Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Thursday. 17th.

Saturday. 19th.

Friday. 18th. CFA Friday. 18th. CFA
Friday. 18th.

Morning fine and tolerably warm. I read some of the first book of Virgil’s Aeneid and went to the Office. Mr. Peabody called in and 195asked me to take a walk with him. We went over Craigie’s bridge to Charlestown and home again. Nothing particular—Conversation about politics and general subjects.

On my return found Kirke in with the Carriage and my Mother. I started to see her, but as I wished to call for a moment at the Advocate office, Mr. Hallet stopped me to talk upon several points of importance. The consequence that on reaching home I found her just starting. She informed me of the death of Thomas J. Hellen, in Fairfax County Virginia, of brain fever after two days illness.1 Poor fellow—His life was thrown away in nothings. His mind was constituted so peculiarly that the ordinary considerations which act upon men very feebly influenced him. The world will bear no traces of his existence and his friends will feel no grief at his loss. He had been in life a cipher.

I took a ride in the afternoon to improve my digestion. On my return, sat down and put the finish to my Article upon Hutchinson. I then commenced a series of political papers for the present election. Mr. Hallet wished me to take up some subject and I selected the one of Antimasonic Proscription.2 Wrote till midnight.


Thomas Johnson Hellen, a nephew of LCA and a brother of Mrs. JA2, died at twenty-four. Along with his brother and sister, he had for a number of years after the death of their parents lived in the JQA family in Washington. He had attended Phillips Exeter Academy and had been a student at Harvard for two years, but seems never to have been able to overcome the extreme indolence that characterized others of his family. The fullest account of JQA’s efforts, long expended and unappreciated, on behalf of Thomas and his elder brother Johnson is in JQA, Diary, 20, 23 March 1830. See also Adams Genealogy.


In anticipation of the state election on 11 Nov., the Boston Daily Advocate published CFA’s four unsigned articles “The Proscription of Antimasonry” (22 Oct., p. 2, cols. 3–4; 25 Oct., p. 2, cols. 2-3; 30 Oct., p. 2, cols. 2-3; 1 Nov., p. 2, cols. 3–4), defending Antimasons against the charge of blacklisting candidates from the simple fact of their being Freemasons. A promised fifth and concluding article was never finished (entry for 6 Nov., below).