Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Friday. October 29th. VI:30.

Sunday. October 31st. IX.

Saturday. October 30th. VIII. CFA


Saturday. October 30th. VIII. CFA
Saturday. October 30th. VIII.

Missed Prayers this Morning and scarcely arose in time to pursue the plan I had proposed. I was just in time however, for having been to the President and obtained leave of absence for one night, I took the opportunity of the Stage to Boston. It is the birth day of my Grandfather and he is eighty nine. I consequently determined, if possible, to dine with him on this day. It was out of my power however, for arrived in town, I applied at the Office of the Plymouth Stage and found thirty passengers had obtained seats before me. I consequently despaired and determined to wait with my brother until the time for the Quincy Stage. Having nothing else to do, I took up the papers which are stuffed full of electioneering articles of the 433grossest sort. This is not at all inconsistent with my resolution as I said expressly that I would go no more to the reading room as I misspent much time and only diverted my thoughts to channels very improper. If my father is destined to be President of the United States, I may be glad, but no feelings of mine can alter the result. As I was about to be devoured by Ennui however, I took up the Papers and read them. A late Meeting in Boston has settled the course of the Federalists in this State and there is no doubt about the result here.1 The Crawford papers are making a most tremendous disturbance at present and charge my father with the most extravagant and atrocious crimes. I should be much inclined to prosecute them. When the licence of the press is carried so far as it has been in the present instance, it appears to me highly proper to use some means to prevent it. This however would be called stopping the liberty of the press, and the Lord knows what consequences might ensue. I therefore must bear patiently the most tremendous abuse and know that the poor miserable people who exert their free will are deluded by the noise. My Grandfather lost his second election by means of these calumnies and my father will probably lose the election by the people if he does not that of the House.2

George was at Mr. Cook’s Office3 and I sat talking with him for a very considerable time. He appears to be in pretty moderately good spirits although he does not seem to believe that this election will turn out favourably. He is singular in his feelings as he is ever affected by the breath of the moment. I dined with him at Dr. Welsh’s who it appears has very considerably interested himself in these affairs and who seems very confident of success. He is a singular man but appears well meaning and is certainly honest. I lived in his family two years and although my life was none of the happiest, I always liked him much better than any of the rest of the family. After dinner I went upstairs and amused myself in talking again with George. The Quincy Stage soon came however and we started off for the old town of our ancestors. We arrived uncommonly late and found a room full of company. It appeared that my Grandfather had given quite a dinner—Mr. Marston, George Whitney and others. We found Mrs. Quincy, Susan, Margaret and Josiah, Mr. and Mrs. Greenleaf and one son William.4 After my circuitous address, if I may so call it, I took a chair next to Josiah Quincy and we talked about College matters, and other things quite pleasantly for a little while. He is a lively, good sort of man with abilities sufficient to get along well in the world. I talked much of the Porcellian affair and of the Medical 434Faculty. I also had a little conversation with George Whitney who was full of his usual inevitable complaisance. Mrs. Quincy, very matronly this Evening, and the young ladies I did not approach, an unfortunate barrier has obtained between Miss Margaret and myself, why in heaven’s name I cannot conceive. They all went soon however and we were left with the family which is still larger than usual as Mrs. De Wint has not yet returned. Miss Harriet Welsh is also here as a sort of friend and comforter. They are useful as indefatigable readers and the latter indulging much in “my lady Tongue.” I never could like Mrs. De Wint; she has a good deal of vanity, I think, and much self possession. I do not like her manner of dress. I believe this destroys the charms for if I consider I cannot for the soul of me find any more reasonable objection. She aspires to be a lady of dignity in her manners, and her dress so ill becomes it that I am altogether dissatisfied by the “Je ne scais quoi.” Uncle Thomas very well and very lively, Mrs. A. as usual, the same with the rest, my Grandfather looks better than he did a month ago. He went to bed soon and we could find no more amusing or interesting subject for conversation than the Presidential Election which still rang in our ears. This is the cradle of Politics. XI.


Massachusetts Federalists opposed to JQA’s presidential candidacy could not agree upon an opponent. Some supported an unpledged list of Federalist electors; others backed a mixed, but also unpledged slate. Adams electors ran as Republicans. See Shaw Livermore, The Twilight of Federalism, Princeton, 1962, p. 168.


CFA like many others expected the presidential election to be thrown into the House of Representatives, as with four candidates it seemed unlikely any one of them could muster a majority in the Electoral College.


Presumably the law office of Josiah P. Cook, 14 Old State House ( Boston Directory, 1825).


John Greenleaf (1763–1848), his wife, the former Lucy Cranch (1767–1846), and their son, William Cranch Greenleaf (1801–1868). See Adams Genealogy.