Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Introduction Introduction
Charles Francis Adams, Diarist, 1829–1832

Near the end of the period covered by the present volumes, Charles Francis Adams characterized his diary as “a pretty monotonous record of the very even tenour of my life.”1 In a sense the appraisal is a just one. Certainly, Adams’ daily life from his twenty-second to his twenty-fifth year was marked by no spectacular incident and was passed without essential variation. Married on the day before these journal entries begin and already installed in the house he would occupy for the next thirteen years, the diarist was able to maintain his pattern of activities without interruption. Visits to his parents in the Old House at Quincy and to his wife’s parents at Medford were the only occasions during these years on which he left Boston, other than for a day’s outing or errand to a neighboring town: Cohasset, Weston, Cambridge, Woburn, Nahant. That the rhythm of his existence was maintained without break is suggested by the events which loom large in the journal: the birth of a daughter, the death of his mother-in-law and of his uncle, the emergence of his father from retirement to reenter public life as a member of Congress. And if his days passed with little interruption, it is also true that his time was given largely to occupations of no public moment: to the management of his father’s not very extensive property in Boston and Quincy and to the keeping of his accounts, to a law practice that was never more than nominal and that he made no effort to extend, to the pursuit of a program of studies which he set for himself and which during the period of these volumes produced comparatively slight results. His Sundays differed from other days only in the regular substitution of the meetinghouse, morning and afternoon, for the office, and of the reading of sermons for secular literature. The journal entries do reflect faithfully the limited range of his activities, and make understandable, if mistaken, his verdict on himself: “I am nothing, and shall be nothing, but a daudler over trifles.”2

Charles Francis Adams was no less hard a judge of the literary interest his journal might have. In comparing his literary attributes xxviwith those of his brother George, he found his own work not the equal of his brother’s in “aptitude of language and power of style.”3 His estimate of his own qualities, “Nature gave me no flights. It endowed me with a tolerably strait forward sense and middling Judgment,”4 while consistent with the evidence offered by the style in which he wrote his journal, neglects to say what he says elsewhere and what is abundantly evident, that the unadorned and commonsensical style is an achieved rather than a natural style, the product of continued study and of self-discipline. On rereading a volume in which he had several years earlier allowed himself to record his transient feelings, he was gratified to find the entries “so prettily written,”5 and again, before destroying some of his old letters to his brother George, he was struck by his earlier style: “I have lost ground since then, at least in genius if not in morals. I could not write so sprightly a letter now if I was to try ever so hard.”6 But that the sacrifice was deliberate becomes explicit when, on hearing one of his former classmates preach in figurative language, Adams writes, “I could not help reflecting what a severe hand had corrected my style, giving no Quarter to my Flowers, which were mere daisies along side of this man’s lilies and Tulips.”7 The new and disciplined character which he resolutely assumed upon marrying could make him at times regret the cost. “I am getting sobered down. The serious part of life has already set it’s hand upon me.... It is a melancholy reflection to see the shores pass as I sail by and to think that I am never to see them again.”8 But he also had the satisfaction of recognizing, at least at moments and particularly toward the end of the period surveyed in these volumes, that adherence to the program of reading and writing he had imposed upon himself had brought gains: “I feel as if my style was not without power and that it ought to take better.”9

However, though permanently submerged, there is a strain that sounds now and again, here and later, to unsettle us: “There is a charm to me in ... allusion that I never can get over. In many respects, I am not fit for the matter of fact world of this Century.”10 Such a remark from the diarist of these years, who appeared to move so easily within the tasks he set for himself, can only evoke surprise, if not disbelief. Nor is this reaction lessened after a further appraisal. One must sense that, despite his occasional complaints, there were in him qualities that made the chores with which he was occupied—the col-xxviilecting of rents, the balancing of accounts, the cataloguing of books, the secretaryships, the copying of letters—all congenial to him. Whether he records, “I... draughted an Alphabetical list of Stockholders, which was perhaps needless, but I like to arrange things regularly,” or “I was busy during the morning in pasting labels into my father’s books—Not a very appropriate occupation but one which I feel never will be done unless I do it,” the recognition of the response in himself is evident.11 The conscientiousness and humility with which he carried out the responsibilities he felt devolved upon him from the quarterly payments he received from his father and his father-in-law are perhaps only the obverse of self-distrust. “I have only steadiness of character, without the boldness of enterprise essential to success—and without any confidence in myself”; “the safest way for a man distrusting his abilities is to begin small and attempt things gradually.”12 These are characteristics he never wholly lost; it would seem that there was always the desire to reach “my journey’s end without risk of my neck.”13 Such tendencies, deeply ingrained, do rather confirm the accepted image of the man than justify the romantic image of one out of harmony with, the matter-of-fact world.

