Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Tuesday. 17th.

Thursday. 19th.

Wednesday. 18th. CFA Wednesday. 18th. CFA
Wednesday. 18th.

This is my Birthday Anniversary. And it has been usual with me to take the occasion to reflect upon the past and the future. A very important change has taken place in my prospects since the last year. I am now married, with many added pleasures as well as cares. Time passes with me swiftly, yet I feel dissatisfied with the progress which I make in keeping up with it. My ambition is extensive but not of an extravagant kind. It is rather a desire of distinction from reputation than from place. My hopes of popularity have always been so limited as to check any feeling which might arise in that direction, and to lead me to indulge rather in those over which I may be able to have some personal control. My own labour and personal character, on the whole I believe I can say that during the past year I have not gone backward in these respects though I have not done far enough towards advancing.

Rode to town as usual. Morning occupied, first in walking to the House for some little things, then at the Office where I finished Hutchinson’s first Volume, the last Chapters of which are interesting as they give a very good account of the condition of the Colony in it’s early times. Returned to Quincy, and spent the Afternoon in continuing the Catalogue. But I did not resume it in the evening as I got hold of the trial for the murder of Mr. White at Salem which is now producing such an excitement, and could not leave it quickly.1


The trial of Frank Knapp as principal in the murder of Capt. Joseph White began in Salem on 3 Aug. and was concluded on 13 Aug. in a mistrial. Pamphlet publications reporting the trial appeared at once. Much the fullest account was contained in a pamphlet entitled Trial of George Crowninshield, J. J. Knapp, Jun. and John Francis Knapp, for the Murder of Capt. Joseph White ..., Reported by John W. Whitman, Esq., Boston, 1830. This pamphlet actually contained the first trial of Frank Knapp and no other; it was published before the other trials began, as is made clear by a concluding note explaining the publishers’ change of intention. Other pamphlets included Re-304port on the Evidence and Points of Law, Arising on the Trial of John Francis Knapp ..., Salem, 1830; Trial of John Francis Knapp ..., Boston, 1830; The Trial in the Case of the Commonwealth, versus John Francis Knapp ..., [Salem?, 1830]. The second trial of Knapp was begun on 14 Aug. and detailed accounts began to appear in the newspapers (Boston Patriot, 17 Aug., p. 1, col. 5). The trial was concluded on 20 Aug. with the conviction of Knapp.