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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0006

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-06

Thursday. 6th.

Morning to town. Abby in low spirits about her Mother and I could not rouse her. This affected me a little and I felt depressed all day. A letter also came from John1 saying that my Mother had been taken sick, which did not contribute at all to improve my pleasure. Morning passed in the Office and in attending an Auction, to purchase a few of the last things for Quincy. Received from E. H. Derby, one year’s pew rent which I called upon him to obtain. Too much of my day was wasted in reading les Liaisons Dangeureuses, a book nominally with a moral but altogether vicious, in fact. George owned this copy and read by far too much in this and similar works. But the afternoon was occupied in destroying the school boy productions of my brother and his friends which he always preserved. I remained in town until late in order to obtain the evening’s mail, by which there came a letter from my Mother which relieved our apprehensions.2 Then to Quincy. Evening with my father. Miscellaneous conversation.
1. Missing.
2. LCA reported that she was “much better altho still labouring under a considerable stricture of the lungs” (LCA to JQA, 2 Aug. 1829, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0007

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-07

Friday. 7th.

Morning to town. Weather quite warm. After spending a short time at the Office, I went up with Baxter, the Waggoner, and assisted him in transporting the remaining Articles of Furniture from the House at Dr. Welsh’s. The Book Cases were rather heavy but we got them down by the assistance of a hand cartman. And at last I saw the end of that business which had been hanging upon my mind heavily for some time. At last George’s room bears no marks of his residence, and in a short time the changes of life will have nearly effaced his memory from the globe. Such is our final existence and such our end. Moralizing ceases to produce it’s effect for the lesson is too extensively spread.
This took up nearly all of my morning so that as I had decided that I would dine at Quincy today, I was compelled to start forthwith, merely asking first how Mrs. Brooks was and found her sick, as ever. My ride was warm but not unpleasant. Found the family at dinner but Louisa C. Smith too unwell to come down. Thomas dined with us. Afterwards, we took a bath, which I enjoyed exceedingly, but found myself much fatigued in the evening. So as not to enjoy my father’s conversation from drowsiness. He was upon the History of America too.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0008

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-08

Saturday 8th.

Morning to town. The weather exceedingly warm. At the Office. Received a most extraordinary Note from Mrs. Longhurst with a remittance of fifty dollars. I replied to it promptly and in such manner that her leaving the House now would not surprise me,1 and indeed would it be matter of indifference as I had rather take my chance of a good tenant, who paid punctually, even if I should be compelled to lower the rent. She wishes me to lower the rent for her without paying. Walked to the House and saw Abby. My book cases not yet done. Returned to the Office, engaged in tearing and assorting old papers, until dinner time. Dined at Judge Hall’s. My father, Mr. J. Russel, Col. Hall, Judge, wife and son. Tolerably pleasant. His wine was good. But a thunder storm detained me longer than I wished as the Judge is prosy after dinner, and his lady talks shocking scandal. Rode to Medford in the evening, came in to tea and Dr. Swann. Evening, saw Mrs. Brooks, who has been quite ill, but is better and was lively tonight. Remainder of the evening as usual.
1. Mrs. Mary B. Longhurst, a dressmaker, lived in a house owned by JQA on Tremont Street, at the corner of Boylston Street (Boston Directory, 1829–1830). To her request that the rent be reduced, CFA replied: “If you are not disposed to remain in the House, I am perfectly content that you should give me notice to quit after having paid all arrears” (CFA to Mrs. Mary B. Longhurst, 8 Aug. 1829, LbC, Adams Papers).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0009

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-09

Sunday. 9th.

Morning exceedingly warm and sultry. Remained at home all day and wasted it shockingly. I could regret much this way if I did not hope it was soon to cease. In the afternoon, I read half a Volume of Chesterfield, Letters to his son. They display wonderful knowledge of men and though it is the fashion to decry them, I think they are admirable as instruction. To be sure it will not do to put them into the hands of the very young, but after moral education is complete they are useful, for they only teach to combine the useful and ornamental with the correct, when properly taken, and who would not wish to unite them all. P. Chardon Brooks and his wife out here in the afternoon and Mr. Cotton Brooks of whom I have spoken once or twice heretofore. The weather was warm until evening when there was a violent thunder shower.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0010

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-10

Monday 10th.

Morning to town accompanied by Abby. Called in passing upon Mr. Stetson to inquire of whom it would be necessary to obtain a { 416 } certificate after the publishment of the banns. This thing must be done directly. At the Office, my boy out of the way so much that I turned him off, though with regret. At the house saw Abby but my bookcases not finished yet.
Assorted more of George’s letters and in the afternoon, read his letters to Mary C. Hellen during their engagement, which was the flower of his life. Affectionate enough but rather seldom. Written once a month or so when I wrote twice a week to Abby. This was the mistake he made for he suffered her affection, at all times volatile, to become perfectly cool.
Engaged the remainder of the afternoon in putting up my books in their cases. I doubt whether those yet put up will contain one half of them. Thus it was nearly seven before I left town. Evening at Quincy. Conversation with my father. Family affairs. Old History. I forgot to mention that I took order to have myself published in Boston and wrote to Medford to Mr. Bartlett, town Clerk, to do the same.1 Evening cool after a warm day.
1. CFA’s letter to A. Bartlett, town clerk of Medford, is missing.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0011

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-11

Tuesday 11th.

Morning to town, but I find myself so late in reaching it that I am hurried for time very much. My office too already looks as if it wanted a boy. At the house putting my books up, find that I shall need another case which is not an agreeable discovery. I was thus occupied all day until one when I thought I would ride to Quincy to dine. My father had asked several persons to come to dinner, but none came excepting Mr. Curtis. Thomas as usual. The afternoon was passed in a lazy manner. I became so ashamed of it that I caught up a copy of Lady Montagues Letters, and read half the first Volume.1 They are pleasant, though not free from affectation and conceit. Evening, Conversation with my father—General literature, Horace Walpole, Dr. Johnson.
1. Lady Mary Wortley Montague, Letters . . . Written during Her Travels in Europe, Asia and Africa to Persons of Distinction, London, 1763.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0012

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-12

Wednesday. 12th.

