Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 14th.

Friday. 16th.

Thursday. 15th. CFA


Thursday. 15th. CFA
Thursday. 15th.

The day was cloudy, and it rained in showers all along, until it set in more heavily towards night. After reading a part of the Oration of Demosthenes, I went to the Office and occupied myself in my usual avocations, attending particularly to my Journal and Accounts.

Mr. Kirke came in and notified me of his being ready to take us out, so that accordingly I made ready. This visit to Quincy is an unexpected one to me. I had resolved not to go again and had it not been for the strong recommendations of both Doctor and Nurse I should have wished to avoid it.1 Returned to my house and found it in disorder and my Wife under the impression that leaving a place almost always creates.

We got through the ride very well, but the circumstances attending our arrival were not pleasant. Madame was sick, Miss Roberdeau unwell, the day gloomy—All together combined to dispirit. My Wife was strongly under the influence,2 and I escaped it more only from occupying myself in making my arrangements to establish myself in the Office independently of any other person’s room.3 I have come here this time on a new footing. I remain here all the time instead of passing my mornings in Boston, and I abstract myself more in order to avoid being entangled in the results likely to occur from diversities of sentiment between my father and myself.4 These results made my last stay here unpleasant, and unless I prevent it by decided conduct will this.

Read Bacon’s Essay on Friendship, but rather negligently, and two numbers of the Spectator as usual.


ABA had not regained her strength, had lost considerable weight, and was not able to resume her management of the household; LCA2 had had to have a tooth extracted before she was a month old. The conditions that impelled the removal to Quincy and the benefits effected by the visit are evident in LCA’s letters to Mrs. JA2:

“[Y]ou would be shocked to see how she ABA has fallen away to a mere shadow. Her spirits were almost as much affected as her health but they are recovering and I hope much from her visit tho’ I fear it will take a long time to restore her. The Boston system of nursing does not suit me at all from what I see of it....

“The Baby grows finely and I think promises to be like our stock; she will have dark eyes like her Mothers I think but every body here calls them Blue. Her head is quite bald in front and so exactly like her Grandfathers that it is hardly possible to look at her without laughing. Poor little thing her tooth was obliged to be extracted by a dentist who was under the necessity of making an instrument for the purpose. It was in the under jaw with a perfect root the top of it indented and as white and sound as that of Infants at the regular age. This circumstance has set all the doctors to work at their books but hitherto it is said there has no case been found recorded. If it is to be productive of so much research it must at all events be called a wise tooth”

(20 Sept., Adams Papers).

“Dr. Holbrook ... says Abby’s ... child [has] ... a very uncommon head the bones of which are more formed than that of a much older Child, and the shape of it is exactly like her Grandfathers which makes her look as wise as an Owl. She bids fair to be as lively as her Mother”

(13 Oct., Adams Papers).

See also, LCA to Mrs. JA2, 27 Aug., 5, 10, and 27 Sept. (all in Adams Papers); and below, entries for 21 Sept.11 Oct. passim.


That is, influenced by the surrounding gloom.


On “the Office” at Quincy, not to be confused with CFA’s office in Boston, see below, entry for 17 Sept. and note.


The subjects which were the cause of friction were JQA’s financial affairs and his antimasonic politics. See above, entries for 22 May, 18 and 19 July, 25 August.