Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Saturday. 17th. CFA Saturday. 17th. CFA
Saturday. 17th.

Received a letter from my Father in reply to mine of the 6th as satisfactory as possible upon the subject of expenses.1 Morning passed without much utility. I went to Medford to dine, in company with Mr. Brooks. We found Edward and P. Chardon with their wives and had on the whole a very pleasant dinner. The afternoon and evening were passed in conversation with Abby.


Replying to CFA’s complaint that his allowance was inadequate (see entry for 6 Nov., and note, above), JQA wrote:

“The extraordinary charges to which you are liable, from the peculiarity of your situation, are of a nature to which I cannot object and for which I am willing according to my ability to provide. The allowance which I had proposed to make you was the same I had made to your brother George, when at the same State of his education. You find it insufficient to meet your necessary expenses. Let me know what addition you wish to have made to it—Remembering that ... in the allowances of a Parent 184to his children, a relative proportion of equal regard is to be observed between them as well as between the liberality and the circumstances of the Parent.”

(JQA to CFA, 11 Nov. 1827, Adams Papers) See also entry for 20 Nov., and note, below.

Sunday. 18th. CFA Sunday. 18th. CFA
Sunday. 18th.

Attended Meeting in the morning. Heard Mr. Stetson who was much as usual. The remainder of the day was passed very quietly at the house. Mrs. Brooks with ten children grown up and thriving as much as possible, has been inconsolable for the loss of one, three or four years since, and on this day seemed disposed to revert to it constantly.1 Such is the nature of human character, never satisfied with the blessings already existing, either mourning for those which are gone or grasping after some which are to come. Abby had some serious conversation with me relating to ourselves and I am still doubtful whether our characters will perfectly unite. So far however we have done very well.


The child for whom Mrs. Brooks still grieved was Octavius (1813–1822). See Adams Genealogy.

Monday. 19th. CFA Monday. 19th. CFA
Monday. 19th.

Returned to Boston with Mr. Brooks. Received letters from my Mother and John rather of an encouraging nature.1 His marriage is to take place soon, and I am glad of it as it will settle my prospects in that light, so far as temporal affairs go. Called on Mrs. Webster. In the afternoon I went to see Abby at her sister’s and passed the afternoon there. In the evening, attended Moot Court and heard an able argument.2 Supped with Richardson.


Both missing.


The case involved the technical question of a “Demurrer to the Declaration for omitting the averment in regard to tending what was due on a Note at the place specified” (CFA, Law Miscellanies, M/CFA/17, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 311).

Tuesday. 20th. CFA Tuesday. 20th. CFA
Tuesday. 20th.

Wrote to my Father before breakfast.1 I then went to the Office where I passed the morning, with the exception of a short call at Mrs. Frothingham’s. The afternoon was spent there. Abby was in a fretful humour, and for the first time I discovered trouble in this quarter. But it is useless to forebode. “I have set my life upon a cast, And I will stand the hazard of the die.”2 In the evening we went to Mrs. Gorham’s accompanied by George. 185This young man feels disposed to admire this lady’s daughter, but I apprehend he will find small encouragement. He wants a fashionable exterior, to the semblance of which he attempted to shape himself and became in consequence “grotesque.” But I am severe. Abby was not in good temper and I came home a little melancholy. Midnight.


CFA wrote that his father’s letter concerning his allowance (see entry for 17 Nov., and note, above) was “perfectly satisfactory.” Acknowledging in principle that he and his brothers should be treated equally, he claimed that his special situation obliged him to incur expenses totaling five hundred dollars a year more than those required of JA2 and that GWA “has often told me his average expenses here had been nearly twelve hundred a year.” “But I do not feel disposed to argue upon this subject any further . . . ,” he concluded; “in writing ... to you I did not wish to have any further allowance made. The intention . . . was merely, to be perfectly candid as to my situation. I will still attempt to keep within the limit first prescribed i.e. $800 a year” (CFA to JQA, 20 Nov. 1827, Adams Papers).


Shakespeare, Richard the Third, Act V, Scene iv, lines 9–10.