Further, when we proceed to examine the countenance the world saw in these years and afterward, we seem to find nothing to suggest that the gravity of demeanor, the imperturbable calm, was not the outward mark of a tranquility of mind, of acceptance of the world and assurance of his place in it. This is the picture of the man we are given, seen in later years, by his sons Henry and Charles Francis Jr., each with a different bias, in Henry’s Education and in Charles’ life of his father. And when the diarist was only twenty-two his father already spoke of him as “grave and steady,”14 and remarked on his “sober enquiries after truth.”15

We have been prepared, however, by the earlier volumes of his diary to know that it had not always been so with Charles Francis Adams, that in his youth he had had another character in which his passions were not so rigidly controlled.16 Although at the time of his marriage he could say, “I care little about dissipation for time has made me sick of it. I have had more than my dose,”17 three years later his xxviiiview of himself at that earlier time seems closer to the fact: “Much has been said upon the danger of marrying early, but for a man constituted like me I believe it to be something of a safeguard.”18 It was well observed by a reviewer of the first two volumes of the Diary that Adams even after he achieved respectability “found continence extremely difficult.”19 Nor, despite appearances, did he ever completely subdue the other passions that marked the inner man. Among those who had long known Adams and appraised him after his death was James Russell Lowell. He penetrated the exterior to exclaim, “How often must his calm have been that of suppressed passion!... It was harder for him than for most men to be circumspect and prudent.”20 In the years of the present volumes Adams sometimes seemed to himself deficient in masking his warmth among a cold people: “There are moments when the impetuosity of my natural character will burst forth and then it rushes with tenfold violence..... I ought daily to set before myself some monitory sentence to guard me from the natural and powerful tendency of my own passions. In other climates, it would matter little, but here where the natural character and manners are cold, mine appear unpleasantly. I must learn to press down, to restrain the intense force of my feelings.”21

Yet we judge that his reputation for reserve and coldness must already have been won when, after listening to a sermon by Ralph Waldo Emerson which Adams understood to mean that “the general reputation of a man is the correct one,” the diarist, looking to himself, took issue: “A Man’s whole character is rarely known, and in many cases the substitution in public opinion of certain leading traits occasions an entirely mistaken estimate. A man may be warmhearted in nature yet cold in his general manners. He is called haughty.... It is undoubtedly true that the world can sometimes, though it may not always, be deceived.”22

Rejecting his father’s and grandfather’s passionate openness, Charles Francis Adams’ characteristic behavior was to restrain any display. The course he set for himself in this regard was so rigorous a one that he seldom allowed himself even the indulgence of recording his feelings in his diary. The routine and meager references to his wife that are to be found in it are the mark of this rigor, rather than an indication of any failure in his marriage or any want of affection xxixfor Abby—an affection that we deduce from other evidence was deep and abiding.

Beginning in 1826 and continuing for eight or nine years, he did allow himself some expression of his “views and feelings of the hour” in a separate book, which he would ultimately destroy though not before recording that he found the entries “not discreditable to me.” When he read the volume over at the point that he was “busy in the work of destruction,” we hear again of the “speculative and solitary tendencies I had,” along with the renewed declaration of satisfaction that he had overcome them and in so doing “realized i.e. accomplished much more than I then even vaguely anticipated.”23 During the years he was writing in it, on at least one occasion when he opened the book he “could not avoid pouring out the current of my feelings at length.”24 More explicit statements of their character are rare in the diary, and when they occur they are in the context of what has been put away, but never quite:

The beauty of the day, the rich colouring which the Autumn had given to the leaves of the Woods, and the picturesque effect of the wild scenery ... gave a kind of romance to the Expedition.... I have from early associations in life felt a singular fondness for that scenery which by others is always considered wild and desolate. It seems in some measure to harmonize with a particular tone of mind in me formerly cherished but now repressed which seeks melancholy for pleasure. I can see more beauty in the roughness of nature than the softness of artificial cultivation, more attraction in a spot where man seems never to have been than where his labour has made all things smooth. Indeed my feelings today reminded me of early dreams long since vanished and not till now revived in any degree. They were the offspring of idle hours of musing then and are worth no more than the pleasure which remembrance gives to early feelings of all kinds. I have indulged them only here.... For after all I am no loser by the changes which have come over me. Why should I be savage, and lonely? 25

