Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Monday. 15th.

Wednesday. 17th.

Tuesday. 16th. CFA


Tuesday. 16th. CFA
Tuesday. 16th.

Heavy rain all day at intervals. I went to the Office and from thence round about to perform sundry commissions. At noon found the Community in a great state of excitement owing to the order of the Government by the Southern mail. The Postmaster General has undertaken to require the payment for all Letters in specie and the Treasury the collection in the same manner of the revenue bonds.1 But so universal has been the suspension of the Banks, that it is tolerably plain the thing is quite impossible. Had the United States Bank gone on, I think it could have been done. At present the experiment works marvellously. Today the Notes of the Kilby Bank were thrown out at the other Banks. The rumour is that three others are tomorrow to be treated likewise. On the back of this comes news from England of the tottering condition of the Bankers and the capture of a Mexican ship of war by a U. S. corvette.2 Thus the country goes.

Afternoon at home, writing principally. I do not know whether to go on publishing or not. At any rate it will do no harm to commit to paper. Evening, reading to my Wife, and then writing.


Instructions from Amos Kendall, postmaster general and a principal figure in the Administration’s war on the Bank of the United States, to take specie only in payment of postage were received by the Boston postmaster, Nathaniel Greene. Customs officials received instructions from the Treasury to accept in payment of duties, gold and silver only (Daily Advertiser, 17 May, p. 2, col. 3).


George Wilde & Co., a leading American banking house in London, stopped payment and two others had to receive help from the Bank of England. Baring Bros. and Morrison, Cryder & Co. were named as exceptions in the group (Daily Advertiser, 17 May, p. 2, cols. 1–2). The U.S. sloop of war Natchez on 17 April demanded of Mexican authorities that they release six American vessels illegally captured by a Mexican fleet cruising off the coast of Texas. The Mexicans responded with gunfire from a coastal fort. The Natchez pursued a Mexican brig of war, captured it, put a prize crew aboard, and ordered it to Pensacola (same, 15 May, p. 2, col. 4).