Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Monday. 24th.

Wednesday. 26th.

Tuesday. 25th. CFA Tuesday. 25th. CFA
Tuesday. 25th.

My morning was passed at the Office, principally in writing and copying a letter to my father. He gave me upon my leaving Washington a paper of instructions which I have pursued this morning.1 I have seen Brown into whose hands I put the New England Office Shares and Degrand called upon me so that I gave him the Estate in Tremont Street to sell. Thus far my course was clear. I wrote back as plain and direct an answer as I could stating explicitly and for the last time my opinions.2 I propose in future to act entirely by instructions.

My time slips away so fast that I am entirely unable to take hold of my Diary with the energy which the fortnight’s absence requires. At dinner today Miss Henrietta Gray who came in from Medford with the intention of leaving this place under the care of Mr. Brooks tomorrow morning. They are going to Baltimore to see Gorham Brooks and his wife and to Washington just to peep at things there. The house was of course not in much order, and I felt severely the want of a private room. I have delayed making any arrangements respecting it until this departure took place when I might do so more at my own ease. I went out in the evening and amused myself finishing Captain 24Marryatt’s singular story of Jacob Faithful. On my return I found Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham, with a Miss Etheridge who had come over to spend the night being also to go in the morning, and Mr. Edward Everett who is Pilot of the whole concern.


JQA’s instructions to CFA, contained in his letter of the 18th (Adams Papers), were to sell at no less than par his stock in the New England Insurance Co., to offer for sale at $20,000 the houses at 103 and 105 Tremont Street. To these instructions, however, he appended the following: “I should have preferred borrowing 14,000 dollars upon a pledge of the New England stock, and a Mortgage of the Tremont Houses or of other property. I resort to the sale and immediate discharge of debt, by your advice.”


CFA to JQA, 25 Nov. (LbC, Adams Papers). The New England Insurance stock he had directed to be sold at three points above par to net about $11,000. “I still persevere in the opinion that it will be better for you to sell than to borrow.... I am willing to be considered as advising you on this.” The Tremont Street property, CFA found, was being considered for a hotel for the Providence Railroad; he therefore put a price of $30,000 on it. However, he wrote, “It should be understood between us that this particular measure is not my advice. My advice is simply this, that provision be made as speedily as circumstances will admit for all of your outstanding debts, that your own debts should be cancelled, that a sum of money equal to the Notes given to your Nephew and Niece be deposited in Mr. Bowditch’s Trust company.... You was offended by this advice because you misunderstood me. My wish was that your mind should be put at ease at once from the anxiety which I know has been preying upon it for years and which will continue to do so as long as the system of debt is persevered in.”