Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 6

Wednesday. 3d. CFA Wednesday. 3d. CFA
Wednesday. 3d.

Severe cold weather. I went to the Office and was occupied in writing and so forth. Accounts. Mr. Walsh came in and troubled me. Mr. Hurlbert also upon a Contract respecting the building in Court Street. I had engaged to go up to the Boylston Market to meet the new Clerk and deliver to him the various papers but I was delayed until 323half an hour after the time fixed, noon. I went nevertheless and found him. Agreed to send him the various books and papers which I had and took the record book home with me to fill it up to the time of my demission.

Walk. Then home to Livy—A very interesting exposition of the Roman History, one worthy deep reflection in this our country which is posting the same track. Afternoon, Madame de Stael whose work is very amusing. Her style is animated, full of point and brilliant. I do not know a pleasanter idleness. Evening at home. Resumed at last Madame Junot, which is very amusing, finished Voltaire’s Tancrede.1


In returning to Voltaire’s plays, CFA was taking up where he had left off in his Deux-Ponts edition of the Oeuvres in May 1831 (vol. 4:47, above).

Thursday. 4th. CFA Thursday. 4th. CFA
Thursday. 4th.

The severity of the cold does not appear to diminish at all. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied in various matters. Accounts. Diary and interruptions. I again saw Mr. Hurlbert and we were upon the point of agreeing when again separated by a misunderstanding about my Office. We therefore postponed decision until tomorrow.

I then went to the Athenaeum where I procured nothing. My walking is this winter almost entirely a failure. Home, Livy. Afternoon, Madame de Stael who manages to intermix with unheard of persecutions, a sort of Journal of observations upon men and manners. Recurred to my fathers Account of his interview with her at St. Petersburgh—A very excellent letter worthy of preservation.1

Mr. Brooks took tea with us after which they went off to Edward Brooks’ where I joined them at eight, the interval devoted to reading Dr. Channing’s late Pamphlet—A conscientious publication and therefore to be respected. But it is absolutely smothered down here.2 The family at Edward Brooks tonight. She was able to come down. Rather pleasant but not much. Home.


JQA’s long account of his interview with Mme. de Staël in St. Petersburg on 6 Sept. 1812 is in his letter to JA, 22 March 1813 (Adams Papers), printed in JQA, Writings , 4:450–455.


See notes 2 and 1, respectively, to entries of 16 Dec. 1835, above, and 7 Feb., below.

Friday. 5th. CFA Friday. 5th. CFA
Friday. 5th.

The thermometer has not varied much from zero for a week past. I went out this morning and occupied my time as usual at the Office. But my Diary still lags behind. Mr. Hurlbert called in and we finally 324came to terms so that hereafter I am to devolve the whole of this building upon his shoulders for a clear rent of one thousand per annum.

Called at the Advocate Office to see Mr. Hallett, found him there and conversed with him. He wishes me to write one more number in answer to Mr. Slade and to draw up what I think best for the Address to the people. I told him that I thought he had better take charge of a general plan and that I would select one or two topics upon which I thought I could make suggestions.

I afterwards got engaged in a discussion of Banking questions in consequence of an application to me of Harvey Field to lend my father’s and my name to an application to the Legislature for a Bank in Quincy.1 I declined on the general ground I have assumed. But it was plain immediately as it respects me that the position would be regarded in Quincy as aristocratic and overbearing. Such is the difference between who do things.2 I gave this to Mr. Hallett as an illustration of the difficulty of his position in practical execution. This brought on a general discussion between those at the time in the Office, and one chance person from Duxbury amused me very much by his excessive hostility to paper,3 which I approved although not on the mistaken ground he has assumed.

Home. Too late to read Livy. Afternoon, made up for it and then Madame de Stael. Evening, Madame Junot and afterwards writing.


The Quincy Stone Bank, now the Granite Trust Company, established in 1836, was the first bank of circulation and deposit established in Quincy (Edwards, Historic Quincy , 1954, p. 264). CFA did not become active in banking until 1853 when he was one of the organizers and first president of the Mount Wollaston Bank in Quincy.


Thus in MS. Perhaps to be paraphrased: Such are the differences that arise in the interpretation of acts from one’s attitude toward the doer.


Presumably, paper money.