The solitary and melancholic, sensitive and passionate man, “unfit for the matter of fact world of this century” does then exist within the years of these volumes, but he is to be found out usually in ways more indirect than his own words. His preference among the poets for Collins, Gray, and Byron is confirmatory;26 so perhaps is the large place occupied by accounts of Arctic exploration in the list of books borrowed by Adams from the Boston Athenaeum during these years.27 The xxxpowerful effect exerted upon Adams at each return to Mount Wollaston, “pretty and wild,” adds another dimension.28 Still another may be his preference for the Greeks, who “shone through the powers of the mind,” maintained strongly against his father’s preference for the more worldly and practical Romans.29

More problematic in its relevance to this aspect of the diarist’s personality, because attributable to other traits and influences as well, was Adams’ aversion to commerce, to the vulgarity of “money,” to “State Street,” to which Henry Adams gave emphasis in his extraordinarily deft portrait of his father as a kind of 18th-century man in The Education. Nevertheless, in the responses he records in the diary to men of current wealth and station when he encounters them at meetings of the directors of the Middlesex Canal or of the Boston Athenaeum, at public meetings in Faneuil Hall, at the dinner tables of Benjamin Bussey and Peter Chardon Brooks, or in his reflections, one hears in the tone of his disapproval something of the same strain: “The passion for wealth is perhaps the most universal on the Globe. Its operation is to narrow the liberal feelings, to check nobility of soul. If there is any reproach to be made to people in this Quarter it is this.”30 Or again when his wife’s cousin gives up his post in an Insurance Office to study theology: “Poor fellow, I pity him. He forgets the fact that Wealth gives Power, learning only indigence and contempt.”31

Only after a probing search in these directions do Adams’ consuming fears that he would be childless, morbid fears because they were groundless, become explicable and a consistent element in the man’s temperament. Clearly, he had entertained those fears for some years before his marriage. Within a month of that event he had adverted to his fear, and in less than two he wrote, “I fear “now... that my dread will be realized.”32 In 1831, after the birth of the Adamses’ first child, when giving thanks for the year’s blessing, Adams wrote that it “had dispelled doubts and fears which for many preceding years had slightly shaded my path, and had justified me to myself for my conduct in some important particulars.”33 And in the immediate joy of that event he was led to “look back upon past time,... the fears and hopes which possessed me, and which were spread throughout my writing whether in this Journal or in my letters.”34


The fear of childlessness in the years before that fear was exorcised, was the dark underside of the strongest of Charles Francis Adams’ passions, his utter devotion to the family name and character. Nor was that dread entirely debilitating, for the fear itself was a goad to achievement and right action: “I am the only Stock of an old House, and is not the object glorious to continue it in character even if I do not it’s name?35 And beyond the fear that the family would become extinct was the fear that its reputation might suffer in its descendants: “What becomes of the family which we love to cherish? Perhaps this is a part of fate. I know not but with a very good end, for it would be better that it should cease than degenerate to become a proverb.”36

It is clear that pride in the role of sole and final custodian of the Adams heritage was an operative passion, but there was in it too a romanticization of fact. Charles Francis Adams was not the last of the line. There was his brother John, who at the time the present volumes commence already had a child and would have another before the end of the period covered by them. But John lived in Washington, and for the diarist the true sphere of the family was Massachusetts. So that to say, “I am now the last scion of the race in this State,”37 was but a more precise way of saying, “I am the only Stock of an old House.” Moreover, John’s first child was a daughter, as was his second; and John was in commerce, and not successfully either. The business (the financial responsibility of John Quincy Adams) and the presence of John and his family in Washington to manage it, were, to Charles Francis Adams, hindrances to the day when his father would return to the home of his fathers in Massachusetts, there to carry out his familial responsibilities in writing the life of John Adams. Washington too, and for many reasons, was a part of his own life that Charles Francis Adams preferred to ignore.38

