Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

[5 July.] CFA [5 July.] CFA
5 July.

Boardman left us on Wednesday morning. He had been waiting for the Havre Packet which was to bring back his father, but his finances had become so slender after a long and expensive stay that he was obliged to return before it came in. It only brought the news of his death and so I was glad that it’s arrival was delayed untill after we had separated. At school in Boston six years ago, he was reckoned one of the greatest dunces there, but he is not the only instance which I have seen of the great difference which exists between the same persons as boys and as men in the world. He now seems a gentlemanly, agreeable companion. As such I have been glad to renew my old acquaintance with him, and to be pleased at having destroyed in a considerable manner prejudices which were existing in the minds of both. I felt better today, but Tudor was at last completely prostrated. It appeared that I had escaped luckily last evening as my party had been in a most outrageous scrape. They were enjoying the consequences this morning. We all went to take the usual Luncheon of Turtle however, and it seemed to revive Tudor’s drooping spirits. But the morning was spent in comparative quiet. The afternoon was employed in drinking Burgundy. We then went to the Park Theatre and saw Hilson in the amusing character of Paul Pry and enjoyed a very hearty laugh.1 The evening was passed soberly even by Tudor. And this is saying much. For such a thing in some shape or other as excitement has been the constant food of some one or other of us during our whole stay. After some conversation of a serious and friendly nature we all retired.

64 1.

Thomas Hilson (1784–1834), an English actor, played the title role in John Poole’s farce (Brown, History of the American Stage, p. 176).

[6 July.] CFA [6 July.] CFA
6 July.

At five o’clock on Thursday Morning I took leave of them. Richardson was violently affected, he cried like a child. Tudor and I took the thing more philosophically but still there was plenty of regret at the dire necessity. In half an hour I was on board the Steamboat and taking leave of the Spires of the city of New York, with plenty of time to look back upon all that had passed during the last fourteen days. It seemed all a dream so rapidly had it gone. Dr. Ironside found it convenient to return at the same time and so we once more found ourselves in company. I was less disposed to be amusing than on my journey to pleasure; he was always the same. And as this equanimity has a violent tendency to provoke a testy person the more, I began to feel violently fretful. My old disorder too, which I had little time to think of at the scene of bustle began to worry me prodigiously in my present leisure. The day passed without incident. Arrived at Philadelphia, I spent the evening at the Theatre, where I dozed through Pisarro. Young Forest played Rolla with a good deal of merit, but I do not like the piece and this combined with my late vigils had a soporific effect. Heyle took the place of Jefferson in the Review, but was not nearly equal to him.1


Pizarro, or the Spaniards in Peru, Augustus von Kotzebue’s play as altered by Richard Brinsley Sheridan, was playing at the Washington Museum Theater on Market Street. The famous Edwin Forrest (1806–1872) was starring, and the young Philadelphia actor Lewis J. Heyl was substituting for Joseph Jefferson Jr. (Jackson, Encyclo. of Philadelphia , 4:1137; Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 3:744; Hornblow, Theater , 2:31–35).

[7 July.] CFA [7 July.] CFA
7 July.

On Friday we travelled to Baltimore together and made the shortest passage ever known by our Captain. The whole distance having been accomplished in about eleven hours and three quarters. We received the news of the death of Mr. Jefferson at Frenchtown.

We found nothing to amuse us at Baltimore during the evening. Linnöus Smith was there and prosed for an hour or two.1 I think he has grown dull by his sickness.


Smith was a member of the Department of State staff. They prosed over a mint julep (D/CFA/1.).

[8 July.] CFA [8 July.] CFA
8 July.

I took the earliest Washington Stage and got in feeling somewhat 65rusty, at about three o’clock. The family were pretty well. News arrived however of the illness of my Grandfather and orders were given to prepare for my father’s immediate departure for the North.

Thus ended my short trip.1 To say that I was pleased with it would express but little of my feelings. There were so many considerations which conduced to make the residence happy, independent of the mere pleasure which external objects conveyed to me, that it would have been astonishing had it not been pleasant. For the very enjoyment brought reflections to my mind which proved to me that they were among the last I was destined to share. This is the melancholy thought which always obtrudes itself in my present pleasures, and perhaps renders the enjoyment of them more delightful even by the slight tinge which it throws over them. I have been accustomed almost involuntarily to cry out to myself constantly during many years back, “These are the times of ease, freedom, happiness and enjoyment, enjoy them while you may.” I have acted up to the principle, but as the close of these days hastens I am reminded that more troublous times are coming, and that the world and female ties will soon loosen the earliest and the dearest bonds of social friendship.

With these opinions acting upon me at the moment, I was enjoying the society of these young men, considering this as very probably the last time that we should see each other in the enjoyment of all that renders life happy not excepting liberty. I made merry therefore, and when we did finally part I was somewhat disposed to think as I thought when I parted before from Sheafe and Richardson a year ago—but I would not forebode.2 God grant, that no such change as that may again happen very soon to our little society.


CFA went home with “money exhausted” (D/CFA/1).


Sheafe had died during the previous winter. See entry for 3 Dec. 1825, above.