Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday. 19th. CFA Monday. 19th. CFA
Monday. 19th.

This was the first morning that the Spring Season had manifested itself in an unequivocal manner, and therefore quite delicious. The air was soft and made our ride returning from Medford quite agreeable. I went to the Office and enjoyed a morning totally uninterrupted from any visit of any kind but not on that account entirely well spent. My books are at home and having finished Graham, I had nothing else to begin upon, so that I did little except to look over the series of letters written to my brother George by my father.1 They are deeply interesting to me as evincing his constant unabated affection and anxiety for him and the trouble that his procrastinating conduct occasioned. If ever there was a son who had advantages from his father, it was he, and his mind and taste merited a better fate. But the past is not to be recalled, and we submit under the affliction more readily when we suppose that it is probably for the best.

The afternoon was passed in my study writing a rough draft of my Essay upon our early History. I was tolerably well satisfied with what I had accomplished, and if I can do it all in the same manner I hope it will do as my first effort in a long composition. But it will need revision and reflection, and my time is very short. I have so many in-217ducements to continue it that I anxiously hope they will carry me through the necessary labour. The days have now grown so long that I have but a short time to read Eustace to my Wife and we progress slowly. After it, I accomplish something, and this evening finished my father’s Lectures which have done me good.


For the period from Oct. 1823, when GWA began to assume the management of JQA’s affairs in Boston, to GWA’s death in 1829, almost all of JQA’s frequent letters to him, both the retained copies in letterbooks and recipient’s copies, remain in situ. It is safe to conclude, therefore, that the file is practically complete. In contrast, however, only five letters from GWA to JQA during the some period have been located, all recipient’s copies in the Adams Papers. CFA, on the basis of his own repeated statements in the diary that he had destroyed papers of his brother, must bear the major responsibility for the loss. However, we do not know whether GWA was systematic in keeping letterbooks, and we do know that JQA did not keep complete files of personal letters received. On the related problem of JA2’s letters, see above, entry for 14 Oct. 1829, note.

Tuesday. 20th. CFA Tuesday. 20th. CFA
Tuesday. 20th.

Morning mild and like Summer. I went to the Office as usual. This weather does not produce a very pleasing effect upon me as it used to, my mind is now rendered languid by it. I called upon Mr. Kinsman to see if there was any probability of a termination of the dispute with Whitney. But I find none. He is not altogether so active an Attorney as I took him for. Returned to my Office and passed my time in reading Graham over again. I accomplished the History of Virginia today and on the whole have no occasion to alter the impressions which the previous reading had made. I do not know whether I shall fully succeed in working it in. But is not the trial worth making. Shall I not obtain some degree of notice even for the attempt.

My time was very little interrupted. For a few days past I have not seen a soul, which is rather an unusual circumstance. The afternoon was entirely occupied in writing my Essay in which I made considerable progress and got through the violent charge of intolerance that has been made against them.1 I do not know whether I have done to my side the justice it deserved, but I think it bears a strong face. My time was taken up until quite late, as this was the evening for the meeting of the family at Chardon’s. I went as usual and we had a Supper much in the ordinary way. Returned quite early.


That is, the Puritans in New England.

Wednesday. 21st. CFA Wednesday. 21st. CFA
Wednesday. 21st.

The weather continues warm even to the sultry feeling of Summer. I went to the Office as usual and passed my time in reading 218Graham’s History of the settlement of New England. My interruptions were not numerous. A man called with a bill of Messrs. Russell and Randall, Pump makers, against the late Agency, which after much demur, I consented to pay. It was of three years standing, and done by the direction of Mr. Hollis who seems to have had Carte blanche during the preceding six years to waste, to spend and to destroy.

Mr. Champney is one of my Tenants and called to pay me a portion of his rent which was due and promised to me some time ago. I had begun to fear that it would not come at all, and was therefore glad to give him credit for it. The remainder of my time was much at my own disposal, and I took advantage of it to examine the early History of our forefathers with some attention but the subject multiplies upon me so rapidly that I hardly know what to do. I see so many branches and so many lights in which it may be taken that my mind is almost puzzled, and I begin to yield to despair. My time is so short and so much seems i.e. needs to be done. My task is rather more than at present I feel equal to. Courage, there is a spirit to support the labour and a prize to reward it.

Afternoon, employed in writing, but my views were not bright nor clear. I did not accomplish much. The days now grow long. Evening, stopped in reading Eustace by Edmund Quincy who came to pay a visit and spend two hours. The rest of the time, reading anecdotes of distinguished characters.