In another sense, Charles Francis Adams’ failure during these years to take effective note of John as a sharer in the family heritage is attributable to the diarist’s fascination in exploring what were to him antithetical and complementary aspects in the characters of himself and his dead brother, the brilliant, amiable, and dissolute George Washington Adams; in exploring how between them was divided the whole Adams inheritance of mind and morals. It was a construction in which there was no place for a third. In that construction, by being xxxiisaved by George’s example from the weaknesses to which they were both subject, by acquiring through persistent study and imitation George’s strengths in which he, Charles, was deficient, and by supplying the moral strength which George lacked, Charles could qualify himself to stand in the line of his father and grandfather. The image of George is never absent for long in the diary of these years and always appears in a monitory guise for the diarist.39 The hoped-for end was all but mystical: “I have often thought that had we been able to form one character out of the advantageous portions of our two, Success would have been certain.”40 The continued use by Charles of the commonplace books, the account books, the blank books that George had prepared, may reflect a kind of symbolic effort to achieve this union as much as it does a Yankee thrift. Something of this is evident in the note that Charles wrote at the commencement of his continuation of the commonplace book, “The Elements of Knowledge,” that George had planned and begun: “Had perseverance only been his to fill the sketch he was so fully able to lay out, perhaps he would still have been among us, our pride and support. But since it was not the will of Providence that it should be thus, all that remains to me is to benefit as much by his good purposes as I can, and supply the deficiencies which in him prevented their execution. I therefore adopt here all that has been inserted and shall continue the extracts.”41

Basic to the realization of Charles Francis Adams’ purposes for himself and for the family was the assumption by him of a moral character that was unassailable. The devotion to duty, the humility, the regularity, the gravity that mark the Diary in these years are aspects of it. In the absence of evidence of strong religious convictions, the fixed habit of church attendance morning and afternoon and of sermon-reading afterward was the visible sign of the preeminence of the moral commitment. The want of confidence in his own abilities and powers made essential the acquisition of certainty of conscience: “The world can get along exactly as well if I do nothing. Perhaps better as there would be one less to crowd it. But this tone is incorrect. So long as I am placed in it, I must not reject my duty, because others do so. It is essential to me that my conscience should be clear.”42 It was the means by which he was able to put his trust in “a higher power,” a phrase that runs like a refrain through these volumes. “I make my humble supplica-xxxiiition to God, though I cannot feel now as if I could complain if he tried me a little. Yet I feel as if I had a pure heart and a willing mind to obey Counsels wherever they might end.”43 Thus armed, he was able to advance without hesitation upon those matters he thought vital to himself and to the Adams family “with a sense of independence and justness of feeling, without which I should be as a broken reed.”44

The assurance was so complete that in his passages with John Quincy Adams, no mean antagonist, over pursuits that should most properly occupy the father, the son spoke in tones more conventionally heard from a parent:

Three years have now elapsed and they have been witnesses to the most extraordinary irresolution I ever knew you seized by.... I have not been gratified by your election to Congress. I have felt little satisfaction in your occasional productions, for the reason that they employ the time in momentary objects, which should be devoted to a durable monument to your reputation.... I know that you can never be charged with any thing like Indolence in fact, but the moral effect is the same as if you could.45

To this exhortation, John Quincy Adams entered a defense, an Adams defense, that there were obligations owed to the Nation and to the Plymouth congressional district: “I am acting under a sense of duty.... My election to Congress was a Call.... From the dwellers of my native land. From the scenes of my childhood—Almost from the Sepulchres of my fathers.”46 But the son was not to be put off with the plea of a duty that transcended the familial duty: “If the call on the part of your Constituents was of such a Nature as to make this acceptance of it a duty; was it so imperious as to put in the back ground other Calls which perhaps are not less urgent?... You say, it is ‘Almost from the sepulchres of your fathers.’ There is another, from which ‘Almost’ may be suppressed.”47 What he had set himself to persuade his father to was the prosecution of a life, perhaps more properly a vindication, of John Adams.48

In truth, Charles Francis Adams recognized in his father, and with satisfaction, the same inflexibility, the same response to what he conceived to be his duty, the same want of tact in his relations with those whose motives he questioned, that were chararcteristic of the diarist xxxivhimself.49 Father and son understood one another’s character and manner, respected each other, and maintained their separate beliefs: “We keep up a kind of warfare that gives the letters a little spirit, and though apparently differing very much, agree well enough in the main. I tie my faith to no man’s sleeve.”50

As befitted one of this temper who was not “an unqualified admirer...of any man living or dead,”51 Charles Francis Adams, despite being overwhelmed by the breadth of John Quincy Adams’ learning,52 recognized limitations in his father: “He wants the profound wisdom which gives knowledge it’s highest lustre, he is not proof against the temporary seductions of popular distinction to resist which is the most solid evidence of greatness. Yet if he is not in character like Washington, he is a very extraordinary man for the times we live in.”53

