Diary of Charles Francis Adams, volume 2

Monday. April 23d.

Wednesday April 25th.

Tuesday April 24th. CFA


Tuesday April 24th. CFA
Tuesday April 24th.

Morning exercises performed as usual. I took my last sitting at Mr. King’s today, and am not well satisfied with the result. But as it is not for me, I have felt less interest in it although I would wish word or words missing for the sake of the family, at least those of it who wish me well. My day was broken, I could not go through my prescribed duties, indeed there has been no day yet in which I have thoroughly adhered to them. But they will do, if only partially pursued, and in future I have less impediment. I wrote to Abby the 124answer to her’s of yesterday. And in the evening I went through one of those disagreeable scenes which occur sometimes in life. No man of sense will ever keep a Mistress. For if she is valuable, the separation when it comes is terrible, and if she is not, she is more plague than profit. Ever since my engagement, I have been preparing for a close of my licentious intrigues, and this evening I cut the last cord which bound me.1 What a pity that experience is always to be learnt over and over by each succeeding generation.


Since there is no other evidence, aside from this diary entry, to indicate that CFA had a mistress, his recent biographer thinks this passage a “youthful exaggeration” (Duberman, CFA , p. 429, note). There could, however, have been further mention of the liaison in the journals which CFA epitomized in 1829 because they contained “follies” (see entry for 26 May 1829, below). The shocked tone of CFA’s comment upon Johnson Hellen’s marriage to LCA’s servant, Jane Winnull (d. 1875), is possibly a clue that his own affair was with a person of the same low social standing. See entries for 20 and 25 April 1829, below, and Adams Genealogy.