Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday 5th. CFA Friday 5th. CFA
Friday 5th.

Morning fine. The weather like Spring. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied in reading Williston very pleasantly. Commenced Mr. Pinkney’s Speech in the case of the Nereide but did not progress very far in it before I was compelled to stop by a number of interruptions.1 Mrs. Wells came today to pay rent for two months of her Tenement and to notify me that she should be unable at this rate to remain in the House longer than the end of this month. Thus another of the tenancies will be vacated which almost discourages me—Nearly one half of my sources of profit from real Estate thus becoming stopped and the amount of funds called for to supply repairs being enormous. I feel excessively worried at this responsibility upon me. Mr. Champney also called to talk about his rent. He seemed also to be half tempted to move but did not know what to do. I told him that I would be as liberal as I could but that I was very much pressed. He is a man I like and if Hollis had not been so engrafted on the property I should incline to transfer the work to him. At it is I must keep the rod over the latter and make him do his duty. Thus much for the morning.

Abigail S. Adams, my cousin dined and spent the day with Abby. I have not seen her for a long time. She was pleasant. After dinner I went to the Estate in Tremont Street and looked over it, with a view of giving the proper directions to begin the work of putting in order. The furniture of Miss Longhurst was sold today, and I went in to see what could be done to put it in good order. It needs touching considerably. I gave Dr. Wendell notice to quit and on the whole imagine I did not consult my interest in having him remain.2 Thus ended the matter. I hope I shall rent these two Houses at least. The afternoon was so spent, that I did nothing more but sat with the Ladies until evening talking. I. Hull Adams her brother came to take her away, and after that I read Lord Kaimes.


William Pinkney before the U.S. Supreme Court, 1815 (Williston’s Eloquence at 4:442–486).


Dr. Wendell had taken a room temporarily at $1 a week in the house at No. 105 Tremont Street after it was vacated by Mrs. Lewis (M/CFA/3).

Saturday. 6th. CFA Saturday. 6th. CFA
Saturday. 6th.

Morning cloudy and dark. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied in my usual affairs all the morning. Mr. Jackson the Painter called to tell me that he wanted an order against Dr. Wendell, which I accordingly gave. This man begins to be an annoyance. My feeling about these Houses distresses me. But my only business is firmness, and perseverance. Deacon Spear came to tell me that my father had forgotten to send on his orders about the letting the Farm at Quincy, and requested me to give notice of it to him, which I promised to do.1 Mr. Whitney presented to me a Note giving his final refusal to my proposition. I then sat down, and wrote the whole matter to my Father and requested him to decide how to proceed.2 For my own part I think I should resist, but what he will think proper to do, I am unable to say. The matter is a troublesome one. My time was thus entirely taken up. A tax gatherer from Randolph came to see me and to ask the payment of a large bill of twelve cents, tax upon the Estate of my Grandfather in Randolph. I paid it.3 A gentleman came in to inquire the rent of the two Houses in Tremont Street, and detained me a little while. He did not continue long however the rent being too high. Returned home and after dinner copied my letter and read some of Demosthenes. But my occupations in study are now much interrupted, and I do not so entirely relish him as I did. My own feelings too are not quite so agreeable. I have a head ach much of the time which is very disagreeable, and something new.

After tea, I went to the Meeting of the Debating Society, and heard argued the question of Imprisonment for Debt, taking but little part in it myself. The Meeting was moderately attended, and the subject pretty well debated. Adjourned, and read afterwards at home, The Arabian Nights.4


Spear, who was acting in JQA’s behalf in Quincy, had urged JQA to rent out the Penn’s Hill farm, had had people interested in taking it, but had not received authorization from JQA. Moreover, the most favorable time for leasing was passing rapidly (CFA to JQA, 6 March, LbC, Adams Papers).




Perhaps reflecting a putative interest in the farm in South Braintree, later Randolph, left to JA’s younger brother Elihu by their father and subsequently possessed by Elihu’s oldest son; see JA, Diary and Autobiography , 3:277.


GWA owned an edition published at London in 4 vols., 1819, now in MQA (vols. 1 and 4 only).