But if he had limitations, he was still, for Charles Francis Adams, the only instructor to whom he could profitably apprentice himself for training of the mind. Although there were times when instruction was sought and imparted directly, the son’s spirit was not of a sort to admit much profit from a master-student relationship: an effort was required to come to terms with his father’s influence. More effectively and frequently, the educational method took one of two forms, the first, disputation, the second, emulation. The first was consciously entered upon, the second not with full realization or admission that it was taking place. At times there was an easy passage from the one to the other.

The pages of the diary for these years and the correspondence record many instances of debate being pursued between father and son on varied subjects, the son often taking his position opposite to that of his father with deliberation and purpose. They disputed among other topics the superiority of the Greeks to the Romans, Demosthenes to Cicero, the ancients to the moderns; the planning of gardens; the right of Parliament to legislate for the American colonies; Indian removal; political Antimasonry.

Instances of the son’s emulation of his father are discoverable only accidentally. The reader of the diary and the person who examines Charles Francis Adams’ later career will find many more and perhaps xxxvreject some of those alleged here. They may be of little moment, as when Charles Francis one evening read aloud from the American poets as his father had done less than two weeks before.54 They may reflect more sharply an underlying competitiveness, as when Charles Francis undertook to translate from the works of Marmontel the identical tale that John Quincy had translated years before and published in the Port Folio, a copy of which Charles Francis had been reading a month before.55 They may be of a larger and less well-defined sort, as in the son’s adoption for himself of a program of improving his style by translating from the classic orators and of making himself a master of the literature and principles of oratory, a subject to which his father had devoted himself over many years and in which he was an acknowledged master.56 They may relate to an extended interest on the part of Charles Francis in studying and writing about a current issue with which his father had become publicly identified. Here more than elsewhere the pattern of emulation begins in disputation to end in an arrival at almost identical conclusions. An example may be seen in the attitudes of father and son toward Freemasonry and their identification with Antimasonry.57

During the years covered by these volumes and for some years thereafter, in one area only is there no evidence that the son would follow the course set by his father: in the choice of politics and public life as a profession. Charles Francis undertook the disputation on this subject for no educational purpose and in no speculative vein. He rejected outright the thought of such a career for himself on a number of counts: his own temperamental unsuitability, the lack of opportunity so long as his father remained in the arena, and the unhappy experiences of each of the Adams statesmen at the hands of an ungrateful citizenry. He recognized his bent as in the direction of studies and writing. What ardor he could summon was “the ardor for literary distinction.”58 He described his ambition as of an “extensive but not of an extravagant kind. It is rather a desire of distinction from reputation than from place.”59 Thus committed, he gave all the hours that he could save from those office and family chores to which he felt bound, to reading and writing. The breadth and extent of his reading during xxxvithese three years will be evident. The articles that he wrote and published in newspapers and journals make a more impressive list than one would guess from reading the diary entries themselves;60 and they are of good quality as well. Although he was not then or later satisfied with the reception his writing received, he was justified in his reaction to the articles when he came upon them again nearly forty years afterward: “In reading them over I am not displeased with them, and am amazed at the industry they display, and the independence they maintain. They did not make for me the reputation that they deserved.”61

The major subjects of his reading and his writing during the years covered by the present volumes, in addition to the subjects that have already been alluded to in the course of this Introduction, were American history and contemporary public issues. On the last, at the time these volumes end, he had concluded, “I... never shall succeed as a political writer. Let me turn then as soon as possible to Literature.”62 By literature he clearly meant historical literature, particularly that which related to the New England past, to the Puritan and, ultimately, to the Adams contribution. These were themes which continued to stir him:

My own impression is that the New England character has not been justly appreciated, that men have taken the start in giving false and unfavourable views of the early settlers which it will take long years to shake off. But whether by previous study or occupations I am the fit person to shake it off remains to be seen. At any rate it would be an honourable quest, and peculiarly appropriate in me, the descendant of one of the clearest of its lines, not undistinguished in its history. My thoughts flow in upon me far too fast to speak them even if I would. But they are only fit for secret meditations.63

