Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Wednesday. 2d. CFA Wednesday. 2d. CFA
Wednesday. 2d.

The morning was lovely, giving us the first specimen we have had of Summer Weather for some time past. I thought I should go to Quincy and went to order a vehicle when I found a letter at the Post Office from Philadelphia informing me of their probable stay at that place for some time, which of course disarranged me for the day.1 I had anticipated the pleasure of meeting them so strongly that it certainly was a disappointment.

At the Office where I passed my time in translating Aeschines and reading Mitford. News came this morning of the loss of the Ship Boston by fire, upon which a considerable sum was insured at the New 252England Office, so that the expected Dividend will not be so large, and my Accounts are somewhat varied.2 My friend Richardson called, but staid only a few moments. Returned home to dine and passed the afternoon in reading Prior. Finished the work with which I have been on the whole much pleased. It is a better estimate of Burke’s character than any I ever read, and gives me many new ideas about him. I also read an Article upon him in the Edinburgh Review and another in the Quarterly.3 The first by a political enemy, the last by a friend. Both not quite the truth, but the latter much nearer to it than the former. Evening, Eustace to my Wife. A strange and incomprehensible mixture this man. A Catholic Priest, a John Bull, and a warm republican. Three most incongruous characters.

1.

JQA to CFA, 29 May (Adams Papers). LCA, Mrs. JA2, daughter, and nurse (Mrs. Nowland), who had left Washington in the family carriage on the 27th, joined JQA in Philadelphia according to plan. However, since the journey could not be resumed before the 31st, the arrival of all in Quincy was necessarily delayed.

2.

The Boston, Capt. Mackay, bound for Liverpool from Charleston with a cargo principally of cotton, was struck by lightning and set afire on 25 May. Of her $20,000 insurance, half was carried by the Columbian office, half by the New England office (Boston Patriot, 2 June, p. 2, col. 1).

3.

A review of The Epistolary Correspondence of ... Edmund Burke and Dr. French Lawrence, London, 1827, in the Edinburgh Review, 46:269–303 (Oct. 1827); a review of Prior’s, Memoir of ... Burke, in the Quarterly Review, 34:457–487 (Sept. 1826).

Thursday. 3rd. CFA Thursday. 3rd. CFA
Thursday. 3rd.

Morning clear and warm. I went down to my Office early in order to find out something in relation to my father’s arrival, but could not succeed. Concluded upon taking my chance of finding them.1 So after making several arrangements, I went off in a horse and gig with my Wife at ten o’clock, and we soon reached Quincy. We found there my father only, he having left the rest of the party at Providence to come on more gradually. We did expect them before dinner but the time wore away and nobody came so that we dined without them. My father looks in very good health and seemed in tolerable spirits. We had a great deal of conversation upon general subject of politics and family matters. He did not seem quite so comfortably situated as he was last year.

At six o’clock my Mother came, with Mrs. J. Adams and Child.2 They looked fatigued and worried. And bore the appearance which always so unaccountably attends all their proceedings.3 I conversed with them briefly and argued the point with my Mother mildly, as to my determination not to go to Quincy to reside, but my Uncle and his 253family came in which shook our decision, and we left them late to return. Found the other Servants at our House who had come by Water.4

1.

JQA had written a note to CFA at 7 p.m. on the evening before, announcing his arrival at Quincy at 5 (Adams Papers), but apparently it had not been delivered before CFA left for Quincy.

2.

Mary Louisa Adams (b. 1828), daughter of JA2; see vol. 2:320 and Adams Genealogy.

3.

The family left New York on the afternoon of 1 June by steamboat President, Capt. Bunker, and landed at Providence the next day after a rough passage. JQA took the stage at once, leaving LCA and her charges to follow by carriage. Because the child was seized with a “fainting or convulsion fit,” LCA decided that they would remain overnight in Providence (JQA, Diary, 3 June).

4.

Mrs. Mary Ann Pitts, Mrs. Elizabeth Kirke, and daughter journeyed by sea. Leaving Washington on 21 May, they reached Quincy on the 4th (LCA to CFA, 23 May, Adams Papers; JQA, Diary, 4 June).