Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Tuesday. 12th. CFA Tuesday. 12th. CFA
Tuesday. 12th.

Morning at the Office. Weather cool and clear. Received a letter 376from my Mother in low spirits but on the whole calculated to relieve me. I was again engaged in reviewing my poor brother’s papers which fatigued me exceedingly and I have determined to do no more until my father directs. Indeed I see little or nothing more to be done. The disorder is such as cannot be unravelled and all that can be done is to begin anew. I wrote an answer to my Mother in the Afternoon and stopped the subscription to the Essex Register for George. Read a little of Clarendon and of the Spectator in the evening.

Wednesday 13th. CFA Wednesday 13th. CFA
Wednesday 13th.

Morning at the Office, and at the House where poor George was, looking over his papers to find the Certificates and policies which he mentions as being in his possession, but I was unable to find them. In examining one Trunk which I had not opened before, I came across a paper which I recollect his saying to me that he addressed to me. It was in the shape of a request in case he died during the year 1828 that his debts should be paid and the balance given to a little girl whom he had seduced and who was then pregnant by him, to the best of his belief.1 I was anxious to get possession of this paper, as it might pain my father, and as the provision upon which it depended failed, he having survived the year, it could have been of no avail. His debts to my father are so large that the balance will amount to little, and that would be too much to put into the hands of a weak young girl to say the least of it. Indeed his wish was it should be secured from her and forfeited in case of ill conduct. I shall do what I can in pursuit of the spirit of the request, though I confess the whole to be a foolish effusion of a thoughtless moment. I destroyed the paper, it being in itself of no value, and apparently laid aside among a parcel of old papers, not thought of again. But I will attempt to find her out, and preserve her, if possible, from destruction.

I went out of town with Mr. Brooks and passed the afternoon and evening with Abby. A house in Hancock Avenue is purchased for her and now she is to prepare to take possession. I am not so eager for the marriage now, my poor brother’s fate still pressing upon me.


The girl was Eliza Dolph, who had been a chambermaid at Dr. Welsh’s ( Farmer-Storer Trial , p. 8). Her affairs were to occupy much of CFA’s time in the following weeks. See entries for 28 May and 16 July, below. For CFA’s earlier forebodings that his brother might have entered such an unfortunate liaison, see entries for 21 and 25 April, above.

Thursday 14th. CFA Thursday 14th. CFA
Thursday 14th.

Returned to town with Mr. Brooks. The morning was lovely and 377the ride pleasant. At the Office, found Mr. Watson, who came up to pay a part of his debt, and agreed that an alias should be taken out for the balance. Occupied myself with law and found that I was better able to understand it. In the afternoon, I called at Hilliards to look at the amount of his bill against George and found it nearly eighty dollars since January. I regret his extravagance exceedingly because it goes to show the state of his mind. My reproach of January last was literally true although I regretted it. His debt will impose upon my father a disagreeable business. Read Clarendon, and the Spectator in the evening.