Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

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

As my Wife was going to town in the Carriage, Mr. Brooks and I accompanied her. Morning engaged in several Commissions. Went to the House and from there to several other places with my Wife. Time short.

Mr. Devereux and Walsh called and consumed some of it in their schemes. They are unsettled by the present motion in Offices and wish to make hard bargains out of me.1 I do not know whether it is wise to resist them or not. I hope these revolutions will cease with the present completion of the Street. My father’s property here ceases to 404be productive in one part when it begins in another. So that on the whole things remain pretty even.

Home by the way of Cambridge to enquire after Mrs. Parks’ condition which is very bad. Afternoon, I did not feel at all well. But I pursued my usual avocations which hardly need recapitulating as I do so often. Evening read Ovid Metamorphoses, which do not, I think, hold out quite so well as I had anticipated. More conceit and less beauty.


John Devereux and John Walsh were the current tenants at 23 Court Street (M/CFA/3).

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

Mild but cloudy. I felt quite unwell this morning but it afterwards passed off. Rode into town accompanied by Mr. Brooks, by way of Cambridge, to inquire into the condition of Mrs. Parks. She was not better. Time taken up as usual. I am ashamed of my Diary and of myself. Never was my Diary so perfectly uninteresting and never was I so much tempted to close its pages forever. Nothing of any consequence but rumors of violence at the elections in Pennsylvania. My interest in political affairs is failing very much. Indeed I am becoming a piece of vegetation.

Afternoon at home. German. Mr. Brooks is again in great embarrassment respecting his winter arrangements. His intended one has unexpectedly failed. This operates upon my own. I do not incline to live with him, and yet I wish to do every thing that is consistent with my relation to him. The pecuniary advantages attending such an arrangement are considerable. But the love of money is becoming a thing to be guarded against by me. I will not encourage it wantonly. should Mr. Brooks think proper to ask me, I should feel it right to accept, but I will take no step to offer myself.

In the evening I accompanied Mr. Brooks to pay a visit to Mr. Jonathan Brooks. His son the Minister there who has just returned from Europe. No assumption about him though.1 Home at 8 after which I read Ovid and Flaming.


Rev. Charles Brooks of Hingham. The comment would seem to relate to CFA’s observation of affectation in other returned European travelers.

Saturday. 18th. CFA Saturday. 18th. CFA
Saturday. 18th.

A very beautiful day such as we rarely have so late in the Season as this. I went to Boston with Mr. Brooks. My morning rather wasted. 405Went to the Athenaeum and from thence to the gallery to see some Paintings of Rome. They are of the middle of the last Century and painted by Sigr. Panini. Two of them are views of the inside and the outside of St. Peter’s. The other two contain a great number of smaller ones in which all the principal objects of curiosity in ancient and modern Rome are given in small. There was also a small collection of cabinet pictures–One or two of which were quite pretty. There was also a small collection of pictures for sale.

At Office writing. Just as I was going back to Medford I called at the Post Office and received by Mail a letter from Walter Hellen giving such very alarming intelligence of the condition of my brother John that I felt it my duty to proceed directly in a chaise to Quincy and apprise my parents of it.1 I accordingly arrived at Quincy before three and communicated directly with my father. He was very much agitated. Then came the most trying part of it, the disclosure to my Mother. Barely able to move after so severe an illness we expected a terrible effect. She was very deeply affected2 and the operation of it was to bring on a return of sickness, but the Dr. assured us her personal health had not suffered and we prayed for calmness.

My father and mother are to a certain extent prepared for this blow. They have watched his gradual decline for two years past and have seen that he cannot continue long in this condition. But this attack is rather sudden to them. May God have mercy upon them and all of us.


Letter missing.


JQA recorded her distress as “agonizing, and ... though unable to walk across her chamber long insisted upon going immediately, herself to Washington.... Dr. Holbrook ... assured my wife that ... the attempt would be at the hazard of her life. She became herself convinced it would be so and was partially tranquelised” (Diary, 18 Oct.).