Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Monday. 25th. CFA Monday. 25th. CFA
Monday. 25th.

Morning clear. I went to the Office and devoted some time to accounts. Mr. Sparrel has at last furnished me with a plan for my proposed House at Quincy which I have time now to reflect. Some decision must be come to respecting this and pretty soon too. Yet it is well to reflect very fully upon all parts of the scheme. I do not see but my occupation for the present is not likely to fail. Much of my time is now devoted to bringing up the Diary. What a labour this is and after all, for what? My father inculcated this upon me as a duty, but then he looked forward to my being what I see no prospect of, somewhat like himself.

In the afternoon I rode to Quincy and found the family as usual. Conversation upon many general topics and some particular ones. My father questioned me as to the talk of my building and generally upon finance affairs to all which I answered as clearly as I could. My first object will be to get the ground laid out to which my father assented, and we agreed that Mr. Humphrey the Surveyor should be called upon 58as soon as possible. Much other talk, which consumed the day so that it was quite late before I reached home.

Tuesday 26th. CFA Tuesday 26th. CFA
Tuesday 26th.

My daily habits are nearly restored. I attempt no kind of reading as yet because I am not to remain at home1 but I write perhaps more than usual. I have still arrears of Agency matters. A quarterly Account to render, and rents to collect. Mr. Chapman also keeps me in a little hot water. He has tricked me out of half a quarter’s rent and I have no other resource than to give him a proper sense of his conduct. To this end I have written at first rather mildly but not without strong intimations of my opinions. If there is any thing annoying in the world it is quarrels with people about money. It produces a kind of nervous vexation which is more disturbing than the money is worth.

I turn from all this to recollect the Journey with the more pleasure. Then at least I had no cares of that kind. Much of my morning as well as of the afternoon spent in making up the arrears of my Diary. Nothing but active effort will do it. I had leisure until late in the evening, which I did not all turn to account, preferring some relaxation with the Letters of Madame de Sevigné.2 Went to Gorham Brooks’, where were Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham and my Wife. Talk about Canada and then home. Nothing of any particular interest going on.


The annual move to Quincy for a lengthy visit was imminent.


A recurrent pastime; see vol. 5:91.

Wednesday 27th. CFA Wednesday 27th. CFA
Wednesday 27th.

Morning at the Office. Made some calls upon collecting duty and passed time in considering my plan and Diary. The business of building is a new one to me and I enter upon it with fear and trembling. But there is some probability that I shall have to do a great deal of it in the course of time so that I had better buy my experience early. Since my return I have seen but very few people and not many of those who seemed to care much whether I was here or elsewhere. The cold manners of the place affect me more after I have been away from it.

I went to Quincy to dine. My horse who was sent into the Country is slow in coming back which is always a very bad sign. After dinner, I accompanied my father and Mr. Spear in the vehicle of the latter to Mount Wollaston, to observe the progress of the House which is building there and to see where the timber was cut away last winter. We 59went still further to Germantown to see the progress of the settlement there. This is a place which in all my residence here I have never before visited. It appears tolerably flourishing.1 The indications of enterprise and prosperity in this Village are greater than in almost any place I have visited. They take their origin mainly in the great developement of the Stone Quarries occasioned by the demand from New York.2 Whether this taste will continue is as yet a matter of much uncertainty, but in proportion as the price of lumber rises will be the disposition to supply it’s place with stone. Germantown however does not partake of this. It is a fishing settlement and of late the people there have taken to Mulberry trees. We saw some thousands of them not in the best condition. After walking round to look at them we got in and returned home, from whence to Boston. Evening quiet at home.


Germantown, which had in the latter 18th century become absorbed in Braintree, later Quincy, was a tract of 100 acres on a point of land forming Town River Bay. It had been acquired in 1750 from Col. John Quincy by a group that included Norton Quincy, Abigail Adams’ uncle, for a glass manufactory employing indentured persons from Germany. The enterprise was sold in 1752 to Joseph Palmer and Richard Cranch, later AA’s brother-in-law, and production begun, not only in glass but in stockings and so on. Beset by numerous problems, including a fire, the effort had to be abandoned before the Revolution, but many of the artisans remained in the settlement (Pattee, Old Braintree and Quincy , p. 473–492).


The demand for granite from the Quincy quarries was at its height. It was being used for two of New York City’s largest buildings, the Customs House and the Exchange (Daniel Munro Wilson, Three Hundred Years of Quincy, Quincy, 1926, p. 221–222).