Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

October 1829. Thursday. October 1st. CFA October 1829. Thursday. October 1st. CFA
October 1829. Thursday. October 1st.

Morning at the Office, arranging the Affairs of the Quarter. Re-32ceived my father’s tax bill for the year and my own for the first time.1 This makes me in all respects a Citizen of Boston, as well in it’s disadvantages as it’s benefits. I then took a walk to Union Wharf which is at the North end of Boston leading out of Ann Street and is a considerable distance. I found no advantage from going as I did not come when the Ware house was open which contained my father’s books. But Mr. May set me in a way to obtain them.2 He was the owner of the Wharf and pointed out to me the Liverpool Packet which was just ready to go out of the Harbour, this being her regular day of sailing—and further commenced discussing political subjects upon which I went away, to call upon Mr. Lyman’s agent, by name Bigelow who informed me he would meet me down there at three.3 Bicknell, the Captain of the Sloop which was to take them called at my Office and I fixed the same time for him. Orcutt, my father’s tenant, called to tell me he was unable to pay me and asked me to take security. I want the money, so referred him to others to raise it and pay me, which he refused to do as he probably has found that he cannot. I postponed the subject, although I presume it is my only chance of getting any thing. Thus went the morning and I found I had read little or nothing.

The afternoon was taken up partially in another visit to Union Wharf where I saw the Trunks and Cases but could not get them out. I made such arrangements however with Mr. May that it will render needless any further effort on my side.4 I then called at Mrs. Frothingham’s but she was not at home. The remainder of the afternoon was passed at home. The evening was taken up in two visits—One to Mrs. Gorham and her daughter and one to Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham who have just returned from Medford, for the Winter.5 Their house looked cold but we had some good Wine and returned home after nine o’clock.


The tax bill of $115.19 on JQA’s Boston property was paid on 18 Nov. (M/CFA/3). CFA’s own account books show no payment of taxes in 1829 nor that he owned any real property at this time. Taxes on the house at 3 Hancock Avenue were paid each year by Mr. Brooks, who retained title to it (Brooks, Waste Book, 27 Dec. 1834).


Probably Henry K. May of 6 Union Wharf ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).


Perhaps Theodore Lyman, merchant, of 4 Bowdoin Square, and Benjamin Bigelow of Bigelow & Bangs, merchants, 15 Long Wharf (same).


On 3 Oct., the lighter sloop Flash, Captain Bicknell, arrived at Quincy with 38 boxes and 5 trunks of books. Some, accumulated during JQA’s years in Europe, had been packed in England in 1817 and subsequently stored in Boston. Some, the books that constituted his library in Boston when he left for Russia in 1809, had been on deposit at the Boston Athenaeum until 1822, then boxed and stored. Some had been lately sent from Washington. The cargo was delivered from wharf to house in four wagonloads, then placed in the woodshed for shelter until unpacking could be completed. See above, entry for 23 Sept.; JQA, Diary, 3 Oct. 1829; Walter 33Muir Whitehill, “Three Letters of John Quincy Adams,” Athenaeum Items, No. 62 (July 1955).


The Rev. and Mrs. Frothingham lived at 24 Summer Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830).

Friday. 2nd. CFA Friday. 2nd. CFA
Friday. 2nd.

Morning at the Office. Spirits rather low. I hold it silly to mention the cause for as my father once said, there are many things which must not be mentioned even there. But disappointment is the most painful thing in life, and I feel fearful that I am about to suffer it. I passed a considerable part of the morning in reading Marshall. Mr. Gay called to pay me his rent.1 Another person to ask about the House which Mr. Whitney quits, and with these interruptions I got quite clear. But my attention is so distracted by them even when so few, that I can understand my brother George’s objection about it. I am beginning to feel as if I dare not indulge the aspirations which I formerly made, and as if for one kind of happiness, I had voluntarily cast off prospects of another. I hope not however. I shall find it difficult to reconcile my mind to the truth even when it comes to convince me of my negligence.

Returned home and passed the afternoon reading to her passages of the Man of Feeling. It does not take. Perhaps there is too much of the abstruse in the sentiment and feeling which it contains for her. I was not myself aware of the extent of it until this reading, and certainly should not have commenced my attempts with it had I been. We were interrupted by a succession of persons—Mrs. Frothingham for a few minutes, Sidney Brooks who drank tea with us and passed a part of the evening and Mr. Degrand, the rest, The latter has found me out and is resolved to visit me.2 On some accounts I regret it, on others it ought to be a matter of gratification to me as he might be a valuable friend. But I do not feel as if I had the means to make friends for myself. My own external manners are so repulsive. I have at times treated this very person with the most decided symptoms of coldness, but he has got over it and is here. Perhaps this does not speak well for his pride. But he is generous to forgive it. Perhaps he may imagine my assistance likely to be worth something—in which he will be mistaken. Be that as it will. He remained here until time to go bed.


George Gay’s annual rent for his 23 Court Street office was $80 (M/CFA/3).


Peter Paul Francis Degrand, stockbroker of 65 Broad Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830), was a longtime political supporter, often unwelcome, of JQA; See Bemis, JQA , 2:22, 74, 137–138. His earlier approaches on both business and political matters, CFA had repulsed; see vol. 1:155–156; 2:310. Although CFA did use him as a broker from time to time, other association was out of the question; see entry for 29 Nov., below.