Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Saturday 7th.

Monday. 9th.

Sunday. 8th. CFA Sunday. 8th. CFA
Sunday. 8th.

The rain ceased during the Night but gave way only to a high Wind and chilly weather. As we were disappointed in not being able to go to Medford yesterday we determined upon going this morning. I sent and borrowed the loan of Chardon’s Gig and horse, and we went out accordingly, in time to attend Meeting, and warm ourselves a little previously. We found Miss Parks there on a visit to her Aunt, otherwise the family as usual.1 We attended at Meeting and heard Mr. Edward B. Hall, the gentleman who came to see us on Wednesday. He is in bad health, and for the first time preached today. His Sermons were tolerably well calculated for effect among an audience of commonly informed people and were practical enough. But the ideas were ordinary and common place. His powers are not very great. But he seems to have cultivated what he had with zeal and success. His illness and the destitute circumstances in which his abandoning his profession would leave him, render him rather an object for sympathy and compassion.2 Mr. and Mrs. Everett were at Meeting 70in the afternoon, and were at the House for a few Moments. He seems to be a little depressed and she very considerably so. And what reason have they for such feelings; not much. But so it is, the perversion of feelings of nature. She mourns for what others and I would consider a blessing.3 In the evening, as the night was fine, Mr. Brooks asked me to go down and see Mr. Jonathan Brooks and his family, which I accordingly did with him. Mr. Jonathan was not at home, but we saw his daughters and sat with them, some time. The elder is goodnatured, but they are both foolish from a sense of blue stockingism which makes them appear to pretend more than they are worth.4 Mrs. Stetson, the Minister’s Wife was there also.5 We returned early and retired soon after.

1.

Mrs. Peter C. Brooks’ sister, Mrs. Warham Parks of Charlestown, had two daughters unmarried in 1829, Rebecca (d. 1837) and Elizabeth (1800–1871); see vol. 2:266.

2.

Rev. Edward Brooks Hall (b. 1800), of Northampton, was a son of Nathaniel Hall of Medford and his wife Joanna (1772–1841), a sister of Peter C. Brooks (vol. 2:155). The two families were close, and the Halls were recipients of financial help from Mr. Brooks. Edward’s illness being diagnosed as tuberculosis, with Brooks’ support he left in early January for a winter in Cuba. (Charlotte Everett to Edward Everett, 6, 27 Dec. 1829, Everett MSS, MHi; Brooks, Waste Book, 9 Jan. 1830.)

3.

The birth of the Edward Everetts’ third daughter in 1827 occasioned great disappointment to both parents. Mrs. Everett, again pregnant, through 1829–1830 expressed repeatedly in letters to her husband her absorbing fear that they would be denied a son. These plaints ended only when she was delivered of a boy (below, entry for 6 May 1830). CFA’s desire for a child, evident here, seems to become an overriding concern of husband and wife as the months pass, though he alludes to it in the Diary generally by indirection; see, for example, entries of 27 Oct., 10, 11 Dec. 1829; 16 May 1830. The state of mind of the two “poor disconsolate children” after five months of marriage is such that in reporting to her husband a bantering but bitter exchange with them Charlotte Everett is led to reflect “Better have all girls, than no children at all!” (10 Feb. 1830, Everett MSS, MHi). After two more months she and they had concluded that ABA “will never have any. It will never do to joke her or her husband about it—for it is a very sore subject to them” (13 April 1830, same). On 10 Sept. 1830, CFA admits the bleak outlook in his Diary. When on 13 Aug. 1831 he records there the birth of their first child, he gives full expression finally to the depth of his desire.

4.

First cousin of Peter C. Brooks, Jonathan Brooks (1765–1847) was also an Adams relative. Brother of Mercy Brooks (Mrs. Cotton Tufts Jr.) (1763–1849), he was the son of Thomas Brooks (1732–1799) and Mercy Tufts (1742–1813), AA’s first cousin. See Adams Genealogy. His wife Elizabeth (Albree) had died in 1826; his daughters were Elizabeth (b. 1797) and Lucy Ann (b. 1810) (Brooks, Medford , p. 529).

5.

On Rev. Caleb Stetson of Medford see vol. 2:155, 427, 433.