Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday. 13th. CFA Saturday. 13th. CFA
Saturday. 13th.

Morning at the Office. The weather was hazy and became warm in the course of the day. I passed the time in reading the Newspapers, and in the many kinds of interruptions to which I have for a few days past been subjected. An applicant came for the House No. 2 and requested the refusal of it, which I gave. Deacon Spear came in from Quincy and showed me a letter from my father giving directions about the Farms there.1 In this letter he seems to express it as doubtful whether he shall be here before the month of May. This rather surprises me but I presume it to be owing to my Mother, whose health will not permit her to come on sooner. I talked with the Deacon about affairs in Quincy, and drew from him facts respecting the Farms 186which I was to set down to write to my Father immediately. As soon as he went, I sat down to do so and wrote him very particularly the condition of the property.2 How far I had gone, and proposed to go. The weight upon my mind is very great. Returned home.

In the afternoon, I went to the performance of the last Office to the body of poor Winthrop Gray, not from any feeling for him, but from respect to his Mother who is a very estimable woman. Returned I was then engaged in copying the letter and thought I would take the broken remnant of the afternoon for the purpose of writing a letter long due to my Mother. It was principally upon the subject of the death of Mrs. Brooks, giving some particulars respecting it. It did not perfectly satisfy me in the writing as things rarely do, but in such cases I do not stop to correct.3 I barely finished it in time for tea and my usual visit in the evening to the Private Debating Society where the former question was again debated, and finally settled. The argument of Mr. A. W. Fuller settled it the contrary way to what I had formerly thought my vote would be. I detest opinionated self conceited men stiff in their prejudices. Did not get home until late.

1.

In the letter (missing) JQA authorized Deacon Spear to undertake to lease the houses and farm at the foot of Penn’s Hill (JQA to CFA, 11 March, Adams Papers).

2.

CFA to JQA (LbC, Adams Papers). Spear’s recommendations were that the offer of Harvey Field to take the farm and that of Curtis and Hardwick to renew their lease on the house be accepted. According to prior understanding, Spear had purchased from rental income three acres of salt marsh for addition to the Mount Wollaston estate.

3.

Letter in Adams Papers; its contents are discussed above in note for 21 Feb. and note for 11 March. entries for 21 Feb., 11 March, notes

Sunday. 14th. CFA Sunday. 14th. CFA
Sunday. 14th.

The morning was cloudy and soon after breakfast it began to rain in torrents. The first approaches of Spring. We were prevented from going to Medford so early as we intended but by eleven o’clock it cleared up so that we could go out to dine. Found the family as usual, but rather more alone. I felt a little inconvenience from head ach which increased as the day advanced, and by evening became quite serious. Attended divine service in the afternoon and heard Mr. Stetson preach, though without attending to him much. Somehow or other I felt drowsy and dull.

The remainder of the day was passed in reading superficially the Memoirs of the Court of Napoleon by Bausset, a book owned by Mr. A. H. Everett.1 I was somewhat surprised by his ideas as they were new to me, though I did not feel thoroughly convinced by them. He 187intimates that the escape from Elba was connived at by the Allied Powers, in order to give them the excuse for removing Napoleon to St. Helena and to divide France, but this last plan was defeated by the unanimity of the people. I am inclined to the opinion that the risk was too great for had they been defeated at Waterloo, a thing not impossible, the result might have put much at stake to them.

A short time was passed in conversation with Mr. Brooks. I wonder at and admire his remarkable shrewdness of character. It has brought him to his present prosperity and seems to be an infallible guide to success in worldly affairs. Retired feeling quite unwell.

1.

Louis François Joseph de Bausset, Mémoires anecdotiques sur l’intérieur du palais et sur quelques évènemens de l’Empire, 1805–1814, Paris, 1827. Although the work was translated as the Private Memoirs of the Court of Napoleon and published in Philadelphia, 1828, the copy which A. H. Everett lent to Charlotte Everett at Mystic Grove was in French (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 13 Jan. 1830, Everett MSS, MHi).