Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday. 23d.

Sunday 25th.

Saturday 24th. CFA Saturday 24th. CFA
Saturday 24th.

Morning at the Office as usual. Occupied myself in reading Marshall as much as I could, but owing to frequent interruptions was impeded somewhat in my progress as well as understanding of it. My father came in to talk of a variety of things and to ask me to go to Quincy with him which was arranged. I then seized the opportunity to consult him about his property here and the disposition of it and he gave me Carte blanche with it as he always does with his Agents. No wonder that they have cheated him. But as it is my intention to do by him as faithfully as I should were the case my own, I feel rather heavily the weight of the responsibility. Mr. Orcutt again called to intimate to me that I had admitted a bad tenant and to tell me he had not yet succeeded in raising any Money, a much more important and less agreeable piece of information. I told him to make another effort and if that did not succeed I would then myself take the Mortgage he offered as his Security. This with the payment of one or two small demands against my Father which were presented and one Post Office Account rather larger than I could quite comprehend, passed the morning.

My father dined with me as did John Gorham, brother of Miss 55Julia.1 Dinner much as usual excepting that I thought Abby made a little too much display, for the occasion and for my economical feelings. The weather was mild so that we rode to Quincy with my father after sunset without being uncomfortable, and that too by the way of Milton as we did before when I confess I suffered a little. We reached my father’s to take tea, found Miss Smith as usual, and Mr. William Greenleaf who is now occupied as secretary to my father, in copying the papers which Thomas left.2 He is not uninteresting. We snatched a moment to look at my father’s library which is gradually developing itself.3


John Warren Gorham was a student at Harvard, class of 1832. In addition to the intimacy of ABA and Julia Gorham, the families were close. Mrs. Brooks (Ann Gorham) was a cousin of Dr. John Gorham, Julia’s father. The Brookses’ son, Ward Chipman, between 1822 and 1826 studied medicine in Dr. Gorham’s office. Following the death of Dr. Gorham in March 1829, Peter C. Brooks contributed toward John’s schooling for several years. See Brooks, Waste Book, 8 Aug. 1822, 26 May 1826, 27 March 1829.


William Cranch Greenleaf (1801–1868), grandnephew of AA, succeeded his cousin, Thomas Boylston Adams Jr., as amanuensis. See vol. 1:434 and Adams Genealogy.


JQA’s diary entries reveal that since the arrival of his books he had been engaged assiduously in unpacking the trunks and boxes and shelving the volumes. According to Bemis, there were 5,000 to 6,000 books in the collection ( JQA , 2:188). The want of space to house it properly caused JQA to call it “l’embarras des Richesses; I have been half a century, as greedy of books as Helluo was of the Salmon’s belly. No such Library exists in the hands of any other individual in the United States; but I have never had the enjoyment of it; nor can I expect to have it now or hereafter for the remnant of my days.... The want of a place in which a Library can be stowed is an inconvenience which nothing but wealth can escape. A large house; and a very large Apartment are indispensable. These I shall probably never possess, and must make up my mind to finish my days without them” (Diary, 17 Oct. 1829).