Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 3

Thursday. 16th. CFA Thursday. 16th. CFA
Thursday. 16th.

Morning fine but cool. I rode to town as usual and was occupied at my Office. Went to the Athenaeum for a few moments, with the view of looking at the Courier which nominated my father for Congress but there was no Copy there. I took the opportunity to obtain some books to assist me in my Catalogue, and returned. Found what I was looking for at the Reading Room in State Street.1

I worked a little upon my Catalogue but found myself stopped for the want of several things only to be obtained at my Study. I then 321read a little of Hutchinson, and the time came to return to Medford. My Wife was quite unwell all day and confined to her bed. I read Rollin although I do not feel so much interested in the historical portion of the work. It is matter a little too simple for me, it brings me back to rudiments so often worked over as to have become disgusting.

Mr. Theodore Lyman came to pay Mr. Brooks a short visit. I saw him only for a moment. He is rather a favourite with Mr. B. but I confess I see nothing in his character attractive or pleasant. And my mind is not given to bend in devotion to wealth, without any other quality.2 I had a very quiet evening.


The Reading Room was located in the Old State House at the head of State Street ( Boston Directory, 1830–1831, p. 34). The issue of the Boston Courier for which CFA was searching was that of 6 September. In it (p. 1, col. 4) there appeared a paragraph, unsigned but apparently the work of J. T. Buckingham, the paper’s editor and proprietor, as follows: “We would not wish to be considered meddlesome, but we take the liberty of suggesting to the National Republicans of Norfolk, that they would do well to elect Mr. ADAMS, the ex-president, as their next representative. There are many considerations which might make such an election desirable to them as a party, and, unless we mistake entirely Mr. Adams’s disposition, there are as many which might render an election agreeable to him.” At first JQA dismissed the suggestion. “As the Editor of the Paper has been uniformly hostile to me, I supposed this nomination was made with the same Spirit, and did not imagine it was seriously thought of by any one” (JQA, Diary, 17 Sept.). However, he was soon visited by a number of persons including A. H. Everett, John Brazer Davis, and Joseph Richardson, the incumbent who refused to be a candidate for reelection, all presumably bent on urging JQA to run (JQA, Diary, 17, 18 Sept.).


Theodore Lyman Jr., wealthy merchant, federalist, and lately a supporter of Andrew Jackson, was a fellow director with Mr. Brooks of the Massachusetts Society for Agriculture. His extensive estate was in Waltham. See vol. 2:103, 323, 326; also entry for 27 Jan., above.

Friday. 17th. CFA Friday. 17th. CFA
Friday. 17th.

As this was the day destined for the Celebration of the Anniversary of the settlement of Boston, and about to produce a tremendous consequent fuss I thought it would be expedient for me to have nothing whatever to do with it.1 I have a great horror of Crowds, and if I make up my mind to attend public days always have cause to repent it. So I remained at Medford and spent my day in reading Rollin.

The weather was exceedingly cold for so early in the Season and I found it absolutely uncomfortable without a fire. Indeed I felt altogether so chilly that I was obliged to take a quick walk to get warm. This was in the direction of West Cambridge Pond which is a spot always attractive in my eyes.2 Susceptible of being improved into infinite beauty. The day except in the cold was exceedingly fine and gave animation to the spirits. These bracing days make strong frames 322stronger, and weak ones weaker. They are enemies to disease either in preventing or accelerating them. Nobody came through the day and we were very quiet.


The celebration of the 200th anniversary of the settlement of Boston began with a grand procession from the State House down Beacon Street, across the Common to Tremont Street, ending at the Old South Church. There the oration was delivered by President Josiah Quincy. The day ended with an evening party at Lt. Gov. Winthrop’s house (Boston Patriot, 16 Sept., p. 1, cols. 3–5). On JQA’s participation in the observances of the day, see his Diary, 17 Sept., and Bemis, JQA , 2:205–206.


CFA’s allusion is probably to Spy Pond in West Cambridge, which was a comfortable walk from Mystic Grove.