Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

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).

Thursday. 28th. CFA Thursday. 28th. CFA
Thursday. 28th.

Morning at the office. I had not been there long before my father came in. I did not observe him very closely but he was somewhat agitated, I recollected after he had told me my Wife was unwell and wished to see me. I went directly back to the House and found her in a sort of fainting fit. She was sensible, but her extremities were cold and she looked as if she had no blood in her. I was frightened more from the unusual circumstance and the want of medical assistance, than from the thing itself. Dr. Bigelow was nowhere to be found, nor any other physician excepting a young Dr. Ellis who came to our assistance. He gave her an emetic which gradually relieved her. She has been ever since our return complaining of a sound in her ears, which proceeds doubtless from great weakness. I did not leave her until Bigelow came who relieved us from further uneasiness. He recommended quiet and a few days postponement of our departure to Quincy. He ascribes her condition entirely to her sickness which has been a very 60exhausting one. The incident disabled me from much active occupation.

My father dined at Mr. T. L. Winthrop’s.1 My afternoon was divided between him and my Wife. Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham and Mrs. Gorham Brooks came in shortly after he left and sat for a short time with her. After which I went down to Mr. Frothingham’s where they were after leaving here, and tried to forget my anxieties in an hour’s conversation.


On Thomas Lindall Winthrop, see vol. 5:25.