to prevent my going out and to keep us all very quiet at home. Nothing of course transpired. Evening I sat up until rather late writing my final copy of my proposed letter.


Contrary to CFA’s impressions, his letters to Biddle in the Courier had, during his absence from Boston, been given considerable attention by the press. On 28 April the Courier reprinted (p. 2, col. I) part of an article from the Washington Globe (23 April, p. 3, col. 4) praising the letters and the Courier for printing them. This was followed by excerpts from a Boston Centinel article attacking the Courier for them and by reference to a similar attack in the Boston Post. To these, Buckingham attached a further disclaimer that the views of “A Citizen” represented in any way the Courier’s position on the currency question. CFA, in his present letter to the editor, dated 3 May and which would appear in the Courier on the 11th (p. 2, cols. 1–2), made explicit, both in the text and in signing it “A Citizen,” its identity of authorship with the “Letters to Biddle.” Sole responsibility for the views expressed in those letters is taken, and the Courier is explicitly absolved of sharing those views. The author denies any loco-focoism or any desire to defend the administration, and indeed any party purposes. “I am, individually, not a Whig—but neither can I be reckoned among the 35Tories.... It may have been noted down, locofoco, by men who would consider Adam Smith, Hamilton or Gallatin locofoco, if extracts from their writings should now be arrayed against them.” His design was to counter the mistaken policies of Biddle and to support those banks which were disposed to resume specie payments. He had been convinced by the experience “that the expression of independent opinion, in the newspaper press of the day, is so difficult as to impose upon an editor, willing like yourself to allow it, a task he should not hastily be called to perform.”