Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 27th. CFA Tuesday. 27th. CFA
Tuesday. 27th.

The morning was dark and we had rain at intervals throughout the day. So that I could not execute my intention of going to Boston. Instead of it, I occupied myself in reviewing a large part of the first Philippic of Demosthenes. I find it quite easy, though as usual I perceive more beauty and more connexion, in this perusal. I then read several numbers of the Federalist upon the powers of the President which contain much strong reasoning that I never noticed before, upon the feature of the system restraining the election to four years of Office and admitting a continuance. I have been very much inclined to the other side, but these arguments are certainly worth considering.

Continued the Debates in the Massachusetts Convention, and was struck with the Speech of Mr. T. Dawes of Boston who was decidedly in the opinion that Manufactures were to be protected.1 I think I can make use of this, some time or other.

Afternoon, the twelfth book of the Letters to Atticus in which I made considerable progress. Also Bacon’s Essay upon Men’s Nature. Thus passed a day as quiet as they generally go here.

Evening with the Ladies, after which Gillies and two of Addison’s Papers.


The speech of Thomas Dawes Jr., of Boston, was in support of the adoption of Article I, sect. 8, giving Congress the power to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts, and excises. On Dawes, see further, Commonwealth Hist. of Mass. , 4:36, 41.

Wednesday. 28th. CFA Wednesday. 28th. CFA
Wednesday. 28th.

The day was clear with occasional gusts of wind very high. I went to town at last. My time was taken up in a great variety of ways. My course was first to the House, then to the Office where I was occupied first in my Accounts, then in receiving Calls. Mr. A. H. Everett came with a letter from himself to my father.1 He discussed political matters for a little while, and was interrupted by a Mr. Allen who came about an application of his to my father for money which I passed off as soon as I could. This man I recollected once before as coming about that business of Farmer’s. He apologized for it today. Mr. Brooks came in to get Copies of my Father’s addresses sent to Mr. Davis of New York.2 I went over to see Sidney Brooks about it.

Mr. Josiah Bradlee had invited me to dine, but I was informed that he was sick and could not receive us. So I called at Mrs. Frothingham’s and was asked to go there. The remainder of my morning was spent in other Commissions for the family. Met at Mr. Frothingham’s Sidney and his Wife, Mr. Brooks and two Miss Phillips’es. Dinner pleasant enough, but somehow or other I do not fancy that set. The older I grow, the greater is my repugnance without knowing indeed the true and real cause of it. The true reason probably is that I feel as if I was always under criticism and observation. This stiffens me and makes me appear to disadvantage.

After one or two more Commissions I returned home to Quincy. My Mother had invited the Quincy people to spend the Evening.3 And it was got through tolerably well. I read the Spectator afterwards.


Everett’s letter is missing; doubtless it was a reply to JQA’s letter of 18 Sept., on which see above, entry for 23 Sept., note.


Charles A. Davis, partner in the firm of Davis & Brooks, 28 South Street, New York City, with whom Sidney Brooks was associated (above, vol. 3:4; American Almanac, N.Y. Register and City Directory, 1827–1828).


The guests, in addition to the TBA family, were “the Baxter’s, Beale’s, Greenleaf’s (Thomas and Daniel), Marston, Miller’s, Quincy’s, and Whitney’s, Mr. Gourgas and Mr. Hallett” (JQA, Diary, 28 Sept.).

Thursday. 29th. CFA Thursday. 29th. CFA
Thursday. 29th.

My time slipped away so fast this morning that I had only half an hour to continue Demosthenes. Walked into town with my Wife to make purchases. I think she is becoming gradually stronger, and hope that another fortnight will quite restore her. I read the numbers of the Federalist upon the Judiciary and was much pleased with them. As an 148instance of how much passes from the mind, it may as well be said that I have read the Federalist twice before, and yet it is now quite new to me. Continued the Debates in the Massachusetts Convention which amuse me more and more. The mind of man is generally but a weak affair, and no better proof of it can be produced than the incorrectness of the objections made to the Constitution, the features which have proved most faulty, were those least opposed or most approved.

After dinner I went down for amusement to fish, but I could not find that there were any smelts come up yet. I spent two hours in doing nothing and then returned. Read Bacon’s Essay on Custom and Education.

Evening a Party of Quincy People at M. T. Greenleaf’s, from which I was glad to get home and read the Spectator.