Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Tuesday. 24th. CFA Tuesday. 24th. CFA
Tuesday. 24th.

Fine morning. I went to town for the purpose of getting some information about my father. But I did not succeed. Time principally occupied in reading the Speech of Mr. Everett upon the Tariff. It is a dry, statistical performance, in some respects correct, in others questionable.1 Had a visitor applying for the House in Tremont Street about to be vacated by Mr. Gulliver. We had a long conversation, and he finally asked me to come in to town tomorrow.

Returned to Quincy and passed the Afternoon in reading Seneca upon the shortness of life. Almost all of his subjects are Common 335places hackneyed by time. Yet they are well treated and contain a good deal of thought. Read also part of the debates of the first Congress. It is surprising to me that after these there ever should have been any question about the legality of protecting duties. Evening, walked with my Wife to Mrs. T. B. Adams’s and passed half an hour.


Edward Everett’s Speech on the Proposed Adjustment of the Tariff (Washington, 1832), delivered in the House of Representatives on 25 June; a copy is listed in CFA’s catalogue of his pamphlet collection (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 326).

Wednesday. 25th. CFA Wednesday. 25th. CFA
Wednesday. 25th.

Showery with more thunder and lightning through the rest of the day than we have had all the Season. I felt compelled to go to town where, after learning from casual report that my father had gone up to Hudson on the North River and reading some of Major Hordynski’s book upon Poland,1 my gentleman came and we proceeded to view the premises. After treating a good while, discussing this and that and the other thing, he concluded to take it at the advanced rent provided I made a great deal of repair. As on the whole it was not a bad bargain for me, I concluded upon it, although that House has already swallowed up far more than it’s Rent.2

Returned to Quincy though somewhat later than usual. Afternoon, I read Seneca and finished the treatise upon shortness of life. His remarks upon the misemployment of time in trifling studies are valuable. Although as action is the universal wish, it may be doubted whether a division of labour which throws some of it into useless but innocent channels is not beneficial to man. It rained so much that we did not walk out. I read some of Mr. Canning’s Political Life,3 and finished the Rambler. Commenced the Adventurer.


The edition at MQA of Joseph Hordynski’s History of the Late Polish Revolution, and the Events of the Campaign is that published at Boston in 1832.


From this date W. G. Ladd became the tenant at 103 Tremont Street (M/CFA/3, and see below, entry for 28 July).


Augustus Granville Stapleton, The Political Life of ... George Canning, 3 vols., London, 1831.

Thursday. 26th. CFA Thursday. 26th. CFA
Thursday. 26th.

Morning cold with a cloud of mist from the sea. I went to town notwithstanding for the purpose of giving directions in regard to the House, and also to see if I could discover any trace of my father. My time was taken up in running about after workmen, as I am without an Office boy, so that I had little at my own disposal. Found at Mr. 336Brooks that Mr. Everett and family had arrived but that my father had gone up the river. Further I could not discover any thing.

Returned to Quincy and had just sat down to my usual lesson of Seneca upon happy life, when my father drove up in the Stage.1 The rest of the day was passed in conversation. I think he looks very well but after the very flattering accounts not in such full health as I expected. Quiet evening at home.


JQA wrote in a letter to JA2 a full account of his trip from Philadelphia to Quincy by way of Hoboken and up the Hudson to Poughkeepsie (stopping overnight with the de Windt’s at Fishkill Landing), whence he proceeded by stage via Hartford (27 July, Adams Papers). His journal entries covering the period of the journey are printed in MHS, Procs., 2d ser., 19 (1905):527–534.