Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 7

Friday 9th. CFA Friday 9th. CFA
Friday 9th.

Morning cloudy. From Market to Office where I was sitting down to do something when A. H. Everett came in and as I had not seen him for a long time, we had quite a chat. He seems to be inclined to take the Navy Agency here if he can get it, which manifests somewhat of a coming down from his former tone. There is good reason to suppose that Mr. Van Buren contemplates some change in his cabinet. His affairs are going on wretchedly, and unless he does procure more efficient Officers than Woodbury and Dickerson I see no chance for him to recover himself.

Thence home to read Sophocles. Afternoon, reading Aristotle’s Politics. I have read this book before and the Analysis of it in a french work I have, but it will bear frequent reperusal. His argument upon slavery brings me back to Carolina. And his review of the theories of others is more thorough than his explanation of his own.

Evening to the Theatre to witness a Spectacle called the Bayadere, gotten up for the sake of displaying the activity of Mademoiselle Augusta a french figurante. Previous to which two pieces, the Wedding day, and Two Words.1 Very well. Home.


Of the two short forepieces, Two Words was billed as “comic opera” while The Wedding Day, “Mrs. Inchbald’s comedietta,” had “flourished long on our stage” after its introduction in New York in 1798. La Bayadère, the principal work, was an adaptation or abbreviated version of Scribe and Auber’s “operatic ballet spectacle,” which had been introduced on the New York stage in 1834 by the great pantomimist and dancer Mlle. Celeste, to be challenged in 1836 by “the incompa-396rable Augusta supervising and playing the leading part.” Both dancers enjoyed enormous success in the role in the years that followed. Mlles. Augusta and Celeste were compared in the Mirror, 25 March 1837, to Augusta’s advantage: “Augusta attracts by natural motion, and by that perfection of art, the consummate excellence of which is that it is invisible, so that each movement appears to be a mere volition, the instinctive buoyancy of a free and happy spirit. There is . . . more taste, tenderness, and delicacy in Augusta, who is more sparing of the whirligig and some other affectations” (Odell, Annals N.Y. Stage , 2:27; 4:29, 113, 120, 125; Boston Courier, 9 Feb., p. 3, col. 5).

Saturday 10th. CFA Saturday 10th. CFA
Saturday 10th.

Fine clear and mild day. Office where I finished the draft of my Report to the Middlesex Canal in a brief form, and occupied in Accounts. Call from W. Spear of Quincy and N. Curtis, both of business.

Athenaeum to look after a notice of my lecture running the rounds of the Southern papers. Horribly inaccurate, but it matters not. Who seeks precise knowledge in Newspapers? A little singular that the Baltimore American should take it up.1

Home. Sophocles. After dinner, Aristotle and his commentator Gillies, a Greek Scholar and English tory. Evening Horatio Brooks and T. K. Davis, the latter spent all the evening.

A call from a man who represented himself to be one of the insurgents at St. Denis in Lower Canada. Crawled here entirely out of money and directed to me only by my name. I gave him as much as I could well afford and more than I was clear he deserved. He said his name was Amiot or Amott.2


“Charles Francis Adams Esq. is lecturing before the Historical Society at Boston. The subject of his last lecture was ‘Materials for History,’ in the treatment of which he is said to have furnished some admirable revolutionary anecdotes in relation to the wife of the first [sic] President of the United States. It is to be regretted that the ‘materials for history’ which may be found in all sections of our country are not made more familiar to the public. The American Revolution was an occurrence fraught with the noblest daring and the most touching self-sacrifice, not only on the part of those who bore arms, but of their mothers, wives, sisters and daughters. ... They have been treasured up in the sanctity of the domestic fireside, and will, we trust, be drawn forth and exhibited as bright examples” (Baltimore American, 2 Feb., p. 2, col. 3).


The latent hostility felt by the French population of Lower Canada to British rule, inflamed by orators, agitators in the “Sons of Liberty,” and adventurers from New England, became an open revolt in Nov. 1837. Crown troops responded with successive military actions north and east of Montreal at St. Denis, St. Charles, and St. Eustache before the rebellion was crushed in early December. The rebel forces, including American elements led by Thomas Storrow Brown, were beaten and dispersed (Frank B. Tracy, Tercentenary History of Canada, 3 vols., N.Y., 1908, 3:800–816; Andrew Bell, History of Canada, 2 vols., Montreal, 1866, 2:449–455).