When, in May 1831, he began in earnest to sort and arrange his grandfather’s papers, he was reaching toward his ultimate vocation in the nonpublic sphere, though he could not yet sense it—the editing and publishing of the family’s papers.64 At the time he was aware only of an interest absorbing enough to cause him to break his established routine: “The day was fine, but I concluded that I would not go to xxxviiBoston.... I sat down accordingly and worked from eight O’clock until two very steadily at the Papers....As I am occasionally very much inclined to read over several interesting ones my course is stopped. An acquaintance with the incidents of his life embraces a knowledge of the history of the whole period. And I feel as if I ought to seize every opportunity of knowing facts relating to the times. The hours flew rapidly.65

What prevented his coming then to an understanding of his true vocation was the conviction he held that this was the proper and essential work to occupy John Quincy Adams for the rest of his life. On this ground primarily, but also because of what seemed to one of his decorous turn of mind an impropriety in one who had been President, Charles Francis Adams lamented his father’s decision to accept the “call” to Congress. “His course.... has not been calculated to raise him in the judgment of the public. The examples of Washington, Jefferson and Madison have produced so strong an effect that a departure from their line of policy is considered as a departure from true dignity. I think his only course is to set seriously about writing a biography of my Grandfather and a thorough examination of his papers.”66 He therefore stubbornly persisted in his effort to lure his father from Washington to the family archives and the writing chamber at Quincy:

Does my grandfather’s reputation stand so high that it will need no mending or restoring?... Even at this moment, a deliberate attempt is made to rob him of all credit for knowledge of political affairs in a trying Crisis and moreover to prove him wrong where he has always been thought right. Is this nothing? Here is a gross perversion of history ... obtaining the authority of time and prescription, while the destruction of it is still left to chance ...From the clearest lights of my understanding I do feel impressed with a conviction that his story is not fairly told.... You know it all better than I do.... If this is an important duty, which you and you only can perform, is it wonderful that I feel provoked that the performance of it should be hazarded by ... the doubtful (to say no more) advantages of the ... all exhausting political warfare of a Seat in the House of Representatives?67

Until events forced him to realize that John Quincy Adams would never leave the public sphere while he lived, Charles Francis Adams still searched for his vocation.

The Manuscripts and the Editorial Method

Before the period covered by the present volumes Charles Francis Adams had settled upon an appropriate form for the entries in his journal (see volume 1:xxxix–xl). Later, despite an inclination at times “to attempt some new method,” he concluded that “the old way after all suits my taste and my habits. There is now no good reason to change it” (below, p. 238). From 1827 onward he was to follow a single form that was to remain essentially unchanged and to continue without any significant break until 1880.

The journal entries from 4 September 1829 to 31 December 1832, the time spanned in the present volumes, are consecutively written in three manuscript-diary volumes. In the Adams Papers serial numbering they are designated D/CFA/5, 8, and 9 (Microfilms, Reel Nos. 59–61). Adams’ own numbering of the volumes differs from the numbers assigned in the Adams Papers as they now stand; an explanation of the discrepancy is given in volume 1:xxxvii–xxxviii.

From 4 September 1829 to 16 May 1830, the journal entries occupy the pages in D/CFA/5 that the diarist had left blank when he packed the volume away in July 1827 preparatory to leaving Washington for Boston. Thereafter, from 31 July 1827 through 3 September 1829, he had used two other volumes, D/CFA/6 and 7. On the day following his marriage, to mark the change in his life made by that event, Adams began anew in the earlier-used manuscript volume with the sentence with which the present volumes open: “An accidental circumstance which deprived me of this Book at the proper Season for continuing my Journal in course, has carried me through two other Books with as many years and it is only now as a Married man that I resume my record of events here” (below, p. 1–2). The volume, bound in tooled green leather, measures 81/2″ x 61/2″ and contains, in its two parts, 354 pages; in its second part alone, 260 pages.

Beginning on 17 May 1830 (below, p. 238) and continuing through 31 December 1831 (volume 4:208), the journal entries are continued through the 321 pages of D/CFA/8, a vellum-bound volume, 10″ x 8″, with a red leather label on its spine. On the front cover is written in George Washington Adams’ hand, his name and “Boston 10th October 1827.” One might conclude from the blank pages left at the end of the volume that when Charles Francis Adams had made his entry for the end of the year he wished thereafter to have the beginning and end of his diary volumes coincide with the beginning and end of calendar years. In this he was only intermit-xxxixtently successful, although he did accomplish it in the volume immediately following.

