Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Thursday 2d. CFA Thursday 2d. CFA
Thursday 2d.

Up early and breakfasted below with my father whom I accompanied to Hingham on a fishing party by invitation of the gentlemen of that town. We reached Mr. Loring’s house shortly after seven, and there my father got out to proceed to Cohasset in Mr. L’s conveyance, and Mr. C. Brooks took his place in mine. Having arrived at the house we found about as many persons as we saw last year and most of the same.1 We divided into parties, some going to fish on the rocks, others taking to the boats. I went with Mr. Brooks, Capt. Ford, Mr. Baker and a Mr. Bovee, and we had tolerably good success. Our return was hastened by the qualmishness of one of our number.

The dinner was of fish as usual but much better than last year. After it was over we harnessed again and returned to Hingham where the ladies proposed to have a little party in a wood called Tranquillity Grove, at which they expected to see the President and return him thanks for his efforts in their behalf, at the last Session of Congress. The number of persons assembled was large for the place, and tables of refreshment, tea, coffee &c. were spread for them all. Mr. Loring made an Address to which my father briefly replied.2 And after sunset we all started on our return home. The night was very fine and we reached my father’s just before nine, pretty well fatigued, though satis-87fied with the day. Such parties as these are growing and are a great improvement upon former guzzling festivals.


The earlier visit to Hingham is recounted in the entry for 3 Aug. 1837, above.


The gathering in Tranquillity Grove, organized by the ladies of Hingham to pay “their respects to the eloquent defender of their rights in congress,” was attended by some five hundred persons. It was given detailed coverage in the Hingham Patriot on 4 Aug. (a handwritten copy is in the Adams Papers). As there reported, Thomas Loring, in introducing JQA on behalf of the ladies, said their wish was “to express their heart-felt gratitude for the eminent services which [he] had rendered to the cause of humanity and justice, in defending the sacred right of petition, and for the bold and independent stand which he had taken ... against the practice of rejecting petitions unread, unheard, and unexamined.” JQA’s response included his thanks for being “thus welcomed by his constituents, for ... ‘I consider the Ladies of this Congressional District as much my constituents as their relatives by whose votes I was elected. I know ... that it is asserted that women have no political rights. Their petitions had been treated ... as if they had none. But all history refuted this position.’ They had political rights but he would not say it was their duty to exercise them except in cases of great, pressing, public emergency.... Their rights he was determined ever to defend, and he trusted they would be maintained in Massachusetts, if no where else.” The ode, composed for the occasion and sung to conclude the exercises, began:

“Thrice welcome, hoary sage, To this our Tranquil Wood; New England’s daughters raise the song, ’Gainst whom was aimed the burning wrong, Which Adams has withstood.”
Friday 3d. CFA Friday 3d. CFA
Friday 3d.

I arose this morning with the kind of warning which precedes a head ach. Nevertheless I went to town and busied myself in the usual range of commissions.

I find my first and second numbers of the Review have been published exactly in the manner of the former numbers but without comment.1 And none of the other papers of either party notice them. At any rate I cannot now complain of the want of distinction given to them by the mode of publication. On the other hand my publisher’s Account came today2 for my last pamphlet and shows me conclusively that it is not expedient to try that mode again with all the press determined to be silent.

Home but I omitted dinner and have no great account to give of the rest of my day, nor did I get free from pain until late into the night.


CFA’s four papers, entitled “The Democratic Address” and signed “A Conservative,” appeared in the Courier on 2, 3, 4, and 8 Aug., each at p. 2, cols. 1–2. They undertake a review of the “Address to the People of the United States” by a Committee of Administration supporters in the Congress. To that document’s confession that “political elements of the country never were in greater confusion,” he asks, “How came they so?” and holds the administration’s poli-88cies responsible. If the Bank was such a failure, why have pecuniary affairs run into such great difficulties two years after its demise? A national banking authority is essential, he asserts, simply to promote a uniform currency, “to check the State institutions in their tendency to saturate the circulation with paper,” but it must be subjected to severe public oversight. However it has been impossible for the Administration to devise any nationally directed scheme because it has been crippled by adherence to a strict constructionism enforced by its Southern, proslavery adherents. Finally, he alleges that the threat of nullification is invoked in the Address to stifle national initiative on the currency and to prevent legislation on slavery in the District.