Morning to town. Having reformed my practice, I got to town quite in reasonable time today. At the Office. Nothing worthy of particular notice. At the house, after having purchased a Carpet for my Study. Discouraged about my books, as I find other cases must be made. The expense frightens me. Found Mrs. P. Chardon Brooks, Miss { 417 } Phillips, Julia Gorham and afterwards Abby. But they did not please me this morning so that I returned to the Office in bad humour. Mr. Orcutt, tenant of tenement No. 3 in Common Street, called to tell me he could not pay any more rent at present.1 This is the general cry. And in the mean time, we must live. The prospect is not agreeable. I did not remain in town long being out of spirits, and returned to Quincy to dine. Found there Dr. Waterhouse of Cambridge who dined with us but was dry. Afternoon, I read a little of Burnet, which I must go over again connectedly, and finished the first Volume of Lady Montague. Mr. Bussy, his grandson in law Francis C. Head,2 and four strangers, citizens of South Carolina, called in the course of the afternoon. Not much conversation in the evening.
1. David Orcutt, a cabinetmaker, rented a house owned by JQA on Tremont (or Common) Street for $150 a year (CFA, Accounts as Manager of John Quincy Adams’ Finances, 1828–1846, p. 16, M/CFA/3, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 297).
2. Benjamin Bussey (1757–1842), who had made a fortune in foreign trade, was famous for his horticultural gardens, which were later bequeathed to Harvard as a school of agriculture (Appletons’ Cyclo. Amer. Biog.; Bacon’s Dict. of Boston, p. 74–75). Francis C. Head, who married Eleanor Bussey Davis, was a member of the Boston auctioneering firm of Coolidge, Poor, & Head (Columbian Centinel, 14 May 1825; Boston Directory, 1825).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0013

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-13

Thursday. 13th.

Morning to town. Engaged as usual in a diversity of pursuits connected with my father’s business and my own. Called upon Mr. Tarbell about sundry Writs he has intrusted to me and had some conversation with him which induced him to ask me to dinner. After having spent an hour looking at some of poor George’s old Journals, I went and dined with them. Found Mr. Fletcher there, and they were quite comfortable. In the afternoon, went up to the house and completed putting up my books as far as I was able but the bookcases are manifestly insufficient. I must have others made and after all, I must return many to Quincy. It became late before I had finished this business, and after going to the Office to shut up, though I had a boy who was a wretched country gawk. And gave me more trouble than good. I rode to Medford, stopped at the Tavern and walked to Mrs. Ward’s, where there was a Medford party. Stupid enough. She is old and infirm beyond belief. Her daughter was the person giving the entertainment. I felt a little low spirited and not very good company. After an hour and a half of ennui, we were dismissed and I returned to the Tavern, took my horse and rode to Mr. Brooks’.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0014

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-14

Friday 14th.

Morning to town. Mr. Frothingham came in with me and we had much conversation upon many subjects, in most of which I found our notions agree considerably. Discussing the character of Mr. Everett, I saw clearly that we both understood his character. But I felt unwilling to go very much into the expression of my opinions. Mr. Everett has been friendly to me, and it is very silly for me to hazard his kindness and turn it into enmity of a most disagreeable description. At the Office. Nothing remarkable. Dismissed my new Office boy in disgust. Up at the house where I wasted an hour pleasantly with Abby, but did nothing. Called to see my Carpenter but could not find him. My bookcase lags. Then to the Office and out of town. Pleasant dinner at home and discussion about Wine in which I found I knew very little about it. Walk into the town to see about certain bottles, but I could not obtain any. My father promises me some fine Madeira if I set about it. Dropped in to see my Uncle Thomas and his family. Spent half an hour there in conversation about immaterial things, obtained a Volume of my set of Voltaire which has been there since last year and returned home to tea. So fatigued this evening that I could not sit up beyond nine o’clock, being another case of overfatigue. My father was interesting too, upon the English Novelists.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0015

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-15

Saturday. 15th.

We were visited early this morning with the most severe thunderstorm that I have heard or seen for many years. It was longer and heavier than usual, remaining over us for more than two hours and with incessant flashes of lightning. One house was struck in the town and a fire was visible in the distance. The bell of the Meeting house began to ring and the fury of the storm, the quietness of the Country visible in the strong glare of the light when it poured from the Clouds, with the melancholy but alarming tone of the bell, presented a scene equal to the strongest imagination. I was sleepless for three hours and arose still tired and exhausted. To Boston. Morning at the Office, excepting when I was engaged in a number of commissions given me for the morning, purchasing Carpets and other things for the House at Quincy. Mr. Curtis called upon me, and gave me a deed to draw for the Estate of Mr. Boylston at the same time retaining me as Conveyancer in general which is a good place. Dined in town. Afternoon rather wasted. Why I do not know, but I feel now too much disarranged to do much. To Medford. Found Abby and the family well. { 419 } Pleasant Evening. Abby was affectionate and I enjoyed myself altogether very much.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0016

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-16

Sunday. 16th.

