Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

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).

Wednesday. 14th. CFA Wednesday. 14th. CFA
Wednesday. 14th.

Arose a little earlier and by this means succeeded in getting to the Office a little earlier than heretofore. The morning was quietly passed partly in reading Marshall, partly in the settlement of my Accounts. My interruptions were not many. Dr. Storer called and I settled with him.1 This closes the affairs contracted with the Estate of my Brother by a business not over creditable to any of the parties concerned. I 45paid this considerable demand with less difficulty because I did not wish to hear what probably might have been disclosed to me. The whole affair ought to be forgotten. My mornings are not now spent satisfactorily. I feel as if I should be doing something more creditable than settling accounts and talking nothings. But at present I am not in the way of commencing with spirit. John has promised to send me the Trial of Dr. Watkins and I have expected it in order to try my hand and expend my time upon it, but he does not keep his resolutions.2 I must talk with my father upon it.

Afternoon at home, reading La Harpe’s view of the Ancient Fable and Satire, with his parallel between Horace and Juvenal. The reading of this Author has inspired me with a Taste for Ancient Literature and I propose directly to turn my attention again to the Latin Classics, and to become more completely the master of their Style than I have yet been. This will require study but I am equal to it. In the evening I read to Abby, Scott’s Life of Smollett which is not so interesting as either of the preceding. It is too long, and mixed up too much. He borrows to save himself the trouble of writing, and makes the whole book appear like a Catch penny thing which in fact it was. After Abby retired, I again read La Harpe and five Chapters in Matthew, and reflected more upon the beauty of the precepts of Jesus Christ as given in the Sermon on the Mount than I had hitherto done. It merits deep consideration.


Dr. David Humphreys Storer had been attempting since GWA’s death to collect from the administrator of his estate for medical services allegedly rendered by Storer to Eliza Dolph in childbirth. See. vol. 2:382, 392, 403–404. Settlement was made for $37 (M/CFA/3).


CFA had asked JA2 in a letter on 21 Sept. (Adams Papers) to send him a newly published pamphlet complete with all the papers on the case of Dr. Tobias Watkins, a JQA supporter and appointee at the Treasury who had been removed by Pres. Andrew Jackson and then convicted of embezzlement (see vol. 1:51; 2:399). CFA was resolved to write an article on the case for a Boston legal publication to which he had been invited to contribute. JA2 had apparently responded to the request, but the letter is missing. Soon afterward he did send the pamphlet to Quincy (CFA to LCA, 30 Oct., Adams Papers). Although it is clear from letters of JQA to JA2 and to LCA complaining of unanswered letters to John and from letters of LCA to JQA explaining John’s failure to write that JA2 was not so faithful a correspondent as were others of the family, nevertheless the lack of any recorded surviving letters to any of the Adamses from JA2 after childhood points to a later systematic removal from the family papers. Numerous references in the family papers to the receipt of letters from JA2 confirm this.