Charles Francis Adams, 1807-1886

Charles Francis Adams, 1807-1886

Charles Francis Adams, 1807-1886

Charles Francis Adams, 1807-1886

Excerpt

On August 18, 1807, John Quincy Adams proudly recorded the birth of a son in his diary:

By the blessing of God, I have this day a third son...the infant...had when first born no appearance of life. In about five minutes, however, while preparation was making to get its lungs in motion it commenced respiration of itself, and very soon appeared to be in full life.

Thus Charles Francis Adams -- with characteristic caution -- entered upon the world and his Adams heritage.

His family had been long resident in Massachusetts. The first Adams, a maltster from Bristol, England, had settled in the Bay Colony as early as 1636, and the family had remained there ever since. But it was only with Charles' grandfather, John Adams, patriot of the Revolution and second President of the United States, that the family achieved real distinction. John Adams was still alive at the birth of his grandson, and with his wife Abigail lived in unpretentious retirement at the family house in Quincy. Charles' father, John Quincy Adams, was forty years old in 1807. His already distinguished public career had made it clear that the family ability had not run out in a single generation. When Charles was born, his father was a senator from Massachusetts in Congress, and had already been Minister Plenipotentiary to both the Netherlands and to Prussia.

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