Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

1 September 1829. Friday 4th<a xmlns="http://www.tei-c.org/ns/1.0" href="#DCA03d003n1" class="note" id="DCA03d003n1a">1</a>. CFA September 1829. Friday 4th. CFA
September 1829. Friday 4th1.

An accidental circumstance which deprived me of this Book at the proper Season for continuing my Journal in course, has carried me through two other Books with as many Years and it is only now as a Married man that I resume my record of events here. The occurrence gradually brings to mind the passage of the intervening time, in which I have enjoyed much and suffered much, in which my life has passed away rather in pleasure than in profit. The waste of time has been considerable but I am still gratified with the idea that it has not been without good purposes and pure thoughts, and that I can now lay claim with reason to being both a wiser and better man than formerly.

This morning found me established as a married man in Boston—Hopes, fears, dread and every thing else merged in the actual event. I arose rather early and after breakfast went to the Office where I occupied myself the larger part of the morning.2 My father came in from Medford with Thomas B. Adams,3 and called at my Office. I took the opportunity to speak to him of Mr. Degrand’s proposition in relation to a Mortgage, but he did not seem disposed to listen to it. He is a singular man with regard to the management of his property. Investments with him are Chance things.

Edward Blake called to see me with some disposition to quiz but I did not allow it much.4 I went to the House and found Abby alone.5 She had seen a number of persons today, principally of the family however. My father had been there and had been kind. He certainly has made amends now for the unfortunate difference of last year.6 Now is not a time to recollect. I passed the afternoon at home with Abby, as I was indolent, and also fearful she would be dull.7 But Mrs. P. C. Brooks came in with Miss Carter and Miss Gorham and passed the Afternoon.8 The evening at home alone with Abby. I wrote a Letter to my Mother,9 just notifying her of our condition—Happy indeed. My course of existence has been today an unclouded one, it has been what I suppose I may fairly say the summit of human enjoyment. I have been favoured wonderfully, and on my knees I thank the 2divine being for having so bountifully filled out my measure, even to so unworthy a servant.


The following entries through 16 May 1830 derive from the second (and last) part of the volume of his diaries which CFA designated as No. 2, but which in the Adams Papers serial listing is No. 5 (D/CFA/5; Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 59). CFA had earlier used the volume for entries beginning 18 June 1826 and ending 27 i.e. 17 July 1827, then put it aside. On 31 July 1827 he began a new volume numbered 3, but which in Adams Papers serial listing is No. 6 (D/CFA/6), and on 17 Oct. 1828 still another volume numbered 4, Adams Papers No. 7 (D/CFA/7). Having completed both volumes, he returned to the remaining blank pages of D/CFA/5, preceding the entry for 4 Sept. with a note: “27 July 1826 i.e. 31 July 1827–4 September 1829. The Diary for the Intervale between these dates is contained in No. 3 and 4.” The first sentence of the present entry provides an explanation. For a description of the MSS see Introduction and vol. 1:xxxiv–xl, esp. p. xxxviii, note 5 31 , and p. xxxix, note 9 35 .


CFA, since the death of his brother George in May 1829, had occupied George’s former office at 23 Court Street; see vol. 2:373, 382, 383. The building stood on land which had been bought by JA in 1772, by JQA from him in 1793, and was the site of JA’s law office and of JQA’s for a time. See JA, Diary and Autobiography , 2:63–64. It had a frontage of 221/2 feet on the north side of Court Street and a depth of 160 feet (Nathaniel I. Bowditch, “Records of Land Titles,” 26 [1834–1835]: 153, 160, Bowditch MSS, MHi). In 1829, Prentiss Whitney occupied the first-floor store and the house at the rear (M/CFA/3 and Boston Directory, 1829–1830). Above, were at least two floors of offices. CFA’s office and a smaller room opening from it, unrented at this time, were on the first of these (vol. 2:385, and below, entry for 17 Oct.). The other offices were occupied by attorneys also, currently George Gay, D. A. Simmons, and Thomas Welsh Jr. (M/CFA/3 and Boston Directory, 1829–1830).


Thomas Boylston Adams Jr. (1809–1837), JQA’s nephew and a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, was currently on furlough from military duties and aiding his uncle at Quincy as amanuensis; see vol. 1:5; 2:406; Bemis, JQA , 2:186; Adams Genealogy.


Edward Blake, Harvard 1824, a college friend and an attorney, had been CFA’s “first groomsman” at his wedding the day before (vol. 1:206, 2:425).


After their wedding in Medford on 3 Sept., CFA and his bride Abigail Brooks (“Abby”) had returned to Boston to occupy the house at 3 Hancock Avenue which her father, Peter Chardon Brooks, had purchased in May for their use (vol. 2:376, 378–379, 432). They would remain in it until 1842.

Hancock Avenue, “under the shadow of Boston State House, turning its back on the house of John Hancock, ” was a short street or “little passage” running “from Beacon Street, skirting the State House grounds, to Mount Vernon Street, on the summit of Beacon Hill” (HA, Education , p. 3). Its situation is suggested in the view of the State House reproduced in the present volume. Opened in 1825, Hancock Avenue was obliterated in 1915 in preparation for the construction of the West Wing of the State House ( Boston Streets &c., 1910, p. 227; Chamberlain, Beacon Hill , p. 151). No. 3, “one of that pretty row of houses by the side of the State House” (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 1 July 1829, Everett MSS, MHi), was the third house from the corner of Mount Vernon Place on a lot with 25 feet frontage, 69 feet in depth. Cornelius Coolidge, who owned the land and had recently built the row, sold No. 3 to Brooks for $11,000 (Brooks, Waste Book, 1 June 1829).


