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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 1

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0002-0015

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-02-15

Sunday 15th.

The weather in the course of night became very bad and it was with great ill will that once I was forced to get out to hold the horses for the driver. We went on however pretty comfortably and arrived at Hartford in very good season for breakfast. The rivers were all very much overflowed and I was somewhat alarmed as the bridges on this road have occasioned a great many accidents. I breakfasted at Hartford, and when I came out to look for my trunk to have it put { 96 } on, it was not to be found and I was put into a most tremendous alarm about it. No one had seen it and I was obliged to conclude it lost. After a moment’s hesitation, I nevertheless determined to go on as I could only be sure that in case it came I should get it and if it was stolen it would do me no good to stay. I was seized with the vapours though, as nothing of the kind had ever happened to me before and I had become quite negligent respecting it. Nothing was in the trunk of any value to any one but me. My journal was what I most mourned for, as I had lost an account which never could be repaired.1
My spirits were amazingly depressed and I felt like knocking down every body in the stage, this would have been a difficult task as there were eight besides myself. The light now enabled me to judge of the countenances and appearance of the newcomers. One who got in last night at New Haven was a rough old sailor who had met with a more severe misfortune than mine and still by his conduct gave me a lesson of patience. He had lost his ship, it being seized by the custom house, and was returning to Boston in the stage for the first time he said, in his life. Consequently at first he did not well understand the motion or the crowding. He became in good humour finally and laughed very heartily.
The remaining person who was remarkable in any degree was a man by the name of Gist, from Baltimore, a middling sized man with a round fat countenance appearing what he really was, a jolly loquacious animal. Indeed he was talkative to a most extravagant degree as he did not cease while I was in the stage. The day was rainy and stormy, and I was horribly blue, made more so by this man, who the more jolly he was the more I became angry. This could not last forever though, and I gradually felt my vexation worn away by the incessant attacks of the old crone. Story succeeded story and laugh succeeded laugh, he roaring himself to supply any deficiency in wit of his own. He was withal, a man who of all people was philanthropic to a great degree. He gave us his plans to benefit mankind, how he was to make them carriages and pairs and the Lord knows what besides. In fact he was a “facheux” to a most extravagant degree. Talking, talking, talking, and being good natured he endured rebuffs and continued talking if it was only to please himself. He told his stories and delighted in the witty turn which he was enabled to give his excuses in referring always to the Irishman or the sailor when a joke was related of either character. He gave me advice concerning my trunk most gratuitously, and said it had always been his plan { 97 } to mind his own concerns, then argued religion with a universalist and so he went.
In the mean time the storm had increased with snow and hail. My nerves having been in a state of agitation, I felt unwell and stopped at Worcester, lucidly for I was quite sick in the evening. After which I immediately went to bed being much in need of rest.
1. This “journal,” only temporarily lost at the time, has since been permanently lost; see the account of CFA’s MS Diaries in the Introduction.

Docno: ADMS-13-01-02-0003-0002-0016

Author: CFA
Date: 1824-02-16

Monday 16th.

Arose this morning very much refreshed although in very low spirits on account of the loss of my trunk, for I had been thinking over all my journal and the destruction of my future plans, of which this book was one. But I was obliged to be patient. The weather had turned into rain. On coming to breakfast I was again thrown into the society of my friend Captain Pedrick, and had a better opportunity of knowing the man than before. The morning was spent at Worcester until the Springfield stage arrived when the Captain and myself got in to come on. He had come yesterday in the mail waggon from Hartford and had arrived very tired and having passed through many dangers of flood and field. He had been tumbled into the water, in the mud and met with various other accidents which he related in an amusing manner.
He is a good natured, good hearted man and had born quizzing from my yesterday’s acquaintance without murmuring. I came near getting into quite a poor business with him, as I began to be severe upon Mr. Gist’s doctrine of steam boats or carriages and laughed at his enthusiasm when he checked me suddenly by a serious belief in his doctrines only that the machinery was not known to Mr. G. as he was not versed in mechanics. He informed me that there was no difficulty in the affair at all leaving me to wonder out why it was not put in practice. The former man said that there was but one difficulty. It would not go, but this man denies that, and although he says it is of immense advantage to mankind, gives us no reason why it is not instantly put in use.
This Pedrick is a very odd and amusing character. Enthusiastic in his ideas, he made himself appear singular. His dress, travelling baggage corresponded. He had three cloaks in the stage, and mineral specimens in great numbers. He was collecting a cabinet, for his son or the lord knows who. He said nothing concerning the establishment of the distillery in St. Petersburgh as I expect he got discouraged.1 { 98 } But appeared very much rejoiced at having recovered an old debt sufficient to pay all his expenses in his journey, which was also unexpected. Mr. Edson of my Senior Class2 renowned for his piety at College was with us also. I was in fine humour or at least affected to be.
At length we arrived in Boston and I got out at Earle’s3 with a heart not so light as it might be but still rather rejoiced at the end of the journey. Took Supper and retired immediately.
1. See entry for 18 Dec. 1823, and note, above.
2. This can only be Theodore Edson, who graduated from Harvard in 1822. There is no record of an Edson in CFA’s class.
3. Presumably Hezekiah Earl’s Coffee House at 24 Hanover Street (Boston Directory, 1820).
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, 2018.