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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0004-0012-0016

Author: CFA
Date: 1828-12-16

Tuesday. 16th.

Morning at the Office, passed in reading the Massachusetts Reports. Little of any consequence occurred. This was the day appointed for the trial of Genl. Lyman, and with some much interest was expressed.1 Mr. Quincy failed again yesterday in his election for Mayor.2 This is marvellous. Afternoon, reading the Secret Journals of Congress, and in the evening I wrote a draught of a reply to my father. So that the day was on the whole passed over quietly and more busily than any for a week. Little therefore to say.
1. The libel suit which Daniel Webster brought against Theodore Lyman was related to the controversy between JQA and the New England Federalists (see entries for 19 Oct. and 18 Nov., above). During the 1828 presidential campaign Lyman, a last-ditch Federalist, had thrown his weight behind Andrew Jackson and in the Jackson Republican charged, allegedly upon the basis of JQA’s statement to the National Intelligencer, that Webster and other Federalists had been in 1807–1808 “engaged in a plot to dissolve the Union and reannex New England to Great Britain.” Webster brought suit for criminal libel in the Supreme Judicial Court, Chief Justice Isaac Parker presiding. The evidence showed that JQA had never specifically mentioned Webster in this connection and that Lyman had included him only because of his later important position in Federalist councils. The jury was unable to agree, and the case was dismissed. See Fuess, Webster , 1: 173–174; Josiah H. Benton, A Notable Libel Case, Boston, 1904.
2. See entry for 11 Dec., and note, above.