Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1


Tuesday 13th.

Monday. 12th. CFA


Monday. 12th. CFA
Monday. 12th.

As it had now become pretty late and the debates will soon become interesting, I fixed it as a general rule to walk up to the House of Representatives every day. So I commenced to day. Mr. Hemphill delivered a speech today upon a bill lately brought in by himself to authorize the President to employ surveyers for an estimate of the expense of any canal which may be proposed. He is not a pleasant speaker, and so low in his voice that I was unable to hear him.1 So I gave it up with some ill will as he is said to be a man of some worth, and returned home. Johnson having staid here as long as he thought he was able, determined to go back to Rockville today. Much to the sorrow of us all. He appeared considerably affected himself but more by the “news from New York” which has been unfavourable for some days back.2 At four he got into the stage and was off.

John was employed all day in overlooking the room below, as he was fixed in dining there today. The pillars were taken down from two rooms, but were left standing in Monsieur’s. He succeeded in his project and we again obtained an appearance of comfort. The news from New York today was such as would very much have affected Johnson had he been here and as it is will probably make him very sick at Rockville. The family all went to Mrs. Wirt’s except John and myself who understanding it to be nothing but a musical party remained at home. Miss Mary Roberdeau3 called this morning to invite Madame, and to pay her first visit. She is understood now to be a February belle and only comes to see Madame and the 1st of January.4 John and I after examining the papers, and taking tea, went to bed.


Joseph Hemphill (1770–1842), of Pennsylvania, an early Federalist and chairman of the Committee on Roads and Canals, argued for “An Act to procure the necessary surveys, plans, and estimates, upon the subject of Roads and Canals,” specifically urging a grant of $30,000 to underwrite the bill ( Annals of Congress , 18 Cong., 1 sess., p. 242, 990–999).


The New York legislature, in what appeared to be an alliance with Virginia, declared in favor of a caucus nomination for President, which inevitably would go to William H. Crawford. Though states favoring other candidates had rejected congressional dictation, JQA knew he needed New York’s votes to win the Presidency, and the Empire State’s decision was a serious setback to his ambition. See JQA, Diary, 12 Jan. 1824; Bemis, JQA , 2:15.


Daughter of Lt. Col. Isaac Roberdeau.


Thus in MS.