Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 22d.

Tuesday. 24th.

Monday 23rd. CFA Monday 23rd. CFA
Monday 23rd.

Morning cloudy. Rode to town as usual. At the Office where I performed my usual duties. Offered my bond for approval by the Judge of Probate but found it had no Seals and therefore would not answer, so that I was to carry it out to Quincy again. From thence I went down to see Mr. New’s Estates which I propose to sell. Found them both tolerably good houses and situated well to rent. Indeed it seemed to me there was no reason why they should not sell for a great deal more than the Mortgage. However all these things are matter of chance. 307Returned to the Office and after a short visit to Mr. Brooks went out to Quincy.

The afternoon was spent in strolling with my father to the Ledges at the Railway.1 My purpose was to inquire of the conductors there the price of good stone, in case I should decide upon having the Store in Court Street done. He whom I saw referred me to Mr. Caleb Pratt in Boston.2 My father’s object was to examine his woodland for a spot fit to cut for consumption. We went to the top of the Tower and were pleased with the fine view which we had from there.3 This Railway has been a great work, and the undertakers of it have certainly been entitled to considerable credit in carrying it on. It has moreover reduced the price of Stone very much, and thus brought it into much more extensive use, besides increasing the value of the Quarries.

We returned in time for the Ladies to take a ride, and I worked a little upon my Catalogue which I am now working off entire. Called with Robert Buchanan upon our Neighbour George Beale who seemed in no very good humour, which I attributed to his failure at Squantum.


The Ledges was the local name for the stone escarpment in Quincy which Gridley Bryant purchased in 1825 with funds supplied by Dr. John C. Warren as a quarry for the granite to be used for the Bunker Hill monument. Faced with the problem of transporting the blocks the four miles from the Quarry to water-carriage on the Neponset River, Bryant conceived the idea of a railroad, obtained a charter from the legislature, and began construction. The first train of cars, horse-drawn, passing over the whole length of tracks of the Granite Railway in Quincy on 7 Oct. 1826, was the effective beginning of railroad enterprise in the United States (C. F. Adams Jr., “The Canal and Railroad Enterprise of Boston,” in Winsor, Memorial History of Boston , 4:116–121). The route taken by the railway is marked on the “map of Boston and the adjacent towns” in the present volume. On the railway’s cars, see above, p. xiv.


Caleb Pratt, agent in Boston for the Railway Quarry (subsequently the Bunker-Hill Quarry), was a housewright on Sea Street ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831, and entry for 31 Aug., below).


Fifty-eight steps led to the top of the tower. The structure was built by Col. Thomas Handasyd Perkins, into whose hands the whole stock of the railway and quarry fell (JQA, Diary, 23 Aug., and Winsor, Memorial History of Boston , 4:118).