Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Sunday 6th. CFA Sunday 6th. CFA
Sunday 6th.

Day cloudy with snow. Usual division on Sunday. Evening at J. Quincy’s.

The greater part of my day was taken up in continuing the third volume of Milman’s History of the Jews which had been sent to me by mail from Washington. The first part is the account of the siege of Jerusalem which I had already read in Crevier. The accounts being both drawn from Josephus are substantially the same, and it is a wonder to me how ignorant I have heretofore been of the most fearful detail of human suffering that ever has been made.

Attended divine service and heard Dr. Frothingham preach from 2. Samuel 23. 15. “And David longed and said, Oh, that one would give me a drink of the water of the well of Bethlehem, which is by the Gate!” Of wishes and of hopes in human life, their effect upon the sum of human happiness. Matthew 11. 7. “What went ye into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken with the wind?” I also read a discourse of Bishop Hoadley from 2. Timothy 3. 4. “Lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God.” Sensible enough but not extraordinary. The Church of England is not so eminent for it’s developing talent as nourishing good sense.

Evening my Wife and I went to see Mrs. Josiah Quincy in consequence of her application to us in favor of a new female instructress of children. Mr. and Mrs. Minot came in and strange to say, Mrs. Davis and her son Thomas K. The awkwardness of the meeting was amusing enough. I could not help a little coldness and my Wife as well as all the persons present manifested a little of it. It seems that Davis has acted upon all his old acquaintances in the same manner that he has upon me, and they all resent it, especially as implying a sense of personal importance which does not belong to him. I think in this they do him injustice. But his is a species of wrongheadedness it is difficult to treat justly with due regard to that kind of self respect indispensable to correct conduct in life. I am personally as friendly in feeling to him as 168ever I was and yet I cannot consider him as justified in trespassing upon kindness in the manner he has done.

Monday 7th. CFA Monday 7th. CFA
Monday 7th.

Morning cloudy which ended in rain. Distribution as usual. Evening party.

At the Office my time engaged in Accounts as usual. The commencement of this year has been an unusually busy one in this regard and that scarcely with my knowing wherefore. I have been utterly unable to prosecute my design upon Aaron Burr’s history, and much of the ordinary business of the agency is behind hand. Also my correspondence, but I was glad to receive from Washington today some papers from Mr. Frye which smooth the difficulties in the way of the settlement of T. B. Adams’ affairs. These hang on exceedingly, and through Mr. Harrods apparent inattention seem likely to do so still more.1

Electra and in the afternoon working on the Catalogue of coins which absorbs much time I should otherwise have better employed perhaps. And yet I have acquired an amount of positive knowledge which may be useful and in which I was shamefully deficient.

Evening we went to a party at Mrs. Thayer’s stated to be a small party but in fact a ball. Almost all the fashionable people there and altogether a brilliant, well arranged affair. Home a little after eleven.


Through Nathaniel Frye Jr., CFA was able to obtain the signature of Isaac Hull Adams, a co-executor of the estate of Lt. T. B. Adams Jr., on documents necessary to the settlement of that estate (CFA to Frye, 19 Dec. 1838, LbC, Adams Papers). Charles Harrod of New Orleans had been charged with arranging the removal of Lt. Adams’ body to Quincy; CFA’s letters to him had brought no response (to Charles Harrod, 16 Nov. 1838; 3 Jan. 1839; LbC’s, Adams Papers).

Tuesday 8th. CFA Tuesday 8th. CFA
Tuesday 8th.

Morning clear, and a pleasant day, time as usual. Evening at Edward Brooks’.

There is no very important record to be made of my mornings. They pass in conning over newspapers, reading accounts and paying money the whole process of which however interesting does not make much figure in a Diary.

Electra in which I make rather slow progress also. After dinner, 169continue the coins which now come down to Maximin. I begin to see the end.

Evening, by request, went down to Edward Brooks to see his Wife who is without occupation and therefore catches events to be delighted with such as that of the marriage of Miss Sumner this day to Mr. Nathan Appleton.1 Here is one of the Revolutions of this life, a transfer at a bound from extreme penury to unlimited abundance. Miss Sumner yesterday a lady of a certain age with little attention but from her rather oldish friends, is today Mrs. Appleton the Wife of a millionaire. Conversation with Edward very pleasant as it always is. Home at ten. Crevier.


Nathan Appleton had taken as his second wife, Harriet Coffin Sumner ( DAB ).