Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Saturday 13th. CFA Saturday 13th. CFA
Saturday 13th.

Morning at the Office. Attended Court for a little while but found nothing of any consequence. I therefore returned to my Office and read a portion of Starkie on the Law of Evidence which book has given me some ideas. In the afternoon read the Life of Mahomet just published by the Society for the diffusion of knowledge in England.1 I was not pleased with it. These pamphlets are all made abominably dry. My mind during the whole day was much agitated by the idea of the family at home. A more pitiable set I do not 389think I know than my father and mother, and John’s machinations I can neither admire nor approve of. Poor George once said to me that his only objection to John was that he was so artful and he said true. But this cannot be helped. Where his own interest does not interfere, he is kind and generous. Evening, a solitary walk. Brilliant night.


See entry for 2 May 1828, and note, above.

Sunday 14th. CFA Sunday 14th. CFA
Sunday 14th.

Not having received any letters from home last night leading me to suppose that my presence would be needed at Quincy today, I decided upon going to Medford and in consequence rode out early. Found the family much as usual. Mrs. Brooks looks very poorly. Mrs. Frothingham and her family and Mrs. Everett were at dinner. Little or nothing occurred of any incident. It was not one of my pleasant days, for my spirits were low and Abby was not in her pleasantest mood though I found nothing to complain of. I sometimes require much soothing, and sometimes receive it in most delightful ways, but this was not one of the days.

Monday. 15th. CFA Monday. 15th. CFA
Monday. 15th.

Returned to town early this morning and not in very good humour, for Abby was not pleasant as usual though I hardly knew what was to be objected to her. Found a letter from my Mother1 hardly in better humour and positively stating that she should not come on. This was rather trying to me, but this is a season of suffering. I went into Court this morning and heard an argument upon the subject of the Warren Bridge.2 It was interesting because it was short. Afternoon, rather desultory reading, being some Numbers of the Society for the diffusion of knowledge, and a Volume of Scott’s Lives of the Novelists, Richardson and Fielding.3 Evening, received a Newspaper from Baltimore announcing my father’s actual passage through Baltimore on Thursday last. A pleasant though lonely walk.




See entry for 5 Aug. 1828, and note, above.


Sir Walter Scott, Lives of the Novelists, 2 vols., Paris, 1825.

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

Morning fine. I arose early and enjoyed the pleasure of the air, in going to take a bath on the Charles river. This early rising in summer is pleasant but it requires an effort to become sensible of it. 390I returned to breakfast feeling fresh and cool. At the Office, attended Court and heard the commencement of an argument in the case of the heirs of Hubbard against Mr. Brooks. This case involves a very large amount and charges fraudulent concealments on the part of Mr. Brooks which I regretted exceedingly being present to hear. The nature of the case was entirely unexpected to me and I repented being present as my feelings could not bear it. I shall not go again even if the eloquence was ever so tempting. The case strikes me as a very hard and a very unjust suit to obtain money of a rich man upon an obsolete claim.1 In the afternoon, I amused myself with reading Scott’s Lives of Smollet and Cumberland. They are light, airy and superficial like every thing else of his. My father is now in New York. Evening, a walk. A most magnificent night and the panorama of the Common singularly striking.

Poor George has been buried at East Chester with all possible marks of respect.2 I feel now more disposed to look with melancholy upon his fate. Although I cannot come to the conclusion that he would have lived to give us much gratification, yet the peculiarities of his character, the pleasant kindness of his nature, and the light yet ornamental cultivation of his mind have often afforded me moments of great pleasure. He might have been a distinguished man had God granted him firmness of character. He was a lively and pleasant companion, and a kind heart.


The case was that of Henry Farnam, administrator for the estate of Tuthill Hubbart, v. Peter C. Brooks (9 Pickering 212). Hubbart and P. C. Brooks were partners in insurance underwriting from 1794 to 1803. When Hubbart died in 1808, Brooks made a settlement with his heirs. Now, after many years, the administrators of the Hubbart estate claimed that the settlement had been fraudulent and brought suit to recover from one to two hundred thousand dollars from Brooks. On 29 March 1830 the court held that Brooks’ original settlement should not be set aside but confirmed, allowing the Hubbart heirs, however, to recover about four thousand dollars due to them because of a mistake in the accounts. See JQA, Diary, 26 June 1829.


JQA, on his way from Washington to Quincy, arrived in New York at the time GWA’s body was found. He attended a funeral service for his son at East Chester and then arranged for George’s body to be sent to Quincy in the late autumn. See Bemis, JQA , 2:182–183.