Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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).

Sunday. 23rd. CFA Sunday. 23rd. CFA
Sunday. 23rd.

My wife was so unwell this Morning that we did not make any attempt to leave town. I went to Meeting at Mr. Frothingham’s for the first time for several months. Heard him preach morning and Afternoon. His Sermons are highly laboured, and in themselves finished pieces of Composition, though the thoughts run hard. There is no natural and easy flow which is attractive even in its redundancy. I have noticed that his best Sermons are preached in the Afternoon. Probably because they are selected from the best of his efforts for a considerable period of time. My principal occupation was the correcting Copies for Mr. Sparks, which with all the time today I did not entirely finish. Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham, Miss Carter and Dr. Stevenson called to see my Wife. Evening, a Sermon of Dr. Barrow’s,1 and an attempt to write which failed.


CFA continued to read the sermons of Isaac Barrow until very late in life. In the edition (5 vols., London, 1823) in MQA which has GWA’s signature and JQA’s bookplate, CFA has written the date at which he read each of the ser-244mons; many were read more than once and at intervals of as much as forty years. CFA’s bookplate is in vols. 3, 4, and 6 of another edition (6 vols., Edinburgh, 1751), of which vols. 2, 3, 4, and 6 are in MQA.