Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Thursday. 22nd.

Saturday. 24th.

Friday. 23d. CFA Friday. 23d. CFA
Friday. 23d.

Morning foggy like all the days we have had but tolerably pleasant. My fifth number of the Massachusetts Voter came out today. Mr. Hallett gives it as much headway as possible. The Whigs are silent under the castigation. They have nothing to urge against me, of a personal nature and they cannot reply to the argument.

The Pittsburgh Times is republishing my papers signed a Calm Observer, particularly the Attack upon Harrison,1 and I imagine it will in this manner from being in the same number with his Letter reach his eye. My father will probably stand the brunt of it. Thus it is to write under such restrictions as I do. Among other things we have had a mob to put down Abolitionists, as if the Country was not going to pot fast enough without extraordinary help.2 Office, at work writing on Diary which I have nearly brought up, and dispatching more of my Pamphlets. The sale has nearly stopped, so that I have abundance and must pay for abundance. Well I must rejoice that I do not pay for all.

Home to Juvenal, reading over the eighth Satire. Afternoon writing. But it was one of my unwell feeling days, and I did not work with spirit. Evening, my Cabinet came home at last, and I entertained myself in assorting and arranging the coins and medals.


On 21 Oct. the Pittsburgh Times had begun to publish CFA’s series signed “A Massachusetts Voter” (see note to entry for 5 Oct., above). Whether it had earlier published any of the numbers of “Papers on the State of the Nation,” signed “A Calm Observer,” or whether CFA had received a garbled report of what was appearing in Pittsburgh has not been determined.


A meeting had been announced for 21 Oct. at the rooms of the “Anti-Slavery 249Office,” 46 Washington Street, to hear the English abolitionist George Thompson. Reporting what took place, the Columbian Centinel noted that such a gathering was “in defiance of public sentiment” and that a crowd of about 2,000, including a large body of “our respectable citizens,” assembled in front of the rooms of what it first called “The Female Abolition Society” in order to rescue the city “from the scandal of having a foreigner make a public address against our national institutions.” When violence seemed near, Mayor Lyman entered the rooms and requested the women to withdraw. “They complied, and marched downstairs in couples, black and white, arm in arm. They appeared as silly as can be imagined, and were hissed by the crowd,” which departed after tearing up the Society’s sign.

The only male character among the women was said to be William Lloyd Garrison. It was reported that he jumped from a window, hid, was discovered, had a rope placed about him, and was rescued by the mayor and police who took him off to jail for his safety. The account continued: “When Garrison was passing toward the back window to escape, in the early part of the scene, he had the folly to repeat, for theatrical effect — ‘hail Columbia, happy land.’ The tendency of the labors of such men, is to convert this ‘happy land’ into scenes of blood and carnage, and to induce the blacks to cut the throats of the whites. Away with such canting hypocricy.

“Thus have the people of this city, expressed their decisive reprobation, of the outrageous perseverance of fanatics, in disturbing the public peace, by public harangues on abolition, and we hope this will be the last attempt of agitators to continue their practices under the shelter of females” (Columbian Centinel, 22 Oct., p. 2, col. 1; 23 Oct., p. 2, col. 1).