Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

Tuesday. June. 1st. IX. CFA Tuesday. June. 1st. IX. CFA
Tuesday. June. 1st. IX.

Arose much as usual. Mrs. Harrod went to Boston this Morning with Mrs. Adams and Thomas. Her little daughter who is really a beautiful girl went to Miss Marston’s to remain for the future. Thus the house was quite deserted. I laid down it being a remarkably warm day and it being the first day of June I read according to my decision the Summer of Thomson. And as usual was much pleased with it. The description is good for a hot day. Indeed I should suppose my plan of reading them in the appropriate Seasons would always be the proper way most to relish them.

My Grandfather deciding a ride, I accompanied him. He is amazingly weak and overcome by the present degree of heat. His ride today was rather longer than usual as he first went the usual route, to the foot of Penn’s Hill and then to the new Canal, calling on Mr. Marston in the mean time. He was impertinent indeed upon the subject of that letter.1 His general character of a meddlar with the affairs of an old man is very disagreable to our family.

Returning, I found the family in a flutter because my Uncle had decided to go off. I went over to talk with him but only received 167insults as he was raving. He refused any thing farther to do with me. Consequently I immediately went in and wrote a letter2 home to my father stating the case in respectful but decided terms. I cannot bear a life like this even with extraordinary indulgence. My Uncle could not be persuaded and therefore after many unsuccessful attempts he went in the Stage to Boston. Our dinner was a melancholy one. It was warm and we ate nothing. Elizabeth too much affected to come down. The trial for these poor children is great. Mrs. Adams and Thomas returned early. I wandered over the house like a ghost for none were in a humour to speak a word. Indeed at times like these it is impossible to conceive how uncomfortable the house is. There are times when these materials thrown fortunately together will form an agreable company and will amuse but when they come together at odds and ends there is no more disagreable situation than being with them. I walked in the garden some time, alone, musing as is my fashion. I was so weakened by the heat however that I became soon fatigued. The rest of the evening was spent in the parlour, this was short, for the family from obvious reasons were very dull. X.


Reference unclear.



Wednesday. June. 2d. VIII:35. CFA Wednesday. June. 2d. VIII:35. CFA
Wednesday. June. 2d. VIII:35.

Owing to unusual negligence I did not close the month of May until today. I did not enter the office yesterday as I supposed that my Uncle was not in a mood to bear my presence with much coolness as I had also spoken pretty warmly. I was only able to finish the month of May today as I had not good opportunity to read over the Journal for the month in order to write a review. I was very politely turned out of the office and therefore went to sit with the industrious people who are fitting out Thomas for West Point. My stock of regular Poetry is exhausted so I took up a copy of Chesterfield1 and entertained myself with it until dinner. It appears really one of the most valuable books in the language as it contains the true directions to make a man pleasing to the world in general and this certainly is a desirable art.

Mrs. Adams was in a terrible humour all day and has been sour this week. Probably on account of these family difficulties. She is a woman whose equal will seldom be found. I am a prejudiced man as respects her character. I see so much to blame that I can see nothing to praise. Extravagant without the means and knowing that she plunges her husband deeper in his wretchedness, at every step she takes, she does not mind it, cunning and deceitful, hypocritical to 168a degree beyond belief and malicious as a serpent. She has done more to hurt the peace of our family than any one. She is kind to her children and attached to her blood relations however, and has some deep feeling for her husband—at least has had for it is now pretty nearly gone. Her character is decidedly bad as she is ungrateful and unprincipled in revenge. A mass of pride withal which would dignify the most immense lady in the universe. She is too unpleasant a subject for me to dwell upon. All my regret is that she has two young girls to teach hypocrisy by her example—and I am sorry to say that it has been done with effect.

After dinner I walked down with Thomas to Hingham bridge or Ben’s point as they call it, where we fished for some time with not much success. We staid until late, by quick walking, got home to tea. The family went to Mr. Marston’s in the evening, whilst I, after some conversation with Louisa in which she displayed her bitterness sufficiently, went into my Grandfather’s room and read to him a part of the North American Review. I whipped little Joseph2 this evening for naughty behaviour at tea. Spent a little while in the parlour after the familys return. XI.


No Adams copy of the 4th Earl of Chesterfield’s famous Letters to His Son, first published London, 1774, has been found. In 1776 JA had proscribed this work as reading for AA; see Adams Family Correspondence , 1:359, 376, 389.


Joseph Harrod Adams (1817–1853), TBA’s son. See Adams Genealogy.