Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday. 5th. CFA Monday. 5th. CFA
Monday. 5th.

Morning at the Office, weather cold and blustering. On my way I called upon Mrs. Sidney Brooks to give some of my Wife’s Commissions to her as she is starting for New York soon. Abby herself was too unwell to think of going out. I sat a few minutes with her only and merely asked a few common place questions as usual. And this was the end, for I take no interest in her. She is a woman of a land I have seldom met with and to tell the truth with all her good qualities I do not desire to.1 But it is impossible for me to define the precise reason, and so I will not attempt it. At the Office I was engaged most of the morning in malting up the account of the sales made on my brother’s Account and mine producing for his share about sixty dollars and for mine thirteen. I am so disappointed by the result of the Dividends of the Banks today that I need every thing I can scrape. I do not receive a dollar upon twelve hundred invested in three several 36Banks which I call very bad luck. This is owing to the misfortunes which have befallen the Manufacturing Interest in this section of the Country and the prevailing depression of trade.2 A man called to see the House in Court Street vacated by Mr. Whitney, and I went over it with him. It was disgusting in the extreme for it has been neglected most abominably. This will cost something to put in repair, and money is tolerably scarce now. In deed I have seldom known a time when there was so much difficulty in raising it. My father’s income is considerably curtailed, and the vacancy of several houses makes it probable to be more so.

On my return to dinner I went in to see the Furniture of Dr. E. H. Robbins advertised to be sold and was much disappointed in it. He is a Bankrupt and his assignees in consequence sell his elegant superfluities. They are not very numerous. Afternoon at home with my Wife who was suffering very much with a cold. I did nothing. My father came in for half an hour after some purchases in order to begin living in his study with a fire, a necessary thing on such a day as this. He remained however but little while. In the evening Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham came in and passed an hour very agreeably.

1.

During her visit to Boston, Mrs. Sidney Brooks presumably was at the home of her parents at 7 Bulfinch Place ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830). Frances Dehon’s background had led Mr. and Mrs. Peter C. Brooks to regard Sidney’s marriage as “a sore thing.” Her father, William Dehon (d. 1833), though currently successful as an auctioneer, was held in some contempt in the Brooks household for his lack of cultivation, while Mrs. Dehon was mocked for her pretensions (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 23 Dec. 1827, Everett MSS, MHi).

2.

On the depressed state of trade and manufactures, see below, entries for 27 Oct., 31 Dec., and notes there.

Tuesday. 6th. CFA Tuesday. 6th. CFA
Tuesday. 6th.

Morning cold but the weather was clear and the day fine. I went to the Office, but not early as my wife was quite sick with a bad cold caught some days ago. I began to be alarmed about her and was exceedingly doubtful of the expediency of her going to Medford as she proposed. For this purpose I called to see her father to know whether her Mother would go in the Carriage to carry her home, but I was unable to ascertain as he could not be found. I then went to the South end of the town to obtain the Dividend upon the Shares of the Boylston Market for October, and one unclaimed for April last, which the Treasurer, Mr. Knapp gave me an order to obtain.1 I was occupied in this manner all the morning.

Sidney Brooks called to see me for half an hour and I took the opportunity to ask him concerning the most expedient way of conveying 37here the remains of my brother. He appeared to hesitate considerably about it but said he would attend to it.2 He delayed again so now he goes tomorrow. All this being over as I was returning home, I met Abby in her Mother’s Carriage and so found her positively gone. The consequence was a lonely dinner at home, and a return to the Office in the afternoon to remain until John3 came with the Chaise as my Father had promised to take me to Quincy. I remained reading a file of Newspapers of an ancient date 1809 at my Office until the time when he came and I immediately started on the return. The ride was cold but not unpleasant though I was glad to reach a warm room. I found the family at tea and with them Mr. and Mrs. J. H. Foster and Mr. Degrand. Miss Foster is now staying with her Aunt.4 They returned home before nine and soon after the family retired.

1.

JQA owned 12 shares in the Boylston Market purchased at $100 a share. The April dividend was at the rate of $2, the October at $3.50. John Knapp, the treasurer, was a counselor with office at 14 State Street; the Market was at Washington and Boylston streets. See M/CFA/3; Boston Directory, 1829–1830.

2.

See above, entry for 15 Sept., note. CFA seems to have been led to ask his brother-in-law’s help because of Sidney’s New York residence. See further, JQA to Sidney Brooks, 7 Nov. 1829 (LbC, Adams Papers).

3.

JQA’s servant John Thomas.

4.

Elizabeth Anne Foster (1802–1875), visiting her aunt, Louisa Catherine Catharine Smith, at the Old House, was the eldest of the thirteen children of the J. H. Fosters. She was AA’s grandniece. See vol. 1:99, 155, 157, and Adams Genealogy.