Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Sunday 27th.

Tuesday. 29th.

Monday. 28th. CFA


Monday. 28th. CFA
Monday. 28th.

Morning snow but it cleared very mild and pleasant. I went to the Office but did very little if any thing. Mr. Josiah Adams came in for some money which I could not give him but I gave him my Note payable in forty days which he is to get discounted at the Quincy Bank.1 I do not think this pressure for money at all agreeable. It disables me from turning into Cash, Bank stock I want to get rid of and which I cannot now sell without great sacrifice. I foresee the difficulty of the month of December will be considerable.

Out on Commissions for my Wife and then home. A letter from my Mother in good spirits.2 Afternoon, Grahame and clearing my papers. I must resume the MS labours directly. I like Grahame very well but think his omission of all account of the Massachusetts land bank very extraordinary. This was one of the events foreshadowing the American character.3 In the evening I sat with my Wife, and then redraughted my valedictory to the Advocate.


On Josiah Adams, see vol. 6:274 and below, entry for 24 December.


28 [i.e. 25?–26?] Nov., Adams Papers.


The establishment in 1740 of the Massachusetts Land Bank, at the instance of debt-ridden farm owners, and its destruction in 1741 by Parliamentary edict upon appeal from creditor-merchants presented an archetypal confrontation of forces which would be central in the American experience. There can be no certainty whether the significance of the clash to CFA rested upon its being an initial assertion in the colonies of the lawfulness of resistance to an act of Parliament or upon its being a primary example of the unresolved quarrel in the United States between advocates and opponents of a “hard” currency. However, the diarist’s continuing absorption in banking and currency questions suggests that his reference is to the second. A convenient account of the Land Bank is in Curtis P. Nettels, The Roots of American Civilization, N.Y., 1938, p. 533–535.