Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Tuesday. 20th. CFA Tuesday. 20th. CFA
Tuesday. 20th.

Morning mild and pleasant. I went to the Office and occupied myself in a variety of ways, but particularly in accounts. Mr. Walsh came in for a little while and so did a Mr. Robbins with whom my interview was by no means agreeable. He is the man who sold to my carpenter Mr. Ayer some lumber and drew the money for it of me in advance on a misunderstanding which he himself occasioned as to the terms upon which he was to have it.1 He presented to me his Account with the balance due which I declined to pay and he left me. Received a short letter from my Mother upon various matters.2


Home and read Livy. Afternoon, MS of Genl. Warren’s letters, exceedingly uninteresting considering his position. Swift, and a little German which I propose to renew. Had a fit of low spirits again today without exactly knowing why or wherefore.

Evening went to a party at Mrs. F. Parkman’s, consisting principally of the connections of that large family. It was exceedingly dull to me who knew but few of the persons. Talk with Edward Blake for a short time.3 And home.


On the arrangement made with Shepherd Robbins, see above, entry for 19 November.


LCA to CFA, 16 Dec., Adams Papers.


On Edward Blake, see vol. 3:2.

Wednesday 21st. CFA Wednesday 21st. CFA
Wednesday 21st.

A hard Southerly rain. I went to the Office and found my fire out and things looking dull enough. I remained a short time for the purpose of writing my Diary and drew off a Quarterly account in anticipation of the close of the month, then adjourned to the Athenaeum where I looked over several of the periodicals. The English Reviews appear to me to have degenerated. I have grown more fastidious perhaps and cannot rest satisfied with the writing which is merely good. Indeed all things interest me less than they did. There is a vacuity of mind and a vacuity of purpose taking possession of me which I am sensible of but cannot resist. To inquire how this has arisen is hardly worth while. Even if I knew some of the reasons I ought not to detail them.

Home. Livy. Afternoon, reading a little book by Tailor upon the practical duties of a Statesman.1 Very useful advice and deserving of deep reflection. But I cannot omit noticing his remark that no man distinguishes himself as a Speaker who does not enter a deliberative body before thirty. Swift and a little German. Evening at Mr. Frothingham’s where was a musical party, somewhat mixed but I thought not disagreeably so. But it was dull to me as almost every thing is. Home.


Perhaps Sir Henry Taylor, The Statesman, London, 1836.

Thursday. 22d. CFA Thursday. 22d. CFA
Thursday. 22d.

Much colder than it has been but clear. I went to the Office and idled my time away a good deal. Mr. Walsh came in and talked over the matter of Davis’s paper and I told him my conclusion that I could have nothing to do with it. This is partly to save my own feelings for I 151know that he is so connected, my opinion can be but a stumbling block in his way.1 But I intimated to Walsh that I would write for it.

He had hardly gone when A. H. Everett came in and his conversation turned entirely in the same direction. We discussed the prospect of the Advocate and the Post. He is in favour of establishing a paper something like the Evening Post of New York. I told him I thought it would be a good plan but candidly confessed my opinion that it was not practicable.

Home. Livy. Afternoon, reading Tailor’s Statesman, and assorting Warren’s Letters. Evening at home. Conversation with my Wife about my depression of spirits. It was very great today. This is miserable weakness and I will set about repairing it. Wrote to my Mother.2


T. K. Davis’ connections were with Boston’s leading families. His mother, Susan Jackson Davis, was of the influential and widely connected Jackson clan; his father, Isaac P. Davis, though a longtime friend of JQA, was a wealthy Boston merchant. On neither side would CFA’s recent political alliance with the Antimasons and Democrats have been approved (vol. 3:146, 223–224; 5:25; 6:99–100, 370). Although the younger Davis and CFA each found much that was congenial in the thinking of the other, there is no indication in the Diary or elsewhere that Davis had joined CFA in his political activities of 1835 and 1836.


To LCA, 22 Dec., Adams Papers.