Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Sunday. 16th.

Tuesday. 18th.

Monday. 17th. CFA Monday. 17th. CFA
Monday. 17th.

Fine morning. I went to the Office after a visit from Mr. Stephen Whitney. This is a member of our House of Representatives from Deerfield. He is one of the leading Antimasons in that body, and came to me to get a draught of a bill copied which the Committee were to offer as their measure to suppress Masonry. This bill like all the other Papers on this subject was drawn by Mr. Hallett. Although the humble business of copyist was not very flattering to my vanity, I yet thought it prudent not to decline the offer, and consequently spent two hours of my morning in executing a copy. As Mr. Whitney had at the same time requested any Comments I might make, I added some and sent them to him.

Walked down to see some furniture and a House designed for Mrs. Ritchie, but not occupied by her. Mr. Otis wishes to sell it, far above its value. I was not struck with either, though the situation is pleasant.1 Afternoon, finished the first Volume of Benjamin Constant, and also the Phormio of Terence. I have been much pleased with this author. His Comedies appear cold to us, but there is every difference in reading and acting. I was struck with that in Rule a Wife and Have a Wife. My Grandfather has written Notes to accommodate us which I have transferred into my copy though I do not think them quite just.2

My wife went out to Tea. Mr. T.K. Davis called for an hour. I then went to Mrs. Frothingham’s. Family, part, and the Sumners and Miss Julia Gorham and Miss Anne Carter. Home at ten.


Harrison Gray Otis, who lived at 45 Beacon Street (the third of the great Boston houses he built) from 1806 until his death in 1848, in 1831–1832 built next door at No. 44 a house for his daughter Sophia, Mrs. Andrew Ritchie (at the time the two houses bore the numbers 42 and 41 [ Boston Directory, 1834; Columbian Centinel, 17 March, p. 3, col. 6)]. Apparently Mrs. Ritchie never lived in the house but let it. Otis did not succeed in selling the house, leasing it to a succession of tenants including Francis C. Gray and Samuel Austin. When sold by the Otis heirs, the purchaser was Robert Gould Shaw Jr. The house is now owned and occupied by the Meteorological Society of America (Morison, H. G. Otis [1969 edn.], p. 193–196, 533, 547–548; Chamberlain, Beacon Hill , p. 177–178).


The letters JA wrote to his three grandsons in 1816 about the plays of Terence are in the Adams Papers (M/280JA/9, Folder 4; Microfilms, Reel No. 188). The copy of the plays into which CFA transferred JA’s comments (London, 1825) is in MQA and is illustrated in the present volume; see also p. xviii, above.