Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Tuesday. 9th. CFA Tuesday. 9th. CFA
Tuesday. 9th.

My purpose in coming here last Night was to obtain of my father the necessary Deed of the Estate in High Street. I had written it as 124long since as Saturday in order to get it done before I came, but my Father was so languid he did not finish it until this morning. He went up after breakfast to get an acknowledgment of Mr. Greenleaf, but forgot me when he got there and kept me nearly two hours dancing attendance.1 At last I went up myself and perhaps upon meeting him, lost my patience a little too much.

My father is in many respects an altered man. Age has relaxed his energies, and the extremes of hot and cold in which his mental system is exercised by his present mode of life are far too trying. Yet on the other hand my business character must be sustained—For I do not know that I shall have any thing else upon which to found myself. A smart pace got me to Boston at the time I had myself appointed for the delivery of the Deed. And the business was settled.

Received a Note from Mrs. Everett requesting me to dine at her house in Charlestown today. After passing my morning as usefully as I commonly do, which is not saying much, I accompanied Mr. Brooks to Charlestown. We found Mrs. G. Brooks and my Wife who had come from Medford. Our dinner was a very genteel one, and we divided after it to our respective destinations, i.e. the rest of the party to go to tea at Mr. Pratt’s at Watertown, while I drove Mr. Brooks’ gig to Medford. I found my little child glad to see me and passed the remainder of the day in idleness and solitude.

Mr. Everett was rather more gracious than usual to me today. It is unfortunate for me that I always suspect in him a motive of some kind or other for all the acts of his life. Mrs. E. looks better than she has done although still not well. The party returned at eight, and we retired early. In my hurry I forgot the Observer this morning but shall make it up.


It was Ezekiel Price Greenleaf, the son of Thomas, the notary, who so absorbed JQA’s interest on this and other occasions. The younger Greenleaf was an expert on horticultural matters and was so recognized by JQA. Examination of Greenleaf’s nursery of seedling plants, “a work truly stupendous,” generated the excitement which caused him to forget CFA (vol. 2:156, 229; JQA, Diary, 9 July 1833).

Wednesday. 19th [10th]. CFA Wednesday. 19th [10th]. CFA
Wednesday. 19th 10th.

I left Medford with Mr. Brooks, and my Wife was to follow in the Carriage. My stay here this time has been less agreeable than ever, from the absence of occupation and of the company which I have always had heretofore. Mr. Frothingham has been there and generally some others of the family. Add to this, a change in Mr. Brooks himself from the effect upon his spirits of his knee.


Time wears insensibly enough, but when I take a jump of five years back, what a difference there does appear to be between things then and now—A difference in Mr. Brooks’ family, in our own, and in the world at large. These are matters for the Philosopher, for the moralist, who would turn the small incidents of life to account.

I was engaged in Boston partly in Accounts, partly in reading Marshall. Rode to Quincy to dine and found my Wife and child there before me. The Afternoon was passed in making up my Arrears of Diary, and in taking a Salt water bath, the first this Season.