Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Friday. 20th. CFA Friday. 20th. CFA
Friday. 20th.

Morning delightful. Our weather now is extremely agreeable, being neither too warm nor too cold. Rode into town with Abby, and left her at the Bathing house,1 from whence I went as usual to the Office. After finishing several little Commissions which as usual take up a large part of my time, I read Hutchinson’s Account of the Witch excitement at Salem which on the whole appeared to me fair enough, although I do not exactly see through his statement of fraud. It is true much deception was used, but the great evidence of voluntary confession in some cases of the crime, goes far to prove disordered imaginations.

Rode out to dine, and in the afternoon went on with my Catalogue with only a single interruption in a visit from Mrs. Tufts, her daughter2 and Miss L. C. Smith. The work is great, and I am apprehensive my time will not hold out very well to complete it. Worked also in the Evening.

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1.

A “Bathing Establishment” was located near the Charlestown bridges but “below the bridges ... [to] possess all the advantages of having the water perfectly pure and clean.” Both warm and cold baths were offered, the cold bath “built in such a manner as to be free and secure from any danger.” The patronage of ladies was particularly sought, “a female attendant [being] in constant readiness to wait on” them (Boston Patriot, 29 May, p. 3, col. 3). This was but one of several bathhouses erected in Boston beginning as early as 1805. A wood block of Braman’s Baths, said to have been the largest of these, is reproduced in the present volume. See above, p. xv.

2.

That is, Mrs. Cotton Tufts Jr. of Weymouth (1763–1849, Mercy Brooks, first cousin of Peter C. Brooks, married to AA’s cousin) and her daughter, Mercy Tufts, on both of whom see Adams Genealogy.

Saturday. 21st. CFA Saturday. 21st. CFA
Saturday. 21st.

Morning very clear and pleasant. Robert Buchanan went with me to town as he wished to see a few things of note before he went away. After performing several little jobs as usual, I accompanied him to the State House to see Chantry’s Statue of Washington and the view from the top. It is ten or eleven years since I was in that spot before, and during the period how Boston has changed. Wealth has literally been poured upon it’s Streets until the sources from which it came have felt the drain. Houses and public buildings are now crowded upon places which formerly were dreary heaps of barren mud.1 We left that place and I then notified Hollis again to quit. He is a dog in the Manger. Will not work himself nor let others work for him.

At twelve o’clock we left town in the Steam Boat for Nahant.2 Found on board Edmund Quincy and Mr. G. Meredith whom I knew formerly3 and was glad to see them. We arrived barely in time for dinner and to get seats, the house being very much crowded. The Company was excellent, and our entertainment good. Arnold Welles and Charles C. i.e. R. Lowell, both young Members of the Bar came in and took wine with us.4 Afterward Mr. Richd. C. Derby5 who gave us Champagne and a Song, so that on the whole I do not think I ever enjoyed a convivial party so much. After rising from table we had barely time to go and look at the place a little before the hour came for returning.6 And this was quite late enough. Our passage up was cold. We reached town at about a quarter after seven and proceeded immediately to Quincy, where we arrived barely in time to save them from considerable alarm, and I will add not a moment too soon for my fatigue.

1.

The prospect from the dome of the State House, especially to the north and east did indeed present striking changes from that visible a decade earlier. Extensive new building on reclaimed land had taken place or was in process in the area known as the Mill Pond and along the waterfront from the old Town Dock at Dock Square to the Long Wharf at the foot of State Street. Moreover, close 306by the State House itself there had been much construction on the new streets and building sites available in the wake of the leveling of the summit of Beacon Hill. This earth moving project which began in 1810 and ended only in 1824 provided the fill for the Mill Pond’s fifty acres of marsh and flats. The full development of the new area was not complete by 1830 but much building was already evident, stimulated perhaps by the opening in 1828 of the new Warren Bridge to Charlestown which had its Boston terminus at the center of the Mill Pond triangle. Southeastward from the Mill Pond the second large tract of made land had been created by 1826. There, over what had formerly been wharves, six new streets were laid out, and between Faneuil Hall and the new water’s edge the three large and handsome granite structures that comprised the Quincy Market development were in use. (Whitehill, Boston: A Topographical History , p. 78–84, 96–98.)

2.

During the summer months the steamers Ousatonic and Rush Light plied between Boston and Nahant five times daily. Departure was from Tileston’s Wharf, Purchase Street near Summer Street, and the fare was 25 cents (Boston Patriot, 24 June, p. 2, col. 6).

3.

On George Augustus Meredith, Harvard 1827, see vol. 2:277.

4.

Welles was also of Meredith’s class. On Charles Russell Lowell, Harvard 1826, see vol. 1:265.

5.

Derby lived in Boston at 27 Chesnut Street ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831).

6.

An engraving of Nahant and its hotel is reproduced in the present volume; see above, p. x–xi.