Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

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).

Tuesday. 6th. CFA Tuesday. 6th. CFA
Tuesday. 6th.

Cold and cloudy day with occasional rain. I went to town it being the last day allowed for preparation and arrangement. Time taken up at the house and in giving directions. Found all the furniture taking its old and accustomed places and began at once to feel pretty comfortable. Nothing is more disagreeable than making these changes in a domestic establishment. I mean in a small way. They create a want of a thousand things around one that have got out of the way by want of use. And they generally with us imply a new household which is among the most annoying of things.

Politics with Mr. Peabody. Prospects not very bright. Returned to Quincy to dine. Eliz. C. Adams spending the day. My mother was unwell in her own room for the first time today. I suppose anxiety as much as any thing — The prospect of going away. I expected Mr. Greenleaf, but he did not come. Amused myself by reading Marmontel’s Nouveaux Contes Moraux.1 Some of them are very good. What if I tried to translate?


Jean-François Marmontel, Nouveaux contes moraux. JQA’s bookplate is in the edition now at MQA, that published in 4 vols., Paris, 1801.

Wednesday. 7th. CFA Wednesday. 7th. CFA
Wednesday. 7th.

The day has arrived when it is time to break up the Summer arrangement and begin the Winter one. It was cloudy and dull but not rainy as I had anticipated. It is now nearly six months since we have been at Quincy and I can say that I have enjoyed the time very much. The Society of my father and mother has been agreeable to us, and our’s, we are assured, has not been unpleasant to them.1 We have lived quietly, without the parade of public life and without its anxieties. Nothing has happened to annoy us with disagreeable or painful feelings, or harass us with care. Perhaps in the history of a life it may be difficult to say this for any period of six months time. It is my duty to be thankful and I hope I am so. Circumstances constantly occur to 394show me the advantages of my fortune. May they never lead me to calculate too securely upon them, nor to abuse them to useless and foolish purposes.

I came to town accompanied by my child’s Nurse — My Wife in the Carriage with my Mother. Busy at my Office in various ways until one when I went home to put my study in order. Found myself in the afternoon as much at home as if I had been there a hundred years. Read several pamphlets, pro and con Masonry. I want to reach the bottom of this subject. It is not an easy one. As usual finished with the Idler.


Of ABA, LCA wrote, “I have found her a lovely and charming companion throughout the Summer and it is a real trial to part with her” (to JA2, 12 Oct., Adams Papers).