Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1



22d. CFA 22d. CFA

Thus we travelled on, rapidly and comfortably throughout the night and at six o’clock on the next morning we arrived at the city of Philadelphia, and were set down at the Mansion House. Much to my astonishment I found that Washington Hall had been burnt down since I had been here last winter, that Renshaw had moved away and that a man by name Bayley had just taken his place.1 The waiters were raw and troubled me. I staid here however only to breakfast and dress after which I took my course to the Steam Boat which went at ten o’clock. It had been some years since I had been in a regular steamboat before and I was the more pleased with this method of conveyance by contrasting it with the rough motion of a stage. The great objection to them is that when men travel alone they are apt to make them feel alone among a multitude. Society is not sufficiently thrown together to force conversation between men ignorant of each other as in a stage. Consequently, unless one obtains a book, it will be an amazingly dull voyage to him. For my part, I purchased Moore’s Collection of Anecdotes for want of something better. The 18bookstore was a miserable one and there was nothing else but religion in it. This book I read during the day although I never saw a more stupid collection of anecdotes in all my life.

After dinner I recognized Mr. Tyler, a Man who claims relationship in some way with us, I believe, and who sells lottery tickets in Washington.2 He is at present deeply interested in the politics of the day particularly the Presidential question the changes on which he was perpetually ringing. It is the fashion in the boats of this kind to electioneer all the passengers and it is usual on the Mississipi to make nominations of some one of the candidates. There was no agreement here however there being some supporters to each of the men. From Newcastle to Frenchtown we have to ride across in stages into one of which I happened to be thrown with him and he forced me into conversation which troubled me as it required a great share of prudence to get through it properly. Perhaps I said more than I ought.

Here I made acquaintance with a man who appeared to have been a Scotchman and Sea captain but was now settled in Charleston. We had considerable conversation respecting a number of the bright young men there and on the whole managed to get over the longest sixteen miles and the slowest horses in the world, with some pleasure. It was evening before we got on board the other boat and very dark, and as I was considerably fatigued I retired to bed immediately after supper, and soon got to sleep, being serenaded into a doze by a most unhallowed, unearthly sound of fiddling.


The Mansion House Hotel was the old Bingham mansion, No. 122, on the west side of Third Street, between Walnut and Spruce, which was built about 1790. It was leased by William Renshaw, who opened a hotel in 1807. Renshaw opened the New Mansion House Hotel at Eleventh and Market streets in 1812, but two years later, returned to keep his old place which he renamed the Washington Hall Hotel. The latter was destroyed by fire on 17 March 1823. ( PMHB , 49 [1925]:190.)


Benjamin Owen Tyler was a kinsman of the Adams family through the Owens and the Tylers of Uxbridge, Mass. (JQA, Diary, 1 July 1818).