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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0003-0004-0022

Author: CFA
Date: 1827-04-22

Sunday. April 22d.

I took a bath, but the water was too cold. I felt chilled during the remainder of the morning. My morning duties were performed, after which I wasted the day, employing it only in writing two letters, one { 123 } to George and the other to Richardson.1 My spirits sunk from want of occupation and it was one of my horrible days. In the evening, Reynolds, the expedition man,2 called to see me and drew me out of myself for an hour.
1. Both missing.
2. Jeremiah N. Reynolds (1799–1858), who was lecturing in Washington and was memorializing Congress to support an exploring expedition in the South Seas (JQA, Memoirs , 7:168).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0003-0004-0023

Author: CFA
Date: 1827-04-23

Monday. April 23d.

I took a bath but decided to postpone a repetition until a proper season. It is too cold as yet. Morning duties as usual. After breakfast only two hours of law. Received a letter from Abby with feelings which I will not describe. She complains, but without cause so far as I am concerned.1 She ought to have received a letter on the day she wrote. Employment of time rather desultory and spirits rather low. General Wool called to see me, he has just returned from one short trip of Inspection and goes again to morrow. Dined at Mr. Vaughan’s. The celebration of St. George’s day, which is meant as a celebration of his Majesty’s birth day, which does not come equally convenient. At least so it would seem. Present, the Corps Diplomatique, the Cabinet Ministers who are in town, Mr. Brent, Mr. Thos. Law,2 Dr. Huntt and ourselves (J. and I). Dinner dull as I drank no wine. Sat between Brent and Law. The latter very amusing. He is a character entirely original. But I was glad to have it over and return home.
1. His fiancée complained of not hearing from CFA: “Oh I begin to feel as if I was forgotten. . . . They insist at home upon telling me that Charles is quite tired of me . . .” (Abigail B. Brooks to CFA, 18 April 1827, Adams Papers).
2. One of the original proprietors who bought land in the District of Columbia, Thomas Law was a land speculator, a manufacturer, a versifier, and a charter member of the Columbian Institute (Constance McLaughlin Green, Washington: Village and Capital, 1800–1878, Princeton, 1962, p. 19, 28, 35, 51, 67, 69).

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0003-0004-0024

Author: CFA
Date: 1827-04-24

Tuesday April 24th.

Morning exercises performed as usual. I took my last sitting at Mr. King’s today, and am not well satisfied with the result. But as it is not for me, I have felt less interest in it although I would wish [word or words missing] for the sake of the family, at least those of it who wish me well. My day was broken, I could not go through my prescribed duties, indeed there has been no day yet in which I have thoroughly adhered to them. But they will do, if only partially pursued, and in future I have less impediment. I wrote to Abby the { 124 } answer to her’s of yesterday. And in the evening I went through one of those disagreeable scenes which occur sometimes in life. No man of sense will ever keep a Mistress. For if she is valuable, the separation when it comes is terrible, and if she is not, she is more plague than profit. Ever since my engagement, I have been preparing for a close of my licentious intrigues, and this evening I cut the last cord which bound me.1 What a pity that experience is always to be learnt over and over by each succeeding generation.
1. Since there is no other evidence, aside from this diary entry, to indicate that CFA had a mistress, his recent biographer thinks this passage a “youthful exaggeration” (Duberman, CFA , p. 429, note). There could, however, have been further mention of the liaison in the journals which CFA epitomized in 1829 because they contained “follies” (see entry for 26 May 1829, below). The shocked tone of CFA’s comment upon Johnson Hellen’s marriage to LCA’s servant, Jane Winnull (d. 1875), is possibly a clue that his own affair was with a person of the same low social standing. See entries for 20 and 25 April 1829, below, and Adams Genealogy.