Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday. 24th. CFA Monday. 24th. CFA
Monday. 24th.

This morning was colder than any we had yet experienced. I do 408not know how long this is going to last, but I think the sooner it is over the better. I wished to go to Quincy and actually ordered a Carriage for the purpose, but I was informed that the Snow was lying so deep that two horses could not get along and I felt too cold to venture out in an open Sleigh. So I gave up the idea.

My morning was passed partly in finishing my Article upon Railroads and partly at the Probate Office passing my second account upon the Estate of Mr. New, which I at last got through with. This is very good, for now the rest is plain. To be sure the Creditors have not received any satisfaction, but that is not my fault. I have not been paid for my trouble and am not likely to be. All I know about it is, that I have done my best.

In the afternoon, I began the Oration for Sext. Roscius of Ameria and read through the first half with ease, so that I found my previous study of them much more valuable than I had imagined. It is wonderfully able. The exposition of the whole conduct of the freedman of Sylla and the two relations of Roscius is in the very first style of an Orator. Evening, reading the book upon Spain after which, Vossius and the Tatler.

Tuesday. 25th. CFA Tuesday. 25th. CFA
Tuesday. 25th.

The weather gave a very little, but it was still cold. I decided upon going to Quincy at all events, and ordered an open sleigh for the purpose. At the Office where I was entirely occupied in writing off a fair Copy of my Article which after all I did not entirely finish. This was owing to some interruptions for the Houses which are not occupied. I am an occasional writer for the Newspapers without much success, counting now upon some happy bit which may serve my turn rather than upon any credit their general reasoning may give me. Indeed, such is the effect of chance, that had I not read a chance passage in one of my father’s letters to me, I should not have written again.1

Received a letter from my father which I did not fully read. I shall reserve it for future consideration.2

After dinner, my man Benjamin accompanied me in a single Sleigh to Quincy. I had a pretty bad time of it as the track was barely beaten out and passing was very difficult. I called at my Aunt Adams’, at Mr. Brigham’s about the Canal affairs,3 and at the House, where I obtained the necessary papers and returned. Our ride was by Moonlight and more comfortable than I expected. Reached home early, and went to P. Chardon Brooks where the family were. Returned, read Vossius and the Tatler.


In his letter of 7 Jan. (Adams Papers), JQA alluded to the negotiations which the executors of Ward Nicholas Boylston had in progress with the President and Fellows of Harvard College, represented by Nathaniel Bowditch, and which turned upon Bowditch’s view of the limitations in the Corporation’s powers. In the communication on railroads published in the Boston Daily Advertiser, 29 Jan., p. 2, cols. 2–3, which in all likelihood is the one CFA wrote, the central thesis is that the resolution passed at the public meeting in Faneuil Hall and submitted to the General Court on the support of railroad construction by a tax has no validity in that the acts of such a meeting are limited to the powers conferred, which do not include the right to levy a general tax, in the same way that private corporations are limited by their charters.


JQA to CFA, 15–16 Jan., Adams Papers. The letter, a long one, dealt with a number of minor matters, but in large part it was a continuation of JQA’s apologia for his concerns and activities during the two preceding years. The theme had been recurrent in the correspondence of father and son for a month, CFA several times insisting that his remark which had provoked JQA to justify himself had been interpreted by JQA in a way totally different from CFA’s intent. CFA had hoped in his most recent disclaimer on 9 Jan. that the subject would be there concluded. For a fuller account, see above, entry for 28 Dec. 1830 and note.


Because the meeting of the directors of the Quincy Canal was held in the evening, CFA did not attend and was not reelected as a director. It was voted to pay no interest on the Canal’s notes (CFA to JQA, 5 Feb., Adams Papers).