Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 4

Monday. 12th. CFA Monday. 12th. CFA
Monday. 12th.

Another fine day. I felt better than usual. Went to the Office and found there a letter from my father at New York announcing his safe 397arrival in that place on Saturday.1 And I saw in the Newspaper the account of the arrival of the Fornax here which is also good.2

This was the day of Election for State Officers and Electors with us. It was passed quietly enough. I voted the whole Antimasonic ticket with the exception of the Governor, one of the Senators and one of the Representatives.3 My mind is now made up to vote uniformly against the influence of that Institution. It’s effects in New York and Pennsylvania are strikingly perceptible in the late election.

Read Lingard and felt interested in his partial account of the Reformation. I am much afraid that here I must leave him in opinion. Afternoon at home—Digesting my notions of Antimasonry. Evening at Mrs. Frothingham’s. Conversation respecting natural magic. The death of Dr. Spurzheim is now confirmed.4


JQA to CFA, 10 Nov. (Adams Papers).


In August JQA and LCA wrote asking that JA2 send the cases of books “which have been more than three years packed up at Washington” and their prints, pictures, &c. The cargo was later sent by the steamer Fornax (JQA, Diary, 11 Aug.; JQA to JA2, 11 Aug.; LCA to Mrs. JA2, 21 Aug., both letters in Adams Papers).


The Antimasonic candidates were last in each contest. The whole National Republican ticket received majorities over the Jackson and Antimasonic tickets (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 14 Nov., p. 2, col. 1).


Dr. Johann Gaspar Spurzheim, German physician, anatomist, and craniologist, a principal expounder of the new science of phrenology, died of typhus fever on 10 Nov. in Boston. From August to November he had delivered there and in Cambridge to large, distinguished, and enthusiastic audiences a series of seventeen lectures on phrenology. At the same time he delivered another series of lectures to the Boston Medical Society on the anatomy of the brain. His funeral at the Old South Church was the occasion of a great outpouring of persons. His impact upon the community had been profound. JQA recorded (Diary, 2 Nov.) that “Dr. Spurzheim is turning all our meditative brains by his Lectures. Since the days of Whitfield there has not been such a frenzy.” (Boston Daily Advertiser & Patriot, 30 Oct., p. 2, col. 2; 12 Nov., p. 2, col. 3; 19 Nov., p. 2, col. 1; John D. Davies, Phrenology, Fad and Science, a 19th-Century American Crusade, New Haven, 1955, p. 16–20.)

Tuesday. 13th. CFA Tuesday. 13th. CFA
Tuesday. 13th.

A fine day. I felt pretty well although a little uneasy. Went to the Office. Pretty industrious in reading Dr. Lingard. He affirms pretty positively that Anne Boleyne was the King’s Mistress. I hardly believe it, first, because if she had been the King would not have cared about marrying her, second, because she had no children until after her true marriage. The fact that the child was premature is however somewhat in favor of his position. I do not know what to think but shall read Burnet.

Mr. Conant from Weston came in and we proceeded to make a 398settlement of last year’s Accounts, upon the sales of Wood. I somewhat regret that I have not better accountants to deal with as I cannot push these men to the exactness which all business requires, but if I believe them honest in substance I suppose that is as much as I ought to require. At least it is what I might not get.

Afternoon, continued writing upon the Anti Masonic subject but I do not at all satisfy myself. The intricacy of the detail is what discourages the attention of the many.

Quiet evening at home. Read to my Wife part of the life of Romney the Painter. It is interesting although the name and style of the painting is not familiar to me. Afterwards, I continued working upon the Antimasonry. Political results are curious enough. The whole nation seems to have gone by acclamation for General Jackson. Yet Can we believe him to be a good or a great man.