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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1


Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0002-0007

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-02-07

Saturday. 7th.

Nothing to do today, and my feelings not the most agreable on account of the close of the vacation, so soon to happen. Spent the day in the house, Madame unwell all day. One circumstance very highly provoked me today, which was Mary’s taunting manner to Abby which made me so angry that I gave her a severe lecture even in Miss McKnight’s presence. It has been but seldom that I have assumed any authority over her of late but her manner was too insolent today to be borne, particularly since Abby has made some observations to me, which could not but make me feel she was unpleasantly situated here. Mary made battle and was sulky supposing this to be the beginning of the old courses but I afterwards treated her with so much equability that she came over to be quite easy and smooth again—such is the temper of woman.
In the evening Blunt was here again much to the annoyance of us all. Monsieur and John went to Mr. Goodacre’s lecture, Madame was sick and Miss McKnight went home in the afternoon so that his entertainment was to be provided by Mary, Johnson, Abby and myself out of what we best could obtain. This was poor enough and the man must have had a dreadfully dull time. He stayed however till after ten o’clock, pretending himself on important business with my { 87 } father. He is the most monstrous puff about man that I have yet met with, declaring himself at one time engaged as junior counsel under Mr. Webster and about to argue a case in the Supreme Court—at another, made reporter in Mr. Wheaton’s1 absence and so on. I suspect the importance of his politics to be the same, or at least that he is but a tool.
1. Henry Wheaton (1785–1848) was reporter of the United States Supreme Court from 1816 to 1827 and edited twelve volumes of the Court’s opinions ( DAB ).

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0002-0008

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-02-08

Sunday 8th.

Did not attend Church today, but on account of the loveliness of the day I was obliged to go and take a walk, so Johnson and myself went as far as the College. The air was delightful, being mild as spring and made me feel more sensibly what I was about to lose. In fact the winter generally has been the pleasantest, in respect to weather that I have ever had the fortune to enjoy, as heat to me is second life. It appears to me from my nature and temper that I was made for the South, and people never made such a mistake in the world as when they judge me cold or naturally grave. At home we were extremely dull, Madame being still in her room although better, John writing letters and Johnson’s politics not sufficiently good looking to make him in a better humour than he commonly is. He is also somewhat depressed by his sickness.

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0002-0009

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-02-09

Monday 9th.

Arose today and went to the House of Representatives for the last time this year. I also went into the Supreme Court. Mr. Wirt was finishing the case in reply to Emmett. It is said very able. Mr. Emmett’s close was said to have been remarkably beautiful, therefore I was sorry I did not hear it. Mr. Wirt was in the law so I did not stay long but went again to the House. Mr. Livingston was speaking on the subject of Internal Improvements trying to place the subject in a new light.1 But he selected the time for his remarks, far too late in the discussion of the bill. Every body is tired of hearing the mention of Roads and Canals, so that he was but little attended to. I not feeling at all like interesting myself particularly as my mind was otherwise occupied, went away and left perhaps for many years the stately building which holds the directing power of the nation.
Miss Selden was at the Supreme Court and John went and sat with her, but I was shy and went off even without speaking to her. She sent by John to inform me the house would be open till evening { 88 } but I did not wish to avail myself of the advantage. In fact I felt so indifferent about going or staying that I was unwilling to excite a regret at departure. On this account also, I refused to go any where and left without paying a single take leave visit, a circumstance which, I have since heard astonished some of the favoris very much.
In the evening by my father’s request, I went to Mr. Sullivan’s to inquire if he had any command, a mere piece of politeness. Which being done, I spent the rest of the evening over the newspapers with Johnson, Monsieur and John having gone as usual to hear Mr. Goodacre.
1. Edward Livingston first narrowly construed the proposed measure, trying to show that its objects were all within the powers specifically granted the Congress under the Constitution, and then also reaffirmed the power of the federal government to legislate for the general welfare ( Annals of Congress , 18 Cong., 1 sess., p. 1430–1459).