Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

53 [25 June.] CFA [25 June.] CFA
25 June.

On the morning of Sunday, we took the Steam Boat to New York. The weather had again changed however for the worse and we were glad to reach New York at about ten o’clock. I then parted company with Dr. Ironside, with some regret as I have found him a very agreeable companion. Good temper is the essential article on a journey, there is no situation in life, it seems to me when it is so severely tried. The Dr. certainly possesses it. I did not see him fretted more than once, and that was when the Driver of the Stage left him at Princeton, whilst in the act of relieving his necessities. As he was suffering at the time from Diarrhoea, he pathetically told me afterwards, I really must confess that no man’s temper could in my belief have stood the test of the combined misfortune. The driver got frightened and stopped but it cost the poor Dr. a severe run to get up with us. The circumstances were evidently provoking and I repeat it, that this affair forms no exception to my observation.

Arrived at New York I went directly to the National Hotel1 where I found that Richardson had not got out of patience and left the City which I much feared, but being a Yankee he could not omit going to Church, and I thus had time to get off the rust of the journey before I met him. Our reunion was a joyful one and we spent the remainder of the day over our old companion, a bottle, talking and telling stories of our past experiences and future anticipations. This we could the more conveniently do as it was Sunday and a rainy day, so that we had no temptations to carry us out; I was at Dinner introduced to Boardman,2 and found many other persons with whom I had formerly been acquainted.


A hotel located at 112 Broadway, at the corner of Cedar Street, which was completed in 1825 (Stokes, Iconography of Manhattan Island , 6:615).


John Howe Boardman, Harvard 1826, who lived in Portsmouth, N.H. ( Harvard Annual Cat., 1824). CFA also met William Wilson Wheelwright, Harvard 1824 (D/CFA/1).

[26 June.] CFA [26 June.] CFA
26 June.

The next morning found us very melancholy as we had clearly distinguished the pattering of the rain and the running of the water into the tin spouts which continued without cessation all night and this day. Sounds which however comfortable they may make me at home, are sources of great regret to persons travelling for pleasure which just now happened to be my own case. The day passed in consequence without any exertion to amuse ourselves out excepting in a short walk to see the Mechanical Panorama1 and whatever else 54might be in the way. The panorama never very well worth seeing except as a specimen of human ingenuity, I had formerly witnessed with great delight as a boy of ten years old on my first arrival.2 It did not occur to me that it was the same until after I had seen it. Now it had no interest.

In the evening we went to the Theatre at the Chatham Garden where we saw Conway in the character of Brutus and Mrs. Duff as Portia in Julius Caesar.3 He performed his part tolerably well. The deficiency consists in a want of general tone rather than in any observable fault. One may follow this Actor through a play and not detect any very great inaccuracy either in voice, emphasis or gesture, but still there will be a general want of something to force your interest from you. “Turn out” the afterpiece was quite amusing. We reached home very late and did not retire until two o’clock.


Presumably the exhibit at 157 Broadway, which offered “pictures of town and country, with artisans and servants at work, with boats plying in and out of the harbour, etc.” (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:73).


CFA had been in New York in August 1817, having returned from Europe with his parents after a stay of eight years.


The Chatham Garden Theater, completed in 1824, was located between Duane and Pearl streets (Hornblow, Theater , 2:11–13).