Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 1


Saturday 27th.

Friday 26th. CFA


Friday 26th. CFA
Friday 26th.

Up late as usual to make up for the deficiencies in the evening. After breakfast went out with John to leave cards at the places to which we used to go so often last winter. Miss Cottringers and Miss Selden.1 The eldest of the former, Harriet is to be married to Mr. Brent next week—and on the whole I think it time for she has passed the grand climacteric and is now going down hill. But the Man has not misjudged in his selection as she I have no doubt will make a most excellent wife. It is said that women of “a certain age” always make the best wives and there is reason in the conclusion, but it does appear to me that if I am to marry, I shall have leave to consult my own taste on the score, and receive something like pleasure for so disagreable a step. Excellence is good but it is not much without beauty.

Miss Selden I understand is as pretty and lively as ever; we merely left cards and then returned home. Nothing remarkable happened. Visitors pouring in, in quantities which it is agreable to Madame to refuse, as she is “not at home,” a custom without which it would be impossible to move. We were very quiet all day. Johnson talked a little of politics and thought more. He is in evident pain all the time and appears in very bad health. His residence in Rockville is very much disapproved by all his friends. It was a singular step when taken and done for nothing but the necessity of the moment. His success has been remarkable and on that account he is unwilling to 23give up the idea of remaining there, but I expect his health will force him away either to Fredericktown or here where he always appears to improve whenever he comes up to make a stay.


Anne, Cornelia, and Harriet Cottringer, all of whom attended the Washington parties that season, were daughters of Garrett C. Cottringer, of Philadelphia. Harriet was to be married to Robert Young Brent, son of Robert Brent, the first mayor of Washington (Columbia Hist. Soc., Records, 2 [1899]: 237). Sarah E. E. Selden later married Lt. John Graham, of the Navy (CFA to LCA, 11 April 1829, Adams Papers: Columbian Centinel, 11 April 1829).