Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday 10th. CFA Saturday 10th. CFA
Saturday 10th.

Morning cold and gloomy. I went to the Office and passed my time as usual in reading Marshall, excepting a small portion of it devoted as usual to the regulation of my Accounts. Mr. Kinsman called upon me to pay a portion of the Note of the City Guards to the Estate of my brother, and to discuss the matter of Mr. Whitney’s Affair. I left the settlement of this altogether to him, if he can make terms with him, it is well and much more than I can. I hope this disagreeable business will terminate without a reference to law, but if it is not my mind is made up. I have only the course of decision to take. My character always was one which verged to obstinacy in points where it was based upon belief of right and now when the conviction of justice is most prevalent, it is rather hard to yield to the sense of expediency.

Marshall was not over interesting but I got along tolerably in progress. At home found Mr. Brooks who dined with us. I was very glad to have the opportunity to receive him in this way, without ceremony or parade. And he was very mild and pleasant as usual. He left us immediately, and I occupied myself during the afternoon in reading and writing upon Mr. Graham’s History. I feel as if I might be able to write upon this subject but I do not know whether it does 211not require more perseverance than I am equal to. And yet it is a shame to say so. But the subject is interesting and I propose at any rate to pursue it for my own instruction.

The Evening was passed in reading Eustace to my Wife. This author is full of prejudice, and John Bullism but yet has a cultivated mind, and much that is entertaining and instructive. After this was finished, for the Evening I read some Articles in the North American Review upon Jefferson’s works and others.1


A review (unsigned) by Andrew Ritchie of T. J. Randolph’s edition, North Amer. Rev. , 30:511–551 (April 1830).

Sunday 11th. CFA Sunday 11th. CFA
Sunday 11th.

The morning was cheerless and gloomy, the East Wind prevailing in all its severity at this period of the year. Abby and I went together to Medford to pass the day as usual. We found Mr. Brooks and Mrs. Everett much as usual. We attended divine service during the day and heard Mr. Briggs, a clergyman from Lexington deliver two serious discourses one upon the immortality of the soul, the other I have forgotten.1 They were very well calculated for the Country being simple, and solid, but full of common places which very much diverted my attention. He dined with us at Mr. Brooks’, and we found him very pleasant and agreeable. I was much pleased with him, as he was lively without stiffness, conversible without the starch piety of some. On the whole he is a favourable specimen of the Country clergy, around Boston.

The remainder of the day was spent in reading some Articles in a late number of the Quarterly, which present the state of England in a view totally new. Indeed though no one could help being astonished that Britain has kept to such a height so long, yet the inevitable course of things is not to be stopped to indulge men with wonder. The debt of England is a load no nation can march under without staggering. It remains yet to be seen whether this will not finally fall with a ruinous crash. Conversation general.


Charles Briggs, Harvard 1815 ( Mass. Register, 1830).

Monday. 12th. CFA Monday. 12th. CFA
Monday. 12th.

The dark, cold, and gloomy weather continues. We returned to town this morning, and I passed the morning at the Office. Received a letter from my father in reply to my Quarterly Account and otherwise containing nothing material.1 Mr. Farrar the brother of my Father’s Quincy Tenant called and requested some Garden seeds to begin 212with the place at Quincy, which I provided him with.2 I obtained a large collection and hope now to be able fully to furnish the family with vegetables for the whole Summer. My time was so short and so cut up that I was unable to make any progress in Marshall, and on the whole felt dissatisfied. Mr. Forbes called and I paid him his very moderate bill, for the past quarter.3 Returning home I was occupied in framing and beginning to execute the plan of an Essay which I have in my head upon the early History of the Country. I do not know whether it is not beyond my grasp, but at any rate I will try. I thought over the matter and only lament my want of preparation. The whole afternoon was passed in this manner. The Evening was occupied in reading Eustace to my Wife who was much pleased with the account of Rome. After which I passed some time in reading Hutchinson over to compare with Robertson.4


6 April (Adams Papers).


In a letter of 31 March (Adams Papers), JQA had asked CFA to hire Farrar to prepare the soil and plant the vegetable garden at the Old House.


Horse hire from William Forbes for the quarter was substantially reduced from what it had been before CFA resolved to make increased use of family carriages for trips to and from Medford and Quincy.


An edition of Thomas Hutchinson, The History of the Colony of Massachusetts Bay ..., published at London in 3 vols., 1765–1828, is in MQA and has JQA’s bookplate.