Morning at home. As it is the ettiquette for a lady not to go to public places after she is published to be married, Abby did not attend at Meeting and we spent the day together. I was occupied in writing her Invitation Cards for the reception of her company. On the whole, I have seldom enjoyed myself more. She was extremely affectionate and her playful yet perfectly simple manner was fascinating as it was sincere. The day has little else to render it remarkable. In the afternoon, Mr. and Mrs. Everett were here and Edward B. Hall, the Clergyman of Northampton who is a Nephew of Mr. Brooks.1 The former persons have just returned from this place, where they have been for some purposes, no body knows what. Mr. Frothingham truly said yesterday, that he (Mr. E.) never did any thing without a purpose. Evening, Conversation with Abby—Character, warmth of it. We mutually complain of the want of it in each other, which is one of those cases where not much comes of [it?]. Pleasant enough.
1. Edward B. Hall, Harvard 1820, was Congregational minister at Northampton (Mass. Register, 1829, p. 114).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0017

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-17

Monday 17th.

Morning to town accompanied by Mr. Frothingham. Conversation upon the late report of an unfortunate affair between Mr. Webster’s eldest son and his niece. I do not know what to make of it. At the Office. Mr. Ayer the Carpenter called1 and I went up to the House with him to see about the remaining bookcase. Waited for Abby who was there. Mrs. Chardon Brooks came in and I went away. Paid a visit to Mrs. Sidney Brooks at Mrs. Dehon’s. Found there many visitors. Upon going out I met Mrs. Harrison G. Otis. She spoke to me, but the meeting was rather awkward. I hardly knew what to do or say. It was rather fortunate however that I had taken my leave, for the meeting upstairs would have been less pleasant. Returned to the Office. Nothing further occurred, and I left town to dine at Quincy. Found there Miss Welsh and Louisa Smith who worries my life out. It is impossible for a woman to be better constituted to fatigue others than she is. Much of the afternoon was passed in reading and studying the deed which I propose to draw for Mr. Curtis. Evening quiet. General conversation upon Astronomy. My father received letters from { 420 } Washington, announcing their probable departure on Sunday which is earlier than was expected.
1. Thomas Ayers, who lived at 23 Chambers Street (Boston Directory, 1829–1830).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0018

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-18

Tuesday 18th.

This morning marks my twenty second birth day. Much has passed since the last event of the kind, both for good and for evil. I have suffered and I have enjoyed as is the lot of all mortals in this scene of vicissitudes. Our family has had a year of trouble yet sees much to be thankful for. We have descended into the rank of private citizens without regret and lamentation, but the private troubles have been to us both deep and distressing. There has also been pleasure. My brother John has given my Mother an object of interest in his child and a bond in which all the family are united. We have on the other hand lost a member and the young head of the family. My own feelings have been of a mixed character. The first half of the year brought with it much bitterness, disappointment and ill health but the other half has been rapidly paying me by much happiness unalloyed. To the future I decline looking for as that contains many deep and dark spots, I have no fancy to reflect upon their appearance. Enough of this.
Rode to town, the weather dark, gloomy and threatening. At the Office, where I was occupied most of the morning drawing up the deed which Mr. Curtis had given me, but I had no time to finish it. The rain came down in torrents and after having done every thing which was necessary, I left for Quincy. My ride was rainy and disagreeable. I reached there to dinner. My father kindly remembered the day and wished me happiness. I wish it to myself more on his account than my own, for he has drunk bitterness to the dregs. At four, notwithstanding the rain, I started with the little Carriage for Providence. John, our man servant, only with me. The rain was behind us so we suffered but little excepting during a mistake of the road which John made carrying us out of the way for some distance. This delayed us at Walpole until nine o’clock when we reached Fuller’s1 and I then took supper and retired immediately for the night.
1. The Half-Way House in South Walpole was run by Stephen Fuller Jr. (Willard De Lue, The Story of Walpole, 1724–1924, Norwood, Mass., 1925, p. 225).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0019

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-19

Wednesday. 19th.

I left Walpole early this morning. The weather cleared up with a cool wind which made my Coat feel comfortable when buttoned up. { 421 } We rode easily and reached Providence without any difficulty by half past ten o’clock. Having made all the necessary arrangements for keeping the horses during my absence, I went down to the Steamboat and engaged my passage. The Boat happened to be the Benjamin Franklin1 and it was some time before I could become familiarized to the scene. My good sense told me that it was weak to give way to those feelings for that2 the accident was not more than the fate of us all sooner or later and it mattered little as to the place. But a reasoner cannot always succeed. The place had seen his presence and from thence he had gone into eternity without the possibility of assuring us what the circumstances of his fate were. No eye witnessed it, no tongue can tell it. But either conclusion which we come to is horrible enough. I had no acquaintance in the boat, but gradually distracted my mind from these meditations so that it was only at times that I had a qualm. Our trip was favourable enough. There was little or nothing to affect us and so I retired to bed to sleep badly. For in these boats, nothing else can be expected.
1. The ship on which GWA made his last voyage.
2. Thus in MS.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0020

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-20

Thursday 20th.

I slept or rather remained in my berth until we reached New York not being willing to trust my feelings through the scene of the disaster. We arrived at six and landed soon after. I walked to the City Hotel and found that my Mother had arrived last evening in the boat from N. Brunswick. Soon after she came down to see me. She looked altered, more than I expected and unwell, but I tried to reflect that I had hoped too much and that she was not more unwell than I ought to have expected. Her alteration of dress ought to be taken into account, from having been fond of show and ornament, she now rejects her hair and all appearance not consistent with the utmost plainness of the deepest mourning. She was affected by my coming in the Franklin and I found to my regret that that boat would return tomorrow when we ought to go. It was therefore evident to me that this accident would be a trial. I conversed a good deal with her upon many subjects before I saw the rest of the family. She was accompanied here by John and his wife and child, very unexpectedly to me. I was however glad to see them, as I thought it would be pleasant to them and to my Mother. Mary looks tolerably well but they all seem harrassed by their Journey. John told me that my Mother’s spirit had given way excessively on the Journey and he was apprehensive of the result.
{ 422 }
The morning was passed in going round New York after sundry objects which I intended to perform while here. I called upon Mr. Frothingham, and went to Miss Thompson’s, the Milliner’s,1 to order a hat for Abby. I also walked round with John and we visited several places, among others a Furniture Warehouse where we saw all the dash of New York. There was much that was beautiful certainly. Returning, we found Baron Stackelberg had called and he sat with us for half an hour. He is much as usual. A Gentleman with all his vices. The afternoon was lounged away, partly at the Battery and partly at home, so that we found ourselves much fatigued. The family all retired early but myself who sat until ten. Mr. Charles King calling in to amuse me.
1. Phebe Thompson, a milliner, lived at 46 John Street (Longworth’s N.Y. Directory, 1828–1829).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0021

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-21

Friday 21st.

