Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Wednesday 12th. CFA Wednesday 12th. CFA
Wednesday 12th.

I drove Abby to Nahant with me, while Mr. Brooks and Mrs. Davis came on in a Carriage. Found a good deal of Company collected there. Among the rest Mrs. Dexter, the wife of Mr. Sam. Dexter of ancient memory.1 She seems a remarkable woman. Also the Miss Crowninshields and Mr. and Mrs. Silsbee and daughter2 with many others too numerous to mention. The day passed pleasantly. Abby pleased me and displeased me. The fault lies so little with her, I cannot blame her; it is in the school she has been educated in, which is not a standard of refinement. Notwithstanding, I was gratified by her general conduct and in one particular instance also. But the day gave me room for much reflection. We did not reach Medford until quite late.


Catherine (Gordon) Dexter was the widow of the late Samuel Dexter, who had served as Secretary of War and as Secretary of the Treasury under JA ( DAB ).


Nathaniel and Mary (Crowninshield) Silsbee. He represented Massachusetts in the House of Representatives from 1817 to 1821 and in the Senate from 1826 to 1835 ( DAB ). Their daughter, Georgiana, married Francis Appleton (Crawford, Mass. Families , 1:106).

Thursday. 13th. CFA Thursday. 13th. CFA
Thursday. 13th.

Returned to Boston, and spent the day at the Office. Little or no variety. In the evening Richardson called and spent two or three hours pleasantly over a bottle of Champagne. We talked much of the happy past and the momentous future.

Friday. 14th. CFA Friday. 14th. CFA
Friday. 14th.

Morning passed at the Office. Went to Mr. Harding’s to see my father who is sitting for his Picture.1 This was the first day. After which I dined at Mr. Joseph Coolidge’s. The party consisted of Mr. Coolidge Jr. and his lady, with Mrs. Randolph, (Mr. Jefferson’s daughter),2 Mr. Everett, Messrs. Kerr,3 of Maryland, Brooks, Farrar, Swett, Lloyd Rogers,4 Dr. Parkman, and many others whose names I do not remember. A farrago however. The dinner went over much as usual and I passed the evening at my room. I was much struck today with a letter lately published of Mr. Jefferson to Mr. Giles which is made to bear upon the present political troubles.5


The self-taught American artist, Chester Harding (1792–1866), painted most of the major political leaders of his time ( DAB ). A portrait by Harding of JQA is in the Redwood Library, Newport, R.I. Copies of it are in other institutions.


Thomas Jefferson’s daughter, Martha, married in 1790 her cousin, Thomas Mann Randolph (1768–1828), who served in the House of Representatives and in his state’s legislature ( DAB ). Their daughter, Ellen Wayles, was the wife of Joseph Coolidge Jr. (1798–1879). See JQA, Diary, 14 Sept. 1827, and DAB under Thomas Jefferson Coolidge, their son.


John Leeds Kerr (1780–1844), who represented Maryland in the House from 1825 to 1829 and from 1831 to 1833 and in the Senate from 1841 to 1843 ( Biog. Dir. Cong. ).


Lloyd Nicholas Rogers, Harvard 1808, of Baltimore, who married Eliza Law, daughter of Thomas Law (Wharton, Social Life in the Early Republic, p. 28–29).


Continuing his warfare upon JQA’s administration, William Branch Giles (1762–1830), the Virginia state-rights advocate, published on 7 September a confidential letter which the aging Thomas Jefferson had written him on 26 December 1825, expressing his “deep affliction” at the rapid usurpation of power by the federal government, a development illustrated by JQA’s recent message to Congress (Bemis, JQA , 2:163–164).

Saturday. 15th. CFA Saturday. 15th. CFA
Saturday. 15th.

Morning at the Office, thence to Harding’s and saw an opening 161likeness, thence to Miss Scollay’s to see a picture of her painting which is very pretty as coming from no professed artist,1 thence to the Navy Yard, with my Father and George, where we went over all the vessels building. There are under cover, two vessels of a hundred guns, one of sixty and a sloop of war, besides others in ordinary. Fine looking masses. From here we passed to Mr. Everett’s where we met Mr. and Mrs. Frothingham, Mr. and Mrs. P. C. Brooks Jr. and Mr. and Mrs. Blodget. Mr. Brooks and Abby, Gorham and Mr. Thomson, an Englishman whom I saw at Washington but did not know last Winter. I sat next to Abby. First time George and I had seen her when we were together. He behaved singularly. After dinner, I doubted much during the Storm but finally concluded to go to Medford with Abby.


Catherine Scollay (d. 1863) was a self-taught Boston artist who exhibited her landscapes and figure paintings at the Athenaeum between 1827 and 1848 (Groce and Wallace, Dict. Amer. Artists ).