Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

Tuesday 19th. CFA Tuesday 19th. CFA
Tuesday 19th.

Clouds and cold with a high Easterly wind. To Quincy. Afternoon and evening at home.

After going down into State Street for half an hour, finding that Mr. Hobart had come in as I had arranged,1 I immediately proceeded to Quincy. I went time enough to give me half an hour to look about my place at Quincy, but it seemed so cheerless I was glad to get away. There is no attraction to me in the country in the winter season, however much I delight in it in summer.

At the appointed time I went to the vault in the grave yard, and found there Mr. Hobart just arrived with the body. Mr. Harrod and I. Hull Adams soon joined us accompanied by Mr. Lunt. This gentleman made a short and feeling prayer and then the remains of Thomas were gathered to those of the rest of his family. Poor fellow, no more deserving member is to be found there. I could not avoid reflecting upon the vanity of human expectations and the necessity of unlimited submission and trust in the divine decree.

I went into the vault and saw there the coffins as they remain still in very good preservation of the various members of the family who have died during the present century, with the exception of my grandfather 205and grandmother who lie under the Church. There are my two brothers both of whom died far from this place and both of whom have been returned to it as Thomas is. My uncle Thomas, and aunt Smith, Louisa Smith’s mother, and a child of Mrs. T. B. Adams, and two besides whom I do not remember.2 As Hull told us his mother was not yet informed of this event and he feared the effect of her seeing us, we returned directly to town. I got home chilled at three o’clock.

Afternoon reading Gibbon. Did nothing else. I shun writing. Evening W. C. Gorham called and spent an hour. He is a thinking young man but is in a bad school for this country. He is too English.3 Read Gibbon’s celebrated fifteenth Chapter. What a labour it must have cost to overlook the primary causes of the spread of the Christian faith in order to magnify the secondary ones.


Hobart, or Hubbard, was the sexton of the First Parish, Quincy; see vols. 3:84; 6:107.


The remaining two were AA’s sister, Mary Smith Cranch, and her husband, Richard. “Aunt Smith” was Mrs. William Stephens Smith (AA2); Louisa Smith’s mother was Catherine Catharine Louisa (Salmon) Smith. CFA had earlier had to preside at the interments of GWA, TBA, and JA2; see vols. 3:85; 4:260; 6:107.


An earlier view of W. C. Gorham is at vol. 6:109.

Wednesday 20th. CFA Wednesday 20th. CFA
Wednesday 20th.

Cloudy and dull. Time divided as usual.

I was very busy all the morning in making up the fourth and last of my numbers which has been long delayed. I perpetually ask of myself why I write them at all for nobody in this country cares a sixpence about any thing but his personal advancement. And the ambitious men jostle one another all the time to the edification of all lookers on.

Philoctetes. Gibbons, sixteenth chapter. An amazing master of his weapons but used in a bad cause. The History has failed in it’s effect upon the Christian religion. Evening at home. Reading to my Wife of Nicholas Nickleby, part of a fashionable novel.1 On with Burr.


Charles Dickens’ Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby had been appearing in monthly numbers in London since April 1838. The numbers would end in Oct. 1839 with book publication in the same month.

Thursday 21st. CFA Thursday 21st. CFA
Thursday 21st.

Rain and clouds and darkness. Time as usual. Evening at Mr. Brooks’.

I worked hard this morning and made out to finish the fourth and last number of my papers, which after once reading over I sent to the 206Courier. It pleases me much but I do not find that it pleases any body else, or excites even a passing thought. Was there ever a young man who exerted his powers to so little purpose? I have laboured much upon these and yet not a soul will feel the wiser.

Home to read Philoctetes. Afternoon finished the sixteenth chapter of Gibbon which excites in me nothing but disgust, and continued at work upon the MS. I have now disposed of all of the first class of papers.

Evening, notwithstanding the rain I went to see Mr. Brooks, hearing he had been confined two days at home with a cold. He seemed very well and cheerful. Home, on with Burr.