Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Monday. 27th.

Wednesday. 29th.

Tuesday. 28th. CFA Tuesday. 28th. CFA
Tuesday. 28th.

I left Medford this morning in the Carriage with my Wife and Mr. Brooks. My morning was too much taken up in running about and trifles. Mr. Walsh came in and worried me a good deal, for I received two letters from my father both of which needed special attention which I was unable to bestow.1 The Carriage came in with Louisa C. Smith and to be left for repairs. I called to take her to Quincy to dinner.

Found my Mother much as I left her yesterday. She does not appear to me to suffer under this much. My brother had turned the rise of the hill and his progress was downward at a pace so accellerating and she was so aware of it, that I do not believe she feels as if it was a blow for which she had any complaint to make against Providence.2

For myself, I may be called cold in heart, and I have often thought with possible justice, but I cannot regard the loss of either of my brothers as a calamity either to their families or to themselves. They were saved much misery which would have been otherwise inevitable, and their friends the harrowing anxieties of witnessing a remediless evil. A calm judgment could come to no other conclusion. Conversation with my Mother about her plans. Ovid and German.


To CFA, 23 and 24 Oct. (both in Adams Papers). The immediate charge was to arrange for a loan of $15,000 to meet the joint and several debts in Washington contracted by JQA and JA2.


“My dear Son had been in a declining and drooping state of health more than three years. Several times afflicted with severe and acute disease; often so far recovered as to be out—able to travel and attend to business but never well.... His case did not however present symptoms of danger, till Sunday the 12th of this Month, from which time there has been no rational hope of his recovery” (JQA, Diary, 23 Oct.). The exact nature of the fatal illness remained undiagnosed, or at least undisclosed (same, 28 Oct.). In the family correspondence of the preceding months are references to intermittent fevers, to threatened loss of eyesight, to stiffening of limbs and joints, to an involvement of the feet, and to some loss of memory (LCA to JQA, 16, 25 July; to JA2, 31 July; to Mrs. JA2, 12 Oct.; all in Adams Papers).

Beyond the physical decline, CFA’s words are to be understood as referring to a declination of another kind. See below, entries for 18 Nov., 31 December.