The ninth volume of Charles Francis Adams’ diary (D/CFA/9) contains two full years of journal entries, 1 January 1832–31 December 1833, of which the first year’s entries are included within the present volumes (volume 4:209–433). The manuscript volume, measuring 10″ x 8″, is bound in half calf with green boards; its spine is now missing; and it contains 368 pages.

The editorial method followed in volumes 3 and 4 of the Diary of Charles Francis Adams has, with slight modifications to be noted, been that followed in the two earlier volumes of the Diary. That method, including textual and annotational policy, has been explained fully in the Introduction to those volumes, 1:xl–xlvi.

Adams did not customarily paragraph his journal entries during the years covered by these volumes. Paragraphing has been introduced where shifts of time or place or subject seem to demand it.

With respect to punctuation, the editors of the present volumes have concluded that it is possible to rationalize Adams’ use of the dash mark. His dash has been retained rather than converted to a period where he has capitalized the word following the dash but where the matter preceding the dash does not constitute a grammatical sentence. The editors believe that in such instances Adams did not use the dash as a proper concluding mark for a sentence but to separate introductory participial or absolute elements from the rest of the sentence. The decision to retain the author’s dash mark in those situations, but to use the period as the concluding mark for full sentences, has all but eliminated what seemed to be Adams’ addiction to the fragmentary sentence, and also the need to introduce any semicolons, a mark he very seldom used.

What was said in the Introduction to the earlier volumes (1:xlii) about the rendering of Adams’ notation of the hour and minute of arising and retiring, and of the telegraphic style of his “Index” diary (D/CFA/I) is not relevant here since neither the notation nor the “Index” is used during the period covered by these volumes. Similarly, the policy adopted earlier on canceled matter and editorial insertions has not had to be employed in these volumes. However, during these years Adams did introduce a new element in his diary: the notation of place. Beginning with the first page of D/CFA/8 (below, p. 238) and continuing regularly thereafter, each page of the manuscript diary has at its head a notation of place. These place notations have xla fixed position irrespective of whether the top of the page marks the opening of a new journal entry or the continuation of an entry from the preceding page. By means of the notation Adams indicates his abode or changes in it during the period covered by the entry or entries on that page. His practice in the manuscript has been normalized in these volumes to include the place notation, italicized, just above and to the left of the date at the beginning of any entry where a change of abode is recorded, but to omit the place notation elsewhere. In those instances where Adams has written in the manuscript the names of both the place from which and the place to which he went, both names have been retained. In those instances where a change of abode for a day is evident in the text of a journal entry but not recorded in a place notation in the manuscript, the editors have supplied and bracketed the place notation.In the digitization of the printed volumes, all such notations have been placed after the heading of an entry and before the entry text.

The statement made in the Introduction to the earlier volumes of the Diary of Charles Francis Adams (1:xlv) about the annotation of books and other publications mentioned in the Diary must now be expanded in one particular. In addition to recording, for the books Adams mentions, the edition and present whereabouts of those he owned or used in his father’s or grandfather’s library, the editors of the present volumes have been able to include bibliographical information about the substantial number of books Adams borrowed from the Boston Athenaeum beginning in January 1830. All such borrowings have also been listed in the Appendix (volume 4:436–444; see also above, p. xix–xx).


Diary, 6 Feb. 1832 (vol. 4:235).


25 May 1831 (vol. 4:55).


8 Sept. 1829 (vol. 3:6).


20 July 1831 (vol. 4:93).


15 Oct. 1829 (vol. 3:46).


1 Aug. 1831 (vol. 4:103).


2 Jan. 1831 (vol. 3:394).


30 April 1830 (vol. 3:225).


24 Nov. 1832 (vol. 4:404).


19 Oct. 1832 (vol. 4:381–382).


17 Feb. 1831 (vol. 3:424), and 23 Sept. 1832 (vol. 4:367).


8 Sept. 1829 (vol. 3:6), and 9 May 1830 (vol. 3:232).


To the Editor of the Boston Patriot, 29 June 1830, quoted at vol. 3:271.


To Charles Francis Adams, 18 Dec. 1829, Adams Papers.


To the same, 13 May 1830, quoted at vol. 3:226.


See vol. 1:xxviii–xxxix and the passages there cited.


Diary, 12 Sept. 1829 (vol. 3:13).


3 Sept. 1832 (vol. 4:356–357).


Times Literary Supplement, 28 Oct. 1965.


