Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Thursday. 24th. CFA Thursday. 24th. CFA
Thursday. 24th.

Fine day but cool. I went out early. Read the Newspapers and called at the Office. Then attended the Sale at Mr. Callender’s for the purpose of purchasing by request of Mr. Brooks a set of China which was offered. I did not succeed but bought one or two articles for myself. This kept me until eleven and I wasted the rest of the time. This is too often my only record. Walk.

The President of the United States has sent to the Senate another Message explaining away the most offensive claim in his former one.1 This is a curious Spectacle. The Chief Magistrate of the Nation does not know twenty four hours together what he does mean. Afternoon, I wrote busily upon my new undertaking. I do not know what the suc-301cess of it will be. Probably another self delusion. At any rate it takes up my time.

In the evening, we went to the Theatre to hear Mr. and Mrs. Wood in Cinderella. The music of this piece is still charming although I have heard it so often. Mrs. Wood gives her part an effect which I have not seen equaled since Malibran. Yet some of Mrs. Austin’s notes are sweeter. He is a very admirable singer although the compass of his voice is not great, and he has little or no rich melody, charming as Garcia did or the tremendous Angrisani.2 Home late. The lower parts were performed in a very spirited manner—Although it is a little singular that there are no even tolerable voices.

1.

The supplementary Message in explanation was printed, along with an account of the debate in the Senate occasioned by it, in the National Intelligencer, 22 April (p. 3, cols. 2–3, 4).

2.

The adaptation of Rossini’s Cenerentola had pleased CFA since he first heard it sung by Garcia’s troupe in 1826. The singing of Manuel Garcia, of his daughter, Mrs. Malibran, and of Angrisani at that time, and of Mrs. Elizabeth Austin on later occasions, provided benchmarks for CFA against which the performances of others were customarily measured (vol. 2:54–60, passim; 4:ix, 263–264, 283; entries for 14 Jan., 12, 19 Dec. 1833, above).

Friday. 25th. CFA Friday. 25th. CFA
Friday. 25th.

Cold morning. I went to the Office after writing for an hour. Time wasted in reading politics, writing Diary, Accounts and a little half hour of Mr. Jefferson’s Letters. Nothing new.

Walk. Afternoon, wrote as industriously as if I was doing any thing remarkable. I find matter enough, and congratulate myself at least in this that my facility in writing does not decay for want of use. Began Beechey’s Account of his Voyage through the Pacific to Behring’s Straits.1 Thus the day passed as days regularly pass with me.

Evening I accompanied my Wife to the house of the Misses Inches.2 A small party. Tea and Ices. I found a much greater number of acquaintances than I saw at Mrs. Everett’s and amused myself far more. Returned home rather late so that it was nearly twelve before I retired.

1.

Frederick William Beechey’s Narrative of a Voyage to the Pacific and Behring’s Strait, 1825–1828, 2 vols., London, 1831, was borrowed from the Athenaeum.

2.

On the Misses Elizabeth and Susan Inches, see vol. 3:106–107.

Saturday. 26th. CFA Saturday. 26th. CFA
Saturday. 26th.

Fine day although the East wind prevailed. As I had asked a friend or two to dine with me, I was occupied first in providing the neces-302saries to entertain them, next in making up the party which cost me a great deal of trouble. Having delayed it so late, most persons had made their arrangements for the day. Read a considerable number of Jefferson’s Letters which interested me in him somewhat. His character however is dreadfully artificial, warm words but nothing generous. The phrases always appear to outrun the man.

Walk. Messrs. T. Davis, E. Quincy, T. Dwight and J. W. Gorham dined and passed the afternoon with me. Conversation. Evening at home. I believe this is the last dinner of this description that I shall give. There is too great temptation to drink too much wine—And by barely saving appearances to escape the blame of excess, without escaping the error. In future, I shall mix a greater proportion of older persons. The conversation of convivial dinners is not overrefined, although I can boast that at my table it has never descended into coarseness. Literature and it’s collateral subjects generally prevail, but it is not that which draws out the mind. Read the last Debates in the Intelligencer which are fiery enough—My father as usual in the midst of the fray.1

1.

The efforts of JQA to deliver a speech in the House of Representatives on 22 April are recounted in the National Intelligencer on the 24th (p. 3, cols. 3–4). The text of JQA’s remarks, in his hand, is in the Adams Papers (8 p.).