Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday. 11th.

Sunday. 13th.

Saturday 12th. CFA


Saturday 12th. CFA
Saturday 12th.

The morning brought with it better spirits and more contented feelings. I went to the Office after having advised Abby in some of her household misfortunes consequent upon the loss of her rings. One of her servants leaves her and deprives her of the expected gratification of going to Medford. I went to the Office and occupied myself in my various methods. I arranged my Money Accounts, and paid for my Father, J. H. Foster’s bill—it was large and I felt a little qualmish about having given so much for the repairs upon Hancock Street, but it was passed and unavoidable and so I paid the Money.1 Mr. Curtis called upon me to see about applying for Administration upon the Estate of Thomas Boylston in order to recover some Money which has been obtained on the other side of the Atlantic. He intends applying on Monday. I passed the rest of the morning in looking up the case and in trying to find a proper form but I could not succeed. Our law in this branch is very deficient to young beginners.2

Returned home and dressed to ride to Charlestown to dine with Mr. Everett as by agreement.3 They having invited my wife to a dinner as a bride. The company consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Hale, Sidney Brooks his wife and her sister, Edward J. Lowell and ourselves.4 It was tolerably pleasant although a little too boisterous. Abby suffered her spirits to run away with her, which I regretted although I have seen but little of it, to annoy me, since my marriage. How much women gain by tenderness and affection and softness, and how much they lose when they depart from the character although an artificial soft woman is least of all to my taste. It should be pure nature.

Owing to our arrangements, we returned to town and Abby being fatigued and retiring early, I seized the occasion of going for the first time into my study and arranging my books and writing papers a little. I then took up the first volume of Laharpe’s Course of Literature 13and read some pages of the Introduction,5 feeling more decidedly comfortable in a literary way than I have before since I left Washington. The gaiety of today puts a stop to our share as I hope and in future we shall attempt to resume a little of the old course of things in families. I care little about dissipation for time has made me sick of it. I have had more than my dose, and now I am anxious to look to ulterior and more honourable objects in life.


James Hiller Foster (1773–1862) had a large upholstery and wallpaper store or warehouse at 224 Washington Street ( Boston Directory, 1829–1830). The bill paid was for $123.53, of which $41.64 was for “repairs–papering” in August at 55 Hancock Street (M/CFA/3). Foster was married to AA’s niece, Elizabeth Smith (1771–1854); see vol. 1:155 and Adams Genealogy.


The executors of W. N. Boylston’s will (see above, 7 Sept., note) found it necessary to assume the administration of the estate of his uncle Thomas Boylston (1721–1798), on whom see Adams Genealogy. W. N. Boylston had administered the estate skillfully but much was unsettled when he died, most importantly—and as it turned out, most unfortunately—the matter of recovering upwards of £10,000 sterling which had been collected by an English agent, Petty Vaughan, under a claim against the French government (JQA, Diary, 25 June; 8, 9 July; 1, 4, 11 Aug. 1829). The immediate problem was to draw new letters of administration in such a way as to satisfy the English courts that the executors of W. N. Boylston could deliver to Vaughan a full discharge on receipt of the funds and to satisfy the Massachusetts courts that the powers being conferred were properly limited and that jurisdictional issues were resolved. CFA was engaged in drawing papers during Sept.—Nov. 1829. When presented to the Suffolk County Probate Court in Boston they provided, by agreement of the executors, that letters of administration were to be issued in the name of JQA alone, with the other two executors named as bondsmen in the amount of $80,000. (JQA, Diary, 17, 28–30 Sept.; 31 Oct.; 9 Nov. 1829). On the later history of the claim, see below, entry for 13 Jan. 1830.


At this time the Edward Everetts had their home at Winter Hill in Charlestown (Everett, Diary, 12 Sept. 1829).


Nathan Hale (1784–1863) was the publisher of the Boston Daily Advertiser at 6 Congress Street. His wife was the former Sarah Preston Everett, sister of Edward Everett. Their home was on Tremont Place; see vol. 2:169 and Boston Directory, 1829–1830.

Mary M. Dehon was the sister of Mrs. Sidney Brooks (vol. 2:185).


Jean François de La Harpe, Lycée ou cours de littérature ancienne et moderne. CFA continued his reading in La Harpe on the ancients until 14 November. JQA owned an edition published at Paris in 16 vols., 1820, now in MQA.