Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Thursday. 24th.

Saturday. 26th.

Friday. 25th. CFA Friday. 25th. CFA
Friday. 25th.

Morning clear and cool. I went to the Office as usual and was occupied while there in reading and my usual duties. I continued the Life of Sheridan with unabated interest, and was fascinated by the account of his successes as a Speaker. Indeed little could be supposed more delightful to a man than the union of such brilliant wit as to put him at the head of one department of the Drama and the highest powers of eloquence. It is an example of the versatility of human powers which I was thinking of yesterday.

Col. Russel Freeman interrupted my meditations. He came to pay me a short visit and to complain of the course of the Courier. I told him pretty freely my sentiments upon the present state of parties. He is in quest of place and like all men of that kind feels twenty cords pulling in various directions.1 He stated his case pretty plainly, but all I could do was to be sorry for him. Took a short walk.

Afternoon reading the second of the Tusculans upon the Question “Whether pain is an evil.” A point which however ingeniously discussed requires only a little common sense to be resolved.

Evening reading the Italian, until Mr. Brooks came in. He has just moved from Medford and is now under all the discomfort of a change to a man at his time of life. I pity his case.2 He gave us a direct invitation to go out there, next Summer. I did not know what to say. After 185this I went to a party at Mrs. J. Welles’ which was pleasant enough.3 But returned early being without my Wife. Read the Spectator.

1.

For an earlier estimate of Freeman, see above, vol. 3:165.

2.

Charlotte Brooks Everett’s decision to accompany her husband to Washington for the approaching session of Congress presented Peter C. Brooks with the choice of a winter alone at Medford or living in Boston with one of his children. He had remained for some time undecided. ABA and CFA had invited him to come to them; presumably others had done the same. A solution was found when Mrs. Eliza H. Otis, the widow of Harrison Gray Otis Jr., decided to pass the winter in Washington and offered her Boston house at 8 Somerset Street “just as it stood ... at a reasonable rate” to Gorham Brooks, who earlier had planned to remain through the winter at his home in Watertown. He took it, “Mr. Brooks to occupy a part.” The decision, while accepted by the family as a good one, raised some apprehensions about the future. It was at least LCA’s view that the “gay widow” had set her cap for Mr. Brooks, and that in some way her course was directed toward that single end. Peter C. Brooks to ABA, 7 Oct.; CFA to LCA, 5 Nov.; LCA to CFA, 7 i.e. 9 Nov.; LCA to JQA, 10 Nov. (all in the Adams Papers); CFA [to Peter C. Brooks], Dft, without date (Adams Papers, Microfilms, Reel No. 319); Brooks, Waste Book, 26 Nov.; Boston Directory, 1831–1832.

3.

The John Welles residence was at 59 Summer Street ( Boston Directory, 1831–1832). Mr. Welles is identified at vol. 1:334.