Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Tuesday. 10th. CFA Tuesday. 10th. CFA
Tuesday. 10th.

Warm day but not like yesterday. We are in general subject here to a rapid alternation from cold to hot without much of the middling weather which is so agreeable to the system. Went to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks. As my Office was not habitable under the process of purification I went to the Athenaeum where I amused myself reading Blackwood upon Trade Unions.1 Called for my Wife who was in town and we went to the Athenaeum Gallery together. Then back to Medford. Afternoon not much employed. My place of occupation is too near the children. Read a little of Discovery, finished Hume’s Moral Treatise, and two elegies of Ovid. Then took a walk with my child. Evening, read aloud to Mr. Brooks, Mr. Webster’s late speech 326upon the Protest.2 It is the next best thing to the reply to Hayne which he has done. Some parts are very fine.


“Progress of Social Disorganization: The Trades’ Unions,” Blackwood’s Magazine 35:331–353 (March 1834).


Webster’s speech delivered in the Senate appeared in the National Intelligencer 7 June, p. 2, col. 1–9. 3, col. 6.

Wednesday. 11th. CFA Wednesday. 11th. CFA
Wednesday. 11th.

Fine day. I accompanied Mr. Brooks to town and passed my time very quietly at the Office making up my Accounts which have fallen backward somewhat and writing my Diary. After which I read Jefferson, finishing the second volume of his Correspondence which embraces the period he passed in France. He perhaps enjoyed himself as much during that time as he ever did, and was probably engaged in as few bad movements. His religion seems to have been in a process of corruption at this time, and the evidence of it now and then peeps forth, but it was left for times afterwards to show it forth in all its ugliness.

Medford to dinner. Mr. and Mrs Frothingham with two children, Mr. G. M. Dexter, at dinner, and afterwards, Mr. C. A. Davis of New York, Mr. A. Belknap, a Mr. Cunard from Halifax, descended from a Philadelphia refugee, and P. C. Brooks Jr., Mrs. W. R. Gray and her daughter. These were more than enough. I dislike this influx of company. They are uninteresting people and I am in just such a position as to be “de trop” in all the companies.1 Quiet evening. Maritime Discovery.


Mr. Brooks in naming his guests offers little more by way of identification than does CFA. He does say that Mr. Dexter is “of Railroad” and gives Mr. Belknap’s name as “Andrew” (Brooks, “Farm Journal”). Charles A. Davis was the business associate of Sidney Brooks (see vol. 4:147); and Mrs. W. R. Gray was the sister-in-law of Mrs. Samuel Gray, sister of Mr. Brooks. CFA’s uncomfortableness in the social gatherings in Medford may have been due in part to his being essentially a stranger in a company made up otherwise of old friends and relatives, in part to political animosities generated by JQA, and in part to the absence of any persons of bookish tastes.

Thursday. 12th. CFA Thursday. 12th. CFA
Thursday. 12th.

Day cool and windy. I went to town accompanied by Mr. Brooks. Office. Nothing of any consequence. Read Jefferson’s Letters. Went to my House where I found Mrs. Fields quite comfortably settled. I presume it is rather an advantage to have a House kept open. On this principle it is that I give the use of mine to Mrs. Fields who has left us 327for the purpose of taking better care of her two sons. Found some books from the binder, but the last volume of the Spectator missing. Bad business. Returned to Medford.

Afternoon. Quietly at home. I could not help contrasting the pleasantness of this quiet with the disturbed day yesterday. In truth, though company is agreeable yet it is necessary that it should be of an interesting description. Hume, and Ovid and Maritime Discovery. Evening alone at home, Mr. Brooks being down in the village.