Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Thursday. 21st.

Saturday 23rd.

Friday. 22nd. CFA Friday. 22nd. CFA
Friday. 22nd.

I did not go to town this morning but remained and in the morning took a bath in salt water with my father, John and Thomas. I then amused myself with reading the history of Navigation as prefixed to an old collection of voyages, and afterward some passages from a volume of Voltaire. Desiring to finish all conversation with my father, I resumed the subject. I will not detail the conversation here as perhaps it may lead to nothing, but it is very certain that my feelings were cruelly hurt, and in a manner which no subsequent kindness can remedy.1 My afternoon was spent in great pain of mind and in reflection upon what it was proper to do under the state of circumstances. I wrote a letter to my Mother to divert my thoughts,2 which succeeded but poorly, and in the evening with the family.


Unfortunately JQA’s diary makes no mention of this conversation, to which CFA’s thoughts so often reverted during the next six months, but from several subsequent letters it is possible to reconstruct what probably occurred. When CFA importunately demanded an increase in his allowance, so that he might be married soon, his father, about to retire from public service with scanty resources to support his expensive family, retorted hotly with a warning against extravagance and a reminder that CFA was “a beggar, living on charity.” CFA replied with harsh words, and the interview ended in mutual recriminations. See CFA to LCA, 3 Jan. 1829; JQA to CFA, 13 Jan. 1829; and CFA to JQA, 21 Jan. 1829, LbC; all in Adams Papers.