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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2


Descriptive List of Illustrations
Descriptive List of Illustrations

Descriptive List of Illustrations

[Note: for permissions reasons, not all illustrations from the letterpress volumes are available in this digital edition.]

Descriptive List of Illustrations

 

Charles Francis Adams in 1827, by Charles Bird King ||facing or following page ||144

This large portrait of young Charles Francis Adams was painted by Charles Bird King (1785–1862), the American-born artist who studied under Benjamin West. King worked in Philadelphia and Baltimore before settling in Washington, where, at the request of John Quincy Adams, the diarist sat for the picture. Charles Francis Adams thought King had “not made a good picture” (see p. 135) and Louisa Catherine Adams was so dissatisfied that she asked for further sittings (see p. 127). The finished portrait, despite the added work, does not capture so much of the personality revealed in Adams’ Diary as does the Dickinson miniature (see illustration in volume one). The sensitivity portrayed by Dickinson here appears as haughty elegance, while the miniaturist’s finely featured youth becomes in this portrait a mature man. See George C. Groce and David H. Wallace, The New-York Historical Society’s Dictionary of American Artists, 1564–1860, New Haven and London, 1957.
Courtesy of the National Park Service, Adams National Historic Site.
 

John Adams in 1823, by Gilbert Stuart ||facing or following page ||144

The great American painter Gilbert Stuart (1755–1828) executed this last portrait of John Adams in 1823, when the second President was in his eighty-eighth year. Measuring 30" × 25", it is one of the finest pictures made by any artist of an Adams. The picture reveals an all-too-human John Adams, dressed in black and seated upon a dark red sofa; his right hand rests on a cane (Lawrence Park, Gilbert Stuart, New York, 1926, 1:191).
Charles Francis Adams cherished this portrait, for it revealed his grandfather as he knew him, living in retirement in Quincy. When a student at the Boston Public Latin School and later at Harvard, Charles Francis Adams often spent his vacations at the Old House, and it was his duty to read to his aged grandparent or to amuse him with conversation. With youthful impatience he fretted at the old man’s loss of “curiosity and interest” and complained that few subjects would “keep his mind many minutes” (see volume 1:159). Yet he recognized that John Adams was an “extraordinary character,” whose remarkable achievements he believed to be generally neglected (see p. 118). Like John Quincy Adams, Charles Francis Adams felt an obligation to vindicate the second President and to restore to him his proper fame (see p. 66). To both son and grandson John Adams’ notable career of public service offered a model { viii } for their own lives. Though Charles Francis Adams would genuinely have preferred a private life, he strongly felt that the family name must not be allowed to deteriorate in his generation, and he vowed to enter politics to maintain the tradition established by John Adams.
Courtesy of Mr. C. F. Adams, Dover, Massachusetts.
 

“News Arrived of the Death of My Grandfather John Adams, on the 4th of July.” ||facing or following page ||144

This page reproduced from the manuscript Diary of Charles Francis Adams for 9 July 1826, records the remarkable news just received that both John Adams and Thomas Jefferson had expired on the same day, 4 July 1826. Revolutionary patriots, statesmen who succeeded to the Presidency, friends who quarreled and made up in old age, the two eminent Americans in death gave their countrymen pause to contemplate the fiftieth anniversary of American independence. Adams was filled with “wonder,” “awe,” and “undefinable grandeur” at the news. He remembered again what it was about his grandfather that was so “calculated to strike a youthful mind.” John Adams was “bold, energetic, ardent ... [and] ignorant of the power of self restraint.” Of all the revolutionists, Charles Francis Adams concluded, his grandfather was “the most enthusiastic, the most passionate” advocate of liberty. For the full text of the Diary entry see p. 65–66.
From the original in the Adams Papers.
 

