Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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

I received at breakfast this morning the intelligence that my Uncle the Judge expired yesterday at about one o’clock, before I. Hull reached there. In consequence of this intelligence and of a request of Mrs. Adams to see me I went out immediately. Upon arriving there I found Mrs. Adams and the children apparently in considerable distress but not unreasonably nor foolishly excited. After advising as much as I could, and going to the House of my Father for the necessary Papers &ca., I returned to town where I arrived before dinner.

The afternoon was taken up first in writing to my Father the intelligence with a request for orders thereupon.1 The death puts us all in an embarrassing situation. His Estate is probably of no material consequence and the settlement of it is from the peculiar circumstances of my Grandfather’s Will rather distressing.2 The absence of my Father adds very much to the embarrassment of the whole thing. If I was disposed to moralize this event would easily afford matter for it. But it would be at the expense of a man now beyond the reach of reproach or benefit, of a man who paid a bitter penance for his follies and left his Children to share the same as his only legacy.

I read a little of the Moorish letters. Quiet evening at home until eight o’clock reading the Life of Napoleon. After that I went to P. C. Brooks Jrs. where there was a family party. Returned early and I soon retired.


CFA to JQA, 15 i.e. 13 March (LbC, Adams Papers). JQA received the letter bringing him intelligence of the death of his “dear and amiable brother” by messenger from JA2 while the House was in session on the 17th (JQA, Diary). His letters to Mrs. TBA and to CFA written immediately thereafter are in the Adams Papers.


According to the terms of JA’s will, the portion on which TBA was to receive the income during his lifetime devolved at death to his children, each of whom would receive an equal share ($520) of the principal when he or she came of age. Mrs. TBA would receive from the devise only the interest accrued to the date of TBA’s death. Thereafter the interest due each minor child, along with the interest on the share left by JA to each of them directly and formerly paid to TBA, would be paid by JQA as JA’s executor to a guardian. ECA, at her election, would have her portion added to her own devise from JA which she had allowed to remain at interest, taking a new note from JQA for the principal as increased. The portions of Thomas B. Adams Jr. and of Abigail (Adams) Angier would be payable to them on demand.

Beyond JQA’s obligations arising under JA’s will, JQA held mortgages on TBA’s house and farm at Braintree and on the farm at Medford. He instructed CFA to take possession of these properties and to notify the tenants that rents would be payable to him. His further instruction was to inform Mrs. TBA that all rents received by him from the properties during the lifetime of Mrs. TBA would be paid over to her and that at her death the properties would be conveyed in equal parts to the six children.

JA, Will (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 607); JQA to CFA, 5, 17, 21, 30 March (Adams Papers); CFA to JQA, 15 i.e. 13, 16 March (LbC’s, Adams Papers). See also vol. 2:398.