Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Tuesday 20th.


Wednesday 21st. CFA


Wednesday 21st. CFA
Wednesday 21st.

After the usual morning exercises I went to the Capitol with John who felt considerably disappointed when he heard that Randolph had come out and he had refused to go. But he was as much disappointed to day for Mr. Baylies of Massachusetts was making a speech, a most dull one surely. He ranted, declaimed and raved about Turkish cruelty, was for having a crusade for recovering the holy land, and was for doing every thing in a hurry. He then for the amusement of the audience took out of his pocket an account of the cruelties at Scio and read out about ten pages of what had been printed by the Committee at Boston for the purpose of being generally read. It appears he did not think that it’s circulation had been sufficient.1 The House were satisfied again to day and adjourned without opposition.

We had come very late and had not heard the best part of the discussion. Mr. Wood of New York spoke against the resolution with a great deal of very close reasoning and had a material influence on the opinion of the House. I regretted my absence much, for I have since read it and like it quite as well as common report had prepared me to. Mr. Cook of Illinois made some observations in the beginning which were nothing but “a most lame and impotent conclusion.” I was sorry for it for I wish the man well. He spoke in favour of the resolution, and borrowed my father’s oration to make an extract in his favour; my father sent it and at the same time marked a passage directly contrary to the opinion he was desiring to sustain.2 He has, I have heard since, been sorry for this speech, but I do not believe it will affect him.


After dinner we dressed ourselves and went to the Drawing Room at the President’s. The first Evening given this winter, as Mrs. Monroe has been very sick all the time. She is better now and appeared for a little while this evening retiring at nine o’clock. Mrs. Hay then took her place. I was much struck with an observation of John’s at Mrs. Calhoun’s when this lady was passing us in her usual way lolling on the gentlemen and speaking loud. Says he, “Would you wish a better representative of Billingsgate?” It is true enough for her coarseness warrants it.

The evening was a dull one and made me feel solitary in the middle of a crowd. None of my acquaintance there except Miss Mary Roberdeau who came out once in January. There was a Miss Irving too who is very pretty and from Ohio. Returned early. John did not go. Had a comfortable cup of tea and retired.

End of Volume First.

For the speech of Francis Baylies (1784–1852) see Annals of Congress , 18 Cong., 1 sess., p. 1139–1144.


According to the Annals of Congress , Cook made his speech on 22 January, not on 21 January as CFA reported it. Since the report of his remarks contains only a mention that he quoted “an oration” by JQA, it is impossible to determine which of JQA’s speeches he used (same, p. 1145–1150).