Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Wednesday. 28th. CFA Wednesday. 28th. CFA
Wednesday. 28th.

Morning dark and heavy clouds with a rain for an hour of the morning. I went upon the hill to see my men who are still digging. Mr. Higgins was here yesterday afternoon while I was detained in town and thus disabled from seeing him. He has however put a little more spirit into the men.

I rode into town with the rain in my face all the way and protected 103only by an umbrella. The wind felt as cold as November. To the Athenaeum and the office. But I did little. Called upon Mr. Sparrel for the specifications of the stone which he furnished me. Nothing further. I could not see Mr. Brooks, and returned to Quincy.

Afternoon it cleared away, and I went round to the ledges to see Mr. Colburn and get his answer about the work, but he was not ready. I gave him Sparrel’s specification and he promised an answer on Friday. Home. Evening quiet. Called with the two ladies at Mrs. T. Greenleaf’s. Found only her son Price and daughter, who treated us very civilly and we returned.

Thursday. 29th. CFA Thursday. 29th. CFA
Thursday. 29th.

Morning dark with light rain during the whole day. I remained at home and devoted my time to working upon matters of late somewhat intermitted. I wrote out a part of another number for the Newspaper, read the rest of the twenty eighth and part of the twenty ninth book of Livy and worked some time upon the MS. Papers. These are now in train but require a more general plan than that which I have been following. The chaos in which my fathers room is kept is such that it is impossible to see or find any clear place where papers methodically arranged can be likely to remain secure and I incline to doubt whether if I do trust to one, I may not have my work all to do over again.

In the afternoon, it was so cold that I was unable to go on with my usual work, so I went down stairs into the Parlor and read first a little of Loudon’s Encyclopedia but the print of that being very small so that my eyes were a little tried, I took up President Goguets Origin of the Arts and Sciences1 which I hope to be able to read during the winter. Evening at home. Played Whist with the ladies and being sleepy I retired early.


Antoine Yves Goguet, De l’origine des loix, des arts, et des sciences, 3 vols., Pairs, 1758; and English translation was published in 1761.

Friday. 30th. CFA Friday. 30th. CFA
Friday. 30th.

Clear day, with the leaves shining under the effect of a sharp white frost. Immediately after breakfast I accompanied my father, Mr. Spear and Mr. Turner to a woodlot which the last mentioned person is desirous the first should buy. I have no acquaintance with the backlands of Quincy and therefore took this opportunity to get a little knowledge of locations. We went up the road which leads by the Houses of the Stone cutters and came to a gorge in which it is easy to see the great 104convenience which would result from a road along the back of the settled parts of the town. We got out and examined the position of the lot in question of seven acres and more. The wood was very young but good of it’s kind. It was too wet to go much into the thicket so after a slight examination we returned. My father purchased the land for fifty dollars an acre. These Turners are relations of his, being descended from a common stock in my great Grandfather1 and this land having been his was the moving cause to the purchase. This is an amiable weakness in my father which is well understood in Quincy.

We returned home by noon and upon my going to see the well diggers I found that at the depth of fifty four and a half feet they had struck a ledge of slate rock which I recognized to be the one we see on the path to the pasture, then going into the hill. Of course they were stopped. I should have been glad at the moment of the presence of Mr. Higgins. His men have been surly and impatient ever since reaching thirty five feet, and they urged me to decide. I took the opinion of Carr who himself went down and examined the bottom and that of Spear, and they both advised walling up. I then directed the men to do so, regretting my want of experience in these matters and the absence of the proper adviser. If I am wrong, I shall only have to try over again.

In the afternoon, I went over to the Quarry to see Dutton and get from him his prices. He furnished them to me and they prove altogether higher than I can tolerate. My resource must be to cut down very much the quantity to be furnished. Home.

Evening walk with the ladies to Mrs. T. B. Adams. Found there a great deal of company of Quincy. Mr. and Mrs. Miller and their daughter, Mr. Beale and his, Mrs. Baxter and her family, Mr. Whitney, Mr. and Mrs. T. and D. Greenleaf, and Mrs. J. Greenleaf and her family. This was entirely unexpected to me and I took refuge in cards for the evening. Home before ten.


Elisha Turner (1763?–1806), bootmaker of Braintree, in 1790 married Mary Adams, daughter of JA’s brother Peter Boylston Adams. They had four sons and two daughters, Whether Elisha Turner was related to the E. Turner JA wrote of in his account of the launching at the Iron Works Landing is not known (JA, Diary and autobiography, 1:173). The deed from Peter Turner to JQA for the seven-acre woodlot, dated 13 Oct. 1836, is in the Adams Papers.