Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Thursday 29th.

Saturday 31st.

Friday 30th. CFA Friday 30th. CFA
Friday 30th.

Morning at the Office, a Cold Storm threatening us all day. I was engaged in reading the Memoirs of Arthur Lee which I found quite interesting. The foreign transactions of the United States are fully developed in them, with some slight reflection upon the character of Franklin. This is not much of a favourite with me. There is too much selfishness in his philosophy, though I do not doubt that it has been serviceable in the world.1 My interruptions this morning were numerous. Mr. Tarbell came up to see me having heard I had called once or twice. I inquired what was to be done with Titcomb who has been so long on my hands,2 and with the other accounts which I have in my possession; he told me to begin again with the first and do as well as I could with the others. He sat with me talking half an hour pleasantly enough upon subjects in general, and then gave way to Col. Davis, who came to ask when my father would be in town for he wished to see him to which I gave as a reply that I could not tell. Mr. Danl. Hollis is the Carpenter superintending my father’s houses and called to get instructions as heretofore directed. I went to look at the House behind the Office and found it in wretched condition. I told him that at present nothing could be done, that I must wait until the present tenancy expired, but that then I expected him to do a great deal. Luckily I have contrived to run up against him as I have indeed with all the Tenants, a pretty heavy bill of arrears for rent, and this will go a good way towards the expenses for repairs which will now be found necessary.

Dined at Mr. Frothingham’s with Abby. Nobody else. Tolerably pleasant although nothing remarkable. But I felt more at home. We were amused with a letter from Sidney Brooks’ wife to mine, full of her usual nothings.3 After dinner, I walked again to the Store of Messrs. John D. and M. Williams and succeeded this time in making a selection of some Wine. I purchased some Sherry at two dollars the gallon, thinking that if it turned out well I should then like to keep some of it as choice Wine, which I could not do if I bought cheaper, however fine it might prove. There is much Charlatanerie about Wine 62especially in the name. And I have seen so much of it as to induce me to make an experiment thereupon.4 Returned to my Study too late to do anything in the regular way, so I continued La Harpe’s Analysis of Cicero’s Orations, until late, when I again went to Mr. Frothingham’s to call for my Wife. The night was very stormy but we reached home before the floods came.

1.

For a brilliant, though thoroughly partisan, elaboration of this judgment on Franklin’s character, see CFA’s account of JA’s relations with Franklin written a quarter of a century later, in JA, Works , 1:317–320.

2.

The claim against Titcomb, after numerous delays, was succesfully concluded. See entry for 23 Dec., below.

3.

Letter missing. CFA’s general practice when he became custodian of the family’s papers seems to have been to destroy letters that had been addressed to Adams wives, except letters written by members of the family.

4.

The intent seems to be related to a request to JA2 contained in an affectionate letter to LCA, to obtain “Antoine’s mixture” for wine cooling. However, the effort proved abortive because Antoine Giusta, still employed as valet in the White House, informed the family that “by order he can have no intercourse with ours” (CFA to LCA, 30 Oct.; LCA to CFA, 15 Nov., Adams Papers). On Antoine Giusta see vol. 1:84 and Bemis, JQA , 2:159.