Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Thursday. July 1st. CFA Thursday. July 1st. CFA
Thursday. July 1st.

Morning to town. Mr. Frothingham accompanied me. We agree very well on all subjects excepting political ones. He is much of a Tory. Astonishing how far these opinions and principles have crept into the instructed Classes of New England. How much the days of old are forgotten. Yet what can this Nation depend upon the moment it leaves those stays which have carried them hitherto through all trials.

I sent out my Quarterly Accounts, and received money from two of the Tenants in Court Street. Mr. Alexander H. Everett called to leave a package for my father. He talked a little while and looked at the Office opposite which he wished to have to hire. I hope he will take it, and for that purpose made the price moderate. Mr. Degrand came to offer me some Atlas Shares at 3 per Cent. Dividend which is 4 per cent off. I declined them but offered to take some Fire and Marine Shares if he could get them as high as two and a half. This is a bad speculation unless some change takes place in the affairs of the Company, which I think will happen, besides there being a considerable amount of Danish claims. These two things will probably run the Stock up when I can sell if I incline. In the mean time I sell out of the American Bank.


Returned to Medford and read Winthrop. Mr. Jonathan Brooks and Chardon Hall1 made a short visit in the Evening.


Peter Chardon Hall (b. 1809), youngest son of the Nathaniel Halls (Brooks, Medford , p. 548).

Friday 2d. CFA Friday 2d. CFA
Friday 2d.

Morning clear and warm. I arose very early to enjoy the freshness of the morning air. After breakfast, rode down with my Wife to Mr. E. Everett’s at Charlestown where I left her, to pass the morning, and proceeded to town. My morning was taken up in usual little things. My hurry of business for the three last days prevented my writing my Journal for that time so that I had to make it all up at once today.

I forgot to mention that my Article drew me into Controversy, for Mr. Foster answered me and I took notice of his answer immediately. Whether he knows who it is I cannot, say, but from certain allusions I conclude that he does. My reply was hurried and imperfect but a great point is to put it in quickly.1

I read today Mr. Alex H. Everett’s article in the new Number of the North American Review upon British Opinions of American Literature written in his very best style.2 This consumed the morning and I returned to Medford taking up my Wife on the way. Afternoon reading the second Volume of Winthrop, confirmed in my dislike of Savage. The Misses Osgood and Miss Ward3 paid a visit to the House this evening, but I was so fatigued as to care very little about entering into Conversation. The Evening was brilliant and delicious.


Foster in his reply charged that the arguments of “A Calm Observer” neglected the public benefit that would accrue and were addressed only to the question of whether the construction of a railroad would be advantageous to the wealthy (Boston Patriot, 1 July, p. 2, col. 3). CFA’s answer asserted that the private and public interest are the same, “but a large body is always acting more blindly, and is therefore liable to be led wrong when a private man can clearly see his way.” Further, “I do not mean to be understood as opposing railways. If they are good, my belief is that capitalists will take hold of them, and that their’s are the proper hands to undertake them” (same, 3 July, p. 2, col. 4).


North Amer. Rev. , 31:26–66 (July 1830). A. H. Everett’s observations on “An Article in the 99th Number of the Edinburgh Review.


Perhaps Mary Gray Ward, daughter of Thomas W. and Lydia (Gray) Ward (Medford Vital Records, Boston, 1907, p. 160). See also entry for 26 July, below.

Saturday 3rd. CFA Saturday 3rd. CFA
Saturday 3rd.

Morning cloudy and warm. I took my last Shower bath. I have enjoyed them every day this week very much, and regret on their 274account leaving Medford, as I do on many others. They have there a quiet way of enjoying things which is extremely gratifying to a person after he gets accustomed to the ways of the family. But I felt obliged to leave for Quincy as I propose to make most of my visit as soon as possible.

At the Office. Mr. Conant my Tenant came in from Weston to make a final settlement of Accounts for last Year. He brought in all his demands and after setting them off paid me the balance. So far, so good. My Uncle, T. B. Adams came in and applied for his Quarterly Payment which I made to him. I then sat down to read my second Article in the Patriot, and afterwards, some of the North American Review, but was interrupted by Edmund Quincy who came and consumed the remainder of the time.

Went to Quincy to dine. Found my Mother better, but the family very much disordered by the conduct of a black fellow who came with them from Washington, whose looks I never liked. My father’s servants have far too great licence. Nobody commands them but John and he is far too indulgent.1 Went on with the Catalogue though rather slowly. Evening cool and damp. I felt restless and discontented.


JQA dismissed William Taylor, paying him his wages “in full two months to the 18th,” and sending John Kirke “to set him down at Boston.” JQA’s observation was that “it is scarcely possible to keep within any rule of order a family consisting partly of white and partly of coloured Servants.” The next day John Kirke returned with a white boy, John Phillips, as a replacement. (JQA, Diary, 3, 4 July.) The generalizations of both CFA and JQA upon the incident are made less tenable by an occurrence a year later. At that time the same William Taylor proved to be the thief who entered and robbed in the night, JA2’s house in Washington (JQA, Diary, 5, 6 July 1831).