Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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

Morning cold. At the Office as usual, and engaged in doing my work upon the usual affairs, but on this day I was exceedingly hurried. Rufus Davis again came to me, and again I went with him to the Pension Office where I saw all the steps necessary to procure for the man his new Pension, and I went through them all and forwarded to Mr. Eaton secretary of War, the Papers. This took much time. I then went into Court and heard Judge Putnam deliver his Opinion in the case of the Warren Bridge.1 The Court delivered their various Judgments seriatim, no two being agreed altogether, but on the essential point being equally divided. I could not wait to hear Judge Parker. Returned to the Office, and continued doing what I could but that was little. Josiah Quincy came in and sat a little while, then Mr. Curtis came on business, and he detained me until dinner time so that the whole morning went and I returned home. I forgot to state that I had received a Letter from Mr. Barry this morning quite respectful2

The day was cold, but as it was the time fixed for the Meeting of the Canal Company at Quincy, I started at half past three. My ride was a cold and very disagreeable one but I reached my friend Mr. Beale’s before five. With him I had a little conversation, but finding that I should not be able to see my Uncle’s family after the Meeting I decided to go before, so I went up and found only the Girls as the remainder of the family had gone to Exeter to place their son John at school. Whether this is done by them or by my Father, I do not know.3 I sat with them a little while talking pleasantly enough, until it became time to go to the regular Meeting. I found the Members of the Company present.4 They elected their Officers and among others I was chosen a Director which I accepted and hope soon to know a little more about the affairs of the Company. Little else was done, the great point of paying the Interest on the Notes was not settled, and I returned to town feeling that here was another source of disappointment to me in the expectation of Funds. So that now I am compelled to abandon my cherished idea of investment. My ride was not quite so bad as I had expected. It was lighter, and I arrived in town before ten. Abby had been attending the usual Meeting at Chardon’s.


The Supreme Judicial Court sitting in chancery had heard the application of the proprietors of the Charles River Bridge for an injunction against the proprietors of the Warren Bridge on the ground that construction of a second bridge connecting Boston and Charlestown, located only a short distance from 131the first, constituted an impairment of its rights. Chief Justice Isaac Parker and Justice Samuel Putnam delivered opinions supporting the application, Justices Morton and Wilde opposing. There being no majority, the application failed (Columbian Centinel, 13 Jan., p. 2, col. 5). The case is more fully discussed in vol. 2:264.


The letter from the Postmaster General, W. T. Barry, is missing; on the occasion for it, see above, entry for 29 Dec. 1829, note.


CFA learned shortly that JQA in November had proposed that if TBA’s son, John Quincy (1815–1854), be sent to Phillips Exeter Academy JQA would pay the board and tuition of $200 a year (JQA, Diary, 8, 30 Nov. 1829; JQA to CFA, 5 Feb. 1830, Adams Papers).


Although CFA owned a share in the Quincy Canal Company given to him by JQA, CFA attended so that he could represent JQA’s interest.

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

The Weather was cold and the sky cloudy this morning when I went to the Office. It began to snow but it did not moderate sufficiently to allow of the fall of any quantity. I was engaged in the supervision of the repairs necessary for the House in the rear of my Office. It gives me much trouble, as I find myself standing in danger of being taken in constantly by workmen or others who think me young and easy to be imposed upon. One man cautions me, and another man cautions me until I feel as if I had rather more to do than I was able. But this is my first trial on this Agency. So long as Houses are occupied, it is an easy business, but when empty, and they need considerable repair, the trial begins.

I called in a few moments to see Mr. Brooks, and wrote a part of a letter to my Father on business, from which I desisted to see Mr. Curtis who came in to talk over the unfortunate affair of Mr. Vaughan. My father wrote me a letter upon the subject,1 but we decided upon nothing. He advises Mr. Curtis to go to England in person, but he seems rather doubtful upon it. Returned home. After dinner read the remarks by various Authors upon the Oedipus of Sophocles, La Harpe and Brumoy, who agree in their praises. It is a good tragedy but not so much to my taste as the wilder ones of Aeschylus. I also finished my Dissertation which upon reading over I did not admire. It did not appear to me as well as I expected. Evening at home reading Clarissa, until Mr. William Brooks came in who sat with us for a very considerable time.2 He is a cousin of Abby’s, and was tolerably agreeable.


8 Jan. (Adams Papers). Following the dispatch to Petty Vaughan, the English agent of Thomas Boylston, of papers designed to effect the transfer of funds collected by Vaughan from the French Government and due the Boylston estate (see above, entries for 12 Sept., note, and 2 Nov. 1829, note. 2 Nov. 1829, notes ), Vaughan acknowledged their receipt but delayed proceeding because he was “sick in bed.” A second letter from him to JQA, enclosed by CFA in his letter of 31 Dec., brought information that Vaughan had, at some point after collecting the funds, placed them in the hands of his uncle, William Vaughan, whose failure Petty Vaughan 132had now to report. Though JQA had known and respected William Vaughan for nearly fifty years, he suspected that Petty Vaughan, knowing of his uncle’s financial straits, had placed the money with him, hoping thereby to provide him temporary relief, JQA’s proposal that Nathaniel Curtis, his coexecutor, go to England, like other efforts initiated to recover the funds, came to nothing. CFA seems to have been involved in this phase only as a conveyor of messages and correspondence. See JQA, Diary, 8, 13, 23, 28 Jan.; JQA to Nathaniel Curtis, 8 Jan., to Nathaniel Curtis and Mrs. W. N. Boylston, 13, 23 Jan., 4 Feb. (all LbCs and in Adams Papers).


William Gray Brooks, a son of Peter C. Brooks’ brother Cotton Brown Brooks of Portland (1765–1834), in 1833 married another cousin of ABA’s, Mary Ann Phillips (b. 1808), daughter of Lydia (Gorham) and John Phillips of Andover. Their sons included Phillips Brooks ( DAB ). William Gray Brooks’ Diary in 9 vols. (1838–1877, with breaks) is among the Brooks MSS, MHi.