Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Friday. 3d.

Sunday 5th.

Saturday 4th. CFA Saturday 4th. CFA
Saturday 4th.

A very lovely day. I took a walk in town to transact a little business at the Bank and then went round to the commons in order to find Chadwick and get a return from him, but he was not there.

Met Lewis Bass who is improving his road and spoke to me about the Tax and Mr. Harvey Field’s delivery of my Message. He took me in and showed me the books by which I found out how it arose. He is one of the Assessors, and again mentioned to me the talk of me as one of the Representatives and the desire that I might qualify myself by paying my taxes here next year. I answered that I was much obliged for this testimony of their good will and could say nothing further. If they taxed me high, I could not well come because I could not easily afford it. He said it was not their desire to do more than justice to others which I thought fair enough.1 There are many reasons in favor of my going to Quincy, and some against it. I must submit my course in entire confidence to divine Providence.

Upon my return home, I started with my Wife and daughter on our return to Boston, which I reached in time for accounts at the Office. Afternoon at home, continued my copying labour as well as the filling up of arrears. T. K. Davis called to see me and spent an hour. His talk rather curious. He seems slightly taken with democratic opinions and if I may judge has been tampered with by some of that party. I reasoned with him a little, and tried to warn him of the danger of any engagements at present. My niece Mary Louisa came in from Quincy this evening to stay here.


For each adult male resident of a Massachusetts town, the tax assessors were charged with valuing for subsequent levy his real and personal property, including such money as he had at interest, the “faculty” or income arising from his trade or profession, stocks and bonds, &c. While the principle of taxing real property where it was situated was recognized, the practice in the towns seemed to be to tax real property when owned by a nonresident at a substantially reduced valuation from that employed upon a resident. See, for example, Town of Weston [Mass.], The Tax Lists, 1751–1827, Boston, 1897, p. 118, and the tables for subsequent years; also Joseph B. Felt, “Statistics of Taxation in Massachusetts including valuation and population,” in American Statistical Assn., Collections, 1 (1843–1847):222–596, index.