Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1

24 Monday 29th. CFA Monday 29th. CFA
Monday 29th.

I spent this day at home also and repeated my Medicine. The Morning was employed in my usual studies and the Afternoon in the parlour talking politics with Johnson. I also took a short walk with him. A person cannot help having his attention drawn to politics if he comes here, there is so much conversation and rumour of intrigue afloat. Now one man gains the ascendancy now another and some men are glad that Mr. Crawford is sick.1 This is not generally the case however. My father appears to bear all this with a good deal of equanimity although ambition will sometimes have it’s way.

John after dinner, became as usual very dull and petitioned for tea and to go to bed. Which was granted to him, and he retired very much as usual. Johnson and myself sat up somewhat later talking and then departed also.


William Harris Crawford (1772–1834), of Georgia, Secretary of the Treasury in President Monroe’s cabinet, was a leading candidate for the Presidency. He had suffered a paralytic stroke in September 1823 which reduced his chances but did not cut off his hopes for the office ( DAB ).

30th. CFA 30th. CFA

After studying my Geography and reading my number of essays, I went in the carriage to Georgetown with Madame and Aunt Frye whom I saw to day for the first time. We first went to Mrs. Peter’s where they paid a visit but I did not get out. On returning they observed that America looked exceedingly well this Winter.1 After traversing the most crooked streets that were ever formed and the most narrow excepting only those in Boston, we got home. Uncle and Aunt Frye dined and spent the evening here. She looks surprizingly well.

In the evening Madame continued her “bouquets” and Judge Cranch came in with Mr. James Greenleaf whereupon I retreated till late in the evening. The Judge is a good sort of man but there is something associated with the name of the other which disgusts me with him.2 They went away at half past ten when we separated.


Martha Parke (Custis) Peter, daughter of John Parke Custis and granddaughter of Martha Washington, and her daughter, America (Columbia Hist. Soc., Records , 18 [1915]:80–81).


The visitors were William Cranch (1769–1855), Chief Judge of the Circuit Court of the United States in the District of Columbia and son of AA’s sister, Mary (Smith) Cranch ( DAB ; see also Adams Genealogy), and James Greenleaf, the Judge’s brother-in-law, who, a generation before, had served a short term in a debtors’ prison in consequence of his overspeculation in District of Columbia real estate (Greenleaf, Greenleaf Family , p. 101, 217; Allen C. Clark, Greenleaf and Law in the Federal City, Washington, 1901, passim).