Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 8

231 Thursday 9th. CFA Thursday 9th. CFA
Thursday 9th.

Morning cloudy but it cleared away hot. Afternoon to Quincy.

Morning at the Office engaged in Accounts, but on the whole luxuriating a little in idleness after my preceding labour. At noon with my Wife to see the Allston Gallery of Pictures now exhibiting.1 A first glance only from which no definite opinions can be formed. I gather from it only that his style has of late degenerated into a bad manner. He is frittering his power into miserable unmeaning pictures of Rosalies and Beatrices, Jessicas and Troubadours, the manual execution of which cannot redeem their insignificance.2

After dinner to Quincy where the men were not at work. I sowed a few flower seeds and otherwise wasted my time.

Home by eight and found Sidney Brooks and Mrs. Frothingham there. This did not surprise me but when they went, my Wife communicated to me the account of the accident that had befallen our daughter, Louisa. In crossing the Street below our house, it seems she was run down by a carriage of some kind and taken up for dead, or seriously injured. But upon examination, the Dr. thinks she has escaped with some severe bruises. My God! I think even now of the precipice from which he has saved me, with a feeling of shudder. Trusting as I uniformly do in his protecting mercy, I feel conscious how little I deserve the overflowing measure of his bounty which has been awarded to me. And when I consider what a narrow escape this has been and how constantly we are all of us standing near to danger and destruction, my heart hardly furnishes to my head any distinct manifestation of it’s feelings. I felt stunned as if the blow had not passed or as if I was not conscious of it’s nature.


Washington Allston had, from 1831 to his death in 1843, a large studio near his home in Cambridgeport to which many visitors came to view his paintings. However, CFA is here referring to the large and important retrospective exhibition of Allston’s paintings being shown at the Chester Harding Gallery on School Street in Boston from 1 April to 10 July. See William H. Gerdts and Theodore E. Stebbins Jr., “A Man of Genius”: The Art of Washington Allston (1779–1843), Boston, 1979, p. 135, 173.


Allston’s Beatrice is reproduced in the present volume; on it, the other paintings CFA mentions from the exhibition, and on the exhibition itself, see the Descriptive List of Illustrations, above.

Friday 10th. CFA Friday 10th. CFA
Friday 10th.

Clear day. Division as usual. Evening at Mrs. Frothingham’s.

Louisa had a good night and although severely bruised appears not to be materially injured. There was a weight upon my spirit all day as if I hardly knew how to be sufficiently grateful for the mercy that had

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been shown me. My daughter is thoughtless and selfwilled both of which qualities require from her parents a degree of supervision which she may fail of receiving. I must put my trust as I ever do in a superior power, fearing that I may not deserve to be always meeting with mercy rather than with judgment.

Office where I was rather indolent. Attended to accounts and read a little of the North American Review. Afternoon occupied in reading over my Article for Dr. Palfrey the last time. It dissatisfied me utterly. I think it poor and yet I have laboured upon it with pertinacity. Review writing is not my forte. It requires more time and labour than it is worth. I shall send it because I do not think it of any consequence whether it is published or not but I expect no gain to my reputation from it.1

Evening to Mrs. Frothingham’s. A meeting of the members of the family including Sidney and his Wife who are here. Much as usual.


The letter to the Rev. Palfrey accompanying the review of Matthew L. Davis’ Memoirs of Aaron Burr and of his Private Journal, is in the Adams Papers. The review would appear in the July issue of the North Amer. Rev. , 49:155–206. Two drafts in CFA’s hand are in the Adams Papers (M/CFA/23.1, Microfilms, Reel No. 317).