Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday 18th. CFA Friday 18th. CFA
Friday 18th.

Arose early having felt slightly unwell this morning from an attack of pain in the stomach rather common to me at this season of the year though I have not felt it before this year. After breakfast, I started to go to Weston to arrange the affairs of my father in that place for the season. I was imprudent in not being thicker dressed for it was colder than I had expected. I suffered more in my ride than I should have done, and than considering my attack of the morning, was altogether safe. I called for Richardson on the route and he accompanied me there. Upon our arrival, we immediately took to the Kitchen fire, and with the assistance of this externally and the revivifying influence of something internal properly administered, we began to feel able to do something. Having met Col. Jones, the Auctioneer and in appearance the teetotum of the town,1 his brother and our two tenants, we sallied forth in quest of the Woods. We walked round them and through them and felt pretty thoroughly fatigued before we returned. Indeed as I felt far from well, I was compelled to hurry home as fast as possible. But I saw and heard enough of the Wood to feel satisfied that if properly sold it will bring a considerable sum to replenish my father’s Treasury. Not a disagreeable prospect. But we must stand the chances of sale and these are capricious enough. I made arrangements with the Auctioneer to get the sale advertised, and the measurements made, and allotted about one half to the Hammer and the Axe. The remainder shall go next Autumn.2 This job being finished we returned to the House and dined. The Tenants had made preparation for us and it was essentially necessary that I should so far assent to their arrangements as not to appear too proud to sit down with 20them. We made quite a dinner party and had a very tolerable meal upon Chickens. But feeling so unwell, I was not enabled to support that character which I had wished and desired. I was therefore glad to get away and return to town, which I did at a rate sufficiently rapid, so that I was at home before three o’clock. Miss Julia Gorham spent the day with Abby which was a relief to me as I was fatigued and out of spirits. I seized an hour while she was out and commenced La Harpe’s Course of Literature with his Analysis of Aristotle but I could not progress very far from the want of the habit of reading which I have lost, but must now endeavour to resume. Evening with Abby reading Devereux which I finished.


On Col. John Jones of Weston, see vol. 2:251. CFA’s meaning here is unclear. He may have meant that Jones was a little man, or one who spins about busily like a top; see OED : “teetotum.” Or perhaps there was a confusion or blending with “factotum.”


The auction of the cut wood was held on 13 Nov. (see below under that date), and netted $407. The second sale, in 1830, brought in $428.25. An annual sale thereafter through 1835 brought revenue each year in excess of $500 (M/CFA/3).

Saturday 19th. CFA Saturday 19th. CFA
Saturday 19th.

Morning to the Office. Finding myself in want of occupation I commenced Marshall’s Book on Insurance in order to make myself more familiarly acquainted with that subject.1 I read a little but was interrupted by visitors. D. Orcutt, one of my father’s tenants came to tell me he could pay me no rent and he quits the house in consequence.2 He is an everlasting talker and detained me discussing all his prospects until I became so tired as to manoeuvre him away. He offers security however so that the rent is not absolutely lost. My father also came in and sat some time talking of his necessities, which at this time are many. I therefore walked down to the New England Soap Stone Factory in order to send for one thing most needed, a close fireplace for his large room. The remainder of the things required I must defer attending to until next week.

My father dined with us and as I had in the morning attended to the receiving some wine which he has been so kind as to give me, which had just arrived from Washington, I thought I would open a bottle for him—but it disappointed us, for it felt the effects of transportation very much.3 Our dinner was however an exceedingly pleasant one, as my father was in a mood for Conversation and we talked of Shakespear with great vivacity. He disclosed then his singular views of the plays of Othello, and Macbeth, which rather amuse than convince me though they are undoubtedly worthy of consideration. We sat some 21time and afterwards I had only time to write a little during the absence of both my father and my wife upon separate errands. He returned only for a moment previous to departing for Quincy and it was not long afterwards that we found Mr. Brooks had sent his little Carriage for us, to go to Medford. I had expected this would be the case though I confess I did not wish it. My own happiness hitherto has been unalloyed, but there is danger that the feelings which Medford engenders divide and separate us and bring on difficulty. I had hoped that we should have gone tomorrow in order to return on the day succeeding without difficulty but now I feared that the result would not be so promising. This brought an unwelcome cloud upon my spirits, which every thing that followed in the course of the evening was calculated to increase. For it made me uncomfortable in spite of myself to think that Abby should prefer her home to me—and I am peculiarly sensitive to the very looks of Mr. and Mrs. Brooks because I feel that they are a little displeased with me for doing what I could not in justice to myself avoid. Sidney Brooks and his Wife, and Mrs. Frothingham were there making a pretty large party, and for the whole of the evening I felt as restless, and uncomfortable as I did at any time during my engagement.


Samuel Marshall, Treatise on the Law of Insurance ..., 2 vols., London, 1802.


David Orcutt, a cabinetmaker, rented tenement No. 3 of 101 Tremont Street at $150 per year. When he left the premises on 23 Oct., he was $112 in arrears (vol. 2:417; M/CFA/3; and Boston Directory, 1829–1830).


See entry for 9 Sept., above.