Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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

Fine morning but somewhat colder than it has been. I read a part of the seventh book of the Aeneid before going to the Office, where I was occupied in writing a letter to my Father,1 giving him the necessary information as to my progress in the affair of the Judge’s Estates and the settlement of the whole matter. I then went to the Athenaeum and from there took a walk, the wind blowing very violently made it not so agreeable.

In the Afternoon. After copying my letter, I devoted an hour each to the two languages. Received the unwelcome intelligence that 270Graves had run off, without giving me any notice, leaving the House empty and his partners in a pretty rascally manner.2 I never thought much of that fellow. My next business is to let the House again, and fortunately for me there seems to be some demand.

In the evening, there was a family meeting at Gorham’s,3 where we had a more than usually pleasant time. All parties appeared in a humour to be suited which is not invariably the case. We returned at ten. I read more of Napoleon.


LbC, Adams Papers.


In Sept. 1831 P. Graves had succeeded Joseph Libby as the tenant of tenement No. 3 at 101 Tremont Street (M/CFA/3).


At 8 Somerset Street; see above, entry for 25 Nov. 1831.

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

Morning cool but clear. I went to the Office after my progress in Virgil which has now become so regular that I shall omit noticing it every day. My time was taken up with affairs. Let my House again at an advanced rent1 so that it is an ill wind that blows no good. A proverb embodying as much truth as any of them. I read a little of Gibbon but was interrupted by Mr. Gourgas from Quincy who came upon the subject of my letter. He talked and the result of it was that I was very little pleased with the tone of the family. If I was the manager of these concerns, they should have Justice and nothing more. I did not take any walk today.

Afternoon. Mr. Brooks having dined here and taking up a considerable time, I passed the rest in my pursuit of Spanish and Italian. This last is coming easier to me. I read two or three pages without difficulty. I shall have made no trifling acquisition if I can succeed in mastering these two languages. Indeed I consider myself already as knowing Spanish pretty well.

Evening, continued reading aloud Eugene Aram. Bulwer has a great deal of talent, but he is extravagant, and frequently takes for sublime what is only unnatural. I made some progress in the Life of Napoleon, and read a little of Paley’s Evidences of Christianity. A little of this kind of study is always beneficial. And this is a simple exposition which puts to the rout, all Gibbon’s insidious deductions and miserable sarcasms.


E. A. Hovey was the new occupant of the tenement vacated by Graves the day before; the new rent was set at $140 a year, an advance of $8 (M/CFA/3).

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

Cold chilly morning with occasional snow falling lightly to remind 271us that Winter was not yet distant from us. I read a quantity of Virgil pleasantly and at the Office was busy in making out my Quarterly Account for the close of the week. It is long and requires a little explanation. Took a walk, and in the course of it, went to examine the condition of the vacated House. Found it better than I had anticipated. On my return home I found Mrs. Angier from Medford. She talked a little with me and received a draught of a receipt for her to sign previous to her taking the legacy due to her. She also talked of other affairs from all which I gained important information.

My Afternoon passed in my usual studies. In the evening we went to a Ball given by Mrs. Charles Thorndike. It was to the Bride.1 The company was small but I enjoyed myself at it, full as much as one can at any of these things. The course of life however warns me that I am not in the front rank. The day is past when I was welcome to the unmarried ladies. Home early.


The home of the Charles Thorndikes was at 5 Otis Place. The ball, like the recent party given by Mrs. Augustus Thorndike (see above, entry for 23 March), was doubtless in honor of the former Ann T. Dickey of New York, who in January became the second wife of the Thorndikes’ brother, Israel T. Thorndike Jr. When her engagement to Mr. Thorndike was announced CFA had written that she is “about the age of his eldest daughter, Miss Sally Ann.” CFA to LCA, 5 Nov. 1831 (Adams Papers); NEHGR , 13:94; Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 28 Jan., p. 3, col. 2; Boston Directory, 1832–1833.