Morning passed in doing little or nothing. John and I took a stroll up Broadway, very far up, to look into a New York imitation of Tattersal’s in London. John has a fondness for Carriages and Horses which I do not partake in. I drive horses to get from place to place and I prefer a fast horse to a slow one, but I have no great pride in the business. Nor should I feel distressed if I never had further connection with them. On our return we called in at Mr. Stout’s, the Engraver’s,1 and I ordered a Card for Abby as Mrs. C. F. Adams anticipating a little and not without a silent qualm, but I got over this weakness, for these presentiments are always follies and only the more so when accident makes them sometimes turn out true. Afternoon, took a lounge into the Arcade and made a purchase of a little dress to make a present to the Baby. I have never as yet given her anything. This was a trifling present but even that more than my present exhausted means will allow.
Conversation with my Mother who seemed very dull and out of spirits, about George and his affairs. I tried to direct attention from the subject as much as possible, talking mildly and favourably. But she seemed constantly recurring to it. John and his Wife stayed out long so that we did not drink tea until very late after which my Mother again conversed with me, but not upon George. She principally talked of Johnson Hellen’s affairs, his marriage and treatment of the family, which affected her but not too much. She then talked of my marriage, which seemed to give her some pleasure. Thus the time passed until we separated at ten o’clock and I retired to bed. It was so evident to { 423 } me that my Mother could not go in the Franklin, that I did not even mention it, and suffered the day to pass without taking any notice of our departure.
1. James D. Stout, the engraver, at 153 and 172 Broadway (Longworth’s N.Y. Directory, 1828–1829).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0022

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-22

Saturday 22nd.

It was just after the Clock struck twelve, that my brother’s Wife burst into my room in the utmost alarm, and roused me from a sound sleep by telling me that my Mother had been taken excessively ill. I started directly and upon rushing upstairs found it was true enough. She was lying under one of those violent attacks which she is subject to with all the family and servants up and trying to assist her in her distress. It will be useless to detail the two hours which passed. Suffering was dreadfully stamped on them in my memory for ever. I had never seen any thing like this before, and it affected me to the soul. I was so overcome as to be very near needing some assistance as much as herself. I went downstairs however and recovered myself. The Dr. came at last and after conversation and consultation he applied some remedies which soon relieved her of the coldness about the breast which she complained of so dreadfully. I went to bed and tried to lose my feelings in sleep. Here was a new and entire revolution in my prospects. And the question occurred of what was to be done now. I did sleep after much effort after hearing the clock strike three, and awoke again at six.
I went up to see my Mother who was calm and reasonable though exceedingly unable to move at all. I sat with her some time and tried to soothe her. She had not slept at all and was very nervous, starting at any slight noise. I then conversed with her about our plans and then urged her to return to Washington. This was done with a feeling of despair. I was so apprehensive that she would do more on my account than she was able, that I preferred not taking the risk of the consequences. She might suffer from me and I preferred sacrificing all selfish wishes rather than hazard any such consequences. After breakfast the Dr. came in, a certain Dr. Watts whom I had never heard of before;1 he saw my Mother again, and John’s child which was also sick. He advised that the child should be removed from the City to the Eastward which put John in another quandary and half determined him to go to Quincy by land. Something must be done quickly, and therefore upon conversation with my Mother I submitted the two propositions, advising her strenuously to return and if neces• { 424 } sary carry the child to some healthy situation near Washington. After some argument, she agreed to return, and having thus definitely fixed upon this, I decided upon returning in the boat to Providence this afternoon. Our dinner, John and I (téte a téte) was a silent and dull one and after a parting affecting and affectionate with my Mother, I went to the Boat with John who saw me off.
I knew nobody on board. My passage was a melancholy one for it had recollections freshened to my mind by the scenes which had caused them, and my nerves which the last twenty four if not forty eight hours had shaken to excess, were in no condition to bear any thing. But time brought strength and I went to bed in a Cot at night and probably from exhaustion slept better than I ever recollect doing in a Steam boat.
1. Dr. John Watts lived at 90 Chambers Street (Longworth’s N.Y. Directory, 1828–1829).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0023

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-23

Sunday 23rd.

I arose in the morning feeling refreshed and strengthened but still somewhat low spirited. The weather was fine and though our boat had not made very uncommon progress, we were paid for it by the quiet off Point Judith. There is a tendency in the spirits of the young to elasticity which supports them when they would otherwise sink. I fell into Conversation with a gentleman on board whom I did not know, upon miscellaneous subjects and in this manner time slipped away until I found myself at Providence. John [Thomas] was in waiting for me, and expecting others who did not come, but I could not find leisure to explain what appeared exceedingly mysterious to him. I started directly on my return and stopping only at Walpole to dine and rest the horses, found myself again at Quincy at eight o’clock in the evening. My father came out with a smiling face to meet disappointment, deep and severe. I talked to him privately, explained to him my motives and feelings, but coldly, compared to my experience, and the scene was not present to enforce the truth of my words. He was much affected and slowly gave in to my conclusion though not very willingly. I could do nothing more so went to bed, tired and dull enough.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0024

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-24

Monday. 24th.

