Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Sunday. 19th. CFA Sunday. 19th. CFA
Sunday. 19th.

Morning clear but so cool that I declined taking the Bath. I attended divine service at Mr. Stetson’s Meeting house all day and heard him deliver two Sermons upon the verse in the first Chapter of Genesis affirming that God created man after his own image. They were good although they did not satisfy me upon the nature of the passage.


My day was otherwise much wasted. I heard my Wife read French to me and afterwards went down to see Mr. Jonathan Brooks and his English Son Samuel who drank tea. The children inherit the loquacity of their father and the English branch having additional sources of information and observation is just in so much spoiled by the further ease it gives to his propensity. A little of Rollin afterwards.

Monday. 20th. CFA Monday. 20th. CFA
Monday. 20th.

Morning to town with Mr. Brooks. Weather fine but cool. At the Office nearly all the morning engaged in my common occupations. Read a little of Hutchinson and made a settlement of some of the demands upon New’s Estate. Mr. Beals, my Tenant of Mr. Hollis’ house called to discuss the question of moving or reducing rent. I had heard a bad character of him and made no effort to compromise.

An Irish Woman came for advice, sent as she said by Mr. Consul Manners.1 Why this gentleman should think proper to send the woman to me I cannot comprehend. She had no cause of complaint that I could discover against her lawyer Mr. A. Moore, with whose concerns I had no inclination to interfere. So I directed her to wait and see the end of her affair. She is a poor Irish woman whose case is a hard one as she has no friends and is unlucky enough to have a dishonest lawyer.

Returned to Medford with Mr. B. and found Mr. Frothingham there after an absence of several days. I wasted my Afternoon, excepting in a walk with Mr. Brooks to a part of Woburn to look at a great Elm Tree which is there. It is a noble sight. We measured it at two feet from the ground and found it twenty feet three inches in girth, which is with us prodigious.2 Returned to tea and passed the Evening at Mrs. Hall’s, tolerably dull.


The British consul in Boston was George Manners; his office was at 3 Barristers Hall ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).


The elm tree was perfectly sound at 136 years; it was on the land of Abel Richardson near the Blackhorse Tavern. Richardson, 94, and his wife, 92, were alive, looked after by a maiden daughter. The tree’s only rival in the area was the elm on Boston Common which, 30 inches from the ground, measured 21 feet, 8 inches in circumference in 1825 (Brooks, Farm Journal, 20 Sept.). However, see the following entry for another measurement.

Tuesday. 21st. CFA Tuesday. 21st. CFA
Tuesday. 21st.

Morning tolerably pleasant although there was a pretty thick fog came up from the Eastward in the course of it. I went in accompanied by Mr. Frothingham to Boston, and spent a considerable portion of 324time in overlooking things at my house, where the servants from Quincy came this morning. Gave directions about several things which I desired done before the Winter to make us a little warmer than we have been. Last Winter was the first trial of a new house and was therefore in many respects uncomfortable. I hope we may do better this.

Went down to the great tree on Boston Common to measure its circumference and compare it with that visited yesterday. I found it nineteen feet three inches, being one foot less. But it is much handsomer in shape.

Sidney Brooks called and settled all the Affair respecting the finding and removing poor George’s body, and he returned me the balance of the sum appropriated for the purpose in his hands. Returned to Medford with Mr. Frothingham. Sidney Brooks and his Wife came to spend a few days. Afternoon Mr. and Mrs. C. Brooks of Boston with her friends from Portland came to visit the place.1 The whole time was wasted, and the evening in talking about nothing.


Charles Brooks was the son of Cotton Brooks of Portland and a first cousin of ABA. Charles and his brother, William G. Brooks, were partners in Brooks & Co., hardware, at 6 Dock Square. The Charles Brooks residence was at 9 Suffolk Place. (CFA, Diary, 18 May 1834; Boston Directory, 1830–1831.)