Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Tuesday 16th. CFA Tuesday 16th. CFA
Tuesday 16th.

Morning quiet at home. Day fair and time passed partly in reading and partly in writing. I have at last accomplished all the notable part of this record, being the Diary and now have quicker sailing. Our morning was a very short one, dinner being ordered for an earlier hour. This was to accommodate my father. He had received notice of the death of a distant connexion at Hingham, and of the wish that he would attend the funeral. It seemed to be my father’s wish that I should go too, so I got into the Carriage and Mrs. T. B. Adams whom we took up at her own house made the third.

We reached Hingham an hour before the hour appointed. So we called upon Mr. Brooks, the minister.1 His wife came in soon after. I a little wondered at her appearance at first, no one having told me she was seriously ill, but a few minutes observation satisfied me that her fate was sealed. I have never before seen consumption so visibly stamped upon a human being. Some visitors came in, among others Miss Anna Thaxter whom I recognized as an acquaintance of long standing. I accompanied her to her father’s where I found him with the other two old maid daughters.

It seemed as if the world had comparatively stood still here the last fifty years. Here was an old house and old people and old manners. They received me kindly but very evidently looked at me as at a curiosity. It was Mr. Quincy Thaxter’s sister, Mrs. Loring who was to be buried today. They were both children of a Mr. Thaxter who married a sister of my great grandmother Smith, hence the relationship.2 I have never been at Hingham much or known these people who are some-72what numerous. The funeral was very properly conducted in the simple old fashioned way of the Country. The prayer was made by Mr. Brooks very well. And we followed the body to the tomb. The deceased had nearly completed fourscore years and of course excited no unreasonable lamentation. We returned home to tea, I with a singular mixture of painful and melancholy feelings. Evening quietly at home. Elizabeth C. Adams was here and spent the evening.


On Rev. Charles Brooks, see vol. 3:318.


Quincy Thaxter (1762–1837) was the son of John Thaxter (1721–1802) and his wife, Anna Quincy (1719–1799). It was this Anna Quincy who was a sister of Elizabeth Quincy, who became the wife of Rev. William Smith and was the mother of AA. In addition to the children referred to in the present passage, John and Anna Quincy Thaxter were the parents of John Thaxter (1755–1791), who served as JA’s private secretary in Europe. Quincy Thaxter’s daughter Anna remained unmarried and died in 1878 (Adams Papers Editorial Files).

Wednesday 17th. CFA Wednesday 17th. CFA
Wednesday 17th.

A very pleasant day. I remained in the Country and after writing a little of my Diary, for the first time felt myself authorized to enter upon some of my regular occupations. Read ten sections or chapters in the twenty fifth book of Livy which gave me a singular gratification. I felt as if I was coming back to something like literary tastes. This is a beginning I hope of better things. Walked up to the Bank for the purpose of procuring a Certificate of the Stock held by my father and myself and returned over the hill which is a pleasanter walk. The scene looked charmingly.

I resumed also today the prosecution of the arrangement of the Manuscript papers, and looked over a file of the letters of Mrs. Adams into which it will be very difficult to introduce any thing like order. But the records of this remarkable woman are amusing. She was a natural genius and from her very clearly my father inherits his imaginative turn.1 Her biography is the only one likely to survive the stormy period of the Revolution. Evening quietly at home.


CFA’s enthusiasm for his grandmother’s qualities as a letter-writer had been and would be of long duration; see vol. 4:70.

Thursday. 18th. CFA Thursday. 18th. CFA
Thursday. 18th.

My birth day, and I am twenty nine. The past year has little changed my position in life, although it has been productive of the same prosperity with it’s predecessors. I feel humbly grateful to the Deity for preserving us all so carefully and pray that he may continue 73to dispense his blessings and at the same time make us worthy to deserve them.

I went to town, accompanied by my Wife who proposes to make the experiment of a town visit. I left her at Mrs. Frothingham’s and went to the Office, thence to the House after some things for her. Mr. Sparrel brought to day his plan in Indian Ink and I accepted it. The great plainness of the undertaking must prevent any thing like a great display of beauty. In my opinion it looks bald, but I can afford nothing out of the common way in this case. Mr. Ayer came afterwards and having explained all the details as well as my intended mode of proceeding, I gave over to him the plan to base estimates upon, which he is to bring in on Saturday of next week. So far, so good. I must now consult Mr. Brooks upon the best mode of going on.

I called at the Athenaeum to look at the Newspapers for a day or two past and then to Gorham Brooks’ to dine. There were nearly all the family—P. C. B. Jr. and his Wife, Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham and Mr. Brooks. Dinner tolerably pleasant after which we returned to Quincy. Nothing further. Quiet evening.