I have unwittingly written what happened on Tuesday when I should in the order of time have been recording what happened on the previous day. This obliges me to insert it out of turn.1 I went to town { 425 } in my own Gig. Morning at the Office. Called at Mr. Brooks’ and found that I and my two letters written on Thursday and Friday were here simultaneously. I then after talking with him, wrote her a third letter which carried the thing through it’s various phases.2 Feeling obliged to wait here for letters from my Mother until evening, I did not think it worthwhile to go to Medford myself as I should be able to reach there only very late in the evening. Passed some time in recording the eventful and voluminous occurrences of the past week.
But finding nothing to do in the afternoon, I passed it in reading Mrs. Opie’s Illustrations of Lying.3 Her philosophy is too high wrought for life as it is, and though our good sense agrees directly with much which she brings forward, yet by driving the line too far she weakens what is really likely to affect. It is too true, that people who always tell truth are not the most attractive and fascinating, they are never the most popular, and to many this is and ever will be the strongest inducement. You must alter human nature. After going to the Post Office and finding nothing from New York I rode to Quincy, though not until it was late. Found Mr. Wallenstein there, a short visit only. Fatigued and retired.
1. In the MS, the entry for Tuesday the 25th precedes that for Monday the 24th. The editors have restored the proper chronology in the present text.
2. All three letters are missing.
3. Mrs. Amelia Opie, Illustrations of Lying, in All Its Branches, 2 vols., London, 1825.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0025

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-25

Tuesday. 25th.

Morning to town in the Carriage as I wished to have it repaired and have one of the horses attended to, his feet being in bad condition. This made me very late. I found that Abby was in town this morning and therefore went up directly to the House to see her, where I remained until she left town with her father. I had much conversation with her upon the present state of our affairs and also upon the arrangements for our marriage. It is now coming on rapidly and I feel at this moment a little qualmish about it. May God protect me for I am now so in the Web of my own weaving that my own indiscretions will bring misery upon more than myself. I will however hope for better things. There is hope and it is my stay. I love Abby too much to be altogether without apprehension.
Returned to the Office and after dinner, wrote my Journal for a number of days past, then Called to see Blake who is to be my first Groomsman, and made arrangements with him, as to what it would be necessary for him to do. Not much as I hope, for I do not now feel any { 426 } desire to make display. Our family is now situated very differently from what it has been, and my spirits if they were supported before, have seen enough now since my Journey to New York, to show how little in accordance gaiety is with our feelings and situation. I then drew up my father’s accounts. Thus passed the day. No letters in the evening from my Mother or John so I returned to Quincy late.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0026

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-26

Wednesday. 25th [i.e. 26].

Morning to town but rather late owing to some conversation with my father which detained me. He is now pursuing the study of the History of this Country very assiduously, and he asks me to assist him in the mechanical part of preparing the manuscripts. I am perfectly willing to do so, but cannot help thinking that my time is of more value to me than the product which this will bring.
Occupied in town, first in writing my Journal, next in copying for my father sundry letters and papers connected with his own affairs and those of the Executors of Mr. Boylston. I felt so unwell that I thought I would take no dinner but simply subsist upon six oysters as a luncheon. My bowels not being perfectly in order. In the afternoon I went to the House and superintended the moving of my own books from the Office, which are more in number than I had expected and which will not at any rate I am fearful, go into the space I have devoted for them. But I was so exceedingly unwell during the whole afternoon that I could do nothing more than just to lay them in confusion upon the floor, and trust to a better opportunity. Besides my Carpenter has been exceedingly slow about the matter and has not yet made the last Bookcase, which provokes me exceedingly. I returned to the Office and from thence rode to Quincy after finding that there were again no letters from any of the family. I felt so unwell all day that I began to be apprehensive of a fit of sickness so I kept fast.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0027

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-27

Thursday. 27th.

Morning to town, Conversation with my father upon his property. Many very heavy calls upon it just at present. Then upon my Marriage. He made me a present this morning of three portraits. One of my Grandfather painted by Stuart and exceedingly valuable, and those of my father and Mother by the same artist but not so good.1 I was surprised and pleased. They are now in the possession of Mr. Cruft and I must attend to their being shortly transferred.
Then I rode to town. At the Office. Found there Mr. Conant from { 427 } the farm at Weston, who came to tell me that he was apprehensive he should be unable to keep it on his lease.2 I regretted this very much and conversed with him much. He appeared discouraged and said the farm would be likely to run him in debt. It was always a matter of apprehension to me that I should find it so with my father. But I tried to encourage him by telling him that he now saw the worst side and that it would improve. He left me doubtful as to what he intended to do. I feel as if this was going to be a trouble to us.
Then came Mr. Farmer, who went over a long and disgusting detail of old affairs in attempting to clear himself which I did not believe he could do. What the purpose of it was I cannot say but having found that I was not likely to give way to extortion, he changed his ground and tried apology. I told him I wished to be rid of the business as soon as possible. My poor brother had involved himself beyond redemption among a parcel of very indifferent characters. Thus my morning was wholly taken up, and after seeing Mr. Degrand upon some investment my father wished to make, I went to see Mr. Brooks, and decided upon going out to see Abby at any rate to day. I therefore went before dinner with him. Found Abby as usual and passed a very pleasant afternoon and evening with her as usual. Conversation about the future and our prospects.
1. Gilbert Stuart’s celebrated portrait of JA in old age, 1823 (now owned by C. F. Adams of Dover, Mass.), and his matching portraits of JQA and LCA painted in 1818 (now owned by Mrs. Arthur Adams of Charles River Village, Mass.).
2. Amory and Silas Conant leased the farm at Weston for $125 a year (JQA, Diary, 28 July 1829; CFA, Accounts as Manager of John Quincy Adams’ Finances, 1828–1846, p. 31, M/CFA/3, Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 297).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0028

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-28

Friday. 28th.

