Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Wednesday. 7th. CFA Wednesday. 7th. CFA
Wednesday. 7th.
Boston

The day has arrived when it is time to break up the Summer arrangement and begin the Winter one. It was cloudy and dull but not rainy as I had anticipated. It is now nearly six months since we have been at Quincy and I can say that I have enjoyed the time very much. The Society of my father and mother has been agreeable to us, and our’s, we are assured, has not been unpleasant to them.1 We have lived quietly, without the parade of public life and without its anxieties. Nothing has happened to annoy us with disagreeable or painful feelings, or harass us with care. Perhaps in the history of a life it may be difficult to say this for any period of six months time. It is my duty to be thankful and I hope I am so. Circumstances constantly occur to 394show me the advantages of my fortune. May they never lead me to calculate too securely upon them, nor to abuse them to useless and foolish purposes.

I came to town accompanied by my child’s Nurse — My Wife in the Carriage with my Mother. Busy at my Office in various ways until one when I went home to put my study in order. Found myself in the afternoon as much at home as if I had been there a hundred years. Read several pamphlets, pro and con Masonry. I want to reach the bottom of this subject. It is not an easy one. As usual finished with the Idler.

1.

Of ABA, LCA wrote, “I have found her a lovely and charming companion throughout the Summer and it is a real trial to part with her” (to JA2, 12 Oct., Adams Papers).

Thursday. 8th. CFA Thursday. 8th. CFA
Thursday. 8th.

Morning cloudy but it cleared away quite cold. I went to the Office. Engaged a good deal in running about making purchases for the family of the things necessary to get them well going. I had therefore not much time to read though I did succeed in resuming Lingard. I am going to make another effort this Winter to improve my time more than I have done. My distracting occupations will I hope be fewer than they have been, and I shall be able to do more effectively what is in hand.

Called at the Athenaeum to get a book or two. Thence home where I found my father. He announced to us that my Mother had left Quincy this morning considerably better in health. And that he had come in for the purpose of starting from our house to Providence in the morning. Of course I did very little else than attend to him. I took the opportunity however of answering a letter of John’s inviting me to Washington,1 and copied one or two others for my father. Read a little of Stone’s book over again.

1.

On the letter to JA2 (Adams Papers) see above, entry for 28 Sept., note. JA2’s invitation of 17 Oct. (letter missing), which CFA now declined, was elicited by the report contained in an earlier letter to JA2 from LCA (29 Aug., Adams Papers) that CFA proposed to spend a part of the next winter in Washington on the assumption that it would be JQA’s last in Congress.

Friday. 9th. CFA Friday. 9th. CFA
Friday. 9th.

My father left this morning early for Providence. He goes to Washington to assume new cares and incur more praise or odium according as chance may direct. The disastrous result of the Presidential Election throws a gloom over the political affairs of the Country which is deeper and darker than it ever has been before.1 The fate of 395our currency is sealed, and the Judiciary is in imminent danger. Office ceases to be honorable and vicious principle is every where triumphant.

I went to the Office. Read Lingard apud Henry 8. Here begins the interest of his, alias a Catholic history. At noon, I returned home for the purpose of going out and paying visits with my Wife. The day was delightful. Called at Mrs. Webster’s, Dr. and Mrs. Kirkland, Mrs. Crowninshields,2 and Mrs. Sparks’—Two at home and two out. Mrs. Sparks is a bride and an interesting woman.3 Dr. Kirkland has just returned from Europe and looks like an old Beau. His lean Pantaloon is “a world too wide for his shrunk shank,” and he in the midst of his decay mental and corporeal indulges a foppery which never became or even would have been thought of in his early days. The spectacle is a melancholy one.4

Afternoon, reading over Stone’s book. The luxury of my library is very great. Evening. Gardiner Gorham passed an hour,5 after whom Edward Brooks came in. The rumor of the death of Dr. Spurzheim is not correct.6

1.

Although the election in Massachusetts was still three days away and the result in New York was not yet known, the voting in Pennsylvania, Maine, and New Hampshire had been so overwhelmingly in favor of electors committed to the reelection of President Jackson that the outcome in the nation already seemed clear.

2.

On Mrs. Benjamin Williams Crowninshield, see vol. 1:30; her residence was at 1 Somerset Place ( Boston Directory, 1832–1833).

3.

In October Jared Sparks had married Frances Anne Allen of Hyde Park, N.Y. Although they were to occupy the Craigie House in Cambridge, it would appear that they were now living in Boston, perhaps at his former residence, 3 Somerset Court ( DAB , under Sparks; Boston Directory, 1832–1833). Gilbert Stuart’s portrait of Sparks is reproduced as an illustration in the present volume.

4.

Dr. John Thornton Kirkland had married Elizabeth Cabot only a few months before he resigned as president of Harvard. Following the resignation in 1828, they had traveled widely in the United States and abroad and had only recently taken up residence in Boston (vol. 1:12; vol. 2:226; and the notice of Kirkland in DAB ).

5.

Gardner Gorham was a brother of Julia Gorham (CFA, Diary, 1 May 1833).

6.

See entry for 12 Nov., below.