Massachusetts Historical Society, Proceedings, 2d series, 3 (1886–1887): 150.


Diary, 20 Dec. 1832 (vol. 4:424).


29 April 1832 (vol. 4:288).


MS Diary, 8 Aug. 1868.


15 Oct. 1829 (vol. 3:46).


9 Oct. 1829 (vol. 3:39–40).


See vols. 1 and 2, passim, and the diarist’s Literary Commonplace Book, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 312.


See vol. 4, Appendix.


26 June 1830 (vol. 3:268); see also the entries for 27 Aug. 1830 (vol. 3:309–310) and 14 Sept. 1832 (vol. 4:362).


See, for example, the entry for 26 Dec. 1831 (vol. 4:205 and passim).


25 Sept. 1831 (vol. 4:145).


17 April 1831 (vol. 4:30).


2 and 27 Oct. 1829 (vol. 3:33 and 58).


31 Dec. 1831 (vol. 4:208).


13 Aug. 1831 (vol. 4:110), and, for example, see the entries for 8 Nov., 11 Dec. 1829; 16 May, 3 and 10 Oct. 1830 (vol. 3:70, 101, 237, 332, and 336).


10 Dec. 1829 (vol. 3:100); see also the entry for 7 Nov. 1831 (vol. 4:171).


10 Sept. 1830 (vol. 3:317).


16 Sept. 1829 (vol. 3:17).


See vol. 1:xxvi–xxxiii.


See, for example, the entries for 8 and 9 Sept., 16 Oct., 12 and 24 Nov. 1829; 14 April, 26 Oct. 1830 (vol. 3:6–8, 47, 73, 84, 213, 347, and passim”).


30 July 1831 (vol. 4:101).


Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 295; quoted at vol. 3:388–389.


Diary, 19 Dec. 1832 (vol. 4:424).


10 Dec. 1829 (vol. 3:100).


To Louisa Catherine Adams, 21 Dec. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:201–202.


To John Quincy Adams, 12 Nov. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:175.


To Charles Francis Adams, 22 Nov. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:187.


To John Quincy Adams, 30 Nov.–1 Dec. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:189.


See the letter of Charles Francis Adams to John Quincy Adams, 12 Nov. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:175–176; also the journal entry of 24 June 1830 (vol. 3:267); and the editorial note on Jared Sparks, vol. 4:xii–xiii.


See the entries for 19 April and 20 Sept. 1831; 30 Nov. 1832 (vol. 4:31, 141, and 409).


Charles Francis Adams to Louisa Catherine Adams, 21 Dec. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:201–202.


Charles Francis Adams to John Quincy Adams, 30 Nov.–1 Dec. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:189–190.


See, for example, the entries for 27 Sept. and 25 Oct. 1829 (vol. 3:29 and 56).


Diary, 28 Sept. 1830 (vol. 3:328–329); see also the entry for 3 Oct. 1830 (vol. 3:331)


John Quincy Adams, Diary, 10 Oct. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:154; Charles Francis Adams, Diary, 22 Oct. 1831 (vol. 4:161).


Diary, 15 Oct. and 20 Nov. 1832 (vol. 4:379 and 403).


See vol. 4:xvi–xvii.


See vol. 4:x–xii and the entries for 22 May 1831, 20 Aug., 26 Nov. 1832 (vol. 4:53, 349–350, 407).


10 Oct. 1830 (vol. 3:336).


18 Aug. 1830 (vol. 3:303). The word “place” is here used in the sense of “official position.”


See the Chronology, vol. 4:447–449.


MS Diary, 4 Oct. 1869. See also the entries for 24 Nov., and 5 Dec. 1832 (vol. 4:404 and 413).


15 Dec. 1832 (vol. 4:421).


15 April 1830 (vol. 3:214).


On this entire aspect of Charles Francis Adams’ career, see the summary account and appraisal in Diary and Autobiography of John Adams, ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1961, 1:xxvi–xxx, xlvii–lii; Adams Family Correspondence , ed. L. H. Butterfield and others, Cambridge, 1963, 1: xxxii–xxxviii.


Diary, 28 May 1831 (vol. 4:57).


12 Nov. 1831 (vol. 4:174–175); see also the letter to JQA of the same date quoted in the note to that entry, and the entry for 3 Oct. 1830 (vol. 3:331).


To John Quincy Adams, 30 Nov.–1 Dec. 1831, quoted at vol. 4:189–190.