Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 29th.

Tuesday. December 1st.

Monday. 30th. CFA Monday. 30th. CFA
Monday. 30th.

The morning was delightfully clear and pleasant for us to return to town but we did not succeed in getting away very early. So many things were there which I was desirous of picking up before I finally left the House. The Carriage looked a little overloaded, but I could not avoid that. I was merely bringing in the Books which I thought I should need this Winter. Our ride was exceedingly pleasant and we reached home at about 12 o’clock. I went to my Office and there found Mr. Degrand’s Intelligence of yesterday true that Mr. James H. Foster’s Store in Washington Street had been burnt down to the ground.1 This is a severe and disagreeable blow to a man like him though I doubt whether it will deprive him of an enjoyment the less. For I strongly suspect that accumulation is his fancy.2

I was occupied at my Office in arranging and settling my money affairs for the Month and in those of my Father which have got behind hand so much that I was to day obliged to advance a considerable sum to Mr. William Howe on account of his deficit.3 This puts me to considerable inconvenience myself as I am now about settling my own affairs for the quarter, having now been married just three months. I called at the Store of Dorr and Allen, Auctioneers and made settlement with them upon the things I sent them of my brother and received from them a sum which again put me in funds for my brother’s Estate.4 I feel encouraged about this now.

After dinner, at home writing up the deficiencies which my last three days have cost me. This absence is a severe drawback upon me 92and puts a great stop to my plans for my own improvement. Mr. Sparks called upon me this evening and talked upon my Grandfather’s papers which he is to see and compare at his pleasure—at my Study. We digressed upon Arthur Lee and the whole account of the revolution upon which we did not agree.5 I had no time for any thing else and in the evening read to Abby from Clarissa Harlowe.


Foster’s store was in “the very large wooden building, corner of Summer and Washington streets” (No. 224). The fire, which broke out in the building next door, consumed both buildings, neither of which was owned by the occupant. Foster’s stock, valued at $20,000 and on which there had been $8,000 insurance, was only partially destroyed (Columbian Centinel, 2 Dec. 1829, p. 2, col. 5). Shortly, Foster reopened his business at 156 Washington Street, remaining there for thirty years. See Richard D. Pierce, ed., The Records of the First Church in Boston 16301868, Col. Soc. Mass., Pubns. , 41 (1961):1000.


Foster, married to a niece of AA’s, had a reputation within the family for canniness in financial matters (see below, entry for 19 Jan. 1830). For many years he had in his charge the affairs of the First Church in Boston, serving as deacon from 1815 to 1862, most of that time as sole deacon, and also for varying times as clerk, treasurer, and moderator. He was also an overseer of the poor. Same, vols. 39–41 (1961).


Probably William Howe, tinsmith, of 7 Marshall Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830), for work done on the Old House.


(Alfred) Dorr & (J. M.) Allen were at the corner of Milk and Congress streets ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).


To Arthur Lee’s position in his controversy with Silas Deane and Franklin, recently defended in the Life of Arthur Lee (see entries for 28 , 29, 30 Oct., above), Sparks was strongly antipathetic. JQA disagreed with the Sparks view more strongly than did CFA; see Sparks to JQA, 18 Jan.; JQA to Sparks, 24 Jan., LbC; JQA to CFA, 5 Feb. 1830 (all in Adams Papers). Sparks gave full expression to his animadversions in his review of the book in North Amer. Rev. , 30: 454–511 (April 1830).