Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 5

Wednesday. 17th. CFA Wednesday. 17th. CFA
Wednesday. 17th.

The morning was so cloudy that I concluded not to go to Quincy. The Newspapers announce my father’s arrival at Philadelphia, but we hear not a syllable about him by private communication. At Office where I read some of Sir James Mackintosh’s third volume of the History of England. I also went to the Athenaeum and passed an hour. Nothing of any consequence happened. Afternoon quietly at home. Read Botta and one hour of German.

Went to the Theatre to hear and see Charles Kemble and his 70daughter. The piece was the Stranger. She performed Mrs. Haller. There is something so affecting in that play that it affects me deeply even with poor acting. That on this evening was chaste, suitable, and yet exceedingly touching. I could not resist a few tears, and the house was generally affected.1 But to feel it thoroughly a person must be a parent. I recognize here a difference in the effect upon me tonight and formerly independently of the superior performance. Farce called the dumb Belle. Exceedingly comic. Mrs. Barrett and her husband. Something was necessary to change the current of feeling and this did it. Home by eleven.


William Dunlap’s adaptation of Kotzebue’s Menschenhass und Reue became a favorite in the theatrical repertory immediately upon its presentation in America in 1798 (Odell, Annals N. Y. Stage , 2:43–45). CFA had seen it at least once before, in 1825 (vol. 1:456). During the engagement of the Kembles, which began on 16 April and ended on 17 May, the Adamses attended the theater more frequently than was their custom.

Thursday. 18th. CFA Thursday. 18th. CFA
Thursday. 18th.

A lovely morning. I thought I would ride to Quincy and observe the progress which was making besides the chance that my father might arrive. My ride was delightful. I followed the most picturesque of the smaller roads which winds and winds in many ways, but I enjoyed the air and the breeze which for once was not decidedly east. Found the house but not it’s master. Engaged in arranging engravings as well as I could, and distributing them in the various rooms.1 Progress not very rapid however. Looked upon the garden. On the whole, I had far less than usual of the cheerless feeling which seems to spread itself round the old Mansion in Quincy.

Returned home in good season for dinner. Miss Julia Gorham dined with us. Afternoon I read Botta, but was interrupted by Conant who came to pay money on Acct. at Weston. Our settlement is usually long, and it was this day longer from the fact that all my Papers were at the Office. However we accomplished our purpose, and I received a sum of Money which does something to set up my funds again. Evening not being able to obtain Tickets for the Theatre we remained very quietly at home. Read a little of Twelfth Night. Afterwards, Chateaubriand.


Upon their removal from the White House in 1829, JQA’s and LCA’s belongings such as engravings, prints, paintings, chinaware, &c. went into storage. They were sent to Quincy for placement in the Old House in late 1832, but when many objects arrived in bad condition CFA sent them to be cleaned and repaired (vol. 4:399).