Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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).

Friday. 4th. CFA Friday. 4th. CFA
Friday. 4th.

Morning warm and pleasant. I did not feel very well myself as my Nerves had been disarranged by seeing the family yesterday and being obliged to attend to the disposition of the Servants. Received from Mr. Brooks his Check for the Quarter as usual, and deposited the Money at the Bank, with some also to the credit of my father. I then went and completed the transaction with regard to the Stock in the State Bank, and conversed wih Mr. Degrand upon it. The project seems to be to put that Institution upon a new footing, by reducing the Capital, and changing the head of it who has become unpopular.1 Judge Hall came up and paid me a short visit this morning, inquiring about my father’s arrival,2 and the remainder of my time excepting a few minutes to see Mr. Brooks, reading Mitford. My head ached a little. Afternoon not spent to the best advantage as the time was cut up in getting the women off for Quincy, and in a sleepy turn that came over me.

Felt a little puzzled about the most advisable course to be pursued. My Mother is provoked, my Father grieved and my brother’s Wife hurt by my decision. Yet it is undoubtedly a wise one. I see that it is at every step. Yet I feel sorry to cause so much uneasiness. The family is large and expensive, and I have no desire whatever to make it more so. I think my Father does not feel quite so well as he did. The care seems a little too much for him. Poor man, he is destined to have a load upon his shoulders full as heavy as he can carry.3 Read Burke’s Speeches upon America.4 In the evening, Eustace, and afterwards, Logic.

254
1.

The president of the State Bank was E. A. Bourne ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).

2.

On Judge Joseph Hall, see vol. 2:154.

3.

CFA was not wrong in sensing a deep concern in JQA. In his diary entry on the same day JQA wrote, “I find it the move of oppressive magnitude and distressing charge.” The number in the household at the Old House was swollen to two children and eleven adults: three members of the family and eight servants. With each of the family unwell, JQA was provoked to write, “With a family so infirm, that every step I take is with fear and trembling, I cannot express what I feel. If I had concern only for my own life, my condition would be comparatively happy. I have no reliance upon Earth. May that from above be sure and stedfast.” (JQA, Diary, 31 May; 4, 30 June.)

4.

The speeches on America are in vol. 2 of the edition of The Works of ... Burke in 3 vols., published at London in 1792, which has JQA’s bookplate and is now in MQA.