Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Monday 8th. CFA Monday 8th. CFA
Monday 8th.

Returned to town earlier than usual by way of showing my resolution. The day was exceedingly fine and my ride was tolerably pleasant. I forgot yesterday to mention the fact of my brother John’s being a Father, announced to me in a letter from my Mother, received yesterday.1 His wife was delivered of a daughter on Tuesday last, and this advances my Parents one generation into existence. I am glad of it upon all accounts, principally on my Mother’s, who will again have something in which to take an interest.

Morning engaged in copying my unfortunate letter to Mr. Brooks which he returned to me. How it could have been so misconceived, I am at a loss to understand, but must lay it to the extreme sensitiveness which exists upon the subject which it discusses. My course in this regard is a difficult one. Mr. Brooks conversed with me generally this morning, informed me that he had abandoned the idea of building a house for Abby and wished to purchase one, that he should be on the look out, but that in consequence, he should be unable to fix any time for the marriage, which is as much as to say that it must remain a contingency. But his manner and his language were so kind, that I could not press him further than he would go although I understand it to be absolutely necessary, as he is given to delay. I had not the heart to do it, and though aware that I was losing all the ground gained by my argument last evening, and subjected myself to another scene of a similar kind, yet I preferred doing so to seeming unhandsomely importunate. The day went off rapidly and I passed it pretty usefully though tormented with a head ache which at last disabled me from any further reading in the evening. It is a bad omen, for it bids fair to be a repetition of my evil days of last winter.


LCA’s letter is missing. Mary Louisa Adams, the first daughter of JA2 and Mary C. (Hellen) Adams, had been born on 2 December. See Adams Genealogy.

Tuesday 9th. CFA Tuesday 9th. CFA
Tuesday 9th.

Morning at the Office, occupied much as usual. Read a portion of the Massachusetts Reports and other books of Law. Afternoon, Secret Journals of Congress. Evening, Boswell’s Life of Johnson in connection with Dr. J.’s works. So that the day was a very busy one and therefore produced little to record here. My spirits are now on the whole, better than at any time since I have lived in Boston. I like my accommodations better, and follow a more regular and quiet course of life, with the satisfaction of more useful and improving pursuits. It is true that Abby is dissatisfied, which worries me, but I have too many good reasons to yield to what can only be a momentary feeling on her part. At any rate, I will see, time will test the experiment, and if I should then see a clear termination to my engagement, I might be likely to give up a short time willingly. But not while that question remains in doubt. Gorham Brooks is positively going to marry Miss Shepherd. He is the only one of Abby’s brothers who has not been civil to me, and I have now a difficult part to play. Abby was slightly displeased with me for declining to pay the usual visit in such cases, but I did not tell her my principal reason.

Wednesday 10th. CFA Wednesday 10th. CFA
Wednesday 10th.

Morning at the Office and in Court. Heard a portion of an argument from Mr. Fletcher; it was very good. This gentleman is a rising character. He has some powers as an Orator, and some as a reasoner. But I could not remain in Court and so passed the morning reading Law at the Office. Richardson called to see me and pass half an hour. Afternoon, engaged in reading American Affairs. On my return home to tea, I found a Note from Abby1 who was in town, and I went to see her and pass the evening with her. The evening was tolerably pleasant. Now that the probability of my marriage seems to approach, I am becoming a little anxious and this produces some influence upon my feelings. But I am better than I have been.



Thursday. 11th. CFA Thursday. 11th. CFA
Thursday. 11th.

Morning in the Supreme Court and at the Office. Found not much of interest in the first, and but little in the last, succeeded in finishing the first Volume of Massachusetts Reports, and looked over some por-321tion of the Statutes. On the whole a pretty good morning’s occupation. It rained pretty steadily though it was not cold. In the afternoon, Mr. Davis, my old fellow student at Mr. Webster’s Office, paid me an agreeable visit which prevented my reading, though not at all an unpleasant substitute. I attended a meeting of Mr. Quincy’s friends in the evening, commonly denominated a Caucus. He has most unexpectedly been defeated in his election to his old place of Mayor. This was got up to assist him and was rather tame.1 Indeed if this is the machinery of caucus, it is disgusting enough. I finished the evening at the Office with Boswell. But I was ill at ease for I thought Abby might be in town.


After serving five terms as Mayor of Boston, Josiah Quincy failed to receive a majority of all the votes cast in the municipal election in December 1828. A second ballot was taken with the same result. Thereupon the Mayor published a note stating that “no consideration would induce him to again accept the office,” and Harrison Gray Otis was elected without opposition (Winsor, Memorial History of Boston , 3:233).