Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Monday. 17th.

Wednesday. 19th.

Tuesday 18th. CFA


Tuesday 18th. CFA
Tuesday 18th.

Morning at the Office. Commenced reading regularly the Massachusetts Reports and propose now to pass my Mornings in devoting myself to the Profession of the Law. I have been made to drink so much of the bitterness of dependence, that I hope now not to cease my exertions until I am on my own ground. But independence would bring to me 311none but sad reflections, as it would proceed from the consciousness of having been forced to it when others who had no better claim than I are equally assisted without the labour. This is a very incorrect system of education. It checks the well disposed for it gives them little encouragement to meet the labour of life. Afternoon reading Burke and some of the History of the United States.

On my return home in the evening, I took up the Boston Daily Advertiser and noticed a piece signed a Yankee Farmer, attacking my father on the old score of 1807 1808.1 It was such an evident attempt to act upon the public mind unfairly, that I could not help sitting down on my return to my Office, and answering it at least so far as to expose the partial effect it was designed to have. This took up all the evening excepting time for the eleventh Book of Milton.2


After the publication of Jefferson’s letter to W. B. Giles (see entry for 19 Oct., and note, above), JQA authorized the National Intelligencer to publish on 21 October a statement in his name which corrected some obvious errors in Jefferson’s recollections but which reaffirmed his belief that Massachusetts Federalists in 1808 were seeking the cooperation of Great Britain with a view to the “dissolution of the Union, and the establishment of a separate confederation” (HA, New-England Federalism , p. 23–26). The former leaders of the Massachusetts Federalist party were much disturbed, and one of them, probably John Lowell (1769–1840), signing himself “A Yankee Farmer,” called for a careful public investigation of JQA’s charge, warning that unless the President could substantiate his allegation of treason “it would seem to be impossible, that his character should not deeply suffer” (Boston Daily Advertiser, 18 Nov. 1828).


There are three sets of Milton’s Poetical Works in the Stone Library, the earliest published in London in 1731, 2 vols. In addition, the Library contains six copies of Paradise Lost, four of which bear JQA’s bookplate.