Returned to town with Mr. Brooks after writing Mr. Stetson a Note1 to ask him to officiate as the Clergyman. This is not very agreeable to me but I am unwilling to cause any kind of trouble and have therefore consented to be married by a Man for whom I have but little respect. My morning was taken up without my being at the Office much as I was obliged to be in search of the remaining Articles of Furniture for my little Library. I did not succeed however in getting any thing but some Chairs. I then went to see Mr. Cruft about the pictures but could not find him at home. This was a walk for nothing, then to the House where I found that my Carpenter had succeeded in getting the case up, at last, but I regret to think it will not be quite enough. I have however already exceeded my means in this business and must therefore stop.
{ 428 }
Miss Harriet Welsh called to see me and to ask after my mother. I could tell her nothing. She goes tomorrow to Wiscasset and leaves this City no doubt in grief and with regret. I am sorry for her. Change is the spirit of the world. To many it comes in agreeable shapes, to others again it wears a more cloudy aspect. So it is now with her and with me, but the future may pay us both. Returning to the Office, I found that if I wished to get to Quincy I must hurry to reach their dinner. I again went down to see Mr. Sharpe for my Furniture,2 again failed and then started for Quincy. My horse pushed on and I arrived there.
Found that my father had received letters last night from my Mother and John at Philadelphia.3 She was better, and about as well as when I first saw her. May she be better, but futurity presents to me no further interest in her such as the past has been. I have been to her a devoted son and in every thing where I could have attempted to gratify her. She takes but little interest in the connexion which I am forming and which is going to take the place of her own former dues. I regret it, and still more that it has been necessary to take away from me a graceful parting.
The afternoon was rather wasted in looking over my wardrobe and preparing it for removal, and in assorting the Newspapers which have been accumulating ever since I came to Quincy. Evening, Conversation with my father. His expedition to Braintree.
1. Missing.
2. James Sharp, who lived at 426 Washington Street, manufactured ornamental furniture (Boston Directory, 1829–1830).
3. The letter from JA2 is missing.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0029

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-29

Saturday 29th.

Morning to Boston and the Office. Occupied in writing and arranging some affairs for Thursday. Called on Mr. Cruft for those pictures but found him again not at home. I delivered my letter1 to his wife and took the opportunity to pay her a visit long due. This took some time. Mr. Whitney called and paid me a quarter’s rent, which I was very much delighted with, for I have not much money remaining on the Agency. My father came in and delivered me two or three messages and commissions which I performed. But my time passed as usual in that undefined manner which I am so constantly experiencing, being always busy about nothing, or at least what appears to be nothing. My father studiously labours to keep things out of my way too with which to trouble me, and he is exceedingly kind. I took no dinner but some Oysters today and these did not agree with me, which is passing { 429 } strange, for I never knew them to make my head ache before. I went to the House the afternoon and tried to find my Carpenter but he was not there. The Bookcase is coming on slowly and I felt quite discouraged about it’s completion. I succeeded this day in ordering the remainder of my furniture for my room. After these things had all been done I went to Medford and found Abby as usual. Mrs. Brooks still well though not quite so lively as during the week. Evening agreeable.
1. The letter was from JQA (JQA to Edward Cruft, 27 Aug. 1829, LbC, Adams Papers); it directed that the three Stuart paintings be given to CFA.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0030

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-30

Sunday. 30th.

Morning at home. Abby did not go to Meeting, this being the time of probation and we spent the day pretty much together. As the time approaches she begins to feel a little more alarmed and during the whole of today was quite nervous at the idea of leaving her home. It will be quite a trying thing for her I am conscious and this will make it trying to me. But the Rubicon is now too near to think of results until after it is passed. I amused myself reading a few Articles of an old New Monthly which I found in the Library. In the afternoon Mr. Gorham and his son called in to drink tea and take final leave of Abby in her single state. This affected her considerably. She had before the recollections of the past, the associations with home, which endear themselves the more to her as she is about losing their enjoyment forever. But this is a hackneyed topic, and inasmuch as every woman does the same thing it shows that there are more than enough in the opposite balance. I felt myself much more really what I am about, as my Conscience does not altogether bear me out. But I hope and trust and I have been carried through so much, I think now I may look forward joyfully. A very short time now will prove the result.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0031

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-31

Monday 31st.

Morning return to town, with Abby whom I left at the House. Then to the Office where I was busy for some time making up my Journal, and performing several little commissions. Then to the House where I found Abby, Anne Carter, Julia Gorham, Mrs. Edward and Mrs. Chardon Brooks. They dropped in one after the other and went out again. I remained wasting my time, much of the morning. But I accomplished my purpose of having the pictures hung which belong to me. They now form quite a goodly collection. That of my Grandfather is invaluable both as a Painting and as a correct likeness of what { 430 } he was in those times. My Mother is a likeness but not a good painting. Her face wears a sorrowful appearance too common to her, and also very fresh now in my recollection. But I shall value that picture as I do her Miniatures as presenting even something of her appearance in those days.1 For hereafter there will be nothing. And I love to think of her as she was, in the midst of her gaiety and her prosperity. My father’s is not good being Stewart’s [Stuart’s] first attempt, but I value it notwithstanding. I would prefer Copley’s at Quincy, but that must remain where it is.2 My own two little ones turn out quite beauties, being properly set off and answer very well in their places.
I lounged away too much time here so that I only gave myself enough afterwards to draw up my Accounts for the month previous to going to Quincy. They show rather a favourable balance since last month. Dined at Quincy. Afternoon passed in making up my House Expense Book and in packing a portion of my Clothes to go to Boston. The doing it was tedious. Evening, Conversation with my father. His Inscriptions with remarks upon the subject generally. I think it tolerably well but the closing line of each has not point enough.3
1. For instance, the miniature of LCA made by J. T. Barber in 1797 shows her as gay and lovely. It is reproduced in Bemis, JQA, vol. 1, facing p. 82.
2. John Singleton Copley’s portrait of JQA, made in London in 1795, is now in the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. It is reproduced in Bemis, JQA, vol. 1, facing p. 80.
3. See entry for 7 July, and note, above.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0009-0001

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-09-01

Tuesday September 1st.

