Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday 14th. CFA Monday 14th. CFA
Monday 14th.

Morning at the Office after reading for a little while in Devereux to Abby who was suffering from a violent head ach and whose spirits were consequently somewhat affected. It is impossible for me to reach the Office quite so early as I formerly did, at least at present. Perhaps I may do better in time. I reached it however just in time to meet Mr. 15Curtis who came to me requesting to know what was necessary to be done. I told him to apply to the Judge, and at his request drew up an Application for Administration of Thomas Boylston’s Estate on the part of the Executors. This took a considerable portion of the morning. I then called upon Mr. Brooks for a few moments and had conversation with him upon the loss of those rings,1 then went to see Mr. Head as to the character of my Servant William, and then returned home having been unsuccessfull in my attempt to find him.

Wrote my Journal at home before dinner. Conversation with Abby upon some unfortunate history which has happened within our observation. Miss Julia Gorham came in and I went down according to appointment to see Mrs. Longhurst as to the condition of the House she lives in. She appears to have come to her senses and I feel therefore considerably more disposed to assist her. I looked at the House and asked Hollis the Carpenter who lives next door to call and see me about it. I will do what I can without incurring too much expense. I then went to the Office and after spending an hour there, returned home to find my Wife and Miss Julia in my study. The latter young lady took tea here and I escorted her home.2 In the evening I read aloud to Abby in Devereux as long as she felt able to sit up, after which I was so much interested as to finish the volume. It is a tale written by a strong mind but more laboriously put together than his preceding productions and written so very artificially as to injure it’s effect. We are always seeing a labour for point and never are allowed a moment when something is not absolutely required.


Peter C. Brooks’ counting room and office was at 10 Court Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).


Julia Gorham lived with her mother, Mrs. John Gorham, whose home was at 1 Park Street (same).

Tuesday. 15th. CFA Tuesday. 15th. CFA
Tuesday. 15th.

Morning to the Office after some Conversation with Abby upon the circumstances of my previous history. I talked with her in kindness and in confidence and she seemed fully to meet it although much which I said could not have been welcome. Mine is not a first though a young love and I am not fully subject to the impulse of the freshness of feeling which makes the first moments of marriage sometimes so intoxicating. But in recompense, my engagement has been a constantly increasing matter of happiness and my marriage has crowned and hitherto more than crowned my hopes. If I loved Abby before, it has been with reserve, which the peculiar sensitiveness of her character 16forced upon me, as I never felt as if I could speak frankly to her of every thing. The thing is now altogether different. We are now intimately and closely tied and our thoughts and feelings are entirely united. May they continue to be so is my constant prayer.

Mr. Hollis called at my Office. He is a Carpenter whom it has been the practice to employ upon the Houses belonging to the Agency and take it from his rent.1 I directed him to look at Mrs. Longhurst’s roof and Pump, to form some estimate of the cost to repair it and report to me. Mr. Conant is one of my father’s Tenants at Weston, he brought with him a Letter from his Brother Amory Conant, the Lessee of the Farm, giving notice that he intends quitting the place in April, having lost money by his experiment this year. I conversed with him upon the subject and tried to encourage him, but it seemed to me that he was resolved to go unless I granted him some allowances out of his rent. I was disposed to think of it if he would consent to destroy the clause in the Lease allowing either party six months notice. He said he might agree to it on consideration and so we parted, I first agreeing to go to see him on Friday.2 Mr. Curtis called to leave the Petition with me to go to Quincy for my Father’s signature. I obtained powers also from the State Bank and wrote one for the Boylston Market in order to obtain his signature also for them in order to draw the October Dividends.

This being accomplished I returned to dinner. Abby received from my brother John’s wife a congratulatory Letter,3 in which she mentioned my Mother’s being sick, which was not agreeable news. After dinner and accompanying Abby to make a few purchases, she and I started for Quincy in my father’s little Carriage which came in for us. We found my father and Abby Adams, General Dearborn and his daughter, Thomas B. Adams Jr. and Louisa C. Smith.4 The evening was a little stupid, the weather being cold and raw. I felt dull and melancholy upon many accounts too numerous for me to mention, as my associations with the house and it’s present condition seemed to bring my thoughts in unison with the autumnal character of the season. General Dearborn left some handsome Manuscripts for my father’s perusal. He is an author, but how good cannot be judged from the very elegant binding and manuscript which make the visible shape.5 Conversation in the evening about them, and subsequently with my father upon subjects more interesting. He is a little dull, at being alone, and at the news from Washington, and I do not wonder at it, but he persists in his intention of remaining here until the season is far advanced.6


Daniel Hollis, a Quincy man, had occupied tenement No. 2 at 101 Tremont (earlier Nassau, then Common) Street for nearly sixteen years under an arrangement by which the yearly rental (from 1824, $125) would be offset against work performed, chiefly carpentering, on the houses and stores in the Agency. GWA, during the period of his management, had also accepted notes from Hollis. CFA came to look upon the whole arrangement with less and less favor. He attributed the wretched condition in which he found much of the property, in some measure at least, to Hollis’ inadequacies as a craftsman and to slovenliness induced by age and indulgence. Repeated annoyances led CFA, reluctantly and after numerous reprieves, to end the arrangement in Aug. 1830. See vol. 2:406; CFA to JQA, 31 Dec. 1829 (LbC, Adams Papers); M/CFA/3.


CFA was successful in his efforts to keep Silas and Amory Conant as lessees of the somewhat run-down Weston farm bequeathed to JQA by W. N. Boylston (vol. 2:228, 244, 409). JQA agreed to CFA’s plan by which half the rent would be expended on improvements. They remained at least through 1832, paying $125 annually (JQA, Diary, 17 Sept. 1829; M/CFA/3).




Abigail Smith Adams (“Abby”) (1806–1845), later Mrs. John Angier, was a daughter of TBA; see vol. 1:20 and Adams Genealogy. On Gen. Henry Alexander Scammell Dearborn of Roxbury, see vol. 1:327 and DAB . Accompanying him was Miss Julia Dearborn (JQA, Diary, 15 Sept. 1829). Louisa Catherine Catharine Smith (1773–1857) was a niece of AA, a sister of Mrs. J. H. Foster; see vol. 1:99 and Adams Genealogy.


The works in manuscript by Gen. H. A. S. Dearborn which he left with JQA consisted of two volumes upon the Grecian orders of architecture and two volumes of a Life of Christ (JQA, Diary, 15 Sept.). Neither is among the subsequently published works of Dearborn. The “splendid manuscript work” on Greek architecture was on the President’s table, 28 Oct. 1829 (Everett, Diary).


JQA had written that he would return at once to Washington to attend his wife in her illness if he could in that way contribute anything to her return to health. However, LCA was in agreement with him that he should remain at Quincy until late November when the plan to bring GWA’s remains there for reburial could be carried out. As the season progressed, he wrote that it “has never been out of my thoughts” and that he was determined to see the remains “under my own care deposited by the side of my beloved Sister, in the Tomb.” (JQA to LCA, 8 Nov.; also JQA to JA2, 16 Sept.; JQA to LCA, 17, 26 Sept.; LCA to JQA, 17 Sept., Adams Papers.) The rites were performed on 24 Nov.; see entries for 23, 24 Nov., below.