Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 21st. CFA Wednesday. 21st. CFA
Wednesday. 21st.

Very warm and pleasant day. I accompanied Mr. Brooks to town and not having much of any thing to do, I sauntered into the Artist’s Exhibition for an hour. Four of the Boston Painters appear to have assumed the business of showing their works. Harding, Doughty, Alexander, and Fisher.1 The pieces of each are of very unequal merit. Harding does not appear to me to improve. Alexander has. Fisher and Doughty being needy are obliged to paint too much for sale. Nothing that I saw counterbalanced the unpleasant feeling produced by the multitude of portraits of people who have themselves painted without rhyme or reason for the mere gratification of their beautiful selves— of this vanity comes all the support our poor artists get.

Home. Mr. Shepherd and P. C. Brooks and his Wife dined. Mr. 316Stetson called in afterwards. Thus the afternoon passed and I only reviewed a little of the Epistle to Helen. Evening, Hume’s Essays, and writing without profit or aim.


Chester Harding, Thomas Doughty, Francis Alexander, and Alvan Fisher had recently banded together to establish at Harding’s rooms on School Street an “Artist’s Gallery” in which their works could be exhibited for sale. Unlike the annual exhibitions at the Athenaeum Gallery, the proceeds of which were used to purchase paintings for the Gallery’s permanent collection, the profits from the sale of tickets at the “Artist’s Gallery” were shared among the four artists (Mabel M. Swan, The Athenaeum Gallery, 1827–1873, Boston, 1940, p. 98–99).

Thursday. 22d. CFA Thursday. 22d. CFA
Thursday. 22d.

Fine day but cold. I went to town with Mr. Brooks. Office. Jefferson’s Journal of a Journey through the South of France and Italy. Not very interesting. House, thence idling at the Gallery and other places. My day not passed very creditably. Home in the Carriage with my Wife who was in town. Mrs. Frothingham and two children, and two children of Mrs. Everett. Quite a load and a pretty noisy one.

Afternoon. Mandeville and Ovid, Helen to Paris. A reply eminently well drawn. There is some doubt as to the original letter being of Ovid, but I think this shows his hand. Mr. Brooks was absent all day. Evening. Mr. Frothingham came out and after spending an hour, took his family home. Hume’s Essay. Writing a little without aim.

Friday. 23rd. CFA Friday. 23rd. CFA
Friday. 23rd.

A cold, cloudy day. I accompanied by Mr. Brooks rode to town. Morning passed very quietly at my Office where I made progress in Mr. Jefferson’s book. His Journal contains a good deal of interesting information upon a variety of subjects belonging to the cultivation, products &ca. of the Country he went through. Mr. T. Davis called upon me for an Autograph of my grandfather which I had promised him. He sat here conversing an hour or two.

Returned to Medford. Afternoon, Mandeville. Very drowsy. Ovid, Helen to Paris, and Leander to Hero. Evening, Hume’s Essays. That on the Balance of Trade is worth considerable reflection. He rather inclines against our system of credit. And I do not know but with some justice. Hume is an agreeable writer. His thoughts are never commonplace, though not always very convincing. He gives an easy motion to his style which carries you along even when you feel disposed to withdraw your assent from the truth of his positions.