Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday 27th. CFA Sunday 27th. CFA
Sunday 27th.

Morning fine but of the clear cold weather rather showing the season of November than our present month. My cold was quite bad during the whole day. We all attended Meeting during the day and heard Mr. Lamson of Dedham preach two quite sensible discourses. He is a fluent and ready writer, but not strong enough to give his pieces effect. The congregation looked to me smaller than I expected, but those who were presented were quite struck with the novelty of a bride, and so they looked at us well. Thomas and Isaac Hull dined with us and so we made quite a family party.1 In the afternoon as my Uncle came to see us and to invite us down there,2 we concluded to walk down and drink tea with them so as to return in the evening to be with my father. We found all the family comfortably situated and had quite a tolerable time. In the evening much company came in consisting of old acquaintances from the upper end of the town. My Uncle seems to be a Slave to this Company. It overruns his House and I do not wonder that it disables him from paying his way with his limited income. But I do not see by what code of morality my father is bound to impoverish himself and his children to keep them in idleness and a condition they cannot probably remain in. I am sorry for the Children because this is the punishment occasioned by the fault of the father.

We did not remain long, nor probably until the whole of the number 29who visit had arrived, and returned to find Josiah Quincy sitting with my father.3 The conversation was literary and turned upon the belief of literary men. It astonishes me more and more to perceive the extent and reach of the acquisitions of my father. There is no subject upon which he does not know a great deal and explain it with the greatest beauty of language. He has in the course of this day opened his information upon the subject of painting, of music and of historical characters—All of which have been handled with perfect ease and familiarity. He is a wonderful though a singular man, and now displays more of his real character than I have ever before seen.

1.

Isaac Hull Adams (1813–1900) was the younger brother of Thomas Boylston Adams Jr.; see vol. 2:159; above, entry for 4 Sept.; Adams Genealogy.

2.

On Thomas Boylston Adams (1772–1832) (TBA), JQA’s brother, see vol. 1:xxiii–xxiv, 163–169passim. His household in 1829 consisted of his wife, the former Ann Harrod (1774?–1845), on whom see vol. 1:13, and six children, all unmarried; see Adams Genealogy. For several months the family had been living in “the old Ruggles House,” located at what is now Elm and South streets in Quincy; see vol. 2:370, note.

3.

Josiah Quincy (1802–1882), fourth of the name, son of President Quincy of Harvard, was an attorney, but is best remembered today as the author of a valuable book of reminiscences of Quincy and Boston entitled Figures of the Past, originally published Boston, 1883, new edn. by M. A. DeW. Howe, Boston, 1926. On Governor Lincoln’s staff, he is sometimes referred to as Colonel. See vol. 1:154; Mass. Register, 1830, p. 90; Adams Genealogy.

Monday. 28th. CFA Monday. 28th. CFA
Monday. 28th.

The weather this morning was clear and cold and we enjoyed our ride to town notwithstanding my own peculiar inconvenience from the violent cold which I had contracted. My father came in with us, to finish the papers respecting Mr. Boylston. After an hour at home and seeing Mr. Frothingham, who was from Medford, I went to the Office and read a little of Marshall but was much interrupted by the arrival and departure of different individuals between my room and the Probate Office–Mr. Curtis and my father and several others. They found a difficulty about bonds and as I believe did not settle it after all. So that my father left town having accomplished little or nothing. Mr. Champney is one of my father’s Tenants and called to pay some arrears which were due on his tenements.1 He is in appearance a very clever young man and though in arrear, it seems to have been only for the reason that he was allowed to go behind.

Returned home to dinner and passed the afternoon in my study, writing and arranging my Accounts. My cold has had a very unfavourable effect upon my spirits and temper—and Abby and I had a conversation at dinner which gave me regret. For I perceive, so very 30strongly the seeds of difference between herself and a member of our family now absent but who may still hereafter be thrown into some intimacy with us, that I fear the result will scarcely be agreeable, and endeavour earnestly to correct it.2 Evening with Abby at home, but not pleasant as I suffered much and she was a little out of sorts. This evening R. Sturgis was married again to Miss Hubbard and we had a portion of the Serenade.3 It was flat and poor.

1.

John Y. Champney, an ensign in the City Guards, occupied tenement No. 1 of 101 Tremont Street until Oct. 1830 at an annual rent of $150 (M/CFA/3; Mass. Register, 1830, p. 244).

2.

Probably Mrs. JA2; see entry for 8 Sept., above.

3.

Russell Sturgis, an attorney whose office was at 16 Court Street, was married to Mary Greene Hubbard, daughter of John Hubbard, merchant, of 7 Somerset Street (Columbian Centinel, 30 Sept.; Boston Directory, 1830–1831).