Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Wednesday. February 14th.

23 February.

Thursday 22d. CFA


Thursday 22d. CFA
Thursday 22d.

Is it worthwhile to go over a regular detail of every day’s proceeding. My time has been taken up as that of most lovers would be, in paying constant attention to the lady of my choice. This has served materially to increase the feeling of attachment to her, while I am in doubt as to the answer which this day’s mail will bring, the answer which is to fix the decision.

My own feelings have been singularly acted upon. I have seen her 108every day almost and have been more and more satisfied with the connection. If her father is perverse, I shall feel the blow, but there will be no remedy. I shall only return to my old state of single fortune. I am not one to make offers every day. I am now going to learn the decision, and either to confirm my fate in this life, or to go through another and a bitter trial of patience and endurance. My resolution will be shortly taken. And I shall have passed another crisis in my life. The moment is over. The letter has arrived, and the whole affair is referred to my father. Mr. Brooks sent a letter to the President which requested to know his opinion of the matter. I in consequence walked into his study and had some conversation with him upon the subject of his prospects and my own. He seemed to be perfectly well satisfied with the arrangement as it had been made, agreed to it very cordially, simply imposing the condition of not fulfilling the engagement until I should be of age.1 So far as temporal affairs are concerned, I have no insight whatever in his arrangements. Indeed they so materially depend upon the contingency of the people’s will that I can not now calculate upon the future with any certainty whatever. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof. In the evening, I went to the Anniversary Ball as usual.2 It was not agreeable. And I had to stay until three o’clock in the morning waiting for my brother who was a manager. We reached home at last, but the excitement of the day almost deprived me of sleep.


Surprised and concerned to learn from Edward Everett of CFA’s proposal, P. C. Brooks concluded that it was best to write directly to JQA, asking his “feelings and desires” concerning an engagement between the two young people, who had known each other for such a short time (Brooks to Everett, 17 Feb. 1827, Everett MSS, MHi; Brooks to JQA, 17 Feb. 1827, Adams Papers). JQA replied that CFA, though young, was “sedate and considerate” in character, “domestic and regular” in his habits, and “generous and benevolent” in his temper; the President and LCA would, therefore, willingly consent to an engagement, provided only that it must meet with the Brookses’ approval and that marriage would be deferred until after CFA “shall have attained his age of 21” (JQA to P. C. Brooks, 23 Feb. 1827, LbC, Adams Papers).


In 1827 Washington had two balls to celebrate George Washington’s birthday, one at Gadsby’s “elegant National Hotel,” attended mostly by Congressmen and diplomats, another at Carusi’s “spacious Assembly Rooms,” attended heavily by soldiers (Washington Daily National Intelligencer, 23 Feb. 1827).