Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Sunday. 20th.

Tuesday. 22nd.

Monday. 21st. CFA


Monday. 21st. CFA
Monday. 21st.

Morning, bad weather. Office. No letters but news from Washington that John had got involved in a bad scrape with that hectoring bully Russel Jarvis.1 The newspapers are full of it. I regret it very much indeed on John’s account. What will be the end of it, I don’t know. Every body talks of it and the general feeling seems to be in John’s favour. Evening with Abby at Chardon Brooks’.


Resentful of the slanderous attacks which Russell Jarvis had published in the Daily Telegraph, reviving the canard that JQA as minister to Russia had “pimped” the person of Martha Godfrey, the Adams nursemaid, to the lust of Alexander I, JA2 was indignant when the newspaperman appeared at a White House reception and announced publicly to visiting Massachusetts minister Caleb Stetson “that if Jarvis had the feelings of a gentleman he would not show himself here.” Shortly thereafter, when JA2, in his capacity as secretary to the President, was carrying messages to Congress, Jarvis assaulted him in the rotunda of the Capitol, “pulling his nose, and slapping one side of his face.” See JQA, Memoirs , 7:508; Report on the Assault by Russell Jarvis, House Report No. 260, 20 Cong., 1 sess. (16 May 1828); LCA “To my Children,” 1 May 1828, Adams Papers; Samuel F. Bemis, “The Scuffle in the Rotunda,” MHS, Procs. , 71 (1953–1957): 156–166.