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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0003-0001-0015

Author: CFA
Date: 1827-01-15

Monday 15th.1

I walked to the Capitol today. In the Supreme Court I found Miss Brooks and Mrs. Everett and as I had nothing to do more interesting, I attended upon them. We went to the House of Re[presentatives]. where Mr. E. made a short speech, apparently with a view only to please his wife. It had but little in it. After dinner I went alone to { 99 } Mr. Senator Bouligny’s in Georgetown where my attention was almost exclusively taken up by the same two ladies.2
1. From D/CFA/5.
2. Dominique Bouligny (1773–1833) served as Louisiana Senator from 1824 to 1829 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ). A Mr. Coster was also present (D/CFA/1); he was probably John G. Coster, the wealthy New York merchant.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0003-0001-0016

Author: CFA
Date: 1827-01-16

16. IX:20.1

Morning, walk to the Capitol, Supreme Court, House of Representatives, No interest, evening at home, Executive Record.
1. From D/CFA/1.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0003-0001-0017

Author: CFA
Date: 1827-01-17

17. IX.

Morning, walk to the Capitol, Supreme Court, Argument on the Insolvent Law, Mr. Ogden and Mr. Wheaton,1 evening, a Drawing room.
1. In this and later entries CFA refers to the celebrated case of Ogden v. Saunders (12 Wheaton 213), which involved the respective powers of the federal government and the states over the subject of bankruptcy. David Bayard Ogden (1775–1849), Walter Jones (1776–1861), William Sampson (1764–1836), William Wirt, and Edward Livingston defended the validity of state bankruptcy laws; Daniel Webster and Henry Wheaton were their opponents. On 18 Feb. 1827 the Supreme Court, by a 4–3 decision, upheld the state laws. See Charles Warren, The Supreme Court in United States History, Boston, 1947, 1:686–690.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0003-0001-0018

Author: CFA
Date: 1827-01-18

Thursday 18th.1

I went to the Supreme Court and heard the commencement of the argument involving the Constitutionality of the State Bankrupt laws. Mr. Ogden opened the case in support of the laws, and Mr. Wheaton replied. It is a very important case. The day was terribly cold and we were much distressed by the account of a fire in Alexandria which ravaged half the place. We had an alarm here, but the danger was avoided. It was [in] a terrible place and as all the Washington force had gone to Alexandria, if it had not been prevented, this fire would have occasioned infinite loss.2 In the evening a dull party at Tayloe’s, to the bride, Mrs. Turnbull.3
1. From D/CFA/5.
2. This was “the greatest fire that ever happened in Alexandria” and caused damage estimated at $200,000. About one thousand persons from Washington went to help put out the blaze (Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 19 Jan. 1827).
3. William Turnbull, the soldier and engineer, had recently married Jane Graham Ramsay ( DAB ). Abigail B. Brooks also attended the party (D/CFA/1).
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