Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Friday. 30th.

Sunday. September 1.

Saturday. 31st. CFA Saturday. 31st. CFA
Saturday. 31st.

The morning was cloudy with slight rain. I remained quietly at home, and my time was very quietly engrossed by my occupation although it is of such a nature as to leave me but little to record. I copied several letters coming down to the two famous ones which have been made into one and with an altered date have figured away as a prophecy of the 5th of July 1776.1 They are very remarkable Letters but not much more so than the whole series of which they make a part.


It is pretty clear to me that during my stay here I can do very little more in the way of copying these very valuable papers, and as I feel unwilling to leave them to take their chance again in old trunks and damp rooms, I have concluded to draw up Indexes and get them bound up in Volumes. In this way their chance for entire preservation will be better and I can extract from them at my leisure.2 The remainder of my day was taken up in the work of Indexing.

Evening at home. Read a considerable part of Dumont’s Recollections of Mirabeau.3 My Wife was not well all day.


Following his transcription of JA’s two first and second letters to AA of 3 July 1776, CFA appended a note: “A compilation from them with some changes has been published as a single Letter, and is in general circulation” (M/CFA/31). On the early publishing history of the two letters, see Adams Family Correspondence , 2:31–33.


The enterprise embarked upon in consequence of the decision to bind the loose letters of JA and AA was the first major effort to organize and preserve the family’s correspondence. So bound the letters (and numerous other series) remained until they were decased by the staff of the Adams Papers in 1955–1956 and placed in archival boxes in the course of arranging a single chronological file of all materials in the family’s papers that were unbound in their original state.


CFA’s copy of Pierre Etienne Louis Dumont’s Souvenirs sur Mirabeau et sur les deux premières assemblées législatives, Paris, 1832, is in MQA. However, a day earlier he had borrowed from the Athenaeum a translation (Phila., 1833), and it was this that he was reading during the following days (below, entry for 10 Sept.).