Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 19th. CFA Wednesday. 19th. CFA
Wednesday. 19th.

Morning bright. Went to the Office as usual, and sat down to my translation in which I made some progress. My interruptions were of a trifling character until twelve. Mr. Brigham from Quincy called to ask me whether I would purchase any Canal Shares at Quincy. I declined as well from inclination as necessity. My father has too many there for his interest, as I think. And I have need of immediate income. Mr. Brooks stopped in for a minute about some things he had for us, which sent me home, from whence, I thought I would seize the opportunity to go to the Gallery and waste an hour in lounging. Met there Dr. Davis and had a pleasant chat with him. He is a young man of a good deal of sense, and somewhat above the ordinary run of our youth. The Gallery pleased me better today.

Returned home and passed the afternoon in reading Demosthenes in which my progress was rapid. But I find that I a little slighted the latter part in my former reading. It is now necessary to finish in order to get ready for our removal. My review of it will scarcely succeed. I wrote a short answer to my Father which I barely got ready in time.1 Then amused myself by reading to my Wife from Moore’s Life of 241Byron, a miserably compiled work though very interesting in itself, from the richness of the materials.


LbC in Adams Papers. CFA proposed that, since his house in Boston would be closed for the summer, their three servants be employed at Quincy.

Thursday. 20th. CFA Thursday. 20th. CFA
Thursday. 20th.

Morning delightfully pleasant. Went to the Office and occupied myself a short time in writing an Article which I talk of contributing to a Newspaper by way of amusement. But I did not nearly finish it, from being interrupted first by my Uncle who came at last to claim the amount for the schooling of his Son which has been appropriated by my father to that purpose. He sat with me for some time, and while he was there Mr. Savage came in to inquire about a paper of my Grandfather’s which he had often seen published but could not find. His object was to know whether I could lead him to it. I told him I would see about it.1 I then went to an Auction to see whether I could make some convenient purchases for Quincy.2 But without any success. At home found Miss Julia Gorham who was spending the day with my Wife. She is a pleasant as well as a sensible girl. Went out to the Auction again in the Afternoon but my walk in the shower which fell heavily about that time was all the benefit I received for my pains. The bad things were sacrificed but the good ones they were too wise to put up. Returned home and read the Oration for the Crown nearly to it’s close, which took me until nearly the proper hour to go to Edward Brooks as we had been invited. Found there only Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham as Company. We had a very pleasant time and returned home at a seasonable hour.


James Savage (1784–1873), one of the founders of the Boston Athenaeum and long active in the Massachusetts Historical Society (president, 1841–1855), devoted himself largely to antiquarian pursuits ( DAB ). The paper he wished was the letter of JA to John Jay, 2 June 1785 (LbC, Adams Papers; printed in JA, Works , 8:255–259). CFA sent Savage a copy with the proviso that the document not be published without the consent of JQA (CFA to Savage, 22 May, LbC, Adams Papers). Savage’s work as editor is referred to below, entry for 26 June, note; entries for 27 June, 29 July.


The stock of the Furniture Commission Co. was sold on the premises, Milk Street, beginning at 9 o’clock (Boston Patriot, 20 May, p. 3, col. 4).

Friday. 21st. CFA Friday. 21st. CFA
Friday. 21st.

Morning clear but cool. Went to the Office after calling at several places to see about the different sorts of things necessary to be sent to Quincy. I almost made up my Mind upon several articles of Furniture which were offered at what appeared to me very fair prices, and I 242came very near an agreement with Forbes about a horse and Chaise for the Season. At the Office my time was spent for the most part in looking over the Papers of New upon which I have undertaken to Administer, but I only found enough to make it a little subject of regret that I took it at all. I see nothing but debts and bad paper which has accummulated on his hands.

As Abby let me know she was going to Medford with Mrs. Frothingham, I thought I would accept her husband’s invitation that I should dine with him. After dinner returned to my Study and copied for Mr. Savage the letter he requested of me. This occupied me all the time that I did not spend in looking over the Copies for Sparks. Received Letters from the Post Office this Evening from John and my father.1 The former informing me his Wife was coming, the latter authorizing me to sell the Stock of the State Bank. My plans are changed, and I wrote in reply that I should not go to Quincy.2 But my time passed so that I hardly saw my Wife.


The letter from JA2 is missing; that from JQA was written on 17 May (Adams Papers).


To JQA (LbC, Adams Papers). CFA, to explain the reversal, wrote that the earlier decision to spend the summer in Quincy had been made despite considerable inconvenience to himself and ABA and some opposition from Mr. Brooks, but now that Mrs. JA2 and child were to be in the house “the only idea which overbalanced all these considerations, your and my Mother’s probable solitude at Quincy, is not to have any foundation, my most advisable course is to stay where I am.”