Morning to town but rather late, having to copy and prepare a number of letters for my Father, and making also some final arrangements before leaving. At the Office, found a Woman there about that business of Farmer’s which is disgusting and disgraceful and the less I see of it the better. Though he is a troublesome and dangerous animal. I wait only for the passage of time. I was then engaged in performing all my other little duties previous to my Marriage. Renewed a policy of Insurance upon the Tenements in Common or Tremont Street for my father and obtained some necessary articles of dress. Drew Accounts due from the Tenants particularly from my very good friend Mrs. Longhurst. Another quarter. She notifies me she will send soon. Thus passed the morning.
In the afternoon I went to the House and filled my last book case. There is much left, which I know not what to do with. And my room is full already. So that I must sell or send them to Quincy. I incline to the opinion I shall try the first and what I cannot sell, I shall send. { 431 } It was a great Parade day, and many people were upon the Common, and the Cannon were noisy.1 I became exceedingly fatigued for it was late before I had finished. This being the last day upon which I shall attempt to exert myself. My books must hereafter be all of them rearranged. For I have at this time followed no method. Enough for the present. I am sick and tired of the Job. I then rode to Medford. Found Abby as usual but I was so tired that I could not exert myself to be lively at all. This made her dull, and we had so stupid an evening, that I concluded it was best to put an end to it early so I retired to bed at a little past nine.
1. The governor reviewed the light infantry, artillery, and cavalry companies of the first division of the Massachusetts militia on the Common. There followed a “sumptuous collation” and a “sham action” (Boston Daily Advertiser, 2 Sept. 1829; Columbian Centinel, 5 Sept. 1829).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0009-0002

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-09-02

Wednesday 2d.

Morning, early return to Boston calling upon Mr. Bartlett on the way and obtaining the Medford Certificate. The weather was exceedingly warm, and sultry. I wrote my Journal and walked up to the House to see how it looked. But nothing was changed since my visit of yesterday. The workmen not having as yet arrived. I lounged here for some time, Mrs. Frothingham, Mrs. P. Chardon Brooks, and Miss Phillips having come to do their share towards beautifying. Being tired of Indolence I then went down to take a Bath, and enjoyed a great luxury in a warm one. My system seems to be a little out of order by my trip to New York and I thought this might be a benefit to it. I enjoyed it much. Thence I went to my Office feeling very languid. The heat was greater to my feeling than at any other time this season. The air being a hot South wind.
I went to Quincy to dine, it being the last day upon which I shall probably be there in a similar way. In the afternoon I was occupied in packing my things and making the final arrangements here. I regret a little leaving here and this way of life for with many disadvantages it has some pleasures and not a little Independence. But I have views and objects in life other than this loose way allows, and I have affections which are worth cultivating now if ever. My father may miss me a little but my Company has been but little to him this Summer and he has become so attached to his way of life that it has nothing to require in addition. I copied a letter from him to Col. Knapp1 and performed the few last duties which will fall upon me for the present. Evening, rain and lightning after the great heat, the clouds { 432 } passed however, threatening much but performing little. Conversation with my father—Persico and the ornamenting of the Capitol. Few people in this Country are aware of the fact that he is the source of all that is ornamental in the Statuary sculpture about the Capitol. Persico has done well in executing the ideas not his own but how few here know or would give credit if they did to the source from whence the taste really proceeded.2
1. CFA’s copy of JQA’s letter to Samuel Knapp, 2 Sept. 1829, is in JQA’s Letter-books, Adams Papers.
2. For hints of JQA’s contributions toward the sculptured decoration of the United States Capitol, see his Memoirs, 7:20–21; 8:45–46, 81, 123; 9:193.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0009-0003

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-09-03

Thursday. 3rd.

