Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Friday. September 5th. CFA Friday. September 5th. CFA
Friday. September 5th.

Rode to town this morning with George in my gig. Morning at the Office occupied as usual. Met with Mr. Meredith, a young man whom I knew formerly at Cambridge and who graduated some time after me.1 Dined with him at the Exchange and drank some Sherry until I began to feel it’s weight. Took a cup of Coffee to cure it and read part of Williston’s Eloquence of the United States.2 In the evening, went to the Exchange Coffee House and found my father, John and Thomas arrived to go to the Theatre. I joined them and we saw the French Opera of the Barber of Seville performed together with the little piece called le procès du Fandango. Rossini’s music of this Opera is to me exceedingly delightful and it was very well performed by this Orchestra. The performers did well although none of them came near those whom I saw in the Italian piece of the same name two years ago at New York. On the whole I was much delighted and returned to the Exchange well pleased, though with a tolerably severe head ache. It was after one o’clock before I slept.


George Augustus Meredith, Harvard 1827.

278 2.

JQA’s copy of Eloquence of the United States, ed. Ebenezer Bancroft Williston, 5 vols., Middletown, Conn., 1827, is in the Stone Library.

Saturday. 6th. CFA Saturday. 6th. CFA
Saturday. 6th.

Breakfasted at the Exchange and morning at the Office. But I felt very much out of a proper condition to do any thing, as I had been so much excited last evening. I felt unwilling to do any thing and passed my time in doubt whether to go to Medford before dinner or not and finally decided that I would not. I accordingly dined in town and passed an hour in reading Williston’s book. After which I rode to Medford, found some Company there, and as I did not wish to see them, walked an hour or two in the garden. The family seemed disappointed at my not coming earlier. I do not know what it is that induces me to hesitate so much about this thing, but I have so much sensitiveness about worrying other people that it makes it a torment. Abby said nothing but I thought she felt it. Evening, conversation with her.

Sunday. 7th. CFA Sunday. 7th. CFA
Sunday. 7th.

Sidney Brooks and his wife are here on a visit, Chardon is sick with an attack of Cholera Morbus and this makes the family quite large. I remained at home all day and considering this, did little or nothing. The weather was quite warm. In the afternoon, Edward Brooks and his wife came over, and Mr. Everett, to discuss a question about Lowell. They wanted to make up a party to go to Lowell tomorrow and asked me to go, to which I consented. And so it was arranged. I had a delightfully pleasant conversation with Abby in the evening until interrupted by the arrival of my brothers George and John. This was rather surprising. They came to announce to me that my father was going to return to Washington in consequence of the continued illness of my Mother, and moreover that he expected me to accompany him when he should go, that is on Thursday next. The idea had occurred to me today that it might be advisable for me to go on this autumn, particularly as the election seemed less probable; but I had no expectation of going so soon. The thing was arranged before they left, and I understood that I was to go on Thursday.

Monday 8th. CFA Monday 8th. CFA
Monday 8th.

I was not deterred from the party to Lowell and accordingly after an early breakfast, we started, Abby with me in my Gig. We passed through the towns of Woburn, Billerica, Chelmsford and arrived at 279Lowell before twelve. Our party consisted of Mr. and Mrs. Edward Brooks, Mr. and Mrs. Sidney Brooks, Abby, Miss Phillips1 and myself. Lowell is a curiosity from the circumstance that it is a new creation from what is called the American System, having risen within six years by the investment made by the rich Boston people in manufactures of printed calicoes and other cottons. The place is situated at the confluence of the Merrimack and Concord rivers. From the former, which here runs rapidly on a gradual decline, they derive their water power, not however directly but by means of a canal dug to the level of the bed of the river which diverges, and the water can be thus conducted at pleasure. It is carried round a semicircle of about a mile and a half and there falls again, into the Concord river, where it joins the Merrimack. They have thus a large extent of water power, which can also be increased at pleasure by cutting sluices at any time at right angles with the river thro’ this inclosed space. They have already four millions of dollars invested here, in the manufacture of printed cottons, of machinery for works of the kind, of jeans, and they propose shortly commencing one of carpets. In the afternoon we examined the principal works, through which Mr. Kirk Boott, the superintendant, was kind enough to lead us.2 We afterwards drank tea at his house and saw his wife, a lady-like woman. But the exertion of the day was very great and I was not a little fatigued so that I was glad to get home, and retire. My home tonight however was but a poor hotel.


Susan Phillips, a daughter of John Phillips and Lydia (Gorham) Phillips, Mrs. P. C. Brooks’ sister (Henry Bond, Genealogies of the Families and Descendants of the Early Settlers of Watertown, Massachusetts, Boston, 1855, 2:886).


Kirk Boott (1790–1837), one of the founders of Lowell, the agent of the Merrimack Manufacturing Company and its virtual “dictator” ( DAB ).