Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Sunday 4th. CFA Sunday 4th. CFA
Sunday 4th.

Morning windy but mild. I was occupied all day in finishing the various little occupations which have engaged me since my residence here and in returning to their places the various books, so as not to break up sets—A thing which in so large a library is exceedingly likely to happen.

Attended divine service and heard Mr. Whitney all day. My habit of inattention to him is very much fixed. Afternoon drew up the Records as Clerk of the Adams Temple and School Fund and put away the book for the Season.1 Read a part of Brown’s book on Antimasonry, the most extraordinary literary production of modern times. This is the book, that was sent to my father with these words in a fly leaf, “Read this and be cautious.”2

Mr. Degrand and Mr. W. W. Clapp, Proprietor of the Evening Gazette,3 came here and took tea and spent the evening. Much conversation upon Politics, the result of the Philadelphia Election, a movement of parties to bring Mr. Webster and my father into collision,4 and some scientific discussion.5 I read a few of the letters of Dr. Johnson and Mrs. Thrale.

392 1.

The Book of Records of the Supervisors of the Adams Temple and School Fund, beginning 3 Feb. 1827, is now held by the City of Quincy as a part of its municipal records at the City Hall, in the keeping of the City Historian, William Churchill Edwards. For a facsimile reproduction of CFA’s first entry as clerk of the Supervisors see Descriptive List of Illustrations in the present volume p. ix–x.


JQA’s copy of the book is missing. The work referred to is probably that by Henry Brown, A Narrative of the Anti-Masonick Excitement in the Western Part of the State of New York, 1826–1829, Batavia, N.Y., 1829.


“In Mr. Clapp’s paper there are several extracts both from the preface to Dermot MacMorrogh and the poem with a commentary upon the whole favourable and criticism of no very high order” (JQA, Diary, 4 Nov.).


“They ... said something of a project talked of they knew not by whom, to place me in the Senate U.S. instead of Mr. Webster” (same).


See below, entry for 18 Nov., note.

Monday. 5th. CFA Monday. 5th. CFA
Monday. 5th.

Morning cloudy but it cleared away pretty well so as to make it pretty agreeable notwithstanding an Easterly Wind. I went to town and was busy all my time in the preparation which is going on previous to our return. At my house twice. Found the Mason and Carpenter were out of it — And that they were in active preparation for us by clearing and cleaning. The anxiety of an establishment is great. So much responsibility devolves upon the master of a household, so much is to be examined with his own eye, that I do not wonder many people prefer to live single. Yet for myself I cannot say that I am of the number. There is comfort and independence, there is standing in Society and character in married and established life that fully compensates to me the inconveniences. And as to affection, that comes not into the question because it does not admit of comparison.

Remained in Boston, and dined at Mrs. Frothingham’s very pleasantly. Attended a Meeting of the Directors of Boylston Market. Nothing of consequence done.

Reached Quincy at six. Ladies took tea at Mrs. Adams’s. I walked up with my father at eight. Reported to him my conference with Mr. Webster this morning. I went by his JQA’s request to see him and say to him that he (my father) had heard with great surprise that an attempt was making somewhere to put him in opposition to Mr. Webster at the election in the Winter. He knew nothing of the source of such a movement, nor did he intend to give it any countenance, for he should take an early opportunity, if he could find any fitting one, to declare his resolution not to allow his name to be used. Mr. Webster replied that he never had entertained the least uneasiness on the subject, that he had no reason to doubt the intentions of my father; the rumour probably originated in the suspicious temperament of Mr. 393Buckingham who had wished to incite what friends he had to greater exertion. He had never attached any importance to it and of this he begged my father to be assured. Thus ended the conference.1 At Mrs. Adams’ was Mr. Beale, Mr. Gourgas, and the usual family. Rode home with the ladies. Moonlight and a fog. Read more of Brown’s book on Masonry and the numbers of the Idler as usual.


Webster wrote to JQA two days later expressing the same sentiments (7 Nov., Adams Papers).