Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 15th. CFA Thursday. 15th. CFA
Thursday. 15th.

Fine morning but still cold. I went to the Office and was occupied most of my time in writing up my Diary which has been unusually interrupted, and also in drawing up lists of the Stockholders of the Boylston Market for the Treasurer. There was a transfer this day. It is a long while now since I have been able to open a book in the morning.


Returned home and passed the Afternoon in reading Spanish. I found it easy and quite pleasant. On the whole I believe I shall make it a regular pursuit and perhaps begin Italian thus dividing the Afternoon.

A quiet evening at home. I concluded the life of Barry to my Wife and began that of a man by name Bird of whom I have not heard. Which probably only argues my own ignorance.1 Mr. Brooks came in for half an hour and interrupted us. We talked pleasantly. After he went I continued Scott’s Life of Napoleon and began to obtain a much clearer idea of the horrors of the revolution than I had ever had. The triumvirate of Robespierre, Danton and Marat, and the blood in streams I had indistinct notions about, but fully supported by the reality.


Edward Bird (1772–1819), member of the Royal Academy ( DNB ). His life appears in Cunningham, British Painters, 2:208–222.

Friday. 16th. CFA Friday. 16th. CFA
Friday. 16th.

Fine morning though windy. I started early to perform my engagement to Deacon Spear and arrived there at Quincy at nine o’clock the time stated. Met him and Mr. Field with whom I settled the Terms of his Lease1 and then gave directions to Mr. Veazie after which I met the present and future Tenant of the Farms and we decided upon what was to be done in regard to my father’s interest. The whole took me about two hours.

I then went up to see Mrs. Adams for the purpose of requesting instructions with regard to the affairs of the Judge. I conversed with her about two hours, explained to her, her situation as well as I could, and begged of her to know what she wished to do. The whole thing was about as disagreeable as any I ever had to do with. I left her however without having settled any thing. She is a woman without any energy of character. Her life would have been a very pleasant one if she had married a wealthy, showy man. But she has met with nothing but asperities.

Returned to town to dine, and consumed the afternoon in writing the result to my father.2 Evening at Mr. F. Parkman’s. A family party and a very dull affair.


Before his departure for Washington JQA had notified his tenant, Isaac Farrar, that his lease, which would expire on 1 April, would not be renewed; JQA also had made arrangements for new leases to Harvey Field and to John G. Carr (JQA, Diary, 23 Sept., 17 Oct. 1831; see also, above, entry for 28 Feb. 1832).


CFA to JQA, 16 March (LbC, Adams Papers). For this letter see above, entry for 13 March.