Morning passed in separating all my affairs and living at Quincy. I now take a final leave of the place and launch my bark into a New Sea. Had some conversation with my Father upon his projects of building and arranging his way of life. He now intends to make a fireproof room for his Library and the papers of himself and his father. I see objections to this as it entails the old Mansion upon me in case I should live. But this must be the case I think in any event. And so I must calculate. Then I had some general conversation with him, upon the subject of his Affairs which seem to be looking rather better than they have done. After this I went to Boston. The weather which was so warm yesterday changed this morning and we had a violent North Wester which blinded me fully as I rode into town. I do not think for a long time I have had a more unpleasant ride than during this morning. But it was my last. The morning was passed very quietly at the Office. I did little or nothing having formed as yet no systematic occupation through the day. This must now soon be done.
In the afternoon, after a light dinner, I went to the House, took a Bath, spent an hour at Chardon Brooks’ talking with his Wife and then went to the House to dress. My feelings were of a complicated kind, a little dread mixed with much coolness, and determination to go through what was my task. I dressed in the gay and showy style of a bridegroom, and at six o’clock went down to take up Miss Anne Carter one of the bridemaids, and afterwards Mrs. P. C. Brooks, who also accompanied me out. Our ride was rapid, but we reached there1 late and not until many of the Company had assembled and the Minister had been sent for. The Company was exceedingly private consisting only of the immediate members of the family, Mr. Brooks and his Wife, Edward and his Wife, Chardon and Sidney with their { 433 } Wives, Mr. Everett and Mr. Frothingham with their Wives, Edward Blake and Edmund Quincy, Miss Anne Carter and Henrietta Gray. My father, Thomas B. Adams, Lydia Phillips, Mr. Stetson and his Wife. Mr. Stetson performed the Ceremony with much hesitation, and more difficulty than I could easily imagine possible. But I was not very much overcome and Abby had screwed her courage so strongly that she succeeded wonderfully. Indeed I cannot too warmly admire her conduct through the evening. She was spurred by many motives and acquitted herself to my pride and my satisfaction. Indeed she manifested to me qualities which I have always known to be in her, and for which I have married her. Supper followed and I sat next to Mrs. Sidney Brooks and Lydia Phillips, the two least interesting women in the room to me. It went pretty much as such things usually do. And by midnight we were on our road to town, took possession of our house and there consummated the marriage.
The Rubicon is now passed and I enter into a fresh and new mode of life. I shall therefore begin a new Journal. This event to which we have all been so anxiously looking is over and now the results may be seen. Let me pour out my Soul in prayer and devotion to a most high God, that he may guide me in the right path, that he may sustain me in this responsible station in life, that he may continue to shower down his blessings upon me, and receive the thanks of a grateful but humble heart for the many mercies already received, fit me to perform the part assigned me and lead us through this life to a happier in the succeeding World.
1. Medford.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-03-0002

Chronology

Charles Francis Adams’ Life, 1807–1829

1807   Aug. 18   Born in Boston in the family house which stood across from the Common on the southeast corner of the present Tremont and Boylston streets, occupying part of the site of the present Hotel Touraine.  
1809   Aug.—Oct.   Travels with his parents aboard the Horace to St. Petersburg, where his father serves as Minister to Russia until May 1814. His brothers, GWA and JA2, remain in Boston.  
1813   July   Begins attending Mr. Fishwick’s school in St. Petersburg.  
1815   Feb.—March   Travels overland from St. Petersburg to Paris with his mother to join his father after completion of the latter’s work at Ghent as an American commissioner to negotiate peace with England. In Paris during part of “the Hundred Days,” where he sees Napoleon shortly before Waterloo.  
1815   May   Travels with his parents from Paris to London, where his father serves as American Minister to England. His brothers rejoin the family.  
1815   Aug.   Moves with his family from Cavendish Square to a country house in the suburb of Ealing. CFA and JA2 are placed in Dr. Nicholas’ boarding school in Ealing.  
1817   June—Aug.   Upon the appointment of his father by President Monroe as Secretary of State, returns with his family to New York aboard { 438 } the Washington. They sail on the packet Fame from New York to Providence and proceed by stage to Quincy, arriving on CFA’s tenth birthday, 18 August.  
1817   Sept.   Enrolled in Benjamin A. Gould’s Boston Public Latin School with his brother JA2; they live with Dr. and Mrs. Thomas Welsh.  
1818   Oct. 28   His grandmother, Abigail Adams, dies at the Old House in Quincy.  
1819   Sept.   Moves to Washington to live with his family.  
1819   Oct.   Enrolled in George E. Ironside’s school.  
1820   Jan. 1   His surviving “Index” Diary begins.  
1821   Feb.   Matriculates in Harvard College.  
1824   April   Records his membership in the Society of the Knights of the Order of the Square Table, a Harvard club which later merged with the Porcellian Club.  
1824   June   Elected president of the Lyceum Club, an informal organization of Harvard students who boarded together. Appointed second commandant in the Harvard Washington Corps.  
1825   Feb.   Failing to win a majority of electoral votes in the November election, JQA is elected President by a bare majority in the House of Representatives.  
1825   March   Attends the inauguration of his father as President.  
1825   April   Takes part in a Harvard Exhibition.  
1825   July   Returns to Washington to read law under his father’s tutelage.  
1825   Aug.   Receives his A.B. degree in absentia.  
1826   Feb. 11   Records his first meeting, at a Washington ball, with Abigail Brown Brooks, daughter of Peter Chardon Brooks of Medford, Mass.  
{ 439 }
1825   July 4   His grandfather, John Adams, dies at the Old House in Quincy during the jubilee celebration of national independence.  
1827   Feb. 10   In Washington, proposes marriage to Abigail Brooks.  
1827   March   Becomes engaged to Abigail Brooks. Their courtship correspondence begins.  
1827   Aug.   Returns to Boston to read law in Daniel Webster’s office.  
1827   Oct.   His father consents to correspond with him to guide his career. Becomes a member of a Moot Court in Boston, established by a “Society of Students at Law.”  
1828   Feb. 25   His brother JA2 marries Mary Catherine Hellen in Washington, and they make their permanent home there.  
1828   Aug.   Attends Harvard commencement and receives his M.A. degree.  
1828   Nov.   His father is defeated for reelection to the Presidency by Andrew Jackson. CFA is admitted a member of the Boston Debating Society, a private group. His first newspaper contribution, signed “A Lover of Justice,” is published in the (Boston) Massachusetts Journal.  
1829   Jan.   Admitted to the Suffolk County Bar, and begins to practice in the Court of Common Pleas.  
1829   Feb.   Earns his first fee as a lawyer.  
1829   April 30   His brother GWA is drowned by falling or jumping overboard from the steamship Benjamin Franklin in Long Island Sound.  
1829   June   JQA returns to Quincy; LCA remains in Washington. CFA succeeds GWA as JQA’s business agent.  
1829   Sept. 3   Marries Abigail Brown Brooks at Medford and occupies with her a house provided by her father at 3 Hancock Avenue, “under the shadow of the State House,” on Beacon Hill in Boston.  
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/