Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Saturday. 21st.

Monday. 23d.

Sunday. 22d. CFA Sunday. 22d. CFA
Sunday. 22d.

I sit down to write the record of a trying day to me. We were just seated very quietly to take breakfast as well as usual, when my Mother as she was putting a piece of bread to her lips, suddenly rose, staggered three steps to the folding door and then fell insensible upon the floor, not without striking her head against the table in the corner. We raised her and sent for the Dr. Stevenson. It was three hours before we succeeded in restoring animation completely. She was also very sick at her stomach and complained of coldness.

This event, bad at any time, was twenty times more so in the fact that my Wife was on the eve of confinement. Her condition was such that I made up my mind to go out of town to Medford and bring back the Nurse engaged for the occasion, Mrs. Reed, this took just two hours of the morning, and at one I went home and found my Mother slightly better. There being no cause for immediate uneasiness I went to Meeting and heard Dr. Lowell preach from Hebrews. II. I. “Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” upon faith as a means of support.

Returned and read Massillon’s funeral Oration upon Madame, the Dutchess of Orleans, mother of the famous Regent. Text. Proverbs. 31. 28–31. It was a panegyric upon her, in the three great relations of life, first, in her duty to society, second, her domestic life, third, her religious obligations. There is a panegyric upon the Regent which sounds oddly from the pulpit—No more infamous debauchee being known in the annals of modern history. It may admit of question at all times how far parents are responsible for the vices of children, and most especially in the case of Royal families. The Dutchess of Orleans certainly kept herself quite pure, and that is something. I have her 176Journal which I read some years since. It is spiced with scandal and not over moral, though tolerably amusing.

My Mother was better in the evening though unwell all the afternoon. But my Wife then felt herself becoming rapidly sick, so I went for Mrs. Frothingham who had agreed to be with her. The Dr. came at ten. At about Midnight she was delivered of a Male child.1


There would seem to have been no question that the first-born male of the fourth generation in the Adams family would bear the name John Quincy; in The Adams Papers he is designated as JQA2. Among the brothers who would follow, he was the least given to writing. Independent in his thinking and possessing a winning personality, he was five times Democratic candidate for governor of Massachusetts and all his life active in the affairs of Quincy. His qualities are best revealed in a sketch by his daughter Abigail Adams Homans in her Education by Uncles, Boston, 1966, p. 25–38. See also Adams Genealogy.