Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Friday 17th. CFA Friday 17th. CFA
Friday 17th.

Extremely cold. Distribution as usual. Evening at Mr. Lothrop’s.

I this morning finished my catalogue of the collection of silver of ancient Rome which I possess and in making it, my opinion of it’s value has much risen.

Office. Received more details of the extraordinary disaster of the Lexington. It turns out that there were not quite so many on board but 359of these several of Boston, well known and much respected. Dr. Follen, Mr. Abraham Howard, Mrs. Russel Jarvis and others. The incident is among the most distressing.

Received a letter from New York and wrote in answer that I would try to get on.1 But the boats are all deranged and I hardly know how to manage it. Oedipus Coloneus making great progress.

After dinner, the Townley Gallery and finishing John Law. Evening at Mr. S. K. Lothrop’s. Nobody but the family and Dr. and Mrs. Palfrey. Rather dull.


The lecture on “Credit” planned for delivery in New York before the Mercantile Library Association had presented problems to CFA almost from its inception (entries for 7, 18 Sept. 1839, above). He had completed in the intervening months no fewer than four versions, none of which entirely satisfied him (above, entries for 30 Nov., 10, 24 Dec.). By the time he had completed a revision of the fourth draft (entry for 14 Jan., above), he had already written to Elijah Ward (11 Jan., LbC, Adams Papers) again expressing his doubts as to the appropriateness of the lecture for the occasion and his concerns about its length. He offered Ward a choice once more. He would, if desired, reserve the paper for publication and deliver the lecture on AA, a proven success. Ward replied on the 15th (Adams Papers) expressing a preference for the lecture on AA. CFA’s present response of the 17th has not been found, but it is clear that he acceded to Ward’s view (below, entry for 23 Jan.). The undelivered lecture, “The Principles of Credit by Charles Francis Adams,” was printed in the March issue of Hunt’s Merchants’ Mag. , 2:185–210, with a headnote: “The following lecture was originally prepared for the Mercantile Library Association, but as when finished it appeared too long, and in some portions too abstract, for delivery as a lecture, the author substituted another in its place, reserving it, however, in its original form, for publication in our Magazine.”

Saturday 18th. CFA Saturday 18th. CFA
Saturday 18th.

Cold. Distribution as usual. Evening at home.

My morning was very much taken up in making the necessary arrangements prior to leaving town. After the best information I could get upon the subject I find it will be necessary for me to go to New York over land. Accounts &ca.

The affair of the Lexington appears to be making a very deep sensation here. The cold weather which set in immediately after the accident deprives most of the passengers of the little chance they might otherwise have had.

Home where I read Oedipus. Afternoon as Dr. Palfrey sent me the number of the New York Review in which is contained an article which he desired me to notice I took it up and read it. The subject will need some investigation but will I think, do.1 Evening at home.


John Gorham Palfrey, editor of the North Amer. Rev. , had brought to CFA’s attention the article in the New York Rev. for Jan. 1840 entitled “The Politics of the Puritans.” From his investigation of the subject would come an article; see entries of 28 and 30 Jan., 9 Feb., below.