Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Monday. 13th. CFA Monday. 13th. CFA
Monday. 13th.

The day was pleasant. I went early to the Office and was engaged most of my time in Accounts prior to taking my departure which I have fixed for Wednesday. Made several collections of money as well as a final arrangement of Mr. Johnson’s funds which have been on my mind for some time.1 I drew off an Account current which requires only the entry of the last transaction to be complete. I saw Mr. Degrand about it but could not finish it today. My own Account which I had hoped to close for the year before I started must remain as the balance does not close right. After much labour I discovered one error, but there was still a difference of $10 which probably arises from some accidental mistake in adding or subtracting some of the Accounts, which I have not now the time to find. The business of keeping books by double entry is a fatiguing one and hardly pays me the labour of doing it, but I am now the depository of so much of the property of others that what I began as an experiment to try my capacity, I must 3continue as a measure of self protection. My Cash Account for the past year exceeds 70,000, 42,000 of which being Mr. Johnson’s there yet remains nearly 30,000 of my father’s, T. B. Adams’ and mine.2 These accounts must be kept distinct. Home late.

Afternoon occupied in writing the final draught of the paper upon Slavery. Finished it and inclosed it to Mr. Hallett. In my own opinion, it is the best thing I ever wrote, but whether it will meet with much approbation in the world is more than doubtful to me.3 Evening, we had some of the family at our house, Gorham Brooks and his Wife, Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham, Mr. Shepherd and T. K. Davis.4 A very pleasant evening. They left at about ten.


On Thomas Baker Johnson, CFA’s uncle, who, on departing for Europe early in 1836, had placed his financial affairs in CFA’s hands, see vol. 5:xvi–xvii.


The management of John Quincy Adams’ affairs in Boston and Quincy had devolved upon CFA after the death of his brother George Washington Adams in 1829. CFA also acted as financial agent for his cousin Lt. Thomas Boylston Adams Jr. while he was on active service and after his father’s death; see vol. 3:337.


“The Slavery Question Truly Stated” would be published in B. F. Hallet’s Boston Daily Advocate on 24 and 25 June. Its composition and publication, together with some account of its content, are discussed in vol. 6:407–408.


On Thomas Kemper Davis, one of CFA’s most valued friends, see Introduction; vol. 3:223–224; and the indexes in vols. 4 and 6.

Tuesday. 14th. CFA Tuesday. 14th. CFA
Tuesday. 14th.

Clear. My time exceedingly taken up in a variety of final occupations. I have got fastened down so in Boston that it seems as if I should never be able to get rid of all the threads. As a last trouble, one of my houses is empty by the fickle disposition of the tenant who took it. I am resolved however not to let this or any other inconvenience of a similar sort detain me. I this morning finished Mr. Johnson’s business, closed his Account, and wrote him a letter to accompany it, which I take with me to New York to send from there. I also drew some Dividends and made a final deposite, so as to know what funds I may depend upon. The unexpected call the other day at Quincy cramped me in this respect.

I called upon Mr. Sparrel the Architect and requested him to think of a plan for such a house as I wished, while I should be absent. I sent him the Encyclopedia from which to gather hints.1 Notwithstanding my various duties I succeeded in finishing the 24th book of Livy, which will be a good resting place for the present. The remainder of the day was passed in clearing away papers and collecting and packing.


My Wife and I went out to take a short walk upon our return from which we found T. K. Davis who staid here conversing until a late hour. He has a great deal of foundation in him, more perhaps than most men and I like much to converse with him. We discussed tonight that old and familiar subject, Oratory and style.


CFA had nurtured for some time the hope of building a house for his family in Quincy. He had revealed that hope to his father in objecting to JQA’s idea for a building to house his own and John Adams’ books and papers. Upon further conversation, however, JQA’s plan was pursued to the point of consulting William Sparrell, Boston architect. That project was put aside, however; see vol. 6:170. Early in 1836, CFA resolved to move forward on his own plan, consulted Cornelius Coolidge, architect of numerous houses on Beacon Hill in Boston, and chose a site on land JQA offered him on the upper part of the hill across the road from the Old House. Coolidge’s plans not satisfying him, CFA examined numerous books on architecture including J. C. Loudon’s Encyclopaedia of ... Architecture, London, 1836, and turned again to Sparrell, this time to draw plans for his house. See vol. 6:358, 379, 400, 408.