See vol. 2:271, 313, 336–337.


CFA customarily uses “dull” in the sense of “depressed” or “melancholy”; e.g. see vol. 2:422, and below, entries for 9, 15 September.


Mrs. P. C. Brooks Jr., ABA’s sister-in-law, was the former Susan Oliver Heard (vol. 2:153–154 and Adams Genealogy). Anne Carter and Julia Gor-3ham were ABA’s closest friends; Anne was one of her bridesmaids; Julia had not been at the wedding, perhaps because of the recent death of her father, Dr. John Gorham. See vol. 2:158, 167, 186, 360, 432.


Letter missing. Because of ill health, Mrs. Adams (LCA) had been forced to remain in Washington at the time of CFA’s wedding (vol. 2:388–389).

Saturday 5th. CFA Saturday 5th. CFA
Saturday 5th.

Morning to the Office as soon as I found Abby had somebody with her to amuse her. Obtained for my father the Dividend upon his Stock of the Fire and Marine Insurance Company and upon my own and wrote my Journal,1 made up my Accounts. This occupied much of my time—So that I found it was time for me to return as I had promised before I was aware of it. I found Abby with a number of visitors, her sisters Eliza and Susan with Edward and Blake and Quincy.2 The morning therefore passed away rapidly. After dinner I remained at home and idled the time away very pleasantly. Mr. Frothingham dropped in for a minute but seemed a little dull.3 The evening passed quietly. I was a little apprehensive of the tone of her spirits as this was an evening when she expected to be at home,4 or at least felt a little tempted to regret her absence. But though I perceived a cloud she had too much kindness to show it much and that made it lighter to herself. Indeed I have the utmost reason to be satisfied with her today and ever since our marriage—she has been kind and affectionate, patient and good tempered so that I have been as happy as circumstances well could make me.


In June JQA had purchased eighty shares of Fire and Marine Insurance Co. stock at $50 per share. This dividend, the first thereafter, amounted to $150 (M/CFA/3). CFA owned three shares (vol. 2:306).


That is, Elizabeth (Boott) Brooks (1799–1865) and her husband Edward Brooks (1793–1878), ABA’s oldest brother and an attorney (vol. 2:168 and Adams Genealogy); Susan Brooks; Edward Blake; Edmund Quincy (1808–1877), CFA’s kinsman and a groomsman (vol. 1:153; 2:433, and Adams Genealogy).


The Rev. Nathaniel Langdon Frothingham (1793–1870), minister of Boston’s First Church, was the husband of ABA’s sister Ann (1797–1863); see vol. 1:103, 2:149; Adams Genealogy; DAB .


That is, in Medford.

Sunday 6th. CFA Sunday 6th. CFA
Sunday 6th.

I was at home during the whole of the day. Abby would not go out to Meeting and I did not feel as if I could leave her alone. How we passed our day it is impossible for me to tell but I can truly say it was to me unmingled happiness or the intoxication of pleasure. I had formed moderate expectations only and they have been entirely exceeded—And Abby’s conduct is perfectly delightful. The gentleness, and moderation she has displayed, with the attention to me have made 4her far more dear than ever to me and have given me moments of felicity which could not be improved. Sidney and his Wife,1 and Chardon came in and Julia Gorham in the course of the day and they laughed and made amusement in plenty,2 and in the evening Mr. William Emerson called to see his old pupil.3 I do not much like any of the Emerson family without knowing any reason for positively disliking them, excepting perhaps hearing from Abby’s own lips that one of them had been once a favoured friend though at a time when she was so young as to be unable to judge. This might have been a reason, had I not been able to trace the dislike earlier than my acquaintance with her. Poor Edward has suffered so much subsequently however that I feel pity for him.4 And I have been a successfull rival with too many advantages not to cause in him some regrets at the inequalities of life. I am sorry for I do not feel disposed to boast of advantages which are not my own but resulting from accident. I am full of gratitude for every thing.


ABA’s brother, Sidney Brooks (1799–1878) and his wife, the former Frances Dehon, had come for the wedding from New York where he was a partner in the firm of Davis & Brooks, importers. See vol. 2:103, 165, 197–199; Adams Genealogy; Brooks, Waste Book, 17 Jan. 1824, 19 Aug. 1826, 8 March 1828.


P. C. Brooks Jr. (“Chardon”) (1798–1880), another brother of ABA, was a partner in the firm of Sargent & Brooks, merchants, of 49 Central Wharf ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830); see vol. 2:149 and Adams Genealogy.


William Emerson (b. 1801), Harvard 1818, was the oldest of the three sons of Rev. William Emerson, minister of the First Church until his death in 1814. He was apparently the “Mr. Emerson” to whom Peter C. Brooks made payments in 1820 for “Abby’s schooling” (Waste Book, 3 May, 25 Sept., 16 Nov. 1820). However, his younger brother, Ralph Waldo Emerson (b. 1803), Harvard 1821, was also one of her teachers, for on 29 Dec. 1824 Brooks recorded payment of $8 for a set of Cowper “presented by ‘Miss Abby’ to her instructor Mr. Ralph W. Emerson” (same).


On Edward Bliss Emerson (1805–1834), Harvard 1824, formerly a fellow law student of CFA’s in Daniel Webster’s office, see vol. 1:206, 2:242, 254.