Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Monday. 12th. CFA Monday. 12th. CFA
Monday. 12th.

Miss Oliver, the Tenant of the House in Hancock Street called to pay me her rent for one quarter before I had left the House this morning. This with the various other sums of money I had received on Saturday made a considerable amount which I did not know what to 43do with as I could not deposit it in the Bank—A portion of it being money which the Bank will not take.1 I was on that Account compelled to go round and pay Bills of my Fathers, my brother’s Estate and my own in order to get rid of it. This and the arrangement of my Accounts consequent upon it occupied a very considerable part of my morning. But I accomplished much, for I made great progress toward a final settlement of the affairs of George which have been so long delaying upon my hands. My Money Accounts are now a little complicated for I have three different tracks to keep of money received and expended, and in paying small bills I draw from what I have in my pocket which makes the transfer from the several deposits difficult, to preserve precisely correct. I made a settlement with Milliard and Co. which is final and not unfavourable. This is the last of a series of dreadfully heavy bills which my poor brother inflicted upon himself at that Store and to them may be traced partially his state of mind in his later days.2

The afternoon was passed partly at the Office and partly at the House but I can recollect little of any consequence which happened. The evening went with more use and pleasure. The first part of it was passed in reading to Abby Scott’s Life of Fielding which was tolerably interesting, the second was more jovial but not quite so agreeable to my own taste. Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham came in with Mr. and Mrs. Everett and passed the evening pleasantly enough. Now and then a sip of some warm Whiskey Punch served to enliven us and to chase away care. They left us shortly after ten o’clock to our meditations, and I then read a Chapter of La Harpe upon the Ancient Comedy of the Romans, Plautus and Terence.


JQA’s account was in the United States Branch Bank Boston (M/CFA/3). It was the policy of the Bank of the United States during the presidency of Nicholas Biddle, 1823–1833, to refuse to accept state bank notes not redeemable in specie.


The booksellers, Hilliard, Gray & Co., were paid $65 (M/CFA/3). It was, perhaps, with thoughts similar to those of CFA, that JQA, in contemplating his father’s and his own lifelong passion for books and their acquisition, reflected that collecting “must be associated with vigorous economy, with punctual accountability, and with judicious and untiring industry” (Diary, 17 Oct. 1829).

Tuesday. 13th. CFA Tuesday. 13th. CFA
Tuesday. 13th.

Morning at the Office a portion of the time engaged in my usual business of looking over accounts, and arranging further those of my brother’s Estate so far as to settle all existing demands against it excepting that from his Tailor which must wait. I feel myself however quite fortunate in having progressed so far. I then went to make purchases for my father after which I went down to the Estate be-44longing to my father in Common Street to look at the state of the Property and inquire after Orcutt who had not been near me since the memorable time when he announced to me that he should be unable to pay me. I found he had not yet quitted the Tenement and his Wife who in appearance was quite an honest creature seemed hurt even at the intimation that they should leave without a settlement—A thing I had a little apprehended. I saw Hollis the Carpenter and gave him directions for attending to Mrs. Longhurst’s Pump and some few other things which appeared requisite and necessary to be done, and then left them to return, home and see Abby who was going to Cambridge, to pay visits. I had thought of going with her but upon reflection thought it would be best to return to my Office and read a little of Marshall. But as my ideas could not easily be fixed I went into Mr. Kinsman’s Office to see about the Note which the City Guards owe to my brother, and from thence I dropped in and chatted with Davis and Winthrop for an hour or so.1 A man, name unknown called to see me about the Rumford which my father had asked me to order him and I then gave him as good directions upon the subject as I was able.

On returning home I found Abby returned and Miss Julia Gorham in company with her who dined here. My afternoon was passed in my study, reading La Harpe and arranging my Library after a different mode. I want to make some thing like a systematic arrangement. Evening at home, Abby was not disposed to listen to reading so I did nothing until nine after which I read another Chapter of La Harpe and commenced reading the New Testament regularly with the five first Chapters of Matthew.


GWA had lent the City Guards $102 on 7 July 1827 to be repaid with interest (CFA to Commanding Officer, City Guards, 29 June 1829, LbC, Adams Papers). The original sum and interest were still unpaid when CFA closed his administration of GWA’s estate in Feb. 1830, despite numerous efforts to collect. However, CFA’s confidence that the debt would be paid was justified; see below, entry for 10 April 1830.

Henry W. Kinsman was a lieutenant in the Guards and an attorney ( Mass. Register, 1830, p. 244). On him and on Thomas Kemper Davis, see entry for 18 Nov., below. George E. Winthrop, CFA’s Harvard classmate (vol. 1:80), was still reading law and was later admitted to the bar (Mass. Register, 1832).