Plan of the City of Boston in 1828, by Hazen Morse ||facing or following page ||145

By 1825 Boston contained over 58,000 persons and, topographically, was becoming less insular. The center of the town’s life was in the neighborhood of the Old State House (located at Washington and State streets). Several places of interest are: (1) two houses at which Charles Francis Adams boarded while he read law at Daniel Webster’s office—11 Avon Place (a small street off Washington Street) and 3 Cambridge Street (off Bowdoin Square); (2) the home of Reverend and Mrs. Nathaniel L. Frothingham, 24 Summer Street (off Washington Street), where Adams courted Abigail B. Brooks when she was in town; (3) the law offices of George Washington Adams and Charles Francis Adams at Nos. 10 and 23 Court Street (which ran off Washington Street above the Old State House); (4) the first home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Francis Adams at 3 Hancock Avenue (a little street which ran from Beacon Street to Sumner Street, now Mount Vernon Street, near the new State House); (5) Common Street (now Tremont Street), the location of much of John Quincy Adams‘ real estate holdings which his son Charles came to manage. The illustration is from the frontispiece to the Boston Directory, 1828, which was engraved by Hazen Morse and printed by Hunt & Simpson. See City of Boston, Engineering Department, List of Maps of Boston Published between 1614 and 1822, Boston, 1902, p. 99.
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
{ ix }  

The Capitol with Latrobe’s Eastern Portico, 1825 ||facing or following page ||304

Constructed under the successive architectural direction of William Thornton, Benjamin H. Latrobe, and Charles Bulfinch, the Capitol was structurally complete when John Quincy Adams became President, but it lacked artistic and sculptural detail. Adams formed the first federal art commission and summoned the members to Washington to select models and designs for the tympanum of the central east entrance of the Capitol, but the group failed to do so. He then suggested his own design, and this was carved in stone by the Italian artist Luigi Persico. Adams also ran a competition for figures in the pediment of this eastern, or principal, portico, and Persico won with his design. In 1828 when Charles Francis Adams examined the completed tympanum and pediment he remarked, perhaps not altogether with an unbiased eye, that “The effect of them struck me very much, and on the whole, I have the impression that the front is as beautiful a specimen of modern architecture as any in the world. The figures are large, and seem remarkably well finished, particularly the figure of Justice and the Eagle which I particularly admired” (see p. 301). See Glenn Brown, History of the United States Capitol, 2 vols., Washington, 1900–1903, and Wilhelmus B. Bryan, A History of the National Capital, 2 vols., New York, 1914. The illustration is from the original design of the architect Latrobe and was published in January 1825 at R. Ackermann’s Repository of Arts, 101 Strand, London.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
 

Map of the City of Washington in 1828 ||facing or following page ||304

In 1800 the population of Washington was slightly over 3,100 and, thereafter, it grew at an average annual rate of 500 a year. By 1828 the Federal City contained 17,600 persons and had been divided into six wards. Aside from familiar public buildings like the White House and the Capitol, two places of interest are: (1) John Quincy Adams‘ house, purchased in 1820, on F Street, between 13th and 14th streets, N.W. (on the map, two squares directly east of the White House, in square 253); (2) the newly built house of John Adams 2d on the west side of 16th Street, between I and K streets, N.W. (on the map, two squares directly north of the White House, probably in square 185). This map of Washington was published in 1828 by John Brannan. It was drawn by Frederick C. DeKrafft, the official city surveyor from 1822 to 1832, under federal or city appointments. The engraver was Mrs. William J. Stone. See District of Columbia Sesquicentennial ..., Washington, 1950, p. 26.
Courtesy of the Library of Congress.
 

Peter Chardon Brooks in 1835, by Asher Brown Durand ||facing or following page ||304

This likeness of Peter Chardon Brooks (1767–1849), the father of Abigail Brown Brooks, was painted in 1835 by the American artist Asher Brown Durand (1796–1886), a master engraver as well as a skillful portraitist. Charles Francis Adams commissioned the portrait to give to his wife (see Charles Francis Adams, Diary, { x } 18, 26 June 1835), and he was very much pleased with it. It was, he recorded, a “better likeness” than earlier pictures made by Gilbert Stuart and Chester Harding, because it was neither a “caricature” nor a “hard picture, stiff as a board” (Diary, 25 June 1835). See Peter Chardon Brooks, Farm Journal, Volume 8, entries for 24, 26 June 1835, Massachusetts Historical Society.
Brooks, an insurer of ships and a banker, was a self-made Boston millionaire. His fortune was accumulated in just a few years and he retired early, though he kept up an interest in his merchant ventures. He served in the Massachusetts Senate and House and was a stout Federalist. At home, he appears to have been an affectionate and indulgent parent. Especially was he fond of his youngest daughter Abigail (see p. 107), and his letters to her in the Brooks Papers are charming and playful. In general the Brooks family life was less restrained and refined than the diarist’s own home life, and Adams disliked it. He sought to marry Abigail after a year of his engagement, but Brooks, desiring to keep his “pet” child at home a little longer and wanting Adams to become more self-reliant, favored postponement. See Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936, under Asher Brown Durand and Peter Chardon Brooks.
Courtesy of Mrs. Arthur Adams, Dover, Massachusetts.
 

