Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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.

Friday. 27th. CFA Friday. 27th. CFA
Friday. 27th.

Fine morning. I did not go to town, from an anxiety to be out of the way as much as any thing. My new tenant will find plenty of things to think of I do not doubt, and I already do for him more than I feel justified in. Read Thucydides in the morning—The judgments upon the people of Mitylene and Plataea. The Athenians took the side of mercy with the former, the Lacedaemonians that of severity with the latter. Their habits in this respect were barbarous to a considerable degree. They killed the men and sold the women. So that there was always a prospect in Greece even among the most prosperous families of slavery or destruction. Read a little of Sydney but my progress in this is over slow.

In the Afternoon, I accompanied my Wife to Mrs. Quincy’s. It was something of a walk for her. We found only the lady herself at home and sat there only time enough to take rest.

Evening, the life of Canning, and a conversation with my Father upon the character and influence of public men—Mr. Pitt, Fox, Burke, Sheridan. It kept me awake until after eleven o’clock. Read the Adventurers.

Saturday. 28th. CFA Saturday. 28th. CFA
Saturday. 28th.

Fine day. I went to town, and my time was entirely taken up all the morning. I had visits at my Office from T. K. Davis, Mr. S. Angier, and the new Tenant, Mr. W. G. Ladd. They consumed much time. After which I was engaged in some Commissions and in attending a meeting of the Suffolk bar. E. G. Prescott and R. S. Fay apply to be admitted as Counsellors. I might as well apply myself.1 The facts were to be stated to the Court. Returned to Quincy quite late in consequence.


Afternoon, instead of my usual occupations, I was engaged in copying out a Will for a man in Quincy who came and asked it as a favour of my father.2 It took me until late, when I walked with my Wife to see Mrs. T. B. Adams. Mrs. Angier there, still unwell.


Richard Sullivan Fay and Edward Goldsborough Prescott were CFA’s classmates at Harvard (vol. 1:120, 397–398). Fay was associated in the practice of law with another classmate, Jonathan Chapman Jr. ( Boston Directory, 1832–1833).


CFA drew up the will of Oliver Billings according to JQA’s directions, and he and ABA witnessed Billings’ execution of it (JQA, Diary, 28 July). As cases of cholera became more numerous the making of wills and the disposition of property began to absorb more and more persons. JQA began to work on his will on 4 Aug., completing it in October (Diary, passim, and Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 203). LCA also recorded her wishes as to the disposition of her personal belongings (LCA to JA2, 20 Aug., Adams Papers).