Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Tuesday. 27th.

Thursday. 29th.

Wednesday. 28th. CFA Wednesday. 28th. CFA
Wednesday. 28th.

Dark and gloomy morning. The child seemed quite unwell and my spirits were as much depressed as I ever knew them to be. The only feeling which I have in life now centers in my children and when I see either of them suffering it is terrible to me. I ought to teach myself a lesson of patience upon this subject. I will try to address myself to a higher power for support in this weakness.

At the Office in heavy rain. Wrote out my Accounts for the month of January and then read a part of the great Thellusson cause in the Chancery Reports. This man alienated his property from his descendants during the lives of all those then in being and such as should be living within legal time afterwards, at the expiration of which time the accumulation to be divided into three parts, one to go to the eldest lineal male descendant of each branch of his family, he having three sons. This unnatural will was sustained by the Chancellor against every principle of equity in my humble opinion.1


Home. After dinner, continued the letters of the Willinks and those from the Treasury. Mr. John Davis is elected as I foresaw he would be by the House of Representatives.2 Much good may it do him. The indication of the State of feeling on the part of the Webster party is decisive. Evening finished the first volume of the second series of d’Israeli. Some curious things. Read also an Essay of Clarendon’s upon patience in adversity. This was a good lesson to me. I reflected upon what he had suffered and his situation when writing it, and I concluded to read three or four Psalms which comforted me. Finished Goethe’s Götz von Berlichingen which was too hard to be agreeable.


In 1796 Peter Thellusson by will created a trust to accumulate until the death of his last surviving grandson. It was calculated that if the devise were allowed the value of the trust might reach £140,000,000. The efforts of the family to have the will set aside failed when the lord chancellor pronounced the will valid and the House of Lords confirmed the decision. The available literature on the case included John Lewis DeLolme, General Observations on the Power of Individuals to Prescribe by Testamentary Dispositions, the Future Use to be Made of their Property; Occasioned by the Will of Mr. P. Thellusson, London, 1798; F. Vesey, Case upon the Will of the Late Peter Thellusson, London, 1799. ( DNB .)


Though Davis received a majority of votes in the state House of Representatives, JQA was the choice of the Senate when it came to vote. The issue remained unresolved until 20 Feb. when, JQA’s candidacy having been damaged by events in Washington and Boston, Davis achieved a majority in the Senate also. See the entries for 4, 11, and 20 Feb., below.