Edward Everett about 1824, Attributed to Bass Otis ||facing or following page ||304

Edward Everett (1794–1865) during his long life was clergyman, professor, college president, congressman, governor, United States Senator, minister to Great Britain, and Vice-Presidential candidate. An ambitious and learned man who was also a moving and handsome orator, Everett was a great Boston figure who inevitably became a part of Charles Francis Adams’ Diary. And when Adams became engaged to Abigail B. Brooks, a sister of Mrs. Edward Everett, he and Everett became prospective kinsmen. “A man of shining talents and of illustrious promise,” in John Quincy Adams’ early estimation ( John Quincy Adams, Diary, 13 February 1820), Everett took up his duties as professor of Greek Literature at Harvard after studying at Göttingen University (becoming the first American to receive its Ph.D. degree). With another German-trained scholar, George Ticknor, he helped to enrich the students’ curriculum with his lectures while he set an example of scholarship for a faculty hitherto “home-bred” and “in-bred.” Charles Francis Adams, who took Everett’s course in Greek Literature in his junior year, faithfully recorded the professor’s lectures as part of his Diary and they appear in volume one. The diarist thought that the lectures were too long and full of “dry details and ancient learning” with “nothing to interest or amuse” (vol. 1:432), yet he seldom missed a discourse, for Everett’s erudition was like a magnet attracting Adams’ mind. When he came to comparing Everett’s course with that given by the equally eminent Ticknor on French literature, a subject Adams loved, especially since he read the works in the original, Adams preferred Everett’s. See Paul Revere Frothingham, Edward Everett: Orator and Statesman, Boston, 1925, and { xi } Samuel Eliot Morison, Three Centuries of Harvard, 1636–1936, Cambridge, 1936.
The portrait of Everett is attributed to the Massachusetts-born artist Bass Otis (1784–1861), who worked in New York and Boston but spent most of his life in Philadelphia. Although he was primarily a portrait painter, he took an interest in engraving and was a pioneer in lithography in this country. The picture was given to Harvard College in 1865 by William G. Brooks. See Allen Johnson and Dumas Malone, eds., Dictionary of American Biography, New York, 1928–1936, and Laura H. Huntsinger, Harvard Portraits: A Catalogue of Portrait Paintings at Harvard University, Cambridge, 1936, p. 54–55.
Courtesy of Harvard University.
 

“The Elms Farm,” Peter Chardon Brooks’ Home in Medford ||facing or following page ||305

On his ancestral property in West Medford, Peter Chardon Brooks in 1805 built a home and turned the land into a model farm. The house was the fifth Brooks homestead erected since the 17th century when his forebears settled in the town. Brooks also bought land to the north and south of his house and beautifully landscaped the estate. Situated on Grove Street, the stone and timber “Elms Farm” mansion was an imposing and spacious structure which admirably suited the taste of its owner, who was one of New England’s most affluent men, and the needs of his wife and thirteen children. Charles Francis Adams was overwhelmed by the mansion and the style of living to which Abigail B. Brooks was accustomed. Depressed by his lack of means which dictated a long engagement, he wrote his fiancée: “You [have] all your life been nursed in the midst of indulgence. Perhaps had I known you at home first ... I never should have ventured to have offered my prospects.... But I did not know how you had lived.” (Charles Francis Adams to Abigail B. Brooks, 31 October 1828, Adams Papers.) On Peter C. Brooks’ death in 1849 the house was inherited by his eldest son, Edward Brooks (1793–1878). It survived until 1916. See Richard B. Coolidge, “The Brooks Estates in Medford from 1660 to 1927,” The Medford Historical Register, 30:1–20 (March 1927), and Richard B. Coolidge and Ruth D. Coolidge, “The Brooks Family of Medford,” same, 42:27–40 (June 1939).
Courtesy of the Massachusetts Historical Society.
Cite web page as: Founding Families: Digital Editions of the Papers of the Winthrops and the Adamses, ed.C. James Taylor. Boston: Massachusetts Historical Society, 2014.
http://www.masshist.org/apde2/