Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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.”

Saturday. 22nd. CFA Saturday. 22nd. CFA
Saturday. 22nd.

My letters received last evening discomposed me very considerably. They changed my plans essentially as I do not feel willing to go to Quincy to take the chance of a divided empire, and yet I regret the loss of the Society of my Father. But after all I have so much comfort and pleasure in my own house with the knowledge that it is mine, and that my Wife is properly Mistress of it, that it is not worth the risk, to remove from it.

My first proceeding was to go upon Change and inquire what it was worth while to do about the Stock in the State Bank. I satisfied myself that it was worth more than par and went to my Office where I wrote out for the Press a political Article. Mr. Degrand called to know what the answer was to his offer and I told him, not that my Father accepted his former proposal, but that I wanted sixty and a half for sixty dollars, to which he assented, and the sale was agreed upon. I then negociated with him and he agreed to keep the Money until August, paying four and a half per Cent with these shares as 243Collateral Security, to be referred to my father.1 So much for business. I did little or nothing more. My friend Richardson came in and passed half an hour. And I agreed to go to the Athenaeum at one. Accordingly we went and lounged for the hour before dinner. At home found my Wife quite sick—So that Richardson and I dined alone.

After dinner, I rode to Quincy on John’s Affairs, to see William Greenleaf and to give directions about the House. Found things in much better order than I anticipated. William Greenleaf has an offer from John of a situation in his Flour business. But he would give no answer today so that I might have spared my pains.2 Called to see my Uncle and his family. Found them well. Miss Elizabeth as usual on an expedition with her Lover. Having given all the orders possible, I returned. My Wife sick, lonely and out of spirits. I was obliged to close and dispatch two letters by this Mail before I could sit with her.3 She suffers a good deal.


The sale of 71 shares in the State Bank brought $4,295.50 (M/CFA/3). A large part of the amount realized was needed to pay to Thomas B. Adams Jr., upon his 21st birthday in August, his share as one of JA’s heirs.


Later, Greenleaf did decide to accept JA2’s offer and set off at once for Washington (JQA to JA2, 28 May, Adams Papers).


To JA2 (Adams Papers) and to JQA (LbC, Adams Papers). In the first, CFA wrote “I need not say that both my Wife and I shall feel exceedingly happy in seeing Mary as often as possible here as well as at Quincy.” This proved sufficient to persuade JA2 and his wife that she should go to Quincy as had been intended before CFA’s letter to JQA of the 21st arrived to provoke a “flurry” and consequent change in plan (JQA, Diary, 25–26 May).