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Browsing: Diary of Charles Francis Adams, Volume 2

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0002-0010-0002

Author: CFA
Date: 1826-08-02


Madame finally decided to go up the North River. We left New York in the morning, were all day getting to Newburgh, and after a dull passage, although much delighted by the scenery up the river, I was glad to reach Mr. De Wint’s.
It is needless to go over a regular history of the five following days. Mr. De W.’s is a country residence prettily situated at Fishkill but subject like all other country residences to much dullness.1 Madame was very unwell during her whole stay and I was in constant terror. Rides, Writing letters home and a visit to West Point constituted all our entertainment. This last happened on Saturday, we dined there, saw Robert Buchanan and the spot which is admirably adapted for the purpose to which it is put. I dined at Mr. Christie’s, a country neighbor of Mr. De W.’s. To say that it was stupid would not express my idea of it at all. I am spoiled by our luxury here at home.
1. The de Windt home was at Cedar Grove, Fishkill Landing (later Beacon) in Dutchess County, about 56 miles from New York. In D/CFA/1 further { 72 } details of the visit are given. Mr. and Mrs. Albert Gallatin and Churchill C. Cambreleng attended Mr. Christie’s dinner on 3 August. LCA was unwell the next day. The visit to West Point occurred on 5 August, and on the following day a Mr. Heyet and a Miss van Wagenens, probably the sister of William Alexander van Wagenens who married AA’s great granddaughter Julia de Windt, called. See Adams Genealogy.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0002-0010-0003

Author: CFA
Date: 1826-08-07

[7. August]

I believe every individual of the party was glad when on the afternoon of the seventh we found ourselves on board of the Safety Barge Lady Clinton1 winding up the river. I was much relieved, although I felt as if I was going farther and farther from rest, comfort and health. For I began to experience another attack of my old complaint. My spirits were somewhat relieved however by finding the Otis family on board and particularly Allyne, whom I had very little expectation of meeting. Although he never was one of my very cordial and intimate friends, it was owing to unfortunate traits of his character which for the sake of the rest I would gladly have expunged from it. And this rest was sufficiently good always to make him an agreeable acquaintance. I was more glad to see him than I had thought would be possible. We spent the rest of the evening in conversation. The boat was excessively crowded and I had a bed on the table, downstairs. Much sleep was out of the question.
1. Because of appalling accidents in previous years due to exploding boilers, two “safety barges” were introduced on the Hudson River in 1825, the Lady Clinton and the Lady Rensselaer. Each was towed by a steamer on the night run and was equipped with comfortable sleeping quarters. See Robert G. Albion, The Rise of New York Port, N.Y., 1939, p. 161.

Docno: ADMS-13-02-02-0002-0010-0004

Author: CFA
Date: 1826-08-08

[8. August.]

We were glad when Albany presented itself to our view on Tuesday Morning.
My mother determined at Albany, upon the pressing solicitations of the Otis family, to join them at Ballstown Springs on the succeeding day. Dr. Huntt again found us, and brought a letter from my father which had but little ambiguity in it as to the propriety of this journey and which explained very fully the reasons of the preceding ones. But many of these last did not reach us until long after the proper time owing to the folly of Charles King at New York.1 Albany is an excessively dull place and combines filth and heat to a great degree. But it seems to be thriving and prosperous. As a situation for commercial advantages, it may be good, but nobody would ever wish to pass a whole day there a second time, when travelling merely for pleasure.2
{ 73 }
1. CFA misconstrued the meaning of JQA’s letters to LCA and was unduly harsh toward his mother for undertaking her northern journey. Between 14 July and 9 August JQA wrote his wife six letters but only the first suggested that she join him at Quincy with Charles and Elizabeth Coombs Adams (ECA), while all the rest directed her to go elsewhere for her health and comfort. One letter, sent in care of Charles King in New York City, was not received by LCA until later, but it only repeated JQA’s advice to go elsewhere than to Quincy because he had not yet secured the furnishings of the Old House, which were to be bought at auction. All these letters are in the Adams Papers.
2. CFA and his mother visited Mrs. Van Rensselaer of the patroon family that evening. He was miserable, but his mother was feeling better (D/CFA/1).
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.