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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0019

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-19

Wednesday. 19th.

I left Walpole early this morning. The weather cleared up with a cool wind which made my Coat feel comfortable when buttoned up. { 421 } We rode easily and reached Providence without any difficulty by half past ten o’clock. Having made all the necessary arrangements for keeping the horses during my absence, I went down to the Steamboat and engaged my passage. The Boat happened to be the Benjamin Franklin1 and it was some time before I could become familiarized to the scene. My good sense told me that it was weak to give way to those feelings for that2 the accident was not more than the fate of us all sooner or later and it mattered little as to the place. But a reasoner cannot always succeed. The place had seen his presence and from thence he had gone into eternity without the possibility of assuring us what the circumstances of his fate were. No eye witnessed it, no tongue can tell it. But either conclusion which we come to is horrible enough. I had no acquaintance in the boat, but gradually distracted my mind from these meditations so that it was only at times that I had a qualm. Our trip was favourable enough. There was little or nothing to affect us and so I retired to bed to sleep badly. For in these boats, nothing else can be expected.
1. The ship on which GWA made his last voyage.
2. Thus in MS .

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0005-0008-0020

Author: CFA
Date: 1829-08-20

Thursday 20th.

I slept or rather remained in my berth until we reached New York not being willing to trust my feelings through the scene of the disaster. We arrived at six and landed soon after. I walked to the City Hotel and found that my Mother had arrived last evening in the boat from N. Brunswick. Soon after she came down to see me. She looked altered, more than I expected and unwell, but I tried to reflect that I had hoped too much and that she was not more unwell than I ought to have expected. Her alteration of dress ought to be taken into account, from having been fond of show and ornament, she now rejects her hair and all appearance not consistent with the utmost plainness of the deepest mourning. She was affected by my coming in the Franklin and I found to my regret that that boat would return tomorrow when we ought to go. It was therefore evident to me that this accident would be a trial. I conversed a good deal with her upon many subjects before I saw the rest of the family. She was accompanied here by John and his wife and child, very unexpectedly to me. I was however glad to see them, as I thought it would be pleasant to them and to my Mother. Mary looks tolerably well but they all seem harrassed by their Journey. John told me that my Mother’s spirit had given way excessively on the Journey and he was apprehensive of the result.
{ 422 }
The morning was passed in going round New York after sundry objects which I intended to perform while here. I called upon Mr. Frothingham, and went to Miss Thompson’s, the Milliner’s,1 to order a hat for Abby. I also walked round with John and we visited several places, among others a Furniture Warehouse where we saw all the dash of New York. There was much that was beautiful certainly. Returning, we found Baron Stackelberg had called and he sat with us for half an hour. He is much as usual. A Gentleman with all his vices. The afternoon was lounged away, partly at the Battery and partly at home, so that we found ourselves much fatigued. The family all retired early but myself who sat until ten. Mr. Charles King calling in to amuse me.
1. Phebe Thompson, a milliner, lived at 46 John Street ( Longworth’s N.Y. Directory, 1828–1829).