Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

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

A very cold morning, glass nearly at zero. I went to the Office and besides writing up Arrears of my Diary I read a good deal of the correspondence between Mr. Forsyth and the Mexican Minister. The former does not appear to much advantage. He is rather wanting even in respectful attention, and very much so in frankness.1

I experienced a disappointment today of a trifling but still vexatious kind. Had a letter in my box at the Post Office and waited for it until near two because as well as I could see it was postmarked New, and had as I thought the appearance of the long expected remittance from New Orleans.2 Lo and behold, it was for C. Fred. Adams and I lost my time and Livy besides my disappointment.

Dine by engagement with E. Quincy. Nobody there but T. K. Davis and myself. A very modest dinner very modestly conducted. Quincy has great merit in the very unassuming manner with which he supports the station he has, particularly as there is some ground for suspicion that he never anticipated it. I like him better, and think better of him for this experience. His wife however looks as if she suffered under it and the family care more than he. She has a sickly and feeble infant.3

Home at sunset. Nothing new. Found my Wife sitting at home and read to her in the evening from Travels in Norway. Not much of a book. Afterwards, I read over very carefully the Pamphlet of Mr. Gallatin on the Currency.4


On 10 May the House of Representatives, in pursuance of the debate in the House of 7 May on the southwest boundaries as fixed in the Treaty of 1819 (a debate in which JQA was a principal figure), voted to request the President to communicate to the House all correspondence and other materials that had 155passed at Washington and at Mexico between the two governments relative to boundaries and military activities since 1 Jan. 1835. The President complied on 14 May. Included were letters and memoranda exchanged between Secretary of State John Forsyth and the Mexican minister, Manuel Eduardo Gorostiza, 9 March – 10 May 1836 ( Congressional Globe , 24th Cong., 1st sess., p. 362–363, 375–377). It seems likely that CFA encountered the material in paging through the printed congressional documents that JQA sent to Quincy with some regularity and that remain at MQA.


From Lt. Thomas B. Adams.


With limited means, Edmund Quincy for some time after his marriage to Lucilla Pinckey Parker in 1833 had lived with her parents, the Daniel P. Parkers (vol. 5:305–306). However, Mr. Parker had purchased for them in 1834, a handsome house at 49 Beacon Street. CFA’s observations on what was apparently his first visit to them in their changed circumstances reflect his long-held antipathy to the airs assumed by other members of the Quincy family (vol. 3:11–12). Lucilla Quincy, as CFA suggests, was not in good health; the infant, John, though he had a long life, was never whole. See Edmund Quincy, Diary, in Quincy, Wendell, Holmes, and Upham Family Papers, MHi, Microfilms, Reel 11:531–599.


Albert Gallatin, Considerations on the Currency and Banking System of the United States, Phila., 1831. CFA returned to a reading of the essay periodically; see vols. 4:36; 5:257–258; 6:279.

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

A cold morning. I went to the Office, that is to say I get there at about eleven o’clock after I have been to the National Insurance Co. rooms and read the papers. Mr. Walsh came in and talked some time and I went out to take a walk, so that I only executed a little of my Diary. It is rather dull now, and pays nothing for the labour of keeping, but my spirits appear to be relieved and that is a great thing.

Livy. My Wife went to Jamaica Plains to dine with Mrs. Gorham, and Mr. Walsh and I had a tète a tète. Afternoon, Plutarch and I resumed Burnets Memoirs of his own time which I have twice before began and failed to finish.1 Mr. Brooks was here for a minute at tea. Afterwards, finished the Travels to Norway and afterwards read Goguet. It was cold.


CFA’s earlier attempts to read Bishop Gilbert Burnett’s History of His Own Time are recorded in vols. 2:391; 6:402.

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

This appears to have been the coldest morning of the winter thus far. The thermometer falling to zero shortly after sunrise. I went to the Office as usual and spent my time in drawing up Accounts and writing Diary.

I gave about an hour to Mr. Forsyth and Mr. Gorostiza, after which Mr. Everett came in. Nothing new. Congress goes on very slowly and even the discussions about Mr. Van Buren’s cabinet are done. Mr. E. 156says that the Jackson party is to begin the campaign vigorously and for that end is about to enlarge the size of the Morning Post next week. As things now are, I incline to the opinion that they will next year carry the State.

Short walk. No letters from Washington. Home. Livy. Afternoon, read Burnet’s Memoir of his own time. Rather a heavy book. The great mass of educated men at this day certainly write better. Evening at home. Read Tom Cringle’s Log, one of the Navy tales of the day. Afterwards, Goguet.